Monday, March 30, 2015

Quotes from Men

Dh:  Your hair is like a casserole.
Me:  Excuse me?
Dh:  It always looks better the second day.

In to see doctor for swollen tonsils.  I can feel them in my throat.
Doctor:  You have children?
Me:  Yes, three.
Doctor:  You breastfed?
Me:  Yes, all of them.
Doctor:  Well, you know how after you finish breastfeeding things hang a little lower...?
Me (thinking):  Did you just compare my tonsil to a boob?

Son is cleaning off table.
Dh/dad:  Son is cleaning off table??  (clutches chest)This is the big one! You hear that, Elizabeth? I'm coming to join ya, honey!
Son:  Who's Elizabeth?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Life as a Vampire

Each night, most of  us sleep unaware of the most interesting of things.  Vampires like me, those drawing blood regularly to check the blood glucose of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, often roam the house, zombie-like, seeking juice. I pour him a cold one (juice). He flings his arms, unaware and I'm doused with sticky liquid.  I set a timer, twenty minutes for his body, waiting for a better number.

Sometimes, I'll look at my Kindle, sometimes Facebook, looking to see who else is up.  I know the blue light might interfere with my ability to sleep, but that is a good thing.  Can't. Fall. Asleep.  So I sit on the rug waiting...reading...and learn that STINK BUGS are attracted to blue light.  One lands in my hair. Instinctively, I brush it off and use my favorite flashlight to look for it.  Mistake.  Attracted by that light, it dive bombs me.  There is something in his aggressive approach that repels me.  I don't know where he went.

At 3:00 a.m., still waiting, the electricity goes out.  Silence.  We had been warned this would happen for repairs, so I'm thinking it might be awhile before it restarts.  I marvel at the silence, at how very quiet - BOOM - everything rushes back on including my son's two fish tanks which now seem unbearably loud.

This event wakes our elderly dog, who decides this would be a great time to go out to the bathroom.  Ignoring this request has lead to nasty surprises in the past, so we head downstairs. All of the considerable number of animals are confused, and decide it must be time to get up and go outside. As for Daisy. does she run out, pee and come back?  No, she goes on a walkabout.  I cross my fingers because I can smell skunk in the air.  Fifteen minutes go by.

She returns with an air of total innocence

I observe things like the way my son sleeps, always on the side we've placed his continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensor.  (If slept on a long time, it can produce a false low due to compression.)  His cat, who likes only him, comes by to see what I'm doing to her boy.  She never sleeps at night.  She licks his fingers of blood smears, and then begins to bite his legs.  I wonder to myself if I could train her to be a diabetic alert cat, but muse that cats are too unpredictable.  She would only work when she felt like it.  

"Don't mess with me" face

After living another whole day, while everyone sleeps, I return to my now cold bed, but find a cat in the middle and it is warm under him.  I move him over and take his spot.  Time to grab an hour or two for myself.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Certain Age

My husband wiggled his eyebrows at me while I changed into my "at home" clothes after Church.  "You're looking good," he smiled.  I looked heavenward and thanked God that aging means that eyesight begins to fail just about the time he might say, "I didn't need to see that."  That is an argument for intelligent design.

I still haven't figured the evolutionary or intelligent design principle in making a random hair begin to grow on one's jawline after a certain age.  Is it supposed to make one (it hasn't happened to me yet, of course) less attractive?  What would be the point?  A clear message from the powers that be that "those days" are over?  I pretended that I'd been cooking with orange juice and got sticky, and one of the dog hairs flying through the air attached to my chin.  Now, I have to get my glasses to look periodically, for my eyesight has also failed and as far as I could see, there was nothing there.

Part of me is motivated to see I can get those abs back I had when I was younger. Unfortunately, that part is in my brain and isn't connected to my legs which would have to move to accomplish this.  On a cold day, a cup of tea and a good book do not move me forward but do bring comfort.  Stay warm, y'all.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Sweet Truth

Having a son that is a Type 1 Diabetic means that one of my "jobs" is learning about nutrition.  Blissfully ignorant before his diagnosis, now I know the effect of foods on our bodies even if we who are not diabetic cannot immediately see a graph showing the minute by minute impact.  (My son wears a continuous glucose monitor.)  I thought I was a pretty savvy mom when it came to food.  We don't eat out a lot, we cook at home with fresh ingredients.  We always have a salad. We don't drink a lot of soda, and if we do, it is diet.  After his diagnosis, we paid much more attention to portion sizes.

The diet soda is a concession to eating pizza or spaghetti.  It's required.  It's written in the Constitution or the Magna Carta or somewhere that you must have Coke with spaghetti, pizza, oh, and Cincinnati Chili.  Must.  Don't consume artificial sweeteners?  Spare me the lecture.  With T1D, "all bets are off" I was once told.  You do what works.  So in our house, artificial sweeteners may mean you can have an apple and peanut butter with your pancake and (artificial) syrup.  You'd rather have the maple syrup?  Me, too.  But tell a growing boy who is still hungry after that one pancake.

So, thinking I'm smart, I make as a very special treat - Cinnamon Sweet Rolls - but...I use Splenda brown sugar.  Splenda = artificial sugar = lower carb.  Right?  WRONG!  After figuring up the carbs by calculating the amount in each ingredient, I tell my husband how these rolls will be healthier because I used Splenda, less carbs.  How much less, he asks? Good question.

I get out Calorie King app and look up brown sugar.  4 grams = 4 carbs.  I look at the Splenda label.  2 grams = 2 carbs.  BOTH have 1 gram per carb and the same number of sugars.  Only difference?  Per gram, Splenda has more, not less, calories.  I began doing what I should have done before lovingly spreading the weighed Splenda over the buttered dough and cinnamon.  The manufacturers want you to use half of the amount of Splenda as the amount you might have used for brown sugar.  Tricky.  The Splenda is sweeter, gram for gram, so they intend for you to use less.  But, that doesn't work in all recipes. Sweet rolls are made by spreading the sugar over the dough and when rolled, gives a particular appearance.  These rolls were no more healthier than had I used (less expensive) brown sugar.  

I was totally taken in.  

They were, however, by all reviews, delicious with black coffee.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I would say that sending a paper copy of our Christmas and New Year’s letter is “so last year”.  I would, that is, had that letter materialized.  Posting this one online, I can argue that I’m saving trees (paper) and printer ink.   Maybe, it will sit here on my old blog, lonely, or maybe, it will stare at me accusingly, daring me to write yet again.   So, with this letter, a beginning to a new year and perhaps a new habit.  We hope that you enjoyed the Christmas season in health, surrounded by family, and made wonderful memories to relish during the coming good year.

Many changes give stories to write this year. Our “farm” grows quieter, though we still boast a few too many domestic animals for my dear husband.  Moving to town is a draw for us, yet what would we do without the scream of the fox at night, or the sight of deer crossing the backyard in the evening?  Each night, I look up at the stars after feeding the remaining horses, and I think about life. 

William remains at home, pursuing more indoor activities such as building a computer gateway to his virtual world, earning his second degree red belt this year in Tae Kwon Do, and at nearly thirteen, setting a good pace to soon be taller than at least all the female family members.  

In the mountains of Colorado, lives musical newlyweds who love, laugh and forge a future.  After each earned their Bachelor of Music degree from Baldwin Wallace University this past spring, our daughter, Lauren, married her best friend, Jesse Hodgson in an intimate wedding in northern Ohio.  Settling in Denver, they work, teach music, and Lauren is studying to complete her certification in Dalcroze Eurythmics (a method of music education using movement).   We are joyful to be joined with the Hodgson family and so happy for Jesse and Lauren.

“Storylines” was the theme of Anna’s senior thesis show to complete the requirements for her Bachelor of Fine Arts.  Three beautiful paintings, each 5’ x 7’, were hung in the Grunwald Gallery of Art.  She will graduate this coming spring with minors in art history and French, planning to take a year to work before continuing to graduate studies. 

Mid-summer also brought career changes for K, as he joined Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions, a company contracted with YUM! Brands here in Louisville. He has already delved into interesting projects for the fast food industry.  His side “occupation” is as chief builder of floating frames and canvases for Anna’s paintings. 

As for me, I have spent this year as a pancreas.  Yes, you heard right.  Late in 2013, William was diagnosed out of the blue with Type 1 Diabetes.  I have spent a year studying endocrinology, nutrition, nursing, exercise physiology, and hacking medical devices to provide better control of a disease that never takes a day off.  We remain hopeful that the research to cure this disease is moving forward quickly, and in the meantime, we push for any advanced medical technology available, and some that aren't yet.  #WeAreNotWaiting

Being a pancreas is a full-time job, so I have retired from Lowe’s paint desk, having developed strong arm muscles and much knowledge about home improvement that I do not plan to use anytime soon. 

If you are still reading, know that we cherish every connection and friendship, and look forward to being part of this coming year with you.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throw Back Thursday: The Best Dressed Mom Award

I often tell my children that if I don't embarrass them sometimes, I'm not trying hard enough. It seems, looking back at old blogs, I have done a fine job of it.

First posted on April 8, 2009

It was 9:12 p.m. last night, two minutes past the time I must leave to pick Anna up from art exactly at 9:30 if I don't get behind someone going well under the speed limit. Still, I took time to go to the big chicken coop, fearing that the raccoons might strike. Before shutting the door, I reached over as is my custom to feel the backs of each one, counting them in the dark and training them to be accustomed to my touch. Each gave a "bawk!" and I closed the door.

Returning to the car, I wasn't five feet up the driveway before the smell hit, an overpowering, nasal opening odor. I must have stepped in "it". Or, could it be the dogs, as I had two of them with me. Did they have an accident? No matter, I could not be late, and I decided to just drive and figure it out once I reached the art studio twenty minutes away.

As I drove, the smell became overpowering and I thought that Anna was going to object highly to to the smell in the car. While still driving, I slipped off one shoe, and then the other, smelling each to see if it was the offender. Perhaps I could drive home barefoot, tying the shoes to the roof of the car or something. I could not throw them out - my beloved "cow pie" shoes. But, it wasn't my shoes. The smell, I had decided, however, was distinctly chicken sh@t.

Shrugging, I inched down the windows, but it was so cold outside, I was obliged to also turn on the heat. The fan blowing the heat also blew up the offending smell, so turning off the heat, I shivered the remaining miles.

Arriving at the studio, I stepped inside to tell Anna I was there. "Uh, MOM!" she said pointing at my knit jacket. I looked down and saw that I was covered in chicken crap. Down my front and along my sleeve, I had a nice, green chicken "cow pie". Evidently, when reaching into the coop, and being short of stature, that isn't all that easy, I had rubbed against the door where a chicken had sat and shat.

Quickly, I unzipped the jacket, balled it up, and stuck it near the door for retrieval as I left. I had a pleasant conversation as usual with the ladies there, and we left.

Once in the car, Anna and I started laughing. Very grateful I was that she saw it before anyone else.  I told her I could hear her instructor coming out and in her Georgia drawl wondering "what is that smell"? Anna began to laugh that hysterical beyond funny tearful laugh as she pictured her mother coming into the studio covered in chicken crap and being found out by the ladies there. Because she is soon to get her driving permit, I was thankful she didn't have it yet given that she could not stop laughing which might have impaired her driving.

I guess I'll never get the "best dressed mother" of the year award, or even the "doesn't really smell that bad" award. I supposed this is one of the stories that will go in the "remember when mom....." book.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Throwing Cold Water on Your Party

When the ice bucket challenge hit the media, I was amused and impressed that the idea was generating loads of cash for ALS research. I wondered what JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) could come up with to draw similar attention.  Maybe it is a “fad”, but a very profitable one.  I hate cold water and shivered  just to watch it, and yet still laughed and called some people "babies". 

Already, much has been written about the merits of this campaign.  Hey, they raised a good amount of money. They even got celebrities to take notice. We only wish we’d thought of it first, and yes, we should all be donating to a number of charitable causes.  The ice bucket challenge brought some fun to it. 

Here is MY challenge to all of you who did the ice bucket challenge:
Look up:  what is ALS?
Describe:  how do you know you have it?
Know: what it is to live with it?
Research:  is there a cure?
Donate:  the video is cute, now put your money where your ice cubes are. 

At our house, another incurable, life-threatening disease took up residence, uninvited, changed our lives.  Before it did, I knew NOTHING of what some parents go through on an hourly basis for their children.  I knew NOTHING about parents that shook in their beds wondering if they gave the right dose and their child would accidentally die and it would be their fault.  Now, I know.

Empathy comes with great challenges, and so I think – I know NOTHING of what it is to live and die with ALS.  Because of the ice bucket challenges, I looked it up.  Here are challenges that brings more serious awareness from a wife of a man with ALS

"Pick up a 10-pound weight. Now imagine it’s your fork and move it from your plate to your mouth repeatedly without shaking.

Before you eat your next meal, take a good, long look at the food. Inhale deeply and appreciate the aroma. Now, imagine never being able to taste that – or any other food – for the rest of your life.

·    Put two large marshmallows in your mouth and have a conversation with your friends. How many times must you repeat yourself? How does this make you feel?”

This, this is ALS.  And so when you dump that water, and for a second feel that cold ice water on you, remember that there are people out there that live with that anxiety of cold ice water in their veins on a daily basis because they have ALS, or Type 1 Diabetes, or Cystic Fibrosis, or Cancer, or love someone who does.  This was fun, but the diseases are serious.

You will change your clothes and go back to school or work or your normal schedule, congratulating yourself that you somehow today made the world a better place.  But did you?

Come walk with me this Saturday for just a mile in my shoes.



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