Friday, October 30, 2009

I've committed myself...

And come December, that commitment may be to the local funny farm!

I am going to participate in NaNoWriMo 2009. National Novel Writing Month. Me. My novel.

It's ON, babe!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I love fall!

Maybe it is because of my upbringing, as one raised as a Yankee in Connecticut, that fall became part of my DNA. My bones and my cells look forward to the crisp air and my legs cry out for long pants. Even living here in this vast wasteland of a desert, when the calendar changes to October, I turn off the air conditioning (and relcutantly turn it back on when our house reaches a miserable 85* inside) and being to scan my sweaters with longing anticipation.

I love the colors of fall. Granted, I don't get many glorious colors in Arizona, but my mind's eye remembers the vivid oranges and reds and yellows of the trees and our less-natural world of decorations reflect this change in hue as well. Covers of magazines show cornucopias and wreaths made from preserved leaves, and pumpkins abound.

If I had to pick one thing, I'd have to say my favorite thing about this time of year is pumpkin! I could happily graze on all things pumpkin for the entirity of fall. (I've not yet ventured into the land of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte as Starbucks because I do fear it is a land from which I might not escape!) For those who have not yet tried this, I cannot recommend highly enough the Pumpkin Bisque from Costco. I even tried to make some myself, but Costco does such a bang up job of it, my efforts pale in comparison!

As a child, fall meant that Christmas was not far behind. It meant a new school year and new friends, and the mandatory new school wardrobe. As an adult, fall meant that soon I would be driving through treterous storms and across ice-lined streets, but as a Desert Dweller, fall now means a thankful end to the relentless and oppressive heat that has enveloped Scottsdale for the last, well, since April. The blanket of heat has been lifted, and we can finally enjoy the outdoors.

Oh, if only fall were more lasting. If only Fall really stayed put for the full 90 days that the calendar deems as AUTUMN. If only the crisp morning air and warm afternoons could last more than just a few weeks. But perhaps this is exactly WHY I love fall so much. Its sort of a "Blink and you'll miss it" time of year, and when you do have those perfect fall days, where you need that sweater and the air smells of apples and the first fires of the season, you know you have taken part in something special, and precious. Fall is our gift, our token of delight before a long, hard winter, or after a long, hard summer.

Don't blink. Its not something you will want to miss.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why I love Taco Bell...

It may not be exactly Haute Cuisine, but Taco Bell has placed itself on my list of options when I simply refuse to cook for one (Ok,2) simple reason... They have a nutritional guide available right there, and it includes EVERYTHING on the menu!

Having a diabetic in the family has changed the way we eat out. We've never been the family who eats out often, but now that I am so cautious over every carb, I find myself getting downright twerked off if the establishment of choice does NOT offer the information I need to keep my son safe.


A couple of weeks ago, Parker had a baseball game and we decided it would be easier, and quicker, to just go grab some fast food after the game. The general census was for WhatABurger, which is a local, family owned chain here in AZ. (I'm sure they have other locations, but I'd never seen them before coming here).

We were STARVING. We began to order, and I asked the guy behind the counter if there was a nutritional guide we could reference in order to count the carbs for Matthew. His reply was that we could go online to find that information. Wrong Answer!

How can I possibly wait upwards of 30 to 45 minutes to get home, search the internet and THEN figure out Matt's insulin needs? Did they have WiFi access I could use to check this information right then and there? Nope.

Our stomachs growling, Matthew and I walked OUT of that place and across the street to Taco Bell, where they graciously pointed us to their nutritional brochure that had every single item, down to the sodas and sauce packets, there to see. This information also convinced me that the Fresco menu was, without question, the way to go for me! (And its tasty... I do miss the cheese, but my waist doesn't!)

The same sort of thing happened to us when we went to Applebees with my mother. Now, luckily this time I had my handy-dandy all-things-carb book with me and we were able to find Applebees in there, but the items Matthew wanted to order were too new and had not been placed in this book. The waitress said she could get the recipe from the chef, but its not like I have the carb count for white flower memorized yet.

I know we are new at this, and as we get better and better at knowing carbs and such, life will get easier, but it really did open my eyes to just how illinformed we are about the foods we eat when we are not either cooking for ourselves, or using packages with that information readily available on the packages.

I've thought about writing to WhatABurger or Applebees to complain, but decided that slightly slamming them in a semi-public arena was more my style!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Well, I didn't see that one coming...

I've been quiet lately, not for lack of something to say, but for lack of time to get words down.

Matthew and I spent 3 days at Scottsdale Healthcare hospital this week. He has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Up until last week or so, he was asymptomatic, so we had no idea. Then, everything started to more or less fall apart for him.

It's funny, though, how you respond to what, looking back, are glaring changes in your child. Matthew has always been our bright, cheerful boy who has a twinkle in his eye and won't sit still unless he is building something. For the last week or 10 days, the twinkle was gone. But we didn't really see it.

He had also been drinking water like a fish. This was more noticeable to Steve than it was to me, because Matthew would hijack Steve's water in the middle of the night, after he'd gotten up to use the bathroom. I never keep water by my bedside, so I didn't notice that it was mysteriously gone by morning.

We had noticed that Matthew was losing weight, but again, it didn't alarm us. He had gotten to be a little chunky last year, topping his brother on the scale by about 11 pounds. But then he started slimming down. His shoulders got broader. We thought he was growing and shifting in his shape from a little boy to a young man. Then he got on the scale. 9 pounds in 3 weeks. That scared me.

When he didn't want to go play in the park, that got our attention. Matthew is always looking for an excuse to play in the park... always!! He wanted to go to Parker's baseball game, but just sat with us, his head on either my shoulder or on Steve's. He was no longer talkative.

The thought crossed Steve's mind.. do we take him to the ER? "And tell them what... he's tired??" But clearly something was wrong. Emergency-room wrong?? No.. but maybe MinuteClinic wrong.

We went to CVS on Sunday after Parker's baseball game. We didn't bring him home until Tuesday afternoon. His blood glucose level was 474. The nurse practitioner looked at me and said "I think you are going to go to the ER now.." and we went. He was a trooper with the IV, and the emergency room, and the poking of his finger 1000 times a day, and the shots and the knowledge that this is for life.

In fact, Matthew has handled this whole transition better than I could have imagined. I expect he may have a fit sometime down the road, but for now, as we learn about carb counting and how to successfully draw insulin into a needle withOUT bending the poor needle.. Matthew is almost looking at this as a science project. He enjoys seeing his glucose numbers, and figuring out how many units of insulin he gets depending on what he eats. "So, I have to make some changes, but this is so much better than some of the other things that could have been wrong with me."

Amen, Matthew... Amen!