Thursday, May 31, 2012

I gotta feeling...

that tonight's gonna be a good night, tonight's gonna be a good night..

I crank up the volume of the radio in my car. My fingers are tapping along the rhythm on the steering wheel. The windows are closed but the sunroof is open. The volume is too loud, I know. But it's great to feel the sunbeams on your head and sing out loud. Especially if the music is catching. You can't but sing along. It would be stupid not to. I don't care if the other drivers look at me like I'm some crazy freak. I'm having a good time and I don't bother anyone, do I?

There are so many different CD's in my car. There are my musical CD's - which I play mostly every day - but there's also Indian and Arabic music. I have no clue what the words mean, but I love to mimic along and scream my longs out. I always feel better after a long ride singing along. So don't give me that crazy face if you see me sing in my car. It all comes natural. You should try it. It will make you feel better.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The man cave

I honestly believe any man should have ownership to some sort of man cave. A place where he can retract and unwind and do whatever he feels like doing. Whether that is gaming or watching soccer on TV, hanging out with the dudes and share some beers. I'm not sure what men would want their man cave to be designed for, but I'm sure each one of them could come up with some ideas? It would definitely be meaningful for many guys out there.

Hubby has a place of his own. He calls it his shed and it's the place where he smokes his cigars and meditates about the day. There's no TV, no sixpacks of beer. He goes out to his shed several times a day. On his way over there, he collects the trash that needs to be dumped, fills up the dog food container. He sits on his little stool, rocking back and forth, enjoying his cigar. I never join him in his shed. After all, it's his man cave. I have no business being there. I want it to be his place.

If you ever plan on making your own man's cave, can you fill me in about your typical man activities? Or is that inappropriate for me to ask? Tell me to mind my own business. That's okay. I'm just curious. That's typical female..

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Canine Companions

A couple of months ago, I got a private message from the owner of Valerie. Valerie comes out of a nest of six whippet females. Happens to be the same nest Inthe came from. So they are sisters. And they had not yet met. Like their owners..

I heard about this pasture in Antwerp. A place where dogs can run freely, without their leash. Sounded like a plan to me, since Inthe and Rebba love to race around and enjoy nature. When Nicole - the owner of Valerie and Dee - invited us to go for a walk in Linkerwoefer, I didn't hesitate. It just took us longer than expected. To my surprise, she had invited some other whippet owners as well. We ended up with 7 whippets! Fun!

Valerie, sister of Inthe
We had a great time. The sun was out, the place wasn't too crowded and all dogs behaved well. Whippets tend to be a bit racist at times and ours are no different for that matter. Since all of these beauties are whippets, there was no problem. They chased their tennis balls, sniffed each other's rear ends and fooled around. There were meadows to race on, woods to explore and water to cool down. A wonderful place and only a half hour drive. Worth the effort! Although my blood sugars were a bit on the low side all afternoon, the jelly beans did the trick. So we kept going and our tan got more red by the hour.

I enjoyed this outing. Thank you Nicole and Bartje, for the invitation. It was fun meeting you and the whippies. Soon is never far away. That's when we will meet again.




Monday, May 28, 2012

Even if at times you feel alone..

Photo Lana Joos
there will always be someone looking out for you..

We may be as different as pancakes and tea towels, there is always some clothesline that connects us. People are so versatile. What you haven't seen before, might become visible after a while. Open yourself up to your friends. Let them read you and find out more about their personality. We all have our talents and flaws, but that's what makes life interesting. There's no need to find the perfect friend. It doesn't matter if there are some crooks and nooks. Cherishing a good friend is so satisfying that the little imperfections become trivial. Embrace the differences and feed the friendship, for it will make you a better person..

Sunday, May 27, 2012

But how do you expect me to..

stay sober for the rest of my life??

It must have been a real struggle. You didn't have much choice at the time. Since the age of 14, you had been working for the same boss. Over the years, alcohol had become your best friend and you learned to love that friend more and more until you reached the point of no return. You became an addict. You needed that alcohol and you were worthless without. That's how you saw it. Without the alcohol you couldn't function well. It affected your family life - coming home, falling asleep on the couch and being useless to your beloved ones - as well as your job. Up to the point where your boss wanted to talk to you in private. He said you had to deal with your addiction or he would have to let go of you. That must have been a true eye opener to you, because you did quit after that conversation..

May 25th 1992 - May 25th 2012

Photo Lana Joos
A day that changed your life and the lives of the people involved. Never again did you touch another sip of alcohol. Not one time did you tempt yourself to cross the line. Because the stakes were too high. You couldn't risk losing your job. A family of 5 children needed to be fed and you had to be fit and sober in order to do so.
Every day is a struggle. Every day you tell yourself: today, I'm not going to drink alcohol. Although there are plenty of occasions, you have stuck to that promise and I cannot even imagine how hard that must be.
You say you can't remember the taste. You also say you don't miss the alcohol. You don't miss the fog it gave you. Being away from the world is no longer priority.

You and grandma are coming over to our place to celebrate that important anniversary. It's pretty obvious that no alcohol will be served. We respect your wish and neither one of us needs alcohol to have a good time. But we will enjoy each other's company and a good menu. I've been looking forward to cooking this meal for you. You will love that pork rib crown roast, the broccoli mash, scalloped potatoes and the abundance of finely chopped vegetables. You will have your diet coke and you will tell your stories. Thank you grandpa, for having made that important decision. Thank you for sticking to it. That way we can enjoy you even better. We're proud of you. Are you proud of you?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A roof over your head

I'm so proud of you! Last night, you invited me to a picnic in your backyard. That is, your future back yard, behind the house you and your husband are building. The sun was out till late that night and your husband had improvised a table for us to sit at. I guess sitting on a picnic blanket was not really possible, but we did enjoy the food. There were side dishes and even dessert. And of course good conversations. We have a lot of fun together but at the same time, we can discuss serious stuff too. Building your own house is not a piece of cake. It's hard work and sticking to the budget is a true challenge. But the two of you will get there. And one day, your baby son will say: my daddy helped the contractor build our house..

Photo Lana Joos
That same little boy will be coming over today. I have the honor to look after him for a couple of hours. He's such a cutie! I love his personality. Always full of mischief but not in a bad way. He's just vivid and active and pleasant to be around. I'm sure we'll have fun together. The girls haven't seen him for a long time. He's very welcome here and we love him.

Friday, May 25, 2012

What would you say?

Sometimes it's stronger than myself. My friends call me and ask me out for lunch or dinner and instantly I open my agenda and call it a date. I love those outings. I love the conversations, the good time over a delicious bite. The last two weeks have been hectic again. Time to slow down. There are some dates planned in the upcoming week. They are not all lunch or dinner dates. I have a wonderful meeting planned with a lady who is taking care of the sister of Inthe. She owns two whippets, just like we do and we're finally going to meet and go out for a long walk. I'm so anxious to see how the dogs will respond to one another. They are not very good with other dogs if those dogs are not sighthounds. But Valerie and Dee are of the same breed as Rebba and Inthe so I hope things will go well.

School exams are coming up. Those days will be reserved for the girls. Do some cooking and baking, help them out wherever possible and encourage them to do well. The school year is coming to an end and summer vacation will be there before we know it. Maybe more outings will be planned in July and August. Let's ask the girls and see what they have in mind..

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Join the dots

Your mom and I were talking on the phone, when all of a sudden I wondered: why can no doctor join the dots? There have been so many symptoms, different signals of pain, complications. After all of those years, not one doctor has been able to tell you what's wrong. There's this show on TV called Mystery Diagnosis. I watch it every time, hoping that maybe one edition will tell us more about what's wrong with you. Up till now it's still a mystery. They can tell something is there. They know your blood work is not okay. But nobody seems to know why your body is not working well. It must be awful to be in pain all the time and not have a good treatment. Not having a diagnosis is worse though. People look at you like you make things up. Because there's no specific name (yet) for your disease. That doesn't mean it's not there. It just makes things a whole lot more difficult for you and the people around you.

You have planned some more doctor's visits in the upcoming month. Not that you are very hopeful, because so many doctors have seen you without being able to provide you with a decent answer. But you don't give up and you promised yourself you would find a capable doctor. I do feel for you. Working long hours, having no good rest at night and feeling sore all the time isn't exactly how a young woman should be feeling. You should be full of energy, enjoying work and life and doing fun things with your partner. Now you drag yourself through the day. There is no other choice. Sick leave is not an option, because there's no name to this disease. Bills need to be paid and you hate to sit at home, worrying about the whole situation. You could do with a cuddle.. Depression is lurking around the corner and that shouldn't be a surprise. Who wouldn't get depressed if no doctor can help you relieve the pain you are feeling or put a finger on the wound?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

You make diabetes look easy

This Monday, I held a lecture on my life with diabetes. The audience was very attentive and they were so interested in learning more about this chronic disease that is affecting so many of us. For two hours in a row, we talked about diabetes and the consequences. At the end of the lecture, a lady came to me and said: I thought diabetes was serious business. But hearing you talk about it, changed my point of view. You look happy and cheerful and I like your positive attitude. So maybe diabetes isn't that serious after all?

Do I make diabetes look easy? Is that what my lectures teach people? Because that is not my intention at all. I don't want to make diabetes look easy and trivial. I want to tell about how it affects my life. I inform people on what the symptoms are. I explain to them the difference between high and low blood glucose. They hear what fluctuations do to you. I tell them about the effect of having diabetes 24/7. That you can never take a day off. Because if you do so, you will end up seriously sick by the end of the day. I tell them that every day is a struggle of keeping your numbers within range, dealing with highs and lows, counting carbs and interpreting numbers. It's hard work, you know. It takes a lot of effort and energy to make things work. I wouldn't feel that well if I didn't work that hard..

Since I have traded my insulin pens for an insulin pump, the people around me no longer see me inject insulin. They see me poke my fingers and use my glucometer. But the bluetooth function activates my pump, delivering the insulin I need. It's no longer that confrontational as seeing me inject insulin in my tummy, I guess. My pump is hidden underneath my clothes, making me look pretty much non-diabetic, I assume. But things are still the same.
There's a lot of planning to do, if you have diabetes. Like my D-friend experienced last week: you get in trouble if you go out for a long walk and you are not organized the way you are used to. There are so many things to think about: extra pump supplies (infusion sets, inserting device, batteries), glucose tablets or hypofit, snacks, drinks, .. It requires planning. You can't just leave the house without planning. There are no shops in the middle of nature, to go buy jelly beans if your blood glucose is too low. You can't find a bottle of water to quench that thirst a high gives you, if you are in the middle of nowhere. Most of the time, the people around us are not aware of the organization skills diabetics need. It must be awful if organization is not your strongest point.

At home, you don't always nag about the dreadful feeling a low blood glucose gives you. You just deal with it. Most of the time, bystanders don't even notice the intake of fast acting sugars. Because you do not want to draw the attention. You don't want to hold up the crowd or spoil the fun. You just do it and you go on. You try to focus on the conversation you are having with your co-workers, but all you want to do is take a nap, for that hyper wore you out.. But you force your eyes to stay awake and you drink more water to get rid of that awful feeling in your dry throat.
You don't get sick leave if you need to rush to the hospital to get your supplies or meet with your diabetes nurse. You take the day off.. Not to enjoy a day at the beach, but to spend hours in doctor's cabinets. You don't complain about it, because there's no other way.
Going to a job interview may lower your BG. A fierce dispute at home can skyrocket your numbers. Nobody but you can tell what's going on in your body at that moment. Because they can't see.. it's not visible on the outside. It is your diabetes, your problem. So you deal with it... Does that make the diabetes look easy? Well, it's not easy. Even if that's the impression people get.

Poking your fingers 8 times a day or cleaning up a fountain of blood after that infusion site was inserted poorly, is no fun. Do you cry over it? No you don't. You clean up the mess, you rub your fingers and you move on. There's no use crying over it, since it's chronic. Forever. And it's your disease. Forever. But it's not easy. It just isn't.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's a kind of magic

Small red apples always do the trick. It's not their sweetness nor their cuteness. It's the memory. Nostalgia. Call it whatever you like. Small red apples taste sweet. They make me think of my grandpa..

Just across the road. That's where he lived. A few steps away, in his small, white painted house. There was a narrow hallway and a stairways where old coins were nailed down on the banisters. I loved to touch those coins. They had little holes in the middle and grandpa had nailed them down to keep them safe. The house always smelled old. It smelled of old people, I guess..

A door led to his living area. His house was small, but it was comfortable and there was plenty of room for him. Grandma had passed away so many years before, that I don't even recall her.
A smaller door had to be opened to go down the stairs to the basement. And that's where he kept those sweet red apples.. He would give us one, but not before he had rubbed it against his shirt to clean it. A stupid apple, no more than that, but after all of those years, I can still remember their taste.

He would take us outside, in to his backyard, where he grew his own veggies. He loved to be out there. We would pick sour sorrel straight from the yard. Sometimes even rhubarb to munch on. We never found it too sour. Nowadays, just thinking of raw rhubarb gives me the shivers. We grow our own rhubarb now and we have a patch of sorrel. I think that would make him proud. Even the gooseberries are similar to his. But they will never taste the same. Because grandpa is no longer there to hand them out with the love he had to share..

Monday, May 21, 2012

You're hired!

Maybe I should check my agenda and count the times I have been asked to talk about my life with D. This afternoon isn't any different. I'm going to speak for a group of people who are not familiar with diabetes. People that are prepared to hear more about the subject. It is my job to inform them on what a life with diabetes is like. I'm no schooled nurse or educator on diabetes. All I can do, is speak for myself and share my experience. I have accepted my condition a long time ago and I am not afraid to look into the future. For I am convinced that I am doing the best I can. And for the things that are not going that smoothly yet, I'm working on finding solutions, together with my diabetes team.

I'm looking forward to this afternoon. It's always a bit exciting to say the least. Sometimes I recognize faces from previous lectures, but mostly the group is a group of total strangers. You never know how attentive the audience will be. Will I be able to draw their attention? Will they ask me questions I can't answer? I'm not afraid to tell them I don't know all the answers. I can't inform them about medication. That's the task of the doctors and educators. But I can tell them about the symptoms. I can tell them about the consequences if they refuse to get their heads out of the sand. I can make them aware of what diabetes is and how common it occurs. And that's exactly what I want to do today. Spread the word on diabetes and get people mobilized to have their annual check up. It's really not much of a hassle to have your bloodwork done once a year. If you can benefit from it by getting to know your own body, why wouldn't you do it? Some people are more likely to develop diabetes. To them, it's even more important to get informed on what the numbers mean and what they can do to remain healthy and sound. If they are likely to develop diabetes because of a genetic predestination, there's not much they can do to prevent it from happening, but maybe there's a way to delaying the verdict. Why would one not want that?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In case you missed it

I don't know how often you watch TV? At home, we have a digicorder, so we can record any program we would like to watch. I record quite some programs and movies. I hardly ever watch TV at night. Most of the time, the children or hubby watch their shows. During the day or at night, when everybody is sound asleep, it's my time. I scroll through the menu to see what I have recorded and then I can pick out whatever I feel like seeing. That may be 4 sessions of Dr Phil in a row or a True Story movie. It can be some cooking show or an interesting documentary (mainly BBC documentaries). I like to fast forward the commercials or rewind a recipe that I would like to write down. It's easy to skip the boring parts or pause the movie when it's time to grab a snack or go to the bathroom. And I love to erase the shows I have watched and start all over with an empty hard disk. There are some movies left that I would like to watch. Maybe this afternoon. It is a lazy Sunday after all.. Let's keep that cosy blanket handy, make some popcorn and get installed..

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Let's get physical

I had been looking forward to this day. We were promised another walk of geocaching. The weather forecast sounded promising and we were packed and loaded with drinks and cookies. The hiking boots really come in handy. We were all set to discover the region of Affligem this time. The whippets were all excited about this journey as well. They were that nervous that breakfast had not been touched. I don't like it when they don't eat at all before they go out for the day, but there's not much I can do about it, is there?

The theme of this walk, was the Smurfs. You know, the little blue dwarfs with the white hats. They are cartoon figures, created by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo. As teens we were huge fans of the Smurfs, Gargamel and Azraël. We watched the cartoon on TV and bought the comic strips to read at home. Today we had to find several treasures. There were four of us to help find the hidden containers. They weren't that hard to find except for two. Nevertheless, only two of us found the treasures, because the other two were too busy chitchatting. I won't tell the names, no I won't.

We walked quite a bit this time: our tracking devices told us we had walked 16 kilometers. Not bad if you are not used to working out. Even the dogs were worn out. They were happy to see their benches. I guess they will sleep all day.. I don't blame them. I would love to join them.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Indulge without the bulge

It had been a while since we last went out for some fine dining. Our hometown is nothing compared to Antwerp or Ghent. We don't have that many opportunities to enjoy a culinary meal. Last week, my friend and I were taking a hike in Sas van Ghent, Holland, when she pointed out this restaurant to me. Right away, I was alerted by the menu hanging by the front door. That sounded so much like my favorite recipes! Truffle, sweetbreads, goat cheese ravioli with pistachios, slowly braised veal or Ras el Hanout tuna steak: sign me up! I won't say no!
I wrote down the address and checked the website as soon as I came home. No longer than one week later, we visited Restaurant Bottles. The place is trendy and the kitchen so refined. No overloaded plates, but small portions of well thought out combinations. Crunchy, salt, sweet or bitter, the palate was exquisite. The cook put a lot of effort in his meals and the waiters impressed me, serving our dinner wearing black gloves. I have some people in mind who would enjoy this kitchen as much as we did. I can't tell you in detail what we exactly had, but I can tell you that it was delicious. I don't drink that much alcohol, but my glass of wine was perfect and I would not have minded a second serving if I would have had a sober chauffeur.
This restaurant will be on my "places to visit again" list. I'm looking forward to it. Not cheap, but worth every penny.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

In silenzio

It doesn't take a 2 hour ride to find a place where you can relax and chill. Even very nearby, we found a place called LeegHof, where all of that peace and silence is available. Brandnew and spotless clean, we were welcomed by both our hosts. There was a suggestion of music preference throughout the building, what made it a pleasant way to enter the complex. We were offered a pair of slippers, before the lady of the house toured us around. The amount of space was enormous.. no narrow spots, no feeling of being trapped. The place is just huge but cosy at the same time. Relaxing colors, a perfect finish of all the materials used and brandnew appliances. Two glasses of fresh orange juice and some cookies awaited us. How thoughtful..
Two rain showers, a cold water hose, a waterfall: ready to be used in combination with shower gel, shampoo and conditioner offered by the hosts. The steam cabin was provided with color therapy LEDs and the hot steam was very inviting.
For the first time we enjoyed the infra red cabin and it was a pleasant sensation with the see through doors. A spacious white leather couch was placed nearby the outdoor exterior so you could enjoy some quiet time in between the different possibilities. We were lucky the sun felt like pampering us that night, so we could sit on the deck to dry up.
The outdoor heated pool was covered but easily opened with a simple button. Clear water in a serene environment.. what more could we ask for? A hot tub of course. The roofed in whirl pool can hold at least 8 people without being crowded. The view is awesome. White wool like clouds were peeking through the glass window in the wall, to give you a secure feeling of privacy.
I skipped the cold water barrel as well as the ice cold water stairs. Not my cup of tea. My muscles need warmth and that's where the sauna - heated by a wood stove - came in handy.
I had no need for my insulin pump during our stay. The warmth and the relaxation of going to a wellness center are the best way to keep your blood sugar low. No low sugars either, my BG behaved!
A cup of coffee or tea - offered by the hosts, again - was presented in the separate coffee room. What a wonderful place.. This young couple did an excellent job at building this place and exploiting it. Keep up the good work. This place deserves some extra attention in the world of relaxation.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Out here on my own

Both whippets are enjoying some snuggle time in their cosy beds. Well, they have one bed each, but they prefer to sleep on top of each other in one bed. The early sunbeams are warming their backs and their legs are covering their eyes. Arthur is licking his front legs, his eyes closed. I hear the raspy sound of his tongue and I wonder what it must feel like to lick that fur and have all of those little hairs in your throat.
The back door is open, to let some fresh air in. The kitchen radio is playing in the background. I can't really hear the music, since the volume is set on low. My notebook is overheating and I turned it on only 15 minutes ago. It is sitting in my lap, making a noise I don't like to hear..
Hubby left for work around 5:00 AM. His alarm clock alerted me, but I fell asleep again as soon as it was turned off. The children took the school bus at 7:30 AM. I have the house all to myself. There are some chores to be done and lunch to be prepared, but first I want to sit on the couch and think things over. I enjoy that time by myself and it's a good way to start the day. My dietitian needs to be informed about the outcome of her plan for me. I'm so happy I went to see her and get her advise. It's doing the trick! What a relief..
Around lunch, the girls will come home from school. They will be off until Monday and they are so looking forward to that. Let's hope the sun will be out so they can enjoy some warmth as well.
Our goldfish needs to be fed, the dogs could do with a bowl of fresh water and I want to go see if the chickens have provided us with a couple of fresh eggs. Thinking of making French toast for lunch today, some Greek yogurt and strawberries on the side. Maybe I'll bake cookies this afternoon. It was supposed to be a lazy day. Not.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

You are a beautiful soul

What a delight. What a privilege to have you fall asleep in my lap. You look so peaceful, so serene and pure. I am holding your bib against your chin, so your pacifier stays put in your mouth. You are sound asleep and you make little noises. They are soothing and I enjoy listening to the sounds you make. My index strokes your forehead and you try to grab it in your sleep. I hold still for a while, in an attempt not to wake you. Your thick, black eyelashes rest on your rosy cheeks. You are such a beautiful girly girl. My legs feel numb but I do not want to bend them, for your legs are on top of mine and I do not want to wake you. Naps are important to you and necessary. We had a great time around lunch. I was having my sushi and at the same time my other hand was tickling your neck. You enjoyed that and it made you laugh. That broad smile makes me happy. I think I am going to text your mommy and daddy to let them know what a special little girl you are....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Break your fast

I was using the ladies room in the hospital, when I overheard two ladies gossipping about a colleague. How she had lost 9 KG in only one month. One lady said she envied the weight loss, while the other said it wasn't the healthy way to get rid of the extra pounds. What a coincidence to overhear this conversation.

On my way up to the sixth floor, I realized how many conversations have the words diet and food in just one sentence. What a contradiction... Wherever we are, there is always someone who thinks they could drop a few sizes or eat less. I am one of them. Being conscious of your weight, is a daily pastime. I am seeing my dietitian this morning and my day has not started out the best. I have skipped my breakfast. Not because I wasn't feeling like having any, but because diarrhea has been bothering me for a number of months. Right after breakfast, the problem arizes. I am going to spare you the messy details. Anyway, I decided not to break my fast this morning, because I did not feel like pulling over the car on my way to the hospital to look for some nasty restroom.. My dietitian understood the problem and she tried to think along what could be the problem. She advised me to change my breakfast of fruit and Greek yogurt or oatmeal into something dryer, like bread (no thanks) or toast (maybe, I'll consider it) or dry muesli with dried apricots or figs without the milk. No liquid in the morning. Hmhmhm... that'll be a change, but I'll give it a chance. I hope to solve the problem because it has become a real nuisance.

I'll think about tomorrow's breakfast. So if you come up with any other idea, feel free to let me know.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The meaning of life

Being the mom of two wonderful young ladies, I feel blessed. In highschool I was the only student who claimed she didn't want children. Not that I didn't like children, I just wasn't sure I would be able to raise children. It seemed like a very big deal at the time and there were too many other things I had planned. I wanted to go abroad and discover the world. I wasn't ready for motherhood...

Things didn't go as expected. I had a great time in the US, looking after someone else's offspring. Once again I realized how intense raising children was. But then I met my (future) husband and we got pregnant within a month after we met. As I said: not exactly what we had planned. Nevertheless, this baby was so welcome. Why did I ever think I didn't want to be a mommy? We were forced to think about parenting and raising a child and by the time we had it figured out, I was expecting our second girl. They are the most precious gift ever. It is wonderful to be a mom and to love your children unconditionally. They never asked to come into this world. Those were choices we had made. It is a huge responsibility and it ain't always easy, but it is very fulfilling to see two babies grow up and turn into young ladies. They are charming and every day is a challenge. I'm grateful to have them in our lives. Thank you girls, for being who you are. Without you, there was not going to be a Mother's Day to celebrate.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Gays are chick magnets

Ask any gay man about the amount of girl friends they have. It's like for some reason they attract women like magnets. Women are fond of gay men. I know I am. They are fun to hang out with and you can discuss any subject for hours and hours. They are lovable and in for hugging. They give you compliments and an honest opinion, right out of the heart. They are great to shop with - who wouldn't love a man who makes you wait in the dressing room while he races around the shop to pick out the best outfit ever? - and they fear no Latte Macchiato. They carry your shopping bags without asking and they order their own food at the restaurant - they know what maki and nigiri is and they know you like milk and sweetener in your coffee. They take you to places they know you will love. Gay men are so considerate and they don't forget your birthday. Okay, okay, some straight men have a more feminine side too and they can be as charming and sweet. And some gay men are not like the ones I have just described. Doesn't matter. I like my gay friends.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I had the time of my life

That's what you said when you came home around midnight. Your eyes were sparkling and you were all excited about your night out with your best friend. I still can't believe we let you go to Brussels, to see your favorite band Bombay Bicycle Club at the Botanique. Just 15 years old, on a week night, in Brussels, two young girls... The two of you, dressed up to the nines, took the train to Central Station - Brussels. It freaked me out just thinking about it. But I must try to let go and give you the chance to grow up. I still find it very young though but you did a great job at convincing your daddy to get permission for this night out. You are a smart girl..

I'm glad you made it to the concert and you truly enjoyed it. It will be a night to remember. I was comforted by the fact that your dad picked you and your friend up after work, so you didn't have to roam around town to get back to the railway station at night. I can imagine the bubbly conversations in the car on the way home..

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Too high and I can't come down

Some years have passed since my numbers were high most of the time. Numbers like 400 - 500 - 600 mg/dl were no exception (what they should have been). They were the rule. My meter must have read HI (it was not that polite that HI meant hello - it's just short for HIGH meaning > 600 mg/dl) on many occasions. Not that I wasn't trying to get acceptable numbers. Insulin resistance boycotted me and made it harder to get good grades. Those days have passed and those high numbers do not appear on my screen that often anymore. I'm glad they don't, because those are the numbers that should scare you and alert you for future complications.

I had an appointment with my endocrinologist. We discussed my latest HbA1c that was still very acceptable and under 7%: 6.9% to be exact. A little higher than the prior one (6.8%), but nevertheless, very acceptable. And still... I'm not completely happy. I hate the daily fluctuations and the fatigue. My doc says I'm too much of a perfectionist. Can I be? It is my body after all??!! I'm ready to compromise in many things, but not when it comes to my health. I do the best I can, but some things you can't predict in advance. He says that I'm a T1 diabetic and fluctuations are part of the deal. That may be possible but that doesn't mean I have to give up and be content, does it? I want less fluctuations and more stable numbers. The fluctuations wear me out and they are not good for my body. I know some people have a much harder time and worse A1c numbers and I truly feel for them. But this is about my body, my life, my diabetes... and I want to improve it...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A direct hit at me

I was watching this TV series that I had recorded and all of a sudden I hit the STOP button and rewound the show. One of the ladies on the series was 41. I'm going to be 41 in a couple of months. I took a close look at her. She was a secretary, well taken care off, but nevertheless showing signs of the times. She was good looking and elegant and articulate. I put the program on pause and took a brisk walk to the bathroom (thank goodness the bathroom is downstairs - would not have walked those steps up just to take a look at myself) to check myself out. I stretched my skin, inspected my hair, my face. I even stripped off my clothes to take a closer look at myself. Do I look like a 41 year old woman? I don't know. What do 41 year old women look alike? Is there any kind of parameter? I must say I still can't spot any wrinkles and I think that's rather abnormal at this age. I have kids! That alone is enough to give someone the ugliest wrinkles ever! 
Sometimes I even doubt my age, for I can still act really silly and young. Okay, let's not stray from the subject, I was talking about my "aging" body. I have lost quite some weight in the last two years. Meaning that my body has undergone a few changes. I'm glad I don't have stretchmarks that really bother me. There are a few, but not to that level that they irritate me. Some brown spots appeared on my arms and hands in the last years, but they have become part of me without any tears.
I have different brands of moisturizers but I always forget to apply them in the morning or even before I go to bed. I don't always smear the make up off my face at night either. I don't smoke so I don't have those vertical lines between my upper lip and my nose. I absolutely do not drink enough water, so maybe my skin is somehow dehydrated but I don't really do anything to help it recover. I would love to have crow's feet around the eyes, because I find those charming and attractive, but I even lack those. What is it that keeps me young? You tell me.. maybe I need a new mirror, that tells me the truth instead of the fairy tell I'm hearing now..

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly

As soon as you hear your baby cry when it comes into this world, you realize how big your responsibility has become. All of a sudden, your life as husband and wife has changed into the life of a mom and a dad. This little person you have created, needs guidance and lots of love. It needs to be nurtured and raised. Us parents need to find our way in parenting, working out a plan on how to raise the kids the best way possible. Children are never alike, so the theory doesn't always match the practical side. We all have our own opinion on how to guide a child. Finding a balance isn't always easy. Who's right and who's wrong? Are you allowed to make mistakes as parents? Can you tell your child your way of raising wasn't the best way? Can you start over?

Finding your new role as a parent, you often end up with stereotypes: there's the "good" parent and there's the "bad" parent. There's the parent with the firm hand and rules that need to be followed and then there's the soft parent who believes rules can be broken along the line. Who's right and who's wrong? Is there a right way and wrong way? I don't know. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle?

I like to be consequent in what I say. Our children know that. They know once I've made up my mind, I won't change it that easily. I truly believe children need structure and rules. That doesn't mean they aren't able to breathe or have fun or go out with their friends, by no means. It means they are still children and we are still their parents and there are simple rules that need to be obeyed. If you want privileges, there are tasks to be completed as well. Education can't be a one way direction. No matter what age your children are, there are always certain rules that need to be followed. If that means I need to be the bad parent, so be it. Someone has to bite the bullet. If only bad doesn't turn in to ugly..

Monday, May 7, 2012


I am no saint. I like to laugh and enjoy a good time, but like everyone else, I have my off days too. Days when I would like to stay in bed and do nothing but sleep. If that is not possible, I may be quite cranky and bitchy. Not prepared to communicate and easily aggravated. It's best that at those moments, you just let me be and not hang out with me. Those are days I prefer to be alone and lick my wounds and unwind my irritations. Because otherwise, my bad mood might affect you and leave you with a bad feeling as well. I'm glad I have more bright days than off days..

Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's all about making choices in life

From the day we are born, our parents have a plan in mind for our future. Sometimes we are still in the womb, when discussions are being held about universities or possible marriage candidates. As parents, we have an idea of how our children should lead their lives. We dream about their childhood, their puberty and their lives as young adults. We silently imagine what our grandchildren will look like or where their homes will be built. Plans are being forged and our imagination goes wild. All of that with the best intentions, but without consulting our children.. even with the knowledge that after all, it is their life they are going to lead, we make decisions for them. We pick out their schools, decide what friends can come over to our house and what friends need to be ignored. We enjoy to surprise them with a new set of clothes and get upset if they don't like our taste..

The children grow up and we get older. We teach them to have a voice and speak up for themselves. But are we that broad minded if they use that voice against us? Do we force our opinions to be the one and only way? As in: my way or the highway? Or do we grant our children the opportunity to make their own choices in life? Sometimes we know better - or at least we "think" we know better. But if we listen well, those same children can come up with solutions we had never thought of. Solutions and ideas worth listening to. Why is it so difficult for parents to admit that their opinion is not always the best? After all, we do want our children to grow up and be happy and live a fulfilling life. We want them to make good choices in life. How else can they learn if we don't let them try things out and make mistakes for their own? It's the best school.. It will help them make good decisions in later life, for they have had the chance to learn as young adults. It's worth the try. Really.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

It's sort of a regimen

Before I started blogging in 2009, I had never heard of this Internet hype. Working as a personal assistant, I typed the blog for my disabled employer. She would dictate the lines and I would write it down for her. We often looked for suitable titles together and she taught me a lot about blogging. She made me long for a blog of my own and it didn't take me much longer to work one out for myself. In the beginning, I used to blog twice a day. Guess that's what I needed back then.. Now I try to blog once a day and my blog appears online at 8:00 AM sharp. That is, if everything goes right.

I just have to blog. It's something I want to do on a daily basis.. It gives me a good feeling and it keeps me alert. It makes me reflect over my life and the way I interact with others. It has become a bit of an obligation and a regimen to blog. Most of my readers I know, but there are always others out there I'm not aware of. Sometimes I run in to a writer's block and that's when my readers contact me to hear what's wrong. They like to read me every day and they would feel kinda lost if I would no longer write down my thoughts. It's nice to know that you have followers and that they truly enjoy reading you.

A couple of weeks ago, I started a second blog. A blog where I like to keep my recipes. The followers are enthusiastic and I hear they try things out in the kitchen. Even 15 year old girls tie their aprons around their waist and juggle with onions and apples. That brings me joy and happiness. My main blog has been printed into 3 books by now. This summer, I would like to print the 4th book. My cooking blog will be printed after 1 year, so I can have 365 recipes in one book, one for each day. I don't know yet, if there will be a sequel or not. It will depend on my inspiration, I guess. That's not something I worry about. We'll see when we get there. In the meantime, I'll keep blogging and I hope you will keep reading and commenting.

Friday, May 4, 2012

When you least expect it

Low blood glucose never comes in handy.. Mostly you get a low when you absolutely don't need one. Diabetes is always just around the corner, to catch you by surprise with a high or a low. For a long time, I preferred high blood sugar over lows, because they didn't make me feel bad. Readings over 400 - 500 and even 600 mg/dl didn't scare me. Was I not thirsty? Probably, but it didn't worry me. Not until my numbers started to get better.

Getting better numbers increases the risk of experiencing low blood sugars. They are no fun. Lows make your body shake. They blur your vision and slow down your speech. They make you anxious and nervous and they make you feel like whatever you do is in slow motion. Your legs feel like rubber bands and sometimes lows make your lips and cheeks sting. Not something you would look forward to. For the last 10 years, I have tried several fast acting sugars to make me feel better while experiencing a low blood glucose: glucose tablets, regular coke, juice, candy, pure dextrose, jelly beans, honey, bananas, jam, .. They all do the trick, but you don't always carry those solutions in your pocket or purse, do you?

When I heard about hypofit, it seemed like a really good solution to me. The hospital I frequent introduced me to the sachets of pure glucose gel. I immediately ordered a big container of 64 sachets. Diabetes is chronic, remember? And I do have multiple hypos a week, sometimes several a day. So I would run out of my sachets pretty fast.
Hypofit really does the trick. Every sachet has 15 grams of fast acting carbohydrates. Just the exact amount to give you that sugar boost you desperately need. It's cloyingly sweet and very sticky, but what can you expect from pure glucose gel? And hypos are not exactly the right time to enjoy a good snack. All you want is that terrible feeling to go away asap. So yes, I carry around my sachets of hypofit, in a small container. They fit in my purse, my car, my coat. I like to keep them handy all the time. Having many diabetic friends, there's always someone who needs a load of fast acting sugar. But I have noticed that more and more D-friends carry their own supply of hypofit.. I guess it works well.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Going into snuggle mode

Photo by Lana Joos
   Whippies are so gentle, so loving, so caring and so cocky at the same time. Even if you fear dogs, you just can't be scared by whippets.. They are different, no other breed is similar to that of sighthounds. What truly startles me, is how they can scent one's emotion. Whether it is Arthur the tomcat - who is far by nice for the whippet girls - or one of the children, they know if you are not feeling your best. Right away, they rush over to comfort you and give you a cuddle. It's so heartwarming to see Rebba lick Inthes fur when she comes back inside from some playtime in the rain. Inthe holds real still, while Rebbas tongue licks her whole body like it were a shammy.

Inthe has this lump on her hind leg. It appears to be a bursa pleurisy. She probably got it from roughhousing or bumping into something. The lump is filled with water and blood and a teeny bit of bacteria. So she needs antibiotic and pain relief and some inflammatory. She's being a real good girl at taking her meds and Rebba is a little mommy looking after her. It's as if she knows something is not right. I love them so deeply. I can tell I'm not the only one. Because that's what whippets do: they have the ability to make you love them, even if you were opposed to the breed at the beginning..

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Trying to get my balance back

Ever felt like you've been hit by a truck?

We have had a terrific day, geocaching and babbling all along. Our friend had kept our destination to himself until we had reached the meeting point. I had no idea where we were going to, but to my surprise, it was in my own neighborhood. It didn't come as a surprise that many people were of the same opinion this sunshiny day was the best day to go out for a walk. Comme d'habitude, both whippets accompanied us. One of my friends noticed a huge lump on Inthes hind leg. Right away it scared me.. I had not seen that lump before. It made her walk funny but it didn't seem to bother her. She had no problem with me touching the ugly lump on her knee, but I didn't like it one bit. That swelling needed to be checked out by a veterinarian to determine what it was. Since it didn't discomfort her, we decided to go ahead with the walk. I planned on making a phonecall to the vet the very next day.

Yes, the walk was quite muddy and adventurous. I was so happy with my hiking boots. High heels would not have done the trick. I'll keep those for cooking festive meals and going out for dinner. We had to find 11 caches, so there was some work to be done. I still don't get the game (caches, stashes, way points???) and no, I can't read nor understand coordinates or solve the most difficult puzzles. But that's okay, that's where the men came in handy. They did great at finding the caches. Never knew people could look at a tree or a bridge with so much interest and patience. I give up way too soon, I guess. I did find two treasures though!!! Okay okay, those were the easy ones and maybe my friends gave me a lead on purpose, pretending they had not seen the hidden container. They are real gentlemen for that manner..

Although signs asked us to keep the dogs on the leash, we set them free most part of the walk. They had a ball! Racing around the fields, daring the other to run for a contest, they ran like only whippets can run: like headhunters. As an arrow from a bow, they jumped over ditches, slipped through mud pools or chased their tennis ball. No cows were safe from the barking of our dogs. They must have felt like some desert lions I guess. They were pooped by the end of the day. We stopped our walk around 9:30 PM (neither one of the men wanted to give up - they just had to find that bonus cach - I guess one of them will come back to find it) and the sun was going down. Time to go and grab a bite..

The dogs were ready to take a shower when we came home late that night. They enjoyed the hot water and they did not protest one bit. Rebba had a big bruise on her chest and some cuts from running into barb wire, but they seemed content and happy..
This girl had huge blisters and a bruised ego because she couldn't find any difficult cach, but she was content as well.. Time for a good night's rest.

BG for the day: 290 - 272 - 199 - 105 - 110 - 185 - 90 - 99 - 118. Between that 185 and 90, I had a low, but no time to measure: I desperately needed that sugar boost..

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Let's get moving

Hush... be quiet. I don't want to hear it. I know I have to exercise and no, I have not yet found my exercise button. But yes, today, I'm going for another geocach walk. I have been looking forward to this second walk. The whippets will join us again, since they truly enjoyed last time's walk. I did my best at motivating myself and to be honest, it was not much of an effort. Really. The idea behind geocaching interests me and I'm anxious to find out where our walk of the day will be. My friend is not prepared to reveal any information, besides that we will meet somewhere in Gent and that's where he will give us further instructions. But that's okay. I can deal with unexpected situations and surprises. I have learned to be patient over the years. This time, I will bring an extra polar sweatshirt and I even bought my first pair of hiking boots! They are hideous but very necessary. I really don't want to be cold or have wet feet. Hopefully, this time the dogs won't refuse to eat/drink. I have no idea why they are so hesitant to eat or drink. Maybe the different location? I don't know. But I'll bring their food and water and probably their toys too. I hope there will be a spot where they can race around freely like last time.

Thanks buddy for the invitation. I know you put a lot of effort in your preparation. It's most appreciated. See you this afternoon!