Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A blog a day for the month of November

Hi everyone, sorry I've been so behind on my blogging.  I just started a new job, along with working with several clients from my consulting practice, so things have been a little hectic in my online life. However, next month is a blog a day month on BlogHer.  Given I am a huge fan of BlogHer I've added my blog to their roll and I'm going to be posting something each day - a photo of Bizz (the most telegenic dog in the world), an idea, a story or just me blathering as usual.  All suggestions are welcome.

My story for today is about my car.  So in 2005 I needed a new car. My old one had been hit by a drunk driver and while I was only knocked about a bit the car had a dent that would cost more than the car was worth to fix.  A friend who was a "car guy" helped me to go shopping. A "car guy" is someone who knows everything there is to know about cars - reads the magazines, consumer reports, goes to car shows - in short an expert.  He insisted a drive a Hyundai Sonata. Hyundai's at the time were getting excellent reviews and better still they were a tremendous value.  I couldn't even get a car with all the features I got with my Sonata in another car.

I really like this car - though not as much as my 92 Taurus or my 76 Mustang ( a little car with a giant engine).  But two months ago I believe it went amok.  The car has always had some odd electrical quirks. The left turn signal goes really fast - and yes that is supposed to indicate a blown bulb but the bulbs have been replaced almost a dozen times.  But overall a good car.  Then in early September, as we began to get chillier evenings - the car alarm went off in the middle of the night. Since this was around the time Isabelle's car was stolen we thought someone had tried to break in. But then it happened again, and again. So I took it to the service center at the dealer and they told me they could not find a problem. Then just before my trip back east - it started going off like crazy - 4 times in one hour.  I had learned how to pull the fuse to stop it but back in the shop it went for 3 days.  At last we had discovered the cause of the problem -a faulty door sensor.  $75 later and I was on the road.  Until last week. On Thursday night the car alarm went mad at 2:30 am.  It went off 7 times in less than 30 minutes - the last time it went off with the alarm disarmed, the car unlocked, the doors open and me in the driver seat trying to get my flashlight so I could pull the fuse.  It was NOT good.  So back in the shop it went last Friday.

When I called Friday evening they told me they had watched the car all day but it didn't do it.  "Watched the car?"  WTF dudes. Given our hot sunny days that was not going to fly. They kept it all weekend and nothing. They kept it yesterday - still nothing. Finally today they called the corporate service people and were told there was nothing that could be done. I had asked for them to disconnect the alarm but that is seemingly impossible.  Seriously?  You can't disconnect the car alarm at all?  As my friend Deanna suggested - what I needed is a car thief.

So the car is home again. The fuse has been pulled - I have no choice - I think the neighbors will lynch me if it goes off again. And Bizz and I need the sleep.  All diabetics are encouraged to get plenty of sleep - it helps in blood sugar control. And the car alarm going off is not pleasant when you have an excitable little dog. The alarm went off for 30 minutes, Bizz went off for the next three hours.

So I'm in the market for a new car.  Here is my ideal car - a four door (Bizz likes having his own door), plenty of leg room, sporty with great pickup (yes I like to go fast) but with terrific fuel economy. And most of all comfortable with great back support.  All suggestions are welcome and will be test driven during this search. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

All Dogs Go to Heaven... Don't They?

Things this past week have taken a tragic turn for my own little pack. Yes, I have coming to think of my very unconventional household of myself, Bizz, my landlady Isabelle, her boyfriend Kelvin and their three dogs Pelucci, Truffles and Lucky as my pack.  I rent a house from Isabelle and she, Kelvin and the dogs live in the mother-in-law apartment on the same property. So while I don't share my house we all share a backyard and have become our own little pack.

Sadly, on Sunday, Truffles died.  I was out walking Bizz Sunday morning, a nice leisurely walk on a beautiful sunny day. When I was about half a block from home, out of eyesight but not earshot I heard the most terrible sound. At first I thought it was an animal being killed, then possibly a child screaming. As I got closer to home I soon realized the sound was coming from my own driveway.  When I got there I discovered that Truffles had become ill while in the car with Isabelle, who immediately drove home to Kelvin. Shortly after they got home Truffles passed away.  It was such a shock and poor Isabelle was literally keening and wailing.  Her love for her dogs is so tremendous, she has such a giving generous heart she was just heartbroken.

I gave them their privacy and later we spoke as they prepared to take Truffles to a priest to have him blessed.  Isabelle spoke of how much she'll miss him and we talked about many things including Truffles being in heaven.

I must admit I am not a religious person but as a child my sister told me a story about how when you got to middle school you got to go on a class trip to heaven.  There you would get to see all the relatives who died and went to heaven.  While disillusioned that no such trip was actually going to happen,  I've always treasured the idea that someday you would go and visit all the relatives who passed and I shared with Isabelle my idea of a heaven where my parents and grandparents were all together and with them were all the pets that have passed on through the years.  Surely a dog as sweet and good natured as Truffles would have a place in any heaven.  I assured Isabelle that my mom would have been fussing over Truffles, making sure he felt welcome since being a good hostess was always so important to her, while my stepfather (yes my parents and stepfather are all up there together) was leading him around some celestial garden giving him a lecture on the proper method of composting.   The thought gave her comfort and I admit it made me smile as well.

So I say rest in peace little Truffles.  I will miss his tininess, and his habit of coming to greet me whenever I came out my door.  I remember an evening last winter when I sat outside with all three dogs while Isabelle and Kelvin were out (before Bizz came on the scene) and Truffles just would not stop licking my leg,  I finally had to pick him up to get him to stop only to have him start on my arm.  He was a sweet little guy who will be greatly missed.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tom Hanks and Type 2 Diabetes

Another celebrity came out of the diabetic closet this week.  Tom Hanks, two time academy award winner, announced that he was a type 2 diabetic while on David Letterman this week.  He talked about the impact of dramatic weight loss and gain on his health and blood sugar and also that he had a genetic predisposition to it as well.

It sounds like he had warning signs for almost 20 years.  The blood sugars they were talking about were pre-diabetic warnings - elevated blood sugars beyond the norm that can indicate someone has the possibility of evolving to a full blown diabetic.

Even more interesting Letterman said he is also diabetic and having to watch his sugars.  One of the things I learned from my reading is that as we get older our pancreas tends to wear out.  As one doctor said - if you live long enough everyone becomes a diabetic.

A friend of mine recently received the diagnosis she was pre-diabetic. The first thing I did was tell her to get to a diabetic educator. The educator will explain all the facts of a pre-diabetic lifestyle that can help stave off diabetes.  He or she will explain what is really going on with carbs and that there is more to carbs than just sugary treats. 

I recently returned to a diabetic educator with a simple request - help me create a diet so I can lose weight.  The challenge with diabetes and the use of insulin is that it makes your body hold onto weight.  In order to lose weight you need to control not just calories but your carb intake.

So for my readers here are the basics - if you are a diabetic you need to figure out what impact carbs are having on your body.  I am on a fairly restricted diet now of no more than 125 grams of carb per day.  Translated this means - I could have slightly over 2 1/2 cans of coke(46 grams of carb per can) a day and no other carb, or 5 bananas (27 grams of carb per banana) or 2 1/2 cups of pasta (43 grams of carb per cup).

But I don't do that. Instead I measure and try to have a mix of healthy carbs. No more white bread - I eat high fiber dense breads, high fiber cereals and a mixture of fruit but only two servings a day.  A very smart diabetic once told me something I've now adopted as truth - no more white stuff - no sugar, white potatoes, white rice or white bread.  The more complex the carbs the more slowly you digest them, the better for your blood sugar.

So hats off to Tom Hanks for reopening the conversation on diabetes. I just wish that people would deepen the conversation to being less about candy and more about what a carb really means.