Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Cava Poo Chon

Just read an article on the newest designer breed of dog - the Cava Poo Chon.  These dogs, created in the lab by geneticists, are a combination Cavalier Spaniel, Miniature Poodle and Bichon Frise.  All I can say is that Bizz has them beat by a mile. 

Read the article -  Everything they say about their dog is what I say about Bizz except that he also has a hilarious sense of humor.

Dining out at Pampas

Last night I went to an amazing restaurant here in Palo Alto, CA.  It is called Pampas and is a Brazilian Restaurant that is a meat eaters delight.   The set up is very simple.  We all ordered the Rodizio and side bar. The side bar was a long salad bar filled with all kinds of veggies, salads, cured meats, fish and artisanal cheeses.  We all filled our plates though we were warned not to.  The Rodizio is an assortment of meats that is served by men circulating in the restaurant. A dozen all told. And they were amazing.  Top Sirloin, Filet Mignon, Lamb, Pork, different kinds of marinated chicken were all served to us and it was all delicious.  Much like dim sum or tapas - it all looks reasonable when it comes one little piece at a time.  But looking back we all just went to town.  As one of my co-workers said, the paleo diet come to life.

So the morning after I feel like I have a major food hangover.  My blood sugars didn't get too jacked up but my stomach is on strike and I could easily lie down for a nap right now. 

But for anyone wanting a gourmet treat who loves all kinds of meat I do recommend Pampas -  Bizz would have loved it but alas and alack - no outdoor seating.  And sadly - no doggie bags.

Nostalgia Foods

Listening to NPR this week I heard a story about Nostalgia Foods, specifically Mallomars.  Mallomars are a cookie with a layer of thick marshmallow which is then dipped into dark chocolate. They are only available a few months a year, stemming from the fact that in times before refrigeration - in the summer the chocolate would melt.

The household I grew up in also had Nostalgia Food.  We called it Lebkuchen, a Christmas cookie, made with molasses, brown sugar, assorted spices and a healthy dose of lard.  The cookies would normally be done by the women in the family, mixing the batter on the stove (since you had to melt the lard), then putting the dough on the backsteps to cool so you could roll it out and cut it into all kinds of shapes, then after baking icing them with a confectioners sugar icing that gave them a glossy sweet glaze. As far as I know I was the last woman in my family to make Lebkuchen. I would make it every year during Thanksgiving week, spending hours and hours mixing and rolling and baking, then packaging it into cookie tins and shipping them off to my siblings, aunt and uncle, step grandmother and putting together smaller packages for friends.  My mom used to tell me that if someone didn't like Lebkuchen then they would not last long in the family. 

The onset of my diabetes did not deter me but a few years ago I did stop baking the cookies.  They were just too much temptation for me to have in the house.  But this year I am rethinking that decision and I'm thinking of making a small batch up.  Not eating it myself, well maybe one or two bells or crescent moon shapes, the gingerbread men are way too big.  But making it to rekindle those wonderful memories of holidays past and create a few new ones with new friends.  Plus I have a really big oven now so the baking would go a lot faster.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Starting Over

I think I've written before about how important your medical team is when you are a diabetic.  As you age with diabetes you have a team of doctors who know you, and your body. They are constantly checking for changes and helping you address them.  Right now I have a crew of doctors I really just love.  They are my primary care physician, my gynecologist, my podiatrist, two eye doctors (one for regular checkups and the other who works with her to check me for any eye damage caused by the diabetes), the endocrinologist, and my diabetes educator (ok she's not a doctor but she helps me).

It has taken me years to get to the point where I have a team that I like, who all seem to like me (or at least they put up with me) and where I can schedule and have work 2 or 3 appointments at one site in one morning.

And two days ago that all blew up. I got a letter from my insurance company telling me that they are no longer working with Palo Alto Medical Foundation.  And that I would be assigned a new primary care physician at the end of the year.  Since this is a g-rated blog let me just say that the cursing that went with this announcement was very, very blue.

Things were already getting complicated because I'm working for a nonprofit that is going to give me absolutely free insurance when I finish my probationary period.  The only problem was it was Kaiser insurance which would not cover my staff of doctors. I seriously was considering continuing to spend almost $500 per month for my own insurance just so I could keep my doctors.  But now that's all over.

So here I am.  Literally starting over and rebuilding a team, a team which took me since 1998 to put together. I am planning my farewell tour of the doctors.  One last visit to get one last look and to get a copy of my records for my new doctors. 

I cannot imagine the chaos this is rendering in other lives where people are in far worse situations, where they are being actively treated for cancer, heart disease, aids - to be told nope can't see that doctor any more is a nightmare.  There should be a grandfather clause.

So a new chapter in my treatment begins.  But I do find myself wondering - is this all a first volley in a tough negotiation and will there be another letter in a month saying, oopsie, we didn't really mean it, we were having a tiff but it is all worked out.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Little Dog in the City

Bizz and I spent a few hours up in San Francisco today.  We drove up to see my friend Carolyn's new place and to have brunch nearby.  Bizz did not want to take his usual place in the car so he rode shotgun all the way to the city - sleeping on the passenger seat with an occasional pat on the head from me.

I was really impressed by Carolyn's place.  When I drove up it looked like a typical warehouse district. But they rented an apartment in a lovely building that was completely rebuilt - lots of glass, a receptionist at the front, lots of security and a roof top deck to die for.  Bizz loved it.  We had lunch outdoors at a terrific little restaurant and he was served his very own scrambled egg in a to go box. The egg went - but into his belly.  He quite enjoyed all the smells of the city, and added a few of his own. But hilariously he was most excited when we walked by the French butcher shop - I nearly lost him when he lunged to try and go through the door.  It must be the poodle in him.

Anyway, a lovely way to spend a lovely day.  More adventures to come.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cultural Enrichment for Dogs

Since I've gone back to working in an office, my time with Bizzy has become more limited on the weekdays.  However, I've configured my work so we get an hour together before I leave each morning and I spend at least two hours in the evening just focused on him - we take walks, we play, we cuddle, all good things.

I am now coming up on a three day weekend, and I'm finding myself planning what kinds of activities Bizz and I will do.  Yes, I've become a mother.  I find myself thinking of my own Mom who's way of spending free time with me was primarily being in shopping mode.  Since she was an antique dealer we would often head out with a set of sites to visit - garage sales, other dealers shops, flea markets - and while she'd look at items and talk to the dealers I would do my own shopping. I collected books and all kinds of miniatures, as anyone who has seen my house can attest to since I still have most of them, and horse figurines.  Some sites were better than others, I remember a small antique market out in the country that was next to a horse farm. I'm not sure that my mom knew while she was shopping I was crossing a large field and climbing fences to get a closer look at the horses.  I don't think she focused on my cultural enrichment, but I did learn a lot about people and how to be a collector.

With Bizz my cultural enrichment program is primarily focused on finding him new places to explore.  We have currently got 5 regular walks we take - 3 paths in the neighborhood and 2 at the nearby park.  We walk in a couple of different places in Campbell and we take day trips to different towns.  But given I have a three day weekend at least one of the days we are going to take a longer field trip.  But to where I don't know yet.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dogs on Leash

On my way home tonight I nearly had a heart attack. A girl was walking her dog on the side of the road when suddenly he darted out right in  front of my car. He was not on his leash.  Seriously - you are walking your dog on a mildly busy road and you don't put your dog on a leash?  I did not hit - him thank god. It was dark and I could see she was there but she wasn't wearing anything light colored so I had really slowed down to make sure I didn't hit her.  Thank god I did.  Then she stood there screaming for the dog who wouldn't come.

Now I know that Bizz has escaped more than once out the front door and has run into the street. But we never leave the house these days without him being in his harness on leash. He is only let off in the yard or in a leash free park and even then I get him a good distance from the parking lot before he's allowed off leash.

So I promised to post each day and that's what is on my mind right now. I'll try to be more entertaining in the days to come.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tricorders for diabetics

I spent the day at FutureMed in San Diego.  Qualcomm got up to talk about the Qualcomm X Prize for a tricorder.  The tricorder was the device on Star Trek that Bones McCoy used to scan and diagnose a patient.  There are lots of them coming.  But diabetics, including myself, already carry a tricorder - our glucose meter.

What makes it a tricorder is that it takes a drop of your blood and tells you your blood glucose level.  
Blood glucose readings tell you more than a number - it informs what is happening - just like a tricorder.  How much insulin do I take, do I eat or take a walk?  Do I go to bed or march around the house for half an hour?  

So cool - I have a tricorder.  There are a lot of people here wearing Google Glass - is anyone else thinking Geordie LaForge from Next Generation?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Blankets for Shelter Dogs

There are two Sunday morning shows here in the Bay Area about raising and training dogs.  This morning one of the shows, Dog Tales,  moved me to tears. The show featured a group that is collecting blankets - new and old - for use in shelters.  If you've been to a shelter you'll see that many times the dogs are in concrete kennels.  The shelters just can't keep up with the demand so many dogs end up without a blanket or bed to lie on.  It's been shown that giving the dogs blankets will give them someplace to cuddle up and they become calmer. And a calmer dog is more likely to be adopted.  The show highlighted a group that works with assorted groups to get donated blankets and beds and deliver them to the shelters. 

So next time you are housecleaning and one of your blankets is a bit ratty - don't turn it into rags - wash it and give it to a shelter.  You will bring great comfort to a homeless, friendless little animal while he waits for his forever home.  I have a lot of extra yarn so I'm going to start turning it into blankets to donate to the shelter.  And I go to a lot of estate and yard sales - one group often sells used linens and blankets - I got Bizz 2 for $2.  From now on I'm going to pick up spare blankets for the shelter.

Bizz - Before and After

Played a trick on Isabelle and Kelvin yesterday. Got Bizz groomed and when I took him home I told them I had adopted a new dog.  They really believed it for a minute.  Here is Bizz before and after:

Bizz Before                                                                       Bizz After Groomer

His halter is actually about a size looser now. And look at the difference in his face - you can see his eyes and his ears are amazingly silky.  But still a cutie.

So much for daily blogging so far

ok, I admit it - I pledged to blog daily and immediately fell behind. I blame it on a new job, several clients, and a crazy dog who captures all my attention. So I am going to do 3 blogs today to catch up.  Here is the first - which is a set of photos of Bizz and his Halloween costume.   Bizz came into the office with me on Halloween - my first attempt at having Bizz in a workspace. He actually did very well. He hung in my office during the morning and played with my office mate and her boyfriend who was visiting. He got taken on several walks. And he came to lunch. That was the real test and performed like a pro - hung out all mellow and enjoyed his treats of turkey and cheese throughout.  He also came to a long meeting with me and did fine except when I took a break to use the bathroom. He stayed in the office but whined and scratched at the door the whole time.  Poor little man.

He did incredibly well Halloween night. Every time the doorbell rang I'd grab him and we'd answer the door together.  All the kids loved him and patted him.  One little boy who was obviously special was dressed as Iron Man. I told him that Bizz had never met Iron Man before. The little boy leaned in and told me that he wasn't really Iron Man and was concerned Bizz was confused. I told him to tell Bizz what he wanted to know and the boy knelt on my floor, put his arms around Bizz and told him he loved him.  I nearly cried. The mom did too.  So Bizz was a cutie patootie and won the hearts of everyone - what else is new.  More blogs to come.

Bizz as a devil dog

Check out those wings

His pumpkin costume was a little big but so cute
Here is Bizz in the office next to my desk with his beloved Pinkie.  He's wearing an orange halter to honor the day.