Friday, October 30, 2009

On How *Not* to Be a Diabetes Halloweenie.

Tomorrow is Halloween, and of course, I can't let this slip by without blogging. I'm sure the masses still think that Halloween (along with Easter) is a diabetic's biggest enemy. All that candy! All those sugary treats! What will our children do? Can they never enjoy Halloween again?

How often can I say it? I really love Halloween. This year I won't be dressing up as anything, and I have no parties to attend. My mom is coming to visit, and I'm actually quite excited about that. Matt and I are considering taking her on a haunted hayride, possibly a ghost tour in Philadelphia.

But really now, let's pause to look at Halloween for a moment, as people with diabetes. (Or people who help people with diabetes.) A simple Google search for "diabetic kids Halloween" or something similar turns up piles and piles of results, including a story that just appeared in USA Today. Oh, Halloween, if nothing else you seem to serve as a reminder to media outlets that kids are actually sick with Type 1 diabetes. The article is actually forward-thinking enough to have commentary from, which tells the world that sweets are not the no-no for kids with diabetes anymore. They are simply like any other indulgent food--something to be planned for ahead of time.

Someone from the Mayo Clinic then opens their big mouth in the article, saying how candy is forbidden for pediatric diabetes patients at Halloween. Parents should seek out alternatives. Hey, I like alternatives--I loved getting Halloween toys and pencils and apples as a kid on my neighborhood trick-or-treating excursions. But hey--fruit also has carbs. You know, like a fun-sized Snickers. Also, realistically speaking? I don't think any child should be eating all of their Halloween candy on Halloween. Not only is that unhealthy, resulting in tummyaches and wiley sugar-high behaviors, but I think it teaches our kids to be greedy. I think I'm digressing. I apologize.

When it comes to Halloween, you do not want your children doing what I did in my middle school years. After years of candy deprivation, I went crazy. Sure, I made a little money by "selling" my parents and grandparents the candy that they were interested in, but there were plenty of goodies that were unappetizing to them. I told everyone I was giving them to my friends at school. Instead, I kept the candy hidden under my bed, covertly eating it at night while doing my homework or noshing when I returned home from school to an empty house. Hell hath no fury like a tween five years deprived of real candy.

I've seen some parents who take all of their children's candy and save it for episodes of low blood sugar. In my opinion, that's kind of an awful idea. I don't think the practice of unintentionally teaching your kids that having lows = getting treats is a good one. It seems too easy for an older kid who checks their own blood sugar to wander into the kitchen, say, "I'm low!" and be a glutton over the candy dish. Call me old-fashioned, but I was raised to treat my lows with juice or glucose tabs, unless none were available.

I really like the stance that Children with Diabetes takes on helping your kids have a normal Halloween with diabetes. They advise their readers, "[The common misconception is that] kids with diabetes shouldn't enjoy the treats -- they should. The issue is integrating the treats into the child's meal plan so as to minimize the disruption in blood glucose control. With fast acting insulins like NovoLog and Humalog, more and more families simply integrate candy into their child's meal plan." So basically, find out what your kids' favorites are. Ask them what they consider to be bolus-worthy. The CWD article is really helpful, as it has carb-count information for a number of different varieties of candy. Yay!

Many of us have learned how to manage our diabetes from a young age. I am so with Kerri, that as people with diabetes, we all need to learn how to manage our guilt, too. So let's start young with learning that the occasional treat is not the straw that breaks the camel's back. Let's all teach our kids that treats are good once in a while, but must come along with insulin, and testing to make sure everything is okay. Sure, we're diabetics. But that doesn't mean we need to suffer and deprive ourselves at every single turn. We're also humans with cravings for sweets.

And cravings for brains.

Oh wait, that's zombies.

Happy Halloween to all. If you need me, I will be bolusing for these fabulous 15g of carbs I am about to ingest. Bless you, mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

40 Odd Things: A Time-Wasting Oddity

Unsure what to blog about, but feeling the urge to blog, I have resorted to that time-honored tradition: the meme. I definitely copied this off of Lee Ann, because it was unusual and fun. Feel free to post your own if you haven't already. I think we all get a kick out of learning each others' trivia.

1. Do you like bleu cheese? Yes, especially crumbled on a salad with a good vinagrette, occasionally melted on a burger or steak, and of course, bleu cheese dressing is the tops with any Buffalo chicken items.

2. Have you ever smoked? Nope, though I am occasionally jealous of smokers because they are often allowed to take more breaks during the workday.

3. Do you own a gun? Only if squirt guns and Nerf weapons count.

4. Favorite type of Food? Type? What I'm in the mood for changes from day to day. I like comfort food, ethnic food, fried food, grilled food food. It's too close to lunchtime for me to be thinking about so many kinds of food. I may end up eating a pencil.

5. Favorite type of music? I guess indie or alternative, though I don't really put much faith in actual genres of music anymore. I like too many kinds of music to pick one favorite type. How about "the good type"?

6. What do you think of hot dogs? I think they're pretty tasty once in a while. It's not like I eat them every day.

7. Favorite Christmas movie? I can't think of one offhand, but I'll tell you that WAY back in the day it was "Home Alone".

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? I like a really big cup of coffee, but recently I've been drinking diet sodas due to lack of a coffee machine at work.

9. Can you do push ups? If I can do any, I'm sure they're really terrible and sissy-looking.

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My engagement ring. It's still totally awesome and not too over-the-top.

11. Favorite hobby? Writing!

12. Do you have A. D. D.? Maybe mildly? I've never been diagnosed. I just think I need a lot of caffeine to function during the day. You know, like most people.

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? Glasses, since I was 5. If I take them off, I can see clearly to about six inches in front of my nose.

14. Middle name? Ellen.

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: I'm hungry, so I should probably get some lunch. My eye itches. I'll be glad when the construction is done at the office and all these extraneous noises go away.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink: Diet Soda, water, iced tea.

17. Current worry? What if things with my job don't improve and I get really unhappy with it?

18. Current hate right now? Hate is a really strong word, and I don't hate things or people strongly. But I do hate that we don't get our free coffee machines until our entire office suite is completed. Three more weeks...

19. Favorite place to be? Somewhere comfortable in the company of good friends and people that I love. (awwww.)

20. How did you bring in the new year? In Grandma and Grandpa McD's living room in Indiana with some drinks and TV.

21. Someplace you’d like to go? Back to Austin, TX for a bit. It's a cool town and all of the food was fantastic.

22. Name three people who will complete this. *points* You, you, aaaannnd you. That could be directed at anybody.

23. Do you own slippers? Yes I do, they're purple ballerina-type things.

24. What color shirt are you wearing? It's black with a pattern that is primarily royal blue, magenta and gray.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I've never tried it. They might be, uh, fun, for uh, certain things, but I'm not even sure I like wearing satin clothes, with the exception of undergarments.

26. Can you whistle? Indeed.

27. Where are you now? My desk.

28. Would you be a pirate? Do you mean as a career? Or just an outfit? Or a Ren Faire re-enactor? I would probably do the 2nd or even the 3rd.

29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Anything that strikes my fancy at the time, though nothing beats a good showertime showtune.

30. Favorite Girl’s Name? I like Nora, Grace, and Kate.

31. Favorite boy’s name? I like Ian, Seth, and Colin.

32. What is in your pocket right now? While I am wearing a skirt with pockets, they are currently empty.

33. Last thing that made you laugh? Something our IT guy said. But then again, everything makes me giggle, so it may not have even been that funny.

34. What vehicle do you drive? Presently, a Chevy HHR. It's my rental car while my actual car, a 2004 Mazda 6 wagon, is still at the body shop. The HHR as a whole isn't bad, but I miss my car.

35. Worst injury you’ve ever had? Probably my broken middle finger which my dear friend Cari "fixed" for me. Yeowch.

36. Do you love where you live? Yes and no. The town where I live is pretty convenient, has great stuff in it, and I can walk to almost anything I need from my house. However, I do wish we were situated just a teensy bit closer to Philadelphia itself. I would appreciate an easier way to get onto 76 from where we live.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house? 2, one we use, one that we haven't used in a while but still intend to hook back up.

38. How many computers do you have in your house? There are 2 which get used, Matt's desktop and my laptop. There may be a few others floating around in the basement, but they are old and may run Windows 98 or something like that.

39. If you changed your job, what would it be? I would love to write for a living. Or maybe even work at a library.

40. If you were granted three wishes, what would they be? (Assuming these all come free of those "be careful what you wish for" scenarios...) A cure for diabetes, a lifetime of loaded Apple computers, and a career that I will always love.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bad Habits, Stress, Looking for New Directions. The Usual.

You know what? Let's not even talk about my BG readings right now. I went to the wedding of one of my childhood best friends over the weekend, and it was such a wonderful event. I ate a lot of stuff and drank a lot of tasty, tasty sweet wine. I even purchased some bottles from the winery that supplied their reception. Sometimes you just have to live for the sake of living.

It's true, though, diabetes has been riding in my backseat for a while now. I know it's there. It's just so quiet most of the time that it's easy to ignore. As always, I could be doing more. I could be doing better. I am a diabetes blogger, not a diabetes role model.

Let's couple some mismanagement with stress, and I'm sure my numbers are pretty awful right now anyway. I know that I'm stressed out because I've started biting my nails again. Nailbiting has been a habit of mine since childhood, but at times like this in my life, let's just say the nail clippers are pretty much useless except for filing down the odd edges I can make with my teeth.

I still like my job. I'm relatively happy here. I work with nice people...I just feel frustrated lately. I'm not really sure where this job falls in terms of any career goals I might have. At this point, it's just starting to feel like another job--not exactly a track I want to follow for the rest of my life. Every day when I'm doing some repetitive task, or filing, or answering the phone, I would most love to be writing or creating things. I would love to find enough freelance writing work that I could work from home all the time. Honestly, if anybody knows of any good opportunities or good places to start freelancing, I would absolutely love to start writing now and build a portfolio. I am beginning to think that what I want to do when I grow up is to be able to work and write for myself. Words are the one thing in my life that I've always been the most passionate about.

Meanwhile, the economy still sucks so I'm not about to leave my current job for what could be nothing but disaster. As I said, I like my current job. It's just not everything I want it to be, and as time wears on, I feel less and less okay with that. I hope that when our office moves that everything will change. Maybe my responsibilities will finally align with my true talents and passions and desires.

So in the meantime, does anybody know of any writing projects that would appeal to a sassy blogging gal with a Bachelor's in Communications?

If you need me, I'll be chomping on my fingers in private. Thanks.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


So if you've been a good dork lately and have paid attention to all the latest video game hoo-ha out there in the world, you'll know there's a little title out for the Nintendo DS/DSi called Scribblenauts. Scribblenauts is a kid-friendly game with geek-friendly adult appeal. The basis of the game is that you solve puzzles by calling on things of your choosing. The game has a vast library of words and associated objects.

For example, if the puzzle requires you to get into a tree to collect the Starites you need to complete the level, you could type in "ladder", get a ladder, and climb up to your goal. Or you could type "ax" and chop the tree down. Or you could type "beaver" and get a beaver to come chew on the tree trunk, hence felling the tree and reaching your goal. Fun, right? It sure is.

I just purchased Scribblenauts for my own DS, and let me tell you...I've barely touched the real levels yet. Things are hectic and crazy at work right now, I don't have a lot of free time these days. So why the hell are you posting this, Hannah? You may ask me.

Because even before you play the game, the opening screen is a sandbox, meaning a fun screen to play around with that doesn't otherwise affect your own game play. It is here that you can find out the true measure of Scribblenauts' vast library of words. You can't use real people's names or anything obscene, but it's true that I have been able to summon all of the following:

Mad Scientist
The Krakken
Spaghetti Cat
Elf (so the Orc killed the Elf, but the Wizard killed the Orc)

If you want to see more of what kind of fun this can be, I suggest you go watch this YouTube clip from some video game expo somewhere.

So I decided just to entertain you, my dear diabetes-havin' readership, that I would see what Scribblenauts was capable of using diabetes terms. I successfully summoned the following, though don't even ask me how these could be remotely beneficial in a puzzle level:

Endocrinologist (just like typing in "doctor")
Insulin (no different from the syringe)
Glucose Monitor (which looks a lot like the last BD meter I had before they stopped making them)

Things that didn't work at all:

Glucose Tabs
Test Strip

Things that almost worked:

Juice Box (a big wooden box/crate...hope you're feeling really low)
Insulin Pump (I got a bicycle pump, that looked like it had long tubing and an infusion set connected to it, but it turns out the bike pump looks identical)

So I guess were we all to have type 1 in the Scribblenauts universe, we'd be okay. You'd be able to see an endo, test your blood sugar and give yourself shots. If your BG got too low, you could still eat a candy bar. Or maybe get crushed by a wooden crate o' juice. All that while you run around, clutching your useless, bright red pancreas. Don't worry. It'll come in handy someday. That Cthulu is always such a hungry little fella...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

No D-Day!

So my good buddy George has declared today to be No D-Day. Believe it or not, it's harder than you'd think to NOT blog about...well, you know. Probably because I've been a bit of an absentee blogger lately. Actually, for a long time now, I think. It's not exactly something I'm proud of, as I love writing and blogging. I love the connections I form with people by doing my bloggity blog blog blog. BLOG!

Sorry, I get carried away at the repeated appearance of the word blog. I think I've mentioned this in the past.

Perhaps I shall discuss a little more about why I haven't been blogging lately: I'm tired. I'm not tired of blogging, nor am I tired of blogging about that-which-will-not-be-named-today. I'm just exhausted sometimes. My work days are busy, chock full of activities and most recently have not allowed me a lot of downtime to hop online, Twitter, blog, chat, whatever. There are friends I probably haven't had a decent conversation with in over a month because our online schedules just don't sync up anymore.

By the time I get home at night, I have the energy to eat dinner, watch TV, maybe do some reading, play some video games. But not always. I've been going home and vegging out, physically and mentally sometimes.

In between that, I've also been busy with some new friends of mine, and of course, the old friends too. Even Matt has been busy with projects at work and twice-weekly band practices until they've played both of their shows this month.

But if I had to pick 3 adjectives to describe me these days, they almost seem counter-productive, because the adjectives would be: exhausted, stressed-out, and content. Overall, I'm really happy about a lot of things in my life. For all the tiredness and strain I have regarding my work and all of that *grumble grumble*-betes stuff, I still really like my job and the people I work with. I'm constantly trying to get better, do better, be better.

It's just not easy, and I can accept that. I can't believe it's October already. I also can't believe I've been married for 3 years already. Or that this blog is over 3 years old!

As the beloved Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." So I've been looking at life a lot, and neglecting the blog. I'm hoping that's going to change, because while I haven't been missing out on life, I've been missing all of you guys!

Full blogspeed ahead!

Blog blog bloggity blog blog bloggy blog bloggle blog blog...oh good gravy, somebody stop blog blogggggggg...