Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We head out of town tomorrow to go visit my side of the family. We'll spend almost a week with my parents - the longest we have been there in a looong time. I sincerely hope it goes well and that no one wants to kill anyone else by the time next Wednesday (ahem, 4 AM next Wednesday) rolls around.

I'm feeling grumpy today about my diabetes. I normally just suck it up and deal, even if in my head I'm rolling my eyes and thinking "seriously, why me?" It's now second nature to me to calculate the carbs in whatever, even though I know that no matter what I do - no matter how carefully I track what I eat - I *still* cannot predict what my fasting sugars will be. I can eat the same exact thing two nights in a row and my sugars will be 20 points apart in the morning.

Anyway. Those frustrations aside, I do usually suck it up. But recently I've been more annoyed by it than before.

Issue #1 - my mother in law. *sigh* I think I've written here that she was diagnosed with diabetes last winter. Not terribly surprising - she is not a small woman, and quite frankly, their diet sucked. She used to put sugar (~1/4 cup) on the salad. Yes, the salad. I could never figure out why having a 1/2 plate of salad with dinner would result in really high fasting sugars the next day. Ahem. Apparently, sugar on your salad does NOT lead to a low fasting sugar. Go figure! Anyway, since she was diagnosed she has taken an extreme approach to her diet. At first - thanks to her idiot of a primary physician - she ate only fruits and vegetables. No protein. No complex carbs. After I and her other DIL found this out, and got her to ask for a referral to a diabetes nurse educator, she did add protein and some carbs back in. But she *still* takes a holier-than-thou approach to eating...and it drives. me. nuts. This year's comment, when my husband said that I'd been baking and asked what she was doing? "I don't think a diabetic should bake." To which I want to reply, bite me!

Issue #2 - One of my tests of kidney function fluctuates wildly. Apparently it is affected by vigorous exercise. So, here you have my least favorite DM-related catch-22: vigorous exercise helps keep my body weight down and my fasting sugars lower, to say nothing of the mental health benefits. However, vigorous exercise ALSO raises this test value into the not-good range. I work out vigorously for at least an hour 6 days a week. Including all week days. So any day that I am going to get my blood drawn, it's likely that this result will be high. Anyway. Two recent values were high, which means I have bought myself a 24 hour urine collection. :P I know it's nothing major - really, it's not the end of the world, not nearly - but it's just annoying.

Issue #3 - We're going to visit my parents. My mother also has dm, as does my brother. (Yay, bad genetics.) My *father* (note: the one nuclear family member without dm) feels the need to weigh in our dietary and lifestyle choices. He does this with my mother, especially, which drives me NUTS on her behalf.

So I'm going to have to work on biting my tongue and sucking it up.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bits and pieces

Wow, my 100th post. Weird. I know I'm trying to post more but it still doesn't seem as though I've written THAT much here.

Random thoughts at the end of a semester that was more brain-draining than I realized...
  • Huh. I really like teaching. I don't know if I am GOOD at it yet, but I enjoy the interactions with the students, figuring out how best to present the information, figuring out whether they've learned anything, etc. This is reassuring to me - I worried that I would actually hate the teaching part of my job, since it was the area in which I had the least experience. (Which would be, ahem, NO experience.)
  • I am on a baking binge. I am hoping to try a soft sugar cookie this afternoon to make up for the fact that my last experiment went horribly awry. I look at the pictures of the cookies and just laugh and laugh and laugh. Because mine look NOTHING like the picture. Usually I'm in the ballpark. Not. Even. Close.
  • My mother in law - again - is driving me batty. She has this holier-than-thou attitude with the diabetes that makes me insane. So, last time we were up there, it was about her fasting sugars. Which, admittedly, are good (in the 80s). Then, of course, she asked ME about mine. I can't lie - never have been able to - so I said that mine fluctuated between 100-120. This is actually good for a diabetic - and my post-meal spikes aren't that high, so I wind up having a really decent A1C. HOWEVER - she clearly interpreted this as a win for her.
  • Anyway - sorry this is now 2 bullets - my husband commented that I had been baking and making Christmas cookies. Her response? "Oh, I don't think *diabetics* should be baking cookies." And then my head exploded. The thing is, I don't know if this is conscious on her part or not. And I have no idea why she would do it consciously. At the same time, these types of responses and comments are part of a larger pattern of behavior - one in which she always - ALWAYS - comes out ahead, smelling like roses. I have a very hard time ignoring that.
  • I'm still going to make the damn cookies.
  • I spent an hour on the phone this morning with a financial representative, working on moving some old retirement accounts. Then I spent another hour on the phone with an old friend and mentor. I also spent an hour on the phone last night with my childhood best friend. And I have to go to the holiday get-together for my husband's department tonight. This is waaaay too much interaction with other people. My introverted head might explode again, thanks to all of the talking and questions and answers and...agh! My goal for tomorrow is not to talk to anyone. This might be difficult, though, seeing as I have a meeting at 11:30, and I need to finish some shopping.
  • Winter break is already going too fast. We're 3 days in to week 1 and I feel like I have accomplished nothing. Well, some non-diabetic baking, and clearly a little bit of blog-writing, but nothing else. *sigh*
  • I had my first massage yesterday. It was actually very enjoyable. No talking- well, minimal talking - and no exposure, but I clearly carry my tension in my back and shoulders. Ow. I'm still a little sore today, but it's a good sore.
OK, back to work. Or maybe baking.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Ha, I almost typed "Whirlwine", which sounds like a lot more fun than a whirlwind. Which is what I've been caught up in the last week and a half. End of classes, start of holiday parties, grading grading grading, all-day meetings before our grades are handed in (seriously, what?), oh, and right! the holidays. Excuse me while I go curl up under a blanket somewhere.

While I've been stretched to the limit, and seemingly losing brain cells by the minute, I've also been hit - again - by our childless state. It's getting easier - I think - every year. But still - every time I open cards from family and friends, there is a picture of the kid or kids. Or the grown-up kids. Or the grandkids. There is some reminder that (nearly) everyone we know, who wants to have kids, has kids. Which leads to our current discussion (ahem) regarding cards. N wants to do a photo card or letter. I would rather do a postcard or simple card. His take is that we have a lot to talk about- vacations! jobs! dog! - and my take is that nothing's changed (for once), other than the fact that we took a vacation! [Side note: we have been together almost 8 years - and this is the FIRST year that neither of us has moved or changed jobs. Sometimes all 3 in one year. I think this is a worthy accomplishment on our parts, but I think it can be summed up with one sentence on the cards: For the first time in 8 years, we are living in the same house, with the same jobs, as when we wrote you last year. We will attempt to re-create this feat for next year's card, as well. Happy Holidays.]

Anyway. I don't think anyone really wants to read about the double-income-no-kids weirdos who live in the Midwest with their dog that they talk entirely too much about and their big house that is way too big for two people and ... yeah. Huh. Maybe I worry too much about what people think. Although I think I've known that for a long time.

I've also had the fun - um, well, maybe not 'fun', exactly - of being called out as style-less TWICE in the last week. At holiday parties. With my colleagues. Um, yay? At the first get-together, I complimented a colleague on her knee-high boots, then commented that I don't think I could pull them off because they would require wearing either skinny pants (I don't -do- skinny pants) or skirts (I don't do skirts in -winter-, particularly 'round these parts). Her reply: "Oh, yes, you could! You know, you would be the perfect candidate for What Not to Wear!" Me: jaw drops. Other people: nervous laughter, not sure how to respond.

Second instance - with the same person at yesterday's event: She apologizes, I accept (even though, admittedly, it did sting). We're standing in line, and one of our bosses is ahead of us, with two other people from our department. We're not paying attention to her conversation, until she turns partway around and says "I'm surrounded by the three most stylish people I know!" Then she looks at me and says "Not you, no offense." Me: tries not to let jaw drop and/ or tears come.

Here's the thing: I have NEVER been a stylish person. I know this. I can't decorate houses, and I certainly can't decorate myself. I count myself lucky if my clothes kinda sorta fit, and if I'm wearing earrings. Oh, and if I have pants on when I leave the house. That's a good day. I am just not good at putting "looks" together, whether for me or for a living room. And here I thought that my brain - and the fact that I work in academia - would speak louder than my clothing choices. I guess not.

So, yay for the holidays. Right now I admit I'm feeling rather grinchy - not at all able to keep the holiday spirit from a few weeks ago going. I feel beaten down by work, sleep-deprived, and grouchy. I keep saying to myself, if I can only get through x, I'll be better off. All week my goal has been getting through tomorrow...a day-long meeting, oh joy. But I still have grading to do - and grades are DUE by Tuesday. Which means my weekend won't be as cookie-filled as I had hoped.

I guess the only thing is to move onward and upward, though. There's really no other choice - and the nuttiness has to end sometime, doesn't it?

Monday, December 5, 2011


We're not doing so well, maintaining the momentum from last weekend for the holiday season. Unless you count listening to Christmas music while eating breakfast on the weekend. We do well with that (no effort! lots of reward!). We are still dithering about a tree, and lights, and etc. I think I'm going to look for a table top tree or two - that way, we could have a "real" tree, and we wouldn't need to worry about putting up a big one. Especially when it's just the two of us - and we'll be gone for Christmas weekend - and then we head out of town over New Year's as well. So, stay tuned. There might be some Christmas cheer around here yet.

I was thinking the other day about what an insufferable prude I was in high school. Not sure what brought this on - maybe Facebook? - but, my goodness. I like to think I am a fairly tolerant person, in my actions if not always my thoughts. I was definitely NOT that way in high school. And I was rather smug and self-righteous, too. Part of that may have been due to the fact that I had never really failed at anything - the brief "cheating scandal" was I caught up in in 7th grade life sciences was quickly debunked (I hadn't cheated, although one member of our group had, and that meant that all of us were under suspicion for a few days...); I nearly always made the honor roll, if not the distinguished honor roll; I was a teacher's pet (and had the sucking up skills to prove it); and I was involved in as many activities as I could handle. I don't think I wasn't a nice person back then, but I hadn't had to face failure - I hadn't had the opportunity to see people in really dire straits dealing with the crappy hands they'd been dealt by life - I hadn't been exposed to the nasty, random things that happen in life.

I'm not saying my life since high school hasn't been good - it got me where I am today, and that is (in my opinion) a pretty good place. And I'm not saying that I experienced terrible failures. Anything I've had to deal with in my life has been fairly benign, compared to what many people go through. But my academic success in high school did not translate to similar success in college. I encountered professors who made me step up my game and achieve what THEY wanted me to achieve. I chose the wrong graduate program the first time around. I couldn't get a job after I graduated, for 6 long months (and then it was a temp job). I switched graduate programs, then was told at the end of my first semester that I seemed apathetic. Nothing life- or earth-shattering, but for someone who had done pretty darn well from K-12, and who thought life would continue that way, it was a bit disconcerting.

Even after I righted myself academically - now on my third swing through graduate school, I think I've done okay in that regard - it wasn't always sunshine, rainbows, and bunnies. I was rejected by several places where I wanted to work post-first-grad school. I ran into people who simply didn't like me - usually in the workplace - and there was nothing I could do about it. I was remarkably bad at having an adult social life - dating, having friends, enjoying being young. I held on to bad relationships from college way too long. Little things - that didn't all come at once. But looking back, I see that the expectations I had for myself when I graduated high school were hilariously lofty. I didn't hit many of the goals I set for myself. And yet I'm so happy with where life has taken me.

I haven't had to overcome addiction, or tragedy. I was born in a place and time that gave me more options than women have had at any time in history. I have a wonderfully supportive family. My stumbles have been just that - stumbles. I haven't fallen all the way to the bottom and pulled myself back up - yet.

But I think I have learned from my missteps along the way. When you see the worst that can happen to people and families...when you see what others have overcome, and you are ever more grateful for what you have...when you see just how easily a life can be derailed, through no fault of the person whose life has gone off track...when you see just how random and capricious and vicious the world can be... I think you come to realize that things can change in any moment. At any time, this could all be taken from me. Nothing is guaranteed. I like to think this has made me more compassionate, more aware of the world around me, more sensitive to the possibility that someone has had a much worse day-week-month-year-decade than I can ever imagine.

Of course, this doesn't mean that I'm not judgey - we've covered that. It doesn't mean that I don't have nasty thoughts when the person behind me on the bus snorts for the millionth time in 10 minutes (for the love of god, people, TISSUES). It doesn't mean that I am anywhere close to a good person (well, maybe some of the time I am a good person). But I like to think that this awareness, that has evolved over the past 18 years, is making me a better person today than I was when I was a naive, self-absorbed high schooler. At least, I hope it is.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Our weather today is about as disgusting as December gets around here - rain, instead of snow, and a high of 38 or 39. Bleah. It is so gross that I ran at the gym - again - instead of outside. This might be the last weekend when the temps are warm enough for an outdoor run, but I just couldn't fathom the thought of running in the pouring, wind-driven rain.

I almost titled this post "Crunch Time", forgetting that I had used that title before. Whoops! Clearly, end-of-semester tasks and requirements are on my mind. This weekend will be spent in a haze of house cleaning (as per usual), grading, and studying. I'm looking forward to next semester, when I don't have to teach classes as well as take them.

Illness seems to have hit a bunch of people, too. I overheard the woman in the office next door leaving early the other day to retrieve a kid who was throwing up at school. I promptly sanitized my hands and shut my door. Then, someone I work closely with was out all week with presumed mono. I was fortunate - never had it in high school or college, and hope never to experience it. She was completely exhausted and feeling crappy all week - not fun. And then my husband turned his run of the mill cold (the usual congestion, sore throat, + snoring like a chainsaw) into a perfed eardrum the other night. What fun to be woken up at 2 am (I get up an hour and 45 minutes later, just for the record) to my husband telling me that blood is leaking out of his ear. Eeks! He starts antibiotics today, and I hope that the other ear calms down. Poor guy. Thank goodness we don't have to fly for a few weeks.

Maybe I'll just close myself in my office with a bunch of Purell and face masks. Because, so help me, if I get sick in the next two weeks, it's going to be ugly. Two finals, two holiday gatherings for work, grading 3 assignments for the course I am teaching, and ... oh, right, doing all the OTHER things that I typically do. I guess it's time to get started.