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Monday, December 31, 2012

Reso-Dia-lutions!

So today is the eve of a new year and like alot of my fellow diabetics out there we get kind of nervous about this whole stupid "resolution" idea at this time.  Do we go all out and make some over the top, hardcore resolutions or do we just go with the easy ones like: make sure I can fog a mirror by the end of the year.  The diabetes factor is always do better with the betes but we all know if you go for some amazing diabetes resolution you have to live with it for the rest of your life because diabetes never goes away.  So if you have some sort of goal of an A1C to be like perfect the entire year, then well what about next year?  Tough stuff I know so my goals are pretty normal for me this year as all years and that is first to look good in a speedo, be able to do like 20 military style pull-ups, and run a half marathon.  OK, so eat better and work smarter is on my list but aren't those on every ones list. 

Now about 13 years ago these goals were not goals of mine but my normal everyday life I lived, then I got behind the "8 ball" and have been looking downhill ever since.  So getting back into a diabetes support group www.insulindependence.org is my biggest way to get back into things.  Support groups and friends in general are awesome to motivate you and get you to push yourself.  My friend Don is doing his second marathon tomorrow and he has motivated me by running with me with no pressure and that has got me thinking about spending some money and doing an actual organized event of the half marathon caliber.  Then we have our cycling group which has motivated me to want to be ready for riding by spring time and doing more long distance rallies.  See how groups work?  The make you forget about your goals and instead motivate you to compete with the group and to not be the weak link in the chain but to work your way to the top of the diabetes food group, with positive reinforcement.  I think those diabetics out there with amazing control and rock hard abs that show no signs of insulin pump holes in their bellies are the ones that use this method of self motivation and strict goal focus by not concentrating on what you want but to do it by mentoring, participating, and sharing with others and the end result is to be an awesome diabetic (every diabetic is awesome no matter what) through positive distractions that make you take quality care of yourself without even thinking about it.  I think that is my new phrase this year, "positive distractions" they are the ones that get you to eat right, do right, without the nagging, worrying, or fear by distracting you of diabetes and showing you life.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Stranded on the Highway!

 I have never been the the brightest light bulb around, also I am as sharp as a box of wet hair.  Christmas day I was to drive back from Moore, OK where I was visiting my family to my home in Dallas, TX.  There was a winter blast that came through the area and I was not going to miss work due to a snow storm.  While driving home through the Arbuckle mountains (they really are more like hills), I got kind of lazy on the snow and ice and started to travel in the 40mph zone which I found out was too fast for certain places.  I was hit by a wind gust and my truck started to spin and I did what I could do to save it but wound up on the wrong side of a ditch along the highway.  Usually I have pictures of my misfortunes but somehow I also lost my phone during this learning experience so I just stole a couple of pictures off the inter-web that portray how the scene looked.  The picture above is kind of like the way I was, turned the wrong direction on the backside of a hill going into a creek, just not hitting anything.  The fence line, trees, grass, and snow is about right for the scene.
The first thing I did was call my brother and let him know exactly where I was and how I was doing.  Then I called Allstate roadside assistance to send a wrecker to my location because the ditch was pretty darn deep even if I did get my truck to move.  Roadside assistance is really awesome for anyone to get, the cost is like 130 a year and you get basically a concierge person to do all the work for you once things are wrong and all you have to do is think about what kind of idiot you are.  Once roadside assistance let me know of who was coming and when I took a look around my truck to assess the damage and to my surprise there were no dents, dings, or flat tires.  So I got in the truck and started her up and realized my street tires were not going to move unless I get some assistance.  You all know how I am prepared for the zombie attack in my truck so there is always a full size axe, hatchet, and loppers in my truck with all sorts of snacks, and survival gear.  So I decided to cut down the trees along the highway and put the branches under the back tires for traction and after 30 minutes of chopping and making a limb road I was un-stuck and just needed to find a place to cross over the ditch and onto the highway.  I drove about a half mile and found the best spot to cross and with a running start I was back on the road with only my diabetes and two hands to assist me.

I was thinking about everything that happened during Christmas and thought of how my old scoutmaster told the boys once about how a storm blew through while he was driving once and that all traffic had to stop and everyone just waited in their cars for the storm to blow over for several hours except one guy who got out of his truck and went down to the shoulder of the highway and started a fire and built a shelter and just camped out until it was clear to drive again.  My scoutmaster later let me know he made up the story and that this was more of a "what would I do in this situation" and from that story to my Christmas adventure I took the same approach and if I could not have got my truck to move was planning on starting a fire with the trees I cut down because I always keep tender and matches in the truck along with food, clothes, water, coats, and a chair.  The whole time I was never mad or upset about anything and just kept cool and came up with a game plan.  Being prepared and staying calm during times like this are the best ways to survive and I was glad that first my truck was not damaged, second I was prepared for a situation like this, third how I was calm and collected and willing to accept the fact I might have to be here for a while so making camp would be a good way to relax and enjoy the side of a highway.  Once I was on the road I did suddenly realize my phone was not on me and it probably was left behind and that was when a bit of panic hit me because there was no way in diabetes hell I was going back to get it.  I consider the cell phone a price to pay for being dumb.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Survival Pod

Well Merry day after Christmas everyone and I hope everyone is doing good.  I had a great time with family and friends in Oklahoma.  My sister and her husband got me this crazy awesome thing for Christmas called the "x-stream survival pod" which looks kind of like a monkeys fist mixed with a bit of a payode weave.  Then when I looked at it closer I finally understood it is a survival cocoon of 15 items that is wrapped in 550 paracord.

Here is what is inside:

"Tackle" your survival situation!
A fisherman's favorite key fob. This Survival Pod includes 16 survival tools!
  • 1 - 4cm D Shaped Carabiner
  • 1 - 1" Sharp Eye knife and sheath
  • 1 - 1" Fire Stick Flint
  • 1 - 6" Jute Firestarter/Tinder
  • 1 - 6" Strip of Duct Tape
  • 1 - 15ft of 550 Parachute Cord
  • 1 - 1 1/4" sewing needle
  • 1 - Daredevil Lure
  • 1 - #6 Live Bait Hook
  • 1 - #8 Live Bait Hook
  • 2 - Split Shot, tin, removable fishing weights
  • 1 - 15ft of mono-filiment fishing line
  • 1 - 1 gram of reusable hot glue
  • 1 - 12" steel green snare wire
  • 1 - 1 1/2" hacksaw blade
  • All Wrapped into a Compact Take Anywhere Zipper Pull
  • Available in Black or Orange

  • Now the only thing is I have to take their word on all this stuff that is listed as inside the pod because once you unravel the paracord you will never get it back the way it came.  I am going to do some research on the YouTube to see if someone does this crazy knot and maybe I can replicate it myself.  This was a neat unexpected Christmas gift.

    Here is the website:  www.bisondesigns.com

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    Have you ever walked around a pharmacy?

     The other day I heard on the radio they sell these home bake kit things at CVS, where you can make Twinkies at home.  They said on the radio the price was 14.95 so I was not figuring that this was going to be something left on the counter to be used all the time.  I was just interested in the novelty of it and maybe using it as a Christmas gag gift for my brother or something.  Well being a moron that I am went to Walgreen's instead but figured they pretty much sell the same crap at both stores and in the parking lot was this sweet Maserati.  I just love the hind view of a Maserati.  So onward I went with my mission.
    Pharmacies have changed alot since I was a wee squirt when they just had colostomy bags, walkers, and toilet seat donuts for your hemorrhoids or something.  As I was figuring out that Walgreen's did not sell the homemade twinkie maker thing I headed over to the "as seen on TV" section of the store and saw they had these tooth brushes.  My first thought was this was a Halloween leftover but then realized it was just packaged this way.  The Lady GaGa singing toothbrush and yes to answer your questions of did I press the button to hear it sing, I did and actually it sounded quite good for a toothbrush singing Lady GaGa.  So I was hooked on getting one of these singing toothbrushes as a different gag gift but then looked at the price tag and it cost 9.99.  That was just a ridiculous price to pay for one tooth brush and two Lady GaGa songs.  Can't you get the songs on the inter-web for like .99 and a toothbrush runs just a couple of bucks so I had to pass.  I did notice the Justin Bieber empty box of singing toothbrushes next to the Lady GaGa ones and realized that young girls are more willing to listen to music while they brush their teeth than young boys, or just that Justin Bieber sells better than some weird lady in a T-Bone steak dress.

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Outdoor Challenge

     A couple of weekends ago we had our "orienteering challenge" that my friend Ralph put together.  He has been working on this for at least a year now and I joined him something like 8 months ago when I accepted his invitation to be the head scoring judge since I have participated in similar "free for all" orienteering events.  Now for the 99.99% of you out there that do not know what orienteering is, understand it is a game played with a map and compass.  Not the compass you used to draw circles in class or stab people in the hands with but a liquid filled device with a needle in it that points to magnetic north.  I refer to these events as running for smart people, or walking with a purpose.  So what happens is everyone gets a map and each team gets a punch sheet 30 minutes before the start.  This gives everyone an opportunity to strategize before the start.  The the buzzer goes off and each team is on their own for 3 and a half hours when the time stops and each team has to come in to the finish line before the end buzzer with as many points as they can get or if they are late there is a penalty given for each minute late.
    What made this event different than the other ones I had been to is that Ralph had some people from our local orienteering club come out and show everyone the gear for the serious orienteering nerd.  They wear gators on their legs, polyester knickers, breathable long sleeve shirts and in their hand they carry these odd compasses.  Now I love me some map and compass but have never really been around these super gurus and when this guy pulled out his compass and showed me the difference between the one I use and his, it was like night and day of a difference.  I have seen expensive compasses on the inter-web going up to 300 bucks and the gentleman told me the one he had cost 85 dollars.  Now that is alot of dough for a needle that tells you where north is until you see this thing in action.  The red north on the needle never moves no matter how fast he moved the compass.  It looked as if the compass was just a piece of plastic and the needle was on the table.  The thing simply never moved and I pulled out mine and there was a solid three to five second lag when I moved mine.  The one he had is in the picture above, a Silva 6 Jet Spectra with a thumb thingy and a cushion as well.  I have always thought a compass is a compass weather it is five bucks for fifty bucks until now, now I know what a real compass is and trust me, it is on my list of must have items for the next year (I just have to scour the inter-web to find the lowest price).  In the end if there is one skill I would say is one of the best skills to have when being an outdoors-person that is to know how a topographical map and compass work.  This may seem like me being old man, old school but I have seen where cell phones don't work, and navigation devices go on the fritz, and a map and compass never need batteries, nor do they break (yes you can tear the map into pieces and a bear can eat it, and a compass can break but the needle always points to north).

    Monday, December 17, 2012

    What is my Deal?

     I seriously have a problem with flashlights.  Black Friday I showed you my new 525 lumins handheld "d" battery flashlight that I purchased at Home Depot.  While I was at Home Depot I saw a headlamp with 145 lumins and a red light.  Headlamps drive me crazy so why am I buying another one?  I have one already that is bright enough so I guess this one was needed because it had the cool Mohawk strap down the top and also the batteries were in the back.  My other headlamp doesn't have that and it isn't 145 lumins.  Then I still find myself looking on the inter-web at 800 and 900 lumin lights.  This is getting to be a problem.
    There are a few times in my day or I guess night to be more accurate when I do enjoy the convenience of a headlamp.  Setting up my tent and putting together my cot, those are the only times a headlamp is useful to me.  OK, let me correct that, I do like to use a headlamp when working on a vehicle even during the daylight hours.  My work had our Christmas party last Friday and we do one of those white elephant exchanges where you bring a gift that is something in the neighborhood of 25 bucks and put it in the pile and we draw numbers to set the order and we put a two steals per gift.  One of the gifts someone opened up was a headlamp and I was seriously looking into getting it, even after I just bought the headlamp in the pictures above.  The headlamp was almost identical to mine except it didn't have the red light and it was a 172 lumins light.  In the end I walked away with a much better gift and went back to my desk to look at 800 lumin flashlights.  I think in the end all campers have some sort of issue like this.  Some of my friends have like seven tents and some have four backpacks, while others collect sleeping bags or stoves.  Camping gear is just something that brings that one weird need out of us to collect multiple items of the same nature.  Diabetes is alot like that, I have seen people who keep all the meters they have ever had in their lifetime and are obsessed about what features the next version will have.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    Thats the pitts.

     I know you are all saying it in your heads "where is the diabetic camper?"  Sorry everyone I had a bad case of watery farting diarrhea come Sunday though Monday night and just now feel 80%.  It is just amazing how that stuff just comes out of nowhere.  One minute I was getting ready to go out on a 10 mile run and the next minute I am comptemplating going to the hospital for how my stomach felt.

    Back to the grind and giving you all that daily ramblings of the diabetic camper.  Last week at work someone had out a tin of mixed nuts on a table for anyone to take as you please.  Not sure if this was something our building management left or what but I cracked it open and noticed it was filled with lots of high quality diabetes friendly (no obvious holiday high snacks) nuts and stuff.  I guess this was more of a nutty trail mix because it also had random dried fruits.  What makes a good nut mix or high protein trail mix to me is the ability to grab any or most handfuls and it tastes great either by the piece or the whole handful.  Then I check out the amount of pecans and this one was loaded.  Not sure why pecans are so expensive to add to trail mix but that is usually the tale, tale sign of the quality of your mix.
    Driving home I started snacking on this in the truck and was amazingly surprised how awesome it was, fresh, fun, and some other "f" words I can't think of right now but then it hit me.  I suddenly received an unexpected bitter bite of something.  It took me some digging around and figured out it was these weird cherries that are now being added to nuts and trail mixes.  Cherries are good in small pieces or in a mix that is supposed to have a cherry twang to it but I can never get over these things when I come across them.  They just don't agree with the rest of the mix, I can see coconut shreds agreeing, raisins agreeing, those craisin things agreeing, but not the huge tart cherries.  In the end all this proves is that I am just a mixed nut/trail mix snob but, at least I know this and knowing helps me pick mixes without them.  My favorite is probably that moose munch stuff by Harry and David, but what isn't awesome from that place.  They even have a moose munch coffee that is to die for as well.

    Friday, December 7, 2012

    Cool Ride

    I see this truck sometimes on my way to work, sometimes near my house, and all over town.  This to me is what makes one cool truck, it has the look and feel of an old work truck but with alot of mods that make it modern and updated.  I argue with my son all the time about the right stance for a truck, he thinks they should always be high and in the sky, and I tell him that the right drop is where they should be.  His reasoning is how you can go anywhere and look tough, and my reasoning is you can control the truck better at the right stance and still be able to go anywhere.  All of this is just us sharing our personal opinion about what we as individuals like.  Opinions and preferences have almost never been considered in the world of diabetes until a short time ago.  We used to only have a few types of insulin to take, a few choices for testing our BG's and of course we had zero options for what we ate.  I remember my first diet I was put on and it was like eat the exact same thing everyday at the same time everyday.  I lasted on that diet for like two months and said to hell with this and tried my best.  Then the carb counting diet came into my life with the fancy new "fast-acting" insulin's and all of a sudden every wall was torn down (just if we could get this through non-diabetics heads we can eat anything as long as we count the carbs).  Then we had multiple companies with all sorts of products to shoot insulin, pump insulin and to test BG's.  Diabetes today seems like this time old argument I have with my son, we both agree that trucks are the best, we just disagree on how we like our trucks.  This is alot like today's modern diabetic, we all have the same disease but have personal ways we prefer to caring for it.  Now don't get me wrong and think I am saying there is one diabetic that is better than another, that is furthest from the truth because I feel as long as you can fog a mirror you are doing a great job with your diabetes.  I am just saying we have all sorts of cool ways to control our diabetes.

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Black Friday

     So the happiest day of the year for me is black Friday.  I am not one to go out and buy hundreds of DVDs just because they are .88 cents or some fancy new TV because it is 88 dollars.  First, I just love the excitement of so many deals all at once.  OK, yes I am a cheap skate and black Friday was made for people like me.  Now this is not when I go out and get others gifts, this is when I go out and either stock up on household items or get gifts for me.  I usually don't go above the hundred dollar mark for the day and wind up passed out on a couch around noon.
     This year I did not have any real needs that matched what was on sale, lots of tablets and blue-rays but there are always random places with solid camping items, household goods, and of course cheap gifts for me.  I am getting pretty darn good at staggering my stores and open times and this year I started at Home Depot because they had some nice looking flashlights on sale.  The one you see in the pictures is a 3 c cell light that has a claimed 525 lumen's for the low price of 19.99.  Did I need to be at Home Depot to get this deal at 5am, of course not and I was the only one that bought the deal at that time.  I probably could have shown up around noon and still got one, I just love the feeling of black Friday at 4:45am in the morning watching all the other people getting those Christmas trees for 49.99 bucks.
    When I was purchasing the light I did have a quandary to solve, because I love CREE bulbs and this light did not have one.  So was I to get one just to try out and expect it to be broke in a year or so, or should I get one for the rest of the family and find out these are crap and have wasted my money.  I went with the one and will see how it goes.  In the end black Friday is a great day to dream of sales, pick up random items, but when you are out there it feels so great knowing you got a sale that only comes once a year.  Now I want a flashlight with 1,000 lumens, maybe next year there will be one on sale!

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Wrong Way!

     Over the weekend I had plans to go camping with my son and maybe help him clean a deer he would shoot.  When I got home Friday night he let me know that he was under the weather and did not feel like going.  So I then panicked and did almost nothing the entire weekend.  Sometimes a weekend off from doing things is good but for me, staying busy keeps me sane.  Saturday I decided to go for a run and in Dallas we had some awesome like 20 mph winds with 80 degree temperature and I wanted to try out this three mile stretch of trail near my house to see how it was and came across the "wrong way" sign you see above.  I thought for a moment how appropriate this was because I was going into the wind at this point and how it seems like this is the life of a diabetic.  No matter how good you do or try, it always leads you down a great road that everyone else tells you is wrong.  You work out alot so to keep the BG's up you have to eat (fuel the fire), then everyone yells at you for your diet, or get a simple cut or bruise from being active and everyone tells you that you need to take it careful.  The freakin life of diabetes.
    So to keep on this theme of "Wrong Way" today when I got to work (OK, after I stopped at McD's for 2 sausage biscuits) my nose was feelin a little bit runny and the sausage biscuits were to make me feel better.  The I felt the two drops of what I thought was snot leaving my nose and hitting my shirt.  Then when I looked down I got the great surprise of it being a nose bleed instead of just snot.  So for the rest of the day I went around my office with good old bloody snot shirt  (the good thing is I bolused and had my basil rate perfect for the biscuits).  A co-worker told me about the hydrogen peroxide thing to get it off but from the picture above you can tell it still looked like blood and snot from my nose.  Then another co-worker thought this had to be some sort of bio hazard issue.  If they only knew the freakin bloody mess my diabetes bag was.  In the end the moral of the story or the blog post is to always be willing to accept change or to push through something embarrassing.  I made a game of the day by seeing how many people would say something about my shirt.  Trust me it was less people than those that would let me know my fly was down.