Thursday, June 30, 2011


I like to keep items in the house to help out with low BG's.  I of course keep a pack of Reli On fast acting glucose tablets in my briefcase, car, desk, house, bedside, and anywhere else I can.  Oh I almost forgot I keep them in my backpack, my diabetes bag, and my pocket whenever I am out and about.  The only thing is that when my blood sugars are low they are the one time I get to eat some sugar.  Why is it that for diabetics the choice seems to be OJ or glucose tablets.  I have added to my fridge a gallon of this citrus punch that I get at Aldi.  It costs me about $1.72 for a gallon and I absolutely love this stuff.  If you are wondering what it is well basically just a generic of Tampico.  The issue I get from Tampico is the cost is around 3 bucks and if I can get the same thing for half that makes my diabetic wallet happy.
What makes this stuff so good is that it is thick so it gives you a little substance rather than the tablets that are powdery and make your mouth dry when you are chewing them up as fast as you can when low.  It also hits my system faster and gives me that little bit of confidence I am looking for when low.  I can eat half the fridge if my BG's come down fast and I have that still going lower feeling.  The 32 grams of carbs in 8 oz's is great.  I also use this out on the trail when doing family style camping because this stuff does not need refrigeration and is a great spike before activity.  Weather it is running, camping or doing chores I give this stuff 5 syringes out of 5 for the quality, cost, and convenience of this great gooey drink. 

The other thing I keep on me most of the time during the week and is a must for all camping is several packages of Haribo Happy Cola.  These guys are good in any weather till up to around 95 degrees or so.  Even then they just melt into a gummy cola blog which is good as well.  If I can't get the happy cola a close second is gummy worms.  These guys are a great trail snack and keeps the sugars up when doing activities in the outdoors without the side effects that other foods and snacks have.  I purchase the happy cola at Aldi for .88 cents a package.  I give Haribo Happy Cola 4 syringes out of 5 because they are not good for real low BG's and they can get a little old if you eat the whole package at once but they are a nice small rewarding treat.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trail Building

So out on our land in East Texas we have this big hill covered in oak trees and brush that has no rhyme or reason to it.  My wife had the idea to create a meandering trail up the hill that also could be used as a mountain biking path.

I had been to Philmont scout ranch as a boy with my brother and on one of our days we had to do a service project of working on a trail crew.  Armed with my knowledge of building a trail which was clear everything back and move it to the downhill side of the path then clear out any rocks or vegetation from the trail I began my journey.

This has been so fun to date and with it being about 100 degrees everyday in Texas getting outdoors in the shade and working all day seeing my progress has been so rewarding. For my diabetes I have moved my basal rate down 50% during the morning work and not bolused after breakfast which has consisted of blueberry pancakes (read my earlier post about where I got the blueberries).  Then in the after noon I eat a couple of high fructose corn syrup Italian ices, some leftovers from the night before, usually consists of some sort of dutch oven creation that my wife made consisting of rice, chicken, cream of anything soup, and assorted peppers from our garden in Dallas.  I usually take a break around 4ish and have a couple more high fructose corn syrup Italian ices and have a 1 to 14 carb ratio bolus. All afternoon I have my basal rates as they normally run.

Now I am obsessed with building trails and  my new game I came up with which I call it "Rock Hunting," where I am out on the hill looking for the biggest rock I can find and move it into position which is on the low side on the trail for erosion control.  Part of the reason for the trail as well is to keep the hill which is named "Mt. MoMo" after our beagle since the hill looks like a mountain and it has a long ridge just like when MoMo rolls on her back her belly has a long bulging ridge to it.  The hill is sliding slowly into Lake Zaine (named after my son) and I had some engineers come out to look at fixing the lake and the first thing they said was no matter what they did the lake would always need fixing until I stopped the hill from sliding down.  With this knowledge in hand and my wife wanting a trail I decided a two for one, a trail that also doubled as a retaining wall that took the grade out of the hill.

This rock was my biggest for the day while playing Rock Hunting.  These rocks are interesting with their high amount of iron ore in them.  Across the road we have a clay pit that gets alot of the red for Acme Brick company.  The rocks don't register on my metal detector but they have an interesting mix of iron and sandstone to them.

One of the few non shady spots on the trail.  I am also trying to get grass to grow to hold the hill in place as well as the retaining walls.  Cutting down select oak trees also gets me a good supply of fire wood for the winter.  I have lots more trees to cut down.

Another benefit of building this trail is the dogs have so much fun just walking up and down the hill and being outside.  They normally just want to sit in the house and stay as cool as possible but now with the trail they are out chasing deer and barking at opossums.

Here is my new (old school) favorite tool, a pick axe I purchased at a local auction for 3 dollars.  What a steal of a deal.  This is my favorite tool to use while rock hunting.  I was using a shovel but I could tell that there was a bit too much stress on the shovel shaft when using as a pry device.  Now with the thick shaft of the pick axe and its nice angle of the pick part I can dig and pry out all sorts of stuff along the trail.

I have had people tell me I am crazy for doing this by hand when I can get a bobcat and a tiller to do this work in about a day.  The point is not to build the trail as fast as I can but to get outdoors and naturally burn my sugars off while doing some cross training and the trail is the reward at the end.  I think being diabetic we need to all work on ways to be positive because it is such a negative and slow battle with blood sugars, insurance, assorted complications, and counting carbs that if we sit around indoors thinking oh man I can't do exercise in this kind of weather or just thinking about issues with our disease.  If we find a hobby that is at your impact level outdoors such as walking, gardening, camping, biking, games, or sitting in a swing we can have a positive impact on our lives being active and not sitting on a treadmill or doing cumbersome exercise that are more of a chore and we learn to hate.  Outdoors gives us time to be at the most simple part of our disease with no distractions such as TV, phones, computers, and gaming devices.  This trail has cost me 3 dollars for the pick axe, gas to our land, and food for the weekends but I have spent time with my wife, dogs and shed pounds while keeping my diabetes under control.  Get outdoors and change your perspective on life and you wont believe the difference it makes on your diabetes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

why did the chicken cross the road

So I have this game I play while in the car either driving or riding with someone.  I try to get pictures of exotic cars and I call this "Car Fishing."  I call this car fishing because just like actually fishing you have to first find the fish (in this case it is usually cars) and then get into position and get your phone out and get a picture of the car.  So it is alot like fishing.
I drive by this house on my way to work everyday and  it sits on a couple of acres.  The back of the house has a half acre dry pond and these two giant white dogs sit on the banks everyday.

I have seen peacocks on the house and have been trying to get a picture of them because the people I work with never believe me that this house has peacocks.  This has been haunting me for over a year now and every picture I get looks like just two blobs on a house and makes me out to be a creeper taking pictures of a house as I drive by.  I consider the house kinda like Noah's ark with the two dogs and I usually just see two peacocks sitting on the roof and the empty pond seems like they are getting ready for a flood.

So what a day it was when the peacocks are running across the street right in front of my car.  I had to stop and gave me a great opportunity to catch a photo of them on my phone.  I get to work this day with a smile from ear to ear and show all my concerned co-workers and of course the first thing out of their mouth is: "Can you get a picture of them with their tails out in full bloom?"  I was so deflated after that.  Over a year and they want me dressing up like a girl peacock getting the tails to fluff up and having the birds pose for a picture or something.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

more geocaching

After the wife and I spent a few hours picking the fresh blueberries two weeks ago  my wife pulled out her IPhone and wanted to see if there were any "geocaches" in the area.  We cam across this dollar cash that was about a half mile from the blueberry farm so we ran over to see if we could find it.  The spot was on the side of a farm to market road next to a tree.  Now that we are getting better at this we first went to the tree and looked around.

After we figured the tree had nothing to do with the cache and I noticed the giant tree stump and walked over and saw the hole in the top with the piece of wood covering it.  Now I was a little bit concerned that we were almost on a driveway next to a farmers two young bulls that were very curious about us.  I asked my wife if there were any dangers with geocaching , farmers, bulls, maybe guns, and so on.  Luckily the house seemed empty at the time and we proceeded to get the cache out of the hole.

This is what we find under the piece of wood that was covering the cache.  A very big and angry black widow spider and her sack of babies.  It was a good idea that my wife used a stick to move it.

She was alot of fun to look at and see her protect those sacks.  We inspected the hole for any other visitors or guardians and pulled out the cache box.

Here is a look inside the box and the the clue said something along the line of take one if you are in need but please leave one if you can.  I like that and we put 4 quarters in the cache for someone in need and my wife signed the log and registered everything on the website.

So we took an extra 30 minutes out of our day and not only picked fresh blueberries but we were stared down by a couple of bulls and nearly were bit by a huge black widow spider.  Taking a small amount of our time to have a little extra fun pays dividends in the end.  I would recommend to anyone and especially diabetics that geocaching is a fun way to get in the outdoors and have a small adventure that who knows what will happen.  I will always remember my encounter with the mountain lion and now will add my black widow spider and bulls to the list of creatures I would have never saw if it were not for my wife and her new geocaching hobby.

Friday, June 17, 2011

picking blueberries

My wife and I while out on our land in east Texas last weekend took Sunday morning for a drive to pick blueberries.  Now for east Texas the mornings are in the 80's and it is hot.  When we showed up to the farm we walked in and talked to the people behind the counter on all the which ones to pick and how to pick and what to do and not to do.  They seemed real nice and said to just grab a bucket and head out to the fields and look for others and start to pick.

Here is a picture of the first bush I came too.  I was very curious and picked the first big blueberry I could find and it tasted out of this world.  So my wife was already down the row and I just sat there for a minute eating all the berries off of my first bush.  

I eventually made my way down and actually picked some berries to keep.  It is like you walk up to the first bush and you evaluate the size of berries, then you look at the color of the berries, and last you have to taste 5 or 6 to see if this is a sweet bush, or a sour bush, or a juicy bush.

I made it to my wife and she was driven to get our gallon of berries to the max.  Now this farms price was 10 bucks for 1 gallon.  That is worth it not just that these berries rock your world for taste and flavor but for 10 bucks for a gallon you could resale these by the pint for 6 bucks easily.

Overall this was a great experience to learn alot about blueberries and trying something very cheap and new.  I would recommend this to anyone and for a diabetic this was great exercise and the berries did not spike my sugars and if I felt a little low I would just stop for a minute and eat some berries to get the old sugars up.  I am sure the field workers just laugh at us out in the fields paying to pick the wrong berries or something.

The blackberries were at the end of their cycle currently so my wife and I just dropped by to taste and have a look see at them.  Not much of a fan of the blackberry and plus they spoil quickly.

new soda

So my wife and I were at a less than one stop town checking out the re-opening of their store when I noticed this soda called: Neuro in oddly shaped bottles with funny second parts of the name like Neuro-Bliss and Neuro-gasm.

I liked that it had 35 calories so I knew there were just a couple of carbs and that this might increase the sweetness.  We picked out a couple of different flavors.  I liked that it was kind of fizzy with a thicker feel to it in your mouth.  I am not a fan of the flavored water and this is a good bit different with still a refreshing water like quality to it.

At the end of the day once I had finished off both bottles and my wife called me a fatty.  I realized the drinks were lacking a little on the flavor side but we both agreed if you drink alcohol (I do not and my wife does) this would be good to mix with it.  So on a diabetic syringe scale of 1 to 5 syringes I would give the Neuro drink line 3 syringes.  They played it safe with the flavor but went extreme with everything else.  Also the price takes away as well at around 2 bucks a bottle it leaves you wanting more.  I did not notice any changes or need for any insulin.

Here is an official non-diabetic review:

This soda will probably be off the shelves in 2 years like all other low and slow moving overpriced soda-ish drinks.  It was a hot day and I was in the sun and wanted a little different in my life.  I would tell all diabetics to at least try it.  You might post a comment on here and change my mind.

Monday, June 13, 2011

farmers market

What a fun time my wife and I had this weekend doing the camping/couples things.  We were at the Athens Farmers market Saturday morning.  I don't get excited about the big farmers markets and try to steer away from them.  Alot of your large farmers markets are just producers selling produce that is not ripe for the grocery stores yet.  So if you see stacks and stacks of boxes and the fruit and vegetables have stickers on them just be on the understanding that they are the same as your grocery store.  If you look in the picture above, that the guys next to these salsa makers have the typical grocery store boxes in their display.  We stayed away from them and headed to the locals.

My wife loves her some salsa and she found these guys above selling some real hot salsa.  They told her that if she bought their hottest she would get a free bottle of water.  She could not turn that down and she loves to get new ideas for her own salsas.  I tell her that she must have holes in her soul from how hot that salsa was that we brought home.  She said I was a wuss and should stick to my girlie salsa.

This gentleman was cracking my wife up.  I am not aware of "Chow-Chow" and my wife was wondering what you put it on and this guy would go on and on about how to cook stuff.  Then his wife would come over each time and tell him he did not know what he was talking about.  He would agree and say "well I don't cook."  Then he would just go right into his next story of how to cook something.  My wife liked him and decided to get some jalapeno jelly from him.

This is a good look for a farmers market.  The vendors are small churches or farmers selling what they have ready to eat.  There were 2 of the supermarket distributors in disguise vendors but you just move on from them.  One guy had just one squash on his table, some zucchini, and canned goods.  He said that was the last of his 10 squash he had ready and he sold the others and was down to his last one.

This is what I love about the farmers market.  Getting things you either have never had before or something you rarely have and want to try another home made recipe.  Above are pickled eggs and they were pretty good.  They were in a plain vinegar style brine.  We ate a couple and figured they would make a tasty egg salad.  My father used to make pickled eggs when I was a kid and put them with pickled pigs feet.  This brought me back and I realized I am alot like my father.

Now, diabetics be vary careful at the farmers market.  There are alot of jellies, salsas, and breads to sample.  Usually if things are homemade like breads and jams they have alot more calories, sugars, and fats in them.  I stay far away from the cookies, breads, and baked items for this reason.  If I look at the breads my sugars go to 200 instantly.  I just let them know I am diabetic and they usually do not harass me for not trying the items.  I do always try the jalapeno jams and jellies.  My wife is on a life long search for the hottest salsa on the planet.  One guy had a raspberry jalapeno jelly.  It was OK but needed more jalapeno for my liking.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Diabetes Educator - Cyber Pancreas: 4 Tips for Caregivers

Diabetes Educator - Cyber Pancreas: 4 Tips for Caregivers: "Caregivers often report stress, loss of sleep, and poor personal health. Experts suggest these four strategies that can help you take care o..."

Diabetes and geocache

So they wife found a new app for her iPhone which is all about Geo caching.  I posted earlier about My wife and I being at our land in east Texas this past weekend.  So before we headed home on Sunday we had to do some geocaching and also stop by Canton for First Monday trade days.

We headed to "Becks Chapel" cemetery which is about a half mile from our land.  What a great way to start your geocaching hobby but with your first cache just down the road in a nice old cemetery.  It was real neat to see that all the people with land around us had family in this cemetery and there was still paces for Brenda and I to reside once we hit that part of the road.

These are some pictures of the chapel that was built in 1882 and is still used to this day for service.

We were about to leave after we spent about an hour looking at the cemetery and finding the geocache.  We wrote our names on the list and my wife and I started to drive off when I noticed these corrugated tin looking buildings out back and wanted to get some pictures of the church and investigate more to see what else is around.
WOW, was I surprised when I turned the corner and the corrugated tin building said "Women" on it and I could see that the other one said "Men's."  I was almost on the floor laughing just thinking of the ladies all dressed up for church and nature calls and they have to visit the outhouse.  I had to see inside to get a glimpse of the facilities.

Now I have camped all over the south and have used many different restrooms.  Never have I seen an outhouse for a restroom at a church, nor a women's restroom look this bad (not that I go checking it out or anything)  I just envision seashells and flowers in all women's restrooms..

When I walked out of the restroom I see this cat walking by and I started to look at it more because I have seen some big cats in my days (Texas grows house cats the size of raccoons) but the more I realized the size of the cat and the distance it was from me that this was no stray cat living off of the Becks Chapel restrooms.  This was something of the wild side.  I thought to myself what large cat this would be but it had a large 2 1/2 foot tail so it was no bobcat, and it looked like the color of a grey short haired cat.  When I got home I looked on the Internet for East Texas Wild Cats and came to the conclusion that it was a Mountain Lion.

Now that I am home I was just thinking of the great opportunity I had to film a mountain lion and what kind of story is that to tell.  The gentleman we bought the land from said they used to come to Lake Zaine to drink before the scout ranch put up the 8 foot tall fence.

So what did I learn from all of this?  Well even though I am not going to go and spend alot of money on a GPS for geocaching.  I still had a great time with my wife visiting a place I have driven by but never stopped and looked and got to see the hilarious bathrooms and of course the topping of it all was the mountain lion walking by and just looking at me like, dude it is 102 degrees out here get in the shade.

We also went to the other side of our property to find another geocache where we met a fellow that was in Iraq as a soldier and was arrested out in the middle of the night finding a geocache.  He said he had found over 5,000 caches and from east Texas he was heading west to Arlington to find the oldest cache in the state. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Well it is summer time in Texas.  My wife and I went to our ranch in east texas where it was a solid 102 degrees.  I had picked up a new "wicking" shirt made by Field and Stream from Dicks sporting goods off of their clearance rack for around 5 dollars.

The above link is as close to the model I could find.  So I wore this shirt with my built in underwear boat shorts from Academy.  see below for the link:

I am a very routine person and changing materials on a diabetic is hard enough so I had my doubts about this shirt that weighs about half an ounce and feels like I am walking around topless.  Usually I wear golf type polos that have a mix of polly and cotton that have weight and feel of cotton with a small amount of wicking.  Also switching to a full button up shirt from a polo, and losing all the weight of a typical shirt took me a few hours to get used to. 

Pros for the Wicking half ounce shirt are: they are high in spf rating, lots of pockets and storage, and good ventalation.  The bad:  awkward fit, non-natural feel to them, and hang on you real heavy when they turn to a ball of sweat, and last they look really dorky and goofy with their pastel and dirt colors.  So on a diabetes scale of syringes I would give the pure wicking shirts a 3 out of 5 syringes.  I did run into a guy who referred to this type of material as: "chick-wick."  Kind of made me chuckle.

Wow, am I a dork.  As my wife would say but continuing with what to wear in the great outdoors in 100 degree heat.  I always keep a bandana around but last year I wore one on my head when I forgot my sunscreen on an orienteering competition.  Come to find out, it was real comfy and made my ability to get through the bush real easy and in the open I was protected from the sun.  I know this is the worst look on earth but, I am using half the sunscreen with no crispy ears and I feel in general 5 degrees cooler than wearing a gilligan style hat.  That in the background is what we refer to as "The Crack Shack" for its quality 1 bedroom cabin built to no standards.  If that aint country.

The red hat, yellow bandana, and my polly-cotton rangers polo is a new must for me when working the ranch.  Ugly but I can work all day and into the late hours with a pair of lopers, chainsaw, and axe.  I can even run barb wire in half the time because I can move easily in the brush.

I have officially switched from winter omnipodding to my old school Animas IR1200.  My educator said since it is about 2 years out of waranty I need to upgrade but the security and familiarity works great combined with medtronics 23inch Quick-set.  I can sweat barrels with no worry of infection or site-sweat-off.  Do you like my nice Gerber suspension (I will blog about knives later) and my sweet Slippery Falls scout ranch belt I bought when I was 17.  Makes me feel young still able to fit into it.

Hard to see in the background is my beagle "MoMo" She is probably half hog the way she likes to waller in our lake.  Also notice how nice the water is in Lake Zaine.  A real good looking brownish-Red with a good amount of algae.  The horses, MoMo, and wild hogs don't seem to mind.