Monday, October 31, 2011

Endurance Challenge

 Do you ever have one of those days that get started on the wrong step?  Saturday was one of those days for me.  It all started when I could not get the boys up and we were running late to the baseball clinic with Drew Holder.  While driving east in the morning the sun was right in my eyes and I was on a road I do not travel.  The speed limit signs all said 65 that I saw.
 Officer Myntti let me know that I missed the last two speed signs that said 55 and 45 respectfully and that I was traveling 66.  Now, I tried every tactic in the diabetes handbook.  First, as always I was polite to the officer and did not dispute or argue with him.  Next, when he came back to my truck I made sure to have my diabetes test equipment out and testing at the time.  Then, I mentioned to him how we were heading to a diabetes festival that I was volunteering at and the boys in the car were participating in.  Last, I asked if I could get a picture of him for my blog.  He was real nice but, I did still get the ticket.
 After many delays and not finding the baseball field we headed to the Endurance Challenge put on by  I was a little woried that the event would be on the young side for the boys since there wer just bounce house activities offered.  I had a prep talk with them and reminded that if the event will be as fun as you make it.
 These boys had a blast.  We arived around 10am and I had to work the pedestal jousting at noon so I hung out with the boys and took some pictures of them boxing, tug of war basketball, and doing the obstacle courses.
 Neil getting ready to go against his brother Sean in the tug-O-war basketball shooting game.  Lots of fun.
 So in the picture above Neil challenged Zaine (my son) to the large obstacle course.  Lets just say he won by about a minute.
 Here Zaine is finishing the obstacle course.  He said he lost his hat and had to get it and that is why he was so slow.
 We had so much fun at the pedastal jousting.  The kids were challenging their parents and also the young children challenged the older boys as well.  It really was fun for the whole family.  The guys that came to take down the bounce houses had to pull the plug while people were still jousting.  It was just that much fun.
 After the Endurance Challenge we headed over to Lake Palestine to try our hand at some fishing.  The lake was about 10 feet low and we caught nothing but fun at the lake.  Never fished on this lake so we can now check that off of our bucket list.
 The people down the way were bringing in some small catfish.  We were bringing in nothing.
Here is Sean in my chair relaxing at the lakeside.  Now like I said the day did not go exactly as planned but we had fun and can't wait till next year, or the next event!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Endurance Challenge

The event we have developed this year is more closely tied to our mission. It is called the Tyler Type One Endurance Challenge. It will be held Saturday, October 29th in Bergfeld Park from 10 AM - 3 PM. We believe this event will be a family event for the whole community full of fun "endurance challenges". Completing these challenges will allow the participants to enter a drawing for prizes given away each hour. This will be an excellent theme for us as the life of a Type 1 child is all about endurance and perseverance since there is no cure for their disease. Creating opportunities to encourage and reward endurance is imperative.
We will have several very large inflatable obstacle courses, a 24ft. rock climbing wall, bungee runs, pedestal jousting, bouncy boxing, and bounce houses for the little ones. In addition to the challenges and prizes, there will be concession stands with delicious food, and concerts in the Bergfeld Park amphitheater with Daves Highway back again this year and local Dustin Becker. We also have Drew Holder coming to speak just before Daves Highway hits the stage around noon. Drew is a former Houston Astros pro baseball player that also has Type 1 Diabetes. He is an inspiration!
And finally, there is one more special feature to this event that will appeal to the Type 1 and Type 2 community. We have arranged for a traveling exhibit on the Discovery of Insulin from the New York Historical Society. Trinity Mother Frances is sponsoring this exhibit. We will have a tent set up with this exhibit showing the the discovery of insulin and how it has progressed over the past 90 years to provide the life support our children need daily. This will add a very special educational aspect to this event.
Help make LOCAL SUPPORT TODAY possible for every ONE!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Backpack repairs

 What you see here is my fathers 1980's model Kelty backpack.  I think he purchased it when he and my brother backpacked The Absaroka Range in Montana in 1982.  He told me when he purchased this pack, it was the largest pack they sold.  My father brought two of everything into the woods and he had a large frame as well, so carrying this large pack was no chore to him.
 I inherited this pack in 1999 and have used it since then.  Now over time there has been items that need some maintenance.  The zippers have not fared as well as the rest of the pack.  I decided to drop the pack off at a friendly tailor to see if they could repair it at a comfortable price.
 The first thing the tailor wanted to do was replace the zippers with Velcro.  I was not too hot on that idea but once she told me the zippers were going to cost me a pretty penny we went back and reviewed the areas Velcro could work.
 I am real nervous that the tailor might not be able to replace some of these zippers or just that something might not go right and my pride possession from my father might not be able to make it into the woods again.  Now this pack is so large that having six broken zippers has not slowed me down one bit.  I am not sure of the size but extra large does not do it justice.  The canvas on this thing is just amazingly thick but also not too heavy.  It has that waxy feel to it as well and repels moisture if a quick rainstorm hits and I can't get my poncho out in time.
 From the picture above you can see my fathers handy work of making a modified waist belt.  In the 80's waist belts were no more than just 2 inch wide webbing with a metal buckle on it.  My father the engineer he was and an FAA instructor took a bunch of padding sown into some heavy duty canvas and a flight buckle and made the most awesome waist belt I have ever had on.  I added the blue zip ties to keep my fishing pole strapped to the side of the frame.  I am not the engineer my father was.
 What is nice about an external frame pack is that first of all they vent air to your back very well and you can adjust and modify them.  See in the picture above the bare frame.  The tailors first question was, when she saw the pack that could we remove the metal.  I took two minutes and with the slide of two pins the cover slid right off.
 When I got back to work I thought if the zipper replacement did go wrong I still could have a pack made to fit my frame.  I could even just buy a new pack that fits this frame.  The results will be back in less than 2 weeks.
In the end this is a 30 year old pack that has been from Texas to Wyoming and all places in between.  Now there are newer and fancier packs, but when I wear this pack it just takes me back to when I was on the trails with my dad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One Touch Waste

 Recently my mail order pharmacy called me to let me know that I use a "non-preferred" brand of test strips.  They informed me that if I switched to the "OneTouch Ultra" strips I could save a solid 40 bucks an order.  That sold me so I made the switch.  Now I see why they are cheaper, becuase the are lower quality strips.  What is that saying something like fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me?  I hope this is the first fool and in 90 days I will switch to another of the pharmacies preferred brands.
 The first thing I noticed with these strips is that I get a box of 100 strips.  The box contains 4 vials of strips.  That makes each vial 25 strips.  Simple math right?  The thing is that each bottle is half filled so 50% of the vial is wasted space like the strips need elbow room or space to move around.  I am not sure why they only put 25 strips in each vial but of course me being an opportunistic person.  When I open up a new box of 100 test strips I put all the strips into 2 vials.
 There has to be some reason why they only put 25 in a container made for 50 but, I have not found or seen a reason why my 50 strips in a 25 strip vial does not work.
I test 8 to 10 times a day so a vial of 25 strips goes pretty fast.  My briefcase is loaded with at least 100 test strips at any moment (back to my end of the world thought mentality).  Not sure if anyone else does this but it sure does save me space in my briefcase for much needed other items like snacks and candy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A new addition

 One step closer to creating a set of cast irons from used, rusty, or other sources than buying it new.  My goal is to create another set of cast irons for our house since we keep our original set at our cabin and loading and unloading them each weekend took up space in the truck bed and also they weigh a good amount.  Now what I consider a "set" would mean a ten inch skillet, 6 inch skillet, 12 inch dutch oven, and a griddle.  I have 4, 10 inch skillets, and also 4, 6 inch skillets.  It was a good thing for me to pick up extras because from my earlier posts they were rusty and when I cleaned one of them I came across some nice pitting in the metal so that one will be sold back to someone else another day. 

 Last weekend was another day in the concrete jungle.  I had planned to drop my son off at my friend Ken's practice hike and make it over to an auction about 30 minutes away and pick my son up at his friends once I was done.  The funny thing with plans are you have to get up when the alarm clock goes off.  From the pictures of the upcoming auction they had a couple rolls of chicken wire.  My son is going to raise some chickens for FFA coming in January so he is working on building a chicken coupe in our backyard.  I figured the wire would go about 1/10th it would cost me new so a deal is a deal and they also had pictures of cast iron that were going to be sold at the auction.  Saturday morning I roll out of bed at 6:40am, about 20 minutes before the auction was set to begin and I needed to get my boy to the practice hike.  I finally decided to drag him to the auction and he could miss the hike. 
 I got to the auction, oh yeah I mean we got to the auction around 9:30am.  A solid 2 and a half hours after it started and I noticed people inspecting the goods.  The nice lady informed us that this was not a typical auction but more of a yard sale auction.  We could paruse the merchandise that was marked with a starting price and they would listen to any offers and sell the items to the highest bidder.
 First thing I saw at the auction was the roll of chicken wire so I quickly told the nice lady one buck and she agreed.  Then we moved to the stack of cast iron and from the pictures they had the corn cob Lodge muffin pan but it was no where to be found.  Then I noticed from what you have seen in all these pictures is a Lodge Pro Grid/Iron.  The griddle was marked 5 bucks so I offered 3 dollars and she agreed on the price.  I was so giddy with excitement.  These griddles are heavy duty and this one was flat and slick as ice with a good seasoning on it.  We moved onto other cast iron but I think the lady had wised up to me and wanted way too much for the rest so I had to pass them along.  I did get a card table for my wife for a dollar, a sterling silver belt buckle with the letter "H" on it for a dollar (my last name is Hennesey so that worked out good), a painters easel for a dollar, an outdoor easel for 5 dollars, a painters box from the 40's for 7 dollars with the paint boards and other misc. items in it and last I bought my son a fishing pole for a buck.  Even though the auction was light on merchandise I still came and concurred for the fair price of 21 dollars.

Currently I have spent 14 dollars on a Griswold 10 inch skillet, 4 dollars on a 5 inch skillet, and 3 dollars on a Lodge griddle.  I still need a dutch oven and I would like to get a cornbread pan as a side item.  Then I do have 6 other skillets I picked up for 20 bucks.  They will either be resold at a swap meet later or used as gifts.  For 26 dollars I am one item short of my goal and for that price new I could not have purchase any one of these items.  Someone once told me this is what they call in the recycling world as re purposing.  I just call it a lot of fun, education, and saving alot of money.  I love setting goals and checking them off as I accomplish them.  I now have to do this 30 day boy scout fitness challenge and I have also challenged myself to a sub seven A1C. 

Friday, October 21, 2011


 Times are changing, seasons are coming, and leaves are falling.  This is the camping season in full bloom!  Cool nights and warm days gets everyone outdoors from fall festivals to football games.  What other time is it?  Well that would be get out your winter clothes but, don't pack up those summer shorts just yet because they are needed in this weather as well.  I love October through December.  That is the time to get outdoors as often as possible. 
 What we all need to know though, is that the fall also brings huge changes in weather and tempatures.  We have all heard that saying of layer your clothes for the best warmth.  That is so true and it also reduces the amount of gear you bring in the outdoors.  Then there is the comfort factor, when you layer your clothes you don't go from freezing cold to sweating hot.  It is easier to adjust your temperature with layers than one of those eskimo parkas and an AC-DC concert t-shirt. 
 In these wonderfull photos, I am showing my typical atire for weekend camping in the fall and of course in north Texas.  If you are farther up the longitude lines then this season is almost over and you are packing away those daisy dukes and bikini on top outfits.  My first picture is of a typical cotton t-shirt I wear on scouting campouts.  Scouts uses the "activity" shirt when doing dirty work.  I like the t-shirt because if any boy or adult is found face down and unconcience with no ID on them.  You at least know that they are a member of our group and what city and state we are from.  Just knowing that basic information rescue people can locate maybe the campsite you are staying in or search the web for a contact number to get information.  The best thing though is to always have propper ID on you.  When I am family camping I wear polo style golf shirts.  I have this funny obsession about having a colar on me as often as possible.
 The next part I bring is my Starter brand long sleeve, mock turtle neck athletic shirt made of polyester or some form of wicking material.  This shirt can easily be worn under the t-shirt or alone on mild to cool days.  Then I have a light flannal shirt that I put on if the other two aren't enough or if I just want that flannel fealing on my skin.  The thing is that everyone of these shirts so far can be worn alone or combined with any of the other two.  If things are more severe than those three layers I have a rain jacket that gives me a fourth layer of protection.
 Then there are the bottoms, we all know that you are not supposed to wear blue jeans while camping.  I do break this law in the winter but we are talking about the fall so above I wear the great boating style shorts.  These shorts are again some sort of polyester and they have a gusseted crotch built into them.  I like having the gusseted crotch because I don't have to bring underwear since they are built into my shorts.  Plus I don't own any whitie tighties that are not cotton and you don't want to sweat alot with cotton on the bottom.  The result is a funny walk and lots of gold bond.  Wait till the winter to wear the whitie tighties.
If the temperature is too cool for shorts then I bring along a pair of running or jogging pants.  These again are made of polyester or some sort of whicking material and they slide right over my boots and fit comfortably over my shorts. 

My first scout master, the great Larry Foree told me as a young boy about materials and had this saying.  He said to remember what material does what just say "cotton is comfortable" that is why underwear and t-shirts are made of it.  We want that material next to our skin.  Then "polyester pushes moisture away" that is why sports and athletic clothes are made of it.  The last "wool is warm when it is wet" and of course we wear wool socks because our feet stink, no because we sweat in our boots and walk in the streams.  I still live by these funny little sayings and they help me pack for each camping trip.  I never liked being that guy who did not dress appropriate for the outdoors.  Even if it is just a day hike or watching an outdoor sporting event I bring along my layers of clothes.  Now does my son do the same thing?  Of course not he is a teenager and has to learn the hard way but, he is learning and is getting a better idea of how to layer his clothes and to bring the other layers in a bag to be prepared for the worst.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rite in the Rain

 Recently I purchased a "Rite in the Rain" outdoor journal.  Keeping a journal on trips is the best way to track what you did and when you did it.  The easiest way to start a journal is to write what you eat and where you ate it.  When you go back and review your meals it jogs your memory of the things you did those days.  I usually keep an extremely random journal in my shirt pocket, one of those 3" by 5" small ones.  I have extremely short term memory so my journal is filled with lists and things to remember.
 My friend Paul keeps a journal on him when we are camping and he documents everything from peoples names, email addresses, and takes notes for future use.  I have been very jealous on his maticulous note taking and his ability to pull his journal out and recap a conversation in the middle of the woods.  The last journal I had suffored a terrible tragedy when it was washed and all that was left is the metal ring. 
 While I was at REI picking up some running gels (also good glucose substitutes) recently, the next isle had these "Rite in the Rain journals and with the upcoming Score-O campout coming I made an impulse buy and picked one up.  I did use a 20% off coupon so in the picture where you see a price tag of 6.00 dollars, it actually came out to 4.80 dollars and I had a 10 dollar gift card.
 Score-O starts off when they give all competitors the exact same map 30 minutes before the event starts.  This short amount of time is where winners and losers are made.  You have to plan your route and with a team it is hard at times with one map to know the distance between points and also the compass bearings.  So I used my handy dandy journal to write our course, a note, compass bearing, and distance.  As I was writing the course on my journal I was thinking how hard it was to get my pen to write on the paper.  After some days later I realized that it was not the paper but the pen I was using had issues.
 For the price I would say that "Rite in the Rain" is a little on the high side to use everyday.  I would keep this product as my outdoor journal and keep another journal for everyday.  The diabetes side of me loves this product because I want to get my AIC's under that famed 7.0 and I think a journal would help with that.  Writing down my numbers, food intake, and what I am doing will keep me aware constantly of how I am doing and give me the ability to document a base line of activity and diabetes.  The next part would be to create some sort of spreadsheet and track my journals together or something.
The blurry part in the picture above is where I kept my sweaty thumb while I was navigating through the wild cactus plants.  Overall the "Rite in the Rain" notepad was great but I would like to get it at a lower price.  I give it 4 syringes out of 5 syringes on my patented diabetes camping scale.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Backpacking Cot

 In our backpacking group we have a little joke we play with the people at REI.  We ask them to show us the backpacking cots.  Age and laziness has gotten a hold of us and we as adults have figured out how to backpack a cot with us in the woods.  Now, the joke part is that the REI sales reps tell us every time that there is no such thing as a backpacking cot and if you did try to backpack your cot into the woods it would either not come home with you or you would not come home.  Instead of saying "backpacking" you substitute "low profile" in your description of a comparable cot.

What we have found best is the Byer cots.  These cots fit in any 2 person backpacking tent and the cot weighs 7lbs to 8lbs depending on the model you get.  Make sure you get the Allagash or the Trilite.  They have the military style cots as well but they are too tall and have the unprotected legs that tear holes in the bottom of your tent.  They also weigh too much and are too bulky to cary.

Someone has now figured a way to take the weight out of the Byer cot and truly deliver a backpacking cot.  This came from Luxury Lite out of Lake Jackson Texas.  This is one smart person that used light weight fabric and aluminum tent poles connected by a system of round clips that takes five pounds out of the existing Byer cot and it is significantly smaller as well.  Now I have never used one of these models but from the videos I found and the website it is exactly the same principles as all the other low profile cots.  The only thing is they want 219.95 for one of these cots.  Now that is alot of green for a cot.  Is it worth the savings of five pounds?  Maybe it is and I am certainly going to save up for one or find a used one on the web. 

Monday, October 17, 2011


 This past weekend was "Score-O" out in Bridgeport Texas.  I love this event so much.  Now I never really do very well but, the enjoyment of teaching others how to navigate with a map and compass in a game environment teaches so much in 4 hours than I could teach in a week.  Above you can see this years map.  Your team gets a map 30 minutes before the competition begins and it has around 75 points on it worth various amounts from 5 points to 50 points for the single hardest point to get.  The event starts at 1pm and ends at 5pm and everyone gets the same map with the same points on it.  The start and finish line are the same place.  So the competition part is how well you plan out your route stamping your map with the punchers that are located at the way points.
 The legend on the map is amazing.  The people that put this event on each year really make a safe and fun event that I feel comfortable having any age scout wandering the forest or lack of forest rolling around in the cactus and getting chased by the free range cows.  They mark every deer stand and rock cluster in the area.
With diabetes and orienteering, I make sure to eat a large breakfast and we had some killer breakfast burritos with sausage and egg and hash browns on the side.  Lots of carbs for about 6 miles of hiking.  I turned my basal rate down a bit much and my BG's were a little high in the 2:30pm time frame so I bolused and turned off my temp basal rate.  The day was warm as well so bringing a water bottle is essential and planning your route around the water buffalos helps keep you hydrated.  A personal first aid kit, pocket knife, and the propper clothes ensures a successful time. 

If you are an outdoors type of person and also like the thrill of competition.  Then lets say you are not a fast runner, swimmer, or can hit a softball propperly.  Then you should consider taking a look at orienteering.  This is a low cost, high thought processing, and active sport that is so overlooked by many people.  Just put ther city you reside in and the word "orienteering" in a google or bing search and you will come across events and clubs in your area.

Friday, October 14, 2011

YouTube is awesome

When I first heard and saw people using YouTube I was thinking who in the world is going to watch 30 second clips of people acting dumb.  Now several years later I must admit that YouTube has saved my life and taught me a thing or two.  I have found clips on how to repair my trucks window regulator, hunt wild hogs, and how to use electrolysis.

I have been telling all of you lately of my current obsession with buying cast iron on the cheap and trying to clean and rehab it to new like conditions.  Now this has been lots of elbow grease and my wife wondering when I will go to bed and stop scraping skillets.  

With my new method of cleaning, I can stop the scrubbing, and oiling and just put the iron in the 5 gallon bucket with some sodium carbonate and hook up the battery charger and presto!  In lots of time depending on the carbon and rust factor you have bare metal clean cast iron.
Watching all of these videos I learned an important part of electrolysis and that is to buy a "Manual" battery charger.  Very important because all the new chargers that have the jump battery built into them are automatic charges.  I picked the charger above from "Big Lots" for 50 bucks and it was 20% off sunday so that made it 40 dollars.  That is a deal on a 2-10-50 amp manual charger.
I forgot to get a before picture of the pan above.  This is after 2 hours in the electro-cooker.  Once you remove the metal from the science experiment you have to take a scrub brush and get the loose carbon and rust off of the pan.
Before I put the pan in the solution I didn't even know it had this no. 5 and 81/2 IN. stamp on the bottom.
Here is a shot of the inside part.  This skillet is probably 50 to 75 years old at least.  You can tell a little on the age if they have a ring on the bottom.  The ring was on skillets during the days when people cooked on wood stoves.  The skillet has a nice flat and smooth as butter feel to the metal.  I would put this in the crepe making department in my pantry.

It is hard to tell the difference in collor.  The skillet on the right is the one I just used electrolysis on and has a silvery metalic look to the pan.  The skillet on the left is one I picked up about two months ago and heat cleaned the rust off.  Once I dried the electrolysis pan it instantly started to surface rust.  I pulled out the bottle of veggie oil and sealed it real quick to stop this from going any further.

All of this started when my wife wanted me to pick up an extra set of cast iron to use at our house.  We have one set at our cabin and now miss it at our house.  Me being the cheap person wanted to buy used and found lots of rusty gold.  I had heard of alternative methods of cleaning cast iron and came across the video earlier in this post.  Now I have volunteered to teach a cast iron cooking class and have learned mountains of information about cast iron and how to care and restore it.  The internet is our friend!