Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Coin Collection

I sold my last coin collection on eBay a few years ago, on a whim. I asked for the same price it cost me: $1.98 (except I listed in USD instead of CAD. A woman bought it for her husband, and she paid $1.98 US, plus shipping). Here's my latest accumulation:

This one tallies $3.46 Canadian. Many are valid Canadian or US coins---like the Georgia peach quarter (1999) and the Liberty anniversary quarter (2001). There's a Cypriot 20-something piece I got instead a loonie (Canadian dollar coin), a beautiful Dutch 25-ct piece that came in my change as a 10-cent piece (dime). My favourites are the two Trinidad and Tobago one-cent pieces with the hummingbird. (Two!?) There are coins from Australia, Philippines, Bahamas, Barbados, UK, and Slovenska Republika. The oldest is a 1937 Canadian one-cent piece, with George VI. I also have a QEII one-cent piece from 1956, my birth year. And last week I picked up a Canadian centennial penny (from 1967; the one with the bird which I forget what it is). Last year I picked up a very small aluminum coin from a depressed Eastern European republic that looked exactly like a Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) token (worth about $2.50 per ride at the time, now 2.75 or so). I think I tossed it, or I would include it here.
I haven't sold anything on eBay for a long time. My family started giving their "valuable" items to sell (the inscribed books dating from about 1892 to 1920 and the music sheets from the 1920s to 1940s did make quite a bit of money for my mom's church). And my brothers' items that they took from our uncle's "estate" brought in a few hundred dollars, which was surprising.
After looking at the Dutch coin I got to thinking about our Canadian designs. The Dutch coin is stylish to say the least. The image of Beatrix is more impressionist than representative (I can go through my Canadian coin jar and find at least 3 updates to QEII, the latest with jowls and wrinkles---nothing like the wild and sexy horsewoman I saw once on a Caribbean paper bill).
Canadian 25-cent pieces (AKA quarters) represent whatever is happening in Canada for the year and there might be several issues. They're all basic MOR art, in my opinion---an inukshuk (which we know only as lawn decorations here in To.); war vets and the young'uns; skiers (for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics). You could hang them over your sofa. Sometimes there might be something Indian, but again it's symbolic---nobody's doing anything about education, health, housing, employment on the reserves.

"The Lazy Person's Iron"

That's the subject line of a post I put on a listserv I belong to. I was asking if anyone had used a hand steamer for clothes. The post triggered a number of threads (no, no one used one) that mainly got responses (mostly from men, but some women) like "Good gawd, what do want to iron clothes for?? You should wear wash-and-wear and permapress. And who spends money on clothes that have to be dry cleaned?" And "Yes, I iron when I need to relax. I don't like wearing wrinkled cotton." "I save up a pile of ironing and catch up on my TV shows." "My mother irons pillow cases and dish towels." "My brother irons his briefs."

The members of this list tend to be a bit older (my age, say), and of the tweed-corduroy-wash-and-wear-comfortable shoes type (and yes, I've met many of them), often because of preference for a low-cost and low-maintenance wardrobe, and sometimes because of budget. But I like nice fabrics (wool, cashmere, silk, linen) and while I don't shop at retail stores that sell these at full price, I can hunt out a bargain at the local off-price store (Winners), and I've scored big time at the Value Village near my house. (And I should put in a plug for St. John's Thrift Store on Danforth, east of Woodbine, where I got my nice black wool beret and cashmere scarf for $2.00.)

Lauren, Karan, Diesel, Linda Allard-Ellen Tracy, Kenneth Cole...WonderBra. None of these items cost more than $10.00. The Donna Karan cashmere sweater was $6, the silk blouses average $5-7. And I don't buy them if they look icky or have stains in the armpits. Mostly I hand wash stuff, and periodically take things to the dry cleaner for a nice finish, especially if the stuff is really good, or at the end of the season. I like to wear clothes of nice fabrics that are well made (and along with my two yoga college credits I have two full credits in Sewing and Tailoring from an actual Canadian university).

Mom taught me to sew when I was about 11 years old, and the parents got me a sewing machine for Christmas when I was in my late teens. I learned a lot about fabric and construction over the years (but not what looked good on me until lately), so I have an idea what to buy.

So sue me. I like nice clothes. But I don't like to iron.

On the other hand...

I just got an e-mail with my $10 gift certificate for Chapters-Indigo (the bookstore) for completing a survey. I've never won any of their draws (but I sure could use $1000) but I've picked up about $50 in rewards for answering questions about products ("If Florida orange juice was a person, what do you think he/she would be like? Lively, depressing, stylish, sporty, orange?"). Anyway, Web Perspectives always seems to be looking for new Canadian customers. You only lose a bit of time (http://www.webperspectives.ca/) and you might pick up a buck or two.

And I had a really pleasant Sunday shopping/lunch trip with my friend K, also a person with diabetes. We went to IKEA, for gawd's sake, on a Sunday! That's usually a mistake, but we both found parking within seconds, had a pleasant afternoon shopping and browsing, and it was great to see her. She also wishes she could get back to the point where controlling her blood sugars had a point. I don't remember when mine was. I think it was after my 5-day diabetes education class, when my BGs were still perfect (and A1C around 5%).

Diabetes education: For the record, the first session was an interview with a nurse-educator. The first thing she asked after the usual stuff (medical history, diagnosis date, etc.) was whether I did my own housework. When I said no she looked worried. "Well, what do you do for exercise?" Well, on Monday I play badminton for 3 hours. I practice Karate for 90 minutes once or twice a week. I do yoga for about two hours on Saturday. "Oh, so you probably get enough exercise..." I remember being quite fit, and I need to get back to that state (more than 10 years later) but I'm being thwarted by old bad habits (but I am keeping up with my flossing).

It's a pain in the gut

Stomach pains are getting worser and worser. It's a combination of poor diet, too much red wine, Metformin, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Also unmanaged stress, probably: I've been testing my blood sugar several times a day (instead of just in the morning, or not at all) and except for one day they've been consistently high. I have an appointment with my GP on Friday for an annual checkup, and will have to admit to her that I am not doing well at all. Then I will go right to my physiotherapist to get him to look at my knee and tell me what's wrong with it. To hell with all that. Here's my next complaint:

Don't rush off to check out that handy steamer that's being advertised on TV these days. You know the one: use it to freshen bedding and dry-cleanable clothing (save $$!!), and your life will be swell. I only wanted to compare the price of having one delivered to the price of the one on sale that I could pick up myself. To see that I had to submit my credit card information. "Your order has been processed!!" Whaaaa?? No confirmation page, which I find somewhat like going to the midway at a carnival. When I was a child, I actually had a carny grab my dollar bill out of my hand and drop three quarters into my purse, in order to make me play his silly game. I must have looked at him funny, because when I held out those quarters he gave me back my dollar.

Anyways, I made two phone calls and sent three e-mails (for which I did not receive a response even though the autoresponder promises I'll get one within 48-72 hours. Those must be Albanian hours or something. And they lie. "Oh, the confirmation page is not working, I guess, it should be there." "Oh, your shipment is already with Canada Post." That was January 22. But I got the confirmation from Canada Post just today. I can't win: if I don't accept the delivery (which I'll have to pick up with the car) I will get back only the cost of the item less shipping and handling. If I accept it I was promised a $20 discount (or was it $30? Doesn't matter. I'll never see it). And I can use the thing and then return it in 30 days for a "full refund." I guess I will try it out. My only concern is the fiddly bits on my silk blouses, the collar, hem, cuffs, darts, button panels. I can see myself gettin' out the ol' ironin' board.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I got a cashmere scarf and a wool beret today. The price was $1.79. The vendor said, "You can give me two dollars." YowZa! Due to cooties I washed them both so haven't worn them yet. But I will on Monday.

Diabetes Type 2 updates

On the evenings that I don't have a lot to do, I eat. I try to stay away from high-sugar or -carb foods (macadamia-nut cookie binges, and so on). But I feel like eating. So last night I ate a whole thing of Lipton's chicken noodle soup after 9 pm. My FBG (fasting blood glugose/sugar) was not REALLY horrible but it was much worse after breakfast (oatbran cereal with teff grain and yogurt and and some raspberries). So I took 2mg Gluconorm and went shopping on foot. Was better after.

On the evenings that I don't have a lot to do, I should try to do other things: take
walk, lift weights, do laundry (fold clothes, iron), change sheets, etc.

Any suggestions?!

Monday, January 21, 2008

My furs are such pals

They bring me toys all day. Every day or so I pick up the toys and drop them in a special basket. All four cats bring the toys to my room.

Handsome Stranger loves the fur-covered rattly mice, and he drops them close enough to my hand that I have to throw them.

Gril brings her favourite: a hard rattly whiffle-type ball that I put in a plastic net, so she can carry it around ("mrr, mrow, mrr, yeow, argh, mrow", etc.). She also like to carry around white plastic forks and spoons. I have yet to get a photo of her carrying a plastic spoon in her mouth.

Bwai will bring a rubber cat brush half-way up the stairs, arguing with it the whole way (her voice is quiet but scratchy and annoying). She also likes to play with a dog toy my brother sent me -- it's a medium-hard rubber ball with a cable and hand loop. She never gets it past the bottom of the stairs, though.

Peabo plays with everything but hasn't got the hang of sharing with me. He's only 1.5 years old so he might get it.

I need to get to a hardware store for some sisal twine or carpet. They do all like scratching the furniture...

Hate those DM drugs

Every once in a while, but especially in winter when I tend to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) the Metformin I'm on (maximum daily dose) gives me gastrointestinal upset. Like fairly severe stomach pains and diarrhea, which I have today. I'm also on Gluconorm. One helps the muscles use the glucose in my blood, the other helps use the insulin I produce. (I don't know whether my DM form is lots of insulin produced but my cells can't use it properly, or whether it's my pancreas just isn't making enough.) Anyways, I'm set up in the spare room, which is right next to the bathroom. It's not too bad...

"Smoking contributes to developing diabetes." My mother told me this at Christmas and I laughed at her. (Smokers should always quit, and DMs should quit even more.) But apparently this is partly true -- the sendentary lifestyle and poor diet often associated with smoking contributes to onset. I've been smoking about 20 a day for at least 30 years. I quit once for 6 days, using a nicotine patch. But mostly I have been thinking of how I spend $8 CA times 7 (days) times 52 (weeks) per year (or 8 x 365, not to complicate it). That's $2920.00 per year. I imagine that going into my retirement plan... or into a bathroom reno.

I'm getting some Work done but it takes about 4 times as long as usual to open a file remotely, since I have dialup access. And my version of Word is kind of decrepit so documents I start in Word 2007 tend to wilt when I work on them in Word 2002.

Shoe service update: I got a pair of Nike sort-of court shoes at the first store I stopped at where they didn't bother me after I arrived. I don't care if they have pink trim... Really, it was the first store I went to, and I wanted to test them too. And I did get a "thank you for shopping at Champs." I still haven't played badminton yet, but with the loose-ish knee I'm going to wait.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vinyasa Flow Yoga misinterpreted...

Really, I thought it was a 60 or 90 minute class on Thursday evenings. But it's two hours! And we only get a break if we do child pose, or back out of the class early by doing corpse pose for at least 10 minutes before we leave (this is our signal to the instructor). I don't want to leave a negative impression. If my knee hadn't been feeling somewhat "loose" due to my walking program (and not stretching enough after) I would have thrown myself into it somewhat more. But I did OK. (FYI, I have 2 college credits in yoga from 34 years ago.) I iced the knee for 2x15 minutes tonight and will keep a (what---eye? on it).

Vivian is our instructor (I use the classic spelling since I don't know how she actually spells her name). She engaged each participant privately before class started to get name, health issues, yoga experience, and even put our names on post-it notes(tm) on our mats. I thought this was a good thing. She's young (in my estimation), experienced, even-tempered and humourous. Good start. But I found my muscles shaking while lowering myself from Plank position after the nth repetition of the second variation of Sun exercise. Um, this is a good thing -- holding the Plank pose, I mean. I did walk home from yoga class (about 20 minutes or so) with a couple of bottles of wine in my backpack...

Admission: for breakfast I ate 1 cup of President's Choice(tm) Extra Raisin/Raisin a la folle ("crazy raisins") raisin bran cereal with 2% milk and an apple; for lunch I ate spinach lasagne and salad and a huge shortbread cookie. For an afternoon snack I ate salted peanuts from the vending machine. Result: whoa. After 2 hrs yoga and walk: 18.6. I had hopes. This morning's BG was 10.9---better than usual. Maybe tomorrow, after tonight's exercise.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

No shoes, no patience, no service

Have you ever thought that if you just got the right stuff you'd be more organized, healthy, satisfied, happy, or have more time? I have seven different paper filing systems but I can never remember which one I'm using so have papers all over the place. I once had 4 dish racks, thinking that having the right one would encourage me to do dishes more often. I have a great built-in dishwasher now and I still put dishes in the sink (mainly because I haven't emptied the dishwasher since the last load). Same with laundry, but that's another story...who stores dirty laundry in the washer? Except for my last landlady...

Somehow I feel like I am making progress in my war with DIABETES but based on my BG tests it's not at all true. But I have been walking at least 30-45 minutes a day for 9 of the last 10 days; my first yoga class in 3 years starts tomorrow evening; I found a place to play badminton on Saturdays; I have the class schedule for Goju karate, located just up the street; I'm picking up my prescription sports goggles on Friday; and I've been planning to visit my fitness club for at least 19 months.

I've been sorting my sportswear too -- that's fun. Since my fave sport is badminton I want new court shoes (all I have is grubby runners with mud on them). So I went to the mall ("Sale!!") to check out one of the two stores dedicated to sports shoes and wear. I was greeted by a clerk in the first store, but when I turned around to try to catch someone's eye everyone was busy with arranging stock and discussing Albanian Idol tryouts. At the second store I found a shoe I thought I'd like to try on, so I tried again to make eye contact (without actually shouting "some service here!!" across the not-exactly-crowded aisles) with a clerk. Eventually one spotted me on the way down the aisle and asked if I was being served "or just waiting for someone." I said, yes, I am waiting to be served. I guess this got her back up because after we discussed the kind of shoe I wanted (opposed to the one she wanted to sell me; she looked like an aerobics chick), I found a shoe I wanted to try on. She'd let me: "yes, you can try those on." I said I wanted a pair that didn't have the security ball and chain stuck on them, so I could actually walk in them and maybe be sure what they felt like. Understand at this point my credit card is burning a hole in my backpack -- I WANT to buy something. She took the shoe, started back to get a pair, was distracted by a young man who couldn't admit he wanted something to de-stink his shoes (his mom was hovering) and my f^cking useless clerk stopped serving me and started serving them. I am sitting there with my boots off and she's holding half my shoe order and discussing toe jam funk smegma with a kid. (Yes, I was ticked.)

I SAW this clerk watching me put my boots back on. As I walked past her I just said, "Some other time." Loudly. En esprit d'escalier, I should have said, "I'll come back when there aren't so many people in line behind me." Or, "When you've found my shoes, I'll be in the next store, or grabbing a coffee." I was fully prepared to stump out and tell all my friends about this lousy experience. The store would never hear about it, of course; and after all my friends stopped shopping there they might lose .046 percent in annual sales. If I had had a chance to try on those shoes I might have bought them, and maybe recommended the store to one or two people.

But instead cutting off MY nose to spite THEIR face(s), I've decided to try again: go to the back of the store where the clerks congregate for safety, get a manager, and tell the same story.

BRB with the results.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Glasses half full

I need some diabetes education -- or information. Last night before leaving work my BG was 17.2 (way too high). After walking for 45 minutes, I tested at home -- 19 mmol/dl. How did it go up?? I have heard that if BG is >14 you shouldn't exercise (unless you can test urine to show you're not spilling ketones). My next purchase should be ketone test strips, and my next Google search should be about BGs and exercise.

I want to reduce the meds, but until I get in shape for more vigorous workouts I have to keep them up. Also tonight a huge admission, since I've trusted these people with anything up to now -- when I explained why I was leaving early (my boss and my boss's boss are very generous), they suggested I start wearing contact lenses. I took a deep breath and said, "I used to wear contacts but I can't anymore. I have to admit to you that I'm diabetic and haven't told anyone so that I have the excuse to eat whatever I want." No shock (though they didn't know), since we all know friends (at least two), co-workers (our former department Vice Pres), family members (my older brother and possibly my younger brother, my late grandmother, boss's boss's mother), neighbours (one that I know of), who are diabetic.

Tonight I left work an hour (or so) early to get to the spectacles place to get my two-month worn glasses adjusted. I actually have a pressure sore behind my ear. It seems better now, but I am also wearing a bandage and antibiotic ointment over the spot. These are lovely progressive bifocals (trifocals) in Anne Klein frames that I got for about 200 CAD after the sale and the vision benefits insurance repayment. Vision benefits haven't changed in 19 years since I was first eligible: about 200 CAD every two years. But the price of glasses (mostly for the lenses) has about tripled. My expensive lenses were half price.

Note: I woke up on my 40th birthday needing bifocals. Yes, it really is that sudden.

I also ordered some single-vision sports glasses while I was there. I won't need them for my yoga class (which starts Thursday), I hope. But I want to start training in Goju karate (I used to do Shotokan/kung fu) and to start playing badminton again after my first 30 days of 30 minutes walking per day which, according to the RealAge(tm) Workout, should get me ready for anything.

Thank dog for the Green Bin program in Toronto. I submitted a full bin plus several extra bags, mostly kitty litter (plant source) plus the inevitable poops and clumps. Otherwise I would have put out a full garbage bag of just cat litter. BTW, the corn litter has a lifespan of several weeks -- I have to replace the whole mess once in a while, but baking soda bought in bulk and sprinkled on the box bottom and in the litter after de-clumping (or scooping) prolongs its life tremendously!

Since I've decided against an all-out food dehydrating program, I've reviewed my freezing program and decided it's worth it. When I can find the premium ziplock(tm) freezer bags I stock up, since I also use them for storing several months worth of credit/debit card receipts (and mark the bag with a Sharpie(tm) pen), various items that can go into storage until they're needed (like necklaces, scarves, cosmetics), and dried herbs. If I need freezer bags and the prems aren't on sale I get the store brand and have never complained about their quality. Wish I could pack up my troubles in a ziplock bag and smile, smile, smile (la la la).

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Value Village Idiot

I live on a street that has a Value Village on the corner, so I can't help but drop in on my way home from work. About 3 years ago I started buying up all the coffee makers I could (for $5 CA or less) and sold them on eBay. I made enough to buy an upgraded double sink for my kitchen reno. It was quite a bit of fun. I don't sell on eBay anymore, but I should, to get rid of some stuff.

Mostly I buy clothes -- coats, sweaters, silk blouses, jeans (Diesel jeans for 10 bucks, Donna Karan cashmere sweater for 6). If I had to replace all the good stuff I'd pay thousands of dollars.

Last night I got a little grab-bag (they go for a couple of bucks). Inside was a wooden citrus reamer and a short wooden spoon, a corkscrew, an ice cream scoop, and a kitchen timer still in the package. All looked new/unused. I calculated that my $1.99 CA buy got me $26 CA in stuff. Happy Dance....

Can't be bothered...

  • taking my insulin injection last night
  • drying any more vegetables. It's a pain in the ass. I'll keep the machine to dry herbs
  • going to yoga class at my fitness centre. But I signed up for one on Thursday evenings
  • .,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,m = kitten typing. Can't be bothered to delete it
  • emptying the dishwasher, even though the sinks are full and the counters covered
  • typing any more

See ya.

January 12 update: I did a 60 minute walk, mostly to look at the demolition that's going on down the street: http://www.insidetoronto.ca/News/EastYork/article/39156

The whole century-old building is being demolished.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

30 day walking program update

I didn't walk 30 minutes this morning but I did this afternoon -- to the new liquor store near work. I also bought a new rattly mouse toy for Handsome Stranger. He only played with it for about an hour or so.

Meno Paws

I've been DM'd for over 12 years but I've had night sweats for way more than that. My mom, who is 75, bless her heart, says she still gets them, godammit. She also claims her mother was going deaf before she died (in about 1952 or so), and both she and her last brother (who's about 78, I guess) both have progressive hearing loss. I didn't hear about this until a couple of years ago, but I'm lucky at age 51 to have pretty acute hearing still. My older brother suffers from hearing loss as did my dad (1923-1986).

Anyways -- if I didn't have four cats piled up against me every night, would the night sweats be worse or better?

Also, I've had exactly one mood swing in the last two years, lucky me.

And (guys, close your ears), my last period was last August (two in summer after 9 months of none---AUGH!). Diabetics should stay away from black cohosh in "natural" HRT remedies, I guess. I'm keeping my stash of feminine hygiene products in case any overnight guests need them. Or in case I do.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Watching paint and mushrooms dry

I used to think it was interesting watching paint dry, but tonight I am attempting vegetable dehydration for the first time and the experiences don't compare...

(Second day of walking 30 minutes per day according to the RealAge(tm) workout. Fasting BG 11.2/201 would have been better if I hadn't had a bowl of bran cereal before bed.)

I spent 3.99 CAD on a food dehydrator (at Value Village) and 2.00 CAD (at No Frills) on fresh white mushrooms, and, without benefit of an instruction manual, am attempting to add to my pantry (food storage) by dehydrating veggies for soups and such. I'm a pretty good online researcher, but the world wide interweb doesn't throw up much in the way of instructions on dehydrating. Lots of advice, yes ("Don't dry celery or you'll end up with celery dust") but no suggestions on how to use my particular model -- which has no brand, model, year, or anything to hint at what it is or how to use it. Or how long to dry any particular vegetation or how to cut it to dry optimally. Or any information on how to use a basic 5-layer warm-air/no fan dehydrator. So I am winging it. If it doesn't work I can easily return it to Value Village.

January 10/08 update: I got about 1 cup of leathery (i.e., perfect) dried mushrooms, but wasn't sure about storing them so I put them in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer.

For the first year that I lived in T-dot I made my own bread, for something to do and to save money (that was still when I ate a lot of bread on a regular basis. Now I just binge on it). When people asked me what kind of bread machine I used I just held up my hands.

I also make yogurt once in a while, but last summer I changed to a probiotic-low cholesterol plain yogurt, in hopes that my endo or GP wouldn't want to add at least a statin something-or-other to my already choking level of pills (mostly supplements).

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Roasting green coffee

Today I am roasting a few days' worth of green coffee beans from Papua New Guinea (Sigri locale). Though I'm not a real coffee aficionado, I started home-roasting about 8 years ago when I heard about Merchants of Green Coffee here in the T-dot. I love the idea of support fair-trade, shade-grown, organic, cooperative, sustainable coffee, where the co-op farmers sell the dried green beans directly to the Merchants, who sell them directly to me, for 8.00 CAD per pound.

(Fasting blood glucose 10.5/189. Not as bad as yesterday, but that's not saying much. I am going for a walk to pick up groceries and more wine.)

My favourite sport is badminton -- I played in the back yard with my brothers, and didn't realise for quite a while that for me it's a SPORT, not a pastime. I bought a membership to a karate dojo and went for a class about once a year for three years. Then I found a badminton club within walking distance of home, and found I got in shape really quickly while playing and having fun. I was able to get through a karate class more easily and started going about twice a week. I was THIS CLOSE to getting my blue belt when first my office moved downtown and then I moved downtown. My BGs haven't been any good since. So I've been walking past a Goju karate dojo for years now, and recently found a place to play badminton on Saturday afternoons.

Question: how did Haley Berry "wean" herself off insulin??

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Diabetes woes...

I'm a'feared to check my BG this morning. I had a nice 30-minute walk to meet a friend for dinner (not too cold out, about -4C). Then I took two steps back by having tiramisu for dessert (it WAS a lovely dinner). I admitted to my companion that I am diabetic and she said, "I won't tell about your dessert if you don't tell I'm trying to diet."

My symptoms: peripheral neuropathy (numbness on shins); lesions (twice in armpits, often inside nostrils); yeast and urinary tract infections (asymptomatic, diagnosed by urinalysis); high blood sugar in morning, of course; I've had blurry vision, but that's cleared up, etc. Low energy since I don't exercise enough.

I just tested at 14.2 mmol/dl (multiply by 18 for USians)--this is waaay high, but about average for me. Fasting blood glucose should be 6.0 or less, and 10.0 or less one hour afer eating. My last good reading was in early December (5.8). I had salad for dinner.

My BG meter is a Johnson&Johnson Lifescan OneTouch Ultrasmart. I have medical benefits from work, so most of my equipment and drug costs are covered.

I just bought the RealAge(tm) Workout book by Dr. Roizen. Since I smoke and have DM my "real age" is about 58. I started flossing daily (instead of weekly) last August--that will take a couple of years off (my calendar age is 51).

All for now -- wish me luck!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Handsome Stranger

Like Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in The Villain (1979), Handsome Stranger was named after his father. I stopped for coffee on a dreary late-November night (pouring rain) and the lady behind the counter asked me if I wanted a kitten. "No thanks, I just got one," I replied. Just come and take a look, she said. I had to get down on my knees to reach him from his puddle under the dumpster, where he'd been shivering for at least two nights. I stuffed him into my raincoat pocket and ran home with him (jouncing and mewling) and flung him right into a warm flea bath. I still had some baby rice cereal that I'd bought for Peabo, to mix with a canned kitten food just in case it was too rich for him.

He had an awful eye infection, but within a week of applying the vet's ointment it cleared up. Here he's about 9 weeks old. He snorgles me endlessly.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Introductions to KarenInTo and her cats, and her diabetes

My name's Karen, I live in Toronto (the T-dot), Ontario, Canada, and I have Type 2 diabetes and four cats. I'm sorry if you were looking for information on diabetes in cats and landed here (none of mine suffer from this chronic condition). But I'm glad if, searching for diabetes persons, you found me and the fur pals. Here's the lowdown, in no particular order:

  • I'm a technical writer and editor for a good-sized Canadian-owned company based here in the T-dot.
  • I've belonged to the Editors' Association of Canada (Toronto branch) for going on 6 years, and it's all been fun. www.editors.ca/toronto
  • I graduated from the University of Guelph in 1979 (BA in English). I don't bother with alumni affairs so don't ask.
  • I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in January, 1995. First it was called Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT), and for a few years I did really well (gots lots of exercise and watched my diet pretty closely).
  • I've had my own (as opposed to Family) cat(s) since 1980. They are, in order of acquisition): MacIntosh (from a pet store for $6; 1980-1999), Fluffy ("just for a few weeks, honest;" 1987-2005), Chess (adopted at the ripe cat age of 14 or so; 198?-2000); Bwai and Gril (2000-); Fiasco T. Peabrain (2006-), Handsome Stranger (2006-). When I figure out how to post images you can see them.

January 10 update: OMG!1! I forgot my fave cat, Tuk. I got my dad to drive me back to college early after (Canadian) Thanksgiving (around 12 October, 1974), and the poor guy (about 6 months old) was trapped in my dorm hallway. I adopted him immediately. He was the best cat, and came to a bad end (around Oct. '76) after I left him at my parents' house when I moved to Ottawa to fail again. 'Nuff said.

My reasons for starting this blog are varied:

  • I tried Facebook and felt like I was sitting in a window in Amsterdam's red light district. I got a few hits from friends and former co-workers, but I deactivated my account the same evening.
  • Only a couple of people at work know that I'm diabetic (in fact, they might all be gone). Since I stopped my regular vigorous exercise (doubles badminton, yoga, tai chi, long walks, Shotokan karate) I can't keep my blood sugar under control, I'm afraid to test in the morning, I don't follow the diet regimen, and I'm starting to suffer symptoms I can't attribute to anything but high BGs. I figure if I start to publicize my condition in a small way, I will get SMART finally and not pretend that there's no effect to not monitoring and taking control.

Fiasco T. Peabrain

This is an excellent spam or kitten name that I made up. After Fluffy died of chronic renal failure and the housemate left with his cat I decided I needed another one to kind of balance things out. Peabo is lying on top of the kitchen cabinet over the fridge.

If you don't know, kittens are as ubiquitous as spam. They don't sleep through the night until they are at least five years old. The Toronto Humane Society recently stopped, for the first time due to overcrowding, accepting cats, since they are full up.

I didn't mention Scuffy/Mr. Jones/Boss Cat/Old Guy (shown here letting me pat him). He is an intact tom that lives under my porch and is fed (often several times a day) by me and a few neighbours. I was away for 5 days at Christmas and he actually came running up to greet me. I can't believe I expend about a cup of premium vet food (about $37.00 per 4 kg bag) on this battle-scarred warrior (he's about 3 years old, and might be Peabo's daddy). So I guess I actually have five cats, except Scuffy doesn't count until I bring him in the house.

Yes, we's workin'.

OK, I've discovered how to post images, but I believe I'll have to edit them to take up less memory. This is me and Handsome Stranger (named after his father, ha ha). He did not need training to jump from wherever to my chest or shoulder, he does it naturally, especially when my back is turned. And he loves to drape himself on my neck and snooze while I read the paper in the morning, or while I'm doing the crossword puzzle, or when I watch TV (hardly ever these days). At one year and a few months he's hardly half grown... Here he is alerted to a house sparrow in the back yard.
Here's how it went: in fall 2005 I got a laser/USB Logitech mouse, and of course I couldn't get a driver for it. I discovered I needed to finally upgrade my OS from Win98 to WinXP to use the mouse, so I did that. This included the requirement for a new digital cameral shortly after Fiasco T. Peabrain (Peabo) joined the household so I could post photos of the little madman (did I already say I like to take pictures? I have several Yashica SLRs and lenses that I don't use any more). Then I had to upgrade my scanner software so I could still use the PS2 scanner. Then I had to upgrade my MS Office, and so on. Then I bought a Toshiba notebook with WinXP and don't really need that old Compaq tower, except the scanner and new USB printer (HP LaserJet) attached to it, but that's only black and white...
I took this self-portrait with my half-priced Canon PowerShot SD430 Digital Elph Wireless (quite a name for a camera with such a useless piece-o-shit needs-recharging-every-10-minutes battery).