Monday, April 30, 2012

Difficult to work with

I've been in and out of jobs for most of my career. Not one job I regret and every job gave me another insight in working with both men and women of all different kinds of backgrounds. Some jobs gave me colleagues, while on other jobs, I had to work very closely with my employer and no co-workers. I like to do both. Personal contact is important to me, but at the same time tricky, since you can become so close it becomes difficult to draw the line between employer and friend.

Talking with my sister-in-law about jobs and colleagues, she noticed how wonderful it is to work with men only. No jealousy on the job, no arguments, no non-sense. The men working with her, are happy with her presence and they welcome the alternations she brings. She's a happy employer and her boss is pleased to have her.

It made me think things over. What's a good employer? Or employee? How can one improve himself so you are easier to work with? When is it time to draw the line between work and home? Do you tell personal things or do you prefer to keeps things to yourself? Can your employer call you at home on your days off? Interesting.. Those are not things you would write down on your CV, but still it is important on the job.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Money down the drain

Do you have that same experience, that kitchen appliances bought on TV or on the market are nothing but a waste of money? Have you ended up with devices you have stored away somewhere deep down in your cabinets? Were you embarrassed for the money that went down the drain when you bought that kitchen utensil? I know what you mean.. Those kitchen appliances seem like heaven when demonstrated by professional sellers. They even make you try out the tool right there on the spot. You are being praised like the best chef ever. But of course, when you come home, you all of a sudden become the most clumsy person around. Things don't work the way they were promised. Your mood alters and the catch is no longer that promising. So you hide it in your cabinets, never to appear on your countertop again.

Despite good intentions, my sister-in-law and I were attracted by the presentation of the Nicer Dicer Plus. I had seen the device on TV, earlier that week and I had looked it up on the Internet to check it out. I thought it was pretty awesome, but too expensive (knowing that I have plenty of kitchen appliances). I was interested to hear the market price. No shipping costs and there was a way to try it out for yourself. Yes, we bought one each. My fridge was loaded with crispy vegetables and the fruit bowl was screaming for fruit salad. As soon as I came home, I emptied the fridge and diced up my first cucumber-tomato salad with the Nicer Dicer Plus. The cubes came out real well: truly fine brunoise. Loved it! So I kept going and decided we were going to have stir-fry for dinner. The appliance gave me perfect coarse cubes of zucchini, pepper, onion, carrots, cauliflower. Awesome! American potato wedges, scalloped potatoes, quartered hard boiled eggs: it does the trick!
Just rinsed the blades and the container, before I cubed and sliced the ingredients for a summer fruit salad: mango, pineapple, grapes, apple and melon. Yes, this device is going to cut it! I'm happy! I hear my sister-in-law is as excited. It's been in the dishwasher several times by now and I'm looking forward to using it again. Let me come up with some recipes to fill our plates with perfectly chopped veggies!

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Don't you just love one liners and quotes? They make me laugh out loud, but most of the time I can't remember them. So let me write some down. I'll complement the list along the line.

If the wife's happy, life's happy.

Marriage is a relationship in which one is always right and the other is the husband.

Anyone can make you happy by doing something special.
Only someone special can make you happy without doing anything.

Trust your instinct.

I still think 1990 was ten years ago.

Love me for who I am.

Good morning, have a nice day.

Have you hugged someone today?

A clean house is a sign of no internet connection.

The best way to make your dreams come true,
is to wake up.

A woman can be your best friend or your worst nightmare.
It all depends on how you treat her.

I want to be your favorite hello and your hardest goodbye.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dish of the day

Or should I say: dishes of the day?

Am I a foodie? I know I love to talk about food and I love to eat. Baking and cooking is no ordeal for me and grocery shopping is so relaxing. Making monthly menus is exciting, since I don't want to eat the same breakfast/lunch/dinner in one month. It's a challenge to come up with new recipes and to satisfy the crowd. There aren't many days where I don't prepare several dishes. Most of the time, my food is different from the meals I serve my family. I don't eat much meat, but I do eat my greens. The wok is never far away and my grill pan is showing some wear and tear. I try to consult my family when it comes to dinner plans. What would they like to eat? Most of the time, they say: whatever you feel like cooking... DUH! wrong answer... if that's what they want, they will have to eat loads of veggies, no meat, quinoa or couscous. Not exactly their cup of tea. So they'd better speak up and tell me what they want. To me, it doesn't matter what they want me to cook. As long as they enjoy their plate.
I understand my meals are not that common. They are not the usual dish of the day you would find in a diner. I like to be challenged though. I'm not a banger and applesauce kind of person. Too boring for me. I don't mind cooking it for others, if they will let me eat my own dishes. Talking to my friends and sisters-in-law, I understand that them too prefer my way of eating. More and more people try to change their eating habits. Who says the only way of eating consists of potatoes, meat and veggies? Why do we need bread in our diet? There are so many other products to enjoy. And... naaaah... I get it. Let's stop talking about food. I'm getting hungry here. Let's check that fridge and see what kind of fruit salad I could make.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I'm still 40 years old. That is, for some more months. There used to be a time where I would tell myself I wouldn't grow older than 50. It helped me make the best of my life. On the assumption that you won't lead a long life, you try to live your life to the fullest. I'm only 10 years away from that dreadful 50. Have I lived my life to its full capacity until now? Good question..

There have been some ups and downs along the line. There have been multiple highlights as well. Every decade has some stories to tell. Some are better than others, but they make my life worth living and life experience is what it brings you. There aren't much things I regret. I would regret regretting things. I'm an impulsive person and that sometimes brings me into awkward situations. But we survive and we move on.

I would like to recapitulate the last decade. Nearly 10 years ago, I was working a fulltime job as a clerk and a parttime job in our local daycare center. Around that time, I got diagnosed with diabetes T1 and it turned my world upside down. Our children were only 5 and 7 back then and I feared I wouldn't see them grow up. I thought I would lose sight over time or have my limbs amputated. My kidneys would definitely fail at filtering the waste out of my body. It scared the hell out of me.. I lost both my jobs and had to go back to school to retrain myself. For a number of years, I worked my way around two hospitals, before I traded my insulin pens for my insulin pump. It surprises me how many events over the years are situated around the diabetes. The insulin pump gave me more freedom (I stopped working in the hospitals around that same time) and a better quality of life. The children grew taller and they became more independent. I had time to expand the group of friends around me and do what I liked to do most: cook and bake, shop, socialize, .. Looking back, it seems like ages ago. Time flies and we'd better make the most of it. My body has grown older too, but I feel great and slim and attractive. Maybe like good wine? No, seriously. I enjoy life and I enjoy my family and friends. There's no crystal ball to predict the upcoming 10 years and I'm happy for that. I live by the day and take the days as they come. Cherishing the good moments and forgetting about the less. Thank you all for coming along on my road. There are so many intersections to cross and knowing each one of you is somewhere along the line to step along, is hopeful and comforting. That's the meaning of life. Thank you all for your involvement and care.

Photo Lana Joos

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What would life be like..

... if you weren't able to speak?
... if you weren't able to walk?
... if you weren't able to sing?
... if you weren't able to tell a joke?
... if you weren't able to dance?
... if you weren't able to go to school?
... if you weren't able to watch TV?
... if you weren't able to ..

Then you would enjoy the little things even more.. You would enjoy..

... every stroke on your cheek
... people talking to you
... being sung to
... the warm moment of sitting in someone's lap
... being cuddled
... the sound of your family coming home after work
... the daylight, seen from your chair by the window
... the love given to you
... life as it comes..

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

For free!

I bet that title drew your attention. Most people turn their heads when they hear something's for free. But how about giving something for free instead of receiving free items? Would you consider that as an option? Or do you refuse in advance?

I have worked as a volunteer for some time. It's a bit different from working on the payroll. The feeling is different and so is the pay cheque of course. I know not everyone is in the situation to be able to work as a volunteer. I have been given those chances and I'm glad I got to choose. Working as a volunteer is so fulfilling. My job as a fulltime assistant in our local nursing home, was something I really liked to do. The residents were so grateful for your free time. And to me, it didn't feel like work, because the contents of my job was different all the time.

But sometimes, working as a volunteer has to come to an end. Sometimes it's necessary to get paid for what you do. That's something I'm working on. Of course it feels good if you get money for what you do. Although I would do the exact same job if I weren't paid. It's so hard to set boundaries when to work as a volunteer and when a job has to be paid. But I guess it's time to move on and get a paid job for a change. I guess I've done my share. Now it's time to make some money again..  To be continued.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Those were the days my friend..

My BlackBerry, notebook, iPad, GPS system, even my insulin pump. I wouldn't know what I would do without these devices. Using them on a daily basis, I wonder how I got around without. Okay, making phone calls with a regular phone instead of a smartphone worked as well. But there was no memory to hold your recipes, contacts, address book, grocery lists. It was different, because you couldn't drag your house phone along. But then again, you didn't get phone calls at the most random hours either. There were moments you never got bothered by text messages, because nobody had ever heard of text messages. Anyway, I never leave the house without my cell phone.
The notebook is something else. It's dated and I'm looking forward to buying a newer version. It's getting slower by the day and it refuses to perform every now and then. Notebooks are expensive though and I would like my MacBook to be replaced by another one. So I will need to save money (darn.... I suck at saving money...) if I want to achieve this goal. I might have found a way though. We'll try to hang on and see if it will work.
Then there's the iPad 2. I was not really interested in getting one. But I got an offer I couldn't refuse, so two iPads found their way around this household. It's awesome to be able to go online whenever you feel like it. No boundaries, no limits. Love it. No more reading the same magazines in the waiting room of the doctor's office. Because there's always an e-book waiting for me on the iPad. I can blog on the road, check my recipes, contact my online friends. My calendar stays up to date and it's easy to write down notes on the job. It's always in my handbag for unforeseen spare moments.
My GPS was cheap but it comes in handy all the time. I use it very often, probably at least every 2 days. It's always on the window screen and it brings me all around the country. Most of the time, I don't have a clue where I am, since the GPS shows me the way. By no means can I read a map. I would be really lost - literally - without my GPS.
My insulin pump is the one device I could never ever give up on. It keeps me alive and to me it's no luxury item. It's a necessity. I would not like to go back to the time where I used insulin pens. It was good back then, but once you're used to a pump.. Some people see it as a disadvantage to be hooked up to a device 24/7. To me, it's an advantage. Can't forget your pump.. It's always there, just like your pancreas. Your pancreas doesn't need batteries like ours, but then again, you have no skin covers for yours... How about that????

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Help! I need somebody!

Ppppfffff.... I hate riddles. I hate mathematics or difficult puzzles. I just can't concentrate or find the energy to focus. It's always been like that. If it can't hold my attention, I don't even bother. If I were given this kind of riddle on a math exam, I would just have drawn a diagonal line through the whole thing and handed in my paper.

This riddle needs to be solved before we can do our next geocaching. I'm lost already. The first one is solved, but I have no idea about the following questions. They are all too tricky for me. I prefer language over math, but no language is involved in this game. Hmhmh... maybe it's time for me to broaden my horizon and learn to focus on things I'm not that good at. That is, if nobody else can help me out. So I'm asking you: who can solve this riddle for me? There must be at least one whizz kid out there?

I'm waiting for your mail! I'm curious to see how many of you will find the solution.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The story of my life

I understand diabetes is a subject that is on my mind on a daily basis. After all, diabetes is a lifestyle and it keeps you (well, me since this is my blog..) busy 24/7. A long time ago, my first endocrinologist told me the diabetes controlled my life. I had to step back and loosen the ties a bit. But how do you do that? I poke my fingers 8 times a day, on an average day. Do they expect me to check my blood glucose only 4 times a day? I count carbs around every mealtime. Should I skip the counting for breakfast or lunch and only count my dinner carbs? Yes, I have quite a few friends with diabetes and yes, they are important to me. Because they relate. They don't need you to explain over and over again what it means to have low blood glucose or to be exhausted after a day full of fluctuating numbers. They help you get sugar when you are too distracted by a low episode. They know how intense good treatment is. They understand that the possible future complications are a big deal and not something to mess with. You can't really understand if you're not in the same situation. Talking to my D-friends gives me hope. It calms me down and it motivates me to go on. My numbers aren't always the best and that is so exhausting. It takes courage and effort and a whole lot of energy to keep going. You don't always want to nag about your diabetes at home. It's of no use to them if you fluctuate or not. There's nothing they can do to make you feel better or to get better numbers. Those are subjects I prefer to discuss with my diabetes nurse or my diabetic friends. Without scaring each other, we can talk about almost anything. It feels familiar.. some of my D-friends have become family. I love them like I keep my family in my heart. They are important to me like I matter to them. We stand by each others side. I'm grateful for my family like I'm grateful for my friends. Life would be a whole lot harder if I would have nobody to turn to.. It's not easy to find the right balance between family and friends, home and going out...

Friday, April 20, 2012

News you can use

I got this phonecall. If I was interested in sharing my experience with others. It involved diabetes and to be more specific: living your life hooked up to an insulin pump. I have been pumping for nearly 6 years now, so I can say I have some relevant information to share. Over the years I have shared my life with 3 different devices. They were my life savers, really. They provided my body with insulin throughout the day and at each mealtime. The insulin pump makes my life a whole lot more flexible. I was thankful for my insulin pens as well, don't get me wrong. But things were different back then. I had to follow a more strict regime of eating same amounts of food around the same time. I hated that way of life. I am young and free and I like to go out with friends. It was no fun if I had to inject insulin and eat beforehand so my bloodsugar wouldn't drop. I never minded shooting up insulin at the table in a restaurant, but the pump gives me so much more freedom. I am no longer bound to scheduled mealtimes. If I want to skip a meal or eat an extra snack, my pump helps me to stay tuned. The representative of my pump company is a good guy. We got along from day one and he has been a great help so far. So I did not hesitate when he asked me to help him out with this workshop on the pump. He asked me if I knew another speaker, who had recently made the transfer to the pump. I had one person in mind. A young man who got his insulin pump just last November. For 17 years, he had been shooting up insulin with syringes, twice a day. Trading his syringes for a pump, is probably the best move he could have done in his diabetes career. His life has improved and freedom lurked just around the corner. So the two of us agreed on speaking in public, for a group of adults who were interested in a new life with an insulin pump. It was not my first workshop on diabetes, but for my friend it was a whole new experience. I had faith that he would do well. His knowledge on the pump technology is so much better than mine. He understands the logic behind the scenes and that is something I lack. We made a good team and the audience was excited and interested. It's fulfilling if you can help others make a decision for the better. I wish our mutual girlfriend would dare to jump into the deep and say: okay, I'll give it a shot (how ironic was that?).
I'm curious to find out if our presentation had an impact or not. We were not there to convince others of the advantages of pumping insulin, but being a huge fan myself, I'm sure the enthusiasm was catching.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Turning back time

Our youngest daughter is doing a school project on her grandparents. She's going through the family pictures and writing down stories on the family tree. She's fascinated by the snapshots of her grandparent's wedding. What a doll grandma was.. She was gorgeous and slim and so in love with her hero. They have grown older over the years, having raised 5 children. In a house, where all family members are welcome, we like to sit together and enjoy a pleasant afternoon. The 9 grandchildren bring joy into the life of their grandparents. They are their love and pride.

Grandma, you are still a beautiful woman. You are loving and caring and your heart is warm enough to feed us all. The children love to come for a sleepover and they always look forward to being around you. Today is your birthday. A memorable one: 70 years old. When I was a teen, I thought 50 was old. But I know better now. Even at the age of 70, you are not old. Not at all. You are still very active. Going out with your girlfriends, taking dance classes, looking after your grandchildren and helping out in the neighborhood, you lead a fulfilling life and I think you wouldn't want it any other way.

Have a very happy birthday grandma. We love you xxx

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The final countdown

I'm sure you know them. Those songs that keep twirling around in your head as soon as you have heard the first notes. They are so annoying but very present. Some songs are just impossible to get out of your head. There are some songs I have in mind, but I refuse to think about them, since they would take over my mind right away. They would fill my head with crazy tunes and disturbing beats. I really don't want to think about those songs. I don't even want to look at the title of this blog, since it's one of those songs. Aaarrggghhhh! I've said it! And now it's in my head.. It's the final countdown.. tudududu.. tudududu.. seriously.. Can you hear it? I bet you can! Wanna hear another one? It might make the first one disappear. How about the Ketchup Song? Aserejè ja de jè de jebe tu de jebere seibiounouva majavi an de bugui an de buididipi.. Are you lost already? I bet you had no idea what the exact lyrics were, but you sang along anyway, didn't you? It's gonna stay there throughout your day! Trust me! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It was interesting to say the least

I did it!! I'm so proud of me! My friend took another friend and myself geocaching in Vlaams-Brabant. He had organized this game for us and his enthusiasm was so catching we couldn't stay behind. My other friend was even more eager to find out about this game, so he tried out some geocaching on his own in the days prior to D-day. Leaving me behind as the only geocaching-virgin..
I didn't mind though. I knew I was in good hands and we had 3 GPS's handy, so I was sure we were not going to get lost.

It was freezing cold and the wind was torturing our heads and hands. For once, I had traded my high heels for more comfortable ankle boots. That was definitely a very good idea. The narrow paths weren't that muddy, but absolutely not convenient if you were wearing your best high heels. I don't get the coordinate thing at all. It's too mathematical for me, so I leave that up to the boys. But I did enjoy the walk and the game and the treasure hunting. Okay, I didn't find any treasure myself, but at least I helped looking for it. I had no idea how many attributes you need when you are geocaching. Must haves: a torch, to take good peeks inside dead trees ; a mirror, to see the small sign underneath the railing of a rusty bridge ; a good camera, in case you want to take a picture of the hints instead of writing them down ; drinks and food - you never know how long the walk will take and you do not want to run out of water or food. You need extra glucose strips and glucose tablets too. That is, if you're a diabetic of course. Haha! it would be a bit silly to carry those around and not be a diabetic. The three of us were amongst the lucky bastards to have picked the winning lottery ticket saying: you have diabetes. There was no need to worry about holding up others because your blood sugar is low. It didn't matter if you had cookies while the others were not ready to snack yet. The empty containers of our glucose strips make the perfect box to hide little treasures or hints in for future geocaching.

My whippet girls enjoyed the afternoon just like we did. They had a great time, running around the fields and the narrow paths. Trying to avoid close contact with mules and woolly lambs, I let them run free whenever I got the chance. I would definitely love to take them along next time. Yes, you heard me all right: next time. That means that I really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to the serial. That is if you will have me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The tam-tam did its job

What I intended with one of my previous blogs, worked real well. Since I no longer have Google Analytics, I wanted to know who reads my blog. Several people addressed me about the tattoo I got this week. They wanted to know where I got it or if it was painful to have it done. They were curious about the design, but since it's in a really private place, I wasn't able to show them. I can tell you my oldest daughter was furious about this impulsive act. She had already suspected I would come home with a design on my body. So it didn't come as a surprise to her. But like I stated: she was outraged. Said she was going to tell her dad right away.
I was having coffee with my mother-in-law, when I heard one of my sisters-in-law had asked about the tattoo. See? Told you.. the tam-tam did its job. It didn't take very long to spread the rumor. Internet is a great medium to let people know what's going on in your life. But as you could read in yesterday's blog: do not always believe what's on the Internet. Trust your instinct and think for yourself. It's up to you to decide whether the tattoo is real or not.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Now tell me..

Do you believe everything you read on the Internet? Let's face it. The Internet is full of information and it's a great resource if you're trying to find whatever you may be looking for. If I need correct information, I try Wikipedia, although I hear their information isn't always that correct either. But it's a very good start. There are so many tales and there's a lot of crap on the Internet as well. It's up to you to decide what you want to believe and what you believe to be misleading.

There used to be a time where we had to go to the library to find the information we needed for school projects. There were encyclopedia - who still owns an encyclopedia these days? do you? - and other books, but that was about all the information we could lay our hands on. Now youngsters don't even think of looking something up in a book. They prefer Google and Wikipedia. It is an endless resource after all and pretty much up to date. It doesn't mean you don't have to be critical. Think about what you read and try to find out what's correct and what's not. Try other resources. Talk to people. Ask for their opinion. Discuss the subject with friends and see what they can come up with. It may become an interesting discussion and it may open your point of view to something else. Just give it a go.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mystic Mojos

Mystic Mojos
A group of 5 young men come together to play their music and have a good time. A mix of retro rock and blues is what makes their hearts tick. Their enthusiasm is catching. Their music wants to make you wiggle your hips. The first demo is ready. It holds 4 terrific songs. My heart goes out to Harder to find. You close the curtains to my soul, you fill my holes, you clean my soul, you make me better than you.. you make me harder to find. I close my eyes and the lyrics stay put in my head. The heart follows the beat and I mimic along to the rhythm. The joy of listening to the harmonica, played by the singer, brings a smile on my face. These guys rock! Everybody's stranger is worth listening to as well. The band may be local, but their music is worldly. They perform on a regular basis and more fans are following their agenda.
I used to go out in this pub - at the age of 18 - where this kind of music was highly appreciated. I'm sure the owner would have invited this band multiple times and the crowd would have gone wild. I would have found my spot on the barstool and my fingers would have tapped along. Easy strolling' huh?
Small detail: the handsome singer of the Mystic Mojos joins us for dinner every now and then. Our oldest daughter fell in love with him (how could she not?) and they have been a couple for over a year now. It's a gift if you're talented enough to entertain others. Music is a great way to express yourself. I ordered myself a couple of demos. Guess what CD will be on in my car for the next couple of weeks? Exactly! Don't forget to order your copy! Send your order and he'll get back to you. Like their page on Facebook. And in the mean time? Keep rockin'!

Friday, April 13, 2012

I toy with the idea

My friend asked me if I wanted to join her to the tattoo shop. She was going to get her second tattoo. A small black and white retro ribbon between her shoulder blades. She was a bit anxious and I had nothing scheduled that afternoon, so yes, I joined her. The girls warned me not to even think about getting one myself. As if!

I was nervous for her.. She was a bit giggly at first, but as soon as the tattoo guy displayed the design he had in mind for her, she relaxed and took a seat, cowgirl style. He needed to work on her back and it's easier if you sit than lay down. I loved the design. He asked if she wouldn't consider a red ribbon, but no, she preferred the colors she had in mind. Along the progress of the art work, we discussed other people's ideas on tattoos. I must admit, I had toyed with the idea of getting a small one myself. So I interrupted Mr Jumpneedle and asked him how long it would take him to sketch me a small design. My friend looked at me like: WTF? Just askin', just askin', I signed. He wanted to finish her ribbon first, but soon after that, he drew me what I had asked for. Well it wasn't really a drawing. It was just the short for Type 1 diabetes: T1. That's exactly what I wanted. And I had already thought about the spot where I wanted him to print it. In the groin, on the right side. He told me that was a fragile spot and it might hurt more than on my arm or back. But no, I didn't want to show the whole world, so I wanted a private spot to have my very own T1 tattoo. He informed me that it wouldn't take more than 20 min to get it, if I wanted it. And he had no more scheduled appointments that day. So if I was willing..?

I'm happy with the result. It's small. It's meaningfull (that is to me and that's all that matters). Italic font. Black. No fuss, actually very sèc. It stings a bit and it shows some redness. But I hear that won't last long. I have to use antibiotic cream for a couple of days and it may itch for a whole week, but by then, the healing process should be starting. Wow.. I never thought I would really go through with this.. Thanks to my friend.. Darn..

Thursday, April 12, 2012

There's a first time for everything

I still can't believe I agreed to do this...
I believe I'm the most unsportsmanlike person on this planet. Really... I hate sports. It doesn't do anything for me. No adrenalin rush, no good feeling afterwards, no weight loss, no better condition whatsoever. Did I mention the boredom sports brings me? How boring can it be? I can't keep my jaws from yawning while working out. Well, that is.. some decades ago I signed up to go to the gym. I even went 3 times a week and every single time I had to drag myself to go. I hated it from day one, every single minute. Not one person has been able to convince me of the contrary. I just don't get it. It's not my cup of tea.

My friend has a new hobby. They call it geocaching. Let me guess? You have never heard of it? That's exactly what I thought. I'll give you a short briefing. Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices. After the hunt, they share their experiences online. I assume you understand where I'm headed to? Exactly.. my friend has made me enthusiastic for this "hobby" (I refuse to call it sports, since I do not want to dislike it beforehand), by sharing his adventures. I do admit: it sounds appealing. He is as much a sportsman as I am (read: so not in to sports), but he loves this game. So yes, this Sunday, we're going to hunt for our first treasure. I really can't believe I'm going to wear hiking boots (where on Earth will I get those?? I'm so not buying hiking boots!) and a backpack on my raincoat. Cheese and rice... Really.. But nevertheless - I should use a smaller font now - I'm looking forward to the game (no, I'm not going to call it a walk - sports, remember?). There's a first time for everything. I'll get back to you. With or without the treasure..

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Looking forward to the challenge

Your daddy called you his little Princess in his email. You're a beautiful girly girl, with the multiple hairpins matching your colorful outfits. You love to be fiddled with and you're so huggable I can't keep my hands from stroking your arms and legs. When I got the chance to lift you out of your relaxation chair, I realized how light you were. We sat down together, sunken in soft pillows on the comfortable couch. The grey blanky you got around birth, wrapped around your body. Your head rested on my shoulder and I let you suck your pacifier so you could take a nap. Your beautiful brown eyes with the long and thick lashes - you would make the perfect model for Maybelline mascara - were looking around. You don't recognize my voice yet, so I tried not to speak too much. I just patted your back and rocked you back and forth on my lap. You were a little anxious at first, but we hung on, the two of us. It gave your daddy the time to do some domestic chores around the house. And we could have some quality time together.
Your daddy was right, when he called you his little Princess. You are so precious. Not able to speak or communicate, but still beautiful. It was absolutely terrific to see that grin on your face when your favorite song was playing on the CD player. Head, shoulder, knees and toes, knees and toes. You just love that song! Shiny eyes and a broad smile makes it worthwhile. Thank you for letting me into your world. It will make me a better person. Looking forward to our next get together..

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Don't take your health for granted

Whoever says diabetes is not a big deal, has no idea what he's talking about. It's not just shooting up insulin or taking tablets. It's a whole lot more than that.
Whoever doesn't have a chronic disease, has no idea what it's like, to have the sword of Damocles hanging over your head. It's a bigger deal than they will ever know.
If you're not familiar with poor health, you have no idea how grateful you should be. In this world of luxury and wealth, anything is for sale. Except for health.. Doesn't matter how much money you earn. If you have a chronic disease that keeps you from leading a "normal" life, you would do anything to get help and make the disease go away.. But that's not how it works. You know the meaning of the word "chronic". It means "for life". It means, it won't go away, ever. In that thought, a couple of my friends decided to have a medical tattoo imprinted on their body, stating they have type 1 diabetes. One of them had his tattoo just yesterday. I'm so curious to see the outcome! This kind of tattoo is different from other tattoos. I'm sure those have a meaning too, but a tattoo out of a medical point of view, is just different.

Nearly two weeks ago, I saw a talk show on a cure for diabetes. This Dutch scientist has been working on a solution for over 30 years. He's getting there. He's convinced the solution will be found within a couple of years. Then what? Will this chronic disease no longer be "forever"? What about the tattoo after the cure has been found?

I do believe a cure will be found, one day. Maybe we'll be healed, maybe we won't. But deep down in my heart, I will always remain a diabetic. It has made me who I am nowadays. A large part of my friends are diabetics as well. I cherish them. All of them. With or without tattoo..

Monday, April 9, 2012

I wanna be a billionaire

What would you do if you came home to a house that was scattered with dollars? Would you stay calm as a cucumber or would you freak out and walk on the ceiling with joy?

It's a saying we often hear: if only I were a billionaire.. But would life be so different if you had that kind of money? Would you be happier? It would sure make some things easier. I mean, if you wouldn't have to worry about bills getting paid in time or if money would not be an issue in picking your next summer holiday. But would it really make your life easier? On the contrary I would think.. How would you cope with all those people on your doorstep, begging for a piece of the pie? Would you be able to resist them or would you give each one of them a gewgaw just to satisfy their needs? What if someone would ask you to pay for the medication of a severely sick child? Would your heart open up for these people? Would you refuse money to an addict who lost all of his possessions because of his addiction?

Maybe we should all be happier with less. They say less is more. More wealth, in a different manner. Money matters. As long as it doesn't get more important than happiness..

FYI: no, this is not my house.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring clean

I have this urge to clean house.. Unbelievable and so not me, I admit. But still, my kitchen cabinets could use some soapy water and I want to sort out the inventory of the cupboards. Cabinet by cabinet, I empty the contents and wash down the shelves. Some cabinets take more time than others, depending on what's in them. The one with the cook books is a total disaster. I pick up my books, go through them, sit down and start wandering off.. I loose track of time and the soap water is cold where it used to be hot when I started the chore. The oven is preheating and chocolate chip cookies find their spot on the baking tray. The house smells of vanilla and toasted nuts and chocolate and my mind is drifting off.. The house will get cleaned, I promise. My head needs to be dusted out as well.. Let's see what my priority is..

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I just love Japanese cuisine. The pure taste of fresh food and lots of crunchy vegetables is so appealing to me. A whole new world opens up when you have the courage to enter a Japanese restaurant and let your taste buds get used to sashimi, wakame, yakitori or even the pickled daikon that accompanies the dishes. Your eyes will tear up when that little lump of wasabi hits the inside of your nostrils. Thin slices of pickled ginger soaked in soy sauce are a necessity if you want to have sushi rolls. Don't be hesitant to try out those chopsticks. It doesn't matter if you are clumsy at first. You'll get the hang of it. It will definately help you eat slower and less and it's fun to hold those chopsticks between your fingers. If you have absolutely no idea what to order, ask your waiter what he recommends or try different samplers to see what you like the best. You will be surprised by the new sensations of these dishes. Make a reservation at Amatsu Japanese restaurant in Gent to broaden your culinary trip around the world. You won't regret it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

I owe it all to you

Since I have changed hospitals (June 2010), I got a new diabetes nurse. From day one, I knew we were going to get along well. I never expected our bond to become that close though. Cell phone numbers got exchanged and numerous phone calls later, I could say she had become a good friend.

My diabetes nurse is a clever cookie. Since I've been seeing her, my diabetes treatment has improved quite a bit. She guides me well and she explains why she adjusts my insulin pump the way she does. She has an immense memory and she startles me with her knowledge. I love to go see her. Normally diabetics dread to go see their diabetes team, because they do not wish to see the disapproving finger. They don't want to be nagged at or lose their motivation and courage. My nurse knows that life with diabetes isn't always easy. She knows the effort and energy it takes to keep the numbers within range. She doesn't treat us like toddlers but takes us seriously and listens to what we have to say. I can say we, since I'm not her only patient. Quite a bit of my diabetic friends see this same nurse and they all share that same experience.

I'm seeing her today. I've been looking forward to this appointment. My numbers haven't been the best lately, but I know she will understand. She'll get me back on track. Thanks for putting so much effort in us diabetics!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

When I was a little girl..

I would play with my toys and sing songs and clap my hands. I would go for a walk with my siblings, help bake cookies in the kitchen or watch television. Just the normal things little girls do: fiddle with their hair, dress up and wear mom's high heels. Not all little girls are the same though..

Last Sunday, I met a beautiful 4 yo girl, with big bright eyes and glossy hair. I had no idea her long, thick eye lashes were a symptom of her disorder. She was relaxing in her custom made chair, looking out over a neat garden with a swing, set up for her and her younger brother. She was dressed to the nines, in bright colors, to suit the Spring season. I got to strike her leg and for a moment, she glanced at me. We connected instantly. Her parents told me about her condition. The only part of PCH (pontocerebellar hypoplasia) type 2 I understood, was cerebellar, meaning something was terribly wrong with the brain of this little girl. How could this beautiful child not be perfect? A genetic defect made her the way she is. Being transferred to mom's lap, she was so calm and at ease. I asked her mom if my perfume would distract or bother her. She told me her little girl had no discomfort when it came to perfume. Although she can't speak or communicate else than cry - which she only does when something's not right - she and her husband know their young daughter better than anybody else ever will. I have nothing but deep respect for this family. I admire the way they have altered their life to give their baby the best care possible. A hectic schedule of care takers, physiotherapists, visits to the hospital,.. keeps this family going. Both parents have their special one-on-one time with their daughter. Time they wouldn't want to trade with anybody else. Because this physical contact is so important to them and to this young girl. She loves to be cuddled and fiddled with. She likes you to read to her or sing her favorite songs. Falling asleep in your lap, is what she prefers.

This young girl can teach me things about life. She can teach me about the importance of loving unconditionally. Her personality will bring me down to earth again. She's a special child. Grabbing and pinching my finger told us she chose me to be her next care taker. I'm looking forward to our next encounter.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cooked to perfection

That is not exactly my goal. There's always room for improvement. Bedrock recipes are easy to start with though. And let that be what I've been doing for the last couple of months. On so many occasions, I had to go through all of my cookbooks and recipes to find that one special recipe I was looking for. There are numerous of handwritten recipes and I even have a recipe book software program on my notebook. But still, that was not how I wanted to keep my recipes handy. That's when I had this Aha-erlebnis.. In comparison with this blog, I decided to keep a cooking blog as well. What a great way to collect all of my favorite recipes in one place! Every day, I post a family recipe and our oldest daughter does a good job at making pictures of the outcome. I hear that many readers are happy with the concept and they like to try out my recipes. My inspiration is so never ending! I'm thrilled about this project and it keeps me cooking and baking. I know some people will comment the ingredients I use. I want to state that my cooking blog is not a diabetes cooking blog. I'm not convinced that diabetics should stick to a sugar free diet but I do agree they shouldn't overdo it either (neither should non-diabetics). So some recipes are an overload of sugar and fat, but those are recipes for special occasions. We don't need treats on a daily basis. I sometimes make dessert for the people around me, not having any myself. That doesn't bother me at all. All I want to do is cook and bake and make others enjoy my hobby.

So if you are interested in recipes and cooking/baking, feel free to follow my cooking blog. I'll be happy to have you prepare some of my ideas.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'm stronger than yesterday

When you told me your loneliness is no longer killing you, it made me happy instantly. Hearing that you are much stronger than yesterday, is such a reward. You are a wonderful person. Where have you been hiding all that time? There was no need for you to be shy or timid. Not that something's wrong with being shy or timid, but if it was affecting you, things needed to be changed for the better.

You said you weren't that outgoing. Not much of a talker. You have proven otherwise. There are so many subjects you can talk about. And you're easy to listen to. The calm of your voice relaxes me. You are interesting and I love to discuss all kinds of subjects with you. Although you are much younger than me, we relate well and whenever we go out for lunch or a shopping spree, we have a ball. You make me laugh and your youth and enthusiasm is affecting me. It's good to have a pal like you. We could talk for hours without getting bored. I love to hear stories about your school mates and your family. Talking about the past and how diabetes affected your childhood, sometimes worries me. But you're getting there. Things are going so much better now. And there's nobody else to reward but you. You have opened up to the people around you. Not just to me, but you have made other friends as well.

Let's explore those shops today and have more Latte and fun. I'm in for a good time. Are you?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Midnight munchies

She's a special and very attractive lady, I believe. Coming down the stairs in the middle of the night, still wearing bright lipstick and her hair all shiny and glossy, she strolls through the kitchen. The goal is always the fridge, where she dives into. There are different leftovers to choose from - I accuse her of making too much food to reassure leftovers for midnight munchies - and seeing Nigella suck on that sticky chicken wing, makes me wanna go for a bite myself.

I sometimes have those midnight munchies. Mainly caused by diabetic lows. I know, I should just have a small can of regular soda or a box of juice, but unfortunately it doesn't always work that way. If you're experiencing a diabetic low, your brain lacks sugar which makes it harder for you to think straight. In a normal condition you would know that box of juice to be the best choice. But the thing is: if your sugar is low, we can no longer speak of a normal situation. So you overreact and you eat whatever you can lay your hands on: cookies, sushi, cold cuts, baked potatoes (right out of the fridge), Greek yogurt, fried onions, frozen berries.. it doesn't even need to have carbs, as long as it makes you feel better. Which it doesn't.. because overeating doesn't do anyone any good. Overeating causes high blood sugar, meaning you need insulin to bring it down again. Trying to find the right amount of insulin to cover for those extra carbs is tricky. You have to be careful not to overreact on the insulin now, or you will experience another low in no time. Finding a balance during low/high blood sugars, is a true ordeal at times. After nearly 10 years of living a diabetic lifestyle, I'm getting the hang of it. The bingeing is not that common anymore. I usually stick to my 4 Maria cookies. The thing is, we need no more than 15 grams of carbs to solve that low. Meaning I would need no more than 3 Maria cookies. For some stupid reason, I believe 3 is a bad number for cookies. So I have 4. So what? That is NOT overeating.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I ain't smoking any more

but I ain't smoking any less either...

A tricky subject.. Now that smoking is prohibited in bars and restaurants, the subject is smoky hot. To be honest, I really don't mind. It's great to go out dining without cigarette smoke at your table. But it is a shame though, that your companions need to leave the table to go outside to smoke. It breaks up the party and you are left behind like some silly girl who has no idea how yummy smoking really is. So I have made up my mind: maybe it's time to try that first cigarette? Maybe I should start smoking? Maybe it is better than I think? There must be some joy to it, otherwise not that many people would hang on. So tomorrow morning I'm going out to buy my first pack of cigarettes. I don't know yet what brand to choose from. There are so many different brands. I assume I will pick a box with a flashy wrapper? Does that exist? What makes tobacco good tobacco? Commercials? I honestly don't know. I'm sure the salesman will help me decide. There's nothing to compare the cigs to, so I'll have to do with what I've been given. To be honest, I'm not looking forward to it.. ppfff... it makes my stomach twirl.. But it's really time for me to find out the benefits of smoking. I do not want to take the risk that cigarettes will be forbidden all the way, before I had the chance to taste it. I'll keep you informed of my progress in Marlboro country..