Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cutie pahtooties

It's wonderful to see the two of you together. It's been 5 months now and you are very happy. He's treating you well and he's considerate, polite and caring. Last night, we left the two of you by yourselves, to enjoy a private dinner. Earlier that day, you started making Greek yogurt panna cotta topped with blueberries. As a starter, you wanted to make a threesome of yellow and red tomatoes, garnished with mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. Seems like you really wanted to pamper your date.. He had no idea what you were going to cook for him, so we hoped he liked fresh linguine with prawns in a light apple curry sauce. It is one of your favorite dishes and you are a good cook. I knew you were going to set the table with linen and nice plates, candle light and your most beautiful smile. He's a lucky young man! Enjoy each other, enjoy the friendship and the love. Being young and being in love is a feeling to hold on to..

Got my feet up

What do you do on nights if you don't want to watch TV or surf the Internet? You could have a romantic dinner with your loved one or go to the movies or go for a walk with your spouse or the dogs or even both. But maybe you're all alone and there's nobody around to talk to or to hang out with? Then what do you do? You could relax on the couch in pajamas all day or pamper yourself in bath or treat yourself to a well deserved massage in a beauty parlor...

Or maybe you could just entertain yourself playing games. I remember this newspaper, ages ago - I was only a kid back then, that had this one special page with games. The thing about this one game I particularly liked, was that you had to read and investigate the whole newspaper, to find 7 little mice. They were drawn and hidden well. You had to focus and use your index to search every text in order to find the mice. I loved that game! I no longer read paper newspapers, I scroll down the pages on the online papers. It is quite nostalgic though, thinking about those lovely games back then.

Do you remember Waldo? Did you ever try to locate him? We had a couple of books on Waldo, where every double page would be full of little people and Waldo would be hidden somewhere in that mixture. Sometimes the game would irritate me for not being able to track him down. I'm not the most patient person, remember? I would like to go back to those games some day. No Internet, no TV, just games. And I'm not talking video games here...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hold on to whatever keeps you warm

It's just scary at times, to see how these two get along so well. They just can't be separated, it's impossible. You will never see one without the other. They are like peas and carrots, you know.

Hubby was taking them for their daily walk to the soccer field. They are all excited from the moment he gets up in the morning, because they know around 9:30 he will get their leashes and it's time for their exercise. This day wasn't any different. All hyper and jumpy, the three of them left the house.

Not too long after they left, I got a phone call from hubby. Before I picked up the phone, I told the oldest daughter: "Wanna bet one of them hurt herself?" Because that's one of the reasons hubby would ever call me. I didn't even have the chance to ask him, because as soon as I picked up the phone, he shouted: "They're gone! The dogs ran off and I have no idea where they are!!!"

Lana and I hopped into our shoes and ran to the front door, to give him a hand in looking for the missing muppies. Tragic endings raced through my mind and I'm sure hubby was in a state of shock, not knowing where to look for them.

I grabbed my keys, opened the door and guess who nearly ran me over? Exactly... two crazy whippets raced into the hallway, looking perplexed and their eyes wide open in fear. Right away I called hubby to bring him home. They were safe and sound, no injuries to be seen. They were already asleep on the couch by the time he got in, about 5 minutes later. Rebba had a strange look in her eyes, like she had witnessed some horrific adventure. Hubby told me about how they were playing ball on the soccer field, like they always do. Until that other pet owner got to the field and let his two canines run free. They were not sighthounds and we know our dogs are not that fond of other breeds. Rebba ran off and Inthe chased her instantly. These are times when I'm happy hubby always takes the same route when the three of them go out for a walk. I do wonder: do you think Rebba and Inthe will have waited to cross the road at the crosswalk?

Friday, June 28, 2013

I think you are remarkable

You have been working really hard this time, studying your school books 2 weeks in advance. I think Ilaria won't mind, that you used her room to prepare yourself for the finals. It was not a bad idea to have an extra study room, so your bedroom was nothing else but a place to relax and sleep. We're proud of you, cutie. You did real well in school and now you can look forward to some time off. Only one week, before you will start your first student's job, but it will be a week to chill, watch movies, read books, date your boyfriend, hang out with your other friends. You deserve it. We're proud of you!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My turn to cook

Most of my groceries I buy in the bigger supermarkets, like Delhaize (my favorite), Carrefour or Albert Heijn (just across the border). For daily supplies, I like to visit our lokal supermarket. We have known most of the staff for many years and we like to chitchat while picking out our goodies. Every now and then, I treat them with freshly baked cookies, straight from the oven. Some of the employees read my cooking blog every day and then they tell me how they have finally found the energy to spend time in their kitchen and enjoy cooking. They know that the recipes they find on my blog are easy to make and worth trying. Because I have tried them out for them, for all of you. It is kind of weird though, if total strangers come up to you and ask you about your blog. They want to hear more about a certain recipe or ingredients they can't find. It surprises me when people tell me that, for the first time in their life, they made their own tortellini because of my enthusiasm. It makes me proud and appreciated and it keeps me going.

Photo Cathy Van de Moortele
 I love to maintain my blog and keep it up to date. If only I would have a better eye for photography, I wouldn't have to ask my daughters to take pictures. I know they are busy with their own things and they don't always feel like making photos of the food I cook. It is not their blog or hobby after all. It does make my blog look a whole lot better if I can provide it with splendid shots of the home made result. When people compliment me with the pictures, I always tell them about the talent for photography in our household. We make a good team!

Today, I treated the supermarket staff with Greek koulourakia cookies. I just loved the shape of the cookies. A friend of mine - who is also bitten by the cooking/baking bug - told me I just had to make these cookies. I wouldn't regret making them, she promised. And I didn't. In fact, I plan on making them again as a gift from me to my mother-in-law. She likes to eat as much as I like to spend time in my kitchen.

Please feel free to share your recipes with me. I'm more than willing to try them out and discover new flavors and techniques.

A victory dance

In 6th grade, you felt so big and "grown up", ready to go to High School in a different, bigger town, far away from the little ones. You were so tiny though, compared to the older kids in High School and the buildings seemed so enormous and breathtaking.
Photo Eva Joos

Last night, we were invited by your principal to go to school. Graduation party, with all your friends and their parents. We were so excited to hear, that you passed for all of your exams. Finally, no more High School for you. You are so ready to spread your wings and fly away. Not before September, but your new school and your student's room are waiting for you and we are looking forward to spending some time off together. We realize your time in our household is very precious. Experience tells us, we won't be seeing much more of you once you will have left for college. We will welcome you in our house as often as you like and maybe we'll surprise you with some unexpected visits in Bruges. It is time to start leading your own life now. You're ready. We're ready. And we are proud of you. Congratulations sweetheart. You have worked real hard and you have deserved that diploma!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Photo Lana Joos
Isn't she cute? We are so happy with our little blonde Danish girl. So happy she made the journey to Holland and finally to Belgium. She's some girl, you know. Sweet and tender but with a little twist and a mind of her own, Rebba is just the perfect whippy. She loves her people family and she has found a best friend in Inthe. These two make the perfect pair and the way they look after each other, is heartwarming.

Photo Lana Joos
She turned 7 today. We missed her birth and we have no pictures of our sweetheart as a puppy. I hope that one day, her people parents in Denmark will send us some photos of her early days. She was not happy the sun wasn't out this morning, when she went for a walk. She despises the rain and she dilly-dallies around the house, looking for a way out.

Her special birthday treat, was emptying a jar of peanut butter. We have no idea why she's so fond of the spread, but she loves it. I think she prefers the American JIF over the Dutch Calvé peanut butter so we gave her the choice today.

I think you are going to have a lazy day on the couch, with your friend Inthe. Love you sweetie xx

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sit back and enjoy the ride

I love roller coasters! The higher they get, the more excited I become. Having worked in a amusement park as a young teen, I would always rush to the roller coaster right after work. We would hang out there with my friends and enjoy numerous rides, screaming our lungs out and getting all wound up. Back then, I never would have thought roller coasters could also have a completely different meaning..

I hate roller coasters! The higher I get, the more fatigued and miserable I become. Going from high to low and back is no longer something to get excited about, on the contrary. I truly despise the alterations in my blood sugar. To be honest: it's probably the one thing I really hate about diabetes. I have discussed the subject with my endocrinologist on numerous occasions. He listened to me and told me it's part of being a T1 diabetic. I know it is. Does that make it any easier or more bearable? Don't think so. I really want to find a way to cope better with these swings. I don't want to be the party pooper because I'm messed up by lows and highs. Going out with friends and having a good time, is just one of those things I love to do. Having a good meal and great conversations, but always with diabetes in the back of my head, is part of it. I prefer to have one cool glass of Chardonnay with my meal, rather than having beer or cocktails. Making sure I have some carbs while sipping my wine, I try to prevent lows later on.

I don't know what caused my roller coaster last night, but it was no fun, I can assure you. I was exhausted (well, not just from the highs and lows - I'm nearly 42 and no longer used to staying up that late) and all I wanted to do, was lie down and catch some sleep. Just little time after closing my eyes, my Dexcom beeped. I opened one eye to take a look: 71 Not bad. I would love to have this number all day, but not to go to sleep. I reached for the bottle of Glucotabs I brought from my recent trip to Florida and shook a couple of tabs into my hand. I hate dextrose. They dry out your mouth and leave you with a stuffed feeling, like having chewed on cotton balls. But o well, I had already drunk 3 small cans of coke prior to the tablets. I closed my eyes, turned over and clamped my Dexcom in one hand. Not for too long: there was the alarm again. I looked over to my Hubby, who was sound asleep in the hotel bed. Reaching out for the bottle of Glucotabs a second time, I knew it was going to be a very short night. I was so exhausted and I knew we had to get up in just a couple of hours. Diabetes, I hate it when you deprive my sleep. I feel like crap after short nights and especially if they have been interrupted for lows. Ten Glucotabs later, it was time to get up and get ready for breakfast with our friends. I could do with some coffee and toast. It felt like a terrible hangover, without having had the alcohol. If it's a choice not to have alcohol, is there a way to choose not to have lows at night?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I was talking to my friend on the phone, when all of a sudden she said: Yolo! I said: yo what? She was like: yolo! You don't know what yolo means??

Although I have friends of all ages, I had no idea what yolo meant. It's just one of those expressions, kids use nowadays. I should've guessed the meaning, since I try to live by this motto day by day. Maybe I should use the Yolo thing more often. It sounds kinda cool, don't you think? I can't recall my children using it. I might check with them tomorrow, to see if they know. I'm pretty sure they will give me the rolling eyes-look, like in Mom.. who have you been talking to?

Life is what you make of it. You have the choice, to live it to the fullest or to let life live you. You only live once, you know. At least, that's what we believe. So why not make the best of it? Life can be over before we know it. 

Seventh Heaven

Yesterday, she texted me and I smiled because of the joy in the message. She's in her early 30's and besides being a stunning mom of two brilliant twin boys, she's a lawyer and she's a sportswoman. Did I mention she has type 1 diabetes too? She's out of her honeymoon period now, meaning her pancreas made it final: he's not planning on making any more insulin. Where in the past two years, she could count on her panky to make some insulin, helping her get decent A1c's. That period is gone. It's up to her now, for she can no longer rely on her pancreas to help out. It scared her and her A1c went up. She fears the lows for getting unconscious as much as she fears the highs, for future complications. She was getting a bit desperate and her family was worried sick about her last low nighttime episode..

"He works with computers". That's how his mom calls it. Maybe I'm like his mom, for not knowing exactly what he does for a living. It involves software and Delphi language or something, I guess. He has told me on numerous occasions, since we monthly go out for lunch. D came into his life 3 years ago. He had panic attacks for a long time. They came back right after being diagnosed with D, for a different reason now. The fear of diabetic lows is grabbing him by the throat. He insisted on getting an insulin pump, despite good numbers and a A1c in the 5 region. He needed that pump to keep breathing. But it was not sufficient enough. It didn't warn him of upcoming lows.

I met her a couple of years ago. She has the same age as our oldest daughter. She was too young when she got diagnosed. She was a teen for god's sake. Why did she need to get this awful disease too? She didn't want no insulin pump dangling from her tummy. But we met and I let her figure out where my pump was hiding. She couldn't find it and she called for the nurse to sign up for an insulin pump. 
Her mom worried a lot about her at night. Would she be okay? Would she poke her fingers before bedtime and wake up while experiencing a low? 

A young student of 25, with a girlfriend and a baby boy. His diabetes was a bit out of control. He found it hard to poke his fingers all the time, so he forgot. As a medical student, he knew about the complications diabetes may bring you, so he wanted something else to help him move forward.

It had a been a long time since we've set a date. But we keep in touch and write emails every now and then. She's in a different relationship now and she's doing real well. Being diagnosed T2 as a young woman, she's not entitled to using an insulin pump. Her endocrinologist thought differently and signed her up for the medical device that would change her treatment. It made her feel a lot more secure. Just not secure enough, because lows were hiding behind the corner, to catch her when she was not paying attention. She has a little boy that needs his mommy. She wants to be around for a very long time. If only someone could help her get over that fear for lows, it would help her lower her A1c and get better control.

No more than 1 year ago, he was diagnosed as well. I remember how little insulin he needed in those first months. He was determined to give his utmost and do the best he could to keep this condition under control. Being on 4 injections and multiple finger pokes a day, he dusted his mountain bike and joined his friends on trips. Sports is good for us. Why doesn't diabetes know that? At least, D could be a bit more considerate and leave out the lows and highs during work outs. It would make things a bit easier. Wasn't there something better that could help him during training?

I haven't met too many diabetics that have had their condition for over 30 years. It somehow scared me to hear her story. Having lost complete sight in one eye and partial sight in the other is awful. She's such a pretty woman.  She has a man who stands by her side and accompanies her to doctor's appointments. She's shooting up insulin. Pumping was not her cup of tea. She tried it, about 10 years ago. Things were a bit different back then and technology has improved since. I thought she deserved better aids and better control. I contacted her and we started to write to each other until we finally met and had the chance to embrace each other. 

He has been a great help for many of us diabetics. Of all diabetics I know (and I know some), I've known him for the longest time. It must be more than 5 years now. I know how opposed he is to insulin pumps and how stubborn he is in showing that insulin pens are as efficient.  I like his stubbornness though. I prefer to call it perseverance. He's a good bloke and he's helped me out on numerous occasions when once again, I forgot how many carbs a certain food contained. I would only have to open HelpDiabetes, the program he wrote for us to use for free. As opposed he is to insulin pumps, I could tell he was interested in CGM.

My endocrinologist said I didn't need CGM. My A1c level was 7.1 and that is not life threatening. One doesn't get these numbers just like that. It takes a whole lot of work to get there and it consumes a lot of daily energy to stay there. CGM is expensive and at your own expense. It is my diabetes, a condition I share with many friends. It is my body, my life and my choice of treatment. 

That makes 9 of us already. 9 stories, all different reasons with a mutual factor: diabetes. A new world has opened. A milestone in our treatment. Dexcom is different. It's out there and it's getting closer. It is within reach. You don't have to wait for your doctor to tell you about it. Button up your shirt and ask him about Dexcom. Make your own file and document your questions and express your concerns about future complications. The people at Dexcom are there for you. They can help you get better control. They are there, 24/7, just like Diabetes. That's what we were looking for. Continuous Glucose Monitoring that we can rely on. A device we can trust on for knowing what trend our blood glucose is following. We are happy with our glucometers, but knowing where our numbers are headed to, is a bonus. Not essential to some, indispensable to others. It's your choice. It's your life. It's Dexcom.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Things are getting out of hand here

Photo Eva Joos
It has to stop. I spend more time in my kitchen than ever. Have no idea what's gotten into me lately, but I just can't stop cook and bake. Recipes are being read and made instantly. Not just one recipe a day, I'm talking like 6 or even 7 recipes a day. Reading about this, makes me sick to my stomach. It's a good thing though, I don't eat it all. But like someone asked me this week: who eats all of that food??? I didn't know the answer to that question. It made me reflect over why this is happening.

Let's discuss today, for example. What have I been doing all day? It started out this morning, with breakfast in one hand, and the other hand on the keyboard of my laptop. Trying to figure out what I could make this very same day. Since Hubby needed an early lunch before he headed off to work, I had defrosted veal chops the night before. I hate ordinary cooking, so I googled "veal chops" and "Italian recipe".
Foto Cathy Van de Moortele
I love to cook Italian dishes and I love the herbs and simplicity in the food. It is simple and honest food, but it's not ordinary. It's not like frying up some sausages. I need more excitement, I need passion in my cooking. So Hubby ended up with a plate of saltimbocca alla Romana and stewed string beans.  By the sight of his cleared plate and the compliments, I couldn't but agree it had been tasteful.
By then I was thinking of what I could make for lunch for me and the girls. I had loads of fresh whole wheat cappellini I had made the day before. So I was thinking I could make a pasta dish with browned butter and sage sauce and.. Can you hear me rattle on? I had to pick up Lana in Eeklo, so that gave me the opportunity to run some more errands. I wanted to please her with her special ravioli she craves: with a filling of goat's cheese, ground hazelnuts, slivers of summer truffle and soft bacon bits, it's just sublime. It is my signature dish. But she said she had already eaten ravioli just the day before, while my sister-in-law was here for cooking class.. Hmhmhm... she got a point there. So maybe she wasn't interested in another match of meringue with lemon curd either? Well... desserts are always a hit around this house.

I whipped up the 6 egg whites I had kept in my fridge (meringues come out better when using egg whites that are a couple of days old) and I preheated the oven. That's when it occurred to me, that we didn't have any bread for tonight's dinner. Okay, I could've sent one of the girls to the bakery to get a fresh loaf, but since the oven was heating.. So I wanted to give that Dutch crunch bread recipe another go. The girls were giving me that look.. you know.. the rolling eyes.

Photo Cathy Van de Moortele
I was thinking of that huge basket of laundry that needs to be ironed. It has been sitting upstairs for over more than 2 weeks already. But strangely, the thought of the wrinkled laundry vanished real fast. Another recipe crossed my mind! After all, I had not yet tested the new ice cream maker! How about butterscotch ice cream? Wouldn't that be great???

While the ice cream maker was running, I had the time to chop up some Werther's Original Caramelts to top the butterscotch ice cream with. Some disappeared in my mouth, while I took a peek in the oven to see how the meringues were doing. My mind was drifting off, thinking about dinner for the following day. Sunday is a working day for both Hubby and I. I need time to cook, so I wanted to think of some Sunday recipe I could make in advance. Coming home around 6:15 PM, I will only have to heat up the Coq au Vin to feed my crowd. Did I mention the asparagus soup that was sitting on the stove? The girls don't eat that much soup, but when I blend it and make sure it's silky and smooth, they don't mind having a bowl. After all, they do need their veggies right?

Cathy Van de Moortele
Photo Cathy Van de Moortele
The Dutch crunch bread came out real well this time. I was proud of myself! There was some leftover whole wheat bread I had baked the day before, so we ate half of that and half of the fresh loaf.

My back is hurting. My shoulders ache and my knees could use some rest. Time to sit down and read some.. cookbooks. How about I make a deal with myself, that next week, I will do more of the household chores and less of the cooking fun? I have about half an hour to relax now. It's only 9:30 PM. I could make some more tortellini filled with 4 different kinds of meat and a luscious marinara sauce, you know. I want to bring this pasta dish to work tomorrow. I'm sure the family would love to try it.. I'll make tomorrow's oatmeal and red fruit cereal first. Can't miss breakfast, can I?


My sister-in-law and I, we make a good team. Her infectious laugh makes me wanna pee in my pants. Right after we finished vegetarian cooking class, we decided we wanted to go through with these cooking sessions. Plans were made to have an Italian cooking class at my place and after she picked some recipes from my food blog, we set a date.

Mikey has had the opportunity to take Italian speech classes and I envy her for having visited Italy on numerous occasions. In fact, she and her boyfriend are going to the picturesque Monforte d'Alba this summer. I googled the community and I must say: I wouldn't hesitate to join her. How familiar it sounded when she said she was already looking into where they would have dinner.. That's exactly what I would look into! We love to eat and we share the same love for food and cooking.

Today's class was about making pasta. We started out with an Italian appetizer of crispy "finocchio ciappe" crackers with a dip of peppers and walnut. The pasta machine comes in real handy if you want your ciappe real thin and crispy. Mikey had brought a bottle of Martini Royale Bianco. The counter was full of supplies and all dusted with semolina flour. Ready to start making fresh pasta!

My heart swelled with pride when I saw Mikey's enthousiasm once her first cappellini rolled out of the pasta machine. She was so thrilled and the giggles that came from her direction, were very satisfying. She wanted to show her boyfriend and family how well she could make pasta and I'm sure they will agree with her on the taste and softness of her home cooked pasta dishes.

Lana watched us make her favorite ravioli with a filling of goat's cheese, roasted hazelnuts, some slivers of summer truffle and tender bacon bits. Covered in a cream sauce with snipped chives and some extra truffle oil, these ravioli are so sublime, this signature recipe could definitely win a cooking contest. Once the ravioli were put into the freezer to set, we were ready for the more advanced class of making tortellini. It takes some skill to form these precious goodies filled with ricotta and fresh herbs. You have to make sure they come out round and evenly and you have to be aware the filling doesn't spill. I must say, my sister-in-law did real well. It took me many hours and several attempts of watching video tutorials before my first perfect tortellini hit the tray. I could feel her excitement and I'm sure she would eat her little treasures with pride and joy.

We enjoyed lunch together with the whole family, since the girls were home after their exams and hubby had the day off. There was a choice of different ravioli and sauces I had already prepared in advance. Our tummies filled with tender pasta, we headed back to the kitchen to continue our cooking class. There was some leftover poached chicken in my fridge, so we decided to make some ravissimo with smoked paprika chicken mousse. They came out real well and the freezer got stuffed with our little parcels of surprises.

Over latte macchiato and dessert (Mikey had brought some delicious home made amaretti and mascarpone mousse), she asked me when we would have our second cooking class together. I'm looking forward to that! I'm ready to try out her dessert recipe, so my family can enjoy an excellent dessert after another pasta meal.

Thank you for coming over sis. I'm sure we will do this again.. Your car was stuffed with goodies and I'm sure you boyfriend and the little guy enjoyed their Italian meal..

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's been seven hours and fifteen days..

Photo Lana Joos
Not really. It's been a whole lot more. Eleven years, to be exact. It's been E-LE-VEN ! years since I got diagnosed with D. It was a scary moment but at the same time a moment of relief and understanding. I was glad a doctor finally took me and my symptoms serious. A doctor, who - by a simple poke in my finger - could tell me the symptoms I had, were the symptoms of diabetes. She didn't have to hesitate, since the number on the screen of her glucometer was 599 mg/dl. If you know that normal sober numbers are below 100 mg/dl, it doesn't take much disbelief to realize this was actually diabetes. Did she say: DIE-a-beetus??? She sure told me about complications like kidney failure, amputation of toes and even feet, loss of eye sight, heart failure.. Grumble. Not very pretty you know. I asked her when those complications would first show their face. She told me I could expect the first signs of complications 10 years after diagnosis. Hello? I was nearly 31 when she found out. Did that mean, that by the time I was 41, I would need dialysis 3 times a week? Would I have to wear orthopedic shoes to help me walk after having my toes surgically removed? Would I ever see my kids grow up into beautiful adults?

Right there and then, I was determined I was going to do the best I could, to prevent myself from getting those nasty complications. I was put on injections 4 times a day and had to poke my fingers as many times. I was told how much insulin I had to inject for my meals and what I was supposed to eat to cover that. The dietitian told me I had to weigh a 300 gr portion of boiled potatoes (!), a fair amount of vegetables and a small part of meat or fish for my warm supper. I could no longer eat fruit or dairy products without thinking and I had to give up on sweets. I was lucky she didn't forbid me to drink diet coke..

It didn't take me long to accept the verdict. I didn't mind poking my fingers, I didn't care about the needles that punctured my skin while injecting insulin. I hated that Lantus though.. It had to be injected in my thigh and it gave me a burning sensation and pain, every time I forced myself to inject. Some years later, I had to divide that ugly Lantus into two portions: one in the morning, one at night. It didn't work well for me. I had quite a bit of high readings and my doctor wasn't very happy with the way I treated my diabetes. In fact she thought of me like I was her worst patient ever.. My hemoglobin HbA1c didn't drop below 8.5% while I was her patient and my weight kept going up. I was unhappy with how things were going and I started to dislike D. But hey! Diabetes is chronic, forever, for life!

After 4 years and numerous shots later, I decided to give the insulin pump a try and like the saying: once you go black, you never go back, it's the same with the insulin pump. I would harm you if you would try to steal or break my pump. It's what keeps me alive and it's what gives me better control.

Just this year, 7 years of pumping and poking my fingers at least 6 times a day, I decided it was time to move on. Since my Dexcom CGM entered my life, I no longer fear complications. Dexcom will help me get better control and teach me about my body and how food, exercise, stress, emotions, work, sickness have their effect on my blood sugar. I'm grateful that I got diabetes in the 21st century and the fact that we have access to the most modern treatments, is a bonus.

I'm planning on living a whole lot more years of a complication free life with D. After all, I'm more than complicated already..

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I'll take it!

We were in South-Africa. My mother and I, that is. Invited by our neighbor's son, who was a missionary back then in Potchefstroom, we were enjoying the South-African sun. Roaming around on a local market, we were the attraction of the day. In those days, apartheid was still very hot. We were not racist at all. On the contrary, we wanted to mingle with the locals. They were not very happy with our decision and apparently it was very inconvenient and uncomfortable for them. They didn't trust our presence. We didn't know any better, being the naive tourists we were. When I think of it, even back then, at the age of 19, I was already interested in food. I loved to stroll on the local markets and discover new products. There was this old lady, dressed in a colorful but shabby dress. She had very little things to sell and most of it was barely noticeable, because of all the flies sitting on top of the fruit and vegetables. I was so curious to find out what that black, leather look like fruit was. We asked if we could pick it up. I tried to smell it, but couldn't identify the fruit. The lady laughed and showed the leftovers of what once was her beautiful denture. She picked three pieces of what we were pointing at and put it in a brown paper bag. We couldn't wait to cut that mysterious piece of fruit. We brought it back to the house we were staying at and asked the cook of the house what we had bought. He couldn't stop laughing, for we had bought overripe avocados... We were so stupid.. we had never seen ripe avocados before, for back in those days, nobody had ever bought avocados where we lived.. I can tell you: avocados have to be ripe, but skip the mushy ones. They are no good..

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Feminine features

You said you fell in love with me for my fantastic calves. Those calves were the proof of my sporty nature. At least, that's what you thought. Either I was fond of riding my bicycle or I must go for long walks. I did neither one.. I don't know how I ended up with those nice muscular lower legs, but you were not the first to say. I have always liked my lower legs, just like you have. I still don't ride bicycles (what were you thinking) and I only walk from the front door to the car. But yes, I have convinced myself sports could be good for me. Well, I haven't convinced myself, my diabetic friends have. One of them told me I am really good at motivating others, but I don't work out myself. And he's absolutely right. I haven't been much of an example when it comes to exercising. I think I'm just too lazy for sports.

For a number of times now, I have packed my sports bag to go to the swimming pool. My first attempt was really pathetic. I didn't know how to swim right or keep my head under water. But I went and I got into the freezing cold water and yes, I complained and nagged a lot. Things have gone better over time. I even schedule my swim moment in my agenda, so I don't let anything interfere. Most of the times, hubby joins me, but if he can't or doesn't feel like it, I go by myself. I'm doing better now. Two new swimsuits, goggles and a  nose clip have been added to my back pack and that makes the swimming easier. It's good to know that Mr Baywatch is keeping an eye on me. He knows about my diabetes and he keeps an eye on my glucometer and Dexcom for me. I always bring a small can of regular coke, just in case. Whenever I stop swimming somewhere in the middle of the pool, he runs to me to check if I'm okay. I have told him now, that if I see he's worried, I will raise my thumb. If I don't, it means I'm in trouble.

Last week, I went to the pool all by myself. There weren't many school kids and I no longer fear the cold water. Now I can actually say I don't even mind the coldness. I march down the steps, right in to the water. Goggles in place, nose clip ready and there I go. I swim 10 lengths and I come out of the water to check my Dexcom. Most of the times, I need 1 small can of coke by then. I have my coke and I go back into the water. I can see people look at the transmitter on my upper arm, but I don't care. It's there to help me keep control and it makes me feel more secure in the water.

I'm proud of myself. If the swimming could turn my back into a V-shape, that would be awesome. It will probably never happen, but it can't harm to dream, can it?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Monday

Never before had I heard about The Mamas & The Papas. This American vocal folk group was very popular in the sixties, I was told. The little girl I took care of at the time, had one of their tapes and she knew all the songs by heart. At first I wasn't that impressed with the music, but over the weeks I learned to appreciate it. Every morning, when I would take Natalie to school, I would put the tape in the recorder and we would start to sing along. We had to cross several bridges in downtown Portland, to drop off her parents at work, before we would continue our way to the French school Natalie was frequenting. Since we always played that same tape, it was a sport to make sure the correct song was playing nearby the correct bridge. Depending on traffic, we would make it or not. That one song I never forgot, was Monday Monday. The two of us would sing real loud. Natalie would be sitting in the back in her car seat, a smile from ear to ear. I would dress her in the morning, and I remember being goofy by giving her two different colored sneakers. She would wear a white sneaker with a pink sock and a pink sneaker with a white sock. It instantly brightened our day. I liked taking Natalie to school. I would pick her up around lunch time and then the game would start all over again. Another favorite of ours, was Dream a little dream of me. It was pretty melancholic and dramatic and you should've seen our faces while singing the lyrics. That must have been totally ridiculous for the people in the cars around us. But we could care less. Our time in the car was never boring. Thanks to The Mamas & The Papas. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Daddy's girls

They lay down on the couch, their eyes closing every now and then, to continue their dreams of chasing cats and bunnies. It's still very quiet around the house. The sunbeams peek through the windows and I have turned down the volume of the radio, for I don't want to disturb the silence of this Sunday morning. Right above my head, I hear him stumble out of bed. Inthe has heard something too, for she's pointing one ear and her eyes are open wide. Could it be? Is it time to get up? O yes! I can hear daddy flush the toilet before he comes down the stairs. Backwards, of course, just the way his mom taught him as a child. Some of the steps are creaking but that's part of the charm of a one century old house. By the time dad is down the hallway, both dogs are waiting for him by the door. They are all excited, to be seen by the wagging of their tail. He has a hard time coming inside, because they are blocking the doorway. Daddy's here! Daddy's here! How lovely!

While I make coffee, Daddy scratches his hair and yawns away the sleep. He rubs his eyes and touches his beard, to see if he needs a shave. Both dogs are sitting beside him at the kitchen table. They are like statues, so quiet. Their gaze is focused on one person: Daddy.. He tells them he wants to have his yogurt and cereal breakfast before the walk. So they wait a bit longer. Once he gets up and puts on his clothes, Inthe becomes his very own shadow. She won't loose track of him now. Rebba is more chill about it. So she strolls back to the couch, throws out the pillows I just rearranged, scratches the cushions and then finds a better spot on the other side. Her head is pointed towards the kitchen though and her ears are turning constantly. Daddy is looking for his shoes and when he opens the door to get the leashes, Inthe is loosing her marbles. She sticks to his leg and follows him all around. As a joke, he walks around the table and she is right there, beside him.

"Wanna go for a walk?" Inthe puts her legs right on his shoulders and licks his ears and nose. Her tail is even more excited and can't stop wagging. Rebba is trying to look the most uninterested as possible. She's a bit different, you know. She needs her own special invitation. Daddy walks towards Rebba and asks her in a soft voice: "Wanna go for a walk, Rebba?". "Who? Me? Really? Are you kidding me? Of course!". That's when Rebba finally gets of the couch to put on her leash. Both dogs look at me like if they want to say: aren't you coming, mom?

The house is quiet again. The dogs are enjoying their walk. They are marking their territory as often as they can, before Daddy frees them from their leashes. They can run their lungs out at the soccer field, playing fetch and chasing each other. Daddy gets to pick up the poop and trash the purple bags somewhere along the line. The girls are so different and yet so much alike. Almost like our two daughters, I guess. The oldest dog has Daddy's last name, while Inthe is carrying my last name. Just like Lana looks after her father and Eva is mommy's girl. People may have the same features as their pets. Sometimes the children do too..

Eye to eye

I don't remember whether we had a membership to the magazine or not, but we sure got hold of it every week. "Joepie" magazine was real hot in our days. Every teen had to read it and not skip one article. There were interesting columns and youngsters could send in questions they had on most any subject. You would read answers on how to French kiss or if you could get pregnant by holding hands with your boyfriend. Really important! There was no Internet back then and if we wanted to contact the editors, we had to send them a real, handwritten letter. That was a big deal, because that letter needed a stamp so we needed money (that we didn't have). I don't think I ever sent in a question, but I did read all of the Q&A's other people sent in. Some answers were a big relief and other answers I had to read twice for I didn't understand. Being 13 in the beginning of the 80's was a bit different from being 13 nowadays. We were very naive and ignorant and certainly not informed about grown up matters.
Anyway, reading the "Joepie" was good for English class as well. Every week, the lyrics of popular songs would be written down for us to read and learn by heart. Most of the time, we would just sing along and mimic the words, for we didn't understand anything of the contents but some words. Just this very same day, we were singing along with Too Shy by Kajagoogoo, when I realized we needed the lyrics. I haven't read the "Joepie" for a very long time but there is the Internet now. You're only one click away from finding the exact words to a song. Kajagoogoo had the right words: eye to eye, while we had been singing I do I for as many years. We must have skipped that "Joepie" edition, I'm sure of it.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Looking at things from the right angle

I loved to look at you, when you were turning the handle of your little bingo machine. Very focused and extremely serious, you would write down the numbers of the tiny balls that came rolling out of the machine. You would take a second glance at the numbers on the sheet of paper and then decide whether you needed to spin the machine again or not. I don't know what made you decide the numbers were good or bad, although you tried to explain it to me a number of times. There had to be some meaning or logic in the sequence of the numbers. If you couldn't trace that logic, you were convinced they wouldn't do you any good. So you started all over again. The tiny balls were put back into the machine and you would spin the handle again. It could take quite some time for you to finish your game. Then you would ask your children what they thought was the best series of numbers. They were very serious about it too. I suspect they would not even have tried to joke about it, because they knew how important it was to you..

I remember two occasions, where your daughter pointed out a series of numbers. You didn't agree and you picked your own. The funny thing is, you would hold on to the piece of paper, scribbled with dozens of numbers, while you were watching the lottery on TV. You would be all sweaty and everybody had to leave you alone and be quiet. On two occasions, your daughter was right about all 6 numbers! That is, if you would have handed in her choice of numbers.. The sadness on your face was really moving, when the host of the show would state the amount of money one could've won. You went on for many, many years and you kept all the scribbles with numbers for as long as it took. Every now and then, you would go back to one particular note and pick the same sequence. But the bingo machine kept going and you kept writing down new combinations..

We filled out lottery tickets for a number of years. It didn't bring us more than what we had paid for, so we finally gave up. It must be awesome to win the lottery. But guess what? I have my family. No lottery ticket can compete with that. Just look at things from the right angle.. Winning a suitcase full of money must be fab, but it can bring you bad luck as well. Making your own luck is a longer journey but it's worth the try.