Friday, September 29, 2006


This meme has been winding its way through the OC for the last couple of days. It will be fun to see if we can get a big participation.

1. Do you still have tonsils?
Yes - I was of the generation where it was fashionable to have them yanked

2. Would you bungee jump?
Maybe, but not until I've lost a bunch of weight so I could be sure the cord
would not break.

3. If you could do anything in the world for a living, what would you do?
Landscape architect.

4. How many tattoos do you have?
One, a purple iris on my belly.

5. Your favorite fictional animal?

6. One person that never fails to make you laugh?
My niece Emily.

7. Do you consider yourself organized?
Yes, very much so for diabetes logging, health records, prescription
renewals. No, not at all for the other areas of my life.

8. Any addictions?
Substances: milk chocolate, Diet Pepsi, Dairy Queen onion rings
Activities: knitting and beadwork
Authors: anything by Joyce Carol Oates

9 From what news source do you receive the bulk of your news?
My fellow commuters at the bus stop.

10. Would you rather go to a carnival or circus?
Carnival - it's much more interactive and I love the lights after dark.

11. When you were twelve years old, what did you want to be when you
grew up?
A nurse.

12. Best movie you've seen this year?

13. Favorite alcoholic drink.
champagne cocktail (I have one about every five years)

14. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Plug in my electric hair rollers.

15. Siblings?
One older brother and two younger sisters (that are twins to each other).

16. What is the best thing about your job?
The health benefits - seriously.

17. Have you ever gone to therapy?
Yes, for years. Also currently.

18. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
To relive my 20's and 30's without being paralyzed by the fear of
diabetes complications - note that I did not say without diabetes.

19. Do you own any furniture from Ikea?
Yes, a lamp. I went the opening weekend and stood in line 90
minutes to pay for it.

20. Have you ever gone camping?
Lots, and still do. Up until a couple of years ago I also used to take one
solo camping trip per summer - sort of a mini contemplative retreat.

21. Gas prices - first thought
"What's this world coming to?"

22. Your favorite cartoon character?

23. What was your first car?
A Honda civic with 200,000 miles on it. I cannot remember the
color (so long ago).

24. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?

25. The Cosby Show or The Simpsons?
Cosby Show

26. Do you go to church?
No, but a couple of times a month I go to the Quaker meeting house
and sit with the community and listen for that "still small voice

27. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Bob Dylan, of course.

28. What errand/chore do you despise?
Cleaning my mini-blinds.

29. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
"Yipee, it's Friday."

30 Last time you puked from drinking?

31. What is your heritage?

32. Favorite flower?
Purple iris

33. Disney or Warner Bros?

34. What is your best childhood memory?
Going to my grandma's farm in the summer and trekking into the
woods to pick blackberries. The mosquitoes were very thick and
once we did some makeshift mosquito netting from old lace

35. Your favorite potato chip?
Baked Lays sour cream 'n' onion.

36. What is your favorite candy?
Milky Way caramels, Milk Duds and Twizzlers Red Licorice Bites

37. Do you burn or tan?
Burn, like any self-righteous Scandinavian would.

38. Astrological sign?

39. Do you own a gun?
No, but I have 40+ pairs of very sharp knitting needles and an
equally threatening pruning shears.

40. What do you think of hot dogs?
The best way to cook them is on a campfire, sticking them directly
into the flames until they're all black.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I just got done yelling (in all cap letters)online at my nephew, "E", in Duluth because he "forgot" to tell me that his mother had an emergency appendectomy on Monday (she is fine). He and I talk several times a week and he thought I knew.

Well, it wasn't E's fault that I had a meltdown It's because it reminded me of all the sudden things that can be thrown our way, that we don't know are coming, that can shatter our world in a second.

And that's what illness is sometimes about - uncertainty - we hope the treatment will work, but we don't know for sure; this rarely happens, but, in your case...........; our "best guess" would be .....; past experience indicates..........." -- blah blah blah. And with uncertainty comes fear. Fear that I won't be okay, fear that I won't be able to cope with what comes next, fear that my life will be shortened in some dreadful way before I get everything done.

Now we've all heard of the person who gets a clean bill of health at the doc's office and has a fatal heart attack leaving the building, or the individual who gets run over by the bus while innocently crossing the street. Yes, we are all vulnerable, but diabetes makes us more aware of this.

So instead of letting the "fear cauldron" boil over, I'm going to send E an animated e-mail wink and apologize, call my sister and tell her I love her, and make some jewelry with these beautiful glass beads I've been hoarding. Scrubbin the bathtub and other assorted chores on my list for tonight can wait until tomorrow. Diabetes has taught me not to forget what's important.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


This week is my niece Emily’s 5th birthday. At least, it’s her “legal” birthday. Emily was found in a cardboard box in an alley in Wei Lin, China and they did not know exactly how old she was so she was assigned a date.

My older sister surprised us all 4 years ago by announcing that she, at age 44, had been approved for single-parent adoption and would soon go to China to pick up her baby. We were dumbfounded but excited.

I’m pretty much of a homebody and traveling just doesn’t call to me like it does to some, but……………..China, that’s a different story. I have practiced tai chi nearly every day for the last 14 years and have studied acupuncture intermittently for the last 10. A trip to China would be the dream of a lifetime, and to see that baby placed in F’s arms would be priceless.

So, I decided that I’d go with F to “get the baby”. I did endless preparation - planned the “touristy” things, studied the language, got the name of a college of traditional Chinese medicine to visit. I couldn’t believe that this was happening.

Ten days before we were scheduled to leave, I woke up with a hemorrhage in my eye. It was like dumping an entire pepper shaker into an egg white and whisking it up. My retinal specialist got me in that morning and said his best guess would be that the vitreous would clear in a few weeks. But the trip was in less than two weeks - how did my other eye look? I could certainly go with just monocular vision, but what if the good one also bled? Dr. M is a deeply kind person. He put his hand on my shoulder as I cried and said that if it were him, he’d stay home, but it was my choice. I still thought I could pull it off. He told me to come back in a week, three days before departure. He did an ultrasound and told me that my retina had completely separated from the back of my eye and I’d need immediate surgery. I was stunned and rapidly slid into that tunnel of “blissful numbness”, where you shut down because the emotional pain is simply too much.

I don’t feel like recounting the details of the surgery and recovery right now, but no, I did not go to China. I was too immersed in the health crisis and did not experience the profound sense of unfairness and disappointment until days later. Why why why did that f’ing diabetes take away my one dream? I’ve never asked for much from life, and at that time it seemed like I’d never gotten much, either.

But today, 4 years later, I can see all that Emily is - in her Halloween costume, blowing out birthday candles, ripping open Christmas gifts and rushing to greet me with open arms. I can see her cousins (all boys) fussing over her endlessly. I have a picture of her on my desk at her first baseball game (go Twins) where we both came home with peanut shells in our hair - and I could see the scoreboard clearly

Because of laser beams, retinal surgery and Dr. K.M., I am living my reward.

I’m sure that diabetes will be the reason for more disruptions, disappointments and snafus as the currents of life carry me on. But the rage has faded to nothing.

That dear sweet baby was one of a million stars in the sky that was chosen to come and be a member of our family. And because of her, we all shine more brightly.

Happy Birthday Em. I love you.