Monday, March 16, 2015

Pardon My French: Diabetes SUCKS!

I hate Diabetes! There. I wrote it. Do I feel better? No. I will only feel better when there is a cure for this terrible disease and hopefully during my lifetime!

This has been my life for nearly two years now. Pricking my fingers three times a day, giving myself up to four insulin shots a day and let's not forget about the meds I have to take now to ward off any high blood pressure and high cholesterol! Before all this started I only took a daily vitamin and that was it.

Let me rewind for a moment. Back in November of 2013 I was officially diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. How in the world does a 50 year old, seemingly healthy woman suddenly get T1 Diabetes? Apparently, I had been dealing with it for years, but at the age of 50 my body decided to wave the white flag by shedding pounds left and right and thinning hair. Not to mention I was always so tired. Naturally, I thought the worst thinking I had Cancer, but after several blood tests and talking to my General Practitioner who referred me to an Endocrinologist it was finally diagnosed as T1 Diabetes.

What? How?  It seems that a much earlier diagnosis of Psoriatic Arthritis back in the early 90's was the cause of all of this as that auto immune disease basically destroyed the insulin making part of my pancreas. Something that can never be restored.

Since being diagnosed I have now lost 70+ pounds to date.

Talk about a complete life change. This disease is the hardest challenge I have ever had to deal with in my life. At first I went totally strict and restricted my intake of carbs to the max, started an exercise program and watched everything I put in my mouth. What happened? I was losing more weight and the doctor told me I was literally starving myself. Grrr... More adjustments needed to be made.

I talked to a dietitian who tried teaching me how to eat but quite frankly if you're going to tell me I can only have a 1/4 cup of pasta, I won't have any. Just so crazy!

Do you know how hard it is to only consume 15 grams of carbs during one meal? It's hard. Believe me.

I finally got it somewhat under control but then Christmas came and well.... I fell off the "Diabetes Wagon". My insulin shots were here and there, I wasn't watching what I was eating and I almost felt normal again, except for falling asleep before even putting my fork down on my plate.

When I went for my last blood test I just knew it wasn't going to be good, and sure enough, today I found out that after finally getting my A1C down to a reasonable "7" I am now back up to a "9" and I've lost six more pounds since my last appointment in November. Definitely NOT what my doctor wanted to see and just asked, "Leslie, What happened". Quite frankly doc, "I screwed up. I'm so tired of the constant finger pricking the burn of the insulin shots, the constant writing down all my numbers and watching every thing that goes in my mouth." Is this normal I asked? For someone to slip and fall off the wagon? Absolutely, he said. But, he said, while my numbers are still OK for my cholesterol, liver, kidney, etc., if I continue like this, they will not be soon enough.

His final advice was...
Yes, I'm going to get back on the horse. And, as depressing as this may sound, I finally admitted to my husband that more than likely I will probably die from this disease, but I'm going to fight like hell in the mean time!
Stay well,

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Never Let Them See You Sweat

By now it should be no secret nor surprise that I still have a slight fear of public speaking.

Who knew there was even a word in the dictionary describing it!
While so many have told me not to worry, you're a natural, etc. inside I am still a bit fearful of it even though I've gone through Public Speaking classes via Dale Carnegie, (which changed my entire life by the way) and I've actually taught many types of classes, but something still twists my gut. What is it? Oh, the simple fact that I sometimes still "stutter". There's nothing worse than getting stuck on a word, a seemingly long and uncomfortable pause that takes place when you're trying to settle your mind and just talk with one word at a time instead of rushing the sentence into a huge mess of stammering and stuttering confusion.
I'm thinking that all those years that I taught my stuffed animals when I was a child gave me the foundation of wanting to teach. Needless to say, I had the smartest stuffed animals in the world!
For the past two weekends I've been getting back into the teaching mode giving classes at a garden center. Today's crowd of 35 was probably the most relaxed I've ever been. No stuttering, no referring to notes, no pulling info out of my brain, but just doing what I love and teaching others how I plant up flowering containers.
Maybe today's confidence came from the fact that I'm a Libra?
If you're afraid of public speaking my best advice to you is..
- Trust your gut that you do know what you're talking about, no matter what your brain tries to tell you.
- Know your presentation inside and out.
- Speak slowly and sincerely.
- Engage your audience with the very first word you utter. Crack a joke, ask a question, or introduce yourself with a bit of humor because laughter always breaks the ice.
- If all else fails, you can try what my brother always says, "Look at your audience as if they were naked!"
And above all..



Saturday, March 14, 2015

Blowing Off The Dust After Two Years!

Can you believe that after two years I am finally blowing off the dust from my blog? Sure, I had thoughts of giving it up completely, but heck, after taking a look back and seeing all the posts I've written and have actually referred back to over the years, I thought, "Hey! let's continue!" Who knows maybe one day my granddaughter will read this and a get good laugh!

So many things have changed in my life since the last time I wrote on here which was March 3, 2013! WOW! How time does fly! 

Changes.... yes, some great, some good, some fair, and some of course are challenging, but then again so is life! Right?

Stay tuned my friends! I'm back and boy do I have some stories for you!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Empty Nest

I have often thought of myself as a nature lover. I love exploring into the woods trying to keep a mysterious eye open to the forces of nature and looking into the unexpected, searching for things that are above the obvious. 

Sometimes, all one needs to do is keep an open mind, looking deep into the forest, looking past those things that we've observed time and time again, but really searching for the unusual things that are hidden from the common eye's sight. 

The other day I was standing at my kitchen sink, looking out into my landscape and saw something hanging from a tree, swaying gently in the wind. After peering through my binoculars I was positive I had not noticed this intriguing object before. I decided a further inspection was necessary. Grabbing my camera and putting on my boots I walked into the woods and found "The Empty Nest". 

I was in awe of this magnificent work of art made by what appears to be a Queen Hornet. The intricacy of this nest made me realize that hornets, while posing a threat to humans, are crafters in their own right. I now have an entirely new respect for hornets and wasps. 

Did you know that a nest like this is made from chewed up plant material and the hornets saliva? The result is a paper-like nest that can often be the size of a basketball. What looms and buzzes about inside are thousands of hornets breeding in each of the cells. While it may look like a city inside the womb, it is simply an undertaking with one single purpose and that is to ensure the maturing of the queens young so that the family can continue into the following season.  Does that sound familiar? Just like a mother who brings up her child in a protected home, nourishing them, teaching them, making them strong enough to face the world and finally when the child is of age they often will spread their wings and make a world or nest of their own. 

While many are afraid of the nest itself, it will pose a threat if it is loaded with hornets or wasps in season, but unless they are threatened, they will not threaten you. Look from afar, but do not touch would be the best words of advice if you see a hornets nest. Unless of course, it happens to be the dead of winter when the nest is empty. 

There are benefits though of having such an interesting nest hanging from your trees or in your landscape. The hornets or wasps that reside inside can benefit your gardens by preying on potential pests such as grubs, caterpillar, boll weevils and black widow spiders.

Have you ever been lucky enough to have a large sized hornets nest in your landscape?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Getting My Fingers Back in the Dirt!

Even though it's only been a few short weeks since I put my garden to bed, I am missing my regular routine of visiting my vegetable garden. Isn't it funny how that happens? We no sooner harvest our last vegetables, put the garden to bed and already we're missing it.

This is the time that I usually pay more attention to my houseplants, but let's face it, houseplants are typically just foliage plants and while they do provide me with the look of green and nature, they certainly do not provide the benefits that an herb or vegetable does.

So, what can you do?  Ah! we can start some vegetables right in our own home! I owe a big 'Thank You'  to "My Little Heaven" who suggested this idea of starting such things as celery and lettuce. You don't even have to start them from seed, but rather the bottoms of already harvested vegetables.

If you don't know already, I am a "Canner". I am a person who loves to preserve things for future use. Along with this comes an entire theory of repurposing, growing, preserving and becoming self sufficient.  If you're interested in "Canning" you can visit my page "Earth to Glass Canning" on Facebook.

Now, are you ready to get your hands back in the dirt?

Have you recently purchased a head of lettuce, a bunch of celery or a bag of leeks? Why not try to regrow them? It's very easy!

Cut the bottom off of the head or bunch. Set the bottom in a small dish of water. Celery, especially, will start producing roots within a few short weeks as well as lettuce. But, what you'll see within a few days is the center of the vegetables start to push out new growth! Once a root system starts to push out the bottom, you can plant them in a pot with soil.

I have also tried to plant the bottom of a head of romaine lettuce directly in a pot of soil without a root system established and what I'm seeing is new growth already producing from the center. It will be interesting to see which head produces more leaves faster.

Are you a "Leek" lover? Why not try planting the bottoms of leeks in a pot? Soak the bottoms in water for about 30 minutes, to soften up the roots, then plant them in a pot of soil too. While I've planted a lot of leeks in a relatively small pot, I am hoping to get a healthy root system and then will transplant them into a larger pot later on. In just a few short days, I've already witnessed the centers of the leeks pushing up!

Aside from planting the already established vegetables, I've also decided to start some herb seeds using recycled containers such as take out containers or where baked items came out of. They are perfect for starting seeds with their clear lids that act as a mini greenhouse. Other planting mediums would be cardboard egg cartons or rolled up newspaper. Once the seedlings are strong enough, I will transplant them into larger pots and use the herbs within my recipes. Then, come Spring, I will transplant them outside to my vegetable garden. But, in the mean time, I will have my own vegetable and herb garden right inside my own home.

If you're missing your vegetable and herb gardens, why not bring the outside, "inside" and enjoy your bounty all winter long!