Saturday, November 28, 2009

Samson's Day

IN or OUT: Samson sees his first snow. Princess has voted for IN, while Samson and Soldier aren't quite sure if they should brave the weather.

What better place to chew my bone than the livingroom carpet?

I promise I found the pillow on the floor....

This weekend Samson fell in love with Angel and went to sleep by her side. While Angel jumped on the couch to get away from all that puppy lovin'.

We had our first winter storm up here today. So much fun! Hope you are having a great day too.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Look Who's Home for Thanksgiving!

Hmmm, this looks like a fun toy!

I think I'll jump in....  

and see what happens.

Muddy is what happens! Oh boy, am I in trouble now.....

It has been so much fun to have my husband and Samson up here for Thanksgiving. Here we are on your way up the hillside for a morning hike.

Walking in the hills with the dogs,

we see mountains all around, junipers, mesquite, rabbitbrush,

lichen on granite rocks that remind me of Sweden

and green sandstone rock formations

of different kinds.

At the end of our hike, we climb down a steep hillside

and follow the barbed wire fence home.

Today I'm thankful for my family: my husband, my dogs, and my little bird. For good health and a chance to be together, hike in the hills, light a fire and eat good food. I am also thankful for all my friends that are so supportive of all I do.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Princess and Our New Neighbors

Our New Neighbors
by Princess

These are our new neighbors; they live in the field next door to ours. Can you see them?

Oh my, oh my, when I first saw and smelled them I wanted to go and herd them up so badly. My legs were twitching and itching to run over there and move them all over that field. I should be herding sheep, but these big guys.....mmm, tempting! You see, one part of me likes to chase balls, retrieve, splash in the doggie pool and play! That's the Black Lab part. But there is also in me a very serious working dog, called a Border Collie, that was born to herd sheep. So far, I've only herded some dogs that went missing around here, never any sheep or cattle.

The other day, one got loose and was herded by a mule (not a real mule, but one with wheels). If I'd been outside, I would have gotten that old cow back home just as fast.

This morning, we saw them again on our walk. Sometimes they glare at us, like: What are you doing here?

But usually they are busy eating and if you've ever seen a cow eat, you know it takes up a lot of their time. So they ignore us, like in this picture from yesterday when we saw them in the fog.

Angel and I ignore them too and find some interesting smells to keep us busy.

But Soldier, that silly boy, only ignores them as long as they stand still, but as soon as they move he is up in the window barking his little head off. It's a good thing cows stand still a lot (they chew and chew for a long time in the same place) or it would be a lot of barking going on around here.

Other than that, we're all getting used to each other and get along just fine, like good neighbors should.

I hope you all got to go for a good walk today! Until next time....

Posted by me: Princess!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Sunday Evening

This evening, I looked out the window and saw reflections of the setting sun in the mountains to the East.

Later the sky turned pink.

A jet plane flies into the sunset as dark clouds gather around the mountains.

I feel truly blessed to watch the beauty of this November sunset. And Soldier says all is well in his world too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Diabetes Support Group Meeting

Fly Away: Travel Tips for People with Diabetes

We all received this Christmas gift from Eve, our Diabetes Educator, friend and all around wonderful woman.

With the holidays approaching, Eve brought some handouts with travel tips and since yesterday's group was small and informal, those who had traveled recently shared their experiences with the group. And we all shared both fun and scary travel stories.

The last time I went to Sweden was in 2005 and I had no problems at all, flying Continental all the way, with a change of planes in Newark.

Some people in the group had only good things to report, but others had some tales to tell of the lack of awareness of diabetic needs from both airline and security staff. One woman even had the water in her water bottle checked to make sure it was indeed water. Others had not been allowed to bring juice onboard, for example.

Some Helpful Tips:
  • Get written prescriptions for all medications and supplies.
  • Take twice as much medicine as you think you'll need.
  • Bring all medicines in their orginial prescription bottles. One woman had all her pills confiscated because she brought them in one of those pill boxes that you use to sort your pills by day.
  • Wear a Medic Alert tag or some other form of I.D. A lot of information about Medic Alert was shared because of this tip. Several people in the meeting had never heard of this great service that provides your most important medical information to first responders in case of an emergency.
  • Bring food for one day in your carry-on bag. (Some attendees said you are not allowed to bring food on airplanes any longer. I don't know how that works, so check with your airline ahead of time.)
  • Drink lots of water while in flight. (Hopefully, you will be allowed to bring water onboard or they will have water on the plane.)
  • Depending on where you are going, don't forget extra batteries for your glucose testing meter and insulin pump, if you use one.
Insulin and Travel:
  • Insulin pump users take intermediate and regular insulin plus syringes in case of pump breakdown. I would add this: Find out how to convert to intermediate insulin from your doctor. I have had to this and it isn't all that easy. Somewhere I have a note with a formula worked out in case of pump failure.  
  • While insulin should be kept in the refridgerator, you can keep it at room temperature for one month. I always keep a bottle in my glucose meter bag and it works great for me. I just have to remember to keep it out of the sun. Insulin should not be left in temperatures above 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Some prefilled pens and Humulin insulin cartridges have different storage needs, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before traveling. Some of these can only be stored for seven days after puncture. And you must keep them in an insulated carrier.
  • If taking insulin in flight, less air needs to be injected into the bottle.
When traveling across time zones, keep this in mind:
  • Traveling East will shorten your day and decrease insulin needs. Some people decrease their insulin dose by 20% on the day they travel East.
  • Traveling West will lenghten your day and increase overall insulin needs.
Since I got my insulin pump, I traveled to Sweden twice and had no problems because of the continuous background, or basal, insulin delivery that is, for me, the best feature of the pump. I imagine it would be much more difficult without a pump.

Then it said in the handout: Most important rule is to avoid Hypoglycemia.

To this I would like to add: If you use insulin, bring plenty of Glucose tablets, particularly if you travel abroad. I know many people don't like them and there are other sweets, but who knows what may be available in a foreign country. If your blood sugars crash, glucose tablets will raise your sugars fast and they don't melt in the heat like chocolates and some candies do.

Finally, I noticed something in the handout that I didn't know: Medicare does not cover treatment outside of the US.

Oh well, there is always something new to learn.

The quotes were from handouts from the Lifeskills Teaching Guide, 1998 Diabetes Education Society, Inc.

Monday, November 16, 2009

An Oatmeal Cake Just for Me

In the old days, before diabetes, I liked to bake. Cook, not so much, but bake, yes. A few weeks ago, as the weather got cold, I suddenly felt like I wanted to bake again. Looking in my old Joy of Cooking, I found a recipe for an oatmeal cake. Since I had all the ingredients on hand, I tried it and it turned out pretty good. Too sweet for me, of course, but I froze a large piece for my husband. Then I got that cold, and feeling bored and sorry for myself.....well, there went the rest of the cake.

Then my friend sent me a zucchini bread recipe and the last time I was in town, I got all the ingredients for it, or so I thought. I didn't have a grater, so I spent some time in a couple of different stores, looking for a reasonably priced (cheap) one. I finally found one in K-Mart. I guess I was so focused on the inexpensive grater that I didn't notice I had forgotten to get baking powder! Well, I wasn't going back to town just for that. So the zucchini went in the vegetable soup I made that day and I didn't bake a cake.

I still had the urge to bake, so I thought why not make another oatmeal cake for now? I knew it would be good and I also had 1/2 cup of baking Splenda that I wanted to try.

This is the setup:
I don't have a mixer or any other helpful baking tools around here, so I did it by hand and got that wonderful pioneer woman feeling all over again. I'm really loving the more primitive life I'm living here in the canyon.

Here is the cake batter on its way in the oven:
I'll eat the cake without frosting because that would be way too sweet for me. It actually looks and tastes more like a banana or zucchini-type bread than a regular cake, anyway, so it's fine like this.

Here is the cake, all done:
I have a baby gate on one side of the kitchen and I can bring in the gate you see i the background, if I have to isolate a dog for some reason. We last used it when puppy Samson came to visit, planning for him to spend the night in the kitchen (he was not yet housebroken). Needless to say, that didn't work out, but the gate stayed. Now I just love to close it when I want to be alone in the kitchen to cook. I get tired of tripping over dogs in this tiny space that is my kitchen, where they all have to gather as soon as there is any food in sight.  Here is Soldier, sneaking in before I closed the other gate. Looks like he knows where the food is kept, doesn't it?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Changing Landscape

Last month, I posted some photos of fall colors in town, much like this one:

I took some more photos that day, as I drove home. I remembered them this morning and thought I would share them with you now. Winter will soon be here with snow and new views to share. On my 12-mile trip home from town, the landscape changes drastically from mature elms, oaks, green lawns and lush foliage to this.......

When you live in the desert mountains for a while you realize, in a new way, the value of water. In the spring, these mountains will be green and covered in wildflowers!   

The rabbitbrush in the foreground still had some yellow flowers then, to soften the landscape and feed any remaining bees.

You hope none of those huge boulders will come rolling down the hillside.

Another canyon view.

As I get closer to home, juniper bushes appear like green dots on the hillsides. While not the most cheerful of bushes, they do lend some color to the canyon. And I've become rather fond of them; I guess you learn to appreciate what you have in a harsh place like this.

Some of the many rock formations that can be found all around the canyon.

Here are some more.....

And now I'm home...this is our country road. There is just something about a country road that makes me happy!

Now that I'm feeling good, I plan to blog about some activities again this week. A lot of outdoor work has gotten behind, I have a diabetes support group coming up, and I plan to bake an oatmeal cake!! And, yes, for me that cake is big news! I stopped baking when I got diabetes 20 years ago and I'm just starting again and loving it!

Have a great Sunday....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blackbird Rituals and Evening Fun and Games

The Blackbirds are Back!

Every fall, large flocks of blackbirds gather on the wires at dusk.....

Most of them perch in perfect harmony and symmetry, facing in the same direction......

It's interesting to observe these evening rituals. Not all birds are content with their original landing spot. They want to change, maybe with a bird further down the wire, so off they go and start a spat.

This usually ends with the target bird giving up its spot to the aggressor. But then that bird has to find a new spot and it doesn't seem to occur to it to simply go to the end of the line and perch there. This goes on for a while, and then they all settle down and wait until dark. As soon as it gets dark, they swoop down in one large black cloud to spend the night under cover in the juniper bushes.

Steal the Slipper and Three-Way Dog Fight Games

Our dogs are pretty much spoiled with their daily walks and outside activities, so after spending a week in the house and dogrun, they got the after dinner crazies, just like puppies, last night.

Soldier tells the story:

There went mommy's slipper! I bet Angel stole it!

Here's the slipper, but where is Angel? Hint: See her ear and tail in the foreground?

There she is, I got her!

Let's have a three-way dog fight! Note: Slipper is left and forgotten.

Ophs!! I'm busted now; I knocked over the plant and didn't get my TAIL out of the picture!!

Who me? I didn't do it!


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