Monday, September 24, 2007

Funny Boy

The other day I was organizing this big drawer of Oliver's stuff
(toys, grooming stuff, flea stuff, shampoo, etc). I came across his
faceless baby. That's what I call it, but it's just a peanut shaped
stuffed thing with rope arms, legs and hair. And no face. It's
mangled. Wondering what it's still doing there, I toss it in the
trash. At present, Oliver has out for his enjoyment, a shark, a
raccoon, a fish and a rope bone.

Apparently that wasn't enough. Later in the evening I found him
sitting among his fish, raccoon, shark and rope, tearing at his
faceless baby, which he'd apparently pulled from the trash when I
turned my back. I can hear in his head, "Hey! Hi, Faceless baby! I've
been looking all over for you! My other toys suck. Come with me and
I'll tear you apart even more! Not even you're faceless mommy will be
able to recognize you when I'm done! Not that your faceless mommy has
any idea what you look like anyway. C'mon it'll be fun".

Yesterday afternoon was cloudy. Perfect weather for a outdoor concert
(no excessive sun to deal with). I took Oliver to Sunday at The Meyer.
We wandered for a bit, pooped inappropriately close to where people
were sitting (WTF?! You JUST went two blocks ago, Pooper.), and found
a spot on a hill. I kept a close eye on him. There were lots of kids
around and while he's always been good with them, it still made me

One little girl with a great shock of curly blonde hair approached.
"Hi, doggie!" she said, close to his face. Oliver bounced towards her,
unable to decide whether he wanted to kiss her or eat her, he kind-of
kissed her with his mouth wide open, bumping her face with his teeth
slightly. I cringed on the inside, my heart stopping for a split
second until the little girl giggled, not realizing how close she may
have come to being eaten. Oliver realized the minute he hit her with a
teeth bumping kiss that no, he didn't want to eat her, he really just
wanted to kiss her. So, he made this clear by nailing her in the face
with another one. No teeth this time though.

Another little kid came up from behind us and wrapped her arms around
his neck, resting her cheek against the back of his head. I wondered
what Oliver would do about this, but the girl left before Oliver could
wonder, "What the woof was that?"

A few days ago I bought the dog the wrong canned food. We tried it and
he started itching around his face. Oops. I went and bought the right
stuff and I'm hoping the itchy face thing will subside. At the
concert, however, he was still itchy. He discovered he got maximum
itch relief by using the hill we were perched on. He would lie on one
side of his body and scootch down the hill, head first, jamming his
face into the grass as he slid.

Super. Good thing he's allergic to grass.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Being Diabetic

I don't think I'm too much of a crybaby when it comes to my disease.
It exists and I deal. But when I read Emily Minor's column about her
challenge with it, by the end I found myself in tears. I'm not much of
a "why me" person, nor am I an "It won't happen to me" person, but
there was something about reading her words, her struggle with it, her
description of what it's like. I never realized I felt a bit alone
until I read that and felt I wasn't.

Emily is a fantastic writer at our paper and an even better person, as
far as I can tell. When I run into her on rare occasions, we chat
about things. How have my sugars been? How's that new med your doc put
you on? It's nice to have someone around who knows the secret
handshake - even if the club members have poor immune systems.

I have never had any emergencies. Ironically, the closest I came was a
few weeks ago when I had dinner and felt woozy an hour later. I
checked my sugars and they were a little low. No big deal, normally,
but if I was to start barfing and my sugars would continue to drop,
I'd have no way of keeping my sugars in a good range, considering I
couldn't keep anything down. Needing to avoid such situations is part
of the reason I get a flu shot every year.  That and the fact that the
flu can kill someone with the 'betes. I called Rachel and asked if she
wouldn't mind hanging out, just until I could slowly drink juice and
get my sugars in a reasonable range (I had been unable for the hour
before calling her, to get them up). So, she hung-out and watched my
TV while I lay in bed. By midnight I was good and when I came into the
living room to let her know we would not need to go to the hospital,
she said, "Yeah, your color is MUCH better. You had no color in your
face before."

It's true. When I go severely hypoglycemic, I tend to avoid any
mirrors - they give me an idea of what I'd look like if I were dead.

Back to Emily's column though. She mentioned that she had viral
meningitis and two years later she was diagnosed. Textbook case. It
was at this point I began to bawl. I had always known that what did it
for me was probably that horrid flu I had my sophomore year in
college, the one with the 104 degree temperature and the near
passing-out at the university health center, but I never dwelled on
what if, even if it did occur to me, which it did. Suddenly, it hits
me...holy shit. My life could be completely different had I only
gotten one measly flu shot that year.

One shot. That's it.

One shot and I could eat whatever I want without giving myself
insulin. One shot and I could go for a bike ride without checking my
sugars and having to wait with a glass of juice for them to rise if
they were too low to work-out (which is exactly what I had to do
tonight), one shot and I'd have a shitload more money because I'd
never have to buy all the pharmaceuticals I need, or visit an
endocrinologist every three months, the dentist twice a year
religiously, they eye doctor yearly, etc. But being diagnosed has
effected who I am as a person. At least, I think it has. I can
certainly relate to others who deal with things out of their control
better than I would have had I not been diagnosed. Maybe I'd be
sympathetic anyway, but I'd like to think there's some silver lining.

Now, being type 1 means you have the genetics to be susceptible to the
condition, so I may have been diagnosed some other time, after some
other sickness.

The ironic thing is that since being diagnosed ten years ago, I've
never gotten the flu because I've always gotten the flu shot annually.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Exterminating More Than Just Fleas

I was off from work today and around noon, Neil the exterminator came
to help us out, as he does every month. I knew he was here when I saw
and heard the flea fighting chemicals being fire hosed all over the
yard and porch. When he came in, Oliver did his usual stranger-danger
panic, except he's been eating his food like a relatively normal dog,
so there was no full food dish to run to and frantically, obsessively
eat out of. So instead, he jammed his head in the water dish, which is
great 'cause everyone could stand to drink more water in this
oppressive Florida heat. He then ran and got his raccoon, looking to
the door with an expression of  a determined protective father...of a
stuffed raccoon with holes in it. Proud Papa..that is, until he
decides to tear it up. Then I'm calling DCF on his hairy ass.

Neil came in. We chatted a bit about ebay (I've sold some stuff on
there recently) and he talked to me about his family briefly while
spraying around the corners and on the carpets. I was working on a
long-ignored scrapbook while he continued through-out the apartment
when I heard something grumbled out like, "...guys knocking down the
"What was that?" I asked.
"Nothing!" he said quickly, "I didn't say anything!"  It was after he
answered me that I registered what he'd said. I swear I heard a "I
just don't get it" mumbled out seconds later.

He was soon done, and I was writing his check  when he said, "You
should be married! I just don't get it!  Men are idiots around here!"
he's saying this sort-of to himself, but actually to me.

"Oh, thanks! That's nice of you to say." I tell him, flattered.

"You're great, and you're beautiful! You know that? You're really
beautiful!" he adds, on a roll, but still sort-of mumbling to himself.
I don't think I'm very good at taking compliments, so...I just smile
and give him his check. I'm not creeped-out by him in the least
because I don't find him to be creepy. But, then, maybe I'm just a
crappy judge of character. It's been known to happen.

We schedule and appointment for next month and he heads out the door
after I pay him, "'Can't wait to see you next month!" he says.

So, thanks, Neil, for giving me the compliment. That was very nice of
you. Especially considering I kind of looked like crap today. That
said, please don't take it further hit on me next month, you're really
good at dealing with our fleas and I don't want to have to find
someone else. The guys at Nolans Exterminating were just rude when I
called them a while back.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Queen Mary

After a delicious meal of grilled chicken, pearly risotto and
perfectly cooked asparagus, the lively conversations at the table of
twelve continued last night at our dear Scott's End. Uncle Billy, who
owns the house, told the story of how Scott's End got it's name; His
(and my Dad's) Uncle Freddy made a children's book based on a trip
taken by Dad and Billy and my grandmother Mima when the two were boys.
The book was all about Billy Button and Petie Peanut, who lived in a
mushroom house named Scott's End.
The adventure continued in real life also. On the eight-day cruise on
the Queen Mary from America to Europe in 1947, they got stuck in some
rough weather. The waves were high and the giant ship swayed
dramatically to and fro. In the nursery, Billy said, they removed all
the toys and the furniture, and set the children on the floor and let
them slide on their bottoms from one end of the nursery to the other.
Back and forth, back and forth!
In the dining room, where Mima went for a bite, there was only one
other person. He was at the other side of the dining hall, reading a
book. At one point, he dropped the book (or set it down on the floor).
The massive boat rocked on the massive waves and the book slid all the
way across the room, to the foot of my grandmother. She picked it up
and regarded it.
"Hey hey! You hoo!" called the man from across the room, letting her
know that the book was his. Mima placed it back on the floor, and with
the rush of the next wave, it slid it's way directly back to it's

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Who Says You Can't Go Home

I am packing. I wouldn't say I'm bad at packing, but I would say that
I have a hard time living minimalistic-ly. I've learned this over the
last few years. I would pack lighter and find myself at my vacation
destination changing 42 times in a day because the weather changed as
often and darn it, I knew I'd be in the mood to wear that teal t-shirt
with the picture on the camera on it!  And where is it? At home in the
"stays here" pile.

At the same time, there are always items I end up not touching at all,
but really, how do you know what you're going to feel like wearing
three days from now?

That would be an interesting psychic skill; my commercial would come
on really late at night, during Jerry Springer reruns and sandwiched
between the ad for a memory improvement pill and some 900 number
ad..."Are you taking a trip?"  I'd say, wearing some kind of Stevie
Nicks-ish shawl, "Why stress out about what to pack? I can tell you
what you'll feel like wearing three days from now! Come on in for a
reading! We're located on the corner of Sketchy Street and Liar
Avenue, just behind The Hairless Cat Saloon!".  *Just $19.99 for a
reading!*  would blink at the bottom of the screen.

I'd say this all in a Jamaican accent.

I've accepted my poor packing skills, even though it embarrasses me a
bit to know that I like what I like and I like having what I like
around me.

'Point is I'll be in MA in 24 hours and 24 hours after that I will be
surrounded by family and surrogate family in Cape Cod - Land of fun
and...chilly breeze at night.

Good thing I packed two sweatshirts.