Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weddings and Birthdays

I have this weekend off.  I rarely get weekends off, but I booked this one specifically.

I am going out of town this weekend.  I have a wedding to attend.

I am going solo.  My husband is unable to join me, so I decided to go by myself.  

I love getting together with my extended family.  We all live so far from each other that it is only at times like this, weddings (or funerals), that we get a chance to get together.

I will be travelling with my parents (feeling like a kid because I hate to drive on the 401) to my sister's house in Milton. It is her birthday today, so we will also be celebrating that this weekend!

The wedding ceremony is being held at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville (fancy schmancy), which we will not be attending.  We will be arriving for the Reception, which will be held at a different location.  

I haven't had to pack for an overnight stay in such a long time I think I've forgotten what I need to bring!

I made a list (on my IPhone LOL), and will try to remember everything I need.

you cant see the rest but it believe me there's more!!

I have decided to wear a dress and again the question of where to wear my pump comes up.  This time, instead of the garter i will be wearing a pair of bike shorts under the dress, and it will stay nicely in place (dress has no pockets but is fairly flowy so it shouldn't show!)

I am really looking forward to being responsible for just me.  I know how ridiculous that sounds, but I feel that I am always responsible for everyone else as well as myself!  When my kids were small, if we went anywhere, I had to get them ready and packed (their stuff not them haha!), and I usually packed my husbands stuff too.  Now I have grandkids and they usually accompany us whenever we go away.

But this time it's just me!  Oh the freedom!

Well I'm off the start the packing.  Wish me luck!  Hope I don't forget anything!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Consequence of Diabetes

Yesterday was the 3rd annual Diabetes Art Day.  Lee Ann Thill over at The Butter Compartment is the creator of this awesome event.

What began in 2010 with only about 80 participants, has grown.  In its second year there were over 170 participants.  This year, it looks like that total will be beaten out of the water!

Unfortunately I didn't get my art up yesterday.  I am adding it today.

As I'm sure everyone knows, with Diabetes comes the danger of complications.   We've all heard the horror stories.  The one's that start with "my friends uncles cousin in law......" and ends with blindness, amputation or death.  You know what I'm talking about.

Well, sometimes those stories come true.

Because of years of neglecting my Diabetes, I became one of the statistics.  After years of letting my sugars run high, because I was scared of having a low blood sugar out in public, or in the middle of the night, I noticed some symptoms that I probably ignored for too long.  Perhaps if I had been a "better Diabetic", or perhaps if I hadn't been stuck in a town that has a severe shortage of Doctors, or maybe it's because of the lack of benefits at our places of work, I would have taken better care of myself.  It may be just that since I was told from the beginning that I wouldn't live very long, so I just sort of expected the worst, that I neglected things.  It doesn't really matter what the reason, it's what the end result was:

Triple Bypass Surgery January 10, 2011

It was a rude wake up call.  Please don't let this happen to you.  Take care of yourself.

                                                     DON'T LET DIABETES WIN

(the above picture is not me, but i have the same scar.  it's not pretty, and it wasnt fun.  if i knew then what i know now, i would have done things so differently!  this didn't have to happen to me.  i pray for a cure, so it doesn't have to happen to anyone else!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

about 2 weeks ago, i was contacted by they wondered if i would be interested in a guest blog, and promised to send me a post for my perusal.  Healthline's mission is to "improve health through information".  after going to the site itself, and giving it the once over, i decided that i would love to have a guest post from one of their bloggers.  they have been featured on a variety of sites including The Washington Times.  so i messaged back saying i was definitely interested in a guest post.   well the post arrived,  and so without saying anything further,  may i introduce my guest blogger Mike Takieddine. 

My Chess Match and T1D
By Mike Takieddine

It seemed to me in retrospect that I had always had two preoccupations in life: chess as of the age of seven, and type 1 diabetes even before that. My dad had taught me the game and had always found the time to indulge me. Of greater significance though was the fact that he was a family physician and had always tried to give me “the real skinny” on matters to do with my auto-immune system, pancreatic issues, and all the rest of it.
I never fail to thank God for giving me the most supportive parents ever. Since that early age, I followed a nicely balanced –and perpetually evolving- diet, and a steady regimen of exercise, which I learned to enjoy.
My big thrill however was in playing chess. By the time I was12 and 13 years old, I had read countless books by the Masters, particularly chess giants such as Alekhine and Capablance of the early 20th century. Alekhine had been the Russian Grandmaster who was famed for playing dozens of games both simultaneously and blindfolded (one board after the other without seeing the boards) -and scoring a high majority of wins.
It was however playing back my all-time hero’s games, Bobby Fisher, as well as his Russian rivals of the 1960’s and 70’s, that catapulted me into the ranks of a good player. I became ranked #1 in the under 16 category in the state of Delaware where we lived.
Admittedly –and before anyone makes sneering remarks about tiny Delaware- that wasn’t the strongest chess playing state in the Union (in fact, it ranked 48th). But I was under 16, and it was encouraging. By then, I was beating my dad easily and kept reminding him of a well dredged fact around chess, namely that the human brain peaked at age 28 -that it was downhill after that.
My big test promptly loomed on the horizon when I manipulated the diabetic society that we frequented into challenging a counterpart of theirs in the state of New York, ranked 3rd in the nation. It would be for under 16’s, and in New York City, a double challenge for me with my diabetes, given all the preparations and precautions my family and I would have to take.
Thus, off we went when the time came, and we checked into a hotel near the YMCA where the event would take place. I was told mine would be a best-of-three match, against a guy called Jonathan Dunkin. When his 6’3” frame showed up, my heart fluttered and I was properly intimidated.
In the famous games of the 70’s between the Russian Grandmasters and Bobby Fisher, the war of nerves played a huge role, the Russians trying hard to intimidate Fisher with all sorts of machinations, and Fisher responding with more of the same. That speaks for how nervous players can get prior to a big match.
On the world scene, grandmasters always went to tournaments accompanied by an entourage that included a psychiatrist, a physical trainer, and several peers-players. They would at times spend the whole night preparing the opening of a game that they hoped to spring on their opponent.
I was promptly stressed out, my hands shaking, and 15-year old Jonathan beat me in the first game through an error in judgment that I conveniently blamed on my nerves. The good news was that I prolonged that losing first game as much as possible, giving myself time to settle down and shake off my case of nerves. Sure enough, the second game went on forever, and I won it by way of god play in the end game when there were only a few pieces left on the board.
We had a break, and it would be my turn to start on the final game, so while my parents fussed about my food and liquids, I was in my mind rehearsing the Ruy Lopez opening, Ruy Lopez having been a Spanish Grandmaster who had a popular opening strategy. I figured that the opening was so commonly used that Jonathan wouldn’t be expecting it.
Sure enough, he looked at me quizzically when I made the first few moves, as if to say “I can’t believe you’re playing the Lopez.” Well, he was ill prepared, and the game went my way from beginning to end.
The story of my chess at a young age parallels my fight against diabetes almost step by step. My preparation and discipline were winners for me all along, my parents helping out through all the stages, and particularly when confronted with health and other snags. I used chess at an early age to take my mind off diabetes and render me equal to others, without acrimony towards myself or anyone else. My big advice to my peer T1D’s is to get involved with external things that you enjoy and allow your mind to grow away from what disorders you may have.

About Mike Takieddine, the author:
Mine has been a privileged life, first for having traveled all over as son of an international family, then for having had the opportunity to study at Oxford, and finally for a gratifying writing career culminating in crafting prose for a very special website, For me, the best cure for my chronic disease was to immerse myself in external activities that I could get passionate about, including a healthy lifestyle. The enemy is stress, and stress is wily, unyielding, and usually intricately disguised.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

So it's Sunday night.  I'm sitting at my computer searching for recipes.

I love to cook.  I am always trying out new recipes on my family and friends.

Back in the spring, when the chives started to flower, I found a blog.  I am quickly becoming a regular visitor there.  I was searching online for a way to use up the chive blossoms.  They are so pretty, and I knew they were edible, but other than adding them to salads, I wasn't sure what could be done with them.  

I discovered they could be added to vinegar to create something beautiful as well as delicious! 

chive blossom vinegar with and without the blossoms!

Then the zucchini wouldn't stop growing!  We were surrounded by gigantic zucchini plants that were producing about 3 - 4 zucchini a day!  So i decided to try my hand at canning.  Again I perused the world wide web in search of a recipe for Zucchini Relish.  

Behold!  My very first true waterbath canning concoction! Zucchini relish!
made from the abundance of zucchini in my garden!

I began to notice that the basil I had planted was looking a little worse for wear.  Not really sure how to harvest this lovely smelling herb, I once again headed for my laptop.  I learned how to pick the leaves so that more will grow, and it will fill out not up!  So we have been eating tomato and basil salads, and I even added some basil and garlic to a jar of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and will use this with pasta, or as a dip for Italian bread.
it smells delicious!

Thursday night I decided to do some more canning.  Last Christmas, at a house party, I tried a new to me pickle.  Dilly Beans.  Basically pickled green beans!  They were awesome, and i was determined to try my had at making them.  Searching for a recipe was easy.  There are hundreds of them online!
The one i settled on seemed straight forward enough.  And so I once again headed into the kitchen.  With a little chopping and dicing, some boiling and pouring, I created my soon to be famous Dilly Beans!!
these will be added to my next Caesar!

And so yesterday my husband and I went to our local Farmers Market. It is an incredible place to visit on a Saturday morning!  Local produce of every imaginable kind to be had at very reasonable prices!  I love going in the fall!  We picked up a few things.  Some pears, carrots, a giant sweet potato, and a really big onion!  There are all sorts of vendors at the market.  You can buy meats, and of course veggies and fruits.  You can get a cute food bowl for your pet, blankets, and of course preserves.  I noticed a lady selling her homemade wares, and found out that they were all her grandmother's recipes.  She had jars of pickled asparagus, dill pickles, relishes of all sorts, including corn relish.  Hmmmm, i remember my grandma enjoying corn relish.  Perhaps I would try my hand at that.  And so i searched through my old cook books, books I've inherited.  I found a recipe that I figured I could make.  Since I still had some jars left, I figured I would pick up what I didn't have on hand (namely corn), and get up bright and early on Sunday and make another relish!

corn relish - gonna taste great on my veal hot dogs from the market!

The batches that I've made have all been fairly small.  3 jars of Zucchini Relish, 3 of Dilly Beans, and 3 of Corn Relish.  The Chive Blossom Vinegar made about 8 jars.   They were all really simple to make, and can be done at any time of year, with the exception of the vinegar.  You don't have to grow the produce.  In fact the Corn Relish was actually made with frozen corn!  The onions, and peppers were purchased.  You can buy green beans and zucchini pretty much all year long at the grocery store.  If I run out I can always buy the ingredients and make some more!

My next canning adventure will include Chili Sauce and a Salsa!  

I've fallen in love with canning!  <3 <3 

(the zucchini relish and the corn relish do have a small amount of sugar in them, but i don't think it would work out to more that 3gr/tbsp.  i will have to enter all the ingred. into and get the actual calculations which i will post at a later date.)


Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Tuesday September 4th, 2012

today my grandson started grade 1.  it's hard to believe!  it seems like just yesterday that he was making his entrance into this world.

the entrance that had his parents, and all of his extended family wondering what lay ahead for this little red-headed wonder.

Cameron was born with a congenital heart defect called Tetrology of Fallot.
TOF, as it is called, is actually a combination of four heart defects: pulmonary stenosis; a thickened right ventricle (ventricular hypertrophy); a hole between the lower chambers (ventricular septal defect) and an aorta that can receive blood from both the left and right ventricles, instead of draining just the left.  because deoxygenated (blue) blood can flow out to the body, children with this defect often appear bluish.  and Cameron certainly did.

within the hour, arrangements were made to fly him via helicopter to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.  he would spend 2 weeks there while the cardiologist and other doctors decided what his fate would be.  

it was decided that he would definitely need heart surgery, but for right now, he was fine to go home.  he would need medications, and he would be a little slower to hit the milestones than other children his age.  he also had basically no immune system so things like daycare and play dates had to be carefully planned, because even a cold could quickly turn into something requiring emergency care.  on top of this he was also diagnosed with Di George Syndrome, which is likely the underlying cause of the heart defect.

at 11 months old, Cameron underwent open heart surgery to repair his broken heart.  it was a very scary time, and many prayers were said for this little guy.

it has been 5 1/2 years since then, and Cameron is just a regular little boy.  he keeps me busy, and makes me laugh.  he plays baseball and lacrosse.  he starts hockey in just a few weeks.  he loves to play the guitar, and will be taking lessons.  he is a jokester, and can tell stories like no other!  he loves his little sister, but will fight with her just as fast as hug her!

and so, today, i am celebrating a New Year.  Cameron's new year at school.  he's in the big yard at recess, and already he loves his new teacher.  i'm sure the new will wear off, and i will hear how much he hates school, but for now i am celebrating!

i am so proud of him.  he has overcome obstacles, he is a happy go lucky guy, with a big heart, who makes friends every where he goes, and is always smiling!

Happy New Year Cameron!   
ready for his 1st day of Grade 1