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A Little Link Love.

June 18, 2010

Earlier this week, I read Maggie Mason’s 20 Things I Wish I’d Known at 20.

It rocked my socks. It’ll rock your socks too. I swear, it gives Mary Schmich (the author of Wear Sunscreen) a run for her money.

I’m not too far off from being 20 myself, but I can certainly relate to so many of these things.

One thing I wish I knew at 20? I wish I knew just how important it was to keep in regular contact with people from the different stages of my life. Reconnecting on Facebook is great, but it’s hard to keep up when you’re not around. Perhaps there is a twinge of regret in moving across the country, but in reality, I wish I was less stubborn about picking up the phone or sending a personal email instead of just blogging something as a mass communication for all to see. There are so many great people I’ve known and I regret not being there to celebrate momentous occasions and give them a hug when they’re feeling down.

What do you wish you’d known at 20?

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Things That Make Me Happy: #58 and #59

June 17, 2010

#58: Volunteering

Last weekend, the home community that I’m a part of through my church volunteered through an outreach program for the poor and homeless across New York City. It’s called the New York Relief Bus and it travels all around the New York area to help people living in the poorer neighborhoods.  They serve soup and bread, provide information on jobs and housing, and they also have a collection of clothes and shoes that they give out for free. On Saturday, we went to Bushwick, in Brooklyn, to serve a community of mostly Latinos. Communication was a challenge. The majority of people spoke little to no English, and so it was difficult to really serve them. It was like being in another world almost and it made me feel very helpless to be around so many people and not have a direct way to be friends with them because of the communication barrier. But it was nice, though, that even though we couldn’t speak to each other that our actions were still helping. One station we had was face painting for the children, and it was nice to see them smile and their parents were appreciative too. I wasn’t particularly good at painting though – I’ve never been much of an artist. Serving the community was such an integral part of Jesus’ ministry that it felt good to be a tiny part of that here in the present day. It was a challenge to overcome the language barrier, but I’m glad we did it. I feel like it made us stronger relying on God that we were doing something to help others even if it was uncomfortable for us.

#59: Out of town visitors

I love having out of town visitors. One of the wonderful things about living in New York City is how many people want to come and visit! The only thing that bums me out is that I live with two girls and so I don’t really have anywhere to house people. But it’s always fun when people are able to come, even for a day, and to show them around our favorite parts of the city – the real New York as I like to call it! It’s always a fun excuse to go around and do the touristy things too, like visit the Statue of Liberty, go to the Empire State Building, or Rockefeller Center. Or even Times Square, which I normally avoid at all costs. Because, um, have you been to Times Square? It’s like Hell, only with even more people. If you’re ever in NYC, let me know. I’d love to take you around.

Hanging out in Central Park in December with a friend

Diabetic, Interrupted.

June 16, 2010

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been regularly going to the gym again. I would hardly call it going often, but I’ve consistently gone 3 days a week this month, which is more regular than where I was at earlier this year. Earlier this year I’d go three days a week, and then once, and then twice, and then maybe back to once. Most of this is because I was going in the evening and my evening schedule is so unpredictable, what with diabetes support group meetings, dinners with friends, running errands and seeing my fiance.

Because of my hectic evening schedule, I decided to start going to the gym in the morning. But I’m also finding that difficult as well. Because the time I test my blood sugar level before going to the gym is also the first test of the day, I don’t have much recourse if my blood sugar is low, or too low for going to the gym. This morning I woke up at my blood sugar was 130 mg/dl, which is a perfectly respectable fasting number, but it’s too low for a hardcore exercise session. On the flipside, on Monday I woke up at 230 mg/dl, which was a perfect reading to go for a run.

When I am able to run in the morning, it’s perfect. I get it out of the way, it makes me feel more awake and alert during the day, and in general I just feel better about myself. But it’s irritating to no end to have my plans interrupted by diabetes. I just want to go to the gym. I want to exercise and be healthy like everyone else, and yet again and again, diabetes throws a wrench in my plans. And I’m not sure what I should do about it, because it never seems to stay the same.

Despite the constant interruptions, I am on track to becoming a runner (hopefully). I decided that C25K was not the plan for me for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t like their set up. The first few weeks of the run have you run for a very short period of time, and then rest for a short period of time, and since I work out on a treadmill at my gym, constantly ramping up and turning down my MPH speed was annoying. I also found that I did better when I was able to run for exactly as long as I was comfortable, and then slow down and walk for however long I was comfortable. At this point, I’m running at about 4.5 MPH for 2-3 minutes, and then I walk at 3.5 MPH for about a minute or two. Sometimes I’ll switch up my metrics, and I’ll run for .2 miles and then walk for .1 miles, and just do that for a mile. I’m using a training schedule I snagged from SELF magazine to help me, and it also incorporates other things like strength training and cross training in addition to running.

My only problem with keeping up with any kind of schedule is my diabetes. If my fasting blood sugar is 115 mg/dl, there is no way that I’m going anywhere fast. I am at the whim, I feel, of where my fasting blood sugar happens to land me. When I went back on Metformin, my blood sugars reacted strongly, and I was waking up with hypoglycemia several days in a row. Now that I’ve scaled down my basal rate, I’m facing a more unpredictable problem, where my blood sugar might be perfectly suitable for exercise, but it might also not be.

If you have diabetes and work out in the morning, what’s your management style? When do you test? How do you treat? Is there anything I can do to make my morning workouts more consistent?

No Worries. Be Happy.

June 15, 2010

I had a lot of fun writing up a Diabetic’s Version of “Hey, it’s OK!” as seen in Glamour, so I thought I’d do another round. Feel free to contribute in the comments!

Hey, it’s OK…

… to yell at your insulin pump when it beeps at you.

… to eat cupcakes. Everyday. (Well, OK, maybe not everyday).

… to test your blood sugar five times in a row when you have a good reading in order to get your meter’s average down. It won’t do anything for your actual A1C, but at least it will make you feel better temporarily!

… to wonder why everything in your purse is black (phone, keys, wallet, glucose meter case… no wonder they call it a black hole!)

… to drink juice when you’re not having a low blood sugar. Mimosas are my friend.

… to sometimes think, “You mean I have to do this for rest of my life? FOR SERIOUSLY?” and then want to smack your head against the wall. Don’t do that last part though – it hurts.

… to think your insulin pump is cooler than their insulin pump. (Edit: yes, this is a repeat from last time – but it’s a worthy repeat!)

… to totally not want to blog about diabetes. Or think about it or talk about it, for that matter.

… to be all “WTF!” about stupid things that people say.

… to think you’re the most awesomest person on the planet! (Because you are, and everyone should know it).

Confessions of a Girl Who Had a Root Canal.

June 14, 2010

When I was 12 years old, I was in a bicycle accident. One summer afternoon, I decided to bike from my hometown to the next town over. In front of the high school, I decided to get out of the bike lane and go onto the side walk. I had this odd idea that if you were on the street and you want to get up onto the sidewalk, you should go up onto the sidewalk at an angle.

This is not how you do it.

The next thing I knew, I was flying over my handle bars and landing on the side walk with my bike crashing down on me. Some kind strangers stopped and helped me, called my parents and waited for my dad to come pick me up. In addition to bumps and bruises, and a line of bike chain cuts running down the length of my calf, my braces were a mangled mess and my teeth felt a bit loose, especially my front left tooth.

My mom took me to the orthodontist to get my mouth examined. My orthodontist proclaimed that my braces had kept my teeth from decorating the side walk, but that the impact could have done damage to the my front left tooth. He said that it was too early to tell whether or not I had done any serious damage to it, but he said that I would know if my tooth got darker. My dentist later confirmed this diagnosis.

The unfortunate part of this is that I did not realize what a “dark tooth” actually meant. I thought it meant, like, gray. Or black. You know, something really disgusting and gross like you’d see in a horror movie like 30 Days of Night.

That didn’t happen.

Over the years, my dad occasionally remarked that this one tooth looked darker than the others. I thought my teeth were just yellow. I’ve never had sparkling, shiny white teeth. I didn’t realize that this was the unnatural darkening that my orthodontist was talking about. But all throughout high school, my dentist never mentioned anything about needing my tooth looked at again.

Fast forward to present day. After two appointments with Dr. “You Might Have Periodontal Disease” I decided to seek out a second opinion. My new doctor, Dr. L, examined my teeth and said “No, your teeth aren’t moving” and “No, you don’t have periodontal disease.”

But he did ask, “Did you know that one of your teeth is dark than the others?”

“Um, yeah, it’s been that way for awhile,” I said. “I thought it was just stained or something.”

“Usually that happens when there’s been some kind of trauma to the tooth,” Dr. L said.

“I was in a bicycle accident when I was 12 years old,” I explained. Dr. L said that he thought the discoloration was from the trauma, and that no amount of external bleaching would really do much good.

Here’s the short version of a long story:

There are nerves that run from your gums and into your teeth. That’s how you can feel hot and cold on them. When my tooth was impacted in the accident, the nerves in my front left tooth died a tragic and untimely death. The only problem is that I didn’t know it at the time. After many years, the nerve endings receded out of the tooth and into the gum. If you look at X-rays of a normal, healthy tooth, you’ll see a long cavern running the length of your tooth. That’s where the nerves live. Because my nerves had essentially “left the building” that cavern had calcified, meaning it was hardened and solid. This created a barrier to the very end of my tooth, by the gum, where the rest of the dead nerves were. On top of that, the impact also caused some bleeding inside my tooth, which is where the dark color comes from. The combination of dead nerves and blood means that my tooth is at an increased risk for an infection. Infected tooth? No, thank you! The only remedy is to have the dreaded root canal.

But that’s not all.

When I went to meet with the oral surgeon who does the majority of root canals at my dentist’s office, he explained that because my tooth had calcified, it would take longer to get to my nerves. He told me that he wasn’t even sure he could finish the root canal because of how far back they were. And if he was able to do the whole procedure, it could take much longer than usual.

Up to two hours longer than usual.

Yesterday was doomsday. Preparations included bring my fully charged iPhone and compulsively checking my blood sugar to make sure I wasn’t swinging down low. Since the procedure was taking place in my mouth, I didn’t want to take any chances with hypoglycemia. By the time I went in to see the doctor, my blood sugar was cresting a little over 300 mg/dl, so I took a smidge of insulin (just a unit) and by the time I was finished two and a half hours later, I was just under 200 mg/dl.

Having a root canal is not actually that painful when it comes to your teeth. They numbed the heck out of it and there wasn’t much I could feel. The part that hurt the worst was when they jabbed with gum with the Novocaine. Needles are acquaintances of mine but still – ouch! My upper lip felt swollen, and my cheek had that weird tingly sensation from being completely numb. The part that hurt the most? My jaw! Holding my mouth open (with the assistance of a bite guard) for over two hours meant that I had a pretty bad headache when it as over. They also had to use a sheet of latex of my mouth to keep my front teeth isolated, but have you tried breathing with latex covering your mouth and nose? Not easy.

I’ll skip the part about the smell of the drilling.

When all was said and done, the root canal really didn’t hurt. My oral surgeon wrote me a prescription for pain killers, which we filled immediately afterward but I never ended up taking any of them because my mouth simply didn’t hurt.

As far as the darkness in my tooth, it’s still there. My tooth was only temporarily sealed, because I return on Wednesday for part two of my root canal saga which involves my dentist filling my tooth with an internal bleach to help get my tooth to match the rest of my teeth. Once that procedure is finished, I can then go through the process of externally bleaching my teeth in preparation for my wedding.

Moral of the story? If one tooth is darker then the rest, do not wait ten years to get it looked at, OK?

Things That Make Me Happy: #55-57

June 10, 2010

#55: Brunch

I feel like I write about food a lot on this list, but I’ve actually only written about it four times and the last time was in January, so I think that makes it OK. Let’s talk about brunch: Brunch is my happy meal. I feel like it’s such a “girl living in New York City” thing to say, but brunch is my favorite meal and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Brunch is breakfast food, but later so you can sleep in and not feel bad when you’re eating breakfast food at noon. It’s because you’re supposed to eat breakfast food at noon! Some of my favorite foods include: challah french toast (I love challah in general, but in french toast form it is particularly tasty), frittatas and omelets for when I’m feeling especially healthy, and Eggs Benedict with Maryland crab cakes. Yum!

I don’t go to the same brunch spot that often, but some of my favorite places to have brunch in New York City have been: Max Brenner, Lansky’s Deli, Out of the Kitchen, and this diner downstairs from my apartment (I would tell you the name, but then you’d know where I live and you do know that’s dangerous, right?)

#56: Travel

Summer is my favorite time of year because I feel like I can go on vacation and travel without feeling that guilty. It’s summer, right? For the past few years, I’ve traveled extensively in the summer. I have had some really fun vacations to places I’ve never been before. There have been several weekends in Boston, a couple trips to Florida, and my most exciting, solo adventure in England in September 2008. This year, there’s nothing quite as grand as that, but it’s always nice to get out of dodge! Since moving to New York City, and especially now that Erik also lives in New York City, my reasons for leaving Manhattan are becoming fewer. In fact, between December and March, I didn’t leave the state of New York at all! I have always had the travel itch, and it always makes me happy when I have an opportunity to scratch.

#57: Cupcakes

Oh God, I really am turning into one of those girls from Sex and the City. First brunch and now cupcakes! Don’t worry, Manolo Blahniks will not be featured on this list – ever! Anyway, I love cupcakes. I have the pleasure of living in a city that loves them too. To me, cupcakes are tiny bits of wonderful yumminess. I just feel more satisfied when I eat cupcakes, as opposed to a piece of cake or a cookie. My personal preference for cupcakes happens to be Magnolia, but I had never heard of it before moving to New York City. While Crumbs is also tasty, I find their cupcakes to be too big, too rich and to have way too much frosting, although I do like their mini-cupcakes. Of course, people say Magnolia is too sweet, but I find their smaller sizes to make up for that.

On Sunday, Erik and I were walking to the subway from my friend’s apartment and we passed by this shop that I swear was made for people with diabetes. It’s called Baked by Melissa and it featured these itty-bitty cupcakes. They have all the variety of a traditional cupcake shop but they are in miniature form, so there’s no guilt! They also ship nationwide, so there’s no need to feel bad that you don’t live in NYC. Cupcakes for everyone! (No, Baked by Melissa did not ask me to blog about them… I just happen to think they are really cool!).

Wedding Wednesday: Plotting and Planning and Prepping.

June 9, 2010

When we last left our hero and heroine, they had just booked their ceremony and reception venue for July 9, 2011 (that’s in exactly 13 months… if you’re counting).

Everyone says that biggest thing you have to decide is WHERE and WHEN you are getting married. This is true. There isn’t a heck of a whole lot you can do before you have those two items in place. Trying to find both of those within our budget here in New York City proved nearly impossible, or at least not without severe concessions that we were reluctant to make, so we boldly made the choice to get married three thousand miles away. No one ever said I liked to make my life easy.

Now that we’re getting married in Oregon and we have a venue, it is now time to find our vendors. There are a few key vendors that we have to get locked down. Namely, we have to find a florist, baker, photographer, videographer, and DJ. Since cake and floral designs are done a bit closer to the actual event and typically don’t book up as quickly as other vendors, our immediate concerns are finding our photographer, videographer and DJ.

Photography is our top priority. At least for me it is. I am a lover of good photography, am an amateur photographer, and after working for Nikon’s PR agency for two years, I like to think I know a thing or two about cameras as well. I have never had the best memory, so photographs have really helped to fill in the blanks for me and also help jog my memory when details start to blur. Finding a good photographer is hard for two reasons: First, I think most photographers are really good and everyone has their own unique style that I keep thinking “Oh, I like that… I like that too… Yeah, that one’s nice too” so it’s difficult to be productive. Second, photography is expensive! Finding the right mix of budget and style is not the easiest.

Videography was not something I was planning on spending a dime on. I don’t know anyone who has watched their videos and I don’t know if we will ever watch ours either. We did watch some wedding videos at my cousin’s wedding because my family and I weren’t able to make it to her wedding in California. A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about how I wasn’t planning on having a videographer, and she said that was one thing they wished they spent money on. She said that the day is such a blur that you don’t really remember things clearly and she said that she wished she had some of the toasts on camera so that she could watch them again and have it really sink in. Like I said, I have a pretty lousy memory and knowing me, I won’t remember a damn thing that was said. So a videographer was added back into the equation.

DJs are also a main attraction at a wedding. Not only do they serve as the entertainment, but they also help to keep the wedding flowing in the right direction. DJs make me nervous though, and I suppose that comes from watching The Wedding Singer far too many times. Not that I wouldn’t mind having Adam Sandler sing at my wedding. I have just heard so many horror stories that I’m already nervous and we haven’t even met with anyone yet.

But I already have at least one person helping me out through all of this. We hired a wedding planner! Actually, we hired a Month Of Coordinator, which is kind of like a Day Of Coordinator except they really help ramp up the wedding logistics at the end. Our wedding planner is Mandi from Champagne NW and she’s on Twitter! So clearly, I already love her. And she has a quote from Ever After in her email signature, which is only one of my favorite movies of all time! A girl after my own heart. Mandi is helping me sort through various vendors we can meet with, but since she’s only my Month Of Coordinator, she won’t be going on any of the meetings with me and Erik. But it’s nice to have someone experienced look over who we think is good and vet our choices. Wouldn’t want anyone crazy showing up!

Our trip to Oregon for our vendor meetings is directly after Roche, so I won’t be attending Friends for Life. I get a four day weekend over Fourth of July so it made more sense to use those days off to meet with vendors. But I am still so excited to see everyone in Florida!