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Between the 15th of March and 16th of April, we have seven birthdays in my family.  SEVEN.

Day 74

Bradford pear tree


Nephew’s 18th birthday cake


Day 73

Niece’s 11th birthday party


Twilight party cake


J + Edward


Pinning the kiss on Edward


Day 72

What I’m reading…



visit with the endocrinologist

Day 62

This photo was taken this morning at the clinic where J sees her endocrinologist. Since December of 2006, I have been in this clinic many, many times.  I have wondered why those two parts of the ceiling that are hanging down have leaves stenciled on them and no other parts of the ceiling do. I thought they must have started stenciling leaves, then got busy and didn’t ever finish. Today, I realized that the pillar thing in the middle of the room that’s painted brown was supposed to represent a tree trunk and those stencils are supposed to be leaves. Leaves on the tree. Duh.

I’m not sure why I didn’t “see” it before today.

So, this morning was J’s appointment with her endocrinologist. She’s got appointments every 30 days for the next 90 days because her A1C was not very good last month at her quarterly visit.

Today’s visit was so much better than last month’s visit. J had her log book filled out, had her blood sugar meter, had better readings, and had been doing the things Dr. K had asked her to do.

I’m really happy that Dr. K is J’s doctor.  The thing I love most about Dr. K is that she visits with J, not with me. She talks with her on her level, explains things, only asks me questions if J says that I know the answer.

J likes Dr. K a lot and relates well to her.  She left the visit beaming.  She is proud of herself for making improvements and for working hard to reach her goal.  This month, her goal is to continue to do the same things (checking her blood sugar at least 3 times each day, logging her blood sugar readings and bolusing -giving herself insulin- each time she eats).  I’m proud of her for working so hard and for having such great determination.  She definitely has strength of character.  It’s one of the things about her that I like most.

Also, we got her paperwork for diabetes camp this summer completed.  Dr. K filled out the part that the physician has to complete and I’ll fax it this week to secure J’s spot.

100 books challenge

Day 54
A crown for tomorrow’s Mardi Gras royalty (the person who gets the piece of King Cake that has the baby in it).

Once again, the photo of the day has nothing to do with the day’s post.  Oh, well.


100 Books Challenge
Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. (Guess it doesn’t count if you saw the movie or watched the series on PBS!)

1) Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read.
2) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.

How many have you read?

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen x
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien x
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte x
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling x
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee x
6 The Bible x
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte x
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell x
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott x
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare **

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier*

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien x
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger **
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell x
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald x
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy **
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh **
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck x
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll x
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame x
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy x
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis x
34 Emma – Jane Austen x
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe x
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini x
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres**
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden x
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne x
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell x
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown x
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez x
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery x
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy **
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood x
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding x
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel x
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen x
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens x
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck x
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold x
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas **
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac *
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding x
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville x
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker x
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett  x
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath x
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Bya
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens x
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker x
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro**
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White x
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Alborn**
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery  x
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole x
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas x
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare x
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl x
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo x

# ofBooks I have read: 46 (I’ve read more of the list than had I expected!)
# of Books on my “To Read” List: *=2, **=9

*  I have these books and plan to read them soon.

**  Books I want to read one day.  Well, maybe I’ll just read them all.  🙂

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Day 6

I’m currently reading this book:

So far, very interesting and thought provoking.  I’m enjoying it a lot.

Sometimes I need a little break from YOUR MONEYOR YOUR LIFE, so I picked up this one from the pile of books I want to read this year.

Currently reading

(day 1)

love, heartache, media

Have you ever known someone who made your heart leap when you heard their voice?  Someone who’s presence in your life made your heart feel happy? Even when you’re not right next to them or even in the same city, just knowing that they’re part of your life makes your days seem brighter.  The connection and love shared transcends distance and time.

Have you ever missed someone so much that you actually had a physical ache deep inside in a place you didn’t realize could actually ache? Have you felt that the world was dark and lonely if they walked out of your life? I hadn’t realized that the term “heartache” could actually mean physical aching until I felt it for myself.  I always thought people were just being dramatic when they said their heart ached.  I did not feel this ache when I went through my divorce.  During that time, I felt anger, hurt, betrayal, rejection, and depression, but not physical heartache.

When I read New Moon, book two in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, I felt this heartache all over again in sympathy for the characters.  I think Stephenie Meyer must have lived through a heartache of her own at one time or another.  How else could she have described the emotion and pain so well had she not?

In the same book, I recognized the pure joy of truly loving someone in her words describing Bella’s relationships with Edward, Jacob and Charlie.  These three relationships of Bella’s are very different, a soulmate (as much as I dislike that term, it’s the best word to describe the connection between Edward and Bella), a true friend and a parent, but all three relationships resonate with the pure love she has for each.

The ability Stephenie Meyer has to relate to teens as well as adults shows us not only that she is an excellent author but also that the reader is a huge part of a book.  The experiences a reader brings to the characters and storylines are based on their life, hopes, dreams, relationships and goals.  This shapes the story differently in each reader’s mind.

J, my 12 yr old daughter, said that she doesn’t like to read books until she’s seen the movie so she can see it in her head more clearly.  I’m the opposite.  I like to read the book first because I like to create my own characters based on the descriptions the author pens.

Do we still say that an author pens when so many type and never use a pen anymore?

People at work have asked me why I read all the time and why I like to read novels instead of just magazines or newspapers.  They say they had rather watch television so they can see it being acted out.  I would rather read than watch television, because I like reading what the character is thinking.  It’s harder to fold laundry and cook dinner when reading, but that’s why we love audiobooks, right?  🙂

Obviously, I’m endlessly fascinated with the way people process words and books in their mind and what their media preferences are.  That’s probably incredibly nerdy.

I’m ok with that.


I almost missed posting today.  Since I’m participating in NaBloPoMo, that would have been a bad thing to have done.

I spent today reading twilight, well, between taking the recycling, going out to my parents’ house to borrow their truck for a bit, taking a load of non-recyclable stuff to be compacted, cooking dinner, cleaning up a bit, and laughing with my sister about the text-to-landline message her daughter sent me with a quote from Madagascar 2 today.

I completely enjoyed the book.  Seems that I must have really needed the mental break.  I feel more focused, refreshed, and ready to get things done.  It’s amazing how a little vacation (in my head) can do that.

Also, I now understand my friend’s obsession with sparkly Edward.  🙂

The quote from Madagascar 2? “Girl, you huge!  Girl, you chunky!”

Imagine my surprise to answer the phone to hear a computerized voice telling me I have a message and then hearing those words.  After the initial shock, it was HILARIOUS!

The 30 Day Diabetes Miracle

I recently heard an interview with one of the authors of the The 30 day Diabetes Miracle on the Diabetes Powershow podcast and picked up the book today on my way home from work. So far (I’m on page 60), it’s well written and filled with loads of information. I think my brain is on overload.

I’ve not really learned much about type 2 diabetes. When my youngest daughter was diagnosed with type 1, that became my focus. I’ve actually not had the best attitude about type 2, since it can largely be prevented and even reversed with diet and exercise while type 1 cannot. I am learning how the diet of the general American public is creating type 2 diabetes in staggering numbers and how it can be prevented. I don’t want to develop type 2 diabetes – and guess what? I have a lot of symptoms of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, and have been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries.

Time for a wake up call, Natalie? Why, yes! I think it is.

This book has information about both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and focuses on how healthy lifestyle changes can improve the health and daily lives of those with either type of diabetes. I’ll write more as I learn more.

For now, I’d encourage you to find this book – at your library or local bookstore – read it and share it with others!

senseless tragedy

This news article about the 11 year old girl in Wisconsin who died of diabetic ketoacidosis is so very sad. While her parents sat by and prayed for her, she suffered needlessly as her body shut down.

When my youngest child was diagnosed with type I diabetes at age 10 (she is now 11) in December 2006, she was in diabetic ketoacidosis. Her body had attacked and destroyed the beta cells in her pancreas and her body no longer produced insulin. The theory is that her body probably fought off a virus and then turned on the insulin producing cells in her pancreas for some reason. Upon arrival at the ER, her blood sugar was 757 and she had large ketones in her urine (thus the name ketoacidosis). Her body was trying to burn off the excess sugar in her blood, but craving sugar at the same time because she could not utilize it without insulin to help out. She was weak, lethargic, had lost about 20 pounds over 3 or 4 weeks, and was very dehydrated although she drank everything she could. I thought she had a stomach virus and then thought it was her appendix. She was in pain, barely able to walk due to shortness of breath and was extremely weak. I had to hold her up and practically carry her into the ER. It was awful and very scary.

I cannot imagine seeing her like that, sitting there praying for her and not seeking help.  I prayed for my daughter, my whole family, our friends and members of our church prayed for her.  We also sought those trained with the knowledge needed to help us.  The medical staff at the ICU told me that if I’d not taken her to the hospital, she’d probably not have made it through that night. She was almost in a diabetes induced coma.

I can understand that her parents have their religious beliefs, whatever those beliefs are. We all have beliefs that govern our lives. I cannot understand how a parent could sit by and watch their child suffer and die when something could have been done. I’m just not made that way. This child could have lived a long, happy and healthy life with diabetes education and insulin therapy.

Reading the news story about poor little Madeline Neumann brought back so many feelings. My eyes were full of tears and I felt the sort of outrage and indignation that I feel when one of my children have been bullied or treated unfairly. This was a needless tragedy, a death that could have easily been prevented.

a dinosaur and a tree

I pass this dinosaur each day on my way to work.  I’m not sure why he’s at this particular place of business.  It’s some sort of concrete or statuary place, I think.  I don’t think it’s an icon… er, mascot… uhm, symbol… whatever it’s called.  My mind is blank right now when it comes to that word.

I wonder if the dinosaur has a name.  I call him Charlie.  Because Charlie Weasley (Harry Potter series) worked with dinosaurs in Romania.  Remember?

The photo is not the best I’ve ever taken.  I was driving down the road, holding my right arm out across the car, as I drove by Charlie at 70 miles an hour (the speed limit right there), looking straight ahead and hoping I clicked at the right moment.  Considering all of that, I think it’s great that Charlie is even in the photo, don’t you?

When I logged in to my T-Mobile account to get the photo, I saw an offer stating that if I sign up for paperless billing, T-Mobile will plant a tree in my honor through the Arbor Day Foundation.  So I signed up.  A tree will be planted in an area that needs trees.  The notice I read said areas like southern California and New Orleans need trees.  Tree planting will be there and other places where trees are having trouble growing back on their own.  I’m happy to have been able to save a tree and have a tree planted by not having bills sent to my home each month. I never really read the bills anyway.  I usually look at my charges online and the bill is paid automatically from my bank account, so no paper is being used for that either!

Imperfect men are just… better

I recently read this article by Claudia Goulder and wanted to keep a link here.

There’s something endearing about someone who is not afraid of being true to who they are.

Thanks, marijose for posting a link to the article on The Johnny Depp Zone.


The Barnes and Noble Meet the Writers podcast with Steve Bertrand is one of my favorite podcasts. Recently, I listened to an interview with Steve Cojocaru. He’s recently written Glamour, Interruped. In the interview, Steve Cojocaru spoke about his diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease, his career, and his outlook on life.

My favorite part was when Cojocaru said,

. . . I understand what tragedy is like and that you do grow up from it. You get a little gift as a surprise; you get more dimension and you see the good.

When I heard him say that, I went back and listened again. Then I listened to the entire interview again.

You can listen to the interview here.

I’ve found that tragedy can be completely debilitating and then later become a catalyst for change. In my life, three such events have been the divorce, my daughter’s diabetes diagnosis and my niece’s suicide this past November.

Through each experience, each tragedy, each time of mourning and healing, I have grown and have become who I am today. This, to me, is the gift of more dimension.


I was trying to get a photo of Sophie’s smile. I’m still working on that. When I lay on the floor to take photos, she and Smokey wind up on top of me.

When I looked through today’s photos, my favorite one was this one. I like the bookshelves in the background and the shine on the wood floor. I liked seeing those two things for some reason.


I recently discovered LibriVox. It’s a site full of free audio books that can be downloaded right into your iTunes. That’s right… FREE!

From the LibriVox home page:

“LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books.”

Give it a look. I’ve downloaded two books so far, but have not listened to them yet. I hope the narrators are good!

ketchup.. always a family favorite

I’m currently reading Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 by Bryan Burrough. It’s about John Dillinger and his gang, Bonnie and Clyde, the Barker Family, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, Alvin Karpis and the FBI guys led by J. Edgar Hoover. For the first chapter or so, I kept getting the people/characters mixed up. After that, I really started enjoying the book.

As I read, I keep thinking about how different the lives of these guys/gals were than the lives my grandparents led (they were married in 1933 – Grandad was 23 and Meema was 19) and the stories they told me about Oklahoma and their road trips to California, Oregon and Washington during those years.

Tonight, I went out to Mom and Dad’s for dinner and was talking with Dad about Public Enemies. He told me about a show on the History Channel that he’s been wanting to see about that time/those events in history.

As we were talking about the 1930’s, Dad talked about his dad, uncle and grandfather cutting wooden rail road ties (with axes, I think) and were paid 50 cents for each one. Another guy that Dad’s family knew made 10 cents an hour. For a 12 hour day, this guy brought home one dollar a day after taxes. Dad said something that this one dollar a day guy said when bragging about his income. Since I cannot remember exactly how he said it, I will not attempt to recreate that here.

Then Mom told us about how my grandparents would save up to buy ketchup for my aunt because she liked it so much (now we know where Chrissie and her children get this great love for ketchup). This was in the late 1930’s to early 1940’s time frame. This aunt is 14 yrs older than my mom and this was before Mom was born. Ketchup cost 10 cents a bottle. Grandad made 5 cents an hour. So that was an expensive item back then.

When Dad went to watch tv after dinner, guess what was on?
That very show that he was talking about earlier.

It’s called Crime Wave: 18 months of Mayhem.

I only saw a tiny bit of it, but the parts I saw had video of John Dillinger and photos of many of the others in the book. I hope it comes on again so I can record it. Did you see it?