Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Great Battery Eater

I am a high maintenance girl.

My weakness? No, it's not Jimmy Choo heels or Prada purses. Nor do I dine on fillet mignon and sip champagne circa 1905 on a nightly basis. My gold colored Nugget cannot be called a luxery car, by any stretch of the imagination.

"That'll be $17.99."

Grinding my upper teeth into the back molars, I think that is bad, even for CVS. It's just a 4 pack of batteries, for crying out loud!

Granted, they are lithium batteries. Because my Animas goes through them like tasty little after dinner mints.

And the semi-cheaper alkaline options? Well, the store brand lasts for about ten seconds and the name brand(Energizer,Duracell)last about two weeks. I swear the lithium doesn't last much longer then that, though Animas promises 5-6 weeks. I have never gotten that..never. Is it just me or do other people only get about three weeks too?
(if you have an Animas pump feel free to chime in)

So, after handing over the equivelent of $17.99 (ECB's, etc) for 12 more weeks of Pump Power..there are still other things. Like Pings,and other meters, and the normal battery-sucking household devices that you cannot use rechargeables for. I have device addiction. (plenty of upkeep $$'s for the following)

there's the pump...

and the CGM...

and an iphone..(it's necessary for D, I swear-the news of a cure will come from

and the other medical stuff(infusions,etc)

and the regular diabetes supply costs,etc.

The annual cost of which, is well into the classification of upper class.(Rich) If insurance didn't cover it,I would not have it.(except the iphone but that's another story. I would eat gruel to be able to afford my iphone.)

But the cost of the batteries is just too much. It seems to me it's getting LESS effective, my Cozmo was extremely energy-efficient.(didn't have as many cool features but those batteries lasted forever)

Get it together, Animas. $4 a battery, $74+ a YEAR. Needing a new battery so often is not very earth friendly, or 21st centuryish. (since they don't encourage rechargeable batteries)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Healthcare Reform On a Napkin

This is awesome.

(found at:

The England Chronicles: A Royal Journey

On Day 3, we slept in, until 9 am. (since it was DoItYourSelf day) At breakfast, I decided to try Bubble and Squeek a traditional English food made of leftover vegetables(?) I was expecting some black breadish type food to show up,but what mine looked like(and tasted like) was a small, round, hash brown.Only it had other flavors,besides that of the potato, running through it so who knows what was in it. Hubby had an omelet, which he didn't really care for.(it was pretty bland)

We then walked downtown,past the houses of Parliament and the big old statue of Oliver Cromwell sitting out front, to Buckingham Palace.(for the changing of the guard)
On the way...we saw a familiar face:

(hello, Mr. Ex-President, nice to see you here!)

There were a zillion people there,needless to say, so we really didn't get close to the gate(or them). And no, we did not try to make them laugh. The flag was flying, which meant Queen Elizabeth was not in residence. So the state rooms were open to the public. We didn't have time to go in there..we were off to Westminster Abbey.

At which point and time, my digital camera died-for good. Fiddling with it,deleting old photos, and swapping out memory cards failed to free up any more space. You weren't allowed to take pics inside the church anyway(not like that's every stopped anyone)

The admission price was rather steep(15 lbs per person), so I was amazed to see tickets(I counted five,altogether) carelessy strewn all over the place. Inside, and outside. Someone could treat their whole family and not pay anything. So anyway..we saw all the burial places of the great. Queen Elizabeth 1(she's buried on top of her sister,Mary), Henry VIII, the Poet's Corner, etc. Got some of the audio guides, and spent several hours just wandering around and being educated.

But we had another mission...a familial one.

This dude designed three of the manhole covers in Westminster Abbey. I don't think that what I actually took a picture of was one of them,but it's the closest thing I could find to that. He is my kinda-sorta-ancestor(Thomas Crapper was not married but the ancestry is the same,from some sibling of his).We didn't make it over to his grave(which is in another cemetery,halfway across London). That's my link to Westminster Abbey.

We then took the Tube to Kew Gardens, where, upon viewing the greenhouse/fish collection/aquatica I flopped down on a bench,dead beat from about 10 hours of constant walking. My husband walked around for an hour and took pictures of the flowers. Being August, it was not quite as colorful as it could have been but there were still alot of flowers. I like flowers, but not as much as he does.(he could probably make an entire trip out of visiting various gardens, etc.)
Has supper at a greasy little place near one of the Tube stations(I had bacon for breakfast, bacon chips for lunch, and a bacon sandwich for supper and henceforth decided I was DONE with bacon for the rest of trip) and eventually found our way back to the hotel after a lengthy delay with one of the trains. Another day, done.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Schwarzenegger Surprise- #1 With a Pencil!

I've blogged about my dad's amazing abilities with a pencil before(check this out: ) He's done it as a hobby for about 6 years now.

Apparently, Arnold Schwarzenegger (no joke) surfs the Internet.(I'm guessing YouTube was where he found it)Which lead him to my dad's website,and he wanted a pic of one of the presidents so he had one of his people contact my dad to commission one. My dad,who really wants to do a pic of Arnold too said he could do one of Arnold which was ok with Arnold so holy cow,they are flying my dad out to California to meet Arnold and present the portraits.(don't worry, people of California,its not being payed for with state funds)

I'm so proud I think I could bust right now. Way to go, Dad!(I don't think they're allowing family to tag along but I hold out hope)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Sunday Freebies Itouch/Iphone App List

#1 Flash for Free. Cost: Free. A camera app that allows you to brighten up your pics. It's nice to have pics that don't look like they were taken at the bottom of the Black Lagoon.

#2 Parachute Panic, Lite. Cost: FREE. A fun game.

#3 MyCokeRewards. Cost: FREE. A way to enter your Coke codes, on the go. And I don't think its actually texting..which is good for my AT&T bill, texts are really expensive.

#4 Gumdrops. Cost: FREE. A Tetris-like game..the colors connect,and pop out. Seriously addicting.

#5 Cardster. Cost: FREE. You can plug your membership card #'s in this, it generates a barcode and you don't have to carry around a million cards in your wallet/purse.(as well as not having to worry about forgetting to bring a discount card) It's great. Occasionally, the barcodes don't scan but the cashier can still manually put in the number.

#6 Meta Squares. Cost: FREE. I haven't played this yet, but it looks interesting.

#7 Sheep Launcher FREE! A cute game where you launch your sheep into the stratosphere, attempting to collect as many points as possible before getting to the Moon.

#8 Offender Locator, Lite. Cost: FREE. It may not be great at locating all the registered sex offenders out there but it gets the word out that your neighborhood may not be as safe as you think it is..and you still need to track your kids whereabouts.

#9 Discovery Channel. Cost: FREE. Lots of video clips,shows,news, quizzes,plenty of entertainment.

#10 Parking Pal. Cost: Not quite free, .99. But if you're like me, and can never remember where on earth you parked it's totally worth it to be able to quickly tap it into your iphone. I have tried writing it on paper slips, and invariably, they get lost (or thrown out) too. This is a great idea.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Diabetes: Doin' it UK Style

Our second day's itinerary included a visit to Warwick Castle. Now armed with my camera,husband, and trusty bottle of Diet Coke, I hardly minded the 2 hour drive to get there. Our Scottish tour guide(whose name I don't remember) gave us some UK Road System 101 in the meantime.

Motorways- the "interstates" of England.

A Roads- other major roads.

B Roads- backroads, non-important. Coaches do not travel on B roads, it is too physically difficult to maneuver and impossible to get off, should you get stuck.

Motorways have a "M" in front of their respective number. Otherwise, you just have to guess whether its an A road or a B road. There are a heck of alot of roundabouts in England, to better manage the flow of traffic. No such thing as a stop sign. And it was all backwards, so you get off the motorway on the left, as well as merge to the right. Periodically, you'd see these areas where you could pull off to get gas, food, etc. Like a rest area but it didn't go off the highway system. I really liked that, because at least in my state you have to get off the interstate and go hunting a good 5-10 minutes for a restaurant, etc. Finally got to Warwick Castle.

Didn't have time to do much of anything..there was 1.5 hour time limit at each place. Every place was so big that you could spend the entire day there, so you had to just try to get some of the more interesting aspects of the site. But we did see a catapult, go through the state rooms(lots of regal stuff and portraits) and get some photographs of the drawbridge, etc. All of which were taken with hubby's instant camera, so I can't post the pics here but it was very interesting.

Warwick Castle website

A quick lunch...of salad,diet coke, and chips. Chips were kind of rough on the throat going down but I needed it for carb energy, had a lot of walking to do that day.

Then it was off to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Avon is just another Old English word for river-there are several river "Avons" in England.

Went through the visitor center..went through Shakespeare's birthplace.Shakespeare had an incredibly brief(51 years?) and tragic life. His only son died at 11(Hamnet),and shortly thereafter, Shakespeare decided to go to London(leaving behind wife and two daughters).Shakespeare stayed there until he retired,at about age 43. Moved back and died just 3 years later. Both his daughters married, but only one had a kid that got married, and later died without children. Hence ended the direct line of William Shakespeare. There was a garden,and a town full of souvenir shops begging to be explored. Discovered the UK equivalent of a "penny puncher" machine. I collect stamped pennies, so I thought that was pretty neat. In a regular penny stamper, you put in a penny and two quarters, select the design, and turn the handle to flatten the coin. In the UK version, you put in a pence and a pound.(coin) So it costs you about $1.61 to do it. I didn't have any pence so I tried a penny, since they are about the same size/thickness. It didn't work-jammed up the machine, much to my embarrassment. Had to find another machine.

And then we drove through the Cotswalds, which is a very rural, agricultural part of England. They grow alot of wheat,canola, strawberries, etc. there. It used be to be a very big sheep-raising area, sheep owners lived like kings and their were alot of castles, manors, etc. Drove by the birthplace of Winston Churchill(Blenheim Palace),didn't go in though. Saw alot of thatched roofs, which they cover with wire mesh to keep the bugs/birds out of it. Thatched roofs are very expensive to maintain-and the sad part is, even if you wanted to change your roofing you sometimes can't because its protected under some "historical preservation" laws. So every 10 years you have to shell out another $10,000 or so to get another roof.And they burn really,really easily..our tour guide pointed out one that had been rebuilt after the house burned to the ground. The insurance on those things must be horrendous too.

The town of Oxford:

Oxford was interesting..because Oxford University is not really an actual university, its just the governing body for the 39 collages that make it up.And all of those collages offer the same degrees,there's really no difference in them. It's really just one big fraternity/sorority deal, if your family has always gone to Collage X then you are going to apply to go to Collage X.(and hope you get in) Oxford was founded by some monks,(in the 12th century?) who were trying to provide a non-French alternative for schooling. Initially, the townspeople and the students did not get along well at all(at one point,there was a battle) was like any university town.(down through the ages-funny how that is) Students can be a pain in the gluteus maximus.

So we walked around the town, seeing a few of the collages and doing some more shopping.

In Oxford, we popped into a pharmacy because I wanted to see what kind of meters that use in the UK.(Only my long-suffering husband would put up with something like that..normal people do not go into foreign pharmacies unless they have to) Their "One Touch UltraEasy" is the exact same thing as the One Touch Mini. However, the number on that meter was 8.5 mmol...which converts to 153 mg/dl! which would never sell in the US. All our meter displays read somewhere in the neighborhood of 104 mg/dl, because we're all dedicated PWD who take control and never,ever,ever had evil readings that high. (yeah,right)

Back on the bus by 4:50, we drove back to London. The traffic was pretty horrific(Sunday night, all the weekenders were returning). Suddenly,a long sleek black Saudi Arabian(I assume) car streaked by our bus, jaunting me out of a doldrums reverie. It was one gorgeous car, no doubt owned by some rich oil tycoon. The lisence plate was in Arabic, and the steering wheel/driver was on the left-not something you see every day in England.

Our tour guide dropped us off near a Tube entrance. We'd arranged to meet Caro and her fiance Ian at 7(it was then 6:40). After 30 minutes of us getting nowhere,she called my iphone and eventually found us/took us to the restaurant.(Porters-they have great traditional English food) Otherwise, we would have never found it.(the street signs in London are incredibly obscure/non-existent)

That was so much fun-I don't remember what all we talked about, but I remember Spi-Belts,weddings and UK/US healthcare being part of it.(and I concur-SpiBelts are awesome!!) I couldn't go to London and NOT meet them,it was just as important as all the other things on my to-do list.It felt like a little bit of familiarity, to meet up with another blogger. We wish you guys much happiness together!

Here's proof:

And amazingly, I was only 200 after the (lots of carbs) meal,and 123 by the next morning. Sometimes things actually work out.(all the walking I did that day definatly helped)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Across the Atlantic Soup(part 1)

"Passport, please," the immigration officer requested.

Finally! The journey of 5,500 miles(give or take-having to fly all the way to Detroit first) ended here, at London Heathrow, at the end of another really, really, really long line in a facility that either didn't have air conditioning or all their units are broken. And then again-it rarely gets hot in London, so why bother? The US line was 2 miles long..while the UK/European Union passport holders zipped on by. As luck would have it, the honeymooning couple who must have hated our guts because we refused to give up our seats on the 7.5 hour flight over had been stuck in front of us for the past hour. Just in case both of us were trying to forget it ever happened. Yeah, those were our seats and really, they should thought of that prior to the flight but I still felt marginally guilty that they couldn't sit together. I'd gotten a couple of hours of shut-eye on the plane but excitement kept me running. As per docs orders, no diet coke yet.

After getting through security and picking up our bags we wandered out to the main area where our driver picked us up and took us out to the "Car Park", loaded us up, and drove us to our hotel. It looked like London, it felt like London, it smelled like must have been London. Humongous old buildings, smoke stacks, driving on the left side of the keeps one enthralled with the utter novelty of it all. It was a 45 minute ride to our hotel, the City Inn Westminster. We get there, attempt to check in-room isn't ready yet, go eat breakfast (it was at this point that I discovered the joys of trying to read a UK cereal box-6 languages and yet STILL no clear carb count, they just list the total weight of the food in grams so I just gave up and SWAGGED everything) and tried again. Eventually we got checked in and and went off to the first day's itinerary with a tour group. St. Paul's Cathedral:

And the Tower of London:

And saw the Crown Jewels, that was a 20 minute wait. Of course, no photography WAS allowed inside the buildings.(and I was too tired to take pics that day) I had difficulty believing they are the actual jewels and not replications, like any Joe Blow can waltz in and see them with very little security. They have a person in each room-but for the most valued artifacts in English history,that deserves a 20 person detail, at least. I guess I've watched Pink Panther too many times.

Our tour guide, a very bright and peppy individual by the name of "Sandra", was funny as all get out and kept us all suitably entertained by the wild and whacky stories of past tour groups. Like the time their coach(aka bus) broke down in the Cotswalds,2 hours from civilization(and a replacement bus). But by 4:30 pm, nothing in the world (not even exciting stories about Ravens) could keep me awake any longer, I was totally bushed(and staggering around like I was drunk). We skipped the Tower Gift Shoppe(bad,bad tourists) and Thames cruise and went back to the hotel to get some shut-eye. Our wonderful tour guide dropped us off within sight of the hotel, which is good because we were still really clueless about how to get around London. Upon getting back to the room, we discovered that
our mini-fridge still felt more like a sauna then the a coolant device and the "engineer" couldn't come out to look at it until Monday because it is a weekend. Whatever.(this hotel was rapidly approaching the list of places to avoid staying at on future visits) I was certainly not putting my insulin in there,I could not afford to waste any more insulin(2 vials frozen at the FFL hotel's fridge last month, 1 vial baked in my car), I had two vials remaining and nothing must happen to them(must last another month) till I could get home and order more. The room was fairly cool though, so I just left them out. Bg was drifting down, so I ate something and proceed to pass out. Woke up 45 minutes later, still around 100 and going down. In my state of brain deadness, I thought it was a good idea to disconnect for an hour or so and reconnect when we ate supper. Well, 11 hours later I awoke with a 365 and all the wonderful feelings that go along with that(but was surprised it wasn't worse!) Corrected, drunk water, and craved Diet Coke with a passion. Ate breakfast(heavy on the protein, light on the carbs!) and our tour bus picked us up and took us to the bus station where I immediately blew a cool 1.60 pounds(that's $2.60 USD, in case you were wondering) for a 500 ml bottle of Diet Coke. Which is not as big as a US bottle, and twice as expensive. But man, was it worth it.(having not had any in 18 days)It was like liquid Heaven.

small copper coin=pence
gold, thick coin=pound
large, octangular coin=50 pence
small grey (dime-ish looking) coin= 5 pence
Large, circular coin=ten pence
Other octangular coin=20 pence

I didn't see any 2 pence coins. There are no pound notes in the UK, so when you flash a five or ten note be assured you will be getting quite a few POUND coins in change. And yeah, I'd say they weigh about a pound each. It took awhile for this concept to truly sink in, and my change pouch subsequently acquired quite a bit in change because I had a fear of looking like an idiot American tourist who couldn't give proper change and giving a large note is much safer. I semi-got over that fear as I became more comfortable with the coinage.

Visited a currency exchange booth, got lots of 20 pound notes.

(More to come....)

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Cartoon a Day

just because I think they're funny...
(from the Diabetes Health website)

(having lived on plane food 2 out of the past 14 days I can really identify with that one!)

Go check them out!

And if you haven't yet got in on the Chocolate Relief Act, go score yourself some free chocolate.(every Friday, from 9AM-6PM EST)