Monthly Archives: November 2009

mmm… buns

i have survived thanksgiving!  hurray!  this probably sounds melodramatic, but i honestly don’t mean for it to be.  thanksgiving is not a diabetic’s friend.  it’s the most food-stuffed holiday of the year, based on the delicious cornerstones of bread, potatoes, stuffing (aka bread with meat), and cranberries (aka sugar bombs).  although the much ballyhooed twenty-billion-layer salad was noticeably absent, my aunt katie and uncle D put on an amazing spread. unfortunately, this meal can present the average diabetic with challenges similar in difficulty to those of level 8-2 of super mario brothers one.  (remember those annoying hammer throwers?)  in other words, it’s flippin hard to be a diabetic… especially on thanksgiving.

diabetics need to match the amount of insulin they inject to the amount of carbohydrates that they eat, which is a simple theory, but an  impossible task.  as catherine price said in her great nytimes post last week, diabetes is like walking a goldilocks tightrope. too little insulin = too high… too much insulin = too low. (aka worst feeling EVER. also, pretty dangerous.) being just right is like finding a needle in a haystack– my insulin requirements change with the day of the week, the weather, the amount of exercise i have, how stressed i am, whether or not there’s a full moon. insanity.

but back to thanksgiving. so there we were, the panda and i. we were sitting next to some really great folks, like little helen (my favorite lady in the world), cousin marc (what a guy!)  and evelyn (with her cheeks full of mashed potatoes).  on my plate, i had turkey (2  slices, 0 grams carbs, 10 grams fat), mashed potatoes (about 3/4 of a cup, 22.5 grams carbs, 10 grams fat), stuffin (about 1 dollop, i didn’t remember what the carbs or fat was, so i just guessed), roasted vegetables (a few pieces, some fat, some carbs), gravy (a pour, about 6 grams fat, 6-8 carbs).  i avoid cranberry sauce at all costs.  i do NOT (although i totally should, because they are like CRACK) avoid aunt katie’s delicious homemade buns.  yes, i said buns!  i had one on my plate (one bun = 30 carbs, 2 grams fat).  then i ate another, and then the baby panda gave me some of his.  

so by the end of this meal, i had ingested approximately 3 million carbohydrates and done a ton of guesswork.  as you have probably surmised, my carbohydrate counts for this meal were based mostly on past experiences and some (not so scientific) wild @$$ guessing. over the holidays, i just don’t have the desire to call the dinner hosts in advance for an accurate dinner menu and try to plan my meal ahead of time by pulling out my trusy calorie king book and actually doing the math required to figure out how many carbs are in my dinner.

but maybe i should.  i can’t remember the last holiday where i haven’t felt rotten due to a high blood sugar.  and i haven’t even mentioned the temptations of dessert.  on one hand, i have always believed that my diabetes diet is not a limiting thing.  it’s no different than a diet that one would follow if she were just trying to eat healthily.  other people (out of a desire to be aware of the struggles that i’m grappling with) may ask me if i’m “allowed” to have a certain type of food.  and i try really hard to let them know that it’s not so much about what i’m “allowed” to have, but how i handle what i eat.  diabetics can eat anything that people with normal pancreases (i didn’t know that was even a word!  so many As and Es!) can eat– we just have to do a ton of thinking first to determine what’s in it and whether it’s worth the insulin and potential blood sugar trouble.

for the most part, i try not to let the betes get me down too much.  it’s rare (this wasn’t always the case) that i look at someone nonchalantly eating a bowl of chips, berries, oatmeal, or candy corn and get jealous that they can just EAT.  i don’t worry about the injections and vigilance as much as i used to.  but i do worry about the holidays.   as i approach the next round of them in just a few weeks, i wonder if it would be happier and healthier for me not only to make a greater effort to plan what i am going to eat and know exactly what’s in my meal, but also to avoid the snack and dessert tables altogether, so that a 300+ blood sugar the next morning doesn’t leave me surly, sad, and sloth-like.  

any advice, other diabetics?  or non-diabetics?

today’s book review (in honor of the new moon flick, which i may or may not have seen twice):

the twilight saga collection, by stephanie meyer

oh bella. stop crying and giving up your identity. oh edward. stop moping and being self-pitying. oh jacob. well, you can do whatever you want because I LOVE YOU.

these books are indeed addictive, but meyer’s portrayal of bella and her incredible lack of an identity independent of edward and lack of self-confidence drives me insane. i don’t care how topaz his eyes are, that’s just not right!

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keep your friends close, but your enemies closer

this post has nothing to do with the above quote. i was actually going to name it “public service announcement,” but my fingers just started typing michael’s best godfather II line. my fingers– i trust them. (i am a touch typist, to the never-ending chagrin of the baby panda, who hunts n pecks, but is miles better at anything related to a computer than i will ever be. thank you, mrs. basso and seventh grade keyboarding– the best class that i ever took!)

today i wanted to discuss a highlight of my checkered working past– my time at boston partners in education. it’s a great non-profit located in the thriving fort point neighborhood of boston. i am still kind of mad that i moved to a different job RIGHT BEFORE the neighborhood got really great on the foodie front… flour, drink and sportello— nom!

i began working at boston partners in the fall of 2004. i started as a manager for the power lunch program, which runs in several boston public schools for students in grades 1-3. students are matched with volunteer mentors who come in to the schools during the students’ lunchtimes to read and talk to them. as i became VERY proficient at saying, sometimes this one-on-one contact is the only individualized attention that these kids have all week. this is really true, though. parents, teachers, families– they can all be really busy with life’s craziness. so it was great to see the kids just sit back and relax with an adult who was only there for them.

oh, it was a heartwarming job, and i loved it. but i saw some crazy things. a school that i am guessing that i probably should not specifically name (but i am itching to, only because i think names always add a little something to a story) was a star in this category. basically, this school was run by a family of kids that i liken to the mafia. (much like i am an expert on the swiss alps because i’ve seen the sound of music so many times, i am also an expert on the mafia because i have seen the godfather I and II at least 15 times apiece, AND every epi of the sopranos. i am like a mafia wife at this point.) there were approximately one million kids in this family, but the ones that i remember were (i will give them shortened monikers) B1 and B2. they were in first and third grades, respectively. oh, the pain in my head that comes back just thinking of them! they were bossy and rude, and they never came to school. but when they did, they wielded more power than the lord of the rings. (does this metaphor even work? i fell asleep during all of these movies. as much as i love gnomes, i don’t really care for hobbitts.) almost every day that i saw them, their mother hand-delivered them delicious-smelling grease-speckled bags of micky d’s. the exception to this was the days when SOMEHOW they ordered out for chinese food.

this begs so many questions:

  • how on earth did they call for delivery? back in the stone ages of 2004, i think that it was much more rare for PRIMARY SCHOOLERS to have their own cellies.
  • how did they pay? maybe i am not giving these girls enough credit here. after all, if there is one thing that i learned from my repeated viewings of the godfather I and II, michael and vito always were able to order decadent foodstuffs based on reputation alone. they even saved some food for fredo. the girls were not so generous– they never offered me anything.
  • how did they order? did they carry around a menu in their dora backpacks? i realize that this is totally possible, but doesn’t this strike you as ODD? B1 wasn’t even old enough to read a menu.
  • how was this allowed? if YOU were in charge of a school, and YOU saw a little chinese delivery truck pull up to your front door to be met by a third and first grader, wouldn’t you, just because you’re a principal, and this doesn’t sound like something a school should allow, DO SOMETHING?

well, nothing was done. by the end of the year, the mafia has put on several pounds due to their decadent lunches, and i was sick of asking the why and how questions. many a time (okay, it was once, but it sticks in my head) did the girls bizarrely miss power lunch because, as i was told by the school secretary, they were getting their hair did. oh, it was a crazy time.

but this amusing vignette does not take away from the fact that boston partners in education is a great organization, and the organization that is giving me a number to run the boston marathon! in return, i am on the hunt to raise some sweet moolah for them. please notice that one of my sidebars on this page is actually entitled, “fundraising sweet moolah.” if you would like to sponsor me in my crazy marathon quest, please just click on this link to my firstgiving page! but obvi, the support that i am seeking is not just monetary. as the wonderful erin pointed out to me recently, we will run 576.2 miles when all of this is done. that is a LOT of miles, and it won’t be easy. so any encouragement (in the form of a poem or otherwise) will be treasured.

also, happy thanksgiving! the bp and i are headed back to rochester aka rottenchester aka nettachester aka the netta today! i used my trusty librarian-in-training skills to acquire some books on tape for the ride, so hopefully it won’t be too painful. normally, we run out of things to say by albany.

and i really need to point this out. when i started this post, i named it with one of the greatest godfather quotes of all time. and then i ended up talking about the mafia. and this was NOT ON PURPOSE! i think i might be magical.

knowing me, knowing you (uh huh)

so i asked my dear friend erin (who is ALSO running the marathon) to help me get this blog rolling by putting on her little reporter’s hat. she has come up with some probing (i hate that word) questions that i will now attempt to answer.

what is your favorite children’s book?

how uncanny that you asked this question! it’s like you know me or something. i love books, especially children’s books. in fact, i am currently getting my master’s degree in library science at simmons college so that someday, i can become a children’s librarian!

unfortunately for this question, my favorite book changes each day. but never fear! i plan to end each blog post with a tiny book recommendation and review… and since we’re here, i’ll just go ahead and give you my children’s book recommendation of the moment:

beezus and ramona, by beverly cleary: lollipop dragons! taking the first bite out of 900 apples! delicious birthday cakes! gosh, i love this book– a story of sisters that we’ll never outgrow.

the greatest vegetable?

if you had asked me last week, i would have said bok choy. then i ate it for lunch every day for a week and it became very slimey and non-hospitable. so. that’s off the list. i therefore choose spinach. or brussel sprouts.

which sesame street song/sketch is the best?

obvi, ladybug’s picnic.  mom used to sing this to me on the seesaw when i was three.  it was magical.

cake or pie?

neither! erin, you know that loaves of delicious BREAD are my achilles heel! what kind of an interview is this?

what sports do you play?

softball, flag football, nintendo wii tennis, dr. mario (i will whoop anyone who challenges me to this game).  as you’ve surmised, i also do a lot of  running (aka jogging aka staggering). i am hopeless at soccer, although many people think that i play because i sometimes wear adidas shorts.

favorite monster?

my first nightmare was about countie from sesame street.  i still get anxious when i think about him.  therfore, it’s not him. but  i have always liked this sandwich dinosaur.  

look at his little hands!  it’s like he’s trying to cast some sort of sandwich spell!

mustaches – what is your take?

the most admirable piece of facial hair, as long as they are used in jest.

what was your best run ever?

i would have to say that the best run ever was the hyannis half marathon last february. beforehand, i’d convinced myself that i was going to stink it up.  plus, i was really surly and my blood sugar was like 5 million beforehand because i wasn’t sure how many carbs i should have prior to the run.  (this anxiety-ridden situation will be the subject of many future posts.)  but then the run itself was splendid!  the miles just kept ticking off with minimal pain, my blood sugar hovered around 120 the whole time, i beat my time from my previous half marathon, and i didn’t die (the criteria i use to judge all runs)… so yay for you, hyannis half marathon!  the best lintzy run of all!

worst run ever?

as all runners know, the worst runs are the ones that happen on an upset tummy.  the stomach grumblings, the cold sweats– well, i won’t get any more graphic than that.  but the run that i’m thinking of strangely did NOT involve any stomach issues.  instead it involved a baby panda’s lack of sidewalk knowledge.  

one day last july, erin and i were looking for a 10-mile running route.  the baby panda (aka eric aka the bp) suggested a journey through lovely belmont, ma, home to rolling hills, sprawling mansions, and (unbeknownst to the bp) NO M-EFFING SIDEWALKS.  away erin and i ran, clouded with delusions of a grand run dotted with rolling hills, singing birds, and maybe some faeries.  and happily, this was basically the state of affairs until we actually made it to belmont.  suddenly, there was no more road.  instead, we merely had a gravelly path to follow– and no street signs.  all i had was a tiny map with some vague notes on it, and that was not a help.  then i twisted my ankle.  things were getting ugly.

after what seemed like many miles, but was probably about four minutes, we found a friendly cop to ask for directions.  she laughed at us when i showed her the route the bp had plotted.  this was not a good omen.

so on we ran.  things got so bad that erin, an avid hater of all things clif bar related, actually ingested some of the shot blocks (aka vom on the carp, to quote my pal nq) that i had been carrying in my fanny pack.  (yes, i said fanny pack.  stop laughing at me.)  

and then.  out of nowhere.  we were confronted with the largest hill i have ever seen in my LIFE.  taller even than the swiss alps that i know so well because i have seen the sound of music like 34 times.  taller than pikes peak which may or may not be the tallest peak in the contiguous united states, but i can’t remember for sure.  and, yes, bp, i am talking to you– it had NO SIDEWALKS.  and worse yet, laughy mc laugherson (aka the copper) had informed us that the street would be heavily traveled by oodles belmont parents due to a swim meet.  

so up the mountain we chugged, jumping in and out of the traffic caused by crazed swimming enthusiasts, fearing for our lives whilst gasping for breath.  it was hell on earth, and we came very close to speeding cars and meeting an untimely demise.  

honestly, i don’t remember much about the rest of that run.  except for when we were done, i am pretty sure that i shook my fist VERY menacingly at the poor poor oblivious baby panda.  he hasn’t really planned too many runs for us since then.

what is your “competition” dish?

chocolate chip cookies… i have some really good secrets!

you can’t live without…

talking to my sister helen katherine root on the phone at least once every day.  i love her to bits.  i think that helen root and grandma root are the most saintly people i have ever and will ever meet.  if you haven’t met them, you should.  this will be a topic for future posts.

favorite luxury?

getting my eyebrows did.

food you eat alone?

back in the day, it was fig newtons.  now, i have taken to a strange concoction of steel cut oatmeal with soy sauce and scallions, brainchild of my favorite food guy, mark bittman!  most people shudder when i mention this, but it’s actually pretty good– tastes like sticky rice.

if you were given a pony, what would you name it?

pony #1: buttercup

pony #2: gloria

what movie could you watch over and over?

baby boom!  i love when she chokes on that piece of bread in the store and then buys all that kerosene!

and on that note, dear readers, i must bid you goodbye.  goodbye, mrs. gloop.  adieu.  aufwiedersehen.  gesundheit.  farewell.

our story

once upon a time, there was a girl named laura. she was short, but not too short. she had blonde hair, but it was not naturally blonde. her eyes were blue and her ears were tiny.

laura moved to boston after graduating from college in 2001. many things happened. she rode the subway a lot. she met some great friends. she also met her future husband, who bore (and still bears) a striking resemblance to a baby panda. she was an idealist. (she still is.) she volunteered for all sorts of fun things in all sorts of places, including the finish line of the 2002 boston marathon. it was a fascinating day, full of sweat and tears and aluminum capes. laura, like many other marathon spectators, went home that afternoon and went jogging. she was inspired.

however, nothing would come of this inspiration. until something really weird and not that wonderful happened. one month before her 26th birthday, laura was diagnosed with diabetes. she had no clue what that meant, but didn’t think it would be too big of a deal. she was wrong. it was a very big deal. (it still is.)

laura spent the next two years coming to terms with this new reality of insulin, carbohydrates, and finger pricks. days of shots, low blood sugars, and then a new insulin pump. nights of high blood sugars, some tears, some frustration, but eventually mostly acceptance.

while all this was happening, laura started pumping iron. just kidding. really, she just went to the gym a lot. it helped with blood sugar and that was pretty great. it helped with anxiety, and that was pretty great, too. suddenly, laura was buff! (okay, that’s a lie. laura looked basically the same as she had looked since grade seven.) but suddenly, exercise became very important… so she decided to leave the safety of the gym and try running outside a little bit.

it was not fun. it was actually pretty painful. but it was strangely fulfilling. and so laura then became the owner of the world’s largest saucony running shoe collection. (this is also a lie. but she has many many pairs of sneakers.) she ran races, and liked it! then a half marathon! and another! and another! by this point, laura’s thighs were quite muscular and it was pretty difficult to put on her favorite jeans. but she decided that she didn’t care.

she decided she was going to run the boston marathon. and, in case it’s still a mystery, this blog is going to follow that hopefully enchanted journey. oh, and it will talk about some of her other favorite things along the way, like books (even twilight), food (even doughnuts), and people (like that dear baby panda).

one more thing—don’t worry. she will not talk about herself in the third person anymore.