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  1. Coming Unstuck

    Monday, 31 January 2011

     I hear tell sometimes of women who can take hours to get ready to go out of a morning, or if they're going out at night. Not me. It's not my way. Of a morning, I'm up, shower, wash my hair, dress and dry my hair. Brush it, and as far as grooming goes, that's pretty much it for me, really. I don't wear makeup - I'd much rather have the extra 15 minutes in bed. 

    You've probably heard me mention before that I take part in Dancesport. If you've not come across the term before, Dancesport is competitive ballroom and latin dancing. Think Strictly Come Dancing (the original Dancing with the Stars if you're of a US persuasion). I've been taking lessons since Autumn of 2009. Seriously, I love it. And between February and March, I'm going to be doing my first two competitions. That means several things: dresses, fake tan, hair and LOTS of makeup. 

    Oh dear.
    Dresses? Hey, I can get on board with that - I love a bit of dressing up now and then, and I've managed to find myself a really nice ballroom dress for an absolute steal in one the January sales. Quids in. Hair? Oh that'll drive me crazy, but I'll just about cope, if I can find someone to help me. 

    Fake tan? Ah, now that's where the fun starts. You need to have at least some colour, so I'm told. Now, I don't tan. I'm pale and proud of it - you need to roll with what you've got, and that's what God gave me. So I bought myself some of that body lotion with tan in it. I got given some really good advice about it. EXFOLIATE for a few days before applying so it doesn't go all blotchy. OK, fair enough. Exfoliate I shall.

    Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. Hmmm....let's break my 'no moisturising in the daytime' rule. Oh, set change time. Here we go. Oooooh, look! No bubbles! 

    OK, why won't this stick? Oh yes. That would be the body lotion. There's no way anything's sticking to that now. Alcohol wipes or something like that would be useful right now. Do I have any? Of course not. What do I have? Nail varnish remover. And of course, my skin loves that. So, Tegaderm. That looks sexy. 

    At least on the plus side - no bubbles. But I can't wait until I actually start using this tanning moisturiser. That should be a whole other state of affairs. And people wonder why I don't do the whole 'beauty regime' thing.

  2. Challenge Anneka

    Saturday, 15 January 2011

    So a few posts back, I told you that I had named my pump Anneka. I also said that I would explain why. So here goes.

    I don't know if you guys in the US had anything like this, but back in the late 80's to mid 90's, we had a TV show called 'Challenge Anneka'. Wikipedia seems to think you had something called Challenge America, but dammit, we had it first! 
    The premise of the show, if you're not familiar with it, is that the charming all-action heroine, Anneka Rice, would fix some terrible crisis, whilst wearing a blue jumpsuit. She also had a mobile phone, which was a really big deal in those days. The best part of the whole show though, when you were young, was the little animated hedgehogs in the opening credits. Seriously, I always thought they were adorable!

    It always seemed that Anneka Rice could handle anything. So that was part of my reasoning behind calling my lovely Animas pump that. But after a number of Borg and robot related jokes, it's also a partial nod to the human name of Seven of Nine from Star Trek Voyager, which was Annika Hansen. Yes, I loved Star Trek as a teenager. No, I'm not really ashamed! But she was always calm, collected, and fiercely intelligent.
    So my hope rather was that whichever Anneka/Annika she was taking after would be a good omen. At least they both had jumpsuits in common. Shame that so far, it's been a bit more of a challenge than anything Anneka Rice ever took on. 

    I always remembered her building orphanages, and youth centres and the like. Seems that though she did this, she also did some far more bizarre things - 
    Anneka has to trick a group of blind people that the wacky sound-effects played on her boombox are taking place in real life, in order to receive a donation to the Calibre Cassette Library.

    Anneka has to cut a hole in walled garden in Chiswick to let some victims escape. 

    Anneka helps a coward cross the road by building nice things on the other side, such as an ice cream parlour and dog salon. 

    Anneka has to organise a tape of music in time for a leaving party. 
    and of course, my personal favourite:

    Anneka has to convince a group of scared school children that monkeys have not taken over the world and that they are just in a Dorset zoo.

    As for me, I'm hoping not to have to challenge my Anneka to do any of these things. However, I have been dealing with an absolutely rotten cold for the past week, which has been making things much more of a challenge. I did mention that I'd been struggling with high scores. After seeing my team on the 6th, we'd made alterations to my basals in an attempt to try and sort things out. Of course the next day, this absolute beast of a cold makes an appearance. 

    This is the first time I've been properly ill since my DX, so I wasn't sure what to really expect, bg wise. They've carried on being high despite corrections, putting on temp basals, and such. Thankfully no ketones have appeared. But the problem of course is that I don't want to make any huge changes, because when this cold has gone, it'd be hard to tell whether I'd made too many. So I think I'm just going to have to hang on in there, until it clears up, and make my changes then. 

    But in the meantime, I suppose we could terrorise children with monkeys?

  3. The result is in!

    Friday, 14 January 2011

    I didn't really see it coming. Honestly, I didn't! I'd really enjoyed being part of the whole competition, but never saw myself actually winning. Not only were there really strong entries from some wonderful people,  I also don't win things - it never works out like that. 

    But being as life is stranger than fiction - I did win. It was announced on twitter and the website today.

    I've not been anywhere beyond a long weekend to see a friend in Belfast since I was seven. So a chance to go and see something of the world? Somewhere I'd probably never go otherwise? Whilst helping raise money for some amazing charities? Well hey, that works for me.

    If any of the other people who entered into the final stage of the competition are reading this, then I want to say thank you to them. Thank you for caring enough about the project, about charity and about the state of the world to want to be involved. That makes me so happy to know that people still care about things.

    So I'm thrilled. I'm so excited since I wasns't thinking I'd be able to go ANYWHERE till around 2012/13, and even then would be pushing it. I can't wait to go to Rio. I've been looking at the Lonely Planet website and there are so many things that look like I should see them!

    So a HUGE thank you to 7 Wonders team, and to each of you who helped with the video! You're all wonderful. 

    And now a question - Do we have anyone in the DOC in Brazil who fancies a meet? ;) Or does anyone know Rio and know somewhere I absolutely HAVE to go - first time traveller here, so any and all advice is welcome! 

    I'm going to Rio, baby! :D

  4. My Dream Donation

    Saturday, 8 January 2011

    I've got something today which is a little bit different. I'm so excited, because I'm now one of the last 9 people in the running to join the 7 Wonders in 7 Days trip. The adventure is aiming to raise money for 7 amazing charities - including Diabetes UK

    If I join the trip, I'll get to go the Rio de Janiro to see Christ the Redeemer. As someone who never goes anywhere, having the chance to go halfway across the world, as part of this amazing adventure would just be undescribable. Especially in aid of so many great causes. Some of these are charities that I hadn't come across previously, and I'm so pleased to have heard about them now. 

    So we have been asked to say what our dream donation would be. After thinking about this for a while, I decided to make a short video to sum this up. Yesterday, I spoke to a LOT of people about this, and had help off everyone who took pictures, let me film them, or told me about their dreams. Thank you to all of you. So here's the video. It was an interesting experience putting it together, so I hope it's interesting to watch.

  5. Going Camping

    Friday, 7 January 2011

    I'm pretty sure I've made it clear in the past that I have a bit of an issue with the whole New Year thing. If I haven't, well then, I do. New Year's Eve? An anticlimax if ever there was one. New Year's Day? Well that's when the pressure starts. 

    A New Year, a new you! How many times have you heard that, or seen it on promotions? If you're anything like me, then it's far too many. Lose weight, get fit, stop smoking, eat healthily, start a new career, make every day count. Ugh, come on. Let's be honest here. This month's star buy diet book, or fitness DVD is March's bargain basement fodder.

    I don't do New Year's resolutions. I believe I brought this up last year, but I made one a few years back that I've managed to stick to really, really well. It was not to make any more New Year's resolutions. Ha, ha, very funny, I hear you go. Well, I mean it. I used to do them, but when it got to a week or two in, and something had gone horribly wrong? The sense of guilt and failure. It's because there's far too much pressure associated with the whole 'resolution' madness. You're setting yourself up for a fall 99% of the time, and why do that to yourself? 

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for trying to make changes in your life. I just don't like the whole label of 'resolution'. I mean, by day four of January, I got to work and realised I had my knickers on inside out. That's a low point, right there. What hope have I got of managing to keep something that has the pressure of 'resolution' attached to it?

    So there are lots of things I'd like to do, to change, to achieve. But how to go about it without the stress, without punishing myself if it doesn't all go as well as I'd like? Well, as it happens, my attention was drawn to a tweet by the lovely Jenni Prokopy of Chronic Babe, in which she was linking to a post by Dannette of FibroHaven. What was it about? Well, that's what I mean by 'going camping'. 

    It's about living with intent.

    I have Basil Brush going 'Boom, Boom!' in my head. Yes, I know it's a truly terrible pun, but it makes me smile. It's like a really bad joke from a cracker. But I do think this is brilliant, and as of Monday, I'm going to be keeping a notebook to write down my intentions. 

    This is better than resolutions. This can be flexible, and fit with where you are day to day. It's realistic. Each day you make and write down and intention, which is right for you on that day. Make it more ambitious when things are going well. Keep it relaxed and manageable when they're not.

    A way of making changes that is actually do-able? I know I'm in. What about you? Fancy coming camping?

  6. Welcome Back

    Monday, 3 January 2011

    I thought I would let this really wonderful flashmob speak for me. I've been away far too long, for reasons that I'll explain momentarily. So a welcome back to hopefully far more normal and regular service here.

    It's a little bit ironic that on this entry, I can announce that I was nominated for one of the 2010 DOC Awards! Category? Blogger that we wish would blog more. I'd like to say a huge thank you to whoever nominated me - I'm really touched. I'm also proving true to form, as voting has now closed! 

    So what's been keeping me away from here for the past month? Well, I'll be honest with you. I've been a)overly busy, b)stressed, and c)exhausted. I mentioned having to do some pretty intense testing immediately after my pump start, but that drained me more than I was willing to admit. I'd not been sleeping well before the pump start, so my energy tank was running on low from the get go. By mid December? I was so tired that I was worried that I was going to end up making some sort of REALLY stupid mistake that I would end up regretting. I tend to squirrel away my holiday days, rather like...well, a squirrel. With nuts. I don't like using them, in case of discovering I need them all of a sudden. But I ended up having to use several, simply in order to sleep. Not the most constructive use of the time, really. 

    And over Christmas? Thankfully work shuts for a week between Christmas and New Year, which makes sense, as we'd have no-one to do business with (straight out of A Christmas Carol there!). Several of my days off were occupied with travelling up and down the country to see the wonderful Rob 'Faceman' Gooch, of D-Team fame, get married to his lovely, now-wife, Anna. I managed to go home to see my family for a couple of days for the first time since May. I say May, but I think it may have been longer than that. I just read that sentence back to myself, and I promise you no pun was intended. Because if it was, that would be unforgivable, really. 

    I had a lovely Christmas at home, I really did. But between all the loveliness, work for my MA has been piling on, and although I've managed to get part of my work done to at least a first draft stage, I still have the evenings of the following week to get that piece up to scratch, and finish and then redraft my play. I'm swamped. And I'm back to work tomorrow. 

    And life with the pump? Her name is now Anneka, for reasons that will be better explained in a later post. I'm now over a month in to this pumping milarky. First two weeks? They were a lot of hard work, with all the testing, and getting used to the A,B,C's of the whole affair. Then I got into the swing of things, and my levels started falling into place. But over the past week or so? Well here are examples of a few tests, admittedly not in the right order, but still all genuine from over the past week.

    Meter goes 'Dee-Deed!' (I never like the double beep - it means I'm either high or low)
    11mmol/l (198) - Huh?

    15.3mmol/l (275) - WTH?

    13.8mmol/l (248) - OK, I'm starting to get narked off now...

    10.9mmol/l (196) - Better, but still no cigar.

    12.9mmol/l (232) - I'm losing my patience now...

    16.5mmol/l (297) - I could cry, I really could.

    Lather, rinse, repeat. Getting below 10mmol/l (180)? Quite the accomplishment, at the moment. Admitedly, I did start out having problems getting the hang of changing cannulas, and I've had a few pretty purple and red ones, but the cannulas themselves? Aside from one extremely dodgy one, they've all been pretty good. So I'm thinking that my carb ratios or basals have to be off. At the moment, ratios are the number one suspect. And right now, I'm just grateful to have an appointment with the pump team on Thursday. Trying to get a handle on Masters' work whilst running high all the time? Not easy - I get extremely restless and agitated when high. And I can't concentrate. Not the best combination. 

    Ah well. Bring it on, I suppose...