Lemonade Life

Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Story

Life is a story.

Everyday, I hear stories. Anecdotes on blogs and message boards, memories in books and intimate conversations with friends and complete strangers.

As a journalist, I am trained to see things as a story. How do I make what this into a story? How do I make it a story people want to read?

At Imago Dei today, our speaker was Don Miller, an amazing storyteller and one of the most non-abrasive Christian I have encountered.

He spoke about stories, which is fitting since he is an writer. He focused on what makes an interesting story. Conflict, for one, makes things interesting. Stories without any conflict are boring. The reason, he says, that we resonate with stories that have conflict is because our own lives are filled with conflict. Relationships, culture, politics, spirituality, and health all come with imbedded conflict.

He quoted Robert McKee, who wrote a 500-page book on the philosophy of the story. What makes a good story? For the most part, it's the continuation of the positive and negatives in our lives. Good things happen, then bad, then good, then bad. If it was all good or all bad, nobody would care. It wouldn't be interesting, or realistic.

He also discussed ambition and dreams. Protagonists have ambition or dreams to turn the bad things into good things. The character's resolve to make a positive difference is something the audience can rally around. It doesn't matter that something bad happened to the character. It's the fact that the character wants to do something about the conflict that resonates with the audience.

I can see how this is true in my own life. My life is always more exciting when I discover a challenge and seek to resolve it, rather than just sitting in my bubble universe pretending everything is fine and dandy. There is no colorful excitement, no adventure and no reward when you live in a beige, static existence.

Don said he didn't like resolutions or goals because if he fails, he is a horrible person. He prefers dreams. As he sat in a hotel room in Tennessee, he wrote a list of dreams that he wanted to fulfill. There is no time limit on dreams. They were meaningful dreams, about relating with God and being faithful, not afraid.

You can live a life of dreams or you can live a life of fear, he said, and a life of fear is a very boring story.

I don't want to live my life in fear of being rejected, alone or sick. I want to live my life with dreams that I will find a new home this year after I graduate, a place where I can truly express myself alongside people I trust and respect. I want to live my life with dreams that I will have a long life, full of wonderous adventures, miraculous encounters and lots of laughter.

I want to live my life with the hope that my dreams will come true, not fear that they won't. I know not everything I dream will happen (I'm not holding my breath for that Oscar), but at least I can move forward knowing that no matter what happens, I am not afraid. By embracing the (literal and figurative) highs and lows, my life is becoming a more amazing story.

Life is too important of a story to be hindered by fear.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The OC New Me Challenge!

Well, ladies and gents, the 2006 year is coming a close and while for many of us it is a time of reflection on our many great accomplishments of the year (moving to a new state, finding a fabulous job, starting the process of adopting the mostly adorable Guatemalan baby on the planet...not to name names of course), but for many of us, it is also a time of reflection of what wasn't accomplished and preparing ourselves for the dreaded New Years Resolutions.

Why do New Years Resolutions suck so much? I mean, for one thing, we pick our Resolutions, right? So you would think something we chose to do would be slightly easier. But no. Most people act like they have a big, burly man with a shotgun pointed at their head screaming, "Make a move and I shoot!"

My impressions are that two main Resolutions of the OC (and yes I realize I'm making a general assumption of all 170 of us and no I don't have a problem with that) are: 1) lose weight and 2) lower the A1C). Losing weight, I believe, is the #1 Resolution of 99.9% of America and lowering the A1C is probably the #1 Resolution of 99.9% of people with diabetes.

So what are we going to do about it? Well, this is my suggestion and contribution to the Great Lowering of Numbers Challenge: a game!

That's right. A game. I call it: The OC New Me Challenge.

Here's how you play:

You e-mail me and tell me what your current A1C or weight (or both) is, and you tell me what your goal is. Then you decide how much you want to wager that you can reach your goal by December 31, 2007. It can be as little as $5 or as much as $100. Whatever you think will motivate you. Every two weeks, you will send me digital photos of your weight (take a picture of the number on the scale while you're on it) or of your 14-day blood sugar average on your meter (you'll let me know your A1C at your check-ups). This shows your progress. As you make progress, you will qualify to win cool monthly prizes like books, CDs, giftcards and other really cool prizes that I can't even tell you about. At the end of the year, if you reach your goal, you get your money back! But if you don't reach your goal, I get to keep your money. No, I'm just kidding. The money goes into the Winners Fund, which is then split evenly among the people who do reach their goal.

So basically, reach your goal or your friends get your cash. Eek! The more you wager, the more likely you are to reach your goal, so I recommend wagering around $20-$30.

Sound like fun? Well you should sign up! Between December 29 and January 7, you sign up by emailing me the aforementioned information. There is no limit to the number of people, but you have to have diabetes. If you're a parent, you have to sign up your child, not you. When you sign up, I will give you more information about where to send your wager and we will work out how to send in your progress updates. Visit the OC New Me Challenge website for continuing updates.

It's a fun game to improve health, so I think everybody should join!

What have you got to lose?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Grand Round Lady

The last Grand Round of the 2006 and I finally submitted something.

And it's featured too!

My post from the night before my 12th anniversary, Crash, is one of the patient stories for this week's Grand Rounds at Blogborygmi. If you haven't read it, you should.

Today the holiday festivities continue with Candy House Day and I'm starting off my day with a 96 mg/dl. It's fun reading all the posts about your holiday. I'm glad to see everyone had a really good time! I miss reading posts though. Hope to "see" everyone soon!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Or as one set of my Christmas cards said... Merry Cat-mas!

Hope Santa brought you everything you wanted, and to my Jewish friends, Happy Belated Hanukkah! I also hope everyone has a pleasant end of 2006 and best wishes for health, humor and happiness in 2007!

Love Always,

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hells Yes

First little mousies bring a new discovery to diabetes research, and now this:

UN Resolution Caps Momentous Year for Diabetes World

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Deck the Halls with Tunes of Christmas

Okay, George tagged me for one of the hardest memes I've ever seen. I'm not a huge fan of Christmas music anymore. After being tortured by it at work (non-stop Christmas music for three and a half hours a day, four days a week), it really isn't something I listen to unless I must.

That being said, there are a few holiday tunes that I actually do enjoy listening to, from the past, to the present, to Christmas future.

5. "Santa Baby" - Madonna or Marilyn Monroe. I like both of them, I can't choose. I know, this is my one "Ohmygosh, you like what song?" But I really think this song is funny and I can't help but "boo-boo-be-doo" along with it.

All my credibility is gone, isn't it?

4. "The Hanukkah Song" - Adam Sandler. Okay, okay. I know it isn't a Christmas song, and I know I'm not even Jewish. But come on. This is not only a great holiday song, but freaking hilarious. Anyone who hasn't heard it needs to immediately download it from iTunes or musical piracy software of your choice.

3. "Silent Night." We have a little angel music box that plays this song while spinning around. It's the first Christmas song that I remember from my childhood.

2. "Carol of the Bells." My friend Jenny used to play this on the piano and it would mesmorize me. It's the one song that makes me wish I played the piano...or any musical instrument at all.

1. "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo" - Transiberian Orchestra. I'm surprised no one has mentioned them (either that or I just haven't noticed - apologies!) as this is quite possibly the most beautifully orchestrated song I have ever heard. It's on repeat several times in my CD player. I will stop whatever I'm doing to listen to it. Unless I'm driving.

Tagged: Penny, Vivian, Sandra, Julia and Shannon. Apologies if you're already tagged.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Funny D-Pictures continued....

Originally uploaded by amblass.
Have you ever walked around outside for hours bundled up in the cold winter air.... browsing an outdoor market, chatting with friends at a cafe, sight-seeing in a big city...

Have you ever attempted to test your blood sugar after spending all that time outside only to receive an error message each time you stick in the little test strip?

The only remedy is to wait for it to warm up...

Well, here is my friend Carissa's ingenius solution to warming up a glucose meter quickly and effectively.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Little Notes from the Past Week

It's been a week since I've posted, which I suppose is a nice respit from the 30-day marathon of posting from November.

I spent my weekend in Seattle, Washington. We drove up Saturday afternoon and stayed in a hostel downtown. We had dinner in the Queen Anne District, watched The Holiday downtown, and had drinks and cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory. Since I had used up my glucose tablets within the first hour of being in Seattle, Annie and I searched for an open pharmacy so I could buy a soda (both Rite-Aid and Walgreens close at 10, bastards), so I ended up carrying home a plastic cup of Pepsi from the Cheesecake Factory. Which, after half a slice of cheesecake, three slices of bread and a Long Island Iced Tea, I certainly didn't need...

On Sunday we visited a flea market in the Fremont District and had our morning coffee at the only Peet's in Seattle. We visited the dinosaurs and tropical butterflies exhibit before viewing the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Pacific Science Center. It was fabulous and so exciting to be in the same room with them. Unfortunately, because they are so old and fragile, the room was completely dark and the scrolls were timed to light up at thirty-second intervals. Not that it mattered, considering you couldn't read them. Unless you speak Ancient Hebrew. We had dinner at Sky City, the revolving restaurant on the Space Needle. It was a great restaurant, except they didn't cook my salmon (which I was getting to avoid the raw Ahi tuna). Our poor waiter felt so bad that not only did he not charge me for dinner, he also brought out chocolate covered strawberries for Annie and Carissa to eat while I finished dinner. Then we got a sundae dish that was sitting in container of dry ice, so we had that Halloween mist covering our table. Some ice cream accidentally fell inside, so it began bubbling and gurgling and we had the hardest time controlling our laughter. Even the couple sitting across from us were laughing!

On Monday we visited Pike Place Market to do some Christmas shopping and took the ferry across Pudget Sound to visit some friends of Annie's. Then we came home!

Other Things to Note:

  • As Scott so graciously pointed out, I am indeed in the JDRF quarterly magazine, Countdown. Again. This is my second appearance this year, and my fourth or fifth total. And yet I've never graced the cover. I'm going to have to work on that...
  • A direct link to my column on growing up with diabetes that was published in Tweens and Teens magazine, a local NYC-based magazine, in November has also been posted. Now you too can read, Just a Little Different, the most condensed explanation of diabetes I've ever written.
  • I received my copy of Cheating Destiny today! This is the fourth diabetes book I have received. It's one of my favorite things about being me. Free stuff. But I am ridiculously bad at actually doing anything with them. However, this time instead of reviewing the book, I am going to be interviewing James Hirsch for Diabetes Teen Talk. Look for that in the sometime-soon future.
  • The first round of Christmas cards were sent out today! More Christmas cards will be sent out tomorrow...

We are having a crazy storm right now so I should probably log off before wind does it for me!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Odd Places

For approximately three hours, I had been wearing my Franco Sarto flats with blue socks. In those three hours:

I walked from my house to my car.

I drove to Portland.

I walked three blocks downtown to the PGE offices.

I meandered around the third floor looking for something to do.

I sat at my desk pretending to be working while in actuality I'm reading blogs, checking my email and trying in vain to purchase tickets to the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit.

I tested my blood sugar only to discover I was 445 mg/dl (I think I tried to bolus for breakfast before I actually reconnected after taking a shower... oops).

I drank an entire can of soda in 3 minutes.

I got up and walked through the cubicle to the bathroom.

That is the point when I felt something funny in my shoe. A pebble from the street? Some strange sticky thing from my bedroom floor now clinging to the bottom of my sock?

I take off the shoe. There's nothing inside.

I examine the bottom of my foot. A blue sock is all I see.

I put the shoe back on. I can still feel it. I take the shoe back off again.

I feel the bottom of my foot.

There's some hard. Rectangular. Small.

In my horror, I stick my hand into my stock and retrieve a tiny blood glucose test strip that has been inside my sock all morning.

In The Sock.

And I thought the Broken Printer Incident was bad.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Greatest Online Quiz Ever Created

And you all thought I was a nice person naturally. Heck no! This altruistic, philanthropic visionary has worked night and day to hone her skills in being adorable and thoughtful.

It's the funniest, most creative online quiz ever created.


Go take it.


Come on.

Then go post your results so you can be amazed at the accuracy of it all and we can have a good laugh at your expense.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The End...

....of my last fall term at college EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!


I just returned from turning in my portfolio for my Advanced Public Relations Writing class and I have exactly one month and 3 days until I start winter quarter.

That's right.

One month.

Except I still have my internship until next Friday, so technically less than that. But still, one month of zero homework.

I know there is going to be much more suspense and anticipation (as well as the return of the nifty countdown clock that was launched to highlight my impending 21st birthday) once we hit spring term, which begins in April. My school is on quarters so while everyone is excited about starting their last semester ever and their last registration ever and their last advisor appointment ever, I'm still stuck with one more after this.

Oh so close. So close so close so close.

Six months close.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Notes About the Awards

1. Congratulations to all the nominees! Very exciting.

2. I'm absolutely addicted to checking the voting. 65 votes so far! Wow! I check three, four, five times a day. It's like crack.

3. I've noticed several people thank "the person" who nominated you. If you were nominated, it's because at least 10 or more people nominated you, not just one!

4. Several other people have noticed that all categories are mandatory. I did this because I want people to get outside of their comfort zone and spend some time reading new blogs, rather than just the same handful that we always do.

However, I'm completely open to the idea of making some of the voting optional, especially the very specialized sections like Type 1, Type 2 and Parents. I'm also open to having the nominating and voting process shorter (mostly because the majority of votes are cast during the first week, with only a few stragglers the rest of the month) and having the remaining time spent just reading and reviewing the nominees.

5. I'm completely open to thoughts about how the Awards are run. This is sort of a trial-and-error kind of thing (kind of like diabetes management...). We're kind of like the MTV Movie Awards - I'm open to starting new categories and dropping ones that don't work anymore. The timeline and all that are also flexible, but I am staying put with the nomination starting on November 1st and the Awards being announced on January 4th (I need to keep something consistent!).

6. Remember, this is supposed to be fun, dammit!

7. Thinking about next year? One of the new requirements is that your blog must be updated in the month of August and you have to be listed in the Directory. If you are a Resident Lurker and decided to start blogging, please send me a submission form.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

And the Nominees Are...


*Best Blog
A Shot in the Dark
Diabetes Mine
Diabetes Self-Management
Major Bedhead
Scott's Diabetes Journal
Six Until Me
The B.A.D. Blog

*Best Adult With Type 1 Blog*
Artificially Sweetened
Candid Diabetes
Scott's Diabetes Journal
Six Until Me
The B.A.D. Blog

*Best Adult with Type 2 Blog*
Confessions of a Food Adict
David Mendosa's Blog
Kathleen's Living with Diabetes
Tales of my Thirties
Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

*Best Parent of a Child with Diabetes*
A Shot in the Dark
Major Bedhead
Mom Wants A Diabetes Cure
My Son Has Diabetes

*Best Female Blogger*
Amy Tenderich – Diabetes Mine
Art-Sweet – Artificially Sweetened
Kerri Morrone – Six Until Me
Lyrehca – Managing the Sweetness Within
Sandra – A Shot in the Dark

*Best Male Blogger*
David Mendosa - David Mendona's Blog
George Simmons - The B.A.D. Blog
Johnboy - Infusion of Thought
Kevin Perese - Parenthetic Diabetic
Scott Johnson - Scott's Diabetes Journal

*Best Diabetes News Blog*
Close Concerns Weblog
Diabetes Daily
Diabetes Self-Management
The Diabetes Blog

*Best Non-Blog Diabetes Resource*
Childrenwithdiabetes.com/ Children With Diabetes Foundation (organization)
dLife (organization)
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (organization)
Think Like a Pancreas – Gary Scheiner (book)
When You're a Parent with Diabetes - Kathryn Gregorio Palmer (book)

Congratulations to all the nominees!