The Food Struggle

“One more helpin’ of what I’ve been havin’ – I’m takin’ my turn on the sin wagon.” Sin WagonDixie Chicks

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So for those of you who are unaware, I have Type 2 Diabetes. I was diagnosed in September 2014. Diabetes is such a rapidly growing problem that you would think it wouldn’t make me feel any different from anyone else and that since it’s a growing disease I wouldn’t even feel differently about having it…but I do.

One would assume that since there’s a growing number of people who have this, there would be more accommodations made. I mean, I’ve seen more, “Gluten Free!” products now than I ever have before. In fact I could actually stock my whole kitchen with gluten-free products and be completely satisfied. Did you know that only 1% of Americans have Coeliac Disease (taken from celiaccentral.org). From the American Diabetes Associate website, in 2012, 9.3% of Americans had Diabetes. Try finding sugar-free products (and not just cookies that still use white flour) as compared to gluten-free in stores. There are far less of those products. Also, just because it says “sugar-free” on the package doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t ingredients in it that turn to sugar quickly in the body. Really, sugar-free products are not really sugar-free. So there’s a bit of frustration with that on my end but when you get down to it: if you exercise, eat healthy natural foods (i.e. fruits, vegetables, whole wheat breads) you’ll be fine if you’re a person with Type 2 Diabetes, or someone who doesn’t have Coeliac Disease. It’s limiting but it’s what you have to do in order to fight, “the struggle” lol.

Anyway, I do feel different having it but luckily that difference isn’t prevalent all the time. Usually I am only aware of it when it’s time to eat or when I’m with other people eating. For example: if I’m at a restaurant with my friends eating, there’s very few items on the menu I can actually consume. So while everyone else’s struggle is to choose between the many items they like, my struggle is trying to find SOMETHING that I can actually consume whether I like it or not. Now I know what you’re thinking, “#FirstWorldProblems”, but this is a part of my life and it’s a struggle in this society filled with sugar products EVERYWHERE! Fortunately, as time has passed, I have become accustomed to eating the way I do and going without the things I like. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t cheat once in a while. The other night at the college’s Employee Appreciation Dinner, there sat a delicious, juicy brownie sitting neatly on a white plate. The visual of this was so overwhelming that I sat for an hour and watched that brownie. During dinner I had made up my mind I would eat that brownie and enjoy it. Well, I did. And as you might have expected it was quite delicious! I paid for it too. I became quite sleepy and the next day I felt a craving for sugar. THAT’S HOW ADDICTIVE SUGAR IS!

So, because of my food limitations, it worries me about what my diet will be when I leave for the trip. When we are traveling we will be eating out a bit. We have a plan to have a cooler with food for the journey home but what about while we’re in California and Washington? Being in those places makes me worry more because I LOVE experiencing new foods and eating at good restaurants. Even though I have major will power when it comes to food now, I am scared that I will end up ruining myself in some way. *laughs* It’s kind of like the reoccurring dream I have about every 2 months: I end up smoking ONE cigarette and then it turns into a full carton! *For those that are unfamiliar, I smoked for 14 years but have since quit and have now been smoke free for 5 years*

I’m pretty sure I can stay focused but what are some things I can tell myself, or things I can do to prevent getting on the food wagon of sin while on vacation?

The City by the Bay

 “We’re looking for such different things, it is insane but we wouldn’t want to be the same.” Weightless311

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Now that it’s getting down to crunch time, my stomach is twisting around in knots and I’m absolutely about to jump out of my skin! I know it sounds really bad but the closer I get to the end of this semester, the sooner I want it to get here so I can be gone! I shouldn’t rush my life away and I really try to take each day at a time and be thankful but it’s really difficult to to do that when you’re getting ready to go to the West Coast for the first time! I really feel like I’m about to explode! We have exactly 3 weeks and 5 days until we take off so naturally I’m beginning my research of tourist destinations!

San Francisco is our first BIG hit when we get to California. Minus our arriving in Sacramento and driving to Penryn where my cousins live, our first tourist-y place to visit is, “The City by the Bay”. You know, I never knew San Francisco had so many nicknames! They include:

  • Baghdad by the Bay
  • The City
  • The City by the Bay
  • The City That Knows How (archaic)
  • Everybody’s Favorite City
  • Fog City
  • Frisco
  • Golden City
  • The Golden Gate City
  • San Fran
  • Shaky Town

Though I have read of several sites that say locals do not like the nickname, “San Fran”. Haha I don’t know why this is but I suppose we’ll find out. I’ve looked into booking a guided tour by bus and those prices seem quite reasonable. It was around $24.99 for the bus tour that includes stops at: The Golden Gate Bridge, Haight Ashbury, Lombard Street and several other places. I’m also wanting to go to Marin Headlands which seems like a great place to a get an image.

In the midst of researching touristy places to visit, I tend to feel self conscious about actually being, “touristy”. Part of the reason why my adventures in the past have been so poorly documented was due mainly in part to the sheer embarrassment of looking like a, “Tourist”. I tried to blend in as much as I could but if you think about it, if you’re not from there, you stick out like a sore thumb anyway right? If you’re a tourist, it doesn’t take a camera to differentiate you from locals; looking around at every object and taking in the entirety of this new experience proves that you must be a tourist or either a completely strung out weirdo! A local doesn’t examine it’s surroundings with curiosity and wonderment because he/she lives it everyday and has seen it already. Our touristic tendencies come out in our body motions and facial expressions. That just made me think about how funny that visual really is when you imagine it. But I’m not going to let that stop me from really experiencing everything and having memories of it later. Plus, everyone takes pictures all the time now anyway right?

So here’s what I’d like to know: Are there any other recommendations for San Francisco that we should check out? What are some recommended restaurants? Is there a coffee shop or market that we absolutely must go to?

 

The Golden Ticket

“Your head will collapse but there’s nothing in it and you’ll ask yourself, ‘Where is my mind?'” Where Is My MindPixies

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Something I have been waiting patiently for, came in the mail today. The flat parcel, addressed by the USPS, lay there waiting for me to open it and sure enough, as I suspect it was my PASSPORT! YAY!!  I’ve been waiting for that thing for forever it feels like. This dear passport gave me the privilege to cross into countries such as Germany in 2005 and Mexico in 2006. I had not needed my passport since then. Wouldn’t luck have it that ironically I would need my passport one month AFTER it had expired. So naturally I renewed it because…guess where we’re visiting while in WA? CANADA! I didn’t mention it before because I wasn’t sure if we would be going, and we’re still not positive but it’s a possibility. The thing I hate about getting a new passport is that I was attached to my old one. I wish they would have ripped out the pages that were stamped so that I might be able to have them as keepsakes to remember my travels 😦 I’m not too upset, though it would have been nice.

The passport really kicked my brain into, “ready mode”. In the midst of presenting the new project my students will be working on for the next 3 weeks (which by the way is an 8 page newsletter), I was suddenly jolted in to the reality that I only have FOUR WEEKS to go before we sail off into the sky (I’m referring to the plane of course). I’m just standing there and all of a sudden I’m somewhat stunned for a second, I lost track of my thoughts, but picked it back up a couple of seconds later. I know my students had to have thought I was a little, “out of it”. Then again, I’m sure they probably think that all the time *hehe*. For those brief seconds, images of my packing a large dark pink roller suitcase and flying Delta to Cali flashed in my head. My vision is somewhat the same each time: I think about getting excited about packing, then checking my luggage and then we’re sitting on the plane waiting for it to take off. Now, some may wonder why my vision is so narrowed. Well, I’ve learned that, for me, it’s best if I just let everything surprise me. If I think too much or build something up too much, I find it spoils things a bit for me (in a small way), so I like to keep the visions down a notch. But MAN! I am REALLY ready to go! It’s like a bucket of water you’re trying to gently and easily pour out, careful not to let the whole thing spill because it’s so heavy that your arms might give way, and then…

WHOOSH…too late. 🙂

The Storyteller

“I tried to go back, as if I could, all spec house and plywood.” CopperlineJames Taylor

I woke up this morning with an agenda. My mother and I planned on attending Greenville’s, “Pirate Festival” located downtown Greenville. I had thought about it for roughly a week before the event was to take place, and contemplated whether or not it would be something I would follow through with. Well, it seemed that I WAS going to go through with this today. I was about to get ready when mom said, “I really don’t feel well.” Knowing that she felt bad, I knew it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. So there wasn’t anything really lost by not attending and I wasn’t trying to put mom through something that was probably going to torture her.

So as I drank my coffee I started thinking about the conversation I had with my cousin Rick via text – by the way I feel like I should add into this that when Rick texts, he uses no commas so it takes a minute to decipher the text lol (I still love him). He lives in a very small town in Illinois called, “Cowden”. The population, last I heard, was around 400. I’m sure that number has grown since 1999. Let me check with the almighty Oracle………okay Google says it’s around 599. So there are roughly 600 people in this small town. The last time I was there, I was only aware of a post office, gas station, band stand and cemetery. Even though it was a small town, I was young and it was new so it has fond memories with me.

Rick

Rick is my mother’s first cousin. Have you ever heard someone say, “That guy is a trip!”? If you have, well, I’m most certain they were speaking of Rick. He’s hilarious. There’s no getting around that. As his reputation holds honest and true, he is funny and can tell a story that is out of this world interesting. He INSISTS he is NOT lying when he comes up with a tall tale that seems flabbergasting. No matter what tale he’s telling, you’re always entertained and it will stay with you forever. Not only are his tales outrageous, but he lives on a quiet little farm that is home to several horses and recently some baby chicks! The most recent news I became privy to was that he and his son Luke put up some fencing for his baby chickens that he purchased.

I’ve been to Illinois three times, and all of those times I stayed in Cowden at Rick’s farm. The first time I was 13 yrs old and attended a family reunion? I’m not entirely sure it was a family reunion but I’m almost positive. The second time I was 16. It was also my first plane ride! I stayed on the farm for around 2 – 3 weeks and it was really great. We rode 4-wheelers and visited people and went places. The third time I visited I was 18. That was even cooler because I was familiar with my surrounding and in a different age bracket so I enjoyed different things like hanging out with other people my age and riding around and doing silly stuff. Since 1999, I haven’t been back. Thinking about that makes it a little sad.

SO…what my parents and I have decided is that we will actually stop in and visit Rick on our way back from WA! YAY!! I’m REALLY excited about that and today I kind of sat back and day dreamed about what we will do when we visit. Will we ride horses? Yes. Will we ride 4-wheelers? Maybe. I’m not sure if he has one, but I’m pretty sure he does. Will we visit people? Yes. Will we enjoy our time with Rick? Absolutely. I’m hoping that we may even get to see Luke and Kim (Rick’s son and daughter in-law). It’s been many years since we’ve all seen each other. I would love to get ahold of those chickens. 🙂 But the one thing I’m most ready for is…

Rick’s story telling. 🙂

Bad Dream Takeover

“But when we wake, it’s all been erased. And so it seems, only in dreams” Only In DreamsWeezer

WOW! Talk about “Freaky Friday”! This is the third night in a row where I’ve had some wacky dream about something completely foreign to me. The first dream, I was in prison. Yes, that’s right I said it, PRISON! It was strangely realistic (which is the scary part because normally dreams are supposed to be NON-realistic). I found myself having to do terrible things to save myself from a beating, and selling weapons to other inmates in order to buy myself protection! My parents wouldn’t visit me, (obviously whatever I did warranted this absence of their presence) and I had been put in, “The Hole” for a week. WHOA! All of this has brought me to the most clear realization that I must completely avoid any violent television or movies. It’s obvious that I’m having these dreams based off of shows and movies I’ve watched. How can I be excited in the daytime if at night I’m worried where my mind will take me next?

I’m not sure what I dreamt the second night, but on the third night I dreamt I was Marilyn Manson’s PR rep. *o* For those of you who don’t know who he is, he’s dubbed the, “King of Shock Rock” or was. Very androgynous and completely creepy/freaky, he acted very normal and sane in my dream but I was still mortified. I attribute my dream to having heard something about him throughout the day or someone must have mentioned him at some point in the passing week. I can tell you that I do not think about him at all, and to have a dream about him…well… Ugh! I was totally creeped out. I woke up feeling like maybe I needed to look at lots of pictures of puppies and butterflies. Very strange to say the least, but we all have those weird dreams we can’t quite put our finger on.

To get that feeling of creepiness away from me, I quickly helped my parents with the other side of their house. We organized some things, but mostly threw some things away. While we cleaned I was secretly hoping we would find something we could use for our trip out west; like maybe a duffel bag, or something we could camp with. Unfortunately we didn’t really find anything that was of use to us on our trip but we did run across some really old retro stuff!

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Some “Balsam of Myrrh”.

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What about “sani-white” shoe polish? So interesting how we don’t use illustrations to capture human figures anymore. We use real images in advertisements because it’s more personal and people identify with real versus illustrated images.

And, nothing would be complete without, “Watkins Petro-Carbo Salve”.

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Mom insisted it was still good, which I believe. I’m still just a little taken back by it. I mean, I grew up with this same tin of salve my whole life! This tin has been in this family for at LEAST 33 years! LOL But hey, if it’s still good, why not right?

I’m hoping that maybe our second venture to organize will be more successful in finding something useful. Haha It’s like shopping but free! I’m kind of in need of a duffel bag. I have a feeling one suitcase won’t do it for this trip. Then again we don’t have to pack more than necessary.

Maybe we should bring the salve?