Becka's Babble

Ramblings of a Romance Writer

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Heart for Giving

Lately, I've been thinking about volunteering. Where? Anywhere, really. We have a place here in town that I donate to during the holidays, Portland Rescue Mission. DH donates to the Oregon Food Bank. I've often thought I would love to go down to the soup kitchen and just help out. But I never do. :(

DH took my eldest daughter to volunteer through his work to take a needy family to the mall to go shopping for Christmas presents. It was only for a few hours, but my daughter *loves* to do stuff like that. In fact, this Saturday, the Goingses are joining DH's work for another volunteering job out at a city park to clean up trash and perhaps plant some flora. It's always more fun when it's not your own yard. LOL

So it got me thinking. What else can I do? You may or may not know that once upon a time, I used to have a teddy bear business. It was called "BeccaBears". Nowadays, I would have spelled it "BeckaBears", but of course, I wasn't all *cool* and *trendy* 5 years ago. :P Anyhow, I made crocheted teddies. I folded my business because it just wasn't lucrative enough, as I would spend 2-3 days making a bear and sell it for only $20 - $30. I just didn't feel they were worth more than that. Who would pay $50 or more for a CROCHETED "nobody" teddy when they could just buy some fancy soft, plushy brand name bear for the same price?

Well, before I folded this business, I donated 7 or 8 bears (don't remember now) to one of our local hospitals here in Portland. I made up certificates to go with each bear, giving the bear's name and who donated it (I accepted donations from customers ONLY for the price of materials, and they would then choose the bear's name and color - it was cool).

After that, I was commissioned by a hospital way on the other side of the country, the Long Island Jewish Medical Center's Dept. of Oncology. They had me make 50 bears that had a "Congratulations" banner on them, for the children who completed their painful chemo treatments. That was fun, but hard work, as each bear was exactly the same. Perhaps I got burnt out on that alone.

And every now and again, I would hear the story of a sick child, and I'd give them a bear as well. So I've donated a lot of bears. I was paid for my work with Long Island Jewish Med. Ctr., but it was still rewarding knowing my bears made some kids happy.

Fast forward to now. Not really wanting to make bears again, I thought what could I do? Well, I've been kind of jonesin' to crochet again, but everyone in my family already has an afghan. :P Then I remembered a charity called Project Linus. I'd heard of them many years ago and thought it was a cool idea, but never actually made anything for them. Perhaps now I shall.

Since getting out and about to volunteer can be tricky trying to juggle the family and whatnot, I thought perhaps I could put my crochet skills to good use.

If you crochet, knit, or quilt, you might want to check these guys out. They donate all their blankets to sick children in need. There's MANY chapters, so perhaps there's one near you. :) And seen as how you'd be making children's blankets, it won't take you long at all to do. I'm planning on doing a few granny square blankets (in pretty colors, of course, because everyone hates ugly blankies).

Anyway, thought I would share that, just in case you have a heart for giving as well. :)


Monday, February 25, 2008

YES! ONCE Takes Best Original Song at Oscars!

Probably the most exciting moment of the night for me and DH, we watched the Oscars and practically fell off the couch cheering when the winner for Best Original Song was announced.

Congratulations to Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for their song "Falling Slowly"!!!

There have been many grumblings that this movie was only nominated for one thing this year. DH and I loved this movie, as well you know. However, knowing they won the only Oscar they were up for is very poignant, especially since the movie Enchanted had three songs in the same category.

Glen and Marketa were definitely the favorites to win, if the crowd reaction was anything to judge by. And bless Jon Stewart and the Oscars for letting Marketa walk BACK on stage after the commercial break to give her thank you speech. She'd been cut off by the orchestra and the clapping after Glen gave his, and she didn't have a chance. But right after the break, they brought her back out... Something that I don't think they've ever done before.

This just goes to show you don't need massive special effects and truckloads of money to win an Oscar. ONCE was made with two hand-held cameras and $100,000.

The best thing about their performance at the Oscars was that Glen was playing on his same old beat up guitar. He'll probably play that thing until it disintegrates. LOL But that's part of what makes it all awesome.

Congrats again, you two. You bloody well deserve it!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

This Story Touched Me

"Love your neighbor as yourself." - Matthew 22:39

"Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." - Luke 6:30-31

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." - John 15:12


Not necessarily a religious story, but this one touched me and made me think of Christ's teachings. I have an eight-year-old daughter, and so I guess this one hit me a little close to home. It's nice to know there are kind and loving people out there who would be willing to go the distance for a child in need - especially a stranger.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Weighing In

The old adage that you can't lose weight unless YOU want to is so true. There have been many times I've railed against such a notion because I didn't *want* to lose weight. I didn't *want* to exercise. I didn't *want* to eat healthier. I didn't like diets. I didn't like the temptation.

Many times my hubby has gotten us onto Weight Watchers, tried to motivate the both of us to quit drinking sodas, drink more water, eat less sweets... But I suppose I never truly lost the weight "for good" because I didn't really want to. I was comfortable with where I was in life, why should I change?

It also stems from my own vile hatred of change. I cannot stand change. If something changes in my little world, it's a major upheaval. It stems from my childhood, I'm sure, when every change in my life was a bad one. If all is right in the world, if everything stays the same, then in my own way, I'm "safe".

This is why I freaked out when I was diagnosed with diabetes. Sure, I put on a happy face for everyone, family and friends. But I was pretty depressed, actually, for about two weeks there. Talk about change. Talk about upheaval. Talk about something that is not only bad, but scary bad.

The "choice" to eat better wasn't really mine to make, as it was pretty much a do or die situation. Sure, I wouldn't die tomorrow, but if I kept mistreating my body by eating the wrong things, I was facing a laundry list of diabetes-related complications. Heart failure, kidney failure, amputations & blindness, just to name a few.

Nothing like a "Holy Sh*t!" moment to suddenly make you a staunch advocate for change.

But the diabetes "diet" wasn't as crazy as some other diets are. In fact, it's not really a diet at all. It's a way of life. In addition to eating better by finding foods that are no sugar/no fat, eating more fruits and veggies, whole grains, and controlling portion size, you get to eat six times a day. SIX times! I'm never hungry. And when I do get hungry, one look at the clock and yup, it's snack time.

Therefore I don't get discouraged with the small portions I'm eating as opposed to the giant plates of old. I know I can have a snack in a couple of hours. A healthy snack, of course, of either a piece of fruit (a small apple, banana or orange) or perhaps a few crackers and some low-fat string cheese, or a serving--one cup--of Dannon Light & Fit yogurt (nonfat, no sugar added yumminess).

My eating regimen consists of watching carbs - not sugars. It amazed me when the dietitian told me to watch carbs instead. They instantly turn to glucose in your bloodstream, so you need to really watch your portion size. Carbs aren't bad for you, as glucose is the fuel your body needs to move, but too many carbs is VERY bad. So I can have pasta, rice, and rolls, just in moderation. Thank Gawd, because those are some of my very favorite foods.

The point of all this rambling is that I'm doing very well. According to my home scale, I've lost 16 pounds so far. I lose about 5 - 7 oz. a day.

It's very encouraging to see progress made, not only in my weight and diet, but in my blood sugar as well. It is doing great on the Metformin. Still not under 100 *every* morning for my fasting blood sugar (testing your blood before you eat breakfast), but hovering there between 90 - 105. Better than the 115's it was at when I was on Glyburide.

Now, I'm struggling with trying to fit in thirty minutes to an hour of exercise every day. I've got to find some kind of routine to follow. I need to get out and walk, as the stationary bike isn't the best form of exercise, but at least it's something. I'm thinking about perhaps getting a treadmill. That way, I can walk without having to pack up the kids somewhere, AND I can listen to my iPod. Walking on some nature trail rocking out with the headphones--and my kids following behind--just doesn't seem like a good idea. But you've got to do what you've got to do sometimes, I guess.

I really wish there were more than 24 hours in a day.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


So there I am, in my laundry room, minding my own business, when this ornery sock decides it's not going to cooperate with me. It's all balled up, and there's no hope of finding the toe in the jumbled mass of fabric. Therefore, I do what we've all done on occasion--I smack it against the top of my dryer.

Everyone smacks socks to get them out of their tight little sock balls. (Hey! No snickering back there.) Whether it's against the window sill, the laundry shelf, the side of your leg, or in my case, the top of my dryer.

As if you haven't guessed, I probably shouldn't have done that.

Why, you ask? Well, the dryer decided to fight back. I swear, the damn thing has TEETH, and I spent about 10 minutes looking for them. I don't know how it happened, but a chunk of my right index finger on the first knuckle was bitten off (by my dryer), and damn near squirted blood all over my laundry room as if my once-docile appliance decided to play Sweeney Todd.

Uttering all kinds of profanities that you probably shouldn't say unless you're A.) a sailor or B.) injured pretty damn good, I ran to the sink to clean my wound. At this point, it's stinging like an SOB and bleeding all over my kitchen towel, but eventually I'm able to stem the flow of gore long enough to wrap a bandaid around my gash.

By this time, I'm thinking to myself, "Yup, definitely shouldn't have done that", and I go back in to continue to fold the rest of my laundry. I approach the dryer with caution, thankful the darn thing doesn't have legs with which to chase me around the house, since it's obviously out for blood. I try to act non-chalant by placing my wet load of laundry inside of it, promising never to bang it on the head again with a delinquint sock.

However when I go to press the power button, nothing happens. You see, my dryer is one of those fancy ones, the kind you actually turn on, then turn the dial to choose your dryer setting, then press the "play/pause" button, like on a CD player. If you want to stop the load to throw something in, you don't merely open the door like a neanderthal, no, you press "pause" and the drum comes to a stop, you open the door, throw in your forgotten item, then press "play" again.

So now, I'm thinking, "CRAP! I done broke my expensive-ass dryer!"

The power button now does nothing when you press it, and I suppose some spring in there or whatever the heck the mechanism is, must have busted or broken loose on my dryer's bid for revenge. The strange thing is, when I'd put my next load in, the power *automatically* came on after I'd closed the door, and I was able to turn the dial and press "play" like always. This has never happened before.

This means that my dryer is either:

A.) Possessed by the Devil

B.) Likes the taste of blood and wants me to crawl into the drum to see what's going on - sooo not happening...


C.) Has an attitude and works only on "it's" terms.

Great. Now I'm afraid to do laundry. I'm going to have to call my therapist. Again.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Impromptu Weekend Project

My kids are geeks. One of their favorite songs on Planet Earth is Mr. Roboto by Styx. I kid you not. It happened into being when our kids were rocking out in our van when DH played this on his iPod. The idea for a video was born. Enjoy! :P

Mr. Roboto from Jim Goings on Vimeo.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Becka's Hottie of the Week

I was wondering what to post when I suddenly realized today was Friday. Where has this week gone?!? GEEZ. Seems like only Tuesday or Wednesday to me. I found a guy this morning who I thought would make an excellent Hottie this week, then realized I needed to post him today! LOL So who did I pick? Mr. David Garrett.

I'd never actually heard of this man before this morning. There was some article about him on MSNBC about how he'd stumbled down some stairs and crushed a million dollar violin. OMG! Talk about a heart attack moment. Anyhow, this guy is only 26 years old, and he was claimed as a prodigy on the violin when he was 10. I was intrigued when the above CNN article said he was considered the "David Beckham" of the violin, and that he'd once modeled to supliment his income. I had to find pictures of this guy.

Needless to say, I was taken aback by how good-looking he is. And I'd never heard of him!! How is that legal?! With all the PBS watching I do? Heheh... I watched a video of him on his website, and he seems much more into the music than he is into himself. Which is a good thing. Don't want him getting a big ego simply because he's a knuckle-biter, you know? :P

And dang, the guy can WAIL on the violin! He's got a smile to die for, but unfortunately, in most of the pics I've found of him, he's all dark and mysterious. But when you see a video of him playing, he lights up. You can tell he really loves what he does, and that makes him very attractive.

Congratulations David Garrett. You're Becka's Hottie of the Week!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Getting Into the Swing

Well, I've gotten over the initial shock of having diabetes. It's funny, but now that I know what to look for, I can tell what my body is doing. I can recognize hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when I start getting shaky/bitchy/starving/headache. I know when I need a snack, even if I'm not hungry. I can now perceive the dips in my blood sugar enough to know what's going on in my system.

Today I was going to get on my exercise bike and do my thing, but I realized those new batteries I'd put in there the other day...were now dead. I suppose when I'd put them in, I didn't turn *off* the dang thing (I'd assumed it turned itself off after a time). And who keeps extra "D" batteries around their house, anyway?? GRR... Anyhow, I tried riding it for about 5 minutes anyway, thinking at least the act of pedaling is somehow aerobic. It did nothing for me. I need that damn tension on the pedals.

So, not to be defeated, I decided to play the drums on Rock Band instead. Don't scoff! That is hard at times, and you definately do work up a bit of a sweat. Sure, you'll never huff and puff at it, but your arms and legs will soon feel like spaghetti noodles afterwards. Not to mention, it's pretty dang fun!

I have no idea if that "counts" as true exercise, but I got some practice in on a few songs in the "hard" setting. Good thing I was only practicing! I didn't do so good when I wandered away from the *easy* songs. But hey, at least I was flailing about and doing something physical rather than staring at my computer screen for 45 minutes.




Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today's Doctor's Appointment Brought to You By....

...Metformin! Yes, my new doctor changed my medication from the Glyburide, which wasn't a very strong medication, apparently, or at least one that's compatible when you're pregnant. Since I'm no longer pregnant, he prescribed the Metformin, that I have to take with dinner. I'm also on "baby aspirin". I'd never heard of such a thing, but they make low-dose aspirin and call it "baby aspirin". He wanted me on that for general heart health, due to my family history. Gotta thank the ol' wizz in the gene pool, if you catch my drift.

So, because my eyesight goes all blurrified at times when I'm on the computer or reading a book, he wants me to see an eye doctor. Also, I have to get my blood drawn for a hemoglobin test, something they do every month for three months, I guess. I didn't quite understand what the hemoglobin test tells them, but hey, I just follow orders.

Also, he's sending me to a diabetes class, so I don't have to learn all about my condition from "Diabetics for Dummies". :P I literally have that book, and that's literally what he said to me. "I'm sending you to class so you don't have to learn about it from 'Diabetics for Dummies.'" LOL

I only need to test my blood sugar twice a day now, once in the morning for my fasting blood sugar, and once in the evening, before bedtime, at least two hours after I eat dinner.

He mentioned that my numbers are doing well, and it's mostly the fasting blood sugar that needs to come under control, but that if I continue with my diet and exercise and lose weight, it's all together possible that diet and exercise is all I'll need to keep it under control, and I could come off the medication. Since I've lost 10 pounds since the start of this thing, I think I can keep up with that. Just need to get that exercise in whenever I can. Now the dietitian mentioned exercising every day, but the doc recommended 3 to 4 times a week, doing something aerobic for about 30 minutes, to get your heart rate pumping and break a sweat, so fast walking, doing time on a stationary bike, aerobics in general... All very good options. DH and I have a stationary bike, so I'm sure I'll be using it. I have noticed that whenever I do get some exercise, my blood sugar is much lower than usual, so it does work.

He checked my feet, and my reflexes were good. I could also feel the little buzzing thingy he put on my toes. Sometimes if your feet go numb, you can't feel the buzzing. Which is all good, since my "Dummies" book mentions that over half the people who get their feet amputated are diabetics.

Dang, I really should stop reading that book, eh? :P

So now, I've gone from little tiny pill at night to this gigantic HORSE pill I gotta take with dinner. For whatever reason, I cannot consume alcohol whilst taking this medication. Perhaps I will turn into a pumpkin, I don't know. Side effects include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Oh happy day.


Like a Plot for a Romance Novel

I read this story on today and I wanted to share it. It gave me that "Aww!" feeling, and reminded me of a Harlequin romance novel.

A Soldier Finds a Family

What started out as a young child's school assignment of writing a soldier in Iraq soon became much, much more... Makes me sigh, a story like that. :)


Friday, February 08, 2008

Becka's Hottie of the Week

Nothing gets the spirits up like a good-looking man, eh? :) Here is this week's hottie, a man I'm actually shocked I don't know more about. He's in the movie ATONEMENT, which was actually pretty good. I've seen him in a few other things, but I'm thinking this current movie will make him into someone you really need to look out for. Who am I talking about? Mr. James McAvoy.

This man has said in an interview that he's not "leading man" material. Uhm... Have you LOOKED in a mirror, my good man? Heheh. Sure, you might not be *ripped* or *rugged*, but you *are* very handsome.

However, I think your modesty is very sexy in and of itself. There's nothing worse than a hottie who KNOWS he's hot, because then he thinks he's God's gift, you know? But you, I think you're more down to Earth. A guy someone could have a good conversation with, without the conversation always coming back to you. lol

You guys might also remember him as Mr. Tumnus of Chronicles of Narnia fame. Yes, I was lusting after a faun. :P The hairy legs and bulbous nose didn't turn me off one little bit. But I'm sure that's due in part because I write books about shapeshifters. LOL

Don't sell yourself short, James. You're a fine looking man, according to me, anyway. Sure, you have a boyish charm about you, but that only inhances your sexiness when you flash your bright, beaming smile. Therefore, Mr. McAvoy, congratulations. You're Becka's Hottie of the Week!


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Finally Moving On

Well, considering how depressed I've been the past few days, I'm feeling better now. I've come to terms with the fact that I have diabetes. It is indeed a hard pill to swallow, especially when the book I'm reading, Diabetics for Dummies, says that over half of the people diagnosed die of heart attacks. A lot also die from kidney failure. The book doesn't mention if this is *untreated* diabetics, or merely diabetics in general. It covers what happens to your body if you leave your diabetes untreated, so I can only assume the "over half" he was talking about were those who don't eat the special diet or take any medication to regulate the blood sugar.

My numbers are doing pretty well, all things considering. The dietitian told me they don't like to see anyone over 140 two hours after eating. I've been testing one hour after eating, because that's what my OB told me to do, and it's only been a handful of times I've gone over. Of course, if I tested two hours after, it might be a different story.

I'm going to see someone called an "internist", and I believe that's their title, rather than, "Hi, I'm an intern" like you see on Grey's Anatomy or what have you. I currently check my blood four times a day. The dietitian told me I probably can get away with only two times a day, since my numbers look good, but of course, I need to wait and let the doctor tell me what to do. I have an appointment to see him next Tuesday, the 12th.

Aside from all of this upheaval, I've lost something like 8 pounds so far! Mostly due to the way I'm eating, I'm sure. However, I just changed the batteries in our exercise bike, so I'm hoping to use that a little more, as exercise controls blood sugar as well, and I know darn good and well I'm not going to go out and walk somewhere. LOL (The bike takes batteries to regulate the resistance on the pedals, in case you were wondering. :P I could ride it without the batteries, but then, I wouldn't have any resistance, like you were going up a hill or what have you.)

My pants are fitting better. I can get myself into my "tight" pants (hehe) and my other pants that were usually a little tight after coming out of the dryer now fit "just right". I'm looking forward to losing more weight as time goes on, because that also controls diabetes, since being overweight can complicate things.

So all in all, things are going good. I don't feel hungry at all because I'm eating 6 times a day, three meals and three snacks. My dietitian isn't militant about always eating "by the book" either. She says if you want to splurge once a week, go for it. She told me the people who do the best on this life-long diet are those who don't deprive themselves of goodies every now and again (obviously not every day, but about once a week), because then, you're not depressed about what you're eating, and you're less likely to binge if the mood strikes.

My mother, who is also a diabetic, treats herself to ice cream once a week. What she does is she puts a small scoop on an ice cream cone, that way, it takes a longer time to eat it than just in a bowl, and you feel more satisfied when you finish it off. I don't know if I'm going to start doing that, but it sure sounds good!

I'm still a little blah about everything, but it's getting better. Except for when I read things like "over half the people diagnosed with diabetes dies of a heart attack". GACK! I do NOT need to hear that right now! But on the other hand, it's good to know what I'm dealing with, and what I may or may not have to look forward to. It's still kinda scary, though. But I'm doing well, and we'll see what the doctor says on Tuesday when he takes a look at my numbers.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Some Sad News...

Hello everyone. I'm not going to be around too much in the next few days/weeks to come. I had a miscarriage last week on the evening of the day I had my ultrasound, so it's been very hard to say the least. Losing the baby on top of finding out I have diabetes makes for one shitty week. So I thought I would let you all know what's going on with me, in case you were wondering. I don't think I'll be sending out my newsletter this month either, so don't be looking too hard for it.

It's been a few days and I'm in "acceptance" mode, however, I still don't like to talk about it. I know there's a purpose for everything, so I'm trying my hardest to keep the faith. Thanks to everyone who's been giving me support throughout this ordeal, and I know you all will understand that I need some time for myself. So if you don't see much of me in the days to come, now you'll know why.