Friday, July 3, 2015

July 4th-Going to The Dogs!

Do you ever have one of those days when you just want to place your forehead against the brick wall? Well, this morning I was ready to shoot myself.  

You see, although I do yard sales only sparingly these days, I always do a quick perusal of what is on Craigslist-mainly to take advantage of supplies for myself, craft supplies for the charities I work with, or tools for my son. This morning there was a listing by a woman who was liquidating her online sewing store, and selling quilting fabric for four dollars a yard (mind you, quilt fabric is 13 dollars a yard these days). It was a thirty minute drive, but there is no traffic today, and I thought "why not"?   The why not, was simply that there was no quilt fabric, every thing was Joanne store fabric. Now , some of you will not understand the difference, but others will understand that getting fabric from Joanne's or Hobby Lobby for  four dollars a yard is not something worth driving thirty minutes to see. Lesson learned, if you will. 

Meanwhile, while others are getting ready for Fourth of July activities, I will be enjoying that time at home (although my resident Uber driver should have a fairly busy weekend). When it comes to fireworks, I am a fireworks snob, there is no question.  Almost twenty years of living near Washington DC and spending every July 4th on the water or on the grass near the White House has spoiled me for fireworks anywhere else (except perhaps Boston). 

If that attitude or the traffic did not keep me home, there would still be the canine family members. Dog owners understand.  We take our dogs to the dog hotel, or we remain at home, drugging and holding our puppy family members-or watching them try to fit themselves under the sofa. To make it even worse, in our area they seem to consider the week before and after the holiday firework worthy, so we never know when the dog(s) will jump in terror.  The joys of being a canine parent, I tell ya! So at our house we'll be having hamburgers and hot dogs, angel food cake with whipped cream and fruit, a nice salad, some wine and enjoy a relaxing day at home. Oh, and I keep forgetting that we have a gift of an ice cream cake in the freezer we need to use up.  A nice quiet 4th of July, watching fireworks on TV, will work perfectly form me this year.

I'm sure I am not the only crafter/artist/chef/woodworker/creative person who has looked at an almost finished project and said "I really don't love this". For me at least, at that point all you can do is "get it done" and then decide what to do with it later.  This Christmas patchwork was made years ago (at the beginning of my quilt experience, when I was still very much an amateur) and was sitting on my unfinished project rack.  Since I am committed to getting at least some of those unfinished projects done, I did a quick down and dirty quilting job and now am ready to put a binding on the thing. If nothing else, it can go on the back of a chair in the reading room during the holidays. The next project to finish is this fall quilt. In between I continue to work on T-shirts and piles of cloth napkins in solid colors I am cutting from old clothes and projects. 

  So, my Christmas quilt, the dogs, and a relaxing afternoon of food and family will fill much of my weekend. If that, my newest book, and church leave me at odds (doubtful), I've also decided to step up my knitting my making my first lacy shawl-if I can just figure out what dropping the yarn overs means. We'll see if my skills are up to the task.

Happy weekend and Happy 4th, everyone!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer TV-What I'm Watching

Remember when I talked about my lazy summer?  Well, it's true that my regular commitments have lessened during the summer, and that I am not taking a huge, major travel trip until the fall.  Other things, however, have picked up.  I'm become the business manager of my son's fledgling Uber driving and landscaping business. I've committed to a donated bed sized quilt a week.  I'm taking advantage of every free digital photo book offer to make mini albums and recipe books.  Since my small business is almost exclusively a fall business, I need to get all those family Christmas gifts done.  My list goes on, to now include exploring how to cover my little pergola area you see in all the photos in order to have a year around outside space.

While it might seem at first glance that I have limited TV time, the truth is that every evening I am ready to lie on the couch for an hour or so and be entertained by the fan. Add to that the ninety five degree summer afternoons and you have some serious TV time.  Not only that, but it's good, non rerun TV time. It used to be that the space between Memorial Day and Labor Day was "dead" time. Now, there are summer series, sports and the advantage of good ole Netflix and Amazon prime.

I know that for some, TV is a thing of the past, with people streaming to Netflix and Amazon.  I do have both of those, but I still have traditional cable. In this house, I consider cable to be frugal and a necessary part of the budget-because there are enough things live that will not appear on those other two venues.

So, while tastes differ, and you may wish to wait until some of these shows reach Netflix or Amazon, these are some of the shows I am watching this summer.  While most of these shows are dramas they include reality. Some are current and some are getting revisited through Netflix.

True Detective - Watch it. Just watch it. But watch last season with Woody Harrelson and Mathew McConaughey first.  Just watch it.  It would be worth paying for HBO for two months just to watch this show. I promise.

The Women's World Cup - last night I had to be Switzerland, as the US played number one, Germany.  We are now on the way to the championship game, and will most likely win.

How To Make It In America  This show only lasted two seasons on HBO but is worth searching out on Amazon or Netflix.  It's about two twenty something fellows who try and start a clothing line in New York.

The College World Series - this just finished up, and my sister in law's Alma Mater Vanderbilt, lost to the University of Virginia

Murder in the First - Written by the Hill Street Blues and LA Law guy, this TV shows follows a single crime through the entire season (with secondary crimes thrown in). Not to be missed, and reminiscent of the TV show Murder One

Aquarius - I confess that this hit me so much that I put it on hold. I'm recording it but at the end of the season I'm going to do a binge watch, because I think if I don't I'm going to miss too much. This is a fictional story about a cop who goes under cover to track Charles Manson.  I just love David Duchovny.

The Wire - I am re watching this through on demand. The best Drama on TV ever (and it's not just me, about ten different lists say so). Must watch.  NO excuses. Even if the first two or three episodes are slow, it's about character development, because 90 percent of the characters appear in every season.  If you've never watched The Wire, this should be on the very top of your Netvlix or Amazon list. Trust me.  Trust me.  I regularly say that the Wire is the best show you've never seen, and Don Winslow is the greatest author you've never read (Elroy and Leonard swear by the second).

Bloodline - a made for Netflix series that may be even better than House of Cards (and yes, I watched that in two weeks and am now waiting for January).

Grace and Frankie - A cute but a corny Netflix series. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin sit down with their lawyer/partner husbands, who are not there to announce their retirements, but rather that they are in love-with each other.  Need I say more?

Island Hunters (a House Hunters show with a twist, everyone is looking for an island house, and Brother VS Brother.  They fill my vicarious need to look at houses all over the word, and my hidden desire to live in the trips gets a little fulfillment.

So there you have it, my limited summer viewing-done between everything else in life, and always recorded by my trusty DRV to avoid commercials, except for live Sports.

Are you watching any TV this summer?

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Unscheduled Retirement-The Only Five Things I Do Every Day

Last week I was at a meeting where many of the attendees were retirees.  In the mists of our discussions, somehow the topic of schedule our retirements came up. One woman had a regular daily schedule that included setting an alarm every day, and scheduling cleaning.  Others (this was a group of men and women) all had different I ideas of what their days looked like, or even if there should be a schedule in retirement.

As you are probably aware of by now, I do not have a retirement schedule-to say the least.  For many retirees, having a regular schedule seems to allow them to get more done, and do more of what they want to do.  I do not have a retirement schedule, and in fact I rarely schedule even the day ahead other than regular commitments and appointments.

For those wondering, I promise that I do not get less done because I am an un-scheduler.  I belong to two reading groups, a knitting group, a sewing group. I take an online class and during the traditional school year I take at least one real college class a semester.  I try to take a day trip a week, I take long trips a few times a year and weekend breaks often. I volunteer a minimum of two half days a week at two different agencies. I quilt, I write, I take photographs. I exercise. I also watch TV, read a book or two a week and enjoy concerts, festivals and fun. 
I also earn money on the side, go out to lunch, brunch and dinner on occasion, and more.  No is not my favorite word, as a rule.

I do all of this without having a schedule as such. I don't set an alarm but once in a blue moon, and I wake up and get up when I feel like it most days.  Some days I get up and have my busy time in the morning, Some days I sit and read half a day and do my projects, errands or social stuff in the afternoon. While I eat dinner with others at generally the same time, breakfast and lunch vary as to the time I get up.

Into every life a little regularity must come however, even mine. Pressed by a friend to tell her what I did every single day, this is the list I came up with.  These are the things I know I do every day (other than feeding myself, showering and the like). I don't do them at the same time every day, but I do them.  And although the list is short, they all improve my life-and probably bring me some sense of organization, like it or not!
  • Every morning, no matter what time I get up, I sit in my blue chair (which will probably become a recliner for my knees in the fall), with my morning coke.  This is the time when I do my morning meditation, relax, and look at the comings and goings out the window. I also may quickly text a family member.  As I am a non morning person, this allows me to wake up and enjoy the day fully.
  • At some time every single day (barring freezing temps and heavy precipitation) I sit on my patio or in the gazebo for at least one half an hour, either rocking in the swing, reading or just observing the garden and the yard.  The timing of these sits depends on the weather and the heat, and will be an all weather experience once my landlord and I (hello, brother), decide whether to cover the pergola or the patio with something more permanent.

  • Every day, I do some kind of exercise. Some days this is pool walking, some days it is walking outside, some days I may walk around Target three or four times if I am doing errands. Once in a while it is a silver sneakers class. I deliberately choose not to commit to exercise or a class at the same kind of day, because as someone who has quite a few "sitting" hobbies, I prefer to break up that time with exercise rather than saying "I'll go for a walk every day after dinner for an hour".
  • While I do not necessarily get dressed immediately every day (I don't live in a place where people just come knocking at my door, and I wear the kind of long -shirt dress style of sleepwear that can be mistaken for a dress), when I do get dressed I get dressed for the day. I do not throw on causal clothes and then change for lunch or class-although I do dress according to the kind of day I expect to have. If and when I change during the day it is only to add a cardigan or over shirt, or in very rare circumstances to change shorts for long pants. And when I do that I don't have to change everything else. My casual style, bright mix and match clothes and coordinating jewelery and scarf allow me to go almost anywhere in the same clothing. I do have a big shirt I wear when messy crafting, as well as gross painting/gardening clothing.
  • I keep Fridays free. While this is not an every day schedule thing, It does contribute to what little organization I have. This doesn't mean I do nothing on Friday, just the opposite. By scheduling all my social, school and volunteer stuff on the other four traditional weekdays, I allow myself three days of open space in terms of travel (many of the people I socialize with are still in the working world, and have to travel small trips on the weekend rather during the weekdays), without having to worry about covering my volunteer duties or missing a fun social event.  Since many of my hobbies can require long, intensive periods, this allows me a full day to completely quilt a project, have a marathon baking session, make a photo album, or spend a full day reading or studying. Keeping Friday free also lets me take advantage of the first day of those festivals and fairs that pop up regularly, without hitting the weekend crowds. Most events in this area seem to be Friday through Sunday, giving me the chance to do the non weekend thing on Friday.
  • Although this is not a daily schedule item, I do have three events in the summer and four events the rest of the year that are scheduled on the same day every single week. To be sure, I do a lot of different social activities. But the only things I do at the exact same time every non traveling week are two volunteer gigs from 9-12, a Wednesday afternoon knitting and happy hour group, and a Tuesday night college class. These are things I do every week, but not every day.
  • Finally, every night as I get ready for bed, I force myself to see that most things are put away in my house-I actually fold the blanket that has been covering me on the couch, make sure my glass gets to the dishwasher and put the dogs toys into the basket. 

And there you have it, those few things that make up the regular part of my day. Like I said, this obviously does not include those things such as showering, brushing my teeth, and feeding myself. There are other things that are done almost every day, but not scheduled. For example I don't schedule cleaning. I'm of the "accidental" school of home keeping. All that means is that I clean as I go and rarely schedule a cleaning session. I wipe the stove when I do the dishes, and while the house gets vacuumed and dusted at least twice a week (we have dogs after all), that is done by someone when they feel the need to do it. There is not a cleaning day.

Other people work and play better in retirement with more scheduling. This works for me right now because I have a few weekly commitments around which I can have my un-scheduled life; because the other person in this house is also an un-scheduler at heart who still works; and because I have the kind of lifestyle and hobbies that allow me to leave things and return to them.

Today, I spent the morning doing those, "the first of the month is almost here" things. I scheduled my monthly bank debits, and double checked my budget for the month, for example. I also wrote this blog post, spent some time scheduling my three or four day trip to South Dakota, ordered holiday fabric, sat outside with the dogs, and decided to actually go and see two movies this week (Mad Max and the Terminator). 

This afternoon I will finish this scrappy Christmas quilt by sewing variegated (multicolored) thread in the borders, scan pictures of our Normandy trip so I can take advantage of a free photo book offer, and then do a half hour indoor walking workout, and then read or watch TV until dinner. I'll also try to decide where to donate this really bright, really bright quilt!

Tomorrow, who knows? Oh, and although I'll blog about the hwole experience once I have my own care back, home, I have goten an estimate, they have started work, and I'm driving this Hyundai Sonata in the meantime.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Warm Weather Food Budget and Other Summer Adjustments

For the past few weeks, my normal night-owlishness has definitely taken some hits. Don't get me wrong, I am still rarely asleep before midnight. But now that the monsoons are over I am not sleeping until ten, that's for sure.

Just this morning I got up at eight am, which is highly unusual for me. The thing is though, if I want to take advantage of the cool air, this is the time to do it. While I'm no longer in Texas (or Arizona), the weather is in the high eighties and up to ninety plus, and rarely cools down much in the early evening. So, this morning I have already gotten up, opened all the windows, and had my daily outside half an hour in my favorite swing. I've also had breakfast, picked up the house and so on, and here it is earlier than 10 am.  Decidedly unlike me the other half of the year, to say the least. And, since I am not going to sleep much earlier than midnight, I'm definitely allowing myself that mid afternoon nap under the fan on days when I am at home!

Meanwhile, in order to keep the house cool (and because we are extraordinarily lazy in the summer when it comes to things like housework) we are grilling as often as possible, as we often do in summer. This means that the queen of the frugal food budget has had to make some adjustments. I've already adjusted up my $200 grocery budget due to dietary requirements and price increases (more about that later) Although the food budget I talked about there, was an average, summer is the one time that it goes up beyond the average the most.  I have managed to get lots more in season fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, I have just shunted baking, and most scratch cooking to the side.  Many of our menus consist of grilled meats and salads, and store bought breads and rolls along with deli salads. I do still buy loss leader meats in bulk (for those who are wondering, that means 

 I increase my laziness by cooking the family packs all at once and then freezing the extras or using them in things like salad or chicken breasts and salsa and black beans the next day.  Recently, I've also discovered some easy ways to prep the meals even more, like flattening the chicken all at home time, putting marinades in Ziploc bags and then freezing. I love the meals she has here, I'm just wondering if I should flatten the chicken prior to freezing-and since I eat beef, pork and lamb as well, I'm still on the search for more marinades. Like I say, people, lazy summer days.  The good side is that my electric and water bills get a slightly small break, because grilled foods, and takeout salads lead to almost no dish washing. At least that's what I tell myself.

Of course, like everyone else, different budget items fluctuate in different seasons. I have yet to see my summer bill that includes air conditioning. So far we are managing to keep it at eighty and have it run for just a few hours each day (generally late afternoon and then a quick bust before bedtime, as this house does not have a great cross breeze)

On the other hand, we are hardly using any lights, lighter clothing means less laundry and virtually no dry cleaning (and that I hang almost everything to dry). We're taking shorter and cooler showers (usually in the evening after the heat and sweat). Because we barbecue and eat salads, the oven and burners get used much less.  Colorado many free or almost free events virtually every weekend at this time of year. This weekend one local town has a Summer Fest, downtown Denver has a Cherry Blossom festival, and Coors Beer is sponsoring a River Fest.

And, while travel could be a large summer expense, this year both of my road trips are not being taken during the summer, since I'm heading for southern climes. Traveling out of the summer season will get me cheaper rates and allow for an escape as the weather changes. I do have a few road trips to the north planned as well as a trip to stay with my daughter.

Each season has it's own best advantages (even winter, if it is not too long).  Right now, I am loving summer!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Making New Clothing and Accessories From What I Already Own

You may have noticed that I am adding quite a few blogs to my sidebar. Many of these are not retirement blogs, but lifestyle, travel, or other interesting topics. One of those blogs is Nomadic Matt, who travels on fifty dollars a day. Right now he has a great blog post on Napa Valley on a budget. While I can no longer ride bikes great distances or couch surf, I appreciate most of his suggestions and he is a great resource and fun to read.  I also want to mention that I have had some offers of things to give away on the blog, and I will be going that on a regular basis her fairly soon.  One of the giveaways will be a large quilt made by me, so keep your eyes open!

When I returned to the states and began what I know now was early retirement, I purchased a fair amount of clothing. I had moved from a different climate, to a different lifestyle.  Fortunately for me I knew my own tastes well, and most of that clothing was quality items that would last a long time.  Those purchases were made in 2006 and 2007, however. I am now finding that many of my clothes no longer fit and need to be replenished.  Some clothing is no longer wearable, some of the items no longer fit. It is time to replenish (I have exactly one long sleeved shirt).  I have previously shared some of my purchases, which have been made at thrift stores, upscale department stores and in between.

In the past week or so I have been looking to that "get rid of pile" in terms of making new items and getting more use out of them. This is not due to cheapness as such, although my frugal mindset tries to avoid waste and always get the best deal.  It's also a question of having specific tastes and colors that work for me, and how I can use these things to my advantage. It's also, honestly, a case of not wanting the not consign-able clothing to hit the goodwill flood of overseas goods (only ten percent of goodwill donations are sold, the rest are sent to third word markets where they flood the economy and eliminate jobs and factories).

To that end, I've reading blogs, checking out photos and looking at both Pinterest (my number one addiction) and Etsy both to get ideas and to see how difficult the process is.  Although I am a skilled sewer, from what I can see most of the examples simply require a good eye and some very basic needle and thread sewing skills (some are non sew).

I found this tutorial on how to turn an shirt into an infinity scarf, and immediately thought of this top. I love the color of this shirt, and was frankly loath to throw it away. Unfortunately even after shrinking, the neckline was so wide that I needed a tank top underneath. It was already painful for me to let it go, I loved the color, and I could see in my minds eye both how to make it and how to wear it (a fabric rose and or a big pin are still coming. 


after cutting a tube from the shirt and before embellishing and hemming

After that experiment I decided to step up to something a bit more complicated, but not time consuming. Even though I love to sew, I am all about DIY projects that are useful and that I can see the reward of in a short period of time (whereas other family members are into the long, time consuming projects like painting rooms and ceilings).  This top has the general idea of what I was looking for, although my plan is/was to make the fabric additions in a circular pattern rather than hanging from the top.  I'm still trying to make a rough sketch but hopefully that makes sense. 

found at a site called Broken Ghost clothing

I chose this top in my donation pile to work with.  Again, I love the colors, it's just that length where it has become too short and yet too long-a length that really works with nothing (I don't tend to specially wash any clothing although there are items I wash and do not dry). I also figured it would work because it has many colors in it, and will match with cream, peach, rust, gold and more. I'm still working on the specifics-how wide to cut other clothing to make the pieces, where to cut this top off in the bodice and more.  I have a plan though, and the thing about using things on hand, and experimenting this way is that well, even if it's a bust, I'll have lost nothing. I'll surely have had a fun afternoon though, and learned more for my next attempt.  After all, we learn as we go, and creating something from (almost) nothing is always the best choice! 

Too bright and too short but I will be cutting, trimming and adding neutral layers. I see shorter sleeves and at least two layers of fabric coming as well.

Meanwhile, I still have not actually spoken with an agent from the "other side", although she has authorized the car shop to write up an estimate and send pictures.  I'm waiting for his response as well, wondering both the cost and the time to repair. If I haven't heard from her regarding a car rental by Wednesday, I'll start screaming-and share across every platform I know. Meanwhile, thanks heaven for my college student and Bob the truck!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Car Accident (Or What Can Happen Will Happen)

Yes, folks, my record has been broken. Until my Montana drive this summer, I had not had a speeding ticking since somewhere around 1996. Driving across the little bridge to Ocean City, for those who will appreciate the location. My last serious accident for was much further back, and the last serious  thing that happened in a car that was my fault is much much older. I looked to make a u turn, got ready and did not look the second time-enough said. In that time I have driven through most of the countries in mainland western and eastern Europe, including the Autobahn. I have driven cross country more times than I can count, and I have driven in the city in New York, Washington, DC, San Diego, Dallas, Houston and more. 

Well, while the my not my fault record is still intact, the serous accident part is-no longer. On Tuesday, I took my son to pick up his truck at the shop (and brought only my wallet and not my phone).  I then hit the grocery store for chip and dip for a party and headed home-along a two lane each direction road, with a grass median on my left and a park on the far right.  About five minutes later, well, I hear a terrible screech and saw a car swerving from the right lane into me-loudly, and much faster.  

Because I am road tripper and driver extraordinaire, I managed to do an evasive maneuver and pull myself up on the curb to the grassy median in the center of the road-as the driver in the other SUV hit my right front bumper and car at about fifty miles per hour. My car is now, well, you can see the picture.  It only shows a small part of the car, but imagine the rest of the front. Worse. With the engine block exposed and possibly affected.

Physically I am fine but a little sore. No airbags deployed (the are pressure sensitive and there was no one in the passenger seat, thank the lord). As for the rest, well, again, you can see.

It turns out someone either cut off this fellow, or else stopped to quickly.  He apparently decided to do the same. People, for the record.  Do not swerve into another lane of traffic as an avoidance maneuver. Ever. Unless you are one thousand percent sure that there is no one, no one in the lane. If you are in the right or far left lane and can leave traffic to the side of the road (and there are no sidewalks), do so. Otherwise, suck it up, step on the brakes and prepare to deal.  I'm sorry but that's just the way it is. This guy probably hurt his car more than the minor fender bender in front would have, and is very lucky that I am the only person he hit.

The accident of course, is only part of the equation. The car is not drivable, so was towed to a shop.  While the individual who hit me admitted wrong doing, I have not heard to much as a peep from his insurance/adjuster in spite of a couple calls to simply ask if I was even on their radar. I mean gee, Farmers Insurance, this is not a difficult case, the fault is obvious.

In the end, I decided discretion is the better part of valor. I called my own insurance (Geico) today, and will let them take care of the car, and get the money back from Farmers.  Unfortunately, this will cost me my small deductible (until they collect), and I did not realize that I don't have rental car coverage. That will change tomorrow, but I do have two other cars in this house at my disposal much of the time.

So now, I sit and wait!  Can the car be fixed?  Is the damage more than the current value of the car (probably 12 thousand).  Will I have to go car shopping? Can they fix this in a timely matter and we new part? I am hoping that I will know something by tomorrow, and have some idea of what comes next. Meanwhile......................

Oh, and one other thing. No matter how low technology I am feeling, no matter if I am going around the corner-I will always, always bring my phone in the car with me. There are no words to describe the pain and aggravation of borrowing a phone (from the other party) when you need to call a family member to come and pick you up, a tow truck, and your insurance company.

Trust me, I know!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Lowered My Blood Sugar-Without Drugs!!!

Every so often I blog about retirement health issues.  Often when I blog, these topics are about natural solutions or taking control of one's own health.  Just to be clear, when I talk about natural healing or health alternatives, I am never talking about hating or ignoring physicians or other health professionals. I regularly get physicals, have medical tests, get vaccines and take medication. I do happen to think that knowing our own bodies and how they react, is very important, and that only you know what is best in the end.

A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I am not sure that I have ever even mentioned this on the blog.  Taking medications for me is fairly new. I only started taking blood pressure and high cholesterol medications five or six years ago, even though I have had weight issues much, much longer.  

My diagnosis has been difficult for two reasons.  First, finding real breakfasts that are low in carbs AND low in cholesterol can be a challenge. I am a real food, not a yogurt or smoothie person. Second, my medication has been making me ill.  For those not familiar (and I apologize for too much information here), Metformin is the standard medication for lowering sugar.  One of it's side effects is illness and diarrhea for a week or so, until the body adjusts.  For me, there has been just one problem-my body has not adjusted, and in order to leave the house, I have had to take something every day to offset those symptoms. This has not been conducive to many things, sleep among them. 

About two and a half months ago-maybe three, actually, I decided to simply stop taking my medication. Without telling my doctor.  I knew this was a risk, and I understood the effects of high blood sugar on my body. I decided that if my blood sugar went higher (I have blood tests every six months) I would ask for an extended release drug or be willing to experiment with alternatives.

For what it's worth, I did not do this in a vacuum. I was exercising regularly and had just decided to purchase that fitbit to measure steps and sleep. I was adjusting my diet in other ways, and counting carbs, not calories.  I also increased fiber (which has it's own initial issues)-something I had to work at as I am a cooked versus raw veggie person as a rule. 

courtesy of

I was also looking at other ways to lower my blood sugar and "doing the research". I increased my exposure to the sun (within reason) after looking at studies. One showed that low levels of D (caused by limited exposure to sunlight) increase diabetes risk. Another, Australian study showed that after the national drive to support sunscreen use, diabetes rates were higher. I have an olive skin, and annual skin checkups, and so sitting in the sun on the patio every morning with a light sunscreen for half an hour to an hour has been come part of my routing.

I take a multi vitamin, but I also added some supplements to my diet, including Magnesium (magnesium deficiency is very common in people with diabetes). I'm adding ALA (Alpha-Lipoic Acid) because studies show it can reduce glucose by 20 percent and helps with nerve pain-which I also have because of my knee and some fibroid-myalgia issues. I'm looking at adding cinnamon as well.

Again, I don't do things in a vacuum. I did research all of these supplements and alternatives on mainstream medical sites, and looked at all the side effects. For example, Chromium is a highly recommended supplement, which I chose not to take. It can cause kidney issues, and I already take Tylenol Arthritis tablets (600m mg) almost every day. I decided at this point I would not take anything that affected my liver or kidneys according to current research.

There are other issues that affect diabetes, including stress and environment. In fact, weight and body mass issues are just one set of many contributors.

The result of this experiment? This past week, I had my physical, which included six month blood work (my last being in February). To say I was happy would be an understatement. Without taking my diabetes drugs, and with only a small weight loss and diet change, my sugar numbers decreased by almost ten points. In less than six months.

I would not necessarily suggest that others take this step. Metformin is a life saver for many. Most people manage to take this on a regular basis with no side effects and good results. I am not one of them.

And this experiment does not mean I am physically fit, the example of perfect health, or even the perfect diabetes patient. I still have a (real, non diet) coke every single day, and love to bake and eat desserts, for example.

 I am still officially over weight. I have a history of fibroid and cysts which probably means a biopsy for me in the next month. I am behind on my follow up colonoscopy (although new research suggests follow ups do not lower risk, and my blood stool is negative). Because I concentrated on more protein than carbs, my cholesterol levels have upped a tiny bit, meaning I probably need to chose liquid eggs for my breakfast. And I still take four daily meds even without the diabetes drug.

I have to tell you though, without taking this particular pill, I have ended up healthier, with less side effects, and life is more enjoyable.

So in this case, this choice worked, for me!

Do you have diabetes?  If so how are you taking care of your own health?