Mom Wants A Diabetes Cure

Friday, November 30, 2007

Chipping Away At The Keystone Of A Mother's Heart

At 3:30 in the morning, Brendon came to our bedside and nudged Jeff:

"Dad, I'm sorry to wake you up. I'm a 44."

I remained sound asleep and knew nothing of this.

Brendon knew.
He had no choice.
His body was telling him something was wrong.
And woke him up.
He went downstairs to the kitchen.
Tested himself.
Came upstairs.
Was sorry about waking his father.

While I was asleep.

My son shouldn't be burdened with this.

I hate that I can't take this from him.

I hate that he can never rest.

I hate that he has to endure

while I sleep.

Hate chips away at the keystone.

My heart is weak.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Welcome To My Head. Come In And Make Yourself At Home.

I got this questionnaire from Amylia's blog. I absolutely LOVE Vanity Fair which is where the questions come from. It happens to be my favorite feature of the magazine.

Let me introduce you to my serious side:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The freedom to make choices and act upon them.

2. What is your greatest fear?
Dying in a car accident.

3. Which living person do you most admire?
Anyone who can balance living on their own terms while making compromises to live in harmony with his/her core family.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My reluctance to be confrontational when I have to stand up for myself.

5. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
A person has sunk to the lowest depths of human nature when they impose their will and/or judgement upon another.

6. What do you consider the most overrated virtue
Charity. “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime."

7. On what occasion do you lie?
When I don't want to get caught.

8. What do you dislike most about your appearance?
Since there is nothing I'd want to have plastic surgery on, then I'd have to say I dislike nothing about it.

9. What is your greatest regret?
Not standing up for my friend who was black and being threatened by my other friends who were white. I was 5 years old at the time, but to this day, I wish I had the confidence to stand up for her against them.

10. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My husband and kids. I couldn't choose only one.

11. Which talent would you most like to have?
Singing, and to do so superbly.

12. What is your current state of mind?
Satisfied but with a hint of wanting something more substantial like a career.

13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My penchant for dabbling. I try different things and move on to something else before I really get to know it well.

14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Having survived for 36 years - and with my sense of humor intact.

15. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

16. What is your most treasured possession?
My sense of humor. It is the only thing that helps me be optimistic which helps me to appreciate everything I have and what life throws at me...both the positive AND the negative.

17. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
My children dying before me.

18. Where would you like to live?

19. What is your most marked characteristic?
My laugh. It's always genuine.

20. Who are your favorite writers?
Joan Didion, Mark Twain, and Judy Blume. My perspective on life is altered each time I read their books. Preventing stagnancy of ideas and ideals is important to me.

21. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Atticus Finch.

22. Who are your heroes in real life?
Brendon, my grandmother who lived through 4 years in a Nazi labor camp, my other grandmother who endured life with rheumatoid arthritis for 45 years with grace and never a bad mood.

23. What is it that you most dislike?
People who abuse kids.

24. What is your motto?
Live and let live.

25. Favorite Journey?
Each of my 3 pregnancies from the point of seeing a positive result on the pregnancy test to feeling them move around inside of me to the the time of their births when I saw what they looked like.

26. What do you value most in your friends?
Kindness, both to me and others.

27. Which words or phrases do you must overuse?
"Oh my god", and "fuck".

28. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Hellen Keller.

29. What is your greatest extravagance?
My trip to France both monetarily and spiritually.

30. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

31. What is your favorite occupation?

32. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Supportiveness with lack of jealousy.

33. What is the quality you most like in a man?
Romantically, the ability to make me feel like I'm the only woman he has eyes for. Platonically, a sense of humor.

34. How would you like to die?
In my sleep with the knowing satisfaction of having lived my life the way I set out to do.

35. If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
A cure for Type 1 diabetes.

I Was A Lousy Intern For A Talk Show

By the title, I mean, I was lousy at the job...not that interns are a lowly bunch.

I worked for Lifetime Television in Astoria, Queens for the talk show "Attitudes" hosted by Linda Dano and Dee Kelly.

I was one of a few interns working the summer of 1990, after my freshman year in college.

Dee had her eye on me and took great interest in what I was all about. Boyfriend? Background? Interests?

Come to find out she wanted to hook me up with her chauffeur as was revealed when I was in an elevator with him and her, one day.

I was 19 and he looked to be in his 30's. He also had a paunch and an M & M. There was no way I would ever consider having anything to do with the guy. (M & M = mustache & mullet).

All interns had to take turns answering the phone lines. There was one intern at a time to answer about 20 lines and when we saw the lights, we had to answer every call and immediately put the person on hold so that we could answer the next blinking light. And then we had to return to those we put on hold to patch them through to who they requested to speak to.

I HATED that task with a passion and made sure I did a crap job. I would disconnect people. Or not even answer the flashing light. I would forward calls to the wrong offices. I would put people on hold and never get back to them.

I was taken off the phones because I was so "bad" at it. The other interns wanted to know how I managed to be banned from answering calls, but I wouldn't divulge my secret.

I wanted the glamorous part of the job.

I wanted to be included with the players.

While the other chumps were answering phones, I was ironing Miss America's dress that she'd be wearing on the set during her guest spot. I got to talk to her and everything!

I helped prep the set before each show.

You know those mugs that you see sitting on talk show host's tables?

You know what's in them?


I helped calm a crazed Vietnamese intern when a producer asked her to get a stool for a model to sit on.

"Stoow? I do not know what stoow is! How do I get a stoow when I not know what is stoow?!"

The producer looked at me pleadingly. He didn't have time to explain it to her.

"It is a stew-ul. It has a round seat with four legs and no back", I said.

She was all rigid and wide eyed over the concept. I thought she was going to stroke out.

So I offered to find it for her in the prop room.

I, along with whatever intern they chose to go with me, would have to drive to the Queens library to peruse through entertainment mags to get the scoop on that day's guests so that Linda and Dee could bring up relevant questions to ask about what is currently going on in their lives.

There was no internet back then.

I also escorted guests from the green room to the set. We had a specific "professional" route that we had to take them through. But it was a confusing maze of hallways that I didn't bother to memorize.

So, I decided to take them on a short cut from the green room, through the prop room which was like a warehouse, and directly onto the set. Much to the chagrine of the producers. For some reason, they never said anything to me. They'd just give me dirty looks. I guess you can't expect much from an unpaid intern.

I escorted people like Calvin Klein, Jamie Farr, and some other famous people that I can't recall.

One group of people I will never forget are a gaggle of male models who came in to walk the jerry rigged catwalk to show off some fashionable men's wear.

I asked a producer if he needed me for anything and he said he needed me to escort the models out of the building and to their limos after the show was taped.

I swear, they were the most energetic group of men I'd ever encountered. One of them took me by the hand and literally pulled me behind him as we jogged through the hallways. The guy had no idea where he was going and the other male models told him to let me lead since I knew where we had to go. But I didn't really know, because remember, I never learned the route. We ran through all sorts of rooms and offices until we finally found a door leading to the elevators.

While on the elevator, they all bombarded me with questions about my personal life.

And then they hugged me goodbye as they piled into the limo like clowns piling into their clown car.

It was a short lived, but well loved job that I will never forget.

Here is a "This Is Spinal Tap" clip that sort of gives the idea of what it was like running through the halls with the male models (and my first attempts at leading guests to the stage set).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I rethought posting the title of this song as my headline because I thought it was a little too risque to have up in lights. So watch this clip to find out what it is:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Meme About Me.

I saw this on Penny's blog and thought it was an interesting meme.


I got some tears the other night, but I try really hard not to cry full on because it gives me a migraine.

3. Do you like your handwriting?
Sometimes. Sometimes I write neatly and others I write sloppy.


Yes. Brendon (7), Jessica (6), Jacob (4).

Yes, I would. I'm quick with a smile and a laugh and I like to think I make people feel at ease. If I were another person, I'd have to have a weird sense of humor to appreciate me.

Does a bear shit in the woods?


Yes. I love thrills.

Fruity Pebbles.

No. I flick them off with my feet.

Physically, yes. Emotionally, most of the time.


Their teeth. If they're nasty, I can't continue to talk to a person.


My indecisiveness.

My grandfather and grandmother.

I'm wearing blue jeans and tan shoes.

Life cereal with milk.

I'm listening to Jessica and Jacob conspire in the kitchen.


My perfume when it's on my neck. The salt air at the beach. Pizzarias.






Sushi, a juicy salty steak, garlic mashed potatoes

Scary movies. I'm an adrenaline junky.

"No Country For Old Men". It's out in theaters and was done by the Coen brothers. It was strange, but awesome.


Summer. I LOVE the sun on my skin, the beach, green trees, flowers, water, eating outdoors.

Both, but I don't like spooning, so don't get carried away.


None at the moment, but plan to get started on "Anna Karenina".

I don't have one.

The Hills.

Crinkling parchment paper.

Beatles. I detest the sound of the Rolling Stones.


I can hang a spoon off my nose.

It Sort Of Makes Sense If You Don't Think About It

He was a 26.

I could've sworn he was pulling my leg.

Brendon, Jess, and Jake were running around the house in their after dinner frenzy they go through every night and finally settled down in the playroom.

I had just snuggled under the comforter on the couch watching Katie Couric on TV who was in nearby Concord, NH when Brendon came in asking Jeff and I to guess what number he was.

"I'm a 26", he said with a smirk on his face.

He was completely solid and coherent.

"Yeah right",I said.

"I really am."

"Are you kidding?"


"You're kidding me, right."

"No. I'm. Not. Kidding."

"You're serious?"


"Go get your meter." It's not like he's never been that low and behaved "normal". But that smirk made me think he was trying to pull a little joke.

He went into the kitchen and got the meter....his One Touch Ultra Mini.

"Haha. You're a 95. You were trying to trick me."

"No I'm not. I'm really a 26."

"Let me see that", said Jeff.

"He's really a 26."

OH SHIT!! Brendon wasn't holding it upside down...I was.

Keep your cool, Shannon.

I tested him again to make sure the meter wasn't playing tricks on me.

He was a 28.

I got him two juice boxes for a total of 48 carbs. He slurped down both.

All the while I'm asking him how he feels-he says his stomach hurts but he feels fine, I'm touching his skin-it's clammy, I'm looking at his complexion-flushed cheeks and whiter shade of pale underneath, I asked him if he feels sleepy-he says he has to lay down because his stomach hurts.

Jeff is checking how much insulin is on board since we ate dinner less than an hour earlier.

Jeff had also cut him back around dinner time so that he was getting .15 over a half hour.

Yet he still dropped so fucking low.

Brendon asked for water, so I went to the kitchen to get some for him.

And I nearly lost it. Tears threatened to flow over, but I held them back.

Must stay calm and steady for Brendon. He was so calm and steady.

15 minutes later, he rose to the low 100's.

Take a deep breath, gather yourself, and move forward to the next moment in time.

This Is Spinal Tap:

"No one knows, who they were. Or, what they were doing...but their legacy remains."

I really have nothing to write here. This video is short, but it's solid enough to stand on its own. Luckily, it's not at risk of being crushed by a dwarf.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Carey Caught On Tape

Refer to #4 on Carey's meme. This is what I imagine he looked like when he tried out for Rock Star: INXS:

His solos are his trademark.

This Is Spinal Tap, a mock rockumentary, is a masterpiece.

It's hilarious how the members of the band make complete asses out of themselves while continuing to be dry and pretentious.

Get used to seeing clips of This Is Spinal Tap because I plan to post a clip everyday this week. It may or may not be accompanied by some writing that may or may not have anything to do with the clip being shown.

I saw it again over the weekend and I'm enamored, so I feel the urge to run a marathon of clips. Be forewarned.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Magical Thinking

For weeks, we (Jeff) have dramatically cut back on Brendon's basal rates and raised his meal ratios all in an effort to keep him from going low.

We check his glucose about twice as often now.

And we ALWAYS catch a low, or on his way to a low.

The little girl in me thinks maybe diabetes is going away and that his pancreas is recovering.

The adult in me says, don't be silly...that's just magical thinking.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

My Last Meal

Thanksgiving has come....and has yet to leave this house. Leftovers galore stock my fridge and I keep picking away at them.

I just stepped on the scale. And it's not just the Thanksgiving meal that is settling a homestead on my stomach and ass. It's a summer time and autumn time of snacking too.

Resolution time is coming early.

But, first, I will have my last meal. Tonight we're going to see "No Country For Old Men" (Jeff's and my first movie in an actual theater in about 6 months) and I plan to have my favorite movie theater snacks:

Popcorn and Milk Duds. Nothing can stop me from having them since it's so rare when I do.

They are Ebony and Ivory who live together in perfect my mouth.

I have a routine for how I eat them. First I eat the chocolatey, caramely goodness of the Milk Dud, and when it's time to peel the caramel from my teeth, I eat some popcorn which mixes with the caramel thereby acting as a scrubbing agent.

Plus the two of them taste so good together.

Afterward, we're ordering Chinese food to bring home for dinner for my father-in-law's birthday since he's here visiting for the holiday.

That, folks, is it for me.

After my gluttonous evening, I'm going to get on track by eating healthy again, exercising, and thinking of another challenge to train for to help keep me motivated.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

My college roommate had a boyfriend who belonged to a frat. She told me when she saw the frat house for the first time, she saw they had Monet paintings hanging all over the place. When she mentioned how gay it was for them to have those paintings in a frat house, he explained that they hung them up not because they liked them, but because: "Chicks dig Monet."

I took the pic of the Monet painting of the turkeys at the Orsay Museum in Paris.

I am thankful because the pic I took is perfect for Thanksgiving, and the story I told along with the pic creates a pun...and I love puns. Now I have a warm fuzzy feeling....

I am thankful for all of the support you all gave me for my mini-meltdown over making the hot chocolate (if I didn't use cocoa powder, there'd be a pun in that statement). That support is why I love the OC. I can breakdown over a seemingly insignificant thing, but you all know that it wasn't so insignificant because you all know it's just one of thousands of simple tasks that become laborious at times.

I am thankful for my family's health.

I am thankful that I have a family!

I am thankful I have a warm roof over my head.

I am thankful that I can make a meal under that warm roof to nourish my family with good fattening high carb foods if only for a day...or two.

I am thankful that Brendon has a pump that lets him eat whenever he wants and lets him eat high carb foods if only for a day.

I am thankful for a lot.

I am thankful for having all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Diabetes Pissed Me Off To Tears.

Rarely do the day to day tasks of managing diabetes get my feathers ruffled. Sometimes I get annoyed by one thing or another, but it passes quickly and is seconds out of my mind.

But, for some reason I was in tears over it just now and my blood was boiling along with the water I was nuking in the microwave.

Who knew making hot chocolate was such a monumental task.

It snowed for the first time today and I actually saw a buck and a doe romping around my backyard. It was exciting for the kids and me to well as the dog who was barking madly.

Anyway, when Brendon came home from school, he and the other two wanted to go out and play in the snow. They asked if I could make them hot chocolate when they came in.

My spirits were high from the deer and the snow, and seeing the kids playing in the snow anticipating some sweet hot chocolate to warm their cold tummies.

But diabetes had to come along and muck up a perfectly fine day and it pissed me right the hell off.

I boiled the water.

Poured it into mugs.

Pulled out a measuring spoon to measure out powder for Brendon.

Mixed it up.

Poured some milk into the mugs.

I wondered whether I poured enough milk to count the carbs.

I decided on a few carbs to be safe.

I got out the little marshmallows.

Poured some onto the scale.

It weighed 10 grams.

Had to calculate how many carbs 10 grams of marshmallows were.

They were 8 grams of carbs.

Had to add up the carbs for the chocolate powder, milk, and marshmallows.

I wanted to throw the fucking mug of hot chocolate right out the fucking window!!!!!!


I don't know why I couldn't cope. I started crying...not sobbing...just some eye stinging tears and a rise in blood pressure.

Anyone reading this is probably thinking it's only hot chocolate. There are worse things in the world that could happen....this should be your worst problem.

I don't know. Maybe it's that time of the month or something. I had second thoughts about posting this, but I'm doing it anyway.

Yeah, diabetes caused me to add a few more steps to a two step process, but it does that to EVERYTHING.

Add it all up day to day and you'll count about 500 trillion more steps than anyone else without diabetes has to take.

The World Is Going To Hell In A Handbasket....

....just make sure you're wearing a helmet on your way down. Oh, and some knee pads, too.

What is the world coming to when early episodes of Sesame Street is deemed unsuitable for toddlers to view?

The NY Times reports the episodes are made available on DVD with this warning on Volumes 1 & 2: "These early 'Sesame Street' episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today's preschool child."

We are raising a generation of pansies, I tell you.

Where is the harm in watching Cookie Monster eat a pipe after smoking it? Or watching Oscar the Grouch act like a...well, like a...grouch. Those are the things PBS is trying to shield today's youngsters from.

I used to watch Sesame Street every day when I was a young un.

Today, I am a college educated woman, wife, mother of three, living in the suburbs, who lives a comfortable life.

I fail to see how "old school" Sesame Street can corrupt today's children.

Nicole tagged me:

1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post

I'm glad that Nicole erased the last rule because I'm lazy too.

My 7 random facts:

1. I got bit on my shin bone by a Chihuahua when I was six years old. I have a passionate hatred for Chihuahua's that has never cooled.

2. I double over in laughter when I see somebody dry heave or gag. I'm laughing now just thinking about it. NOTE: If you're choking, don't count on me to perform the Heimlich, I'll be too busy myself choking on laughter.

3. If it were up to me, I'd could sit in a hair salon for hours upon hours just watching other people get their hair cut. I think you could call it a fetish.

4. I can tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue.

5. When I was a kid, I used to feel sorry for the last Fruit Loop bobbing around in my cereal bowl. I'd make sure to eat them in multiples toward the end to avoid leaving a single lonely Fruit Loop.

6. Iay ancay peaksay igpay atinlay.

7. Starting at the age of 8, I smoked cigarettes for an entire year...but I never inhaled.

I tag: Jamie, Vivian, Penny, Naomi, Sara, Paige, Lea

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Want To Rock Your Gypsy Soul...With Some Escargot

While in Paris, Corey and I went to a little restaurant for breakfast named Paul that served traditional French food. I ordered a café and a half baguette called a flute.

Corey ordered what I thought were three items: a hot chocolate and....escargot! I never caught the third item she ordered.

"I didn't know they served escargot for breakfast."

"Oh yeah, they serve it here. It's about that big around", she said, holding her hands in a ring about the size of a coffee cup saucer.

"Wow, I didn't know escargot could be that big."

And then I pictured a giant snail being served to her smothered in butter and garlic for breakfast! Corey is vegetarian, but eats fish on occasion, so I thought she considered snails to be in the "fish" category.

I was served my breakfast and Corey was served hers. I saw the third item I missed was a coffee roll and thought the snail would be served a bit later since it had to cook.

As I was eating my own breakfast, I began picturing Corey slicing into a giant snail and eating big hunks of it. I was getting queasy at the thought. I've had escargot before and liked it, but the thought of her eating one so big was over the top for me.

She finished eating what she had and called for the check.

"You never got your escargot."

"Yes I did. It was the pastry I was eating. They call it a snail...escargot in French because it's shaped like a snail."

"Ooooohhhhh. I thought you ordered an actual snail and was dreading watching you eat it."


Gypsies are thieving scam artists. They'll do anything to avoid doing an honest day's work. They travel in humongous groups of sometimes 500 people and settle in one spot where they prey like locusts upon a community. Corey's husband endured two years of them scavenging bits and pieces of a property he owned to sell off and make illegal income.

They also act like homeless people in Paris to earn money.

I had noticed all of the chic Parisians while touring Paris. And I noticed that the homeless were chic as well! They had old, but nicely fitting clothes and decent shoes.

I've seen the homeless in NYC who are filthy with matted hair and clothing that were crusted with soil and about twenty sizes too big for them.

I don't think I could use the word "impressed", but I was maybe taken aback that even the homeless in Paris were so well dressed, relatively speaking.

Every morning at the entrance of Paul, there was a young woman speaking French to anyone walking into the restaurant. She obviously was begging for food. She looked like she could be a character from Les Miserables.

I noticed a man, who was kind of good looking, sitting on a sidewalk with his back against an iron fence shaking a dog bowl with some change at the bottom, and also noticed a robust dog laying next to him under blankets. The man was wearing nicely fitted jeans...a bit dirty, but he looked kind of chic in a homeless kind of way.

It wasn't until I saw an old woman, bent at the waist at a ninety degree angle, one foot bent inward, limping along the sidewalk shaking a cup with change in it. She was wearing a babushka (scarf tied around the head, under the chin), and a long dress like from the 1800's.

I said, "Wow, that woman is in bad shape, but it almost looks like she's faking it. It seems so extreme like she's a scam artist acting way too over the top to look homeless."

Corey informed me that she was a gyspy. It then dawned on me that the homeless people I saw who looked to be pretty chic and good looking must've been gypsies as well doing their scamming ways, hoping for suckers to give them money.

The topper was the gyspy who was sitting on the sidewalk with her back against a car, and a small, but robust child huddled in her lap with his/her head leaning against the mothers chest looking so weak and sad. The mother had a look of forlorn on her face as she stared off into the distance. The poor pathetic mama and child hoping for a sympathetic stranger/sucker to give them money so that they'd suffer no more.....Oh the humanity!

I would loved to have taken pictures of all of these gyspies as they seemed like method actors trying to get into the skin of a homeless person so that they could give their best performance in some Broadway play like.....Les Mis.

But, well, that little niggling feeling of doubt always made it's way in and made me think it wasn't kosher to take pictures.

I didn't want to come off as some callus American.

His Fifth Diabetes Anniversary

"(Courage is) when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do".
-Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Five years ago, in a hospital where my son lay close to unconsciousness, I made the decision to say goodbye to a family I wanted nothing more than to keep close and tight to me.

I turned my back on them because I believed that clinging to the life they had would make my new life so much more unbearable to lead. Their life was: love each other, love and nourish the children, work hard to to make a comfortable, simple life.

I immediately greeted a new family with wide open arms despite being completely intimidated and frightened of the kind of life they would endure: so much more complicated, more worries than they ever dreamed of, no decisions made lightly ever, ever again.

Five years later, the new family isn't so new anymore and their life isn't so frightening and intimidating either. Life feels more settled and even a little bit free.

I do, however, desperately miss the family I turned away from and think of them from time to time. One day I hope to greet them again....when diabetes is cured.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Paris Was Not What I Expected

I felt like I was escaping Nazi occupied France. The Frenchman with a heavy accent was telling us to sneak on the train and hope that no one checks to see if we have a valid ticket while on board. If we were approached by the authorities, we were to say that we are Americans and must catch a flight out of Paris the next day and that because of the strike, we must board the train today before the strike starts.

The Frenchman was Yann and his approach was to scam our way onto the train to Paris.

Corey's approach was to be truthful and simply tell the conductor that we'd like to get on the train before the strike starts.

The train employees were on strike all over France. It was due to take place on Tuesday, the day before we were supposed to leave for Paris. We were going to go to Italy on Tuesday, but, we had to leave that day in order to make it in to the city. (boohoo...poor me...heehee).

Weeks before, Corey bought tickets online for around $60 per ticket. She was required to cancel them in order to change the date of the trip. On Monday, we saw the prices rise to $250 on up. They were taking advantage of the people trying to get into Paris before the strike took place.

We got to the station and Corey convinced Yann to simply tell the conductor that we'd like to get on the train being that we have paid tickets for later in the week, but that we need to leave today in order to beat the start of the strike.

The conductor allowed us on and we breathed easy.

We streaked through the French country side at 200 mph. It was picturesque the whole way through with ancient farm houses dotting the landscape and mountains along the horizon. What is normally a 7 hour drive by car took 3 hours by bullet train.

When you think of Paris, what do you picture?

I pictured clean streets, snotty, mean Parisians, shop owners, and inattentive waiters. And lots of B.O.

What I experienced was dog poopy littering the sidewalks and streets, very nice Parisians and shop owners (who smelled nice), and inattentive waiters...until you asked for their attention. Waiters will not come to you throughout the meal the way American waiters do. The reason is because they don't want to disturb your dining experience. But, if you want something and hold your hand up to get their attention, they are very accomodating to your needs.

EVERYONE has a little dog. And they poop on the sidewalks, but the owners don't clean up after them. You'll see poop all over the place and foot prints dotting a trail along the walkways. Dogs are seen in restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, on the train (they're kind enough to not poop in those places).

I witnessed one dog off it's leash, stop to sniff a car tire. He growled at it, lifted his leg and peed on it. I was afraid that maybe he had dementia and would attack me next, but luckily he paid no attention to me as I passed by.

We stayed at a hotel in the middle of the major Parisian attractions. Corey lived in Paris for 4 years and knew all of the little ins and outs of the area.

The first night we arrived, it started drizzling. We pulled out our little pocket umbrellas and walked around a bit. After getting something to eat, we walked around some more.

Suddenly, a torrential downpour with high winds came through and crumpled my umbrella to pieces. I had to drape it over my head in order to maintain some sort of elusive dryness.

My hands were ice cold, I was soaking wet from head to toe, but the city absolutely mesmerized me and I enjoyed every minute of being in Paris that night.

Everyday for 4 days, we walked from 9 a.m. and didn't return to our hotel room until 11 p.m. at night. My feet had blisters and were sooo sore. I was reduced to hobbling.

One night, I came up with an idea. Corey and I were laying in our beds, and she said it was good to put her feet up.

I said, wouldn't it be nice to tour Paris while rolling along on a gurney?

Or even more practical, we could tour the city in wheelchairs.

But then I thought about how blistered and sore our hands would get.

So I suggested that we hitch the wheelchairs to motorbikes and get dragged around from site to site.

I started laughing hysterically at the thought of it...and then I fell asleep

Anyway, the experience was better than I could've hoped for. I saw so many things, yet I barely touched the surface.

You too can see just a smidge of what I saw (I'm bummed that I never took pictures of Notre Dame):
Mona is really so small and lonely.

The train employees were about to start a strike parade through the streets of Paris.

The view from our room.


Corey, and her husband, Yann are the nicest, funniest people. I felt right at home with them. I was as comfortable with them as I am with my own family. She told me stories about friends and neighbors that belong in books and/or movies, they showed me the French ways of eating meals. They live in a small, very old town in Provence. It's picturesque. It belongs in a movie. I loved it there. There are no take out places other than pizzerias (they live about 2 hours away from Italy) and bakeries. TONS of or two or three on practically every street.

There are a lot of motorbikes on the roads and they're all insane in the membrane. On three lane highways, they drive IN BETWEEN cars to pass them.

Drivers have no regard for pedestrians. If you're crossing the street, it seems they speed up! If the pedestrian has the right of way to cross, the cars inch up to make their turns and practically side swipe people to get through.

About 99% of the vehicles I saw were compact. It could have something to do with the fact that gasoline is about $9 per gallon....

The pace is slow and easy and simple. No TV. I didn't hop on her computer to check emails or blogs. I didn't even miss it! (But I missed all of you).

Corey is an amazing guide. She knows all sorts of facts and history about the area where she lives. She brought me to Aix en Provence to experience an open air market.

Here are pictures of Aix (pronounced "X"):

On our way home from Aix, Corey brought me to a famous site where Cezanne painted a famous painting of a mountain. Here is the painting and below it, the actual scene he painted:

On another day, Corey brought me to see a cave where Mary Magdalene is said to have lived. "Saint Mary Magdalen lived the whole rest of her life in France, as a contemplative in a cave known as Sainte-Baume.... Every day the angels carried her up into the air to hear their choirs singing. Every day she was given the Blessed Eucharist to be her only Food. Saint Mary Magdalen died when she was seventy-two years old. This was the same age as was Our Blessed Lady when she died" (text was taken from here). As we were driving up a very narrow road that leads to the hiking trail to the cave, she stopped and showed me an ancient Roman road that was in the woods. My camera ran out of batteries, so I couldn't get a shot of it. Here are pics of our hike (it took more than 30 minutes to hike) and the cave:

Parlez-vous Anglais? (Said about 50 times in one day)

Thanks to everyone for all the comments you left in my last post. You are all awesome support!!

Jeff, the kids, and I shared hugs and kisses goodbye. The kids were anxious to eat dinner in the airport, so without lingering some more, I walked alone through security and to the gate to take my 5 p.m. flight to France.

The flight was uneventful and smooth sailing for 6 hours (make note that there is a 6 hour difference between the East coast and where I was going). I had some good conversation with the couple seated next to me, ate a "French style" dinner, and read my magazines. I was so relaxed......

I was due to take a 7:45 a.m. transfer flight from Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris to the Marseille airport in the South of France where my friend would pick me up at 8:30 a.m.

After the plane landed, I got off with anxiousness and excitement. Voila! I was in France!! And I was also walking into a sea of people who got off of not only my flight, but another international flight as well.

Over 200 people were gathered in a crowd...their huddled masses yearning to breath free as they stood waiting to get their passports checked to get into the terminal. I felt like I was an immigrant on Ellis Island.

My biggest fear before taking this trip was missing my transfer. What if I got lost trying to get to the other terminal and missed it? Jeff helped to assuage my fears by looking up other flights and telling me I'd just catch another.

The time was now 6:30 a.m. For the longest time, no one was getting through. We were just standing and waiting. I kept checking my watch and saw the hand creeping closer and closer to the check-in time for my transfer.

Once we saw people were getting through, another passenger told me I was entitled to get to the front of the crowd since I had a transfer to catch. I shoved my way to the front of the pack, stuck my passport through a bunch of shoulders and into the window to get it checked out.

To make a 12 hour story short, here is what happened next:

-I found my way to the terminal where my transfer was, got through security, and was told I missed my transfer (no duh).

-I had to go back through security and ask for another flight.

-Another would be leaving in 5 hours at 1:15 p.m. Grr.... It was currently 7 a.m. and I had already been awake since about that time the day before.

-I sat and read a book for 5 hours and was proud of myself for making it this far without panicking.

-At check-in time, they said the flight to Marseille was cancelled and another would be leaving at 9 p.m.

-That is when panic set in. I was exhausted, hungry, thirsty, and almost started crying when I was told this.

-I had been calling my friend's husband on his cell phone to update him since Corey doesn't have a cell phone and I figured she might check in with him to see if I called him. BTW, each call I made cost me $45....Don't make credit card calls from a pay phone in France.

-Because of jet lag, I wasn't hungry when I had the time to eat something (to answer why I hadn't gotten something earlier when I had the time).

-They told me they could get me to another airport an hour away that had an earlier flight. I took the offer.

-I was in terminal D, but the airport woman said to go to terminal B to get my luggage (why it wasn't already in Marseille on the flight I missed, I don't know).

-The people in terminal B said my luggage was in terminal A.

-I finally got my luggage, found a bus that could transfer me to the Orly airport an hour away.

-I hopped on a later flight than the one I was offered, but at least I was on an airplane.

-After being awake for 24 hours, I met my friend at the Marseille airport with a big relieved smile and a big bear hug.

-I was happy she greeted me the same way since she was stuck waiting for me at the airport all day.

-We were stuck in 2.5 hours of traffic to get to her house, but I was perfectly content with that.

-I should've been to her house at around 9:30 a.m., but didn't arrive until 9 P.M.

You could say I got what I wished for when I said this in my previous post: I want to live outside of my comfort feel tense, nervous, unsafe...I want to feel some emotion for once.

But, I was so fucking exhausted that I could barely think straight and didn't know whether I was scratching my watch or winding my ass. I was completely numb.

No complaints from me though, that was for sure. I was still very very lucky to finally be in France.

There are a lot of pics to post, so over the next few days I'll post more, but here are some to start:

This is the port village of Cassis where Corey took me the next day:

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Time Has Come When I Must Say Au Revoir, Mes Amis

For months now, I've been crawling out of my skin. I've been taking stock of my life...looking back to see how I came to be where I am today, and although I'm doing exactly what I've always planned to do, I do have regrets.

One of them is not traveling. I want to do the by myself, on my own, without a clue as to what the hell I'm doing kind of traveling. Not the touristy traveling with people who want to see museums, eat at cafés, or shop in street markets.

I'm talking about the kind of traveling where you close your eyes, point your finger, and pick a spot on a map and then go there to see how people really live...meeting them and seeing if their lives are just as confusing, and regretful, and complicated as my own. I want to experience the human condition of others in a foreign land.

Recently, I was invited by a good friend of mine to visit her in France where she lives with her French husband, and where they've created a family of two beautiful children who speak French. My friend is from America and she's described how, when they all speak together, it's a whirlwind of French and English. I want to experience that crazy, confusing kind of conversation.

I want to live outside of my comfort feel tense, nervous, unsafe...I want to feel some emotion for once.

I've planned my life carefully to avoid struggle, pain, and regrets. I went to college, graduated in 4 years, became engaged to the man with whom I carefully nourished a relationship to make sure that he was the one forever, we got married after carefully planning our wedding, we bought a house after saving every penny we earned, we fixed up the house before we had kids, we had kids. Now I regret not really living life.

I went from daughter to wife to mother. There was never Shannon in between.

Is it foolish of me to think that I can just pick up for a week or two by myself, visit someone halfway across the world and live the life I want to live for such a short time? Is it foolish of me to live a life of someone who doesn't have the responsibilities that come with being a wife and mother of three young children?

Maybe so, but I'm going to France. August of 2007.

EDIT: This post was written 18 months ago in 2006 and is still relevant today (I made some edits). I couldn't swing August, so it got pushed back to November. I'm leaving tomorrow.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I was chosen by to write an article for them as part of Diabetes Awareness Month.

I am one of four guest bloggers who give different points of view of diabetes awareness and how diabetes affects them. Kerri has also been chosen to guest blog later in the month.

Come read about how stoopid I was about diabetes. Well, stupid is a strong word, but I was very ignorant of the ways of diabetes before Brendon was diagnosed.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

How Desperate Are You For A Diabetes Cure?

In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month, I'm making you all aware that I will do almost anything for Brendon. Key word is "almost".

Check out this website for a way to save stem cells from an unusual source:
"Every Month Holds A Miracle."

My Car Radio Doesn't Work

Now I'm hearing a sound I've never heard before. I'm wondering if the squeaky grinding sound is something I can continue to ignore, or should I have it checked out.

Vehicles never need to go to the shop when the radio works.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Clever Diabetic

In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month, I am making you all aware that my son made his mom look like a chump ;)

When Brendon came home from school yesterday, he asked if he could have a piece of his Halloween candy. I said he could pick what he wants.

He announced that he picked a Kit Kat. After eating it, he dosed himself and then said, "Oh no. When I dosed myself for the Kit Kat, I accidently dosed myself for another piece of candy!! Let me go upstairs and get the other piece I dosed myself for before I get low."

It only took me a second (aren't ya'll impressed with that minute lapse of time?) for me to realize it was no accident at all!

I couldn't necessarily employ tough love in that situation: "No way are you getting that second piece of candy! You will have to live with the consequences and deal with the low you'll get!"

No, tough love wouldn't do at all. That would be abusive.

So now I'll be the one to dose him any time he eats his loot. Yeah, he can pull a fast one on me once, but hell if I'll let him do it again.

Or in the words of the great George Dubya: "...fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again."

If Brendon is doing stuff like this now, what's up his sleeve in the years to come? I'm afraid I'll be duped and never know it!

What kinds of scams and tricks did you PWD's pull on your parents when you were kids?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How Diabetes Keeps Me Honest

In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month.

I was about to call the school today and lie to them.

You know what stopped me?


You know how diabetes kept me honest?

Because Brendon sees the school nurse who talks to the secretary who takes the calls about student absences from the parents.

I couldn't find my car keys all day. I was just going to go ahead, call the school, and tell them that Jessica was sick and that she wouldn't be attending school. I didn't think that my excuse of not being able to find my car keys would be an acceptable enough excuse to save me from embarassment, so I chose a lie instead.

But then when I started thinking about it, I realized that the school secretary would tell the school nurse who would tell Brendon who would ask me about it tonight who would find out the truth and would then tell the nurse the next day that Jessica wasn't sick, my mom couldn't find her car keys.

So I made sure no stone was left unturned and tore the house apart. I managed to find my car keys. Much to my relief.