Web Sites and Weather Stations

The low-carb-beat-type-2-diabetes fight continues, with some success. My weight has gone down to 263, but bounces about 2 pounds higher. There is a steady but slow decline.

Walking continues, although the weather here in the Olympic Peninsula has been cold and rainy (go figure). We had a bit under 3 inches of snow last weekend, and cold (20-30F) before that. Today is warmer, mid-40’s, but overcast and a few showers. But I am still walking, at least once a day, and usually twice, on my .6 mile walkabout.

Working on a few interesting web sites, one for an author that I discovered and volunteered to help out. He has written fantasy novels before, but came out with a thriller of the  Jack Reacher variety that I really enjoyed. I went to his web site and saw a few things that could be improved style-wise. I volunteered my services – it is something that I enjoy, and keeps me occupied – so we’ve been working on a redesign of his site. Not quite ready for the public yet, some minor styling details to hash out.

Also working on a new site for the POS-FFOS group; the suicide survivor support group that I did several sites for. It is mostly done, just waiting for some final administrivia staff to get up to speed with managing the site.

And, I have been working on a bit of writing. It’s a story that may turn out to be novel-length. It starts with an interesting (to me) premise. I’m still on the first draft; I have about 210 pages done, but not quite sure of the overall direction and ending. I have a few ideas percolating about that. It is interesting, and something else to keep me occupied.

Coming up on the holidays, looks like there is a trip to see both daughters and their families (and grandkids). Some bit of driving involved (Utah first, then California), but don’t mind that. It will be nice to see the grandkids (and daughters) again.

I did install a weather station outside. Put it on a 5-foot metal pole for stability, and painted the pole a neutral gray color so the pole would blend into the background. A neighbor objected to the placement and complained to the HOA, which is quite active and has quite a few different rules, including getting approval for yard plantings and house colors. The neighbor complained that it was an antenna (the weather devices communicates wirelessly to an inside display), which are verboten according to HOA rules. The neighbor finally realized that argument was no good, and the HOA wasn’t inclined to agree with her. I agreed to paint the device (which I had offered at the very beginning) the same neutral color as the pole, which resolved that neighborhood dispute. I found the whole thing amusing.

Changes Implemented and Reviewed

The last post detailed my plan to deal with the diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. For those that were paying attention, the plan and results are, one month later:

  • Limit carbohydrates at each meal to 60: this is regularly done. There have been a few meals where the carb total was a bit above that, but on average, Goal: achieved.
  • Limit carbohydrates of snacks at 30: when I do have snacks, I try to keep them low-sugar (and therefore low carbs). Fruits, nuts, beef jerky, grapes, apples. Even though some fruits are a bit higher than my self-imposed limit, the extra fiber in them helps reduce the sugar/insulin hit. Some snacks, like beef jerky, are full of protein (to help with the ‘full’ feeling), but have only very small amounts of fat. Goal: achieved.
  • Reducing portion sizes: this one can be harder, but overall I try to keep within the ‘serving size’ as shown on the packages. And I am slowly moving away from my long-standing practice of filling up the plate and then eating everything on the plate.Goal: achieved.
  • Increasing fiber (fruits and veggies): I try to have snacks and meals with fruits and veggies. That has increased the fiber, which I have noticed helps out when I visit the ‘library’. Goal: achieved.
  • Increase physical exercise: I now take a 1/2 mile walk, usually twice a day. My average pace is 2.2 mph, and there are some small elevation changes (about 80 feet total). So by the end of the walk, my heart rate is a bit elevated, as is by breathing. That seems to me as a good result.Goal: achieved.
  • Start taking metfornim (it makes sugar processing a bit more efficient, among other things): Done. Goal: achieved.
  • Start monitoring my blood glucose level: I measure every morning before breakfast, and usually once in the afternoon. I took a printout of my readings (I enter them into an app called “Glucose Buddy”, which lets you email your entries) to the doctor on the followup (one-month) visit after the initial diagnosis. He was quite pleased with the numbers (they are in the range of 110 to 170), and said to continue everything I am doing so far. Goal: achieved.

I had hoped with these changes that my weight would go down. And — huzzah ! — it has. I started out at 178 on the first day after my diagnosis. One month later, my weight is 168. I think that’s a good progression!  It is not a steady decrease; the morning weight fluctuates 1-2 pounds, but the overall trend is going in the direction I want.

And I have noticed the difference. One skinnier notch on the belt loop. Easier to bend over and tie my shoes without my stomach getting in the way.

So, I will be continuing the same plan. Perhaps increasing the length of the walk a bit. And maybe some other exercising. My research indicates that increased exercise, and carb-watching, can only be helping my efforts to reduce (perhaps eliminate) my diagnosis.

Huzzah for me !!

In Which Changes are in Order

Now that we are firmly ensconced in our new home in Washington state (we now have WA drivers licenses, and vehicle license plates, and are registered voters – we are therefore assimilated), it was time for us to get established with a primary care doctor.

My appointment was last Tuesday. I arranged to get copies of my medical records to the new doctor (conveniently located in our little village here). After the obligatory weigh-in (I had worn my lightest clothes, of course), blood pressure, pulse, etc., I met with the doctor. We reviewed my medications and current illnesses (sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation, both controlled). He then looked at my last blood tests. Cholesterol and other things were OK, but the blood sugar was a bit high. So a blood draw was done.

The next day, I received (by email, since the office uses an on-line medical system), the results. The doctor told me that I was the latest winner of the “Type 2 Diabetes Lottery”.

Shoot. I didn’t know that I had entered.

So changes are in order. I knew that I was overweight, although my weight has been stable for several years. That, and a mostly sedentary lifestyle (we computer geeks don’t get out much), and my age allowed me to be that latest winner.

I did a bit of on-line research (well, I am a computer geek), and determined the beginnings of my plan:

  • Limit carbohydrates at each meal to 60
  • Limit carbohydrates of snacks at 30
  • Reducing portion sizes
  • Increasing fiber (fruits and veggies)
  • Increase physical exercise
  • Start taking metfornim (it makes sugar processing a bit more efficient, among other things)
  • Start monitoring my blood glucose level

And then I implemented that plan. I am now taking a walk around the neighborhood twice a day, each walk is a bit over 1/2 mile, with some minor elevation change. (I plan on increasing the distance as I get used to walking; there are some good walking paths around here.)

I now look at nutrition labels, and plan my meals and snacks to be within those limits (at the same time increasing fiber intake, since sugar with fiber is digested more slowly). And I have a new glucose meter.

I have since visited with the diabetes counselor at the nearby hospital, and the dietician, who I met with today.

That visit was very positive. She looked at my glucose readings over the last 3 days (when I first got my meter), and they are well within range. The dietician said that my carb plan was very good. She liked my meter readings, and my commitment to exercise.

So, I think that I am on the right track. My long-term plan is to lose a bunch of weight (30 pounds would not be unreasonable), and continue with more healthy eating habits.

So far, a week into the diagnosis, I am on-track.

Catching Up

After a long weekend … wait, every weekend is long when you are retired … still plugging away organizing things in the garage. Got another 24” cabinet, and put that together, so now there are three. That gives me some space to get things out of boxes into the cabinets. At the previous house, all of those things were in the equivalent of eight 24” cabinets, so I will need to be careful about how things are stored.

And I have noticed that, over the years, you accumulate multiple ‘copies’ of things. For instance, I have now found five tape measures. No, wait. Six, including the free one I got from Harbor Freight on the way back from SLC last trip. Not sure why I even need more than two. But, there are six. Including one that I had from our second house we lived in starting about 1980. That might make it an antique. Still works, though.

I did a bit of gardening. Well, mowed the lawn (that only takes about 10 minutes if you go really slow). Half of the front yard is bushes and a few trees, and the lawn area is about the size of a large living room. I’ve got a nice gas mower, but you could probably do it with a manual reel-type mower. But you use what you have.

I also replaced a couple of the sprinkler heads in the front bushes area with an eighteen inch extension pipe and a shrub sprinkler. The existing sprinkler head was a popup type, and the bushes were getting in the way of good coverage. So the extensions poke up above the bushes, and will give better coverage. I should be able to reduce the watering time on that circuit with the better coverage. That will help with the water usage a bit (and the subsequent bill).

The weather here has been ‘hot’ – at least that is what the locals call it. Anything above 73 degrees F is hot around here. It is unusual for a house to have air conditioning. Our system, like most, is a heat pump. It can function as an air conditioner, but we haven’t needed that. We just open the windows a bit to keep the house cool. The nice weather here includes a slight breeze, so it is quite enjoyable.

Pam and I were sitting on the deck last evening, and saw a fox trotting up the street. That was nice to watch. We have also seen a few deer here: a female with two fawns once, and a solitary female another time. They like the berry bushes around here, which are showing lots of ripe purple berries – I think they are huckleberries. I tried a few the other day, they are quite sweet. Probably should gather some up and freeze them for use with ice creama.

Weeding

The lot here at home is on a corner, with the north side of the lot (the street) has a down slope to the group of houses to the northeast. Because of the slope of the streets and lots, there is an area next to the street, below and to the northeast of my lot, that was not buildable. That area slopes down to a narrow flat area that roughly parallels my back lot line. That area is about 30 feet below the grade of my house, and is bordered on the other side by forest sloping down further east.

So that area  – below my lot, and to the northeast – is a common area that used to be maintained by the homeowners association. (It is also an area where the neighbors pick the berries.) The homeowners association doesn’t maintain that area (cost cutting, I guess), so there are some weeds there.

The previous owner paid for keeping those weeds under control. And, after I got permission from the Homeowners Association, I do that maintenance.

Which is a long way of getting to my main task today – chopping down the weeds. I have a nice gas weed-whacker, so spent about an hour today (plus some time last week) cutting down the weeds on those areas. There is also some berry bushes trying to get started on that area, so started on those also. I need to get some more bush killer ‘fertilizer’ for those extra berry bushes. Although I can’t cut back much of the berry bushes into the forested area, I can trim back some of the extra-long vines (sort of like tree ‘waterspouts’?) that don’t have any berries on them.

There is still some weeds that need to be removed from the slope directly behind my back lot line. But I need to ‘fertilize’ them a bit more before I get rid of them.

And, some more unpacking of a few boxes in the garage. I need to get another garage cabinet purchased and put together; that looks to be on tomorrow’s list after a trip to the local (20 minutes away) Home Depot.

For dinner tonight, I fixed some bacon and eggs. I cooked the bacon in the oven (foil-lined cookie sheet, bacon strips laid out separately, start from a cold oven to 400 degrees for about 20 minutes), which resulted in some nicely crisp bacon. Some eggs over medium, some Grandma Sycamore toast, and all was good and yummy.

I sat down with dinner to watch the Little League World Series (recorded), but with the rain delay, missed the last inning. But a good game – those kids are very good.

A Resident

Today’s task was to become an official State of Washington resident. So Pam and I drove to Port Townsend, found the small but efficient drivers license office, and 10 minutes later we both have a Washington drivers license.

Then off to the Jefferson County Auditor’s office, who issue vehicle registration and plates. Not so successful there; we are missing the documents that prove that we paid sales tax on both cars, so no registration for us.

But, we did stop for lunch at Jordini’s, a nice sandwich place right on the bay near the Ferry terminal. They hve a small outdoor dining area perched over the small beach, with a nice view across Port Townsend Bay towards Indian Island, the US Naval Armaments port. A nice day, partly cloudy with a little bit of a breeze. Good sub sandwiches there; this was our second visit.

I did get a couple of more boxes emptied in the garage, and took four boxes of excess stuff to Goodwill in Port Townsend. Then home to read a bit on the back deck, and watch the Little League World Series.

Still Moving In

We’ve been at our new house in Port Ludlow, WA for about a month. And I am still working on emptying boxes in the garage.

Most of the inside stuff has been taken care of. I have assembled two dressers, two nightstands, a TV stand for the bedroom, a headboard for the new bed, two drawer things for the scrapbook room, and two garage cabinets, an outdoor table, and the new BBQ. (OK, to be fair, Home Depot assembled the new BBQ. But I got to pick it out.)

There were many boxes of scrapbook stuff that had to be moved to the new second floor scrapbook room. Luckily, the local missionaries for our ward came over and carried all the boxes upstairs. And there were lots of them.

There are still boxes in the garage, but the house is mostly together. And it is quite comfortable and nice here. Since I am retired now, I have plenty of time for projects, but also plenty of time to relax: sit out on the back deck and read and watch the ships go by on Puget Sound, or sit inside in the living room and listen to the nice built-in stereo system.

So, I am making progress on the boxes in the garage. Things are getting more organized there. There used to be a narrow path in the small two-car garage from the driveway to the back door. Now there are actually largish clear spaces on the floor. Not enough to get one of the cars in the garage, but progress is being made.

And Pam and I are enjoying this new area. She is getting her scrapbook room organized, and has gotten to the point where she is actually doing scrapbooking. And she doesn’t need any supplemental oxygen (she used to have it 24/7 in Utah), and has started to do other household chores like laundry and cleaning and cooking. That is a big change for her since she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. She has more energy than before, so the move to sea level has been good for us.

We’ve taken a few drives around the area, with more planned. The weather since we have been here has been quite nice. Temps in the 70’s to low 80’s, clear to mostly clear skies, and just a few days of short showers. Really a nice area.

So, with all of the extra time I have, it’s time to get this blog active again. Not that there are any visitors here, but that’s because of the lack of things to read here. Hopefully, I can get back into more frequent updates.