Off the Dial

Bikini or Burkini?

It’s one of the bravest things I’ve ever done. I bought – and wore! – a two piece bathing suit this summer. Not a coward’s two-piece like a tankini but an honest to goodness bikini.

This has been my second summer at my post-LA Weight Loss weight. I started about six months after I had Benny and couldn’t shake the baby weight. I lost 22 pounds and now wear a size 6.

I feel great but I’m no model. I’m still pretty self conscious even in a regular bathing suit. I just decided it was now or never. I didn’t want to look back in 20 years and think, I should have done it while I had the chance. I found a great suit in the Eddie Bauer catalog – definitely a bikini but with a bottom that’s a little higher cut than the itsy bitsy kind no one over the age of 18 should wear.

I still feel like a need a few more sit ups whenever I put it on, but the reaction of my friends has been very interesting. They all say, “I wish I could do that.” These are great looking women, many of them slimmer than me. But recently the ideal for women has become a size zero. Even a new size zero/zero is coming into some stores. I think that stinks. It’s unattainable and it’s not healthy. How can I teach my daughter to eat right and be strong if she thinks she’s supposed to have a body fueled by only diet coke and microwave popcorn?

(By the way, here’s an interesting option. Have you heard about the burkini? Featured in Time Magazine recently it’s a full-body bathing suit that’s all about modesty. Hmmm. Maybe next year.)

I know my wearing a two-piece bathing suit won’t change the world – but if we’re going to teach our daughters that a size 6 or 8 is healthier than a zero we need to walk the walk. We may walk it carefully while sucking in our tummies a bit and not necessarily sitting down, but I say walk it none the less. There are still a few weeks of summer left. Still time to take the plunge and join me.

Courage! And don’t forget your sunscreen.

Hometown Hero

Every Friday, WBT selects a “hometown hero.” This person is an unsung hero recognized for their efforts in making our community a better place to live. Recently, I nominated Dani Angell. Here’s why (this is what we read on the show):

When a soldier is called to serve, his family sacrifices with him.

For a National Guard family, not living on a base, without built-in support, the experience can be even more isolating.

The Angell’s are one such family. Michael Angell has served two tours already, in Iraq and Afghanistan and just left for a third.

Mike Angell and his wife Dani, have two small children, a rising first grader and a preschooler.

Even so, she finds time to volunteer at Davidson Elementary School and the Children’s Community Schoolhouse.

To show the kids the importance of setting and meeting a goal, Dani took part in Davidson Elementary’s Tigers on the Prowl exercise program – running the equivalent of a marathon with the kids.

You may have heard about Dani and her son, Zac. They founded High Five for Heroes a few years ago and people from all over the world sent cut-out pictures of hands – the high five – to Zac. The family got so many, they started a campaign to send the high five cutouts to soldiers serving overseas.

Dani continues to organize the kids at Davidson Elementary to send cards, letters, candy at Halloween and even a journal, to let our troops know they are remembered.

For spreading the message of patriotism, for volunteering her valuable time and for making a concrete and immediate difference in the lives of children, Dani is this week’s Hometown Hero.

(click here to nominate your own hometown hero)

My Harry Potter

I think I’d love the Harry Potter books. I’m waiting until my kids get a little older, hoping we can read them together.

In the meantime, The New York Times has a great blog going right now, asking “Who Was Your Harry Potter?” In other words, what was your favorite book as a kid?

So much fun to think about this! I started reading when I was three. My sister taught me without my parents really catching on. They found at one night at a Chinese restaurant when I read the fortune cookie.

One of my favorite school memories came in first grade when my teacher gave me the chance to read more than what was assigned in class. I will never forget when Mrs. Bailey opened what must have been a closet, but seemed like a cavernous library to six year old me. I got to pick bunches of books to read whenever I wanted.

My favorites? When I was really young I loved Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good and Very Bad Day. My family still says, “Things are like that, even in Australia.”

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler. The idea of running away to live in a museum for a week! Also, the first time I saw the word “bologna” in print.

Harriet the Spy. I must have read that 20 times. I only lived 30 minutes from her New York Upper East Side neighborhood, but it seemed like a world away. And she had a nanny!

As I got older, I wore out my copies of the Little House on the Prairie books and while I loved the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, I never could get through the whole Narnia series.

There are so many others!

I’m already having fun watching my daughter discover a love of reading. I can’t wait to see her reaction to some of my old favorites. And, of course, in a few years, we can read Harry Potter together.

Off & Pumping

So where were we? Been away from the computer for a while. We’ve been on vacation and getting used to the pump.

First, we spent a day at the Carolina Diabetes Center. Benny had been wearing his pump for a week, but it was pumping saline, not insulin. We were ready for the real thing. Or so we thought. First problem cropped up a few hours into our visit, after Benny had eaten a few snacks and we’d dosed him with the pump. His blood sugar kept climbing and it turned out I hadn’t correctly connected the tubing to his inset. Gotta hear that “click.”

(I’ve explained some of these terms before, but click here for more information on how an insulin pump works.)

They sent us home and we felt pretty good the rest of the day. Benny doesn’t mind letting us take the pump out of its pouch to press the buttons. He wears a sort of little fanny pack around his waist – he’ll be able to just clip it to his belt when he gets a little bigger.

But that first night, again, his blood sugar kept climbing, so something was wrong. At midnight, we decided to change the site. We actually debated going back to shots – it was a pretty bad moment. Changing the site hurts and I’m glad we won’t usually have to do it more than once every 3 days. But we got through it and Benny went back to sleep.

In a genius move, we decided to start on the pump just before going to New York to visit my parents for a few days. As you start on the pump, you need to check blood sugar more than usual, even overnight a few times. I thought that, with my mom around, she could watch the kids during the day, while I caught up on sleep. That seemed to make starting the pump “on the road” not such a bad idea.

Slade left for his own trip a few days later. We do this every summer. He plays in a golf tournament in Vermont and I go to my parents with the kids. So I’m the only one who can take care of Benny, but I’m not worried. I can handle this. And I do – for exactly one day. Then it happens. When I go to change out the insulin cartridge in the pump, I realize I don’t have any more with me. I check everywhere. No cartridge. That means no way to put more insulin into the pump. That means no more pump.

I won’t tell you who packed all the diabetes supplies, but his name rhymes with played. As in, played golf while I was freaking out in New York! Actually, I think I was pretty calm. I called everyone – my doctor, Animas (the pump company), Linnet, our diabetes educator. They all called me back in minutes. I couldn’t believe it! Linnet helped me figure out how to MacGyver together the stuff I had on hand and we got it done.

Here’s the wild part. The next day, Animas called my mom’s house to tell her the New York rep was on her way over with the missing cartridges!! No questions asked, no charge, just coming by to drop off exactly what we needed. I was blown away by the customer service from these folks. I’d heard it was great, but who drives stuff to your house?

Meanwhile, poor Slade had actually found a family in Vermont with kids on the same pump! They gave him a few cartridges and he was ready to drive them to NY. Luckily, he didn’t need to. I can’t say I’m happy he forgot to pack the stuff, but I will say it gave me new confidence in my ability to deal with all this. And I have incredible trust in Animas and in my doctors & educators. These are dedicated and special people.

No excitement since then (thankfully!) and we’re pumping away.