Monday, November 2, 2015

Part 2 of day 4019

The second half of day 4019. 

After finishing the stairs we stopped at the care right where we had parked.  It felt great to sit down, cool off, and eat food.  We even scored some free water to refill our water bottles.  Thank You!!

Our next stop was Hollywood Bullyvard.  (Yes, I realized that is not the official correct spelling however, that is now how I spell it.)

Since it isn't spelled out on the sign either, I call it fair.

I wasn't too sure how the parking situation would be.  We totally lucked out with our parking at the stairs, but otherwise it had been pricey, and scarce.  Thankfully there was a lot that didn't bankrupt us.

We headed out to see the stars.

It was never discussed any particular names we had to find, or if we would walk across every one.  Keep in mind, we had just walked a ridiculous amount of stairs.

One of the first stars we came to was one that made me say, "Oh ya.. I'd almost forgot that he was a real person."  You see.. in the town that we both grew up in, the main road was Andy Devine Ave.  As a little kid I learned the name of the road, not the history behind it's name.  That didn't come until years later.

This should be how the street signs back home look.
As we continued on you could tell that we are very much alike.  We would point out a name to each other, and it was usually said about a second...or less... apart.

There were quite a few we stopped and took pictures of.  Some I took were to share with my family.  Names my husband talks about, or actors from some of his favourite shows.  The same for my daughter...and my cat.

Yes.. my cat.  You see, we adopted this adorable white cat back at the end of June.  Her name, Gypsy, came with her.  My daughter decided that her full name (yes... my cats have middle names, how else are they supposed to know when they are in trouble) should be Gypsy Rose Lee.  My daughter is a theater major and an upcoming performance she'll be assisting with is "Gypsy", a stage musical made from the 1957 memoir of Gypsy Rose Lee.

Not every cat can say they have a Hollywood star.
We kept walking and randomly taking pictures of stars. 

I'm sure I could think of something about six degrees here, but my math brain is exhausted.
Rest in peace, dear Robin.  You are one of the greats.
Growing up I always had a teddy bear with me, specifically a Winnie the Pooh bear.  In fact, stored in a secure location away from damaging elements is the second Pooh Bear I was ever given.  Had I returned home without a picture of Pooh's star I think my husband would have sent out a search party to find his real wife.
It's like it was there just for me.
One of the best things about not having a time schedule is being able to do anything we wanted to on a whim. 

We did have to escape the sales pitch of a guy selling a tour to stars homes, twice.  He followed us.

We stopped at the Chinese Theater and looked at all the signatures and feet and hand prints of some stars.
This did continue on with Jenna's undeclared goal of getting a picture of everything Tom Hanks.

We found Tom Hanks' star.

She stood in his feet.

She even got to share a piece of chocolate with him.
As you can see, we also visited the wax museum.  I had quite a bit of fun standing next to the figures.  I will admit, a lot of them are creepy real. 

After exiting the wax museum we encountered some street actors.  Now, I'm not sure what it is about Zorro, but the last time I was walking down a major street like this, and there were street actors, I also encountered Zorro.

Not quite Antonio Banderas, but Zorro none-the-less.
Jenna was privileged to tap into her super power Spidey Sense.

Invisible web.
This Spiderman actually cracked me up.  Here we are on Holly Bullyvard totally crowded with people and I believe he was a germaphobe.  These street actors accept tips and as Jenna was getting cash out she had to hold the bill in her teeth while she put other things back.  Spidey freaked out.  He said, "Ewww.. don't do that!  Don't don't don't do that."  He then took the bill by the very corner and shook it.  I couldn't understand how someone who is grossed out by germs could work in close contact with total strangers.  Then it dawned on me.  He was in a full body suit; no actual contact.  Nice move Spidey, nice move.

By the end of our walk across the stars we had walked across EVERY star possible.  There was one section that was under repair so we didn't see those names, but we walked across every other one, even the very beginning of the Walk of Fame.  I'm sure there were times we sounded funny.  Every time we stepped off the curb we moaned or ouched and laughed.  We were quite the pair.

The symbols in the middle of each star finally made sense.

You would think that we would have had enough walking for the day by this point.

We didn't.

After returning to our room and resting for a little while, it was time for dinner.  So we grabbed a few things... including our soda bottles... and headed down to the Santa Monica Pier.

This was when Jenna's Type Awesome status was put to the test, and proven. 

The pier was about a mile and a half from our room.  It was after 8:30 and was dark.  We were not quite half way there when I didn't feel too good.  Before we left the room my blood sugar was on the lower end, but pretty steady.  To prepare for the walk I ate two fig cookies (20g of carbs each) before heading out.  I normally wouldn't have done that much, but we had already walked so much, and I knew that exercise would catch up with me.

It did.

I wasn't feeling well and I told Jenna.  We looked at my CGM and I was in the 70's with a downward slanted arrow.  That means my blood sugar was dropping.  I immediately reduced my basal to 0 (basically turned it off) for 30 minutes and we kept going.  I knew I would be okay, the cookies hadn't hit yet.  She didn't know I would be okay.  Remember those skittles that I had been carrying in my pocket?  We didn't.  They were back at the room on the table.  That's when she felt like she had failed.  It was her job to be me for the day, and she felt she had failed by leaving the snacks behind.  In fact, leaving the snacks behind made the situation more real.  How many times have we left home without enough snacks? I've done it more times than I can count.  You'd think after so many years we'd learn.  Nope.  All we have learned is to keep snack stashes everywhere; in the car, at work, in each room of the house, etc.  That doesn't help when you're not driving or at home. 

I kept reassuring her that I would be just fine, and reminded her that the cookies hadn't hit yet.  She still worried.  We didn't sit down because I didn't want to, I just wanted to get to the pier.  She worried.  We kept talking and laughing about the stupid skittles.  She kept checking the CGM and worried. 

We made it to the pier and found a place to eat.  By this time, my blood sugars had stabilized and were no longer dropping.  I had settled at a more comfortable 110ish range.  Jenna was feeling more relaxed, and her fingers stopped fidgeting.  I had a very tasty cheeseburger and fries, and she had a chicken sandwich.  We walked through the carnival area and had to laugh at the street sign we saw.

We can never escape Route 66.
Route 66 goes through our home town.  We see memorabilia everywhere.  So to see it while we were on vacation was just hilarious.

We didn't ride any of the rides, it had been a long enough day as it was and we were ready to call it.  A picture of the ferris wheel and we headed back for some much needed sleep.

Next time, ferris wheel, next time.
The walk back to the room seemed a lot shorter than the walk to the pier.  We kicked our shoes off and laid down.  Curious as to exactly how many steps I had taken, and how far I had walked, I looked at the status screen for my FitBit.  I was about two hundreths of a mile away from a perfectly even mileage distance, so I stood up and paced the room.  Yes, I actually did that.  Two trips from side to side and it clicked over the even mile.  I was happy.  I was exhausted.  And I was done.

I hadn't logged my water intake, but it was well over 72 ounces for the day.

That was a wrap of day 4019.  Jenna did an awesome job of being me.  She didn't kill me.  She asked questions.  She didn't judge.  And I believe she came away from it with a bit of new insight to what a day in the life of a person with Type 1 diabetes is like.

Thank you Jenna.

My birthday trip wasn't over yet.  We still had a day and a half before we had to be home.  An educating moment, a safari, and some interesting coffee.

Friday, October 16, 2015

So excited about the stairs! AKA: Day 4019

Saturday was our busiest day.  The recap will be broken into a couple posts so as to not be excessively long.  There are quite a few pictures here, and I didn't even post all I took.

The second day of my birthday weekend started out fantastically!

Even though our exercise competition for September was already decided, we still got our walk/run in.  This time, however, it was on the beach.  Early Saturday morning, 7am-ish to be exact, we headed out and enjoyed the peacefulness of a morning beach walk.

Couldn't have asked for a better morning.
As with all vacations and trips away from home, you should always be friendly and meet new people...or animals.  Sometimes those animals are real, and sometimes they will squirt water.

Isn't he cute?  He now resides on my shelf at work.
For 90 minutes I walked and listened and watched.  I walked a total of 3.69 miles.  I listened to quite a few chapters in my book.  I watched all the people.  There were small children dragging their parents into the water.  There were surfers waiting for the perfect wave.  There were military men running in full gear.. soaking wet.  People watching is so much fun.

After our walk/run we headed back to the room to get changed for the rest of the day's adventures.

Once cleaned and relatively sand free, it was time to hand over my diabetes management.  We had agreed weeks prior that on my birthday Jenna would manage everything for me.  She did quite a bit of homework prior to our trip and felt confident that she wouldn't kill me (I did promise her that I wouldn't let her kill us, so that was good too).  She also calculated how many days it had been since my diagnosis...4019.  Holy cow!  Anyways, while she was studying and calculating days I was planning and arranging so that I would need a complete insulin pump site change on that day.

Ahhh... a fresh site.
She did great!  It didn't hurt and she learned a little more about my specific pump.  Win Win.  I handed her my Dexcom, she made sure we had the bag of Skittles, and we headed out.

Hollywood!!  Here we come!!
So what do you think the first thing we did was?  Something touristy, yes, but not traditional.  Why be normal, right?  Find something different, unique, and totally story worthy.


Jenna not only researched diabetes, but also fun free stuff to do in Hollywood.  She came across a list of "Secrets Stairs of LA".  The night before we read up on the different locations and decided on the "Beachwood Canyon Stairs".  It is listed as 2.6 miles long, 861 steps, and would take approximately 1 hour.
 "This is a vigorous hike through Hollywood history, utilizing some of the steepest and most charming staircases in the city, and affording breathtaking views from Downtown to the sea."
We found a perfect parking spot right next to a cafe.  It would come in handy when we finished and wanted lunch.

The entrance to Hollywoodland.  There was a second arch on the other side of the road.
Most of the stairs were made from granite back in the late 1920's.  We could tell that not too many people opted for this adventure.  The stairs were in good repair, but there was leaves and overgrowth everywhere.  

First set of stairs.  This is when we realized we left our sodas back at the room.
Don't be fooled.  Not all the stairs were this wide, but most of them were this steep...or steeper.

Much more narrow.
There was hardly anyone around.  The few people we did see were either locals coming and going from home, or construction workers.  We did meet one creepy little guy.

The gnome there on the right..ya, he was creepy.
There were railings at each set of stairs, which was nice, because this set had a single unbroken run of 84 stairs.  Even with all of our exercise, that was a lot of stairs with no flat landing in the middle.

Lots of leaves, overgrowth, and uninterrupted stairs.
Even with permission to have shenanigans, we followed the rules.  In our stair guide it said, "Land panting at the top on Hollyridge Drive..." and that's exactly what we did.  This is where we took our first break.  I was reminded that I had been "So excited about the stairs" and we both laughed.  However, this break allowed us to view a fake castle wall.

There was no mote, California is in a drought after all.
As I stated, there was hardly anyone around.  For someone who isn't overly fond of crowds, it made the experience that much better.  Not only were we not getting trampled or bumped, we had unimpeded views.

What trip is complete without a picture of this?
It was at this point that we discovered the battery in Jenna's camera was dead.  She had fully charged it a couple days prior, but there was nothing.  Thank heavens for smart phones. 

As we continued we came across the first set of stairs that went down.  Yes, I realize that technically ALL stairs can go either up or down, but we were following the rules, remember?

This set of stairs was also the newest.  It was made from concrete instead of granite.
About this time I was beginning to not feel quite right.  Jenna had been doing a good job of watching my dexcom, and I had been hovering in a good range even with all the stairs, heat, and humidity.  However, I knew that I was dropping.  So we stopped and took another break and had a handful of skittles.  We BOTH had a handful of Skittles.  She figured that if she was going to be me for the day, she was going to be as me as she possibly could...anything I ate, she also ate.  

Directly across from where we were sitting on the curb was this mural of Prince Valiant.

Prince Valiant
And directly at my feet was this unused (thankfully) poop bag.

I bet this isn't on the normal Hollywood Sign tour.
Fifteen minutes later, and I was ready to start climbing again.

Our next stair case was the Granddaddy of the Beachwood stairs.  Originally built in 1928, it was declared an historical-cultural monument in 1991.

The center section, when originally built, was a stream.  Now it is planter boxes and resting benches.

As we climbed, there were doors on both sides that led to backyards.  One door in particular really stood out.  The colour was very familiar.

Ah yes.. the colour matched our toes.
I'm not sure what we would have said if someone had walked out that door at that moment.  I know this, I'd still be laughing.

No good map following is complete without bad directions and getting lost.  We had that too.  One part says to go around a couple bends and there would be two white stakes marking the next set of stairs.  We followed around a couple of bends but didn't see any white stakes.  I knew we were missing something when I saw this sign.

I wonder if I could post this at work.
In the map guide, this sign came AFTER the white stakes and lots of stairs.  So we back tracked.  We  found the white stakes...or should I say stake.  It wasn't after a couple of bends, it was across the road.  That's okay, I was really excited about the stairs, remember?

This set of stairs was the least steep and best hidden.  Even if it weren't for the white stakes hiding, the stairs themselves were so close to the houses that they were practically hiding themselves.

I almost felt like we were trespassing.

But remember I was so excited about the stairs.  Some could say that I was a bit TOO excited about those stairs that I was seeing things, like a pink elephant with painted toe nails.  Honest!  Our water bottles only had water in them.  

Pink elephant with painted toe nails.

Back on the proper path we got to the top of the neighborhood.  From this vantage point we had a spectacular view of down town.  The smog was even coorperating.

Not too bad, if I do say so myself.
We had many opportunities to get pictures of the Hollywood sign.  I won't share them all here (there are already a lot of pictures), but we did need proof that we were actually there.

This was when we were almost out of water.  We planned on the hike taking an hour, and it was over two before we finished.  Our water bottles were running dry.  We thought about talking to the construction workers and asking for a fill up.  There was even a guy that drove in to a driveway with a bag of ice in the bed of his truck.  When we saw him lift the case of beer out of the bed as well, we figured they probably wouldn't be willing to share the ice.  In the end, thievery was the solution.  We found a garden hose out front of a house that actually had water to it (the first one we found wouldn't work at all).  A quick glance around and talking in hushed tones, we filled out bottles.  Shenanigans.

We came across a HUGE castle like wall.  Far up in a guard's hole there was a stone creature that looked like Yoda.  

This was HUGE!  The picture is cut off at the
bottom at about my shoulder level.

Guarded well, this castle wall was.

Many adventures, you will have.

Continuing on we were able to locate Lake Hollywood.  We could have trotted on down to the shore, but we settled on a picture from up top.

Who knew there was a lake?

A few more corners to turn and we came upon our final set of stairs.  It was bitter sweet.  Not only was the leg of our adventure complete, but we were going to be able to have lunch!

At the landing there was a surprise.
You'll have to stay tuned to see what it was.
 This concluded our adventures in stair climbing.  It took us two hours to complete the path.  Not bad considering we had to back track at least a half mile.  Jenna did a great job in keeping me alive and managing my diabetes, but it was only 2:30pm and we still had a lot to do.  She was truly earning her "Type Awesome" title.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Birthday vacation full of Shenanigans and Sodaselfies - post 1

Recently my best friend and I took a road trip to celebrate my 40th birthday.  The next few posts will be an accounting of that adventure.  It'll take a few posts, we did quite a bit.  Stay tuned in!

You only turn 40 once and you gotta make the best of it.

It helps when you have a best friend who makes sure it's the best possible birthday.

For my 40th birthday we took a road trip, just her and me.  No husbands, no schedule, no rules.  Ok, maybe we had one rule: we weren't allowed to get arrested.  On the other hand, we were given full permission for shenanigans.  So do those two things cancel each other out? 

This adventure began Thursday evening, with an overnight at the state border.  Early Friday morning we were off!
Just a quick selfie before breakfast.

The beginning of #sodaselfies.

No road trip is complete without at least one potty stop.  Considering that we both drink a minimum of 72 ounces of water (Yes, water.  Maybe with a squeeze of lemon, but that total does not include water filtered through coffee beans or added to caramel coloured syrup and carbonation), a potty stop was inevitable.  The restroom we hit before we left town was our first shenanigan.  The ladies' room was being cleaned so we used the men's room.  We did have permission of the cleaning crew.  They even made sure the room was empty and then blocked so no one else could enter.  Business complete and hands washed.  One question we have is are all hand dryers in men's restrooms under powered?  It didn't push out enough air to blow out a candle, let alone dry someone's hands!

It was clean!  We checked. 
The drive was very uneventful.  Had some awesome road tunes playing and we even sang off key a few times.  A few hours down the road, and two potty stops, this was our first view of our weekend getaway.

I could almost taste it!  In fact, I did...many times.
I don't know how many of you have ever tried to find parking along the California beach area.  It is next to impossible!  Trust me.  We drove around for about 15 minutes, passing the same locations multiple times, looking for a place to park.  We finally found this little lot that wasn't too expensive.  It worked!  Turned out we got a bonus as it was literally right next to where we were staying.  So we talked with Vinnie Valet, handed over the keys, paid him, and to the beach we went.

We lost this slip until we got home.
Check in wasn't until 4pm, yoga class started at 6pm, and it was only 1pm.  We had three hours to relax.  So we grabbed our towels, sunscreen, and #sodaselfies and hit the beach.

Pure Paradise
Can't you just see the stress drifting away?
No best friend road trip is complete without shenanigans, especially since we were given permission.  There also has to be at least one dare.  While we were laying there, catching some rays and people watching, we noticed that a little ways away there was a guy working out.  No big deal, it's the beach, that's what people do, right?  Jenna said, "I wonder what he would do if we went over and joined him."  to which my reply was "I dare you.".  Simple.  Direct.  To the point.

Dare fulfilled.
We did some swimming and some jumping in the waves.  We lost one pair of sunglasses and one headband.  Thankfully all robotic parts stayed attached.  Shortly after 4 we headed to our place to get checked in and unpacked.  Our room was gorgeous!  We were at the end of the hallway on the fifth floor.  That meant two windows...and a lot of stairs.  There was no air conditioning in the room but with two windows we did get a nice cross breeze.  I don't think we ever closed the windows.  With a view like this would you have?

We couldn't hear it, but we sure could see it.
It was time for yoga.  I usually go to yoga for an hour once a week.  That is the only time I've been able to carve out of my schedule to be able to attend an actual yoga class.  I find that I am more disciplined if I get out of my living room.  I stay focused and don't wander off to do a load of laundry.  So when Jenna had informed me that she found a yoga class on the beach, we agreed we had to check it out.  (We did keep track of all our exercise and mileage.  Even though we were on vacation, our exercise competition was going strong.) We changed and headed back to the beach.  Beach yoga was all that it sounds like it would be, and then some.  True, you end up with sand in everything, but it's worth it for the peacefulness of the ocean sights and sounds.  Not only can you breathe deeper with the fresh ocean air, the sand is a lot more forgiving on the knees that a concrete floor is.  If you are ever at Venice Beach at sunset I HIGHLY recommend you join beach yoga with Brad.  You won't regret it.  I promise.  It was such a good experience, we went back for Sunday morning's class.

Talk about a peaceful and beautiful yoga studio.
A little workout called for a little dinner.  There was a cute little place right up the beach.  I'm sure there was more calories in this burrito than what we burned off at yoga, but oh man it was tasty!

Totally and completely bolus worthy.

That wrapped up our first night.  We said goodbye to the 30's.  We thanked them for the memories and adventures they brought.  We toasted the beginning of the 40's and for all the memories and adventures yet to come.  Then sleep called our names.

Saturday was to be a big day and we needed our rest.  After all, shenanigans can be tiring.