Monday, February 23, 2015


Design is a funny word.  
Some people think design means how it looks.  
But of course, if you dig deeper, 
it's how it works.

- Steve Jobs 

Oh goodness.  Between the cold outside seeping into my aging bones & my Oscar hangover, the coffee is flowing this morning.  Let's just move on & not talk too much about Bradley Cooper not winning an Oscar last night.  I want the man to win an Oscar.  This is a desire I've had since he did not win an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook, & last night's events did nothing to diminish my Bradley Cooper Oscar fervor.  We're both relatively young, so I'll keep that candle burning.

I didn't realize the extent to which I was thrown off my routine this past week until I sat down in front of my shiny new MacBook to whip up a blog.  Subtle, aren't I?  That's right, folks, while I assume this blog is, in appearance, identical to the few hundred that preceded it, as I type, my fingers are massaging a brand new MacBook Air, my palms gliding over its smooth, silvery surface.  What follows is a recap of Mardi Gras week as it unfolded for the Trey Zeigler family, including a moment by moment walk-thru of the passing of the MacBook torch.

As you read, imagine the tune to Heart's "Alone" playing softly in the background.  It's been my theme song this past week, a ballad dedicated to MacBook II, with whom I've not been able to spend much time . . . alone.

Till now I always got by on my own 
I never really cared until I met you 
And now it chills me to the bone
How do I get you alone?
How do I get you alone?

So, Mardi Gras.  I assume you know I live in Louisiana.  I don't know if I've ever stated it so boldly & purposefully, but there it is.  It occurs to me I have no "About Me" page on this blog, & that's unlikely to change soon.  Just read the blog; it's about me & all the people & things I love, & sometimes the people & things I don't so much love.  Anyway, whether you're Catholic or not, whether you love parades or think they're a waste of time & money & are total litter magnets, if you're affiliated with higher ed in Louisiana, you get a few days off school or work for Mardi Gras, & so I had last Tuesday off & spent the day with Reagan running some errands while Henry hung out with my mom.

You recall I told you Trey surprised me with a Kelly Moore bag for Valentine's Day, a bag that was "Eggplant" in color.  After a brief internal debate, I decided I wanted a lighter color, & so Reagan & I made the exchange Tuesday.  We picked up this beauty below, Kelly Moore's 2 Sues bag in Mustard.  I've only been carrying it a week now, but that week included a day trip to Jackson on Wednesday & a child's birthday party (to which I took both kids & my frayed nerves) on Friday, so I think I'm in a position to say it's one of the best bags I've carried . . .  & the list of bags I've carried is long & diverse.

I hate to oversell things, & I don't believe I am in saying that it's the most well-designed bag I've ever encountered.  That is high praise from a woman who currently leaves the house carrying the various items you might expect to find in a woman's purse, everything needed to change a toddler's diaper, everything needed to check blood sugar & manage insulin related emergencies, & a few sippy cups for good measure.  

I think the bag is aesthetically pleasing, has an array of wonderful exterior pockets, but the feature that puts it over the top are the interior dividers.  They're removable if you don't need them, but if you've spent too much of your life digging for your keys & your wallet with a thirty pound child on your hip, these nifty dividers can potentially bring a tear to your eye.  I don't have any pics of the interior, but there's a video tutorial on the Kelly Moore website.      

Also on the errand list for last Tuesday: new shoes for Reagan & Henry, who blow through shoe sizes faster than Congress spends other people's money.  I perused the options for male toddlers who wear a size eight (is that an elite group? I'm not sure, but size eight seems so large for someone not yet two) while Reagan (who's outgrown her elevens) picked out a pair of shoes she wanted.  I'd already grabbed a sensible pair of flats that should carry her through these last few weeks of winter & into those spring-ish weeks when it's a bit warm during the day, but there's still too much of a chill in the air to wear open-toed sandals.  You know what I mean.  So, I told Reagan she could get one more pair & that she could pick them out herself. 

Here they are:

To quote Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that. 

We left the shoe store & strolled through a few other stores before deciding we were hungry.  After listing a few options for her, Reagan announced she wanted to eat orange macaroni, by which she meant the macaroni made toxic yummy by mixing the pasta with an appetizing orange powder.  So, we ate lunch at Applebee's, whose kids' menu includes an orange macaroni option.

Our final stop was Starbucks.  We actually went inside the store, which I usually avoid unless I am alone (HA!).  I'd dosed Reagan for a cake pop before we exited the car, & so as she pressed her face to the glass encasement full of carbs, I reminded her to decide which cake pop she wanted.  Cake pops are actually not bad carb-wise when compared with the rest of what Starbucks offers.  The varieties range from 22 to 25 carbs, & are significantly lower in carbs than basically everything else lurking behind that glass counter.  The scones, muffins, & cookies start around 45-50 carbs, & that's the low end of the spectrum. 

She opted for Salted Caramel.  She liked the lines swished on the top, she explained. 

Despite a full day Tuesday, we were up & at it again Wednesday morning.  Henry was, once again, left in the care of a grandmother while Trey & Reagan & MacBook I & I headed to Jackson, home of innovative, big-city novelties like a pediatric endocrinologist & an Apple Store for which I'm more than willing to travel.

Things went smoothly at the Apple Store (as if there's any other way to roll in an Apple Store).  MacBook II was purchased, & MacBook I was left behind for the data transfer while we all ate lunch & then headed to the doctor's office.  I can't rave enough about this data transfer; it costs an extra $100, but I'd have paid more for it.  When I opened MacBook II, my desktop was identical to MacBook I.  It made the transition so much easier; I didn't so much feel that I was starting all over the way you sometimes do with a new piece of technology.  MacBook II already feels like an old friend.  Well, an old friend who weighs less & is much sprightlier than her heavier, slower predecessor.  She really is a beauty.  I feel I should say that she is ergonomically designed, but I admit I mainly want to say that because I enjoy the word ergonomically.   

Also in the fancy city of Jackson is a Broken Egg Cafe where we had lunch.  I guess no matter how many times we eat there, I'll always feel compelled to take a pic of my coffee in their neat-o coffee mugs. 

After lunch we headed to the doctor's office.  Four times a year, we make these treks to Jackson largely for one purpose: to learn Reagan's A1C, which was a 7.6 this time.  I was not thrilled, but the doctor was.  She gives me the same lecture every time we see her, but I think now, a year into our relationship, she's beginning to fully understand the depth of my perfectionist tendencies because last week she used a word she's never used before to describe Reagan's A1C, & that word was perfect.  She did not use the word perfect last May when Reagan's A1C was a 6.8.   

For a child Reagan's age & size, the goal is a 7.5.  Any lower than that, & you're risking too many lows that are dangerous for a diabetic, particularly a diabetic whose brain is still developing & who cannot yet adequately voice that she feels low & needs carbs pronto.  A 7.5 translates to an average blood sugar of about 145-150.  So, I guess the endocrinologist won this most recent round of the psychological games we play each time we meet.  I mean I guess in the ten or so years she was in college she probably had to take Psychology 101 or something.  She seemed to know what I needed to hear to get me to back off, to stop checking Reagan's sugar too soon after she's eaten, which sometimes leads to dosing more insulin that ends up sending Reagan too low.  

Perfect.  Next time, if we've dipped much below a 7.6, I may not hear perfect, & I think the good doctor is betting on me keeping that in mind when I check Reagan's sugar two hours post-meal & want so much to give her just a little more insulin.  I am aware of the manipulative word games the doctor is playing.  George Orwell would be so proud of her. 

I texted my mom & gave her a rundown of the visit.  A bit later, after having shared the news with my sister, mom texted me back & said that she & Jessica thought I ought to buy myself something for all my hard word resulting in a perfect A1C.  I reminded her I was headed back to Louisiana with a shiny new MacBook that would immediately be thrown in my face were I to suggest to Trey I go buy myself a pair of boots or a sweater or something.  Also thwarting any potential case for purchasing something new to celebrate the A1C would've been the bright mustard-colored Kelly Moore bag that made the trip to Jackson.

An additional fun fact about this last visit to the endo: they did a blood draw, something they'll do once a year.  We are not strangers to blood draws, & this one was, I believe, the smoothest we've experienced.  The nurse hit a vein on the first try!  First try!  I gave her a hug before we left.  There were a few blood draws when Reagan was hospitalized that went so poorly I was about to find a vein myself, so pitiful were the efforts of the trained specialists.    

For her efforts, Reagan was given this bear & some stickers, visible in her left hand.  

With the word perfect bouncing around in my head, we headed back to our favorite outdoor mall to retrieve MacBook I & MacBook II, having been alerted to the completion of the data transfer.  I'll admit I felt pretty important when I got the call that, Ma'am, your data transfer is complete.  I almost turned to Trey & said, Jack, it's all been uploaded.  Go!  

We secured MacBook I & MacBook II, spent a little time in Barnes & Noble drinking snooty expensive water in a square bottle, & then headed homeward.

Thursday was a rude awakening after the Kelly Moore bag & MacBook bliss of the first half of the week.  If I teach in higher ed for sixty years, I will never understand the logic of giving students Monday & Tuesday off (particularly for a celebration that often involves alcohol consumption), & then demanding they return to class the remainder of the week.  Shockingly, attendance was low in all three of my classes on Thursday, & while I was present, I wasn't too peppy.  If I said, "When I see you on Thursday," once, I said it fifty times, though only maybe twice was anyone listening closely enough to speak up & inform me it was Thursday, not Tuesday. 

After staggering through my classes, I went to the grocery store & proceeded to forget over half of what we needed, which I realized when I checked out & the bill was around sixty bucks.  That never happens.  The final nail in Thursday's coffin was my trip to the pharmacy where, for the first time this year, I picked up vials of insulin.  I keep a note in my phone with insulin refill dates (in case Blue Cross wants to pick a fight with me), & I'd last filled on December 27 . . . meaning I was staring our deductible in the face.  

Friday I wanted nothing more than to stay in my pajamas & play with the kids my MacBook, but Reagan had a birthday party to attend.  Two things pulled me away from my warm home & my new MacBook (& sipping my coffee at the table with this guy):

First, the birthday girl is the daughter of someone I love a lot.  Second, we missed her birthday party last year as we were temporarily losing the battle with diabetes & on the verge of being readmitted to the hospital in DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis).  

So, this year, having just been told we scored a perfect A1C, I got us all dressed & hauled us across town for the party, which was held outdoors in arctic wind.

A hayride was involved.    

Excessive carbs were consumed.

Saturday I really, really wanted to stay home all day with my coffee & my unwashed hair & MacBook II & the rain ushered in by the arctic wind.  However, Trey's truck needed an oil change, so we all headed to town.  The plan was to drop off the truck, eat some lunch, make a family trip to the grocery store to buy all the things I forgot on Thursday, & then hopefully pick up the truck with its new oil.  I promised the kids lunch at Chick-fil-A inside the restaurant, which Reagan knows means she gets to visit the indoor play area which, despite being a petri dish of germs that smells like feet, is irresistible to small children. 

Here we are in all our Saturday glory.  I don't often take selfies, but when I do, I haven't washed my hair & am covering my shame with a ball cap:

There was a little glitch in our plans.  The oil change place we frequent has changed ownership in the past year or so.  The new ownership has made some minor changes, one being that they now close at noon on Saturday instead of five.  Were I to compose a list of Trey's strong suits, "Details" would not make an appearance.    

I had a Baby Houseman moment.  I did it for nothing!  I took off my pajamas & put on the ball cap for nothing.  

No, not for nothing, as it turns out, because fresh oil in the truck or not, Reagan knew she was owed an indoor Chick-fil-A visit, & so we sat down together & ate & relaxed (as much as is possible with a four-year-old asking repeatedly if it's time for her to go play yet).  Plus, I got a cup of Chick-fil-A coffee & also had a bit of an epiphany re:this very blog you're reading right now, so again, Johnny Castle is right; it was not for nothing. 

Goodness, this is lengthy already & I haven't even gotten to the part where I wax philosophical.  I'll try to pare it down for you (though I admit I really enjoy typing on MacBook II so that may impede the paring).

Repeatedly this past week I was reminded of the importance of design.  This is due in part to my new, well-designed Kelly Moore bag & my new, equally well-designed MacBook; both are equal parts beautiful & functional.  They make my often hectic life a little bit easier, & I salute their designers.

The aforementioned Steve Jobs quote came to mind on Wednesday while we were at the doctor's office (admittedly Mr. Jobs was already on my mind, given the day's MacBook euphoria).  Before we met with the doctor we spoke with a nutritionist.  She always answers any questions we have & goes over what & how often Reagan is eating.  Right now, Reagan's carb target per meal is around forty-five carbs.  The nutritionist reiterated this Wednesday, & said that, "Diabetic or not, forty-five carbs a meal is about what Reagan's body is designed to handle at this stage in her life."  I seized on that phrase, "designed to handle."

Reagan's body doesn't function the way it was designed to function.  I absolutely hate that, but it is what it is, & I am thankful for the synthetic insulin & the pump that keep her ticking.  It wasn't until something ceased to work properly in her that I bothered to understand the intricacies of her body, which point to the handiwork of the designer, the Creator, whose brand of perfect we cannot duplicate, despite the many wonders of modern medicine we all enjoy.

God also designed marriage.  He designed the family.  We all know what a family looks like; any quick scroll through Facebook offers an array of wedded couples, & a variety of family photos.  However, just like you can't look at Reagan & know that something is amiss, something isn't functioning the way it was designed to, the true genius behind God's design for marriage & for family lies not in how they look, in snapshots or posed family photos, but in how they work, day to day, night after night, crazy Sunday morning after crazy Sunday morning, two am insulin check after two am insulin check.  Faux oil change attempt after faux oil change attempt.

I thought about this Saturday when the four of us ventured to town & did mundane things together that were surprisingly pleasant, easy even, considering the trials I sometimes encounter when braving public spaces with the kids sans Trey.  We were functioning as we were designed to function, a Norman Rockwell painting sitting there in Chick-fil-A.  Okay, maybe Norman Rockwell's subjects have cleaner hair.

But, as Mr. Jobs said, design is more than how something looks; design is how it works, & often we don't bother to learn how things work until they don't, & repairs are needed.  This is true of our bodies, of our marriages, of our families.

Take the time to study & think on & pray about (& be thankful for) the intricacies of God's designs in our lives.  Don't sit back while things are seemingly clicking right along.  Don't wait until something breaks down to begin scrambling to understand how the design works.  Christians, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; treat it & present it as such.  Your marriage & your family are gifts from God, designed by Him to bless you, & to bring glory to Him & His church, & in fact, your marriage is designed to reflect Christ's love for the church.

If you're always cognizant of the design, you'll be ever ready to notice when something is not functioning properly, & more aware of how fortunate you are to be daily reaping the blessings of God's design for our lives.  Often those unhappy with things - - with their body, with their marriage, with their family - - are attempting to manipulate them to function in ways they were not designed to function.  God holds the blueprints, & this has always been, & will always be the case.  Familiarize yourself with the blueprints, secure in the knowledge that they are not, despite men's efforts, up for renegotiation.

Reagan, Henry, efforts to alter God's designs will prove futile & will leave you unfulfilled.  Don't put too much stock in cliches about rules being made to be broken & other such nonsense; that depends a great deal on who made the rules in question.  I've seen what eating carbs without sufficient insulin present can do to a human body, & I've seen what happens to marriages & families without God at their center, & neither picture is pretty.  Never forget Who designed you, & Who loves you so much He designed you in His image, that you might reflect Him while you're here, temporarily separated from your Creator.


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