All Posts for March 2010

A Summer All Her Own by Roseanne Keller

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Before posting my ideas on job hunting, as promised, I remembered a book I had read last summer and took it out of the library again to refresh my memory.  It has to do with finding your center and involves a love of painting. I thought it had application to my topic of hobbies, so I am inserting it today and then will do job hunting next.

In this book, A Summer All Her Own, a 45 year old widow decides to go to Crete to get away from what is familiar to her. The sudden death of her husband has rocked her world and she feels at loose ends.

The story is somewhat of a fantasy, because how many single women, divorced or widowed, can afford to do what Anna does in this book? But her journey into forgiveness and her release of her anger at her husband’s sudden death is worth exploring.

As a young woman, Anna was a graphic designer. Giving up her career for her husband and subsequently, her children, was a choice she made consciously. Only after her husband’s death,when she is in Crete, does she realize that the joy she had with her art has been in cold storage for too long. She starts to sketch and finds that the joy returns.

In the meantime, she meets some interesting people, two of whom help her with her struggle for forgiveness and her doubts about her artistic ability, and two who fall in love with her. (Another fantasy!) But throughout the book, I identified with her feelings of insecurity about herself, her talents, her body, her attitudes about love and sex, and in general, about the seemingly unfairness of life.

Her art becomes her passion once more and she learns quickly from her elderly Greek mentor/artist. His wife is the one who helps her come to grips with the loss of her husband, because she had also lost her first husband.

The book takes us back and forth between Athens, Greece and the island of Crete, with wonderful descriptions and interesting observations as seen through the artist eye of Anna. (Crete is south of Greece with the Sea of Crete & the Mediterranean between the mainland and the island.)

The ending is positive, if not a little more fantasy, but the book leaves you with the feeling that Anna has found out who she really is and what she really wants for herself in order to become the person she was meant to be. While she is very serious about her art and it is not a “hobby,” the passion she brings to her art gives the reader food for thought about life’s choices, including hobbies or careers.

How important to your happiness is doing something you really love? Have you abandoned it because of your marriage problems or your divorce or your children or you job? Isn’t it time to claim what you know you need to do to feel good again? The book tells us how Anna does it, and while it is fiction, it had relevance for me.

I took my copy from the local library, but it is available at Barnes & Noble and from, starting at $1.99 for used copies. It is published by New American Library (2006) and is the author’s debut novel, who by the way, has made several trips to Crete.

Greek Island of Crete

Guest Editor…. with Daffodils

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Note: Last Saturday I went for a walk and there were no daffodils blooming, just buds. The weather was quite warm, maybe 70 degrees. The very next day I walked again and ALL the daffodils were in bloom, so here they are in between Su’s paragraphs to remind you that Spring is here, even though the weather doesn’t always feel like it!

I received a very interesting email from a reader, Su Rollins on the topic of hypoglycemia. I told her I would print the information, keeping in mind that I am not necessarily endorsing everything she says and that this is not a “prescription” for readers to follow. Also, if you are a person with type 2 diabetes, you might want to run this by your doctor. (Her bio is at the end.)

Here is the link, and I have also  printed the article below.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Prevent Hypoglycemia Using Fitness Exercises

What effect does exercise have on glucose levels?

When exercising, muscles use glucose for energy. At first, the body uses glucose converted from glycogen in the muscles. Then, glucose is taken from the bloodstream. During prolonged exercise, in order prevent blood glucose levels from becoming too low, glucagon and additional hormones are released. These hormones trigger the breakdown of stored fat into components the liver can convert into more glucose. With frequent and regular exercise, the body’s sensitivity to insulin improves and better glycemic control is developed.

Why is the effect of exercise on glucose levels important to those with type 2 diabetes?

Some studies demonstrate that patients with diabetes who exercise regularly have better glycemic control compared to those who do not. As insulin sensitivity improves with exercise, patients may need less medication to control blood sugar levels. People with type 2 diabetes are particularly at risk for exercise-induced hypoglycemia during and after exercise. However, some patients with poorly controlled diabetes are at risk for hyperglycemia.(Hyperglycemia, hyperglycaemia, or high blood sugar is a condition in which an excessive amount of glucose circulates in the blood plasma. This is generally a blood glucose level of 10+ mmol/l (180 mg/dl), but symptoms may not start to become noticeable until later numbers such as 15-20+ mmol/l (270-360+ mg/dl). However, chronic levels exceeding 125 mg/dl can produce organ damage. From: )

Should patients with type 2 diabetes exercise more often or differently than otherwise healthy people?

There are times when type 2 diabetes sufferers are prone to hypoglycemia, which is a condition that can develop out of exercise. This is both after as well as during the exercise routine itself. But at the same time, patients who exercise poor management of their diabetic condition may also be high risk when it comes to hyperglycemia.

What type of exercise is best for type 2 diabetes patients?

When it comes to exercise, the kind of exercise that is used is not as important compared to the frequency of the exercise. There are also some studies showing that if you participate in both weight training and aerobic activity, you get even more benefits as a result.

When should patients be discouraged from exercising?

Some patients have a higher risk of developing injuries from the stress of an intense exercise program. Such patients include those with higher cardiovascular risk, those over the age of 35, and those leading sedentary lifestyles. These patients should be thoroughly evaluated before beginning a new exercise program. Patients with severely low blood sugar levels should wait until their condition improves.

How might a patient be encouraged to exercise?

Encourage patients to start with small changes to their normal routine, like taking the stairs and not the elevator. Suggest activities that the patient finds enjoyable and convenient. Participation in several different activities may keep patients from becoming bored and losing interest. Having a partner or personal trainer can also help patients stay motivated.

Su’s website is quite interesting, so after reading this article, you may want to go directly to the site for more information and recipes: Also, here is her bio, quoted directly from her email to me:

“Hi, I’m Su R. Rollins and I write to help you get all information you need to raise awareness to diabetes and its associated complications and to support those living with diabetes on a daily basis. I live in Texas and I was born in ‘76 I’m a sports book writer. I started in 2009 to help other people like me understand how to provide objective and credible information on diabetes.

Prior to raising my family, I spent over 5 years as a teacher, corporate trainer and workshop leader. To contact me, please email at info to:

P.S. from ellensue; I also read that cinnamon, my favorite baking spice, is helpful with type 2 diabetes. For more information on the relationship between cinnamon and diabetes, go to: for an interesting article on this topic.