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Here are some great pictures of John being a goof. For anyone who knew John, these pictures are SO much John.

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Well, as you can probably tell, I’ve modified the look and feel of the web page. I don’t know if I’ll keep it this way or not. It’s a nice change for now though.

 Some of the changes I have made are, I went from the Journalized Winter theme to the Andreas09 theme. I kept the three column look, but added and changed some of the side bar options using some different widgets. Added things like a latest comment block and the latest post block.

I’ve also updated the WordPress to Gallery2 widget, wpg2,  to the latest 3.02 version. This let me add a random picture block to the side bar, and also an album layout block. I can also do things like this now.

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I also added a visitor map to the right sidebar. I’m trying a widget from a website called Clustermaps. Not sure if it’ll work very well or not. I’ll give it a bit and see.

I will be headed to Scotland for two weeks to try and find a house for the family and to meet the folks I’ll be working with.

To fly from Butte Montana to Edinburgh Scotland will take me about 22 hours. Butte to Bozeman to Seattle to Amsterdam to Edinburgh. Then less than two weeks later I’ll be going from Edinburgh to Amsterdam to Seattle to Butte. Weeeeeeeee!

I’ll be staying in a nice cottage out in the country. A place called the Roberton Mains lodge. I’ll use that as a base to travel around and check out the different villages and schools in the local area around Edinburgh.

Heres a picture of the cottage I’ll be staying in.

Cottage

My office will be located on the Edinburgh Technopole, Bush House estate.  Here is the Bush House, they use it for conference rooms and some other odds and ends. It looks like a pretty area. I’m told there is a lady who trains retrievers on the property. We can watch out our office window.

Bush House

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been diabetic for over 10 years now and an insulin pumper for almost 3 years now. I picked up my Medtronic Minimed Paradigm 715 pump in March of 2005. I have the purple one. The girls helped me pick it out.

 Why an insulin pump? Well, as a type 1 diabetic my pancreas makes no insulin, and thus, if I didn’t introduce insulin artificially I would be dead. Period. Until 1922 and later, becoming diabetic was a death sentence.  In fact, diabetes has been recorded as far back as 1500 BC by the Egyptions who describe a wasting desease that matches the symptoms of Diabetes. This means that only in the last 80 years of a recorded 3500+ year cycle has Diabetes become a livable desease.

Back to my using a pump. I was attempting to tightly control my diabetes so that I wouldn’t have any serious issues for as long as I could put it off. As such I was taking up to 8 shots a day. Even at that level of shots my best A1c test was 7.2, or just above the goal set by the Diabetes Association. They want your A1c test to be at 7% or less. After the first 3 months on the pump my A1c’s have never been above 7 again. I average between 6.5% and 6.8% consistently for the last 3 years.

One of the down sides of daily shots is the inflexability of the system. With the pump I have a lot more flexability in my life. Here is a chart showing my daily insulin intake for the last couple of months. As you can see, it varies wildly depending on my physical activity, health, food intake, etc.

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Here is my pump with the new Aqua skin on it.

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 And if anyone ever wonders what’s in the black thing hanging from my belt, well, it’s my Meter, Sugar Tablets, etc.

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 As a whole, the system works pretty well. There is a ton of room for improvement, but, for only being a livable disease for the last 80 years, it’s pretty managable.

 Here’s a link to the new Skins you can purchase for your insulin pump. They’re kinda neat.

Minimed Skins

Well, we’ve been living in Butte now for a couple of months. So, what is Butte like? Well it’s a small mining town in the heart of Montana. It’s not a bad town per say. It is however past it’s prime. It’s also considered the Meth capital of Montana. The population has been slowly declining for decades. (Some increase in Population in last two years. Error pointed out by Mike)  Most of the mines have shut down, and the ones that are left are so crippled with environmental controls that they are just a memory of what they were. (Not all mines are doing bad. Some are still very successfull. Again, this error pointed out by Mike.)  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing that some environmental controls have been put in place. This whole area is tore up and a mess because of old mining.

We had a very hard time finding a house with a short term lease. In fact we could only find two. One was an executive suite at the top of one of the old building downtown, which we tried for but lost to a company leasing it for 3 years. The second house which we did rent is a small older house that is owned by the Town Pump Corporation. They run the Lucky Lil’s casinos here in Montana. Pretty much a blight on society, but that’s just my opinion. They have a habit of buying up as much of the property around their gas stations and casinos as possible. They try to prevent competition this way. This also lets them bring in some extra income by renting the properties out before tearing them down for expansion.  Which was good for us at this juncture.

Here is a pick of the house with my good ole truck parked next to it. It’s not too bad a little place. It would really be a nice place if it were on some land and we could fix it up.

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And yes, that’s a major road two feet in front of the house. But, it’s a place to stay while we wait for the work visa.

Here is a pick of downtown Butte, the old district actually. “This area is called uptown, you’ll see it’s actually up on the hill and overlooks the valley. (error pointed out by Mike.)”

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and another view

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and here is the reason Butte became a town.

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There are times in life where the realization of just how lucky we are reaches up and slaps me in the face.

Megan, now 12, has made a friend at school and we’ve gotten to know her and her family a bit, not well, sadly, but a bit. It’s a story of struggle, family, and perseverance.

The family consists of Mom, Dad, and 3 girls, 12, 6 and 4, guessing at ages.  They are of Mexican descent. The mom came to America over 15 years ago as an illegal immigrant, unable to speak English. She stayed in the US for many years and taught herself English, before going backto Mexico and working through the immigration process and coming back to the US legally.  She married and had her children in Los Angeles. Her husband is a buyer for a major chain of Mexican grocery stores.

After years of trying to make a living in Los Angeles they moved the family up here to Butte, Montana for a better life, and bought a house. Which they never could have done in California. Now here is where it gets sad. The husband and father has stayed in Los Angeles these last two years making money to pay for the house so that his family can have a decent life. He see’s his girls only a few days a month.

The mother, to make ends meet, works at a local Mexican restaurant. The girls stay home alone while the mom works. Some days like today, she’s at 11 hours and still not home. But she doesn’t have a choice. She has to work to make ends meet. Which means the girls stay home alone, a lot. There is no one here to help out, they are really on their own. 

Now here is the kicker. The kids are great. They are polite, sweet, kind, happy, and energetic. The mother works her butt off, but is also kind, quiet, polite, and a very nice and decent person. They don’t see their situation as a poor me, but rather as a success in progress.

It makes me sad to think about how easy I have it, how lucky we are, and how at times I complain and worry. I guess it’s because I’ve had it fairly easy in life that it’s easy to take things granted. It’s only at times when you can see how someone else is handling life that it can put things into perspective.

Try to picture what it must have been like to cross into a country illegally when you don’t know the language, and yet, to succeed, to become legal, to have a family and work towards the American dream.

Yahooooooo!! It took just under two weeks this time, but I got the call this morning. My work visa has been APPROVED!

 Now all we have is the minor details of moving a family of 5 from Montana to Edinburgh Scotland. Ahhh, it’s the easy part! (-:

 We may have  a quick trip to Los Angeles to see the British Consolute to get our entry visas. Cray is looking into the process for that. It may just be handled through the mail. We’ll play it by ear right now. (And yes, if we fly to Los Angeles we will definitely drive up to Monterey for at least a day visit!)

Well, it seems I’ve been pretty slow on my updates. It seems like not much is happening and yet at the same time it seems like a lot is going on. So, a quick update.

 My Work Visa application has been put in and I’m just waiting to hear back. The earliest good news would be around the 18th of November, 3 weeks from the submission. This waiting can drive a person crazy.

The girls had a good time for Halloween. Megan was a witch, Molly a pirate, and Nora a cowgirl.

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The girls are all doing really well. Unfortunately we’ve been stuck here long enough that they are making friends an starting to settle in. Sadly, as soon as my work visa comes in we’ll be pulling them back out of school and moving them half way across the world.  This was what we didn’t want to happen. Oh well.

It will be good to get moved and settled in on a more permanent basis. This house is okay, just not the place we want to stay. The furnace is a total trip. It’s an old Coal burning furnace that’s been modified for gas. The door actually says 1916, and means it! There is a coal chute in the basement that’s been filled in with insulation.

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On Friday the girls and I are going to spend the day wandering around Butte and trying to get the best pictures we can. We’re going to spend the day doing a photo gathering experiment. I’ll try to update the web site with some of them this weekend.

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