WWDC 2010

IMG_0068Since Apple announced the ability to write your own applications for the iPhone, I have been working on different things. I even have an app up on the store right now (see www.halcyontouch.com for more details). Every year, Apple holds a developer conference in San Francisco and I hoped to attend before we moved back. Sure enough, when the dates were announced, it was a couple weeks before our move so I bought myself a pass.

Everyday, I caught a Caltrain at 7:13 AM which is a bit early for me. And I often wouldn’t be back home until 10:00 or later after attending different parties in the evening. I was there for the announcement of the iPhone 4 but more important were the technical sessions and the labs. At the labs, I could show my app to an Apple engineer and get assistance on something I was having trouble with. Sometimes I learned I was doing this correctly but often I would leave with a longer list of things to improve.

The different evening events were great. On Tuesday night, there was a “Stump The Experts” event where the audience and about 20 Apple employees tried to out do each other with arcane technical and Apple history trivia.

Wednesday night, I got to see and touch some of that Apple history. At this party, they had several old machines like a Lisa, a Macintosh 512 and even an Apple I owned by Apple employee number 16 who was there to demo it. I snapped a bunch of pictures and chatted with people about what machines the we had used. I told several people that I had bought an Apple I replica kit so soon I would assemble my own reproduction of history.

Thursday night was the big party put on by Apple. It was pretty crazy. I met several people like Bill Atkinson who are as close as it comes to celebrities in the Apple community. Later, Ok Go came out to perform. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay to the end but I had a train to catch and by then, the weeks activities had me pretty exhausted.

It was pretty expensive but doing it after our move back to Ottawa would have costed much more. It was a great chance to learn more about my iPhone development hobby and indulge my love of all things Apple.

My Empire Tribute

Thirty years ago, The Empire Strikes Back opened in theatres. I saw the original Star Wars but I was a bit young then. But, for Empire I was a bit older and it was just an incredible movie for me. Like most kids my age, I had my share of action figures from the movies and space ships. I also watched all of the special “making of” TV shows which gave you some idea of the amount of work which went into each film. So, I took our Super 8 camera and some of my toys and made my own version of the movie or at least part of it.

In honour of a movie which was very important to me when I grew up and its 30th anniversary, I thought I would put my movie online today. There is no sound because our camera didn’t record sound. Also, it has gone through a number of conversions which explains its sorry state and is not a reflection of the film maker himself. It was converted from film to a VCR tape years ago by my parents along with a number of other home movies. A while ago, I used our DVD recorder to burn the VCR tape to a DVD. More recently, I ripped that DVD to a MP4 file on our computer. So, it has been converted a number of times and maybe needs the wizards at ILM to return it to its former glory (or whatever it was originally).

Happy Birthday to The Empire Strikes Back.

Welcome to James Eric Rand

Baby James030My brother Steve and his wife Katherine have a new arrival in their home. Their son, James Eric Rand was born earlier this month. You can see some pictures of him here. My mom was in St. Thomas to help out for a few days also. We happened to be in Ottawa at the time but busy with other things and couldn’t get a chance to see him (see the other story for what we were up to). We will definitely be visiting this summer when we get back to Ontario.

Welcome to another member of the Rand family.

Samantha and Matthew Home Again

Samantha had her IV’s removed by late morning today. Her blood sugar and pH levels had stabilized. She was still coughing and had a bit of a fever still but otherwise was much improved. I setup her insulin pump and was back in control of her medication which honestly was reassuring. I guess after doing it for a year, it actually isn’t pleasurable to have that burdened removed. It is just something we do now.

In fact, just after I setup her pump, I gave her half a unit to cover the carbs she had recently eaten with breakfast. About an hour after that, the nurse came in with half a unit in a syringe. She was there and we discussed the insulin when I delivered it and she wasn’t convinced that we should give her more. But, the doctors issued the order and she couldn’t just ignore it. With her support, we talked to the doctors. I showed them the insulin history on our device and that she already had the insulin some time ago. After a quick demonstration of our pump which they hadn’t seen (we were in the ICU so these were not endocrinologists who would necessarily see all the latest tech), everyone agreed that the extra insulin was not appropriate.

So, I had successfully wrestled medicating Samantha from the hospital and from then, I did the blood glucose tests and delivered the insulin. I just had to report to the nurse so the chart was updated.

The next question was when would we be headed home. The consensus was either today or possibly tomorrow. The big concern was that Samantha just did not look too alert or active. My argument was that they interrupted her sleep every hour last night to draw blood for a pH test. Combined with the low grade fever and cough, she was just exhausted. I think everyone agreed and that the best thing for Samantha was to be back at home in comfortable surroundings. By 4:30, we were pulling into our driveway.

I called Randi on the way and asked if we could stop by and pick up Matthew. But, he wanted to stay for dinner and watch a movie with them. She offered to drop him off at 7:00 and he was eager to take her up on that offer. Although Samantha really wanted to see her brother again, I decided to let Matthew stay a bit longer. That worked out well. Samantha really was tired. She wanted to sit on my lap for a little while and watch TV. I tried to offer her some food and she took little bits here and there but not too much. By 6:00, she was asleep in my arms and I took her to her bed.

She has slept very soundly since then. I have tested her blood glucose a couple of times and unlike in the hospital where she would start and cry out, she slept right through it as she used to. Hopefully she will sleep soundly all night and be her usual self tomorrow.

Thanks again everyone for your support. Cynthia is back tomorrow and I may have some more news about house hunting in Ottawa then.

Samantha Improving

Samantha’s blood sugar and acid level are both back to normal. The doctors want to see if she can keep food down so we are going to try some clear fluids soon. Rather than move her out of ICU they hope to release her this afternoon if all goes well.

As I was writing this update the Popsicle she wanted arrived and she is sitting up in her bed enjoying it while watching some tv. So far so good.

February Madness

So much is going on right now it is hard to know where to begin. There are two big pieces of news to tell. First, we are planning on moving back to Ottawa this summer. We may have found the house for us and Cynthia is travelling there right now to see. At the same time Samantha was admitted to the hospital today.

Early this week, Samantha had a fever and a bit of a cough. But the fever was not too high and she seemed ok. At the same time, a house which looks great for us was listed in Ottawa. Our plan was to go to Ottawa in March to look for a house. Work is very busy this month and I just couldn’t afford the time off. The house we were looking at had a pretty good price and it looked like it would move quickly. So, we decided to book a flight for Cynthia to Ottawa on Friday, returning Sunday.

Last night though, Samantha could now keep her food down. For a diabetic this is very serious because her blood sugar could drop very quickly. We checked her frequently and found he sugar level high. We gave her less insulin than we would normally because if she got low, it would be difficult to increase her sugar. Then, she couldn’t keep water down.

I called our endo and she recommended we bring her to the hospital. So, Matthew and I took Samantha to the hospital while Cynthia headed for Ottawa. I figured they would just rehydrated her and do something to settle her stomach. But, it looks like she is somewhat acidotic probably from the days of increased temperature. The vomitting was likely a side affect of the acidosis. That means she needs sugar an insulin to bring her pH back into balance.

They have a couple of IVs in her left arm, delivering glucose and insulin. She is improving in her stats but she is still very quiet except when she cries to go home or for her brother.

Which is another story. Matthew is now allowed in this hospital. They don’t allow children who are not patients. With Cynthia away, I was a bit stuck. Thankfully, Jessica, a good friend of ours, offered to host Matthew tonight. And tommorrow, Randi and her family will have him if Samantha is still here. Thanks to both of you for your support.

Cynthia has a full day tomorrow looking at her favourite house and a couple of others. Unless she sees something terribly wrong we will likely make a conditional offer on the house on Sunday. I will update the webpage as often as I can about Samantha and also about the house news. I may be able to post pictures of Samantha here using my phone so perhaps I will have some up soon.

Again thanks so much to Jessica and Randi and their families.

Welcome to the Updated Website

First, let me apologize for the lack of updates. My excuse is that I was working on another project but that is at a point now where I have a bit more time and I am trying to catch up. Rather than just put up some new content though, I have completely revamped the website and I think it looks much better. Check out the new content and let me know what you think of the website changes.

Samantha’s Second Birthday

P1030295Samantha turned two late in August. On her birthday, we celebrated at home. After a bath, Samantha opened her presents. We gave her a toy laptop which she loved and you can see her playing with it in the pictures. It was a quiet birthday celebration but we had bigger plans for later.

We invited many friends to come join us to celebrate Samantha’s second birthday. We rented a “jump house” for the kids and there was always one or two and often many bouncing in there throughout the day. I bought a case of Canadian, partly to enjoy a beer from home but also to introduce people to Canadian beer but not many took advantage of the opportunity. So, I had Canadian beer in the fridge for a couple of weeks after the party.

I baked a cake and Cynthia decorated it. I did some calculations to estimate the carbohydrate count of the cake because Samantha was going to get to enjoy eating some chocolate cake on her birthday. After opening presents earlier, Samantha was very excited to open more and I was hard pressed to keep up with her.

Later in the evening, some families left but others stayed and we had a BBQ and some more dessert before they came to dismantle the jump house. It was getting late and Samantha was very tired. So, soon after that we said our good-byes and Samantha’s second birthday party was over.

Thanks everyone for your gifts and birthday wishes.

Dinner In The Backyard

Early in the spring, we bought ourselves a patio set. Back in Dunrobin, we would have never considered having a patio set in our back yard. Either it was too hot, too cold or too buggy. There were just too few days where it was comfortable to enjoy our yard. But, here almost every day is beautiful and we have had many of our meals on our back patio. The video here was taken right after our meal and starts with a trick to try and get Samantha to eat some more but mostly shows Samantha playing outside afterwards.

Samantha Wants Muffins

This is a fairly old video clip from late January. We were having some friends over for dinner at our house and we prepared some banana muffins for dessert. After they were out of the oven, Samantha was insisting that she have one early and this is a short clip of her asking for a muffin.

Of course since then we found out about her diabetes so there hasn’t been as much baking lately. But, we things have gotten easier for us to manage lately. Samantha is now on a OmniPod insulin pump. With the pump, we are no longer giving insulin shots manually.

We just attach an stick a new OmniPod onto Samantha every three days and it has a little needle which injects a cannula just into her skin. After that initial pain, we can then administer insulin without giving her shots. Also, the pump can administer much smaller doses of insulin than we can measure which is important because Samantha doesn’t eat that much. Being a toddler, Samantha doesn’t eat just during meals either so this gives us the ability to quickly give her a bit more insulin as she snacks through the day. It really has been a great solution for us and has helped us to bring her blood sugar more under control.