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Category Archives: travel

Never have I ever

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Have you ever played the game “Never Have I Ever?” If you have, don’t worry, I will be keeping this round G-rated.

Here are the basic rules of the game. First you put all ten fingers up. Then the group takes turn naming things that they have never done, hoping that someone else in the circle has done it. If you have, you have to put a finger down. Last person with a hand up is the winner. You can see how it gets inappropriate sometimes.

I’ve also played it the opposite way, where you name things you have done that you don’t think other people have done, and that’s more like the version I’m playing today. I’ve been thinking of all the random, fun, and exciting things I have been able to do because of diabetes and I want to hear what other would share in the game as well.

Never did I ever…

  • Think I would have the motivation to take a picture every day for a year for the d365 project. I’m thinking of doing it again but I need a good start date.

October 7, 2008 - diabetes365 - DAY 365!!!

  • Consider that my face would be on a t-shirt used to raise money for an organization working to cure diabetes. Is your face on there too?
  • Realize that some of my closest friends would live all over the country and stay up way to late on google+ hangout to spend some time with them.
  • Wonder when I checked my mailbox if it would hold a letter from a dear friend in Australia.
  • Count the days until July each year so I could attend a conference designed just for people with diabetes and their families.

The official start of the conference

  • Meet a friend for the first time at a conference in July and make plans shortly after to fly to her house for a long weekend of fun (and probably one of the largest meet-ups ever!). I guess that makes sense, since I once got into some random dude’s truck just because he had a blog and diabetes like I did.

Me, Jess, and the random dude

  • Have pictures with a variety of celebrities (and have an opportunity to even meet them in the first place) because of our connection to the same autoimmune disorder.

Crystal and Ium, yeah

  • Hope every day was Wednesday so that I could hang out on Twitter and chat about everything related (and not so related) to diabetes. P.S. Have you seen this video yet?

  • Feel hopeful about inserting pieces of platinum, silver, and steel into my body because I knew it would make me feel safer today and healthier tomorrow.
  • Plan to take what could be considered a drinking game and post it on my blog to see what people with diabetes “never did they ever” think they would do.

I’m curious, what would you say if you were playing this game?


Office Space – Man on Wire

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The task was significantly harder than the wordless IKEA directions indicate, but Friday after work my friend/coworker was finally able to get my make-shift photo gallery hung above my desk.

Reducing my life down to only 24 pictures was a challenging task all its own.

This is the updated view that I get to enjoy each day in my office.

up close 1up close 2up close 3up close 4
the gallery
Have I mentioned how excited I am to add more memories in Kansas City in less than a MONTH?!?!

Office Space – the beginnings

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A few days ago I posted a random tweet asking for help deciding between camels and a dock.

a dock or a camel

I didn’t want to sway any opinions by saying too much about where I was going to use the “winner”.

Well, for the fifth time in five years my office location has changed at work. I think my new office has more wall space than all (or at least most) of my previous locations. One of my friends told me that I really need to start displaying some of the pictures I have taken. That was a great idea; I just had to decide what to include.

I had some spare frames from IKEA ready and so here is the completed first part of my office.

the first corner
The flower picture I actually picked up at IKEA in 1999. It was the first decoration in my dorm room when I moved away to college and has just continued to travel with me.
close up on the picturesThe top left picture is THE camel picture. It was taken on my trip to Israel and Jordan in 2005. Bottom left is the elephant picture from this post. The center picture is from the shoreline of Bercy in Haiti in 2011. The top right is also from Haiti – at the beach in 2010. The bottom right picture was actually taken two years ago at a botanical garden a few miles from my apartment.

Now that phase one is completed, I am going to try to finish phase two by the end of the week. On Monday, I bought this –

with clips so that I can hang my friends and family above my desk.

Phase three is finally getting my diplomas framed and hung up. Considering they are still in their graduation folders and I received them in 2003 and 2005, I don’t think they are going anywhere.

How have you decorated your work space?

Just part of your life – an interview

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Over the past few years, I have received a bunch of comments and e-mails wanting to know more about what it is like to travel internationally – especially to lower economic areas of the world – with diabetes. A few people have expressed their concern about being able to keep up with the group they would travel with or fears of being a burden. I thought the best way to work through those issues may be to interview one of the people who I have traveled with on both trips to Haiti.

Julia and I met as part of the team that traveled together in 2010 and have been friends ever since. Not all of her stories relate to our trip together, but you will be able to tell that pretty quickly. Julia can’t spell AT ALL (words like texture and cabinet are mind benders) so I did correct some of her spelling. She said she didn’t mind. My additional comments are in brackets.


Before we met, what did you know about diabetes?

I knew that people had to have sugar, that you had to have it or you would pass out. I knew that there were different types. I had a friend with diabetes in high school that would say that her blood sugar was low and would eat starbursts.

So what was your experience working in Haiti with me?

It really was not different at all. No one could look at you and tell if there was anything going on, but I remember two moments when you told us something was going on [once when my level was really high and once when it was really low]. That’s why we were concerned because you couldn’t tell. You were a trouper. If no one would have told me I would have thought that it was because it was 112 degrees and we were moving medical supplies for 18 hours [only a slight exaggeration].
serious faces

Traveling on a team with me, did you have any additional responsibilities?

On the first trip no, but on the second trip I carried your sugar in case you couldn’t get to yours.

Speaking of sugar, a Twitter friend wants to know how you know when someone’s blood sugar is low and how do you treat it [I think it’s a quiz]?

You get an empty stare and are more sluggish. you treat it with glucose tablets!!!!!! [exclamation points are hers] And any other sugary foods available (and prayer) [kinda a joke on faith healers].
tough soccer players

We know diabetes isn’t always serious, do you have any funny stories about life with me? [I had to cut her off on this one. Once she started the stories didn’t end]

We were on a road trip to Orlando and there was a delicious bag of peanut butter M&Ms within eyesight and we couldn’t eat them because your blood sugar was too high, so we were asking every five minutes for you to check. I love those things so much.
look-a-likehot mess

One night we were sharing a room at a friend’s house [one of our fellow Haiti 2010 teammates] and your blood sugar wouldn’t stay up before bed. So we just layed there for a few hours sharing stories and glucose tablets [she thinks they taste good – like SweeTARTS]. Had your blood sugar gone up, we probably would have just gone to bed but instead we made memories. [I like this story!]

There was no diet soda anywhere in Haiti [we think it is because the artificial sugar doesn’t keep very well] so you didn’t have any soda except for one day. Someone came up to you at dinner when you finally had a regular coke and asked if they could have some. Your face was hilarious when you told them no. It wasn’t casual or anything. Your excitement to drink your coke was so evident you didn’t even try to explain. [What can I say? I was desperate for caffeine and had already dosed for the soda!]

What about eating international food? Did you notice any difference there?

At any restaurant, you ate anything we did – even the yummy ice cream and the Little Debbie snacks [we ate sack lunches at the work sites]. Because your bunk was next to mine, I know you packed extra snacks but so did I. Every good traveler knows that you pack food that you’ll like because you don’t know what is available.
the ice cream

What would you say to someone who is worried about traveling internationally with diabetes?

After traveling with you, I would definitely tell them to do it. I would tell them to make sure they have people in the group to keep them accountable, but not everyone because that’s just obnoxious.

As long as you are prepared [for example] if someone is doing the right things and reading your blogs [she means our diabetes blogs] they should do it. I mean I consider myself healthy and I could get sick on a trip. You never know.
me and Julia

What is the biggest thing you have learned about diabetes from spending time with me?

The biggest thing I learned is that people with diabetes aren’t that different. You dont need people to baby you and hold your hand. You didn’t give people your numbers not because you didn’t want people to know but because they didn’t need to know. It’s like if I pooped and people asked me what color it was [HA!]. Just because you’re checking doesn’t mean something is wrong. Now when you check I don’t freak out, it’s just part of your life.
wedding style

Thanks friend!


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This morning, around 1 am, I finally arrived home after spending a week in upstate New York with my family. Thank you to Scott, Jess, and George for posting here in my absence.

We visited with my paternal grandmother and played in the same creek that my dad explored over 50 years ago and that I played in as a child when we visited.

another four generation photoby the creek

From there, we went to see Niagara Falls lit up at night and spent the whole next day exploring the park.

Niagara Falls at nightI promise the falls are behind uswearing the poncho the right way!

Sunburned at the end of that day, we drove three hours back to my aunt’s house to get ready for the real reason for the trip – my maternal grandma’s 85th birthday celebration.

My brother tried to convince us to get a special party hat for grandma and was disappointed to be outvoted.
party hat
After the party, we posed for a four generation family picture by balancing my camera on a car hood and running into my spot while the self timer ticked away from across the parking lot.
four generations of family
Before flying back to Florida, a short trip to a local museum gave me the opportunity to point out to my niece an important portion of the human body.
bad pancreas
Speaking of my niece – she had possession of my iPod Touch during our adventures. I have a few hundred pictures and a few videos from our trip, but she puts me to shame with over 500 pictures and videos from our week. Here is a small sampling –

I see a future as a vlogger for that one!

We Rock Hard!

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My friends with diabetes rock!

Diabetics at the Hard Rock Hotel

It didn’t start well

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It has been well documented that I am not a morning person. Thankfully I have an understanding boss and she “covers” the morning shift and I am able to stay late for any after hours appointments.

I knew that getting up on time for my flight this morning was going to be a challenge. I started packing on Monday night and tried to go to bed early Tuesday night so that I would be ready. My alarm was set for 5:15 so that I could shower and pack my last minute items.

I woke up at 4:30 to the buzz of my DexCom. I looked over and the screen displayed LOW. I never actually tested – just went for the juice boxes – but I was probably around the 40 mg/dL. In my fuzzy low brain I thought about just getting up then, but decided that I could use the extra 45 minutes of sleep. That may have been a mistake.

I am pretty sure that my alarm went off at 5:15 and that I hit snooze, but I am not entirely sure even of that. The next thing I remember is looking at my cell phone to see that it said 6:09! I was planning to leave my apartment at 6:15!!!

I don’t think that I have ever showered and gotten ready so fast. Nor have i ever been so thankful to have laid out my clothes the night before! I was in the car by 6:34, drove 15 minutes to meet my ride (and pick up the boarding pass I left at work), and make the short trip to the airport.

I arrived a few minutes before 7. There was no line at the bag drop – so far so good! Security slowed me down a little bit but only because of the people in front of me, not actually my fault. As I stepped into the full body scanner, the TSA agent noticed my pump and alerted the viewer. The swiped my hands as I stepped out, and I was on my way.

7:08. 17 minutes to spare before boarding.

I never want to cut it that close again, but compared to all the tweets I saw from people headed to the same conference who were delayed and canceled in Chicago I am happy to be writing this on my second flight.

Now the baby behind me on the first flight and next to me on the second flight is an entirely different story 😉


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