Midnight musings

We had a long time to stay seated tonight, because of the bumps. So, my mind started to wander. I was thinking of last September’s vacation and the things I brought back with me. I’m 54 now and when I choose something to remember a trip by, it must be something that when I’m 80 will spark the memory. You think about things like that at this age. One of my favorites from the trip are the recipes from the cooking class I took in Rome. I bought ceramic swallows from each city in Portugal that I visited, and labeled the backs with those cities. They will eventually be mounted as a flock on my house….if it’s ever finished being painted. In Lourdes, I found little sachets of lavender for friends and religious trinkets for those that would appreciate them. For myself, I brought back hand towels with Great Pyrenees dogs embroidered on them (a favorite of my family). In Monaco, I found a very luxurious beach towel and in Rome a leather tote.

As I thought of those things, I wondered what other people bring back. What do they find meaning and memory in? And then, do they miss the days, like I do, when there was more local craftsmanship and unique items rather than mass produced junky stuff. We live in a time in which everything is accessible or can be ordered online and shipped overnight. This leaves only landscape and architecture as unique. This saddens me. The people , of course, are unique. But, I can’t bring them home.

My questions for you are what do you find unique and what do you bring home to remember your trips?


Being part of a team and being more….

Not every adventure is about someplace or something new. Sometimes, an adventure is being part of something bigger than you and doing it on a regular basis. For the past four years, I have been fortunate to run with Team JDRF during WDW Marathon weekend. Being part of a team that gets together once a year is something like going to camp. There are faces you see each year and new faces to get to know, there are some that come every year and some that only come once. As a team and individually, we fundraise all year long. We raise quite a bit of money each year to fund research with JDRF. But, this year, I learned that’s not all we do….. I never realized before that we are more… we are there representing the T1 community. Let me back up just a second and tell you some of what makes the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend so special. Disney races attract a lot of first time racers, a lot of people who have overcome something and I believe the reason isn’t just because of where the race is (who wouldn’t want to race the the Disney parks) , but because of the people who race and volunteer at the races. Nowhere is known for having more supportive and encouraging people. I , myself, got back into running at Disney because of the supportive people. Twice this past weekend, I am aware of people being carried over the finish line by friends sacrificing their on finish time. I love that. Now back to how I learned that Team JDRF doesn’t “just” fundraise at WDW Marathon weekend….. People come from all over the world to participate in the races. This year, a family came from Bermuda for the Dad to race the Dopey challenge (4races, 4days, 5k, 10k, half marathon and full Marathon). One of their children had been diagnosed with Type 1 just 3 weeks earlier. Those in the T1 community know just how overwhelming that first month can be. The Dad happened to see one of our team in his Team JDRF shirt and inquired about it. After listening, he went to the JDRF tent and asked how he could help. Our wonderful leaders invited this Dad to our banquet where I was lucky enough to meet the whole family. I invited to sit with me at a table and we were joined by another type 1 family. I have so many emotions about what happened next that I hope I can share them well enough. In the short amount of time it takes to have dinner 1) a little girl met someone just like herself and became a little more comfortable with her new normal, 2) a mom got to talk to another mom and share what it’s like to be a T1 mom, 3) a Dad got to see that things really are going to be ok and he got a few extra apps for his phone too. And, I made some new friends! These things might seem very simple, but in the grand scheme of things making connections is very important. Talking to someone who understands makes you feel normal and accepted. I really enjoyed meeting them and hope to see them again at Children With Diabetes Friends For Life this coming summer (told them all about it).

The next thing that happened was pure coincidence . The race that I run each year is the 10k, which happens on Friday. Then, for the Marathon on Sunday, I cheer for my teammates and friends. The past couple years, I’ve dressed up and handed out tissues (for runny noses which happens when you run in cold weather) in front of the hot dog restaurant on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. After the races, a lot of people post pictures on Facebook in their favorite running group pages. I also posted a picture of myself in my Mike hoodie holding my JDRF sign.

From the posted picture Right off the bat, I recruited someone else to run for the team. Then, a couple hours later a discussion was started by another Type 1 about how to fuel during the race.

So, this year, I wasn’t just a part of Team JDRF the fundraising team….. I was a facilitator for discussion about Type 1. This isn’t about tooting my own horn, except it is. It’s about never knowing when the opportunity to help someone is going to pop up and how good it feels!

There is a joke about runners wanting to talk about it all the time and nobody wanting to listen, so feel free to skip the next part, I understand 😄

The next passage is what I wrote on my Facebook page and kind of sums things up….

637 women in the 50-54 division. My place was 468. That might sound awful to you. To me, it feels the same as if I had won. Rising above Type 1 diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis is my goal. Showing young people that they too can thrive, makes my heart so full. Thank you all for your support!! #Winning

#Type1diabetes #Type1 #WDWMarathon #JDRF #Type1lookslikeme

The misadventures of Himself the Elf.

I was in a rush to get out the door today. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door to leave and Himself was there! Already thrown out of this year’s assignment, he came to me for refuge. Knowing his ability to cause havoc, I had to bring him with me on my trip. All he had with him was a flight jacket and a small bag. Looks like we’ll be shopping in Paris again. Follow along on his misadventures in my blog. Here we are on the train to Miami.

In the past, I’ve brought him along with me on trips….. just to keep him out of trouble. He does tend to make a huge mess with the dogs if I leave him at the house. So, I thought I would chronicle our trip throughout the holiday season….thinking you might get a laugh out of his antics too. Enjoy.

Finding your Tribe/Finding your T1 Tribe

In this  adventure called life, we thrive when we find our tribe. “Finding your tribe” is finding that group or niche where you feel you belong….people that “get” you and help you along the way, bumps and all. When I went to college (University of Georgia- Go Dawgs!), joining a sorority was the thing to do. I arrived not knowing anyone other than a friend (who became my best friend) that I met during orientation. Going through rush was a crazy experience, but when I got to the house that I would eventually pledge, I just knew it was the right place for me. I felt I belonged. It was not the house where I was a legacy. I’m thankful to this day that I made the choice that I did. I am still friends with my sisters after 30 years. In fact, each year, we meet up on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia for 4 days of fun and reminiscing. Some years, it’s a time of healing. We have cried  through divorces, deaths of family members, and changes in jobs. We have celebrated accomplishments, births, and marriages of children.. We were there for each other, through thick and thin. And that’s what Finding your Tribe is all about. It’s about finding that group of people that you can be real with. Being together grounds me and reminds me of a time of my life when everything was good, or seemed that way.

Along the way, you find that you don’t just belong to one tribe. This past summer, I attended “Children with Diabetes, Friends for Life” conference in Orlando for the first time. And, for the third time in my life, I found my tribe (the second was getting hired by American Airlines). At Friends for Life, I was surrounded by people of all ages that knew what it was like living with Type 1 diabetes. Everyone “GOT” it. The eye opener for me was the day everyone ended up at the pool and almost everyone there had a DEXCOM mounted  on them. I FELT NORMAL for the first time in a long time. Nobody was staring or pointing or looking at me like I had cooties. It was freeing and exhilarating. For that reason alone, I will return to FFL every year. But, just so you. know, I learned a lot too. I highly recommend it for any Type 1 and their family.

So, my take away for you today is this……Find your tribe. Find that group where you feel good, where you’re supported and where you can be you.

Wishing you an awesome adventure!

#ADPi #Type1 #Type1Diabetes #FriendsforLife #ChildrenWithDiabetes #DiabetesAwarenessMonth #MakeDiabetesVisible #BeyondType1

For the fourth time, I will be running with Team JDRF at the Walt Disney World Marathon, raising money to fund the necessary research to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. If you would like to help me in my fundraising, here is the link to my donation page with JDRF….

team.jdrf.org      just enter the name Julia Buckley for the “participant’, Thank you !!

Getting lost at V&A and waiting out an over correction.

Working to London after vacation always excites me. It’s been my second home for almost 25 of my 32 years flying. I haven’t lived anywhere that long in my whole life. So yes, London is like home. When I walk into the lobby of my hotel and their signature scent (available for sale at the counter of course) hits me, I just feel home.

So, after a much too brief two hour nap, I set out for today’s adventure. Prior to my nap, I had eaten a bagel with cream cheese…my first mistake. Bagels are the physical representation of satan for a Tyoe 1. They are just plain evil. Nevertheless, I did it. So when I woke up I was stratosphere high! I knew I would be walking a lot, so I subtracted 1 unit from the correction……thought that would be enough.

I walked enjoying the fall day. Not too cool, not too hot and the clouds had cleared revealing a nice sunny day. My destination was the Victoria and Albert museum. A great place to, quite literally, get lost exploring. They even sell keychains proclaiming “get lost at V&A”. I love it there. You can see everything from Italian religious sculpture to micromosaics to very fancy sterling silver and wrought iron. There is always an interesting new exhibit or two and in the center courtyard a lovely pond and cafe. Top it off with an award winning gift shop and you’ve got the perfect afternoon! I was lucky and found a couple wonderful stocking stuffers.

Towards the end of my visit, I noticed my blood sugar taking a dive on my Dexcom. And forgot, for what must have 10-15 minutes. Long enough that it was really sinking. So, I paid for my purchases in the gift shop and walked slowly outside and plopped myself on the steps. By this time Dex was reading 45. I downed a bottle of glucose liquid and then ate an entire bag of skittles. And I waited. It didn’t take long to come up and in the meantime I did some great people watching. It was stupid of me to not notice it was dropping that quickly. I hate that I don’t feel it dropping, but that’s why I have the Dexcom. I hope soon they will fix the app, so that the alarms will override the iPhone silent mode. Nothing bad happened, but it could have. Stop and treat. Stop and treat.

Next stop was the grocery store for dinner. Because I’d been away for two months, curry was what I was after. Specifically, chicken korma, my comfort food. Took my purchases back to the hotel and had a very relaxing night. Taking it easy the first trip back from vacation is always a good idea.

So, that was my little adventure for this week. Next trip, I’m thinking with the Portrait gallery or Museum if Natural history. What do you think?

11 year Diaversary and first day back to work after vacation.

October 1, 2007. That’s the day I found out I had diabetes. It was another day before I found out that I had Type 1 diabetes. The rest is history. The honeymoon period was the best because I had little trouble controlling my blood sugars. Menopause and exiting the honeymoon period changed all that. I work very hard day in and day out to manage it. Controlling it on the airplane is entirely another story. On board, I use more insulin and it is mandatory that I drink plenty of fluids. The more dehydrated I become, the harder it is to control. So, drink your water!! Type 1 is probably my biggest adventure to date…. it’s challenging and a royal pain, but through it I have made some great friends and learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I like being challenged. I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it. I’ve learned who my real friends are and who have been relegated to acquaintances. I learned that I’m not alone, there are many in my situation who are ready to lend an ear and offer help when needed. I learned about the DOC (Diabetes Online Community). And, from other people, I learned that I have something say that might help other people. Thank you to all that have brought me this far and that will be with me the rest of the way. For those new to Type 1, we are here for you! You are not alone! Take my virtual hand and we’ll help each other.

On another note, vacation ended yesterday and tonight I’m off to London! Not sure what I have planned for tomorrow, but please join me. We will find something fun!!!

#Type1diabetes #Diabadass

The Swiss Cheese principle, Traveling with Type 1 and a review of the InPen.

So, what does Swiss cheese have to do with traveling with Type 1 diabetes? Well, I’ll tell you. The Swiss cheese principle is a model used in determining accident causes. We know that there are random holes in Swiss cheese. Individually, those holes or in our case malfunctions, are not going to be a major problem . But, when multiple holes line up (problems or malfunctions being the holes) , we have catastrophic failure. So, when I travel, my aim is to have multiple back ups for all possible problems or malfunctions. Every single pump failure I’ve ever had was in a foreign country. Really. So, in the past I’ve carried one of my old pumps as backup (along with an index card with current pump settings). I also carry long and short acting insulin pens (with needles). This summer, I learned of a new option while I was attending the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life conference in Orlando. That new option is the InPen. I have to say that I am really impressed with it. This is a pen type device that holds insulin “cartridges “. It has Bluetooth that talks to an app on your phone. You and your diabetes care team program in your insulin settings and it functions much like the pump in making your calculations. I think it’s brilliant. I love having it as my backup (much less to carry as my old pump takes different supplies as my current one). And, if I ever decide to take a pump break, it will be my go to. Take a look and see what you think. The app is easily navigated.

Is it hard to carry so many backups? Maybe. But it would be a whole lot harder to be unprepared and have to scramble to come up with a solution far from home. And, that would totally ruin my vacation. So, I’m hyper prepared. And, despite having several pump failures outside the US while working as a flight attendant, I’ve never had to go to the hospital or had any real problems. Pausing to pat myself on the back. So, be prepared and enjoy. The same goes for carrying hypo supplies. I carry at least 3….glucose tabs, glucose liquid, and some candy.

Travel safe, travel prepared!

The above picture was in front of the casino in Monte Carlo. Yes, I went in and looked for James Bond…..he wasn’t there that night 😉

Time to go home

Is there anybody that likes the “last day of vacation”. Your mind is full of a thousand things, packing, flights, squeezing in all the sights you missed, the list goes on. But, there are some trips that you have such an awesome time that you’ve worn yourself out and you’re ready to go home. This was that type of trip.

I got up at regular time and went downstairs for breakfast and asked the Sisters if I could stay at the table and write awhile. Also, I had to get on the upgrade list for my flight home. So, when finished I headed out. I’d booked the tour of the Vatican museums and Sistine chapel for 1:30, so I had time to do a little shopping and finally mail some postcards and a thank you note. Funny thing about those cards…. they have stamps from 3 countries on them because I kept forgetting to mail them. It was stupidly hot and humid so I wasn’t moving very fast, just kind of meandering through the streets. I had an early lunch so that I could make my tour.

The tour was fabulous, one everyone should do. I’m only putting in a couple pics because you should be looking at professional pictures of the artwork. And, there are tons available. My tour guide equated going into the Sistine chapel in Summer to the gates of hell because of the heat…… I agree. There were a million people packed in..sweating. It was not pleasant. But the artwork…..unbelievable. The last time I saw it I was sixteen and the restoration had just begun. In truth, you couldn’t see much. So, was just in awe. I must say having a great tour guide makes it fun.

After the tour, I took the exit into the Basilica. Seeing it through adult eyes, I appreciated it more. I wandered, took my time, really looked at everything. The only thing I didn’t do was climb to the top of the dome. I left and had to get something to drink. So I took it to the area under or next to the columns that form the semicircle around the plaza. Almost as soon as I did a thunderstorm started. Strange as it sounds, I totally enjoyed it. I watched people. I watched the way the colors on the dome changed in the rain. And, I just enjoyed being there. Eventually, I left in search of a place for dinner. Lasagna was the evenings choice and then next door for a really promising looking cookie (pistachio). Wandering back to the convent, I witnessed the most incredible sunset. Sadly, the Sisters weren’t there , which made me sad. I had really wanted to say goodbye and thank them for taking such good care of me.

A quick sleep, an awesome Uber to the airport , and here I am jetting across the pond on my way home. It was an incredible trip and I’m so glad I did it! Tomorrow or the next day will be my product review posts. I’ll be talking about the InPen, MedAngel and a couple of things I found to be helpful.

Thank you for coming along with me and I hope you enjoyed it. I hope to keep this up and show people that traveling as a Type 1 isn’t just possible, it enjoyable. Careful planning and anticipating needs are the keys!!

Don’t forget to “like” , “follow” and “share”!!

Of Saint Bernards and the Pope

After 5 hours of sleep (I was excited), I rose early for the Audience with the Pope. If you’re new to my blog, the Sisters gave me a ticket. Sister had told me that I needed to leave at 7-730 in order to get a good seat. There was a crowd going through security, of course. In the craziness, I saw familiar colored fabrics of my Tahitian friend’s that I had met in Lourdes, France. I made my way to them and held up the picture I had taken. The lady made a huge smile, we took a selfie, and then she took off a strand of her seashells (lei) and put them around my neck . I was so touched and will treasure them forever. Their group aimed for a certain spot and , not knowing any better, I aimed for the front and found a seat in The eighth row. I found out later that you should head for the sides or corners and near babies if you want to see him up close as he rides around the crowd. But if I had done that, I would have missed a lot! There were groups from all over the world and I felt that, for just a moment, we were all at peace and one with another. It was as it should always be. Joy filled everyone’s face. In the very front was a group from Kenya. They were singing and dancing. Their exuberance was such that they were video taped. All I know is that they were making all of us smile! To the right of them was a group from Guadalajara. I saw people from Poland, Germany, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and many more.

The cheers when Pope Francis came out were incredible. A happy roar fits best. He makes a circuit through and around the crowd. As I heard someone exclaim, “He really does kiss all the babies”! As he neared me what I noticed most were his kind expression and genuine smile. To put it simply, I felt the love. The service was in Italian, French, German, English, Portuguese , Polish and another that I didn’t recognize. The message was about respect for family. New marriages were blessed along with religious items. There was what I think was a blessing of Saint Bernards, but I’m not sure. I do know that it made for a great photo op. And, if you know me, you know I loved the dogs getting the attention. After that, he went to the groups that were seated near the altar. People stayed , hoping to get another up close view. I admit not wanting to leave either… the mass feeling of joy was too great to leave. I hope that the pictures will give you an idea of that feeling. One of the specific things I wanted to share was that I never felt crowded and I think it was because everyone was happy.

Eventually, I did leave as I had much more of Rome to see. This day I was completely on foot until the ride home (which I paid for the next .day). So, off I went in search of Piazza Navona. On the way, I bought a great leather satchel. I love the fountains. Next stop was the Pantheon. We are so lucky to have so much that has survived from the timed period. To be able to see the grand size of things amazes me. While there, I went in a linen shop and got the coolest hand towel for my next door neighbor…. it has fish all over it. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Monument, shop, monument, shop…… Last stop was the Trevi fountain where I threw the obligatory coins in to ensure my return to Rome another time. By this time, I was ready to drop and my feet were flat out done!

Stopped by the grocery store and picked up a sandwich and returned to my room. I think I was out by 9pm. It was a most spectacular day!!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment on my last day in Rome and my tour of the Vatican museums and Sistine chapel. Until then…..Please “like” , “share, and “follow”.

Arriving in the eternal city

After our train stopping for an hour and a half due to fire on the tracks, I arrived in Rome around 730pm. I quickly found a taxi (taxi stands are well marked in Rome) and made my way to the convent where I would be staying. Did you know that there are certain orders of nuns that have a mission of hospitality? There are quite a few that have “bed and breakfast” type hotels to encourage people to come to Rome. They are very inexpensive to stay at and the care and attention you receive is unparalleled. You have to sacrifice a little…..watching tv in a communal room instead of your room. They have great WiFi. My Sisters, whose mother House is in Madrid, we’re mostly from Puerto Rico and a few had even lived in Miami. I really can’t tell you just how loving and helpful they were. I will definitely visit again. Here are pictures of my room.

Each morning, when you enter the breakfast dining room, there is a table with your room number. It’s already set with dishes, coffee cup bread basket (sweet croissant and hard roll). On the buffet was fruit, yogurt, cereal, juices, tomatoes, coffee and tea. More than enough to get you going for a day of touring. In the background there is a tv softly playing Christian 🎶 music. There were families from Spain and France visiting while I was there.

For my first full day I had booked two experiences. The first of which was “Must have pictures of Rome and walk tour”. Renato gave the tour and he was very knowledgeable. He is a professional photographer as well and took pictures of me and the other gentleman on the trip. This was a great bonus for someone traveling alone. Back to the tour…. we met at Piazza Campidoglio, where he explained the history of each of the buildings and showed us how each was from a different period in the history of Rome. I especially liked hearing about the recycling of the columns inside the church. Each pair was from someplace different. We also visited the ruins behind the government building and the monument to the unknown soldier. Continued below the pictures…

Next, we walked through some back alleys and around the Jewish Ghetto. We crossed the bridge onto the island with the 2 hospitals and then into Trastevere (which I seem to have a mental block pronouncing). Renato took us for coffee and it was obvious this area means a lot to him. It was a great tour and I recommend it. We three parted friends and with his permission and credit , I will post his pictures this weekend (here and instagram). If you would like to try it, I found his tour on Airbnb experiences.

I found a little place for lunch and had pizza, something that usually wreaks havoc on my blood sugar, but I’m walking so much things went well. For the better part of the afternoon I wandered, just taking it all in.

Next up was another Airbnb experience. This time “Grandma Sauce, a cooking experience ” . This experience was with Andrea at his loft and we had a blast. He has crafted an out door kitchen and dining area on his rooftop that was incredible. His love of cooking and the ingredients is evident right away. There were two couple and myself. The couples were from Northern Virginia and North Carolina. We learned to make 2 sauces, meatballs and how to use them….a gnocchi bake, over meatball, and over pasta. If you look at our picture, it’s obvious how much fun we had! Please look Andrea’s experience when you come to Rome, you’ll love it.

One of my random discoveries before going to cooking classs was a cat rescue. Rome is filled with cats, so their work is appreciated and needed.

When I got back to the convent that night, Sister was waiting for me with a ticket to the Papal audience the next morning. I was so excited I could barely sleep!

And that’s it for this day! Tomorrow, my experience with the Papal audience.