How about a little trip down memory lane from an old-timer at TuD? I know I'm not the only one, so please chime in with your own memories from Ye Olde Days!
I had never belonged to any social networking site, though I had lurked at one (the ubiquitous facebook came much later when I finally admitted it might be the only way to keep track of my busy daughter and nieces!). My D had been diagnosed a few months earlier and the focus it took to try for control had sapped my creative spirit. I was drained and close to despair. One day, after long hours researching at every D site I could find, I absent mindedly searched "diabetes and artists". Up popped Beth's "Diabetic Artists" group here and I was hooked. And I noticed right away, not just Manny as founder, but also Andreina as co-founder---an artist's vision woven right into the founding philosophy. I maybe didn't know it right then, but in very short order, this was my online home.
When I joined, there were under a thousand members. Manny himself and kindly Doris were the first to greet me. Soon after, when I posted my first shy question about how to "properly" test in public, many other open-hearted folks chimed in. My first public testing was to happen at jury duty and I was very nervous. Early on, I made friends with The Twins, young Amylia Grace and Rachel Joy. While they are not here a lot now, they became lifelong friends. We exchange notes and phone calls regularly. I had coffee with Amylia Grace 3000 miles away from my home when we were in Madison for my niece's doctoral ceremonies. And now Rachel Joy lives just south of me in Monterey—near Santa Cruz where I visit my daughter at least once a year, so we know we will meet in not too long. Here's a shot of my sweet twins today with Amylia Grace's precious daughter, Piper: ![|301x480](upload://tcE7piVoGtQ4j0Ysx1EZeiu3voj.jpeg)
Beth was the first artist of TuD from whom I acquired a work. At that time she was working in silver making exquisite necklaces. The piece I have became my ritual good-luck charm for the 13 round-trips to Minneapolis on Amtrak in the years I was going to and fro to care for Mom—I would always wear it with a silk jacket for dinner on the Empire Builder. Since then, I have also been blessed to acquire a few of Andreina's gorgeous prints. Beth has since become a designer of exquisite fantasy game boards and accessories. Andre also designed the TuD postcards which I always have on me to hand out from here to Minnesota, from train to local grocery store.
When Manny and Andre were deciding where on the west coast to settle, they drove from the Bay area through Portland to Seattle to check it out and visit Beth. They came to dinner at our house and much fun was had. Santi embraced these strangers with all the open-heartedness of his parents. He's also going to rock the world in whatever area of expertise he decides to develop. We talked with them about non-profits and foundations (we had been in and around non-profits our whole lives and founded two here in Portland). Here’s a shot of me and Manny at a local restaurant on that visit:
It was also the first discussion of their idea for local/regional Ambassadors who would develop relationships with TuD members in their area and arrange meet-ups. This I signed on for and it was fun, but harder than I anticipated---all my organizing had been in the non-virtual world—hundreds of phone calls, etc. Organizing locally within a specific site was much more difficult. But we managed 3 here: the first was a picnic potluck in one of our lovely parks, the others coffee/tea at cozy establishments. Here's a shot of the last one. We gathered in a downtown shopping zone before the winter holidays so folks could take a break from shopping. And we always made them easily accessible by Portland's excellent mass transit system. This shot includes our very own Blind Chef, Ricky Joe Cook. He has also become a lifelong friend:
Let's see. Some other fond memories in no particular order (we're both retired now and time is very fluid—we bought a wall clock that we can glance at to see what day of the week it is!): I was incredibly honored to be asked to submit a word for Marie's beautiful Word in Hand TuD quilt. Here's my square plus. If you haven't seen it yet, do visit Marie's photo gallery:
There was “No Sugar Added” TuD’s book of poems generated here in our Poetry Group. That group was founded by Sohair in Riyadh, a pediatric endocrinologist and poet and now, in retirement becoming an amazing photographer. Another lifelong friend. She comes to the states for conferences and the like and we are sure we will meet up someday. I keep up with her on fb now. I was going to help in the editing, but my mother’s illness worsened and I couldn’t contribute beyond my poem.
Speaking of Mom’s illness. I had to move in with her 3000 miles from my home for her final 3 months. My husband and I had never been apart for more than 2 weeks and it was very hard. But TuD was always there. I could get Mom settled for the night and plug in and some of you would be awake and there instantly. Here’s a shot of Mom’s Memorial Service. The beautiful arrangement with the bright yellow flowers was from TuD and meant a lot:
On a very bright side, during these years, I bonded with Kathy who was going through a similar ordeal. And we actually met up in Minneapolis a couple times. Here’s a shot of us with Scott, TuD member and now international Diabetes blogger and advocate! Kathy and I are in touch daily and I cherish her friendship. Oh and that is Beth’s necklace I am wearing!
Nel and Linda, I am in touch with daily, as well as Natalie, Trudy and Rick (I can say I knew him “when” when he was still a baby blogger and not so famous, Hah). These are all long time TuD folks I would never otherwise have met and who have enriched my life, growing my heart. Nel is in Bermuda right now in her umpteenth run as a Canadian advocate for diabetes. Nel carried the Olympic torch for Canadian Diabetics on a leg of it’s journey. If you haven’t met her yet, look her up! Tmana and Gerri, who are not here a lot just now turned me on to lo-carb baking and I still use their recipes regularly. Muragaki and I communicate in several ways and she warms my heart. I have come to know Melissa well enough to be comforted by her taking the reins here at TuD. Marie and Melissa joined close to the time I did. I think we became friends early on, but I know the friendships were cemented when they moved into Admin and Care, etc. I often needed their help after committing some Computery sin. I have never lost touch with them one way or another and love them dearly. Oh here’s an interesting tidbit: Some of you may be familiar with Jenny Ruhl’s excellent book, “Blood Sugar 101”, she was here daily while writing it and sort of testing out her findings. TuD was fertile ground for research!
Enough and more than enough! It’s been an amazing time for me. TuD has kept me sane and nourished through sometimes failing spirits. For all of my Life With Diabetes, TuD has been there……Blessings on us all, as ever…Judith in Portland