It’s interesting how seemingly unrelated things all of a sudden come together and reinforce one another.
Shelby has gotten more and more involved with various diabetes organizations. She is a group leader in Richmond for DiabetesSisters, a support group for women with diabetes. She is now on the Virginia Advocacy Committee of the American Diabetes Association and we have gone to Washington so she can advocate for diabetes support and funding from Congress.
I have been writing ever since the 2016 election about political events of the day. It’s my way to keep track and to exhale all the terrible stuff that is going on every day in our political landscape. Who knew that diabetes would teach me about how government functions?
Shelby has walked the halls of the government buildings that house the offices of Senators and Congresspeople. She’s learned some of the ins and outs of talking to our elected officials. She’s met with the staffs of both our Virginia senators and not only our Congressperson but others in the Virginia delegation. You can tell the folks who have been around a long time; they have the biggest offices. John McCain’s was huge with two flags out in the hallway. Paul Ryan’s is locked and you have to know “the secret knock” to get in. Our own David Brat had a staff who was willing to listen until they heard the words “health care” and “pre-existing condition.”
We went to a Senate hearing on insulin affordability. It’s much like hearings you see on TV where Senators float in and out. Each repeats what another just said because they weren’t there to hear it the first time. After it’s all over you wonder what, if anything, was the point. Did it do any good? It’s hard to say.
Shelby has been busy writing diabetes’ related books: one on carb counting, and one on Instant Pot cooking (coming in March 2019). She has been getting more exposure and recognition for her efforts. She was contacted by Good Housekeeping and appeared in their online version. Claire, our six-year-old niece, frequently comes over to cook with Shelby, especially before Wednesday night family dinner, when her whole family comes over to eat. Claire and Shelby were featured in a Dutch magazine that wrote about cooking and diabetes.
Family dinners also present the challenge of getting the boys to look up from their phones so we can have a conversation. Mitch, the eldest of the bunch, is now driving. Tyler, two years younger, is doing well in school and he and Claire frequently join Uncle Rick for rock climbing at the local gym. We’ve also been the good aunt and uncle, going to lots of soccer games.
We’ve done a little traveling together, and I’ve done a lot on my own. In March, I went to Belize and Guatemala on a Mayan tour.
I got home and turned around and went to Seattle to see my son, Alex, then flew to Chicago where I grabbed the group flight to Jordan so I could go to Petra. In April, Shelby and I went to Davidson, NC: I for the Maya at the Lago conference; she for the quiet and the food in town.
In May I went to the 50th reunion of what would have been my graduating class had I stayed in public school. Our friends Jim and Elaine stopped in and we then went to Maine for a Kinnaird family reunion. My brother, his wife, and his two: Lance and Emily with significant other Noah came up along with me, Shelby, Alex, Katie, and her husband Jon.
Following that week the Anderson clan came up: Shelby’s brother Ben and his family: wife Karen and kiddos Mitch, Tyler, and Claire.
Katie is now installed on a tenure track at Smith College.
She and Jon just bought a house in November and “they are never moving again” she says. Jon is working at a brewery, while Katie is teaching and attending math conferences around the world.
In August, we went to Baltimore for a huge diabetes event, the American Association of Diabetes Educators annual conference, where Shelby was on a panel discussion about working with a diabetes educator from the patient’s perspective. I had several days to wander through the museums of Baltimore. (I highly recommend the Walters Art Gallery.)
We also began taking a weekly yoga class from Al at Southern Comfort Yoga (SoCoYo), which has been great for building up strength and balance.
Shelby’s work on her first book so impressed the publisher that they wanted to work with her on another one. This time it was a diabetic friendly cookbook for the Instant Pot, which is a programmable pressure cooker. We had two of them going most days for several months. One week it was meat, the next vegetarian, then breakfast, and finally dessert. We bought extra storage containers and fed our nearby family all kinds of things they probably would have never eaten. I assisted as bottle washer, sous chef, and “you try this recipe based on what I wrote and let me know if you have a problem” second cook.
In September, I was lured to another Mayan conference, this time in Florida. It was on Mayan caves. Anyone who had done anything on Mayan cave archaeology in the last thirty years was there. One fellow from an engineering department had done laser point mapping of various caves and Mayan altars in caves. His work was stunning. What he could do in three or four days would have taken a traditional field archaeologist a whole season or more to accomplish.
Shelby and I were then off to Chicago for a DiabetesSisters group leader conference. (They call their groups “PODS.”) Once again I was forced to wander through museums. Ah me. I went to the Field Museum, having no idea what was there. Wow. What a great natural history and archaeology museum. It turns out that it is right next to Soldier Field where the Chicago Bears football team plays. I picked the day of a home game to go to the museum, which added an additional 80,000 folks going my way that day. The day before we got on the metro at the same time the Cubs were playing a play-off baseball game.
While in Chicago we took in two shows “Hamilton” and “Tootsie.” Both excellent. Shelby also participated in a fitness work out program – “Hip Hop Fit.” She can move her hips! The instructor looked like Jerry Rice.
In October we traveled to the far end of our Congressional district to hear the only debate between our then Congressman, Dave Brat, and his Democratic challenger Abigail Spanberger. We thought we were in the minority until Abigail gave her closing comments and three-quarters of the room was so moved that they jumped to their feet and applauded.
The election was sweet. SWEET!
The kid (that’s me) deep fried a turkey for Thanksgiving. To test out the deep fryer I tried frying donuts and empanadas the day before. I thought, “How hard can this be? Drop some dough in hot oil and be done in a couple of hours. Start at eight, be done by ten.” I got started at nine, and with Shelby’s tireless help, managed to get the frying done as the sun was going down. (I gotta tell you, to be doing something like that the day before Thanksgiving when the whole family is coming over to our house says a lot about the kindness of the woman I am married to.)
This December we are going to Mexico City. I finally talked Shelby into participating in a few days of an archaeological tour with a personalized tour of Mexico City before. I told the guide that Shelby liked food and cooking, he said, “Well, we could do the tour we did for Rick Bayless.”
“Rick Bayless?” I thought, “Rick Bayless, Top Chef Master? Yeah, that’ll do.”
Rick and Shelby