Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Vacation Time

As I write this I am in Peoria, IL visiting my family for a few days. Over the weekend I spent time in Chicago with my son. We had some fun exploring Chicago and visiting with our friends Pody and Rick from Champaign. Pody gave us a wonderful trip to the Art Insitute of Chicago by providing lots of information about the paintings. She is an art history professor so I wouldn't expect anything less from her! We got to visit her daughter's apartment in Chicago (Rachel is an attorney in Chicago, but was out of town), we went to Second City, Navy Pier, and the Adler Planetarium. It was nice to be just be a "tourist" for awhile. On Monday, Alan and I hopped a two hour train to Bloomington where we were met by my brother, his wife and my nephew for dinner before heading on to Peoria.

The bad part about the trip so far is that I developed a cold the first day and some things I had planned for the trip I didn't do because I didn't have the energy and just didn't feel like it. So, while in Peoria, I'm trying to take it easy so I can get to feeling a little better. Plus, I'm extremely tired from the trip and some parts of it are harder than they should be.

However, being around family is nice. I don't see them often enough.

More when I return.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Well, the calendar says it is spring, but the weather doesn't feel like it now. A few weeks ago the temperatures were in the 70's and now we are lucky to get out of the 50's.

But I'm plunging into colder temps as I travel this weekend to Chicago to meet my son for spring break. It's always cold in Chicago during fall, winter and spring. And, the forecast calls for snow flurries. Then we are taking a train to Peoria to meet with my family. Alan will then head back out to the west coast and I'll spend a few more days visiting with my relatives. My friends Pody and Rick (that we saw in England) will be joining us for a day in Chicago and Alan will catch up with a high school buddy that lives in Chicago now. Lots to do, lots of people to see. I just need to pace myself and try to get some rest when I can.

I know I'll have some interesting stories when I return. I promise.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Slow Weekend

It is nice to have a "slow" weekend. Not a lot on my plate and I need the rest. I enjoy watching the basketball tournament -- both men and women's -- although I get confused a little when they keep switching back and forth between games.

Next week, I'll be off to spend a few days with Alan and my family in the midwest. It has been awhile since I have been up there and it is always good to see how everyone is and how big some of the children in my family have gotten. I wish we lived closer so we could visit more often. There never seems to be enough time to do a lot of things I'd like.

Spring is officially tomorrow. I wish the weather here in Georgia felt like it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Life in the Fast Lane

Well, yesterday I had a "once in a lifetime experience". A professional group I still belong to had a "field trip" to Talladega Speedway in Alabama. Although I knew it was going to be a long day and it would take me awhile to recover I thought that it was really something I wanted to do. Not being a real fan of racing, I wasn't too sure about our excursion -- but it was great.

Talladega is much larger than I thought it was going to be and we got to ride around the track at 120 MPH! That was really awesome. The slope on the turns is 34 degrees and it felt pretty amazing. Now the real race car drivers go at 195 and they are just inches apart at times while racing --that is pretty scary to me. Considering there were only two cars on the track when I was on it and it was scary, I cannot imagine what that must feel like.

I guess I don't have the natural urge for the "need for speed".

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


One symptom of Alzheimer's can be hallucinations. I have never really had them, but I do hear things. The things I hear are not voices but "sounds that don't belong" -- like a door slamming when it shouldn't be or a car honking its horn when there are no cars around.

Quite frequently I hear a door in our house slam. I am usually in the back part of the house when I hear this and go out to see if my husband may have come in and I didn't hear his car pull up. But no, when I go look he is not home and there is no one hear but me and the cats. And, the door that I swear I hear slam is already shut and I knew it was all day long. I've mentioned this several times to my husband because it is so annoying but he always tells me not to worry about it -- it is probably a sound coming from the neighbor's house and it just sounds like it is coming for our house. So, I haven't mentioned it in awhile.

This weekend, our son was in Atlanta spending the night and expected to arrive home around noon on Sunday morning. At around 5:00 a.m. my husband "heard a door slam" and woke me up when I heard him say "Alan is home". When I looked at the clock, I knew there was no way Alan would be coming in at 5:00 a.m. when he was spending the night in Atlanta. I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. My husband did not hear Alan come in or go to his room so he got up and went to look in the garage to see if the car was there. Alan was not home -- Ralph was "just hearing my noises"! I told him that it was the exact same sound I would hear during the day and how annoying it was. He was convinced someone had slammed that door. Now his explanation is "maybe we have ghosts"!

Monday, March 13, 2006

A New Photo

Many of you have been asking me to post a new photo of my son. Since he was home this weekend I thought it would be a good opportunity. It's not the best photo in the world and maybe when I see him in a few weeks in Chicago we can do better.

My hair is a lot longer and in this photo it isn't curled so it looks a bit straggly. Many of you have never seen my hair that long. I decided to start letting it grow about a year and a half ago. Since I wasn't working everyday and didn't have to spend a lot of time on it everyday, I thought I would try it. It has been well over thirty years since I have had any length to my hair. Some say it is because I turned 50 and this is my "mid-life crisis" -- if so, I say great -- since that isn't much of a "crisis" to me. It's surprising that a lot of folks don't recognize me with long hair, but sometimes that can be a blessing, because I don't remember them so then I don't feel so awkward!

Alan is safely back in Palo Alto facing a full day of classes. It was certainly nice to have him home. Now back to the routine!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The weekend

Well, it is just Saturday afternoon but it has already been a long weekend. My husband and I just got back from Augusta where I spoke at a conference for the Alzheimer's Association for caregivers. Everyone was so nice and very attentive when I spoke. I have said before that it seems like good therapy for me when I do this and I hope in some small way I am able to help others. The group was great and so very gracious. I appreciate being asked to speak because I have no idea how long I'll be able to continue to do it. It's tiring but it is so worth it. There are a lot of people out there fighting for us that -- it is the least I can do for now. Thanks to Kathy and Kimberly for asking me to be a part of the conference.

My son is off to Atlanta for the tribute to his friend that passed away. It has been hard for me as a parent, as it is for most parents, I suspect, that you hurt when your children hurt. Losing a friend at such a young age is tough. Adam was a special individual and did more in his short life than many will do in their entire lifetime. His parents should be proud and I know that those in his life are much better off by having Adam as a friend.

Alan will be leaving to go back to California tomorrow and the house will be much quieter. But I hate to see him go. I just get used to him being around and he is off again. In a few weeks, though, we will be in Chicago together for a few days and getting to visit with friends and family. That will be nice.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Week

Well, it has certainly taken me longer to rest up from Little Rock than it should have. It has just been hard for me to get up these days. Although, the doctor gave me a new sleeping pill a couple of weeks ago -- maybe it is starting to work!

I have a speech to give this weekend. It is in Augusta at an Education conference for caregivers. I haven't spoken for awhile so I hope I do o.k. When I go, I usually take two versions of a speech with me -- one that is totally written out and then one that is just notes. Depending on what kind of a day I am having will determine whether or not I have to read it or I can wing it from notes. Not sure what kind of day Saturday will be. I always hope that I can leave folks with a little something that they didn't already know, but at times it seems like I am "preaching to the choir" since many have been associated with this disease much longer than I have.

Last night on NBC news they spoke to a gentleman that had early stage Alzheimer's. That gentleman was in Washington DC at the Public Policy Forum with me for a couple of years. He seems to still be doing pretty well. I haven't seen him in about a year. I hope I can say that in another year.

My son will be home tonight to attend his friend's memorial service this weekend. It will be nice to have him home, although I wish it was under better circumstances.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Coming/Going Home

Well, I came home from Little Rock in one piece. Our team lost in the semi-finals and we were not real happy about that. The trip back was long due to construction, but it is nice to be home.

My son is coming home this week. He is coming home for a memorial service for his friend Adam. (See post below). Adam's death saddens me so much. My heart goes out to his family and friends because it is such a tragic loss. I guess Adam has "gone home" too.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

More Sad News

Well, as I write this I am in Little Rock Arkansas -- the women are winning and that is a good thing. I've finally figured out how to get the computer to work while I am here.

But driving over to Little Rock on Thursday, I got a call from my son in California. He had been notified that one of his best friends and former room mate at Georgia Tech had been found dead in his apartment in Atlanta. His name was Adam Stevens. Adam had taken a job with a company in Norcross (outside of Atlanta) after he graduated so he and Alan were able to stay connected. He traveled a lot for business and he recently returned from a two week business trip to India. Adam evidently died upon his return because he didn't contact his office when he returned and they sent someone looking for him and his body was found. Foul play is not suspected, nor is drugs or alcohol. Alan told me that Adam had a thyroid problem but he didn't think it was life threatening. It is so sad to lose someone so young. He was in his early 20's. In high school my son had a friend that was killed in a car accident and one friend was murdered. When I was growing up I didn't have to experience the death of any friends, just family. That is hard on young people. It is such a shame. An autopsy will be done on Adam's body to determine the cause of death. I feel so bad for his parents and for his friends.

Life is so precious.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

On The Road Again

I'm back on the road this weekend -- to watch the UGA Women's basketball team play in the SEC tournament in Little Rock Arkansas. My husband isn't going with me -- I'm going with three other ladies and we are driving out there. I'm a little anxious about it because I don't travel well these days. I feel more comfortable when my husband is with me -- but all of these ladies are my friends and they understand my situation. I'm fortunate to have friends that still want to go places with me!

I hope we are gone for several days because that means we are winning!