Friday, November 30, 2007

Lots going on

This week has been a long one. There is so much to write that I have been putting it off. But I decided that this weekend's adventure to South Carolina for the Alzheimer's Town Hall meeting would be a separate entry so I thought I should go ahead and fill in the rest of this week.

Several weeks ago when I was going to Chicago to speak, I took the airport shuttle from Athens to Atlanta. There were 10 women in this shuttle (poor driver) and of course you can imagine there was a lot of talking! Someone asked me what I was going to Chicago for and I said a meeting. Then she asked me what kind of meeting. I told her. Then she asked me why I was going to the meeting. I told her I was speaking. She asked me what I was speaking about and I told her. As always, that opens up a new conversation. And, as always, most everyone knows or has someone in their family with Alzheimer's. The lady asking me all the questions had a mother with the disease and the lady sitting next to me had a brother (age 64) with Alzheimer's. He was in an assisted living home. Obviously, the topic revolved around Alzheimer's for the rest of the ride. I kept noticing that a lady in front of us kept turning her head to listen in on the conversation. Eventually, she turned around and joined us. Turns out she is with the Gerentology Dept. at the University of Georgia. She had participated in our Athens Memory Walk. She also asked me if I would come and speak to her class.

This past Monday night, I went to Dr. Glass' class and spoke. What a great experience it was. The head of the department, Dr. Poon, spoke before me and talked of his research with Centenarians. It was very fascinating. The class was a graduate level class and the students varied greatly in what fields they were heading into. I enjoyed speaking with them and I am hoping that I will continue to be in contact with them and they can possibly help in some future fund raising opportunities for Memory Walk. I really appreciated the opportunity to visit with them and to get to spend some time with Dr. Poon. We talked a little about the "cognitive reserve" that I have mentioned in my blog several times. He thought it would be useful to keep track every day of where "my tank" was on reserve and to highlight the reasoning behind it. I think it is a good idea, I just haven't gotten around to start logging it yet!

Going back to Chicago, a very similar thing happened to me as I was sharing a cab to the hotel with a lady from Boston. She asked me a lot of the same questions the lady in the van asked me and eventually asked me to come to Boston to speak to a group of people. She evidently works in the field of health care with an emphasis on aging. She thought it would be interesting to get some of her staff and associates together to hear what I had to say. Interesting how these things come about.

Earlier this week I went to Atlanta to visit with the Alzheimer's Assn. Chapter President, Jan Bequeath. After eleven years with the Association she is stepping down at the end of this month. Jan has been someone I have admired both as a friend and a leader. Her staff has always been there for me and she will be sorely missed. I wish her well. That same night I attended the "Better Start Living" concert -- it was a benefit concert for the Alzheimer's Association at a new venue in Atlanta. Song writer Monte Powell started organizing this about a year ago. Monte is a prolific writer and has many many No. 1 songs for country artists across the board. His family has been affected by Alzheimer's and he wanted to do something to help raise money. One of the performers he writes for is Keith Urban, so he invited Keith Urban to town for an acoustical show! It seemed to be a success and I hope a lot of money was raised. There will be other "Better Start Living" concerts to come -- possibly to a town near you!

All of my cognitive reserve was completed by yesterday. I got home from Atlanta and I think I slept the rest of the day! I was pretty out of it. I'll rest some more this morning and then this afternoon I'm off to Spartanburg SC for the Town Hall meeting Saturday morning. Someone from the Chapter office is driving me over there so I shouldn't have to call on "that reserve" until this evening when I meet with the staff from Chicago and Washington DC for dinner. I'm excited about the Town Hall meeting tomorrow. I hope the turnout will be good.

More when I return.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We had a very quiet one -- just Ralph and I. But it was a good day. I got lots of things done around the house I have been putting off and finished up my Christmas cards. Since I make my own cards it always takes awhile, and then, I can never decide who gets what card since they are all different. But, I consider it my therapy and I enjoy doing it.

Speaking of cards, my son sent us the lovliest Thanksgiving card. I won't share what he said, but it brought tears to my eyes (awwwww) -- sometimes he surprises me.

I have a busy week. I'm speaking to a class at UGA on Monday night, going to Atlanta on Wednesday and Thursday for some Alzheimer's business and then to SC on Alzheimer's business on Friday and Saturday. Wednesday night, legendary country artist Keith Urban is doing a benefit concert in Atlanta for the Alzheimer's Assn. It is headed up by award winning songwriter Monte Powell. Monte has written many songs for Keith Urban as well as other country stars. Monte Powell has Alzheimer's in his family and asked Keith to help him with this fundraiser. I hope it does well. If you are in the Atlanta area and want to come, check out the Alzheimer's Assn. website at On Saturday morning in Spartanburg SC there is a Town Hall meeting put on by the National Alzheimer's Association. The meeting is for people suffering with early stage Alzheimer's. The event is free, you just need to register. If you are in that area and would like to attend go to the national website at and follow the prompts to the Town Hall meeting site. Even if you have not been diagnosed or think you might have early stage, I would encourage you to attend. You will learn a lot and realize you are not alone.

More upon my return.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My trip to Chicago was a good one, albeit short. I don't think I was there for a whole 24 hours. It was cold and windy -- but -- it is Chicago! I wish I had taken my camera because much of the city of decorated for Christmas. I thought it was a little early, but I guess with Thanksgiving being this early that's why.

Since I was by myself I didn't venture out too much because I was afraid I would get lost. Even though I know Chicago pretty well, I felt a little uncomfortable out roaming around. And, that isn't what I was there for anyway. I did get some rest the night I got in which was good because if I hadn't I don't think things would have gone so well the next day.

The speech on Friday morning went pretty well. The Association videotaped for use elsewhere.

It's Thanksgiving week and hopefully more quiet. I need a little downtime.

More soon -- I promise

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Off to the Windy City

I have an Alzheimer's function to speak at on Friday morning so I am off to Chicago in the morning. It is suppose to be 41 degrees with 23 mph winds. That is a little chillier than Athens this time of year!

Had another meeting in Atlanta this week. As I said in my last post, I'm tired. Next week there isn't too much going on for Thanksgiving so I'm looking forward to resting and getting caught up on some things around the house.

More when I return from Chicago.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bad Day

I had a bad day yesterday. I have been out of my routine for several days and I am tired. I was anxious the whole day -- fighting off panic attacks. I have lots of undone projects and feeling stressed to finish them when I have plenty of time. My words weren't coming out right and I had a very hard time concentrating. I need to slow down a little and get some rest.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'm off to a UGA football game today. A friend of mine in Atlanta has an extra ticket and he asked me to be his date. We play Auburn and it should be a good game. I sometimes have a hard time with the noise and all that is going on but with good friends, they help me a long.

Thanksgiving is so early this year. It will be here in just a few weeks. I was thinking that this year I need to do a better job of letting all of my friends know how thankful I am for them. They have all shared in my journey and I can't thank them enough for being there when I needed someone. It's never too late to say thank you.

My son is partying in New Orleans this weekend. A bunch of his friends from the Georgia Young Democrats or some such group he belonged to in Atlanta was getting together down there and he decided to go. It must be nice to be young and do stuff like that.

Another friend of mine has decided to take the plunge and get married this summer. He is a young man that used to work for me. He's about a year older than Alan so I think I was able to relate to him pretty well when he worked for me. That makes at least four weddings this summer -- something to look forward to. As well as Alan's graduation. We received a preliminary outline of what is happening at Stanford on graduation weekend already and we need to start making our plans. Things seem to be happening so quickly! But, Alan's graduation date has been circled on our calendar for three years -- and I know that he will be ready to graduate -- he must be getting tired of school by now!

Need to get ready to go to the gym. Some unwanted pounds have started to creep up and I need to do a little more at the gym before the holidays get into full swing. Seems like there is always something to worry about.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Busy Week

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. It used to take a lot to make me feel that way but not anymore. There are lots of loose ends on some projects I am working on and that is always unsettling to me. And, the loose ends are because I am having to wait on others to tie them up. I hate that -- I'd rather do it myself and know that it is done. I'm not a procrastinator and those that are drive me crazy. I also don't like people who are late -- but that is a whole different blog subject!

Anyway, this week we have our wrap up meeting for the Memory Walk. We are still taking in money but I'm not sure we are going to make our $75,000 mark. We'll see. I also have to go to Atlanta for another Alzheimer's meeting. I'm working on a speech for a meeting in Chicago the week after that.

I'm also starting work on another project with some colleagues from the Early Stage Advocacy Group. It will be some work but something to look forward to. I only hope that I can contribute as much as everyone else does. I feel inferior sometimes when working with this group as they are all so accomplished, driven and intelligent. My husband keeps telling me that I fit into that category but I don't think I do. Perhaps I don't feel as focused because I have been fighting this disease for five years. I'm not sure what the reason is but I know that a lot of work still has to be done and I'm willing to do my part as best I can.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I'm here

I know I haven't posted in awhile. I've been kind of lazy and tired. I finally got caught up from the Memory Walk and then I was off to Atlanta for a couple of days. I'm also working on a couple of projects for the National Alzheimer's office so that is keeping me busy.

My friends from the Early Onset Advocacy Group, held their Early Memory Loss Forum last weekend in LA and from all accounts it was a huge success. You can read about it here - Hopefully, other chapters will pick up the ball and continue running with it.

It has turned cool here in the south finally. The leaves are starting to turn but with the drought we have had this year they are not so colorful. We are going to play golf today and I'm not sure how many balls we will lose in the leaves!

The UGA women's basketball season opens up tonight with an exhibition game. As you know from following this blog I'm a big fan. Our team is ranked #10 in the pre-season polls. We have lots of players this year -- it seems like we are always low in numbers because of injuries, but hopefully we will remain healthy this year. I do have my problems going to games though. Some days I can't go because of the noise. It is way too distracting to me. Sometimes we have to come home early because I can't deal with it all. I try -- I really do but it many times just too overwhelming. A friend of mine who recently retired has talked to me about going to some away games with her and the prospect of it sounds great -- I am just not sure how many of those games I can do. However, the crowds at the arenas around the league are not as large as our crowds (except a couple which we wouldn't be going to anyway) so it might not be so bad. My friends are getting used to traveling with me so that is good!

Next week I'm off to an Alzheimer's meeting in Atlanta and then off to Chicago for a few days the week after that on Alzheimer's business. I will try to enter a little more frequently.