Friday, December 2, 2011

Maintain Your Brain Friday - Word Play

Below are three words that have more than one anagram each. See how many you can find.


Good Luck!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Maintain Your Brain Friday - Football Edition

Since everyone is probably still in turkey comas, I decided to make today's Maintain Your Brain Friday an easy one. To celebrate the last weekend of regular season college football, today's trivia is football themed. Here it goes!

In what conference do the last 5 national champions play? Name those 5 national champions.

Hint: My favorite team is the defending national champions!
Good Luck!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Maintain Your Brain Friday is Back

Maintain Your Brain Friday is back! I'm sorry I haven't posted one in a while. I'll be back to my normal schedule now...I promise.

This week's puzzle is a wordplay. Below are several phrases that are anagrams of the names of well-known people, both living and deceased. Determine as many of the names as you can.

1. Me, radium ace (scientist)
2. I'll make a wise phrase (playwright)
3. Bursting presence (American rock 'n roller)
4. Old West Action (actor/director)
5. Edge? Ref error (tennis great)

Good Luck!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

World Champion Cardinals!!!

Ok, so this post isn't directly related to Alzheimer's or to running. The Cardinals are the 2011 World Series Champions! I am one happy Cardinals' fan!! I know that my grandpa is up in heaven and is also one happy Cardinals' fan. I'm happy to know that he is up there knowing that the Cardinals won and able to remember all the Cardinals WS victories!

My brother and I were able to go to a game this year...what an amazing opportunity. Unfortunately, it was down in Texas. Unfortunately, the Cardinals lost that game. Fortunately, the Rangers did not win the series!

We had so much fun. It's something we'll remember for a lifetime.

Here are a couple of pictures.

Rangers Stadium

Add ImageThis is my favorite picture. Albert and Yadi look like they are having so much fun!

We were surrounded by Rangers fans, obviously. There was a girl sitting in the row below us. She was around 10 years old and a die-hard Rangers' fan. She wasn't sure what to make of us. I don't think she'd ever seen Cardinals' fans before...I've never gotten so many dirty looks from one person before. When Yadi had the hit that put the Cardinals up 2-0, Steven and I were on cloud 9. That first Rangers homerun that was hit to the section next to us look a little wind out of our sails. Even after the Rangers tied it up, we were still optimistic. It was only after the bullpen phone fiasco and Lance Lynn coming in to intentionally walk someone that we thought we might be in for a Cardinals loss. We were right...but the never say die Cardinals won the next 2 in St. Louis.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Maintain Your Brain - Word Sequences.

There are four words in a row, each of which is related to the one previous to it in some way. You will be given two choices to complete the five word sequence. The goal is to figure out which of the two comes next in the sequence.

1. sun, bun, fun, run, ...
a. pan
b. pun

2. arrive, immortal, attire, bass, ...
a. connect
b. deem

3. four, nine, leaf, tree, ...
a. nice
b. branch

4. I, am, two, call, ...
a. build
b. appearance

5. boy, man, mister, gent, ...
a. gal
b. guy

6. the, girl, loves, watching, ...
a. movies
b. she

7. scientist, Italian, inventor, controversial, ...
a. musician
b. Galileo

8. wow, dad, tot, pop, ...
a. mom
b. lip

9. answer, bright, crewcut, daring, ...
a. afraid
b. engaged

10. at, par, span, latch, ...
a. crabby
b. creamy

This puzzle is from The Total Brain Workout by Marcel Danesi, Ph.D.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Running - After All, It is in the Blog Title

The 2011 Chicago Marathon was today. Tomorrow will mark 1 year since the 2010 Chicago Marathon. A lot of things were going through my mind this morning.

I can't believe it's been a year, and I have barely started running again. My original plan was to take a month or two off and then pick up where I left off. Boy, is that not the way it's gone.

I started running again semi-consistently...a least twice a week. I restarted about 3 weeks ago. My first run back was amazing. The other day I remembered how much I loved running. Working out in my living room is just not the same. It's not actual ME time. When I'm running it's just the road and me. I don't have to worry about the dogs, John, work, errands, etc. I just have to worry about putting one foot in front of the other. I was so rejuvenated...I began to think about running the Germantown Half Marathon in March.

All of those positive thoughts came to a screeching halt today. I decided to go running to celebrate all those running the marathon today. I made it about half a mile and began to question why I was even running. The word failure kept playing through my mind. I felt like a failure for only running 18 of the 26.2 miles last year. I felt like a failure for deciding not to try again at the St. Jude Marathon 2 months later. I felt like a failure for not starting back to my running. I felt like a failure by going out to run 3 miles while wearing my Chicago Marathon shire. I felt like a failure for making my friends and family spend their time and money to come to Chicago to not see me cross the finish line. I couldn't shake these thoughts...I walked the half mile back to my house crying the whole way.

I'm going to try to go for a run tomorrow before work. Let's hope these negative thoughts leave my head.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Maintain Your Brain - MLB Playoff Edition

To celebrate the MLB playoffs, today's puzzle is baseball themed. It's also short and sweet, so that you can watch the games. :)


In a 9 inning playoff game, what is the minimum number of pitches that a pitcher, who pitches the whole game, can throw?

That's the puzzle. Have fun watching baseball!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Maintain Your Brain Friday - Trivia Teasers

Try your luck with the following teasers...things you have seen a million times, but you're just not quite sure.

1. Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, Doc, and the seventh dwarf is?

2. Do books have their even-numbered pages on the left or right?

3. Name the five colors on a Campbell soup label.

4. There are two one-eyed Jacks in a typical deck of cards. Which suit faces right?

5. How many hot dog buns are in a standard package?

This puzzle came from The Big Brain Puzzle Book from the Alzheimer's Association.

The answers will be posted on Monday in the comments.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Answers to No Vowels

Answers to puzzle:

1. Thailand
2. Argentina
3. Australia
4. Suriname
5. Pakistan

How did you do? I must admit, I missed number 4.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Maintain Your Brain Friday - No Vowels

Since last week's Maintain Your Brain puzzle was lengthy, I'm giving you a shorter one today.
Below are the names of countries with the vowels removed. See how quickly you can determine the countries.
1. Thlnd
2. Rgntn
3. Strl
4. Srnm
5. Pkstn
Good luck!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Answers to Deduction Puzzle

Here are the answers to the deduction puzzles.

A. Gina: cat - Benji; dog - Droopy
Barbara: cat - Ruff; dog - Benji
Harry: cat - Mack; dog - Ruff
Danny: cat - Droopy; dog - Mack

B. Katia - DNA Expert
Lina - Detective
Maya - Criminologist
Johanna - Profiler
Pina - Anthropologist
Paul - Weapons Expert

C. Bella: iPod - green; beverage - tea
Chita: iPod - black; beverage - juice
Ira: iPod - orange; beverage - milk
Dina: iPod - blue; beverage - coffee
Mika: iPod - red; beverage - soft drink

D. Amy Smith - computer
Katia Kristoff - clothes
Shamila Armad - jewelry
Renata Miller - CDs
Henrietta Cramer - books

Stay tuned for another puzzle tomorrow!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Maintain Your Brain Friday - Deduction Puzzles

The following puzzles are deduction puzzles. Deductive reasoning involves reaching a conclusion from premises or given facts. The conclusion is true only if the premises or facts are true.

A. Four friends (Gina, Barbara, Harry, & Danny) each bought a cat and a dog last week. Each one decided to name his or her cat after the dog of one of the others. The dogs have different names.
Determine the names of each friend's cat and dog.

1. One of the dogs is named Mack.
2. Harry's cat is not named Benji.
3. Harry's dog is named Ruff.
4. Danny's cat is named Droopy.
5. Gina named her cat after Barbara's dog.

B. Five women (Katia, Lina, Maya, Johanna, and Pina) and one man (Paul) were invited to a crime scene in a large precinct as experts. The areas of expertise covered were profiler, anthropologist, criminologist, detective, DNA expert, and weapons expert.
Determine each person's area of expertise.

1. Katia, Lina, and the anthropologist met at the airport as they came in.
2. Paul, the only male in the group, is not a criminologist.
3. Maya is not a detective.
4. Johanna is neither the anthropologist nor the DNA expert.
5. After viewing the crime scene, the six experts had a general discussion about the crime at lunch together. Sitting around the table were the criminologist, Katia, Johanna, the weapons expert, the female detective, and Pina.

C. Bella, Chita, Ira, Dina, and Mika are best of friends. Yesterday, they met at a cafe to compare their new iPods. Each iPod was a different color (black, blue, green, red, orange), and each friend ordered a different beverage (coffee, soft drink, juice, milk, tea).
What color iPod did each one have, and what beverage did each one order?

1. The person with the red iPod ordered the soft drink.
2. Chita had the juice.
3. Dina brought a blue iPod.
4. Mika did not order milk.
5. The person who ordered milk had the orange iPod.
6. Bella had a green iPod. She did not order coffee.

D. Amy, Katia, Shamila, Renata, and Henrietta work as store clerks at a large mall. One of them has the last name Miller. Each woman sells only one kind of merchandise.
From the following clues, determine each woman's full name and what she sells.

1. Renata, who does not know Ms. Kristoff, does not sell jewelry.
2. Ms. Armad does not sell CDs or books.
3. The five women are Shamila, Renata, Ms. Smith, Ms. Cramer, and the clothing salesperson.
4. Amy's last name is neither Kristoff nor Cramer. Neither Amy nor Ms. Cramer sells CDs.
5. Neither the computer clerk nor the clothing salesperson is named Henrietta or Ms. Armad.

These puzzles came from The Total Brain Workout by Dr. Marcel Danesi, available on Amazon.

Good Luck!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm So Excited, and I Just Can't Hide It

As you can tell from the title, I am very excited. I have participated in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk (now named Walk to End Alzheimer's) in Memphis every year since 2005. I have watched the walk grow each year, but have always thought that it could be even bigger and better. Now, I have an opportunity to see that it is.

The West Tennessee office was looking for new volunteers to be on the Walk Committee. Of course, I immediately volunteered my time! I just assumed that since I was new to the committee that I would be in a small role...I assumed incorrectly. I am the Walk Event Co-Chair! The person who has been the Walk Event Chair the past 2 years wants to start assuming a smaller role on the committee in the future, so I am being trained for that position. I could not be happier!

The Memphis Walk to End Alzheimer's is November 12. This doesn't leave much time for my ideas to be implemented this year. The Events Coordinator and I are already planning big things for next year's walk though. She really values my opinion, so I know that I will be making a difference. In the near future, I would love to see this event have the same amount of participation as some of the other big name charity events in town.

For those in the Memphis area, I would love for you to participate in this year's walk. It's FREE! All the festivities begin at Auto Zone Park November 12 at 9am. The walk itself is a 2.5 mile course through downtown Memphis. There will be amazing views of the Mississippi River ("The Greatest River in the World" according to Grandpa). You can sign up as an individual or create a team and walk with friends/family/coworkers. There is no fundraising requirement. However, if you choose to fundraise, I won't stop you. :)

Please click to visit the 2011 Walk to End Alzheimer's Memphis TN page.

In the past, I have put a lot of effort into fundraising for this event. Now, I will put less effort on that and more on recruiting people to participate. If you can't make it to the walk, I will still gladly accept any donations. Please click to visit my fundraising page.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

7 Ways to Help Prevent Alzheimer's

Here is a link to a news article detailing 7 ways to help prevent Alzheimer's and explanations to why these 7 will help prevent Alzheimer's.

7 Ways:

1. Get Moving
2. Don't Smoke
3. Eat More Watermelon
4. Go to Bed
5. Walk Outside
6. Take a Class
7. Drop a Few

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Answers to Word Play



Saturday, September 10, 2011

Maintain Your Brain - Wordplay

Unscramble the following words to form the names of common animals. The first letters of the correctly solved animal names spell out the name of another animal.


Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Answers to Odd One Out

1. spill, cusp, blame, aspect, inspire
- Only blame does not contain the cluster sp in its structure.

2. scarlet, blue, vermillion, crimson, coral
- All words except blue refer to a shade, tinge, or hue of red.

3. limp, drop, plain, like, true
- All words except plain are 4 letter words.

4. orange, carrot, bean, squash, potato
- Orange is a fruit while all others refer to vegetables.

5. balloon, sphere, globe, cube, marble
- All the words except cube refer to things that have a spherical shape.

6. avid, era, island, try, underneath
- Try is the only word that does not start with a vowel.

7. send, comprehend, catch, impend, trend
- All words except catch end with the cluster nd.

8. water, clay, fluid, drink, serum
- All words except clay refer to liquids.

9. away, easy, aha, data, manna
- All the words except easy have two a's in them.

10. cup, bowl, box, pole, vase
- All the words except pole refer to containers.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Maintain Your Brain Friday - Odd One Out

Today's Maintain Your Brain puzzle is "Odd One Out."

In each set of five words, one does not fit in. The idea is to spot a logical pattern of some kind in the words. The pattern might be in the structure of the words or the meaning of the words.

Good luck!

1. spill, cusp, blame, aspect, inspire
2. scarlet, blue, vermillion, crimson, coral
3. limp, drop, plain, like, true
4. orange, carrot, bean, squash, potato
5. balloon, sphere, globe, cube, marble
6. avid, era, island, try, underneath
7. send, comprehend, catch, impend, trend
8. water, clay, fluid, drink, serum
9. away, easy, aha, data, manna
10. cup, bowl, box, pole, vase

Due to the holiday weekend, answers will be posted on Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pat Summitt Diagnosis

It's been a week since I heard the horrible news about Pat Summitt's early-onset Alzheimer's diagnosis. It has taken me this whole week to finally write a blog post about it. I was so shocked by the news that it's taken me a while to get my emotions under control.

Let me start off by saying that I'm not a Tennessee fan. I am just a regular sports fan who has always admired Pat Summitt. I'm also a granddaughter who saw first hand what a debilitating disease Alzheimer's is.

My first thought upon hearing about the diagnosis was, "Well, there goes everything I've thought about exercising both your mind and body." Here is Pat Summitt, a former basketball player and amazing basketball mind. She's clearly been exercising her mind by coaching the Lady Vols for the past 37 years. She practically starting women's competitive basketball. She is a basketball genius. You have to exercise your mind to use your genius! I've never been to a practice, but I'm sure that she exercises her body in those practices too. I highly doubt that she's just been sitting on the sidelines during practice for 37 years.

These thoughts really shook me, and I started questioning the things I've read through the studies. It makes me think about how my Grandpa would work a crossword puzzle everyday, but yet he was still inflicted with Alzheimer's. But I have to remind myself, there is no true prevention. There are only ways to HOPEFULLY delay the onset. This gives me hope. Maybe Pat Summitt would have been been diagnosed in her 40s, instead of at 59. Maybe Grandpa would have been inflicted earlier, and I wouldn't have gotten to know him as well growing up. All I know is that I will continue maintaining my brain and exercising my body, because every day that I'm Alzheimer's free is an amazing day. I encourage everyone to do the same!

Back to Pat Summitt: The more I've thought about this, the less shocked and more saddened I've become. I'm saddened because she has accomplished amazing things. She has over 1000 victories! She's helped her team win 8 national championships and play in 18 final fours. She has 2 Division 1 basketball courts named after her. She's in the Basketball Hall of Fame. She won an Olympic silver medal as a player and an Olympic gold as a coach. She helped mold women's basketball into what it is today. I'm saddened because she's accomplished amazing things, but in the end she won't remember any of them.

She (and everyone living with Alzheimer's) is one of the many reasons that I dedicate so much of my time to the Alzheimer's Association. We have to end Alzheimer's.

Answers to 8/27 Puzzle

Since I posted the puzzle a day late, I gave you an extra day to work on it.

Here are the answers and explanations:

1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, ... 19. The numbers increase by three.

4, 3, 5, 4, 6, 5, 7, ... 6. The difference between each consecutive pair of numbers, starting with the first two, is 1: 4-3=1, 5-4=1, and so on.

2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, ... 128. Each number is twice the one before it.

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, ... 23. Each number in the sequence is a consecutive prime number.

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, ... 55. Starting with 2, each number is the sum of the previous three.

1, 1, 2, 4, 7, 13, 24, ... 44. Starting with 4, every number is the sum of the previous three. I did these before I looked up the answers. This is the only one I missed.

3, 9, 27, 81, 243, 729, ... 2187. The numbers are in ascending powers of 3.

16807, 2401, 343, 49, ... 7. The numbers are in descending powers of 7.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Maintain Your Brain Friday, er Saturday

I'm sorry for being a day late for Maintain Your Brain Friday. I so busy at work and home yesterday maintaining my brain, that I didn't have time to help you maintain yours.

I know my mom is not going to like me for today's puzzle, because it is a number sequence puzzle, but here it is.

For each sequence, determine the next number in the sequence.

1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, ...

4, 3, 5, 4, 6, 5, 7, ...

2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, ...

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, ...

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, ...

1, 1, 2, 4, 7, 13, 24, ...

3, 9, 27, 81, 243, 729, ...

16807, 2401, 343, 49, ...

Good luck! The answers will be posted Monday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Answers to 8/19 Puzzle

Sorry about being a day late posting the answers.

32 = DF at which WF : 32 Degrees Fahrenheit at which Water Freezes
26 = L of the A : 26 Letters of the Alphabet
54 = PC in a D plus J : 54 Playing Cards in a Deck plus Jokers
2 = P in a P : 2 Peas in a Pod
101 = D : 101 Dalmatians
8 = H in a WD : 8 Hours in a Work Day
3 = BM, SHTR : 3 Blind Mice, See How They Run
3 = L on a TL : 3 Lights on a Traffic Light
100 = S in the USS : 100 Senators in the United States Senate
8 = S on the SS : 8 Signs on the Stop Sign
7 = C of the R : 7 Colors of the Rainbow
57 = HV : 57 Heinz Varieties
18 = H on a GC : 18 Holes on a Golf Course
24 = H in a D : 24 Hours in a Day
9 = L of a C : 9 Lives of a Cat
1001 = AN : 1001 Arabian Nights
16 = O in a P : 16 Ounces in a Pint

How'd you do? I bet you can't wait for this Friday's puzzle!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Maintain Your Brain Friday

I am going to start a new weekly post on here, "Maintain Your Brain Friday." Every Friday, I will post a puzzle, riddle, or something else just to make you think.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, research has found that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserves of brain cells and connections. You could even generate new brain cells.

So, here is this week's puzzle. I will post answers on Monday. You have all weekend to maintain your brain! :)

Interpret the following puzzles. I have done the first one for you as an example.

7 = D in a W : 7 days in a week
32 = DF at which WF
26 = L of the A
54 = PC in a D plus J
2 = P in a P
101 = D
8 = H in a WD
3 = BM, SHTR
3 = L on a TL
100 = S in the USS
8 = S on the SS
7 = C of the R
57 = HV
18 = H on a GC
24 = H in a D
9 = L of a C
1001 = AN
16 = O in a P

If you are dying to have the answers before Monday, leave a comment with your e-mail address and I will send them to you.

Friday, August 5, 2011


I found the following poem through the Alzheimer's Association group on LinkedIn. It really touched my heart, so I thought I would share it.


When I wander.......................................

don't tell me to come and sit down ;

wander with me,

it may be because I am hungry, thirsty, need the toilet,

or, maybe I just need to stretch my legs..........

When I call for my mother.........(even though I'm ninety!)

don't tell me she has died;

reassure me, cuddle me, ask me about her.

It may be that I am looking for the security that my mother

once gave.................

When I shout out.................

please don't ask me to be quiet......or walk by

I am trying to tell you something,

but have difficulty in telling you what

be patient…………Try to find out,

I may be in pain……….

When I become agitated or appear angry…………….

Please don’t reach for the drugs first,

I am trying to tell you something,

It may be too hot….. too bright……too noisy,

Or maybe it’s because I am missing my loved ones.

Try to find out……first……

When I don’t eat my dinner or drink my tea……

It may be because I’ve forgotten how to;

Show me the what to do….remind me,

It may be that I just need to hold my knife and fork

I may know what to do then………

When I push you away when you trying to help me……,

A wash, perhaps, or getting dressed.

Maybe it’s because I have forgotten what you have said;

Keep telling me what you are doing…….,

Over and over and over…………

Maybe others will think you’re the one that needs the help!

With all my thoughts and maybes,

Perhaps it will be you…..who reaches my thoughts……

Understands my fears and will make me feel safe…..

Maybe it will be you…..that I need to thank

If only I knew how……………..

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Exercising My Brain and Body

According to the Alzheimer's Association, keeping mentally active and exercising regularly may lower the risk of Alzheimer's. That is why I not only exercise my body, but my brain too.

Yesterday, I returned home from work and had one thing on my mind. Exercising. Since it's HOT, I have moved my workouts indoors for the time being. I started a new exercise program last week, Turbo Jam's Brazil Butt Lift. So far, I love it! My schedule yesterday consisted of 2 videos, Cardio Axe (Axe means good luck in Portuguese.) and High and Tight. Those videos totaled about an hour and 15 minutes, plus I walked for 30 minutes at lunch. I felt physically great after my afternoon workouts.

After my shower, I checked the mail. WooHoo, my Alzheimer's Association Big Brain Puzzle Book had arrived! It has over 200 puzzles in 3 levels: Level 1-Kick start your neurons, Level 2- Fire up your synapses, and Level 3- Activate your brain. The categories of puzzles included are creative thinking, mathematics, logic, language, visual, wordplay, and knowledge. I immediately sat on the couch to start working some puzzles. The first one stumped me for a while until I finally got my brain to work the way the puzzles intended. I worked through 15 of the puzzles last night. I'm very excited about working some more tonight!

Here is one of the puzzles from the book. See if you can figure it out!

Below are the names of six states with their vowels removed. How fast can you figure out their full names?
2. NDN
3. H
5. W
6. RGN

P.S. The book is available through Amazon for only $9.59. Here's the link:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Watershed Moment - Grandpa's Progression Through Alzheimer's

Last week, I attended Zeta Tau Alpha's National Leadership Conference. For those of you who know me, you know how dedicated I am to ZTA. Because of my dedication to ZTA, some people would be surprised to find that I do have a passion greater than ZTA, the Alzheimer's Association.

During one of our break out sessions at NLC, we were asked to think about a watershed moment in our life. The definition they used for a watershed moment was "critical turning points and events that shape who you are, how you view the world, and how you lead others. They are sometimes single events and sometimes a series of related events." I sat there for a long time trying to come up with an event/series of events that have had a major impact on my life. I went through some moments in my life...graduating undergrad, starting my first "real" job, getting married, graduating grad school. These were all great accomplishments, but nothing extremely life altering. Then it hit me...of grandpa being diagnosed with Alzheimer's and his progression through the various stages. After it hit me, I was embarrassed that this wasn't the first thought I had. I mean, as much time and dedication that I put into the Alzheimer's Association, you would think it would be in the forefront of my brain.

Now that I had identified my watershed moment, it was time to do the rest of the exercise. I know had to define how Grandpa's progression through the disease has changed my life. There were 4 categories to discuss.
1. How has this event changed you as an individual? I now do more for others and volunteer much more of my time. It also helped me become more family oriented.
2. How has this event shaped the way you view the world? I thought I had problems before, but I realized that my problems are nothing compared to those of other people. I have much more patience and compassion for others.
3. What value(s) has this event reinforced? The 2 biggest are dedication and perseverance.
4. How has this event affected the way you lead others? I can now teach people that they can get through their problems and can help them through those. I can teach them that other things are bigger than their problems. I teach these things while also exhibiting patience and compassion.

As I shared my watershed moment and the values and lessons I learned from it with the group, I couldn't hold back my tears. That's when I realized that I am a big advocate for the Alzheimer's Association, but I haven't really shared with many people the road that lead me to that point. This is me now sharing.

At the time of my grandpa's diagnosis, Alzheimer's was not a household topic. In fact, there were lots of signs pointing to the beginning of Alzheimer's for Grandpa. My grandma hid a lot from us. Unfortunately, she didn't really understand what was happening and wasn't that supportive of my grandpa. It wasn't until after her passing that the family got a real glimpse of what was happening. I was a sophomore in college at the time. Since I was away from home and away from Grandpa, I didn't yet understand the severity of what was happening. Like I said before, Alzheimer's still wasn't talked about much, so we didn't know much about what was to come.

I'll never forget the moment that everything changed for me, the moment that I understood and vowed to do something about this horrible disease. It was in August 2003. My family, some family friends, and I all went to St. Louis for a Cardinals game. Grandpa was the 2nd biggest Cardinal fan I'd ever met; 2nd only to his mom. We thought it would be a great treat for him to see the Cardinals while he could, hopefully, still enjoy it. At one point during the game, he looked at me and asked, "What is this game called again?" That moment broke my heart. This wonderful man, who loved baseball, who loved the Cardinals even more, who helped make all of our family Cardinal fans, who had once cherished his Stan Musial jersey hanging on his wall...this man no longer remembered what the game he so loved was called.

Unfortunately, it only went downhill from there.

I know how hard it was for my family; I can't imagine how hard it must have been for Grandpa. He knew that he didn't remember things, but he had no control over it. He tried his hardest to make sure we didn't know that he didn't remember us. During a portion of this time, he would always great me with "Hey babe, how's the family?" It was his way of trying to trick us into thinking he was ok.

A major stage that most Alzheimer's patients go through is paranoia. Grandpa would hide his wallet and glasses, because he thought someone was trying to steal them. Of course, he couldn't remember where he'd hidden them, so that strengthened his fear that someone had stolen them. This also had to be incredibly hard for him.

There is also a violent phase that some patients go through. Don't be alarmed if it happens to your loved one with Alzheimer's. It is tough to deal with, but you have to remember that it's just the disease talking. They have no control over their temper anymore.

The longer you care for a family member with Alzheimer's, the more your definition of a good day changes. That day Grandpa didn't remember the name of baseball was devastating for me. Towards the end, I would have given anything to have that man back. Towards the end, if he said anything at all while you were visiting it was a good day. About a year ago, my mom and I went to visit him. During lunch, he said 2 sentences: "We need to color our family." and "She's all boilered up." An outsider looking at that would have been horrified, just like we were at the beginning. Instead, we were so happy because he was saying something, anything, and he was saying it in "complete" sentences.

What is even better is when Grandpa would say something and it completely went with what you were saying. You know in your head that it was random and a coincidence, but your heart loves it. One day, I walked into Grandpa's room and he had a Cubs hat (a CUBS hat) on. Me: "Grandpa, why are you wearing a Cubs hat? You know our family doesn't like the Cubs." Grandpa: "I bet you think I'm crazy, don't you?" That memory always makes me smile! Anyone who wears a Cubs hat is crazy! In my heart, I'll always know that he knew what I was talking about. I still think that the person that put that Cubs hat in his room is an evil person! :)

My mom and I were talking recently and came to the conclusion that we were learning about the stages of Alzheimer's along with the Alzheimer's Association. At the time, we didn't know what to expect. Things weren't freely advertised. I'm so thankful that there are now resources available that will help guide caregivers and families through the progression of this disease. I'm also very thankful that I can share my knowledge and help others not be as scared as I once was.

I'm also ashamed to admit that at the beginning, I was embarrassed to tell anyone about Grandpa's Alzheimer's. I thought that people would just think that he was crazy. It's amazing what time and experiences will do to you. Now, I shout from the rooftops about Alzheimer's. I've even been defriended on facebook for preaching too much about Alzheimer's, but I don't care. People need to know!

If you have a loved one that's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, please provide them with major love and support. They are the same person they always were, they just have a debilitating disease. They are not stupid, so don't treat them that way. If they lash out at you, it's just the disease speaking. What they need more than anything in the world is you! It is sad to see how people's opinions of them change. I wanted to cry this past Christmas when I realized that Grandpa had received 2 Christmas cards, 1 from John & me and the other from the class that visited the nursing home. They might not realize the card is from you, but at least they can look at it, have the nurses read it, and have some enjoyment from the little token of your love.

Here is a list of examples of my dedication and perseverance, values that I learned and try to live everyday.

* Participated in 5 Alzheimer's Association Memory Walks (now the Walk to End Alzheimer's)

* Registered for my 6th Walk to End Alzheimer's on November 12th at AutoZone Park

* Raised over $6,000 for the Alzheimer's Association through these events

* Raising funds for this year's event in memory of Ed Cecil
This is the first year that I will be walking in memory of Ed Cecil instead of in honor of Ed Cecil. This will be very tough for me. I hope to raise at least $2,000 this year in his memory. To donate, please visit:

* Lobbied for the Alzheimer's Associations at 2 Alzheimer's Association Day on the Hill
Unfortunately, this year's Alzheimer's Association Day on the Hill was just a couple weeks after the passing of my grandpa. Everything was too fresh and my emotions were too raw to go this year.

* Ran the 2010 Chicago Marathon in honor of my grandpa to help raise money for the Alzheimer's Association

* Sent countless e-mails and facebook posts to educate as many people as possible about Alzheimer's disease and the wonderful efforts of the Alzheimer's Association.

and most importantly,
* Provided my mom with the support she needed during this tough time. I can't even imagine what it's like to be a Daddy's Girl and not have Daddy remember you anymore.


After writing this, I have come to the realization that my passion for the Alzheimer's Association didn't just start because of my grandpa's started well before that, I just didn't know it at the time. Grandpa was a truly great man. He taught his children, who in turn taught their children (me included) how to be great people. Him being a great person has helped mold me into the person that I am today. Grandpa told Dad one time that God would never give you more than you can handle. It wasn't his Alzheimer's that taught me the values of dedication and perseverance, it was him.

Why Music Is Good for Your Brain

Here's some news that will make you wish you hadn't quit those piano lessons: a study finds that musicians have brains that function better than their peers well into old age. If you want to keep your mind healthy and sharp, the answer might be to pick up an instrument.

Researchers looked at senior citizens and found that the musicians among them had higher IQs, memorized words better, and performed better at visual tasks. Moreover, the number of years each musician played for was linked to how well they performed on each test. Looks like a lifetime of music can be a mind saver.

Perhaps it's time to dust off the piano and start tickling the ivories.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Autopsy Guidelines Revised for Alzheimer's

Autopsy guidelines revised for Alzheimer's
For many years, an autopsy done by a pathologist was considered the best way to confirm the presence of Alzheimer's disease.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Paint the Park Purple

Last Thursday, John, Dad, Mom, and I went to Paint the Park Purple at AutoZone Park.

I am very grateful that the Memphis Redbirds and AutoZone park hosted the Alzheimer's Awareness night. 40% of the ticket sales (if you specified the Alzheimer's Association) went to the local chapter. The Memphis Redbirds' players wore special uniforms. They were white, with purple sleeves. On the front (where the number would usually go) there was a purple ribbon. They auctioned off the game worn jerseys too!

This was the 2nd year for Paint the Park Purple. This year was earlier in the season than last year's...I feel that this is a good thing. It is advertisement for the Walk to End Alzheimer's. The more people that know about the walk, the better then walk will be.

The Memphis Walk to End Alzheimer's will be on November 11 at 9am starting and ending at AutoZone Park. This will be my 6th Walk to End Alzheimer's (formally Memory Walk). Every year, the walk has grown. I still hope that it can become even bigger. Whenever I participate in other charity walks/runs, I am amazed at the number of people at the event. The Walk to End Alzheimer's just isn't there yet. I don't know what it will take to make it as big as other events in town. Hopefully, word of mouth and events such as Paint the Park Purple will put Alzheimer's awareness in the spotlight. I know that I will never stop fighting and advocating until there is an end to this horrible disease.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Quote for the Day

"Running has given me an opportunity to reach out and be a benefit to a fellow human being." ~ Mark Goldstein on the Komen Race for the Cure

I really love today's quote. When I ran the Chicago Marathon, I ran it for all people affected by Alzheimer's disease. When I remind myself that my running is not just a benefit to me, but millions others, it inspires me to achieve goals I never before thought possible.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Coffee and Alzheimer's

This morning, as I was drinking my coffee, I read the following article.

Now, I'm very glad that I can't live without my morning coffee!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Alzheimer's Association Longest Day

I received an e-mail from the Alzheimer's Association stating, "We can see an end to the longest day. Living with Alzheimer’s disease or caring for someone who has it requires endurance, patience, love and strength — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On June 21, the longest day of the year, participate in an activity that shows your commitment to going the distance in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Run, walk, bike or get active as part of the Alzheimer’s Association Longest Day™, a sunrise-to sunset-relay that raises funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research."

I took up the challenge. After work today, I ran a 5K. I wish that I could have run further, but my endurance took a beating after no training for 8 months. I know that Grandpa would be proud of the 3.1 miles that I did run in his memory today.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Running Quote for the Day

I received my quote of the day from Runner's World this morning and thought it was too good not to share.

"If you run every day until you're 90 years old, I guarantee that you'll live a long life." ~ Bill Rodgers' Lifetime Running Plan

It definitely made me smile today. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm Back

I know, I know...I have been away for a very long time. Let's just say that after the Chicago Marathon, I lost every bit of motivation I had. I thought after watching all the marathoners at the St. Jude Marathon in December I was motivated again. I was wrong. We returned from a 2.5 week vacation to Australia in January, and I thought I would start running again then...wrong again. I basically stopped running and pretty muched stopped working out all together. I finally started feeling very bad about myself for my lack of workout motivation. I forced myself to start being active again.

I just realized I never posted any pictures of my Chicago Marathon experience. Here is a picture of me before the race. Notice my purple for the Alzheimer's Association.

I do have good news to report: I am now working out about 4 times a week. Most weeks, 2 of these workouts are runs. They are only 2-3 milers, nothing like the double digit runs that I used to do on a regular baasis. It is a start though. :)

I am not currently training for any races. I want to get back into the swing of running before deciding what race to tackle next.

I am however raising money for the Alzheimer's Association again this year. For those that don't know, my grandpa passed away in March. Although we know that he is in a better place and now remembers us again, it has been very hard for me and my family. Please visit my "Walk to End Alzheimer's" webpage and consider a donation. I feel guilty that I'm not running a marathon for Grandpa this year, but I am doing my best to raise money in his honor.

Here's a picture of Grandpa in his Cardinals shirt. Oh, how he loved his St. Louis Cardinals!