Helping spread the word about Alzheimer’s Disease

Connections are important in life, and I was pleased to learn my friend and PRSA colleague Gregg Shields had gone to work at UTSW Medical School.

Denton Walk to End Alzheimer's, 2014

Gregg called me to tell me he was excited to be assigned to the Neurology Clinic, and especially the Alzheimer’s Center. I told him how great the doctors and staff were, and then he asked me if he could write an article about Bill and me for their upcoming newsletter.  You can view it by clicking here: 361_Spring 2015 Alzheimer Newsletter_L5

In the “small world” department, when Gregg asked for a recent high-resolution photograph, I immediately thought of our staff photographer in the Mayborn School of Journalism where I teach. Junebug Clark and his father are well-known, especially in the Detroit area, where Gregg is from. So this project also brought two transplanted Detroit natives together.

I hope you enjoy reading about Bill and me, and also learning about the good works of the research team at UTSW. Let’s find a cure for Alzheimer’s, and soon.

New Year, New Stuff, New Musings

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-01/fireworks-light-up-the-sydney-harbour-bridge/5995388
Photo Credit Reuters: Jason Reed.

The year 2015 will be one of milestones and challenges. For starters, I’ll have a birthday ending in zero. At my age you don’t give much thought to birthdays unless they end in zero or five. This one will generate a lot of thought.

I’m moving all my blogs to WordPress. After teaching social media for four years I feel like I’ve put on my “big girl” blogging panties. Blogger was easy, Blogger was free, and Blogger was a habit. I also used Blogger for the collaborative blog created by my social media students–then one of them accidentally changed the primary email, making it his blog, not mine. Because Blogger is a Google product and his email is a Gmail account, my only option was to delete that blog and start over.  Classes start January 21 and new posts should start soon after that–in the meantime you can see what they’ve been up to in past semesters.

August 2014, Graduate School Commencement

The blog moving process, which is still in progress with the help of my former teaching assistant, student and now friend and trusted colleague Amber Morgan Freeland prompted me to make the change on all my blogs. I haven’t moved the “Missing Memo” blog (about dealing with my husband’s Alzheimer’s Disease) but that should happen soon.  In the meantime, playing around with the new WordPress blog sites is productive procrastination (that stuff you do that really accomplishes something but isn’t what you’re avoiding doing).

I also ended 2014 recuperating from back surgery, the same procedure Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo endured in 2013. Fortunately I don’t have to get tackled by people the size of small cars for a living, but as I endure physical therapy I have a new appreciation for that narrow column of bones and cartilage that was never designed for us to get up off our knuckles and start walking upright.

Starting a new year also involves starting a new semester, and this one proves to be a challenge. The number of public relations and advertising majors are growing, and I have 93 students enrolled in my course “Ethics, Law and Diversity for Strategic Communications.” While I love teaching this class (a required capstone course) I’m wondering if I’ll be able to get this class to engage in the kind of thoughtful, provocative, and often funny class discussions.  I’ll have two sections of my Public Relations Communications (also a capstone) course, and the social media class is shaping up to be its usual mix of craziness and seriousness.

Oh, did I mention I have a student doing an internship in California, working for the Dr. Phil show? I’m looking forward to reading her weekly reports.

Frodo
Frodo in his prime, in our garden in Houston.

There were losses in 2014. We lost Frodo, our gorgeous 17 year old Maine Coon cat, who came to us in a torrential thunderstorm in Houston and has left an indelible mark on our hearts. Frodo had been declining, and one day just didn’t get up.  He’s buried in an honored spot in our garden.

Frida
Frida, always about half the size of Frodo, was the “Alpha” cat.

Less than a month later we lost Frida, the scrappy little rescue cat who was only 12 years old. It seems she died of a broken heart, because she and Frodo were close pals since our days in Houston.  After he died she withdrew and stopped eating. When we found her she was beyond help. She is buried next to Frodo, with some lovely flowering plants and an angel cat ornament marking their graves.

Holly at the lake
Holly exploring the Lake Lewisville shoreline.
Last picture
Last photo with our darling dog.

Then, just before Thanksgiving, our beloved basset hound Holly couldn’t get up one day. We rushed her to the emergency clinic but the cancer that had silently invaded her body had spread throughout her vital organs. Classy until the end, she died in my arms as Bill, the kind veterinarian, and I sobbed. She was nine.

Holly swimmingSwimming next summer will be different without Holly, who, oddly for basset hounds, was an enthusiastic swimmer, especially when the weather was Texas HOT.

Mama Cat 52814
Mama Cat, really a kitten herself, when we found her on May 28, scared and alone with 5 newborn kittens.

With loss there is gain. In late May the stray cat we had been trying to catch to have spayed gave birth to five orange kittens in a downstairs closet.  She moved them several times before settling on the spot I had chosen for them. They gave us a lot of joy with every milestone and every toddler adventure. Kittens on hat Continue reading