Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Don't Wait

Dear Friends,
Yesterday was one of those back-to-back meeting kind of days, starting out with an early morning drive to Morgantown. (Side-bar, we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place, the mist coming off the mountains yesterday morning was just breathtaking. You don't find those kinds of views from just any interstate.) I didn't have a chance to check the news, twitter or facebook all day, so I was in shock when I switched on the radio for my drive home to hear 12 people were murdered in Washington, D.C. in a mass shooting. My heart breaks for the family and friends of the victims and the shooter.

I suddenly had the urge to race home, gather up my family and hide under a blanket fort.

Our experience with Alzheimer's disease forces us to become acutely aware of how precious and fragile life is, not to take one moment for granted. That we all have just one shot at this great thing we call life. These tragedies are acute reminders that it can all be over in an instant.

So don't wait. Run, don't walk, home and hug the ones you love. Release yourself from the burden of anger or hard feelings. Breathe in this beautiful fall mountain air and truly feel the warmth of this beautiful sunny day on your face. Let your passion guide you to be a force of change. Let the people around you know they are valued and cherished. The moment is fleeting.

Don't wait.


  • Last week we were notified that Congressman McKinley joined the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease! To say that we were thrilled was an understatement! Pam from the Congressman's office called on Friday afternoon to let us know. What a way to start the weekend! All of West Virginia's Congressional Representatives are now members of the Task Force. A resounding message from our state to the nation of the importance of addressing Alzheimer's disease! Advocates, our work isn't done - time to get started on recruiting our Senators to the Task Force.
  • It is WALK WEEK! We can't wait to see everyone in Huntington and Elkins this weekend!! If you haven't registered, there is still time! Visit alz.org/walk or call us at, 800.272.3900
  • Friday we launched a new website nationally for individuals with Alzheimer's disease. You can visit this new site at, alz.org/IHaveAlzheimers. The design was directed by our Early Stage Advisory Council, and the information posted as well as the layout and navigation is designed just for individuals living with Alzheimer's. 
  • This new website goes hand-in-hand with our upcoming Living with Alzheimer's education series. We will be presenting this series in each of our regional offices in November. The educational series is designed for individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Ultimately providing a place for people to come together around life with Alzheimer's. Stay tuned for more details! 
  • Next week I am presenting at the Wellness Council's annual conference. They provide wellness activities for businesses around the state. My topic is caring for the caregivers at your work place. If you could tell your employer something about your caregiving journey, what would it be? Email me your feedback at lkirksey@alz.org

Tailgate Caramel Sauce
Last year we got really tough news from the doctor in the middle of football season. And by football season I mean tailgate season. As in, lose 50 lbs or your going to die kind of bad news. I've never dieted, ever. I was raised on a pretty strict healthy diet and enjoy fresh everything. I also have a love of running and exercise. There is a certain account executive in Charleston that tells people I run so I can eat Taco Bell (which is not entirely outside of the truth). 

So when faced with this challenge, I was at a bit of a loss. But scared. I've done the calculations and determined without W, I could survive approximately 1 week and 3 days. 

To make this challenge even harder, it is tailgate season. The few months of the year where every Saturday it is O.K. to cram yourself with the greasiest, unhealthy, sugar laden, salty food.

We tackled healthy living in everyday life and the tailgate pretty handily. But I was stumped at adding something sweet. We were surrounded by people offering up slices of cookie cake and cupcakes, temptation was all around us and it was only a matter of time before our sweet tooth caved in. 

One weekend W's boss brought apple slices and caramel dip. GENIUS! It was just enough sweet to empower us to turn away the blue and gold cookie cake slice. This weekend was our first Saturday in the Blue Lot, so I thought, wonder how hard it is to make caramel sauce? 

Turns out the Pioneer Woman makes it a piece of cake! You can catch her recipe by clicking here

In a saucepan combine 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of half-and-half, 4 tbs of un-salted butter and pinch of salt. (What you see in the pictures is double that amount) (Chef's note: No, I am not a dietitian or nutritionist, nor am I saying eat caramel sauce and lose weight. For us, a dip of caramel on a juicy apple beat the heck out of devouring a slice of cookie cake!

Oooo look you can make fancy butter designs...ok time to stop playing in my food. 

Stir continually for 7ish minutes. You don't want to overcook! Really until all of the ingredients are blended and it starts to thicken. Once you get to this point, remove it from the heat and add 1 tbs. of vanilla extract. 

Let it cool, then place it in the fridge until you are ready for some football! 

It's my tailgate, I can Mississippi State if I want to! 

Until Next Week! 

Laurel K.

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