<![CDATA[Alz Across America - Blog]]>Fri, 19 Feb 2016 19:38:11 -0800Weebly<![CDATA["Still Alice", still Gary]]>Thu, 12 Feb 2015 23:36:47 GMThttp://www.alzacrossamerica.org/blog/still-alice-still-gary
Lisa: Gary and I recently went to see the movie “Still Alice”.  Julianne Moore did a spectacular job  portraying how someone begins to show the signs of early memory loss and then begins to overcompensate until the energy expended trying to overcome becomes too burdensome.  Eventually the changes become too big to overcome or ignore and the signs show up in all sorts of potentially humiliating ways.  The movie also did an excellent job in showing how Alzheimer’s disease affects not only the person diagnosed, but the entire family, and how each person reacts in their own way.  Gary and I had agreed how important it would be to see this film and to show our support for creating the much needed awareness and education for this disease.      

I always brace myself for what may come up emotionally when I see a movie or documentary on Alzheimer’s.  I initially panicked when we left for the theatre and I realized that I had not stuffed my purse full of tissues to wipe my tears.  There were definitely a few scenes that made my heart sink, but oddly enough once the film was over I was not impacted as much as I had expected.  Why?  I think because what I was seeing on the screen was a direct reflection of my life and it has become the new normal.  It was not easy for Gary to see the film, but he also had a similar reaction.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  Neither, it is purely how it is.   We have accepted this.  Does this mean that our lives are smooth sailing?  Are you kidding?  However, our lives have become easier and more peaceful…for now.  Certainly our lives have not turned out like anything that we thought the “prime of our lives” would be, but this is our reality, each and every day.   Like Alice, my husband may not like what his future holds, but he is accepting it with amazing grace.  Gary and I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we do have today.  All we have is the present moment and the opportunity to rise above the fray; to be loving and kind to those around us.  Living in the present moment is our new normal and the lesson at hand.  It can be very challenging for someone like me who naturally thinks forward.  Coupled with being a care partner, I must use my leadership skills to ensure that I provide in all ways for today and what the future may bring tomorrow.   I am painfully aware that when I catch myself going out too far into the future I can render myself pretty much useless.  When that happens I lose the richness of this precious time that we do have.  I have noticed that the more I accept and practice being in the present moment, allowing myself to experience the stillness of my soul, the greater my intuition and my capacity for love grows.   

If you have not yet seen the movie, “Still Alice”, Gary and I strongly encourage you to see it.  Please join us in support to raise awareness and education for this disease. This disease knows no demographic or economic boundaries and this movie is only the tip of the iceberg for what is happening in rapidly growing numbers of families in this nation and around the world.  -LB

<![CDATA[Honoring Each Piece to Become Whole Again... ]]>Sat, 16 Aug 2014 16:07:31 GMThttp://www.alzacrossamerica.org/blog/honoring-each-piece-to-become-whole-again
Lisa:  A few weeks ago I woke up after having somewhat of an unsettling dream and of all things, this Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme played in my head...over and over and over....

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the Kings horses and all the Kings men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again”

Wasn’t Humpty Dumpty an egg?  An egg that fell from a wall and cracked and they couldn’t put him back together.  The rhyme sounded so strongly in my mind this morning that it left me pondering how it may be looked at metaphorically in my life.      

It’s no secret that Gary and I have been through a lot together in the last nine years; a non-stop chain of events and reactions that led to his diagnosis.  Things are calmer now that we know what is happening to him; to us.    We also know that the journey certainly is not over by a long shot and there is no way to predict how this disease will play out for either one of us.

The earliest known version of “Humpty Dumpty” was published in Samuel Arnold’s Juvenile Amusements in 1797, with the lyrics:

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
Four-score men and Four-score more,
Could not make Humpty Dumpty where he was before”

I am forever changed by the events and circumstances related to this disease..  The formation of Alz Across America has surrounded me with a wonderful group of friends and advisors who only want the best for me.  Most of them know me from the coaching practice that I used to have here in the South Bay community and are supporting me in getting back on that bicycle and riding again.  The stumbling block is that I am no longer the way I was before and no matter what the external support looks like. The changes that have occurred within me now require me to reinvent myself professionally from the inside out.  Humpty Dumpty was never able to return to the way he was before and neither will I, no matter how much “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men” try to help me.       

When I allow myself to feel the weight of life these days, every decision no matter how large or small seems to carry a risk that affects the future in some way, shape or form. Moving forward is not easy under these circumstances.  I find myself where many other care partners find themselves….looking for balance, walking a fine line in the role of a care partner while doing my best not to lose my sacred self. This is now a spiritual journey for me personally.  It always has been, but I am declaring it so and will incorporate this into my future professional path as a coach.  This journey is a complete walk of faith and with each step forward I have to put my foot down and make sure the ground doesn’t move out from underneath me as it has done so often in the past.  Even when the path seems to be so clear, the forward movement is not so easy.  I may not even realize just how much my psyche has gone through, but sometimes the resistance I feel in taking new steps is evidence enough.  It all becomes much easier when I let go and allow my intuition and faith to guide me.  I meditate and practice this daily and it is paying off.      

Alzheimer’s disease and other related forms of dementia require those of us who are affected to somehow piece together our shattered selves and move forward.  Humpty Dumpty was never able to be put back together.  We will never be the same either, but we will move on with gifts and amazing grace if we open ourselves to the opportunity.  We live in a culture that is all about doing and not about being.  We can achieve so much more by being with the process and taking one step at a time.  We must be gentle and kind to ourselves as we move forward, for we are pioneering our own ways to maintain a quality of life in a society that is conditioned to believe that everything needs to be bigger and faster, more, more, and then even more.  This world is moving much faster than we are and in our situation we must reinvent our own navigational systems in uncharted waters.   As care partners, we know that our loved ones are or will be digressing while the rest of the world seems to go about their daily lives.   We must be mindful of our progress each day no matter how small.  We must find ways to validate ourselves and each other.  If there is a silver lining and lesson at all with this terrible disease, it is the realization that we are gaining a very rich wisdom to share with others.  It is so very important to be able to rely on our own values and intuition.  When we are able to guide ourselves along on our own authentic paths, we may savor the precious present with our loved ones every chance we get.  This is the deep work that I am committed to living and teaching to others.  It is work that is not necessarily acknowledged in our society, but my intuition tells me that I am on the right path.  There is beauty on this spiritual journey and we must always remember to breathe in the fresh air of every new day.     Namaste. 


<![CDATA[Memories that Alzheimer's will take away from me: Remembering my dear brother Brian  ]]>Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:07:28 GMThttp://www.alzacrossamerica.org/blog/memories-that-alzheimers-will-take-away-from-me-remembering-my-dear-brother-brianPicture
Gary:  My brother Brian was the closest in age to me of my four brothers. He was blessed with an artistic talent that made others envious. His true talent and in my view the biggest reason he was put on this earth was to make art; any and all kinds of art. Brian didn’t have things easy as a kid in a family of five boys in the small rural area in Ohio we lived in. He was small boned compared to the rest of us Bricker boys and never developed the ridiculous amount of body hair that the rest of us did. He was also gay.  He painted, did sculptures and made pen and ink drawings. As I’ve been writing this I’ve looked over to my right several times because I have a framed graphite pencil drawing of the old oak tree that was on the property where we grew up on in Russell, Ohio. The oak was massive and old, sitting near the creek behind the barn at the old “Homestead” as we used to call it. His drawing perfectly captures the feel of that old oak, still large and looming over the brush, but past its prime and a bit tired.  Looking at it makes me miss him deeply.

                Like me, Brian went to Kent State University. His degree was in Fine Arts and after graduating, Brian worked for a period in Cleveland but before long he moved to New York City to take a job at Avon where he eventually became the Art Director. In that position he was very happy and made many friends who were also his colleagues at work.  Many of them were also gay and I met several of them the few times I went to visit Brian. I remember one time when I was visiting Brian, we went out to dinner and I met some of his gay pals. They all flirted with me in good fun.   

                Sadly, Brian contracted AIDS in the 1990’s.   He died March 2, 1996, with me by his side. I’ll never forget that moment; he was heavily medicated and was not really conscious. As he died he took one long breath and let it out and he was gone. I remember having a sensory moment where I knew his soul had departed. His physician was there with me and told me that “moment” I had was quite common and that he had experienced it many times. He also said there is evidence that there is even a slight loss of body weight at that moment.  After Brian died I took the jade turtle necklace that he always wore off his body, we covered him up with a sheet, I cried some more and said my goodbyes then left the hospital. I then went out with some of Brian’s friends, got drunk then took a taxi back to Brian’s five story walk up apartment on 5th Avenue. To this day I still have his jade turtle necklace and never take it off. It is a constant reminder of my dear brother Brian.
 I want to say that I will never forget that experience, but then again, I have Alzheimer’s and at some point that memory will be gone.

Ironically, Brian’s physician is the one that developed the AIDS “cocktail” that allowed so many to have longer, fuller lives. He was doing the testing required for the drugs at the time Brian was there, but Brian was too far gone to qualify.

Below:  "The Old Oak Tree"

<![CDATA[#Alzheimer's Solidarity:  Emails like this keep us going ]]>Tue, 15 Jul 2014 22:31:35 GMThttp://www.alzacrossamerica.org/blog/alzheimers-solidarity-emails-like-this-keep-us-going Dear Lisa,

Just a brief message to thank you for all you do to help end the scourge of Alzheimer's on humanity. My beloved was diagnosed with early onset of Alzheimer's at age 58 but showed signs for several years before. She is now 64 and in the late stages of this dastardly disease but still living at home! Your fundraising, supportive, and organizing efforts on behalf of those afflicted with Alzheimer's give me hope that although it may be too late for my beloved, there is hope for my children and grandchildren. Please keep up the fight and spread the word that united we can gain freedom and independence from this now terminal disease.


Michael Gallo
Grand Forks, ND

<![CDATA[Launched!]]>Sat, 21 Jun 2014 00:49:20 GMThttp://www.alzacrossamerica.org/blog/launchedPicture
Positive and inspiring were the buzz words of the evening when we held our first fund raising event at Circa in Manhattan Beach in April.  We thank you all for your generosity and support.  It was a wonderful evening of connection and conversation in support of creating awareness for Early Memory Loss.  We were honored to have Susan Galeas, CEO of The Alzheimer’s Association, Southland Chapter to welcome our official launch and speak to the group. 

Speaking of launches!  The videos of the Carpe Kilimanjaro project start launching their stories tonight at midnight!  Gary and I each participated in these videos and we cannot wait to see this project unfold.  Please go to the link below and “LIKE” their page in support of their mission below.  Let’s give them our “Likes” and get the word out to help them create a ruckus of attention for Alzheimer’s awareness.  LB  


The Carpe Kilimanjaro Project sets out to build the world’s largest repository of Alzheimer’s stories.  The film, website, and mobile experience address the three main challenges facing the Alzheimer’s community:

  1. Remove the stigma and build community
  2. Raise more money for research
  3. Get more people into clinical trials
The project provides patients, caregivers, and the scientific community with an unprecedented view of key data patterns and personal stories, in an effort to move more swiftly toward a cure.

<![CDATA[Early Alzheimer's Testing in Trial Stages - KCET SoCal Connection - aired Wednesday  May 14, 2014 ]]>Thu, 15 May 2014 16:52:31 GMThttp://www.alzacrossamerica.org/blog/early-alzheimers-testing-in-trial-stages-kcet-socal-connection-aired-wednesday-may-14-2014Picture
Lisa: Gary and I were interviewed by Val Zavala of KCET and the show was aired last night.  Here is the link to the segment.  Dr. Keith Black was also interviewed because he is working on a trial that could lead to a huge breakthrough in early diagnosis and treatment.  In addition, Susan Galeas, President and CEO of The Alzheimer’s Association, Southland Chapter was also featured. We feel that segment was done very well . Here is the link - we hope you find it interesting! 


KCET:  What if a compound from a common spice could help detect Alzheimer's in patients? A team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is developing a test that could make early detection possible, and a first step for the patient would be taking pills derived from curcumin, which is found in turmeric, an ingredient often used in Indian curries.

Knowing earlier than later would be helpful to patients. Gary Bricker was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 63 in 2012, but during the years leading up to his diagnosis, Bricker’s relationship with his wife suffered immensely. To add to the stress, Bricker -- a former real estate attorney -- ended up losing two jobs.

Shortly after his diagnosis, Bricker and his wife Lisa decided to launch AlzAcrossAmerica, a nonprofit organization that hopes to provide resources and a support network to those affected by the disease. (And for information on clinical trials, check out TrialMatch at the Alzheimer's Association).

In this exclusive "SoCal Connected" report, Val Zavala discusses early Alzheimer's detection, and what this means for families who are hoping to plan for health situations in advance.


<![CDATA[It is estimated that 50% with dementia never get diagnosed, ever]]>Wed, 14 May 2014 19:59:42 GMThttp://www.alzacrossamerica.org/blog/it-is-estimated-that-50-with-dementia-never-get-diagnosed-everPicture
Lisa: I received a call from Steve Lopez from the LA Times yesterday.  Yes, THE Steve Lopez!  Very nice man.  He contacted me because I had sent him an email awhile back and he was following up and  looking for info on dementia. He was also working on the Donald Sterling story because Mrs. Sterling now claims that she thinks her husband may have dementia (let's leave that diagnosis up to the experts).  We had a good discussion and I highly suggested that he contact the Alzheimer's Association, Southland Chapter to get more specific information for his story. While we were on the phone, I had the chance to tell him all about Alz Across America and our mission.  He took a look at our website while we were on the phone.
Steve called and spoke with Debra Cherry, Executive Vice President and Amy Landers, Director of Helpline and Early Stage Services. Here is the link to Steve's column today,


Debra Cherry was quoted yesterday as saying that "50% of people with dementia never get diagnosed". How sad is that?  There are families that have a loved one with dementia and they never talk about it and never even admit it. They remain in denial. I cannot imagine, but it is quite common. I experienced this while I was working as a Senior Living Advisor with A Place for Mom, helping families place their loved ones in Assisted Living and Memory Care.

Never acknowledging it and never talking about it is the hardest way of going through this journey and sadly will most likely end up in a crisis at some point down the road. I say, come out of the shadows, there is a life to be lived...you are not alone.  

“May you live every day of your life”,  Jonathan  Swift

<![CDATA[May 02nd, 2014]]>Fri, 02 May 2014 23:52:50 GMThttp://www.alzacrossamerica.org/blog/may-02nd-2014Picture
Lisa: Thanks to the Southland Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, Val Zavala from KCET TV and her crew were at our house today to interview Gary and I for a segment that will address some important new research that is still in trial stages. According to Dr Keith Black this research could possibly lead to early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease. Our discussion with Val today covered topics such as "How would earlier detection of this disease have changed your lives?" The news feature on KCET is scheduled to air on May 14th and may be released on the their website sooner. Stay tuned!

It's always such an honor for Gary and I to share our story because we know that we are not alone and others are out there struggling with the confusion of what is happening to their lives.  As we both told Val Zavala in the interview, our journey is divided into two parts:  Prediagnosis and post diagnosis. As much as it is difficult to know that Gary has Alzheimer's, at least now we know why Gary was struggling and we can be open about it. The "not knowing" was so much harder.

<![CDATA[The Inspiration behind to our commitment to raise awareness for Early Memory Loss/ Alzheimer's Disease]]>Wed, 02 Apr 2014 21:50:19 GMThttp://www.alzacrossamerica.org/blog/the-inspiration-behind-to-our-commitment-to-raise-awareness-for-early-memory-loss-alzheimers-diseasePicture
The journey to a diagnosis is one of confusion, fear, frustration and blame because typically Alzheimer’s is the last thing on the radar for anyone in the family.  We are a society of over stimulation, so it is easy to get caught up in the stresses of our daily life which may slowly (or in some cases or quickly) become a bigger and bigger ball of symptoms until something in life implodes. 

As our own story reflects, it took several years and a few life challenges to get to Gary’s diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer’s.  Once he was diagnosed, we reached out for help because that is my nature and I was desperate for understanding and connection. But even then, the first place I went to for support wasn’t a good fit for me and I was fortunate enough to be referred to the Southland Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. I’m not sure I would have called them on my own.  I was given the name of Amy Landers at the Alzheimer’s Association and found out that a support group called the “Memory Club” was going to be starting. We had to wait several months until enough people signed up to begin the group.  Our group was comprised of 15 people, 7 couples and one individual.  If you stop and do the math, there are approximately 20 million people here in Southern California and with all of the families being affected by this disease, 15 people is not even close to being a tear drop in a very large and growing sea of those that are already affected by Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia.  Very few people even know how to reach out for help.  Most families are trying to deal with this disease alone and they don’t have any idea of what to do or where to go.      

I reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association in February and by May there were finally enough people to start a group.  One couple drove for over 2 hours one way to come for the support needed.   From the very first day, the connection was welcoming and powerful.  We have become a group that still socializes outside of our regular meetings. It brings a sense of relaxing normalcy to our lives.  An outsider would never know what we are going through.  Until Gary and I met others in our situation, our social life no longer existed.  We felt alone and isolated, bewildered, frustrated and as if life was leaving us behind.  Looking back on that period, we can now say that we felt like a subset of society and we didn’t understand why or what was happening. Now, as we meet more and more people affected by this disease, there is always a common thread and a very powerful bond.  We feel as if we have found our long lost tribe!  Our individual situations may be different, but how we and our new friends feel is always the same and we are so delighted to be able to be in the company of those who can relate to what we are experiencing.  We are often misunderstood too, because we all look so healthy, vibrant and young!  Oh how looks can be deceiving, especially in a society that relies on visual cues to form opinions of people.

Our own experience with Early Memory Loss and the growing number of Baby Boomers who are and will be affected is what compels our inspiration and commitment to this project.  Our mission with Alz Across America is to help connect people to people by creating awareness, understanding and unity with those who can relate to these common feelings and experiences.

We are reaching out to people through social media and face to face human connections. It seems that everyone knows someone or knows of someone who may be showing signs of Early Memory Loss. We are starting locally, but our overall vision is to create micro communities by travelling around the country in a Big Purple Bus, initiating conversation and facilitating small social hubs and opportunities for people to meet others whose paths would not have otherwise crossed.  We want to help people regain a sense of normalcy in their lives so that they may be able to see life with a new perspective.   We are committed to dedicating our lives to help raise awareness and direct people to the resources that will provide answers to help them cope with their situations and enrich their lives.   We see ourselves as a tributary outreach program of the Alzheimer’s Association to seek and find people who wouldn’t otherwise reach out for help by themselves.  Alz Across America brings people out of the shadows and lets them know that others who are affected by Early Memory Loss also share the feelings of loss, fear and helplessness.  They need to know they are not alone and there are resources available to help them cope and create better lives for themselves. People affected by Early Memory Loss can still lead worthy and purposeful lives.   We want to help shine a light on the various possibilities that await them after their diagnosis and help them realize that having a life with Early Memory Loss can still be fulfilling, hopeful and inspiring.   

We see ourselves as messengers, paying it forward to foster more messengers in micro communities across the country, visiting those newly formed friendships in the Big Purple Bus to help to connect the dots of hope to a disease that is still widely misunderstood.

<![CDATA[Alzheimer's - Missing my Buddies, Missing my Work and Moving Forward to Feel Worthy]]>Wed, 02 Apr 2014 21:32:48 GMThttp://www.alzacrossamerica.org/blog/alzheimers-missing-my-buddies-missing-my-work-and-moving-forward-to-feel-worthyPicture
Gary - I think I’ve always been a sensitive and oftentimes emotional man, but I believe I’ve been even more so over the last few months, or maybe even years.  For one, I am sad that I can’t work anymore.  On top of that I don’t have many “guy” friends to hang out with here in the Beach Cities southwest of downtown Los Angeles.  My best buddies really are the ones I made when I was a kid living outside of Cleveland, Ohio.  I’ve known some of these guys since kindergarten, and we have had several “guys” reunions over the years. But only two of those guys live in California. One lives over two hours away near Santa Barbara and he is the CEO of a national company so he has very little spare time. The other lives and works in Laguna Beach, about an hour or more away, depending on traffic. He and I get together more often, but still only every 4 or 5 months or so.  The guy friends I have near where we live are busy with work and family – all being younger and more mentally fit than I am at present. 

One of the reasons I miss work so much is that I typically made friends at work and working is something I’ve done most of my life.  I started working when I was 13 during the summers at a place called Wiegand’s Lake Park, a private, family-run park that specialized in hosting corporate picnics for employees of companies in and around Cleveland. As the youngest of five boys, I followed in the footsteps of my older brothers by working there. I was paid 35 cents an hour for, sometimes, back-breaking work.  Among other things, when a event was being held I had to walk around with a cardboard box under my arm picking up all “waste” the size of a match stick or larger including dirty diapers and other equally gross stuff. Even worse, some people seemed to enjoy watching me collect their trash. I even remember that some people would throw their cigarette butts and other junk on the ground just to see me bend down to pick it up!! On days when there was not an event at the park, I did other things like painting the exterior of buildings, mowing lawns, and numerous other tasks. I remember one time the lake was drained in order to dig out the mud, muck and other crud that would build up over time. It was on that job that I lost my balance pushing a wheelbarrow heavy with that muck and I badly tweaked my back. To this day I still have back problems that originated with that mishap. I actually look back at that job fondly, as it was my first, and I’ve had many since then but will not likely have another. With my diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, without a miracle I know I will never be in the workforce again. 

I know that people really look forward to retiring and starting a new life on a “permanent vacation”.  That’s great if you can afford the lifestyle and have the means to do what you want to do. One of my problems is that our life is limited because of my inability to work and we continue to spend our life’s savings in order to meet our monthly obligations. Losing two jobs in 4 years and moving several times has greatly impacted our lives. Since I was an attorney I know some people think that I must have made lots of money – after all most attorneys make lots of money suing people, right?  Well, that may be true for some attorneys, but I used to tell people that I was one of the “good guys” because I didn’t do litigation!  I specialized in transactional real estate and I worked as an employee for various large companies documenting all things related to the companies’ real estate holdings.  I created everything from brokerage agreements, to leases, purchase documents, construction documents, etc.  Yes, I did make decent money, but not like partners in large or even semi-medium sized law firms who are doing litigation and/or having multiple clients. I can’t complain though, or at least I shouldn’t. I had a pretty good run and had fun doing it. I just wish it wasn’t over. These days I don’t know what to do with myself half the time and I don’t feel productive. I can only ride my bike so far and so often because of my bad knees, and I can only work out so many times a week before I get bored with the same old routine. I miss the connections and sense of community as much as I miss the income and the sense of being useful.

Fortunately the Southland chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association has helped to fill that void for me. Lisa and I have made some very good friends through the Association, both with some of the staff as well as several of the caregivers/care partners and those with the disease. The staff at the Alzheimer’s Association is incredible and the organization has helped us a great deal through its programs and events. One of the most impactful events was when Lisa and I were on a panel on stage and spoke in front of a large audience about our current lives at the “Early Memory Loss Forum” which was held last year at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. We have made several friends through the various programs they sponsor at the LA Chapter’s office. We first started going to the “Memory Club”, an eight week program with meetings every two weeks. The first time we went I was very reluctant and didn’t really want to go. I think I was in denial, and also afraid of what would be said and done.  It turns out it was one of best things we have done since I’ve been diagnosed. We are now still going to the Association as part of the “Grad Club”, which is sort of an alumni group for those who go through the Memory Club. The bottom line is that the Alzheimer’s Association has been a lifeline for us as a resource, a means to meet others in the same situation and a way to branch out into doing even more to combat this insidious disease. This is a major reason why Lisa and I have created Alz Across America – to show by example that while it is a shocking change to one’s lifestyle, a diagnosis of early memory loss does not mean one needs to be shunned into the shadows to deal with all of these issues alone.  The Alzheimer’s Association helped us get to that space and we want others to know that help and understanding are available to them.  Through Alz Across America, we are now building new connections, and creating communities of support, and helping to provide a means for new friendships to develop. We are creating these structures here in our immediate community in Southern California by starting coffee groups and walking groups just to name a couple of examples.  We hope to obtain a big purple bus to travel around promoting awareness and fostering communities of support in California and eventually throughout the country as well.  This gives me purpose and hope, and is really what keeps me going from day to day.  I try to do my best to make each day count and to be as productive as possible so that I feel that I am part of the solution and not part of the problem.