Off the Dial

My Heroes

When we found out our not-yet-two year old son had Type I Diabetes, I thought of one family.

I had profiled the McFeeleys on Health Headlines: The Show here at NewsTalk 1110. Patrick & Shauna talked about their twin daughters who have Type I. The girls are 11 now, diagnosed at ages 1 and 2. As you can imagine, they are incredibly passionate about this issue. Pat headed up the local chapter of JDRF for several years, Shauna is still on the board of directors.

When we got home from the hospital, I immediately got in touch with Pat. He and Shauna met with us to commiserate and to look ahead. They let me cry and made us laugh. Our family has a lot to learn about diabetes, but the McFeeleys started us on our path with hope, resolve and their incredible energy.

They’re still very active with JDRF and so, here’s the point. The Walk to Cure Diabetes is JDRF’s biggest fundraiser. It happens April 21st. We’ll likely have a family team next year, but we wanted to sort of just dip a toe in the water this time around. The McFeeley family has been kind enough to invite us to join their crew.

Please consider clicking here to see their webpage. You can contribute to the walk or just learn more about the local JDRF.

To see where the money goes, and JDRF has an excellent reputation, check out the International Foundation’s 2006 Annual Report. Notice the good looking family on the left side of the front page. Pat, Shauna, Ashley, Amanda & Maddie McFeeley. Thanks for all that you’ve done. It’s already made a big difference for families like mine.

Tee It Up

I love golf. Yes, it takes too much time and it’s ridiculously expensive. But it’s the best.

I will always regret not taking my dad up on his repeated offers to take me out to play when I was a kid. I didn’t pick up a club until the summer after I graduated from college. Good thing, because I met my future husband three years later and Slade’s passion (besides me!) is golf.

As a member of the media, I get invited to play in some fun tournaments. This week, Al, Jim & I played in the Wachovia Championship Media Day. The PGA event Wachovia is held at Quail Hollow Golf Club – a beautiful private course we normally couldn’t play. But once a year they invite members of the media to come out and hack around.

The Wachovia is a relatively new event on the PGA Tour, so they’re very welcoming of the media. In fact, the first year, they gave us pretty much full access to Quail Hollow Club. That meant I got to see the men’s locker room. Don’t get too excited – it was empty. But men’s locker rooms at these clubs are funny. They’re huge, first of all, and most have a place to play cards or have a cocktail. The older ones especially have sort of an escape for the guys. Sometimes they call it a men’s grill.

Quail Hollow is no exception. The locker room is beautiful. It has a full bar with an attendant and a great place to play cards or just hang out and watch TV. The women’s locker room is very nice, but of course, not the same. And that’s the crummy part of golf. It is still very sexist. A few clubs still have limits on when women can play and some men cringe when a girl walks up to be part of the group. The best way I can think of to handle that, though, is to smack my drive past the guys. Very satisfying.

So what’s it like to play with Al & Jim? Al Gardner is the most affirming player you’ll ever meet. I’m a 24 handicap (long off the tee, inconsistent everywhere else!) and he makes me feel like Annika Sorenstam. That can backfire, though. I played in a women’s tournament last year and I won my flight. Another women cornered me and basically accused me of cheating! The way we talk about my game, she thought I was a much better player and should have been in a different flight. Oops.

Jim Szoke makes you laugh so hard you can’t swing a club. I can’t repeat most of what he says, though. This is a family blog.

We played with another women who works here, behind the scenes. Nancy was our best player by far. She volunteers at the tournament every year and gave us a running commentary of golfer and fan behavior.

Last year was the first I played regularly again since having children. This year, I’m going to try to get my handicap down below 20. I play that women’s tournament again in August. Maybe this year I can live up to my billing!

You can help

Want to take a quick minute to mention a few events coming up. These are ways you can help the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The Walk to Cure Diabetes happens April 21st with three locations in the Charlotte area. My family will participate in the one at Carowinds. We don’t have our own “walk team” this year, we’re just planning to go and see what it’s all about. I’m already thinking about what to call our team next time around, though. A friend suggested Benny’s Brigade.

Also coming up, Keith Larson’s Ride for the Kids. That’s April 28th. This centers around a motorcycle ride, of course, but you don’t have to ride to take part. You can show up at Matthew’s Fun Machines around 1pm for the music & food. Keith is splitting the proceeds between JDRF and the Ross Minor Fund.

Keith, of course, is my co-worker here at WBT and he’s a mensch. Despite what you’ve heard.

We’re going… Slade wants to ride – he owned a motorcycle years before we met. We’ll see. I’ll definitely bring Lea & Benny to the lunch and after stuff.

One more – just to mark your calendar. June 11th is the JDRF golf tournament at the Club at Longview. I’ve played in this for the past 4 years and it’s always a great time. Longview is a beautiful course and Panther’s Coach John Fox is the celebrity chair again this year. He’s a lot of fun and usually brings some players along with him. You can sign up now as a sponsor or a player.

Hope to see you at one or all of these!

Dreaming of Sleep

I’ve been talking about sleep quite a bit recently, and it seems I’ve touched a nerve.

Two sets of numbers came out that got my attention. First, the National Sleep Foundation reported that more than half of women between the ages of 18 and 64 sleep well only a few nights a week. Then, The National Association of Home Builders said that by 2015 60% of all custom homes will have his-and-hers master bedrooms.

I have crazy sleep habits, but I work crazy hours. My alarm goes off at 3:30am. I usually hit snooze and then my back up alarm goes off. I keep it next to my bathroom sink – that way I have to get out of bed to turn it off.

I’ve spent most of my adult life working mornings, in television and now radio. I don’t think you ever truly adjust – the human body is not made to get up before 6am. I don’t get a lot of sleep, but I usually sleep well once my head hits the pillow.

As for that story about sleeping separately.. my husband and I often work opposite shifts and with small children, you never know who’s going to be up and about. So, yes, we sometimes sleep apart. But I can’t imagine making it a formal setup. (I like the idea of separate bathrooms, though!)

I spoke recently to the Charlotte Newcomers Club. During the lunch one woman mentioned she’d heard one of my health reports on sleep drugs. The one where the FDA will put stronger warnings on sleep medicines like Ambien and Lunesta. I was at a table with 7 other women – 5 of them had tried one of the medicines and all of them had some type of sleep problem. What’s going on here? Is it stress? One woman talked about how men can just turn off the worry at bedtime, but that women never stop. I think that makes some sense.

The Sleep Foundation survey talked about how stay at home moms actually sleep worse than working moms. I wonder about the pressure those moms feel to make everything perfect. When you work, you sort of have to let go of that pursuit of perfection. The laundry can pile up a little, you eat mac and cheese for dinner once in a while, the mail sits around for a bit and you realize the world won’t end. I think my friends who stay home feel a lot more pressure to make the beds and white-glove the dust.

So what to do? I can’t say I have answers. I did find this – a $50,000 mattress! No joke. The Swedish manufacturer says the “ultra luxe” Vividus mattress is worth the cost. If you have 50 thousand dollars to spend on a mattress, call me. I’m sure we can figure something out!