Once upon a time, I thought I had a good, working memory. I seldom wrote notes. I knew I would remember. Then something unexpected happened. I AGED. Although I still have a working memory — sometimes. I often forget what I’ve done the day before or the week before. Just for giggles, I write down the things I do each day. It helps when I’m trying to track stuff I’ve done. Then I get busy and don’t write things down. Then it is a memory test. I don’t win often enough.
Two things occurred recently that has brought this into my attention. Since I’m no longer working, and we are living a quieter life, I don’t bake except for cookies at Christmas. A couple of weeks ago I remembered a pineapple angel food cake that I had eaten years ago. At our younger daughters house, my grandson and I made the cake. I didn’t have good directions and although the cake wasn’t a flop, it wasn’t a success either.
I found the recipe for the cake on the internet and made it at home. This time it was a success — but my husband didn’t like it. It has a cool whip topping — not to his liking. I decided that I would make a chocolate cake with bought frosting for his birthday. Many years ago I remember a hint I was given that would improve a packaged cake. But I didn’t write the hint down, why? I would remember. Then the few people I called didn’t remember the hint either. I made the cake following the packaged directions. It was a success.
Then my second memory test of the week — I remembered making balsamic potatoes with pork that my family really liked. I knew I had made it in the winter but I couldn’t find a note as to what I had used or when I had made it. I finally found a date — November 26. But I hadn’t jotted down a note as to where I had found the recipe. I hadn’t jotted down a note as to what was in it or how long to cook it. Was I hoping I would remember. I was WRONG!
Late at night, I pulled out my huge white cookbook that I had compiled years ago. I keep adding recipes I find that I like to it and thankfully, I had written down the recipe and put it where I had a good chance to find it. The pork and potatoes were a success.
When I wrote a thought ramble about Barnaby, the cat which chose us on Independence day, I chose to publish it on Aug. 5. At that time I didn’t know that the local high school was planning for a three day performance of CATS, the musical. I’m familiar with the play and the music. I have enjoyed it performed by professionals on the stage two times. Watching Cats again sounded like a good time. CATS — the play was on Aug. 6.
If I said I was impressed, it would be an understatement. I had NEVER attended a performance in the high school before. I found the store that was selling tickets and was asked which seat I preferred. I didn’t know I would be able to chose a seat. I thought I would be seating on bleachers or folding chairs. I was WRONG. The person selling the tickets suggested that I might like an aisle seat. Worked for me! This way I could easily move for the others in my row. I was given D1. Four rows from the stage.
The theater vied with other professional venues. Seats were comfortable, temperature cool enough and audio excellent. The high school has put on summer performances for many years. Although we have spent many years at our campground — the plays at the high school didn’t catch my attention until now. I asked the director if all the cast were students — I learned the ages of the actors ranged from 14 to 70. It is a community enterprise.
One of the life guards at our pool was in the cast. She has performed in five previous plays. I knew which cat she portrayed and enjoyed following her character. I took the opportunity on Monday to inquire about other various performances that caught my attention. The woman who sang Memories had an amazing voice as did a few of the other performers.
I will keep my eyes open in July of 2018. If at all possible, I would love to go to another play at the high school. Great venue, professional cast and affordable seats — count me in!
Two phones calls arrived on Sunday. The first was from a friend sharing the sad news that her sister had passed. It was not expected. She hadn’t been ill — in the hospital for some procedure. The second was from my husband’s older brother. We knew he had lung cancer, we didn’t know that the cancer had spread to his other lung and he didn’t plan to get more treatment.
I decided to send my book JOURNEY WITH ME to them. The stories in the book were written when my father first passed over to the other side. I was just beginning to recognize “help” from the other side. Since I was writing my first book TO PAP, WITH LOVE — I became VERY AWARE of the fact that I had an unseen editor. Writing the book was challenging on two fronts. The first was in remembering the events that occurred in the right order. For the most part I hadn’t kept a journal during my father’s illness. Sometimes I wrote a few notes which were a great help but most of the events relied on my memory. The second front involved “my editors.” I had TROUBLE in the writing — sentences disappeared, computer shut off, printing a hard copy became impossible at times. I don’t know if I kept notes on all the fun I had writing and rewriting the book. When I finally finished I tried without success to get a publisher. I ended up publishing the book myself through IUNIVERSE — an online publishing company that only prints books to order.
The great thing about publishing through IUNIVERSE was not only the affordability and the professional help, but the books are still available. Not only TO PAP, WITH LOVE but also JOURNEY WITH ME from Amazon. I found TO PAP, WITH LOVE quickly — JOURNEY WITH ME was harder. I needed to add the author’s name to the search.
Before I mailed JOURNEY, I decided to read some of the stories I had included. Some were very familiar. I was in the process of taking a class in creative writing at our city college. Some of the stories were written for the class. Others came from incidents that I included in TO PAP, expanded into more of a story. Others were brand new — no longer in my memory. I realized that if I wanted to get the books in the mail, I needed to stop reading and mail. I decided to read the last stories before mailing the books. TaDum TaDum TaDum included my husband’s second cancer surgery. I included a sentence that stated I knew why he needed chemo again because of a dream I had. ?????? What dream? What message? CONFUSED!
Since the writing was at the end of JOURNEY I knew the timeline it might have come from. For many years I have kept a daily engagement calendar. I guessed on the date of the dream and thankfully found a tiny note. Because there was a long time frame from the discovery of the cancer and the removal, there was more time for the cancer to spread. I referred to it in my notes as weeds. There was also a note from the dream on eating more vegetarian meals to help control my weight.
I was glad that I found the note on the dream. It would have bothered me. I have to admit that I’m still not good on taking notes. I either think I will remember (WRONG) or hide them from myself. I thought that discovering the importance from notes might make me more apt to take them, but the reality is that it won’t.
I’ll admit that I was confused. I know my memory is not what it was, especially if I’m on automatic pilot — put stuff away or do things without thinking. But usually I remember the titles of the thought rambles I’ve recently written or those that are scheduled to publish. Since I’m no longer young, I have many friends and acquaintances from many walks of life. Many like myself walk to a different drummer. I don’t remember who told me this but I think it was an actual person in my life, not the newspapers or TV.
I remember being told that my words would reach around the world. At the time I was astounded and I’ll have to admit not necessarily fully believing that announcement. “Sure! Right!” would have been my reply, if not out loud, silently to myself.
It wasn’t long after that announcement that I received a comment from someone in another country about one of my thought rambles. “Oh, you of little faith” — comes to mind. I’ve also been told to believe the promises of Abraham. How Abraham interacts with my life is a question still to be answered. I have to admit that when His name pops up, I pay attention. “I repeatedly fail to trust God’s promise to Abraham” was in my morning reading. ??
So by now you are wondering just what I am rambling about. Sunday morning I received an e-mail that a new person is now following Wandering With Spirit. The e-mail mentioned that she liked STEERING WHEEL. I didn’t remember Steering Wheel being a title that had recently published. The recent titles where about our trip and other recent happenings. I asked my husband if he remembered the title and received a negative response. All during church the question surfaced in my mind. We were visiting our daughter in Central Illinois so I didn’t have access to my files. I will soon celebrate the FOURTH year anniversary of Wandering with Spirit. Since I try to write a thought ramble a week the number is in the hundreds.
Question: Did I publish a title STEERING WHEEL. When? What was it about? Thankfully the data base gave me the information. Steering Wheel was published December 21, 2013. No wonder I didn’t remember. How was this particular thought ramble found? The subject of the ramble provided the answer. God is in charge. With God all things are possible. The ramble was about a tandem bike, God doing the driving, I’m behind, doing my best. The ramble is as relevant then as now — I still put my hands on the wheel, trying to drive, I’m still reminded of WHO is in charge.
A new word has entered my vocabulary that I seem to be using on a very REGULAR basis. The word popped into my head the other day. It seems to accurately describe my actions. I don’t remember what I was doing at the time, but it really doesn’t matter. I was standing in our middle room, finishing some task, and walked with purpose to the bookcase in our dining room. Arriving — I had NO IDEA what I was after, why I had walked with such purpose to stand and look at the bookcase. SHORT CIRCUIT! Now I’ll admit that whatever it was, after I stood quietly for a few minutes, I remembered what I had been doing, — I remembered what I was after.
Each time I have a short circuit, I stand and try to remember what I was doing, what I came for. Sometimes it helps — sometimes I have to continue on and hope that I will remember. If it is important — I usually do. If I was on automatic pilot — it can be days or hours before whatever it was surfaces. My lack of remembrance is especially aggravating when whatever is lost is important — cell phone, glasses, keys etc.
A pair of glasses is still lost. First off — they are not prescription. Second, they where slipping off and becoming uncomfortable when I was wearing them. I kept them in my purse. They where in a very soft case. Did I lose them — outside of the house. I searched the house. If they are here, they are hiding. They are not in the car, I checked. So did I lose them — or were they taken away? Good question — no answer.
My father had Alzheimer’s, so that is always a concern. I’m not particularly worried at this time. My grandson who is almost ten, every once and a while short circuits.
I remember when I had energy. I remember when I was able to sleep the whole night. I remember when I actually planned the things I wanted to do, or the stuff I needed to buy from the store. Sadly, my energy is hiding. Sadly although I get some rest, I still feel tired — my sleep is too broken. Sadly although I still make lists of what I need from the store, the list is often still sitting on the table when I leave the house, or it is missing some important items.
I’m hoping that this is only a temporary condition. I’m hoping that as we spend more time at home, I will be less fractured. I’m hoping that I will regain an interest in some of the activities I enjoy. Looking at our calendar, Thanksgiving is coming soon, and following after is Christmas. Today I have no interest in Christmas shopping and of course, no time to make presents. To complicate matters, many health appointments are now filling up our schedule. At least we had planned to stay in town.
I had considered checking out some activities at a near by senior center. I don’t know if I will have the time to participate. What I have learned as I try to surface from this fog is that if I ask a question, I’m often given an answer. The question seems to be jogging my memory or my “friends” are helping.
Just a couple of examples — standing in the pantry, I had come in with a purpose and the purpose had vanished. “Why am I here?” That question often provokes an answer. Recently while shopping, I knew that I had planned to go to a store to buy something. It wasn’t a store I normally went to, and I didn’t remember what I had planned to buy but I knew I thought it was important. It was on my mental list a few days ago, but I hadn’t had the time to purchase. Stopped at a traffic light, I threw questions out into the air. “Where do I need to go? What do I need to buy? Etc.” Thankfully I received an answer. I had wanted to buy a new calendar for next year. The one I’ve enjoyed this year is meant more for business people who have to keep track of their appointments. I’ve used it to track my food and other things. At the beginning of the month, it has a page for the whole month where I schedule appointments. As time gets closer to the new year, it becomes harder to buy specific calendars. Having a calendar for 2016 has already come in HANDY!
Thanksgiving at our house usually brings our youngest daughter and her family, and our oldest daughter and her husband into the city to join us. Sadly her husband had a fever and stayed home. The food was delicious (if I do say so myself) and the company was delightful. Our youngest daughter was able to connect my new smart camera to the internet so I could share photos. Then she brought out some of the old games from the foyer –starting with SORRY, with modified rules. Next came Animal Families Memory game — 72 cards, no reading required, ages 4 to 10. I watched as my youngest granddaughter challenged her mother and grandfather to a game. I was tired, so I begged off but promised I would play the next morning.
Six o’clock comes very early in the morning. My granddaughter was bright eyed and ready to go. My brain decided to sleep in but a promise is a promise. A cup of coffee didn’t help. I hoped I would be able to match one or two pair. My granddaughter took pity on me and helped me find THREE pair. I was NOT impressed with my ability. Meanwhile, my grandson, (8) was intrigued. So we played another game. He gave his sister a run for the money — I did just a little bit better. A second cup of coffee helped. Even when I remembered where a match was, they had their turn first and beat me every time. Thankfully I had a little “help” from the other side so I had more than three pairs.
When their mother got up, her brain stayed in bed also. I’ll have to admit that even brain challenged she did a lot better than I did. Next our champion challenged her father. He was under the false impression that we were helping her to win. As a doctor, he has a good working memory. Which is a good thing since his daughter showed him how she plays the game.
Both of those games were favorites of our daughter — which I had forgotten. In my quest to eliminate stuff, those games could have easily been eliminated. Thankfully I hadn’t reached that area of the house.
My husband had NO PROBLEM. In the first game, he helped our granddaughter make matches. Last year he studied to get both the technician and general license in HAM radio. He exercised his brain and it showed. I haven’t taken on any memory challenges and it showed.
I’m reminded often to meditate and I will admit that I try without success. Sometimes my mind is just to busy to settle and other times, it just stays blank, resting in its nothingness. After my daughter and family left for home, I caught up on some of my e-mails. I read that a Harvard MRI study proved that meditation literally rebuilds the brains gray matter in 8 weeks. Either I have to get out the cards for the memory game and practice or meditate more often or both. NUDGED!