Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘memory’

LOST GIRL

Don’t be alarmed. This thought ramble is not about a person who is actually missing. It is about me. I wonder who I was in the seventies.

What brought this up? You might ask. The answer is very simple. While our son was on a cruise with his sister and niece, I took advantage of the time and cleaned out the space under the stairs going to the attic. I found MANY TREASURES. So many in fact we scheduled a run to the Salvation Army store. Our trunk was completely FILLED. And now there is more stuff ready to go.

It must have been in the seventies. My father was attending a weekly auction. He also had rented a space at the flea market. He picked up stuff to sell. He stored the stuff under the stairs going to the attic. I just FOUND 3 lamps. I also found a bag of wrapped beverage glasses. The glasses are fine, the bag ripped when I picked it up. They are now waiting in a box to go to a new home.

I found a football. I found a basket ball. I found 5 rolling suitcases and a suit bag. Some stuff left. Some stuff remained. When we were in square dancing, I made many of our outfits. I found bags upon bags of material. A woman of many talents I found zodiac signs embroidered in yarn — not a complete set — 5 or 6 finished. I have NO IDEA what plans I had for them.

I also found bags upon bags of yarn. Some contained projects that were in the works but not finished — a western vest? Lovely wool! A cobalt blue sweater, with huge needles, not finished. The magazines for both projects packed with the yarn.

I also found an interesting dazzle yarn coat — fringe — tied in the webbing. The colors are BRIGHT — hot pink, orange, golden yellow, avocado green made to fit a much smaller person than I am now. I couldn’t get rid of it then, I can’t get rid of it now. I have NO IDEA what possessed me to make it. The coat is FINISHED. Like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon — I have changed. I used to be very shy, not going out of my way to speak to people. I’m definitely NOT that person now. I can’t imagine myself, in the 70’s wearing that coat. If it fit, I don’t know if I would have the courage to wear that coat now!

In the 70’s, I wasn’t aware of the extra gifts I possessed. My father was alive and healthy. We had four children. I was working, adding to household money. We had a camper, escaping to the country on weekends. Recently my husband realized that I have been a caretaker all my life. And he is absolutely right! My mother, brother and others were probably busy helping behind the scenes but I was unaware of their presence.

On a beautiful Saturday, I took a walk to our park. I’m still trying to increase the number of steps to be ready for Hawaii. I heard music on the air and searched for the source. A retired gentleman was playing an alto sax. A woman was standing near by when I approached and told her I was going to interrupt his playing. I wanted to tell him how much I enjoyed it.

He has only been playing for 6 years. It was one of the things he wanted to learn to do when he retire. He also thought about writing. I mentioned that I was a writer, by this time the woman had joined us. She was a professional writer, writing for magazines and a newspaper. When I mentioned my crazy coat, she remembered that fringed yarn was all the rage in the 70’s. Answer — I guess that is why I made the coat?

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THWARTED

This word WAS NOT part of my vocabulary. It wandered into my mind. After checking to confirm that is was a word, I decided it was an excellent title for a thought ramble. Especially after the happenings in my life in January and February. Thwarted: “Block or Hinder. To keep from doing.”

Perhaps I should explain. In January I received an invitation to join Deepak Chopra for a 4 week meditation. I have tried to do his three week meditations in the past and although I still have trouble meditating, I thought I should keep trying. My schedule was clear — I thought I would be able to do it for four weeks. The first day, I connected to the meditation. That was the end of my success. Communication with the HELP desk didn’t help. From experience I knew I was being BLOCKED. WHY? No answer.

At the end of January the reason became apparent. Our 9 year old granddaughter’s migraines and thunder boomers had increased to such an extent that her mother took her to Diamond Clinic at St. Joseph hospital in Chicago. Her brother and their two dogs, one a black lab 4 month old puppy, stayed with us. When her father and brother returned home, I suggested the dogs stay with us. The puppy was excellent, just a puppy, forever hungry and wanting to play. All of Robin’s toys, in various states of togetherness, occupied the whole house. I quickly decided that exercise was NOT an option.

I was surprised at the number of states that the patients at St. Joseph came from. Diamond clinic must be very well known and we are blessed to have it in Chicago. Patients came from as far away as California and Georgia. Tennessee, Ohio and Missouri were also represented. Sadly the treatment didn’t get rid of my granddaughters headaches, although they might be better. I must admit that the house was quiet when the dogs left.

Our life returned to normal, right? WRONG! I’m still trying to catch up on sleep. Our winter weather mix is still continuing. Last Sunday was the first Sunday I attended Mass since Christmas. I don’t wander out when it is icy, nor do I drive. Watching the weather systems and shopping between them describes both January and February.

Shopping has presented its own challenges. I recently returned from Wal-Mart without half of my groceries. One bag was missing. Checking my receipt to get the phone number, I noticed that the items missing were not charged. ?? If there is an explanation, I don’t know what it is.

Sadly, I don’t keep good notes. I don’t write down the number of frustrations that are in each day. I read recently that I should note the co-incidences that occur in my life. I laughed. Co-incidences — DAILY? I don’t write down the number of times my brain doesn’t remember stuff. In other words, I don’t remember all of the times that thwarted fit the day. I’m sure it was a lot!

MEMORY

I worry about me sometimes. I especially worry when I don’t remember where I put something or when I forget when it comes to money — checkbook, paying bills. I don’t get upset when I arrive in the kitchen or the pantry and forget why I felt I needed to get something. Usually if I relax and think for a minute, I’ll remember what I needed.

I’ve told myself that I need to start writing notes. Sometimes I remember and sometimes it works — especially at the camper. When we leave in the Fall and I’ve moved stuff — it is helpful to find a note telling me where the item is.

The forecast for the weather for the week after Thanksgiving was interesting. Two days in the 40’s, then the temperature drops below freezing, with snow. Time to put up the lights outside.

Finding the boxes that hold the decorations was easy. Our son brought them up from the basement for me. Taking off the lid contained the lights and the garlands. EXCEPT — I didn’t recognize the lights. I saw large bulb, multicolored lights — FOUR (4) boxes. QUESTION: Where did they come from? I didn’t remember buying them but I knew neither our son or my husband would have. There they were.

We use tiny cascading lights hanging on the porch. I found three bunches. They also were multicolored. I didn’t remember them either. We usually have either white or blue. I looked for a note reminding me of the lights in the box. I didn’t find one.

I have to admit that my notes to myself are not very complete. Either I forget to write things down or decide it is not important enough to remember. Maybe I thought that I would remember. Sadly, memory is marvelous — it must be full because it is VERY choosy about it keeps.

Recently our local public broadcasting station had a pledge drive to raise money. One of the programs that was included was music of the 60’s. It surprised me that not only did I recognize the name of the singer whose voice I heard, but just hearing the first notes of the song — I knew what the song was. Of course the 60’2 — it was my music and I was YOUNG! My memory bank was full and overflowing.

I LIKE the multicolored lights on the porch. Getting new strands to replace those hanging this year would probably be a good idea. Maybe that’s why we have 4 boxes of multicolored large bulbs that I don’t remember. I wonder what we were going to do with them?

MADE MY DAY

I suppose it is no secret that I LOVE MUSIC . Even though Chicago has hosted the Blues Festival for 35 years — most of the early years was held without me. My husband DOES NOT LIKE CROWDS. He does not LIKE to go downtown so for the many years when we were raising our family, I didn’t go to any of the festivals in Chicago. One year I came to the realization that I could go by MYSELF. And so I did. And I continue to go by myself when we are in town. Sometimes he will go with me but not often.

We were scheduled to be in town for the 35th Blues Fest. Recently it moved from Grant Park to Millenium Park. Exact reasoning is yet to be determined but the city is able to provide more security for the event. In this day and age that is not a bad thing. In town — I planned to go. Rain was predicted for the Festival but I thought that if I wore a raincoat and limited the stuff I was carrying, I would be alright.

I noticed that the Festival was honoring Bob Koester for the 65 years that his record company, Delmark records, played an important part in the blues and jazz of the city. The Koester family lived down the street and around the corner from us. My middle daughter babysat for his children, my youngest daughter was good friends with their daughter. I stopped at the Delmark both to inquire. I learned that the entire family was present. BUT WHERE? Millenium Park was a smaller place, but thousands of people attended the Blues Fest.

I stopped at Southwest airlines to spin the prize wheel and won a canvas tote. I stopped by the stairs to reorganize stuff. The gentleman that I just talked to at Delmark records walked by. He asked if he had just talked to me. When I said he had, he told me where Sue, Katie and children where. I didn’t waste any time — they were sitting by a table at the restaurant. I had no idea who I was looking for so I looked for children. I asked a young mother if she was Katie AND SHE WAS! Happy — understatement! I phoned both of my younger daughters and they ANSWERED their phones. They both got a chance to talk with Katie. Made all of our days!

I enjoyed the music but I was HUNGRY. I hadn’t brought enough stuff to eat. I decided to find McDonald’s since I knew I could control the sodium level. If I turned right after leaving the park, McDonald’s would have been right there. Instead I turned left and walked FOREVER. After getting something to eat, I decided to keep walking over to State street. I knew there was an elevator by the Library stop. An elderly couple looked confused, I asked if I could help. Easy, they wanted the Red Line — subway train that was on the block we were on. At the Library, I made it up to the mezzanine — connecting platform between North bound and Southbound trains when I encountered a man who also needed help. No one there to help him find the Blue Line. Taking a couple of minutes to think, I was able to give him directions.

Frosting on the cake!

SQUARE DANCE

Looking back — it doesn’t seem that many years ago. Looking for landmarks — reality sets in. It was an EXTREMELY LONG TIME AGO! Our youngest daughter was a toddler. I’ve always loved to dance. The opportunity arose when I learned of square dance lessons in our neighborhood. It sounded like fun. My husband agreed to try it. It was fun! We learned the basic steps, then the opportunity arose to learn more — advanced to be specific. That also was fun. The caller announced he was going to teach lessons to introduce people to calling. I thought my husband would enjoy it. He liked to play chess — my reasoning — he would enjoy moving people.

AND HE DID. The problem occurred as he became more accomplished in calling. He LOVED to call, he didn’t want to dance anymore. I became extremely good at dancing the male part. I became his agent, handling bookings, and other assorted tasks. I learned how to call line dances. And life was busy. He added more equipment and records to his arsenal. I don’t know exactly why he stopped calling. We had gotten older, he wanted to take evening classes at college, being out at night so many nights of the week was tiring? What ever the reason — he gave up calling but kept all of his equipment and records. FOR YEARS!

Recently he redid his office and moved a lot of stuff to another room. Remnants of calling included not only his phonograph, but also boxes of records and three sets of speakers. The speakers were huge, and heavy. Since his equipment was still in working order, we didn’t want to put it out in the trash. The many square dance clubs that we had known, where no longer functioning. Their members like ourselves had aged.

I thought we could donate it to a music school. Every time we learned of a person who was still calling, for one reason or another the lead fell through. Our computer ended up being a great help. My husband put in a request for square dancing in our area and learned of a new club that was only minutes from our house. They had members who were interested in learning to call. They would love to have his equipment.

For the last time –he put some records on the turntable, hooked up his microphone and enjoyed calling. He sounded terrific. But we both agreed that it wasn’t something we wanted to go back into. I don’t think my knees would let me, not to mention if I would remember more than a couple of steps.

We were VERY HAPPY to donate the equipment were it would still be used.

IN THE WEEDS

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.

CATS TOO

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!

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