Posts Tagged ‘memory’


The other day, while writing my blog post, I had a brilliant idea for a post.  Now, I usually make notes right away.  My home is littered with post-it notes, writing on the back of envelopes and the covers of magazines.  And, there is a good reason.


Because I have no memory.  So, the other day, I said to myself, “I will do that right after I finish this post.” 


It was to be a brilliant post, witty, short, with a broad appeal to all post.  I remember thinking I should have thought of it two days ago, when ‘something’ happened.


Well, it’s gone.  Lost in the mush that is my brain.  All that brilliance wasted!!!

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I was recently told by my heart doctor that he had never told me my heart was functioning at a low percentage.  Now, I was delighted to hear this.  It has acted like a sugar pill to give me energy that I could not tap into the day before.  Embarrassed, am I? Yes!  Glad I am wrong?  Yes!  Happy with my memory?  NO! NO! NO!


I always worked extra hard in school.  I had a poor memory and knew it.  I was thrown under a dash when I was two and standing up in the front seat of the car.  This was before seat belts.  I am pretty sure it is the root cause of my neck problems, so possibly I hit my head also. 


I have literally gone blank several times, in my life.  I once dropped daughter-of-eleven off to get her hair done and when I pulled away from the curb, I was a blank slate.  The only thing I knew was that if I drove straight and left, I should get back to somewhere I knew.  Luckily, I was right.  I’m not even sure if I knew who I was.  Ironically, I do not remember now, what I did not remember then, either.  I do know that I had no idea where I lived, if someone had asked.  Fortunately, no one did. 


The other time was on the ski slopes.  It was kegger/college break week.  And, NO, I was not participating.  This is THE worse time to be on the slopes, and I was on a catwalk.  Catwalks make me nervous.  There is only one direction to go and people just fly on them.  I woke up lying down on the catwalk with a woman’s face inches above mine asking, “Are you alright?” 


Tell me why it is that when we fall down we are embarrassed?  It is not something we do intentionally.  And, in looking back at the incident, I do not believe that I fell down.  I think I passed out.

But, I immediately told her that I was just fine and then proceeded to get up and follow a stranger because, that time, I knew I had no idea who I was, where I was or even where I lived.  I followed the first man I saw looking at me, and who talked to me.  (This is a bad habit I have.)  He too asked me if I was alright and I followed him.  Lesson, girls, do NOT follow the first man who looks at you or inquires into your health.


However, it happened to be my husband and I asked him, “Do we live in Colorado?”  Now, mountains covered with snow all tend to look alike, from the standing-on them angle, but for some idiot reason, out of all the things I did NOT know, I knew we were in Colorado.  Then, I inquired as to whether my two daughters were with us?  A couple of questions like that and, quick fellow that he is, he cottoned onto the fact that I was definitely NOT alright. 

Fortunately, my memory lapse lasted only about ten minutes and was over by the time we found a medic.


I have gone to see two different neurologists and, after mega testing, been given two different diagnoses.  I’ve been on massive medication at times and gone into remission twice, with no medication.  Right now, I’m back to kind of seeing things in space again, but only at night, when I wake up.  It’s really an interesting life.  I enjoy my nighttime entertainment.


Frankly, I think it helps me be an artist.  Or is this one of those, I’m an artist, therefore I am seeing things?

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The boys have wanted me to purchase Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for some time now.  I gave in and bought it the other day.  The only thing is that, things being things, they did not have the wide screen version and I did not notice till we were home.  Drats!


We had a family movie night, with popcorn and most cell phones off.  We have a visiting Harry in our house.  Actually, that is his name and he needed a place to stay, so Harry is our guest.  I gave up waiting for Harry to get off the cell phone and he finally went downstairs with it.  He’s a nice kid but addicted to a girl.  And, that’s a whole other post.


This viewing of Harry Potter just reinforced for me, yet again, the shear shortness of my memory.  I have now established that it does not last five months.  We saw this movie at the theatre and yet it was like watching a brand new movie.  I didn’t remember how it opened and I kept telling myself that we must have walked into the theatre late.


By the end, I knew I just did not remember seeing it before.  There were a few scenes, mostly like camera images that I remembered.  Filch on the ladder was one and I love it when he does that “high knee run” of his.  But, I had forgotten Groap (sp?) and all kinds of other stuff.  I do remember not being real impressed with it the first time.


I thought it did not flow well; that the scenes were too disjointed.  But, I had just read the book over again, so maybe you are better off not reading the book right before seeing the movies.  And, I do read Harry Potter over again.  I love J. K. Rowling’s writing.


So, every time I feel guilty for buying another DVD, I just remind myself, it’s all new to me: over and over and over and over.

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As you all know, or you should if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, that I love movies and that my memory is not so great.  Due to this, the memory and not the movies, I make lists.


In order to keep from repeating subjects (HA!) and with the difficulty of getting on-line at times, I have a copy of every blog on my laptop.  Thus, supposedly I can check to see if I have done a blog about skateboarding (Right!) or how long since I bored you with Irritating Little Chihuahua stories.  She is definitely not keeping up her end of this relationship by being funny regularly. 


I also have a list of DVD’s I own.  This is to keep from buying one that I already own.  I used to also have a list of those that Gaffer owns, but his collection has grown to the point where I just do not buy him DVD’s.  Master’s Daughter however purchased “Thumb Wars” for him last Christmas.  He is a serious Star Wars fan and the link above is for a different movie.  She gave him a whole set of DVD’s where thumbs (dressed up and with faces) played all the parts.  She was right, he did not own it and we all loved the Star Wars version.  Given enough Margarita’s, it will keep a party in stitches for an hour, but then again, anything will, I suppose.

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I have a poor memory, as I have stated before.  I can remember some things;  mostly, because I have written them down.  In college, I listened to lectures, recorded them, made notes, rewrote the notes for legibility and organization and then put them on index cards. 


Being an artist, I keep a sketch book.  It is my memory. I have piles of sketch books and it worries me that I cannot find a couple of them.  I have two studios, so I am sure they are around somewhere.  But, I like keeping my memory close. 


I once met an artist who took extra care to ship his sketchbooks when he moved.  He was worried they would get lost in the packing and confusion of a moving truck.  Unfortunately, the shipment did get lost and his sketchbooks were gone forever.  An actor once had his sketchbooks stolen from his truck.  I guard mine and, along with my uncle’s violin, they are what I would grab in a flood.


There is a silver lining to having a poor memory, however. 


For one thing, I can watch movies over again and enjoy them just like the first time.  The other day I watched “I Remember Mama” again.  Of course, it has been so many years since I have seen it that I do not think that is a big challenge that counts.  But, I can watch a movie I saw last year and “discover” it all over again.  It is not like I forget the little details either, I forget the movie: the ending, the middle, the characters.  I get the joy of discovering it all over again.  Of course, that does not account for the 386 times I have watched ConAir or The Rock.  Hey, Nicholas Cage is hot in both of them. 


I suppose it enables me to forget slights done to me too.  But, since I cannot remember, I am happy not knowing.

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Lest, BrainDrain a/k/a Master’s Daughter:


Before she steals all Grandma’s “good” stories, I thought I should add my two cents. I wrote these lines this morning and then sat here trying to remember Grandma stories. I know there are some; actually more than you would believe. It’s just really hard to remember them. There was the time grandma fell down a couple of the basement stairs and broke her ?foot ?wrist. Daughter of eleven children, was visiting and wanted to call an ambulance. Mom would not allow that.

No self-respecting woman would let an EMT in the house until she had crawled up the stairs, washed everything that got dirty in the fall, put on lipstick and combed her hair. Only then, was an ambulance called. I have not inherited this trait and I have been known to go to the emergency room in ratty sweat pants and shirt. I got very mad at my family, the time they made me get up off the van floor and sit in a chair with seatbelt because I had taken E-myacin and nearly vomited my life away. I refuse to comb my hair when I am in pain or vomiting. Ain’t happen’.

Oh, and then their is the time my soon-to-be husband was visiting and sat a water pitcher on the floor (we were playing cards). The intake of air, from all in presence in the room, sucked the oxygen from a three county area. He looked up at the open mouthed, staring faces, with a look of wonder. “What’d I do?” Teeth clenched, I whispered, “Pick it up, before she sees it.” But, it was already too late as the lack of oxygen had already gotten her attention.

There are certain things you just don’t do at Grandma’s house. Put things in the fridge without washing them off. She is actually trying to deny this at this point in her life but I remember the assembly line every payday when mom, dad, brother and I would unpack, wash, dry and shelf the groceries. Which I really didn’t understand when it came to can goods being stored in the basement. They had to be washed off again when you brought them up. Come to think of it, all canned goods had to be washed off again. You also don’t put things on the floor, not unless they can be decontaminated; nope, not even then. Feet are not allowed on the couch, but then bare feet are frowned upon anyway, and not wanted on the floor either. That may be it for this morning. That’s the extent of my memory.

I would be just as funny as Master Daughter, but she actually has a memory. One day we were talking and she relates a story about something that happened when she was two years old. I vaguely remembered the incident, and I was a lot older obviously, but it is not the “Remember that Christmas when you…” type of thing that is brought up every holiday so that you never forget it. Which is usually the point of those embarressing stories. I’m telling you, the girl’s memory is scary.

I, on the other hand, have been known to have a conversation about where to go on an upcoming holiday, walk into the dining room (from the location of the first conversation-the kitchen), sit down in a chair and look up at those living in the house and say, “When are we going to decide where we are going for the upcoming holiday?”

Only to be greeted by stares of disbelieve. Well, not anymore. They are used to it now. My lack of memory is legendary at this point. I tend to start conversations in the middle of topics. I forget I was just thinking about it and not already discussing it.

I feel like a fraud adding a humor tag to my blogs, after reading the ungrateful rat daughter’s, but hey, she’s got talent. I would like to point out that her Blog name is not BrainDrain but is actually Brain Debris.  I looked it up. I forgot.

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I’ve never had a great memory. Whether it was genetic, from being thrown under the dash, in an auto accident, when I was two, or a random neurological problem I have had, I will never know.  I have always worked very hard in school to remember things. I take notes, transcribe notes, transcribe my transcription, make index cards and go over them again and again to set facts in my head. The strange thing is that I will often shock myself by making a statement that I did not know I knew.

Gosh, that sounds strange. I don’t know if anyone else can relate to that. It is how I feel though when I find myself mentioning a name or fact, I had no idea I knew. If you would have asked me outright, “who is x”, I would have probably blanked. If I got into the “cash cab” I would have a brain freeze of unimaginable proportions.

Then there is my “professor” mode. This is the mode I go into when I teach art or talk about art. I have given up trying to figure it out, but all the things I have to look up to be sure I am doing it right or just plain remember how to do it, come pouring out of my mouth when I am teaching an art class or talking to a client.

For my writing, I have notebooks.  Notebooks with research, characters, location, mythology, the whole thing. I have folders for the same stuff in my computer and on a flash drive.  Okay, I’m paranoid. But, I’m not losing it.  I knew of an artist who shipped all of their sketch books to their new home and they never made it there.  That would be like losing part of yourself.  I have years worth of sketch books and guard them closely. I lost a lot of artwork in a move one time.  They are my memory. That and photos.

And, this is why, I treasure some memories, that I don’t need help with, so much. I’m sure everyone has their favorites. A few I left off my last list are here:

We start in the sky where so many of my memories are. I was at a backyard picnic once and someone brought a telescope he had put together with his father. The moon was suddenly closer than I had ever hoped to see it.  I wasn’t just seeing dark shadows, I was seeing valleys and craters and mounds. It was inspiring.

I used to travel from coast to coast twice a year doing art shows and placing work in galleries. I had a large Chevy cargo van, customized with household insulation and tongue and grove paneling. I slept in it at 120 degrees and at 30 below, comfortably, during the weeks I was on the road.  I shampooed in the highway reststops. I found out you can keep squeeky clean with wet wipes. The occasional motel bed and shower were appreciated all the more for it.  I would use the opportunity to take photographs too. I love the darkroom. It is my deviation to being an environmentalist. I love the smell of developer.

I used these trips for resource material and just because I love being outside.  I could live in a tent. I was one of the first cars allowed to enter Yellowstone  Park, I believe it was in 1988, right after their huge fire.  They were still dropping water from the helicopter buckets. I will never forget the smell, nor seeing a perfectly normal forest and then turning a corner to see black, devastation as far as the eye could see.

I worked in Chicago when they started the Music Festival on Navy Pier. One night I sat in near empty bleachers to watch B.B.King sing and play piano. How cool!  I felt like he was playing a concert for me.

Think about your great memories today and share them with someone


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