If memory serves–which it doesn’t.

There is something wrong with my brain.

I’m sure of it.

One minute I can remember the lyrics to a bazillion songs, the list of elements in the periodic table and the names of all our American presidents. Now I’m lucky if I can remember … whatever it was I was just going to write down here.

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It’s incredibly annoying to lose the springiness of one’s brain. My hippocampus is either on fall break or I’m entering a new phase of my life through a door I cannot recall opening.

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Whereas mere months earlier I prided myself on the fact that I could be taken on a drive to a place foreign and unfamiliar, and easily find my way back home, today I grabbed my keys, dashed out the front door, started up the engine and pulled out the garage only to suddenly remember I had simply meant to go to the bathroom.

There’s no dire medical issue—no diagnoses of cognitive meltdown–just old fashioned overload. It’s like my brain is a rather large cannoli, unable to contain the mostly fluffy contents stuffed within it. And things leak out unattractively.

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I’m not too terribly panicked at this point, for I remember my mother around this stage of her life with four teenagers demanding physical, mental, and at times, emotionally fever-pitched attention. Her basic response to any pleading look cast her way was, “Did I remember to feed you today?” I like how she brought every issue down to its simplest form before proceeding to venture into other territories. In essence, all other matters were manageable as long as that box had been ticked.

The fact that both my teenagers have dedicated space in their bedrooms equivalent to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault  (to provide insurance against any conversations such as those I described with their grandmother from ever taking place ) provides me adequate peace of mind. Although I have gone through the parental motions of nagging and threatening to eliminate weekly pocket money, nights out privileges, and occasionally even a bodily limb if I once again find out they’ve been eating in their rooms, I’m also aware of the fact that they might be doing us all a giant favor if the world should suddenly go to hell in a hand basket and we are cut off from civilization with nothing apart from my mushrooming whisky inventory, forty-six tins of cat food and a rosemary bush. Suddenly, they and their stash of after school and late night snacks are elevated to hero status.

Now recalling the subject matter of this post, I feel it important that you know I’m not simply sitting back and watching the inner workings of my brain decay day by day, but have leapt to the call of necessity and refuse to sit by idly. I will not be one of those women who live with their adult children, watch them leave for work in the morning, stare out the window all day long and then upon their return realize I’ve not eaten or used the toilet since the night before.

No. Not me.

I plan to fight with both fists up. And not using the girlie fist position with thumbs tucked in where they break upon impact.

My training regimen requires an appetite:

Healthy diet—No problem. I eat enough leafy flora to notice the slight tinge of cabbage patch green on my skin, and have discovered that I’ve ingested enough chlorophyll to nearly glow in the dark.

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Take supplements—At times I feel I am a giant walking ginkgo tree as I consume the leaves’ magic memory powers with such enthusiasm that I’m certain each of my cells are bathing in a small pool of tea, paste and gravy of gingko related products. And I’m forever hunting down any compound that claims to help my brain’s cell to cell communication. I’m even considering getting each one of them their own little iPhones if it might help with their correspondence.

Brain boosting exercise—I’m unsure at this point which is harder: flexing the flab of my bodily muscles or sharpening my cerebrum with puzzles and labyrinthine tasks. I do both, but feel equally disabled after each. Stretch, pump, push, pull … collapse. It’s so much easier to eat kale.

Drink red wine—Finally! Need I say more? Well, I can’t, because it’s a little challenging while swilling zinfandel.

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Laugh—Surprised? Me too. I came across several fancy pants universities that were engaged in or had completed studies with their students as subjects, determining whether or not weaving humor into “needed to learn” material could positively influence memory and recall, and therefore increase test scores. It turns out to be true. Except for one study. This was conducted in Nebraska. I suggest Nebraska should be sent a few more cases of red wine to help with future results of this study.

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Overall, I feel I’m doing my best to combat the natural downfall of my overworked, under-appreciated grey matter. I will continue to add some color with the greens and reds of food and wine, I will practice mental maneuvers to create an MRI brain map that will make the ROYGBIV spectrum pale in comparison, and I will wait patiently for the next season of Parks and Recreation to resume so that my weekly dose of belly laughs can begin anew.

In truth, the ultimate answer to all of my memory despair could easily be fixed by making a simple dinner reservation. Give me a salad, a glass of wine and  Amy Poehler as my dinner companion.

Now that would be a night to remember.


Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery (here) and what we all talked about down in the pub (here). And to see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone–click here.

30 thoughts on “If memory serves–which it doesn’t.

  1. I’m ever hopeful that my mind might start to meander back to me now mine have started to leave. Note to self: buy more wine, avoid Nebraskan academics. Maybe.
    Also, loved the doodles!

    • Sage advice, Laura. I’ll be right behind you in the line at the liquor store. And we shall both see the checkout clerk nod her head with a wry grin when we explain the two cases of Cabernet were at the recommendation of our physicians. 🙂
      And thank you for loving Rob’s clever sketchings. I do too!

  2. Loved your post again Shelley. We’ve all been there.
    We also tend to do things by remote control……….which is why I ended up pulling into the drive of a house we had moved from 3 weeks previously!
    I use the phrase ‘Having a CRAFT moment’ frequently, the acronym meaning Can’t Remember A Flipping Thing. (I believe it was originally a ‘blonde moment’, but as I’m a brunette, CRAFT suits me much better!)

    • Go figure. My blog can be considered medicine.
      I wonder if I can get some sort of a certificate as a practitioner and then make claims to insurance companies for my work. Long shot, I know, but stretching is good for the body too. 😉

  3. Here’s how I measure memory loss. There is a Beatles knockoff group that plays every Thursday night at an iconic rock and roll club here in Houston. No cover and $3.00 Schlitz beers. They draw a nice crowd of baby boomers on or about to go on social security. I like to go their periodically to see how much of the lyrics to the Beatles songs that I can remember or have forgotten.

    • Clever, Joel. Being born in Milwaukee, I slowly grew aware that one of the goals for a good chunk of folks living there was to one day be given the opportunity to forget what Schlitz tastes like. ‘Here come old flat top.’ Ha!

  4. Shelley (with two ee’s),

    Again, and yet to simplify, I feel it necessary to respond to both of you; that being your wonderful hockey hip-checking humor, which only makes me feel more comfortable and less lonely of the irrational thought that I must be the only person going through life’s trials and tribulations with my young children and ever dwindling mind and loss of thought. (I’m good with run-on’s).

    That, and the need to address your blog co-heart, (Sir Rob) and his muses. You seem the definition between Calliope, Clio and Thalia – and Sir Rob, well… Melpomene, to be polite (always giving that dark humor twist). Is he by chance a master gardener? Can’t imagine they have more than two months worth of useable sunlight to grow veggies in Sweden. Sort of like Door County.

    With this, I simply address the following:

    A) You definitely (or defiantly) belong in the same group as your wishful dinner guest, Amy Poehler and her prior group, “My Mother’s Flea Bag”. By-the-way, if you ever score her for a dinner guest, I’m cooking! Hell, I’ll hitchhike just to get there for that dinner!

    B) Per Sir Rob, I am now in full belief that he is receiving some sort of payoff from the I.L.G.A. (International Leeks Growers Association) to schemingly increase sales of leeks globally. To you both, keep up the humor.

    Best regards to all,

    Stoshu 🙂

    • Yes, it’s a comforting thing to know that we’re all in this big boat together. It’s disconcerting that none of us can recall how the hell an oar works. Ah well, round in circles we go. xx

    • Half right about the leeks, but leek growing is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. No, my friend, we’re talking ILLF here – International Leek Liberation Front! Leek power 🙂

      • Whoo… this all sounds so, James Bond’ish. Lead the Leeks Liberationo Front Sir Rob! Tally ho! Just becareful not to become a martar as I’m quite sure corn has robbed the market. (Well, not litterally… I digress).

        Stoshu (A.K.A. 000) 🙂

        • “Cornfinger”???…”On Her majesty’s Secret Salad”???…”Quantum of Spinach”???…
          I could go on like this all day, but there are limits to my foolishness.
          From radish with love

  5. Love this! And I know the feeling all too well. But you know what really gets me? I can remember in vivid detail something humiliating that happened 20 years ago, like puking my guts out in front of my entire school gym class, but today I had to leave myself a note to remember to take the garbage out.

    • Sorry to say you’re not alone; however, it is somewhat comforting to know we are all human. Except Shelly… she’s super human, and my hero.

      Stoshu 🙂

    • Oh, Miranda! This brings to mind a quote from Chuck Daly It’s discouraging to make a mistake, but it’s humiliating when you find out you’re so unimportant that nobody noticed it. I’m hoping you weren’t so incredibly popular twenty years ago that your school chum Facebook friends are still posting a once a year reminder of that fateful day. Time to toss that memory out. Like the garbage.
      Be well!

      • Thanks for your kind words, Shelley! No, I was in no way popular in school, and I’m probably the only person who remembers the incident now. I can laugh about it today, and one great thing about having such a vivid memory of the past is that I can also easily recall all of the good memories, too. As for my memory today, I’ve invested in a dry erase board to jot down all my notes to self, since I was drowning in sticky notes. 🙂

    • I’m sure there would be more than a few offers available to you if you wanted to borrow somebody else’s for a few hours–teenagers that is, not brain. Although, come to think of it, borrowing someone else’s brain for a bit would be a massive bonus. Depending on the brain. Stay away from teenagers who offer you theirs. Those all too easily slip into a vegetative state (speaking of leeks!). 😉

    • Ha! Well, here’s where all those back up systems come into play. Smart phones that PING, pop ups on your computer screen, and of course, the fridge and bathroom mirror wallpapered with Post It notes. “Remember tos” for future brain health. I know, it’s absurd.

  6. In particular I like the image these two sentences bring to mind: “I’m forever hunting down any compound that claims to help my brain’s cell to cell communication. I’m even considering getting each one of them their own little iPhones if it might help with their correspondence.”

    As you know, I am a Rob Gott doodle fan. Today I particularly enjoyed his “United States of Laughter.”

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