For the love of … whatizname?

Today is Kathryn’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Sweetie!  birthday cake

It’s nice to be able to remember things like that… Birthdays and such. Little details.  The minutea of life.

I say that because yesterday we watched a movie about Stephen Hawking(well, we watched part of a movie before leaving the room early in the morning).  A few hours later after chasing around Florida for a couple hundred miles I wanted to look up something on the InterWebs about him and for the life of me, I could not remember his name.

I have noticed a maddening change in my memory since retiring.  I can’t say that I was aware of any memory changes before retiring but then I was so busy then that I’m not sure I would have thought of a memory lapse as a memory lapse.I might not have thought about it at all — choosing instead to do battle with the evil troll that was keeping me from remembering whatever detail I had forgotten.

billy goats gruff troll

You can see how this goes.  I can’t remember the name of a man still alive — about whom I just watched a movie — but I can remember “troll under the bridge” from the kids story Billy Goats Gruff that I haven’t thought about for 30 years!  Grrrrrrr!

Nowadays there are no trolls or goblins or leprechauns who keep me from remembering things.  It’s all on my own head I guess.  Life is changing, and I’m not getting any younger, better, prettier, or able to remember little details.

This isn’t a clinical thing.  Nothing is preventing me from living a productive life, and I’m not worried about having to stop RV’ing because of my memory, it’s just annoying.

I never developed the habit of note making.  Except perhaps for grocery lists; I do keep a grocery list on my iPhone. But I think that is more a function of how far we live from the grocery than how fragile I perceive my memory to be.  I’d rather not be driving an extra 25 or 50 miles to get something I left behind at the store!  Mostly I’m learning to live with periodic blank spots in life.

eye floatersIt’s funny how selective memory can be.  I realize that I’m forgetting certain things because the forgotten things appear as blanks.  Peggy has a problem with floaters in her vision — so her vision is obscured by actual ‘things.’  I find my mental vision is obscured by the absence of things;  nothing where something is supposed to be.  Most commonly it’s a name I forget.  Secondly it’s vocabulary I have lost.  I used to pride myself on being able to remember both names and to be able to use words meant for specific purposes and while I’m still doing OK I’m not doing as well as I used to.

alzheimers cartoonWhere this blog started from is wondering what it’s like if you don’t know what you’ve forgot?  I’m not particularly worried about Alzheimers — but my few moments of struggling for a name or searching for a term got me to thinking about what it would be like to wonder what it is that I used to know?  When faced with a big white blank spot in my memory I could see how terrifying it could be for an Alzheimer’s patient, and how frustrating to be aware of losing one’s memory and wondering what it was that has been lost!  And of course it’s easier to deal with some things if we can put on a smile and treat it lightly rather than getting overly sensitive about something that may not be in anyone’s power to change.

roll the window downAs we age there are some things we can alter, and others we can’t.  When we get back to Milwaukee we’re going to visit the Eye Doctor again and have Peg’s vision checked.  There’s not a lot we can do about the floaters other than see to it that she has the right prescription and we stay on top of any change in her vision.  As for my memory … not much to be done about that…

In the meantime… I’m thinking of getting a tattoo of Stephen Hawking’s name on my arm so I can remember it.  But maybe then I’ll look at the tattoo and say, “Who the heck is Stephen Hawking”?

Thanks for stopping, and I’ll be here again tomorrow if you want to chat.  the illusion of knowledge





12 thoughts on “For the love of … whatizname?

  1. The iPhone reference brings about an interesting thought: artificial memory. We can enter all sorts of reminders into our phones…something our elders weren’t able to do. That technology is only going to get better, Peter. Now, if I only knew where I put my phone…..hmmmmmm.


    1. Considering that there ARE a lot of things I let my phone remember for me there are also things I refuse to trust to electrons — in the hopes that maybe I’ll help my memory. Not sure if it works or not. I know where my iPhone is, but what is my passcode is to get into it??? 🙂

      > >

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha! I had to write down my various pass codes to the different sites I use and I keep it in with our important papers (updating it about once a month) do that if anything happened to me Rick could access all of our accounts or close accounts if needed.

    I have had the same memory issues as you wrote about. Having no direct link to Alzheimer’s I feel relatively unconcerned though I do have a great uncle and his wife, both genius people and both had Alzheimer’s. One of my interest in blogging, painting and writing is to document who I am for future generations. I really enjoyed learning about the character of my ancestors. It was like reading a novel…but it was all stuff that took place.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Believe it or not, most of my info was retrieved through town newspapers. I have shared more of the family history than has been told to me. Newspapers are a goldmine of information and were the internet of their day…anything that happened to anyone was reported in the paper. It’s been fun hunting down the facts and is one reason genealogy can be so addicting.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Not sure how much luck I would have with newspapers as they would all have to be in Poland…. And I don’t read (or speak) Polish. sigh.
        I’ve heard it said about the addiction though.


  3. I remember Dave’s mom being at the stage where she could remember that she couldn’t remember. It didn’t seem to distress her. She would even comment that she couldn’t remember anymore. Her husband taught her to eat lunch at 1:00. Otherwise she would eat multiple lunches because she couldn’t remember that she had already done that. But, somehow she could remember that 1:00 was lunch time. Alzheimer’s is a fascinating thing to watch. Because of her, I am much less worried about developing it myself.


    1. Considering that we have little control over what happens to us as we age, it really doesn’t pay to worry about it. it will be what it will be.

      The human brain IS fascinating — what it will do, and wont

      > >


  4. Unfortunately, my memory started to fail shortly before I retired. I blamed it on the seizure medication, but doubt that it was the cause. It was probably more stress related. Anyway, forgetting current things and remembering 30 years ago is actually a normal part of aging. I learned that in nursing school (back in 1966-68) and can remember it better than when to take my medications. Sadly, it doesn’t get better. Taking the extra magnesium has helped me some, but I still have far too many Senior Moments than I’m comfortable with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Sadly it doesn’t get better” — perhaps it doesn’t get better but I think we learn better how to handle the changes… At least I’m hoping that’s the way it works.


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