Friday, May 22, 2009


I was surprised when I looked at the date of my last post. Apparently, I'm still losing days. So on that topic (my last post) here are my latest adventures in the story of my mind's demise:

At the orthodontist yesterday (for Q) I was trying to make an appointment for E to be evaluated. They were getting some background information.
"Who's her dentist?"
All I could think of was "Dr. Payne." We've never had a dentist called Dr. Payne, but my friend and I were discussing unfortunate names one day long long ago and he told me HE used to have a dentist called Dr. Payne. Why that was the only name that came to me I don't know. (As an aside, my contribution to that conversation was the vet who put down my first dog Callias. His name was Dr. Stiff. Seriously).

Anyway. I hit my head with my palm and mumbled something about losing my mind. "He's in Hampton" I offered.
"Hampton?" the assistant asked as she flipped through a list of names. "Not Newport News?"
"Um, it's Newport News" I said.
In my defense, I usually call the whole peninsula down there Hampton because it's simpler to say. They finally found the name of E's dentist.

Then there was the lovingly made peanut butter and jelly sandwich that was intended to give my dear son sustenance during his 5:30-7:30 baseball practice (before dinner). I left it neatly wrapped sitting on our counter until I found it at about 10 pm last night. So there's not much progress on the losing my mind front.

I'll keep you posted, if I can remember.

Friday, May 15, 2009

oy vay

I fear I'm losing brain function. Really. Should you worry about me? Yes. I think maybe you should.

First order, it seems I am able to complete much less in a much longer amount of time than ever before. Functionality is trending toward negative infinity. Today, for instance, was my day off. I had no requirements. This was my day to catch up. I had vague notions of a sparkling house and concrete vacation plans made and clothes sorted and packed away for the Salvation Army. After that, the plan was to have lunch and proceed to the afternoon.

Instead, I wandered. All day.
(It wasn't actually all *that* bad. I had a long phone conversation with my BIL and worked on some PTA stuff. But the house is not sparkling and no vacation plans have been confirmed, and I haven't started to even think about sorting clothes).

The kicker was this evening. My children came home from school, and I, fresh from feeling guilty over yelling at them this morning over what children they were, decided we needed to order out Chinese food and get movies to watch. Family night!!!!
And all would be good. Rah rah rah.

First order of business was to pick up a Bar Mitzvah card for our friend who is Bar Mitzvah-ing tomorrow. Simple, eh? A-HAHAHA! I had just about convinced myself that I was going to have to buy a "first communion" card from Target, and delicately scratch out the words and the cross on the front when I *finally* found a card that said the words "Bar Mitzvah". (not so diverse here, I guess??) There were exactly two cards left in the pile. I'm wondering how many of the exact same card this poor boy will receive tomorrow. I'm kind of thinking I *should* have gone with the first communion card and some white-out for the simple sake of uniqueness. Actually, the really funny thing was that Q found a belated birthday card that he thought would be funny and nice. The birthday card was, in fact, quite funny and made a big deal out of the giver's forgetfulness, culminating in a "Merry Christmas!!!" greeting. I didn't know whether I should explain to Q why it was so totally and completely inappropriate or absolutely totally perfect. (He needed a small nudge and simple reminder about what occasion we were buying for before he thought it was hysterical). Oy vay, right?

So anyway, the next stop is where my problems began. We stopped by Blockbuster movie rental to pick up some movies. Simple enough. I argued us down from about 15 selections to four and went up to the counter to pay for the remaining DVDs. I even had my internet, mail-delivered Blockbuster DVD all packaged up to trade in for one of the store DVDs at no cost, so I was feeling quite virtuous. Well. *Apparently*, Blockbuster has changed their rental policies and had the nerve not to ask *ME* about it beforehand. Used to, they had no late charges, really. As long as you got your movies back in before they decomposed, you were golden. Well, not so much anymore. When the nice young lad asked me if I wanted the 1-night or the 5-night rental, first, my head exploded, and then I focused my laser glare of death upon him. I shrieked in my best banshee impersonation, peppered with the appropriate number of "But I know it's not your fault" comments as my son tried his best to disappear into the racks of DVDs. After announcing to the unsuspecting patrons in the store that NETFLIX does exist and is a very viable alternative to Blockbuster, I stalked out of the store while my poor son slunk into the shadows trying to pretend that he had no idea who I was. My daughter, she didn't care so much. She was just ready to go watch "Bride Wars."

So I figured Chinese food would be simple after that. As I am the one who is always prepared and in control, I had brought along not one, but two Chinese food restaurant menus with us in the van. My anal type-A plan was to call the order in directly after renting the movies (never suspecting that Blockbuster had colluded against me, rendering me irate), giving just enough time to arrive at the restaurant on the way home that our dinner would be perfectly ready for pickup. I had forced my young ones to peruse the menu on the way into town earlier, and they had written down their orders. After the Blockbuster confusion, my brain was showing distinct signs of implosion, so I sat there staring at the menu in total confusion for an inordinate amount of time before deciding to roll the dice and simply call in our orders and wing my own. Eggplant? OK.

All was good until I found myself driving down Rt. 60 wondering aloud where the restaurant was. My sweet son picked up the menu, looked briefly at it, and then looked at me. "Mom, this place is by Farm Fresh." (which was about 10 miles away, quite close to our house in fact and not at all close to where I was driving.)
Oh ho - little one. You don't know what it is that you are talking about (but of course, he did). Feeling quite small by this point, I did a U-turn and found the correct restaurant. And they did not have my order ready because *my* selection for dinner was not available. But of course! I managed not to cry, but the poor guy running the register was obviously worried I was about to. He asked me what I would prefer instead, and I was completely unable to answer. I simply could not make a decision. Seriously. I looked at the young guy helplessly and tried not to fall down and start crying. "I don't know what I should get!!???" He gently led me through the thought process of whether I wanted chicken or beef or veggies or did I want spicy or mild? I listlessly nodded yes to his recommendation and told him I needed to go buy a bottle of wine so would be back in 5 minutes to pick up my (his) order. And I was.

Dinner was fine and the movies were fine (E and I watched Bride Wars and the boys are finishing up James Bond. I will watch Slumdog Millionaire tomorrow.)

But really, I am concerned at my lack of ability to make decisions. You know, as we were embarking on this whole experience, I did have a warning signal. I was reciting to my kids what was going to happen tomorrow during the Bar Mitzvah and what they needed to be prepared for (I told E to have books with her for the morning service which should be about 3 hours long). She piped up with "Is the library open today?" because she thought she should check out some new books. As this was not in my original plan for my evening, I nearly drove off the road in confusion. "NO! NO! NO!!!!!" I shrieked. "I can't do that!!! No library!!! Use the books you have!!!"

Oy vay indeed.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

slip sliding away

I lost April. I usually like April too, so it's sad that I lost it. At work today, a friend and I both tried to remember what had happened during April. It truly slipped by, unnoticed. And this got me thinking. We all remember how time was so much slower when we were kids. I would sob after Christmas was over because the wait for the next one seemed interminable. Forever. And in my defense, it really was a very very long time. When you are 8 years old, one year is equal to 1/8 of your entire lifetime. Or, if we make the assumption that the age of memory begins around age 5, one year chronological time to an 8 year old is approximately 1/(8-4) or 1/4 of her remembered life. That's a very long time. That's like someone telling me I had to wait for more than 10 years for something to happen.

And this got me to thinking about how time is really not an absolute measure. Time is relative, and our point of reference for time is the span of our remembered life, which constantly changes as we age. The one year wait period for the 8 year old me (1/4 of my life at that time) is only 1/39 of my remembered lifespan now. (I'm not lying about my age - I am retaining the assumption about 5 years being the age where memory begins).

So I wondered if I were to define a "relative age" as a measure of how absolute time changes as we age, how much of this relative time do I have left in my life? The years are spinning by faster and faster as we age - what percentage of my relative life have I lived?

So I came up with this:

Years as we normally define them are on the x-axis. (I did this on an extremely outdated version of excel and I couldn't figure out how to change the axis labels to show even decades.) Anyway, I assumed that memory begins at 5. Thus, 1 year for a 5 year old is equal to 1/(5-4)=1. One year for a 6 year old is 1/(6-4)=1/2, and for a 7 year old is 1/3, etc. I can then sum the relative terms to represent various lifespans, from 45 through 100 on this graph. The graph shows the percentage of your relative memory that you have lived as a function of chronological year.

The thick line is at chronological age 45, which I will turn in a few months. Even if I live to be 100, I have lived more than 80% of my relative age already.

It's interesting to think about childhood. We've lived about 50% of our relative memories by the time we're between 8-11. Childhood looms very large in our relative lives. Differences of a few years in children are enormously significant, while by the time you reach my age, the percentage lines really start to flatten out as the years whiz by.

This sucks.

I showed it to Gao just before I left work and his response was "Well shit, Jennifer." He thought for a while and then said "Since we're almost done, we should just do what we want. Go home and drink lots of wine."

I'm not drinking wine tonight, since I'm trying to restrict my alcohol intake to weekends. But it certainly makes you think. I started to realize life was not infinite somewhere around my early 30s, which coincidentally is when the slope of the lines starts to change more dramatically with chronological time.

I think I need to rethink how I spend my days. And maybe I need a vacation. A long one, both chronologically and relatively speaking.


I was tagged by wakeupandsmellthecoffee. Thank you, Wakeup, for thinking of me. ;-)

1. What are your current obsessions?
Facebook. American Idol.

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
Flannel pajamas. I find I am putting them on earlier and earlier every day. At least I haven't started to wear them to work. Yet.

3. Last dream you had?
The last one I remember is that my friends Jamie and Jamie had returned from Austria. Jamie B had curly hair (which was quite a new thing). I tried to kiss their daughter's head but she was too tall. (She is E's age). They were having a huge party to celebrate their return to the states. Nothing overly weird. I am just obviously beside myself anticipating them finally coming home. They've been gone a year and that's quite enough.

4. Last thing you bought?
Ingredients to make a Mississippi Mud cake for the teachers at school. Oh, unless you count the veggie sub I bought for lunch.

5. What are you listening to?
The sound of the TV in the other room that Q has on as he does his homework.
(I KNOW I KNOW....) bad habits. But the kid is pulling all A's in advanced classes. He knows what he needs.

6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be?
Good heavens. I have no idea. I don't know many gods or goddesses. I would be the saint of mothers and would go around blessing them all day long.

7. Favourite holiday spots?
(Wakeup lives in England, if you can't tell by the spelling. hee)
Coast of Maine. Mountains

8. Reading right now?
Easy Silence by Angela Huth. Black comedy. It's ok but it had better start moving along more quickly.

9. Four words to describe yourself.
Introspective, impatient, logical, realistic

10. Guilty pleasure?
Red wine. Cheez-its.

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak?
My daughter. She is a riot. Lately our thing is to hiss at people that irritate us.

12. Favourite spring thing to do?
Sit outside to watch the stars

13. Planning to travel to next?
Not sure. We're talking about Hawaii possibly.

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately?
I only got bits and pieces of the Mississippi Mud cake I made but those bits
and pieces were good. Butter, sugar, eggs, nuts....
Before that, I had Pad Thai with 5 star spiciness for a business lunch on Tuesday. It was excellent.

15. When did you last get tipsy?
Probably Saturday night after we had dinner with our friends

16. Favourite ever film?
Contact. (Jodie Foster, book by Carl Sagan)

17. Care to share some wisdom?
That presumes that I have some to share...
Things are rarely as bad as they seem at first.

18. Song you can't get out of your head?
Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi (blasted Rock Band. I can play drums on expert on that song, so I play it over and over)

19. Thing you are looking forward to?
Not sure. Nothing major is on the horizon. I'd like a week at home with nothing to do.

20 If money were no object, where would you choose to live?
Boston. DH would be happy and I'd be close to Maine.