Minding Your Mind and Keeping Your Memories

With each pen stroke I made to the paper, my memories emptied themselves into beautiful flowery words. Each memory telling a story off my life. I was running out of ink and paper, I resorted to the crayons I found under the chair and wrote on the walls. Memories of childhood, of going to the little grocery store for my mom and the clerk always gave me a Twinkie because she thought I was such a good girl to do this nice thing for my mom. I wrote I wrote about the time a bee flew into our car and my sister freaking out…this first time I thought about being afraid of bees and bugs was a normal thing. For some reason I couldn’t hold onto my memories.

My kitchen walls were filled with all the recipes I’ve collected in my mind and memory. Recipes I made from memory. Muffins, donuts, pancakes, veggie soup, avocado bliss, chicken and rice, pesto encrusted salmon all my go to recipes were written on the walls with the crayons I found.

As the crayons and rooms were spent and filled, I found other things to write with and more areas to write on. I used some sharpees and wrote on the garage floor about all the places I’ve ever traveled to from memory. Writing each one out in detail and seeing where I’ve been seemed to be the most freeing exercise in futility I’ve ever done. I stood back and walked from room to room looking at all I had written…reliving each moment in memory.

As I wrote reach memory out, my mind emptied itself of all the clutter I collected over the 55 years of my life. But I could no longer remember these memories as they were put down on paper (walls, post-it’s, napkins, tables, floors, shower curtains, etc). My mind was empty. It was like a data dump from a computer to a flash drive. I had no memory left, my mind had to be reformatted to accept and build new memories. I thought to myself “Who’s minding my mind?

That’s when it happened.

My alarm went off.

I sat up to write out this strange dream/nightmare. I wrote in detail which is why I’m sharing this here. I kept thinking that it was only a dream, but it was also a wake up call. Then, as usual, for me at least, I asked myself questions about the dream and about how it related to my life as it is now.

“Do Alzheimer’s patients feel like this when they are losing their memories? Where do their memories go? Do patients know they are losing their memories?” I don’t know the answers to these questions…but it would prove an interesting study. No…I don’t have memory issues, but in my dream I felt compelled to write everything out. If you looked at my computer monitor, I have sticky notes all around it. My office door is arrayed with sticky notes as is my refrigerator, my pantry, and my front door. All a sign of a busy life.

“What’s the moral of this story?”

  • Keep remembering the moments in your life but try not to get stuck on in the past.
  • Write them out if you need to and read them. Share these memories with your children and grandchildren.
  • Connect or reconnect with family and friends.
  • Protect your memory.

Minding your mind also includes making better food choices and eliminating those foods that don’t provide nutritional benefits but robs your body of necessary nutrients to support a vibrant quality of life.

We’ve been told that fat is a culprit and we should eliminate it from our diets but our gray matter which holds our memories is made up of fat and without the right amount of fat we lose that elasticity and our memories will begin to slip at an earlier age.

While dairy is a big allergy culprit that is being eliminated from diets across the board. It’s part of the Big 4 (dairy, eggs, sugar, grain) we are suggested to remove from our diets that might improve our life. Well, dairy is one of those food groups that is somewhat difficult to remove if you don’t have a food allergy to it. But there are all sorts of dairy alternatives to choose from. Alternative cheeses are great if you want to ingest all sorts of chemicals which are a detriment to our health.

Being Italian and having to eliminate cheese is like a fish giving up water. I have tried to find good alternatives to ricotta cheese that didn’t have cashews, potatoes, or starches…and something that’s a good raw alternative! They don’t exist.

So I went into my memory and came up with my own Macadamia “Ricotta” Cheese.

Slightly wet ricotta cheese

Macadamia “Ricotta” Cheese

  • 1 cup organic raw macadamia nuts, water soaked overnight in a covered container
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk, no additives or emulsifiers
  • 1 clove garlic, minced and let to sit for 10 minutes to activate the alicin.
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1 teaspoon basil, oregano, Italian seasoning (optional)

In a nutribullet or high powered blender, purée all the ingredients. Adding a teaspoon of water or more if necessary to make the mixture resemble ricotta cheese. Pour into a container and use as a dip or use as a component of a raw zucchini lasagne.

Makes 1 cup ricotta cheese.

Minding our mind and holding onto our memories is up to each of us. We make choices every day that will either keep our memories intact or make them disappear into nothingness.

Choose wisely and protect those memories!

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THANKSGIVING MOOD

I’ve been in that special Thanksgiving mood all month long this year, reminiscing of all the family Thanksgiving of the past and how they will never be the same ever again. With each passing year so much is learned and so much is forgotten. Memories of my mom’s special ravioli she made every Thanksgiving from scratch a couple of days before. We always had Italian food to go along with the traditional Thanksgiving fare.

Thanksgiving Mood

Thanksgiving is that time of year when families are getting together to share memories, make new ones, eat turkey, watch football, play games, and eat more turkey. But for thousands who don’t have family to spend the holiday with it can be rather depressing and lonely. Whether you are cut off from your family because of weather issues, distance, family conflict, or work doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate this day.

The Thanksgiving mood doesn’t have to elude you if you are alone, especially with the technology we have today. You can Skype with loved ones, call family,  volunteer your time to serve up Thanksgiving for the less fortunate. You can get together with your neighbors, coworkers, friends, or clients and have a Thanksgiving potluck. The Thanksgiving mood shouldn’t just be relegated to your only your blood family but can and should include those people who you know don’t have anyone to celebrate with.

Let’s try for one year to have a Thanksgiving mood that is filled with gratitude all year long, not for just one day or one month but for the entire year.

NEED TO NURTURE

This afternoon I got to spend time with a group of older women in my complex. It was nice to get out of my usual routine and become part of a group. This group of women are quite a bit older than I by 25 years or more but I’ve been feeling it was necessary for me to be part of them. I’m getting to know them one-by-one and learning that many of them are lonely for their grown children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They have a need to nurture me as I have a need to nurture them.

Silver Ambassadors

While I’m missing my own mom, I have these ladies who fill the need more than they know. Just listening to them about how life used to be when they road street cars and took trains to get to places instead of driving. That’s what my mom used to do. Listening to them as they talk about their cooking experiences and sharing recipes with them has helped me not miss my mom so much. But I’ve also learned that I’m filling a need for each of them as well, because many of them do not have family members who live close by.

We meet once a week, have coffee and a snack, talk about books we’re reading, what type of crafts we’re doing and just about what’s going on in our lives. While I might be the youngest person there, I am filled with this need to nurture our silver ambassadors, otherwise known as senior citizens, because they are our gems in life and still have so much teach us about life. It’s fun watching a movie like today, Princess Diaries, and stopping it just at the right spot so one of our ladies can pinpoint the house she used to live in. She told us about the wonderful parties and about her life when she lived there. Or listening to stories about the different actors in Hollywood movies like The Caddy, because another lady in the group knew Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis personally. It’s fascinating to listen to what life was like back in the day.

Our silver ambassadors have so much life still left in them.

Reach out to them.

They need us to nurture them for the gems they are to us.

The Yearning Heart

Nothing recharges our lives more than being with family or reconnecting with nature. Because we live 2000 miles from our family, nature wins out more times than we would like to admit. It has been a year since we’ve seen our children, the calls are becoming less frequent, and I’m sure that one day we (the mama and the papa) will just be a faded memory. Our hearts yearn to embrace our children, but we know they have their own lives to lead and we don’t fit into those lives anymore.  It’s difficult knowing that as parents we have become the after thought instead of the first thing our children want to think about.

So we  fill our time with other things, our electronics, our friends, nature, food, and anything else we can think of so the pain isn’t so bad (or so we say). These things can never take the place of our children or the love we have for them. Oh how we wish we could share all the places we’ve been and the wonders we’ve seen with them.

So often we are reminded of the simplicity of life when we look at nature and see the family it portrays to us.

Many Roots Grafted In