Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Monday morning, Roger came into the bedroom and announced, "There's a rooster on the bird feeder!"

I was so surprised. We don't have chickens (yet!), and there aren't any roosters within earshot.

"A rooster? For real? Wow, that's pretty wild."

Then, perceptibly, Roger's face changed. He looked perplexed. "Did I say rooster? It's not a rooster. It's a … It's a… woodpecker."

That was pretty exciting news as well. It was an Acorn Woodpecker, one of our native favorites. A real beauty, and on our feeder, which is pretty unusual behavior. But I was more intrigued by the word "rooster" and why Roger's brain came up with that. Lately we've noticed that our memory and language skills have taken an obvious turn toward inexplicable wackiness. We have both read the lists of symptoms of age-related forgetfulness, and yes, we're experiencing them. We started our own list a while back of things we had forgotten (that we later remembered). But then I forgot to update it. In early spring, when the daffodils were blooming like mad everywhere, I called them dandelions, EVERY FREAKIN' TIME I TRIED TO SAY DAFFODIL. Roger just reminded me of that, but then he couldn't remember the word dandelion. Isn't life funny?
Really, it's the little things that slip away first. I have always been pretty fastidious about closing cabinet doors, but not anymore. I take things out and then walk away. I always put the milk away (right away!), but I don't do that anymore either. And now I have a habit of choosing the wrong drawer for everything. If I want to put the oven mitt away, I open the silverware drawer. The other day we couldn't find the scissors. We both looked in the obvious places, but it wasn't to be found. Then I wondered where I might put the scissors if I simply wasn't thinking, and that's exactly where I found them.
It's an interesting thing, watching one's cognitive skills change. We're still pretty vital and healthy, but there's a noticeable decline going on here. Good thing we find the humor in it. So, we are laughing a lot these days.

And we realized, of course, that the solution to all of this is just to get lots more scissors and put them everywhere.

Roosters, too!

(Pics of woodpecker, moulting lizard, and pale swallowtail from the yard)


  1. It is very good that you both laugh about it. I can't get mr. kenju to see that his lack of memory/cognitive skill is worse than mine!

  2. We do that too. Then when I realized I would have to accept taking a bp med, I looked at side effects-- and it's more cognitive disconnections. Like I needed that!

  3. I used to say I suffered from CRS disease (can't remember sh*t). But now I've progressed to the next stage: CRAFT (can't remember an f'in thing).

    But seriously, there are times that I'll look at a phone number written (in my handwriting!) on a scrap of paper in my wallet and have no clue who it belongs to. At some point it was important enough to write down. You'd think I'd remember.


  4. PS Love the dangling woodpecker!

  5. It's amazing, growing older with someone. I first knew Glen when he was 28 and I was 32. That sounds like forever! xo

  6. I think rooster and woodpecker are related words. I know, but they seem closely connected in a little corner of my mind.

  7. I envision our MATURE brains as resembling overstuffed filing cabinets; just takes a bit longer and a bit more mucking around to find what we want. It's all there...
    What's been bugging me lately is what seems to be increasing "butterfingers." Klutziness, if you will...
    Overall we are rich repositories!

  8. I wonder if it's at least partly because you're a bit isolated? I wouldn't start to panic just yet.

    Have you seen the movie Away From Her? It's after a (trying not to have to google her name..gave up and did it) Alice Munro short story from her Hateship Loveship etc collection.

    Julie Christie plays a woman verging into Alzheimer's. Her husband first notices when he espies her putting a freshly-washed skillet in the freezer. Lovely film (and story) bravely and lovingly addressing a harrowing subject.

  9. Isabelita! You're new here, aren't you? Are you seeing anyone?

  10. oh gosh, we have it in spades at Chez Crowley. It takes all three of our brains to come up with the answer, so I laugh and say, "It takes a village!"

  11. Oh can I relate. I do believe this is natures way to make sure we get exercise when we age as we wander about looking for "what ever the heck it was we started out looking for."
    For me it isn't substitute words, just lost ones.
    Keep laughing. It is the best way to cope and you have to admit, "Rooster at the bird feeder" is funny.

  12. Do not go gentle into the night...

  13. Oh, yes! A familiar story! Ellie and I are both increasingly forgetful--mostly about the stupid little things like: where did I leave the cell phone? You're wise to get a laugh out of it. Too often, I find myself irritated--and have to remember to laugh.

  14. "there's a noticeable decline going on here. Good thing we find the humor in it. So, we are laughing a lot these days." Ain't it the truth! I definitely relate.

  15. I couldnt find kitchen items last Week, but it turned out to be a case of daughter Katie being helpful. She cleaned the kitchen and put stuff away in new places. For a moment I thought I had lost it.

  16. Funny how our minds work.

    When I looked at the photo of the woodpecker, I was thinking that I had just seen one just like that here and was about to store away the thought that they were called "Roosters."

    After all, the Acorn Woodpeckers do have red on the top of their heads -- just like roosters (-:

  17. I love Acorn Woodpeckers. They frequent the canyons around my Bisbee place and also the oaks that shade a certain campground where I often stay during my wanderings.

    When Don became ill, I found that my memory sharpened greatly as I was dealing with several of his doctors almost daily and I had to keep a lot of notes and duscuss the various treatments and medications and so on. After he died, it was like I was hit with some bizarre amnesia bomb that made it impossible to remember the names of good friends I had known for decades. I would get stuck on first letters - I would know someone's nme started with an S, but could not get beyond that. I lost all of the taxonomic binomials of spiders, insects and plants that I knew so well. Interesting about that as I have a biologist friend whose house burnt down last year with his life's work inside and he says he has lost most all of the binomials of the fauna that he studied for fifty years. At the same time, I began having a hard time remembering how to drive anywhere in our city and yet, shortly before, I could have driven anywhere without looking at a map. Before I left on my trip across the west, I was even having a difficult time remembering how to drive from town to town in the area around our farm which we had owned for almost 35 years. It was scary to have so much of my memory blank out so abruptly and completely. However, the good news is that I was able to rebuild so much of what was lost - I can now drive just about anywhere I have been over the past four years without pulling out a map - which almost seems amazing - but the funny thing is, even though I am in Ontario twice a year, I have what is probably a selective memory glitch concerning our old area and still can't remember some of the routes. I am oretty good on names again and did regain some binomials, but nothing like I once had. I do try to challenge my mind as much as possible - have been learning to play the fiddle and have been playing the mandolin and guitar again after years if neglect. To that end, I have been making myself learn to play intricate little celtic tunes and to try and add a new one to my memory base every few days, and then ti practice all of them regularly. It seems to help my memory by pushing its limits constantly. Wht I suffered frim fir 3 or 4 years us iften called "widow's fog" by those who suffer from it. I think it extends to others as well - people who have been stressed by life's events. For me, it was upsetting and infuriating as it occurred at a time when I was under horrendous stress after losing Don and having to deal with selling my house and sorting out the future - exactly the wrong time to lose so much of one's cognitive capabilitiesa . I know that aging is a bit different process, but often think it may also be due to dealing with a number if stress sources. Interesting topic in any case.

  18. oh, my - could i contribute to this discussion! it scares me sometimes. i have an uncanny memory about details of most events long ago, but something that happened 3 days ago or 2 weeks ago - i am not even sure I was present! i may have no recollection of the plot of a movie we've seen recently until finally something triggers a remembered moment, and it all comes back in a flood. and words...i struggle for the right word over and over, finally describing the thing i want to communicate or the feeling or the definition of the word until hubby guesses it correctly and we can both relax. scares me each time it happens which is more frequently than it was a year ago...especially the "word" part. so, yeah, i know all about roosters at the feeder and dandelions in bloom.