Memory Palace Review

The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok is a book I’ve been slogging through for what seems like days and days and days.  It’s interesting and well written, but I’m finding the subject matter thoroughly depressing and after a couple of chapters I have to set it down for a while and go off and do something else.

It’s the story of two sisters and their tormented relationship with a schizophrenic mother. There are breakdowns, suicide attempts, physical attacks, passionate outbursts.  Eventually the craziness and the inability to get help (or for their mother to accept the fact that she needs it) drives the daughters away.  They must physically abandon their mother to survive.  The emotional ties are not so easily severed of course.

Apparently, according to the back cover, there’s an extraordinary reconciliation at the end when the daughters return to be with their mother before she dies. I haven’t gotten that far yet.

Mental illness can be a terrifying thing if it can’t be diagnosed and treated and understood.  All of us are a little bit crazy.  Some of us more than others.  It’s the ones who are completely out of it and have no idea there’s anything wrong who become a danger and a threat to the well-being of everyone around them.

It’s just all too sad for words.  If you think you’re too happy and you want to do something about that, read this book.

Home Is…

The obvious and fair solution to the housework problem is to let men do the housework for, say, the next six thousand years, to even things up. The trouble is that men, over the years, have developed an inflated notion of the importance of everything they do, so that before long they would turn housework into just as much of a charade as business is now. They would hire secretaries and buy computers and fly off to housework conferences in Bermuda, but they’d never clean anything. ~Dave Barry

Home is a key on my laptop between delete and end.

Home is what I click on when I’m lost on a website so I can start again.

Home is a base where I’d start off batting, and strive to end up back there safe.

Home is a verb when I’m homing in.

Home is where I can’t be homesick but I can be home sick.

Home is my refuge, my shelter, my nest.

Home is not just a place, it’s the people I love.

Home is in my heart and a memory in my mind.

Home is a workplace.

Home is the best place to get a good night’s sleep.

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Staying Healthy

Mostly what I do to stay healthy is not bother worrying about it. But I ingest mega doses of vitamins, just in case. B for energy, C to ward off colds (and scurvy 🙂 and D for sunshine. Calcium for my bones. Flax for something, I can’t remember what. Not my memory, apparently.

Last spring I was NOT healthy and I don’t want to go through anything like that again this year or ever, if I can help it. I developed allergic rhinitis and asthma-like symptoms and eventually pneumonia. It was not fun.

Spring is a beautiful time of year, but there’s always bad stuff blowing around in the wind. When allergens enter the body they trigger an immune reaction and the production of antibodies in the mast cells of the nose, eyes and lungs. The mast cells release histamines and other chemicals that irritate and inflame membranes and cause scratchy throat, itching, sneezing and watery eyes. I had all that plus a chest cold and difficulty breathing. And a really hard time being nice to people. There are a lot of side effects.

Basically, the body is objecting to the sexual activity of grass and trees. I don’t know how you can put a stop to that. It is also sensitive to spores, which are the reproductive particles or seeds of fungi or moulds. Spores are particularly nasty little buggers because they are smaller than pollen and can get deep into the lungs.

And that brings me (at last) to killer snow mould. (I added the killer part myself, because just saying snow mould on its own doesn’t make it sound nearly fierce enough.)

It’s a fungus that looks like spider webs and forms under melting snow. There is a lot of stuff written about what one should do to it so that it doesn’t kill ones grass. Personally I care very little about the damned grass, being much more concerned about how my lungs are functioning.

It’s been rather hard this spring to avoid exposure to all the snow mould, short of locking myself in a hermetically sealed room. But I have been avoiding going outside too much. I keep my windows closed. I don’t have an air conditioner, but I keep an air purifier going night and day. There is a heppa filter on my vacuum cleaner so that it doesn’t recirculate particles back into the air. I change my sheets and pillowcases frequently. I keep my cortisone nasal spray and my inhaler handy.

So far, fingers crossed, I’m winning the battle, but this has been the weirdest spring for slow melting snow. Our backyard still has mounds of it, receding as slowly as a hairline.

When it is finally gone and the yard has been power raked and aerated, it will be safe for me to open the windows and doors and embrace the season properly. Hopefully this will happen sometime before July.

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Jamais Vu

Experiencing feelings of deja vu is so foreign to me that if it ever happened it must have been such a long time ago that I’ve now completely forgotten about it.

I imagine the feeling is probably triggered by an almost, but not quite, lost memory which surfaces suddenly and briefly for no apparent reason, making us think we’ve said or done this same thing before. And chances are we actually did say or do something similar but just weren’t paying attention the first time around.

So here’s my problem; I don’t pay attention the second time around either. So I often experience the opposite of deja vu, which is jamais vu (already seen/never seen – I looked it up)

Somehow this seems to me to be a more unsettling thing to have happen. A familiar situation is momentarily totally unfamiliar. A word is not recognizable. A face I know well is fleetingly that of a stranger. A route I’ve taken many times, for a few panicky seconds, has me completely baffled and lost.

I can totally relate to the Alzheimer patient roommates who introduce themselves to each other every morning. Until they forget their own names I guess.

Do you have the feeling that you’ve heard all this before? Sorry. It’s all new to me.

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