Posts Tagged With: memory

Day 2925: What your brain is telling you

My brain is telling me to start out today’s post with this quote from comedian Emo Phillips:

I used to think that the brain was the most important organ in the body. And then I realized, “Wait…what’s telling me that?”

Because I don’t completely trust what my brain is telling me, I just consulted Google and found out that Emo’s last name is actually spelled with one “l,” not two. Google is also telling me that the quote is this:

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.

My brain was definitely wrong in telling me the spelling of Emo’s last name but I’m not sure it was wrong about the telling of the joke. I used to listen to an Emo Philips comedy album years ago and I can still hear that joke in my head. The only way to discover the truth of what my brain is telling me would be to find and listen to that recorded routine again.

My brain is telling me that is not necessary for this particular blog post, because my brain’s point today is that we cannot always trust what our brains are telling us.

Yesterday, my brain was telling me to watch the very telling and wonderful series How to … with John Wilson. In the episode I watched, John Wilson and others were telling me about the Mandela Effect. is telling me this about the Mandela Effect:

The Mandela effect
is an unusual phenomenon where a large group of people remember something differently than how it occurred. Conspiracy theorists believe this is proof of an alternate universe, while many doctors use it as an illustration of how imperfect memory can be sometimes.

Examples of the Mandela effect include how many people’s brains tell them that the Raisin Bran sun is wearing sunglasses on the cereal box (it isn’t and never was), how many of our brains tell us that Darth Vader said, “Luke, I am your father” when he just said “I am your father,” and how many of our brains incorrectly tell us the safety message that is engraved on passenger side mirrors on cars.

Our brains tell us that our ability to remember correctly MUST be better than it actually is, so that’s why so many people

  • refuse to believe facts that interfere with their beliefs,
  • are likely to believe conspiracy theories,
  • worry about getting dementia, and
  • freak out when their memories are proven wrong.

Just last week, even though I’ve seen the first Star Wars movie so many times that my brain has lost count, I told someone “Luke, I am your father” while wearing this mask:

My brain is telling me that I should tell you that I also wore that mask in an online therapy session last week to tell someone that, despite their fears, they were not turning into their father. I said to them, “Luke, you are NOT your father,” even though their name is not Luke and Darth Vader never said Luke’s name in the first place.

My brain is now telling me that I should tell you that my brain told me for a long time that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters was an actual character from actual bags of marshmallows from my childhood, even though the writers of Ghostbusters totally made that character up for the movie. My brain is telling me how shocked I was when I found that out.

I don’t know if that’s an example of the Mandela effect, because I don’t know if other people’s brains have told them the same false information about the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

My brain is telling me it’s about time to share my other photos for the day:

My brain is telling me that Michael’s meals are always nutritious and delicious, including those fish cakes using leftover salmon and cod.

Here’s the first thing I find when I search YouTube for “what your brain is telling you”:

My “what your brain is telling you” search on YouTube also found this:

What is your brain telling you about this post?

My brain is telling me to thank all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 1440: What people remember

Sometimes I wonder what people remember about

  • themselves,
  • each other,
  • their dreams,
  • history,
  • me, and
  • my blog.

What do you remember?   I remember

  • song lyrics from when I was in my teens and 20s,
  • Avogadro’s number,
  • most of the dialog from The Producers,
  • my first phone number,
  • Robert Vaughn‘s birthday,
  • how scared I was before I did stand-up comedy at an Open Mic in the 1980s,
  • cast members for movies I’ve never seen,
  • what happened the evening after my recent open heart surgery (even though everybody said I’d remember nothing),
  • mistakes I’ve made,
  • what my 8th grade English teacher would wear EVERY DAY, and
  • exactly what my son looked like moments after he was born.

Remember, I share photos in every blog post.




I remember that I kept being tough at cardiac rehab yesterday and that we had a GREAT meal at Beijing Chinese Dining last night.

If I say more, people might remember less, so here‘s the first popular song I remember remembering the lyrics to:

I hope you remember to leave a comment.

Please remember to express gratitude to somebody today, just as I’m expressing gratitude to all who helped me create this post and to YOU.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Day 687: This reminds me of that

“This reminds me of that” is:

  1. A description of my writing style.
  2. The way human brains work, making connections.
  3. A good enough title for this post.
  4. A topic that allows me to pretty much say or show you anything I choose.
  5. The artistic impulse that guides the way I take photos for this blog.
  6. The phrase that was on my mind when I woke up a little while ago.
  7. A title where I considered emphasizing different words, including “THIS reminds me of THAT” or “This REMINDS me of that.”
  8. What people often say (or imply) when they are telling important stories in therapy sessions.
  9. A function of the mind that can cause all sorts of feelings and reactions, including joy, anxiety, pity, sadness, fear, depression, jealousy, and annoyance.
  10. How people often respond to each other in conversation.
  11. All of the above.
  12. All of the above, plus many more things I could add to this list, if I had more time to write this morning.

That reminds me of this:


This reminds me of that other post where I showed you the “What Helps” lists I use in group therapy. Actually, I think I did that in more than one previous post.

This reminds me of that thing I do in most of my posts, where I look for relevant links (and then wonder if they’re helpful to anybody). Right now, I can find references to “What Helps” in:

That reminds me of this: when I search WordPress for previous posts, the resulting list is often too long for me (and you, too, I would assume). It also reminds me of a comment faithful WordPress reader and writer Mark Bialczak made in a previous post of mine (which included the words “here, here, here, here, here, here, and here”) (give or take a few “here’s”), but damned if I’m going to look for that comment now, people!

That reminds me of this: I need something to eat, at this point in my post-writing process.

That reminds me of this: Self-care (including getting good enough nourishment and sleep) is very important, for all of us.

My 16-year-old son Aaron’s alarm clock just rang for the third time since I’ve gotten up this morning. That reminds me of this: he is perfectly capable of getting himself ready for school, without any assistance from me, these days. That reminds me of this: I’m going to parent-teacher conferences at his high school, tomorrow.

That does NOT remind me of this, but I want to write it now anyway: It’s time for me to show you some photos I just took!


That reminds me of this: I went to a 80’s dance party where I needed leg warmers for my costume  and — despite my assumption that they would be difficult to locate — I easily found them at T.J. Maxx!


That reminds me of this: I haven’t shown you photos of our two cats recently. That’s Oscar.

That reminds me of this: I thought I took a photo of both cats, including Harley, right after I got up this morning, but apparently I didn’t.



reminds me of


that and




That reminds me of this:

  • I attended lots of stand-up comedy shows in the 1980’s (when I was NOT wearing leg warmers) and even performed once or twice, myself,
  • My son and I saw Emo Philips (included on the cover of that book) this past weekend,
  • I’ve seen five of the comedians listed on that cover in person, and
  • I appeared at an Open Mic night in the 1980’s (when I was NOT wearing leg warmers) with one of the comedians listed on that cover.



reminds me that it’s time to get ready for work (even though that photo doesn’t show the current time).

Does any of this remind YOU of anything?

Thanks to Aaron, Oscar, Paul Nagano, Emo Philips, T.J. Maxx, people I work with, and everybody else (including you, of course!) who is reminded of anything else, ever.

Categories: Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 100: I Confess

This title “I Confess” came to me this morning, when I was trying to shape today’s blog post in my mind.  I knew I wanted to write  something about (1) uncharacteristically missing a second planning meeting for my high school reunion last night and (2)  doing a first presentation at work, which I’ve written about here (as a way to manage my anxiety about doing it).

I think I used the words “I confess”  in yesterday’s blog post, when I was revealing something that felt riskier to me — something I felt some shame about it.

Shame is something I’ve been particularly aware of, during this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally.  As I’ve written about  before, shame is different from guilt, as follows:  Guilt is feeling like you’ve done something wrong, where shame is a more all-encompassing feeling — that there is something wrong with you.

Last night,  I realized, horror-struck, that I had totally missed the second planning meeting of the reunion, when I noticed, at 8:30, this e-mail which had been sent to me:

Ann, are you on your way?

And I wasn’t.  In a flash, I realized several things:

  • The second meeting, which I had been looking forward to, was going on THEN.
  • The date wasn’t in my iPhone calendar, although I remembered distinctly entering the next date at the first meeting.

Those were the facts.

And I sent an e-mail back and tried to phone the person who had sent it, Peter …  but no dice.  The e-mail and the phone message I left included apologies and several types of “I confess!” statements, including this one: “I suck!”

Then, I fought the automatic and distorted thoughts that come up for me — in waves — until I did hear back from Peter.  Those thoughts included some rather uncomfortable visualizations of people at the meeting waiting for me, puzzled, and then annoyed. (That’s what the mind is for, apparently, visualizing people whom you fear you’ve disappointed, being pissed at you.) (I should speak for myself. There are parts of MY mind dedicated to that kind of processing)

I also imagined people sitting at the meeting thinking things like this about me:  “Boy!  Is SHE unreliable!” “What a space shot!” and other variations of “She sucks!”

Those thoughts involved mind reading what people were thinking. They also involved my over-estimating my importance, and I had some shame about that, too.


I did use some “antidotes,” to challenge those uncomfortable thoughts and visualizations.  But it was difficult. I had problems distracting myself. I had a pit in my stomach, until I heard back. And the e-mail said, “Don’t worry about it.”

Good advice, Peter.  I agree.  (Actually, that would have been a cool title for today’s post, too. “Don’t worry about it.” Maybe a future one.)

Arrghh!  I’m looking at the time and I want to finish this post off before I leave.

Here’s what I want to say. “I confess” indicates that Shame is in the house.  And here’s a list, that comes to mind now, of things I feel ashamed about these days:

  • That I forget things (like the reunion meeting date and my friend Jeanette’s birthday). Honestly, I don’t think I’m forgetting things that much more than I used to, and I am probably forgetting things these days because I’m so friggin’ busy at work, but there is a new way to “tell the story” of my forgetfulness now.  I just turned 60. I’m getting older. It’s a challenge, now, not to think of forgetting in a different way– as a sign of aging. (And aging, my dear readers, is not something that is really valued in this world, for the most part, is it?)
  • That I think about my own importance to others.
  • That I don’t love my iPhone, because even though I’ve had it for several months, I still screw up doing things on it, like entering calendar dates.  I feel isolated and uncool about this Lack of iPhone Love, people!  Everybody loves their iPhone, it seems.  But — I confess — I miss my Blackberry.
  • In general, things that make me uncool.
  • In general, things that make me feel different.
  • That technology in general, including my iPhone, seems to be bamboozling me in ways that feel unfamiliar to me.  Now, this might just involve the normal learning curve, when doing something new is involved. However, NOW, there is that additional shame of aging.  Am I unable to learn new technology, because .. I’m getting too old?

Here’s one more thing I want to say before I wrap up this hastily-written post and publish it — with all it’s imperfections —  I want to say a couple of things about the presentation yesterday.

  • It went fine.
  • And I confessed some things at the presentation. I self-disclosed that my passion for the work I do is somewhat fueled by “experiences I had as a child involving hospitals.”  And, I confessed that I was anxious at the beginning of the presentation.

I feel fine about those confessions, because they fit the presentation.  And they were short and sweet.

I like being transparent and “confessing”, when it helps other people (and me, too).  I think NAMING things can be very helpful.

Sometimes it’s confusing to know what to reveal. Sometimes it’s confusing to know whom to reveal things to. I confess: those are issues for me here, too, as I write to you.

Blogging as confession.

I guess there’s no shame in that.

Thanks for reading.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

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