Category Archives: memory

My Mother’s Hands

When I was a child everyone said I looked like my daddy and I agreed. As I became an adult I thought I resembled my Aunt Olga, Daddy’s sister, and her older daughter. I’ve even been accused by elders in my father’s family of being someone from the “old country.”

Imagine my surprise when I began to notice Mother’s reflection in my mirror, or her smile in my photograph, or her opinions in my freely-given advice. But the most frequent reminder of my mother is my hands. They are her hands—the coloring, the way the veins are more visible when I’m stressed, the curve of the fingers, even my fingernails (if only on one hand).

Mother’s hands were her creative tools. She embroidered. She painted, both canvas and ceramics. She sewed clothes for me until I was a young adult. She crocheted.

When I was a young girl she created my clothes, my dancing costumes, and doll clothes with her Brother Sewing Machine. For at least thirty years, she oiled and cleaned that machine before and after each use.

As I moved into my teens and later when she retired, she turned to all types of craft projects: ceramics, embroidery, needle point, crocheting, and ceramic dolls. I have boxes full of unfinished kits in my garage. Maybe someday maybe I’ll finish them.

The bookshelves and walls of my home are full of her work, all completed with precision, artistry, and unconditional love. So when I glance at my hands and see my mother’s, I take a tour through her museum.

That’s when I realize how special she was and how grateful I am for my time with her and for all the items she left behind, including that unconditional love I mentioned.

Mother’s Maxims

Remember all those cool sayings your mom doled out when you were a kid? Did you understand her point? Do you use them today in the same way? When you hear your mom’s words pop into your head and/or out of your mouth how do you feel?

My mother did not curse or use “bad words” in front of me. I suspect she didn’t use them behind my back either. What she did contribute were short & precious life lessons.

Here are the ones I remember fondly and may have used myself a time or two.

    1. Six of one, half a dozen of another This was one of her most used adages. Today it has been replaced by “Whatever!” but I still use Mom’s occasionally.
    2. Your eyes are always bigger than your stomachPronounced when I served myself so much of something to eat that I could not finish it. She was always right.
    3. You can catch more flies with sugar than vinegar Clearly my favorite and one I use a lot. She used it not only to scold me but to point out someone else’s faux pas.
    4. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face Apparently one of my greatest sins as I heard this one often. As an adult that little voice inside my head warns me I’m about to do something rash.
    5. It’s easier to tell the truth than to remember the lie I was always impressed with how she discerned my little fibs. I quickly realized that the truth, while sometimes painful, brought a lesser punishment.
    6. Better to be early than to make someone else waitShe used this as a mantra for herself (and perhaps to teach me) so as not to be really irritated at someone who was late to meet her.
    7. You get what you pay for There were many variations, but I learned that it is always better to buy one item that costs a bit more, is of higher quality, and will last longer, than to replace a cheaper item multiple times.
    8. Little pitchers have big ears I remember this one from my early years. It didn’t make sense to me until I was older because I heard “pictures” rather than “pitchers.” She would proclaim it to someone else as she nodded in my direction. Personally, I’ve never said – or even thought – the maxim in any situation. Maybe we Baby Boomers are the full-disclosure generation.
    9. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything I never got the hang of this advice although it remains my goal to apply it as well and as often as my mother did.


Falling Off the Thought-Train

There is a common human disease, which I have decided has nothing to do with age, gender, religion, race, country of birth, country of residence, or financial status. As for many humans, this disease disturbs and frustrates me and so I have given a bit of thought to the phenomenon.  Here is what I’ve come up with so far.


Arriving in a room, or moving to a new location in a room, or leaving your house & not remembering why you made “the move.”

Possible Reasons:

  1. Sleep walking
  2. Short attention span
  3. Short-term memory issue
  4. Day-dreaming
  5. Not focused
  6. Interrupted on way to new location

Actual Reason:

  1. When you are engaged in Task One, idea for Task Two pops into Mind
  2. Mind determines where Task Two must be completed
  3. Mind gives limbs signal when to move—immediately, when current task is complete, or at particular time—and where to go to complete Task Two
  4. Idea for Task Three pops into Mind, but limbs are on the move or scheduled to move to Task Two location
  5. Alarm clock for scheduled move to Task Two occurs and limbs move as ordered
  6. Body arrives at Task Two location, but Mind has already sent details of Task Two to Archives & is clueless upon arrival—Mind essentially got off the Task Two Thought-Train too soon


  1. Stand in middle of new location—frozen in place so Mind can search Archives for any recent task associated with new location
  2. When search fails—as it usually does—return to previous location (if you can remember where that was) and stand frozen in place until Mind reviews previous task which lead to the idea for Task Two coming into Mind
  3. If step 3 is successful, go to location for Task Two and complete task
  4. If step 3 fails, forget about Task One and Task Two and proceed to Task Three—assuming Mind is still on Task Three Thought-Train

Please note there are no prescription or over-the-counter medications or group therapies which can prevent or cure this disease. A glass of Chardonnay, however, makes it more tolerable.