Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cotton Head

It began in my forties. Now, where did I put...?

After nearly obsessing, okay obsessing, about the item, I usually find what I am looking for – eventually. Then, there are the times I head upstairs for a particular reason, and only upon coming back downstairs find I had gotten side-tracked and done something else, or three something else’s instead. Oh, and I mustn’t forget, pun intended, about the times I go barreling out to the garage while making a meal, where I store canned goods and have an overflow refrigerator, only to stop dead in my tracks and can’t think of what I was going to get. Even after a detailed racking of my brain about exactly what I was doing, picturing what I was doing, and looking through the cupboards, many times I can’t remember what it was I wanted until I get back into the kitchen. And, I am not alone in this!

If you are unaware of the term cotton head, it refers to fuzzy thinking or short-term memory loss associated with women as they approach menopause, and can carry on through menopause. It’s thought to be related to estrogen levels, or lack thereof. It is considered temporary. Ha! I know a number of women who are post-menopausal (50’s-80’s) and it is a regular topic of conversation for everyone. And no, it’s not like it’s a new topic every time someone brings it up. We aren’t that far gone.

I was a little more than annoyed by all of this in the beginning, then realized I had better success remembering when I didn’t obsess about it. I remember, yes, it does happen from time to time, thinking of it in a funny way when the memory lapses first occurred. I would smile and think to myself, oh well, it will come to me at some point. I did this for some time with no improvement. I thought perhaps I was letting my brain get lazy, so I tried memory games, and the like. These seemed to help speed the process along, and I would remember what it was I had forgotten seemingly faster. What I most often do now is force myself right there and then to remember. No obsessing and going on about it. I just simply relax and focus. I swear I can even hear my brain snap to attention. It’s been affective but is not foolproof.

Is all this cotton head, loss of control business something to worry about? I am sure there are those who feel like they are losing their minds and worry about Alzheimer’s. But what I understand is this: If you misplace your keys, let’s say three times a day or more - no worries! Seriously, no worries! If you don’t know what the keys are for – that, my friend, is different.

So cotton heads of the world  don't worry about it. You’ll think of it – eventually. Just smile and know you are not alone standing in the garage wondering what the heck you are doing there. If it helps, picture all sorts of people standing right there with you having a great, big laugh.

Cotton candy head courtesy of Thomas Galvez

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Plucking Weeds

A weed is a plant, or thought, habit, person...growing where it is not wanted. Some weeds may be easily plucked out and never seen again; others sprout even more weeds where there had been only one. What to do? As a Master Gardener, I was taught to identify the weed, and then determine the best strategy to eradicate it. Why is this important?
  • Weeds can be competitive – as in more successful, sometimes to the detriment of everything else in their wake.
  • Weeds can be pernicious – as in having a harmful effect to the health and environment it resides.
  • Weeds can be persistent – as in continuing to exist or endure; otherwise known as tenacious.
Consider Equisetum, or Horsetail as it is called. It is a true living fossil, and can adapt to even the worst growing conditions. It does not respond to threats by herbaceous weed killers or rooting out because their roots extend to China! Actually, roots or rhizomatous stems can be up to 6 feet long and send out horizontal runners sending out new shoots and even more runners. Try yanking on that!
Weeds mean different things to different people. What I may consider a weed, someone else may cultivate and care for. So, I say again, what to do? The best thing I have found in dealing with weeds in my garden, and in my life, is to remove them as soon as possible. Because sooner or later - what was a weed will still be a weed - only bigger. And since they are competitive, pernicious, persistent, and can only become more difficult to eradicate the longer I wait to get rid of the thing, I have adopted the practice of mindful plucking when I first identify a weed. The more mindful I am about identifying weeds, the better I become at getting rid of them. And when all else fails, I find satisfaction in getting my blowtorch out and taking aim. Flame on!
Horsetails a poppin' photo courtesy of Bradley Davis