Maybe It’s Not Me

Happy Valentine’s Day from me and the snugglebutts!

Once I turned thirty-five, I began telling people … out loud … about the crazy things I did so that as I grew older, my friends and family wouldn’t simply assume I was senile. I hoped that at least they might pause before making that assumption.

Losing words when I’m in the middle of a conversation is something I’ve done my entire life. It’s embarrassing. I have an immense vocabulary, but good heavens, when I need those associations to happen, words escape me. That’s why I like writing my stories. I have plenty of time to reconsider phrases, words, entire sentences if need be.

My sister is the queen of not having the right words. She sees images in her mind and can describe something perfectly – then it’s up to the listener to choose the right word for what she’s picturing. Hah  – and she’s a fifth grade teacher. But her kids know and love her little eccentricities. She admits them all and brings her students in on the joke. They help her now when she can’t find the right word. I love that.

Several months ago, it was time to purchase a new keyboard. I use the heck out of mine and it was giving up the ghost. I went looking for something a little more fun than what I had and found the perfect keyboard. It even has back-lighting in blue, red, or green, so I can type in the dark.

Now, I type by touch, not by sight, but when making corrections, I like being able to see my keys all lit up. I turn the lights in the house way down low (off) and type away by the soft glow of the two monitors at my desk. I didn’t think another thing of it – hooked up the keyboard and off I went. Words flowed, sentences were structured, stories were written.

Except for one problem. I was making more ridiculous mistakes than I’d ever made before. I thought maybe I just needed to get used to the keyboard. With time, it would get easier.

For the last month or so (since I’m no longer thirty-five years old) I began worrying that there was something terribly wrong with me. My mind and my fingers were no longer working in tandem. This typing thing was harder than it should be. For every ten words or so, I was backing up to correct ridiculous typos. I quietly worried.

Yesterday the cocky side of my brain kicked in and said, “Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute, here, girlie. This ain’t your fault.” Apparently, the cocky side has a tough-guy linguistic flair.

I went back to Amazon and read the actual reviews of the keyboard I’d purchased. Holy cow, they were awful. People were having many of the same problems I had. Missing letters in words, keys not reacting and responding as they should, typos everywhere on the page, backspacing more times than was appropriate.

Relief. These typos weren’t only my fault. There wasn’t some broken link between my brain and my fingers. I could fix this with one press of a button and a two-day delivery from Amazon. Now, I have three more chapters to get written before Wednesday’s joyous unboxing, but at least I know that a balm for my fears will soon arrive.

We arrive at a certain age (you pick whichever yours is going to be – everyone’s is different) and begin to worry that every little thing is going to grow into a big thing and that will be the final thing that nails our coffin closed. I keep trying to push those ludicrous fears aside – I have enough to deal with. This one needed to go away.

My fingers are more arthritic than they were when I was 35 (or even 50, for that matter), but they still fly like the wind across the keyboard. I do NOT need a stupid piece of technology to scare me like that. As soon as I can, this thing will find its best home … in a box headed for a thrift store. I have way too many stories to tell yet. Don’t tell me that I could dictate my stories. Remember the first part of this post? Words escape me when I need them the most if I’m being verbal. So … I will be typing for as long as I can find my way around any reasonable keyboard.

~~~

Business stuff

1. I hit the two-thirds mark of Book 21 last night. There is a lot going on in this story. Poor Polly is going to need a nap when I’m done with her. Remember – publication date is March 25th! I’m pushing forward.

2. Book List. If you have questions about any of the books in the Bellingwood series, the one place to trust is my website. You can get to the list here. You can always get there by pressing the ‘Shop Now’ button on the Facebook Bellingwood page.

3. Audiobook. Book 1 – All Roads Lead Home is now on audio. Click here to get yours now.

4. There needs to be a Valentine Vignette this week. Check back by Wednesday night. It will be written either Tuesday or Wednesday.

18 thoughts on “Maybe It’s Not Me

  1. Ellen Johnson

    So glad it was the keyboard. My mother had dementia and whenever I can’t grab the word I need I fret that I ,too, might be developing that dreadful disease. I’m a lot like your sister in that I can perfectly describe the word I’m looking for but for the life of me can’t get my brain to “scan” fast enough to find it.

    Reply
    1. nammynools Post author

      My grandmother had dementia. I think that’s one reason I started telling people early that my losing words was normal! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Ann

    I’m glad you found the problem and resolution; new keyboard! I’m looking forward to the new book. I binged read all the Bellingwood books when hubby had heart attack/ surgery and long hospital/rehab stays. Now, preparing to start dialysis and will have lots of reading hours again.

    Reply
  3. Betty moreland

    One thing I learned is laugh when things go wrong. I get the whole lost words bit. My parents generation was a total upset as all the siblings and my parents had or have Alzheimer’s or a severe dementia before death. The generation before was also a total washout. So far only one brother is worried he may have it as his wife has it. Oh I forgot to mention all the spouses had it. You can imagine the conversations I had with my cousins on dealing with with sundowning. I used to devour the huge two volume dictionaries that came with encyclopedias. Okay a few too many strokes and way too many migraines have damaged the verbal section of the frontal lobe. So I have to admit the filing cabinets in my brain are a little rusty. It takes nudging and writing around to get them open. My semi photographic memory and ability to correlate everything I ever read on a subject is harder to open. The page numbers faded from the memory but it still is working. We just aren’t the young minds we were. Age is not for sissies. We have to force through the little roadblocks and stumble on. Laughter helps and determination to stay young in mind as our body ages. Let Polly, Lydia, Beryl and the rest give you a pep talk. Think twilight zone when the characters gave the writer a critique of his ideas and who he was. On pins and needles to see what poor Polly is up against.

    Reply
    1. nammynools Post author

      That would be a scary pep talk! Haha. Yeah, I figure that all of this prep work I’m doing is to help me manage getting older.

      Reply
  4. Lisa

    I am so with you on losing words. Always at the wrong time, in front of someone important.
    I’m also with you on the thinking everything is leading to the end. I guess you get to an certain age, look at your family history, and figure……. well you know

    Reply
    1. nammynools Post author

      I do know! So, yeah, I was in junior high and Dad took me out to meet this celebrated pianist – the daughter of one of our parishioners. She was trying to make conversation with me and I couldn’t remember a single title of any piece that I was playing. I stammered and figured I probably sounded and looked stupid. Huh. It’s been going on longer than I thought. Yay! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Lynne Ryerse

    My first impulse was to laugh, even though I know it isn’t a darn bit funny. I wonder if it isn’t something all women go through. As I started going through menopause I started losing words. I always thought I was fairly articulate, had a fair command of the English language when I suddenly began losing words like articulate. The it was more common words like chair or table. I had visions of my husband having to make signs and put them on everything in the house. The more I worried, the worse it got. He finally convinced me that it was stress from my job and probably some hormones too. I am 72, retired now love it and he hasn’t had to label anything. By the way, I love your books.

    Reply
    1. nammynools Post author

      Haha. Please laugh – it’s hilarious. But yeah – pointing at the thing with four legs you sit on might get a little scary. 🙂 I’m glad you have no notes. Heh, and look at us, no jobs and no more hormones. Love getting rid of those stinking things.

      Reply
  6. Kathleen

    Life itself is prep for getting older. Just think about it. As for memory, we have way more things in our noggins as we get older.
    I remember random things( a trivia freak) , but now and then (ok daily) , cannot find my words in the middle of a conversation.
    However, I am incredibly lucky, my mom at 94, is sharp as a tack, except she
    Cannot hear worth a darn.
    Can hardly wait for 25 March.

    Reply
    1. nammynools Post author

      I always figure I’m in training for something! It’s awful to want to run back to the person and say, ‘hey’ it was THIS word that would have made my last comment much more clever. Haha.

      Reply
  7. Eileen Adickes

    You’ve made me feel better about sometimes grasping for the right words! I’m considerably older than you are but am seeing a good friend’s husband dealing with dementia. My most recent funny about forgetting words happened on the set during a rehearsal for our community theater production of The Odd Couple. I have difficulty remembering the term Silent Butler (a crumb tray) that I got for Felix. I brought in a brush to use with it, couldn’t remember the term and hurriedly said to Oscar and Felix, “Here, I brought you a brush to use with your little thing.” Their minds went where you’d expect and I reddened and did an eye roll. Fortunately, they are good friends and marvelous family men.

    Reply
    1. nammynools Post author

      See, that’s Carol … she’s always saying something descriptive that gets taken as something sexual! Hahaha. Oh, Eileen, you’re precious. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Eileen Keane

    Diane, thank goodness it was the keyboard!
    I can still play Jeopardy, so I know I’m not totally losing it! However, thanks to fibro fog, I forget words and can’t speak as fast as I used to.
    My Mom, who will be 99 next month, is starting to slowly slip away. I used to tell her that her Rolodex was full, and it would have to be one fact in, one fact out from then on. Now, I wish I had asked her so many questions when I had the chance.

    Reply
    1. nammynools Post author

      I wonder how many people watch Jeopardy and are grateful to still keep up with it. I suspect it’s a bigger number than we know! That’s awesome.

      Reply
  9. Gail B

    I’ve been “forgetting” words for years. Learned just recently that one of the things that (often) happens in menopause is forgetfulness.

    Have had sporadic medical coverage, and my OB/GYN-primary care doc was a man, so never received information that this is one of the symptoms of menopause.

    Sigh.

    Reply
    1. nammynools Post author

      Haha. I think menopause is seriously just one of those butt-kicker things that happens to us women, just to make sure we’re still paying attention. NOBODY but another woman understands the insanity you face. And seriously, you just have to sigh and then laugh and move on. 🙂

      Reply

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