Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Memory, and the lack thereof.

Something that's been bothering me for .. well, two years or so now is memory loss. As in, my loss of recall.

I used to be able to recall events that happened with incredible clarity, as if they were happening right now.

Today? I can't remember what year I graduated my engineering degree, or what year my uncle died. I can work it out - but I don't remember the events. I can barely remember the first time I met my husband, our first kiss, or our wedding. What I do remember are like photographs - single frames - instead of being able to remember the sounds, the touch, the tastes, the smells, the feelings and what I saw as a seamless whole.

And it's more than just not being able to remember long-term memories, things that happened years ago. It's being unable to remember what happened last week, last month, needing to visit a place a few times before remembering where it is and what it looks like.

What I do remember is having near-perfect recall of places, and how to get there; or being able to remember what I did last week; or being able to remember people's names and faces; or being able to remember what year important things happened, and in what sequence.

I remember being able to do this things as recently as ... well, after visiting linkedin, I know it was in 2009. I couldn't remember the year, but I could remember where I lived and worked.  Kind of. So I could work out when it was. That's fairly typical for me, these days.

I have improved a little over the past year; I no longer have quite so many issues with recent events. According to some friends, early in 2011 it was truly frightening to see how quickly I forgot things; how much I just didn't remember day-to-day. Now, if I've met someone, I'll at least remember I *have* met them, even if I don't have a clue of their name or anything else about them, although I do sometimes recall names. I usually remember if I've made appointments, and often I'll get the day and time right, although I still occasionally double-book myself. This is nowhere near my previous levels, but ... it's better than it was, when I had to set myself alarms three times a day to remember to take my pills, and write notes to myself so I'd know I'd eaten.

Even at my current level of improvement, it is still incredibly distressing to have lost so much of my life. So much of the things I know I used to know, I no longer do. So many skills. It reduces me to tears if I think about it too much.

I have no idea why this has happened to me, or how to fix it. I have had more pressing and immediate problems to deal with. Those are, however, mostly either under control or uncontrollable, so I can start dealing with this particular issue.

I'm going to start by sending this entry to my GP, and beginning a document that chronicles my major life events, so I can at least put things in the right order in my mind. I can only hope that some of my memories are recoverable, and not gone forever.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tea Review: teapigs organic Matcha Green Tea

Prompted in part by the prospect of a year of free matcha, I'm trying the matcha sample sent to me by teapigs a while back.

As a hot brew:
Green matcha tea in cup
Brewed at 85C, 1/2 tsp, whisked in while pouring the water, with a metal whisk I had on hand.

Smells like seaweed, but the aroma isn't strong. Tastes faintly bitter and astringent, but not overly so. Slight fishy taste also. Definitely tastes like a green tea. It gets stronger tasting towards the bottom of the cup, where most of the powder has settled. Ideally, you're supposed to consume all the powder, but I had quite a bit left in the cup after the last mouthful of tea, and that last mouthful wasn't all that nice - gritty and lumpy.

It doesn't taste all that awesome, to be honest. As far as personal taste goes, I prefer the teapigs yerba mate or  jasmine pearls for a morning cup, I think. Especially with either having to whisk between mouthfuls or get a mouthful of dregs at the end.

As a shot:
Room temperature, 1/4 tsp, whisked in a cup first then put in a shot glass.

Difficult to keep from going lumpy - I see why the kit comes with an electric whisk. Much more bitter than the hot brew, and again rather a lot of residue in the glass (which I added more water to, swished, and drank down). On the other hand, it was a shot - so it wasn't bitter for long. A lot less fuss than whisking every other mouthful.

Effects of drinking so much matcha in the morning, after my morning cuppa: Well, I've definitely woken up (no mean feat for me). As far as the other touted benefits go (weight loss, happy skin, etc) - well, they're more long term, and I'm doing other things with my life right now that supply confounding variables. We'll have to see.

Verdict: It's effective (at least in the short term), and although it doesn't taste all that nice, it doesn't taste all that bad, either. I've ordered a pot of it and try the Matcha challenge (one dose every day for two weeks) and then report back. I'm going to try drinking it with coconut water, I think, to see if the sweetness offsets the bitterness any.

About teapigs:
They produce really awesome whole-leaf fine teas, of which I drink many. You should go sign up for their newsletter (there's a box in the footer of all pages) if you're interested in discounts and news about forthcoming products and competitions.

Speaking of discounts, use discount code at the checkout "BLOGGERS12" to get 15% off. It applies to full price products, not cheeky deals and gifts, as they have an inbuilt discount already.

teapigs ships internationally, so no-one gets left out.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Kew Steam Museum photography trip

Yesterday I went with the London Photography Meetup Group to Kew Gardens Steam Museum.

They have lots of old engines there, several of which they fired up and had running. I took about 200 photos.  I've linked below my top 20 or so. Click here for the full album.















It was a fun day, and I really want to go back there to take better photographs. Especially if I can get my hands on a macro lens, a telephoto IS lens, and a tripod.

... on a side note, I spent a couple hours today being angsty at blogger's inability to present photographs nicely. It's really starting to annoy me. To be honest, it's almost enough to make me stop doing photography altogether. On the other hand, I don't know what's involved in a move to, for instance, wordpress.