Posts Tagged ‘memory trigger’

On Memory: Study Finds Our Memories Can Be Reactivated During Sleep


"El Sueño" by Antonio Cortina Farinós (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

“El Sueño” by Antonio Cortina Farinós (Source: Wikimedia Commons)


From “Reactivating Memories During Sleep: Memory Rehearsal During Sleep Can Make a Big Difference in Remembering Later” (Science Daily, April 13, 2013):

“Why do some memories last a lifetime while others disappear quickly? A new study suggests that memories rehearsed, during either sleep or waking, can have an impact on memory consolidation and on what is remembered later.

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Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Seven Treasures, part 18: guest post by Suzanne Adam

SUZANNE ADAM left her native California for Chile in 1972 to marry her Chilean boyfriend. She explores how this experience has shaped her life in her memoir-in-progress Marrying Santiago. A member of Santiago Writers, she has had narrative essays published in The Christian Science Monitor, California Monthly, and Sasee Magazine.

Tree-hugger, avid memoir reader, nature writer, talker to stray dogs and cats, gardener, CNN news junkie, serious recycler, walker, birdwatcher, lover of storms and laughter, Pilates aficionado, and doting granny, she’s embracing aging and working up the courage to let her hair go grey.

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Monday, November 26th, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 13

Every Wednesday, bloggers around the world share photos that tell a story without words.


View more of my photos here.

And visit my Wordless friends Carin Makuz (Matilda Magtree), Cheryl Andrews, Christy Ann Conlin, and Kristen den Hartog (Blog of Green Gables).


Come “lime” with me at Spice Isle Writing & Yoga Retreat, Grenada, April 7 to 14, 2013. With guest author Oonya Kempadoo.

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 6

Every Wednesday, bloggers around the world share photos that tell a story without words.



View more of my photos here.


And visit my Wordless Wednesday friends:

Cheryl Andrews

Christy Ann Conlin

Kristen den Hartog

Matilda Magtree

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Seven Treasures, part 14: guest post by Frank Soriano

FRANK SORIANO has been happily married for twenty years and has two children — a son, sixteen, and a daughter, fourteen. For thirty years he was employed by a government agency, and he spent the last ten years of his career as a leadership consultant. He was recently released (happily) from indenture and is now a freelance consultant specializing in leadership development, team building, and communication.

Frank participated in Allyson’s June 2010 memoir writing workshop organized by professional keynote speaker Nina Spencer at Verity club in downtown Toronto, Canada.

*     *     *

Here are my seven treasures:


Let me tell you what I did during my summers from the ages of 12 to 20. I went to Camp Soriano, and in retrospect, I realize that made me one of the luckiest kids in the world.

I would get up at 6:30 a.m. and eat breakfast and then catch a ride with my father to his store, where he made custom-made orthopedic shoes and operated a shoe repair shop. Over the course of eight summers, I learned to shine shoes, and replace heels and soles. I also used a Singer sewing machine to repair purses, handbags, shoes, and anything else that needed stitching. That Singer was black cast iron, and incredibly heavy, and it operated with a foot pedal.

I remember asking my father to teach me how to make shoes so I could help him more with his work. He would smile at me and show me his hands, dark with black ink, callused, and wounded, and say to me, “I don’t want your hands to look like mine. Go to school and get an education.”

I still have the sewing machine, which I saved when my father sold his business. I haven’t used it for close to fifty years, but I’m willing to bet that I can still operate it. My mother refers to it as a dust collector, and my wife thinks of it as more junk in the basement.

To me it is so much more.


Miniature wine press

This is a story my father loved to tell.

He was brought up in a small village in Italy, near Naples. When he was three years old, my grandfather would put two glasses in front of him at the dinner table, one filled with wine, the other with a blend of water and wine. My grandfather would ask my father to tell him which glass was just wine.

After tasting some from each glass, Dad always picked the right glass. This, according to my father, was how at an early age he developed his taste for wine.

After moving to Canada, as soon as he was able to, he bought himself all the necessary equipment, including il torcio, the wine press. He prided himself on making a fine wine, a process he had learned back in the old country from his father.

Every fall, usually in the second week of October, we would set off to buy cases of grapes — specific brands, in specific quantities, to ensure the “right” mix for his treasured wine. There was also a “process” and we were not to deviate from that process.

Grapes were purchased on a Wednesday night, broken up using a machine for that purpose, and left to ferment in the barrel for three days. After dinner on Saturday night, we put the grapes in the wine press to squeeze all the juice out of them, a procedure that went on all night. Grape juice flowed from the wine press, and regardless of the impurities we would sample it and determine whether it was going to be a “fine wine year.”

The next morning, the wine was brought down into the cantina — the wine cellar — in gallon jugs and poured into a larger, 40-gallon glass container, where it was allowed to ferment for a short period of time. And all the grape remnants were removed from the equipment, which was washed and stored away until the following year.

As his health failed, my father realized he wouldn’t be making wine anymore and he wanted me to sell the wine press. I just couldn’t. It takes me back to my childhood, and a special time that I shared with him. I never saw my father look happier than when he was engaged in this yearly ritual, learned from his father and handed down to me.

The truth is, I haven’t made wine since my father passed away a number of years ago, so for now, the wine press sits in a corner of the garage. One day it may be used once again. I’d better be sure not to deviate from the process.


When my father first arrived in Canada from Italy, in 1948, suits for men were double-breasted with pointed wide lapels and big buttons. Trousers were pleated with cuffs. And ties were wide. Every man owned and wore an Italian Borsalino hat, a fedora as it’s known here. It was made famous by Al Capone, and later Humphrey Bogart and Indiana Jones. And now Justin Timberlake wears one.

In my dad’s day it was a “must have.” Back then, cars were built such that you could actually wear a hat like that while driving.

I suppose I’d always been fascinated with them, and thirty years ago, I purchased a Borsalino hat for myself. It’s navy blue with a wide band. I like the look of it: the wide brim, the peak. When I wear it, people comment on how great it looks and how more men should wear them.

To me the hat is symbolic of a different time and place, glamorized but fascinating. You know — Al Capone, Elliot Ness, and the Roaring Twenties. I still wear that Borsalino hat, especially when the weather is cold.


I met Bubbi Ida in 1976, and over the years I spent many an evening talking to her on her front porch about the nature of life and our existence. Later, my kids adopted this remarkable woman as their Jewish grandmother.

While visiting Venice in the early 1960s, she had purchased a marble figurine of a charioteer reining in two muscular horses. She told me she had carried that figurine in her hands all the way back from Italy to make sure nothing happened to it. The sculpture is a work of stunning craftsmanship, and I have always admired its detail and the sense of power it projects.

In her later years, when Bubbi was giving up some of her treasured possessions, she asked me to take care of the figurine for her. Now one of my treasures, it sits proudly on my fireplace mantel.

I’ll be forever grateful that for the past forty years of my life I had the good fortune to know Bubbi Ida. The charioteer and his horses remind me of this woman who exemplified wisdom, compassion, understanding, generosity, and kindness.


I can’t remember a day that I didn’t enjoy going to school, and part of my joy came from playing defensive tackle for the York Memo Mustangs.

I still have my football jersey, ripped and torn, evidence of some meaningful collisions and tackles on the field. Over the years I have stitched it up repeatedly and my kids have had fun wearing it to school for “theme” days.

As it happens, my daughter is a competitive swimmer, part of the York Swim Club. The club uses Centennial Pool, which is connected to my old high school and was completed when I was in Grade 11. Days when I go to pick her up, I make my way to the back of the school and walk toward the football field. The running track has been neglected and is overgrown with weeds, but the football field is still used by students there.

As I can stand there I can almost see my team playing against our rivals, and I am reminded of the many happy days I spent in high school, and why I treasure that red and gold football jersey, number 82.


When my parents got engaged in the late 1940s, my father presented my mother with an engagement ring and she reciprocated by giving him a matching set of Parker pens, black with gold caps. One was a fountain pen and the other a mechanical pencil. My father loved to write, especially to his sister in Italy.

Not a lot of people use fountain pens today, and there’s not much handwriting done either. But there is a singular beauty in the flow of a fountain pen that cannot be explained to anyone who hasn’t used one. Pens may be more advanced these days, but the fountain pen reminds me of a day when you would sit down and take the time to write a letter or note and would not be rushed.

I still have both pens and keep them safe, planning one day to pass them on to my son or daughter, a reminder of the grandfather they came to know and love.


Like most parents with children, at some point we became overwhelmed with the number of toys and games the children had accumulated, many of them gifts from close friends and relatives. The problem is, where do you store them?

My wife suggested purchasing a cabinet from IKEA. “Over my dead body,” I said with my inside voice.

A carpenter wannabe, I told her I would build a wooden cabinet myself to store the toys. The cabinet would have stile-and-rail panels for the doors, Winnie-the-Pooh decorations, and two-tone paint. My wife thought that I was overreaching, but I was determined.

It took me six months’ worth of weekends and I learned as I went along, but I ended up building a six-foot cabinet, painted just as I’d visualized it, with more than enough room to store everything.

The kids still use the cabinet, though these days it’s for belongings other than toys. And when I look at it I know that I made something that they cherish as I do. I hope, too, that as a result they see me as someone who wasn’t afraid to try something I’d never done before, someone who was willing to learn through doing.

Maybe after they’ve left home, I’ll keep the cabinet for my own toys.

Also read Frank’s short memoir “Letters to My Children” on this website.

Watch for poet Catherine Graham’s “Seven Treasures,” coming soon.

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Things I Like (doin’ my bit for “1,000 Things We Like” by Rebecca Rosenblum)


Rebecca over at Rose Coloured has really started something. A feel-good something.

Actually, she began it 10 years ago, and now she’s building on it. She’s asking for help in creating a bigger-and-better-than-ever list, “1,000 Things We Like, 2012.” Here she explains how it works, and how you can participate:

“As I said in the previous retro post, I started listing things I like and exhorting my friends to do the same in Fall 2002. It was so much fun making that community list (boy does it take a village if you want to get to 1000) that it happened again 5 years later. And, now, to celebrate the decade anniversary of 1000 things, dare we go for 3000?

“I’m in. Fred, one of the best likers I know, is in. Are you in? If so, feel free to add to the list — either in the comments section or on your on own blog, with the link in the comments. If the numbering gets screwed up (it always does) I’ll fix and repost — promise! Your list contributions can be as personal or as general as you like, but do make ’em specific as possible — name the band you like, don’t just say “music” — we’ll need a lot of specificity to get to three grand! It’s ok if your likes disagree with someone else who previously contributed to the list — if for example you write summer and someone else already wrote winter! We don’t have to *all* like *everything* — just submit it as a thing that one *can* like!”

So, here are some of mine, in no particular order:

– endings to books that make me want to cry because they’re so perfect

– Leonard Cohen’s voice, no matter how husky it gets

– fresh mangoes, and don’t ask me to share

– freckles across the bridge of the nose (anyone’s but mine)

– driving alone with the radio turned up

– driving barefoot in summer (a no-no, I realize)

– the view of the lake from Loeb Boathouse in Central Park

– actually, everything about New York City

– writer friends, published or not


– taking photos, when no one’s telling me to hurry

– buying a new bracelet

– creating something yummy for dinner when there’s virtually nothing in the fridge

– ghostly tales

– sunlight on water, so sparkly I have to squint

– talking to others who love books and movies as much as I do

– amber

– Saturday morning coffee (fresh ground) in my pj’s

– planning a trip, or a writers’ retreat

– dry wit

– browsing bookstores, with nowhere else to be

– my husband’s laugh when he’s watching Seinfeld re-runs, no matter how many times he’s seen the episode

– jazz festivals

– the feel of a sailboat heeling over

– Elvis Presley

– colourful anythings

– messages from old friends

– messages from new friends

– crazy coincidences (life is full of them)

– writing

– the first bite of a cone when you’ve licked down to it

–  the things I learn from my book club that have nothing to do with books

– a new bar of soap in the shower

– my Morkie’s little head-tilt when he’s listening

– memoirs that go deep

– a field of cosmos

– terra cotta

– swimming a long way under water

– a foot massage when I’m least expecting one

– creative people and the way they think

– old limestone houses

– roller coaster rides

– just-washed hair

– teaching people who really want to learn

– dolphins in the wild

– friends who don’t check their cell phones while they’re with me

Battenberg cake

– Kingston’s waterfront

– Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl”

– my kids accomplishing something I didn’t realize they could do

– me accomplishing something I didn’t realize I could do

– finding something that was lost

The Great Gatsby

– chardonnay, oaked or un-oaked

– Facebook and Twitter (god help me)

– the Rideau Canal

– feeling giggly

– listening to my husband playing guitar

– people-watching

– roast lamb with garlic and rosemary

– a luscious teal on my toenails

– both “our” Ryans (Reynolds and Gosling)

– realizing I don’t have to go grocery shopping after all

– having my hair brushed and brushed, like my niece used to do when she was little

– the scent of snow

– strangers who smile (or smile back) at me

– cobbled streets

– being introduced to new music

– country music (don’t ask me why)

– dappled sunlight through leaves

– films that really make me feel

– hot, buttery toast

– the way a friend of mine signs off messages to me with “Zigzags” — there’s a story there

– Main Street in Unionville, day or evening, any season

– editing a wonderful manuscript

– remembering things my mother said, and knowing she was right

– sushi (and just writing that makes me crave some)

– houseboat holidays in the Thousand Islands

– having someone else clean my house — and that fresh smell after they do

– words I have to look up in the dictionary

– finding out my kids remember something about their early years that I thought they’d forgotten

– drinks on a patio in summer

– hiking in the autumn

– the way my husband’s eyes turn bluer when he wears a blue shirt

– enthusiastic people, whatever their passion

– singing “O Holy Night” at Christmas

– singing, period

– also dancing

– that weird connection that redheads have

– Greek food on the Danforth

– the scent of a wood fire

– hugs

– wearing sandals with a bit of a heel

– fresh cilantro

– horseback riding

– memories of my brother’s chuckle, so clear in my mind though he’s gone

– a new DVD arriving in the mail from

– spending time with a friend who’s known me forever

– disposable contact lenses

– the smell of  banana loaf baking

– zip-lining

– gentle (but strong) men

– strong (but gentle) women

– the light after a rain

– first time out with a new handbag

– canoeing

– goofy pratfalls in comedy

– pretty much anything chocolate with a glass of milk

– Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s crinkly-eyed smile

– achy-bright mornings

– rainy mornings as long as I don’t have to go anywhere

– my home office when it’s organized

– juicy peaches

– my kids making me laugh when I’m trying to be mad at them (sometimes)

– tropical breezes

– browsing celebrity mags at the hair stylist’s, guilt-free

– having a dog, because I never really thought I would

– the red rocks of Sedona

– a surprise invitation

– the chlorine smell of a swimming pool

– ticking something off my to-do list

– blue cheese

– Latin guitar

– that when we’re out, my husband notices cute babies before I do

– pretty journals with nothing yet written in them

– pretty journals with stuff written in them

– waking up to an adventure somewhere other than home

– wearing sunglasses

Architectural Digest

– fireflies

– photos of my kids when they were wee and didn’t know how cute they were

– Indian food with raita

– Thai coconut curry

– wearing my hair up on a hot, hot day

– strolling the boardwalk in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood, where I used to live

– the smell of fresh paint

– shavasna at the end of yoga practice

– good science fiction

– my dog nuzzling my toes

– riding a bike

– a short lineup at a checkout (or better yet, no lineup)

– Japanese pottery

– idea people, like Rebecca

Have some likes of your own? Of course you do.

Leave a comment below, or post on your own blog and add a link after the original post at Rose Coloured. I guarantee creating your own list will make you smile. And who knows —  it may even inspire a story.


Friday, September 7th, 2012