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Help! I've Forgotten and I Can't Recall!!!

Yeah, I know, sort of a lame take on the iconic 1990’s television commercial featuring an elderly gal with a medical emergency who urgently needed assistance with her feeble self. Thanks to “Life Call,” she had someone who was able to prop her up, and all was well.

So far I’m not in need of Life Call to rescue me from a frail bone-related fall, but I am in dire need of some sort of life call to save me from an increasingly enfeebled brain. They say the mind is the first to go, and my memory–which until recently I’d successfully prodded into action with a regular machine-gunning of reminder alerts on my iCal each day–has taken a day at the beach and decided it doesn’t want to return just yet, if ever.

Thus, I have placed practically my entire memory in the evidently disabled hands of my MacBook’s iCal, which it seems has aged in dog years itself and is failing in its own wretched memory to remind me of all that I can’t help but forget. Two operating systems ago, my iCal reminders worked regularly, even though I overloaded the application with unrealistic demands: most every function of my day popped up to remind me to do it, short of basic hygiene functions such as “remember to brush teeth.” So many demands that while it reliably reminded me, it also crashed constantly. So I upgraded to a new operating system and the failures became rampant. My reminders would pop up for one event, but not for the next. But I’d not remember to check my calendar to see what it was forgetting to remember. The next upgrade failed me even more. I’m a victim of the memory of both me and my fail-safe computer, failing all over the place.

Since my calendar can’t even remember to remember, I’m holding out hope they soon come out with helper dogs for failing memories.

I felt a little relieved after chatting with my friend Tana the other day on the phone while she was preparing to leave for the gym. As she was talking on speakerphone, I heard water running in the background.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to the bathroom,” she said. “I’m just filling up my water bottle.”

Well, of course any woman with good girlfriends knows that occasionally we all happen to race into the loo while on the phone—it’s a hazard of friendship. So I just laughed and told her it wouldn’t have mattered regardless. We talked for a minute more when suddenly Tana stopped.

“Oh, crap. Where’s my water bottle?” she asked.

As if defining my dilemma for my own affirmation, she did what I regularly do: forgot the simplest of things in the shortest period of time imaginable. It’s what we do best. All day long. And fight it with the meager tools at our disposal to keep us from having to purchase ear horns and walkers and resign ourselves to our dwindling age and capabilities.

The other day I suffered the hat trick of memory shortcomings. First, I lost my reading glasses in the time it took to swap out shirts. A few minutes later, I became vexed because I couldn’t find the enormous pile of tax information it had taken me an entire day to find, which I’d then put somewhere I’d know where to find it. Shortly thereafter, I needed to recall the brand of car I’d rented a few days earlier, as I wanted to be sure we didn’t consider it while shopping for a new car. I’d made a point of remembering the brand. To no avail.

And that’s the thing. I’m always putting things where I know I’ll remember them. And rarely do. I walk to a food cabinet while fixing dinner, forgetting in six short steps what I’d gone there to retrieve. I wake at 3 a.m. with brilliant ideas, but don’t want to wake completely to write them down, certain I’ll recall by dawn. Never do. Yet then I wake up in the middle of the night over mundane things, like forgetting to soak black beans for dinner, only to not be able to sleep, recalling everything I need to remember to do that I haven’t done and worry that I won’t remember to do it. I leave notes everywhere, only to not know where the notes are. I record reminders on my phone. Only to forget to listen to them later.

Maybe life’s pressing needs are actually squeezing my brains dry. Sounds like I could use a good vacation.

A conversation between me and Tana these days goes something like this:

“Did you hear about, oh, what’s her name? Long brown hair, lives up that narrow mountain road.”

“Yeah, the gal with six kids?”

“Exactly. And that dog that smells like death. Her husband played in a band when he was in college—”

“Oh, what is her name? It begins with a P, doesn’t it?”

“It rhymes with my mother’s middle name, I think.”

“What’s your mother’s middle name?”


“Nothing rhymes with Amanda. But anyhow, we’ll think of her name. But did you hear–they’re getting a divorce.”

No! I always knew he was up to no good.”

“Who? Her husband?”

“Yeah. What’s his name?”

Well, you get the idea. We have all the minutiae committed to memory but the barebones facts have evaporated from our gray matter, by some brain-fog that has settled over our memories, doomed to cloak our thinking and force us into some Sherlock Holmesian effort to recall. Our trail of deduction requires mental bloodhounds, and it seems as if our dogs have got up and went.

“Between the two of us we have a brain,” Tana said. And she’s right. Which makes me think maybe I need to simply be paired up with someone, 24/7, from here on out. Because clearly at this point two heads must be better than one.

Categories: humor, Jenny Gardiner, memoir, News, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me, women, women's fiction

Back by Popular Demand...Judi Fennell

My friend Judi Fennell is just cranking out books and so, as one of my fellow members of the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit (as well as a good friend), she’s back to tell us about her latest novel, Catch of a Lifetime.

Here’s a little bit about the novel:

She’s on a mission to save the planet…

Mermaid Angel Tritone has been researching humans from afar, hoping to find a way to convince them to stop polluting. When she jumps into a boat to escape a shark attack, it’s her chance to pursue her mission, but she has to keep her identity a total secret…

When he finds out what she really is, they’re both in mortal danger…

For Logan Hardington, finding a beautiful woman on his boat is surely not a problem—until he discovers she’s a mermaid, and suddenly his life is on the line…

And plenty of high praise for Judi’s writing:

Fennell’s got detailed worldbuilding, creative secondary characters and an impressive use of mythology in this great read. While this title is part of a series, it works well as a stand-alone. Angel and Logan are both incredibly textured characters.

-RT BookReview Magazine 4 Stars

“Judi Fennell has extraordinary imagination and has certainly used it in creating this exciting and colorful story. Her characters are wonderful.”

Fresh Fiction

“The best blend of both worlds. I… love each and every character in Catch of A Lifetime (and) found (it) well worth diving into.”

Long And Short Reviews 4.5 Books

4 Stars!

Affair de Coeur Magazine

Catch of a Lifetime is a heart warming tale. Ms. Fennell Ms. Fennell has created a delightful world that, I have enjoyed escaping to. It is both dangerous and fun.”

Anna’s Book Blog

JG: Tell me a little about your book.

JF:  Angel Tritone, Mer princess, wants to become the Director of the Mer-Human Coalition that her High Councilman brother, Rod, is putting together. But Rod won’t let Angel even interview for it, so she sets out to prove to him that she can handle herself with Humans.

Sadly, it’s the sharks she can’t handle and when Hammerhead Harry chases her onto a Human boat and she has to hide out (and her tail turns into legs), she decides to use the opportunity for first hand knowledge to strengthen her position.

Logan Hardington wants nothing more than Normal in his life. But with a six year old son he never knew who was suddenly dropped on his doorstep, he’s not quite sure what that is, and figures deep sea fishing with the boy will yield some results.

It does, but not quite the ones he wants. Turns out, his son has hooked a mermaid.

Of course, Logan doesn’t find out Angel is a mermaid until after he and Michael, his son, have both fallen in love with her. Except that a mermaid is as far from Normal as he can get and Logan, who’d run away from the circus as a teen, can’t figure out how to make it Normal and banishes her.

When Michael goes in search of Angel and some hammerheads get involved in the search (hey, it’s a two-fer! Appetizer and a main course!), things get dicey. Toss the biggest sea monstress of all times into the mix, and well, Normal it definitely is not.

JG: Favorite thing about being a writer?

JF:  The blue Disney princess tiara my brother in law got me for Christmas to go with my blue fluffy robe and Hello Kitty slippers. Now all I need is a feather boa.

Seriously, I love everything about being a writer. Even the thirty hour days as deadlines loom. And I’m not a procrastinator!

JG:  Least favorite thing about being a writer?

JF:  Those thirty hour days. It’s a love/hate relationship.

JG:  What is the most interesting thing that’s happened to you since becoming a published author?

JF:  The reader email. As writers, we sit in front of our computers (in the aforementioned fluffy robe and tiara) and take these voices in our head and put them on the screen. Then we round them out with scenes and actions, and pretty it all up with grammar and punctuation and send it off. You never know if it’s good until people actually read it and let you know. So that’s the best part – hearing that they liked it.

JG:  What’s your favorite type of pie?

JF:  Always will be apple. Mine. Thanks to my 9th grade Home Ec teacher, I have a killer recipe. I’ve gotten my kids into the habit of peeling and slicing the apples, so I make the pies more than I used to since they’re labor-intensive. But it’s a nice family time activity and we get to enjoy the fruits (ha!) of our labor.

About The Author:

Judi Fennell has had her nose in a book and her head in some celestial realm all her life, including those early years when her mom would exhort her to “get outside!” instead of watching Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie on television. So she did–right into Dad’s hammock with her Nancy Drew books.

These days she’s more likely to have her nose in her laptop and her head (and the rest of her body) at her favorite bookstore, but she’s still reading, whether it be her latest manuscript or friends’ books.

A three-time finalist in online contests, Judi has enjoyed the reader feedback she’s received and would love to hear what you think about her Mer series. Check out her website at for excerpts, reviews and fun pictures from reader and writer conferences, and the chance to “dive in” to her stories.


To celebrate the release of each of her books, Judi Fennell and the Atlantis Inn ( and the Hibiscus House ( bed and breakfasts are raffling off three romantic beach getaway weekends. All information is on Judi’s website,

Be sure to check out Judi’s other novels in this series, Wild Blue Under and In Over Her Head.

Sourcebooks, Inc. (February, 2010)


Categories: News