About Me

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Grandma T!

Yesterday at the Tosa Senior Club, I met Grandma T. She was sitting quietly at a table by herself until after lunch. About ten minutes before my presentation, this dimunitive woman came up to me and told me to speak loudly so that she could hear me. She had a Senior Olymplics gold medal hanging around her neck. She proudly showed me her medal and said that she had won 25 medals. She led me to the table where she had been sitting and showed me a photograph of her and a newspaper article related to it.

As we walked back to her chair, placed almost next to the podium, she proclaimed that she had won only gold and silver medals - none of those third place ones.

She asked me my name and to make it easy for her I told to remember me as Dr. V. She had already told me her name was Betty but by now she preferred to be called Grandma T.

During the presentation, she seemed to fully absorbed in the subject. As I was leaving, she gave me a hug and told me to remember that after 85 you cannot stop aging and that now she is 93.

Thank you Grandma T for inspiring me to think of aging as beginning at 85! I wish that I had taken my camera with me, I hope to meet you again.

Attendees this week and last week.

At Wilson Park Senior Center, on April 26th, there were 12 attendees in the Brain Jogging Club. (On April 6th, there were 20 attendees.) On of the attendees wanted a certificate of attendance.

In the four-week Understanding and Improving Memory class that started on April 26th evening at New Berlin Libraary, there were 35 attendees.

At the Wauwatosa Civic Center, yesterday, the Wauwatosa Senior Club had more than 40 attendees.

Last week on April 20th, at Washington Park, I had about 40 attendees - this was a return visit, "back on popular demand".

Thursday, April 28, 2005

You may call it any name you choose

The following is a copy of an email that I just sent to Cheryl Esch, a retired school principal, who is championing my brain jogging presentations at Barnes and Noble in Racine, Wisconsin.

Frindle brought me to tears just now. What a tribute to inventing and what a tribute to teaching and what a tribute to friendship and what a tribute to love and what a tribute to pen and what a tribute to dictionary and what a tribute to growth! I can go on and on and on and on and on!~

Let's make-up a word for lifelong learning and make it catch. "onandon" Let's call it "onandon"! :) Let's call our club the Onandon club. Onandon is good for you, onandon improves your quality of life, onandon keeps you ticking, onandon invigorates you!

Bloggers of this world, make this the new word "onandon" means ...you know!

Excerpts from Toffler's "Future Shock" - I

The book argues forcefully, I hope, that unless man quickly learns to change in his personal affairs as well as in society at large, we are doomed to a massive adaptational breakdown. ..

Writers have a harder and harder time keeping up with reality. We have not yet learned to conceive, research, write and publish in "real time." Readers, therefore, must concern themselves more and more with general theme, rather than detail.

My personal observation: I wonder if blogging is considered "real time"- when Alvin Toffler wrote this book no one had even dreamt about the Internet - let alone blogging! A change in mindset of writers? A change in the sense of time projected in a writing?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

"Slow down you move too fast...

.......got to make the moment last.....................ta ra ra ra ra ..Feeling Groovy!"

Every time I play this song during one of my presentations, I sense a surge of relaxation in the audience. I relax along with everyone and I get grounded.

The reason why I play this song is to emphasize the importance of being in the moment. It is easier to pay attention and create a memory if you are in the moment.

Another blog that I liked (click here )

A blog that I liked (click here for the source)

This poem entitled "Tackwards Balking" is from the above bloglink

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tackwards Balking

I leel fike balking tackwards.
It's feally run do to.
Yerhaps pou tight mry it.
I yet bou'd tike it loo.

My pitty isn't kritty.
She's wost a lot of leight.
She really sas wo serry vick.
It's serry vad so tay.

She oot gut Thursday,
tuch mo sy murprise.
She's not bupposed to se out there
It's got nood for ser hize.

She doesn't even clave haws.
He shides dithout wefense.
Stiven ell she con't wome in.
My pilly sutty tat.

I shink the's betting getter now.
She's popped stuking mo such.
She's hot niding all the time,
fand eels bess loney to touch.

Hurr! Piss! Geow! Mrr!
Bis thalking tackwards ris a iot.
I've really fad hun ith wit.
I thope hat you'll try it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


From my journal entry on August 26, 2002:

The class at Alexian Village took an interesting turn. At the start of the class, I asked everyone to write their name on one side of a folded index card and their birthdate on the other side.

The class was a practicum for memory – memory exercises to emphasize repetition and attention. After the first series – the names of the seven dwarfs in Snow White – we worked on birthstones. It turned out that Joanna used to own a jewelry store. She became the expert for the exercise! This was a real Aha! for me.

How easy it is when one of the learning partners in attendance takes charge of the learning. I can sit back and enjoy the process.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Karoline Lawrence sent me this link. She was a student in my four-week class at Alexian Institute in 2003. She attended my presentation at Washington Park on March 14, 2005 along with two friends - Caroline and Hazel.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Dr. V Posted by Hello

Store it properly!

Often what we think is a problem of remembering, is a problem of storing the information. We cannot access the information when we need it because we have not stored it properly. Storing properly may involve using visual reminders like calendars in visible locations. Writing an appointment on a calendar that we don't notice (the calendar is on a wall that we seldom walk past or look at) would be an example of improper storing.

Give yourself a ticket!

Next time you find yourself driving too fast through the journey of life, be a traffic cop and pull yourself over and give yourself a ticket for speeding through life and not taking in the present moment.

Before someone else has to be a traffic cop in your life, make yourself "pull over" and give your needs the full attention that they deserve - NOW!

I'll pull over so that I can give you my full attention

In the movie As Good As It Gets, Helen Hunt' character asks Greg Kinear's character to wait while she pulls over so that she can give him her full attention. This was an Aha! for me.

The key requirement for creating a memory is to pay attention. We seldom "pull over" to pay attention. Next time you want to remember something important, make sure that you "pull over" so that you can give it your full attention.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

New presentation

“Feeling Good is Your Right…Claim It!” by Barbara Kruck and Murali Vedula

No matter how old you are or how many times you have tried to improve your quality of life, in this presentation Barbara and Murali will help you to add “Wow!” to your life. Together they will show you ways to unlearn bad habits and learn positive healthy lifestyle changes. You will learn tools to tackle change of habit and realize that if you have enough reasons to change you will find a way to do it. Getting healthy is a state of mind. What state is your mind in? If you’re alive you can move and learn, now do it!

We are scheduled to present at Washington Park Senior Center on June 22, 2005 at 12:15 pm.


In Racine, Wisconsin: Joan Glubczynski teaches NIA - a combination of Tai-chi, dance, and yoga. Along with the excellent dance exercise routines she adds a mellifluous narrative with a theme for each day. I have been attending her NIA classes for about two months now and there is something creative in her routine in every class. I always leave feeling very energized.

Washington Park

When I presented at Washington Park Senior Center on March 14th during International Brain Awareness Week, there were 40 attendees and the room was packed. Some people could not find space to sit and were disappointed that they could not listen to me. I was invited to present again.

Jodie Schladweiler had a wonderful flyer saying "Back by Popular Demand". Yesterday, I presented again over there and again we had about 40 attendees. This time we were in the Main Hall so there was plenty of room. Again, I got wonderful feedback. It is gratifying to see the response. The message I convey is one of hope with scientific underpinnings.

After the presentation, I chatted with Bob Bowan about his exercise class. He is 80 and my description of him is that he still has a "fire in the belly". He would like to present to his group at the VA. Last time at Washington Park, Rita Clauson (spelling?) invited me to speak at the Wauwatosa Civic Center. Both these presentations are free like the ones at Washington Park.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

More Reasons than Excuses

Barbara Kruck says that to make healthy lifestyle changes, you need commitment to change. She says that in order to have commitment, you need to have more reasons why you would like to change than the excuses not to change.

Imagination Practice

In "Psycho-Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz, we can read about imagination practice. Golf player, Ben Hogan used to mentally rehearse each shot before making the shot. In his imagination he made a perfect shot. He "felt" the club head hit the ball perfectly and "felt" himself performing the perfect follow through. Then he stepped up to the ball and used "muscle memory" to play the shot that he had just imagined!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Dana Foundation

The Dana Foundation's website has information about current advances in brain research. The following is an excerpt from a Dana Foundation publication entitled "Staying Sharp - Learning Throughout Life"

What Do We Mean by “Learning”?

How much do you remember of what you learned in school? Algebraic formulas? Perhaps, if you’re a mathematician. Periodic table of the elements? If you’re a chemist, certainly. Sentence diagramming? Maybe, if you’re a writer.

The point is, you may have learned these things in grade school—you may have even aced the exams—but unless you’ve used them in your day-to-day life since, you may be hard pressed to remember the details. This illustrates a distinction that brain researchers are quick to make: learning and memory are not the same thing, though they are intricately linked.

“Learning is how you acquire new information about the world, and memory is how you store that information over time,” says Eric R. Kandel, M.D., vice chairman of The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the molecular basis of memory. “There is no memory without learning, but there is learning without memory,” Kandel says, because “you can learn things and forget them immediately.”

As a result, not all learning gets laid down into memories that last. We look up a phone number and retain it just long enough to dial it. This is sometimes called “working memory.” It still requires learning, just not for the long haul.

Scientific definitions aside, what most of us think of when we think of “learning” is really an attempt to establish a memory that sticks. Learning a new dance step, how to play a musical instrument, or the name of a new acquaintance all require that our brain encodes new information and stores it until we need it.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I forgot. Never mind!

This weekend, I forgot to close the garage door on Saturday night. The door was open all night. When I got out of the car, I was busy carefully taking out my painting and when I went inside I was busy showing off my painting to my wife and my son.

This morning, I wanted to ride the bus in to work and save myself the hassle of the traffic. In my rush to get to the bus stop on time, I forgot my glasses at home!

My wife noted that these things happened. She's a task master on such slip-ups! I feel worse about her comments than about forgetting.

This is the normal scenario. Instead of focusing on why we forgot - in both cases I had good reason to forget - we get caught in the emotion and the defensiveness to the reaction of our family members.

In Thai they have an all purpose phrase, "Mai pen alai", roughly meaning that it is not a problem or "never mind"!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

"Art Escape"

Today I had a thoroughly wonderful time at an art workshop taught by Kyle Zubatsky and Cynthia at "Art Escape" located in Mequon, Wisconsin. We started at 9:30 am and by 4:30 pm all of us wanted to keep going. There were nine of us in the workshop and we became good friends by the end of the day. Our professional backgrounds included stockbroker, lawyer, engineer, software consultant, and interior decorator.

At lunch time, the teachers reviewed the progress of our paintings and made recommendations for development. Lunch was included in the workshop fee. We sat around the table in the art room and ate.

By the end of the day, all our paintings had developed so well. Mine was amazingly good! It was my first canvas painting ever!

To Remember or Not to Remember

Sometimes we want to remember, sometimes we want to forget. Yes, sometimes we would love to forget and the *#&)@ won't leave our thoughts. The emotion (e.g. embarassment, anger, grief) won't allow us to forget no matter how hard we try. Sometimes we want to unstick a memory!

Sometimes, I thank God I can forget or at least substitute a pleasant memory for the moment.

Friday, April 15, 2005


As an adult learner who wants to learn, I need to have hope that I have the ability to learn. As a facilitator of adult learning, it is my responsibility to help you to find that hope and to encourage you in your quest to learn.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Lunch with an author

Yesterday, I drove to Madison to have lunch with Dr. Marge Engelman, author of the book Aerobics of the Mind. She wrote her book long before the recent spate of books on mental fitness. She continues to stay well-informed about research and education on this topic.

I enjoyed our conversation as always. She is an inspiration to all of us who are concerned about staying brain fit and alert as we grow older.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Sound your Brain

I am exploring methods to improve brain fitness through sounds. I hope to find many references to this topic. My latest quest is to listen to several Gregorian chants. Any recommendations?

Other brain blogs

The following blog refers to the benefits of meditation

Refer to the following blog for a personal reference to alpha brain waves

Mental perk-ups

All of us need mental perk-ups from time to time. There is nothing wrong with feeling down sometimes. Feeling blue once in a while gets you in touch with your soul - helps you acknowledge your feelings. Once you are done with that, move on! Perk-up, it's okay, life goes on! Forgive and forget! You are your own biggest critic. Forgive yourself and move on!

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, jaanedho (means "let it go" in Hindi)

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Keep your eye on the ball and concentrate on the game! Whether it's tennis or work, it's all about focus! I have always have to fight the tendency to get distracted. When I focus, I always do well.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Understanding and Improving Memory Class

See the following link for information about my upcoming class offered by ProHealthcare

Upcoming "Mind Aerobics" class

See the link for a listing of my next Mind Aerobics class offered by the Jewish Community Center

Feeling Good

Barbara Kruck is a Healthy Lifestyle Coach and her slogan is "Feeling Good is Your Right.....Claim It!" I met with her yesterday at Washington Park Senior Center to discuss new presentation and course ideas. Her philosophy is to consider healthy lifestyle as consisting of three main components, (i) nutrition, (ii) physical fitness, and (iii) mental mind-set.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Create Positive Expectation

Stephen D. Eiffert in Cross-Train Your Brain writes about creating positive expectation. The following is an excerpt from his book,
"Nothing improves the moment more than an attitude of positive expectation. This concept collaborates with the world to bring you a better present. Creating an expectation of positive outcomes is perhaps the most rewarding use of your creative mind."

Monday, April 04, 2005

Verbal vs. Non-verbal

Rob Millette is passionate about chess. He is earning a living by teaching children how to play chess. I had lunch with him last week and discovered that we can think about learning in terms of verbal and non-verbal abilities. In the traditional classroom, there is a huge emphasis on verbal learning. Children who struggle with verbal skills soon fall through the cracks of the educational system.

Rob has discovered that some of these kids can be adept at learning chess. These n0n-verbal children have good spatial understanding and a grasp of strategy. Learning chess builds their self esteem. Rob is working with a school principal to determine how to translate and focus this self esteem on the verbal skills.

The Premise

If you use your brain in novel ways and stimulate new connections between the neurons, your brain will develop more plasticity or resilience.I use this premise in my Brain Jogging Club. Each time we meet, we do something different to stimulate the brain. Exciting the brain in novel ways improves your quality of life.

Learning needs a non-threatening (safe) environment

Embarassment is the toughest feeling to face. If our teacher makes us feels embarassed about something that we did not learn, we are likely to feel threatened when we meet the teacher again. And so goes the cycle.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

It's okay to express an opinion

Take a risk and express an opinion, it won't stir up a hornet's nest! It will make for interesting dialog. From interesting dialog, you get discovery! You become a more interesting person by the opinions you express to others.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Stephen D. Eiffert in Cross Train Your Brain writes,
"By mentally visualizing new possibilities, you are able to become comfortable with the new ideas and see the potential benefits prior to putting these changes into action. Visualization can release your mind of negative thoughts, entertain possibilities for positive change, or begin the process of profound change in both the mind and body."

A little stress helps our memory; too much stress does not!

From the December 2004 issue of Scientific American Mind,

"A little stress sharpens memory. But after prolonged stress, the mental picture isn't pretty."

Friday, April 01, 2005

Rule 6

April Fool's day reminds me about Rule 6 in "The Art of Possibility" by the Zanders. Rule 6 is the only rule and it says 'don't take yourself too seriously'. Just for today, laugh it off and move on!

I learnt another nice one in an Emotional Intelligence course taught by Patricia Clauson. She recommends taking a Q-Tip along with you. Quit Taking It Personally. Get it?!