Restore files

Lake Hamilton
My first stay in Arkansas wasn’t a success, but if the circumstances changed it is a place I concider for my retirement. We’ll see. Lake Hamilton and the botanical garden Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs certainly looks like a natural state
Photo: Samuel Grant via Wikimedia Commons

Some of my early posts are about my experiences in Little Rock where I lived in 2001. It still irritates me that I can’t find my notes. I called these posts My American Journal because I based them on some notes I had written in a Journal during my 1,5 year stay in Arkansas. I had apparently started on a second book because when I looked through my journal I couldn’t find the really good stuff. We are currently living in our 6 th apartment since we moved back to Norway and things tend to get lost every time we move. I have one more hope. It is possible the journal is in storage in Little Rock because we still have some boxes there.

I wasn’t able to take much part in the conversations, but I observed a lot of interesting things, some of it hilarious. One of the texts I was most looking forward to writing was about how entertaining public transportation can be, specifically the Central Arkansas Transit. I still remember some of the things that happened on the bus, but not details. I want to wait and see if those notes show up later. In the mean time I want to revise some of the posts I have published before, but I’m starting with a memory my friend triggered this weekend.

I vaguely remember different theories about memory from a book on pedagogics I read in college. One of them said that the reason why it can be hard to remember things we have learned is that we have stored so much information, it can be difficult to access it quickly enough. There is too much to sort through. I think this has been used to explain why the brains of elderly seem to slow down, even when they appear to be in good health. They have stored too much information according to this theory.

I liked the idea as a young student. If I don’t remember it’s only because I am so knowledgeable.

I read some other place later about a theory stating that we never forget. Everything we have stored in the brain stays there, but it sometimes strikes me that I store a lot of completely unecessary files. I was reminded of this after something I discussed with a friend of mine through e-mails. We talked about some of the tings we did during my stay in Little Rock, and this is where the completely wasted use of storage space comes in.

We walked on a nice forest path in the Pinnacle Mountain area and we had brought some fruit to eat. We threw the peel some distance away from the path as it would decompose. Someone passed us and remarked on it, but realized that we were not littering. Like I said, why would my brain think I needed this information in the future? My brain could have been focusing on understanding things I read, or reading faster, but for some reason an orange peel left behind in The Natural State is important 14 years later.

Some of the unecessary memories can also be quite amusing; like one day when I was waiting for the bus outside a Kroger store. I had just been there applying for a job and while I waited for the bus, another man showed up. He asked me what time it was, and when I answered he thought I was Irish. It’s hard for me to judge my own accent, but I suspect I have a strong one as I learned English as an adult. We had English from 4 grade, but I wasn’t exactly a straight-A student. I don’t think the alphabet was long enough for me back then. So I’m sure I have a strong accent, but I doubt very much whether I sound like Liam Neeson.

As usual I often end my posts with some serious reflection even if I start with a joke, but I decided to break this up, so there’ll be another post on memory.

16 thoughts on “Restore files

  1. The mind is an amazingly mystifying aspect of creation. My dad often pulls random facts out of what he has designated as his “vast storehouse of useless information”.

    Hopefully, your notes will resurface soon. I’d love to read your impressions of your time here as I often consider the US to be comprised of many distinct subcultures which, in reality, will appear foreign those who live in a different corner of the nation.

  2. John,

    This one made me laugh! According to that particular theory of memory, I must be like some kind of encyclopedic database….too bad I can’t remember much of it!

    I also got a laugh about the orange peel on Pinnacle Mt. No, I do not remember the orange peel incident. I remember it being hot, my son running all over the place and I remember us guiding your wife over the un-even terrain. You truly have an unusually specific memory. An orange peel? 🙂 I’m still laughing.

    1. The orange peel incident made me chuckle, too, but wasn’t sure I ought to say so on the chance that it might be misunderstood. It’s the kind of thing I tend to remember…:/

  3. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention something in my last comment. (really, NO pun intended). Beneath the photo at the top of the post, you say, “My first stay in Arkansas wasn’t a success.”

    Ummmm….I guess it all depends on what success means? Didn’t you happen to marry a wonderful lady while you were here? Or is that one of those memories lost due to immense knowledge? 😉 Whatever you do…don’t forget your anniversary. It’s ok if you forget where you married her! Just don’t ever forget WHEN! 🙂

    Ok. I will stop teasing you now. Time to be serious. I have noticed it is so easy, particularly when battling depression for those things that are negative or disappointing, or things we regret to leap to the forefront in our minds and even our memories. I tend to do that myself, and if I am not careful, I find that the negative or disappointing or regretful is all I see or remember.

    I wish that your stay in Arkansas had been more successful for you, but at the same time, the most important reason that brought you here appears…14-15 years later to be an enduring success! 🙂 So, when you think about the things you wish you had done differently back then….just remember what WAS a success. 🙂

    1. There are only a handful of women in my life. Come to think of it, there are only women. The point is, you really make me suffer, and of course I’m not getting any sympathy from Eva. 😉

      You are right of course. My stay in Little Rock was a tremendous success. I guess I focus on misery because things didn’t develop the way I wanted. I guess we don’t get what we want, but what God says we need. It isn’t always easy to believe that, but I guess He has always made sure we are alright. I wouldn’t mind being just a little bit more alright, though.

      I have already written the 2nd part of this post, but I am debating what to do about it, publish or do some drastic changes. It has some more amusing anecdotes, but then it crosses over to serious melancholy. I don’t want to scare my readers off, but I guess I will publish it now that I’m not exactly concerned about what this will do to my career. It might help me towards understanding myself at least. Right now I don’t know squat.

      I am starting to sound like another teacher, the one in Ecclesiastes. I have always wondered what that was about. That book is excessive.

    2. I am starting to sound like another teacher, the one in Ecclesiastes. I have always wondered what that was about. That book is excessive.

      Lamentations can be pretty depressing.

      If you make it to the end of Ecclesiastes, the point of the Preacher is less of a mystery.

      After summarizing that, because we all die and leave this life behind, every pursuit “under the sun” is like trying to catch the wind, he reasons that it is important to grasp the greater reality of resurrection, judgment, eternity and the need for each of us to seek reconciliation with our Maker.

      The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
      For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV)

      This is a repetitive message of the OT prophetic writings.

    3. John,

      I doubt you will scare your readers off. I know I, for one, am not easily scared off. After all, I actually read Horn and Putman… you would have to get scarier than that…. 🙂

  4. Heather,

    Thanks for bringing up that last verse in Ecclesiastes. Like John, I became very “Ecclesiastical” about 5 and a half years ago when my health began to deteriorate and I became unable to do so many things. I realized through that process that the things I thought were most important really weren’t. But I remember really identifying with the writer of Ecclesiastes. Wasn’t the writer supposedly Solomon?

    1. Jay,


      Yes, I believe Solomon is credited as the author. The OT can be both frustrating and beautiful, depending on how you look at it, I suppose.

      So much of it is written in metaphorical language and there is a lot of judgment and destruction involved. It helps to be able to identify the central theme…

    2. Jay,
      As you’ve mentioned your health a few times, now (diet, supplements, etc), I was wondering whether this continues to be a downhill slide for you or if your discoveries have helped to restore you to a previous state of health?

      If you don’t mind my asking, that is…

    3. That’d be fine. No pressure to answer at all if you’d rather not. I was just curious.

    4. I assume you are talking about your earlier question to Jay? If so I think she missed your question. I do that too I’ve noticed.

      I think she was busy, but after the dandelion comment I wonder if you two share an interest in healthy food. I don’t mind you talking about this on my blog, as I also want to learn more, but a lengthy discussion on this topic might be better through e-mails. Incidentally, my wife got a book recently about plants from the Bible and quotes from King James. Sounds fascinating.

      Sorry, didn’t mean to barge in. :$

  5. @ John
    I do that too I’ve noticed.

    You miss my questions? 😦 Should I type LOUDER? 🙂

    Technically speaking, I don’t think you can actually barge into a discussion on your own blog. Your site, your right and all that good stuff..
    Regardless, multi-directional discussions are pretty common when blog commentary takes off.

    Jay did answer me via e-mail. Nutrition is a bit of a personal obsession, so I’m always interested to hear what others are doing. But I’d hardly qualify as an expert on anything and don’t always practice what I preach :/

    The book on plants in the Bible ought to be interesting! There are several Biblical plants which have notable uses even today.

    Jay can answer for herself, I’m sure. But I’d be happy to discuss whatever you like, in whatever form suits you.

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