Not all who wander are lost: Or, maybe they are?! My latest crazy dream, which ends with an interrobang.

Ok all you psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, mind readers, tarot card readers and fortune cookie makers, here’s a doozy for you. Please let me know what you think my latest crazy dream means. And no, I’m not going to accept “you’re insane” as the answer. Here goes:

I was still in school, either high school or college, or I was an adult going back to school. I was in a class that was culminating in some kind of performance later that evening. I wasn’t in the performance, but I had an important behind-the-scenes role, like maybe stage manager or AV or cue cards, so I was nervous. We were getting ready to switch classes and then . . .

I was somewhere else, very far away, in a busy city. I didn’t recognize it, so it probably wasn’t New York, but I felt like all I needed to do was get over a bridge and I would be able to figure out which way to go to get back to Cranford. (Why Cranford? I don’t live in Cranford.) I struck out towards a nearby bridge (I have no idea how I knew the bridge was there, or whether it was the right bridge), and started running.

Except that I couldn’t run. Something was keeping my legs from stretching very far, so I had to kind of hop and jump. Then suddenly there were people all around me, all running to get to the bridge, and I panicked because I was hobbled and everyone was passing me. Then I realized that I was wearing a jeans skirt that had slipped down so far that it was squeezing my legs. So I yanked it up and was very relieved to be able to run, then thought “Shit, my skirt was so far down that I’ve been mooning everyone behind me this whole time. Oh well, never mind, at least I’m running now.”

Then I wasn’t on the bridge. Instead, I was in a dark room with lots of fabric on the wall and there was a man relaxing on the floor, or maybe a bed, and he was eating some kind of huge souffle or bread. He looked a little like Harry Belafonte. A woman came out of nowhere and told me he’s a bike messenger and can take me where I need to go. But first, he needed to finish his breakfast. There was kind of a pimp/prostitute vibe to it that made me uncomfortable, so I told her I was in too much of a hurry and I wasn’t sure I had money anyway, and I ran off . . .

. . .into a place that was like a combination between a mall (what’s with malls in my dreams?), a game show set and a circus. I kept trying to get people’s attention to ask them which direction to go, but they were all too busy either running a game show, or a three-ring circus, or working at the stores. There were no spectators or shoppers, just people running things. I kept trying to find a path through the chairs and set elements to get their attention, but I was on the outside of everything and there was no way inside. I wondered how everyone on the inside had gotten there, and then I was . . .

. . . in an airport. Yes! I could get a flight! Except that I couldn’t figure out where the terminals were, or what the Departing and Arriving boards said, or where to buy tickets. And I realized that I also didn’t have my purse. However, there was a little wristlet dangling from my right arm (I took a moment to thank myself for preparing this life-saving wristlet before the dream began), so I checked inside and found my passport and some cash. Nothing else. No driver’s license, no credit cards, no phone. Knowing that I didn’t have enough cash to get a flight, I started running out of the airport.

Then bike messenger guy/Harry Belafonte showed up, and he had a second seat on his bike. How many tandem messenger bikes have you seen? I’m guessing one. I’ve now seen one. “Do you know how to get to Cranford?” I asked. “Follow me,” he said. Which seems kind of silly now that I think about it, since getting on the bike seat behind him would kind of require that I follow directly behind him at all times.

We got going pretty fast and I was feeling better about things, but suddenly we were back outside, in the same city where we started, and it was cold out. Mr. Belafonte stopped and made us get off because the sidewalks were icy and it was too dangerous to ride. I say “us” because there was now another person with us, a younger girl, maybe a teenager, very thin and pale. She started complaining that we weren’t riding, and I thought “Who are YOU to complain? This is MY ride! And wait a minute, why am I planning to pay this guy for the ride when all he’s doing is walking his bike beside us?”

I looked at my watch (suddenly I had a watch), and it was 1:00 p.m. I was so relieved. Even though I had missed the rest of my classes for the day, I could possibly make it back in time for the performance. Which I assume was in Cranford.

And then . . . I was in bed, the crazy dream was dissolving, and I heard someone splashing in the bath. Whoever it was came out of the bathroom and walked toward me, and I was embarrassed because I had a huge chunk of cheddar cheese in my hand and was about to cram it in my mouth.

Thankfully that whole last part was also in the dream, including the cheese. I woke up sweaty and panicked, my neck so stiff I could barely get out of bed, my jaws aching from (I guess) grinding my teeth.

I never found out if I made it to my destination . . . Probably because I haven’t made it there yet in real life.

Ok, never mind all you psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, mind readers, tarot card readers and fortune cookie makers, I think I just figured out the meaning of this dream and so many others before it. The question is, how many more of these awful dreams will I need to have?????!!!!!!

By the way, I learned this from a recent episode of the show “Explained”: A question mark and an exclamation point together are called an “interrobang.” I’m happy to have provided this explanation/exclamation for anyone who has always been wondering.

A very long and rambling thought about short-term memory loss: Or, as I also like to call it . . . Saturday.

Don’t you hate it when you’re standing in line at the grocery store having a conversation with your son about Bai water, or something else for sale at the checkout, and you think of something clever and funny, like melding two words together into a new one, and it’s so good you have to pull out your phone to make a note of it, but it’s time to pay so you have to put your phone away, and then when you get home you remember that you had this really clever thought but you can’t remember what it was, so you ask your son, “Hey, do you remember that really clever word I came up with in line at the grocery store?” and he responds “You didn’t say a clever word at the grocery store,” so I rephrase it: “Do you remember something funny I said while in line at the grocery store?” and he responds “No, you didn’t say anything funny either. Can I have dinner now?” and you still can’t remember it but you know you will at some point if you just start writing, and it turns into this ridiculously long sentence on your blog that you haven’t touched in months, but you STILL can’t remember it?

I sure do.

P.S. I’ll remember at 3:38 tomorrow morning, I guarantee. Please feel free to check back then. I just know it’s going to blow your socks off.

Dreamscapes: The Whole Foods Mall of Japaris

Feel free to make what you will out of THIS crazy dream!

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I was in a huge, cavernous shopping mall of some type with some of my friends (I couldn’t tell which ones). I didn’t know exactly where the mall is, but somehow it was a cross between Japan and Paris.

The mall was an odd shape, with a narrow stairwell (it reminded me of being in Notre Dame, with the steep concrete stairs and little windows looking out on the world) that would wind its way up to the next floor. Along each stairwell there were open buckets of all kinds of goodies—candy, toys, small fun items (like the bulk section of Whole Foods), and I understood that you were supposed to take what you wanted and bring it to the nearest register. But it was so tempting to just take a few small things and stick them in your coat pocket. I didn’t . . . at least not yet.

Even though it was indoors, everyone was wearing coats. It was so tight in that stairwell, people were jammed together in two lines, like going up the escalator from the train to the main floor in Penn Station. When you reached each floor, the space was wide open and there were vendors everywhere. No actual stores, just people at kiosks or just standing there selling their wares. It reminded me of the artists lined up along the streets and bridges in Paris.

Each main floor of the mall was so huge, it echoed. At each floor there was some kind of performance, and the point of each performance seemed to be to scare people into thinking they were going to run into you. One group of performers was dressed up like huge robots or transformers, all in black and on stilts. They were terrifying.

At the next stairwell, I couldn’t help myself and I took a handful of Swedish Fish, but for some reason each one was on a stick. Swedish Fish Skewers. I kept trying to get them in my pocket, but the stick was in the way and the crowd kept shoving me. I dropped two, and held onto one, hoping there were no hidden cameras.

At the next open level, one of my friends wanted to go look at something and I tried to follow her but instead I went looking for a trash can to throw away the Swedish Fish so I wouldn’t get in trouble. A group of performers on bicycles appeared, careening all around me, and one came to a skidding halt right in front of me.

I ran, but realized that I dropped the Swedish Fish. I looked back and saw it on the floor, and for some reason I was so sad, but I kept running.

And that was it.

Dreamscapes: Applying for a Job

I’ve been feeling a little stagnant on my blog. For some reason I’m not feeling that creative lately. But my brain has been very creative, delivering vivid, complex and bizarre stories every night that I remember in detail the next day.

I figure my brain is trying to tell me something. I have tons of great stories in me, they are just having trouble coming together cohesively. So my brain is giving me bits and pieces, little puzzles that, when I figure them out, will be the start of some really interesting stories.

This is one of many from last night. I can only guess what the imagery and recurring themes are telling me about myself. I don’t want to put too much thought into it right now, though. I’ll just blurt out everything I remember and later, maybe the stories will start knitting themselves together.

Applying for a Job

There was an open job at the school, and I went for an interview. I brought a little pamphlet with me that described the job. I was met by a guy (no one who works at the school in real life) who took me to a kind of dusty attic atmosphere place in the school with an old, beat up wooden desk. Nothing else around. I was wearing an old-fashioned dress.

He asked if my test was scantron. I looked down and it was now a tri-folded test with the little dots. Apparently I was supposed to fill it out for him to know whether I was a good fit for the job. I felt so unprepared and embarrassed.

He asked why I thought I would be good at the job, and I forgot what the job was, except that it had something to do with surveying, and I was good at doing surveys. Plus, I have an advanced degree so I could probably adapt quickly. I tried to cheat and look at the title of the job on the other side of the paper, but I could only see part of it, and it didn’t make any sense.

Suddenly I had a couple of those round thin chocolates (the kind that would normally be covered in foil, but these weren’t), and they were melting in my hand. I tried to get rid of them but one fell out of my hand and rolled under his desk. I tried to look and see if it had touched his shoe. I couldn’t tell, but he didn’t seem to notice.

I shoved the other chocolate in my mouth and tried to swallow it but it was all over my face, and it got worse when I wiped my face with the hand with the melted chocolate. I was trying to keep my composure while he talked, but I couldn’t hear anything he was saying.

Finally we sat there in silence for awhile.

He walked me out, and it was the exit to a different school I had seen in other dreams, similar to my own elementary school but I had only been able to see the exit in previous dreams.

Then I was in my house, but it wasn’t my house. It was a huge, grand room, all wooden from top to bottom, like an attic, with slanted ceilings and nice furniture, leather chairs. No other furniture around that I could see, it was like there was a spotlight on the center of the room.

For some reason I was thinking “If only the interviewer could see this beautiful room, and my beautiful house, he would have a much better impression of me!”

Then I thought “I should have talked to him about the job, admitted that I knew nothing but was confident that I could handle it, show him that I have previous business experience, get him talking and show him that I’m not just a mute dummy covered in chocolate.”

The room narrowed and turned into more of a crawlspace, and I had to wriggle my way through. That’s all I remember.

Not a resolution. An evolution.

 

I was at the gym the other day, slogging along on the Precor without much enthusiasm, and noticed that World’s Toughest Mudder was on one of the TVs. As I watched the elite women and men making their way through the course, mile after mile, hour after hour (and day after day!), hurting but still going strong, I started getting motivated and pedaled faster.

One by one they crossed the finish line and I cheered for them. By the time I finished my workout, I had actually gotten a workout, instead of just going through the motions.

A moment of inspiration struck: I will do a Tough Mudder this year!

WAIT. I have already done a Tough Mudder. Two, in fact. So I know that I CAN do it. In some ways just committing to do one is harder than actually completing the course. And to be fair, it’s been five years since my last one. At a certain age, five years makes a difference. (Sigh . . . knees.)

No matter. I will do what it takes to make sure I’m in the best possible shape by October. I might not be able to make it up that damn half pipe at the end (WHY do they put it at the end????), and I know I won’t be able to jump into the dumpster of ice water. I have too many emotional and spiritual scars from the first time.

I know my limits, but I also know that they don’t need to hold me back. Just like an obstacle I know I can’t conquer, I can walk around things I know I can’t do (even if there are people on the sidelines booing you), and go on to conquer something different. Like jumping from the platform into the lake. I couldn’t do it the first year, and it took many false starts the second year, but I eventually did it.

This is not a resolution for 2018, it’s a commitment to keep evolving. Keep trying new things (or old things I haven’t mastered), keep learning, keep going.

Whatever you are working on this year, just keep going! Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and rewarding 2018.

An ode to crazy hair and Hormel turkey pepperoni

My daughter has a nest of baby hair that hovers at the top of her head. No matter how much she brushes, smooths, or sprays, that collection of shorter hairs gradually stands up to form a breezy little dirty blonde halo.

I call it her nimbus.

One day in the car she told me that she could feel the baby hairs moving when she turned her head, like they were a separate entity. I told her to think of them as pilot fish. They are a colorful, happy little tribe of fish that follow her around as if she were a benevolent girl shark.

In fact, they are also her biggest fans. They don’t just follow her because they need her for sustenance, they actually adore her! Can’t you hear them all cheering as they dart back and forth, I told her, keeping up with your every move! Go, go, go! We love you!

That gave us a good laugh. At least she has a sense of humor about her appearance, which is unusual for a 15-year old.

It also gave me an idea for a children’s book about a little girl who hates her unruly hair. Her mother tells her about the pilot fish, and also suggests that her crazy hair could be a special halo of flowers that she takes with her everywhere, or butterflies. Many scenarios about what her hair could actually be ensue, and the little girl eventually decides that it’s more fun to be special. Of course it has a happy ending, it’s a children’s book.

This is one of many children’s books I think about . . . Another one stars Pepper Lonely, a girl who loves Hormel turkey pepperoni and the Beatles in a time (the present) when neither one is in fashion. I personally think both are always in fashion, but in the book, we would be in some faraway land where neither thing exists. Maybe a kingdom of some kind. She would be Princess Pepperlonely. Listening to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band over and over.

The lessons would be (1) Hormel turkey pepperoni is very, very good. And so versatile. (2) The Beatles are cool, even if you live in a faraway land and have never heard of them. (3) It’s ok to be different. Be like Princess Pepperlonely.

And Hormel would pay to sponsor the book, which would result in a happy ($$) ending for me as well.

One of the days, I will actually write these stories. Now I just need a good illustrator.

 

 

 

What I Gained by Giving up Weekday Drinking

Here’s my second finalist article for the Parent.co monthly writing contest. I don’t think either of them won, but it was fun to enter–and always nice to see something you wrote published!

https://www.parent.com/what-i-gained-by-giving-up-weeknight-drinking/