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Last night I had a nightmare. It is the first nightmare I have had in a really long time. I define “nightmare” as “not merely an unpleasant dream, but a dream in which one is terrified and which continues to haunt the dreamer after waking.” It was horrible dream, with a lot of graphic violence and gore. I do not usually dream of graphic violence and gore. I do not usually partake of gore in any form. Well, okay, that’s not strictly true. I do read a lot of serial killer books, but I kind of skim over any gory parts and forget them relatively quickly. I do not usually partake in visual representations of gore, precisely because they are so much harder to forget. But this dream was violent and gory, in addition to terrifying. The worst part of the dream–which covered a time period of several days, possibly weeks–was that I kept coming to a point where I thought, “Phew, I’m safe. My family’s safe.” AND THEN WE WERE NOT SAFE. AGAIN!

I will not describe the dream to you. Usually when I have a vivid dream I like to put it on the internet and crowd-source an interpretation. But most of my dreams are fairly amusing in retrospect. Nightmares are not. But I actually did write this dream down earlier today. One might think that if a dream were very disturbing, as this dream was, one would want to forget it as soon as possible, not write it down for posterity. But I suppose when I get disturbed enough by dreams, I worry that there is some reason that I had the dream that I should probably try to understand. In hindsight this seems silly. Nightmares probably aren’t any more significant than ordinary dreams. Therefore, why should I try to understand them? Also, now that I have written it down, it does seem more silly than terrifying. That is, I imagine that someone else reading about it would laugh at it. I myself am not laughing yet. It’s still haunting me.

And now you’re curious. Don’t be. Suffice it to say that the dream involved a prison housing dangerous criminals under my garage. My family and I were living in our garage because our oppressive government had taken over the main house. The good news is that the garage (in the dream, not in real life) was perfectly adequate for a family of six. The bad news is that it was not adequate for a family of six and several dangerous convicts. If I wasn’t being threatened by dangerous convicts (who were also mutants (thanks to the inhumane living conditions in the sub-garage prison), I was being threatened by corrupt government officials (who suspected me of collaborating in the recent escape of aforementioned convicts). I was in a constant state of fear.

Yes, I realize it does sound a little bit silly. But it was not actually silly. Which you would understand, if you had been there.

I was wondering what might cause a dream like this, assuming it is not a message from God or something equally meaningful. Princess Zurg has been preoccupied with government oppression for at least a twelvemonth. I suppose that would account for me dreaming about an oppressive government (especially one that would take over my house and force our family of six to live in a garage, adequate as it was). And my husband and I did recently watch A Young Doctor’s Notebook on Netflix, which was much gorier than anything else I ever watch on television. (I couldn’t watch CSI because the one episode I saw kept doing close-ups of the victim’s vomit. I found that would not do. But Victim’s Vomit might make a good name for a death metal band. Not that I would listen to a band called that. I’m just putting it out there, in case there are any death metal bands looking for a new name. Use it with my blessing.) I watched those scenes with very squinty eyes, from behind my hands. So that might explain the uncharacteristic dream gore.

Where the prison thing came from, I’m not sure. I haven’t been threatened with prison in a rather long time.

Moving along, though–school is finally back in session. I still haven’t told you about my camping experience from last month. I doubt very much I will ever be in the mood to do so. Maybe I’ll just hit the main points:

* They make air mattresses better than they used to.

* Flushing toilets at the campsite really do make a positive difference.

* A ten-man tent can fit a family of six comfortably. (It isn’t quite as roomy as a dream garage over a dream prison, but then, it doesn’t have the convicted felons either.)

* My husband made gourmet camp food. We ate better while camping than we usually eat at home.

* We camped at two different places. The first place was remote and quiet. It occurred to me, that first night, when I had to leave the tent to go to the bathroom (because ever since the birth of my fourth child, I have to get up at least twice during the night to go to the bathroom), that I should probably be afraid of killers possibly lurking in the woods, but I did not suspect there were any killers in this particular place. And if there were, maybe they would hit the RVs first. I don’t know why, but I think that’s what I would do, if I were a killer.

* The second place was very close to the highway. You could hear the trucks going by all night. Trucks going by on the highway at 55 mph are not quiet. Also, we were no longer camping with nice old people and their grandkids and their RVs but with younger and inconsiderate people who liked to play their obnoxious music well into the night and not retire until maybe 2 a.m. It occurs to me, in retrospect, that I was probably in much more danger of killers at this campsite, and yet I was not afraid of killers here either. Probably because I was too busy thinking about how I might become a killer if those horrible people next to us did not shut up or at least turn off their radio. But I did not become a killer, nor, obviously, was I killed.

* I got sunburned on my knees, but only on my knees. It’s a long story involving oversights in sunblock application. But I lied just now. I did not get sunburned only on my knees. I couldn’t find my hat before we left, so I also got sunburned on my scalp. Never again will I think to myself, “Maybe I should take a hat. Except I can’t find my hat. Maybe I don’t really need to take a hat.” Ladies who are slowly but surely going bald will always need a hat. Which reminds me, I should be looking into Lady Rogaine or something.

* I did not hate camping this year.

* I don’t need to go camping again next year.

That’s all I can remember, frankly. There was more, but who cares? I mean, if I don’t, why should you?

 

So this morning I had a 7:00 a.m. IEP meeting at the high school, which means that I got up much earlier than 7:00 a.m. than I’m used to getting. Like, maybe even a half-hour earlier than usual. Anyway, I needed time to make everyone’s lunches and whatnot. (You might be wondering if “whatnot” would include a shower, but, gentle reader, I’ll never tell.) The meeting went fine. So fine I even made it back home before 8 a.m.

Well, after the usual morning rituals, I decided that I was going to sit down and finish this romance novel I’ve been reading, so that I could concentrate the rest of my day on getting the house ready for the housekeepers. Yes, it’s that time of the fortnight again. A better strategy would have been to make ready the house for the housekeepers, then reward myself by sitting down and finishing my book. But strategy has never been my forte. I prefer games of chance. Anyway, I’m reading and at about 10:00 a.m., I get a call from the high school saying that Princess Zurg freaked out during one of her finals and is in a bad place and should probably go home. This was not how I wanted my third-to-last day of school to go. Well, whatever. I picked her up and brought her home. I had a brief heart-to-heart with her and encouraged her to do something relaxing because I was planning on doing something relaxing myself.

Which turned out to be finishing my book and then feeling tired, so I took a nap. I only slept an hour, but I had the most stressful dreams. First of all, the house was covered in ants. We’d apparently redecorated the kitchen, and it’s too complicated to get into, but suffice it to say, the house was COVERED in ants. For some reason, my dad was there. I told him about the ants. He said, “Are they coming out of the electrical outlets?” I said, “How should I know? They’re everywhere!” He said, “Well, they’re probably not going to hurt you. Just wait for them to go away.” Which is so typical of him. Anyway, I grabbed my purse and keys and went to the Target to buy new ant baits/traps/whatever. I couldn’t find any. Apparently Target was also redecorating, and lots of shelves were just plain empty. I went home in dismay, only to receive a phone call from the middle school from Mister Bubby, saying that whatever his language arts teacher told me, it wasn’t true. I asked to speak to his language arts teacher, but he refused. I hung up on him and called the school back and asked for his language arts teacher, but they said before I could talk to her, I had to give my son’s student ID. I said, “How the #@#% am I supposed to know that?” And that’s more or less where the dream ended, but dang it, I do not feel well rested.

And now it’s time to pick up my other daughter from school.

I dreamed that the housekeepers came to clean my house. Or rather, I dreamed that I came home and found that the housekeepers had cleaned my house, but when they finished cleaning it, they did not leave. They were still there, waiting for me to come home, so that we could have a talk about how I’d let the place go, and how much more money they would need to charge me for how much extra work they’d had to do on my behalf. They even charged me for the lunch they’d brought in because they had to clean through their lunch hour. They brought their supervisor over and everything. There were three of them (plus the supervisor). One of them, the one who’d spent an hour just cleaning the kitchen, said, “You’re not doing your job, Mrs. Housewife. Today I had to do your job for you. I had to do your job for you.” She seemed rather traumatized by the whole thing.

I don’t think there’s any psychological significance to this dream. I just sometimes like to post my dreams, for giggles.

As coincidence would have it, the housekeepers are coming tomorrow. The house is kind of a wreck. I’ve been working on it off and on all day, but it isn’t much improved from where it was when I started. Sugar Daddy is at a Rush concert in Seattle with a friend tonight. He won’t be back ’til, like, 4 a.m. That’s neither here nor there. I don’t need him to help me prepare the house to be cleaned. I just wish I could spend this night to myself not tidying the house. Oh, well. The debris isn’t getting any less disarrayed. Time to throw some random crap into the overloaded closets.
How are you all?

Continued from part the first

12. Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I am ashamed to say that I can’t remember any of my dreams involving any of these things. Have I ever dreamed such a dream? I know not. The closest I can get is this dream I had as a little girl (maybe first grade) where I was Little Red Riding Hood running away from the wolf and I fell down in a gravel pit and couldn’t get back up. I still vividly recall that dream. Just as I can vividly recall the dream I had in high school where George Michael was dancing around the principal from Fame wearing only a loincloth. George Michael was wearing the loincloth, I mean; the principal was fully clothed. Thank goodness for small favors. But that dream has nothing to do with books at all.

13. What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?
This is like asking me who my favorite child is. Come on!

14. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
I found William Faulkner’s Absalom! Absalom! very difficult. But I chose to write my Modern Literature 410 term paper on it because I knew no one else in the class would touch it and I wouldn’t have to compete for checking out secondary sources in the library. That was the only reason. But I ended up reading it two or three times and once I finally figured out what was going on, it was a pretty awesome book. I’m not particularly keen on reading anything else of his, though. (Except I do enjoy his short stories, which are slightly less…difficult.)

15. What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?
I don’t know that I’ve seen any obscure Shakespeare plays. I’ve seen very few Shakespeare plays, period. I think I’ve only seen one onstage (as opposed to a movie version), and that was Taming of the Shrew. Not obscure. I’d pay cash money to see Henry IV Part One, though. Especially if the actor playing Hotspur was hot. Ha ha. (But I’m not kidding.)

16. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
I’ve certainly read more French authors. I don’t know that I’ve ever finished anything Russian. I keep meaning to. Not that I’ve read or plan to read any of these books in their original language. That would be too hard.

17. Roth or Updike?
I’ve never read either. Oh, no, I’ve read Roth’s “Defender of the Faith.” That was good. So does that make it Roth by default? I don’t know.  (Wayne, recommend an Updike book for me.)

18. David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
I know even less about these cats than I do about Roth and Updike.

19. Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer?
Shakespeare.  I like Milton okay.  I never really got into Chaucer, probably because I was never forced to take a whole class on him.

20. Austen or Eliot?
Austen.  But I like Eliot.

21. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
That I’ve never finished any Russian novels? That would automatically be a huge gap because Russian novels are so thick.  Ha ha.  Do you know how many good books there are in the world that I will never read?  Too many to count, I imagine.  Well, I could, but then I wouldn’t have time to read any of them.

22. What is your favorite novel?
It’s really hard to choose just one, don’t you think? I don’t think I will ever love another book the way I love Little Women, so I should just say Little Women. But if we don’t count Little Women, maybe it’s Life of Pi.  (I don’t care what you haters say.)

23. Play?
I don’t know.  Do musicals count?  It seems like they shouldn’t.  I’ve always liked that Man of La Mancha.  It’s based on Don Quixote, so that’s kind of literary, don’t you think?  And Les Miserables was a book once.  (Technically, it still is.)  But I’ve already decided that musicals don’t count (and anyway, my favorite musical is 1776).  Plays are hard for me to judge, since so much depends on the performance, and performances vary.  I do really like Henry IV Part One, but how well does it stand on its own without Henry IV Part Two and Henry V? (And Henry V I think is only okay. It’s like the Return of the Jedi of the Henriad, if you ask me.)  You know what’s a good play?  I Never Sang for My Father.  But I may only think that because I like the Gene Hackman movie so well.  Who doesn’t love Gene Hackman?  Come on.

24. Poem?
Poem.  Poem.  I’m just going to come out and say I don’t read a lot of poetry anymore.  I used to, when I was younger.  I don’t mean for school either.  When I was a teenager, I used to read Nikki Giovanni and Anne Sexton just for giggles.  I think that tells you all you need to know about my pretentious teenage ass.  Am I implying that people who read poetry are pretentious?  No, not at all.  It’s just that as I grow older, I make a conscious effort to be less of a poser.  Or, to the extent that I still am a poser, I try to be self-conscious about it.  When I was studying Yeats, I grew very fond of “Cuchulain Comforted” and “In Tara’s Halls.”  I just like the way they sound.

25. Essay?
I guess that would have to be George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.”

26. Short story?
Probably Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People.”

27. Work of nonfiction?
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

28. Who is your favorite writer?
Flannery O’Connor.

29. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
I really can’t think of one.  I tend to miss a lot of the over-hyped books, or books I perceive as over-hyped.  And being that I’m as far removed from the world of hype as one with an internet connection can be, if I suspect someone’s over-hyped, they’re probably over-hyped.  (Not that over-hyped = overrated, but they tend to go hand in hand.)  I don’t necessarily skip those authors on purpose, but I just don’t get around to them.  And sometimes I’m just not interested.

30. What is your desert island book?
I guess at this point it would be kind of silly not to say Little Women, wouldn’t it?  I mean, I’ve read it a dozen times.  I could probably read it another dozen.  It’s reasonably long, and that’s a must for desert-island reading.  Maybe I should bring Ulysses, though.  If it were the only book on the island, I’m sure I would read it.

31. And…what are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading three books:  Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields, The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, and Darkness on the Edge of Town by J. Carson Black.

Mockingbird was a birthday gift from Princess Zurg, and I’m just now getting around to it.  It’s pretty interesting for a book about someone who only wrote one book, but Harper Lee was chummy with Truman Capote and worked as his research assistant for In Cold Blood, so that makes a difference.  I suppose I am interested in Southern writers in general.  It’s a sickness or an eccentricity or something.

I’m enjoying The Imperfectionists, but it’s a library loan and I have to finish it, like, tomorrow, and I’m only 65% of the way through and I’m really too busy doing this blog post to read right now.

Darkness on the Edge of Town I bought on the cheap just because I wanted a psycho killer book for my Kindle, and it looked promising initially, but for a book about a serial killer, it just isn’t that interesting.  The writing is okay, but the story is really boring, I’m afraid.  Actually, it’s not the story, it’s the main character who’s boring.  A humorless female detective–who doesn’t enjoy that sort of thing?  Here’s a mistake people make with female protagonists:  giving them a boyfriend/husband with whom they have limited interaction and about whom they think so seldom that when he does get mentioned, the reader has forgotten who he is.  Why give her a boyfriend/husband at all?  To humanize her?  Because it doesn’t work.  The boyfriend/husband has to be part of the story, or he’s just one more boring thing about your boring character.  I would just stop reading the book–if it were a library loan, I’d stop–but I paid for it, so…you know.  I feel obligated.  It’s silly, though.  I’ve certainly made more expensive mistakes than this book.  Why can’t I just write it off?  I guess I just want to believe that you can get a decent book for $2.99 or less on Kindle.  I don’t think I have high standards, but apparently they are higher than I thought they were.

I can tell it’s coming, just as sure as you know when the slutty girl in the slasher movie is about to get decapitated by a chainsaw-wielding psycho.  Ominous music starts playing.  Or it is quiet–too quiet.  Or, you kind of just know it is time.  This is what happens in these pictures.  And even though you know what’s going to happen and that none of it’s real, that information doesn’t help.

Right now I’m feeling this overwhelming sense of dread and despair, and it doesn’t do any good to tell myself it’s all in my head it’s all in my head it’s all in my head because I already know it’s in my head–that’s why I can’t get away from it.  I try.  I’ve been reading a lot.  Do you know how many books I’ve read in the last couple months?  A lot.  A LOT.  I read three whole books in the last four days, if you count that awful Toni Morrison book it took me six weeks to get 15% of the way through.  (It’s not really an awful book; it’s just eminently put-down-able.  Like the half-grapefruit I used to force myself to eat every morning while I was in college.  I was glad I’d done it at the end, but the joy was not in the journey.  And now I’m off topic.  But this is a good illustration of what’s been happening to me.  How I run from place to place just in case where I currently am is not far enough from where I’m trying to escape.)

It was a mistake to mention the books because my husband reads my blog, and now every time he sees me with a book, he’s going to ask, “Are you reading for enjoyment, or are you escaping?”  As if they weren’t the same thing.  Escape is not only enjoyment; for all intents and purposes these days, escape is life, and living is the nightmare I keep waking myself up from.

I wish I could have woken myself up from my dreams last night.  Well, I guess I did, just not soon enough.  I had one dream that I was doing another tap recital, but my instructor had added all this  stuff to the production, all this stuff we’d never seen before, the night of the performance, during the performance–and apparently enough of the people involved knew what was going on that it wasn’t just complete chaos, but at least a third of us had no clue when the thing was going to end.  It was supposed to be about fifteen minutes and was going on about two hours and we still hadn’t gotten to either of the routines that I’d actually learned.  In fact, I was beginning to forget them.  I wasn’t sure I’d remember what to do when (or if) the time finally came.  My husband had left with the older children–along with most of the audience–and it was just my mother-in-law and Girlfriend who had stayed with a few other faithful observers.  “When is this going to end?” I asked my neighbor.  She laughed because she had no idea either, except we were facing the wrong way (again).  Finally, even my MIL and Girlfriend left, and I was just there with nobody to watch my final tap recital, and I felt somewhat betrayed, or at least abandoned, even though I couldn’t blame anyone for not sticking around.  The whole thing was a disaster.  It made no sense.  It just kept going on and on and on!  What was my tap instructor thinking?  Did she have a sudden onset of extreme narcissism?  Yes, I blamed my tap instructor, which I think was appropriate, and yet I was too loyal to just call it quits and leave myself.  No, I wasn’t loyal.  I still thought that eventually we would get to the part where we’d actually dance what we’d been practicing to dance, and I didn’t want to give that up.  But we weren’t getting to that part.  Ever.  At all.  And then I had to pee.  I mean, for real I had to pee.  That’s when I woke up.

I was relieved that wasn’t a real tap recital.  I felt like I dreamed it in real time.  Like I’d really just done a two-hour tap recital that still wasn’t over.  I was so relieved that I didn’t have to go back to that dream and finish it, and yet I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I tried to think about other things, so I wouldn’t fall asleep and God forbid, dream that horrible dream again, but nothing worked.  Finally I fell asleep, and then I dreamed a horribly disturbing sex dream that also involved church, but at least it was a Lutheran service, whatever that means.

I could have done without that other dream.

So you see, not even sleep is safe for me.  That’s a pretty sad state of affairs.  That’s why I read.  That’s why I’ll stay up late this week, while my husband is out of town, watching episode after episode of Ned & Stacey, which I ordered from the Netflix.  On purpose.  I happen to like that show.  I’m pissed that they never released the second season on DVD, though.  Not really “pissed,” that’s too strong.  I’m really just disappointed.  What kind of world do we live in where you can get Whoopi Goldberg’s entire oeuvre on DVD, but not the complete Ned & Stacey?  It is a world worth escaping, I say.  But that’s too neat an ending, isn’t it?  I don’t feel nearly so much resolution in my heart.

 

It occurs to me that my post titles are not nearly descriptive or eye-catching enough. It’s nothing new. Historically, titles have not been my strong suit. When I first started this blog on Xanga, I didn’t even use them. I don’t know why not, since there’s a whole field especially for writing a title, and it seems odd that I would just leave it blank, like it was okay. Perhaps I have changed, just a little. But not enough to write good titles. I sometimes think about what I might like to have on my gravestone. Perhaps it should be “Untitled.”

Do you remember that old Peanuts comic where Linus is “aware of his tongue”? If you don’t remember it, it’s probably because you are not a connoisseur of Peanuts comics, for it is a classic. You can find it in the Peanuts Treasury. I highly recommend you buy a copy because Peanuts really did used to be that funny. Anyway, I digress. But not really. I start to digress, but I stop–for I was just about to say that in the same manner that Linus was aware of his tongue, I have become aware of my lower jaw. It is literally keeping me up at night. I think this might be destiny calling to me.

Speaking of being kept up at night, here is a new paragraph. You may recall from my last post (unless you didn’t read it, in which case don’t bother, for I am about to summarize it for you) that I stayed up until 1 a.m. Sunday night/Monday morning cleaning out cabinets for the cabinet re-facing that is being performed on our kitchen this week. I also slept poorly because of being aware of my lower jaw (and possibly because of the condition of my lower jaw, which was addressed in aforementioned prior post). The night before that I had stayed up until 1 a.m. watching Mad Men on the Netflix, and also slept poorly because of the jaw thing. Last night I went to bed relatively early, but did not fall asleep right away, despite my extreme tiredness, because of the jaw thing, and about an hour into the non-sleeping jaw thing, I heard Girlfriend start crying. She often gets up in the middle of the night crying because she has to go to the bathroom but isn’t awake enough to process that information appropriately, so I immediately got out of bed and went to her room to help her process, and when we got into the bathroom, lo and behold, she threw up. That was an unexpected process.

I was kind of hoping that it was because she’d eaten mini corn dogs for dinner (not my idea, not my fault!) and swallowed a bunch of pool water afterward (also not my idea, also not my fault–see previous post), and not because she was sick with some virus–because one is a much longer process than the other–but alas, this was not the vomit of some passing fancy. She continued to get up periodically during the rest of the night to vomit and continue vomiting until long after the contents of her stomach had been emptied. It was pretty pathetic. I lost track of how many times she (and I) got up, but it’s not like I was sleeping anyway, so whatever. I mean, no, not whatever. It was very sad. At one point she said (in between dry heaves), “Mommy, I don’t want this!” You’re preaching to the choir, sweetheart. Preaching to the choir.

Semi-relevant side note: I would be remiss if I did not express my gratitude for the fact that Girlfriend, at the tender age of almost-six, has mastered the art of throwing up in the toilet. She’s like the vomiting prodigy of the household. I mean, that first vomiting episode did not quite reach its intended destination, but that was because she was sleepy and disoriented and the toilet lid was down, and I didn’t have time to lift it up before she took aim–but take aim she did, directly onto the toilet lid, which in a kinder universe would not have been there in the first place. The point is, I was very proud of her, and very glad that I didn’t have to clean mini-corn-dog and public pool water puke out of her bed or worse, the carpet. Very glad indeed.

I’m sorry if this post is too graphic for you, but I get insensitive when I’m sleep-deprived. Perhaps I should add a warning. Maybe to the title! All of this was just to say that the last 48 hours or so have been a blur, but at certain points during these 48 hours, I have been able to get some sleep, but I know it is not quality sleep by the quality of my dreams.

And now we get to the real point of this post, which is to tell you that I had a very strange dream about Ronnie Milsap. As opposed to a normal dream about Ronnie Milsap, which would have been less disconcerting. I suppose it’s really the presence of Ronnie Milsap that renders the dream strange, at least for me. (I don’t know about you.) In the dream, he was just about to go onstage to do a concert, but then he started talking about this song he’d written about his favorite tie, which happened to be the tie he was wearing. It had a piano keyboard on it–which makes sense, being that he’s a piano player. But he seemed to have very strong feelings about the song, and I also got the impression that he didn’t think other people appreciated the song as much as he thought they ought to. Then he fired a bunch of his musicians, with a fair amount of rancor, I might add. I found that strange as well. I mean, it didn’t seem like he was being fair to them, number one, but number two, shouldn’t he at least have waited until after the concert? Needless to say, I was left with the impression that Ronnie Milsap was somewhat unstable, mentally or emotionally. But then Girlfriend got up to puke again, and there the dream ended.

Now, I don’t find strange dreams nearly as unsettling when I can figure out where their strange, disparate elements come from and how they may have gotten a foothold on my subconscious. But it’s safe to say that I haven’t thought of Ronnie Milsap in…weeks. That part is really the kicker. I don’t know why I would have dreamed about Ronnie Milsap last night (or this afternoon, perhaps). It makes no sense whatsoever. Hence, my discombobulation.

You might be wondering what my part was in all this Ronnie Milsap drama, which is why I must point out that I was strictly an observer here. I was not involved in Ronnie Milsap firing his musicians, nor did it occur to me to try to stop him. I guess I didn’t think it was my place. I should here point out that I am often an observer in my dreams. I’m sure this says a lot about me. In fact, I’m positive that it says a lot about me. Like I’m an observer in my own life, powerless to affect any outcomes. Or perhaps I only like to think I’m powerless. Wasn’t I just saying that in my last post? Didn’t I as good as admit that I prefer not to act but to be acted upon? Or perhaps it only means that I watch too much television. I stay up late watching too much television. Or it could be all of those things. It’s probably all of those things. At least I’m self-aware, even if I’m not aware of why I’m dreaming about Ronnie Milsap.

Well, I have to get back to deciding whether or not to do some laundry this evening. It seems thematically appropriate to close with some Ronnie Milsap. (It may also be educational for those of you who have been wondering, “Who the crap is Ronnie Milsap?”) Gentle readers, adieu.

(I’m pretty sure this is not the piano tie song.)

Madhousewife:  I had really disturbing dreams last night.  They make me want to fall back asleep so I can dream different things.

Sugar Daddy:  I dreamed that I was at a public pool doing sports commentary with William Shatner.

Mad:  See, why can’t I dream stuff like that?

SD:  Well, it wasn’t that great.  There was this other guy there, and he was mad at me because I kept throwing a foam football at the back of his head.

Mad:  I dreamed that our son was Charlie Brown.

SD:  Cool.

Mad:  And he wanted to marry this woman with whom he’d had a child out of wedlock.

SD:  Heh heh heh.

Mad:  And the child was part rabbit.

SD: …

Mad:  You weren’t expecting that part, were you?

SD:  That’s just messed up.

.

Would you care for a little politics?  Don’t worry; it’s only a little, and it will be bi-partisan.  I was listening to one of my talk show podcasts, and the host was citing some survey or poll or whatever that said conservatives are more likely than liberals to boycott celebrities (i.e. not watch their movies or their shows or buy their CD’s, etc.) because of political statements the celebrities make.  Two things:

1)  Not a lot of politically-outspoken conservative movie stars and rock stars out there to potentially offend liberals so much.  It’s actually more likely to be a last-ditch, desperate plea for attention, becoming a Republican.  I mean, that’s why I did it.  I assume celebrities are the same way.

2)  I often hear conservatives say that they are more tolerant of liberals than liberals are of conservatives.  I haven’t done my research, but anecdotal evidence based on my years as a liberal and my years as a conservative tells me that this is a crapload of bull crap.  This survey, perhaps, is further proof that my crap-radar still works right.

Here’s the part where I brag about how tolerant I am.  I’m about as conservative as they come (these days), and Sean Penn is one of my favorite actors.  Has been for more than 25 years.  Despite the fact that Sean Penn is an asinine, sanctimonious [jackass] in real life.  Please do not quote me out of context.  When he is not acting, Sean Penn is neither smart nor watchable.  As an actor, he’s a freaking genius.  You know who else I like?  Alec Baldwin.  When he’s not talking politics or chewing out his 12-year-old daughter on the phone, he can be extraordinarily charming.  Not to mention funny as crap.  He’d have to, like, kill somebody before I stopped watching 30 Rock and laughing my freaking head off.

I’m trying to remember if I liked any loudmouth Republican celebrities when I was still a Democrat.  …  Actually, I’m still trying to come up with loudmouth Republican celebrities (who were Republicans when I was still a Democrat).  …  I dunno.  I laughed at something Rush Limbaugh said once.  But I wouldn’t listen to Rush Limbaugh’s show unless I was forced, so a) it doesn’t really count as liking a loudmouth Republican celebrity despite his loud-mouthedness and b) people like Rush Limbaugh (who are loudmouth conservatives for a living) aren’t really comparable to people like Sean Penn and Alec Baldwin (who are loudmouth liberals in their spare time), so again, it doesn’t really count.  So you see what an unfair contest it is.  There are just so many more opportunities for conservatives to be offended by loudmouth liberal celebrities.  But conservatives can be just as intolerant as liberals.  Some people just don’t see the humanity in the opposing side.  Some people are just jerks.

And some people are, I guess, just kind of oblivious.  I don’t know.  I’m on the Facebook betimes, and I have several friends who post political stuff.  I occasionally post political articles that I think are interesting or that amuse me.  I try to keep political commentary to a minimum, however.  I wonder if I’m successful.  I don’t know.  I’m very conscious of the fact that my friends are about half liberal and half conservative.  That doesn’t sound right.  I mean that half of my friends are liberal and half are conservative, not that they’re all half-and-half.  That latter possibility probably didn’t occur to you, but when I thought the sentence aloud, that’s how it seemed to me.  Anyway.  I’m going to get all bad-social-science on you, so perhaps I should start a new paragraph.

I’ve noticed that my liberal friends are more likely to post about politics than my conservative friends are.  And my liberal friends are way, way, way more likely to post extensive political commentary on the news than my conservative friends are.  Obviously, this is just how my set of friends shakes out.  I imagine it’s different for everyone.  But I’m just telling you from the outset, this skews the data.

Anyway, I’m sometimes surprised by how vitriolic people can be toward their political opponents on the Facebook.  I actually had to hide one of my friends updates because literally ALL he ever posted was diatribes on conservatives and the Republican party.  I mean, I like to think I’m not a thin-skinned person, but if you can’t say anything without using the word “teabagger,” you lose me.  It’s not like I un-friended him.  I just don’t like to be reminded of tea-bagging every time I log on to the Facebook.  Also, I don’t need to surround myself with haters, you know?  So I hid him, along with the lady who only posts crackpot controversial theories about what causes autism.  I still like them as people, I just don’t want them forcing their crazysauce down my throat all the time.  But I digress.  My other friends remain unhidden, even though some of them post stuff that just seems really undiplomatic, as if they don’t have any friends of a different political persuasion than they are.  I mean, obviously, people have different levels of tolerance.  I’ve always thought that mine was pretty high, but apparently it’s still much lower than other people’s.

Incidentally, if you are my Facebook friend and wondering if you’ve ever offended me on the Facebook, don’t worry about it.  If you did, I can’t remember, so it couldn’t have been that bad, but chances are it never happened in the first place.

Also, if you are my Facebook friend and were trying to offend me, YOU FAILED, JUST LIKE OBAMA’S POLICIES.  Ha ha, just kidding.  Let’s get back to the post, shall we?

Anyway, as I said earlier, my liberal friends do more of this than my conservative friends do, but I told you the data were skewed.  To compensate for this, I will offer an anecdote about something a conservative friend did just today, which was re-post an anti-abortion essay that was not so much political as…what’s the word…the word eludes me.  Distasteful, perhaps.  I mean, abortion is a complex moral and political issue.  It disturbs me when people over-simplify it, which…actually is what most people who talk about it publicly do.  So.  Whatever.  I’m not going to discuss it further because then I will lose whatever semblance of light-heartedness is left in this post.  You see, that is my point:  Abortion is not something you bring up in casual conversation, and if Facebook isn’t casual conversation, I just don’t know what is.  I mean, regardless of how you feel about abortion, why on earth would you bring it up in what surely has to be mixed company?  Does anyone seriously not have any friends who might feel differently about abortion than they do?  Do you know all of your friends’ feelings about abortion?  Why would you lob a big abortion grenade on the Facebook?  Why?  I can’t relate!

Anyway, there it is.  I want you to watch this deft segue, my friends.  Do you remember when Fleetwood Mac performed at Bill Clinton’s inauguration?  I remember that later, Stevie Nicks was on Letterman or something, and she said that she hadn’t even voted for Bill Clinton because she didn’t think he was old enough to be president.  I mean, obviously, he was legally old enough–she didn’t appear to be disputing that point, but rather just implying that he maybe wasn’t mature enough to be president because he was still so young.  Her age, in fact.  And I thought at the time, “Someone is in denial about how old she is.”

Did you catch the deft segue?  I am now talking about Stevie Nicks.  Why?  Because Elvis has been obsessed with this Stevie Nicks CD that came into our family’s possession through means I cannot recall.  I mean, I like Stevie Nicks.  I don’t claim to be a fan, exactly.  I bought Bella Donna and The Wild Heart when I was a teenager.  Does that make me a fair-weather fan?  Some kind of poser?  I don’t know.  I just know that I didn’t buy this Stevie Nicks CD, which is The Other Side of the Mirror, and it would not have occurred to me to do so, which is why I was a) surprised to find it in my car and b) surprised that my eight-year-old son has taken so much to it.  Anyway, we literally have to listen to this CD every single time Elvis is in the car.  Elvis is with us in the car a lot.  We have heard this CD a lot.  As a result, these songs are running through my brain pretty much constantly.  I was sort of indifferent to this CD when I first heard it.  It was unfamiliar, so of course, being the old codger that I am, I didn’t enjoy it that much, but it wasn’t offensive to me.  Then it started to annoy me because I was hearing it all the time.  Then it started growing on me.  I think it’s some piece of non-Western wisdom–I dunno, I heard it from John Cage, who was quoting somebody else–that says if you find something boring, you just need to spend more time with it, and eventually you will discover that it is not boring at all but actually quite interesting.  I don’t know if that’s true of this Stevie Nicks CD–that it’s interesting–but it is growing on me.

I think this is my favorite song on the album–at first I was unimpressed, but now I think it kind of rocks.  Stevie Nicks might say it rocks a little.  (Only Stevie Nicks fans would understand that.)  You know what would make it awesome, though?  Heavy metal guitars.  Can you hear it?  I can.

This other song, though–I don’t know how I feel about it.  I used to think it was stupid.  But after listening to it about 487 times, I started thinking it might be good.  I hear it now and when it starts out, I’m like, “Eh, it’s not good.”  But then I think, “No, it is good.  I like it.”  And then I think, “Do I like it?  Is that a clarinet?  Is that a little Kenny G?  (Is it actually Kenny G?)  Is that okay?”  And then I think, “Yes, it’s fine.  I still like it.”  And then it gets to about the last 40 seconds, and I think, “No.  I don’t like this part.  This ruins the whole song for me.”  What do you think, gentle readers?  (Incidentally, it’s a duet, and I went crazy trying to place the dude’s voice–we lost the CD case and the liner notes somewhere along the way–and I finally, just a couple days ago, looked it up on the internet.  And I thought, “Of course!  Why was that so difficult?”  Do you know who it is, gentle readers?  We’re just playing for fun here.  No prizes.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag1ExeQ0ajg

Last night I remembered to take a Valium before I went to sleep, and I dreamed that I was at a Pearl Jam concert with my mother-in-law.  I don’t know why I would dream about Pearl Jam because I’m not really a Pearl Jam fan.  Nor is my MIL, as far as I know.  But in the dream, I think, I was there because she’d bought the tickets, thinking I’d enjoy it.

Anyway, there we were at the Pearl Jam concert, and there weren’t as many people there as you might expect for a Pearl Jam concert.  The crowd seemed to be skewing awfully young, too.  I mean, do the kids still listen to Pearl Jam these days?  I wouldn’t know.  That’s neither here nor there.  The weird thing was that there were about, I dunno, maybe eight guys on stage, and only a couple of them had instruments.  They all took turns singing, and I didn’t recognize any of the songs–which didn’t strike me as all that strange, given my lack of knowledge about anything Pearl Jam may have recorded since…that brown album.  I do remember wondering which one of them was Eddie Vedder.  In retrospect, I don’t think any of them was.

So at one point they start handing out these tie-dyed jumpsuits with sequins on them–not a ton of sequins, mind you, but just a smattering, which, as everyone knows, is the worst possible option–and I remember thinking, “That is an odd choice for Pearl Jam.”  Not that I would know anything about what Pearl Jam was up to these days–I mean, I didn’t even know they had eight members, all of whom, apparently, sang–and what happened to their drummer?  But I digress.

They were handing out the under-bespangled jumpsuits, and then they were doing free makeovers as part of the show.  And my mother-in-law was encouraging me to go up and get my free makeover, since I already had the jumpsuit, and I was demurring because I really don’t like drawing attention to myself.  And she was like, “I paid for these tickets, and you’re getting your makeover.”  So I reluctantly went to get my free makeover, and the last thing I remember before awaking was thinking, “I am NOT letting them touch my hair.”

What do you think it means, gentle readers?

We are going to remodel our kitchen soon.  Not so much remodel as give it a…makeover.  We are refacing the cabinets and putting in a new counter top.  Eventually we will replace the flooring, but maybe not this year.  When the counter top goes in, we will be without use of our kitchen for two weeks.  While they’re doing the cabinets, that’ll be another week.  That seems like a long time to be without a kitchen.

Which reminds me, my mother-in-law is moving up here.  She bought a house in a neighboring neighborhood, and she takes possession thereof on November 1.  Possibly sooner–it’s kind of a long story, but just take me at my word.  In theory, we can stay at her house while the kitchen is having its makeover.  I don’t know how that’s going to work, exactly.  But I guess it will.

I still don’t know where the jumpsuits fit in.

My laptop is broken, so I won’t be able to sit around typing on it for hours on end anymore.  I may even have to cut back on Facebook time.  It’s that serious.

It’s 9:51 a.m. and I’m still in my bathrobe.  Actually, it’s worse than that because I just put a bathrobe over my pajamas to make it seem more like I was getting dressed when the fact is that I’m secretly plotting a way to go back to bed and stay there all day.  It was weird, like I was subconsciously trying to keep my secret plot from myself.  Why did my subconscious think it could do that?  I don’t know.  The subconscious is a weird thing.  That’s where our dreams come from, right?  And dreams are weird things.  It makes sense, if you think about it that way.

The other night I had a lot of weird dreams, but I was aware that I was dreaming in all of them.  That doesn’t usually happen.  Like, in one dream I was at church and I took a shower in one of the bathrooms, and then I walked across to the other side of the church in just my towel.  I didn’t run into many people because it wasn’t Sunday.  I don’t remember what I was doing there or why I was taking a shower, but that’s not the point.  The point is that I realized that it was probably bad form to walk around church in just my towel, even if it was a weekday, and I should probably get dressed–except that I didn’t have any clothes with me.  But, being aware that I was only dreaming, I thought, “Okay, I’ll just dream that I do have clothes with me,” and voila, problem solved.  It was like my conscious mind was controlling my subconscious, instead of the other way around.  If only the conscious mind could have such power in real life.  Is that what that dream means?  Because I have no idea.

I didn’t get very good sleep that night, in case you’re wondering.  I’m beginning to think that I wasn’t even dreaming, but now I will have to account for why my conscious mind was thinking such crazy stuff.  (Technically, there’s no need for commentary here.)

I’m thinking about taking a shower.  And eating breakfast.  Not simultaneously.  Also, about going back to bed.  But I didn’t say that last part out loud.  Or did I?

This morning I wasn’t feeling well, so after getting the kids ready for school, I went back to sleep.  Then it was 10 o’clock and I felt I should probably wake up, or at least wake Girlfriend up, so that’s what I did.  Then, because I felt guilty for sleeping until 10 o’clock, I asked Girlfriend what we should do, and she said we should play games.  So that is what we did until it was time for her to go to school.

Now I am on the internet and realizing that I only have about an hour and fifteen minutes to do all the housework I’m supposed to do today so I won’t have to do it on my birthday tomorrow.  I can’t do it after the kids come home from school because they’ll just get in my way, and also we are going to celebrate my birthday this evening because there’s no time to do it tomorrow, when it really is.  I should probably get off the internet.

Last night I dreamed that I was a doctor and the government told me that I had to pay them money in order to treat my low-income patients because Medicaid was bankrupt.  It was kind of messed up, but not as bad as the dream I had on Friday night, which involved a) Osama bin Laden, b) rapists, and c) cross-country unicycle trips, among other things.  That was not a restful sleep at all.

Now I have an hour and eleven minutes to do all my work.  I had better get to it.This morning I wasn’t feeling well, so after getting the kids ready for school, I went back to sleep.  Then it was 10 o’clock and I felt I should probably wake up, or at least wake Girlfriend up, so that’s what I did.  Then, because I felt guilty for sleeping until 10 o’clock, I asked Girlfriend what we should do, and she said we should play games.  So that is what we did until it was time for her to go to school.

Now I am on the internet and realizing that I only have about an hour and fifteen minutes to do all the housework I’m supposed to do today so I won’t have to do it on my birthday tomorrow.  I can’t do it after the kids come home from school because they’ll just get in my way, and also we are going to celebrate my birthday this evening because there’s no time to do it tomorrow, when it really is.  I should probably get off the internet.

Last night I dreamed that I was a doctor and the government told me that I had to pay them money in order to treat my low-income patients because Medicaid was bankrupt.  It was kind of messed up, but not as bad as the dream I had on Friday night, which involved a) Osama bin Laden, b) rapists, and c) cross-country unicycle trips, among other things.  That was not a restful sleep at all.

Now I have an hour and eleven minutes to do all my work.  I had better get to it.

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