My one recurring dream.

An old friend once told me that it was boring to have to listen to people talk about their dreams, because they’re really only interesting to the person who dreamed them. So, apologies in advance.

Lots of people have recurring dreams involving teeth falling out, taking a test you forgot to study for, or – according to Dr. Oz – “filthy, clogged or unusable toilets.” (Gotta say, never heard of that last one, Dr. O.) But the only recurring dream I have involves houses and finding rooms that either A) I didn’t know where there in the first place or B) had once known about but since forgotten.

Sometimes I’m living in an older house, and I discover this enormous kitchen I forgot existed. Other times it’s a spacious bathroom with a claw-foot tub that’s raised up on a platform. I don’t read too much into these dreams, as I live in a small-ish three-bedroom ranch house with a kitchen that’s too small for someone who likes to cook/bake and only one postage stamp-sized bathroom that is always occupied by my husband at the exact moment I need to use it.

But other times, I’m stumbling upon entire wings of my house. I find rooms with exposed brick, rooms with huge windows that flood the room with natural light, rooms you climb many stairs to get to, new rooms tucked away behind other rooms used regularly.

If you research what “new rooms in house” dreams mean, most people say it’s really about you, that you are the house and that the rooms you’re discovering are actually representative of parts of yourself/your psyche. How do you feel about these rooms? the dream analysts ask.

I’ll tell you: I am never once afraid in these dreams. I am always amazed, awed, and excited. I see so many possibilities! I can’t wait to start using these new rooms!

So now, when I wake up from one of these dreams, I wonder: what exactly am I so jazzed to discover about myself? What new facets or capabilities am I uncovering or about to uncover?

Last night, for instance: I dreamed of finding an extra hallway/nook space on the first floor of a multi-floored house. It was longer than it was wide, and there was a small dining table and chairs at one end, nestled near the staircase that led to the second floor. On the opposite end, there was a short fridge and floating shelves, one of which contained a hot dog roaster. (For some reason, there were fresh sausages on there.) The left side of the space was taken up by a large sliding glass door; across from that, adjacent to the short-fridge-floating-shelves wall, sat a tall fridge (stocked with food that wasn’t rotten) and a sink. On the floor – or, rather, in the floor – there was a rectangular charcoal roasting pit. At some point in the dream, another couple showed up (we were apparently sharing parts of the house with them) and started cooking two legs of lamb.

Other random tidbits:

  • There was a backpack that had been left behind, ostensibly by the house’s previous owners, that had a folder tucked in it. The folder contained a black and white photo of Robert Smith (yes, that Robert Smith) and it was autographed. I am not some rabid Cure fan so I have no idea why he made a guest appearance in this particular dream.
  • The light switch on the wall with the short fridge made the room dark and then dance with neon green strobe lights. “It’s a party room!” I declared in the dream. “We need to throw a party!”
  • We lived in a brick building that used to house a school. At one point in the dream, Joe and I parked on the hill and I saw an old sign with the school’s name and said, “Oh my god, this used to be a school. Well, it makes sense why there’s a big ol’ library in the middle of it.” The library looked like a cross between my high school library and the one from The Breakfast Club.

I don’t have any great theories as to why I had this particular dream. I just find it really interesting that out of all of the possible recurring dreams one can have, this is mine.

Do you have any recurring dreams? What do those dreams say about you?


The 7 Jeopardy! Categories of My Weekend (an homage to Jaime & Doug)

Inspired by Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs, my friend Jaime used to post The 7 Jeopardy! Categories of My Weekend (she stopped after she hit 200).

So, as an homage to both of them (and also to satisfy my NaBloPoMo post for the day, since I almost – almost! – forgot), here are the 7 Jeopardy! Categories of MY Weekend:

  • The Blue Route Blues
  • Cats vs. Dogs
  • Speed Shopping at the Goodwill
  • Bowl Me Over
  • Can I Get a Little Whine with that Cheese?
  • The Importance of Being Hydrated
  • People Who Need a Time Turner More than Hermione Granger

And with that, I am off to bed.

Strange things are afoot at the Purebread Deli.

The Purebread Deli & Cafe is this adorable, dog-themed coffee shop that also has really yummy sandwiches (all of which are named after dogs, naturally).  It’s a local chain, and there’s a location not far from my house. Even so, I don’t go there all that often. But I met an old friend from high school there for coffee a few weeks back, and tonight I was meeting a new friend for a hot beverage.

As I’m walking in – literally, walking in – I run into Ellen, a student from one of my creative writing classes at UD. She tells me that Michael, another student from that class, is parking the car. Then he comes in and it’s like OH HI and suddenly we’re having old home week at the Purebread Deli. He tells me that he and Ellen met in my class and fell in L-O-V-E because of that class. Which is totally adorable. I tell them that this summer, two students who took my class (but not at the same time) got married.

“Go teach a class!” Michael yells to me, as he goes to place his order.

“I make love connections!” I quip back.

So that’s a happy good thing, right? Right.

Later, as I’m lingering over hot beverage with the new friend, Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” comes on over the sound system, and my own breath catches.

This is the song that I watched Joe’s aunt Brenda sob to at his uncle Tommy’s wedding, about nine months after their father (Joe’s grandfather) passed away.

This is the song I listened to the day I found out that Marian was gone.

This is the song that I played at my mother’s funeral, the one that nearly destroyed me that day.

Tonight, I stopped speaking, mid-sentence. I lost my entire train of thought. It took every ounce of willpower to keep myself from crying. Right there, in the middle of the adorable dog-themed coffee shop.

I kept it together.

But guess what? When the song ended, and the next one began, it was the exact same song. Only, this version was sung by a different artist.

It was a total WTF moment.

I said, “What, are they doing an encore?”

My conversational skills deteriorated after that.

You probably know this song, but in case you don’t, it’s below (lyrics included).

And while I wouldn’t call this a happy good thing – the two versions of “Just Breathe,” how utterly random – I wouldn’t call it a sad bad thing, either. It’s just…a thing.

It reminded me how, at the funeral, our officiant Metty said something that – up until that point – hadn’t clicked for me.

My mom died in her sleep. She stopped breathing. And the song I chose to play?

“Just Breathe.”

The (unofficial) end of summer

When I was a kid, summers seemed to stretch on forever. Adult summers, not so much. Three months feels more like 30 seconds. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But you get my point.

Part of what made this summer so blink-of-the-eye fast is that I spent the first half of it on airplanes. In May, I traveled to New Orleans for the International Reading Association’s Annual Conference, where in addition to working my tush off I got to reconnect with old friends and eat my way across the Crescent City. A month later, I boarded another plane, this time with my husband, Joe. We flew to Chicago for a week’s vacation – one of those do-everything, see-everything trips that left us both more exhausted than before we left. Three weeks after that, I flew to Tampa for IRA’s Council Leadership Academy, where I got to talk to some devoted educators about communications and social media.

In between Trip 1 and Trip 2, I was reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates for not one, not two, but THREE positions on my team. I hustled and was able to make offers before I left for Chicago. The first of the new staffers arrived just prior to Trip 3, and the other two a week after that, so I spent a lot of July training and team building.

Which brings us to August, a month which started with my stepdaughter, S, spending a long weekend with us (her first!) and ended with Joe and me binge-watching Teen Wolf episodes, half-comatose on the couch. Because in between all of those big things there were a whole bunch of not-quite-as-big things: weekends of dog-sitting, (four! dogs! all at once!), weekends of gourmet cupcake baking, weekends of attempting/completing a variety of home improvement projects. Oh, and did I mention that I’m writing another book? ‘Cause I totally am.

What I haven’t been doing is blogging, but that’s about to change. There are too many things I want to talk about, too many stories I want to tell – including some about the things I did during this 30-second summer.

For now, I’m going to spend the rest of Labor Day weekend hunkering down with my husband, snuggling with our schnoodle Scout (a.k.a. The World’s Cutest Dog), and enjoying the final hours of a deliciously relaxing four-day weekend.