Pathetic dreams

“I had this prophetic dream,” I tell my friend, going on to describe it. I’m driving, tired, and searching for a place I don’t know if I can reach. I wake up still searching.

“That’s not pathetic,” she says.

“I know!” I say. Who has pathetic dreams? That’s an oxymoron. “Prophetic,” I say. “Prophetic.”

In the dream, I’m looking for Weston, VA, but it’s late and I’m not sure if I can find it. When I get closer, I ask people, but no one knows where it is. I look up the town when I wake up, just in case my destiny is there marked by a star on the map. Of course, there’s no Weston, VA. There is, however, a Reston, VA, and I wonder what it is Reston has to teach me.

Stomping on my vision

Every year my friends and I make a vision board. An excuse to flip through magazines while snacking and gabbing? A nostalgic nod to making collages for your dorm room door? Yes and yes. But the exercise is a good one to focus your thoughts for the year and to think about what you really want in your life. And then it will just happen! OK, not really. One year you might focus on career aspirations; another you might collect images of home. Sometimes you just browse the images and see what appeals to you (George Clooney). This year, I’m goal-less so I collected images that spoke to me. Turns out I’m interested in animals, books (and strangely books about animals) and two people jumping off a cliff, naked, with a caption that reads “Living fearlessly.”

Am I subconsciously mulling a career as an animal rights author? Do I want to live out a real-life We Bought a Zoo? Do I want to become a nudist?

Unclear.

But last night, I’m roused out of bed by a cat calamity. I trudge downstairs to see what Maple is plotting to discover that she has not only knocked my vision board off the bookshelf, but is now dragging it, face down, across the floor. She does like to bring me things, so maybe she is trying to remind me of my vision in a not-so-subtle way. Here, look at your dreams! she commands in her kitty voice. But then I wonder if she is instead dragging my vision board through the proverbial mud, stomping on it with her little paws in an act of sabotage.

That is one scary kangaroo on my board and its threatening stare might be too much for Maple. Or she worries I will leave her for a kangaroo. Or she doesn’t think anything at all, because she’s a cat, and I need to read more about animal behavior to get to the bottom of this. Lucky for me, that’s on my vision board.

Wild animals

For year, I’ve had wild animal dreams. I’m walking through the woods and spot two lions or a cougar pawing the ground. I bolt and make a narrow escape indoors, slamming the door behind me. Fear dreams, I suppose, but I don’t know how to read them. Wild animals = fear or Escape = conquering fear. Not sure what the fear is, but today the people of Zanesville, OH are living my nightmare after the owner of a small zoo there was found dead—the animals’ cages open and empty. Schools are closed and the town is in lockdown as lions and tigers and bears (say it) roam the neighborhood. Let’s hope they have an accurate count or someone could be mighty surprised when a lone wolf trots by around Christmas.

Aside from the sad reality that the man committed suicide before freeing his animals, and that many of these animals have been killed, and that children could be eaten while playing in the backyard, it is kind of funny, isn’t it? The thought that you could be walking to your car headed to work, coffee in hand, when a cheetah springs from the bushes to swipe your muffin—or you. Death is hardly funny, but these feel like my dreams, manifested. And you can’t help but root for these animals that have known only a cage and that at last are enjoying a taste of freedom. Go, giraffe, I want to yell. Run on your spindly legs!

So tonight, I lend my wild animal dreams to the people of Zanesville and hope that they find a permanent home in slumbering Ohio.

Birthday bubbles

Don’t you miss the artifacts of childhood: Play-Doh, Legos, bubbles? But bring your Slinky to the steps of the library as an adult and you might find yourself being questioned by the police. My friend, however, found a nice way of incorporating play into her milestone birthday recently. She gave each guest a bottle of bubbles and after rooting around for the spindly wand, we blew bubbles off the deck.

Elevating it just a notch, we dedicated one round to the birthday girl, where we all focused on good wishes for her for the coming year (good thing it was a group effort because some of us needed to brush up on our bubble blowing skills, only managing to produce a bubble or two); then we each gave it a go for ourselves; then, after more wine, we got carried away blowing bubbles for each other and heaping dream upon dream.

Bottle of miracles

These are my secret lives

There’s no easier blog post than co-opting your friend’s idea, so today I take inspiration from Katie over at the Kitchen Door who wrote a fab list of all the things she can envision for herself, you know, secretly.

Here’s mine.

1. I spend two months of the year traveling: one year to Slovenia, the next year in a luxury tent in British Columbia. I take one trip a year where I just show up in a country with no guidebook or plan.

2. I have a wildly popular book a la Eat, Pray, Love, despite having no pressing subject, and go on a book tour of all the cities I’ve yet to explore. Readers turn out in flocks, because in one’s secret life one can be an amazing public speaker. Also, the book will be a bestseller, but not a mainstream bestseller, of course. A literary gem that is passed from small book club to small book club.

3. My job as a humanitarian saves thousands of lives, while I live humbly and happily, Peace Corps-style, in a hut with books and candlelight.

4. I’m a kindergarten teacher to a passel of cuties who turn out to be brilliant leaders of tomorrow because of how well I taught them to play. And we eat cupcakes all the time for birthdays. None of this Let’s Celebrate All the April Birthdays on one day.

5. I’ve been directed to devote my full attention to nothing but reading heaps of books, completing difficult crossword puzzles, and watching piles of movies. It’s a directive and I will not let anybody down.

6. I live on a farm where I raise happy chickens and cows but I don’t have to get up at 5 a.m. for the milking. Dogs and barn kittens scamper about. Living off the land, baby!

7. I whip up the most elaborate meals with ingredients from my sprawling garden, alternately hosting intimate affairs and dinner parties that linger into the next morning.

8. I would have a personal chef who cooks all my favorite meals but makes them healthy somehow. She gets me to like beets.

9. I live in a bungalow on the beach where I alternately surf, swim, and lounge in a hammock in the shade. I live on fish tacos and salsa.

How about you?