Tag Archives: dreams

What Dreams May Come (Whether You Want Them to or Not)

My husband has the extremely annoying habit of just lying down and going to sleep. It is especially irritating when he does this in the middle of a fight.

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

<head hits pillow>


(I am more of the sit-up-and-stew-all-night type.)

Another thing that Dan can do that I can’t is “lucid dreaming.” What is that?

WebMD says,

Lucid dreaming represents a brain state between REM sleep and being awake. Some people who are lucid dreamers are able to influence the direction of their dream, changing the story so to speak. While this may be a good tactic to take, especially during a nightmare, many dream experts say it is better to let your dreams occur naturally. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/dreaming-overview#2-6

Basically, it’s when a person is dreaming and knows that it is, in fact, a dream. As if that weren’t meta enough, the person can also influence events in the dream, just by thinking about it. For instance, if my husband is about to be attacked by a dragon, he can say (in the dream), “Hey, you’re not real,” and *poof* goes the dragon. Or if he’s back in high school, unprepared for a test, he can realize that he’s graduated and been to college; therefore he doesn’t have to take the test.

My dreams aren’t like that. I have four types of dreams and usually rotate among them (interspersed with dreams in which I can fly, or at least jump long distances or hover 6-12 inches above the ground).

Anxiety/frustration dreams. I have plenty of these. When I traveled on business, they were about missing airplanes or being lost in a hotel. Now that I no longer do that, my subconscious has regressed. Now I dream about missing the school bus and being lost in my junior high or high school. I also have the not-prepared-for-a-test dream, but it doesn’t usually provoke anxiety unless it’s a math test.

The being-lost portion of the dream produces frustration rather than anxiety. I know the building intimately – it is almost always a perfect replica of the school – but I don’t know where my next class will be held. Either that or I don’t have a copy of my new schedule and there’s a line at the registration desk.

Naked dreams. These, I understand, are fairly common. You appear in some public place, such as where you work, with no clothes on. This has happened to me many times (in dreams, I mean). But in my case, no one ever notices that I am naked. They just carry on with the meeting or whatever without blinking an eye. I know most people who have naked dreams find them embarrassing or humiliating. These dreams don’t happen to me very often, but when they do, they piss me off.

Bathroom dreams. Speaking of pissing, another of my dreams is being unable to find a bathroom. I have to pee desperately, but all I can find – even in a swanky bathroom – is a bucket. Or a hole in the floor where a toilet ought to be. Or no toilet at all. Or a toilet stall I can’t fit into. Or toilet stalls with no doors. Or, worst of all, plenty of toilets with appropriate doors, but every one of them disgustingly filthy in ways I won’t describe. (You’re welcome.)

Hot-n-juicy dreams. Now we come to the dreams that I actually enjoy – sex dreams. (My husband says he doesn’t get these, but I think he’s lying.) I enjoy these dreams enormously – I feel they’re like freebies. You can cheat on your partner without doing anything he or she can complain about. So what if I boink Ken or Paul, or a stranger? Nothing happened! My subconscious just had a riotous good time. (Except when it didn’t. Sex dreams can merge with other kinds of dreams – naked is fine, but not frustration or humiliation.)

I don’t want to know what Sigmund Freud or any Freudian therapist (if there still are any) would think of these dreams. Probably something sexual. Except for the sex dreams. Those would be about potty training or fear of clowns. I’ll just interpret my own dreams, get through the ones that bother me, and enjoy the ones I can. And wish I remembered more of my dreams, especially the hot-n-juicy variety.

Cat Visits From Beyond

First of all, let me say that I don’t believe in ghosts. I also don’t believe that dreams predict the future.

Still, when it comes to cats, spirits and dreams are definitely involved.

Whenever one of our cats dies, my husband and I take turns selecting the next cat – unless one simply shows up at our door and chooses us, which has been happening more and more lately. But if I’m the one to choose, how do I know when it’s time?

I’ve known plenty of people, including my mother and my mother-in-law, who, when a pet dies, swear they will never get another one. Unless they move into a small apartment that doesn’t allow pets – or requires an exorbitant fee for the right – they always do.

I don’t know how other people know when the time is right, but when it’s time for a new kitty, I have a cat dream that lets me know.

Once the cat was Shaker, a tuxedo cat we had for many years. Some time after she died I dreamed about her. She was sitting on the walkway in front of my grandmother’s house, looking just as beautiful and dignified as she did in life. She meowed, turned, and walked back up the sidewalk. I was happy to see her again. (I always am when dead friends visit me in dreams.) And I got the feeling that she was ready for her spirit to move on and make way for another cat in my heart and home.

Another time I dreamed of Chelsea, a black-and-white cat we lost to kidney failure. In the dream, she was curled up in a dresser drawer with assorted clothes – and five tiny kittens snuggled up to her, nursing. Real-life Chelsea was spayed (all our cats are neutered), so I remember thinking it was odd. But again, the message of the dream seemed to be that her visit was to reassure me that she was not alone in the afterlife, and that another kitten was to be welcomed.

Sometimes, however, phantom kitties appear in waking life.

Everyone who has owned cats has had the experience of seeing movement out of the corner of their eye and thinking for an instant that it’s a cat. But when you look around, there’s no cat there.

The strange part is that the half-seen cat is often not a cat that the person currently owns. It seems to be a cat from the past or future, or even an unknown cat, just visiting. Nor is it always just a figment of the imagination, a trick of vision. I have experienced standing still and feeling a cat brushing against the back of my leg. When I looked down, of course, again there was no cat present.

I think these “visitations” are caused by the cat energy that builds up in a house that has hosted felines. It gets tucked away in corners and closets, only appearing when you don’t expect it. I find these phantom kitties comforting, not scary. They are welcome in my house.

A friend of ours lived in a small apartment where he was not allowed to have pets. One day he told us that he would like to have a cat and we told him that his landlady could hardly object to a phantom cat. After a week or so, he told us that no phantom cat had appeared. “Well,” we said, “invite one in.”

“How do I do that?” he asked.

“Put out a mental call – roll out a spiritual welcome mat,” we said. If there’s a better way to describe it, I don’t know what it is.

So John put out a welcoming vibe directed at any spirit cats in the area. The next day, he told us, he saw some movement out of the corner of his eye – a cat he could never quite visualize but also could never ignore or deny. The spirit cat even moved with him when he went to a new apartment.

So are these really cats from beyond or tricks of the light? Wishes or fantasies of cats? Glitches and vagaries of human perception? The truth is, I don’t really care. These feline phenomena – whatever their source – comfort me and connect me with cat friends that I still love and badly miss. And that’s enough for me.


What Were They Thinking? (Toilet Edition)

I keep having these dreams. I understand they’re pretty common.(1) In them, I can never find a bathroom. If I do find one it’s unusable – disgustingly filthy, or with no doors or paper, or in the middle of a men’s locker room, or always in the next hall over, or a bucket, or just a circular pipe with no toilet on top of it.

I wake up thinking I’m going to wet the bed. (I haven’t. Yet.)

Unfortunately, I’ve encountered a fair number of potty nightmares in real life too.

Ohio’s Rest Stops
Ohio likes to think of itself as a northern sort of midwestern state – even fought for the Union in the Civil War.(2) But they were tragically far behind in embracing modern (non-outhouse) technology. They didn’t even require flush toilets and running water, not to mention cleanliness and sanitation until 1989. Literally. Legally.(3)

Think about it. From the time I was able to use the grown-up toilet until I was over 30, Ohio was not legally required to provide me with anything other than a latrine. Which often attract bees. Which I am phobic about.

Because of my superior bladder control, I was able to “hold it till we get to Grandma’s.”

Pay Toilets
Yes, children, you used to have to pay to piss.(4) At some point, someone realized this was a discriminatory practice and decided there must be a stall for those without pocket change. These were invariably the stuff of my nightmares.(5)

In fact, I include pay toilets in this stall-of-infamy recital so I can include a terrible joke. What is a synonym for a pay toilet? Johnny Cash.(6) I refuse to include the graffiti “poem,” because everyone knows it already. You don’t? Go ask your crazy aunt.

Kiddie Toilets for Grown-ups
A recent “innovation” I’ve noticed is for all public toilets to be the size of those in elementary schools. Is it a least-common-denominator thing?(7) A water-conserving measure? Purchases from all the schools that are closing? I don’t know.

What I do know is that for a person with aging knees (me), they are damnably hard to get up from. They make me think I am trapped in a verse of “Seven Old Ladies Were Locked in the Lavatory.”(8)

Which brings to the other toilet terror:

Squat Toilets
I was traveling in Croatia and stopped in Istria to see a Roman ruin. Feeling the call of nature, I asked for the facilities. When I found them, I found a stall with a hole in the ground. There was a helpful diagram of where to place your feet.

I used it of course. I had no choice by that point.(9)

And I realize that I’m being totally a first-world, ethnocentric, pampered, ugly-American tourist-type, and that millions of people every day (several times a day, really) use squat toilets and are grateful that they have them, as there are those who cannot avail themselves of even that luxury.

But what I want to know is:

Where do their grannies go?

When I was able to travel I was also able to stand up from a squatting position, but now it would take two healthy young lads to hoist me to the vertical. I’m fairly sure such restroom attendants are not available everywhere. I doubt even a handicapped-access bar would help me now. And I’m not even totally old and decrepit. If I make it to 90, I’ll be in real trouble.

Perhaps after years of practice, squatting grannies have exceptionally strong and supple knee joints. Or some secret knee-rejuvenating treatment that they are saving for themselves and their posterity.(10)

In the words of one of the most awful commercials for ass-wipe today, how in the hell can they “enjoy the go”? I can’t even enjoy dreaming anymore.

(1) I wish the hot-n-juicy variety of dreams were more common, but, sadly, they aren’t.
(2) The first one, I mean.
(3) Here’s the statute: The director of transportation shall develop and implement a program for improving the roadside rest area system along highways of the interstate system and the primary system. Each sanitary facility in the roadside rest area system on the interstate system and at selected locations on the primary system that is upgraded shall have potable water, water flush toilets, and wash basins equipped with running water for the use of the traveling public… Effective Date: 07-01-1989 (Emphasis added.)
(4) Or anything else.
(5) See above.
(6) My apologies to Mr. Cash and all his relatives and friends. I respect and admire him a lot. But that’s how the joke really goes.
(7) Which I don’t remember addressing until later in school.
(8) This was a favorite at Girl Scout camp. In addition to being scatological, it’s sexist and ageist, which would have probably been why we liked it, if any of those things other than scatology were a thing yet. Now there’s a stop-motion animated video. Not kidding. See for yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQx1OcIlFqE
(9) Though I did have perhaps my only bout ever of penis envy.
(10) Sorry. Couldn’t help it.