Tag Archives: Prose

A Packapoo Thanksgiving


A *Packapoo Thanksgiving

A steward of the somber in other respects, when it came to Thanksgiving, she had more colorful and grandiose dreams. Cranberries, succulent turkey stuffed with cornbread and sage dressing, another baked and crustily-topped casserole of the same stuffing pulled from a hot oven along with butter-pooled mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, sweet potatoes and green bean casserole wherein mere green beans were adorned and mixed with cream of mushroom soup, water chestnuts and crispy fried onion rings were what her palate expected and her heart hoped for.

But this year, for the first time in memory, she herself was not in control of the menu. In spite of her arguments that she actually loved all the fuss and bother of making the Thanksgiving meal, her husband had insisted that they go to his friend’s house where his new bride would prepare the meal, and knowing the young, fit yoga instructor his friend had married, she knew she had drawn a packapoo ticket on this one. What were the chances that out of the five or six items the menu would be likely to offer, that even one of her own choices would be revealed?

She had visions of a tofu turkey, watercress salad, grapefruit wedges and perhaps the wild excitement of pita bread and tahini. Fresh fruit for the dessert was a probability, sulfite-free wine the only nearly titillating item on the menu, a poor substitute for a pre-meal dry martini with double olives.

She screwed on her earring backs, adjusted the curl of hair behind one ear, slipped into the posture-destructive heels that she knew the bride would have to bite her cheek to refrain from commenting on. Then, as she heard her husband start up the car in the driveway and toot the horn, she moved to the fridge for a peek at the two pies nestled on the second shelf: one pumpkin, one pecan.  She opened the freezer door and saw the half gallon of Kirkland vanilla ice cream, then slammed both doors shut.  Her reward would come later that night, when they got home. There were simply some traditions no one should have to give up on!!!!

*Note: A Packapoo ticket is  a mess, something in a state of chaos or things randomly thrown together.  Sources may be a pakapoo ticket which could be bought and that contained rows of characters from the Thousand Character Classic, an ancient poem in which no two words were repeated or the Chinese Pakapoo game where betters choose 10 numbers. If they existed on a random drawn list of 100, they won money according to how many were correct.

Prompt words for today are packapoo ticket, somber, steward, argument, banquet. The photos of the turkey and two pies were downloaded from Unsplash. All other photos are mine. 

Dream Journeys

He woke up agitated and sweating, turned over to face in her direction. She lay on the adjacent pillow, staring at him with a haze of dreaming still over her eyes.
“I dreamt I got the job,” he said, his mind swarming with the details of discarding, packing, arranging for the move.  Then, his mind switched quickly to the alternative. What if he didn’t get the job? He had been in this state of agony for weeks. Either result contained grounds for worry.
She stirred.  Reached out for him. “I had a dream,” she said.
“Oh, yeah?” he said, intent on his own quandry, barely aware of his own mechanical response. “Anything pertinent? I’m looking for signs.”
“I dreamt I was the moon.”


For the dVerse Poets prosery prompt: The Prosery prompt starts with a line taken from a poem, and asks you to write a piece of flash fiction incorporating that line, in full, somewhere in the piece of prose. To make it a little more challenging there’s a word limit of 144 words. The line they chose was “I dreamt I was the moon.”


Fibbing Friday: Feb. 1, 2019

Here are my answers to this Friday’s questions:

  1. Jonah wasn’t swallowed by a whale…he was swallowed by ennui. 
  2. Who (or what) could make even the fiercest pirate quake in his boots? The dentist.
  3. What did Huckleberry Finn have to really paint?  Aunt Polly’s toenails.
  4. What is the best food that can be paired with red wine? Spam.
  5. What are you wearing on the sun? A sun bonnet.
  6. Why do dogs chase after cars? In hopes of a ride.
  7. What did the cat say to its kitten about the humans? “These creatures were created to be our servants, kids, but be polite to them. Otherwise, they may spit in the food!!”
  8. Goldfish are not fish. What are they? Misspelled adjectives describing  golf aficionados.
  9. What would you rather do instead of sleeping? Play loud music at 3 in the morning to wake up sleepers.
  10. The Phantom didn’t haunt the Opera House…he haunted the  Smart TV.
  11. What is the most intelligent life form on Earth? Cats.  (Had to tell the truth on this one.)
  12. Why did we really go to school? To get to the other side.
  13. What did teachers do during recess? Smoked doobies and played poker.
  14. How did you get to school? Pogo Stick and Parachute.
  15. What was life like before the Internet? It was a magazine back then as well.
  16. What is the best thing about social media? It is non-mandatory.
  17. What is your favorite thing to put chocolate sauce on? Pizza
  18. Doctors were all wrong…humans don’t need water. What do they need? Handi-wipe Pre-moistened Towels.
  19. Dolphins are not mammals. What are they? Those that aren’t mammals are poppals.
  20. There is a Lost Dutchman’s Mine, but where is it? In the Lost and Found.





For Fibbing Friday.  Here’s the link: https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/02/01/fibbing-friday-2/

Crunchy, Soft and Piquant


                                                Crunchy, Soft and Piquant

Potato chips, ketchup and cottage cheese! I imagine this pairing came about by accident one day at a school or church picnic on a too-small plate, and some flavor memory insists there were baked beans and a hamburger on the same plate; but somehow the vital ingredients came to be the salty-crunchy chips, the creamy-soft cheese and the piquant perfection of Hunts Ketchup. (For the uninitiated, the process is to dip the chip in the ketchup and then scoop up the cheese.)

I don’t usually keep potato chips in the house anymore because I can’t be trusted with them, and cottage cheese is so expensive in Mexico that I don’t usually buy it; but when I make a trip to Costco in Guadalajara, invariably I’ll come home with one of their huge containers of cottage cheese and somehow, magically, potato chips appear (If you buy it, they will come) and the house echoes with the strains of some culinary Indian Love Call coming from the heart of my fridge, “When I’m calling you u u u u u u.” And so it is that the unlikely trio are reunited once again, probably late at night when even the dogs are fast asleep and no one is looking.

(This is a rerun of a posting on the same subject two years ago.) And, in case you missed it, potato chips seem to figure predominantly in my postings about guilty pleasures.  Here is a different one. Potato chips are so versatile, aren’t they? : https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/11/09/old-sins/ 

The Prompt: Tell us about a guilty pleasure that you hate to love.https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/hate-to-love/


Lucky Man

The Prompt: Tight Corner—Have you ever managed to paint yourself into the proverbial corner because of your words? What did you do while waiting for them “to dry”?

While I was looking for a personal tale that works for this prompt, (never did find it, but it was perfect for the prompt) I found this beginning to a story or novel that I’ve long forgotten. I’m going to print it here for suggestions and advice. Should I abandon it? Continue? I know there are problems, so any suggestions would be appreciated. Oh, what we find in the bowels of our backup drives! And it even loosely meets the prompt.

Lucky Man

The doorbell was answered by a tiny redheaded girl resplendent in conical Pokemon party hat. She grabbed the present that Dick held out to her and immediately whirled and ran back into the yaws of the party, which was in full swing. His daughter Nell surrendered his hand after one tight squeeze and chased after her hostess.

“Hi Dick.” It was Shirley Hudson who next emerged from the cacophonous din in the living room. “You can stay if you want to, or you can pick Nell up at six.” She held his right hand in her own, while her other hand stroked the black thatch of his forearm. It was something Jane had always done, and he hated it. He wasn’t a cat, for God’s sake.

Dick put his arm around the shoulders of his wife’s friend as an excuse to withdraw his arm from her stroking grasp. “I guess I’ll go home and take a catnap, Shirl. I’ll see you in three hours.”

“Dick? Have you heard from Jane?”

“Shirley, I don’t want to go through any of this now.”

“Hey, I’m not going to give you any trouble over this. She’s my best friend, but I know you’re in the right. I don’t blame you. I just want to know how she is.”

“There are visiting hours at the city jail, Shirley. I’m certainly not using them up. Go see her.”

Now he sat in the car for a minute, letting the wipers remove an accumulation of mist off the outside of the windshield as he wiped the inside condensation off with the arm of an old sweater that was stuffed down beside the seat.

He started the car up and pulled into midafternoon traffic. Not too bad. His thumb worried a spot below the knuckle of his left-hand ring finger where an ingrown hair had grown infected. It was so swollen now that he hadn’t been able to remove his ring, even with Jane gone and no one to blame him if he removed this mark of the chosen.

Bored of the rings. This is what a friend had said just before asking his wife for a divorce, but marriage to Jane, although anything but ideal, had never been boring.

In college, her possessiveness and jealousy had been sort of flattering. He had been amazed that this ravishing sorority girl, cheerleader, beauty queen, straight A student had marked him as her own. She had been known to haul other women who monopolized his company for too long at a frat kegger away from him by the hair. Everyone knew that he was Jane’s property. She was so beautiful and so soothingly cute when they were alone. He had been a lucky man. All of the guys said so. In Jane Clark’s pants. Lucky man. Lucky man.

They had been married right out of college. He had been fortunate to find the job in New York. Well, actually, he had been lucky to have been found by the job. After months of sending out resumes, checking and being checked via the web, pulling any and all strings that were within his grasp, he had finally been recruited by the friend of a friend of an acquaintance. And he had taken the job. It had always been his dream to live in New York and six months after graduation, six days after his marriage to Jane, there they had been.

He couldn’t deny that Jane’s looks had had something to do with his being the darling of the firm. After the first office party, when everyone had seen her in the backless silver sliver of a dress, they had been invited everywhere–to the houses of all the mucky mucks, whose wives were as taken with Jane as the men were. Jane was smart about that. Jealous herself, she never let another wife see her moving in on her man. No. She never let her moves be seen. By wives.

They’d been married about a year when he caught her in the designer bathroom of his boss. With his boss. She hadn’t even pretended to have an explanation. “Shit, we’re caught!” she had said, zipping up her dress, grabbing her panty hose and moving behind the shower curtain to get herself straight.

“Dick, I hope you don’t. . . .” He’d been gone before his boss could finish the line.

They’d moved to Denver two weeks later. He’d taken a job in the ad agency where his best friend from college worked and Jane, contrite, had been the model wife for a year after that. She’d met Dick so young. She’d just never had the chance to sow any wild oats. And she’d had so much to drink. But she loved him, really loved him.

He’d actually preferred his job in Denver to his job in New York. Denver was a more sophisticated town than he had guessed it would be, and Jane had scared up several old sorority sisters living in the area. She had worked for a few years as a talent coordinator that provided entertainment for big conventions–a job with a lot of variety in it, a chance to use her charm and looks and brains. But she’d quit when Nell was born. And that was when the real problems started.

Dick pulled the car into his own driveway, flicked the switch for the garage door opener. Flicked it again. The damn thing usually worked every fourth or fifth time he pushed the button, but sometimes it would take a rest for a few days and if it was in a snowless season, they’d just park in the driveway, which he did now. The garage door was on his long list, somewhere down near the middle.

They’d put money down on this house when they first moved to Denver. He had the money from his Dad, who had died his junior year in college, and they’d seen no sense in pouring money down the drain by paying rent when they could be making house payments. The house was on two acres of land and behind its own high walls. Privacy. More than they needed, really. It had come cheap because the house was old and in need of a lot of repairs, but Dick’s dad and granddad had both been handymen, and he had spent most of his time with them as their assistant. So the idea of a house that needed lots of repairs was inviting to him. He associated open walls with plastic tacked up over them and paint cans in the corner as homey.

Jane, on the other hand, liked projects in the planning stages and when they were over. She hated the mess and bother of the actual repairs. But they had discovered this only after they bought the house.

When Jane had first seen the house, she had wanted it immediately. Its size, style and the extent of the grounds had sold her. She had not realized that it would take more than a coat of paint and a few flats of flowers to make the house livable. When the whole first year of repairs involved practicalities such as wiring, plumbing (they actually had ended up pouring money down the drain after all) and the jacking up and reinforcement of walls–projects that did not even show cosmetically–she had grown frustrated.

By the second year, they had proceeded to painting and landscaping, and Jane grew happier. She had a great sense of style and color and soon the house looked great superficially. They started to have parties and soon grew famous in their own world. Jane seemed to entertain effortlessly and they collected around them a mixture of old friends and new.

Work, work on the house, play, work on the house, sex, work on the house. Their lives were pretty full.

If, occasionally, Dick went in search of Jane at parties, testing the bathroom and bedroom doors and if locked, loitering in the halls a bit, it was something that did not totally dominate his thoughts or his time. And, indeed, never again in that first two years in Denver did he ever catch her with another man.

Now and then he’d see vestiges of Jane’s earlier jealous inclinations. When he got a new partner at work, an attractive girl just out of college named Julie, Jane started dropping in at the office at odd hours. A couple of times when he’d had business lunches, she had coincidentally shown up at the same restaurant with a friend. Denver was a pretty big town and their house was across town from his office, so after awhile, these meetings seemed to be more than coincidence. When he asked the office secretary, she confirmed that his wife had called and she’d given her the name of the restaurant where he’d be.

But when he’d asked Jane about it, she’d been offhand. “Oh, yeah. I called to tell you where I’d be and then when Lucy said you were going to be at the same restaurant, I thought I’d surprise you. Don’t you remember my telling you about that restaurant? You strayed into my territory, dear, not the other way around.”

It hadn’t been important. He had let it drop. His life was so busy that he didn’t seem to have time to worry about anything that wasn’t immediately pressing.

He slammed the car door, fingering the keys in search of the front door key as he moved up the front walk. Too many keys. No matter how many times he weeded them out, he always had a fistful on his key ring. As he swung the keys over his hand, searching for the right key, one of the keys caught on his sore finger. “Shit.” it was starting to fester up like a felon.

He put the key in the front lock. The aroma of the house came at him full force as he opened the front door. Dry wall, scented candles, a little mildew–in spite of Jane’s best efforts to Lysol all of the fungi away–plastic sheeting, rug shampoo, something else. He couldn’t quite fix on the smell that was turning all these familiar smells sinister. The house, once exciting and welcoming, seemed somehow frightening to him. He didn’t think he could go on living in this house, he suddenly realized.

This was the house they’d fussed and bothered over and primped over like a prom queen. No, more like their queen bee. This house had been their queen bee. He’d been the drone. Jane, he guessed, had been the warrior and defender of the hive or hill or whatever he was comparing their busy, involved, convoluted lives to. Let’s see. How had it happened? In what order? Had Jane started getting strange, really strange, before or after Nell was born? When had her accusations begun? Before or after he’d caught her with the first of a long succession of men? When had the craziness begun?

The first sign he’d noticed had been when Nell was about ten months old and he’d opened his tool chest and found all the fingers of his work gloves cut off. There had been no accounting for it. Jane had been as mystified as he was. A week later, he’d come home and found a note from her on the kitchen counter. She’d be home late, she said. Nell was at Polly’s, she’d pick her up on her way home.

He heard her drive up at ten o’clock and went to the door to meet her. When he took the sleeping baby from her arms, he could smell cigarette smoke and aftershave. She’d met Shirley for drinks. Jake had joined them later, she said. She moved into the bathroom to shower. Later, in bed, she’d turned away from him. She was too tired, she said. He’d thought little of it. He was tired, too.

But several days later, when Shirley had called to propose meeting them for drinks and Dick had teased her about hitting the bar scene pretty heavily lately, she hadn’t known what he was talking about. It had been months since she’d been out on the town, she insisted.

A week later, Jane had again left a note. She was again meeting Shirley, who was having some problems at home. She’d tell Dick about it later. Again, she came home around ten with cigarette smoke and aftershave clinging to her skin, clothes and hair.

“Jane, are you seeing another man?” he had asked.

She had spun on him, livid, her eyes accusing, little specks of spittle flying from her mouth as she spit out the words at him, “You fucker! You are accusing me of infidelity? You with your cute little chickie partner and your business dinners and your cushy office with the door that locks? You are asking me if I’m seeing another man?” She was holding Nell who, half asleep, came fully awake now and started to cry. Jane thrust the baby at him angrily. He took the baby, so astounded that he couldn’t even think of words to refute her charges.

She slammed into the bathroom, locked the door. Later, after all her usual night sounds–the shower, the opening and closing of the medicine chest, the creaking and spinning of the bathroom scales, the flushing of the toilet–she entered the bedroom. He was in bed. She walked past him.

“I’m sleeping in the goddamn guest room!” She left the bedroom door open so he could plainly hear the sound of the guest room door slamming and locking behind her. From the crib near their bed, Nell whimpered and again started to cry. Dick was flummoxed. He rocked the baby, not knowing which of them needed the comfort more.

The next morning, Jane refused to talk to him. His breakfast was on the table as usual. The baby, seated in her highchair, prattled and rubbed food in her hair, but Jane was silent, doing the crossword puzzle at the kitchen counter with her back to them both.

When he got home from work, she was at the kitchen table. She greeted him as though nothing had happened. “I invited guests for dinner Friday night.”

“Great, Jane. Listen, we have to talk”

“I am talking. I’m talking about inviting company for dinner on Friday. Aren’t you going to ask whom I invited? “

“Jane, I don’t really care a whole lot whom you invited to dinner. I want to talk about last night–and last week. Are you seeing another man, Jane?”

“Are you seeing another woman, Dick?”

“No, Jane, I’m not.”

“Are you sure of that?”

“What in the hell are you saying, Jane. Am I sure of that? As though I could forget something like that–overlook it? Oh, yeah, Jane, come to think of it, I forgot. I am seeing another woman?”

“Are you evading the question, Dick?”

“Are you evading the question, Jane?”

She didn’t answer him, just took the baby out of the highchair and walked out of the room. “Everyone will be here at seven on Friday, Dick.”

That night after dinner, when he went into the present room in progress to cut some sheetrock, he couldn’t find his saber saw. He searched for a good fifteen minutes in every conceivable place before asking Jane if she had seen it.

He found her in the baby’s room, folding clothes fresh from the dryer.

“I don’t know where your saw is, Dick. I’m not responsible for your toys.”

“I’m not saying you are responsible, Jane. I just wondered if you knew where it was! “ He kissed Nell, who was murmuring and making sucking motions with her mouth. Jane continued to fold clothes as he stood there a moment, saying not a word until he finally gave up and went to watch a little TV before bed.

When he woke up, there was a buzzing sound that indicated that the station had gone off air. He got up groggily to switch off the set, but the buzzing didn’t seem to be ending. He went to each of the bedrooms that were being used to see if it was an alarm clock. He checked out the kitchen and both bathrooms. But the buzzing always seemed to be coming from a place other than where he was. Each time he shifted rooms, the sound seemed to be coming from a different direction.

Finally, he moved to the basement door, which opened off the kitchen. The buzzing got louder. He opened the door and could definitely hear that the source of the buzzing was the basement. But when he went to switch on the light, nothing happened. Switching on the kitchen light, he searched through the utility drawer to find a flashlight. He found three, all minus batteries. Finally, he found a box of matches. That would have to do.

The light from the kitchen lit the stairs half way down. Then, he could see only black. He lit the first match, which lasted until the bottom of the stairs. Then it went out. Another match took him through the large room that had formerly housed the washer and dryer. Preferring easier access, Jane had had him move the utility room up to the second floor, between their room and the room that would be the baby’s, so that it could be accessed by the three rooms in the house that generated the most laundry: the baby’s room, their room and the main bathroom. Since he already had a great tool room/workroom off the garage, this basement room was unused, except for storage.

As he lit another match, the shadows loomed up: the extra crib given them by his folks after Jane’s folks had already given them one, the youth bed that was in storage until it was needed. Jane’s Stairmaster and electric bicycle exerciser. Two bikes with flat tires, and boxes of assorted stuff they’d probably never look at until the next move. These things registered fast, as he moved through the room swiftly, trying to keep the match lit while trying to also get as much mileage from it as possible as he fumbled for the next match.

In a small room off this main room was the room where the people who lived in the house before them had left a large coffin-shaped freezer. They had never even plugged it in to see if it worked. He remembered thinking that they needed to get rid of it before Nell was old enough to start exploring. It was a potential hazard. A kid could get locked in it and suffocate. Now, he could hear the buzzing coming from that room.

Could someone have plugged in the freezer? Was it defective and thus causing the humming? But why would anyone have plugged it in? He moved to the door, which was shut. Lighting a new match, he tugged on the door. It seemed to be locked from the other side. He held the match closer to the doorknob, but it didn’t have a keyhole. He tugged harder, and the door gave way. As it did, he felt a rush of water around his feet, a jolt, a flash. The match went out. He dropped the box of matches. The buzzing sound was loud now, coming from inside the room. Meanwhile, he could feel water rushing around his ankles, splashing up his legs. What in the hell was going on?

By force of habit, his hand searched the wall in the proximity of the door frame, first outside the small room and then inside. Maybe there was a light here. If so, it might work. Finally, he found a switch and flipped it. The room was flooded with light. The water he could feel gushing around his ankles was coming from a one inch hole in the front of the freezer. On the floor of the room, half submerged in water, was his skill saw, turned on, dancing a sideways jerking dance across the floor. He immediately jumped back from the door, heading for a dry portion of floor that was in a raised corner of the room.

From this safe place, raised above the water, he watched the water stream out of the freezer. What in the world was going on here? He could see a five foot length of one inch tubing tied to the inner door handle, the other end flopping back and forth in the stream of water. What was that about? Then it occurred to him that the tubing must have formed a plug for the hole in the freezer. When he opened the door, he must have opened the door wide enough to pull the plug out from the freezer. This enabled the water to rush out and come in contact with the saber saw, which had been left on.

This is what had been causing the buzzing. The heating ducts that led up from the basement had disseminated the noise throughout the house, which was why it was so hard to locate. Why he hadn’t been electrocuted, he didn’t know. Perhaps the saber saw had some safety seal which protected the electrical current from moisture. Maybe it was his rubber soles on his tennis shoes. Ordinarily, he would have been barefoot–just out of bed or the bath. But he had fallen asleep in front of the TV without removing his shoes for once and maybe that had saved him.

The bigger question was, who had done this? Who had reason to kill him and access to the house? His first thought was Jane. She’d been acting so crazy lately. What was going on? Surely Jane wasn’t crazy enough to try to kill him. The water by now was slowing down to a trickle. It occurred to him that the best thing to do would be to turn off the electricity at the breaker box before unplugging the saw. Luckily, the breaker box was in the basement. He found the dry box of matches tucked behind the pipe that ran up from the box, lit a match, then turned off all the electrical switches. Lighting a match, he moved to the freezer room and unplugged the saber saw.

Dreaming A Path

Dreaming A Path

Dream, Fri. Oct 18, 2013

We were at a booth in a café. It was a huge room with booths on every side and each booth had a clock, or at least I thought they did. I don’t think I ever looked. Our alarm started going off and there was no way to turn it off. It was by me and I tried and tried but couldn’t get it off. I said I was just going to unplug it, but Patti said perhaps it was timed with all the other clocks at tables and then it wouldn’t match. I said couldn’t they just reset it when we left? Someone agreed, but still we didn’t unplug it and it went on and on and on. Very annoying. Our booth came equipped with a little dog. It was tiny and light with long very curly white hair that was in loose corkscrew very long ringlets. It was so adorable and affectionate. I held it most of the time. It had legs like wires that went straight down..very skinny…and it jumped a lot. When the waitress came, we told her about the alarm and she said yes, she’d noticed that it was going off…but she didn’t do anything about it. We told her how cute the little dog was and she said yes…but then it seemed like it was the little dog who had the alarm that was going off. We ordered and afterwards I was wanting a dessert but thought I shouldn’t order one. Patti was to my right and I suddenly realized she was eating a very rich chocolate dessert—a sort of fudge flan or very moist slippery cake that was hot with a hot fudge sauce over it. She offered me a taste. It was a very small rectangle…not very big…but I tasted it and immediately said I’d have one, too. It was incredible. Still, the alarm went off. It was driving me crazy! Then I woke up and realized it was my own bedside alarm. I reached up with my eyes still closed and tried to turn it off, but couldn’t find the control. Finally I picked it up, opened my eyes and found the control. It was 8:10. The alarm had been going off for 10 minutes!!!!

My interpretation:

I found this dream in a folder on my computer. I have no memory at all of having dreamed it, and perhaps that distance makes it easier for me to interpret it. In a few weeks, I turn 67. For the past year, I’ve thought repeatedly about death and the fact that if I’m lucky, I probably have only 30 years left. For some reason, that awareness is very stressful. I feel a need to finish everything I’ve started and never completed. Earlier, that consisted of a lot of sorting, construction of storage spaces and weeding out of the contents of my house. That effort is ongoing. What also happened, however, is that I have an incredible drive to get everything published that has been lying around in file cabinets for many many years as well as a need to write new work and somehow disseminate it. My blog is part of that effort, as are my efforts to get all my books on Amazon and Kindle.

Seeing this dream as if for the first time, I clearly see that theme of time running out coupled by a sense of alarm that I need to do something about it. The little dog shows the attractive quality (adorable and affectionate) of finally dealing with all these loose ends—(note all his corkscrew hairs). Those wiry little legs that kept him always active certainly reflect the urgency I’ve been feeling to write write write.

One aspect of this awareness in my real life for a time consisted of my fear that I will stop breathing. This often gets me up gasping at night to run outside to try to breathe. For some reason I haven’t had any of these panic attacks since I started writing every morning. What I interpreted as a growing fear of death and a dread of ceasing to exist was perhaps a fear of not living and creating while I am alive.

I think the interplay between my sister Patti and me in the dream reflects a number of things. One is a difference in our approaches to life. I think in a way, she is more of a rule-follower and since she was my immediate pattern for most of my earlier life, I think a part of me feels this same need, but this is coupled with an equal and stronger need to create my own path in a direction unique from my two older and very competent sisters and to break a few rules to do so. At a very early age, much as I admired and imitated my sisters, I felt the need to prove myself. To find something to know that they didn’t already know. I found this route when I started venturing out at an early age to find new ground where they had not gone before me. It led me first into the homes of friends and strangers where I saw life being acted out in a manner entirely different from my own home. The road led further—to summer camp where I was a stranger to all and vice versa. I loved being the stranger. In choosing a college, I fell back on the reliability and comfort of attending the same school my sister had attended, but in my Jr. year I took my first big leap—a trip around the world on World Campus Afloat. That early adventure in seeing dozens of new and strange cultures set my life path. I’ve been traveling ever since and have been living in Mexico for the past 13 years.

I believe this dream depicts the sense of urgency I’ve had my entire life to “do” something with experience. My art and writing allow me to turn off the alarm for the hours in which I practice them. That small dessert might symbolize the rewards of doing what I need to do to do so.

P.S. An interesting insight I have had just as I started to post this: (And, interestingly enough, wordpress will not accept my blog entry. Perhaps it is insisting I add this P.S. before it does so.) I just got back to Mexico from a visit to the states wherein I visited my oldest sister Betty who is now in the depths of the world of Alzheimer’s. While I was there, she seemed increasingly distressed by the fact that she can no longer communicate, but one day as we were sitting in the living room portion of her small apartment in a managed care Alzheimer’s wing, she motioned to the middle of the floor and said, “Look a that cute little white thing there—that fluffy little white dog!” This was the first incidence that I know of of her actually hallucinating visually, and for some reason it popped into my mind in relation to the little dog in my dream. All of these images—of our dreams as well as our daily life—remind us to live while we can and to do what is most important to us. In my case as well as my sister’s—to communicate. Too late for her, although she continues to try. Not too late for me.

P.S.S.  By the way, the instant I completed the above P.S., the wordpress page that had continued to not allow me to post this blog entry flashed the message:  What do you want to post?  Text? Picture?  I chose text and and you have just read it.

The prompt: Freudian Flips. Do you remember a recent dream you had? Or an older one that stayed vivid in your mind? Today, you’re your own Freud: Tell us the dream, then interpret it for us! Feel free to be as serious or humorous as you see fit, or to invent a dream if you can’t remember a real one.

Note in response to this prompt: (When I think of dreams, I think of Jung, not Freud, and he continues to influence my thoughts and actions much more than Freud ever did.)


Nesting (May 3, 2014)

For most of the day on Thursday, I wondered at the profusion of birds whose cheeping seemed to be filling the air outside my kitchen, but as the afternoon wore on, I realized that the sounds—like a cross between a puppy’s squeeze toy and a handful of fingernails scraping across a chalk board or 5 squeegees being pulled across dry glass—was coming from my kitchen. A dining room chair served as a step up to the counter top, where I stood as I removed  the terracotta statues and pots from the top of my cupboards. The sounds seemed to be coming from there, but I found nothing but a half-inch crack between the concrete wall overhang and a triangular piece of board that had been placed in the corner to seal the gap.


I went outside to see if I could locate what I now was sure was a nest of baby birds making all the racket, but I could see no place other than the half-cylindrical teja roof tiles where the nest could be. Meanwhile, every time I drew close to the corner where the sound was coming from, they grew quiet, but when I whistled for the dogs, the little chirping choir resumed, as though I’d called out to them and they were answering. The next morning, I feared the worse, as for an hour there was no sound, but when Yolanda arrived to clean, they started out again, and she was as intrigued as I was about where they could be. We got a ladder and Pasiano climbed up to inspect every inch of area on the outside of the house where they could be. He peered up a six foot long expanse of tejas but could see nothing up the tubes for as far as he could see. Yet the chirping went on for all of yesterday as well as today.


The biggest part of the mystery is that I have never seen a parent bird enter the tejas from any side. The babies are quiet in between chirpings, which seems to indicate a mother bird arriving with fresh nestling fuel, but I can’t figure out how she is getting to the nest—wherever it is. Needless to say, as irritating as their shrill chirpings have grown to be, I prefer them to the opposite—the silence that indicates the mother has not been coming back and that her nestlings have met with a premature demise.

Birds abound here, if not in the same profusion as when 13-year-old vines covered every surface of the walls and palms, but this morning I was awakened by the loud peckings of three woodpeckers on the now-exposed trunks of my 80-foot-high palm trees. I scrunched my eyes up to watch them hop up and down a 20 foot expanse of palm, working their way around the circumference of the tree as well as up and down, their very loud pecking forming a percussion background to the chirping coming from the kitchen. For once, I knew where my camera was, so I snapped a few shots.


I had thought to spend this day in isolation to get some writing done, but sometimes the quieter our day, the more activity we find in it. Bottle rockets as loud as cherry bombs have been going off in the hills all around me for the past two hours. I don’t know what the celebration may be, but I’ve grown accustomed to their weekly if not daily presence. There is a birthday or a communion or a wedding or a quinceañera being celebrated. Or a holy day or some national holiday.

Even if I stay inside my house and do not answer the phone, the world finds me and I can’t complain, for I always have something to write about, even if it is not the topic I had planned.