Acidophilus… Wow…

I had a very strange morning.

I wake up to a very strange smell. I can’t quite place it. Then I realize that my dogs are running frantically around the house, but for some reason they’re not barking, and that strikes me as wrong.

I sit up, notice that it’s 9 am, but it seems too dark outside for that. Once the dogs see that I’m up, they start barking in what seems like a weird combination of agitation and relief. And what is that smell?

I leave the bedroom, and call for Dear Husband, but get no response. Everything around me looks… it’s hard to explain. Abandoned? Dusty? Sandy? I don’t know. Surreal.

I head to the back door in search of DH, and when I open it, I’m hit by this wall of sensation. The park and woods behind our house are engulfed in bright orange flame and muddy black smoke. The weird smell gets even stronger.

I discover that I’m screaming, and I run across the back deck, going God knows where. I nearly trip over an old-school, red and black surfboard, the long, heavy kind. I’ve never seen it before. And the house is surrounded by… trampolines?

Then my husband comes around the side of the house, jumping from trampoline to trampoline, and I must say that he’s getting an impressive amount of height. He’s wearing nothing but board shorts, combat boots, and a red bandana. His hair is long, wispy and dark, as it was as in his youth (which makes me grateful that I met him later in life).

His face and torso are covered in green and grey paint. A feverish sweat is coursing down a serious case of 5 o’clock shadow on his jaw. He looks exhausted yet adrenalized, as if he might spontaneously combust at any moment. He’s holding what appears to be a supersized fire extinguisher with an unusually hardcore nozzle.

As he bounces past, and is rounding the next corner, he’s shouting, “Good morning, Babe! I got this! The perimeter is secure!” 

His words alternately fade and intensify as his head pops up above the roof-line. “DON’T worry, I’VE got THIS!”

And what is that smell?

I look back at the fire. It seems to have originated from a PBR boat that has appeared out of nowhere, and is now stranded at a cockeyed angle in the middle of the field. At this point there are balls of flame curling skyward above the tree line, and that’s when I hear the squadron of helicopters that is roaring toward us. Black helicopters. The front one is blasting the song, “Ride of the Valkyries.”

I finally realize what the smell is. Napalm. Napalm in the morning.

Then I wake up for real, gasping as though I’m coming up for air after being submerged too long.

The sun is shining. The birds are singing. I can hear Dear Husband puttering in the yard. I am buffeted by the wave-like whoosh of the cars passing by on the highway out front, and Quagmire, my dachshund, is snoring gently beside me. The sounds of home. So this is not the horror of war after all.

“The horror…”

I think, “That’s what I get for staying up late, eating too much junk food, and watching the extended and even more surreal version of Apocalypse Now.”

I decide that what’s needed is some yogurt to settle my stomach. Thus begins my day.

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book!

Gently Down the Stream

Nothing seems real.

Row, row, Row your boat…

Ugh. I have a cold. And it’s a weird one. No stuffy nose. No fever. A sore throat for about 20 minutes. Then, chest congestion and coughing, coughing, coughing for weeks. And the worst part: vertigo.

The ground seems to be rolling like a storm-tossed sea. And whenever I turn to look at something, the rest of the planet seems to lag about a second and a half behind me. It’s messing with my head. I can’t think straight. I can’t focus. I can’t blog. And I’m tired. I’m so very tired.

And yet, here I am, at work. In a stupor. And my ever-lengthening personal to-do list is a source of anxiety. I feel like I’m not keeping up with my end of the marriage. All I want to do is sleep.

And, is it a full moon? It must be. Because everything is weird. I feel like no one, including my computer, is understanding anything I say. I’m struggling to make myself clear. And people are acting strange. No. It’s not a full moon. In fact, we’re approaching a new moon. Oh, who cares? Nothing seems real.

It’s raining. A jeep stalls on my drawbridge, backing up traffic. I call a tow truck.

Did I call the tow truck? I remember calling someone… I think I called a tow truck. Oh. Here comes the tow truck. Somebody must have called a tow truck. But is it the tow truck I called? Should I call off my tow truck? Screw it. They’ll figure it out.

It’s time to go home. I shouldn’t be driving. But I want to go home. My socks are wet. How did my socks get wet? Now my feet feel all clammy. Cough.

Yay. I made it home. The dogs are happy to see me. I feel like I’m in the eye of a puppy hurricane. I’m not sure, but I think one or two of them even levitated for a minute there. I let them out to do their business. I’m glad someone is taking care of business.

My husband is off finding us a replacement car for the one that got totaled a few weeks ago by an unrepentant idiot. I should be helping. I can’t even seem to help myself.

I let the dogs back in, and I head for bed, peeling my wet socks off my feet along the way. No human being can hug you as good as your mattress can. Finally, I can go to sleep.

Except, no. I can’t. I have to pee. Groan.

I get up. I head for the bathroom. I trip over one of the dogs and land flat on my face in the hallway. It’s the only thing I’ve done all day that doesn’t seem to be in slow motion.

My back. I wrenched my back. God, but it hurts.

Fuck my life.

I get up. Slowly. Carefully.

The dog refuses to apologize.

I go into the bathroom. I pee. I decide to take a leftover pain pill from a previous klutzy escapade as a preemptive strike for the back pain that’s headed my way. It’s hard core. It’s heavy duty. Don’t try this at home.

I crawl back into bed and sleep overtakes me.

Gently down the stream…

My dreams are the stuff of a Dali painting. But I don’t care. I’m asleep.

Until about midnight, when I hear my husband letting the dogs out. I’m sure he’s been home for many hours. I get up.

My back feels okay. My feet are dry. I’m warm. I’m home. I’m not as dizzy as I was. I still have the cough, but hey… progress. I’ll take it.

I putter cautiously into the kitchen, where my husband stands at the door, waiting for the dogs. I snuggle into his arms.

“Is this a dream?” I say, sleepily.

Because everything is so good. I love my life now. I love my husband. I love my dogs. I love my house. I love my job. Everything is just so freaking good.

“No,” he whispers. “You’re awake.”

“Thank you for being real.” I say. And I go back to bed.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream…

Now, if I could just get past this cold.

row your boat

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book!



Dreaming of Whales Dreaming

I have long been fascinated by that narrow borderland between consciousness and unconsciousness. It’s a surreal place indeed. The creativity there is something I could never duplicate in the waking world.

Whenever I’m roused just as I try to make my way toward REM sleep, invariably the image that’s in my head at that moment is as surreal as a Salvador Dalí painting. Things defy gravity. They do not behave as one would normally expect. One time a ringing phone woke me up and caused the image in my head to pop like a soap bubble. That was disconcerting.

The archway to dreamland is an uncanny place where I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I lingered too long. The waking me prefers it when things follow the rules of physics. I like being able to predict outcomes. And if I’m honest, that border region feels slightly ominous. Like the old maps used to say, “Here there be dragons.”

One time, back when I was a freelance closed-captioner, I was desperately sleep deprived but trying to meet a deadline. One minute I was watching the movie and typing in the text across the bottom, and the next minute I was drifting. When my head bobbed down it woke me up.

When I looked at the screen, I noticed that I had typed, “Dreaming of whales dreaming.” This had nothing to do with the medical documentary that I had been captioning, but it had everything to do with the world I pass through every time I go to sleep.

Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí

Seeing Things in Slow Motion

Once, I was driving down the street not far from my house, and I witnessed the car in front of me rear-end the car in front of it. I was far enough back to avoid being involved in this accident, but I remember it very vividly. I saw the whole thing in slow motion.

I watched the driver’s head lurch forward, and I remember thinking, “That’s going to hurt. But at least she had her seatbelt on.” And then I saw the entire vehicle fill up with this thick, billowing  grey cloud.

No, it hadn’t caught on fire. It turned out that her ashtray was open and she hadn’t cleaned it out in many, many, MANY months. Well, now she wouldn’t have to.

That’s not the first or the last time I’ve seen something in slow motion. I have no idea why this happens. It’s rare enough that it always fascinates me.

Last night I was trying to dispatch a housefly with a swatter, and the little devil was just too quick for me. He had been driving me nuts all evening. Then, for some reason, time just seemed to stop. He was hovering right in front of me. I could see his motionless wings and each little leg hanging down. So…THWACK! Got him! And I then saw his little corpse fly across the room and hit the wall.

I’m probably going straight to hell for that, but still… surreal.

Do snails see everything in fast motion?

Growly Dreams

I enjoy watching my dogs dream. Their little paws run and they sometimes twitch and yip. I imagine they’re chasing squirrels. But tonight Devo was growling in his sleep. I called his name from across the room. I didn’t want to touch him in case he thought I was the adversary. (I’d like to keep intact the illusion that I’m in charge.) When he woke up he looked a little confused for a second.

Was he the aggressor in the dream, or was he being attacked? I hope it was the former. I hope he doesn’t have dog-shaped nightmares. I hope that he isn’t experiencing anxiety or stress that is expressing itself in his subconscious. God knows I’ve been under a lot of pressure lately, and I’m sure he senses it. But I want him to have sweet dreams. As shitty as my life sometimes is, I pride myself in giving my pets a happy existence. They didn’t ask to be here.

What are animal dreams like? Scientists are discovering that a wide variety of animals play, so they must get bored. But they seem to cope with boredom much better than we do. That implies that they have rich inner lives. If that’s the case, they have imaginations, so are their dreams as surreal as ours can sometimes be? And what would be surreal to an animal?

I know when I lived in Mexico, my dreams got very simplistic because I couldn’t express myself as fully in Spanish as I can in English. How do you express yourself without language? How do you see things when your color spectrum is different? If you’re capable of hearing a lot more, are your dreams more aural?

The one image that I can’t get out of my head is that of a sleeping whale. Some types slumber in the darkest depths, head downward. That must feel like being in a sensory deprivation tank. That has got to be the ultimate zen-like state.

Which begs the question: Do whales have wet dreams?

sleeping whales

A Jumbo-Sized Surreal Moment

Once in a blue moon you’ll come across something that makes you doubt your eyes. Can I really be seeing this? Have I lost my marbles? Am I dreaming?

That’s what a bunch of people in Redington Beach, Florida must have been thinking when they came across Judy, a 58 year old, 6,200 pound elephant calmly bathing in the Gulf of Mexico the other day.

Pachyderms just aren’t what you’re expecting to see on an American beach. While I would have been delighted and full of awe, I’d also like to know where her handler was. The crowds were looking at her, taking pictures, and laughing, but dare I emphasize that this is still a 6,200 pound creature who, in a fair fight, would kick your a**, and, if frightened or enraged, can reach speeds of at least 11 miles per hour?

And I’m a little concerned for Judy, too. In a state infamous for its stand your ground laws, where more than 1/3rd of the population admits to packing heat, and where people have been known to shoot the defenseless pelicans out of the air just for the pure heck of it, was Judy safe? And do Elephants and salt water mix? What would a shark make of an elephant? I have no idea. She was in the area for someone’s birthday party, but one gets the sense that her welfare was being treated rather casually. PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is investigating. More on that story here.

elephant beach

[Image credit:]

I’m Going Slightly Mad

I’ve got another cold. I’m feverish, and I suspect I’m hallucinating, so I apologize in advance for whatever I write today. Combine that with the fact that I’ve been looking at a summary of the search terms that people have used to find my blog, and having quite a giggle over that. Why did the following search terms bring you to me, dear readers? I have no idea.

  • range rental of rant stable apt
  • coole account bilder psychedelisch
  • stupidity
  • the book something girl reality-based
  • walmart sucks the soul out of you

Okay, so I’m trying not to take the “stupidity” one personally. And on top of all of that, I just got through watching the movie Contagion. Don’t ask me why. But in it one of the characters says, “Blogging is not writing. It’s graffiti with punctuation. “

So…hallucinating…weird search terms….graffiti…are you following me? Probably not. But from that muddled mental soup I got the idea that it would be kind of fun to write a surreal paragraph that would bring me an unexpected readership. So here goes:

Nuclear war is the broccoli and cheese soup of the Elizabethan Era. Labradoodles often breed anarchy amongst Croatian Cosmonauts. The porcupines of Greenland are constantly mistaken for barbed wire handbags. The robots of Kuala Lumpur toil vigorously in the Martian vineyards. Classic mustangs carry swine flu in Tamar Braxton’s panties. Daylight savings time accosted Justin Timberlake in the Australian outback. Barack Obama eats boysenberry aspic on melba toast while doing the watusi in a frothy silk kimono.

And that’s all I have to say about that, Forrest Gump.

hallu (Credit: