Dream Journal

December 5, 2013
The sign in the store window is illegal. “You can’t target Hungarians that way.” These signs are going up in all the dry cleaners around town. “You can’t do that.” My family is Hungarian. I know what they say about us is not true.

* * *

The man is having me repeat after him, but he goes so fast and the language is foreign: I can’t make it out. He gets louder and more insistent. I ask, and others don’t get it, either. A woman is giving a talk, but uses abbreviations and people miss out on the meaning. Another reminds the group that no matter what the topic, half of us will not know about it, so best to go slowly and enunciate clearly.

* * *

At the gathering, Pat invites me to another upcoming party. I will know several people there, because Pat has done such a good job of introducing me to people. I belong now. This is where I wanted to be. Several are discussing beautiful scenic places to visit in the area. I’ve been to some of those, I think. I’m no longer on the sidelines watching life pass me by. This is so rich, I reflect. It’s what I wanted, and I’m amazed to be here.

* * *

My gait is sure and steady on the dusty red road, up through the beautiful sculpted rocks above Sedona. Not like last time, when I was unsure on my feet. Now the hill is easy for me, as I make my way up on my new hiking shoes. I overhear a guide explain the geology. I strain to hear the explanations of the lovely soft, red sculptures. I marvel at the hill as I hike down, still steady on my feet through the dust.

December 2, 2013
The crew in the restaurant kitchen stands around, letting the dishes burn. I best intervene. I can save that macaroni and cheese! We can make it into a macaroni and cheese pancake. I try to get them to help out, but they keep standing around. We must get the meal done! I give orders. I cajole. I yell. I whip them all into shape and we are cooking. The macaroni and cheese pancake is gooey and I prefer crisp, but it is complete and ready to serve to the patrons.

November 24, 2013
Those tigers are scary. Why is the cage door open? I see, they are supposed to be friendly. They are tigers. They are not friendly. I’m scared.

* * *

The dog is trying to adopt me. Ah.

November 21, 2013
Why is Martin Scorsese at my computer and tv controls?

* * *

I admire the beautiful river and city review from the high apartment window. I want to take a photo to send to my parents to enjoy.

November 12, 2013
I’m a bride. Finally. In a gorgeous white gown and veil. I don’t know the groom well — it is an arranged marriage — but he is happy and loves me. I want to be happy with him. Together we race down the middle of a broad, white staircase; he is right behind me with his arms wrapped around my waist, his hands clasped together, propelling me down the stairs while helping me keep my balance. He has my back, I see.

November 7, 2013
I help President Obama write a paper based on Star Wars. I’m chosen because I know WordPress.

August 12, 2013
The textbook explains how the Incas and other natives developed their poisonous arrows, tracing back to the first life forms creating protections from predators. The major breakthrough was learning to attack without direct contact, by propelling poisons. They found the poisons by accident.

I will need to remember all the details, and the names of the tribes and poisons, plus the history of window mini-blinds for my speech. Meanwhile I make notes. Don B. arrives with the needed props. The mini-blind samples he brought weren’t what I expected; only wood blind samples, ones I had never seen before. How could I possibly match the woods? He sees my confusion and says this is what they had. As I move the box I see the colorful sample packets are there, too. Relief! But how to open them to see all the colors? Oh, the catch is on the bottom; now they swing free. So many colors I can’t even see the distinctions between some of them, they are so subtle.

I bathe but someone is coming in. “Customers have questions about the blinds. How long will it take to get an order? Is this color in stock?” I will call the blind manufacturer and let her know, and I get out of the bath.

Only thirty minutes until my talk and I am not ready. Where are my notes? And I realize I don’t have any clean clothes to wear. Going through my closet I come up with a light green sweater, and the green plaid skirt I wore the day before. Will anyone notice? Does it matter? Supervisor Karen G. confronts me and says that people complained and I shouldn’t pick on my face; I was making it inflamed. I am embarrassed anyone noticed and commented. I tell her to tell people to tell me directly. I am talking but she is not listening; she is overtalking, and talking about something completely different. I become frustrated, distraught. I tell her she is not listening, but she doesn’t hear that either. I am so angry and humiliated that people are talking about me to her, and angry at how she treats me.

I realize I left the shower running. I never got to take my shower, but I must get dressed. Wish I had some jewelry, a necklace. I look so plain. At least the skirt has pockets to hold a tissue while I give the talk. The bathroom has been rearranged; I’m not sure if I prefer the new location of the shower. How did things in here get so moldy and covered with soap scum?

Since I can’t remember the details, I will have to rely on my notes while I give the speech. Where are they? Back in the room. But I locked the keys in the room. Ten minutes to the speech. I’m rehearsing in my mind, but not sure the relationship of the natives to mini-blinds. And all the details. eed the notes, the textbook, or I am doomed! My heart is racing as I go to the front desk to get a key. They find my reservation under Charles’s name, but still won’t give me a key. They hand me a jacket and a box and say someone phoned to say they will be waiting for me in the lounge. Is it Fred? Why is he shadowing me still?

The keys are in my pocket, after all. I was just panicking. I rush to the ferry to get to the presentation. The stop comes quickly, but I can’t get off right away because I’ve left my fur hat and my coat behind. The other passenger gives me my hat, but doesn’t understand the coat he is holding is mine, too. I barely get off the ferry before it takes off again.

I realize that audience members have the same textbook I have; I need something new in the presentation. I don’t have anything so it will be a disaster. Unless I can entertain them with the history and nuances of mini-blinds. I think of an opening, a hook, a reference to the wood blinds in the room. But will they be interested?

May 9, 2013
Even though I don’t know how to swim, I’m in the water, trying, moving my arms and kicking as much as I have the strength to do so. The water is too heavy for my weak legs. Besides, I don’t know how to do this, I remind myself. But, since I’m dreaming, I realize, I can practice safely — impossible to drown. A perfect place to learn!

The bank of the river and the other swimmers are far ahead, but I keep going best I can at my best pace, reminding myself I can’t drown. I push my arms, I wiggle my legs, though by looking at the other swimmers, I know I still kick too slowly. I experiment in the dream water. Finally I reach the bank, triumphant.

* * *

The two warring groups are head to head, glaring at each other, ready to put their weapons into action when the order comes to fight. They look like race horses, nostrils flaring, barely contained at the gate as they wait for the signal.

I stand where the groups are facing each other. On the left, the troops with knives; on the right, bayonets. I fear most for the ones in the first rows, right in front of me; impossible for them to survive — their thin cloth uniforms, naked heads, nothing to protect them but their wits; no place to dodge the knives and spears.

Suddenly, a call for peace from the leader of the bayonets! “We will stop if you will.” Yes, immediate acceptance. The knife holders’ faces break into wide smiles, they cheer, and they want to shake my hand. They gather around and ask me for a souvenir to take home. I search my pockets. “All I have is this hair barrette.” Inadequate, I know, but the best I can do. They take it and move on, disappointed in my meager gift, but ecstatic in their triumphant peace.

January 16, 2013
Taking a few, quick strides, I easily reach the end of the block and start on the next. The streets used to seem so long, but now I take them with ease. What has changed? Am I stronger, quicker? Is that what is different?

Finally the woods clear to reveal where the great Willamette and Columbia Rivers meet; they form a fork in the river road. The magic place where you can get to the other side, the rumored secret passage. I’m imagining the ecstasy of the explorers who found it. I feel some of it myself, and much less is at stake. Now it is our turn to swim to the other side. The water is the color of rust. Why? Could it be blood?

I venture into the water and the reluctant dog follows. But do I have the strength to make it all the way across? It must be a couple of miles.

I am swimming with ease, using just my arms. So easy. And before this, I couldn’t swim at all. I had made it too hard, too much effort. But what if I’m halfway across the wide river and panic? I doubt I can do it; I go back to shore. Maybe I can find another way. he dog follows. My friend still waits for me on shore.

Crowds of people are on shore. I’m turned around, not sure what leg I’m on. I ask … maybe I have made it to the other side just by walking? No, of course not. But I see there are places with less distance to swim to make it across the river. Like Venice: many small canals. I tell my friend I can find a short swim. We can all go. Now I see I’m with my siblings. Relief. We can all make it to the other side with ease.

November 2, 2012
After finding a washing machine, I sit back in my seat, an aisle one in the right-hand section of the theater, maybe ten rows from the stage. I’ve pulled the heavy piece of luggage carrying the boots — the piece is from my youth, and seemed so much lighter then! Have I really lost that much muscle? — and sorted the laundry. The machines are cubes, about two-feet square, piled on top of each other. Which to use? Which to buy? I start to stuff my sorted clothes and linens into machines, but get confused about the soap. Adorable little bottles, so many to choose from. I had gathered up a dozen assorted ones. But, wait — the machine is a high-powered Vista, and needs a special soap. I aim to return all the soaps I no longer can use to the proper boxes, but can’t match them up right. Too many left over. How confusing. Each of the machines seem to be about $200, my budget. I should be more careful, and research the machines rather than just select one from the nearest store. But I need to do my wash. Any of these will do.

After putting a load in to one machine, I settle into my seat. A soprano with an angel voice sings in a Scottish or Irish dialect I don’t understand. I don’t need to know the words, I know it is a love song and the most beautiful voice I have ever heard. She is looking right at me, she must have heard the advice to find an appreciative audience member and sing to just one person. And I know I am that person; we are in perfect sync. As I smile at her, she smiles back — never missing a beat of the most beautiful song. I have chills and am elevated listening to her every word sung in the most stunning manner. I begin to make out some of the words, I am paying such close attention. Do others realize how luscious this moment is? How fantastic this singer is? When the song ends, shall I stand? I see only a few others do. I don’t care if I’m different, if I’m the only one standing. I rise to my feet and clap.

It’s intermission; I’d better tend the laundry. How do I get to the machine that is in the middle of the wide center section? Oh, good, people are clearing out of the row and I can get to the machine. I comment to the others tending their laundry. “Whoever placed the machines in the center of the row, didn’t attend the theater himself, I bet. A horrible place to put them, rather than the end of a row.”

As I make my way to my seat with laundry in tow, someone comments on my doing laundry at such a time as this. “I like to multi-task,” I offer as an embarrassed explanation.

Meanwhile, I hold the song of the soprano in my heart.

October 25, 2012
Though hard to leave T. and the two women, I crawl out of the bed and make my way to the bus. I want to go home for just a little bit, then I’ll be back. As the bus winds up to the top of the hill, I get a good look at the landscape at this time of year. Why didn’t I notice it ever before? Too busy? Didn’t get out? Didn’t take the time to take a good look? How much I missed: the tall fir trees topped with lavender buds; flowers popping on bushes. And what are those? Blue blossoms are glowing. The most beautiful blue I have ever seen; I don’t even know the name of the color – I don’t think I ever saw such a gorgeous color before: low-lying bushes, with shiny blue flowers. The most lovely in the world. They take my breath away. I am enthralled by the colors, the sight of the hills. So sweet.

At the top of the hill, I enter the store and ask for the Halloween decorations. “The only ones left are in the back here.”

“I know it’s late, but I’ll get some for next year,” I explain. But, I’m later than I thought; really nothing is left. I leave the store quickly, wanting to get back to T’s.  Nighttime has fallen. Should I just show up?  Phone first? I better phone so they expect me, so I can get in. “No problem, get here when you can.”

We gather around the table and I present the desserts. There are tiny cupcakes and assorted sweets. I pull them to the center of the table so everyone can reach them equally.  It’s too far to reach; the table is too large. We must pass a dish around. I want to make sure everyone gets one. People pass on the best ones, to save them for the next person. “Just take what you want,” I tell them. There’s plenty to go around.

September 24, 2012
We are running to catch the bus. I will be out of breath and uncentered when it is time for me to go on stage for my small part. But I must be on time. Now I’m trying to outrun the bus as it rushes past me, to get ahead of it so I’ll be waiting at the stop. Where will it stop? Oh, there. I see it.

When I get to the theater, the play is in process. I’m backstage, cutting out my lines from a page of newspaper; I need to cut closely so the section with my lines is as small as possible, to fit into my hand to sneak on stage. How far into the play are they, and when do I go on? I forgot to figure out my cue lines! Here is the book with the whole script, a small blue book. I will figure out what comes before and after my part. I want to take the book and my lines on stage with me. How bad will that be? I know it’s not okay, but can I do it anyway? I must, because I have not memorized my lines. I am so bad at that. I feel frantic.

I go to the bathroom to concentrate on practicing my lines and putting on my make up, but the girl keeps wanting to talk to me – even though I ask her to go away. She has bad cramps; I tell her about Advil. “Where do I find this Advil?” I have a couple of pills in my purse and give one to her, not two because she is young. In fact, she should be getting an okay first from her mother. But the Advil will help her a lot. She keeps wanting to talk to me and she knocks on the bathroom door. She is talking to me through the door. So distracting. The Advil was a big help. How do I get to practice my lines? Finally, I must be firm with her and I tell her I need alone time.

I go back to my desk and see another note from the man who keeps after me. The note starts off sweet, asking to see the beautiful and lovely woman who I am, requesting my presence at the movies after the show. But then it devolves into some madness about his love of psychedelic drugs. This is how I get into trouble. I am friendly at first, but then they don’t allow me some time off, and I grow cold to them and they hate me. But even so, it’s time for some time alone now.

August 30, 2012
When I woke, the bed was vibrating. The room was vibrating, a gentle hum. Oh, I’m still in the airplane; I’m on an overnight flight. What fun! But when will I have to get my things together and get off the plane, catch the next one? Do I have a few minutes, or hours? I must print off my itinerary because I have no idea. Where is the computer? Oh, there, buried under a pile of papers. The printer? The paper? This is taking too long. Tom Basey comes to the bedroom door. Surely he will know? No, he wants to talk about something else. He is holding a stack of my business cards. How can I help him quickly without getting him upset with my being short and rude?

“I want to talk to you but I am anxious about finding out my next flight.” He says no problem, he will just take a minute. But it is longer than a minute.

* * *

I wish she hadn’t taking me shopping in the good store, first. What beautiful sweaters I saw. Now I look at the ones where I usually shop, the ones I can afford, and these sweaters seem so flimsy and cheap.

* * *

Lying on my bed, on top of the covers, watching television, I’m content. Then Daddy lies down on the other side of the bed. I wish he hadn’t done that. “Your shoes are on the cover. Please don’t lie here with your shoes on,” I say. He says the shoes are clean. He wants the television louder. I wish he hadn’t come to the bed. I was happier before. Now I feel crowded in, and worried that he wants to change the channel, too.

* * *

Mommy wants to buy another television, a four-inch one. What use would that be? So little, and we already have several TVs. “I want it just so we can get that extra plug wired into the floor in the other room.” Oh, if that is why she wants it, we can do something better than get another little television.

“See, we have this extra one right in here you could move to the other room.”

Oh, that’s really a radio.

“No problem, it will work for this purpose just as well. See, aren’t we glad we talked about this? The problem wasn’t enough televisions, it was just how to manage them.”

I wish she would acknowledge that, but she doesn’t. Well, doesn’t matter. I solved the problem, and I know I was helpful, even if no one else remembers the conversation.

August 26, 2012
After going through street after street and through the mall, finally I find the movie theater. Yes, this is the one; I compare the outside with the photo I have, and match it up piece by piece. But, the movie I wanted is not on the marquee. Instead, I see two other movies listed; one of them is called “Yesterday.” I ask the cashier about the movies; maybe I just had the name wrong of the one I wanted to see. She reads the starring actors from a scrap of paper and no, neither movie is what I want. I think a bit, the “Yesterday” movie is a possibility. Then I decide not to spend the time in a movie I’m not really interested in.

As I leave the mall, I see a store called “Romania.” Maybe something in there will resonate; my Hungarian ancestors lived in a town on the border with Romania. Inside, I see the store is in a giant warehouse. Displays are hung up to the ceiling, probably 50 feet up. Embroidered garments hang face out. I view exquisite tablecloths and other fabrics on display – no, those are garments, too, for huge people. Past the clothes, I see other merchandise suspended on sheets that look like water. Beautiful. No, I tell the clerks, I’m just looking. I don’t see anything to buy; the merchandise is a bit tacky when I look at it closely.

Now a woman is shopping for tools. I help her. On the left of the display table are the lower quality; on the right the better tools. All are yellow. I help her select a screwdriver; she wants a good one. I show her the difference in quality. Now she wants another screwdriver; no she really wants pliers. I look but I don’t see any. “Sorry, we don’t have pliers.” But what is this tool? Oh, the head of the tool is missing. No, there it is, see how well it fits in? We don’t have many tools left.

Now a woman is upset because someone told her that she had bought an attachment, for her yellow forklift, that is not standard. “I should have had the Number 40 attachment. I have the plus one. I paid extra for something I don’t need,” she says. I don’t know how that happened, but I assure her that the owner will fix it for her. I explain to her that maybe the clerk who told her that didn’t know what he was talking about; I don’t know if the store even carries the other attachment, or if it exists. I recommend she check the forklift manufacturer website first, to make sure the attachment exists. “The store could always order it for you if it exists.” I hope I am right speaking for the store. But surely they will want to make it right for her.

August 25, 2012
This building has turned into a prison; the other women and I are not allowed out. We are being shuffled from area to area. Oh! I lost my bags, lost my purse; they were right there, but now they are gone. Some women are sitting in the aisle where I last had my bags. Are they there? No? Where could they be? No time to look; we are being moved to another room.

“But it can’t be that bad,” I think. “I must be dreaming.” Now that I realize I am indeed dreaming, I expect the scene to evaporate and I will not know how it ends. But the scene remains, and I remain in the scene. “I am dreaming, but I am staying in the dream,” I realize.

I must try to call my parents so they do not worry, but I do not have my purse with my phone. I become afraid, because I am still in the prison even though I know it is a dream. As my group is being led into the hospital rooms, I linger and stay back. I become separated. An orderly sees me, and I say I am a visitor who needs to find the door. He is friendly and doesn’t question me. He shows me the exit door and I am out. Free! But, I do not have my purse. Without it, without my money, I can’t get around. I am just a homeless person. A kind man helps me to get on the bus and pays my way.

* * *

The pilot shows me how to get up the narrow, gray-carpeted steps to the passenger section of the helicopter. I am so cramped, I am so uncomfortable. “Can I get any more space?” Yes, they move my seat back. I am intimidated because I do not understand the military or military people; I am a fish out of water. But, I must serve this 24-hour duty. “It’s really more like 36 hours,” someone explains, because we are crossing so many time zones. We are headed to Kuwait and after that, we will be in Hawaii before we go home.

I am nervous, but I will make the best of it. When we land in Kuwait, the pilot personally escorts me down the stairs again; he called me by name so I think we are just going down for minute so I don’t take my purse. That was a mistake. Everyone is going downstairs for a training session. The other women have their purses.

We are sitting around in a circle but I can’t find a good chair. Mine is much too low for the table. Oh, I see a better one. But that one is more a stool; no back to it. I make do. What I’m really worried about is how to get upstairs to get my purse. May I take a break? Am I allowed up there by myself? Someone asks for a break for the group, so I can get my purse. I am grateful.

Later, as we go back upstairs, I admire a tree through the window. “I don’t know about trees; I never studied trees, or parts of trees,” someone says to me. I explain the tree starts below the ground with the roots, then the trunk develops, branches, leaves. We admire the huge trunk of the unusual tree; I don’t know trees in Kuwait. I wonder what I can contribute to this military exercise. Would they be interested in my personality type? I am a fish out of water, but they are being kind to me.

I promised Linda to let her know David’s phone number in LA, so she could connect with him when she visited for a day. But I cannot get my phone to work, even after I find the blue slip of paper with the number. So hard to get the phone to work. I am missing making the phone call; they will miss the connection. I hope they will understand when I tell them I was on military duty in Kuwait. Surely they will understand and forgive? I can only hope.

 July 22, 2012
C. and I enter the hospital, pass through the lobby, go down the hallways and find the room:  541B.  Inside, the doctor is starting to give the lecture.  We find places to stand along the wall, but I know I will not last the whole time. I must find a bathroom and leaving now will be better than disturbing the lecture once it gets started.  I tell C. where I’m going, and I’ll meet him back in the room.  541B.

The nurses and receptionists do not help.  They say they don’t know where the bathroom is, or they point to some vague spot down the hall, or tell me it’s just around the corner.  Then I go and I search, but I can’t find it.  No one helps; I’m going in circles.  Now I’m back right outside 541B.  How could it be so difficult?  Surely others are headed to the bathroom, and finding it.  Or maybe the bathrooms are only for hospital workers and hospital patients.  What am I but an unauthorized visitor?

It must be here somewhere.  I decide to comb carefully pass the doors — the narrow doorways and hallways that a person could barely fit into — to find the hidden bathroom.  I think I find one but it turns out to be something else. The doors are mis-marked, or marked in riddles.  I for one cannot understand the signs, or the color coding of the doors.   Why can other people find their way but I have such a difficult time?

I would give up and go back to the lecture, but it’s been such a long time that now I really need to find the bathroom quickly.  I should let C. know where I am, I’ve been gone that long.  I look for my cell phone in my large, messy purse.  I keep digging around but I can’t find it.  I need a system; I need to organize all the cosmetics together, all the money together, all the … a woman sitting nearby asks if she can help.  “No, I just need to go through my purse and find my cell phone.”  I bend my head down to dig deeper into the purse.  The woman comments on my prematurely gray hair.  “This is not a good time,” I tell her. “I might bite your head off, I’m so stressed looking for my phone.”

Just as I find the phone and start to dial C. to tell him I got lost, he finds me.  Now which car shall we take?  Mine or the VW bus?  People are circling the expansive, empty lot.  A white dog comes up to me, making friends.  Then a matching dog, in black: dogs just like the ones C. had been talking about.

I see someone backing up a van on to the curb.  I warn him not to run over the dog.  But he hits the dog anyway.  I am upset.  A woman asks for his license.   Now I see a whole group of people in cars are going out together; but one of the cars almost runs over C. and me.  The cars are circling us.  “Get in,” C. tells me.  But where?  I can’t see which car I should get into.  Oh, I see it now.  So many friends.  But a strange man is right behind me, in their midst; no, I think I saw him before.  I can’t tell.  But so many wonderful old friends around me, what a surprise, what a delight!

July 7, 2012
I’m pushing in, but the bathroom door won’t open. Is the resistance — water? Did I leave the faucets running? Panicking, I use more force and push in the door; I’m relieved that the room is not full of water. But the sink is, and the bathtub is, and they have overflowed. I’m so embarrassed. My thirty houseguests will notice. I find towels and other rags, even clothes, to mop up the water — oh no, the bathmat is soaked. Where to put them? I pile the wet items back in the tub, trying to consolidate them at the far end. But the guests — my extended family — they will notice. I’m so embarrassed.

I encourage them to use the other bathroom. “Upstairs you will find a bathroom with a shower attachment, and in the basement is a shower stall.” They don’t understand the shower attachment; I will have to show them. “In the cabinet above the toilet, you will find towels.” But do I have enough for them? How will so many people cope with the limited showers, bathtubs and toilets?

And food. I fed them breakfast, and they brought a Passover dinner from the city for the group. But some are hungry for lunch. C. will drive them to pick some food up. He doesn’t know where to go. I shout from across the room; finally he gets it. “Dragon Street is right after Davis, or whatever that “D” street is.” Then he understands where to find the store.

I take the mini-car to get E., the cousin who holds back and doesn’t want to socialize with the rest of us. Meanwhile, another cousin tells me that two others are having bleeding problems, and two of the men had heart attacks. I abandon my idea to visit E. Instead, I want her to come back with me. She must come quickly; I must attend these sick people. Are they sick because of me? Did I feed them tainted dinner last night? I don’t think so. I’m okay and I ate the same food. But deep down I suspect I am the cause of their sudden health problems, in some way.

“E, please come with me.” I try to reason with her through the apartment building intercom. We get cut off but then reconnected. I plead with her, but she says she will stay put and think about it. Several others have poured into the mini-car; I don’t know where she would have sat if she had come. Clothes are piled up in the corners; I’m glad they don’t seem to notice the towels and clothes that are scattered in piles throughout my home and the car. A cousin points out that the side of my hand is bleeding. I look, don’t see it. Oh, there, on the side of my left hand. It’s not much. But what does that mean about the food? Was it tainted?

The cousins are preparing the Passover dinner and I am worried that the refrigerator doesn’t have enough room for the food. And did someone else leave the forbidden bread in it? Oh, I see the cousins have breads and cakes with them. I guess it is okay until dinner. Now a cousin’s husband is yelling at me. “You don’t appreciate all we did.”

I tell him that’s not true. “I am grateful for all the hard work you all did.”

“Well, that’s the first I heard of it.” He is angry and accusatory. Wait. The rest must think the same.

I move to the center of the crowded room and take a deep breath to project my voice best I can. “Hold everything!” I give a detailed appreciation speech, thanking them for making the drive, bringing the food, taking care of each detail — from candlesticks to tablecloths. Cousins are nodding, approvingly. One mumbles that is the best speech he has ever heard. How could I have forgotten to make sure they knew how I appreciate all the trouble they went to, to visit me and make the Passover seder happen?

I ask my friend Liz, a Catholic, if she has ever attended a seder. “No,” she says. She hasn’t.

“You are in for a big treat then!”

July 5, 2012
J. approaches me on the street corner. She is tall and large and she is angry.

“I’m gonna punch you in the face,” she tells me. “I’m gonna hit you. I can’t keep it in. I’m gonna get you.”

Now I know J. pretty well; she is intelligent and reasonable. I appeal to her better senses.

“It won’t do any good to act out like that,” I say. “You have that frustration in you. You want to get it out. You can take it out on an object, if you must. But not a person. It won’t do any good. You won’t feel better. You think you will, but you won’t.”

My two girlfriends come up beside me to help out. J. is not calmed down.

“I’ll get you, too!” J. tells my friends.

Finally J. gets on the bus and leaves. I wonder why she is so angry at me. I am afraid and want to change things, but I can’t seem to reach her and get her to understand.

Now I walk along the street with my friends. I am on the right of a line of five friends. Two more walk ahead of us. We started as a loose group but now we are tight. We stick together and take these walks frequently. I feel my heart overflow with joy that I am part of the group. I love them. I belong.

*  *  *

The terrorists threaten to cut off one of my fingers. I am lucky, I guess; the last person had his left hand cut off. I don’t know why this is happening. How can I stop it?

 *  *  *

I check the pockets of the jacket I’m donating. It’s the purple velour jacket I love so much. “But it has become thin, faded and old,” I tell the person receiving the donation. “It was so plush and deep purple. My favorite jacket. This fading on the sleeve — how much will that affect the price?” Why am I giving away the jacket, I wonder. I still love it. But I must have had a good reason. I’ll let it go. But I’m not sure. Maybe I will grab it back at the last minute.

June 4, 2012
Going through the school is like going through a maze, but we finally get down the steps and go out to a broad patio on the school campus. More steps going down; we are going to the cafeteria. Then I stop and turn around. I look back at the school, sitting beyond the wide flat steps. It is gorgeous. A beautiful low building, elegant. What a treat it would be to go to this school. In fact, everything is beautiful. Tall, white barked trees have cascades of glistening leaves. I can see each leaf in miraculous detail. I’m in awe.

“It’s the light. It’s the Nigerian light that makes it so special,” someone explains.

Indeed. I think of when I replaced my old incandescent light bulbs with ones that mimic natural light. How the world became brighter, clearer. Vivid. That is what the Nigerian light does — the world pops out at you in vivid detail with glorious colors. I wish to live with Nigerian light. Always.

(Note — A couple of hours after I woke in the morning, I heard that a Nigerian plane crashed yesterday, killing all aboard and many on the ground. Did I hear that on the news last night? No, I don’t remember hearing about it. I don’t remember seeing any news last night. I don’t remember hearing about Nigeria. Maybe … ?)

 May 29, 2012 — On My Knees
The commissioner wants to use my suggested questions during the public meeting; I’m flattered. And a bit intimidated. After a while I think he has forgotten about it, but at the last minute he asks me to bring him a copy to take into the meeting. I don’t have much time; the crowd of people are starting to move in to the other room. I tell him I will make three copies, so we each have one, and he says good. I have so much trouble lining up the original on the photocopier screen. I had written out to the edges, and now it’s hard to get it all on the screen. I try about ten times until I think I might have it right. How do I set the controls? Oh, no! The machine is set for 50 copies, and I can’t find how to reset it. I hear it churning away, and all those pieces of paper will be wasted. I feel so embarrassed. How can I get someone’s attention to help me? I’m hitting the cancel button frantically, but it doesn’t do any good. Oh, okay. Finally I have it stopped and I reset it to one copy, to test it. I don’t want anyone to see the wasted copies. I’ll take them home to dispose. I keep working to get the copies done, but it’s harder now: I kneeled down, standing on my knees. But now I can’t get up. I’m permanently shortened; I’m a little person now.

In the seats above me, one of the women — a beautiful woman — is being nasty and I’m about to retort when I see others raise their eyebrows. Oh, the woman is the one in charge. I’ve been warned about her, warned to be nice to her. I turn my retort into a compliment about seeing another beautiful woman who looks like her at Nordstrom’s. “With the same beautiful lavender eye shadow.” She seems appeased but still suspicious of me.

Then this same woman, this princess, is at the edge of the property, screaming that a princess is in distress — just to see the knights rush in to save her. It takes a few agonizing silent minutes, but then the knights are running in, running past me, to answer her call. I am angry with her for toying with the knights, because she is not in any danger, at all. A few knights are holding back, sitting on the grass picnicking. They know the routine and aren’t playing anymore. Now I realize she is living centuries ago, and probably did not have Nordstrom’s, and suspected I was making it up.

*  *  *

“Do you see any colors on this paper, colors besides the print?”

“Yes,” I say. I tell her about the yellow coloring I see on the pages. “But I don’t know if it is really there, or if it’s just me, just problems with my eyesight,” I say.

I’m surprised to hear that the yellow I see indicates I’m high in yeast. Why would that be? I’m told I must avoid eating sugar, bread, pasta, pastry and other foods I love. And I must go through abdominal medical tests. I walk through the wards where others are going through the diagnostics. The tests require standing on one’s knees on a waterbed — so tough to balance. I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it. I give it a try. “Not yet!” I’m told.

Oh, people now are sitting back. You don’t have to spend the whole time standing on your knees; it will be okay. I hope they don’t find anything. The doctor explains that people know if they are sick, if there is anything to be found. “And the first thing they want to know is whether or not their spouse is sick, too. They are not happy if they will die first. Everyone is like that. They don’t want the spouse to live on and be happy.” My father wasn’t like that, I say. And he was devoted to my mother’s care. One in a million, he was, I tell them.

We are getting crowded into a room now, standing room only. I’m afraid that it will be so crowded I’ll become claustrophobic. There, we can sit down. People are jockeying for seats; it’s too crowded. I hold my own on the edge. I look at people’s plates and the food will cause yeast: bread, pasta, pastry, rice. What will I eat? Oh, there is some meat. “Steamed chicken. That is what you want. Steamed chicken legs.” I used to eat baked chicken but haven’t for a while. I wonder why. I must do so again. Get rid of the yeast. Joan Terry is counseling me. She is thin now, her waist so trim. Maybe I can get thin again, too.

May 13, 2012  — The Target
Besides wearing a scarf to cover my hair in public, I must be sure to wear a white kerchief underneath the scarf; a white kerchief to hide the bit of my hair that would otherwise peek out from the scarf. This is even stricter than I remember, I think. It is so strict, how can I do it? I don’t want to do it.

We are indoors now, so our hair is showing carelessly. Dark curly hair. I tell a friend what I had heard. “Let me tell you what my mother said about me,” I tell her. The friend says perhaps the information isn’t reliable; I shouldn’t believe everything I hear. “But I overheard my mother, myself. I was nearby and she didn’t realize I could hear her.” Oh, that is different, agrees my friend. She follows me to another table so we can have some privacy.

“She was talking to my teachers. She asked them if I was good in creative writing. Yes, the teachers said I was excellent. So my mother told them, ‘Don’t tell her that so often, don’t let her know.’ She asked the teachers if I was jealous. The teachers said no, I’m not.” I tell my friend, “She is looking for things wrong with me.”

Next, our army is waiting to engage in combat. I find myself walking at the end of a long column of marchers; the end with the women and children. They are Germans; why am I here? Am I a spy? I don’t understand why I’m here, but I know to keep myself incognito. Oh no, we women are not safe; some of our own soldiers are throwing stones from the unpaved path. I hope I don’t get hit. I hope I don’t get recognized, and no one tries to speak to me in German, which I don’t understand. Now we are crowding near round huts. What are they? I am afraid. I feel so vulnerable, so at risk.

April 20, 2012 — Circles
The flower bunches hung over us, like constellations in the sky, buoyed by balloons.

“Look, how beautiful!  Though some are uneven, it is a great arrangement.”  We admire the dozen bunches of pink and white flowers floating in a circle above our heads.  But suddenly, what is it? A dog.  A dog on the ground has punctured the airbag with his paws and in one swift movement the arrangement collapses.  I’m standing so close to the dog — will they think I did it?  Will they blame me?

No, the only story goes that I am the one who created the wonderful arrangement.  In truth, I had no involvement; I don’t deserve the credit.  “See how rumors start, and become historical fact?  There’s no controlling it,”  I say.  I regret the confusion but don’t try too hard to combat it; I am relieved that no one blames me for any part of the collapse.

Meanwhile, we try to figure out the rules of this new planet.  For, surely, it is a new planet.  First of all, the weeks lack Fridays.  Then, the fashions are different.  I watch the women move in a spirited dance in a circle, wearing strange print dresses with ruffled skirts, strange wrappings around their mouths and lower jaws — like bandages.  We try to account for all this.  Someone figures that this universe is much smaller, the planet is closer to its sun, and that is why the week and all time is shorter.  What else can we discover about this strange place we find ourselves, we

April 4, 2012 — Seeking China
Where is the paperwork for the tentative flight reservation?  I need to call to confirm the trip; the 30-day deadline might already be up.  I look through the boxes but I don’t see it.  And because I don’t have the paperwork, I don’t have the phone number for United.  Oh, my cell phone will have the number.  But where is my phone?  Don’t have that, either.

I ask the people in the house if I can use their phone and borrow a pen and paper, so when I get through to United I can write down the information.  Begrudgingly, they let me take some yellow post-it notes and a pencil.  So many people in the house; what are they doing?  Am I intruding?  I try to find a quiet place to call, but I can’t.  I will have to let them hear me call about the China trip, though it may be so showy to do so.

It’s a small town, with small town ways.  Everyone knows everyone, by first name, and only first names are used.  The town is dark with factories along a waterfront.  When I pick up the phone, a woman comes on who seems to be the local telephone operator.  Or is she at a hotel desk?  After several attempts, I think I make it clear to her I’m trying to connect to United Airlines.  It takes so long, and time is running out.  I get through to United but the connection is bad; they say to call back.  But, I don’t have the number!  I have to go through Molly again.  This is torturous.  Okay, I’m put through to the airline.

“Is this United?” I ask because all I hear is a woman saying hello.

“Yes.”

But I’m not convinced.  No wonder.  It is Lila from down the block; she’s the town travel agent.  She wants to chat.  I insist on dealing with the reservation.  We get nowhere.  “Damn you,” she says.  I hang up.  She calls me back, but one of the locals is telling me his life story and I can’t take her call.  Yes, she is still on the line.  As the ordeal continues, the phone in my hand is getting smaller and smaller.  It has turned into a slice of brown bread, and only bite-sized pieces are left.  Now just one piece remains; I have to switch it from my ear to listen and then to my mouth to speak into.

Eventually I get my flight to China confirmed.  Lila says that if Lee and I travel on the same flight, they will give me a special gift picture book.  No thanks.  She alerts me to a great club and bar in Atlanta; I should visit it during my layover.  Thanks. I’ll do that.  I still don’t have her phone number, or United’s number.  But I have the China trip confirmed.

Now I must find my hotel room again in Chicago.  It’s on the fifth floor, a top floor, at the end of a hallway.  No, not in that building.  Not that one either.  Not that one; I would have remembered lugging my luggage up the steep steps.  There, that one, at the end of the block.  It’s good to be in Chicago again.

Yes, this is where my room is.  I remember the lobby, the wood-paneled walls.  The cabinet of small drawers, like a library card catalog.  The tiny elevator.  People are talking about getting mugged in the buildings in the neighborhood.  “Especially on the top floors,” says a woman.  “They chase you down the stairs.”

Emptying my pockets, I can’t find the hotel key.  Even the bite-sized piece of bread has crumbled.  The women at the desk shake their heads.  “No, we don’t have extra keys.  We can’t help you.”

I have no idea how to get back into my room.  My resourcefulness seems expended, and I despair.  Is it time to give up?  Must be: my pockets are empty.

March 10, 2012
After a week, my new roommate arrives. I have carefully left half the drawers empty for her use, and cleared my things off half the desk and dresser tops. The staff come and make up her bed, and we lower the railings on my bed and hers for ease of access. I know my new roommate is an elderly woman, and she might be frail. But when she arrives, she is quite sprite; she has put her things away so quickly I barely noticed.

I am in the apartment next door now, in Grant’s apartment. He will return the end of the week. When he comes home, I see he looks like Clint Eastwood. He wears a soft, forest green shirt. But, now I am disappointed and afraid. He has a new woman with him, an Asian woman.

I tolerate the woman, not getting too close. But one day she tells me what she wants. “When the three of us sleep together, why do you sleep so far away? I want you to sleep closer.”

“I don’t know why I sleep on the far side of the bed,” I tell her. “But now that you said this, maybe I will move closer in while I sleep.” So we are accepting each other, I think.

The three of us are in the bathroom. Our Woman is in the bathtub, naked and submerged, eyes open. I’m afraid she is not breathing. Oh, there, I see she has exhaled some small bubbles. How can she stay underwater so long? Grant is next to me, suddenly pouring water over me; my own shower. As the water hits my skin, I’m in ecstasy. I relish its warmth and wetness. Finally the woman comes out of the bath, and I survey her body. She is so slight, she looks like a girl. So this is the woman Grant has been with. I wonder what it is like for him, to be with her. I feel some jealousy; she looks like I did as a teenager, years ago.

Our Woman announces she wants Grant to take her to have her nails done. I don’t want her to have anything that I don’t get, also, even though I know he is poor. “I need my nails done, too!” I say, even though I never get them done, ever.

“You want me to get your nails done?” says Grant. He sounds put off. Then he confirms it. “It isn’t enough that I let you stay in my apartment for a week? And, by the way, I don’t think it a good idea for you to arrive 3:00 am again. The sound must have disturbed the neighbors.” I’m nervous now; he is threatening to withdraw and take things away from me.

“They weren’t disturbed,” I tell him. “No one was in the apartment next door until the end of the week, until Saturday.”

The three of us go to the nail salon. I realize that I am married to Our Woman, just as Grant is. The salon is too crowded and noisy for me: narrow aisles, overflowing counters, people everywhere. A manicurist grabs my hand. “Short nails,” she says. She sounds disapproving; I’m embarrassed in front of Grant. Our Woman has long fingernails; she wants an elaborate manicure, with many colors of polish.

“Just shape my nails, please. No polish,” I say.

The manicurist takes out a tray of gold and silver fake eyelash-like gizmos. She is painting with them, to determine the best protective nail coating to give me. I turn my head to watch the goings on at the salon.

It’s been awhile since I felt anything happening to my hand. I look back; she is working on someone else’s hand. Another manicurist comes to work on me. Meanwhile, Our Woman is still waiting for service. Another manicurist inspects my face; tells me its flaws. “No, I don’t want a facial,” I say. “I have my regular person who does facials.” The manicurist leaves; I’m still only half done. I see several of the manicurists behind a curtain. I can’t get their attention. I grow inpatient; angry. I look for Grant to tell him the problem. But, then I don’t want him to know how impatient I am; he might think poorly of me.

When I find Grant, still in his soft, forest green shirt — that’s how I can spot him in a crowd — he is not sympathetic to my frustration. I go back to get my nails finished, and find Our Woman. She is still waiting. I suspect she is ignored because she is a minority, and I’m angry about it. But then I realize, almost everyone in the neighborhood is Asian or Hispanic. I am the outsider. I wonder if I can be happy; I feel out of place. What have I done, I wonder? But, I realize I always feel out of my culture, out of my element, and how frustrating that is. Still, I have never been this far away. What have I done to myself, I wonder. Do I stay, or go back?

I can’t find Grant now. I ask around. One old, unkempt man looks at me in a way I know he wants me. He disgusts me. He says he will help me find Grant if I have sex with him. I refuse; he gets angry.

Our Woman and I keep looking for Grant. Finally I see him, getting in a taxi. I run to the taxi, only to find it is a police car. Grant’s not in it, so I take the driver’s seat. Must find him. I almost crash into the car in front of me; I realize I must remember I am driving in NYC, with aggressive drivers. They don’t even respect “Police” on the side of my car. I see other police cars: I’ll follow those and try to get help. No, they aren’t police cars after all; they are Magen David cars and ambulances.

I step on the gas pedal and push the car through, to find the police station. There they will help me, even though I might get in trouble for driving a police car, myself.

Must find Grant.

March 8, 2012
When I look out the window, the moon is so big and so close, it takes my breath away. I see its full roundness, but I can also see the edges that are in shadow. Its features – its hills, its craters, its blueness and its whiteness – are clearly visible.

My fellow space traveler calls me to the windows on the other side of the spaceship. “Look! Look at the sun!” It is huge in the window. Awe inspiring.

Beyond the moon and sun – both so close I feel I could reach out the window and touch them – I see wisps of clouds across the blackness of space. My heart sings, I can’t believe my good fortune to be on this spaceship. The universe is a beautiful place.

February 3, 2012
As I wait for my sister to visit me in my prison cell, I develop a plan.  How easy it would be for her to help me escape, if she is willing.  But would she break the law?

She comes in and I ask, “What would you do to see me out of prison?”

“Anything.”

“Then here is the plan.  You go out and get shopping bags, filled with groceries.  Then we leave with them.  See I have on regular clothing.  No one will notice as I walk out of the store that I’m a prisoner.  They will think I’m just a regular shopper.  Don’t I look like a regular person, dressed like this?”

“Yes, you do.”

“I have an even better idea,” I say.  “You take the bags of groceries out first.  I won’t leave right with you; that will bring attention.  You take out the groceries, and they will be looking at you.  I will follow a little bit later, and no one will pay me attention.  They will be looking at you.”

My sister brings back the bags of groceries, and puts them by the door.  Meanwhile, we sit at the table and order breakfast.  “Let’s be very nice to the waitress,” I say.  “So she will only remember wonderful things about us when they question her later.”

By chance I look out and see the orange moon begin to rise above the horizon. I’m in awe of its beauty. It rises so quickly, by the time I comment, it is far above the horizon. “I just caught a moonrise! No, no, it’s too late to see it, the moon is high in the sky now.  So wonderful.”

I tell my sister there is a catch to my escape plan.  “Later, they will hunt me down, and bring me back to prison.”

“You could write a book about what it is like here,” she says.

“Yes, several prisoners are doing just that.”

“I saw them when I came in.”

“You know,” I say, “they will just bring me back here.  There really is no escape.  Maybe I should not try to leave.  It could only make it worse.  But just knowing you would help me escape, knowing I could get out if only for a little while, makes it all bearable.”

January 29, 2012
My friends are going back into the room with me, to check on the bug spray. Is the can letting out the cloud of mist to kill the ants, yet? No, I don’t see a cloud. Oh, wait. The can is emitting out a small stream of steam. That must be it. But my friends are right near it; they will get hurt. “Leave,” I tell them. Leave! But, they dawdle. They don’t see the danger. Now they are noticing. Is it too late?

The steam has let out, and it is working. Bugs are coming out from their hiding places. Not dead, still crawling. The huge ants are disgusting. I hope the bowls and dishes for the other pets, for the fish and other pets, are not contaminated by the spray. What a mess.

January 26, 2012
So many pieces of luggage and totes to carry, I’m embarrassed I don’t pack lighter. R. will see me struggle and think poorly of me, I’m sure. Yes, he does raise an eyebrow when he sees all my bags, and that’s not even all of them. I still have to retrieve the clothes I left in Santo Domingo, because I didn’t have room in my bags.

Meanwhile, we go to dinner with another couple. Three of us seem much younger than R., and I think how well he fits in. Then I remember he is only a year older than the oldest of us. R. and the other man go ahead to pay the checks. I’m left behind, but I catch up. R. has movie tickets for us. An action flick. Oh well, I guess it will do me good to expand my horizons.

Juggling the bags now falling out of my arms, I must find Joni McVey’s apartment on the seventh floor. When I get on the down elevator for stops 7 to Lobby, I assume I can get out on the seventh, and I will see her apartment right away. Someone alerts me that the elevator won’t stop at seven, but will take me straight to the lobby. Yes, she is right. But she intervenes and finds a way to get the elevator to let me out on the seventh floor.

But, which apartment is the one? I walk past the doors and none of the names are familiar. Someone asks who I am looking for. “Doris. Doris Day.” Well, that will be tough to find, they say. Such a common name. But I keep looking.

January 13, 2012
I take Frank on to the dance floor, my left hand on his shoulder, my right holding his hand. Music is a simple waltz, but I see he doesn’t know the steps. I demonstrate and count it out for him, slowing it down and showing him where to take the turn. He struggles and is about to give up. “Let me switch my hand to a lead position,” I say, and I move my hand from his shoulder to his waist. With my strong lead, now he gets it and we dance the waltz together.

I weave through the crowd to get something to eat, and realize I’m alone. Decide not to let that stop me. I see the bagels and salad buffet and try to get my bagel on the grill to toast, but it is falling apart. Jim makes light of my awkwardness and encourages me to keep trying to get the bagel right. I see lettuce, tomato and cheese but not the protein I need. I will make do. A table near the front of the room, near the stage, has empty seats, so I make my way there. As I put my plate of food down, the women tell me the seats are disengaged so I can’t sit there.

“Disengaged? That means no one is here and I can use the spot.”

“No, you can’t sit there, it’s disengaged.”

A woman sitting near the stage pipes in, insisting all the empty seats are disengaged so I can’t use them. I continue to protest that “disengaged” means no one is using them. I try to think of an analogy, to explain it to them.

“It’s like saying someone is engaged to be married. That means they are taken, occupied. Disengaged means available.”

They refuse to agree and I give up, saying that it’s a linguistic puzzle and how interesting how the language evolves. I look for a seat elsewhere, where I will be welcomed.

November 29, 2011
Is it legal? The policies can’t be legal. But somehow they get away with it. People are too afraid they will lose their jobs if they complain.

Frank Conrad sits directly across from me, explaining. “We want a moral work environment now. When children open up their bedroom door, they see into their parents’ room. The parents must behave properly, so children will have the right moral environment.”

What does this have to do with this workplace? Is that why I was pushed out of the office?

As people had rearranged the furniture and seating arrangements, my office space disappeared. The large room, full of dark wood pod workspaces, ancient dark wood file cabinets, a mishmash of tables, chairs, and cubicles, had no place for me anymore. Some people tried to find a place to squeeze me in, but there was no room for my chair. I packed my things up best I could. Frank made wisecracks about there not being room for me, but I stormed out, saying he could find me in the cafeteria. Eventually Frank found me there.

“We want people to go to church, have moral lives,” said Frank.

Is that the problem? I’m Jewish and don’t go to church? This can’t be legal.

But no one can complain.

“We want people to be married with children. Not live alone and have sex.”

“I live alone but I don’t have sex,” I tell him, my eyes averting his.

He notices. Tells me he notices my diverted gaze. I look him straight in the eye now.

“I don’t have sex.”

“I don’t believe you,’ Frank says. “I don’t believe you.”

November 20, 2011
Through me, they find out that the president of the company will be gone; he is not being considered for reappointment.  In effect, he is being fired.  But it was supposed to be a secret.  Somehow, through my answering regular questions, they figured it out from me.

I’m taken to another meeting, where the president himself is asking me for information.  I say nothing beyond what I am authorized to say:  he must wait and see.  “I know nothing.”  The group pressures me; I resist saying anything more.  He and his group begin to make decisions, take actions, which I realize will result in his firing.  He was not going to be fired for sure, but his reactions — to his believing he will be — ensure that the firing occurs.  Is it my fault?  If not for me, he would not have thought he was being fired, and put so much in motion.

As I am checking the envelope in the desk for messages to the president, I see one which talks about a potential candidate dying.  The letter says that I am the one who told everyone that the president was being fired.  Did I do that?  I don’t think so, but I can’t be sure.  I am going to be in trouble when they see this letter.  I put it back in the envelope.

People are trying to get more information from me. I am silent. But one courts me effectively. He and his team want to put me on a new assignment. They say I need a much nicer office to work in, to do the assignment. I am starting to believe them.

November 14, 2011
The toilet is disconnected.  My toilet is sitting inches away from the wall connection.  What happened?  The men came to the apartment when I was gone, to repair the toilet.  They thought it was fixed, but discovered they needed another part.  One went to get the part; he should have been back by now.  Waiting, waiting.

Maybe it will be hours before he returns.  Maybe I will be without a toilet all night.  What to do then?  Bother my neighbors?  But I often get up in the middle of the night to use the toilet.  Stay in a hotel room? Expensive.

I need to pee. Ooops. I forgot! I used the toilet. So no water to replace the water in the bowl. Oh, no. The problem is greater. The toilet wasn’t positioned over the hole in the floor. My pee is seeping out, all over the floor. It’s worse than that. Some did go down and now my papers and belongings stored in the space under the floor are a mess.  Cleaning it up. Tough to get it all. Must clean it up.

*  *  *

Driving for my hour-long full-body massage. Am I going in the right direction?  Driving, driving.  No, must have been the other way.  Driving, driving.  It’s 4:15 now.  Already 15 minutes late to my hour-long massage.  She won’t discount me for missed time.  Driving. Oh, there is the turn.  I go into the building.  No, I must have gone too far.  Go out.  Come back.  So hard to find this.  I’m so stressed, I really need the massage now.

November 11, 2011
How can I help my aging parents? I don’t know how to help them. Then, a solution.

“Ma, I’m moving back to New York. I’ll live with you.” I can take care of her, while my father is away.

Her eyes light up. “But how could you afford to do that?” she asks.

I explain I’ve lost my job. I’m not giving anything up.

“Do you have a little money, at least? An emergency fund?”

I tell her how much money I have; no need for her to worry. I explain that, besides my savings, I will work part-time and look for full time work, afternoons.

All is well.

November 5, 2011
Two caps have come off my teeth.  I hold pieces of them in my hand, little parts. I don’t understand the pieces.

“Come back and the dentist will put the caps back on, no problem,” says the woman.

“Look at these pieces, they don’t make sense.  They came off the teeth.”

She says it’s fine.  They are the corners where the caps met up with original teeth.  Suddenly the little pieces line up and I see the patterns.  They make sense after all; little triangles for the corner connections and the flat bars for side connections.

As I’m about to leave, she accidentally notices my thumb has a problem.  She is sorry she didn’t check it earlier, as she was supposed to do, but at least they discovered the problem before I left.  The thumb is loose, and it lights up.  They can fix it.

*  *  *

I’m moved; turns out that someone was filming the dialogue off stage between F. and me.  When they were filming the action on the stage, they saw me in the wings.  They turned the camera to me and captured F. coming up the stairs behind me.  They filmed him getting on his knee and beseeching me to forgive him.  A moving scene; I’m so happy they preserved it on film.  I see him face clearly.  He is wearing his glasses.  Someone says it is a shame he was not in the production proper; he was such a good and experienced actor, they recall.

But F. has angered many people. They want him gone. People are telling me how upset they are. I offer a woman a hug. She says how healing it is. Is that why you did it, she wants to know. “Of course,” I say. “I hug to make you feel better.”

They want him gone but I still want him with me. But, he is going to leave because of how they treat him. He was to spend the weekend, but I see him getting into his car to leave. I get him to come back for a little bit. Everyone thought he was dead; I thought he was dead. But he has come back, at least for a few days.

I see that my father is in the next room. I draw the window shade between the two rooms. I don’t want him to see F. and me. But F. is now leaving. He has new endeavors, new projects, new followers.

November 1, 2011
A young woman, a girl really, wants to sing.  And she wants to join the group.   She gives me her address in Salem.   I tell her I know the best person for her — L.  She is a great singer, she could help the girl.  I switch places on the bench, so the girl can sit next to L.  I introduce them.  L. can be her mentor, her sponsor in NSA.  After I introduce them, L. keeps ignoring the girl.  She will not take the girl on.  She will not respond to me, or the girl.

I realize I never told L. that the girl wants to sing, and that is why I tried to pair them up. “Please, L.,” I say. “There’s more to this. Let me explain.” But she walks away.

I’m confused, and L. is angry at me. First thing, I must take care of the girl. She expects someone to pick up her in Salem the next day; I will do that myself.  I have the directions on a slip of paper.

L. still angry and won’t look at me. L. and I need something from a box. I am trying to open the box and get something out of it; I don’t know how to do it. L. knows how.  I’m relieved.  She starts to tackle opening the box, and I let go of it. Then I realize she will think I am selfish, even though I am only deferring to her greater know how.  I take back the box to open it, so she doesn’t think I’m refusing to do my share of the work.

L. feels put upon, being asked to take care of the girl.  I start singing to myself a song.  I don’t know I’m singing aloud and L. can hear me.  “I ain’t gonna be treated this a way,” I’m singing.  “So you want to know why I won’t take her on?” says L.  “And now you’re feeling sorry for yourself?”  I imagine she is afraid I will tell others what she is really like; they would never believe me though.  They have not seen this side of her, the side that would not take on another girl.

I look in my purse for the directions to the girl’s house but I can’t find them yet.  So many other slips of paper, but not that one.  Not yet.  I know it’s in there.

~

A man, my date, leads me to a table in the crowded hall.  We cannot see the stage below very well from here.  Nor, can we hear the music.  We seem to be in a small section of dead space.  “You will have to make conversation with me, if we don’t have music drowning out the possibility,” I say to the man.  Or, maybe I just think it.  Don’t want to make him more uncomfortable.  He gets up to get us drinks.

 A tall woman gets up on the ledge.  A long drop; I hope she is careful.  She is naked and is dancing in a way to show off her double-jointedness.  She has bones popping out in strange places, such as her neck, her pelvis; she has complete control over it.

~

I’m staying at the Y and they have upgraded.  New locks on the doors, and a safe inside the closet of each room.  Where is my purse?  Oh, there it is.  Whew.  When we enter the lobby, cookies await us every day.  And a fantastic ice cream bar.  “So we get ice cream every day?  Free ice cream every day?”  Yes!  I scoop up vanilla ice cream and add strawberries on top.  Second day.  I eat so quickly, I don’t remember eating it.  Perhaps I will get another bowl, just so I remember.

Dream, October 29, 2011
The new house is not as wonderful as the last one, but has its own great points. C. and I don’t mention the last house; we carefully focus on the new one. So pristine. I wonder if we are renting this house. Must we keep it so clean and perfect? Or, can we personalize it? The walls look freshly painted, all boring beige.  In fact, C. is on the floor, touching up trim with his paintbrush.

“Can we hang pictures? To personalize it?” I ask C. He looks at me annoyed.

“Of course we can.  But maybe we should hold off, not mess up the walls yet.”

The bathroom, again, is perfect but sterile.  Almost a hotel room, I think.  I become fascinated with the drawers and shelves.  So many!  I put my toiletries in the top drawer, and the third one. leaving second and fourth for C.  And then I see cupboards.  C. or someone has stored mysterious packages in the back of them.  I call out to C. that the bathroom is fantastic.  “So much storage room!”  I want to show him I’m happy with the house, even though it is boring and sterile without character.

I find a large box of chocolate in the cupboard and excitedly I take it with me.  When I go to open the package, I see it is marked as someone’s private property, that it is not for sharing. I really want the chocolate — just to take a little piece. But I close the paper wrapper up. I must respect the owner’s rights.

October 12, 2011
I read a beautiful, moving poem, then realize C. is the author.  I look for the cover of the magazine and I’m delighted to see it’s The New Yorker.  “Do you know how hard it is to get a poem published in this magazine?”  I’m in awe of his accomplishment.

“Yes,” answers C.  “In fact only 249 Oregonians have ever had a poem published in The New Yorker, ever.  Back to the beginning of time.”

I’m next to some neighbors now.  They have finished putting a replica of a blue Empire State Building, on its side, in place and have lined up behind it.  The women are young and beautiful.  I want to join them, but realize I have nothing in common with them; how could I have a conversation with them?  I feel sad and frustrated about it.

I show one of them the poem, and ask if they know who wrote it.  She is amazed to hear it is C.  She wants to buy the magazine, but we can’t find the price.  I do see a card, offering the poem and other works as a free introductory offer to the magazine.

“It is a short work, just one page, so it wouldn’t cost much,” she says.

“No,” I say.  “The price is not based on the ease on the reader; it’s not how long it takes the you to read it.  It’s based on what it took the writer to produce it.”

I ask C. if he will frame the published poem.  He says no, it is not that big of deal.  I tell him I will frame it for him.  It is a big deal.

I love the beautiful poem.

*  *  *

October 4, 2011
The man waved the gun.  He pointed the gun into the crowd.  “Stop!” I told him. “Put down the gun!”

He ignored me.  Kept waving it around.  And pulling the trigger.  Nothing came out. Russian roulette?  I grew more upset, more frightened.  He became more agitated and reckless, pointing the gun at his own throat, pulling the trigger, laughing.

His father.  I must find his father; he will stop this.  I run through the fair, the streets; can’t find his father.  Frightened.

*  *  *

But where do I park the car?  I see an empty parking lot, stretching the width and length of several blocks.  Is it a construction site?  I see a yellow bus leaving the lot.  Not for cars.  Or is it?  I drive to the far end and it seems, yes, the lot has student parking.  Several rows of cars.  How do I get in?  Oh, I see.  Exit driveway.  Enter driveway.  But, now a metal barrier.  How do I get to the other side?  Okay.  I made it.  I’m parking.  Why is this woman standing behind me, looking over my shoulder?  I feel uncomfortable, and I tell her.  “Please stop breathing down my neck.  What is it you want?”

“The paper.  With your name on it.  I’m looking at your name.  What is your name?  I want it see it.”  I give her the paper, but then think better of it.  I take it back.  She is disappointed.  I am annoyed, and a little afraid of her.

*  *  *

I see J. in the street.  This has become a common event.  Is he arranging it?  Figuring out where I will be?  His wife notices as well.  She says she knows it’s not my fault, but if he is doing it on purpose, she is divorcing him.  Immediately.  I hope that I have not caused any problems, again, for anyone.

*  *  *

After running into more friends in the street, I invite them to my home (my parents’ apartment).  My mother is gracious.  “Things are different now.  I’m comfortable inviting friends over.  The place is cleaner; we don’t have piles of newspaper by the front door now,” I tell my mother.

But, I do see boxes stacked by the front door. “Can we get rid of those?” I ask her.

“If you can find another place for the shoes,” my mother says.  She offers some solutions, but they would all look worse than the boxes.  “I’ll figure something out,” I tell her.

September 30, 2011
The two men open up my looseleaf notebook and begin reading the documents. They are each about 30 years old, maybe younger. White, in white shirts and neckties. Business
suits. Quite aggressive in their manner. A co-worker of mine observes that the information the two men seek is not public information; no, they need to fill out an information request form, specifying what documents they want. They cannot go on a fishing expedition.

I’m embarrassed. As the person in charge of the information request forms, I should have thought of it myself. I ask the two men for their names now; I should have done that first.
Their names start with “A,” both first and last names.  They are Hebrew names, written in Hebrew characters, short names.  Even so, I must ask them to repeat the names a few times for me to write it down correctly, Hebrew characters and all.

Once they are asked to fill out forms, they no longer want to request the information.  One says that the small room we’re crammed into probably has cameras.  “Our own cameras are watching us!” he says, hastening to the door.

I can’t take back what they have already read.  How compromising is it?  How much trouble will I be in?  Still I can’t find my portfolio for this information officership.  It’s been so long since I was asked to perform this function, probably co-workers no longer know it’s my job; it’s been so many years. Who has been doing this in the meantime? I feel a sense of shame and a sense of loss, besides confusion.

 *  *  *

Traveling around the solar system.  We’re passing the moon now; it is so huge outside the aircraft window.  I see the grayish-white landscape, pockmarked.  I can’t take in how far from earth we are, how large the other planets are, how the moon fills up the aircraft window.  My mind can’t fathom it all; I decide to regard what vastness I view as another illusion, like all else I ever see.

September 26, 2011
The man in charge says I must drive the group.  I don’t want to do it.  I don’t want to drive over bridges and scary roads.  But, I don’t want to tell him the reason I don’t want to be the driver.

“Can’t someone else do it?”

The woman in the passenger seat of the VW van says she doesn’t know how to drive a stick shift.  None of the others do, either.  I look at the stick in the floor of the van.  I don’t know how to handle that, myself.

“I can’t drive a stick shift.”

“Do it anyway.”

But I can’t.  Eventually, he gives up and I get to be a passenger. Like the others.

September 14, 2011

“Give me your purse, and I won’t shoot you,” says the man. I look up from the cafe table, where Liz and I were enjoying our chat, and the barrel of his gun is pointed straight at my face. I don’t hesitate. My beige, crotcheted purse, with the shoulder strap, is lying flat on the green tablecloth, on the round table. I hand the purse over.

“And yours, too,” he says to Liz. She hands hers over, as well.

He was about 5’5″ and wore a black jacket. His face was round, his brown hair receded under a hat. Later I found that someone on the street had been taking photos, and saw him through the cafe window. He could be identified from the photos.

We handed over the purses, and he was gone right away. My heart was pounding in fear. I had always wondered if I would hand it right over. When the time came, I didn’t hesitate.

Now, to take inventory. Luckily, I had my house and car keys in my hand, so he didn’t get those. Liz had been holding her keys as well. What did I lose? Oh, Daddy’s book had been in the purse. What was it? A bible? And a notebook of mine. Those were gone.

I don’t want to tell Daddy about the robbery. He’d be so upset that I was in danger. He knows something happened, and asks me, but I hold back when describing the event. He assumes Liz and I were in a car when it happened. Liz says no, we were in the coffee shop. I don’t want to tell Daddy about the gun; he would be too upset. I do tell him some important things were lost. He thinks it was something of my mother’s, which I always carry with me. I don’t want to tell him it was his book.

I was wearing my mother’s diamond engagement ring on my right hand, but the robber didn’t see it; it was covered by the purse somehow. I’m so fortunate. But, I’m afraid that he will see my home address on my driver license and come to my home to bother me. I’m checking now and I am relieved that some things had fallen out and the robber didn’t get them. I find I still have the driver license and some credit cards and my medical insurance card. He probably has other cards with my address on them, but it would be my post office box address; only the driver license showed my physical home address. I hope he doesn’t get angry when he realizes he doesn’t have the address or my keys.

I’m back inside my house, looking for something along my bookshelves. I’m still worried about the robber coming in. He had asked for something in particular and I told him he could find it on the bookshelves. Now I see he has already been here, but I don’t see anything missing.

*  *  *

A woman on the bus is connected to a man, Paul. He was her partner, or her sponsor. A secret relationship, in their distant past. But an important one. He was her inspiration. I feel intimidated knowing his status. We are standing at the corner of Hawthorne and SE 39, Portland. He is a businessman, working to relocate a business from the corner of this intersection, back to NE Portland. He needs to sell it and it is expensive. He has connections with the government, but he wants to know where I work and what I know; he asks my advice. I tell him that the state will help businesses relocating; I show him the Website for him to research state programs. But, it turns out he has his own connections. He likes me. He is charming, old, and brilliant.

September 9, 2011

I interrupt the executive meeting to complain about J.T. “She applied corporal punishment. She pulled down my pants, then my underwear, and applied corporal punishment. I feel ashamed and humiliated. ” I don’t know if the would respond, by yes, F.C. says that is unacceptable behavior.

I still hurt from the experience. The wicked bitch held me down and kept hitting me on the same spot. People thought she had become better; I knew she was still a sadistic bitch. This proved it.

J.T. is going to sue for damages to her reputation, due to my complaints. But, the executives condemn her, so she is going to drop the case. She follows me down the hall, shouting after me. “I could have won, I could have won,” she says.

Now I have to get her to stop following me.

*  *  *

Each group had to create a dish from the ingredients listed on the chart. Our group’s dish is a flop; too many ingredients. We thought we had to incorporate every ingredient on the chart, but they were just choices to choose from. The most successful group used chicken and just one other ingredient; it was a great success. J.T. said she had put franks and one other ingredient on in the morning, and let it cook all day. And people loved them. Well then, let’s try again. This time, we’ll use just chicken and green peppers.

*  *  *

At the shul, I run into E. “Hi, cousin,” I say. Takes a little bit for her to recognize me.

Her son is getting bar mitzvahed today. Cousin S. made a wonderful sign for the wall. The children are on stage, acting out a great skit. They are dressed in pink and light greens, and reclining on layers of colorful pillows. It’s a beautiful scene.

J. is sitting next to me and is anxious and agitated. I ask her, isn’t the bar mitzvah poster beautiful, and she says it looks like a popcorn advertisement. I’m annoyed that she doesn’t see it is a religious poster. But, I realize, it really does look like a popcorn ad. I ask her if her hormones are making her so edgy. “Yes,” she says. “They probably are.”

Dreams, September 8, 2011

The landlord is upset about the boxes and other items L. is storing in her apartment. She knows she needs to clear them out, to make space in the back of the large “T”-shaped room for her dance students.

While she is busy elsewhere, I help clean up the area, moving the boxes. I figure the students would have more room to dance if they use the long part of the “T,” rather than the cross part.

After their class, I check with students sitting around the table, eating. Yes, they liked the space better today; they had more room for their English and French folk line dancing. But, the teacher was unhappy about the change.

Sure, I think. It wasn’t her idea. She doesn’t know it was mine. Will she be angry at me when she realizes it? 

Meanwhile, she is rude to me in front of the others. Later, she apologizes. I accept, saying I’m sure that the incident will help her be more present in the future, so she can catch herself before responding. She says, yes, that is it; she wasn’t present in the moment. She wasn’t even aware of what she was doing when she said those things.”

“You’re present all the time, though, aren’t you?” she asks.

“Well, not all the time. But yes, a lot of the time. Maybe more than most people, it seems.”

September 7, 2011
The streets of Paris are as beautiful as I remember them. I’m walking along the river, admiring the buildings; I see them one by one. Each more elegant than the next. One in particular is lovely, with its carved lion decorations.

As I walk, I reflect how happy I am that walking is part of my daily routine; how I can multi-task and get so much done, by incorporating tasks into my daily routine. I have just an hour and a half to finish my exploratory walk, and get back to get the train for Manhattan. I must find the right train. I’m walking through the underground train station and trying to remember all the turns I take so I can backtrack later. So many people, and it’s dark but there – an open space. Several people stop me to ask for directions. “I’m here for the first time, myself.” One man asks where the station lets out. Another woman says it lets out on Lurting Avenue in Manhattan; this is an express train with no stops in between. Now I must rush to get my train, as I recall I’m taking an express train, which only runs twice every 24 hours. I’m glad the one I take will let me out in daylight, not like the one the woman took.  It will be hard enough to find my way.

I find the platform where the trains are lined up, happy I took the right fork in the tunnels to find it. But which is the right train? I hope it’s not this one, where passengers stand up the whole ride; it’s such a long trip. “Where does this train go?” People do not answer when I ask for help. Finally, I think I’m on the right train. I hope so, because it’s moving. Fast.

September 4, 2011
A large man climbs into the trunk of F’s cab, but he hits his head. The force bounces him out of the trunk; but then he is climbing back in. F. is helping him. F. knows he and the cab company are responsible if anything happens to the man. Is it even safe for this man to be riding in the trunk? He looks half-conscious; maybe very drunk. He could die in the trunk, when the cab is on the road. Better make sure he is not lying on his stomach, with face into the floor of the trunk. Now the man is propped up, but shouldn’t we keep the trunk lid open? But, then he could fall out. What a dilemma.

 *  *  *

 Trying so hard to follow the boss’s (K?) instructions, but it’s proving impossible. In her office, she tells me to get paper and pencil and then sit back down, she has things to tell me:  sit back down across from her desk. I can’t believe she is telling me this. Surely I know to get paper and pencil, and write things down, without her telling me to do so? But, I had promised to be agreeable, so I do not protest. I get up to get the tools. She sees my facial expression even though I tried to hide my thoughts from her.

“What is the problem?”

No problem, I answer.

But she presses. Finally I tell her. “I remember the talk we had, the agreement when we started this. You asked me to be more cooperative, and I agreed. So I do not want to tell you what I’m thinking. I want to get along, as we talked about.” But she is not satisfied.

“If you must know,” I say, “I do not know why you are telling me to get paper and pencil. Do you think I do not know to write down your instructions, that you have to tell me to get the tools?  As soon as you start giving me details, of course I would get the paper and pencil so I could write them down. I always do that. Maybe you are unhappy with how long it takes me to get them?  Maybe that’s it. So you want me to start out with them.  Whatever you are thinking, I feel insulted when you tell me to do this. Of course I will do it.  But I wasn’t going to say anything of this, because we agreed that I would not cause you problems by telling you what I’m thinking.”

*  *  *

Boss K. says to get a Human Resources desk, and a bookcase and … she is rattling on so quickly, I don’t get it all. I try to slow her down, so I can get it, but that annoys her.  I’m to get the furniture and line it up in a crowded room for some important work event. I don’t get all the instructions, but she is gone.

I ask other people if they know where the desk and other items are.  No one knows, no one helps.  Hard to get their attention; they leave while I am in mid-sentence.  I’m trying to find the sheet music for the piano piece K. insists I play.  Can’t find it, and no one has it.  The deadline is approaching, I’m becoming more worried.  I try to tell her my problems, but she doesn’t want to hear it.  Maybe I will leave her a voicemail, since I can’t get her to listen to me in person.

Many people waiting to talk to superboss S., including me. He is talking with T. as others wait for S.’s attention. S. only wants to talk to T.; he ignores everyone else waiting for him.

We are in the lobby of a huge hotel. Very crowded with boxes and furniture. I see tables of beautiful and tempting desserts spread out, for the taking. I am going to eat some; then I remember that they will always be here, I don’t have to rush for the desserts now; they are not scarce.

Meanwhile, I ask a series of people for help finding and moving the furniture. Each one rebuffs me. I ask E. if I did something that people won’t help me. “Yes,” he says, “But I don’t have the time to tell you now, and I don’t want to upset you more.” People are too busy trying to get ready for the event, including E., to talk to me.  I don’t want to get so upset, like I did last year, so now let it go.  But K. is counting on my playing the piano piece, and having the furniture in place.

I corner her, and tell her that I don’t know how to play piano. If I had the sheet music and piano last night, I would have had enough time to get through the piece.  But, I didn’t get it, and I can’t sight read.

“What can you do?” asks K.  “How much playing can you do?”

“None at all,” I tell her.

Fine, she’ll find someone else to play the piano piece. I’m surprised she accepts my refusal.

I break the news to her that I can’t find the furniture she wanted, and when I do find it, it will be too heavy and I will need help hauling it up from the basement.  I tell her what E. said, that for some reason people don’t want to help me with the furniture.  I have failed again to get along.  She doesn’t want to hear it; she makes herself busy with something else.

Dream, August 28, 2011
C.’s new girlfriend is very nice.  Very beautiful. “How old are you?” I ask her.

“What do you think?” she asks.

I scrutinize her pretty face, which has only a few lines – on her forehead. Maybe she’s in her 40s. As I look, I see her face getting younger and younger. She’s in her 30s.

Does she realize he is 40 years older than she is? Does it matter?

August 25, 2011.  Foam Sculptures and Turds
He isn’t answering his door, so the leader of our group decides to enter forcefully.  Who knows what we will find.  Will he be alive or dead?  When she opens the door to his apartment, we first see a life-size cardboard cutout of his ex-wife.  “She looks alive!” someone says. Yes, the eyes are blinking on the cutout, an old advertisement tool.  Spooky.

We walk in and, since the ex-wife took the bookcases and most of the furniture, the books are in piles on the living room floor.  Hard to maneuver around the apartment; I’m stepping over piles of things.  The man is found asleep sitting up.  He looks comatose, but he is still alive.  We try to bring him around.

*  *  *

A friend says how nice it is that she has friends who live right next to her. I feel envious of this. She names a friend, but I have trouble understanding. Finally I hear it is “Lisa,” and it is a woman – a sweet, kind woman I like – from work.  Lisa comes and whisks the friend off. They are doing an art project. They have collected many foam shapes – multi-colored spheres, cubes, pyramids – e to make into an art sculpture. As they carry their pieces out of the apartment, trying to balance them as walk, some drop off.  I pick up a foam sphere and try to put it on the back of Lisa’s pile in her arms. “Here you dropped this,” I say, picking up another one. Every time she turns, another drops off.

Another woman and I are pitching the idea of the foam sculptures to a group of four or five business men.  While we sit around the rectangular, green-metal table in a restaurant, the men are skeptical as the woman opens the pitch.  They interrupt her, voice displeasure.  She needs to get to the exciting part about the foam sculptures, I think.  She is losing them on the science, which they disagree with.  I jump in about the sculpture pieces.  But, around that time, the table top slips and crashes to the ground.  The woman and I are embarrassed about this.  The server comes, and wants to know what happened — who is at fault.  We say no one’s at fault, the top just slipped off the supports and fell.  We reposition the table top, being more careful that it rests midway on the supports.  We don’t know if we can regain our credibility now, the little we still had.

*  *  *

Seated with others in an auditorium, I await the dessert.  First we get fruit cups, but then I see the ice cream cones.  I want one; would be nice to add the fruit to the ice cream, too. We’re passing the cones down the row, but then it gets confused.  So I get up to go find ice cream for myself.  But where is my fruit cup?  Back at my seat.  I return with my cone, trying to make it all work.  Accidentally, I drop most of my chocolate ice cream on the carpet.  It hits the edges of my white pants on the way to the floor.  What a mess!  I wet a paper towel and frantically try to get the chocolate stains off the pants and mopped up from the floor.  But as the ice cream hit the carpet, it expanded.  Kept expanding, and expanding, soaking up any moisture from the carpet, I guess.  I try to scoop it up with paper towels, but others have seen it.  It looks like a big, foamy ugly turd.  Disgusting!  Oh, no!  People think that I had that kind of accident — that I had a bowel movement!  I am so embarrassed.  I ask the person who is helping me to clean it up,  “Please tell them what it is — it’s just ice cream.”  But word is out and I probably can’t undo the damage.  So embarrassing!

August 24, 2011
F. opens the door and invites me in.  He looks the same, though I know he is ill.  We lie in bed together; I don’t want to kiss him because I don’t want to get that close to the cancer.  He doesn’t say the words, but he lets me know it is the upper right quadrant of his mouth that is affected, and his throat.  But he looks the same, I’m relieved to see.  We hold each other and he compliments my clothes as he removes them.

When he gets up to answer the door, I see his cell phone next to me.  Did he get a new phone?  Looks different.  I see the name of his doctor on his call list.  “Harsany.”  The same name as my gynecologist?  No, I must be reading it wrong.

A couple of women were at the door.  F. explains to me that they are lonely, so the landlord made arrangements with F. to let them visit once in a while.  He takes out a $5 bill to give them; they think they just come for the money, not realizing there is as arrangement.  One comes into the living room and sees me.  Now, the other follows, several others.  She comments so many “Daves” are in the room.

“Don’t you remember me?” she says to me. But I don’t. “Remember the story about … ”

I do remember the story, but not her. I ask her if it was the Christmas Party at F.’s where we met, or maybe the pre-Christmas Party rehearsal?

“No,” I wasn’t there,” she says.  We’re confused about it all.  I wish all these people would leave so F. and I could be alone together again.

*  *  *

C. says he is worried about money and the house.  “What’s the problem?” I ask.  I thought all was okay.  No, every July he is to receive $5,000 from the government but it is July 28 and the check hasn’t arrived yet.  I assure him all will be fine.  I am secretly thinking that I know I will be fine, at least, because I have my money.

A young woman is talking enthusiastically to me and C.  I ask her what she will major in, in college. “Business,” she answers.

I say yes, I thought so.  I tell her that because she is speaking so well on the topic, I am sure she will be very successful.

“You know what business is about?” she asks me.

I tell her yes, I know. “It’s about money.”

“Yes, business is just another name for money,” she says.

We talk about her finding an agent for my art work when she develops her business contacts.

August 23, 2011,  Hurricane Irene
Thought our house was safe from the storm, but no, the rain is coming down now, furious and will it come through the windows? Feels like it will come right through the wall made of glass. The rain hits the glass wall; it cracks. Doesn’t shatter yet, but cracks like a windshield in a bad collision. I wasn’t scared before, even though the rest of the neighborhood had been evacuated, but now that I see the power of the rain, I am frightened.

We might be evacuated, too.  We must think of what we will take. What can I carry? Seems important to take the shoes — sneakers, and loafers, plus another pair. No, now I’m losing them to the water. The water is taking over. When we check in at the evacuation center, they will quickly inventory everything we bring in, so we must be careful none of it gets lost as they process our belongings.

I dread being evacuated. How can I lose my things? My home? I feel confused and can’t find my things. I feel vulnerable. Chaos reigns.

August 22, 2011
“That drawing of the view, from inside the helicopter, isn’t accurate,” he said. “The bottom is not all clear glass. You can’t see through the bottom. You’ll only see through the top visor.”  I’m relieved.  Seeing through the floor of the helicopter cab would have made for too scary a ride.

*  *  *

Boss S. is stuffing envelopes. Opens the flap of the manila envelope, stuffs it. Then another. Another.  uch to do. I offer to help. He says he can do it. He is talking with M.  I try to help with another task. He tells me he has it, and continues talking with M. I exhaust all tasks, rejected each effort. I finally say I will leave them alone so I don’t distract them anymore. I leave. S. and M. happily continue talking without me. S. never wanted me there, not from the beginning. I feel useless and rejected.

August 20, 2011
We got the car – full of our belongings and the art treasure we were transporting – up on top of the raised courtyard. Not sure how we got it up – perhaps someone lifted us and the car, with a crane. We drove around the square, concrete courtyard: a plateau reached by about ten steep steps. We drove in a square atop the mazelike design, looking for a ramp off. None. Only steps. What to do?  We had no choice but to push the car off. First we unloaded the car as much as possible, removing luggage and briefcases, to ease the weight.  We also took out the precious artwork, a painting, so it would not get damaged by the jarring.

Twenty men surrounded the car; four of them stood at the bottom of the steps to bring the front of the car down.  They had the biggest burden.  I watched the four, strong men bend under the load of the front car as the others around the car pushed.  Their strong backs bent, and I was afraid the load was too much for them.  They yelled at others to stop a moment, so they could take another step back before the next push.  I feared for them.

*  *  *

“How many in this room attended the Bronx High School of Science?” asked the person conducting the college orientation. Almost everyone in the room, about 300 people, raised hands, including me. The orientation officer said that the fate of the school was in question. The name “Science” put many people off. What better name can we give the school, she asked. I heard many suggestions, but the simplest one was apparent to me. “High School of Arts and Science” was the obvious solution. I was about to shout it out when I felt inhibited. Didn’t feel I had the right to put out my idea. I kept silent.

August 19, 2011
Time for me to get off the train to catch another, but I’m in the bathroom, when the train pulls up to the station and stops.  I’m undressed!  I grab my clothes, bolt from the bathroom, bolt from the train.  Rush to catch the other train back to 202nd Street.  People are waiting for me at the station!  I get through the turnstile, but a train conductor in the station tells me the stops have been changed, I have to turn back and get back on the other train and get off on 212th Street.  How will K. ever find me at the station?  I dash to the train, anxious and hurried.

*  *  *

I’m dancing, dancing, twirling.  The room is a blur, I am twirling so fast.  Joyous.

* * *

The dog is on a short chain, but still manages to jump up to the counter where I’m cooking.  Now the dog is biting my hand.  Stop it!  How am I supposed to cook?  Ouch!  That hurts!  Stop it!

A large dog is running a huge circle — runs across the street to my front lawn, leaps over the fence, into my yard, through my front door, through my house, out the back door, across the street, back to my street, through my door . . . over and over.  He is running so fast, there’s no stopping him.

*  *  *

Someone is on the ground, on fire.  Quick!  Put it out!  No one can put it out.  His head is getting consumed by the fire.

August 18, 2011
The professor said he would only accept the homework today; no late stories. I had carefully printed out my latest blog story and . . . oh, no! I must have left it at home. I can’t believe it, after all the work I put into it. I tell him the story is done, but I left it at home, and I can’t print it out any place else.

The professor says that surely there’s a solution. What do I plan to do? I say, “Cry.” And tears to come to my eyes.   He asks the class for other solutions. Many hands go up. Their solutions are beyond me, technically. I don’t know how to use those programs.

I try on my own to print it out from the school (now, workplace) computers, but can’t get it work. The professor will not accept an email; it must be hard copy. I try using an email subscription to myself, but that doesn’t work , either.

Frustrated. I interrupt some co-workers’ conversation, to ask the woman where her brother — the man whose solution seemed most workable — where his office is. “He doesn’t have an office, but I can show you where he sits.”

I show him my efforts to print out the story, including emailing it to myself to print out at work, and how the bottom of the page got cut off. He explains how to get around that, but it is an awkward, labor intensive solution that I know won’t work because I already tried it.  He is resentful of my taking him from his work, and I am getting tense.

Another couple of women want to come and chat with me, and I tell one of them I am available all next week, anytime time next week, if she wants to talk then. But today, this Friday afternoon, I am under a deadline and cannot talk. I am afraid she will take offense.

Another co-worker tries to help me find my homework story, going through my file box with me. She doesn’t understand the files and stories system, thinking the files names refer to people. No, I tell her, they are story names based on the main characters.

After I tell the man I am getting tense, he says he will come back in an hour, 1:00 pm, and work on my project then. He says he does not want to be around my anxiety. I become more agitated, because what if he doesn’t come back? I cannot miss my deadline, especially after all the hard work I put into the story.

Rather than wait for him, and put my success in his hands, I decide to go home and print the story myself, or find my file that I stupidly left at home. I have just enough time to do that and get back by the deadline. It’s a long walk home, and I am tired. I catch the wind at times and let it carry me along, letting the wind lift my feet off the ground. This saves me energy and speeds me along. The walk is long and hard; I have to do it two days a week. At least, I tell myself, it is only two days a week.  But today, I do it four times.

As I walk, I see some boys are trying to set a timer to blow a hole into a house. They want me to help them, and offer me a share of the goods inside the house. I’m tempted, but then realize what they are doing is illegal, so I keep walking.

After carefully crossing over the five-inch fence protecting the newly planted grass along the curb, I make it to my home in the Pelham Projects. Co-worker N. is in the window. I hope she alerts my mother to my return before I make it up to the apartment. I worry my mother will be too upset seeing me show up unexpectedly during the work day. But, they are not too upset seeing me.

I find my blog and take care of the story. Another co-worker has turned into a large box. I stroke the box hoping to soothe her, because I must leave her.

A man visiting the apartment falls in love with my new dark slate blue couch, even though it’s hard to see it under the huge crocheted afghan covering it. He loves all my new furniture so much, he offers to buy it from me for three times what I paid for it. I consider the offer, and whether or not I would tell him I got it at a special discount. But no, that doesn’t matter. I love the furniture and won’t sell it.

From our window, we can see a construction project in a large field. I am surveying the view with someone who says her father had been buried in the cemetery in the field, but the family moved the grave in August, before the construction project, out of respect for him. It cost them $7 to move the grave. My grandfather, and grandmother from the other side of my family, were in that cemetery but we didn’t think to move them. I feel some regret. I hope their graves were not disturbed. It’s been so long though, that probably nothing was left of them, anyway.  That’s how I console myself for the oversight.

August 17, 2011
I’m attending a four-day workshop with about a dozen other people. When I arrive, an excited woman greets me, saying they were talking last night about my funny skits. I’m not
feeling funny now, so I feel a bit of pressure to live up to my reputation. I’m feeling nervous about fitting into the group.

I have a small piece of luggage and a tote bag. A jean jacket, some pants, a skirt, blouse. I’m trying to change into a brown skirt.

The workshop leader is sending us out on assignments, so we can get materials to black out the room for a project. Someone figures out that we can probably get by with the dark
drapes we have on hand. The workshop leader is putting them up; they are gray and translucent, but he seems satisfied with them.

He asks me to go to Rockefeller Center and take photos of a little windmill there. Does he know where one is there, or am I to try to locate one? I feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to find one, if he doesn’t know one even exists. He has seen it; he can tell me where it is. I have two Canon Elph cameras with me, but the settings keep changing on me and I’m missing shots.

I say I can go to Rockefeller Center, I know my way in mid-town. It’s just this neighborhood, I say, I’m not familiar with.

The group is dancing now, line dancing and square dancing. Women far outnumber the men. One attractive man joins my line to my left, but then moves away from me to the far
side of the line. I feel rejected. The other men are pairing up with other women. Then the attractive man comes back to me. The others call him “the captain.” He sits down, and invites me to join him. He says he often visits the state where I live. I take that to mean he is interested. Does he realize I am much older than he is? I think I am, at least. I think I’m 20 years older than he, and everyone else.

I am changing from jeans, to skirt, changing shoes. Taking jean jacket on and off. I am having trouble finding my clothes.

The leader asks me to wear a black, sheer teddy with ruffles on the bodice that night. He sends me to buy one; I can look for it near Rockefeller Center. But I find myself in a lingerie shop in a department store close by. I ask for a black, sheer teddy, preferably with ruffle. They have something similar in white, but that won’t do. I look through their merchandise, but nothing will work.

A clerk is very upset, angry. Why? The clothes disgust her. The shop runs a video showing how women look in the outfits. “It is soft pornography, isn’t it, that is why you’re
upset, right?” I ask. She is crying, and says, “Yes.” I say.  I agree with her. I remember when I used to be upset by it, but now I’m on the other side and think it is fun, but I don’t tell her that.

Photos of the workshop participants at the beach are on Facebook, but I wasn’t with them. Even so, my name is listed as a workshop participant and I’m a bit uncomfortable about it.
I’m not at the beach because I was walking around the block, which was a two-mile walk. After about a mile I ask someone on the street if I’m on the right road and she says yes, but rather than going all around the block in a circle, I should just turn back from where we stand, at the halfway mark.

*  *  *

I pass a fire truck that has been in an accident. It is on the side of the road, barely recognizable — it’s flattened up against a wall into a 2-dimensional object, it was hit so
hard.

About a dozen people are lined up on the opposite side of the street, crying about the accident. I feel bad for them, but I keep going because it scares me and there is nothing I can do to help them.

August 16, 2011
I’m explaining my MBTI type to someone.  “I’m equal parts extrovert and introvert,” I tell them.

August 15, 2011
I’m guessing someone’s (C?) MBTI type.  Yes, I accurately guessed “I” for introvert, “F” for feeler, and “N” for intuitive.  But I was wrong on the last aspect.  I was sure it was “P” but he says it is “J.”  But I thought you didn’t plan things.  “It just looks that way,” he says.

August 14, 2011
I can’t ignore it anymore.   I’ve become a hermaphrodite.  I have a new appendage.  I didn’t mind it when it was small, but it keeps growing.  I measure it.  It’s a foot long.  How will I hide it?  Now it’s grown into a leg, with bones and joints.  It has labels, too, like a textbook diagram.  Codes.  “This code tells whether or not the person is Jewish,” for example.  I become intrigued, studying the diagram and codes.

*  *  *

The supervisor is taking advantage of his authority.  I am in the next room, but I can hear he was striking H.  Then he strikes L.  That is where I draw the line. I always said, L. is where I draw the line.  Must protect her.  I confront him, tell him I have evidence and I will report him.  He asks if I saw anything, and acts as though I am mistaken because I only heard things.  But, I track down L. to get her account.  Now he is afraid.  I assure L. I will bring her justice if she will testify.  I tell her I must show him I will not back down and we will not be taken advantage of.  I’m afraid my determination will scare her, that she will think poorly of me for being vindictive.  But, I must do what is right.

*  *  *

As store manager, I’m trying to balance the books, but I can’t because someone promised my staff promotions and raises.  Where will the money come from?  And I will be punished for spending money the store doesn’t have, even though I did not approve the raises.  I feel frustrated and afraid.

August 13, 2011
A boy is sitting in the audience in the women’s section.  I spot him in the front row and escort him to the men’s section.  The other women start to protest but then fall silent.

*  *  *

My supervisor S. is looking to move to a different residence.  I recommend the neighborhood I recently moved to.  I tell him it is closer to work, and the rents are lower because it is a down-to-earth, simpler neighborhood.  He looks skeptical.

I am enjoying moving into my new apartment.  It is small, but quaint.  Crowded rooms, so I take care with every choice.

August 12, 2011
As I help stock the store shelves, I think some of the merchandise would do better relocated.  I’ve carefully rearranged the liquor bottles, the shirts, the cigarettes.  But wouldn’t some of these do better on different aisles?  And the cigarettes, they don’t need to be on an endcap — people will walk the aisles to get them, even if they are in the middle.  I find another clerk to ask if I have authority to move the merchandise, or do I need the manager’s permission?  He says the last time someone moved merchandise to another aisle without permission, he lost his job.  I guess that is my answer.

I’m behind the counter, at the far end of it, and a pillar blocks my view of customers coming into the store.  Better that I move to the center cash register, but do I qualify for that choice spot?  The store is getting crowded.  A customer, who left earlier because she thought I hated her and said something rude to her — but I didn’t!  She was paranoid! — comes back.  I try to straighten out the misunderstanding, but she doesn’t trust me.  Another customer comes up with a bottle of shampoo, asking if it is marked down to $2.  I can’t read the price label very well.  Okay, it probably says $2.  I assure the customer I treat the store money like it’s my own; I’m that responsible with it.  Then I clarify — well, not really like my own, that would be taking it too far!  We laugh.  I say, you know what I mean.  Right?  Like my money, but not completely like my own money.  Then my sister appears.  I introduce her to the customers.

August 11, 2011
Who invited the lion? Beautiful golden tan coat, big mane.

A group of us are walking, and I tell them the lion following us is dangerous, but they say, no, he is fine. The lion lunges at us, starts to attack. I have trouble shaking him. I lead everyone to a secret closet. Six of us run for it, cram in. The last one slams the door in the lion’s face. We are all terrified.

Later, we are out and the lion is among us again. He likes me especially. He is behaving himself for now, so I stop complaining. But I’m still wary.

* * *

I undergo nipple enlargement surgery. I thought it was breast enlargement, but seems I misunderstood. I’m told to go back to the hospital tonight for a check-up, and then again later tonight or tomorrow, Sunday morning. I’m trying to get a ride back to the hospital, but people are busy. Finally I get a ride, but it is 1:30 a.m. I will not be able to make the second visit tonight, before dawn. I’ll have to go back during the Sunday daytime. I don’t believe it is really 1:30 a.m; the time has gone so fast. I review the timetable with my new roommate, E.; I realize it is accurate.

Earlier in the evening I converted linen closets to combination freezers and laundry sorters. I explain to one person looking for the laundry basket what goes on each shelf. About five people’s laundry gets sorted on the shelves. The very top compartment is the freezer for food. I need to find a bathroom. I think there aren’t any, so I take a big yellow towel in case I need to use that. One of the men pisses in the gutter, but I look for a bathroom. Eventually I find it.

* * *

I was going to go through the induction ceremony for the NSA Buddhists, but I decide not to do it. I also tell them they have to find someone else to give a certain person a ride Saturday night — I don’t want to drive from opposite ends of town to do it. I’m standing up to them at last. They try to make me feel guilty for backing out but I hold my ground. They say two people especially were looking forward to standing up with me at my induction. Since they won’t tell me who they are, I ask them to give the two people the message that I cancelled. I guess it is G. and L. I’m right about L. I explain to her and a few others that I find them too pushy and asking too much of me. They want too much of my time — they have given me a list of places and activities for me to attend. Detailed conversation about it ensues. I tell them I’m 26,000 words into the novel I’m writing and that is my priority now — nothing else can compete with my time. L. is surprisingly supportive.

August 8, 2011
Not enough beds to go around, I’ll have to share — first with one, then two, then four others, all men, added to my bed.  I’m on the left edge, trying to keep them from touching me.  Upstairs is another bed, but I say I won’t sleep with just one man in that bed unless it is G.

Too many in my bed, too crowded.  I say I will leave and never come back if they insist I stay there.  I mark my spot on the end of the bed with a black pillow and black top sheet.  I tell them don’t move my markings.

*  *  *

My little black journal book is slated for destruction. They say I can look through the book once more before it is destroyed.  Most of the entries from my teenage years are in code.  I explain it was to keep my parents from understanding them.  I look through the journal pages, amused.  I say I am over my attachment, so it’s okay to destroy the book, even though it showed how funny someone (G.) could be.  They say I can keep it; they won’t destroy the book after all.

*  *  *

A rabbi is furious.  He was trying to contain the group’s development of a computerized gaming program, but the team went ahead and put it out to several states.  The rabbi says we’re not licensed for the other states, and we could get into trouble.  The IT supervisor is proud because they expect money to come in from a couple of states.  But the rabbi is angry.  He says we can continue working on the project, but we can only meet in teams of two and at people’s homes — to escape detection.  He has us count off.  He says I’m “one” which is a gentle rebuke.

Dream August 7, 2011
Large trucks are coming and going in the parking lot.  I know some of them will be rounding up people, but I choose to ignore it.  An elderly man comes up to me.  He points to one of the trucks.  “Today is your day.  That truck will take you to the concentration camp.”  Is he guessing or does he know?  I feel too much anxiety, worrying every day about every truck.  I tell the man I can’t worry about that.  “Don’t tell me in advance, because then I lose peace of mind in my final hours before capture.” I would rather not know.

August 5, 2011
Walking with my sister, I tell her not to be concerned about what is happening, because we are dreaming.  I realize what I said is true.  I become aware that I am in a dream, and with my lucidity the dream comes literally to a screeching halt.  The dreamscape world looks like the view from a speeding train when the train suddenly comes to a stop.  Screeeech.  The view evaporates, dissolves before my eyes.  I am switching from the dreamscape to what?  What will I find instead?  What if this is all there is, and I am losing it?

(Note — I awake in my bed,  jolted out of the sleep state. I’m relieved that I have landed someplace familiar: the waking world.)

August 2, 2011
I am having an affair with a blond teenage boy.

Acting out a dramatic, angst-filled scene with another woman, I realize why I can bring such authenticity to my role in the script.  I have lived it and felt it, myself.

July 29, 2011
Again I make this mistake!  Driving along in the right lane, I find it leads me into a strip mall’s parking lot while I wanted to continue straight.  When will I remember  that I have to be in the middle lane on this road?  I loop around the lot, as I’ve done so many times before, to correct my mistake and get back on the road.  So annoyed with myself.  Finally, I’m back on the street.  I pull my car up to curb, carefully parking the gray Camry in its usual place.  I note where I am, because last time, once again, I had trouble finding the parked car.

Returning to pick up the car, I find a man is on the curb trying to get into it.  “Hey,” I say.  “That’s my car!”  He insists it is his.  I check the license plate. Oh, no!  It’s not my car; looks like it, but it is not after all.  Is mine the car parked right in front of it?  Another gray car.  No, definitely not mine.  Where is my car?  I can’t believe this is happening again, when I so carefully noted where I parked my car.  I wander around looking for it, afraid
I’ll never find it.  Dismayed and anxious.

July 27, 2011
My mother’s ring is missing its central diamond.  I’m alarmed.  “It’s all right,” she says.  I will add it back in later.  I wear it everyday.”  I see the smaller diamonds that surround the empty spot for the central one.  My mother says that those don’t match because people take some, then give her new ones.  She picks one off the ring and pops it into her mouth.  She gives me one to eat, too.  I bite into it; not much of a treat —  it is tasteless.  Seems wasteful to me to be eating these treasures, especially when they are tasteless.

July 26, 2011
In a public bathroom, I have an accident — and pee on my white underwear.  They soak through and pick up the stain of my jeans, turning purple in spots.  I take off my jeans to remove the dripping undergarments.  I undress, and then I see two men have entered the bathroom from a side door.  Janitors?  One realizes his mistake and leaves through the door, but the other has seen me and likes what he sees.  I’m surprised, because I have so many extra pounds on me.  I hide around the corner, but he follows me. I am afraid.  He is smiling and wants to make arrangements to meet later.  He gives me instructions, a list of five things I must do.  Then tells me to repeat back the instructions so he knows I listened and remember.  I hesitate, it’s hard to remember them, but I get it right.  I’m to make up a spreadsheet, first of all.  He doesn’t know how to contact me, so I figure I’ll be safe.  I tell him I’ll comply, but I have no intention of ever seeing him again, or letting him find me.

July 24, 2011
Job is on the line.  Perhaps I should just resign — or, at least ask boss S. if he wants me to.  He needs to verify the accuracy of my spreadsheet calculations, by comparing with raw data.  But I cannot find the source data for him.  I was sure it was in stacks in the office, but I can’t find it.  Nor in the storage rooms.  I can’t believe I could have misplaced them.  Or, did someone move them?  Did they get thrown out?  Did I accidentally throw them out? Much shame and embarrassment.

Even supervisor R. is angry with me — a silent, condemning anger.  We’re seated at a large conference table in my office, about a dozen people around the table.  As soon as one person starts talking, another starts a side conversation.  I can’t follow any of the simultaneous conversations because of the loud overtalking.  I want to protest, ask for one at a time, but I leave that for R — sitting at the head of the table — to do that.  He gives them time, finally cuts in.  I am in terrible trouble because of the missing data.  Embarrassed at my carelessness and scared for my job.

July 23, 2011
A large dog — perhaps a German Shepherd — follows me into a store.  Perhaps he is my dog?  He does what he usually does, runs around the perimeter of the new space, exploring and marking the territory.  He also runs up and down each aisle of this huge and crowded store, going faster than anyone who might pursue him.  I yell, “That’s my dog!  He’s with me!”  I hope they won’t bother him.  He just loves to do this.  (Dreamt after falling asleep while listening to dog barking down the street.)

July 22, 2011
In the dress department of a huge store, I shop for an appropriate outfit to attend an Orthodox Jewish wedding.  But to find a long-sleeve, high neck dress in the summer!  Oy veh.  I must try to remember to shop during the winter for these summer weddings.  A helpful saleswoman says she does have one dress for me to try on.  It is a sweet, beige dress with a high neckline but — short sleeves!  Oh, I could get a dressy jacket to wear over it.  $179 for a dressy jacket?  Black, with fancy braiding down the front.  And it looks like an old-lady’s jacket!  I tell her that won’t do.  I go through the racks, but I never do find an outfit.

July 21, 2011
Seated on the left side of the plane, I have great views as we fly over the Gulf of Mexico and Texas.  I marvel at the weather systems coming in.  So beautiful.  Then, lights
flashing in the dark sky nearby.  We are in space now.  I feel ecstatic!  Many colored, beautiful lights.  Such joy.  Want to fly again and again.  Afterwards, I share my observations with O., but he was on the other side of the plane and didn’t see any of it.  I feel sorry that he missed it all.  He says he doesn’t even like flying.

*  *  *

Traveling in the Dreamscape

Two workers are in my parents’ apartment, but when another man comes to
the door, he misunderstands the situation.  We end up in arguments, and the
man shoots the workers.  One has a bad head wound, the other dies.  I am
distraught.  Then I get to do it over!  This time, I have a gun to protect us.
This time, I am quiet when the man comes to the door.  The rest of them get things talked
out and all ends peacefully.  The gun is put aside on the table safely. I
realize that I was the catalyst who caused the injury and death the first time.
I feel sickened to think that my actions cause problems, and my inertness is
best afterall.

*  *  *

My clothes are tight, so I borrow my mother’s.  They fit fine.  Can’t
believe I have gained that much weight.

July 19, 2011
Two people arguing about who will pay for an uneaten half sandwich.  One person (J) does not understand that her refusal to pay for her uneaten half means the other will have to pay for the whole sandwich; she thinks her not paying will save that money.  Much going back and forth but she never understands.

*  *  *

I pre-registered for a lunch meeting, but the restaurant has no record of my payment.  I go ahead and pay again.  When it comes time for the meal, they won’t serve me because I have no proof of payment.   I’m angry and protest loudly.  A kindly man is now upset with me because I am arguing.  I feel embarrassed in front of him.  Another woman (different J.) very angry about it on my behalf.  Gets into physical fight with restaurant management.  She thinks I am being penalized, that I wasn’t given a slip or receipt on purpose, because she spoke up.  Meanwhile, I never get my meal.

*  *  *

A high, old stone wall encloses a neighborhood of tall, brick buildings.  I climb the stairs to enter the enclosure and I see the most beautiful collection of homes, arranged in a rectangle around a lawn. I walk the path around the inside perimeter, admiring the homes, one more lovely than the next.  Most are old and charming.  Not very large, but unique features each one.  I look at them carefully, noting how some are so cute, they almost could be dollhouses.  I don’t see anyone else around as I continue along the path.  All is quiet.  Many trees and flowers lining the stone and brick pathway.  I reflect that I have never been happier than in this moment, and any time I want to feel joy I could come back and stroll in the cloister again.

*  *  *

Waiting for a train to come.  Running out of time.  Must run to catch the train.  Barely make it in time.

July 18, 2011
R.’s purse has been stolen.  She was told that a robber was watching her, but she did not change her habits and he knew where to find her.  She doesn’t have any more cigarettes or money for them.  I help her.

*  *  *

I’m leaving a large theater, from the balcony.  The balcony carpet is a lovely blue; the carpet in the orchestra level an orange-red of the same saturation level.  Because of the color of the back of the seats, it’s difficult to tell if the orchestra seats are full or empty.

July 17, 2011
Afraid to see F. since he became so ill.  Afraid the destruction will be so painful to witness.  I’m in his apartment, but we have avoided seeing each other.  Finally I see him walking in the distance.  He looks strong from the back and I’m relieved.  Then he comes up to me, I can only see his part of his face; his arm is up to block to the view.  I see he hasn’t shaven, and his beard has turned white.  He looks friendly and healthy, but I’m not seeing the bottom part of his face where the illness lies.

*  *  *

Though his wife won’t allow me to talk to him, I phone E.  We get to talk a few minutes.  We want to see each other, but she won’t let us.  I call P.  to ask for his help in arranging a
visit, since I’m in NY area.

*  *  *

 I’m asked to explain Jewish practices to a large audience at work.  Asked to demonstrate the blessing for welcoming the Sabbath.  I say we might as well do it Friday evening so it is authentic.  Men must wear tallis and I will say prayer in Hebrew.  Some wonder if men would be willing to do this, but then they decide it must be done this way, yes, to be authentic.

People filing in. Huge crowd. But, I can’t remember the blessings in Hebrew. I tell M. (former supervisor at work) to give me a minute, I’ll find blessings online.  He is surprised it may be online.  I am looking at a program on the screen that gives English translations of blessings, and then plugs in different phrases for different occasions, so you can construct your own blessing.

Finally, I have the blessings and get back to the group. But, I’m too late. I’m relieved another woman has led the blessing, though I’m surprised and a bit dismayed that she is not dressed for the part.  She’s wearing a strapless top.  Oh, well, at least it was done.

July 16, 2011
I see a conference I want to go to, but I’m not sure how to get there. I ask a flight
attendant if she knows where the airport in a photograph is located. I show her
photo of planes with a cryptic caption. It unfolds that a flight leaves Seattle
that goes over the north pole to Sweden, and takes only about an hour because
of the short cut over the pole. “It’s like the shortcut we had flying over the World Trade Center.”

The flight to the conference leaves the next night, after Shabbos, which complicates the preparation. How will I break the news to my parents? And how will I pack in time? How many pieces of luggage to take? What will I check, and what will I take on board. Much thinking about this and playing with alternatives.

My mother sees something, something related to a jar — connected with the trip —
which prompts her to ask about it, giving me an opening to tell her about the trip.
“It’s a conference on positive thinking. Sound easier to do than it is. As
soon as we think what do we want to think positively about, we think of what is
wrong, and then we go down that road, thinking about everything that is
negative.”

I show her how easy it is to get to the conference because of the shortcut over
the north pole. She said that it is too short notice for her to go. I explain
yes, it was short notice for me, too. Just found out about the conference. It’s
a one in a lifetime opportunity. She said that maybe Daddy will let me go. I
think, I don’t need his permission. She doesn’t understand I don’t need that.

She looks sad and I realize that she was counting on my company for the weekend.
She has two daughters but still is lonely. I reflect that she cannot count on
me for company; I have my own life. Besides, she left me alone so much as a
child. She made me so lonely; she cannot count on me to ease her loneliness
now. Even so, I feel badly for her.

July 14, 2011
While I’m waiting in a long cafeteria line, someone who qualifies to go to the  front of the line hooks up with me. She can’t take me to the front of the line  with her, but she can give me a couple of slips of paper that qualify me to  speedier service. “Once you get your order, come find me so we can eat  together,” she says.

*  *  *

I order a large chocolate milkshake, but I’m given only a small glass of water. The glass looks like the kind used at delis in the Bronx. I try to correct the order, but they are not listening to me. Instead, the person behind the counter gets the manager. Rather than giving him the two slips of paper which will get me better treatment, I hide them because now I realize they are from the mob and will only get me in trouble. The manager does tell the person behind the counter to get me my milkshake, but when I go to look for the person who I am to meet, she is nowhere to be found. She realized the manager showed up and she was found out.

Then she reappears to give me some lists to take to J. at the office. Special, secret lists. But J. now has new office with gatekeepers — people who insist on knowing why I want to see J. I figure out now the list is too secret to tell them about, so I say I have some personal information to share. They say ok. I give info to J. It is from the new boss, who has taken a liking to J. and wants to give her special treatment. The new boss got her the new office and the gatekeepers so J. could have more privacy to get her work done.

I want to tell R. that he is right. When a new boss comes, people can fall in and out of favor. Everyone but J. in the office is scared of the new boss, and the atmosphere is
oppressive.

A woman from the cafeteria comes to me with the list she thought I had ordered, but it is list 2, not the list 1 that I needed for J. But I don’t tell her, because list 1 is secret.

*  *  *

Walking through the aisles of a crowded bookstore, I’m feeling happy. Looking at  the books, I feel as though I am one of the authors now, instead of feeling on the outside looking in. My heart feels joyful. A man is in the corner watching me.

 *  *  *

I’m telling someone how I no longer give unsolicited advice. How I like  information, and have lots of information, and I had assumed others wanted  information, too. How I would freely give it to them, not thinking about whether or not they would appreciate my doing so. “Not that I gave advice about how to live their lives. I stopped doing that after my teenage years; then I knew everything! ha ha.” But I like to share practical information.

The man walks away but I keep talking. I tell him about visit to my cousins in  Tacoma. He comes back but I don’t repeat what he missed. I was talking to myself; that’s okay.

My cousin J. has a large white object — looks like an overgrown backpack, and he is plugging it into the wall, and then moving along the wall. Not sure what it is. He has the latest gadgets, some of which I can’t identify. The two little boys are playing. One is pushing the other. I intervene because the older one might hurt the younger one. We are playing a game on the floor, the older one matches his strength against mine but I am much bigger and I win. I am pushing him along the aisle on the floor — he’s on a blanket or towel, and I am pushing him — asking C. where the finishing line is. She says J. said it was by the door when he set up the game. But where by the door? Now I am worried
that the little boy will have his feelings hurt because he lost the game.  He’ll understand, says C. He knows you are much bigger than he is, so of course you are stronger.

 *  *  *

Writing and writing, on small notepads, I run out of paper on one notepad.  But I find another small pad. I am so happy that the writing is flowing. Then that pad is finished, too. I look around and find a regular size pad of paper on a high shelf. Only two pads left. Must remember to pick up more paper.

*  *  *

“Pull the sheet over us,” I tell ?  Others are in the room and I don’t want them to see us.”

July 13, 2011
I’m tending a sweet baby in his crib (perhaps my brother).  A favorite song of ours comes on, and he begins to weep in his sleep. The song is  Try to Remember.  I wipe away his tears, careful not to wake him, saying this is our song, and whenever you hear it, even as an adult, it will move you, though you probably will not remember why.

*  *  *

I’m returning to a house I once lived in.  As I approach, I see the front door is ajar.  Could I have left it unlocked that morning?  No, I had forgotten C. still has keys to the house.  What a beautiful house.  I find C. upstairs vacuuming.  I go into the bathroom, and admire the brown marble walls of the shower stall.  I see my brown towels still match beautifully.  So much work to be done to move back in, but it will be worth it.  What a beautiful house.  Once I’m in the house I won’t be traveling or going anywhere.  My life will be in the house.

*  *  *

When introducing C. to a man in an office, a man whose name I don’t quite remember,  I say, “This is C., my signficant other (at a loss what to call him), and this is . . .”  I quickly glance at the  nameplate on the desk, and remember the man’s nickname.  “This is Tippie.”  I say that Tippie is the man who has been making the wonderful cakes I have been bringing home.  Tippie says it’s not him; his grandfather has been making the cakes.

Tippie motions me to close the office door.  The office is crowded, small and crowded.  The door is wooden, but with a glass panel.  As I close it I see a man desperately trying to get in.  I go into the hall, close it behind me, apologizing for shutting it in his face. “Tippie said to close it.”

I don’t know if Tippie saw the man, and that’s why he wanted it shut, or didn’t realize someone wanted him.  The man has a ream of pages he wants to give Tippie.  I take it for him.

July 11, 2011
My mother and I visit my childhood friend M., now grown up and a CPA.  M. is hosting a reunion at the apartment of her childhood, but few show up.  M. is doting on the guests, and anticipates or questions my every move, trying to meet my needs.  I find it stifling and ask her to please stop (note–similar to an awake experience earlier in the day while shopping).  M. gives my mother a long hug, but my mother is visibly uncomfortable with the display of affection.  M. tells my mother she loves her, but my mother remains silent.  M.’s brother Jon (note–dream name was different from real-life name), is there, but I have trouble remembering his name when I make introductions.  Finally my mother leaves, and everyone is a bit more chatty now.  I feel sorry for my mother’s discomfort socializing.

I reminisce aloud in the dream about coming to M’s apt. for the first time, when it was a beautiful new apartment — not aged like now — and how in awe I was of the newness and bright, white freshly painted walls.  Now the apartment is run down and a once-bright orange wall is dingy.  I say it was the first time I was in a new apartment, when I first visited M. here.

I had had trouble this evening finding the building, but finally saw it a block ahead of where I was looking for it.

M. is serving food and I see every detail in the kitchen.  Many of the items, such as the mini-stove, are reproduced elsewhere in a diorama.  The reproduced stove is even larger than the real mini-stove, I observe, annoyed at the inconsistency.

M. is very knowledgeable and I am surprised and pleased over how confident she has become as an adult.  She and G. have interesting talk that I can barely keep up with, given the technical terms they use.

I see some men in pews in a “men’s only” section, reminding me of an Orthodox synagogue.  I go over, asking if I, as a woman, can be there, half-jokingly.  It’s not really a synagogue, so they don’t understand my question.  Many men are lying on the floor.  One man shows me his new computer.  I tell him I’ll show him what I use instead of a computer.  I find my briefcase, containing my notebooks, regular size and miniature ones.  I show him the mini-ones, and we go through the pages together.  He is skeptical about its practicality.  Then I show him my regular-sized ones, as well.  We are focusing on how many pages are written on, and how much information you can get into the different sized notebooks.

July 10, 2011
I see a way into the school complex. Someone has found a door in the chain-link fence that’s unhooked.  I watch her go through the gate, and go on to the roof of a wing of the school.  I follow her.  Then she leaps across a gap between sidewalk and the rooftop, headed towards an opening in the roof covered by a wooden door. Will the door open?  I don’t want to bother going further if the door won’t open.  Yes, I see her pull up the cover and go down into the school.  I will follow — but wait.  I have to get from the sidewalk to the roof top and the gap is just too wide for me to do it and still have one foot on the ground.  I will have to leap, and leap up because the roof top is a few feet higher than the ground.  I’m afraid, afraid I can’t make it and I’ll fall through the gap to the ground.  But, I must get into the building.  I make a few false starts, and then I succeed and I’m on the roof.

July 8, 2011
A man dressed as a clown is in control.  I’m with some people who have gotten themselves in a tight spot, the clown is on the corner insisting we go into the house to stay out of trouble.  We follow.  He looks severe, we know he means business.  Once inside, I’m afraid of him, but he is kind to me — even though he is known to be evil — and I relax and start to like him.  Later he reveals he has another self, a woman.  Then he befriends me as a beautiful woman.  Very thin legs, too thin, but dressed in a flowing silk skirt.  She worked in China for many years, until the firm closed, selling beautiful wares.  She still has some on her shelves.  I admire them.

*  *  *

I choose to go up the stairs to the sixth floor hotel room, instead of escalator or elevator.  Around the third floor I get nervous, because the railing is very low on the landings, and I can see a long drop down.   Lovely, lush red carpets.   To get to the next flight, I have to get out on a ledge with no railing and I’m too scared to do it. I’m blocking the path and holding up people until I move on.  I have no choice now.  I must get out on the ledge and up the stairs or be frozen forever on the landing.  I get out there, terrified, but I make it.

*  *  *

I’m attending a meeting as a guest; I don’t really belong there, but I’ve been allowed.  My group at the meeting is leading the song regularly sung at the meetings.  The words are posted on the wall. Another language — Latin?  We sing the first line in unison, everyone in the room, but the second line I’m singing by myself.  Because I am singing the wrong words!  I skipped a whole line down.  My voice is clear and strong, and I’m a singing a solo of the wrong words!  People are too polite to say anything, but I’m thoroughly embarrassed.  Then coffee gets spilled on my lavender dress.  I can’t get it all off.  Next, someone splashes chocolate ice cream on the dress.  I protest, asking for an apology, because I suspect it was not an accident.  The perpetrator dislikes me.  By the end of this ordeal, I’m making jokes about myself to the group, hoping for their reassurance, but they say nothing.  The event is a disaster for me — I feel thoroughly embarrassed, sitting there in my stained lavender dress.

July 7, 2011

Boss, S, is having employees go through driver refresher training.  Two parts to the afternoon training — one includes a 27-minute video.  I’m coordinating the training.  I have half of the employees work on their workbooks, as the other half watch the video.  Then they are to switch.  But, that’s different from what S. said originally; he had all the employees doing the same thing, no alternating.  I look for him to make sure he doesn’t have a problem with how I’m administering the training.  I find him, just as the Wagner opera he is listening to ends.  How’s that for my timing?  He reminds me we didn’t have enough booklets to accompany the video.  Can’t they take notes in a separate notebook? 

I hurry back, to try to straighten things out about the notebook, and make sure everyone gets the two training parts in. I have a mess on my hands, because I didn’t have everyone watch video together, as instructed to do so. The way I did it isn’t going to work.  I see people huddled in offices. I go in to check things out. It’s okay — the first video-viewing group did not hold on to the few booklets, they let the other group have them.  Yes, they took notes in their own notebooks. Now it seems everyone has seen the video — both groups — except for one person.  Me.  I go to watch it.  I have to rewind it first and it’s an old video recorder, very slow.  Finally get to the beginning.  Then it’s 5:00 pm and we’re out of time.  I try to get all the information I need from the booklet, instead of the video.  Everyone else has handed in their booklets.  Can I keep mine?  I look through it quickly in case I have to hand it back in.  Meanwhile, my interactions with the groups have been pleasant.  Even though I’ve been the organizer, people have been accepting of me and it’s gone well.  I reflect it’s because I’m more easygoing now.

*  *  *

I’m discussing colors with another woman, how much I like strong colors. She says that I won’t like being around her then, because she prefers pastels.  I explain that I have areas in my life that I’ve decorated with pastels, as well.  I like all color palettes.  I see many wonderful colors and textures (in this dream).

Dream, July 5, 2011
I’m in a group of people (from high school days).  Trying to figure out who is telling who, what.  One of them tells me he gets updates on me all the time, but won’t tell me from whom.  Says it’s not who I would think.

June 30, 2011
Driving along the side of a mountain, I’m on a road that is only as wide as my car. I’m traveling at a high speed, confidently.  Later I see the cliff and the road from below; I’m surprised how high the road is, how narrow.  Now I see it’s the side of cliff.  I’m driving on the mountain road again, but now I am afraid I will fall off the cliff.  I drive very slowly, hoping to stay on the road.

June 26, 2011
A group of people and I are in large rooms (they look like my former residence on 61st Street). My task is to teach a refresher safety class on fire extinguishers in the home.  I ask who knows where the fire extinguisher is, or if there even is one.  Most people don’t know.  I show where there is indeed a fire extinguisher, in close proximity to the oven and stove, but not so close as to be in danger of exploding, itself, from the nearby heat.

*  *  *

I’m singing in a choir. The ending part of the song is sad, about dying.  But then, we’re passing around costume jewelry pins of a jovial clown, a bright blue, enamel,  clown with a comical big belly.  Afterwards, I’m meeting with the people in charge of the choir, trying to explain to them the incongruity of the comic figure and the song lyrics.   Do they see the inconsistency?  Maybe.  They are not quite sure what the problem is.  Am I the one confused, not understanding the lyrics?  Were they meant to be ironic, not sad?

*  *  *

 Trying to catch up in some class I’m taking but am confused about.  Trouble finding the room (blah, blah).  Finally find it, but I am having trouble following along.  Is it a law class?  Very confusing.  I ask where I can find the course books and the strange forms they are using.  A teacher or another student sits down by me and gives me instructions on how to get to the bookstore, and shows me the forms.  Complicated electronic forms, with lawyerly spreadsheet columns on them.  Never saw the likes of them before.  I’ll figure them out, I’m sure, but it will take a little time.

 June 25, 2011

While walking to the bus, I see that my well-worn snow boots are too far gone.  The front seam on the left boot is wide open.  I wonder if I have time to get new boots before I catch the bus; no, I must not risk being late, though I no longer have the black flats at the office to change into.  The bus only comes once an hour or so.  In fact, extra delays have been announced.  I see several people at the bus stop, probably waiting for a long time.  A woman tells me she thinks she saw the 6:30 bus go by, and a particular club — she can’t remember which club — got on it.  The 7:30 bus is due about now.  I give up trying to squeeze an errand in, and get on the next bus.  Traveling through city streets lined with tall buildings, I see out the bus window the toll the long, wet winter has taken.  Winter though, still has many more months to go.  We drive past newspaper industrial plants that, I see, have their paper stores on high-enough floors to be protected, but the streets below and anything on them are rain damaged.

M. in Florida says I must give a message to (don’t recall now), because he must go — despite paralyzing snow — to the hospital where his 80-year-old mother is having a second abortion.  Doctors figured the first pregnancy a couple of years ago was a fluke, and didn’t take precautions against a recurrence.  I find it all hard to take in, but I agree to give the message, deciding to relay the message as a newspaper ad.  I design a box within a box on Photoshop, the lower box showing four men standing in profile, facing to the left of the page.  It’s hard copy now; the paper is rough, composed of ragged rocks, but I am trying to color it in by hand.  First I use brown paint and then colored pencils.  I am outlining business suits and ties, contouring muscles with brown pencils.  I can’t get it right; I don’t remember how to paint or draw well.  Maybe I never knew.  After the ad is published, I see I left a word out of its title.  I feel embarrassed by my error.

Dreams, June 21, 2011
Striving to  make my 1:00 pm flight on time, I aim to get to the airport in time for a 10:00 am flight; that should give me enough of a margin.  I’m at the train station to make the switch to the train that will take me to the airport, in plenty of time.  The halls of the station are arranged in an L shape.  At the vortex is an information booth.  I cannot figure out yet which hall to take for my own train, but there is time.  Meanwhile, I see many of the halls have interesting shops and restaurants.

I’m feeling confused.  “I have a silly question,” I say to the information booth clerk. “I should know this, but I don’t.  When I get on the train, do I have to pay for my bags?”  He says no extra charge for taking bags on the train.

Since I have arrived so early, I decide to take a walk, maybe go to a restaurant.  Then I realize I did not bring everything I needed for my trip.  No problem, I have enough time to get back home to pick up the towels and bathing suit I left behind.  I go home to get them.   I’m back at the station but now I must rush or I will miss my 10:00 am flight.  A woman at the station is also trying to make her flight.  I have trouble finding my boarding pass, but finally I do.  I’m relieved to find my flight is not until 1:00 pm.  I have plenty of time.

At some point, as I am walking away, I hear F. in the distance answer a phone and say “I’ll get her.”  (Note -He is taller than the F. I know in waking life, and has a beard.)  I see him get on his bicycle — is he leaving or looking for me?  I start heading back to take the phone call.  Seeing me, he circles around to the phone and says, “She’ll be right there.”

A man on the phone introduces himself as Andrew Sol and says we met at a recent conference; he wants to talk to me about mentorship.  He says that he likes me very much because I am a good cook.  I tell him just because I was talking about restaurants and eating at the conference doesn’t mean I’m a good cook.  He is giggling a lot. He says he knows I’m a good cook because people were talking about me after I left the conference.  this gets my attention and I want to know what they said.  Meanwhile, F. is hovering over me trying to figure out the nature the of phone conversation.  Andrew says that people were surveying who travels the farthest to visit relatives and they voted me as the one. They talked about me and I sound like a fun person. I tell him while I’d love to talk, it is my vacation day and I don’t want to talk about work-related mentorships on my day off.  When can I call him back to talk about it?  He is not forthcoming and will not schedule another time.  I tell him I sound rushed because I have a plane to catch; why doesn’t he just call me back at his convenience.

I realize that once again I forgot to get the towels and bathing suit.  Before I had so much time, now it is 12:30.  I do not have time to go back again to get them.  I will have to buy new ones at my destination.  I might even miss my 1:00 pm flight.  I’m disgusted that I have so much trouble managing this.

I’m in an auditorium, taking the last seat available which is next to the door at the back of the auditorium.  I tell the man next to me this is my favorite seat.  I can get right out if I need to.  He says his favorite seat is also by a door, but the one at the other end of the auditorium, the front.  I like mine better because although it doesn’t have the good view of the one up front, no one can see me duck out.

Andrew Sol is in front of me in the auditorium. He is very young, slight build, and has on an interesting t-shirt. He is giddy when he sees me.

*  *  *

F. does not spend much time with his two little boys.  (In real life, F. is childless.)  I  encourage him to spend more time with them, but the older is afraid of him and the younger one doesn’t seem to be able to connect.  He is going off to a concert.  I tell the boys F. is going to work. The boys seem appeased to think he is at work, not just ignoring him.

F. and I not getting along.  He asks what he can do.   He says he realizes things cannot last the way they are.  I tell him he is right.   I ask him to stop asking me for things — like money, to pay for things, while never giving me anything.  He says he understands.  Then asks me for some money.

*  *  *

Daddy and I are taking Mommy on the train to her doctor appointment.  We are handling her oxygen tank, which is a clear, colorless plastic cylinder, about two feet high, filled with visible oxygen in a fluid state.  It’s quite heavy.  We’re pushing it up the stairs.  Daddy says he doesn’t like to get out at the front of the train where everyone can see him; the oxygen tank is too embarrassing.  Somehow M. is involved.

We enter the building for the appointment and meet teachers holding classes.  One is very friendly to us.  She hadn’t met me before, but makes believe she has because she thinks her memory is failing her and doesn’t want to show it.

*  *  *

 F. is going to show me how to get down from a high ledge.  It isn’t all that high, I think, and I jump off successfully.  He is determined though to show me how to do it.  He demonstrates many creative ways to do it, including hanging upside down from the ledge and balancing himself on poles below.  He says I have enough strength now to do some special descent — something about safely landing on glass — but I’m not so sure.

June 19, 2011

I’m running swiftly on a gravel and dirt path, amazed at the strength and stamina I have gained in my running.  At one end of the road are Egyptian sphinxes on loan from Egypt.  I remind myself to go and visit them before they are returned.  I can see them from a distance, but I tell myself to also go see them close-up.  I shouldn’t take them for granted just because they have been here for so long; they will go back like the last Egyptian display and won’t return.

June 18, 2011
Toilet won’t flush.   My host says if it acts up, to let her know, she’ll take care of it.  Oh, okay. There it goes.

F. sounds very hoarse and strange.  Funny voice.  Is it the cancer?  I feel so sad, to think I will not hear his true voice again.  No, he was doing the strange voice on purpose; he can speak fine, after all.

June 17, 2011
I’m barreling down the right lane of a multi-lane highway and see a big, green sign on the right that looks like it is hung too low, as though I will  hit it as I go under it.  I remind myself I have driven under the sign many times before, there is enough room; all I’m seeing now is an optical illusion. Oh no!  The sign has fallen into my lane.  Now I remember there was a traffic alert.  Silly me for not heeding it better.  I swerve to left to avoid hitting the sign across my lane.  Then another sign in the road; I swerve again.  Traveling at a high speed.  A large car or truck is coming at me in my lane; I got in the wrong lane.  I swerve to the left, the car in front of me is trying to avoid the vehicle coming at us, as well.  More swerving and crossing.  Somehow I manage to maneuver without hitting anyone, or causing others to get hit.  Whew.  Close calls.

June 7, 2011
I’m driving my car, pulled up to a stop.  Women nearby have four bins, or trash cans.  Their papers are flying out of the last bin into the street.  Papers fly into my car.  I grab them up, hand them out the window to the women.  They are grateful, but more papers keep flying about.  Seems to be no way to gather them all up.

June 6, 2011
Sharing a house with others.  Dirty dishes and clutter on every surface.  I want some water but cannot find a clean glass. Finally find one.  I savor the glass of water as I drink it slowly.  Took so much to get it.  I pitch a system to keep the dishes clean and clutter down.

I’m with C., attending a play.  We find two seats at the end of an aisle.  He doesn’t really like them, but I am happy to sit on the end of an aisle.  But I can’t see the others in the audience because groups of people are sitting together huddled under tarps.  I don’t know why.  The performer comes on stage.  He is singing Yiddish songs.

Another woman and I are staffing a restaurant.  She takes her turn for a break and I am trying to manage on my own.  Restaurant had been empty, but now people are coming in.  The tables aren’t ready for them; dirty cloth napkins strewn about.  I feel confused; don’t really know how to deal with so many customers.  The owner comes in, asking me if I don’t want her to tell me where to find more napkins.  Yes, I answer, I would love to know where the napkins are.  Customers are looking for me in the kitchen so they can place their orders.  I’m beginning to feel panicky.  Owner very displeased with me.  Says this is an up-scale restaurant and the service must be better.  I can’t wait for the other server to come back from break because she knows how to handle this.

February 4 2011
I’m picking up the house, putting things away, cleaning out closet full of coats.  C’s’ clothes.  Someone else is advising which to give to Goodwill.  Cleaning out drawers.  I have too much stuff.   Need to clean out and organize.

January 19, 2011 
Find a purse I had lost at a hotel on Rockaway Blvd two years ago.  Purse, wallet – including cash, credit cards, and checks for art work – and eyeglasses retrieved!  Elated!

November 27, 2010
Kelly (real-life lawyer) sees my copy of a Burroughs book about a savage coming to civilization (Tarzan?) and asks me to route (a play on homophone?) to her when I’m done.  I say it’s from the Portland Public Library System, not the state library system, so I can’t route it, but she can get her own copy.  She’s surprised by this.   Where is the library, she asks?  I explain to her about going to the Website, finding a branch by her work or home.  I tell her  she doesn’t need to wait until I return my copy, the system probably has several copies. Each library can have its own copy? she exclaims in amazement.  They might have several copies, I tell her, depending on how popular the book is.  She is amazed.

She emails me a question about finding the book but I can’t take it because I’m helping someone else, A., on her computer, who then gets nasty.  She and her coworker want my help, but won’t give me their personal e-mail addresses.  She also doesn’t want me formatting her information after I find it for her on the computer.  She dictates a lengthy e-mail address that is hard to understand, and I have trouble writing it legibly because I don’t really hear it clearly.

L. very self-conscious about a problem in her mouth.  Wants to wear a handkerchief scarf on her head, but backwards so it’s facedown, hiding her face.  R. counseling her.   Tells her how to dance – arrange your face like you hate someone.

(High school friend) R.  also challenging someone and being very nasty.  Uses some of F’s delivery and words.  I wonder, is this how people talked in high school and I just missed it?

Then Kelly or someone similar has problem with her baby and leaves it in a sock on the concrete, as Kelly runs across the way to dump a dirty diaper.  I wonder if the baby is still alive.

Something about my not fitting in.

Someone added a person on their phone to a group that automatically get contacted when another person is called.  Some says she will not be the person’s friend anymore since she divorced the husband.  I realize then that I had accidentally, automatically added someone to the group when I was talking against them  on the phone.  It was another lawyer who works with Kelly.  I figure the lawyer will sue me because she heard me bad mouth her on the phone to someone else.  I realize the universe has no tolerance for me bad mouthing anyone.  I reflect that I don’t believe the universe is a consciousness to make such a judgment and decision. But, even so, it is happening and I cannot say one more bad thing about anyone; the universe will not tolerate it.  I await being sued.

November 26, 2010
(My real-life friend) L. tells me that I’m a coward.  I protest; tell her not to judge since she was not in my shoes.  Tell her I had fought bravely my whole life, every moment, to overcome all obstacles.

November 3, 2010 
I was driving along a highway, and it led me to a long bridge.  The bridge ended and I had to get out of the car at some kind of transfer station.  Confusing.  Next, we were being transported through an underground tunnel.  Everyone loaded onto transport cars, like through a mine.  Then — that’s what it was!  I had signed up for a mining experience.  To see wonderful rock formations.  But, I hadn’t thought about it being underground.  Oh, well.  An adventure, I thought.

Then they put an oxygen mask to my mouth and nose.  I resisted.  I was the only one getting a mask — was something wrong with me that I needed it?  “Just breathe normally,” the guide said when I was gasping in air.  I had trouble getting the hang of it.  Then I saw the people on the transport carts getting fitted, too.  The air was so thin in the mine everyone needed to wear them.  “Do I have to wear this the whole time?”  Yes.  I said, no, I couldn’t do it.  I was too claustrophobic.  Being in the underground mine would be bad enough; the oxygen mask would make it unbearable for me.  “Two plus two equals ten,” someone said.  I said right, it would be too much.

Then they had to figure out what to do with me if I wouldn’t do the tour.  I wanted to wait for the cart to come back at the end of the tour and take me out.  But, another woman figured out a different mine I could do, which wouldn’t require the oxygen mask.  The man who had been helping me with the mask would be my individual guide.  He didn’t seem too happy about it; he would have to work the afternoon that he thought he could relax through.  “Put on your clothes,” she said.  What clothes?  “The flannel shirt, the dungarees, the socks . . .”  Oops.  I forgot the instructions sent to me before the tour.  “All I have are these sandals, this tee-shirt, these jeans.”

“Designer jeans for the mine?  Well, if that’s what you want.”

I found my bag with some clothes.  No red plaid flannel shirt, but I had socks and a long-sleeve shirt, better shoes.  I started to put them on.  The guide was growing impatient waiting for me.  I would have to wear the oxygen mask in the tunnel to the mine, but once at the mine, I could take it off.

I thought it got warmer deeper in the earth, not cooler.  But, I was getting chilly and was glad to put the socks and other clothes on.

The other workers in the mine were hippies.  Lots of tied-dyed blankets, long hair.  They spoke their own lingo and in riddles; I couldn’t understand them.

September 29, 2010
F. yells at me to get out , get out (note – just as he did in real life).  Then, Joe A. is waving a gun around; shoots it off but it is not loaded.  Scary nonetheless.  (note — F. has brought violence to my dreams.)

September 24, 2010
Discussing natural laws in the dream, and how to understand them. How some natural laws cannot be understood; they defy logic. The basics are beyond comprehension — how could the universe come from nothing? Where does the universe reside? How can space exist without borders, since our minds only can comprehend space as the empty insides of a container?

And then the answer was revealed to me. There is no world existing outside of the world created virtually within our minds. And, since no world exists outside of our minds — our minds can create a world that has no restrictions from natural laws. Natural laws don’t really exist — they don’t have to make sense, because no external world exists.

The world and universe are only virtual — projections from our collective brains. So, all the effort we humans put into understanding science is for naught; only the illusion of natural laws exist, and they do not have to make sense because no world is hinged together by them. All is a virtual projection, that is all. And within that knowledge exists ultimate freedom.

(Note – Yes, that was a dream!)

February 4, 2010
Swimming lessons, scheduled for 6:15 am Tuesday morning.

A woman receiving a new engagement ring told everyone the stone was too small, oblivious to her fiance’s embarrassment.

Shopping with someone – (artist) Laurel?  A beautiful bag of lipsticks – sticks of color – like a bag of drawing pastels.  Colors repeated outside the bag, a purple suede bag.  Loved it.  I combine the sticks to produce different lipstick colors.  Did a role play in front of others.  Shopping with my mother, with her saying she wasn’t made of money and couldn’t buy it for me.  But I would give it to myself, now, give myself whatever I wanted, I think.

Petting a bored dog.

February 3, 2010
Gorley dream. He was rather short, not very attractive. But I still loved his voice.

February 2, 2010
Sister and I lying in beds with heads tilted down off the beds, vocalizing in unison to find our lowest notes. Uncle I uses his key to enter the apartment, and finds us without our being prepared.

January 17, 2010
I passed first two  hurdles to acceptance to University in Minnesota – Northwestern, or Northwest by North – to do the final year of a bachelor’s degree.  I’m very excited; it would mean being the literature and liberal arts scholar I wanted to be.  Would have to leave a boyfriend – it would be hard to tell him – but I would do it.

 January 15, 2010

I have a broken arm in a cast (note –from movie Inglourious Basterds – leg in cast)  Could I stay in hospital a few days, because my parents won’t be home to take care of me?  Negotiations with insurance.

January 2, 2010

I’m given a small gun and the RSS 4-digit code to use it if necessary.  Seems small and  harmless; I must remind myself that it can be deadly.  Strategically left in a drawer in case I need it when we get a visitor.

M. speaking about a cocaine addiction.  I reflect how I might have gotten into cocaine if I stuck with M. and members of his crowd, like F.

Selling my cards at work.  I’m late getting the cards out.

December 26, 2009
I’m in brother’s body; I see that when I look in the mirror. I am ugly. How hard it must be to be him and be ugly.

December 18, 2009
In the water.  Suddenly the thousand whale-like fish come to the surface.  They link together in desperation, hoping by sticking together they will have some protection.  A bottom feeder is awake and looking for prey.  A shark?  I link together with the other fish, hoping to be spared.  But the sharks are snipping at those next to me.  Finally one grabs the wristband of my watch.  I fight it off — that is too much to put up with.  The shark spits it out, saying “I don’t do computers, anyway.”  Then Joy gets up doing a public service announcement.  Says that it is dangerous to link together as a way to try to protect ourselves.  I ignore her message.

Next, I’m in the Matrix.  The police are shooting bullets at the people in the streets.  But everyone is now in slow motion, the bullets hang in the air.  I can catch one in my bare hands.  Something written on the bullet.  Some people are moving at normal speed.  They are not in the Matrix.  They can’t see the – people who are in a different reality.  I explain this to others in the Matrix.

December 13, 2009
At a concert; people I was with wanted to change our seats because we were sitting far back. I was sitting next to Bob Dylan, who had found the perfect gun to carry so that people would know he was tough and wouldn’t mess with him. When my friends changed their seats, I left mine to go with them, but then I couldn’t find them again. Finally found seat in front row. The concert kept getting delayed. Waiting; one singer would get up and start but then be interrupted. I had purse on the floor. Also a little box I must not lose. I lost the box going through the rooms of the old house, but Charles found it for me. Next, going through the rooms of the old house, I lost my purse somehow. How could I be so careless?

I was wheeling a blind child into class on a hospital bed, then the child turned into a blind old woman. She could not support her head; her neck had been broken. I got her into her room and put her head back in place when it flopped forward out of control. She said she knew I loved her from the way I took care of her. I was happy when she got a pillow for her head.

I had lost my purse, but she told me to look in the drawer and I found it. Relieved and grateful.

December 6, 2009
Saw friend Marcia in person, for the first time in decades. At the doorstep, she is placing on my face a billowing skirt. I ask, is it to hide the years?

I am walking in the street, almost getting hit by cars as I try to cross. Trying to cross wide, muddy NYC streets. Wish I had remembered the construction going on and worn more appropriate footwear.

Following narrow, arduous paths with older people. I try to get them to let me carry some of their packages, but they put off giving them to me. Finally one lets me help her carry the packages. They are not heavy for me. I’m going down steep stairs, almost like ladders. I manage okay, but they have to show me how to do it. They give me directions as I drive narrow roads; I have trouble seeing the path; it’s hidden and I don’t really remember it very well from before. Then I’m trying to keep up the bamboo blinds on the wide window, trying to keep them up on their own during Shabbos when I don’t want to be raising them. A couple of people show me how to add a rope to tie it to the path we were just using a rope to climb; that way we won’t be working on Shabbos. But it’s already Shabbos so I’m breaking Shabbos to tie it. They say I was the religious one and here I’m the one doing this breaking of the Sabbath. I don’t really care that much, just want the blind up safely. Very long rope, maybe too long.

Twin boys. My family had one set of twins, but only one. Perhaps I would have given birth to twins, if I had ever had children. Mommy said I would have kept them because I love twins. I said she is right. The twins are very active, but now one asks for a baby bath. I’ve seen how to do it – Pearl demonstrated – but I’m not sure I know how. I’m looking for baby cleansers and powders. Twins are Julian and another J name.

I’m in a movie but all the actors are much older and ugly. One gets right in my face and her nose changes into a carrot and other things. I become concerned that the drainage tubes at the inner corners of my eyes are bigger than other people’s; they hang down a lot. I want to look at other people’s eyes to see what theirs are like, but it seems too much to look these people in the eye to see.

November 28, 2009
I’m attending Bernard’s workshop, held at his home in Minnesota.  I need to let parents know where I am.  Oh, they can just call my cell phone now; always know how to find me now with cell phones; I don’t need to give them the workshop phone number.

Maestro in another apartment. I’m in the bathroom but can’t lock the door. Others are looking in at me. I’m left behind at maestro apartment – can I find my way back? Bernard has a beautiful apt; how does one get in and out of kitchen and dining area? Oh, I see, a little push door. B’s wife is old and ugly. Four children.  One “Eric,” two young girls, one named Stephen King, and a baby, too.

(Later)

At a weekend retreat. Feeling left out by the other girls. Time for me to pack. Not sure when leaving. Call parents? Find other women. They are going to sunbathe, except for Yoda. Maybe we will walk on beach; then I have to pack. I’ll pack, then call parents. So much to pack. Many bead necklaces; plastic jars full of beads.  Won at gambling?  Won a few dollars gambling.  (Note – V. wrote she won money at bingo in Atlantic City.) Have to check out of room by noon.  Not sure if workshop retreat is over. I’ll take towel and some other things in case I sunbathe.  Can’t find cell phone to call parents. Find it when call comes in from Dr. Harbinger (?), whom I saw (in earlier dream) for flulike symptoms. He is obsessed with illness being caused by using wrong type of potato peeler, which allows bacteria to enter the body.

Victoria Secret models. Some were forced to have surgery to make themselves more beautiful, but their faces scarred in process – though still beautiful.

On the phone with S. We agree to call a truce. She says, in a whisper, that I should have called her on her bad behavior long before I did. I feel foolish. I say I won’t wait next time. Though, look, it’s happening already – her putting me down and my putting up with it.

September 5, 2009 
On a train. Walking back and forth through the cars looking for someone to tell me which way to go. Wanted to find something … a place where tickets were sold? No, something. It was near the end of a bridge, but which way?  Asked different people, but no one could help.

March 7, 2009
Mommy and Daddy fighting in the next room about me, about the new towels – hand towels – and towels racks I introduced. They are very upset. Also about the new jewelry I bought – earrings. I had tried to make other changes. They are very upset and agreeing to confront me and make me change everything back.  They will help me. They will tell me I have to return the earrings. But, I have already taken them out of the packages and I no longer have the receipts. Sister says just return them, but I explain why I can’t – I don’t have the packaging or the receipts. I say I will not be the old Barbara, getting upset and fighting with them. I will be the new Barbara; I will just say yes, even though not possible to return things. Later I will explain the problem, after initially not disagreeing.

Mommy and Daddy come in. I’m in bed, I sit up straight with covers around me. They say they have two hours and 17 minutes to “help” me get everything straightened out. Mommy asks where the earrings are. I tell them all my jewelry is in the jewelry box. (Note – I was first, only  one in family to pierce my ears, so the earrings represent newness; parents never had hand towels) She holds up my pearls (note: my prized jewelry, my first earrings, a gift) and says their purpose is noise reduction. She is putting something like pink liquid paper on them to test for noise reduction. I can’t help myself, I’m protesting this because the liquid will permanently mark the pearls. Can’t you consult a book to find out the answer, instead of damaging the pearls?  (ote: I’m so upset, I wake from the dream. Dream is like the real life “new rules” Daddy would impose, and how I’d be punished for doing or bringing in anything new that upset their status quo. In the dream I recognized my error was disrupting their status quo with new things and that was why they were upset. I go back to sleep; the dream continues.) Then, in conversations with Sister, I explained my financial situation, that I could afford the earrings, etc., that I bought. She said, wasn’t I worried about finances in this economy where loans could not be had? I said, a little.

 Jan 21, 2009
Up, up many stairs. Needed help on getting up a ladder. Got the attention of people going down stairs to help hoist me up. I did not have abdominal strength myself, enough to get my body up after my legs, upside down.  They helped.

Jan 20, 2009,  Inauguration Day
A conference. Bernard starring. I lie in large room filled with many sleeping people. I am trying to put something together. A document, which I’m trying to read. Don’t want to transcribe literally because I want to improve on something not clear, but I don’t think I have authority to edit something already vetted. I whisper, “If (so and so) is there, I have a question.” (not Bernard, someone else.) My whisper wakes everyone up. (It was Bernard now I think, or maybe it starts out as Robert Redford.) Even though he is not in the room, he hears me. Oops, I hadn’t realized it is 1:30 in the morning. I have woken everyone. Bette W. on the far end of the room has heard me. People annoyed, but not too angry. I feel embarrassed and ashamed. They will create new procedures to avoid repeats in the future.

Bernard (it’s Bernard now) says that “they” (is he married, I wonder?) are in a house nearby. I say I didn’t realize he lived in Phoenix. He said no, they moved from the conference building to the house across the street early this morning. So if I have more questions I know where to find him.

In conference. I feel disconnected. Can’t find my two cell phones – old and new. Finally find them; one is in my bag in a different slot, other in suitcase. I am disorganized, so many bags. I throw up, maybe. I try to find someone to connect with, someone to sit with. I gravitate towards other  people on the fringes.  Asian people.  Perhaps on fringes because of English skill level, or they are shy.  {stereotype}  I have trouble ordering the meal.  Others have one-line meals, but mine takes up nine lines.

I ordered a hat. So did Debra S. With emblem (recent OLCC clothing order with logo). I submitted her slip with mine. But, there was only one hat left for us. I find it important for the last hat to go to her. Confusion with the man taking the orders. After he realizes he can’t fill all of them, he says to me, why do you want a hat? His tone suggests that it is not desirable. I insist the last hat go to Debra and she not even know that I made the switch to make sure she got the hat. Seems very important to me for some reason.

I almost get hit by a car. I see it coming straight at me. I get out of the way at the last moment. People say it was very close, and that he kept plowing through the intersection without caring that I was there. I am in shock, terrified. At the close call. The vision of the car bearing down on me.

Back at the conference, confusion about the bill and paying for the meal. More interaction with Bernard.  Sitting across from him at a table, I ask how business is. He says not very good.

© 2009-2011 Barbara E. Berger, All rights reserved.

2 Responses to Dream Journal

  1. andrew says:

    You have a very unique perspective of recording your dreams you write them down in a much different way then i do at http://www.andrewsthoughts.com it’s very interesting :D!

  2. andrew says:

    It feels like im reading a book :).

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