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Posts Tagged ‘Dreams’

Anyone else feel like you’re mutating? Like we’ve gone into the Matrix, and how the heck do we get back out?

When we drive around town, which is maybe once or twice a week, we are seeing people walking into restaurants, no masks, no problems. We saw a protest on the capitol lawn of American flag-waving, freedom-loving, red-hatted zealots who probably think this virus was a hoax. Clumps of young people sunbathe on blankets all over our local park; probably 10% have masks on.

The city’s Black funeral home is busy every single day, maybe 50% of mourners are wearing masks.

You’ve heard of the old saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” I’m almost tempted to go back to “normal,” throw caution to the wind, but the doctors in the family say it’s too soon. It’s as if the combination of spring weather mixed with partial re-opening has affected everyone’s short-term memory. But I urge you to take a look at this website, click on the arrow to the right of the United States to find your state, and look at the graphs for social distancing compared to newly confirmed cases of Covid.

https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america

I once said you have to suspend your disbelief to function rationally under Mr T’s Twitter rule. And now he tells us he’s been taking a dangerous drug, hydroxychloroquine, ever since his “Valet” tested positive. And guess what, I don’t believe him.    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/us/politics/trump-hydroxychloroquine-covid-coronavirus.html

I don’t believe anything that vulgar person says. I do however believe my husband, who tells me that deaths will spike on those charts in just a few weeks. I dreamt about Great Grandma Ada last night – we were sitting too close to people at a table in a mess hall that looked like Camp St Joseph for Girls’ St Augustine’s Hall.

If my dream life is getting weird, why not try weird on for size? I enjoyed reading this article in the NYTimes Magazine on Sunday. The author decided to practice some radical behavioral changes while confined, like getting rid of chairs and sitting and working on the floor. It’s almost a Zen reaction, to give into the craziness, the loneliness of this time with the coronavirus.

“If you believe that identity is behavior — that you are how you act, not what you think or how you feel — then you understand that adjectives like ‘‘normal’’ or ‘‘functional’’ require constant tending. If you change your conduct, you can change your life: how simple, and how daunting! All it took for me to become unrecognizable was to start acting like a different person. In theory, this should work in reverse too. When this is all over, I can return to chairs and forks and sleep. It would probably be for the best.”    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/05/11/magazine/quarantine-insanity.html                           

Stay in your PJs, throw out your bras, serve pancakes for dinner! I could actually exist on Bob’s sourdough bread with Irish butter. Submit to the “Evil Empire of Amazon!” My sister Kay just told me I hadn’t changed much over the years, but she was talking about my appearance. Thanks Kay, maybe that’s why I dyed my hair pink? And why I learned how to mend clothes with Shashiko embroidery. If you told me last year that I’d be taking a Pilates class on Zoom today, I wouldn’t believe it.

Change is just about all we can rely on; if we change our behavior, do we change our identity?  92588620-7413-4943-93BD-EC245C16467A

 

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Anyone else having pandemic dreams? We’ve reversed our dream life lately; Bob has been having Covid nightmares and I can’t seem to recall my dreams.

Normally, I have a vivid and colorful dream or two every night, while Bob wakes up empty handed in the morning. He’ll listen stoically over coffee while I regale him with my nightly scenario, only to tell me he’s got nothing. I insist he must have been dreaming, he just can’t remember.

My dreams are the usual anxiety type – “I’m about to take a test and realize I never went to the class,” or “I’m about to get on a plane and the pilot is someone I know who doesn’t know how to fly.” They are actually pretty straight forward, and sometimes my dreams are a reminder to do something I’ve been putting off, like make an appointment with a dentist.

Good luck with that one now, although I could drive to Georgia to get a tattoo!

This morning, for the first time in weeks, almost 6 weeks in fact, I remembered my dream. I was in charge of a theatrical production and I’d promised a script to someone… I was running around but I couldn’t find it. (This is me. Every. Damn. Day with my phone) so I had to go outside… to find the script or the person. And the outside was like the outside of my original high school in NJ, only the sidewalk was crowded with people. I had to yell at everyone to “Make Way!” It was like the parting of the sea, get out of my way, “Back Up!”

Obviously a quarantine dream. Bob, on the other hand, has been dreaming like crazy! He gets into a situation and realizes he’s too close to someone. Or he’s all of sudden surrounded by people and has to figure the safest, best way out.

In general, fear is the dominant emotion manifested by coronavirus dreams. When fear or anxiety becomes too intense during our waking lives, deep, REM sleep fails and we may experience repetitive nightmares. Psychologists say that sharing your dreams with others may help .

“During our dream states, stress sends the brain on a trip. The neurobiological signals and reactions that produce dreams are similar to those triggered by psychedelic drugs, according to McNamara. Psychedelics activate nerve receptors called serotonin 5-HT2A, which then turn off a part of the brain called the dorsal prefrontal cortex. The result is known as “emotional disinhibition,” a state in which emotions flood the consciousness, especially during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, when we typically dream.”  https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/04/coronavirus-pandemic-is-giving-people-vivid-unusual-dreams-here-is-why/

During the 60s, I didn’t really participate in the psychedelic drug scene, remember I went to Catholic school. The whole idea of walking around inside a hallucination never appealed to me, I’d rather be asleep on such a phantasmagorical journey. But this global pandemic is novel, it’s not confined by country or ideology. We are all experiencing a kind of PTSD, well most of us who aren’t driving around with Confederate flags on our pick-ups eager to open up commerce cause, ya know.

They’d rather sacrifice lives and die than have their liberty trampled! Who doesn’t need a good haircut about now?

I’m sick and tired of the vernacular of fear. Of a toddler/president who thinks everybody loves him. Of a government that can’t organize a simple supply chain for SWABS! I’m sleep and dream deprived but I’m not willing to give up now, not when my daughter has spent the last 3 days working in an ER.

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This morning I slept late. I woke from another nightmare. This is the only time in my life where I’ve been having back to back nightmares. I can get pretty Freudian about my dream life; when something unusual like this happens, I pay attention. My unconscious mind is telling me it’s time to change the rules of the game.

“Everyone I know is in transition,” Great Grandma Ada said. We’ve been trying to convince her it’s time to become a Snow Bird, and she is finally ready. She is ready to end the virtual search and start scouting out the places her friends have landed on the beautiful FL coastline. Of course, anyone who knows her can tell you she never met a stranger. Whatever community that is just quirky enough to tickle her fancy, she will become the ruling Queen Bee in a matter of days! Still, it won’t be easy leaving the house you called home for fifty years.

The Bride and Groom are buying their first home together. Yes, it kills them to see how prices have gone through the roof in Nashville over the past five years, but they thought by this time they would have been headed home to VA – a place for lovers and two sets of loving grandparents! But life being what it is, and their careers just starting to take off, they decided to stay put. I know in my head it was the right decision, but my heart is just catching up with my head.

They made an offer on a perfect house today. Fingers crossed please.

The Rocker and Ms Cait have acclimated to the West Coast. It fits them to a T, I would love to see more of them, but they are happy in the hills of LA. Both creative types, doing well in their fields; my son is in his perfect place. And lucky for me, he has been staying out of my nightmares!

And us? Well we sold the tiny town house to the parents of one of the tenants, almost too easily, while we were on vacation. We never went to market. The father is actually a physician too, and his wife loved the house from the moment their daughter moved into an upstairs bedroom. No more urgent emails and calls in the early morning – “The smoke detector isn’t turning off;” “The kitchen faucet is broken;” “There’s a squirrel in the chimney!” I loved that charming hundred year old house. And it’s strange to think we don’t have our future charted. We won’t be living in town, so where will we be living? Someplace warm for Bob, someplace near the grandbabies for me. My North Star is hiding.

These are the dark and scary things of my 3 am night life, the feeling of being uprooted, of being immobilized, of not belonging. There is death, and public humiliation. Oh yes, Jung gets into my free-wheeling interpretations. Traveling back and forth over the Delaware River Water Gap as a child, to visit my birth family, left me always seeking a safe harbor, a port in the storm.

Retirement looms large as the big unknown future unfolds at its own pace. Bob worries he might be bored no longer working. I personally don’t think boredom is an option for him. He is a nomad, and would love to travel the world, footloose and fancy free. Not me, a home base is essential to my quiet dream life. But wherever I land, I will keep writing so long as my fingers, and my mind, keep working. I just sat down in front of a blank piece of paper and drew a clock, so all is not lost! http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/384949524/the-unknown-brain?showDate=2016-03-25

I read that our generation, the Baby Boomers, will redefine our golden years in the same way we created a cultural revolution in the 60s and 70s. I suppose that is true. Aging in place, maybe. Co-housing, why not? Didn’t Bob go to Woodstock! No dressing for dinner in a retirement home for us, with Frank Sinatra playing in the background. Does the AARP print a rule book? We really never wanted to play by the rules, so why would we now?

My psychologist brother, Dr Jim, just sent me this article about nursing homes; fair warning, it’s not pretty. http://www.vox.com/2015/12/2/9826772/life-lessons-nursing-home?mc_cid=042158e728&mc_eid=e134d96057

Here’s my theory: If for most of your life you are concerned with the mundane (which, think about it, always involves personal comfort) then when you get old and feel a lot of pain, that’s going to be the only thing you’re going to think about. It’s like a muscle — you developed the mundane muscle and not the other one.

So I’m working on my creativity and compassion muscles, how about you? Here is our high school reunion picture from 1996 – this year will be our 50th! Bob is front and center, can you find me next to Bess? Hint, third row from bottom on the right. 10366217_974001499278561_5244274030678340288_n

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There’s snow on the ridgeline this morning. I’m back in my mountain home after 10 hours on the road with my 4 month old Bug and her parents. She did well for about 7 hours with many stops, which is 1 hour more than my limit in a car. And yesterday I did the hand off to the other set of grandparents for their New Year’s week visit. In the midst of this transition, after my long stretch of babysitting, I had a nightmare.

The Bride was leaning back on the balcony of a large white iconic building (hospital?) and she fell slowly over the edge. I watched incredulously but could not reach her in time. When I looked over, she was hanging on by her fingertips. “Help her!” I yelled at Bob and then promptly woke up in a sweat. She had worked 5 straight nights in a row (including Christmas Eve and Christmas) and before that, 4 daytime shifts. Shift work takes its toll on a body, just ask any nurse or police officer.

“Society is oriented toward traditional daytime work hours and work at night will often intensify fatigue and reduce alertness. Workers generally will not acclimate to night work, and sleep patterns will generally be disrupted so the non-work periods do not provide full recovery, resulting in sleep deprivation. Studies suggest that it can take up to 10 days to adapt to a night time work schedule.” http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/faq_longhours.html

When I was writing about normal holiday stress, I didn’t factor in having to change your circadian rhythm or nursing a 4 month old baby. I always joked that Bob became a director because he didn’t want to work nights; only it’s not a joke. He won’t do nights, he sleeps…at night. If he met a doc who wanted to work nights, he would hire him/her immediately. Keep this in mind future EM residents, if you are a night owl, you have an advantage.

Naturally, the Love Bug is off her schedule. Babies will change it up just when you figure it out, but this little nugget has been in 2 different homes the last few days and her mama was away many nights and sleeping-in many mornings. I tried to explain it all to her, I told her that she can be very proud of her mommy for saving lives. I told her that things will get better in the New Year. Her daddy and I did our best to play guitar and sing her to sleep at night. Hang on baby girl. Our country may sail over a cliff, but your mama is on solid ground.

My big news of Christmas week is the birth of 2 brand new baby girls! Congratulations and welcome to the world Great Nieces’ Francesca Lynn and Evan Margot. Have a very happy and healthy New Year everyone!
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