Saturday, February 28, 2009

And *MY* answers are:

I haven't a clue if I dream every night. I suppose so since experts
say everybody does... but only on occasion do I remember them when I
wake and it amazes me how fast they crumble away.

My dreams seem very colorful but silent. I seem to save the noise for
annoying daytime earworms.

Repeating dreams? Yes! I dream about school - usually high school and
tests I'm not prepared for or classrooms I can't locate (anxiety
dreams). Filthy bathrooms (finally figured out those are "Wake up and
go!" signals). Volcanos and tornados (urprisingly those are somewhat
pleasant). Misplacing a child.

It may not exactly be controlling a dream but the last scary dream I
had I reminded myself it was a dream and relaxed. Have done that a
few times. Situations that might be thought frightening don't seem to
be, viz the tornados and volcanos above.

I dream about familiar places more than people. Schools, houses from
my past. They seem convenient backdrops for action. The people I know
in my dreams seldom look like they do in real life. I just know who
they are when I'm remembering the dream.

The aspect I find most interesting about my dreams is how I often
play several characters at the same time - and can observe a person
in the dream and know it is me while I watch from outside of me. The
cheerfully disjointed logic is often entertaining.

(Thanks to all the folks who have shared their thoughts on the subject.)

Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm Asking...

Dream Meme

This is not a scientific survey. It is prompted by my curiosity about
how people other than myself experience their dreams. Please feel
free to pass it on to ONE person and send your answers to me:
nightsnare@gmail.com

Do you dream every night?

Do you remember your dreams in the morning?

Are your dreams in color?

Do you hear sounds in your dreams?

Do you have repeating dreams or dreams with similar subjects?

What are they?

Do you have frightening dreams or nightmares?

Are you able to control your dreams (lucid dreaming)?

Do you dream about people or places you know?

What do you think is the most significant thing about your dreams?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What are yours like?

Dreams. The night-blooming variety. Mine are infrequently remembered,
probably the result of my apnea. It is exciting when one stays around
for daytime perusal. I'm curious about the experience of dreams. Mine
are very visual and colorful. Silent. Never scary and often pleasant
- even when the events of the dream are chaotic. There are repeating
themes and places. The people in my dreams tend to be shadowy beings,
backdrops to the action. I seldom dream of specific people I know
and when I do they often look like somebody else and I just recognize
them somehow.

I'm curious about other experiences of dreams. Do you hear voices in
yours? Do you have nightmares? Do you people your dreams with friends
and family? Do you have on-going stories, or repetition? Are the
mechanics of dreaming the same for all of us?

I may have to pick up my notebook and begin a survey. Your comments
would be highly appreciated!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Have I Mentioned....?

This architectural subject has probably come up every winter for the
past fourteen years since that is how long we've lived in this house:
the room layout is backward.

Coastal Oregon has regular weather patterns. In summer the prevailing
wind is from the north, in winter it is from the south. Winter winds
drive the rain making it a diagonal force to consider and plan
around. Summer winds can be quite chill on an otherwise warm day.
Okay, got the basic game rules?

The folks who built this house had lived here for some time and
should presumably have been familiar with the weather. So why did
they put the bedrooms on the south end of the house where each winter
storm creates a cacophony of raindrops pelting the windows that is
like an all night gravel-on-glass assault? And why make the obvious
place for an attached deck be the part of the house that gets full
force of those cold northern breezes? What were they thinking? Flip
the floorplan and bedrooms are protected from lashing wind and rain.
The deck is still off the kitchen/service porch but now sheltered
from the chill gusts of summer.

I may not know what was in their minds when they designed this house
but I know what was in ours when we bought without checking for such
things: not much.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Repeating Myself?

I'm getting to the age where I can't remember what subjects I've
ranted upon and to which audience said rant was aired. My best
stories and most pungent comments get repeated and embellished,
polished and perfected - or at least pulled out and dusted off - so
that friends and blog readers get non-instant replays. I guess the
instant replays are yet to come?

Over coffee a pal can interrupt with an "Oh yes, I recall you telling
me..." and hope I'll take the hint and switch gears. Blog readers
don't feel the need to be so polite. We merely hit a button and move
on, much as we take our business from one store to another or change
television channels.

The nice thing about aging, and there are few enough that I feel the
need to point them out when I discover them, is that the company I
keep is getting old in tandem with me. They forget too, and so may
not remember that this is the forty-third time I've told a particular
story. They are also repeating themselves. We exchange gentle
interruptions or gift each other with one more session of listening.
How I appreciate them withholding rolled eyes and yawns as I launch
one more time into an opinion or joke and find myself suspecting that
they've heard it before. And maybe before that?

(The above was engendered by me wondering if I'd blogged about the
backward layout of my house. WARNING: That topic is next!)

Amazed I am!


My friend at Sixtyfivewhatnow has nominated me for a blog award:

"This award acknowledges the values that every Blogger displays in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values with each message they write. Awards like this have been created with the intention of promoting community among Bloggers. It’s a way to show appreciation and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.”

I'm not sure how my scribbling adds value to the internet but it is an honor to be acknowledged.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oregon Morning

I love my home here in Oregon. It was a long held dream to leave the
suburbs and have a piece of land to inhabit, to learn and savor. When
we moved here these 14 acres were doing their best to survive
mistreatment. Previous residents had dumped garbage hither and yon;
the fields were criss-crossed with forgotten fencing, rusted barbed
wire and abandoned logging cables. The seller chopped down half the
remaining trees before we threatened to cancel the sale if he
harvested one more. Even in that condition this land was pleasing and
we set out to help it heal.

And now, almost fifteen years later, how it enchants me. Because of
my arthritic knees I can't wander it anymore but the land brings its
magic to me. This morning, for instance...

The sun crests the eastern hills around 8:15AM. The trees behind my
house mark its impending arrival as the golden lights flows down from
their tops, illuminating the particular green of each different
specie - Douglas Fir, Myrtle, Madrone, Alder. The alders aren't green
yet but the sun picks out branch and twig and highlights a Steller
Jay launches from his perch in the alder to glide over my head. I
hear the kong-ka-reee of red-winged blackbirds, the chatter from a
pair of chickadees, and a loud chirrup from a frog baritoning from
the boggy spot behind one of the out-buildings. I check to see if any
of the naturalized daffodils have bloomed. There are clumps of them
pushing through the dirt all over. I notice the buds beginning to
wake on the wild azaleas. It will be a while yet but eventually their
flowers will perfume my morning air. So much to notice: the small
flying things warming in the sun. Those will be food for the swallows
- Tree, Barn, and Cliff - that will be returning next month. The
woodland hyacinths sprouting with the potential of their purple
carpet of blossoms. I marvel at how completely the scars of logging
have been hidden in 15 years. The small hill that was once stump-
covered is now invisible under its re-seeded trees. We planted
seedlings but Mother Nature did a far superior job of populating the
land with her choices.

I could have gone on and on, but my coffee got cold as I did my job
of loving this bit of earth and I came in to the keyboard to write
and share a bit of it. If words could only convey how what my eye
sees moves my heart!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Signs of the digital age

You can tell the digital age is in full swing when you find yourself
communicating with family and friends - not the far away kind mind
you, the spouse-in-the-house and next-door-neighbor kind, by email.
For some folks I suppose that also means texting but I'm not in that
generation. Well, maybe marginally. A little, Around the fringes. I
know CU and ROTFL and recognize emoticons but those are all very
dated, aren't they?

But email to exchange information between folks who share the same
property? It is rather like messaging the co-worker in the next
cubicle. My husband has even taken to using the phone as intercom to
talk to me when I'm at the opposite side of our house. We're aren't
talking about a sprawling mansion or multiple floors. Raise your
voice a bit and you can be heard in every room in the place.

Thankfully we stick to using technology to exchange interesting
articles and going-the-rounds humor. He reads online news and
forwards stories he thinks will interest me, like the I got today
about a sea otter observed at Depoe Bay. I have pals who send great
funnies and the best get forwarded to tickle his funny-bone. We still
talk, sometimes incessantly. And he monitors my off-key singing while
I listen to his snoring. The computer can't replace that. Or can it?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Save the cells!

Among my daily automated emails I receive one with snippets from
recent non-fiction books and magazines. They can be bits of biography
or history, and often science, oriented to the non-professional
interested in the variety of topics. Yesterday brought me several
paragraphs from an article by Tracey J. Shors titled: "Saving New
Brain Cells," (Scientific American, March 2009)

Despite what we were taught in school in the last century human
beings apparently DO manufacture new brain cells throughout our
lives. They seem to be spares, just-in-case cells that appear for
some reason, presumably in response to a mental workout, and
disappear within just a few weeks. Alcohol and indolence slow their
generation. Exercise and thinking/puzzle solving speeds production.

Golly. This information has given me a thinking bonanza. Athletes:
all that physical stuff encourages brain cells that then get pummeled
into mush viz repeated concussions and brain damage. Writers: Adding
up all those new cells that waste away as the owner is chair bound. I
doubt keyboarding is considered exercise. Me: Am I holding my own or
rapidly losing ground? Is it the same ones that appear and then die
or is it old ones leaving and new recruits showing up for duty? Are
some cells patriotic and sign up for sequential tours of duty while
others enlistees go AWOL?

My loyal troops are in need of assignment rotation. Guess I'll go
read a book.

For you rare few that read my blog you may notice I've added Matthew
Workman's blog to the list of blogs I follow. Mr. Workman used to be
a newscaster on one of the Medford, Oregon TV stations. He seemed a
genuinely nice guy (though his haircut used to make me borderline
apoplectic) and as a weekend anchor personality he became a favorite
with my husband. It was the husband who discovered the blog after
said TV station unfortunately un-hired Matt.

Take a look at his site. It is that of a man carefully balanced
between private and public life. You'll find interesting writing with
a sense of humor AND everything you never thought you needed to know
about the Faroe Islands.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

KIVA Three

Yesterday I made my third loan at KIVA.org - this one to a woman in
Samoa. Even more exciting for me, that loan was partially funded by
repayment of my loan to a man in Tajikistan. He can't know it, but
the return of money he borrowed has now helped someone else across
the world.

I feel a bit like a weaver, spinning a strand to connect us as people
and to clothe the planet with a glimmer of hope.

My next loan? Somewhere in Asia I think...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feeling VERY old!

Thank you Snowbrush for noticing the birth date on my profile. I'm rapidly aging but being 1756 WAS a bit before my time. I admit there are days when I feel even more ancient. Unfortunately not so much venerable as decrepit. I've changed the date to something more reasonable in the last century. And now I'll totter off to check my mummy wrappings. I'm a tad tattered.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Swans

Yesterday the hubbie and I went for a short drive to see if the flock
of wild swans was back. Each season they rest in a pasture near here
on their migration. There they were, three dozen or so white dots on
the far side of a field. I'm always thrilled to see them. I think it
is a sign for me that nature endures, separate and oblivious to mankind.

The wild creatures do not care about us and our fate. They want only
to be left alone to survive as they have always done - or not. They
ask only that we leave them alone. This means that we stay out of the
way and don't screw things up. When I see the swans, or the gray
whales, or a fox on the hillside I ask myself, "What have I done
today to mess up their world - and mine?" I try to make the answer:
nothing.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

It is Valentine's Day and bloggers all over will be writing about the
day. So I'll join the crowd and convey a few thoughts on the subject
of love.

Love is not Hallmark cards, bouquets of roses, chocolates, or
jewelry. It isn't trips to Paris nor romantic dinners for two. All
those things can be expressions on love - but they are the easy ones.
The man of my heart knows the hard ones. He's makes me laugh when I'm
feeling down. He's cleaned up unmentionable substances when I've been
sick. He's put up with my short temper, yo-yoing moods, and silliness
and still chooses to be my companion in life. He understands that
"Gee, a cup of coffee would be nice" is wife-talk for "Please bring
me coffee" and he brings coffee. He eats whatever I cook and says
"You made my favorite!" He puts me first - and despite the sags,
bags, and droops of my years he makes me feel loved.

Roses? I've had lots of flowers from him and he knows I prefer
chrysanthemums - and brings those. Though once there was a delightful
bouquet of tissue flowers he'd made and I remember those best.

Candy? Today we'll have the Umpqua ice cream in a sugar cone. He
knows I want it.

Cards? I have a collection of handmade cards - forty years of
Valentines from my sweetie.

And real love? That's the forty years together. Happy Valentine's
Day Chris.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A minor moment of Luddite

I've spent the past two days organizing and printing family photos
for our albums. Nothing artsy. I'm mostly a point and click
photographer and my pictures are collections and memories of places
and events seen, and people cared about. The digital age gave freedom
to the click part of point and click. Once my brain kept a running
total of what each picture would cost for time in the photo lab.
Remember paying all those bucks only to find blurry, over and under
contrasted what-was-I-thinking toss-in-the-wastebasket shots? Now
digital cameras have us clicking merrily knowing the losers don't
cost a penny.

All that clicking comes with a price of its own though, especially
for someone like me who has seen the rush of technology over the past
couple of decades. Printing the important memories on paper and
labeling them in an album is something I need to do. Sure, I can burn
all the ones and zeros to a disk and archive them. But what happens
when progress hits (again)? Remember 5-1/2" floppy disks? How about
3-1/4" floppies? Anything you saved on those is ancient history. All
those home movies we have in the attic on 8mm film... and the soon to
be obsolete VHS tapes? They are like my music collection that has
seen vinyl (45's and LP's), cassette, CD and now trembles at MP3's
and yes, I confess it, I have an iPod.

Pictures from the dawn of photography can still be viewed as prints.
I hope my photos will last at least as long as I do, regardless of
the leaps of science. Oh, I'll archive all the images to disk, but I
won't trust those digital images to be useable as long as the good
old-fashioned printed kind.

Monday, February 9, 2009

That dream

Maybe it was that dream. It's one of those left-over-from-schooldays
anxiety dreams. I'm standing in a field and the class is choosing
teams for some game. Everyone else has been chosen and I have to join
the side that is last to choose, to the jeers and catcalls and moans
of the kids already on the team.

Isn't that what so much of life is about? Wanting to be chosen to be
on the team, to be thought worthy by the rest of the kids? Rejected
early on and lacking sufficient ego to feel okay about myself I spent
much of my life compensating with a fragile act of superiority. I'd
sniff at the hoi-palloi and pretend that what interested them was
beneath me. Fairly bright and quick with language I sought refuge in
books and imagination. I'd be an artist, a musician, a poet, a
novelist... anything well removed from the sphere of those "average"
lunkheads.

Ah, but all those choices - artist, poet, composer - to do those well
(mediocre not being an option I could allow myself) require talent.
Commitment and work will make up for some shortcomings and perhaps
lead to Good in these fields but a spark is required for Great. Great
is what I desperately wanted and it was denied.

By middle age I'd adjusted to lack of talent and I settled down to
find Good. Alas, Good required more energy than I could summon. Good
wasn't going to happen either.

My ego, as I approach old, is better calloused. I care less about
proving my worth to the world and find myself willing to accept that
I am Unexceptional. Some might call it defeat. Others might call it
victory. It isn't either. It is survival. But that dream...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kitty

My husband is watching our housecat, Flickinger, take one of those
elaborate and protracted baths in the middle of the living room rug.
Husband is providing me with a stroke by stroke description: "Now
she's bathing her shoulder, now she's licking her paw and cleaning
between her toes..." on and on like that. I get exasperated with the
monologue and interject with "Maybe we should use a slightly moist
cat to dust the house!"

Husband barely pauses then concludes "We could put her on a dowel -
Swiffer with a Siren!"

Too cruel - but funny.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

She'll survive, but will we?

Twice in the past day I've heard quotes from scientists reminding us
that the planet earth is NOT in need of rescuing. So true, and I'll
add my voice to theirs.

FACT: The planet was here before us and will be here after us.

What is in desperate need of added and continual attention is the
environment that allows human beings to be part of the earth. The
rock we inhabit has a balance of conditions that must be maintained
if we are to live here. Life as a whole can tolerate far more
extremes than human beings so life will persist in some form. But us,
and our civilization? We are fast destroying the balance we need.
Will it be mass species suicide through ignorance and laziness?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Subjunctive

My husband and I got into a major discussion the other day about the
use of the subjunctive mood in English. This is an obvious sign of
long marriage as such an arcane topic seems unimaginable in
newlyweds. But I digress.

I was annoyed by an example on the flyleaf of a book just checked out
from the library, " Imagine it were possible..." My knowledge of
English usage comes primarily from reading and not from elementary
school sentence diagramming and so it depends a lot upon what sounds
proper to my ears. I hear "Imagine it WAS possible..." The
subjunctive reverberates with a loud *NO* inside my head. I've fussed
in the past over its use in music: "If I WERE a rich man", or Karen
Carpenter's "I wish I WERE with you." The hubbie is a big fan of
Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl and he was quick to point out
that the offending sentence was grammatically correct as are the
lyrics, and to instruct me upon the suitable use of the subjunctive.

For any of you as clueless as I, here is a quick squeak from the
dictionary:
"The subjunctive is used to express situations that are hypothetical
or not yet realized and is typically used for what is imagined, hoped
for, demanded, or expected... in English...distinctive only in the
third person singular, where the normal indicative -s ending is
absent, and in the verb to be."

I've learned from patient spousal tutelage that the subjunctive may
be right and proper (though somewhat uncommon) in English. If I WAS
in charge it would meet its demise. As I'm not I'll just demand that
he face the reality that I'll not like it! There Sweetie, subjunctive
used in your honor!