I’m Dreaming of Dead People

The one possible side-effect of taking Abilify that I have developed is having disturbing dreams.  I dream every night, and, except for occasional nights when I dream of still-living people — like work colleagues and former friends — my dreams have been filled with people in my life who are dead:  my parents, my ex-husband, my cousin Lorraine, one of my former boyfriends, my former boss, and even a guy I dated my freshman year in college who, I heard, died years later on an operating table. I was surprised that I even remembered him, as well as his name.

My dreams are fraught with frustration, as I navigate Escher-like landscapes in which I rarely find a way to get where I want to go.  The landscapes, based vaguely on places I have worked, lived, and danced, and are dark and distorted.  The people I encounter (not just the dead ones) make me feel uneasy, as though I know they don’t really like me.

I am always trying to get someplace, and I always can’t find where I parked my car. My efforts are thwarted by people and circumstances over which I have no control.

When I first started taking Abililfy, I had actual nightmares in which I was afraid for my life.  I would wind up forcing myself to wake up, and then I would lie there trying to figure out from where it was all coming.

There was a time, before I developed (and solved) a Circadian Rhythm problem, that I always had vivid dreams filled with color and sound and engaging adventures.   I still dream in color, and often hear sounds, including conversations, the actual words I can’t remember after I awake. It feels like I’m living in some alternate dystopian reality.  It is all too  real and unnerving.

I hope other dreams will come — sweet dreams the realities of which are comforting rather than disturbing.  For now, I will continue to try to figure out why I am always lost and searching and why there there are all of these dead people complicating my dream life.

Dear Diary: Late, Again

Here I am, already having missed a day venting my madness. This being late seems to be a trait I developed in my very late years. I used to arrive at my destinations at least 10 minutes early. None of that matters much any more anyway — and not because of the Coronovirus Pandemic, which has caused a lock-down and which gives folks too much time on their hands.

Today I’m mad about “Time.” It really seem to go faster as you get older. It takes me longer to do everything, including figuring out new things on this blog platform. You might have to bear with me for a while as I continue to climb the learning curve.

When I moved in here with my family, my grandson was 5 years old. Now, at age 17, he has completed his high school education as a home schooler. Twelve years, in the blink of an eye.

Today, I’m mad at Time, which can take me at any time. And I can’t turn it back to fix what I screwed up.

I will try to be on time tomorrow.

little altars everywhere

Yes, I know that’s the name of a book by the Ya-Ya writer, Rebecca Wells.

But in this case, I’m referring to this slide show of “altars” that people submitted to a request for “What’s on Your Shelf” from the blog on Killing the Buddha.

I’m not sure how I found that site — probably just surfing around, looking for something to think about, care about. Not that there isn’t plenty out there: homeless, bankruptcy, greed, war, fraud, despair. Oh, yes, plenty to think about and care about. Too much, as a matter of fact. Too much for my tired brain, tired heart.

If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him
is one of my favorite non-fiction books. Maybe by only favorite non-fiction book. So, it’s not surprising that when I ran across the Killing the Buddha website, I was intrigued.

I used to have an altar of sorts — that’s when I had room for a surface to put it on. Now I have a wall

that includes a witch’s broom, my old power stick, a quilted shield especially designed and constructed for me by my good quilter friend, my new walking stick, Acuaba, and a photoshopped picture of “witches at tea” using the faces of my women friends. As powerful and meaningful as any shelved altar, I would think.

My shelves themselves are stacked with books, craft patterns, and assorted other things of significance. For example:


You might notice the Tarot deck, the icons, the empty box from my 3G iphone, a mini cast iron cauldron. What you don’t see in the shelves below are my collections of beads and jewelry findings that I’m trying to find time to play with/work on.

As I hurry along to get ready for Christmas (yes, I do still call it Christmas; why not?), I think about the cocoon in which I have wrapped myself during this time of world wide insanity to escape from the fundamentalists, the radical atheists, the war mongers and warring sufferers, indeed, the sufferers of all kinds.

I surround myself with resident family and Bully Hill Seasons wine and Chocolate Mint kisses, with quilting dreams and knitting crafts, with escapist suspense novels on ipod and paper, with the snores of my old and much loved cat.

I wish there were, indeed, little altars everywhere like mine — eclectic and inclusive and affirming.

I wish there were an altar somewhere on which if could feel prayers for my suffering mother would be answered.mom

sold gold

My 1950s charm bracelets and the charms from it. Rings I never wear any more. A chain from which a locket once dangled. None were more than 14K. We took them to a jeweler who buys gold.

If we weren’t in a depression, perhaps someone at an estate sale might have bought the bracelets, and we would have gotten a lot more money for them. The styles of the jewelry were none that my daughter would wear. If I had a granddaughter, she might (or might not) one day want the stuff. But the price of gold is at its highest in a long time. And there won’t be a Medicare COLA coming up, and the cash will come in handy.

I have never had an affinity for gold, except for a ring I bought for myself after I got divorced and stopped wearing my wedding ring. It’s a one-of-a-kind organic design, made with the melted wax method. It’s set with a gold moonstone and has meaning for me on many levels.

Otherwise, I wear silver or copper.

And so we sold the gold.

digitized for posterity: me

I was tooling around the website of the campus of which I am an alumna because I will be going with a college friend to his 50th reunion next month. As I was looking through the list of events for the reunion weekend, I noticed that the college library was having an event for former staff of the college’s newspaper to celebrate the fact that the old paper copies of the publication have been digitized.

Wow, I think. I must be in those digits somewhere, having been the Feature Editor and having authored several different columns over my coed years.

So I go into the data base and poke around the issues from time period that I was on the paper’s staff.

It’s a whole lot embarrassing to read what I wrote as a college junior that pretty much always appeared on page 3. I pretentiously called my column “The Prism.”

Oh my.



Another groan.

Well, at least this isn’t so bad.

We didn’t have a journalism program back then, and I cringe at what today’s journalism students would think if they had some reason to read what I wrote when I was young and full of myself and still trying out my voice.

The writers’ workshop I joined starts in a couple of weeks.

Funny, but back then I probably didn’t think I needed to take one.

I’m thinking of smells

One of my brother’s college-days girlfriends is staying in my old living space here for a few days. They were out at the Woodstock “Roots of Woodstock” concert last night and are out somewhere this afternoon doing whatever she felt like doing during this her brief vacation.

When I went upstairs to get something out of the refrigerator that’s still there, I caught a scent of what must be her perfume. I liked it. It freshened up the whole area.

I haven’t worn perfume since I started wearing hairspray and the scents conflicted.

I remember finding the cologne I used to wear in my teens and twenties (maybe even 30s?) as making me feel light and airy — a feeling I wouldn’t mind having again.

You might remember that scent: Windsong. “I can’t seem to forget you. Your Windsong stays on my mind,” the commercial sang.

I don’t know about him, but it certainly stayed on my mind, and I’m having the desire to smell it again.

Maybe that’s because it smells a little sulphury around here due to the well water, which needs to be run through the softener — which can’t be done until my brother cleans out the residue and puts in more softening and deodorizing agent.

It just smelled so darn nice up there where my brother’s friend has hung up her clothes for a few days.

I have somewhat solved the cat litter box odor in my two-room personal quarters back home by strategically placing bags of zeolyte around the premises. But that doesn’t make the air smell “nice.”

I don’t like the strong scents of air fresheners, so I’ve just ordered a bottle of Windsong cologne to spray on my sheets and in my closet.

I wonder if it will smell the same to me as it did a half-century ago.

I fall down, I get up

It’s a wonder I haven’t broken any bones.

This last trip was yesterday during my (driving) trip to visit my friends in Albany.

Not too long ago, the friend in whose house I was staying had her front entrance redone — semicircular brick steps bordered by more bricks and beautiful plantings. She had joked about perhaps needing to put up a railing for her “elder” friends, and I assured her that I was still able to navigate.

That is, unless I’m talking on my cell phone and looking down through my progressive lenses while navigating.

So, after tripping and rolling into her geranium bed (never dropped my cell phone) and scraping my forearm, I got up, climbed into my car, and continued on to visit another friend in Troy. (fodder for yet a whole other post)

I’m home now, can’t take a deep breath without getting a sharp pain somewhere between my breast and shoulder. I will call the doctor tomorrow.

I fall down, I get up.

I really have to start doing one thing at a time.