My webpage (inc. awards, upcoming events, etc.)

Friday, February 29, 2008

LND; Pay for Privilege & Parmesan Cheese

I went to a Disney World kind of place. Special offers were available for different areas & events (i.e.; you could be involved in a parade for $X, etc.) I looked over the list of offers as I had extra money to spend, but nothing really appealed to me. Later I ran into a guy who had a salad. I asked if he'd like some parmesan cheese for it, thinking I had a some leftover from our last Caesar kit. He said yes & I went to get it, but realized I didn't have it, after all. I tried getting some elsewhere, however. There were no stores in the area, but I looked all around for parmesan cheese. I wasn’t having much luck, but figured he'd probably understand, anyway.

An amusement park came up in my dream on Feb. 24th, as well.
Offers also appear in yesterday's dream.
Charles & I used to indulge in the occasional Caesar kit. We've since switched to light Caesar kits, which don't include the little packet of parmesan cheese & have a vinagrette dressing. We most recently had these salads this past Tuesday. Last night I had a soft pretzel, which also comes with a little packet, but salt instead of parmesan cheese.

The picture is of some of the longleaf pine forest that surrounds our house. I highly recommend clicking that link & checking out the "See decline here" link at the bottom of that page.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

LND; Bike Repair, Land Fees & Royals

I was on a small motorcycle with 2 headlights (side by side,) only one of which worked. I came to a "T" in the road. T.D. was there & made me stop. After a quick manipulation or two, he fixed the 2nd headlight. He then gestured that I needed to head toward the right, which I did. As I drove away, I thought he was more mechanically apt than T.P. Later I was with many other people on a large, beautiful, manicured piece of land that Mom owned. A man came over to tell me that the fees/taxes on the land were $1000. I knew she'd be mad about it. When I broke the news to her she admitted having lied. She told me that she'd been paying a fraction of what she should have been by telling them she was only 26. She seemed resolved to pay the higher fees now. Later I seemed to be in the same area, but now there was a lot of British royalty around (none of whom were recognizable.) The Rolling Stones were coming to play. My Aunt showed up with an underwater camera. I briefly wondered if it was stolen, thinking it probably was. She handed it to me, asking me to get a picture of her with Keith Richards. I agreed, but once he showed up they moved into a very busy, dark area. There was a lot of chaos, but soon I was able to get them into a lighter area to shoot the picture. Afterwards I went inside, into a room where the King & other royalty were. The King did or said something foolish, so I jokingly started to call him "green [something.]" Unfortunately the other royals in the room kept shushing me, not letting me finish my joking insult. I almost slipped at one point, but stopped myself. It was very frustrating. I went back outside, where someone showed me a map of the grounds. There were 2 castles/manors on the large, odd-shaped lot. I ended up going into a sunken area with white walls & no ceiling. There was something dangerous about the area--perhaps something about spying. There were some doors & windows along the walls, but all the glass was clouded. You couldn't see through them, although they seemed to glow with light. I turned around & headed the other way. I passed a side hallway to my left & just past that the one I was in turned right (none of the "hallways" had any ceilings & all were white.) Brad Pitt was there. I stopped to speak with him. Someone came by & gave me a half-wet cigarette. Brad & I kept trying to smoke it, but it was half falling apart & we kept getting interrupted. I tried to reroll it in another paper at one point. A loud, extroverted man came along, offering Brad a $3M acting job in a play for the royals that evening. Brad had little choice but to accept. Everyone in the area were offered (& took) various, play-related jobs from the man. When everyone was gone, the man turned to me, excited, & said I'd be the perfect person to paint it.

The bike incident happened in "real" life, more or less, but I was stopped by a cop (who let me go once I assured him that I'd fix my sole headlight.) My friend T.P. (who's actually quite mechanically apt,) fixed it for me.
Many people on Mom's side of the family aren't quite "above board," legally. Mom was a flat out liar & user who colluded with her Mafia boyfriend on various scams (including ruining my brother's credit before he even graduated from high school,) & she often acted as a fence for stolen goods. I once almost saw her get into a physical fight with a Canadian Customs officer--but the officer backed down (no kidding.) Taxes are also an issue in my dream on Feb. 24th (a camera appears in that dream, as well.)
The Aunt in this dream is the last surviving sibling among them. She has a tendency to steal lighters, at the very least. I don't even know that it's intentional, but I do know that she has enormous jars full of them at her house. She's actually a very sweet lady who's had it pretty rough toward the later part of life & I love her very dearly. Mom & one of her siblings also appear in my dream on Feb. 25th.
Rolling Stones & re-rolling a cigarette here. It was ironic to see this in the news today.
In opposition to my silent companions in recent dreams, last night I was the one being shushed.
Dreams that include large yards/lots of land (& sometimes big houses/manors) also occured on Feb. 23rd & 25th.
Offers also appear in tomorrow's dream.

The picture is of some of the white clover in our yard. It's actually greener & prettier than all that grass I paid for & the poor, vanishing bees love it. It's quickly taking over our yard, which means we may not need our lawn guy's services for much longer.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

LND; In the City

I was driving in a city. Soon I realized that everyone in front of me was passing someone going so slow they were sure to cause an accident. I also passed when I had the chance, honking & flipping them off. Later I was on a roof with P.C., talking about how cities were soul-sucking places where no one should ever live. D.T. came & asked me something. I didn't understand what he was saying & asked him to repeat himself a number of times. Soon he was annoyed with me. He was asking if we wanted coupons he had for a place that made some kind of sandwich (that started with "m,") that I'd never heard of. He explained how the coupons worked (they were kind of like stamp cards--you had to buy so much before you got a discount.) I said I wouldn't use them, so he gave them to P.C. He couldn't believe I'd never heard of those sandwiches before. As he was speaking, I noticed what looked like a short tank truck losing control on the street below. It went behind some buildings, coming out again closer to us, in an open area where kids were playing with Snoopy (& other characters.) It wasn't really a truck--it was some kind of yellow, mechanical hippo. Fortunately no one got hurt.

P.C. was a coworker from my last job whose life really fell apart after Hurricane Katrina (too many people had this happen.)
D.T. is a friend/mentor's son who I haven't seen in over 20 years.
My clear disdain for city living comes through loud & clear here.
The truck/hippo may represent my Mom, who barreled through our childhood haphazardly & without care for our welfare (although my bro & I both survived.) Then again, it could be a nod to the DetrolLA commercial, where a couple of pipe-people enjoy seeing metal animals at a fantasy zoo. In a different vein, a yellow, metal object also appeared in my dream on Feb. 24th.

I took the picture this past Monday--I hadn't realized that we have Carolina jasmine growing near the nuthatchs' nest (& all through the woods around here, actually.)

Tuesday's Dream; Work, Robot, Juice & Door

I was at work, where someone brought up another empty DVD case. Then I started shelving books. Then I had a robot friend/companion. It was like "Johnny 5" from "Short Circuit," but it didn't speak. It mostly just followed me around. We went to a grocery store at one point, where they had single-servings of juice on top of stand up coolers. Later I watched Charles outside, going into a shed. Afterwards he went to sleep. I went back to the grocery store to buy some of those bottles of juice. Instead of the single-serving bottles, they now only had huge bottles. There was also something about a door & frame that were painted blue, but only half way up. Someone said it looked cool, but someone else there disagreed--it wasn't cool, it was unfinished.

Another silent companion here, although this time dehumanized.

The picture is from Lafreniere Park before Hurricane Katrina (during the cleanup afterward, it was the largest dump in the area.) There are tame geese & a nutria to the left.

Monday, February 25, 2008

LND; Reese's, Swordsman & Beer

I parked my car near a government building that had a large front yard with huge live oak trees on it. I went to a convenience store nearby. As the cashier was checking me out, I thought I'd get Charles a chocolate bar. They were just to my right. I saw that they had a huge sized package of Reese's; 37 cups for $23. Although I had credit & debit, I had less than $20 in cash, so I figured I'd just get a regular (2-cup) sized bar. While I was figuring that out, an older woman stepped into my place in line. I stepped back in front of her, annoyed to the point of anger. I made my purchase & left. Outside, I couldn't find my car. I ended up looking through a loose leaf notebook. Toward the back were pages from a program from a pagan campout I'd been at in past. Somehow I was at it again (& the program still applied.) I'd highlighted things I wanted to see & do with a yellow marker, but some things happened at the same time, which was frustrating. At one of the scheduled events I won a man who had a very thin rapier. He never said a word. He followed me as we headed to a mall or flea market where Mom was running a booth. I had a cask of beer in my backpack & as we walked I decided we might as well finish it. I had a large, empty, clear plastic cask with green trim strapped to my chest. I opened a valve at my shoulder & the beer flowed into the empty cask. I got to Mom's booth. One of my uncles was with her. She freaked out about the beer & I got mad, yelling that she'd been an alcoholic for years but I couldn't even have a beer. I'd even been planning on sharing it, but she could go to hell now. Soon the swordsman with me swiped at me a couple of times with his rapier, grinning. He got me at least once. We moved away from Mom's booth, with her still yelling, toward the left. I managed to get the rapier away from him & started poking him back with it--not deep, just pinpricks. I knew I was going to have trouble keeping him under control, but that was my job now. I realized that I'd bent the sword poking him with it & I paused to straighten it out. It wasn't very sturdy.

The gov't building is similar to the old courthouse Covington, the next town over from where we live. It may be here because of an upcoming deadline for an STAA show--they're located just around the corner from the courthouse. They've been a point of annoyance for me lately. The board of directors uses funds (including gov't grants,) & the gallery, itself, for their own gain, rather than keeping with their stated goal to "support local artists." As a result not only am I skipping this show (which is--you guessed it--geared almost solely toward featuring one board member's works,) but I certainly won't be renewing my membership this coming Autumn. I should have listened to those who warned me against joining this corrupt, cliquey bunch.
Somewhat ironically, 37 divided by 23 = 0.621621 (repeating) per Reese's cup. The phone number where I grew up ended with "6012." When I was a kid, Reese's were my favorite chocolate bar. I also dreamed of buying Charles chocolate on Feb. 18th & of being cut in front of in line on Jan. 16th.
The pagan campout is a reflection of festivals I'd attended primarily around 2001 & 2002, including Starwood XXII (wayyy overpriced,) Wic-Can Fest and smaller, local events & womens' weekends. I was still fighting against my true, anti-social nature at the time & ended up disillusioned with the whole, pagan scene (for a wide variety of reasons.)
There was something important about the swordsman, both good & bad. If I kept him under control, his companionship would be of some great benefit. If I didn't, he'd swipe or stab at me with his rapier (which hurt, but was ultimately non-lethal.) In his lack of speech, he demonstrates that "actions speak louder than words."
Mom's booth comes from my hellish teens again, when she used me as free labor to run a bogus handwriting analysis machine (among other things,) on behalf of her mafia gunrunner boyfriend. I abhor thinking about those times, which is why they come out in dreams, I'm sure.
Lots of frustration, annoyance & anger in this dream. I'll definitely have to find time to have a closer look at this one (& I'll update this post with more info &/or thoughts, once I do.)

The picture is of a chipping sparrow and a goldfinch from a few weeks back. It was foggy when I went outside to feed the birds this morning. A couple of hawks (red-shouldered, presumably,) were "doin' it" in a tree not far from our feeders, but I didn't have my camera handy & they didn't stick around long afterwards.

And now for something completely different; perhaps the funniest 3 minutes every caught on film (including subtitles for those who have trouble with accents);

Sunday, February 24, 2008

LND & Astronomically speaking...

Another picture from yesterday's hike.

Last night's dream;
I was in a store with others. A rack of movies was disorganized, a woman had tilted it so that some had fallen on the floor. I picked them up & put them back. One was "Jaws," which had a brown leather case. Soon afterward I found another "Jaws" (in a regular case.) Now there was no room for it--I had to readjust all of the rest of the movies to fit it in. I went out onto a patio to speak with someone. Over their shoulder I saw that the distant sky was virtually black--a bad storm was coming. Soon a couple of other, new, young men came to the patio. They were Canadian, so I asked them where they were from. They said they were from Niagara Falls, across the street from (something.) I told them that besides a year in Toronto, I spent most of my 18 Canadian years in Pt. Colborne. They were familiar with it & through this common ground, we hit it off very well. To the right of our patio, a neighboring man was abusing & insulting a woman. She had to lift a huge, heavy, yellow pole (that had come from the locomotive industry.) The man was going to install it in his yard & chain the woman to it. None of us had any power over him & his wicked decision. I went back inside to relax. A woman asked me to go with her to get a (disposable?) camera. Although I declined, she didn't accept that answer & I ended up going with her, regardless. We had to get something else, too. She drove to a nearby store. Inside was a rack of overpriced snack cakes. I made a humorous comment about the exorbitant price of their devil dogs & twinkies & everyone in the area laughed. The person running the store tried to convince me that the high price was due to taxes, but I wasn't buying it. Somehow I fell to the floor. Before I could get up, the evil, neighboring man from earlier came running toward me, chased by one of the young Canadians. The Canadian was thwarted somehow (I think he fell, too.) I managed to reach out & trip up the bad guy, which made me a hero. The woman he had chained to the yellow locomotive pole at his place could be released & he wouldn't be causing anymore problems. We went back to the store. A bunch of our people were sitting & standing around, watching the movie "Rollercoaster" on TV. I said, "How fun--watching someone else at an amusement park." The others laughed in agreement.

The movies are probably here because we realized late last week that someone's stealing the DVDs (particularly juvenile level,) from the library I work at. As a result, we spent most of Friday afternoon rearranging things to move them closer to our desk. It makes me sick to my stomach! They're free to check out as much as you like, but some loser has to flat out steal them!
Jaws may be my favorite "monster" movie of all time & may appear here because of Roy Scheider's recent demise. Years later, author Peter Benchley admitted that had he forseen the shark slaughter that this movie would inspire, he would never have allowed his book to be made into a film. Hindsight is 20/20, yet again.
The snack cakes are probably here because we did groceries yesterday & bought some. I also scooped a couple boxes of mint Girl Scout cookies from the troop outside the store. Mmmmmmm.
A lot of falling to the floor in the dream, including the movies off of the rack, me, the Canadian man & the evil neighbor man. There are also 2 racks; one of the movies & one of snack cakes.
I'm at stores in dreams through the next couple of nights, as well.
A shoulder & "running," come up again in tomorrow's dream.
A yellow, metal item appears again in Feb. 27th's dream, taxes reappear on the 28th & the amusement park shows up again on the 29th.
I'm not often a popular character in my own dreams, so it's nice to be a hero (& a funny one, at that,) for a change.

Astronomically speaking...
Tonight; Saturn is at opposition (meaning we're directly between it & the Sun, basically, & it will appear at its brightest.) This site provides some good info about it. If you have a telescope, tonight would be a good night to use it.
Mon., 2/24/08; Mercury is in conjunction with Venus. This will be an early morning event & often Mercury is so close to the horizon that it can't be seen. You may want to give it a shot, however. They'll both be toward the east. Venus will look like a bright, unblinking star.
Thurs., 2/28/08; Last quarter (aka; 3/4) Moon.

Yesterday's Hike at Northlake

I posted a picture from our hike at Northlake Nature Center yesterday, but there's so much to share I've decided to do a whole post (besides, I still have to string the notes of last night's dream into coherent format for posting.) As usual, clicking on the pix will bring up larger images.
I was intrigued by the geometry of this palmetto frond, flattened in the parking lot. I also liked the contrasting patterns between the leaf & the rocks. It appears to be black & white, but it's actually in color.
Looking up a huge, old, slash pine.
Check out the depth of the furrows in the bark!
Reflections of cypress trees in the swamp.
This anole was growing a new tail. It's one of their few defense mechanisms--they easily lose their tails so they don't lose their lives.
We also stumbled upon this bear in the woods. ;)
I was surprised to find this squirrel standing next to me on the railing of the boardwalk. When I stopped to check him out, he popped over to a nearby tree. When I squatted down & reached out my fingers as though I had a peanut (which I didn't,) he came right up to me. Although it's nice to feed the critters, when they end up as tame as this guy was, it endangers their lives. I'll stick with the bird feeders in my backyard.
My regular readers know that squirrels (aka; "rat bastards,") are my arch enemy, but Charles pointed out that this one didn't have to be, as he's too far away to accost our feeders. Still, my first picture of him revealed his true, demonic nature;
There was also some kind of little mole or a mouse nearby & earlier I got a picture of a distant egret, but it was far too wet to go very deep into the woods. Still, it was a beautiful day & a nice walk.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

LND; Wealthy "Friends" & Kit Car

I was visiting wealthy friends. They had a huge house on hundreds of acres of land. Most of the family were very snobbish. The father was the most bearable, so I went to see him. He was in a large room, upstairs, with a conference table in it. He was sitting in a large, leather chair, reading a newspaper. After a little bit of idle conversation, I realized he wasn't being very nice, either. He was still the best of the lot, however. One wall of the room was all windows from the ceiling halfway down. The view outside reminded me of Israel & I said as much. He put down his paper & got up from the chair to join me, then, agreeing with me & stating that he loved this view. After a little more conversation I left. The mother & her 3 daughters were outside at a picnic table. One of the daughters was overweight & I noticed that although she had an air of superiority about her, her mother clearly treated her like some kind of servant. The lighter girls weren't asked to do anything. The heavy girl was asked to do everything. I got into a convertible kit car & left. The steering was slightly unresponsive. I pulled over to pick someone up & ended up heading in the wrong direction. I pulled into a Burger King parking lot to turn around, but was having trouble with the steering, so I had to use the lot of an adjacent gas station, as well. Soon we were back on the road & on our way.

I think the "kit car" was inspired by the recent (& horrible) new "Knight Rider" movie on TV. If you missed it, count your blessings.

The picture is from our hike today at Northlake Nature Center (which was kind of wet from recent rains.) More pictures from this hike are available on tomorrow's post.

Random/Weird Things Meme

I was tagged for this by my high school friend, Brave Astronaut.

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Here's my 7;

1. I was born on a Friday the 13th at 3:30pm. In 2000 my birthday fell on Friday the 13th again. There was also a Full Moon. I turned 33.
2. I was born in the Bermuda Triangle (according to some maps, particularly shown in Reader's Digest Association's "Mysteries of the Unexplained,") & sold on the black market for $35,000. My brother & half-sister were also black market babies.
3. I was a premie, a mere 3lbs at birth. Nevertheless, 3 days later I was on a plane to New York.
4. I'm addicted to Coke. The cola kind.
5. I'm allergic to bees/wasps/hornets/spiders...just about any & every stinging/biting insect. If I get bit or stung in the "right" place, I'm a goner. Even now I have 2 fire ant bites from last March that still haven't healed completely. That doesn't keep me from hiking & enjoying the outdoors, although perhaps I should bring my epi-pen along. To be honest I'm not even sure where it is...
6. For about 15 years now a non-replicating virus lives in my left ear, occasionally kicking up a fuss & making me lose my balance. These bouts are supposed to last 10-14 days, but mine typically last 4-6 weeks. Since one bout roughly 5 years ago I can no longer look up without losing my balance. About 3-4 years ago a constant, high-pitched "eeeeee" sound started in that ear as well. Unfortunately there is no treatment for any of it. On the plus side, as time passes the bouts of loss of balance get less severe. The first time it struck I couldn't even move my eyes without puking. Now I can function almost normally (I just have to be careful.)
7. My IQ is 187, among the highest in recorded history.

I'm tagging Trav, Julie, Ello, Erik, Sheila, Billy and Tyhitia.

Friday, February 22, 2008

LND; State's Evidence & the Woodpecker

I got involved with a couple I didn't know who were planning to do something illegal. While engaging in something related to our scheme, I was busted by a pair of cops (a man & a woman.) I decided to save myself & turned state's evidence against my cohorts. As a result I was free to go. I ended up in a parking lot near woods. I was trying to get some things into the trunk of my car, including a shopping cart. One of the cops who had initially busted me (an old boss in "real" life,) showed up & started giving me a hard time, suggesting that I was stealing the stuff. Between trying to find & gather my things & his harassment, I got pissed off & started yelling. The cop evidently felt bad about how he'd treated me & his attitude softened--he became almost apologetic & certainly much friendlier. I heard the "chirrrrr" sound of a red-bellied woodpecker & looked over to the woods, where I saw the bird on a tree.

I've sometimes thought that if I ever got caught doing something illegal (which isn't going to happen anyway, since I'm a law-abiding citizen,) I would fess up & take responsibility for my actions. Turning state's evidence here is clearly symbolic of self-preservation (most likely related to actions I had to take in my youth.)
The male cop appearing as my previous boss bolsters the probability that he represents authority or being "in-charge," perhaps the Freudian concept of the superego. The man & woman cops can also be seen as a "couple," in a sense, so they may be related to the couple I was criminally involved with. These opposing couples (criminal vs. legal,) may represent the id vs. the superego, in which case I may be the ego, caught in-between (& engaged in self-preservation, as previously mentioned.)
I'm pretty mellow in "real" life--very even-keeled. It takes a LOT to get me upset, let alone mad enough to yell.
All of the local red-bellied woodpeckers have become very vocal lately (perhaps because we're getting into nesting-time here,) so I'm not surprised to hear one in this dream.

You Are the Super Ego
While some people may think first and act later, you often don't act at all. You'd rather be safe than sorry and you take ethics pretty seriously. Like everyone, you have some pretty crazy desires, but unlike everyone, you restrain yourself. You have high standards for your own behavior and you happily exceed them.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

LND; Canada Visit & Asparagus Experiment

I went back to Canada for a visit & hooked up with M.T. We went to a bar, but I wasn't into the scene. I went to a big, mostly empty back room. There were a few gaming machines there. There was also a little tray with some change in it (like a "leave a penny" tray,) on the next table over. After making sure no one was watching, I took 30 cents to use in one of the gaming machines. I figured I'd be finished pretty quickly, but I ended up playing for quite a while. I didn't keep track of my winnings. A couple other people came to sit in the room & soon after a waitress came in. She saw me & recognized me right away. We exchanged pleasantries & I told her how things were going in my life. Then R.M. came in. She was delighted to see me & wanted to hang out. As I was talking with her, M.T. came up & wanted me to go to her house with her. I realized I was in a bit of a conundrum & went to the bathroom through a white door in a white wall to get away for a moment. I never did go back to check my winnings on the gambling machine. M.T. had told me she'd meet me at her car, out in the parking lot. I went outside to meet her, but a bus cut off my route. I had to jump onto the front bumper to avoid being run over. The bus soon got up to full speed. I clung to the front of the bus, banging on the windshield. The driver (on the right side of the bus instead of the left,) was an older man & didn't see me. He kept looking in his rear view mirror, trying to locate the source of the banging. The driving compartment was separated from the passenger compartment by glass. Eventually the bus slowed to make a right & I managed to jump off. Soon I ran into M.T. & told her what happened. A couple of cop cars went by, pulling over a car full of teens. M.T. & I went to her house. On the way, out the car window I saw a pretty, little tree. Later someone was talking about "the asparagus experiment," in which a songbird's eye was injected with some kind of asparagus extract. This made the eye virtually impervious to injury, infection or disease but soon afterward the eye started emitting inch & a half long seeds. To my horror, someone wanted to try it on an elephant. I was willing to physically fight to stop them.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse, Bird Drama & LND; Professor & Art

I was outside, going to meet Charles. I encountered an eccentric man carrying a briefcase. He was an expert on Roman Emperor Claudius (although at some point, his expertise seemed to switch to Tacitus.) It turned out that he was a college professor & he spoke to me at length about Claudius (& later Tacitus.) He was coming from a talk he'd just given. His car was a teeny, light blue bubble-looking thing that made me laugh out loud. He didn't appreciate that & since he'd been so kind to me, I shut up & felt kind of bad. Later I had a tiny, framed painting I'd done. It was abstract, with blues, black & white. It had a wide, black frame (probably about 5x7"overall.) Someone had purchased it & sought my help in hanging it. One of the walls in his place was also abstract, with blues, black & white. I explained that it wouldn't be a good place to hang the painting, as it would blend in too much. I held it up against that wall so he could see what I was talking about & he agreed with me. I also showed him that there was only one hanger on the back of the frame—it could only be hung portrait-style, not landscape. He was okay with that. Yet later I was in a large room with my manager at work (although the place & job were not from "real" life.) A large envelope arrived, containing free copies of my artwork. My manager was excited as I opened the envelope & pulled out the copies. I immediately saw that at least some of them were no good at all--mid-toned details had come out either totally black or totally white. I was a bit bummed, but at least they hadn't cost me anything. Some of them had come out okay, anyway.

The Professor is reminiscent in that Charles is a Professor who drives a bubbly-looking car (although it wasn't as strange as the dream car.)
Claudius & Tacitus were probably dredged up from my Celtic studies, which have been on hold for a little while now.
The blue abstract painting is certainly related to my recent sale of the same in "real" life.

Had some bird drama this morning. When I went out to feed the birds I heard pecking & squeeking coming from around the side of the house (toward the nuthatch's nest.) I stuck my head around the corner to catch the nuthatches dive bombing a red-bellied woodpecker who was pecking around their nest hole, chasing it off.

DON'T FORGET; There's a total lunar eclipse tonight!

Tuesday's Dream

Someone commented that they wanted to be with someone before they got tits. Another commented that they wanted to be with them after. Later I was driving a carload of people. We ended up in Fat City, which wasn't far from where I live, somehow. I pulled into a McDonald's parking lot & stopped along the left side of the driveway (as opposed to the angled parking spots on our right.) It had snowed & the lot had been plowed. I'd parked very close to a snow bank. Someone asked me something & when I answered, "I'm going in for food," everyone howled with laughter & decided to come with me. I had a hard time getting out of & around the car because I'd parked so close to the snow bank. Yet later I found a book had been requested by a patron. It had an iridescent cover. Soon it was covered with many more books, so I dug it back out of the pile.

"Fat City" is a commercial district in Metairie, Louisiana (where we lived before Hurricane Katrina.) It's dozens of miles from where we live, across Lake Pontchartrain.
I haven't eaten McDonald's in years & have no plans to change that anytime soon (although I do sometimes miss the fries.) I'd rather chew my own foot off than eat McDonalds.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Town Monday

One of my blogosphere friends, Travis, recently came up with the idea of My Town Monday. Although I don't know lots about my town, as I just moved here about a year and a half ago, I thought it was a good idea & have decided to participate.

I live in Abita Springs, Louisiana, about 50 miles north-northeast of New Orleans. The image above is our town logo. Abita Springs was originally a Choctaw village. "Abita" comes from the Choctaw word for fountain or water source; "ibetap." Now it's a quaint, predominantly caucasian town of about 2,000. Part of the movie "Yellow Handkerchief" was filmed here last year.
The local brewing company produces a variety of beers using the local spring water. They also give tours on the weekend, at which you can sample a wide variety of their brews. They also run a restaurant in town, but personally I think they should stick to beer.
Although Abita Springs was part of hundreds of million acres of longleaf pine forests that once blanketed most of the southeast U.S., over 97% of that forest has been lost to logging interests (including the pine tar industry.) The Nature Conservancy is preserving some acreage close to our home.
I work at the town's library, which is smaller than my house (which isn't particularly large.) Our patrons & my coworkers are great. I love my job & I love living here in Abita Springs.

LND; Trespassing, Computers & Kisses

I was walking down a private driveway to go for a hike on a path adjacent to the house. I was nervous about being caught by the homeowner, but it was predawn, so I figured that if I were quiet, they'd never know I was there. Kaja was outside the house. As I came near I called to him in a whisper. It took him a few moments, but soon he fell in behind me. The path went across a narrow part of a lake, but it had recently flooded. The water was only about a foot deep, so I decided to go across, anyway. I figured it'd probably be cleared up farther down. I got 2/3 down the flooded path toward the woods when I heard a man call out behind me. It was the homeowner, but I figured I could still get away in the woods. Soon I realized that the whole area was flooded & I was just flat busted. I started panicking, unsure of what the homeowner was going to do. Later I was in a computer class held in a store. A woman came by & asked what version of Windows I was using. I tried to go to the System applet in Control Panel to find out, but it didn't work like regular Windows & I was having trouble. Another woman there told me to type "msconfig" into a dos window. I got upset at someone else telling me what to do when I probably knew more about computers than anyone else in the room, so I ignored her & kept trying to get to the System applet. When I continued to have trouble, I moved to a different machine to try it there. The woman who'd suggested msconfig moved to execute the command on my computer & the woman who'd asked to begin with leaned over her shoulder to watch. I decided I'd had enough & walked away. I found bins of giant Hershey's kisses & decided to get one to share with Charles. They were over $12, which was ridiculously expensive (as I remembered buying one in Canada years ago for $4.) Still, I figured Charles would appreciate it & we'd both enjoy it, so I continued to look through the bins. Alex Trebek came by & paused to exchange a pleasant greeting with me. There were different kinds of kisses in the bins. I wanted dark chocolate. I finally took one in a dark brown wrapper, but soon realized it was coffee flavored. I remembered that dark chocolate should be in a purple wrapper, so I put the coffee kiss back. Unfortunately they didn't have giant dark chocolate kisses, so I figured I'd buy a bag of regular-sized dark chocolate kisses. A salesman came along & held out a sword in my direction. The hilt & scabbard had ornate, swirly designs on them. He suggested it as a gift, pulling the sword out to show me that it was made of white chocolate. The chocolate blade was about the length of a dagger. Another couple was nearby. The man looked like a biker & he & his wife were clearly very much in love. He told me that they'd bought one, too, & enjoyed the chocolate in celebration of the birth of their son, who was now 4. He had it with him & showed me that there was chocolate inside the hilt, too, breaking out a piece to eat. Although I thought the chocolate blade should be longer, I also though Charles would appreciate it, too, so I said I'd take it. The salesman brought it up to the checkout for me & the checkout girl rang it up. The total was $65, which seemed like quite a bit for what I was getting, but I still figured Charles'd appreciate it. I handed over my credit card & she swiped it. Soon she walked away with my card & I assumed there was a problem (although there shouldn’t have been.) A man who was dressed oddly was standing nearby. He started talking to me & I realized he must've been one of Charles' friends & that I should know who he was (although I didn't.) Soon I saw Charles pull into the parking lot & stop on the far side. As he got out of the car, his friend went outside & climbed into part of an outfit on a costumed man outside. I thought another person was in the other side of the costume, too, but I wasn't sure. Soon I realized that there were a lot of police around, driving in the lot & walking around the strip mall. A presumably homeless man was in a shopping cart, kind of stuck in a large hole in the bottom of it, with his arms & legs sticking out. A policeman went to help him.

Kaja (in the pictures above,) was a Siberian husky my ex & I had in Canada. He made Winters bearable, if not downright fun. Unfortunately he had severe separation anxiety, so after breaking up with my ex, I had to give him away (which breaks my heart to this day.) He probably appears here because a show including wolves was on a TV last night, reminding me of him. Being caught by the homeowner in that part of the dream made me wake up in a bit of a panic.
Later in the dream we seem to have a mix of Valentine's Day & Halloween.
Alex Trebek is probably here because I've recently started watching Jeopardy again.
The biker man & his wife remind me of Charles & I. Although we don't have a 4 year old, I've lived with him over 4 years now.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

LND; Cheating, $4 & English Pubs

Charles cheated one me & thought I would be perfectly okay with it. I was hurt & saddened, instead. Later I worked at a convenience store with others. A woman came to check out & wanted to pay her $2-ish by debit card. As I prepared to swipe it, she asked if I could raise it to $4 so she could get some cash back. I told her I couldn't. She was a bit perturbed, but didn't have much choice. We all went outside later, because something was going on. I ended up walking down a street full of bars (mostly English pub style.) There were Notre Dame fans at all of them, celebrating some win. I was dressed in my Renaissance outfit & decided to go into the 3rd bar, as I clearly wasn't going to find one without the sports fans. They were relatively well behaved, anyway. Everyone was speaking with an English accent.

Lots of things from "real" life here (not including Charles' cheating.) I've worked at 7-Eleven & Circle K in the past, recent research into Monty Python & the Holy Grail brought up at least 3 stained glass windows at Notre Dame & on TV yesterday Peter joined a Renaissance fair on Family Guy & later I watched a couple episodes of Keeping Up Appearances.

The picture (from Canada, again,) is of maple leaves in Autumn. I think it'd make a great Christmas card, considering the coloring.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Nuthatch Nest & LND; Art & Lighting Store

A man ran an art & lighting store. He'd decided to shake things up & have a grand re-opening in order to stimulate business. I was part of his sales crew. We were all told to walk around before the re-opening to familiarize ourselves with the changes. He had some neat, large, fantasy-inspired paintings up, highlighted by specific positioning of light fixtures. I admired his art & imagined stories related to it.

A variety of things went into this dream. Last night I watched Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (which certainly inspired the relaunch of the store.) In my teens, mom made me work for her Mafia gunrunner boyfriend, running a bogus handwriting analysis machine. At one of our locations in a local mall, I used to go to a lighting store during my infrequent breaks because it was beautifully set up & decorated--almost like being in a fantasy land. In the mid-'80s, most of my artwork was fantasy-inspired, primarily featuring dragons (more recently, my artwork was also rejected from a local market as being "fantasy-inspired.") Imagining stories about the art comes from some recent comments to this blog about dream-inspired stories.

The picture is one of the local brown-headed nuthatches emerging from the nesting cavity they've been working on.
Pet Monologues blog was kind enough to include my recent post about these nuthatches as part of their Caw to Art #9 post.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Eclipse & LND; Correction

I was with a young woman. We had to correct something (I think it had to do with books.)

I've been negligent in my "Astronomically Speaking" posts lately, but wanted to make sure I didn't forget to post in advance about the upcoming total lunar eclipse.

(Apologies for this short, imageless post, but I'm a bit hurried today!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Etc. Stuff & LND; Canada & Church

I went back to Canada for a visit. J.M. was in the middle of Highway 3 in Gasline, doing skateboard tricks. A small crowd had gathered to watch, as he was very good. Later I went back to a Church I belonged to. It didn't get the crowds it used to. The priest (a woman,) asked me to say a few words. I went up to the pulpit, but the mic now seemed to be connected to adjustable shower panels in the pulpit & I couldn't adjust anything without getting sprayed in the face. After fumbling around & getting wet for a few seconds, I bowed out. I wasn't embarrassed. Later I was thinking about J.M. doing his skateboard tricks again.

I lived in Gasline for much of my stay in Canada. J.M. was my friend's son, who is into snowboarding & moved out west a while back. The Church part is intriguing, as I was raised Jewish & tend to be an antitheist these days. Clearly the Church is not actually a church here & more likely represents something else.

Another picture from Niagara today. This is a shot of a cliff on the American side of the river, a few miles downriver from the Falls. Just out of the picture on the right is the Niagara Whirlpool.

Bad storms moved through southern Louisiana last night. Some tornadoes were spawned, but all we got was thunderstorms with 1/4" hail.
Our trio of brown headed nuthatches is definitely working on a nesting cavity near the house. They've made a lot of progress in the last few days. I'm totally psyched.
A bluebird stopped by for a short visit this morning. They're probably looking for nesting sites, as well, as we don't see them here very often.

Monday, February 11, 2008

LND; Kids, Clocks & Swaying Buildings

8 kids got alarm clocks as presents. They weren't happy. They were shown in a strange grid pattern with 4 each in 2 rows on a white background. All of the kids were frowning & had their clocks displayed beneath their faces. Later I was walking through a ritzy neighborhood. Many of the homes had tall, white columns out front. The road turned left, but had a house in front of it. 3 very young kids were there. I went to check on them, to see if they were okay. They had been left alone. I went to a neighbor's house, to let them know. They didn't seem overly concerned & said their dad would be home soon. Heading back to the kids' house, the father had returned. He was clearly looking for me & I didn't want to be found, afraid of his possible anger at my meddling. I left the area. I ended up looking at a picture of multiple high-rise apartment buildings shown from above. Some of them were so close together it looked like they were touching. Some of the buildings had strange angles, more triangular than square or rectangular. Charles & I lived in one of the buildings that was close to another. I went up to our place. Charles was sitting on the couch, reading. I went to look out the window, where I could see the roof of the nearby building just below us. Soon I realized the building was swaying in the wind. Although most structures are designed to do so to some extent, our building swayed so much I was afraid it would hit the other one nearby. I expressed my concern to Charles, who wasn't overly concerned & suggested I go sit by him.

My concerns about the kids & the swaying building don't get much response from those I speak to about them. The kids in the ritzy neighborhood are probably related to childhood memories, again. Charles seems to represent a protector in an unstable environment here.

Obligatory photo of the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara, taken from the Skylon Tower 5 or 6 Summers ago.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Random Stuff & LND; Music & Guns

I was at the D’s. D.D. was part of a band & was scheduled to play a gig at a local bar. We went there to set up, but a gunman was inside, threatening everyone. We went back to his parents’ house, to hang out, talking about what to do about the gunman & the gig.

D.D. was one of my roommates in Toronto. Ironically, the other roommate called me today.

Another scanned photo from Canada; sunset clouds over the field near "my" old woods.

In other news, last night the raccoons (or maybe opossums?) overcame the baffle I bought for our sunflower feeder, so it's back to the drawing board. Where are Acme products when you need them?
I also seem to have been right when I suspected in Thursday's post that some of our Winter visitors may have been getting ready to leave. Since then our backyard has seemed preternaturally empty. Only 5 of the dozens of chipping sparrows remain & most of the goldfinches seem to have left, too. Checking my eBird stats, I saw that last year they left in the 2nd week of February, too. They are already missed.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Signs of Spring

It was a beautiful, sunny, 70F+ day today & the Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve had finally dried out, so we went for a hike.
2 black vultures. We clearly heard crows nearby.
One of dozens of bluebirds.
This mockingbird was funny to watch. He'd take a few hops, then pause to display his wing patches, then take a few more hops & display again. We also saw a pine warbler, a dozen marsh wrens, some kind of woodpecker & a flock of about 40 robins.
I started seeing butterflies today for the first time in a few months, including a lovely yellow sulphur in our backyard. This is a meadow fritillary.
It was a warm enough day for the anoles to be out. I'd hoped we might see one of the local cottonmouths, too, but no such luck...yet.

New Painting & LND; Girl & Animals

Something about a girl or young woman. Later I was sitting at a table with Charles & others. We had to come up with a list of animals that don't moult or shed their skins. Charles kept saying "African animals" over & over.

The painting was inspired by a copper wire sculpture I saw years ago that reminded me of a dancer. I used irridescent white in the background to catch the light because I wanted some sparkle. I don't like naming paintings, have a hard time doing it & this is no exception;

Acrylic on 11x14" canvasboard

Friday, February 8, 2008

LND; Harassment & Windsailing

I was with a group of young people. We all had things we had to do individually. The young people were hostile toward me, however. Whenever I was around they'd make fun of me. A young man seemed to be the ringleader & tended to start it all the time. I went away for a while to work with a few different people (not part of the group,) who were setting up a windsurfer. We talked about how Asian people, in particular, tended to like windsurfing. Soon I had to go back to the abusive group. M.F. was among them now, but she was nice to me, in spite of peer pressure. It was a relief to have even one friend.

This is a direct reflection of problems I had throughout jr. high & high school, where I was a complete outcast. Those were the hardest years of my life, particularly as things were even worse at home. Most of those memories have been repressed for decades. The few times something flashes back to me I hurt as intensely as if it were yesterday. There's still a lot of anger & resentment there & I don't know that I'll ever successfully process it. I don't worry about it, though. I'm happy now, I really am, even if a demon occasionally screams at me from the dark.

Another Canadian picture today; Decew Falls in Autumn. I was hanging by one arm from a tree while taking this picture, dangling over a 100' drop. A couple of people walking by paused to make sure I didn't accidentally plummet to my death.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thursday Morning's Birds

It was an exciting morning for birding here at The Hermitage. While getting ready for work, I noticed a red-shouldered hawk out my window, harassing a pileated woodpecker & chasing it around. I was astonished the hawk would go after such a huge bird (particularly as there was at least 100 smaller birds all over my backyard.) Unfortunately the movement was too frenetic to capture on camera, but here's a chipping sparrow & a goldfinch watching a few other birds heading for the brush;In the midst of the hawk excitement, I saw a couple of crows flying over my house, carrying nesting materials in their beaks. Unfortunately I didn't get them on camera, either, but here's some goldfinches, chipping sparrows, a female cardinal and a white-throated sparrow;As usual, a squirrel was pilfering sunflower seeds while the getting was good. Actually, it was unusual to only have the ONE squirrel, but I digress. He really perturbed this poor blue jay, who looked at me at one point as if to say, "Well...Are you going to scare him off or what?"I also saw a male red-bellied woodpecker (the photo didn't come out very well, as he was heading behind some leaves.) I haven't seen a male in months, so I was quite pleased. This cheeky little goldfinch kindly posed for me;There were also chickadees, tufted titmice, brown-headed nuthatches, doves & more of "the usual" cardinals around. Here are more chipping sparrows (there's usually at least 30 at a time out here during the Winter,) a white-throated sparrow and a female eastern towhee;The movement out back was constant & frenetic. We often have quite a few birds through the Winter, but today really seemed record-breaking. I suspect some of our Winter visitors are getting ready for their trip back North. It'll be hard to say goodbye to the goldfinches, sparrows & robins, but I'm sure they'll be back again next year.

LND; Young Woman

Something about a young woman.

I'd remembered more than this when I first woke, but some dreams cause me to wake particularly troubled & my subsequent thoughts chase the dreams away. These are clearly the dreams I need to remember, but my subconscious self-preservation efforts prevent it. Part of me is still not ready for those truths, it seems.

The picture is from Balls' Falls, another scenic area in the Niagara Region of Canada.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

LND; Driving in the Rain

A young woman was driving (my view was from right outside the windshield.) It started raining so hard she couldn't see. She pulled herself right up to the steering wheel so she could wipe at the inside of the windshield, trying to see. Her face was somewhat panicked.

Overnight thunderstorms probably inspired this dream. Sometimes the beat of rain while I'm sleeping becomes the crackle of fire in my dreams.

The picture is from an Autumn afternoon at Short Hills Provincial Park. Inspiration for a painting I did in 2009.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Quick Painting

I started off intending to have the moon peaking through some clouds & much more moonlit forest, but I got pulled in a different direction. I think the simplicity of the final product is more peaceful than my original idea would have been. Besides, as I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to do something quick, spontaneous & fun. Its 5x7" acrylic on canvasboard (& has sold.)

Study & Last Night's Dream; Around My Apartment

I was going to my apartment & had to cross through a couple of areas that Native American women lived in. The areas were marked almost like a football field & didn't have any buildings or plants on them (beyond scrubby grasses.) Each woman stopped me to tell me something. I got through them & climbed the staircase to my apartment. The staircase was tall, external, wooden & rickety. I didn't trust them. I ran into my landlord & told him my concerns about the stairs. He seemed to think that meant I was giving my notice, which was not my intention. Although I tried to explain myself better, he didn't seem to get it. I went outside, where I saw a bunch of goldfinches & a scarlet tanager.

Indians yet again (this time in Native American form.) Also a repeat of someone not getting/hearing/understanding me (see Feb. 2nd's dream.) The apartment doesn't reflect my reality. I live with Charles in a one-story house, not alone in an upstairs apartment. However, the rickety external stairs are reminiscent of my friends' apartment in Canada (back in '86-'87.) A lot was going on in my life then, so this dream may hold a message about then. The scarlet tanager may have been inspired by our local cardinals, of course. Particularly as I'd been considering how to do the study (above) recently.

This study (which was inspired by a photo & has since sold,) was difficult work, as I was using a 5x7" canvasboard (far smaller than I typically use.) I left the bottom largely white as that part would be covered by the frame, anyway. I may do a larger, more detailed version, but first I'm probably going to take a break & do something simpler or abstract. Sometimes concentration & intention needs to take a back seat to fun & spontenaity.

Brown-Headed Nuthatches

One of my favorite bird visitors are brown-headed nuthatches. They're probably one of the gutsier birds in our yard, despite their small stature. Although most birds take off when I open the back door, these little guys don't mind feeding even when I'm scarcely 3 feet away. Quick little fliers that never alight anywhere for long, they're somewhat difficult to photograph. Here's our local trio on their favorite feeder, tolerating a lone goldfinch.

Brown-headed nuthatches are rare in Louisiana, so I consider myself particularly blessed to have them. Their population, so closely tied to our vanishing longleaf pine forests, declines about 2.2% per year. Loss of habitat is their #1 threat & has placed them on Audubon's WatchList.

Brown-headed nuthatches work as a group to support a single nest & are among very few tool-using birds. Our local trio (which showed up last Summer,) have been pecking lately at a dead pine along our driveway, possibly working on a nesting cavity. Nothing would please me more.

Visit "Bird Photography Weekly"

Monday, February 4, 2008

Another Hike at Fontainebleau

The Flatwoods were still flooded out yesterday, so we went back to Fontainebleau State Park, where the new boardwalk over the marsh was finally completed...

The Causeway Bridge is barely visible (& then only when enlarged,) way in the distance on the right half of this photo.

3 coots and an egret. There were many coots in the area & they were all kicking up quite a racket.

Red bellied woodpeckers are very common here, so I was delighted to see this red headed woodpecker for a change.

We watched this egret fishing for a while.

One group of the dozens of robins that were in the area.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Last Night's Dream; Strange Sound

I was with a group of others, doing a project for work. I heard a strange sound nearby, although when I looked in that direction, I saw nothing. I thought it was some kind of monkey making the noise. It happened again soon after & two of us looked at one another, puzzled. The noisemaker came eventually came into view; it was just someone with a mundane power tool (like a lawn mower or a chain saw.)

The project for work was not related to my "real life" job in any way.

Another picture from Canada. Can you tell I've been digitizing old photos lately?
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