Monthly Archives: January 2021

Only in my dreams…

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I have spent most of my life chasing that illusive thing called “a good night’s sleep.” And, for most of my life, it has been a hard thing to lay down on the bed at 10 p.m. and close my eyes and not open them again until 7 a.m. Most nights are a body-shifting, sheet-twisting, up-five-times-for-a-drink-and-the-bathroom marathon!

When it comes to dreaming, I am an abysmal failure because I cannot frequently reach that much-vaulted state of REM (don’t ask me what it stands for) in order to enter the land of dreams. However, on the odd occasion I do make it to dreamland, it is one weird ride, let me tell you!

I don’t tend to dream in color, mostly black and white film noir stuff, and this is a good thing, because my dreams often involve carnage of some type. For instance, I dream I’m going hunting a lot. Since I rarely go hunting and I’m never in on the kill, I am mystified by this nocturnal entertainment choice, but nonetheless, away I go with my gun, shooting my way through my dreams. Sometimes I shoot deer or pheasant, but sometimes it’s other hunters (no, I never know them) or the hunting dog (this could be wishful thinking–look out dog), and occasionally, I manage to shoot myself–not in a suicidal way, however! Whenever I have this dream, there is always a lot of blood and there is frequent litigation which follows. I wake up from these with an irresistible urge to have a shower and make a vow to never go hunting again!

Another dream that comes is that one that I’m willing to bet everyone has experienced: the “I’m running and can’t get anywhere,” scenario. This is a particularly terrifying and somewhat frustrating dream–you know you need to move, but it feels like you’re running hip-deep in caramel and your treadmill is going backwards. I’m never clear on who or what it is that I am running from, but given the number of dangerous animals out there (and some of them are even four-footed), I am always enthusiastic about getting away. The fact that they never seem to catch me means they are probably running through the caramel on the reverse treadmill too, but I still wake up exhausted and terrified….not to mention my legs are worn out!

The dream I have been having the most recently, however, is that old chestnut about suddenly being somewhere in public in my pajamas or my underwear or worse, with nothing on but a towel. When I was young, I would dream that I was in school or about to give a presentation or in a play and I was totally unprepared for it and had to somehow fake my way through it. But the showing up in my underwear nightmares are happening now, and it’s a real nightmare, because I’ve seen me in my underwear; it’s not something that needs to go on public display!

Mostly, I’m having this dream where I am at school and only wearing my underwear. I keep planning to get dressed, but it seems like there is always something holding me up, so I continue standing around in my underwear, waiting until I get a chance to get into some clothes. I don’t know any of the people in these school dreams, which is good, because the other upsetting part of it is that nobody seems to notice that I’m not clothed. If it were my students, they could at least make arrangements to take “poor old Mrs. Fauth” to the home, because she’s losing it!

When I contemplate the various dreams I have, I reach the conclusion that maybe it’s just as well I don’t have very many nights when I sleep deeply enough to dream. At least that way I can live in the waking world, walking instead of running, fully clothed and without a weapon. That’s the way I should be!

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Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a football player!

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but the football playoffs are now being conducted. I have noticed. Mostly because that is the only thing playing on my television lately.

I was so grateful to the Vikings when they won some games, because it made my husband happy. I will also confess that I was happy when they messed up their chances to go to the playoffs. I know, I know, that’s not a nice attitude, but sometimes I watch my poor husband, the top Vikings fan in the country, as he tries to support his purple and gold football choice, and I wonder whether I should have 911 on speed dial for the inevitable heart attack he’s going to have. I’m not sure he could survive very many playoff games.

“Honey, are you sure you’re having fun?” I asked, after he had the latest meltdown over Cousins’ poor throw or Bailey’s missing the field goal.

“I’m having as much fun here as you have watching those old Star Trek videos of yours,” he snarled, just before he jumped up and down, screaming at the defense to get in the game.

Now, I am sure that I did not watch as much Star Trek this fall as he did Vikings football and I’m very sure that my space explorers never made me as mad as his football players did him. I never cursed at Mr. Spock because he showed some emotion, or screamed at Scotty, “I know you’re not giving those engines all they’ve got! Get it to Warp 7, or get out of the engine room!”

However, as time went forward, the Vikings missed one too many touchdowns and didn’t make it into the playoffs–whew! I made the appropriate sad face and commiserated over the fact that the Vikings wouldn’t be the champions this year…again. In my own mind, however, I was secretly looking forward to many more episodes of Star Trek and Dr. McCoy exclaiming, “Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not (an engineer, a brick layer, a physicist…fill in the blank.)

Imagine my dismay when the football games continued to appear on my television. First, he had to cheer against one team, because they had beaten the Vikings and then he had to cheer against another because they always win, and the list goes on and on and the games have been never ending, while I contemplate just how easy it would be to dropkick the television through the goalposts.

I did get a bit of good news this week, however. I have heard that the football playoffs will indeed taper off, with fewer and fewer teams suiting up and risking permanent bodily injury to slam into each other for possession of a ball that isn’t even shaped like a ball. There is this thing called a Super Bowl which will end the reign of the football players for another year. Ah, yes, then I will at last be able to fire up the Enterprise and follow Captain Kirk through his adventures on strange new worlds….

And then I walked into the living room the other day, and there was something on television that wasn’t football, but it wasn’t Star Trek either. It was a thing called hockey…I hope that doesn’t last very long into the winter!

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A quiet drive in the country

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Let me start by admitting that when it comes to driving, I am no Mario Andretti. If I had to make my living by driving a truck, school bus or Uber taxi, I would starve very quickly…always supposing I didn’t crash into a wall first.

Having said that, it may occur to you to ask some hard questions when I tell you that last week, I rented a car in White Bear Lake, Minnesota and drove, through some pretty interesting traffic, all the way through the Twins Cities and suburbs, and down the interstate before ending up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Let me assure you it was not by choice!

I was visiting with my children and getting to know the new baby, and leisurely enjoying my time there. My husband, Roy, was supposed to pick me up, but then I received a call informing me that my husband was not only not going to come and pick me up, he was going to be in a Sioux Falls hospital undergoing an emergency procedure and it was going to be up to me to get there!

Okay, so, telling myself I could do this, I had my son-in-law rent me a car so I could get myself on the road. Driving through Minneapolis traffic in a car unfamiliar to me had all the appeal of having a root canal done with no Novocain! And it was just about as much fun!

Straight down on I-35, I told myself: just get myself on I-35 and I will be fine. That’s easy for me to say, apparently; harder to do. For instance, I discovered that there were several times when I-35 South had exits going off in either direction, and I, driving in heavy traffic, was in the exit lane! So, at least three times, with an interesting blind spot in my tiny rental car, I had to find a way back into the traffic on I-35 before I was forced to exit with all the cars in my lane, who wanted to get off! Each time, I desperately put my blinker on, indicating I didn’t want to do the off-the-interstate dance and each time, sweating and cursing profusely I was able to cram myself back into the traffic headed down the interstate and eventually, out of the flow of inner-city traffic.

Surprised to find myself still standing at the southern end of the cities, I settled in for the long drive to Sioux Falls. While interstate traffic was heavy, it was not terrible and I felt my troubles were over. Then I noticed that my little car was developing a real shimmy. I pushed on, hoping it wouldn’t completely fall apart before I got to my destination. It was after the truck in front of me turned off and the shimmy stopped that I realized my car was small enough that it responded to the backdraft of a truck in front of me. I tested this theory by getting in behind other trucks and sure enough, the shimmy kept returning.

After diagnosing my car’s ills, I got back to the business of driving through heavy New Year’s Eve traffic towards my destination, while avoiding the myriad number of trucks out there. That’s when my car began expressing its concern for my welfare. After two hours of driving, the car was apparently automatically programed to start dinging with the message “Consider taking a break.” Shocked, I clicked it off. However, it returned every fifteen minutes from then until I finally parked it at the return rental in Sioux Falls.

By the time I reached Sioux Falls, I was not only yelling at the traffic on the road, I was arguing with a compact car with a “take a rest” fetish. “Get out of the way and signal the next time you change lanes!” I screamed at the cars in traffic, before testing my tonsils on the car, yelling, “If I want a break, I’ll decide that! You can consider shutting up!” I know, I know, it was an inanimate object, but it made me feel so much better to verbally abuse it.

I made it to the hospital, was relieved to see my husband doing well and then attempted to return the car to the rental service at the airport. I had friends to pick me up and I asked them (since it was dark and I’m not all that familiar with Sioux Falls), “Do I turn right or left to head to the airport?” Now, he said left and I heard right. Because of that, I ended up taking the nickel tour of the perimeter of Sioux Falls, no mean feat, if you are familiar with Sioux Falls, which I now am!

Long story short, I made it through the drive and got the car back to the return at the airport. I kicked the tire as I left, grunting, “Consider that, you annoying pile of metal,” and made my way back to the hospital, and ended up taking my husband home in time to ring in the new year in my own house.

As “Auld Lang Sine” played on the television, I raised my glass of Pepto-Bismal and all I could think of to say was, “Goodbye, 2020 and thanks for one final kick in the pants!” And it may interest you to know that I’ll be curtailing my driving for a while, since that little road trip was enough for the whole year.

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