Relationships August 28, 2011
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas… most of the time August 20, 2011
My sister and I went to a conference in Las Vegas this past week. It was an IRS Tax Forum, so right away you’re probably thinking that this must have been torture. Well, if you know me at all by now, you know that there’s always a way to turn a situation into an adventure. I actually really enjoyed myself this week. The conference was three full days of classes on IRS tax issues. They were not all pertinent to me in my position–many of the classes were targeted toward tax preparation professionals (Certified Professional Accountants, Enrolled Agents, etc). However, there were some classes that I really enjoyed. Again, those of you who know me well will not be surprised by the fact that I enjoyed Discovering the New IRS.gov and Payroll Pointers for Filers of Forms W-2/W-3. However, when I was the only one in the room who did not laugh at the comment that included the word “depreciation” followed by a string of alpha-numeric characters, I definitely did NOT feel like one of the cool kids. And then I questioned my social circle for a moment.
Besides the classes I enjoyed, I also enjoyed meeting people. I did not walk away with as many new relationships as I anticipated. I did make some new friends, though. One new friend is a friend of my sister’s from the tax world. We walked up and down the strip a couple nights. Especially the first night, I was such a tourist. I walked most of the way with my mouth open and looking up at all the tall buildings and the bright lights. Because I wasn’t watching the path before me, I stumbled into a few people, but no one seemed to mind or even notice. We saw a couple of outdoor (free) shows. I really enjoyed getting to walk in the warm outdoors after the long days of sitting in the cold (air-conditioned) conference rooms… and I really enjoyed the company.
Almost every restaurant I went into was wonderful about my soy intolerance. The staff was willing to talk to the chefs in detail about what I could and could not eat. They were even willing to make substitutions when necessary. I was able to eat good, healthy food all week (I was happy to find, the morning after I arrived home, that I hadn’t gained an ounce). We stayed at Caesar’s Palace (the site of the conference), and so we ate most of our meals there. I freely recommend Munchbar (http://www.munchgroup.com/vegas/) and Payard (http://www.payard.com/).
This leads to the point of the title of my post today. Payard sells a Flourless Chocolate Cookie that is absolutely amazing… and completely soy free!! I cannot begin to express my joy at this. I ate a cookie every day I was in Vegas, and I brought a dozen home with me. Having found their website, I will most likely have them delivered to my home on a regular basis.
I believe that many things that happen in Vegas really should stay in Vegas. However, I just had to bring a bit of it home with me. 🙂
The Downtown Coffee Shop Culture August 6, 2011
I am sitting in Pike’s Perk (http://www.pikesperkcoffee.com), a coffee shop in downtown Colorado Springs (best coffee ever, by the way).
When I was looking for a home, I wanted to live close to downtown. I really enjoy the idea of just walking around, enjoying the shops and the people. However, my realtor didn’t think I should… another story…
I do enjoy sitting at sidewalk cafes, and I enjoy walking downtown… and people-watching. Thus, you find me sitting here in Pike’s Perk early on a Friday morning. The variety of people walking in and out of the shop, as well as past the front door and side window, are myriad. There are hurried, possibly harried, business people looking for a quick cup of coffee on their way to work. (Does pulling up in front of the store, parking behind a couple cars in their metered parking spots, count as “drive-up”?) There are those of various professions who come in for a quick meeting with colleagues or to network. Some come for a break–to write, as I am now, or to read. There are some whose gender and/or cultural archetypes I cannot determine. I have seen hairstyle and dress fashions that are new to me. Some are quiet, some quite gregarious. I find myself curious about the back story of each person I see.
When you see someone who is different from you, what is your response? Do you judge them for their difference? Do you accept everyone, no matter their differences? Do you attempt to settle differences that may prove problematic? Do you embrace those differences that entice or thrill you? I am not going to pretend that I’ve never judged anyone without cause, or that I’ve always made good choices. I am most proud of myself when I respond with love and kindness to all I see, in spite of our differences.
Dreaming Dreams August 3, 2011
I’ve been thinking… lucky, you, huh? 😉
I’ve been thinking about dreams. Have you ever had a dream that seemed a direct reflection of your previous 24 hours? a dream that, in retrospect, seemed prescient? a dream that seemed a result of too much pizza and beer?
Last year, my friend Brenda was diagnosed with lung cancer. Her prognosis was not good. Delicate as she is, she has been the core that holds her family–husband and two adult sons–together; her middle son had passed away from cancer five years ago. Brenda has been, understandably, distressed by the diagnosis. The day after Brenda was informed by the doctors of her condition, she told me about a dream she’d had the night before. She had dreamed that her youngest son and I had announced our engagement. Her son and I were friends, but we had not dated in over two years. She begged me to make her dream come true, to make her son marry me. I understand that Brenda was trying to tie up all her loose ends; her son was not making good choices in his life, and she wanted to die in peace knowing that he would be taken care of.
Is it safe to say that we’ve all had the standard dreams of falling, of trying to flee danger but being unable to scream or to get away, of being able to fly? There are online sites that give general interpretations, at no charge, of your dreams. There are paid options, as well. I, myself, have two very good friends who are adept at interpreting dreams, and I draw on their experience when a dream baffles me. Freud, who wrote a book on dream interpretation, may or may not have actually said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” but I take this to mean that sometimes a dream does not actually merit or require interpretation.
Sixteen years ago, I dreamed that my youngest, Julia (2 years old at the time), had died. I had these dreams several days in a row. In each dream, I found Julia face down in water… in a pool, in the bathtub, in a lake, etc. Many mornings, I woke up crying, and I was very concerned about her safety. I talked to my friend Toni (a beautiful writer–see her blog at http://themothersheart.wordpress.com/) who helped me see that Julia was the age of a friend’s daughter, who had drowned two years earlier. I don’t know why I had those dreams, and I do not in any way understand the life-long burden that must come with losing a child, but understanding the connection, I could pray for my friend, give my fears to God, and move forward in mothering peace.
In March of this year, I had a dream that elicited strong feelings in me: I was in a situation where someone had to shoot an arrow specifically into his assigned place, and I had to stand in just my assigned place. I was sort of a combination of William Tell and the sight on a rifle. However, it was difficult for me to hold still, as I was in labor. The feelings in my dream: My purpose as a sight was to guide the one shooting the arrow. My purpose in labor was to bring safe delivery of the new baby. If I’d had this dream even a year ago, I would have experienced, in my dream and in my awakened state, stress and fear. The responsibility of having to make sure my charge succeeded in hitting the target, combined with the impending birth, would have been too much. What if I fail? What if I can’t make everything happen the way it’s supposed to? Having to juggle two responsibilities at once, the fate of two lives at once, would have all but debilitated me… which, in itself, would have increased the pressure. However, as I’ve been explaining in my writings lately, a lot of things have changed in the last year. I have been working on setting healthy boundaries. March seemed to mark a rather definite turn in my life. In my dream, I felt that we each had our responsibilities–that we were there to help each other, but we were not responsible for each other’s tasks. I knew that I could be that guide I was called to be, but I also had a distinct responsibility to make sure that my new baby was born in a safe and healthy environment. This time, I turned to my friend Julie (http://glutenfreeveganfam.blogspot.com/). We “talk” most days on IM, so I described my dream to her and asked her what she thought. Her thoughts were: guide–I was realizing a sense of responsibility, possibly partly for Julia in her last year living “in the nest” and partly understanding separation of responsibilities; labor–I was embarking on new beginnings in my life. In retrospect, I know that I’m becoming much stronger in setting healthy boundaries (letting good in, keeping bad out, defining relationships). I have had more than one new beginning. For example, I passed my Certified Payroll Professional exam which led to a major change in my career, and I have begun new interests in my personal life–performing in a short film and a couple commercials, dating a special man, the positive turn in my writings, and next month I will take up my flute again for the first time in 30 years. Professionally, my life will only grow and improve from this point. Personally, I am continuing to try new things. I do not purport that I will become any great talent as an actor, but I will continue as long as it is fun… and as long as I am asked. I will continue writing for the rest of my life, doing my best to write honestly and positively. My flute playing will be another creative outlet that I hope to enjoy for some time. As for the man, maybe it’s too soon to know?
My ex-husband almost never remembered his dreams. One time, he was working hard on a computer class–back in the mid-80’s when computers were just barely beyond the card-reader stage. For weeks, he’d been having trouble with one particular program. One night, he sat bolt upright in bed, and said, “that’s it! it’s in the maze!!” The next morning, I asked him what he’d been dreaming about. He didn’t remember dreaming. I told him what he’d said, and he said, “That’s it!!!” He left immediately for the computer lab, and he was able to solve his problem that day.
Anyway, as I said, I’ve been thinking. Have you had dreams you have wondered about? How much stock do you put in them? Are you working through events you haven’t been able to solve or understand in your daily life? Are you getting a glimpse of what is yet to come? Are they just a dream–”just a cigar”? Do you try to interpret your dreams? Do you mystify or spiritualize them? Do you even remember them when you awake?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on dreams and their meanings.