I woke myself up from my dream last night by spitting on myself.  First time that’s ever happened.

In my dream, I’d dropped a drinking glass while I was standing in line on the sidewalk outside a movie theater.  I picked up the biggest pieces and threw them in a trash can some distance away, but there were several smaller pieces that could really hurt anyone who accidentally stepped on them barefoot, so I went back, picked them up one at a time and put them in my mouth to carry them to the trash.  It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

When I got to the trash can, I stuck my tongue out as far as it would go and gently peeled each of the pieces of glass of it and let them fall into the trash.  Then, because I’d just been carrying glass in my mouth, I hawked up as much spit as I could, rolled it around on my tongue, and spit, thinking that would clear my mouth of any stray shards of glass.

Funny thing: When I spat in my dream, I also spat in my bed.  Woke myself up from a sound sleep.  Had a great big loogie stuck to my face.  Not a great way to wake up.

invasive brain-eating aliens

image of a pirate skeletonA nap seemed like a good idea, until I laid down and my sinuses filled up like a trash can left open in the rain.

I need to be able to lay on my side in bed again. I used to be able to, before I got all flabby and started injuring myself just by having bad posture. That’s what a physical therapist said I was doing, anyway. Mothers, when you tell your kids to sit up straight and they ask you why, tell them the story that my physical therapist told me: When you slump over, the tendons in your upper arms get dragged across the ball joint in your shoulder and pinched between it and your rotator cuff. The result: Reaching over your head to put on your shirt will cause such exquisite and enduring pain that you will whimper like a whipped dog. There, that’ll give the little tykes nightmares, won’t it?

The physical therapist said sleeping on my side had the same effect as slumping over and that I would seriously injure myself if I continued to do it. Trouble is, I’ve been sleeping on my side for so many years that, even when I make the conscious effort to sleep on my back, I still wake up in the middle of the night curled up on my side and, not surprisingly, I’ve got the shooting pains down my arm that sent me to a physical therapist in the first place.

But I can’t fall asleep on my back. If I try to, and I go through that state between wakefulness and sleep when all the muscles in my body are going slack, my tongue slides down my throat and feels like it’s trying to climb out of my head through my nose. Of course, it’s impossible to breathe when there’s a tongue crawling into my nose, so my lungs will kick the suction all the way up to eleven, I guess in an attempt to dislodge the blockage. Which is, in fact, what happens, with a sound that’s a cross between a snort and a gunshot.

As if that wasn’t enough to make me into a chronic insomniac, sometimes my own subconscious will mess with me and I’ll have the dream about an alien garden slug the size of my forearm crawling into my mouth to tunnel its way to my brain so it can possess my body and walk among you all. Try falling asleep after something like that.

So that’s why I miss being able to lay on my side: Invasive brain-eating aliens. If you can come up with a solution for me, I’ll brew a batch of beer for you. I don’t deliver, though, so you’ll have to come pick it up.

rough night

It was a dark and stormy night – “stormy” in the sense that there were many rumblings and flashes of activity. Somebody seemed to be having some trouble sleeping. Not me so much, but My Darling B was doing a lot of tossing and turning in the middle of the night. During the part of the night that I was awake for, she would do this thing where she would turn over, start to doze off, snort herself awake, turn over, start to doze off, snort herself awake again, turn over and so on. If I counted the bells of the clock in the front room right, I think I was awake for about an hour of that.

I don’t think she was doing that all night long. She seemed to be sleeping more or less soundly when my alarm went off. That’s perfect timing, eh?

With all that going on, I don’t remember having any dreams, oddly enough. Night before last, though, I dreamed I was trying to parallel park a Toyota Tundra in an underground parking garage where there was no room to turn around. The Tundra’s a honking big SUV with a turning radius of about ten miles. I wouldn’t take one into an underground parking lot, or ANY parking lot, for all the VW Beetles in Wolfsburg.


Three o’clock in the morning, I woke from a dream in which I was the only person wearing clothes in a room with about a dozen naked people. It turned out to be more uncomfortable than the dream where I’m the only naked person. I didn’t know where to look. I didn’t feel like I could look at anybody, but whoever I talked to acted as though I was being stupid if I averted my eyes.

Awake, I blundered through the darkness to the bathroom to relieve myself. I had a bad case of gas but couldn’t fart it away no matter how long I lingered on the throne after I peed. When I started to doze off, I got up and stumbled back to the bedroom.

But with my head on a pillow again, I fell back into sleep and the naked people returned. It was so startling that I snapped awake. I rolled over and settled into another position because, you know, that chases the dreams away, right? Wrong. More naked people, and again I snapped awake. Reposition, doze, naked people, awake! Once, it was a room full of naked robots that looked like people, walking past me without saying anything. Between that and my grumbling tummy, I didn’t doze off again.

By the time the clock chimed the half-hour I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get any more shut-eye before sunrise, but I wouldn’t admit it to myself until after four, when I finally got out of bed and grabbed a book off my bedside stand. I read three chapters of The Cat From Hue, John Laurence’s memoir of reporting for CBS news during the Vietnam war, before I got up again at five and started the ritual of making the morning pot o’ java.


Even if a picture isn’t worth 1,000 words, this photo of a stack of plushies of the Olympic mascot Wenlock, whose name suggests dark incantations to raise the dead and whose single glaring eyeball is the stuff of my adolescent nightmares, explains better than I ever could why I won’t be wasting any of my time paying attention to the Olympic games:

image of Olympic mascot

I would prefer delirium tremens, thank you.


Ugh. Zombie dreams last night. Nothing too graphic. I was living in a warehouse with a couple hundred other refugees from the zombie apocalypse. Spent most of the dream doing pretty mundane things. Then, in the middle of the night, I woke up after zombies started getting into the warehouse somehow, and each time I fell asleep again we’d be looking for the door or window that must’ve been left open and find another zombie, and I’d wake up. Nobody ever got their face eaten, and the dream itself was never all that scary, but lying awake in bed wondering what the next installment of the dream would be like really frazzled my nerves after a while. I have rarely felt so grateful to hear the alarm clock start bleeping.

bleeping bleep

I was back in the lobby of the student union at my alma mater, UW-Eau Claire, scanning the faces for my mother, when whom did I see across the room but my brother. He was doing the same thing I was, and when our eyes met his expression seemed to say to me, Oh, you, too?

I crossed the room to shake his hand and say hi. “And I’m going to be waking up in just a minute, so would you mind waiting here for Mom? I promised her I’d meet her.”

My alarm started bleeping before he could answer. I sure hope he managed to stick around longer than I did.


Well, that was a weird dream.

I had a grouper in an aquarium. Goupers are typically pretty enormous fish, but this one was only an inch or so long. I’m not sure how I knew it was a grouper, other than it was a dream and I just knew.

I had other fish in the tank, too, and the grouper was systematically devouring them. He would sneak up behind another fish, grab it by the tail and hold on to it for a moment. The other fish would get this, “Oh, shit!” expression on its face but wouldn’t try to get away or move or anything. Then the grouper would eat it in one big gulp before moving on to the next fish.

I sat in a recliner and watched.

I’m still trying to figure it out. It could have been my brain’s way of complaining that I don’t watch enough television.


I dreamed I could fly. A woman I worked with told me how she did it. I ran into her in the break room and, while I was nuking my lunch in the microwave, I asked her what she did last weekend. She answered, casually, Oh, I was flying.

I see, I answered her. Is that right?

Yes, she said, I’ve been doing it for years, but I’ve only recently learned how to fly high enough to do loops and dives. The secret, she said, was to wear a long, loose coat, take a long, running jump, and to square your shoulders just as your feet left the ground.

At least, that’s how it works for me, she cautioned. If you try it, you might have to do it just a little bit differently.

Well. Yes. Ah, lunch is ready! See you around!

I thought she was loony as a Canadian dollar, of course, but it just so happened that I had a long, loose overcoat in my closet, and it just so happened to be cold enough to wear it that weekend when I walked down the street to the corner store. Going the long way around the block on the way home, I turned down a lonely street and picked up the pace a little bit. Then, a couple of times, I skipped high enough for both feet to leave the ground, squaring my shoulders back as they did.

Nothing special happened. I didn’t get any more air than I would have if I’d skipped without thinking that maybe it was possible to fly because some crazy lady suggested that I could if I dressed for it. Of course, she also said I had to take a running jump, not walk a little faster and skip, so, just to prove to myself that she was crazy and I wasn’t, I ran. I stretched out my stride until I was running along at a pretty good clip and then, just before I got to the corner, I planted both feet, jumped into the air and squared my shoulders back, just as she said I should do.

I cleared the treetops by at least fifty feet.

Mine was not a graceful flight. I did not soar through the skies like Superman, one arm stretched out before me, with a look of purpose on my face. I’ve never been a graceful athlete in any case, but when my feet left the ground and I realized that they were going to keep leaving the ground, I panicked, because I had not planned my flight with any kind of foresight at all. There were several very tall trees in my path and I ended up windmilling my arms to thrash my way through the upper branches of the one immediately in front of me. That sent me tumbling through the air so that, as I came back down on a ballistic curve, I was flailing my arms and legs in every direction, trying to regain some sense of balance before I hit the ground. To my great amazement, I landed on my feet.

Straightening my coat, I looked around for anybody that might be staring at the guy who’d just flown a block and a half over the trees, scattering his groceries all over the street. Didn’t see anybody.

Okay. Well. Can’t just go back home and sit on the sofa with a book after that. Could’ve been a fluke. Or a psychotic episode.

Trying a little harder to fly higher this time, I succeeded in shooting almost straight up several hundred feet, flipping end over end as I reached the peak of my flight, and finding myself diving headfirst at the ground. Yikes.

At this point you’re probably thinking: Pffft! You’re not flying! Sounds to me like you’re just jumping real high. And I would’ve had to give you that. However, as I plummeted to the ground, looking directly at the square of pavement I really didn’t want to smash into, I turned my face up toward the sky, focused on the tops of some distant clouds, squared my shoulders again and zoomed back up. And this time I managed to remember to spread my arms, so I even looked like I was flying.

Landing turned out to be more of a challenge than I thought it would be. Several times I ended up tumbling ass over teakettle when my feet snagged in the grass, but with a little practice I found just the right angle to come down and hit the ground running. The city park turned out to be a much better place to land than in the street, although I did interrupt a Frisbee game once. After offering my apologies I flew away and they carried on, not at all surprised that a flying man dropped right into the middle of their game.

Before I quit for the day I took an especially long running jump and flew as high as I could. I got so high that the cold air froze my breath to the ends of my eyelashes and, at that point, I thought it safest to come back down, but when I looked down I was so high I couldn’t tell where my neighborhood was. I couldn’t even tell where my continent was. It was getting awfully cold, though, so I swooped back down toward the first piece of ground I saw, closer and closer until I spotted what looked like Lake Monona and made a beeline for it.

It wasn’t Lake Monona, as it turned out. It was a frozen lake somewhere north of the Arctic Circle. Finland, I think, because I flew over what looked like Great Britain as I crossed lots and lots of water, probably the Atlantic Ocean, as I tried to find my way back home. I had to stop several times to ask somebody where I was, and two or three times they didn’t answer in a language I knew. When I finally ended up in New York I very carefully pointed myself west and jumped only high enough to eyeball the Great Lakes. After that, it was fairly easy to find my way, but up to that point I sure could have used an iPhone and Google Earth.

I ran into my coworker in the break room again the next day. How are you today? she asked. Nice day.

Nice day to go flying, I answered.

Oh, have you been flying? she asked. I had to stay in and wash clothes.


I dreamed I was at work. I really hate it when that happens.

At least this time it was more than a little unusual. This time, the office looked like a mash-up of all the offices I’ve ever worked in, a standard cubicle farm, but surrounded by racks of electronic equipment. Even the people who worked there were a Who-hash of all the people I’ve worked with, and I kept asking the wrong people to do things. The last scene I remember, for instance, was asking Aaron to adjust the connections on a particular electronic component, and all he could do was give me a blank look. “You don’t know how to do that, do you?” I asked him, when I realized he was not the guy to ask for that.

I started to do it myself when my bladder woke me up. I hate it when that happens, too, because it almost always wakes me up too early. Most of the time it’s just five or ten minutes before I would normally hear the alarm clock start bleeping, but this morning it was half an hour early – just enough time to go back to bed, begin to drift off to sleep, and then wake up to the bleeping alarm clock. I said to hell with that, grabbed my bath robe and headed for the kitchen to make what turned out to be a pot of satisfyingly strong coffee.

Satisfyingly strong to me. To my brother, it would have been weak tea. A single pot of the coffee he drinks could light up the whole city of Chicago for a week. I don’t need a jolt that strong yet. Maybe someday. For now, I’ll just sit here and nurse my tea/coffee.