To Nap, Perchance to Dream of Eating Popcorn with Eminem


Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

-Charles Schulz

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I usually take a two-hour nap, from one to four.

-Yogi Berra


Don’t bother me, Imma take a nap now.

-She’s a Maineiac

Let’s face it, life is full of stress. There are very few moments in the average day when you can contentedly sit back and say, “Yeah, this is the stuff. Life can’t get much better than this. I’m happy. I’m good.”

Except for the rare time when the planets align and the thought hits: You could be taking a nap right now. After all, no one’s around. It’s quiet. You have no place to be. And your favorite blankie is fresh out of the dryer all steamy-hot goodness, just begging to be snuggled with during a restorative afternoon siesta.

Good satisfying naps are precious, they need to be savored. But the best naps are elusive because they easily throw your body’s inner clock for a loop. You have to be careful you don’t sleep too much. I did that once, woke up and thought it was the year 2078. At the same time, they need to be long enough so you don’t wake up more tired and groggy than before the nap. Once I slept for three minutes, woke up and thought it was 1978 again. It’s a delicate balance of time.

The worst is when you wake up and it’s pitch dark. For some odd reason if this happens to me I lose all sense of my identity, place or time in history. I immediately think, Holy hell! Did I sleep all day and into tomorrow night? Or maybe I slept for an entire year and missed out on the season finale of The Good Wife?

Sometimes I’ll awaken to the faint sounds of my kids clanging around in the other room and I’ll think, Who the devil is making those noises? I have kids? For these times, it helps if you sleep with your teddy bear for that extra comforting when you honestly don’t know what day it is or who you are anymore.

When the chance for a nap strikes, don’t hesitate. This opportunity happens to me only once every five years or so.

Yesterday was one of those days. I had just finished eating a satisfying lunch, sat down on the couch and suddenly my eyes grew heavy. I said to my husband, “You know what? I’m gonna take a nap. Don’t bother me for thirty minutes or I’ll kill you.”

Then I hightailed it for the bedroom, locked the door behind me and jumped into our king-sized bed, all giddy with anticipation. There’s something so deliciously evil about taking naps. It’s like you’re saying to the world, “You know what? Screw you. I’ve had enough.”

And this nap was brilliant. My pillow was perfectly fluffed. The sun cast a warm beam of light across the bed. I laid my weary head down and fell swiftly into the first stage of sleep, strange images of Eminem* sitting on my living room couch and eating a mountain of popcorn drifting though my subconscious. Oh yeah, I like popcorn too, Eminem…..yeah…..I’d also like to try that giant strawberry swirling around your head….sooooo goooood….okay, now your entire head is the strawberry? Fine, I’ll still eat it…..Then I was completely gone. Deep sleep. I knew I was drooling all over my pillow and didn’t care. I felt the cool puddle against my cheek and still continued to eat popcorn and strawberries with Eminem, world be damned. Because that’s when you’re truly living. That’s when the magic happens.

You know what? I’ll stop writing here. I think I’ll go take another nap now.

Yes, come with me to the land of endless popcorn and strawberries...
Shhh….everything will be all right…just come with me to the land of endless popcorn and strawberries…

*this was the actual dream I had, don’t judge. If anyone knows what the symbols popcorn and strawberries mean in a dream, let me know. If anyone knows why the hell I dreamt of Eminem, let me know.



So Here’s the Thing About Sleeping…


There are few things in life I cherish as much as sleeping.

No matter how dismal things get, I find solace in the knowledge that at the end of the long day, I will lay my weary head down on a soft pillow and fall asleep. I love to leave it all behind, let the tensions melt away. It’s life’s ultimate Oh yeah? Well, screw you! I’m checking out for 7 to 8 hours.

So here’s the thing about sleeping — I’ve forgotten how to do it.

The falling asleep is the easy part. I’ll close my eyes and immediately drift off, skipping down the dreamy yellow brick road into bizarro-world. It’s a magical place where I can ride tigers made of rainbows or swim in a giant ice cream sundae with Brad Pitt and Abraham Lincoln.

But once I pass into the first REM stage, things start to go a little haywire. My mind suddenly decides to abandon Brad just as he’s about to spoon-feed Honest Abe some hot fudge. Next thing I know, I’m brutally jolted back into real life alertness with zero warning.

Going straight from vivid dreaming to reality with no transition is traumatizing. I wake up. heart pounding and think Aw damn! I’m back here?! Well, at least I got a good solid night’s rest! Time to face the goddamned day! Then I turn over to look at the clock:


I had only been sleeping 45 minutes.

Between this constant waking all night long and the fact my husband tends to snore like a chainsaw, it’s no wonder I sometimes hallucinate.

Yes, I’ve been known to hallucinate while in that strange twilight stage between dreaming and reality. I used to sleepwalk as a child. More than a few times my mom would find me at 2 am pouring dog food into the dishwasher or peeing into the clothes hamper. Thankfully, I’ve outgrown my sleepwalking.

Now I just hallucinate mutant spiders.

A few months ago at 3:15 am, I awoke to find a hairy black tarantula the size of a dinner plate on the wall. Another night at 12:35 am, I opened my eyes to see a dozen tiny glowing red spiders were descending from our ceiling straight onto my head. After a few terrifying seconds feeling paralyzed, things start to fade away as I begin to fully wake up.

According to the Internet, this is called hypnopompic hallucinations. The other type, hypnogogic, Slide1happens when one is falling asleep and is considered to be a common phenomena. Figures I’d get the rarer, more hairy-spidery type.

Thankfully, I only have them occasionally because I don’t tend to react in a reserved way to these nighttime spider sightings. Like the one I had most recently:

“Ahhhhh!!! AHHHHH!” I screamed, sitting bolt upright in our bed.

“What? OH MY GOD! WHAT?” my husband sat up and yelled, looking all over the dark room.

“AHHHH!!” I screamed again, frantically pointing at the spiders on the wall.  I grabbed my husband by the shoulders and violently shook him. “KILL IT! KILL IT! KILL IT!!” I yelled.  I started whacking him in the face with my pillow. “DIE! DIE! DIE!”

It’s only when I’m about to squash a tarantula on his head with my baton trophy that it dawns on me:

1. I was only dreaming.

2. There really are no spiders

3. This will be grounds for divorce one day.

Do you sleep soundly?  Have you ever had insomnia or sleep paralysis or a sleep disorder? No? Well, then. I hate you.


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Family · inspiration · reflections

The Breakthrough


The helicopter overhead was distant–the propeller’s thumps a low murmur seeping into my mind, stirring up dread, thick and suffocating.

I stood inside my grandmother’s old house and gazed at the peeling yellowed paint on the walls and the layers upon layers of dusty photographs covering every inch. In one black and white photo, a young pig-tailed girl’s face beamed, sitting on her father’s knee, her face forever frozen in mid-laugh. In another– a girl in her teens, blowing out the candles on the cake, her father resting his hand on her shoulder.

A splintered mirror on the wall reflected an older woman. A woman now startled by the creases circling her hollowed eyes and the raw bleeding wounds dotting her scalp.  The wounds my mother gave me.

Hot red anger flashed as my fingers frantically tried to cover them with tufts of matted hair– but there were too many, they just grew and grew, and bled and bled.


A soft breeze blew the front door open, rustling the photos about like leaves.  I shuddered as the leak of fear dripping in my mind ran cold. A rush of wind swelled and the hardwood floor beneath me groaned, each floorboard lifting one by one, rippling like waves. I turned to look out the window.

It was coming.

Lazers of red light pierced through the tiny holes and cracks in the floor, casting blood-orange spots around the room; the thundering pulse of the propeller almost on top of me now.

I opened my mouth to scream, but only a raspy gasp escaped my lips.  The photographs began to flutter and fall to the floor, forming tiny swirling tornados that danced and circled around the room; the blackened edges of each photo curling unto itself until each one disintegrated into a thin gray dust.  Vibrations rippled through me, my body nothing more than an empty shell as the helicopter’s relentless chant filled my ears.


Bracing for impact, I shut my eyes and turned away, the taste of choking dust filling my mouth. It was outside the window now–a spinning black steel spider hanging from an unseen web growing bigger and bigger until it was inches from breaking through the glass.

Suddenly, it stopped to hover, frozen in mid-flight; as if the web’s sinewy thread was pulled taut. I felt a hand on my shoulder. My breath stopped.

It was my father.

Dad. Dad!


I searched his face, unbelieving. He was young again; his face smooth, his smile warm and knowing. A sparkling white light radiated from his eyes.

Don’t be afraid, he said without moving his lips.

I will help you.

Watch me. I’ll show you.

Churning back to life, the helicopter continued its path toward the window. I closed my eyes, imagining it tearing through the house, shards of exploding glass, wood and metal showering down, consuming me in flames.

Look, my dad said. Here, look.

I opened my eyes.

He stepped in front of me and raised one arm, his hand shielding me from the spider. In response, it reversed, the broken shards of wood and glass flying backwards with it.  The thundering pulse of the propeller a soft murmur again as the helicopter vanished into a small black dot swallowed whole by bright blue sky.

I sucked in the air and a sweet coolness spread across my face, into my lungs and down my spine.


I was standing on the precipice of the tallest mountain. Below me, an endless sea of jewels, sparkling blue and green.  I drank in the beauty as it flowed through my veins.

I floated. I was free.

My dad grabbed my hand and smiled. We were back in my grandmother’s house again.

Do you see?

I looked down, wisps of my hair were swirling to the floor like feathers. I tenderly touched my head. My wounds were gone, replaced with pink skin–warm, soft and new.

I do, Dad.  I see.

Thank you.

I looked out the window and into the bright light.


The Thread

I am running through a deep jungle. Bright blurry shades of green mix with sharpdaggers of sunlight as I frantically leap to dodge the twisted roots in my path. Fear grips my heart, soaking into my bones and saturating my vision until the jungle transforms into a jumble of shifting shadows. I glance behind me into the thickening dark, not yet willing to face the thing that is chasing me and for a moment, I feel a sense of comfort. I am not alone in my escape. I glimpse an elderly Chinese woman running just behind me, her face contorted, her lips frozen in a half-scream.

She motions for me to hide behind a large boulder. I obey and we are side by side, gasping for air and leaning against the smooth coolness of the rock.  I realize she is clutching at something. A fine silky red thread is spilling out between her shaking fingers.  One end of the string trails away from her heaving frail body and disappears behind the boulder, into the jungle and the thing beyond. The other end of the string snakes its way to back to me and is firmly wrapped around my wrist. I peer down at the worn thread and notice the small indentations, cuts and scars it has left on my skin underneath.  Her tired eyes tell me the weight of this thread is heavy, but necessary. She lays her warm hand on mine and smiles.

Her eyes suddenly widen and her smile is gone. The red thread goes taut and her wrist is yanked violently behind her. “Hurry! Run!” she gasps. “It’s coming again.”

I stagger to my feet and we both begin to run, the thread thicker and heavier now. We reach a rushing river with a series of long white tunnels stretching across. I must choose one to safely lead us to the other side. If I choose wrong, the thing will find us merely by following the red string. The old woman grabs me by the shoulders, the weight of her hands pushing down, her fingers digging into my neck. “Don’t go the old way,” she hisses. She points to a clump of leaves next to the river and I see it: A single white tunnel hidden behind the bush, much narrower than the others. A shaft of soft white light glows from inside.  “Go on,” the woman’s voice commands. I step toward the tunnel and the red thread stretched between us begins to unravel. I hesitate, panic rising in my throat. “Go on,” the woman whispers.  I take another step and the thread breaks, softly slipping away from my wrist. It falls away and vanishes. I open and close my hand. I feel light.  I laugh. I am free.

This was a recent dream of mine. It seemed incredibly strange and vivid enough to stay with me into the next morning. I thought, how odd to be dreaming about a red thread and this woman. How did this make any sense? But it kept popping back into my thoughts.

Later that day, I was sitting in my car, taking my mother on errands, the usual daily humdrum, when I turned the radio on.  I heard this female artist introducing a song. She said it was about the ancient Chinese belief that all babies are born with a red thread of fate. Some say it connects us with our “soulmate”.  And this thread can be twisted, it can be stretched, but it can never break.

Have you ever had things happen which you can’t explain away to coincidence? Signs that someone is trying to tell you something important? Well, this was that something. I had chills when I heard about this thread of fate on the radio, the day after I had that dream.

I think my dream was sparked by a fellow blogger’s post that struck a chord with me, Lisa’s post, The Line Between, on her blog Woman Wielding Words. About how things seem to connect us with looping, repeating, invisible lines, like a web of sorts.  Within the collective unconscious and woven into our deepest dreams, I can see this is true.

After my red thread dream, I am beginning to see more clearly and understand the patterns in life we all must face, learn from and resolve. The most painful and raw of our emotions tend to follow us, no matter how hard we try to shake them loose by avoiding them or running away. Our relationships with each other (and with ourselves) are a direct result of how we deal with these innermost fears and demons.  Some believe that these deeply ingrained patterns in our relationships can go back into other previous lifetimes. Perhaps they are replayed time and again until we make the decision to choose a different path and therefore finally achieve a positive outcome.

My mother and I have had a tumultuous relationship our entire lives. It seems we keep pushing each others’ buttons until we both grow weary and bitter. Yet, we keep doing it. Why? Can’t I see that things won’t change if I choose this old path? Fear keeps me from trying something new. Our old habits may be destructive, yet we oddly feel they’re comforting. What if I approached my mother in a different way? What if I allowed myself to see things from her perspective and allow those old feelings of bitterness and resentment wash over me and drip away, releasing their grip? What if I broke that red thread that binds us? What if I chose to be free?

Actually, we have no problems                 
we have opportunities for which we should give thanks…
An error we refuse to correct has many lives.
It takes courage to face one’s own shortcomings
and wisdom to do something about them.

–Edgar Cayce