O it’s another dream

Roadside beauty
Roadside beauty

I took this picture while out in the country a couple of days ago. I wanted everyone to know that the signs of spring have finally come to Indiana. We are even expecting the temperatures to reach into the upper 70’s F later this week. It is good.

***

I was complaining to a friend the other day that I was finding no inspiration for blog posts lately. Then I had the dream that I wrote about on Sunday. Since then I came up with an idea for another post, and I’m working on the draft for it. I also had another dream. I seldom have more than one dream that I remember in such a short time. Unlike the Sunday dream, that I could explain; I have no idea if this dream has any meaning. If you can come up with an explanation, please let me know.

At the beginning of the dream I see myself walking through the corridors of a local college. I notice a young man walking in the other direction. He is wearing a cream colored shirt and pants, and is wearing sandals. I am there to sign up for a continuing education class. I am not sure if the class is a literature class, or philosophy, or symbology.

As I’m finishing the enrollment paperwork, the woman behind the counter tells me that the class has already met once, and will be meeting again in ten minutes. She gives me directions to the classroom, and I set off without any books, or notebooks, or anything to write with.

Now the dream starts getting really strange. As I enter the classroom, it turns into an adobe building with no furniture. All of the students are seated on the ground which is sandy. The instructor is the young man I had noticed in the corridor. He told me to have a seat; so I lowe myself to the sand. A student next to me was kind enough to lend me a pencil and a sheet of paper. As I looked up at the instructor I saw that tattoos were starting to appear on his neck and around his jaw line.

He was speaking so softly that I could not understand a word that he was saying. He turned around to speak to a student seated behind him, and when he turned back, the outline of a geometric tattoo had appeared on his face.

As he was finishing his lecture, which I hadn’t heard a word of, the fellow who had loaned me the pencil and paper leaned in and said, “Watch out for your shoes; he tends to walk off with them.” I looked at my feet and was amazed to see that my shoes were not on my feet. I looked at the instructor who was exiting the adobe building. He was wearing my shoes and was walking swiftly between two sand dunes, carrying his sandals.

That is when I woke up. Any ideas on what it means?

O what a dream

Farmhouse on a clear day
Farmhouse on a clear day

This is another picture that I took before the leaves were fully formed on the trees. It was a beautiful spring day though, and I wanted to capture how good it seemed after the long cold winter.

***

I woke up around 6 a.m. this morning, remembering a dream that I had in the early morning hours. Rather than let it slip from my memory, I grabbed a pen and book from the bedside an jotted down as many salient points as I could remember. I decided to share this dream so that you can see what goes on in my mind when my guard is down.

When the dream begins I am in jail. I don’t know why I am there, but I know it is only for a few days. Yes, I’m sure this is some kind of throwback to ten years ago. Check out my post April 19, 2015 for details. My dream jail wasn’t as nice as the real jail. The cell was empty except for a cot. Everything, including the walls, ceiling and floor was beige. The door was iron, painted beige. I wasn’t wearing stripes or orange, just beige pants, shirt, shoes and socks. It was pretty drab.

Evidently I was able to leave the cell when it was time to eat, because I heard a buzzing noise and the cell clicked open. So I walked into the hallway which was beige, turned left and started walking. I must have turned in the wrong direction because after going down the hallway that had no doors or windows, and after making a few turns, I came to a dead end. I turned around and tried to retrace my steps. I could not find my way back to my cell and I knew that it was a bad thing. So I kept on walking through the beige halls trying to find something that looked familiar. When everything is beige, nothing looks familiar.

Eventually I came to a beige escalator that was going up. I knew that I had not gone down any steps, but I decided to see where it went. How much more trouble could I get into? I rode the escalator up one flight and got off where I found a stairwell. I went up the stairs another flight where it ended at a glass door. I went through the door and found myself in a shopping mall. Nothing was beige. My clothes had even taken on some color. I thought it was odd that there was a mall above the jail, or rather that there was a jail below the mall, but I wandered around looking for a deputy to whom I could turn myself in. I didn’t want them to think that I was trying to escape. There were no deputies in sight.

Since it was a high-end mall and I had no money, I found an exit and walked into the street. I didn’t recognize where I was. It seemed like it might be on the near north side of Lafayette but nothing looked familiar. So I walked around looking for a landmark that would tell me where I was. It was a bright, sunny, warm day and it felt good to be outside. There were lots of people out and about, and they all seemed to be dressed in very colorful clothing. I walked through a park-like area and saw people having picnics and playing on the grass. There were a few people laying down, taking naps, on what appeared to be an old abandoned railway spur.

As I reached the edge of the park I saw some distinctive buildings that I thought would be good subjects for photographs. I knew that I would want to return with a camera after I got my jail time out of the way. I decided to find a street sign so I would know where to come back to. I walked to the corner and checked the street signs. I was on the corner of Park and Species. Species? That sounded like an address on an old episode of The Twilight Zone. That’s when I woke up.

So I’m guessing that writing about my ten-year anniversary spurred this dream. Everything being beige was probably a symbol of my life and being lost in the jail was my job. The mall, the people in bright colors having fun in the park, the interesting buildings were all manifestations of life after incarceration. I have no idea what being on the corner of Park and Species meant.

Shallow musings on art

Barn with a green roof
Barn with a green roof

As you can probably tell, I took this picture before the trees started to leaf. One reason that I chose to use it is because of the clear blue sky in the picture. Today it has been raining all day and the picture is cheery. The other reason I chose it is because I haven’t had much luck in finding and taking a pictures lately. You could say that I have been in a slump word-wise and picture-wise. I hope that changes soon.

***

I spelled art in lower-case in the title so that no one thought that I was writing about anyone named Arthur. I’ve known a few Arts in my life, and while I’ve mused about one of them, I won’t be doing any public musing about him in this post. No, this post contains musings about people who create artistic things.

I guess that the morning news show that I was watching today had moved into a particularly dull period when from out of the blue this thought occurred to me. “Can art be created if the creator never thinks about art?” I am not posing a tree-alone-in-a-forest type of question. I’m not that clever. Rather I am asking a question that I take seriously. I know that when I try to do something artistic, usually in the realms of writing or photography, I put some thought into it before I start.

I suppose another way of stating the question is “Can art ever be accidental?” I know that an artistic outcome can be different from the original intent; but I believe that there had to be some basic thought before starting down road that led to the outcome. Does that make sense, or am I making it more confusing?

If I am correct that there had to be thought first, all of the painting done by elephants, apes, cats and other animals do not qualify as art. If you believe that animals, other than dolphins,  are capable of lucid thought, then you might consider their daubings and spatters art. I don’t.

What do you think? Feel free to comment or to send me a private comment through the form below.

April 19, 2015

Not a wooden barn
Not a wooden barn

I normally take pictures of older, wooden barns. They have a classic look even when in disrepair. This newer structure caught my eye a few days ago. I think it is the shiny blue roof that makes it stand out enough to be photo worthy.

***

Today marks ten years since I last drank alcohol. I didn’t write that sentence with pride, it is just a fact. It is an anniversary that I chose to share with people. Some people who read this blog are friends, but most are people whom I have never met. Some people know this story and some don’t. Let me give you a brief background before I tell you briefly of the ten years after that drink.

I had been a light drinker from college to the time I lived and worked in Auburn. A busted romance tipped me into the heavy drinking column and bourbon became my best friend. I moved past that phase, but alcohol by then was an almost daily ritual. Years passed, I met and married Cindy, and while I drank after work most days, I thought that I had it under control. Then my dad got sick and eventually died. While I didn’t think that it affected my drinking or my work, I’ve come to realize that I built up a lot of anger and regret surrounding his death. Adding to that, my job was the pits. I had worked for the State more than twenty-five years and had reached a point high enough that politics affected almost everything that I did. I came to hate it. I started many mornings having a drink or three just to help me go in. Of course, that didn’t work or even help matters. That brought me to the last drink ten years ago. It was the last of many drinks that morning and I was arrested and tossed into a drunk tank before I ever got to work.

Actually I was put in a holding cell with a self-proclaimed paranoid schizophrenic. All that I wanted to do was sleep, and all he wanted to do was talk. And he talked for fourteen straight hours. He talked about hunting, Arbor Day, the Kennedy assassinations, television, the United Nations, beef stew, and I don’t know how many other topics. He weaved his narrative into one long, monologue in which each topic led to the next. In his mind they were all part of one story. At one point he was droning on and I was able to start to nod off. He raised his voice then and said, “Ah, my hypnosis is working. I can put anyone to sleep and give them commands. Why one time…” And off he went on another nonsensical tangent. I felt like I was being punished before I ever saw a judge.

After Cindy bailed me out, things started moving rapidly. That day I was given a pre-deprivation hearing in front of the agency’s HR head and the person who would ostensibly decide my fate. Needless to say, they decided to put me on 30 days unpaid leave pending termination. While on leave a few things happened. Since I was fully vested in my retirement plan, I filled out the paperwork to get my pension. I had my day in court, and then a couple of days in jail. I lost my driver’s license for a year. I went through a course of counseling. I took a part time job while I waited for my first retirement check.

I was ashamed because I had lost my job, that I had spent time in jail, and that I had let down my family and friends. For the rest of it, I have no regrets. In a short time I came to realize that losing the job was the best thing that had happened to me in many years. I learned that Cindy would stand by me and continue to love me despite the way I had screwed up our life. Some people whom I used to work with in Indianapolis avoided me from that time on, but my true friends stayed with me. My counselor, Dr. Paul Kitley, helped me realize some things about myself that I had been ignoring. My part time job brought new friends into my life; some have become very dear friends.

Do I miss drinking? Not really. I’ve had many opportunities to drink, but I’ve never been inclined to buy a bottle or even take a sip. It doesn’t bother me to be around other people who are drinking unless they are loud, obnoxious drunks. Surprisingly, the only times that I think about having a drink is on a hot day after I’ve cut the grass, and sometimes when a character in a TV drama pours themselves a drink. Cold water soothes me just as well as cold beer on a hot day, and as for TV…well they are obviously drinking Scotch, and I don’t like Scotch. In the past ten years I’ve never been tempted by drink enough to do anything about it.

So I’m celebrating this ten year anniversary not because I stopped drinking, but because it was like turning back the clock to a happier part of my life. I’m celebrating love of family, true friends, and new friends. I hope that you can celebrate with me.

 

From one thing to another

Finally it is getting green
Finally it is getting green

The sky is overcast today, but that didn’t stop me from going out to get a picture of greenery. The grass is green, most of the shrub growth has started to leaf, and some of the trees are blooming and starting to leaf out. I had to take some pictures to show that it is finally Spring. I would be cutting grass today if it hadn’t rained earlier.

***

This has been one of those mornings when my mind was ignoring what was happening around me and just skipped from one thing to another with no discernible rhyme or reason. Of course there wasn’t much going on around me because it was 3:30 a.m.; I was wide awake and laying in bed in a dark room. So of course I started reflecting on the fact that most prime time TV dramas are merely soap operas that are shown after the sun goes down (unless you record them and watch them during the day). By the way, the shows are called soap operas because their early commercial sponsors were soap companies.

You may be too young to remember, or to disinterested to care, but soap operas were born as radio shows in the 1930’s in the U.S. Soap operas are never-ending stories that surround a group of characters. They migrated to TV and are still alive and kicking. They are produced and shown in many other countries, including most of Europe, Australia, India and Mexico.

And thinking about the soaps led me to think about comic strips that were continuity strips rather than gag-a-day. Continuity strips actually appeared before soap operas were first broadcast. Thimble Theater, the strip where Popeye first appeared was a continuity strip. I grew up reading strips such as Steve Roper and Mike NomadDondi, and Apartment 3-G. I loved Alex Kotzky’s artwork on Apartment 3-G. I don’t know how long it took me to figure out that the apartment number, 3-G, was a joke about the strip’s three girls (actually women) who shared an apartment.

But then my mind jumped, for no reason, to trying to remember the name of the girl who Tiny Tim married on the Johnny Carson show. I kept wanting to say that it was Miss Piggy , but I knew that Tiny Tim wasn’t strange enough that  he would marry a muppet. At that point I opened my eyes and turned on my smart phone. A quick Google told me that the woman was best known as Miss Vicky. What I hadn’t remembered was that after their divorce, he was married twice more.

Since I was searching for information, I returned to Wikipedia Apartment 3-G listing to check on the spelling of Mr. Kotzky’s name. It was then that I found out that the strip still exists. I decided to check it out. I have to say that compared to Mr. Kotzky’s artwork, the strip that I saw looked like it had been drawn by a junior high school student…on a bad day. Oh dear.

On that low note I’ll end today’s post. I hope you have a good day.

Rainy Day

Gray rainy day
Gray rainy day

For the most part this has been a dismal day when it comes to weather. I had to go out for a short shopping expedition this morning. When I pulled into a parking lot I decided to take a picture through the windshield to record just how bad it was. The location didn’t offer any cheer either. I decided to grayscale the picture and use it. Nothing has been lost by removing the small amount of color.

I’m submitting this picture to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week. I suppose I’m doing it to show people around the world just how depressing it can be in Indiana. Sigh. Remember to check out all of the lovely photos featured there. You can ignore this one.

***

It isn’t easy finding something cheery to write about on a day like this. In fact, finding any theme at all is difficult. Let me look through my notes…

Here is an idea about the multi-verse that I may expand on at some point. First I need to come up with the language to make it understandable. What if all of the stories in historical fiction were actually windows into other realities? For instance, all of the stories about World War II were reality in other dimensions. Perhaps there could even be overlap with The Dirty Dozen and From Here To Eternity being real history in another space/timeline. World War II would be a multi-universal nexus where all of these stories intersect. So I admit that this idea came to me the other morning while I was still in bed and hadn’t had my first cup of coffee. I think that Fritz Leiber could have taken this idea and run with it.

OK, something else. The other day on some newsy type TV show I heard a U.S. Congressman use the phrase, “thoughtful debate in Congress.” That one brought a smile to my lips. I was amazed that the moderator and panel members were able to suppress laughs.

I also heard a woman who was being interviewed for a news story say something about, “God proved to be faithful to us.” I guess that I always believed that it was supposed to be the other way around. But I haven’t been to church in a long time, so I may have misremembered the concept.

I hope that you’ve had a cheerier day.

Sounds

Beware The Dog
Beware The Dog

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day, sunny with pleasant temperatures and a mild breeze. My morning walk through the was a bit noisier than normal. Above the music coming from my MP3 player (Two Generations of Brubeck’s Sky Scape https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCk2L3lrv48&list=PLZrCdEf6enTUQY0ZJ5j0n252mTuXFKfrM&index=5 for one) came the sounds of many dogs barking.I believe it was because the wind was blowing from a direction unlike the prevailing northwest or southwest. Dogs were catching my scent, unlike their normal mornings spent in oblivion. There was, however, no barking coming from behind the fence in this picture. As I think back, in all of the time we have lived in this neighborhood, I have never heard a dog bark in this place, no matter from what direction the wind is blowing.Either the sign is just a scare tactic, or the dog has been trained to never bark but merely to rip the throat out of anyone who enters the forbidden territory. I vote for the first option.

When I returned to the house I settled in the living room to read and listen to some music. I was in the mood for more jazz so I put in a disc of Miles Davis from the late 1950’s.The whole album seemed so right on this beautiful day with th windows open. One of the songs was Thelonious Monk’s Straight, No Chaser https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pthTtLZINHQ. It is hard to not smile when everything feels so good. So I went ahead and smiled.

It was still beautiful in the afternoon but I decided to switch from jazz to something else while I waited for the plumber to arrive. I went to the Rock section of my CD collection and pulled one at random. It was The Beatles’ Rubber Soul. It was probably the weather, but everything that I played sounded like it belonged in this day. No song more than Run For Your Life https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZWv4GZiEYA. The Beatles were still playing when the plumber arrived though I had switched to their white album. I believe I detected him swaying under the sink while Julia was playing, but that might have been my imagination. No, he was definitely swaying.