Archive for July, 2009
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
- Walt Disney
A scary thought indeed, especially in view of recent developments. The scoop:
Last night, my mother told me she had a dream that I went to sleep for the evening in the refrigerator. She was so concerned about my being able to rest soundly, that she hounded my father (in her dream, of course) for most of the night about how to shut off the light while the door remained open. After all, it’s difficult enough to sleep in the crisper bin without being able to close it—or feel the heat of several powerful mini-bulbs bearing down on you like the spotlights at Giants Stadium.
I have to wonder why she dreamed about me sleeping in the refrigerator. I know she and my father went to a funeral that day for his cousin’s daughter (sad). Did the experience and her fears play enough on her subconscious to liken a coffin to a side-by-side stainless steel box (energy rated)?
Does she think I’m so obsessed with food that I need to lay down with it? That I look fatter than usual in my black stretch pants? That I am doomed to find my best and only solace in the half-drunken bottle of Diet Snapple, mustard, fat-free cheese, and three tomatoes that typically rest in her refrigerator? Or is she finally giving in to the fact that her one-and-only daughter is an endomorph who, in her own image, will never be mistaken for an ectomorph or a hungry teenage boy?
I mean, if it’s true what Edgar Cayce said about “dreams being today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions”, what exactly does my mother’s dream mean for me, say, tomorrow morning at 7. At 9? Say, 11?
What is the universe trying to tell me?
Something. I just know it.
Here’s another sign: The other night, I went upstairs to our bedroom to prepare for bed while my husband studied for his Sustainable Building Advisor exam in the basement (btw, he passed—potential employers, pull together that six-figure offer and find my handsome husband Daniel Murray, LEED AP, cSBA on LinkedIn.com!).
As I went to close the blinds before getting into my pajamas (shut up, I love pj’s), I noticed something that looked like a stuffed feather resting at the top of our rain gutter. It was starting to get dark outside, so I couldn’t make it out completely at first. It looked like a small furry football (you know, like a small dog toy) with one pushpin-sized eye. Before I could wonder how one of our maniac’s toys found its way practically to the roof, I realized: It wasn’t a toy after all. It was a super fat bird! And before I could think it was dead, the eye darted to the left and then to the right and then focused directly on me at the window, staring.
Turns out, the bird was preggers and had built a nest in our 3” x 4” rain gutter in preparation for giving birth. And when I recognized that fact, I panicked. Freaked out. Ran for the bathtub and climbed in with the dogs, wondering what to do next. Should I just leave it there to spawn and raise its children? If I do, will we become a wayward home for pregnant and rebellious fowl with discipline problems and nowhere else to go—our house eventually swallowed up by feathers and birdy gunk so thick like fog you would no longer be able to see our house’s beautiful brick face?
Now I am a lot of things, but nature girl ain’t one of them. So after I calmed myself down and did a few positive affirmations, I called for Dan. Of course, he was in the midst of cramming for his exam, and was less than delighted to be interrupted.
Still, I felt it was important. So I lured him up to the bedroom with the promise of giving him a night off from having to rub my feet. (Btw, he hopped on that so fast, I swear, it made my head spin. Doesn’t he like rubbing my feet?) He raced up two flights of stairs and towards the window and when he saw the pregnant whore-bird, his jaw dropped.
“Wow!” He got a big smile on his face. “Honey, that’s a quail!”
“Don’t they serve that at fine restaurants?”
“Oh wow.” He ignores me. “She’s pregnant.”
“Okay, listen, can we just leave her there? Will she hurt the house? Create so much fur and dirt and after-birth that we’ll be cited by the township for unsanitary conditions? What should we do?” I mean, I was concerned. Besides, what do I know? I’m really a city girl at heart. I can tell you precisely what to do with an unruly member of the condo association or how to save a parking space in a snowstorm, but I got nothin’ when it comes to the inflated piece of poultry setting up triage on our rainspout.
“She won’t hurt the house. She’s fine there. She’s gonna have babies!”
“Fan-friggin-tastic,” I say. Then I stop and think for a moment. “”Well, if she’s gonna be part of this household, we might as well give her a name.” And so now, I call her Phoebe.
Over the past 36 hours, Phoebe has rotated approximately four times on that increasingly tight space that is now her birthing station. Every night when I come home, I must admit, I race upstairs to check on her progress. Is she still there? Is she still alone? How does she eat? Does she look fatter? And, my worst fear (drum roll please), is she dead?
Then I get outside of the minutiae of her pre-natal experience and ask myself what is the great significance of having a pregnant bird land on our house and my mother dreaming of my delta sleeping next to the cold dairy and produce.
What is the universe trying to tell me?
If you have any suggestions, by all means, send them to me. And if you don’t, I’ll just have to let these things gestate (sorry) until I can figure it out. And get back you.
Until next time!
I have exactly 90 minutes to write this blog.
That’s a lot less time than I usually set aside to create a new post (believe it or not), so please forgive if the end result is wobbly like a three-legged stool with a tender hamstring.
I am sitting at Starbucks in Chicago with my handsome husband who, unaware of the sand pouring through an imaginary hourglass in my head, wants to talk to me about a ticker tape of deep issues while I write (i.e., how comfortable his new shoes are, how much fun we had at breakfast with Joan, Dave, and Marilyn, did Dave realize how loud he was singing that Leonard Cohen song, and what time is the architectural boat tour again, etc.).
We are here for the long July 4th weekend to visit all of those listed above and then some. And I can safely say it’s been both wonderful and weird to be here—in Starbucks, across from the Chicago Tribune building, watching the tourists (of which I am and am not) through the window scale Michigan Ave. with their bags and their smiles and their requisite curiosity.
Being here makes me feel so many things: Like I’ve both come home and been rudely estranged. It’s a duality that makes me thoughtful and even sad–and makes for a strange kind of “independence day” (and happy July 4th, by the way). I’m not sure what to do with all the things that have changed since I’ve been gone. Like when did that statue go up, that restaurant go out, that store expand?
But then again, what did I think would happen once I left: That I would move away and my life would progress but the streets and sensibilities of one of my oldest and dearest friends would remain frozen in time?
Well, that’s just silly.
And yet, despite this dissonance, there is something so fun about sharing a prized possession—in my case, an entire urban landscape—with someone you love. In my case, again, that would be my husband.
I cannot describe how I feel watching the glee in his eyes as he marvels at the beauty of my old stomping grounds. “Oh well, Chicago is a fantastic place, hon, there’s just so much it does well,” I say, pointing out the route I used to walk to and from work on the days I took the El to the Merchandise Mart. As if I designed and constructed the sidewalks myself, set them to a grid, and then was the first to really know and promote the city’s potential.
As if I birthed everything from the river to the lake to the bioswales out in the suburbs from my very anatomy.
With every day that I’m here (four in total), I can feel for myself an assured kind of swagger I don’t have quite mastered back in Bucks County. Especially as I show off and validate for Dan what I’ve been doing for all these years, while he was off marrying and having children: Sure, I may not have done that or worked the same job for 25 years or built a hefty 401(k) or hosted my fair share of family cookouts and barbeques or essentially done what was expected of me.
But while “you” were there doing that, I am saying, I was here. Doing this.
And that’s something after all.
And so we have shopped and we have eaten and we have walked. And we have driven through the old neighborhoods and the new ones. And I talked about intersections big and small with the know-it-allness of a tour guide who’d been though a 20-year orientation. (Here’s where I lived on the third floor of an old walk up, bought the clothes that hugged my curves like expensive cellophane, beat the meters and parked for free, walked my precious Sophie after a long hard day of work, deep breathed during the intermezzos of my daily routine …) .
All the while, gauging the expression on my husband’s face for signs of interest. Even though, it’s become almost incidental at this point. I just keep talking, bragging if you will, wondering why I left and then remembering.
I love my husband and our life together. It is as wonderful as any urban coterie—any Pulitzer-prize winning people show—could ever be.
But I sure do miss the city.
(Until next time–back to reality!)