Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Masterful Accessorizing Disallowed Here

Just when I think I’ve lost steam completely blogwise, something amazing happens that absolutely must be reported, such as the fantastic lucid dream I had last night! Yeah, me and Jared Loughner, alas. He’s into lucid dreaming.

Toward morning, I had a lovely, vivid dream where I was with Tom’s family, reading the newspaper with Chris. I left the room for some reason, and when I was returning, I realized I was all by myself in a large house. I said to myself, “I’m all alone, all alone,” and that small bit of conscious recognition of my circumstances was enough to make me realize I was dreaming. This has worked in other lucid dreams, too. Just the merest moment of naming what is happening can do the trick.

Then, I’m very pleased to say, I clearly remembered three intentions I’d intended, and they worked! I said, “I was going to remember to remain calm,” and then I made an effort to be calm, which actually was an effort, as I was already losing touch. Then I felt my feet on the ground, another specific intention, and then, as things were a bit nebulous, I tried spinning, a well-documented potential stabilizer of lucidity, and it completely solidified the lucid state. It ended up being my second-longest lucid dream to date; i.e., five minutes of lucidity, I estimate.

I went exploring, and when I heard a worrying noise, I remembered it’s also my goal to confront fears directly, so I walked toward the noise, which turned out to be a very poorly behaved black cat. (I complimented Hammett on his comparatively good conduct once I woke up.)

Then lucidity started to fade again, so I tried spinning a second time, and noticed on this go that the spinning itself was extremely pleasurable. During it, I thought, “Maybe when I’m done spinning, I’ll land in a nicer dream, like something with sun and blue water,” but where I actually landed was my very own bed, awake.

I’m having my dental stitches out tomorrow and cannot wait. The stitches have unraveled a bit more each day so that now it’s like walking around with a mouthful of loose flapping strings—actually, it is walking around with a mouthful of loose flapping strings—so I’ll be happy to see Dr. E. coming at me with the little scissors tomorrow.

I hope he’ll think it’s healing nicely. I can’t tell, but I can say that the dead person’s bone chips haven’t come exploding out of my mouth, so that seems good.

Last Saturday I walked over to the Zen Center and heard Michael Wenger speak. There was no public lunch or after-talk Q&A because they were having a one-day sit. I had a nice walk home and then did a long list of very small chores while listening to This American Life, at least until they played a snippet of “Freedom of Choice,” and then I stopped the streaming KQED and played some of my Devo “records”—you know, flat vinyl discs that go around and around on a “record player.” They still sound “awesome.”

I’m sorry to report that my parents’ sweet and much-loved cat Nigel had to be euthanized last week, after having been in declining health for a time. She was originally my grandmother’s cat, and she was terrified of strangers. My grandmother frequently had ladies over for bridge, none of whom ever laid eyes on Nigel. They would tease my grandmother, asking, “Are you sure you have a cat?”

My grandmother had to visit the emergency room one day in the winter of 2003 and when I spoke to her, she asked who was going to take care of Nigel. I asked, “Isn’t your neighbor feeding her today?” “No, I mean when I die,” Grandma Lee said. Naturally I stepped up right away and volunteered my parents, though this seemed quite premature. However, my grandmother did die just several weeks later, in her own bed, thanks to my parents, who moved in with her and took care of her and everything else, and then we had the extremely difficult task of getting Nigel into a carrier (for the last time in her life, probably). We cornered her in the guest bedroom and somehow my father succeeded in boxing her up for transport to Ann Arbor.

I think she enjoyed life with my parents. They love animals, and my father in particular is probably the world’s best cat parent. For instance, if a cat has to take medication, my father tastes it himself first to make sure it won’t be disagreeable for the cat. He went to incredible effort to care for Nigel in every way, though maybe what she liked most was the complete absence of bridge-playing ladies.
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