Dream Police

I See Into Your Dreams

[Editor's Note: No – You're not dreaming, I'm also guest posting over @ Sassy Britch's blog today.  And if you are coming over from there, "Welcome."  I wrote about a dream on Monday.  While not a "Part 2", it is a follow-up to THIS post.]

I dream.  I dream a lot.  I don't remember my dreams most nights, but at least once a week I will.  Every once in a while, I will enter what I call an "active dream phase" where for about a week, I have 3 very vivid dreams a night that I remember bits of when I awake.

I love those times.

My dreams usually have a narrative, and mostly make some sort of sense, although there are always impossible things.  Like the dream where I was arguing with the people about how they were reporting on balance sheet numbers.  They were doing it like it was and income statement, only adding the 12 months together.  I was in their face about needing "bucket zero" as we called it, where you rolled last year's balance into the new year.  See, I haven't coded financials in 7 years, so I wouldn't be having this discussion at work.

I do not have recurring dreams, but I have recurring themes.  Not the traditional "falling" or "being chased" things either. More SCOPE than that!

You Can't Get There From Here – One recurring theme is that I need to get somewhere, but I can't.  The harder I try, the further I get away.  Like I need to get to work, but as I get on the train, it breaks down, so I hop on a bus, but it takes a wrong turn, the cab gets rerouted due to a detour, and I am further from my destination than when I left.  While these dreams are really frustrating, I do get to explore new, and totally made up sections of places I know, so that's kinda cool.

I Believe I Can Fly (Just Not Very Well) – I do have flying dreams, but in my dreams, I can't fly well.  It's not that I crash into stuff, or flap around like <- THAT <- dork.  No, I tend to just skim the ground.  So, I have to dodge around cars and stuff.  Eventually, I can get some decent air, but usually only a story or so up.  Once, my flying ability mutated.  Instead of being able to fly, I strapped joy buzzers to the bottom of my feet, and the the vibrations reduced friction, and I could skate upon them.

Sans a belt?  Sans Pants! – In my dreams, I'm often pantsless.  Never naked. Usually I have on a shirt, and most times I've even got unders on.  No junk swinging free.  But I'm out in public in a T-Shirt and boxers.  I can pull the shirt down to cover if I crouch, but then I have to duck walk and hide behind things to avoid being seen until I can get to where ever my pants are.  The dream always ends before I get tot he pants.  Always.

This would be my nightmare.

What about you?  Do you have any recurring dreams?  Themes?  Either write them in the comments, or take this as a meme and post the answer on your blog.


Last Friday

Last Friday, I was out in the far western suburbs at a conference in the city's historic downtown area. After the meetings, I was supposed to get a ride back to the hotel with my boss's boss. I was following her out, but got distracted and lost them in the crowd.

Crap! But I'll just email them on the BlackBerry and… no BlackBerry. That means no phone numbers. No email addresses. I'm not sure which direction the hotel is. And…

Double crap! I left my wallet back at the hotel!

So there I am, standing on the edge of the quaint little traffic circle in town, slapping the hell out of my self, screaming "It's only a dream! Wake up stupid. It's only a dream!" Well, the fifth hit or so REALLY hurt like a mother. It wasn't a dream.

I eventually make it back to the hotel in time to get cleaned up and meet everyone for dinner. In the room, I found my wallet and BlackBerry but no car keys. Instead there was a valet ticket. So I flipped on my robe, and tracked down the hotel owner her was just heading off on her evening walk. She told me that she didn't have valet parking, and that my car was in the parking lot. Fearing a revealing gust of wind, I went back to my room, dressed, and found the keys on the dresser.

I headed out, and as I closed the door, I met up with some friends…

And woke up from the dream.


Last Weekend

I realize that I've kind of left you hanging about Cora & Gwen's LAST visit last weekend.  Sorry about that.  It was really a wonderful weekend.  Aside from the trip to the Art Institute (LINK) there wasn't any real "Big Ticket" kind of event.  Nothing touristy.  Just everyday sort of life things.

And it was MAGIC!

Friday: We woke up and headed out.  But not that far.  Just down to the corner.  On the corner right outside my building is a crossing guard.  I wanted Cora and Gwen to meet her, and help fuel the excitement for the school that we would be visiting later.

While not distracting her from her job, we spent about 45 minutes talking with her.  Getting great intel on the school and the neighborhood.  And then we also had a "small world" moment while talking about a all-girl's Catholic school here in town.  While I don't know a lot of high school's in the city, I do know this one.  Turns out, she was a classmate of "The Blonde", my friend from college, who we were going to visit the next day.

The school tour went very well.  Cora and Gwen loved it.  I liked it, too.  It's a smallish school.  Not intimidatingly.  It's a classic three story brick building.  Nice and compact.  But it's also right in the middle of a "green" retrofit, and is a really neat place, with a huge community garden and play lot.

The evening was spent on snuggled up on the sofa making a "Cora sandwich" while watching more Harry Potter.  These are good movies.  Why didn't someone tell me before this?

Saturday: Gwen took the lead in making crepe's for breakfast.  We filled them with cream cheese and bananas, or blueberries, or chocolate pudding, or yogurts.  And more Potter.

Midday – We headed out to the suburbs.  A slow crawl in Saturday afternoon traffic to visit "The Blonde" and her family.  They have 4 kids, and her oldest daughter is Gwen's age (MG), and they have similar interests.  But before we go, we have one stop to make.

Crate & Barrel looking for wine glasses for our first wedding toast.

Flutes Gwen was a little nervous in there.  Not anything to do with the wedding, but she was feeling a little clumsy, and there was just all that glass stacked around.  (Truth be told, I use my super powers to shrink about 10% when I enter too, to avoid the "bull in the china shop" thing.)  And we found exactly what we were looking for in the "Verve Flute" (see left).

After the quick stop and success, made it out to our friends'.

Good food.  Good conversation.  A little drama (MG had an accident on a a rip board. A couple of raspberries, nothing serious), and then watching "The Blindside" in their home theater.  Well, trying to watch "The Blindside", but there was a scratch on the disk, so we resorted to Nerf dart / foam disk battles and watching movie snippets.

Sunday: Rats.  This got here WAY to quick.  As we all moped about, saddened by the fact that the family was going to be split up for a while.  But not too long.  And not for much longer.

We loaded up the car and headed for a lunch visit with my parents.  This was Gwen's first time to meet them, but thought it was important that it happened before the wedding.  Despite the fact that we were about an hour late, the meeting went well, but soon, I had to get the girls to the airport.

:-(  Lots of group hugs, a couple embarrassing (for Gwen) smooches and then they disappeared thru security.

And I went home to a condo that suddenly felt very, very quiet and empty, and moped about for a few hours.

Until I got the quick email from Cora.  Which led to a phone call.  :-)


You're A Genuine Work of Art

Thursday was the day of 3 halves.  Just like a hockey match.

The first half was filled with the cleaning, organizing, etc.  The normal scramble of preparation when Cora is coming.  But amped up to 11 because because my future step daughter Gwen was coming along for her LAST visit to Chicago before she moves here in the summer.  I wanted to make sure everything was just right for her.  Ya know?

After a quick car wash to blast the bird shit off my car from it setting outside for 40 hours at my parents over Easter, it was off to the airport to get the girls from their flight due in at 1:00.

The second half of the day started when they got in. We got our welcome hugs and kisses in, grabbed their luggage off baggage claim (like, the third and fourth bags to pass by!), and then managed to get the car out of the parking garage in 58 minutes, so I didn't have to pay for an extra hour!

It was then off to get a not so quick bite before the three of us hit the Art Institute.  If you haven't ever been, you are probably still fairly familiar with many bits of the collection.  And but those aren't the bits I want to talk about.

DSC00924First though, we have to start off with a picture in front of the lion statues out front.  Everybody does it.  Here we are at the entrance. We decided to get our yearly membership on this trip so we could go back.  And, they have a rule that if you live over 100 miles away, you get 10% off.  We used Cora's PO box and saved some ca$h!

A couple of things that caught my eye:

The Rock by Peter Blume has a destruction side and a rebirth side,


and Coca-Cola is on the destruction side…


Speaking of "destruction" they have Ivan Albright's Picture of Dorian Gray from the movie.


Trust me the life size painting was pretty disturbing.

Regardez! Un singe! Et un chiot!
(Look!  A monkey! And a puppy!)


(Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.)

But, the middle half of the day was winding down and it was time to head out of the museum.  But we'll be back to tackle the Modern Wing soon!

DSC00960 (FYI – Unposed.  I was sneaky.)

The third half of the day was spent at my condo HOME.  We cooked a little supper, and I about pepper sprayed us out of the joint when the ground red pepper on my chicken turned aerosol started us all coughing.

But, after tasty, home cooked vittles (does microwaving Easy Mac count as "home cooked"?), we settled in on the sofa to watch "Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone".  I have tried to watch this movie, TWICE, at Cora's, and each time, we got to the scene with Hagrid delivering Harry's letter, and had to shut it off.  This time, we made it all the way through.

But then, it was time for the three half day to end.  After all, Friday was going to be a school day.


Guest Blogger – Museum of the Art Institute

[Editor's Note: Today's blog post is my guest blogger's first blog post. She and her mom flew into town to visit me this weekend, and we started the trip off with a visit to the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago. Without further ado, I bring you my future daughter, Gwen.]

Hello. My name is Gwen. I usually spend my time at home in the state of Washington, but for the past couple of days, I have been in Chicago. On the first day, I woke up at home at 3:30 a.m., and was on the plane by 6:30. We arrived just after 12:00. We went straight to the Art Institute of Chicago. There were many paintings, sketches, sculptures, etc. Here are a few:

DSC01894 DSC01856 DSC01861 DSC01862 DSC01877 DSC01887 Okay, that is it. I'm done. Goodbye!

[Editor's Note: We were trying to ape the people in the the painting. That explains my shirt and hair, really.

And a great thanks to Gwen, for helping me out on this post.]

And posted on the wrong day!


Happy Anniversary, Cora

All, it was one year ago today that Cora and I met in person.  And the thing is, knowing how amazing and wonderful this year has been, this next year is going to be even more magical.

DAY2-Snog Engagement-Picture (2) Ginos-Graffiti-02 HEART-LIGHTDSC00653


Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Did I ever tell you the REAL reason Cora fell for me? Like her favorite fictional boy wizard, Harry Potter, I too have a scar on my forehead. Mine, however, is not due to the touch of an evil wizard. More like the touch of a 2 way swinging door.

It's in the "non-snake" section of skin there.

(It's as hard to see in real life as it is in the picture.)

I was in 3rd or 4th grade at the time. I was only in school in that building for 3 years, and I don't think it was second grade; too young. Anyhow, I had been excused to go to the bathroom. This was back in the day when Coke had real sugar, no child owned a "bicycle helmet" and grade school bathrooms not only had doors, but had doors that swung both ways. (Psst – don't forget to make an Anna Paquin joke later when you review this.)

After doing my business and washing my hands like a good little boy, I headed for the entrance / exit door. That's when Charlie from the Special Ed class BLASTED through the door at a full run.


I BE CONCUSSED! The leading edge of the door caught me right above my left eye. Little eff'r just kept going too. Oblivious to the destruction he had just wrought. But then, so was I. Head wounds don't really hurt. But one thing they do very well?


Probably concussed, I returned to my class room. The teacher gasped. Jill Sherbyn almost threw up. I had yet to realize that the blood, streaming from the half inch gash and had run down my face and neck and was starting to soak into my T-shirt.

Being the 70's, I was taken to the school nurse, who cleaned me up, and put a butterfly bandage on it. No other medical care was provided. I think. Did I mention the possible concussion?

I am pretty sure they called my mom to pick me up. Or at least bring me a new shirt, because the sudden imbalance of my four bodily humors that were displayed like a mad Rorschach Test on my clothing.

But I don't get it title. Okay, "Charlie" makes sense, he hit you with the door. But "Chocolate Factory"…

Oh. My.

You seriously made that joke?

Yes. And for that, I WIN.


The Heebie-Jeebies

I'm not a big "supernatural" person. As a man of science, I have a healthy skepticism. But I haven't shut the door to the fact that there are things that cannot be explained and the fact that there may be a grain of truth to some of the stories of the paranormal.

Going to Mac Murray College, filled as it is with its owns stories and legends, helped keep that door open.

On my first tour of the campus as a prospective student, I was on a campus tour with "The Blonde" and a John Lenon looking tour guide I will call "Toby*". As part of the tour, Toby took us into the old, abandoned theatre building, and told us a story of a friend who felt something touch her chest back stage. When she got back to her dorm room, she had a red handprint on her chest.

Oh, and there's the "Blue Lady", the "Harker / Michaelson Monster", and the psychics prediction of an axe murder on Jane 3rd on a rainy Thursday in April.

And then there's my story.

It was my junior year, '86 or '87, and I was 'working' in the computer lab, second story, Mac Hall. Few people ventured into the lab late in the evening, (pre-internet) and I was the only one in the lab. I was playing 'Dungeon', a variant of Zork I & Zork II. Even though no one else was there, I had to stick around until 10:00.

The lab was a series of 3 rooms. I was in room one. The hallway doors to rooms 2 & 3 were locked and the lights were out. There was no way to enter the lab without going past me. I was alone.

Or was I?

As I sat there, a little after 9:00, trying to open the jewel encrusted egg (you give it to the thief and let him do it for you), I felt as if someone was behind me. I was sitting sitting with my back 5 feet from the corner of the room, with the door at my 2 o'clock. There could be no one back there. But I looked anyway.

I'm not sure which was more disturbing? The seeing of nothing, or if I had seen something. As the clocked slowly ticked toward 10:00, every few minutes that creepy feeling would come back. Stronger.

I was not the only entity in that room. A fact that had neither of us seemed all that happy about.

image By 9:55, I had a full fledged case of the heebie-jeebies. I would have bet ca$h money that the specter of Death was hovering behind me with his boney hand inches form my shoulder. At that point, I did what any other red blooded American male raised on Scooby-Doo would have done: Called it "good enough", shut down the lab, turned off the lights, locked the door, and jogged ran down the stairs, out the doors, and didn't stop until I was back down campus in my dorm room.

I never had that feeling again in the lab, but I am certain it was not my imagination that knight.


* I called him 'Toby' only because his real name is 'Tobias' but he said to call him 'Toby'.


My Day In Pictures…

How did my day go yesterday?

Well, I went to the vending machine, which has some kind of "SureVend" technology that may use some kind of laser or electric eye beam to make sure that your product drops and you get to enjoy your tasty, salty, garlicy Gardetto's


Which explains why I had to hit the machine with a high shoulder slam to get them to fall.  Rat bastards.


Speaking of rat bastards, I get on the "L" around 5:00, and I see this ass-hat zonked out.  Not only is he taking up two seat, with his guitar & amp, but his legs are splayed out taking out a huge amount of standing room, too.


Since he didn't so much as twitch for 7 train stops, I figure he was most likely dead, and just dumped there.  Because no one would SLEEP on the "L".  Right?

And no, I cannot explain the plastic pumpkin, either.


The Worst Smell of All Time

Chicken-BreastMany years ago, I was living in the suburbs, alone and trying to save some money by buying in bulk. Well to do that with meat, it means splitting it into smaller bags before freezing, because you don't want to defrost 10 pork chops when you are only going to cook one. Oh, okay, two.

This trip to the store (day 1), it was chicken breasts. The full, double breast. Boneless and skinless, but still, I had to split them and trim a little fat here and there. Since it's chicken, I used proper handling methods. The chicken was trimmed on a plate that would get washed soon. The wrapping, Styrofoam tray, and paper towels were all put into a separate trash bag to get thrown out right away, and the skin and fat scraps went down the garbage disposal.

After the cutting, bagging, and freezing of the chicken, I took out the special trash, washed down the kitchen and my hands, and basked in the glow of a job well done.

The next day (day 2) after work, I went into the kitchen and P-U! did it smell a little funky in there. Just to be certain, I threw out the rest of the trash, and wiped down the counters again.

That's one nasty nose nair!The following day (day 3), after work, I opened my front door, and I could almost see the green baculovirals, maloderous stench slam into me. My eyes watered. "Good Lord! What is that smell!?!" I thought. It was the worst smell I had smelled in years. Maybe in forever.

Unfortunately, it would hold the title of "Worst Smell Ever" for maybe another 45 seconds.You get the point

Braving battle with the beast, I dashed into the kitchen. I could tell the source of the stink was the sink. I stood in front of it, bent over, and looked down the drain hole…

…and flipped on the garbage disposal.

The blades of the machine sealed my doom. Not only did they atomize the fetid chicken skin and fat that were rotting in that chamber of horrors for two full days, but like a fan, they pumped the essence of concentrated EVIL into my face.

I gasped in shock.

Bad idea.

I'm not sure what was worse:

  • The unholy smell of the befouled fowl?
  • The fact that millions of pathogens had just entered my lungs, but wouldn't kill me nearly fast enough?
  • My mouth was open, and that $#!T was now on my tongue! And it smelled like a fresh mountain breeze in spring time compare to HOW IT TASTED!?!

How I didn't pass out and or developFunky Chicken chicken based super power, I'll never know. I must have been in pure survival mode. I turned on the water to try to smother the stench, then grabbed a lemon from the fridge and Darryl Dawkins'd that into the whirling maw of the InSinkErator.

Opening all the window, running the exhaust fan over the stove, half a can of Lysol, and a 20 minute tooth brushing let me claim victory over the stench.

That, and pulling a frozen chicken breast out of the freezer for dinner.


An Opening Day Tradition

Cubs-SuckI was sure I post this last year, but I guess I didn't.  Every opening day for the last few years I play this little snippet of history to get me in the mood for the baseball  season.  I know I've been ripping on the Cubs and their fans a little recently, and honestly, I have no plans on stopping any time soon.  :-)

To set the scene:  It's April 29th, 1983, and the Cubs are off to a 5 & 14 start.  And after the game, their manager, Lee Constantine Elia





with a live microphone in the room.

I remember this day.  I remember the radio station airing this rant (bleeped, of course) over and over that week.

And to this day, its how I kick off the season.

Safe For Work Version – Bleeps!

Not Safe For Work Version – No bleeps!



Have A Good Friday…

I don't think this is the "Dyed Hair" I meant

Sorry, it seems the Easter egg hunt will have to be canceled this year.

(Yes, I ran this same picture last year, but a classic's a classic.)

Have a great weekend, ya'll!

Wedding Work Weekend Wrap-up

So, last Saturday, Cora and I were fairly unsupervised, so we did what all engaged couples do: wedding stuff!  And I do mean stuff!

The first batch of wedding invites were stuffed.  You can read most of the details over at Cora's blog.  But I will say, we worked like a well oiled machine.  Sure, we started off putting the cute inserts into the wrong envelopes, but we recovered.  And we did some very smart things:

  • We assembled the sections in phases with each person only doing a few tasks, so we got good an fast at our tasks.
  • After we made a couple, we went to the post office and had them weighed to make sure that we weren't THAT couple that sent things out postage due.
  • Peel & Stick! Return addresses? Yes! Mailing addresses? Yes!  Stamps!  Outer envelope? No!  Yeah, we cheaped out a little and got the like 'em style envelopes.  Saved ourselves some decent coin.

All the envelopes were stuffed, and we were down to the sealing the envelopes.  Cora looked me in the eyes.  I gazed lovingly back at her, and we both had the same thought: "If you think I'm licking these, you are out of your ever loving mind.  Remember what happened to George's girlfriend on Seinfeld?"

I suggested a sponge, and Cora popped up and brought 2 little spongy makeup brushes and a shallow bowl of water.  And we ripped through the final steps of putting the invites together.

But we did take time out to play a little.

We met up with Cora's family at Red Robin, and I had a pretty girl sit right up on my knee.

WWWW-Eric-Cute-GirlBut seriously, what in the wide, wide world of sports is going on with my hair?  That's REALLY not the look I was going for.

And we saw a car that went WAY beyond "wash me".


But we were being stalked.  Stalked by the fact that I was heading home on Sunday.WWWW-Sneaky-Plane But before I left, we had a couple of tasks on Sunday:  Mail the invites, order the wedding cake, and have a little lunch.  We decided on Subway, so I Googled mapped it, and there was one right in front of us, at Grady.  Now, I will estimate that I have been through that intersection 30 or 40 times in the last year that I've been going out to see Cora.  And her, a couple thousand times?  Yet, it took Google to point out that the Subway was attached to the gas station there on the corner.

The trip tot he airport was sad, but when we realized that we would be together again in just 2.5 weeks, it didn't seem so bad.

And now, I'm down to 2 weeks, and I'm wondering: Do I have enough time to clean this joint before they get here?


April's Fools

Man, I LOVE PhotoShop!

I was trying to think of a good April Fool's Day joke to play on you all. But I decided to dedicate today to the biggest bunch of April Fool's on the planet: Cubs fans.

For those of you who do not follow baseball, the Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series in 102 years. According Wiki, that's the longest drought of any major league sports team in North America. Thank God for the Hibernian F.C. of Scotland. They haven't won the Scottish Cup since 1902.

Speaking of April Fools, did I ever tell you about the time T-Bone and I were snowed out of an opening day game at Wrigley Field?

True story.

He had free tickets from work. None of his customers wanted to freeze to death. And it snowed. Players slid around on the outfield for a while, and then they called the game.