Category Archives: Dreams

Localista At Large: Life’s a Zoo

Driving in Point Loma

Driving in Point Loma

Before heading to the San Diego Zoo yesterday, we drove over to Craig’s work at the Point Loma Naval Base so he could pick up some tickets. It is so weird to see palm trees and cacti and things like giant aloe vera lining the roads. The homes are definitely in a southwestern stucco style with red tile roofs and dry-climate landscaping on their sloping house-lots situated on the hills rising up from the Pacific. I find this architectural style/attitude restful somehow. I imagine siestas and late-afternoon mojitos and entertaining around the hot-tub in the evening.

Local Weeklies

Local Weeklies

Just wondering what kind of work I could do around here to support my deluxe lifestyle dreams. Maybe write for one of these local weeklies? Nah, I’d miss the Reporter too much. (Speaking of which, I’m still waiting for SRC-TV to get their video problem fixed so I can watch the propane tank hearing!)

Life's a Zoo

Life’s a Zoo

Balboa Park is an arts and culture mega-complex that include the San Diego Zoo, a cultural arts center called Centro Cultura de la Raza, the Mingei International Museum, the Museum of Photographic Arts, a science center, an air & space museum, the San Diego Art Institute, and more! I can’t even begin to imagine how this is possible–the closest I can imagine is the Mall in Washington D.C. If I had my way, I would spend the rest of our trip here…but when I say as much to the Teen I get a pained “Mo-o-o-o-om!” I get it. Shopping is much more exciting when you are some-teen-years-old and on a long trip with your middle-aged parents. Still, I will insist on at least one day here other than our zoo day. Mom’s pick day. I better chose with care. [Looking at one hand]History. [Looking at another hand]Art. History. Art. History? Art? Arghhh! How will I decide?

Flamingo Yoga

Flamingo Yoga

Maybe if I make like a pink flamingo and get into some really good yoga poses, I will become much more zen about the whole thing and just take life as it comes.

Of two minds...or two giraffes about it.

Of two minds…or two giraffes about it.

I’m really of two minds about it.

Carvings on the bamboo

Carvings on the bamboo

Anyone can take photos of the animals–but how about the little details like all the graffiti carved into the bamboo lining the pathways? I thought it looked kinda artsy, if delinquent.

Skytram across the zoo

Skytram across the zoo

We ended our zoo day with a really zippy trip across the park on the Skytram. I had lost my ticket (why did I think putting it in my pocket with my iPhone/camera/recording device was a good idea?), but they let me on after a quick glance at Hubby’s credit card receipt which he was smart enough to put in his wallet. Love that guy. So happy to be out here with him and the Teen. I wonder if this will be our last big family trip before graduation in a few years?

So anyway, after walking around at the zoo all day yesterday, the Teen and I took it easy and decided to hang around the hotel today. We spent an hour at the gym on the elliptical and treadmill and used the free-weights. Then we did some reading and sunning beside the pool, hit the hot tub, and came home to change for dinner.

Hanging Around

Hanging Around

I read all those weeklies and caught up on all the local news, views, and happenings. Also checked out the real estate. Yeah, in the term California Dreamin’ the operative word is, indeed, “dreaming.” That’s okay. I’m enjoying a glass of sangria in our living room area, writing up my blog post for the day, and waiting for everyone else to finish getting ready for dinner.



Can’t wait to head out to the Embarcadero tomorrow, San Diego’s waterfront district with ships and shopping…and the Kansas City Barbeque–the restaurant made famous in TOP GUN. I had no idea when I watched that movie last week that this excursion was “on the menu!” I might even get Hubby to drive me out to Miramar.

Writing With The Teen

The Teen artwork

Inspired by writers Bill Roorbach and Dave Gessner who publish a writerly blog called Bill & Dave’s Cocktail Hour, I’ve decided to “give something back” as they suggested in a post entitled Bad Advice Wednesdays: Do Something For Someone Else (30 Ideas for Writers).

From the post, which I highly recommend you read, is the following:

What I’m proposing today is forgetting about our own careers (or lack) and thinking about what we can do for others, what we can do to make the world a more hospitable place for art, and for artists, which is to say for writing and writers. Doing for others may be your key to success, and is certainly the key to happiness. Herewith, 30 suggestions for writers. Karma, anyone?

This past fall, I drove the Teen and three friends once a week to Portland, Maine to attend a teen writing workshop at The Telling Room. This place is awesome! A non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring young people as they learn to express themselves through story–oral storytelling, cartooning, poetry, fiction, personal narrative, new media, film, etc., The Telling Room provides a cozy space on Portland’s waterfront, guest teachers, and a wonderful staff both paid and volunteer.

The girls were attending a writing/cartooning class once a week. Driving to Portland and back after school, on a weeknight, was tiring for all of us, though. I kept thinking, “I wish we had writing workshops offered close to home.”

Well, when you want something to happen, often the solution is to do it yourself. I dredged up all my old high-school English teacher training and created a syllabus for a five-week teen writing workshop. I’m calling it Dreaming On Paper. Retro, perhaps, since most of us writers use computers now. However, I decided the focus of the class will be the keeping of a daily writing journal . . . paper and pen. Basic. Portable. Inexpensive. Not intimidating. The idea is to take a set amount of time, start your timer, and write until the alarm goes off. Writing with intention but freedom to let your mind stray, hopping from topic to topic, recording even the strangest images and connections that pop up from who-knows-where in the subconscious.

Natalie Goldberg in WRITING DOWN THE BONES describes the process in detail, and my hope is that teenage writers will find timed journal entries both fun and productive–a treasure trove of ideas for future writing projects.

The Dreaming On Paper writing workshop syllabus can be viewed by clicking here. Feel free to use it. Offer a writing workshop in your hometown. Follow the instructions to start your own writing journal/journey. Use your imagination.

When the workshop actually starts in March, I will be posting about it here, sharing tips and stories and maybe some segments from our notebooks (with permission of the authors, of course). My hope is that teens in my community will be inspired to put their dreams, observations, and ideas onto paper, discover the joy that writing brings (along with some frustration, because, let’s face it, writing isn’t always easy!), and find a micro-community of other young writers with whom they can share their interest, craft, and passion for the written word. While my Reiki instructor friend, Laura, explains that there is a difference between “expression” and “communication” (more on this topic at a later date, plus a link to her new blog!), here we can combine the concepts. . . expressing on paper in a private journal, rewriting for clarity and meaning, and then communicating to others. This is how it works. This is writing.

It’s so fabulous!

Riding a Flying Motorcycle Behind Cactus-Man

Dear Reader:

Do you think creative people have weirder dreams than most, or is it just me? I had a doozie of a dream last night, the weirdest dream of all time. To see how strange things get in my head sometimes, read on.

I dreamed I was riding a flying motorcycle over a jungle behind a cactus-man. The cactus-man (yes, he had arms and a head and legs and everything and was driving the motorcycle) had so many prickles I couldn’t hold on, so he put a steel rod through his head to make handles for me. These didn’t hurt him, of course, because he was a plant..

Seriously. Do I not win the prize for strangest dream ever?

Some people believe that our dreams are our subconscious trying to work things out or send us messages, so I decided to do a little research on an online dream interpretation site. I checked out “flying” first, since that part was pretty cool. On the Dream Moods site I learned that flying signifies a sense of freedom where before you felt restricted. It does say that if you are flying with black wings it signifies bitter disappointment. If black wings are bad, how much worse could prickly cactus with a steel rod through his head be? I’m not sure I dare to go any further.

I read on, however, and am happy to discover that a flying machine (the motorcycle) “foretells of steady and satisfactory progress in your future endeavors.” That’s pretty cool, right? This motorcycle didn’t even have saddlebags, let alone black wings. Whew!

I look up “cactus.” The dream dictionary says that a cactus symbolizes feelings of being invaded, crowded, suffocated. The prickles represent a wish to establish a boundary of personal space, of needing to defend yourself.

So what does it mean when the cactus is driving the flying machine? That my need for personal space is going to move me in a steady and satisfactory way toward my goals?

So far, the common theme is “space and freedom.”

Nothing came up for “steel rod” so I typed in “steel” and discovered that if you see steel in your dream it symbolizes toughness, willpower, determination, and strength. This dream is actually starting to seem, well, thematic! I can use willpower, determination, and strength to steer my need for space and freedom toward a satisfactory goal. Symbolized by the jungle? Let’s see what the jungle stands for, shall we?

A jungle, as you may have predicted, symbolizes chaos or inhibitions in your personality. If you are lost in the jungle, negative feelings are hindering your progress. However, in my dream I was flying above the jungle. I’m beginning to like this dream more and more, cacti head trauma aside. In fact, I think my subconscious was trying to tell me to “hop on that flying motorcycle, baby, and don’t look down!”

I think the lesson here is that determination, stick-to-itiveness, and hard work will bring the reward of greater freedom and accomplishment of my goals. And what are my goals for this year?

I want to bring more readers to my blog. I want to rewrite one of my novels and submit it to a publisher or agent. I want to expand my garden into more beds for growing greens this summer. I want to find a local source of pork and chicken and start buying from those sources. I want to drop twenty-five pounds, work out six days a week, and eat mostly local/whole foods. I want to sew at least one article of clothing before the year is out and knit one pair of socks per month.

If my dream is a portent, I think I can look forward to accomplishing some or all of these goals. With or without Cactus-Man.

What about you? Do you believe in dream interpretation? Have you set goals for 2011? Have any interesting dreams to share Outside the Box? Drop me a line!