My Recurring Room Dreams

I have this recurring dream, in which I’m in the home of a loved one, or maybe my own home, and soon realize that the home has a secret quarters-rooms or a space that can only be accessed through a secret door.  Sometimes it’s an attic, atop a tiny ladder. Or, in one case, the wall folded open to a tiny spiral staircase.

The dreams are always a euphoric feeling, giving me the sensation of having found something very meaningful and sentimental there.  In one dream I was in my paternal grandmother’s house, and found a room full of very old dresses and women’s clothes.  They were carefully hung on dress forms, gloves folded in pairs, hats placed neatly on dressers.  In another, my maternal grandmother’s home, a beautiful sitting room, aglow in the sunshine.  The walls were light colored, and blue sky melted in through geometrically shaped sky-lights, placed in angled vaulted ceilings.  (A remarkable task, if you knew the size of my grandma’s tiny bungalow.)

In the most pleasant of all these dreams, my own home had a secret chamber.  I found a secret door in the middle of a wall, papered in victorian reds and golds.   I pushed through it to find full of lush, leafy plants, and more sunshine.  It was as if there was a greenhouse, hidden away in my own home, steamy and damp.  Plants were stacked rows high, again in a room with domed ceilings, one or two plush arm chairs arranged for reading.

The rooms feel warm, serene, and comfortable.  As I said, it’s always a pleasant feeling-one that I don’t want to shake off when I do wake up.

It was my husband that first pointed out that I have this recurring dream.  I haven’t had it for a  few months, and I’ve been missing it, wondering now and then what the dream even means.  But, now that I’m writing this, I realize that the dream has always taken place in the home of a woman, even if that woman is me.  I’m thinking the secret rooms are like wombs, nurturing, and a warm place for growth and serenity.  Maybe the reason I haven’t had this dream lately is because I’m openly looking forward to having a child, as opposed to the secret longing that existed before.  When my desire to be a mother was secret, the rooms were secrets.  Now that I feel free to think about it, the rooms are no longer secret, no longer warranting a dream.

An open request to my favorite Dream: I hope you’ll come back.  Maybe tonight?  Maybe some other time?  But, I’d hate to think you’re gone forever.


The Who and Why of Anonymous Blogging

I’m thinking that by now you must be wondering, who is this girl, and why is she being so anonymous.  Well, that seems an obvious question for the few (if any) people that read this blog.

Firstly, who am I?  Well, I suppose that seems like it should become evident with time and reading, but I suppose dragging that out could lead to over-hype and let-down situation.  So, for now, let’s leave it as I’m 29, live in a mid-western city that doesn’t like to think of itself as mid-western, and I’m a creative writing student.  The blog is an exercise in developing my writing skills, namely those in the non-fiction arena.  Why keep it a secret?  It’s not like I’m going to pull a Dooce and get canned (or famous).

I’m keeping it anonymous so that I have the option to be honest, with very little self-censorship.  The older I get, the more I realize that adults have a lot of secrets.  Life is complicated.  People suffer from mental and emotional issues, go through life-changing events and tragedy, and do things that affect each other in unforeseen ways.  For now, I’ll be keeping my identity and more on the DL, so that I can talk more candidly, should the need arise.

Though as of yet, it’s been hard for me to discuss a lot of things that involve other people.  Some of the issues that run through my family and friends, the things I know that they don’t think other people know…it doesn’t seem right for me to discuss the details without their ok.  And I know that “ok” will never be forthcoming.  As my friend told me this morning, “it’s not [my] story to tell.”  Peoples pain entitles them to tell (or not tell) their own story in their own way.

So, I’ll need to develop my own stories.  My pain = my stories.  Let’s just hope there’s more triumph than pain.

In the meantime-it’s a challenge.  I need to be careful to be descriptive, while non-specific about a lot of people, places and things.  I think my husband needs a nickname, so he’s not “my husband” in every future post.   Maybe, since he bought me the laptop that motivated the blog, I should let him pick his nickname.  Mr. ____.  Mr. Badass?

And it’s especially hard for me to not name the city I live in.  The city I feel has the most potential and yet falls so short.  That could be a blog in and of itself.

But, I digress…I’m on the interwebs, and the rest of the story is on a need to know basis for now.





“Well, That Didn’t Pan Out”

In the immortal words of Rooster Cogburn, “that didn’t Pan Out”.

Remember how I posted on Sunday, in my post 5 by 30 my goal #3: knock down the best jammer on my derby team? Well, I did that, and it didn’t go so good.

We were both in the pack, scrimmaging.  She was talking to someone on her right, turned away from me on the inside.  I saw her, and I thought, “Hey! I need to mark that off my list, right?  Take the hit!”  So I did it.  I went for the hit, shoulder to sternum, and skated on.  A stride later, I hear commotion, and turn to see her in a pile on the floor.  I went down on my knees to check on her.  Her shoulder was clearly contorted.

As she wriggled on the floor, making a pained noise that can only be transcribed as “meeep…..meeeeep” I thought, “this is not what I’d set out to do.”

So, she’s ok.  An overextended shoulder, and hurt pride.  She skated shortly after that, but came to my team, so I’d quit “beating the shit” out of her.

I’m marking that off my goals list, and making a new goal: Don’t set goals that potentially hurt other people.  It’s not a good feeling to complete such goals.

On a side note, if anyone ever questions the true “friends off the track” nature of derby, the girl that I crushed asked me to be in her wedding after practice.  See? It’s all forgiven.

Five by 30

My 30th birthday is looming, just over 3 months away.  I’ve already had to come to terms with gray hair, settling down, being responsible…so it’s not the idea of another year older that bothers me.  I’m got a heightened sense of awareness about the idea of turning 30 because this is the year that my husband and I have decided we want to start having kids.  So, it’s not that I’m getting older…it’s that my life will be changing drastically over the coming year or so…give or take…who knows how much time I have left.

I tell my husband all the time, that even when we have kids, we’ll still get to do the things we enjoy.  Going out, working on personal projects, spending quiet time with each other.  I believe all of these things to be true, but I’m also profoundly aware of the limitations that children will bring to our lives.  Money, time, and freedom will all be shared with a little soul more important than our own.


photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

I’ve already made the commitment to take a big, epic trip, before even trying to get pregnant.  My first destination is Angel Canyon, Utah.  I know what you’re thinking-doesn’t “big, epic” describe ascending Mt. Kilimanjaro or something?    Well, for the mid-western girl that’s never been to a city bigger than Chicago, a trip most of the way across country, to see the canyons, is pretty big, epic,


The second trip in the works is to Europe…ideally England, Scotland and perhaps a detour to the motherland of Switzerland…more on that big, epic idea later.

But, neither of those trips are an option until a break in our class schedules, so I’ve got nothing but time to sit and stalk our destinations via google earth.

But, back to the dirty-thirty…

I was perusing some WordPress tags, and came across My Kids are Stronger than Me, a blog where Jim chronicles his bucket list of 30 before 30. Turns out he’s not the only one. Seems like most of these folks started more than 90 days out though…or 94 as in my case.

So, I woke up this morning, thinking I needed to complete a 30 by 30…just making the list is a task in and of itself…how about I go for quality over quantity.

1. run 50 miles. (not in a row!  are you nuts!  no, just 50 total…)

2. take more pictures with new fancy camera, all in new places.  print 5 of them, and frame and hang at least 1.

3. knock down the best jammer on my derby team.  (not naming names-she can’t know I’m gunning for her.)

4. drop 2 inches off the tummy, to be ready to wear a bikini for the first time ever (at 30!).  ECE is coming in June, and I need to be ready for the pool.  I’m big all over, but my mid-section is the area that is dangerously fatty.  This goal seems like it should be easy enough, considering goal #1.    Stick to the workouts, keep eating around 1500 calories/day…should be ok, right?  (Famous fat last words…) Starting measurements 39 inches at the belly button.  (This is why I’m blogging anonymously.  How do you like them apples, interwebs?)

5. Write 4 short stories, fiction or non-fiction.  That’s no small task, considering I’m the one making myself write them-they’re not assignments or deadlined.  It’s a self-inflicted deadline.

P.S.  I refuse to refer to this list as a bucket list.  First of all, the term “bucket” also means one’s buttocks, according to my Polish upbringing.  Secondly, the phrase just makes me think of a bucket full of golf balls.  Who wants a list of balls?  No, thank you.

Goodness, Girddles, and Spanx

So, I’ve been watching Mad Men lately, specifically re-watching the first season.  I’ve always adored the aesthetic and style of the characters, specifically the women’s costuming and hair.  From the feathered hats, to the crinoline skirts, it’s romantic and sexy.  One of the special features for this season highlighted the efforts that went into the costuming, even putting the actresses into girddles, garters, and hose.  No wonder Joanie looks so remarkably comfortable in all of those snug dresses-it’s a girddle!

I’m sure I’m not the only straight girl on earth to gawk at women in shows and movies.  It’s not a sexual feeling in that “wow, I want her” sort of way.  It’s really a “wow, I want to look like her” vibe.  When the subject is Charlize Theron in an open back dress, it feels unachievable.    When it’s a chick with a big fanny that’s been squeezed into place, and you know she’s got foundation garments keeping every curve, lump, bump, muffin top and back roll in place-that’s a realistic goal!

Which brings me to this morning, and Spanx.  Or, in my case, knock-off Spanx from Walgreens, but you get the point.

I had to go on a local television spot this morning, and knowing that I was going to be on TV, where viewers watch (and judge) guests (regardless of whether or not they’re there to be judged) I broke out the Spanx.  As a bit of background, I’m not a small girl-much smaller than I’ve been in the past.  But I think that some of us former fat chicks are even more sensitive about our weight and appearance in some ways.   Let’s just say I’m glad I live in the era of Spanx.

I’ll spare you the details of the snapping and rolling that occurs when a Spanx wearer has to go to the powder room, but after fighting to get my Spanx back up after one such incident, I did that over-the-shoulder-look-at-my-butt check and saw that pants that were too tight without Spanx were actually loose with Spanx.  It’s an amazing thing.  Sure, I feel like a nude-toned cased sausage, but I look good.  Lifted, consolidated, seamless.

And that got me to thinking about Joan and her mad men era sisters…what was it like to live in the era of girddles?  Romantic?  Miserable?  I take it since we’ve moved on, it must not have been worth it.  At least not to the feminists of the ’60s.  Furthermore, what did women of the 60’s think about corsets and the harsh undergarments that their grandmothers wore?

Now, I wonder-what will our grand-daughters of the future think about Spanx?  About our nylon/lycra/spandex booty transforming undergarments?  I imagine, one day 50 years from now, a twenty-something will look back on us, thinking,  “How glamorous they looked in their Spanx“.


Top 10 of ’10

I tend to think in terms of “top 5” lists.  “Top 5” movies. “Top 5” favorite desert island snack foods.  Of course, my internal dialogue hears them read by John Cusack…justifications and all.   So, when end of year rolls around, it’s like an excuse to think in terms of “top 5 lists”.  Except “Top 5” of ’10 seems to be missing the mark…so for the end of decade…let’s shoot for 10…granted, it may be a watered down 10, and I’m not going to put them in any particular order, because we all know these things vary from day-to-day.  Pretend you hear John Cusak too…

Top 10 Great Personal Moments of 2010

  1. Saw Dolly Parton (and Kenny Rogers) at DollyWood Amusement park.  Dolly’s my hair hero…and while the gal is looking a bit rough with all of the plastic surgery, I love how she embraces her gay fans and can laugh at herself when need be.
  2. Skated in a double overtime derby bout.  If you know derby, you know how amazingly rare this occurs.  It was epic.
  3. Did yoga for the first time.  Lots of people talk about yoga like it’s just resting, and that if you want to gain anything from it, it has to be hot yoga or rope yoga or yoga with your cat.  But they clearly haven’t tried traditional yoga.  I did shoulder stands and hand stands and learned that I’m actually pretty flexible for an out-of-shape girl.  More importantly, I grasped the concept of clearing my head, thinking in a slow, and logical way.    Tuning out distractions, and focusing on the one thing in the pose at that moment.  Since starting weekly yoga, there are times where I can even drown out sounds in order to listen to something more carefully.  It’s euphoric, and still, all at once.
  4. Ran my first 5 k.  Not bad, considering it took me years to get up to running a mile, or 20 minutes consecutively.  Somehow, I did it.  In 20-degree-weather.  I’m not sure I’ll ever do it again, but it was one of the few times I’ve ever really been proud of myself.
  5. Transferred to a big girl college, not just the community college that I’ve been at for years, and years.  I’m establishing my major as a creative writer, and feel very good for having finally come to a natural conclusion about my path in life.  Writing is at least my 4th major in college, but it’s been something I’ve known I enjoyed since I was old enough to enjoy anything.   I’m glad that I’ve finally realized that I’m not trying to get a degree to get a job-I want to learn to be good at something that is important to me.
  6. Road trip to the Carolinas with my husband.  Honestly, the vacation itself sucked, but you know what they say…it’s not the destination, but the trip…or something like that.  It’s a bonding and strengthening experience to spend literally days in a car with a loved one, and find yourself still wanting to be with that person at the end of it all.
  7. I got to be on Man vs. Food.  No big euphoric point here…just pretty damned cool.
  8. Got a tattoo.  It was deeply personal, and symbolic of the strength that derby gives me…another means of carrying that strength with me in other aspects of life.
  9. Had my derby comic book published, via Oni Press.  I wrote it, but I was very fortunate that my artist did such a remarkable job with the details and essence of me and my team, so the story really does portray my experience.
  10. seeing my 2nd cousin join jr. derby at age 13.  I can’t describe how grateful I am that young women are getting the benefits of derby at such a critical and difficult time in their lives.  I’m so proud to be in this derby-society, and even more proud that these young girls are joining us.

And…a few more “tops”:

  • Top Beer: the beer that I drank on the bleachers at East Coast Extravaganza Derby event…at 11 am.  Something about the freedom to drink at 11 am makes the beer taste better.
  • Top Song: The Heartless Bastards “Out At Sea” (they’re also my “top show”)
  • Top Movie: Mary and Max.  It’s claymation, it’s on netflix on demand…and it’s rare that I’ll get so emotional watching anything.
  • Top Book: to be honest, I read a ton of short fiction for classes this year, and I can’t really pick.  Mike Birbiglia’s, “Sleepwalk with me” comes to mind though, and I have a feeling he’d like being on anyone’s top list.
  • Top Meal:  damned hard to pick.  the breakfast place we went to during Derby Nationals in Chicago, the post 5k omelette and pumpkin pancakes, the pre-tattoo chicken tacos…I really can’t pick.

Wow…writing a list of top anything can make you feel optimistic…i started this post thinking that maybe I’d be doing a low-points list (which would include seeing only the dead sea turtle while on vacation, watching my neurologically challenged dog drag herself around the house, and nearly totalling my car) but who wants to think about that crap?

Happy New Year Interwebs!  I hope 2011’s a good one.