Dreams, They Complicate My Life.

I have been remembering my dreams since I was a little girl. I always thought they meant something more, even back then. Even today, I still not only remember the dreams I had last night, but I can still remember some of the very vivid ones I had growing up. A few times throughout my life, I even started a dream journal, and every so often when I’m in de-cluttering mode, I’ll stumble across an old journal and open it only to discover a handful of dreams from the summer of 1997, or some other isolated period.

I wish I had done more dream journalling. I love reading these little snippets of my past, because not only does writing down your dreams help you remember them, but it gives me so much insight into the person I was at that time, and how it has contributed to the person I am today.

Growing up, I often dreamed of storms – hurricanes, tornadoes, monsoons, tsunamis…and I was always running from them. Because of these dreams, I’ve developed an unhealthy fear of storms. I’m like the dog that hides in the tub at the first rumble of thunder. When Hurricane Sandy was coming, I pored obsessively over the projected path, and prayed and begged just before each time I looked at it that it would change and veer off out to sea. No such luck.

my worst nightmare.

my worst nightmare.

My Astraphobia is a post in itself, so I’ll save that for another time. Right now, I’m talking about dreams. I really do believe there is more to dreams than just “those things that happen when you close your eyes.” These things mean something. Whether it’s yourself telling ¬†yourself what you already know but are afraid to admit, or the universe giving you a gentle reminder of who you are and where you’re going.

Personally, I think it’s a little of both.

A few years ago, I had a dream that I went to this party in someone’s attic. There was music playing – it was the song Then He Kissed Me, by the Crystals. In waking life, I had no connection to this song, whatsoever. But it played, in the background, in it’s entirety, which meant that in waking life I actually knew every note of every musical instrument of the actual song itself. That’s pretty crazy if you think about it. The brain is really a wonderfully amazing thing. Anyway, I was one of the first people at this party in the attic – I think I was helping set up. There was a green velvet couch against one wall. I was over by the couch as guests starting arriving. One guest was my now husband. At that time in waking life, he was they guy I went out with four times and wondered why we weren’t actually together. But here he was, in my dream, at this random attic party where they were playing Then He Kissed Me. We walked toward each other, and he looked at me and said, “I really want us to be together. It’s just not the right time yet.” And then, I woke up. I didn’t just wake up, I shot up. I remember sitting up in bed, and thinking, “what the funk was that??”

In the years that followed, I’d hear that song, and it would remind me of that dream, and the guy. As I mentioned in my previous post, the guy and I are now married. Guess what song played at our wedding for our first kiss?

and then he kissed me. (photo by The More We See)

and then he kissed me. (photo by The More We See)

Was it always going to be that way and that was why I dreamed about that song? Or was the dream of the song the reason it happened? The world may never know. But either way, the dream was important. It gave me hope. It reminded me of what I really wanted, deep inside myself.

I also often dream about people who have died, like so many other people do. In my dreams, the dead are usually intermingled with the living, however there is one thing that separates them – they do not speak. Not once has a dead person ever uttered a word in any of my dreams. Since my dad died a few months ago, I’ve had plenty of dreams about him. Yet not one single word. Weird, right?

i still miss him.

i still miss him.

I love dreams. I love dreaming. I’ve flown many times. I’ve controlled them many other times. I’ve talked with people I haven’t seen in years. I once dreamed I was chatting with my brother, and I asked him what the lyrics were to a certain song, and he said, “I don’t know, I’m just a character in your dream. If you don’t know the lyrics, then how am I supposed to know?”

Oh, Brother. (Photo by The More We See)

Oh, Brother. (Photo by The More We See)

Anyway, the reason I’m thinking about all this on this fine Sunday morning is that my husband is watching soccer in the other room so I have to find something else to do keep myself occupied, and more importantly, I had a very strange dream last night that I can’t stop thinking about. In waking life, sometime around 2005, I played in a band called 4 Hours Sleep. We had fun, and played a whole bunch of shows around Philly. We recorded an album of songs, and although the band wasn’t together for much longer after we were finished with the album, the songs really stood out to me, mainly because this was a pretty emotionally tumultuous time in my life, and the lyrics to those song still either make me smile, tear up, and just remind me what it means to grow up. In the dream, it was the present day, and I was at my mom’s house, and there was some kind of party going on. I was hanging out in my old bedroom, and I suddenly thought of that 4 Hours Sleep album, and began rooting through boxes of old stuff to try and find it. I eventually found it, and tried to play it on the TV (clearly this is the dream part) but I couldn’t get it to play, no matter how hard I tried. Then a bird flew into the room, I got scared and ran to my mom to help me get it out. Then I woke up.

I have no idea what that means, but this morning, I was on a mission to find that old 4 Hours Sleep CD. I had a vague idea of where it was, and lo and behold, I found it, and am listening to it as I type. It brings back wonderful and painful memories. And it also has on it my favorite song that I’ve ever written, that I had forgotten about.

I just made this youtube video and it took me like an hour. Can you believe this is the first time I’ve ever posted a video to youtube? Maybe that was the reason for the dream – to teach me how to do something new. ūüôā

Counting Stars.

I know I haven’t posted in over a week, and I’m sorry. It’s been a bit crazy here in southern New¬†Jersey, as you can probably guess if you’ve seen any of the news at all recently. Thankfully, I sustained no damage nor did I lose power for more than 2 minutes during the entire seemingly endless and devastatingly infamous Hurricane Sandy. Some of my friends and family were not so lucky. I will say this – people are always dissin’ on the Jerz, saying we’re angry and drive like maniacs, etc. However in times of trouble, we’re like a super state of hard-working best friends, all in it together. The genorosity¬†and kindness I’ve seen and experienced during the past week and half have warmed my heart and yes, even brought me to tears. People are inherently good – I have always believed that.

Anyway, I haven’t done much baking, but the other day I was asked by a friend if I could make star-shaped cake pops that looked like magic wands. Honestly, I had no idea if I could do such a thing, so I told her I’d give it a try. I got the shaping of the cake part down pat.

twinkle, twinkle.

However, the chocolate I had was just not working for these, and each time I dipped them, they came off the stick, and one even broke into pieces. However, I made a bunch more, and I’m going to keep trying until I achieve¬†cake-star-magic-wand perfection. I don’t give up that easily. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. And by jove, I will do this right, if it takes 1000 stars. I sure hope it doesn’t take that many, though.

To be continued….

Ramblings of an Astraphobic.

she came in through the kitchen window.

I live right outside of Philadelphia, and we are right now in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, the biggest storm to hit this area in my lifetime (that I can recall). Not only is this the biggest storm to ever hit this area, but it has come at a time in my life where there has been much change and growth. A storm of sorts hit my personal life about a year and a half ago – also the worst storm in my lifetime that I can recall. It knocked me on ass, so to speak. Everything I thought I knew – everything I believed in – all the walls I had carefully constructed over many, many years were gone, in one fell swoop. I woke up one day and realized I had no idea what the heck I was doing.

At the time, I was lost. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I asked “why me?” and “why do I have to work so much¬†harder than everyone else?” Of course, I was wallowing, which is what we do when we don’t know what else to do. Thankfully, that phase didn’t last and I began to realize that now was the perfect time to do whatever I wanted to do. The walls were gone – the life I knew was gone. I was given a chance to rebuild, and I could do it however I wanted. I started taking yoga; I read some truly¬†inspiring¬†books; I found myself a mentor (or shoud I say, he found me); I started paying attention to the world around me. I realized that I had been surrounded by amazing people all along, if I had only opened my¬†heart up enough to let them inside. So I finally did. Instead of tightly sewing it back up after it had been broken, I allowed it to stay open.; and it has made all the difference.

None of this was easy. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life. But I would not trade it for anything. And I would even go as far as saying that I hope everyone can experience such a life-changing event. Having closed eyes and a closed heart is no way to go through life, son. Waking up isn’t always easy – but it’s worth it.

The reason I’m writing all this now, a year and a half later? Well, I’ve finally reached a good place. I’m awake. I’m alive. I love the world around me in a natural sense. I love the people in it. I am truly grateful for them, and the love in which they shower me with, unconditionally. You Get What You Give.

The storm is going to do what the storm is going to do. You will be ok. You are more than this. You will come out stronger. And so will I; as we all are part of each other.

So tell that person you haven’t talked to in a while that you miss them. Call that old friend you’ve lost touch with. Stop waiting and tell someone how you really feel about them.

“Things don’t go wrong and break your¬†heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.” ~ Samuel Johnson

Stay safe, my friends. See ya on the other side – stronger and wiser.

Recipe Saturday: Storm Cakes.

What do you¬†do when the thing you’ve feared more than anything since you were about 5 years old is finally about to happen in the form of a superfreak¬†“frankenstorm” with a path that appears to have curved intentionally¬†to slam dead smack into your house? Bake, of course.

Enter: The Storm Cake.

I figured maybe by making a cake in honor of the storm, it would ease the blow – you know, the old “offerings to the angry gods to keep them from unleashing their wrath” kinda thing. Anyway, I began thinking, what kind of cake could live up to such a great task? What goes into a “storm cake?”¬† More importanly, what doesn’t? I couldn’t just frivolously use up my storm-essentials like eggs and milk. Not at a time like this. No, this cake must be egg and milk-free. But what to add? Chocolate chips seemed like a good choice. And coconut. Oh, and oats. And how ’bout some crushed oreos? So far so good. But a storm has clouds, and lots of them. Marshmallows seemed like a good cloud-representation, however, I had absolutely zero marshmallows in the house, and I was not about to go to the supermarket in the midst of the storm-preparation frenzy for mere marshmallows. So, I improvised.

peep no more.

I mixed it all together, and the batter looked like a jumbled mess Рwhich was rather storm-like.

the wrath of cake.

I opted for cupcakes, and baked them up. When I took them out of the oven, they were bumpy, with things sticking out here and there Рyet they rose to life as any normal cupcake should. These were truly Frankencupcakes.

it’s alive!

I topped them with a swirling cloud of cinnamon whipped cream, of which I originally made as topping for the Pumpkin Rosemary Pie, but still had a ton left over.

here comes the twister.

I had to eat one, to see if they lived up to the hype. And unlike I hope the real storm does, they did. The Storm Cake of the Century, I’d say. Give it a try and see for¬†yourself. And if you don’t have all the ingredients, that’s ok – use what you’ve got. No two storms are exactly alike.

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Storm Cakes.

What you’ll need:

2 cups warm water

3/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup coconut

1 cup oats

4 crushed oreos

3 ghost-shaped marshmallow peeps (cut up)

What you’ll do:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix until well combined and smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips, coconut, oats, Oreos, and cut-up Peeps. Scoop into lined muffin tins, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Should make about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes. Bake for 15 Р18 minutes. Cool, ice, and enjoy.