Saturday, April 30, 2005

Fun with Camping

When I was a child, the following incident occurred on one the annual church camping trips that our family used to attend.

Several of my friends and I had walked to the camp's playground where we spread out amongst the equipment, talking and playing. A squirrel nosing for food at the base of a nearby tree caught our attention. With amazing speed, a large yellow ratsnake shot out from the hollow at the base of the tree and threw its coils around the luckless squirrel. This was a neat and shocking event, but the next occurrence left us awestruck. The petite, white-haired old lady that had accompanied her grandchild to the playground let out a yell and leapt at the snake, vigorously beating it to death with her walking stick.

My friends and I gathered round the fascinating tableau. Snake and squirrel lay motionless on the ground. All of a sudden the squirrel shot upright, then raced for the nearest tree-like object - the pants-leg of my friend Christoph. I have a wide grin on my face as I picture him hollering frantically and jumping up and down as the panicked squirrel sought to find its way out of his pants.

What a great camping trip that was!

It was only a dream

The previous entry was my attempt to describe a very vivid dream I experienced. The emotional aspect of the dream was very strong, as was the imagery. I thoroughly enjoy most of my experiences with dreaming, even those that are very disturbing. The only dreams that irk me are those in which I engage in certain - activities - in which I most certainly would not participate in the waking world. Fortunately those dreams are rare.

My dreams vary widely, though certain themes are more common than others. Sometimes I see the dream from a first person perspective, other times I am watching events unfold as if it were a movie. Frequently I am the star of my dream - other times I am someone else entirely, inhabiting their body and their life. When I am myself, sometimes I'm aware of what my life is like in the waking world, other times certain elements of my life are warped or missing in their entirety - such as the dream where I had forgotten that I had a son, then remembered his existence and panicked when I realized I had no idea where he was.

My dreams are always in color. Sometimes the colors are muted, sometimes they are very bright. In one dream, the grass was a very vivid green and seemed to have an unearthly but beautiful glow.

The most common theme in my dreams is that of fleeing, seeking, chasing or being chased. This could manifest as a dream in which I and my family are fleeing from a sky full of tornadoes; or a dream in which I am chasing someone that has kidnapped a family member. One of the funniest chase dreams occurred when I was eleven or twelve - I was being physically chased around a barn by a prince that wanted to marry me. I didn't want to marry him and tried to run away, but found that my legs were too leaden to move at more than a walking pace.

I could count the nightmares I had as a child on one hand. One, about vampires, scared me so badly that I woke and fled to my parents' room, the only time I ever remember doing that. That dream led to a fascination with vampire mythology and stories. As I grew older, my dreams became more disturbing, though I'd hesitate to call them nightmares - nightmares to me are dreams that cause you to wake in fright and have trouble returning to sleep. That usually doesn't happen to me. Once or twice I have woken up with tears in my eyes.

On occasion my dreams pack an emotional wallop. In one dream, I was at a beach with my family. My little sister and I were standing at the top of a cliff, looking down at the waves gently lapping against the shore when I realized that my little brother had drowned and was floating face down in the water. In emotional agony, I raced down to the beach, turned him over and realized it was simply a wooden doll dressed like my brother. My subconscious is fairly kind about modifying a dream which has become too emotionally painful.

Family members in trouble is another fairly common theme. In one, my mother and I are trying to convince a mobster that kidnapped my little sister for the child pornography industry to return her. In another, my little brother falls off a bridge into a river and I dive in to try to save him. In another, three rednecks have kidnapped my little brother. I find out where they've holed up and burst in on them. When confronted by a rifle, a snatch it away from the redneck holding it, then shoot him point blank - and I MISS. Boy, was that frustrating!

In one, I was married to Bruce Wayne, who found out as Batman that I had a hidden criminal past; he then threw me out of Wayne manor, while keeping our son and not allowing me to see him. I still remember standing in the snow, peering between the railings of the manor's wrought-iron fence, pained over losing Bruce but absolutely agonized over being separated from my son. (I had to laugh about the silliness of that dream!)

I'm not an emotional person in reality - I'm what they'd call "even-keeled". In my dreams, this changes - I have felt agonized despair, desperate fear and romantic love so strong it left me speechless.

I've flown once or twice in my dreams, but what happens more frequently is that I run through the air - holding myself aloft through sheer willpower.

Sometimes my dreams take very embarrasing twists - such as discovering that I'm walking around in public dressed only in a t-shirt and underwear, or going to the bathroom while several people stand around and watch.

Sometimes my dreams have B-movie plots. In one, I was a married woman (not myself, a voluptuous 30-something brunette). While in the shower a young man appeared with the intention of killing me - instead, I seduced him, learned that he had been hired by my husband (not my *real* husband), then convinced him to kill my husband instead. That dream left me feeling slimy - and wondering where it came from!

In another dream, I killed myself. I was being chased, and rather than suffer the dishonor of being captured, I took a flourescent lightbulb, broke it in half and plunged one jagged half into my heart. This is what happens when you play too many computer games in which you "respawn" when you die!

In one dream, I became pregnant and gave birth twice, while having no knowledge of who the father was and having no memory of ever having slept with anyone! While pregnant in reality, I dreamt I gave birth to twins which turned into cats.

In another dream, I was fighting off swarms of large alien insectile creatures with my family, when one stabbed me in the leg and began to crawl in under my skin. That was icky. In another dream I looked into a room and found Hannibel Lecter, with a woman on a table in front of him, with the flesh of her torso peeled back to reveal her insides. That was also icky.

For the longest time, my dreams had a recurrent theme of failure. I would be in a dangerous or desperate situation which called for violence on my part, attempt said violence and fail horribly. I was thrilled when I started to succeed - even though one of my first "successes" was shooting and killing an enemy during a car chase.

The strangest dream I ever had was as a child - our church had annual camping trips, and a few days prior to leaving I dreamt that I was walking through the woods, a friend on either side of me, while holding something in my hand. Once there, found myself doing exactly that, in a fashion that eerily resembled the dream I had. Of course, looking back on it, I had probably walked through those woods with those friends on previous camping trips. Still, it added to my curiosity and fascination with dreams. (Every now and then I'll have a similar feeling - not as though I've done something before, but as though I've dreamt of doing it.)

I guess I'll just have to wait until I'm shed of this limited shell before I find out more about dreaming and what its purpose is. In the meantime, sleep shall not be boring!

update: sheesh, it didn't seem that long while I was writing it!

Monday, April 25, 2005

...

Time and space have wrinkled, left me standing here, lost and alone. The scene before me is one of dark gray, lavender and black. Dark gray fields covered unevenly with mist made lavender by the pale light of the moon, slashed by the black silhouettes of trees standing sentinel at the borders between tilled fields and pastureland, which roll away from me in a series of gentle slopes. The landscape is eerie, sinister and achingly beautiful. It is winter. No snow lies on the ground. Matted drifts of dead leaves line the rutted dirt road I stand on.

I should not be here. I am frightened, approaching panic as I glance around, knowing that I do not know which direction I came from, where the town and safety are. I feel that my route lies through the fields and it is a thought unpleasant to dwell on. That way lies danger.

To my right, the lights of a vehicle approach, about to turn the corner. I look from side to side, seeking refuge, but finding none. I throw myself to the ground in the futile hope that I will not be seen. The vehicle passes me, slows and turns into the driveway of the small residence that sits behind me. A man exits the vehicle and walks towards me. I stand, relieved but sheepish. It isn't one of them.

At his unspoken invitation I follow him indoors, where I explain that I am visiting my grandparents and have become lost.

"Ay-uh" he responds, and I can tell by his expression and those alert, watchful eyes that he knows who I am. It is a trait unique to small, rural towns that even someone you've never met before will know who you are.

Outside the temperatures are chilling, inside the warmth quickly leaves me sweating and I shrug out of one of the two coats I am wearing. As my good Samaritan begins to offer directions for my return to town we are joined by his silent, equally watchful brother. My fright subsides, I am content.

I awake to silence.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

What to write, what to write...

It's 12:05AM. My son is sleeping. My husband is not home yet. I have a plethora of half-formed ideas floating through the tepid sludge that used to be my creative juices.

I'd like to write something witty, humorous and interesting.

My brain refuses to cooperate.

I like violets.

You see what my brain is doing to me? Random, silly thoughts bubbling to the surface like underwater farts. They aren't even random thoughts that I can go somewhere with.

I think there was something I planned on writing about earlier... oh yes!

I'm glad Lincoln was assassinated. It's a shame he wasn't assassinated sooner. The more I read about the War of Northern Aggression, the more I dislike Lincoln. He was a bully that caused enormous amounts of unnecessary suffering and death. It sickens me that he is constantly portrayed as "Honest Abe, the man that freed the slaves and kept the Union together". He was no better than any two-bit dictator and tyrant.

I could continue ranting about it, but I've said my piece and anything more would simply become redundancy.

Sigh.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I swore I wouldn't do this...

I wanted my blog to be more 'serious' than this, but I couldn't resist... this is just the kind of test a geek like me enjoys. =P

English Genius
You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 86% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog: http://shortredhead78.blogspot.com/.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Yay for Bureaucratic Incompetency!

That's sarcasm. Shouldn't need to say so, but it's surprising how many people miss even the bluntest sarcasm.

Last year we lost our tax return to the department of education, which had it seized in order to apply it to my husband's long overdue student loans.

This year my husband took out a loan to pay off his default student loans (as the bank had better payment options than the collection agency). A month after paying off his student loans and being informed that the debt was cleared and his account unflagged, we filed our tax return and discovered the amount of our refund would be a little less than what we payed for his student loans.

I wanted him to call and verify that our tax return would not be seized, but my husband figured a month was long enough to wait. He trusts the government wheels to grind faster and more smoothly than I do. We lost our tax return.

After being bounced around between the IRS, the DoE, US Treasury and the collection agency, we've been advised that we should get our refund back in 4-8 weeks.

Grrrr!

Book Review

Secrets of the Lost Races

By Rene Noorbergen

This author does not appear to have been Christian when writing this book, but he has done something few secular authors are willing to do - treat the Bible as if it has historical legitimacy. Usually people are so afraid of the 'religion' in the Bible that they won't touch any part of it with a ten foot pole.

Noorbergen posits that the world-wide flood did indeed happen and that it wiped out everyone but Noah and the other occupants of the ark. He believes that mankind before the flood lived longer, were more intelligent and had reached a higher level of technology than we have today. After the flood, Noah's descendents attempted to recreate this technology - they succeeded, but only to a point. Their efforts were undermined and eventually largely destroyed by the onset of a post-flood ice age as well as war. Nevertheless, they left plenty of evidence behind to show that they were capable of traveling between continents, and that also suggests they were capable of flight, electricity, even nuclear warfare. He delves into mythology (and the seeds of truth therein), but especially ooparts (out of place artifacts) and other archeological evidence.

This book is a fascinating read. I highly recommend it to anyone that likes science, archeology and history. Rene writes about stuff that most secular writers won't touch, because the evidence shows that most of the central tenets of evolution can be disproven simply through archeological evidence.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

They Needed Killin'

A post at Nate's blog about the movie Frailty got the wheels in my head turning over the subject of vigilantism.

Now, first of all let me say that my favorite comic book character is Batman. I truly enjoyed the movies Boondock Saints, The Crow, and Kill Bill 1 & 2. There have been several times when I've wished I had the means to deliver justice to those that seem to have escaped it; times when I would gladly have pulled the switch myself.

Here's the deal though - YHWH has already let us know that vengeance is His and that He will repay. Everyone - whether they receive human justice or not - ultimately will face YHWH, the Judge. If we take vengeance into our own hands, we are being disobedient to our Father.

Now, getting back to Nate's post - he had wanted to know what people would do if ordered, by something they knew without doubt was an angel, to go out and kill demons. I sided with those that said killing demons wasn't scriptural. Nowhere does the Bible appear to support the idea that demons have a physical form that can be killed. YHWH doesn't command us to take actions that are contrary to His commands. He doesn't send messengers with contrary commands, either.

Now, YHWH has indeed ordered the destruction not only of individuals, but of entire nations. However, I don't recall Him ever secretly commanding just one person to deliver His justice. Samson frequently operated alone - but YHWH had made it abundantly clear before Samson's birth that Samson would be a deliver for the Israelites. No secrecy there. Samuel killed a king - but only after Saul and his men disobeyed YHWH by allowing the king to live. Again, no secrecy there. Those that YHWH used to deliver His bloody judgements were not lone avengers, they were not vigilantes. Even those Israelites that received the death penalty were stoned by multiple people - never executed by just one person.

I think YHWH knows the human heart - and its frailty (pardon the pun) - very well. He knows that however well intentioned one person may be, their judgement is not perfect and neither are they. It is too easy for one person working alone to make mistakes, or to become corrupted.

If anyone else has a different take on this, feel free to comment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Holy shit...

Okay - so Iraq WAS about oil.

I'm really going to miss my computer!

I guess everyone will have a little more respect for the Amish after this.

(It's a long read, but please finish the entire thing before commenting, or you'll sound as ignorant as I must have when discussing this with my family last week.)

Update: I was asking Father to show me what He wanted me to do about this and almost before I was finished asking I heard...

Do not fear.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The road goes ever on and on....

At this moment in time, however, it has returned to my front door.

Tennessee was beautiful. Florida does not have much of a spring, especially in the cities. I wouldn't mind living there, if my husband ever decides to leave Florida.

Seeing my family was definitely a treat. I'm blessed to get along well with all of them. My husband thinks it is a little strange that I do not have many friends, but what he doesn't realize is that my family members ARE my friends, and excellent ones at that. I always feel sorry for people that are estranged from their family or simply do not relate well with them.

My son also enjoyed his trip - his grandparents' house is baby-proofed and therefore he could get into just about anything and not get yelled at or dragged away. I did have to pry a few ladybugs out of his mouth. I guess he wanted more protein in his diet! He also loved having so much attention paid to him - my family members in TN had either seen him once, or not at all.

It is good to be home with my husband though. =)

Friday, April 01, 2005

Appreciating the time I have

My son has just finished nursing and is sleeping peacefully on my lap, cradled by one arm as I type with the other. Situations such as that of Terri Schiavo remind me that I do not know what the future holds for my child. I thank YHWH for the time He has given me with this precious gift. I never want to take that time for granted. I feel fear when I think of what may happen, then pray that Father will help me control that fear. I pray that He will give me the strength, patience and wisdom needed to raise my son to be a godly man - because truly, the worst thing that could happen would be to watch my son turn his back on Father.

Update:

This was actually written a couple of days ago, but had trouble with blogger and couldn't post it.

Another Rant on Feminism

I know I'm pretty much preaching to the choir on this one, unless some errant troll happens to find my blog.

Our housemate has cable. Sadly, this means that after nearly two years without it, I am once again watching television. Tonight I had it on Cartoon Network when the show The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy came on. I've never watched it before and left it on because I was too busy to switch to something else. The basic premise is apparently that Mandy, a little girl, tricked the Grim Reaper into becoming her servant forever. Billy is a neighbor boy that tags along on their adventures. Here's where feminism comes into play - Mandy is tough, smart and confident. Billy is an unattractive bumbling idiot, such a loser that even Lovecraftian creatures in another dimension don't want him around. Obviously no one protests this characterization - yet I guarantee you that if Mandy was the ugly, stupid loser that women everywhere would be up in arms. This same stereotype can be found in plenty of other shows. Two examples that come to mind (also cartoons) are shows such as Family Guy and The Simpsons. Each of these shows features a male lead that is crude, oblivious, abyssmally stupid, fat and unattractive, married to a pretty, intelligent and long-suffering wife. I dare-say you'll never find the reverse of that portrayed! It's sad that this is considered an acceptable way to portray men. I watched a few episodes of The Andy Griffith Show recently and was shocked by how much things have changed in such a short time. The title character of that show is portrayed as being strong, wise, intelligent - a good father and a good man. How often do you see that in television anymore?