An Anecdote from The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes

Just a week before he was assassinated, Abraham Lincoln had a dream that he discussed with several people. It seemed that he was walking through the silent White House toward the sound of sobbing. When he entered the East Room, he was confronted by the sight of a catafalque covered in black. He asked the guard on duty there who was dead. "The president," said the soldier.

The New Law About Actors, 1977

So, I just watched the old film, A Bridge Too Far. It would seem that, after 1977, a secret law was made in Hollywood. The law was this: If you make a large production film or TV series, you must use at least one actor from A Bridge Too Far. Some small names from the cast:

James Caan (has he ever played a nonsmoker? Just wondering. I love him.)
Michael Caine
Sean Connery
Gene Hackman
Anthony Hopkins
Robert Redford
Peter Faber
John Ratzenberger (Cliff on Cheers)

And so many faces you recognize and can't quite name. It's kind of fun to see them all so young.

Descending Rooms, Descending Gardens, Cramped Attics with Scary Entrances

For about two years now, I've been having these dreams. Dreams about houses and gardens. They are very strange dreams. It's not an exact dream that happens each time I dream it, but definitely a recurring theme.

The plot of the dream is this: I'm in my house. Usually, people are visiting. I'm rummaging around for extra blankets or something, and I find some extra rooms in my house that I never knew were there before. Initially, I'm happy, because these are fully furnished rooms, usually even with extra kitchens and bathrooms attached, totally nice and comfortable for my guests. Although it is a little disturbing that there was this whole extra wing that I didn't know was in my house... and then I go into what I think is a closet, but it turns out to be a descending staircase, usually about half a staircase down, and then there's another whole area of the house that I have never encountered before, and it's not as nice. It's falling apart. Still further, exploring, I find yet another floor, this one full of cobwebs, etc, getting really creepy, and of course I'm starting to doubt my own sanity, now. I never knew this was here!

The dream just goes on and on until I wake up. There's never any real resolution. Sometimes, I encounter ghosts.

When these dreams started, the first one took place in our old house in Pueblo, and what I discovered there was not rooms, but gardens behind the backyard.
The old house in Pueblo, location of the first dream:
Each yard had a wall in back with some steps down to another garden, but every one was more run down than the last. There was a swimming pool with trees growing up in it, then it got really wild, a woody hill going down, down, down. Interestingly, in real life, I went and visited my Aunt Lou in North Carolina, and her backyard was so much like one of my dreams that I thought I was going a little bit crazy.

Then, for the last two years, there were just the dreams about different houses. Usually, the rooms go down and get bigger, but other times these mysterious rooms are upstairs and get progressively smaller. The upstairs rooms are places that I feel like I knew once, but then forgot about. These are places from a long time ago. Sometimes I go upstairs, to tiny little attic rooms which are haunted with freaky demons of the past. Usually there are no real stairs. In these dreams where I go up, someone is always egging me on, telling me it is so great up there, and I'm telling them no, I'm fine, I don't want to go, and they somehow convince me through peer pressure to literally walk planks over hundred foot drops, and then I'll come to a tiny room where I go in through the window and I'm locked in with something terrible.

Those ones are the worst.

It's all about the house and the rooms I didn't know were there.

Incidentally, there are always house guests in these dreams, and if you are reading this and you know me, you have probably been the house guest. You have not been the evil one to convince me to go to the attic, however. That is often Grandma Ruth, the lady in the picture at the top of this blog. When it isn't her, it's often someone a lot older than I am or in a position of authority over me. Everyone else is just a happy house guest sort of along for the ride. Everyone except for Tim.

Two nights ago, I had a new twist on the dream: I dreamt that we were at our friend Tim's house, which is really an apartment, and he found rooms that he didn't know were there! Which was odd, of course, because apartments are surrounded by other apartments, and these rooms were in places that really couldn't be. Tim treated it at first as I always do: something amusing.

So, what the heck do these dreams mean?

I think there are two types of dreams:

1. Dreams that are just your brain sorting through stuff and categorizing it, making sense of things, and then warning you about things that could happen if you aren't careful.

2. Dreams that actually mean something. The collective subconscious is contacting you, or the future is being predicted, or your dead relatives are contacting you, or your live relatives. Dreams, I believe, have some mystical capabilities.

I know I sound crazy, but truly, you can't help what you believe. It's illogical, but I believe in some supernatural something that can speak through dreams.

The way to tell the difference between the two types is just to think about it. When you keep having the same sort of dream over and over, it's got to have some sort of meaning or purpose. The last time this happened to me, it was a recurring dream about crossing the San Francisco Bay in unusual ways, and I contacted the family mystic, Dennis C. Lee for advice. As it happened, we had our talk at four in the morning. It seemed fitting. I could call Dennis again, but I'm more curious to see what you all think.

So, what do these dreams about mysterious spaces mean?

Mumsy's Creepy Lady Lamp

I don't know if they still do this, but it used to be when Cousin Jennifer came to visit, they pinned a handkerchief around the lamp because it frightened her.

Mumsy's Meatballs


3 pounds ground beef

1 can evaporated milk

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup cracker crumbs

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons chili powder


2 cups catsup

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

To Make Meatballs:

Combine all ingredients. Mixture will be soft and shape into walnut sized balls. Place meatballs in single layer on wax paper lined cookie sheet. Freeze until solid. (About an hour.) Store frozen meatballs in freezer until ready to cook. To make sauce, combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Place frozen meatballs in a pan. Pour on the sauce. Bake at 350 1 hour if frozen, half an hour if thawed. Yield about 65 meatballs.

The Church

I took Little Z to this church one Sunday morning. The people were very nice there. There was a lot of discussion about God and stuff.

A Pleasant Waste of Time

I've been wasting my time watching Billy the Exterminator on Netflix instant. I'm with Neil Postman when he says that the best TV is really trash TV. This show is so freakin' awesome! Here are my top ten reasons I love this show:

10. The goth fashion. Billy wears spikes on his shoulders even! It was really funny when the church people tried to hug him.

9. Billy has the greatest attitude. It's all about helping people.

8. Billy's brother Ricky goes on a lot of jobs with him, and whenever they go to exterminate wasps, their mom says, "You better be careful because you got Ricky with you and you know he's allergic and if he gets bit I'm gonna have to kill him I'll be so mad." Every time! Every time!

7. The way they exterminate crocodiles is like this: one guy (Billy) wrestles the alligator to the ground and pins him while the other guy waits with some duct tape and tapes its mouth shut.

6. Billy always says, completely seriously, "We put safety first here at Vexcon!" (After he gets rid of the wasps with his allergic brother, wrestles an alligator, and puts a viper in a tub to release it into the wild later.)

5. They save everything and release it into the wild on someone's 100 acre estate. Everything: alligators, rattlesnakes, raccoons... everything except for the wasps.

4. This show makes me really happy to live in Wisconsin and not Louisiana, where it takes place.

3. Always when they are at the most dangerous point possible, some kid runs out of the house to see how it's going and almost gets killed.

2. Dude, if you counted how many times Billy says dude in an episode, it's like, dude, 300 times or something. Dude.

1. Billy is super nice to bats.

This is how we roll around here sometimes...

We slept "late" today, until about nine, with the three day weekend and all that. Little Z of course got up way earlier than her parents. She told us she had already eaten breakfast. She said she found some things and ate them.

"I eat some corn and some crust!" She said. I recognized this as stuff I didn't clean up after dinner: corn and little bits of pie crust. I felt a little bit bad for her. BAH said,

"She just ate stuff she found sitting around in the kitchen."

"Oh, no," said Little Z. "Not just the kitchen. The living room, too. There were some yummy apple pieces in the living room. And I drink water!"

At least she didn't eat the cat food.

I think I'll leave a box of cereal out tonight.

Turning Things Upside Down

I'm working on learning how to stand on my head.

I had resolved to do Yoga all the time, after my class, but you know, I didn't. Not at all. So, what did I want to get out of the Yoga? Just some balance and core body strength. I figure I can get all of that by standing on my head.

So far, I've worked at it for about five minutes, and I have managed to get my feet up off of the ground and perched onto my elbows. I've also managed to make my family laugh. But it's very serious business, standing on your head! I'm a very serious person, after all.