The Exchange

The boy is four years old, a grandnephew. He’d brought over four of his monster truck toys to play with as he visited his great grandmother. The trucks weren’t large, fitting into his palm space.

But he was sniffing one. “What’s that smell like?” his great-uncle asked.

“My green dinosaur.”

That was a surprise. “What’s your green dinosaur smell like?”


Huh. “Do you know what you call a dinosaur who smells like apples?”

Head shake. “No.”

“An applesaurus.”

The boy threw his head back and laughed.

Tuesday’s Wandering Thought

He’d often reminded himself not to trust his memory. He had too much confidence in it, and it frequently let him down. As other family members express frustration and disappointment with the others, telling their side of the story, he’s often reminded of how fallible memory can be. Their versions often don’t align at all.

Timesday’s Theme Music

Time and I seem to be wrestling. I suspect it’s winning.

It’s Tuesday, September 13, 2022. As I typed that date, I wanted to type ‘January’. What devilry are The Neurons doing now? I suspect it’s all a bit of theater, being back at the home base, where I grew up, observing changes and stasis, dancing around the edges of family dysfunction, staying out of the whirlpool.

It’s 18 C outside in Pittsburgh, PA. Stratus clouds slip open. Sunshine slashes in with golden promise. Clouds muttering, “Not today,” hasten over and cover the space in gray. Blue eyes peer through the clouds. It’s what they call variable today, I think. Bracketed by sunrise at 6:59 AM and sunset at 7:33 PM, we expect to cover a high of 69 F.

Meanwhile, back in the head, The Neurons are playing Kings of Leon. “Notion” was released in 2009, probably an auspicious year for some but bland and average for myself, and yet, I crave bland and average today. “Notion” is a rocker with simple and lyrics that feature the line, “You’ve been here before.” Yes, The Neurons say, you’ve been here before in mood and spirit, even if the date is unique. Probably be the only time in history that we’ll experience September 13, 2022, that we know. Perhaps the issue that I’ve already been through this day and feel through the obfuscation layered on by reality what’s gonna happen. Or maybe I’ll just a little tired and out of sorts from travel and worry, and in a sucky mood. It’s Groundhog Day without the coffee.

Ah, lift up, right? Sure. Just pry open my mouth and drown me in black coffee.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask as needed, ‘cetera. Coffee? God, yes. Here’s the tune. Enjoy. Cheers

A Traveling Dream

I was a young man, with my extended family. Cousins, including three deceased members, were there, along with aunts and uncles, and my parents (who, in RL, divorced when I was young).

We were ‘getting ready to go’. Where we were heading wasn’t properly defined. We’d had a reunion party the night before. The next day found the place trashed. Cans of beer and beer kegs were in the bathrooms. I was walking around, trying to make sense of things. We had two buildings divided by a parking lot where we were staying. Each of those buildings had a large game room with several bathrooms off of them. But beer was everywhere, mostly domestic brands like Schlitz, Miller’s, Stroh’s, and Buds, drinks from my childhood. I was laughing at that beer selection, questioning them, “Couldn’t we have done better?” They accused me of being a snob. We laughed about it all.

But the chaos annoyed me. We were due to leave soon. No one seemed ready, and they didn’t seem to care. Two vehicles were there for our travels. Both were sort of RVs. One was black and the other was red. Polished and shiny, they looked like wingless jets with wheels. People were filling them up with things they were taking. Checking it out, I proclaimed, “You’re trying to take too much. We’re not going to have any room for people.”

I went down into a game room to use the bathroom and encountered my father. He was in a jovial mood. I told him that I wanted to use a bathroom and was going to move the beer out of there so I could and asked if he would help. He just laughed and opened a beer. I said, “You’re having a beer now? But we’re getting ready to go.”

I became a little annoyed then and went back to the red and black RVs. An aunt came out, chastising everyone that we need to get a move on. I told her, “I know, I’ve been trying to get them organized.” Cousins started piling into the vehicles. I asked, “Who’s driving?” Aunt P answered, “You are.” I replied, “But I don’t even know where I’m going.”

She said, “Of course you do. You always know.”

Dream end.

A Train Dream

Yeah, I know what train dreams supposedly signify in some circles. This is different. Also, this isn’t about the rock group called Train.

I was high on a hillside. Turning, I looked left over my shoulder and down into a green valley. As I further turned and looked, I saw a city in the green valley. Blmues and silver dominated the city. While I watched, moving closer, I understood that they were trains. What I had first thought of as a network of roads were trains. Trains were going in every direction, at different levels in a beautifully synchronized dance. Most trains were short, with a stubby engine and then two or three long cars, but some trains were ten to twelve cars in length. None seemed like a super train.

For a period, I just watched the trains, getting a feel for their travel, seeing how none touched the ground, that there were no tracks, that areas were set up where the trains stopped, how they didn’t have wheels.

Then, I was down close to the trains, moving toward my train. I knew that no one owned any land. We all lived in trains and stayed on the move. Some trains were full of extended families. You bought an engine and car and added on as the family grew, even incorporating businesses into your train.

Then, dream shift, my wife and I exited our train. It was day, a little cloudy. We were on muddy lowlands by a beach. The tide was out. We planned to go tide pooling. But large black rocks stole my attention. Going up a hill, I discovered it the rock was a statue. More dotted the land. Ah, we’re on Easter Island, I understood.

I hurried back down the hill to tell my wife. She was milling along the beach. Other trains and people had arrived. I recognized my wife’s brother-in-law and snuck up on him, surprising him. We were up on a slight elevation, looking down, where his wife and son were. His son’s wife wasn’t there, but my late mother-in-law was. All of them were not far away from their train, a small, beige engine with a single, short beige car. I said to him, “Oh, you brought all of them with you.”

He didn’t reply, and then I was down by my wife and my train. The train was a pretty chrome blue, very new and sleek. I walked along it, smiling and looking around as I thought, “This is going to take me a long way.”

Then I stopped and faced the choppy waters of a dark blue sea.

Dream end.

The Room Dream

I arrived home as a young man. Mom gave me a room. I was happy to see her and happy to be there. We were living on a train, and the room she gave me was an entire train car. Long and narrow, I had a bed, desk, dresser, bookcase, chair, and wardrobe. I set them up to provide separate sleeping and living areas, using the bookcase and vanity as a makeshift wall. As I set it up, my young sisters came in and visited. Sometimes they brought young neighbor boys that they were watching. Mom would also occasionally come by.

I stacked my books and organized my desk, made my narrow bed, and slid against one wall. One side of the train had windows, and I set my desk up under them so I could look outside.

Young people in a sixties era Chevy Impala convertible (after the fins were dropped) began driving by. Whenever they did, some of my things would get shifted, annoying me. This worsened; even as I cleaned and organized again, they drove by, knocking things over. They never reached in or anything, but I knew it was them, as they were laughing about it.

I decided I’d put a stop to that and devised a way by changing the room around. The new arrangement was less satisfying, but it was staying neat and still workable. However, one of the little neighbor boys my sisters were watching kept sneaking into my room and tearing things up. He was fair and blonde, giggling often, but crying whenever he was stopped or reprimanded. I kept putting him out, warning him not to do that, and warning others to keep him out, and then cleaning up again, and again, but he kept getting in there. Mom came to me and told me to be more patient and tolerant because he was a small child and had mental and emotional health issues. I complained to her but took her point and promised I would try.

The train with my room went on the move. That pleased me because I thought we’d moved away from the boy causing the problem. But he got in there again. I was bewildered. My sisters explained that he’d come with us. I felt that I had no choice but to close and lock my doors. After I did that, I discovered him sliding in under the door. It looked like he could completely flattened himself, becoming as pliable and flexible as a sheet of paper.

My exasperation and irritation spiked. How was I supposed to deal with that. I took hold of the boy to take him out of the room. He immediately screamed, writhing and crying in my grasp. Others came running in. I said that I hadn’t done anything to him, that he was overly sensitive, defending myself with the claim, I was just stopping him from ruining things again. My sisters took him out of my room.

Dream end.

The White House Extravaganza Dream

The White House Extravaganza Dream was long, detailed, and complicated as a Game of Thrones season. It’d take too long time and words to recount it completely, so I’m offering a few bullets.

  • I was in my mid-twenties. My wife and I were staying a luxurious mini-suite. We were discussing where to go eat when we remembered, “Oh, wait, we have the White House today.”
  • She and I were one of several hundreds on the tour. My family and brothers-in-law were on it, too. As an interesting side, they were their current ages while I was young.
  • The White House wasn’t the familiar edifice. I never saw the outside, but the inside was an extensive complex. Furniture and carpets were in cranberry hues.
  • Guides were always around, answering our questions, leading us into new halls and places, explaining things, and watching after us. The guides were all dressed in cranberry-colored slacks and vests, with long-sleeved light-blue shirts. The senior guide was an elegant female person of color.
  • They fed us a lot during the tour. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. I ended up declining food. After eating one meal, they offered us smoothies. I turned them down because I was too full. I was amazed that others took them.
  • I didn’t meet the POTUS but the Secret Service stopped a small group of us because the POTUS was in the room. A slender, bald person of color, the POTUS he wore a dark cranberry suit, speaking about jazz while getting his shoes shined. When he finished, he waved to us and walked away down another hall. We were all very excited and pleased to see him.
  • We’d also gone on the White House water park rides. They showed us slides and videos of us on the different rides, laughing and having fun.
  • At one point on the tour, as we were being escorted from one hall to another, a young white man called me out and stopped me. Introducing himself as a WH aide, he provided me with a business card. Before giving it to me, he turned it over and wrote in pen. He said, “That’s a code to reach me any time that you need help or want anything. Just call the number and give them the code, and they’ll put you through.” I was amused. I couldn’t imagine what help I would need from the WH. No one else received such a card to my knowledge.
  • Toward the end, I needed to use the restroom and stopped at the underground WH gas station. (Yeah, ns.) I was first to arrive of five men. The room was occupied. We were not in line but standing apart. Although I was first, I let the others go ahead of me. While there, a man had a large four-wheel drive Ford pickup. Jacked up, with huge tires on chrome wheels, it was painted glossy red. He had a panel on the bed raised. I looked inside and saw an orderly line of transfer cases and differentials. While I was baffled why he had so many, the layout impressed me. “But where is the engine?” I asked, even though I knew it was a pick-up truck, the engine should be in the front. But I spotted it in the back, a huge black and chrome unit.
  • At one point in the WH dream tour, I noticed the carpet had tiles made to look like shoes. I then discovered that these included outlines of my family members’ shoes. They were enormous, much larger than my shoes. I laughed at that.

The dream was livelier than these words portrayed. I felt energetic and lifted when it ended. Its sharpness and details amazed me.

A Facilitating Dream

The commander, a colonel, was walking in, talking on his cell as he came. I knew he was speaking with his wife. I overheard him: “Seidel? Yes, he’s here. He’s always here. He’s everywhere.”

A blush of pride bloomed in me in the dream. That was toward the end. It’d been another military dream, a chaotic one. Whereas most of my military dreams after my service ended has been about my chosen career field, command and control, or about traveling, this one was about facilitating. I’d spent the last three years of my career facilitating special project teams. This dream took off from there.

People were arriving for the session. I knew them and was prepared for them — or so I thought. Things started going wrong. Like Mom showed up. What was Mom doing there? I saw her but then she wasn’t there, so maybe I’d imagined her.

It threw me off my game. A squadon commander, black and and light colonel, arrived. I was pleased to see him, greeting him by name, showing him in, asking him if he’d like something to drink. Coffee, water, juice, tea? “Tea,” he agreed. Excellent, we have multiple kinds. What would you like? He selected (can’t remember what it was) and I went off to get it.

But I couldn’t immediately find the tea. Interruptions hampered the search. Sisters are arrived. I didn’t know what they were doing there. The phone kept ringing. Other team members were arriving. Someone knocked over one of the white boards. And the cookies weren’t put out.

I was scrambling, racing back to the light colonel to tell him that I’d not forgotten his tea, that it would be right out. He was taking it well, smiling and nodding, relatively unconcerned. I was also trying to be a good host with other arrivals and trying to corner one of my sisters to inquire about why she was there.

Someone suggested we play a game. They found something sort of roundish and suggested volleyball. Cheers met the suggestion. Although I first resisted because I had an agenda, I acquiesced. Be flexible, right? “Okay, why not,” I agreed.

We went out. There were five on one side and one, a female, on the other. They were going to play volleyball but there wasn’t a net. The lumpy thing being used as a volleyball turned into an actual volleyball. I told the one woman that I’d be her teammate. We’d take on the rest. Some volleying was done. I was told to serve. Everyone tensed because they thought I’d have a power serve but I kept missing the ball completely.

I finally served the ball and a volley ensued, then we lost the ball. Someone came up with some misshaped black thing, smaller than a volleyball, to use. I argued against it, demonstrating that I couldn’t even hit it right. Nobody else had yet tried. They all encouraged me to keep trying. I did, and suddenly began hitting it spectacularly well.

Others arrived so we quit playing. I hurried back to facilitate because some were up asking about the talking points posted to a white board. I rushed to explain. That’s when the commander arrived talking on the phone, and the dream ended.

The Fireplace Dream

My wife and I were visiting one of my sisters and her family. Partially completed, their house was made mostly of cinder blocks. I was looking down into it from behind and above. They didn’t have heat. They had a fireplace. Shifting perspective, my wife and I told them, “We have rocks that will heat your house. We’ll put them in your fireplace.” They were skeptical but we told them, “You’ll see.”

The fireplace rock seemed like a piece of broken cinderblock. It put out heat, though, lots of heat. My sister’s fireplace was back toward the house’s rear, away from the bedrooms. Because of that, most of the house wasn’t heated. They’ll all gone to bed, sleeping in one room to stay warm. For some reason, we had to keep the existence of the heating rock secret. Never understood that. But my wife and I managed to find another place to safely place it in my sister’s house, and then moved it without anyone knowing.

When my sister and her family got up, we showed/told them what we’d done. They were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to heat our own place. My wife and I laughed at that. “No, we have many fireplaces and each of them has a rock.”

I then took my sister and her family around, showing her our places. All were brick, with large yards. Sis knew of one or two, but I showed her five or six. I was letting others use these places. My wife didn’t know of some of these places, either, which made me laugh as I went about showing all the places. Some were hidden to others. I kept revealing more as we went around, opening doors to more, almost as if I was recalling them as I came across them. We then went about confirming that we did have ‘fire rocks’ in each of our places.

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