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Scratch test

“This indecision is bugging me…” “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” The Clash
“When something itches…the natural tendency is to scratch.” From The Seven Year Itch
In the last decade, I have worked in three different schools and held three different jobs. Every three to four years, I search for something new. I refer to this as my three and a half year itch. Fortunately for my familia and friends, this pattern seems centered around career.  I served in ministry in my last parish for six years. I have actively volunteered with Girls Inc. of Alameda County for five years.  I have been running half-marathons for nearly nine years (with a few health-related breaks). I don’t lack the ability to commit, especially when I find an activity and/or organization purposeful and positive. But once the itching begins, calamine lotion won’t help.
That three-year mark is a test. I analyze the pros and cons of moving onto something new.  I evaluate my progress and areas for improvement. Mas que nada, I ponder the value of change. I refuse to be complacent for too long. If I’m not learning or I begin to become negative (i.e. resentful, cynical, unmotivated), then it’s time for me to move on. Change is difficult yet it moves me forward.
I don’t worry that I will always be on a quest for the next best thing.
Quintessential seeker Holly Golightly
I have surrounded myself with friends who have fostered my growth for years, if not decades. I pursue my passions. My family is my foundation. The challenge is to find that(job/activity/organization/fill in the blank) which helps me be at my best.

Mananitas for my mentor

“A las muchachas bonitas se las cantamos asi…”

Feliz dia, mujer,
Tu, mas que nadie, have been my mentor
though we’ve spoken only three times in the past twenty-five years,
through your wisdom, your poetry, your stories, tu voz.
The first time I read your work,
I thought I was reading my own.
Tu eres maestra
and I am always your student.
Though my life has led me across dance floors
and into my own little casita,
though my obra maestra sleeps with dolls and teddy bears,
I know that deep within me, my own books wait,
my own voice draws strength.
You sowed those seeds and
someday they will bloom
like girasoles.

JAC
December 20, 2014

Happy birthday, Ms. Cisneros!

Dream Recollection 25: The Race

I’m supposed to be running a race but I am taking care of Watts’ baby boy. Finally race day arrives and it is both foggy and drizzly. Part of the race is on a gently sloping overpass. Part of the course is indoors, the final leg in a ballroom with hardwood floors. I pass an open bar, district employees including a higher up who radios for my running coach. At one point, four of my work friends, including Work Mommy, throw a heavy canvas tarp over me. I growl that its not funny and that I need to keep running. I crawl through the final carrel.

Dream Recollection 24: The Valediction

In the dream, I am driving down a dusty Southern California freeway with Lisa and one other person(Mom?). I pull up in front of a high school building and place a call on my phone. A woman answers. She tells me Soldier is gone now. I have arrived too late but she is willing to talk to me in person. I make a snide remark about how surprised I am she will talk to me since it is likely he hates me. She denies it, says she admires me because of what he has said. Lisa is wary and warns me to be careful. My life is wonderful now and worrying about soldier is something I should leave in the past. Biarraza(her last name though I’m not sure why she goes by it) arrives. She is a slender Latina, much to my relief, not overly sexy, and down to earth. We get along instantly. After a heartfelt conversation in which we fill in the blanks for each other, she pulls out her phone and places a call. She hands me the phone. It is Soldier. His voice puts me into a quieter mood. I tell him all I ever wanted to do was help. He says he knew but that I risked my own health which was unhealthy. I tell him I thought I could relate to the urge to kill myself. “You would have never willingly killed yourself.” I argue with him, pointing to the many episodes of early 2007. “You might have had the feeling but you never had the will. That’s not you. You love life.” We congratulate one another, wish each other well, and say goodbye. I hug B. Lisa and I head back onto the road.

Dream Recollection 23: The pills

from the audio transcription

3 in the morning, Wednesday, September 12th
I dreamt about a Korean special ed student. He was taking notes in a Korean notebook. I had directed several cartoons featuring classical music.
My dreams are convoluted right now. Probably because of stupid Benadryl.
I don’t like when people are in my dreams that I wish I’d stop dreaming about.
I miss my Play Brother. I think he might have been in a dream.
I’m confused.

5am, Wednesday, September 12th
I was at a costume party in El Cerrito. It was at a mansion full of African and Roman sculptures in all six front picture windows. There was a contingent of black drag queens leaving. My bro, my sis, and my high school best friend were in business attire, getting in an SUV. They said we’d meet up at the park. I was with Lisa and Cho-Cho and Cho’s little sis but they reminded me of the sisters I met in conflict mediation today. We were casually dressed in sweats when we met a friend of the sisters. She was dressed like a princess with wings. The host looked like Fabio and he had a horse. My brother and his friends were there including Fresa 2. There was a Latino who looked familiar: late 30s or early 40s, graying. The sister made fun of another duo of sisters for getting food stamps. I felt guilty because I had taken their box of health products and Cho-Cho had used up the aspirin.
I don’t like Benadryl.

Thursday, September 13th, 2am
I woke up around 1:40am. I had several dreams but the one I remember most had to do with friggin’ MySpace. I was logging on to make some changes. Someone was erasing my entries. There were blogs I hadn’t written.
I’m tired. I’m not groggy anymore but my mind is still affected.

Dream Recollection 22: Another reunion

Soldier came back. We were teamed up for an activity like a relay. At one point, I fell and he fell because we were tied together. Next thing you know, we were kissing. We got up, kept going, but found ourselves embracing again. I said I wasn’t sure what to make of it because of all the issues we’ve had. But I didn’t fight it.
At the end of the dream, I was happy, he was happy. Everyone was looking at us crazy.
It was a good dream, not a nightmare.

Dream Recollection 21: The Visitation

I had a dream we were in a horror movie. Or maybe it was the Apocalypse. There was a long drive to Sacramento or somewhere, gathering people together. It looked like my house but it wasn’t.
A black bird was the first sign. I was in the guest room and I saw a white barn owl. That was the second sign. I looked at it and felt it was talking to me. It moved to the telephone pole wires by the front door.
I sat on my couch with my new colleague and my ex-co-worker. They squeezed me out of the couch so I had moved to the other couch to read. I told them about the owl so they went outside. The owl became an angel, a woman in white. She said I had a purpose to fulfill, that I needed to move forward and forgive everyone because of what would happen next. I said I had. She said she knew. I said I didn’t know who to trust. I know exactly who I was talking about. She looked right at me and her eyes were big and blue with no pupils like alien eyes or the eyes of the blind. She touched my face and she said my heart was saying the right thing, that I knew who to trust, and that I needed to be strong.
Then I woke up to the alarm.

Dream Recollection 20: Another quilt

My dreams are keys to my mind. Ever since I was a child, my dreams have been pathways–and portents. My mother believes I have gifts: the gift of seeing/sensing ghosts and the gift of premonition in dreams. Whether or not you buy the supernatural impact of my dreams, they are intriguing and puzzling.

From the edited audio transcription
Wednesday August 22nd, about 5 in the morning

I was at the tall building(see Dream Recollection 17: The Quilt)again. Soldier and I were reunited. Not sure if we were lovers but we were reunited romantically, going on dates. Some of my students were in the dream. They were thrilled to see me, not so thrilled to see him. He was still the party boy. I was still the good girl. Chemistry was still there. I could sense hesitation on my part.
My sister in law was a little upset with me but nobody was really stopping me. A lot of people were happy.
He looked good. He was wearing a blue shirt and a navy blue peacoat.

In an earlier dream, I had a black male cat. He was supposed to catch mice. My mom’s house’s garage looked the way it used to. There was a family of mice he caught. He was playing with them and hadn’t killed them. I asked him to finish off the mice. He ate them all and then he tried to eat his black and white mate. She was still alive so he dug his fangs right into the top of her skull. I was afraid she would die.

Don’t know if it was the same dream but Lucky was tied up and Lula was free. Lula got to go running with me.

I did smell the roses a couple of times last night.

It’s a sign.

Thursday August 23rd
(Long pause.) There was a service station. (Long pause.) I remember the cars, the wheels. (Long pause.)

Dream Recollection 18: The Gangsta Party

Friday August 17th 6:15am just woke up to an alarm

I dreamt of a graduation party near the ocean. The songs “Ring the Alarm” and “Yo no quiero ser la otra” were played. My Sureno kids were there, all dressed up. I hugged one boy. He was all in blue and someone said, “You gettin all LA on us.” He said, “That’s enough.”
I talked to a drunk guy. He wanted advice on how to deal with his girlfriend and his feelings of obsessiveness.
Maybe I was watching myself.
I’m tired.

Dream Recollection 17: The Quilt

What follows is a lengthy transcription of the audiotape I made early in the morning of August 15th. The dreams seem at first a patchwork of images, but then seem sewn together in tone and theme. Some revisions have been made in order to give the narrative more fluency and focus.

Wednesday, August 15, 1:30 in the morning

I had a dream where I was part of a team. We were pulling things together, recycling paper and cans. I can’t remember who else was there or whether or not this dream was connected to another dream where someone was reconciled with a person from their past and had a big party. I don’t remember if my Play Brother was in the dream but the team felt cohesive.
I gotta try to remember my dreams better.

Had a wild dream in which me and Hopeful or me and Lisa were at a camp where dogs wore outfits. There was a sea of dogs: coonhounds, Chihuahuas. Maybe it was me and my Sis in law. Or Innocent. Anyways I recognize the place. Strange.

I had another dream where I was with my parents. We missed a plane. The stewardess was ignoring us because we were late getting on. We stood there for 10 minutes with tickets in hand. That’s old school because now you find your own seats. There were many seats available.
“We’re really sleepy,” I told the flight attendant.
“We’ll drop you off.” They drove the plane to the terminal and we got out.
“What the hell?” I went up to the counter. “They just dropped us off here.”
“Oh well. They’re taking off for Greenwich.”
“What do you mean they’re going to Greenwich? We’re supposed to be on that plane. We want to catch that plane.”
We’re set up for takeoff.”
“That’s not cool. They left us on purpose because we said we were sleepy. It was all her fault. She ignored us.” I wanted to yell at them but we ended up renting a car to come back to Northern California. I got sick with a fever and ended up lying in a bed at my parents’ house. Now my old bed has been taken apart so it couldn’t be that but I felt like I was in my old room. I was resting when I had a premonition. I pictured an old plane, actually it looked more like a zeppelin, very 70s with brown earth tone stripes. The plane struggled along near the Hayward Airport.
“They shouldn’t be in that plane.Something is going to happen to that plane. It’s going to crash.” I didn’t say this aloud but I was thinking it. I wanted to speak but was unable to do so. It reminded me of the bad panic attack I had in Nashville when there were so many things I wanted to say but I was so afraid to say them and they were bottled up inside.
As I was having the vision, my parents were having a conversation right over me. I watched the plane jerk and sink right down into Hesperian Blvd. The explosion happened in real life with a boom.
“What the hell was that?” My parents were startled.
“Oh my God. It’s happening again.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I saw that plane crash before it happened.”
“What?”
“It’s happening again.”
“Oh no.”

It’s a reference to when I was a kid. When I was 12 and all those problems happened, with my father losing his job, I would have dreams that would come true. They weren’t always explicitly premonitions. They were symbolic at times. They happened on such a regular basis that my mom began to wonder if I wasn’t gifted with precognition. We haven’t talked about that in a long time.
Anyway, I finally got the strength to get out of the bed. My parents came with me because I was freaking out.
“How many people are dead?” We got outside. Hesperian is a busy street and it was a Saturday afternoon. The ambulance, the fire trucks, and the news crews had already arrived. All traffic was stopped. People were running around. It was terrifying. Yet I felt numb.

I also had a dream where we were at a party hosted by a DJ Jaime Coronacion, Music 2 Life. It was some kind of Filipino culture night. Someone who looked like my friend Troubadour was breakdancing.

There was a dream where I was walking through a building with many stories and concrete steps. I was hoping to see my Play Brother. I looked for him. I couldn’t find him. I was looking for someone else, too. I couldn’t find him.

I just woke up from a dream that had its bad moments. We took Lucky for a walk. We left Lula at the house with my sis in law. Lucky was being good but he kept breaking free from his leash so I had to hold him by his collar. He calmed down so we put him back on leash. We got to our old elementary school. A woman walked up with her golden lab, off-leash, and carrying a football. As soon as Lucky saw it, he went nuts. He broke free and was ready to charge. I hugged him. He calmed down so we took him to my mom’s. I apologized to him for not walking him and said it was my fault. Everyone was surprised at how calm he was.
This shows that I have a lot of guilt over my dogs. There’s a message that the love I’ve established is solid and that there’s loyalty.

I don’t know what’s going on with my mind. It’s starting to be cleansed. I’m mining my mind, exploring that vast continent. I haven’t dreamt like this in a long time, all these dreams full of vivid imagery and action.