The Strange Things We Dream Of

I need to get better about writing down the dreams I actually remember, like the one where a group of burglars was trying to climb our building so Carin built a giant slingshot and used those biscuits that come with Popeyes Chicken to shoot them down. Every time she fired she’d gleefully sing the little Popeyes jingle to taunt them and to give the slingshot extra power.

Gill’s dream sounds more frightening than that, but I don’t know if it’s any more strange.

When I was a teenager I would have this recurring dream about a rotten banana chasing me. I thought about it last night, for some weird reason.

What Happened?

Usually, from what I remember of it, I would be walking briskly down a long hall when this freakishly large shadow would appear and start following me. I would pick up the pace, but not look behind me. Once I reached a turn in the hall I would look back and see this rotten banana following me. As I would pick up speed, my nemesis would become faster, bigger and more rotten, spilling rot on the ground. The banana would almost catch me, and I would wake up.

Temporary Consequence

For a while I would not be able to look at over-ripe bananas, or even the fresh ones. I have no idea what brought this about.

Question

What’s the strangest dream you’ve ever had?

Pizza And An Education

Sounds like Gill’s Sunday was a bit of a mixed bag.

Today I went with a large group of people from my church to a local pizza place. We were raising funds for a trip the young people are taking to Wisconsin. The party was to start at one, but most of the people who bought tickets didn’t show up until closer to one-thirty.

So what did the $20 tickets get you? A salad (Caesar or garden) and your choice of pasta or pizza. I chose the pizza, a build your own. The ingredients were peppers, onions, various meats, etc. Mine had spicy chicken, sundried tomatoes, black olives and spinach.

Reality Check

My friend and I, finished with our meals, took off for a while. When we returned, her 14-year-old son and a group of young men from the church came running toward us and told us that the Dollar Store had called security when they entered. My friend Nicole and I started walking down the strip mall near the pizza place, and quickly she educated me on “shopping while black.”

It is painful and really quite embarrassing that this happens in 2018. As I write this I am having difficulty keeping the hot angry tears from flowing.

Thoughts

I had a mostly good time, good food, laughter, and the chance to help some young people go to an international church camp. I also received a rather unwanted education.

I Probably Shouldn’t Say This

Don’t let the fact that you had records as a child make you feel old, Gill. Vinyl is big business now. If your family had an 8-track collection like mine did, let that make you feel old instead.

Next October I hit a milestone when I turn 40, which has me feeling old lately. Here are some of the items that make me feel like an ancient.

  • I had Star Wars on VHS. When I was in 3rd grade 30 years ago I asked my uncle to tape me the Star Wars Trilogy, the real one.
  • I had records when I was little. The first one I remember getting was The Mini-pops We Are The Mini-pops. For those not in the know, the Mini-pops were a group of British kids who sang anything from Diana Ross to Boy George.
  • My sister and I had to actually haul rump to the neighborhood library to research things. I was practically out of high school when Google was a baby.
  • I remember original clunky car phones. I was in 8th grade when we got ours.
  • Scariest of all, I could be mom to at least half of my church youth group.

Question

What makes you feel old or weird about your place in life?

Movies And TV

I respect that everyone has their own way of doing things, but I’m so glad that my family never told me I couldn’t watch or listen to things like Gill’s did. A: It doesn’t work. Kids will always find a way to get their hands on the forbidden fruit, which tastes sweeter and is extra tempting because it’s forbidden, it should be pointed out. And B: Being able to watch things gave me the chance to ask questions about them, which helped me figure out the differences between fiction and real life. And the people around me answering those questions made me feel comfortable coming to them with other pressing questions later, because I knew that they were going to be as straight as they could with me. Mutual trust goes a long way.

A few years back I spoke of the first movie I saw in a theater, along with the stinkers I’d had the misfortune of seeing. Let’s dive a little deeper into the topic of movies and TV.

Growing Up

Depending on where, when, and how you grew up, you might have been allowed a little or a lot of freedom to watch whatever you chose. I grew up in the time of the Slasher movie of the 1980’s. I remember seeing adverts for Friday The 13th and Nightmare On Elm Street, however I was specifically forbidden from watching them due to the violence. This caution spilled over to TV, as my sister got nightmares from Rescue 911 and America’s Most Wanted.

Vicarious Living

Because I was prohibited the watching of movies like Chucky and Candy Man, I would often hear stories from the other neighborhood kids about possessed dolls and other stuff off limits to me.

I Watched It Anyway

Knowing that my folks forbade certain TV shows because of my sister I would sneak upstairs to my parent’s room and watch Rescue 911 with the door closed, making sure that when I heard footsteps the remote was close at hand.

How This Affected Me

I’m grown and living over 100 miles from home, however I still hold on to the reminders of what I was allowed to watch, and if I had children I would be the same way. I also remember watching my first overtly violent movie at 21-years-old and having a panic attack.

Question

What were and were you not allowed to watch as a child, and how has it shaped what you view?

The Letter

To mark the anniversary of his death, Gill wrote a couple of letters to a dear friend. Here they are.

If you read the site about four years ago at this time, you would know that the world lost one of its finest people. Here are just a few things I’d tell him if I could talk to him again.

In Memory Of Eric Williams Jan. 2 1976-Apr. 22 2014

Dear Eric:

Forgive me for all the fights we had. You meant well, and I was wrong. Maybe we both were.

Four years has pretty much come and gone since you’ve been gone, and so much has changed for me.

I broke my ankle in that time, and you weren’t there to comment on “my punk ass` traveling the streets of suburbia in a wheelchair. Yes, I still am that stubborn person you hated and loved at the same time.

I also moved. How happy you would be to know that I’m very happy where I am.

I’ll give you a short tour of my penthouse apartment. Technically I’m still living in Section 8 housing, but this is far less ghetto than where I was before.

The kitchen’s a bit bigger, and dining room and living room are open concept. My bedroom is bigger than my old one, and the bathroom’s right next door. Unlike my old place I have to pay for laundry, but if that’s the only issue it’s pretty alright.

I also moved churches. I now am basically the only white person in the congregation. Sometimes looking at well dressed black men makes me think of you, and I am sad for a moment. Don’t worry, none of them could hold a candle to you.

I will always remember the times we talked all night, and how you would make me laugh with your thickening country accent.

They also say that time makes things better, but that only works for some I guess. I still miss, think of, and talk about you.

Ms. Thang

A couple of days ago I wrote the first half of a letter to someone who meant the world to me. You might have noticed that I signed off with “Ms. Thang.” This is something he called me from time to time, and it basically is a term meaning wonderful.

Dear Eric:

Let me start again by saying how happy you would be that I’m finally getting the chance to sing a solo at church. I know you always liked hearing me sing, and I know you found it cornball when I sang “I can’t fight this feeling anymore.” You might have known how deep my feelings actually were. Below the flirtatiousness was something much deeper. For a time after you left this mortal frame I couldn’t hear that song with out wanting to run and hide.

I must admit that I had some rather lusty thoughts about you when we first met. When we were introducing ourselves and you spoke, my first actual thought was, is it getting hotter in here or is it just you? I also wondered how you felt about inter-racial marriage. I’ll also always remember how when I poured my heart out in that letter and you didn’t laugh how good it made me feel. For the record, you looked sexy with your full head of curly black hair.

Even four years on, some days are harder than others. I sometimes see cool nerd stuff on TV and think to myself “gotta call Eric to tell him.” But then I reach to dial your number, and reality slaps me hard and fast. Someone else has your number, and would probably frown on some weirdo from another country phoning

I miss your calls on my birthday. You with that sexy Southern accent, yum-yum!

Seriously, they didn’t make a lot like you, a true gentlemen. They also say the good die young, and you were one of the best. When I see you again, know your getting a hug from me, and a kiss on the cheek.

Your hair looked blue to me.

Ms. Thang

My Nerd Palace

Gill is imagining what her dream house would look like. I haven’t thought about mine in so long that the last time I did, the main feature was going to be a giant room dedicated to nothing but my music collection. But thinking about it now, I could probably use that room for something else. In the last decade I’ve been given more physical albums than I’ve bought. I think I can count the number of CDs I’ve purchased for myself on one hand and still have fingers left over. I used to be attached to the idea of holding something in my hand, but now, with very few exceptions, I do not give the first damn about that. I’m all about digital and streaming nowadays. Sure there’s a risk that content gets pulled or that the store you bought your albums from goes out of business and you can’t get a redownload if you need one *coughcough* HMV Digital *coughcough*, but generally it hasn’t been a big problem, plus it’s nice not to have to find new places to put everything or lug more and more crap around every time you move. And we haven’t even gotten into the problem of disc rot. For all I know I could be sitting next to a shelf full of garbage right now.

People have, on occasion, asked me what my dream home would look like. Well, stick around and I will tell you about Nerd Palace.

Main Floor

When you come inside, don’t forget to take off your shoes. You can put on some slippers if you need to.

Take a turn to the left to my kitchen. It’s inspired by one of my favorite things, my love for trying new foods. There are Southeast Asian style curtains, the flooring is wood from here in Canada, and the walls are painted to look like an African sunset.

Heading down the hall to the right we see the “chill room.” here we have a stereo system with cool jazz playing. This room is done in turquoise and sea foam.

Now we head further down the hall to the first “rumpus room.” this has an actual repurposed 1980’s arcade with only the classic games like Asteroids and space invaders.

The Basement

Now let’s head on downstairs. Here is where the true nerding out happens! In one section we have a theater room just waiting for people to kick back with anything, Back To The Future, Star Wars, you pick. Right in the thick is a virtual reality set. You can wear the helmets and head as far into history or the future as you like. And of course no nerd palace is complete with out tons of wifi.

Upstairs

Although mostly private, I will show you two rooms. My quiet room is where I go to think, do Bible study, or just be alone. Now my sleeping quarters. My room is painted in my two fave colors, olive and black.

Now You Know

Thank you for stopping into this virtual tour of my dream home. Feel free to tell me about yours.

It Just Made Me Happy

Gill is thinking happy thoughts and memories of her grandma today.

As for an answer to her question, it wasn’t a specific place, but I remember when I was young my grandpa and I would often drive around to nowhere in particular while chatting about nothing in particular. On the way to nowhere in particular there was always a store from which we would buy chocolate milk before getting back on the road. It was a simple thing, but it was nice. Now and then grandpa and I still talk about those days. Hopefully we get a chance to do it again sometime.

I often talk about serious issues in my blogs, but today I’d like to cheer all of you up out there. So, why not sit back with a cup of something warm and I’ll walk you down memory lane to a place I went to as a child.

Fridays

When I was little, I went over 100 miles away to attend school for the blind. Each Friday I would look forward to getting into the van and heading home. When I started at the school the bus company did not do door to door service, but instead would drop me around thirty miles from home. I would often hope that my maternal grandmother {Doris Hewgill} would come meet me at the stop.

The Delightful Spot

My grandmother had a knack for making things like my journey home fun. Half way between the bus stop and home was a little roadside mom and pop place owned by a German lady. It would be here that my grandmother would have tea, and I would have soda and something called an Orange twist. In case you’re wondering, an Orange twist is an oddly shaped orange colored doughnut. The place itself had a homey atmosphere that might make one think of a German village restaurant. My grandmother and I came up with “The Delightful Spot` as a name after hearing it on one of the cartoons I watched.

That Was Then

The calendar has rolled over thirty times and my grandmother has since passed on, but sometimes if I’m out somewhere I still think of that little place.

Question

What was a favorite place you enjoyed going to as a child, and is it still around?

Bored And Determined

Gill is back to talk about the time she snapped her ankle and had to figure out how to drive a wheelchair whilst not being able to see. I sometimes wonder how well I would do at something like that, but I don’t want to have to wreck an ankle any further to find out.

It has been said that you don’t want to leave people to their own devices or that boredom can be dangerous. I look at boredom as a time when my mind is at its sharpest and I come up with my best ideas.

Wheels Of Boredom

On June 23rd, 2016, I had to give up some of my independence thanks to a freak accident. I broke my ankle, which meant I needed a lot of help. I had to wear an air cast that looked a bit like a ski boot. It wasn’t easy to deal with, and as a result I had to ask for assistance with things I had thought little of prior to that day. People had to actually come help me remove the boot and stocking so I could shower, and then reverse the process when I was done. I also had to do physical therapy, which required someone to remove the boot but not the stocking.

But the biggest change was having to spend the majority of that summer in a wheelchair. Needless to say I couldn’t go far, which lead to some boredom at times.

But Gillie plus boredom can sometimes lead to awesome.

I lived in the not-so-great wide yonder of suburbia at the time, and with few options that didn’t require some kind of accessible vehicle or the same amount of planning as a royal wedding, I decided to teach myself to roll down the streets to the local strip mall.

Figuring It Out

Thankfully I lived in an accessible home, so my first step required simply rolling up to the door at a good speed so I could go over the lip to the outside. Next I would roll on down my driveway and then use the accessible section of sidewalk until I had to maneuver to a hillier section. To avoid going out of control, I would use my uninjured foot as a slowing mechanism. Closer to the strip mall there was a rather angry incline that took a lot of strength, and sometimes even help. When finished at the strip mall I would either have the shop assistant put the bag with my purchases on the back of my chair or set it on my lap. Then my homeward adventure down the angry hill would begin once more.

Angels Around Me

During this experience I lived six weeks in the life of a wheelchair user, which meant having to actually think about stuff I’d only heard from people who were wheelchair users E.G. considerations of doors, ramps, and smooth versus bumpy ground. I also learned that there were people who didn’t mind helping in a pinch. Mr. Patel, a convenience store owner, went out of his way and out from behind the counter to help me in through the narrow door. There was also an Indian restaurant in my old neighborhood where the staff would bring my food out to me on the sidewalk.

Reactions

My mom was a little upset with me not asking for more help, but my sister was rather proud that I took the initiative to figure something like this out.

Since Then

I was eventually allowed to walk again, and regained my ability to dance around six months after my accident. I do get occasional pain, but it’s not overly bad. Most days it feels like I never injured it.

Three Percent Of The Time

Since she spent some time the other day talking about some of her experiences with the public as a blind person, Gill is back to tell you how much she can actually see. But contrary to what she says below, Carin does have some usable vision. It’s helpful enough that she’s able to do things such as sort laundry or mistake the occasional fat person for a garbage can.

Here’s another opportunity to get to know your friend Ms. Gillie. I am, like Steve and Carin, visually impaired. Unlike them, however, I do have some usable eyesight. I have a condition called Axenfeld Syndrome, which means that while I was in my mother’s womb something went wrong with both my eyes. My left eye is rather weirdly shaped, and my right eye basically didn’t form. I also have Nystagmus, which has rendered me with an inability to focus my good eye for any longer than a second or two.

What Do I See?

Well, here’s where the situation turns on its head. I can read the numbers on a digital clock or microwave, however when I was first learning to read I learned braille. I see better on cloudy days, and see buildings and large objects from further away than I can people. I can see colors and shapes, and can recognize people’s expressions if I’m close enough.

How Do I Feel?

It is what it is, we all have something that’s a royal pain in the backside. Sometimes I’ll even forget for a second or two and nearly leave my cane behind.

Two Meals In One

You enjoy this wee bit of strangeness from Gill while I make lunch, get back to catching up and continue mildly disliking technology. As the tag says, computers are great when they work.

Do you like breakfast? Do you like lunch? Combining the two often makes brunch, but not always. Have you ever had an interesting food combination? A friend of mine, teaching in Asia, said that recently she tried salad with cereal on it in the school cafeteria. She told me it might have been Frosted Flakes.

Question

What’s the most interesting food combination you’ve ever tried?

Dude. Salad with what “might have been Frosted Flakes” on it? I bet that “might have” been gross. Hard, hard pass. Not to mention that if this is me, unless I’ve just come from being stranded in a desert or lost at sea and this was the first time in a long time that food had not been scarce, I’m making good and goddamn sure that those really are Frosted Flakes. There’s no “might” about it.