Back to School

The kids are going back to school, but in my dream last night I was going back to school–as the teacher!

It started out I was in a high school classroom. I had a fairly large class of students, and I don’t know what subject I was teaching, but it involved numbers, and some sort of data analysis, because we all had highlighters and tables  and charts and there were sets of numbers projected up on the screen in front of the room. I’m walking down the side of the room, and I tell the students that we are going to meet in the media room to watch a movie. I’m picking up highlighters and notebooks and am trying to tidy up the room as they are leaving.

I hear a kid go “ewwww,” and I walk back to the back of the room. The kid says, “Someone peed on the floor,” but as I walk over to the puddle, it’s not really the color of urine, and it doesn’t smell like urine either. And–it seems to be fizzing.

I notice there is a chubby boy named Jack next to me holding a bottle of Mountain Dew, and I notice that it is dripping. “You’ve got a crack in the bottle,” I tell him, and point at the trail of pop on the floor.

“I’ll go get paper towels and mop it up,” he says, putting his hand under the bottle and running out of the room.

When he comes back to start mopping up the pop, I walk out into the hallway and the principal is waiting for me and draws me aside. Oddly enough, the principal is my current supervisor at work (even my boss in the dream time I guess), and he says sotto voce “We need to talk about Andrew.”

It turns out Andrew is a student who was in a previous class I taught and was suspended. He is back in school and re-enrolled in my class. The principal tells me, “There are concerns.”

“What kind of concerns?” I ask.

“That he will be repeating the same assignments.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” I say. “He flunked out the first time, so he did the assignments but he failed them.” Does he really mean repeating the same mistakes that led to the suspension?

“But the worry is that he will be doing the same assignments.” It’s almost as if he could sense my question in my head and was trying to set me straight. Assignments, not mistakes.

I’m still not getting what he’s trying to say. If you flunk out, you repeat a grade. You keep doing it over until you manage to pass. Is he worried he’s going to try to cheat somehow?

“Well,” I say. “It’s the same class. I can’t change the class just for one kid. We have to meet the outcomes statements, so that means we have to do the required assignments. You know that. But he’s not going to be doing exactly the same thing because the class isn’t exactly the same. No two classes are exactly the same.  And I’ve been teaching a long time and have built up my knowledge base too so I’ll be able to challenge him. Other than that, I don’t know what else to say or what you want me to do. I’m not the one who sets up the students’ schedules. I deal with the kids you give me. It’s up to you whether he stays in the class or not. You’re the principal.”

He doesn’t seem happy at my reply, but I don’t know what else to tell him. What would be another option? Do an independent study? Put him in the alternative school?

He walks away, and I start down the hall and panic because I don’t know the hall. How can I not know where things are? I supposedly have been teaching here a long time.

A student sees that I’m freaking out and says “The American History room is down this hall and to the right.”

So I start down the hall, and I see Nan curled up asleep on the floor of the hallway up ahead on my left. I’m curious what the hell she is doing on the floor. Another teacher walks up and kneels down to shake her awake–and can’t seem to wake her. I’m freaking out. Is she dead? On the fourth shake, Nan wakes up and is really irritated that the teacher woke her up. I’m nearly where they are, and the teacher gets up and turns to me and says “She’s fine. Go on to your class. They’re waiting on you.”

So I go right at the turn and at the end of the hall, I see a huge curved entryway with glass doors. The glass doors are curved too, like the glass on a revolving door, but they are not revolving doors. They are fairly small doors, just big enough for a person to get through, and I am looking for one with a specific number (I think it was 402 or 420? I remember there was a 4 and 2 in it) and again a student has to point it out to me.

As I go through the door with my students, it opens into a huge auditorium. It must be like the Tardis, bigger on the inside, because students were going into the other doors but they did not end up in this auditorium (other dimensions, perhaps?). Anyway, I make my way down the aisle to where they have an old projector set up about halfway down (how old of a school is this? I think). There is a bench next to the projector for the projectionist, and I sit down on a chair next to the bench. I’m going to have to tell him when to start the film and pause it so I can comment on it.

Then I wake up.

Creepy Dream Imagery

I read online yesterday that supposedly if you meditated last night you would have a revelation of your future. Well, I didn’t get anything when I meditated, but I got some genuinely creepy imagery in a dream. Let’s hope it isn’t precognitive.

The only part of the dream I remember with clarity is the end. I am in a kind of post-apocalyptic junkyard filled with gutted cars. My cousin walks into view and motions me to follow her. There is a guy there with us. I get the sense that he is a military type, but he is not in military gear. We are walking alongside a board that is embedded in the ground, and as we start to come up on a building in the near distance, a flashing light and a siren go off. I’m inclined to run, but the guy says to keep walking like nothing is happening, and soon we are at a wall. We somehow manage to scale it (and I don’t remember scaling it) but we are walking along the top edge of the wall. There are people down below, but we seem to be invisible to them.

To get down,we ease ourselves onto a clear plastic canopy. Underneath it it looks like a public shower with pipes and nozzles. I am sick to my stomach. I say to the man “Is this where they gas the children?” I don’t know why I thought that; maybe it was a past life flash back or something. The guy looks at me weird and says “Don’t be ridiculous.” I get the feeling that he is lying to me. I say “Well, what do they do with all the children?”  Somehow I have the feeling that there are lots and lots of children, or there should be lots and lots of children, but there are no children anywhere to be seen. And that is creeping me out.

We manage to slide down the canopy but I am really creeped out and sick to my stomach. A lot of well dressed people are walking into the building and we blend in with them. I am separated from my cousin and the guy and end up in a very large chi-chi conference room. An old man is up front giving some kind of medical lecture. I sit down and half-listen; I am still worried about those outdoor showers and what is happening to the children when the man who is lecturing calls on me and calls me “Doctor.” That startles me. I’m a doctor? I don’t remember what he asked me, but I remember that he was suspicious of me, and I said something, and he sneered at me. It was like he was daring me to do or say something, knowing that I wouldn’t or couldn’t. I didn’t even know what was going on; what was I supposed to do. I felt really angry and helpless at that point.

Then I look out the door (I am seated in the back of the room on the far side of the door). In the hall is a table with a floral arrangement on it. It was too big to be a normal table arrangement, but not really big enough to be a funeral arrangement. Above it is an engraved sign saying Sterling Heights, which is a town in Michigan. I suppose that would explain the post-apocalyptic setting–Detroit for the cars, the water being shut off there for the pipes, but who knows about the rest.

The alarm goes off and wakes me up, and I have a sick feeling in my stomach like something horrible has happened. I have no memory of the dream at first; I have to really struggle to remember it, and these images are all I can remember. There was much, much more, I know it, but I can’t access it. And I can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong with the children, but I don’t know what children and I don’t know what is wrong to begin with.

The Lion’s Gate

So today is supposed to be one of those spectacular “Supermoons.” I can’t tell–it’s been pouring down rain for two days and more is to come this afternoon. But even if I can’t see an ordinary full moon, my subconscious always makes sure I know, because I get super emotional and have weird dreams. Oh, and did I mention that the dog has been acting strangely?

The dreams, to begin with. I’m not quite sure what this first dream means, but here it is just in case it makes sense later on. There is a very long line for something. I start to go to the head of the line. People are getting pissy with me for cutting, but I point out to them there was a raffle and I won (and I wasn’t making it up–in the dream I had genuinely won a raffle). Despite the fact I was supposed to go first, they still let someone go in front of me (jerks!). The “prize” I had won had something to do with choosing what products went on sale at our local grocery, and when I got in finally, they had already printed out the flier for that week’s sale and only one product I had chosen was in the flier. I’m pretty pissed–what is the point of having a raffle and letting you think you have a choice when you don’t?

While all of this is going on, I’m having a terrible time breathing. In reality, I was snoring (ugh! how embarrassing.) but in the dream I was awake and couldn’t get enough air in through my nose. I’m trying to breathe through my mouth, and I’m making these odd wheezing gasping snorting noises because I can’t get air through my mouth either. This is it, I thought. This is how I die.

But I didn’t die. I somehow was magically transported to my parents’ house. The dog is with me, and she is going nuts. There’s something going on in the side yard over by my old bedroom. I start to walk over there, and in the back corner of the lot where the forsythia bush used to be is a tree. There is tall grass growing up around the tree, and something is rustling there. I finally make out that there is a lamb there. It pokes its head up a bit so I can see it over the grass, and as I am focusing in, I see that it has been shorn (at first I thought it was a goat!). But there is something else there as well, rustling in the grass, and I finally make out that it is a squirrel–maybe this little guy? I couldn’t tell the color of his tail.


I laugh–isn’t supposed to be a lion and a lamb under the tree? Especially during the Lion’s Gate moon?

You know, like this?

(An aside–as this is a full moon dream, it might be significant that this location in the yard is exactly where there is a transformer. And many, many years ago, my spiritual journey began when I was watching the full moon make its way across the sky, and as it reached its apex–right above the transformer–suddenly time stopped and the moon turned bright red. The transformer and its power lines formed a perfect cross, and the blood red moon shot out a beam of light directly at me. I kid you not. This weird stuff has been happening to me since I was a kid).

Any way, the dog is not happy there are critters in the yard, and I am musing through all of the above as well as picking up the “family tree” reference, when I realize there are more saplings growing in the side yard. I think this is really weird since the guy who mows my parents’ yard has a riding lawn mower; why would he leave saplings in the middle of the yard and not just mow over them? I see that one is a locust tree and I think that one has got to go.

I take the dog into the house, and I am shocked to see that my mom walks out of the kitchen with a cigarette in her mouth. I yell at her– she had a heart attack for god’s sake. Why is she smoking? She gave it up twenty-five years ago. She tells me that she just can’t take it anymore; she had to start again. She said she found an old pack she had stashed and had forgotten about, and pulls a pack of Virginia Slims out of her jeans pocket. I don’t know which is grossing me out more, that she is smoking again or she is so desperate she is smoking twenty-five year old cigarettes. She goes over and leans against the arm of the sofa in front of the window and tells me that she talked to her dad (who is dead!–but then, she is the one who really talks to ghosts in the family) and he told her it doesn’t matter. I start to tell her that it matters to me, but before I can, I start gasping and snorting again because I can’t breathe. She sticks an oral thermometer in my mouth, but I can’t keep it under my tongue because I am mouth breathing. She yells at me to shut my mouth, and I yell back I can’t shut my mouth when I am trying to breathe through it when I wake up.

And as for the dog, behaving oddly.

Despite my best intentions to stay home on Friday, I had to drive downtown to take care of some business. I put the dog in the bedroom (she is a good dog, but when I leave her loose she always gets into trouble. We still haven’t patched the hole she dug trying to get through the pantry into the garage when we first moved into the new house). When I got home (only a couple of hours later), she went absolutely nuts when I let her out, tearing around in a circle at the top of the stairs. She then raced down the stairs and ran amok for a while, but when I sat down on the couch, she leapt into my lap, shivering the way she does when something scares her. Her ears were back, and she kept looking over her shoulder–at nothing. Since this is what she does when we have an unearthly visitor, I tried to tune it to see if I could pick up anything (this is when having my mom around would be handy–she would not only see them but describes them in detail–ghosties look like real people to my mom; to me they are just energy blobs), but I wasn’t picking up anything. This happened periodically all weekend– for no apparent reason, she would get very clingy, very nervous, and be hyper-vigilant. It happened again this morning.

Did something come through the gate and decide to stop by to say hello? I don’t know. But, like the pup, I’ll keep my eyes and ears open and keep you apprised.

Submitted for your amusement.



Review: Great Value Gluten-Free Rice Shells and Cheddar

Do you like Velveeta Shells and Cheese? If you do, you’ll probably like the Walmart store brand Great Value Gluten-Free Rice Shells and Cheddar. Unlike their hideous Hamburger Helper knockoff, this take on the classic American comfort food actually hits the mark.

It’s pretty simple, actually. Everything you need is in the box.

Like the other Great Value Gluten-Free brands, the design sticks with the light blue box and circular bubble for the brand  and item name.

Walmart Great Value GF Shells and Cheese

Walmart Great Value GF Shells and Cheese

Open the box and you will see loose rice shell pasta.

A Box of Rice Pasta Shells

A Box of Rice Pasta Shells

Dig around a bit and you will find a packet of prepared cheddar cheese sauce a la Velveeta.

And A Package of Cheese Product

And A Package of Cheese Product

Pop the shells in water to boil (we add a couple of hot dogs to the mix).

Shells in The Pan With A Couple of Hot Dogs

Shells in The Pan With A Couple of Hot Dogs

As usual, the rice pasta gets mushy. You can see the cloudiness of the water. Unlike other rice pastas, this one has a perfect a dente texture–it won’t turn to mush in your mouth, but it’s not tough either.

Cooked Shells Before Draining

Cooked Shells Before Draining

Squeeze the cheese sauce into the pan.

Drained Shells With Cheese Product

Drained Shells With Cheese Product

We add frozen peas to the mix too. We’ve been told we don’t get enough vegetables :)

Frozen Peas Added

Frozen Peas Added


Smoosh it all together on low until the cheese evenly distributes and the peas defreeze. Plop it in a bowl and gobble away.

One-Dish American Comfort Food

One-Dish American Comfort Food

Here are the nutrition facts for Great Value GF Shells and Cheese:

Shells and Cheese Nutrition Facts

Shells and Cheese Nutrition Facts

And a list of ingredients:

Shells and Cheese Ingredients

Shells and Cheese Ingredients

What saves this box mix over the stroganoff I tried is the fact that the sauce is pre-made. Because it is cheese rather than cream based, there is less of an issue with thickening. My hunch is that what we’re getting in the sauce package is exactly the same as what we get in this package–


which you can also get in Walmart in the packaged cheese aisle. As a matter of fact, until I stumbled across the Great Value GF Shells and Cheese,  I made my own mac and cheese with a bag of rice elbows and a packet of Velveeta.

If you can’t find the Velveeta packets in your store (but you probably should if your store carries Velveeta and, honestly, what store in North America doesn’t?), then the GF package is a good substitute.

The box sold for $2.19 at my store, and it has 3 servings, so we’re looking at 73 cents per serving. Hot dogs and peas are add-ons at your discretion, depending on what your local mac and cheese tradition may be.

The Tornado Returns

Yet another tornado dream. Not sure what chaos or change is on its way with this dream, but I’ll log it anyway.

I am in a hotel at a meeting in Louisiana. Yes, Louisiana, but it does not look like New Orleans, so I’m not sure where it is. It is a fairly large hotel, and I am there for a business conference. We are in a conference room milling around the snack tables during break. One entire wall of the room is windows, and I can see that a storm is coming in from the north (so I guess the windows are facing north). I can also see in the clouds rotation, and, sure enough, I see a funnel start to snake down.

I turn and there is one of my former teachers (the nun!) and I tell her about the funnel cloud. “Shouldn’t we do something?” I ask. I seem to assume in the dream that she is in charge (because she is a nun?). “Shouldn’t we tell people about the tornado?” I don’t understand why the sirens aren’t going off, and I don’t understand why no one else is concerned when there is a freaking tornado heading right for us!

She just seems to sneer at me and is very condescending. I don’t remember exactly what she said but the gist of it was that I was being silly and to be quiet and stop making a ruckus.

I am exasperated that she is not taking me seriously. Why I don’t announce to the room that there is a tornado, I don’t know, but maybe I thought if they were so damn dense they couldn’t see a freaking tornado heading right for us  that they deserved to get sucked up for a little joy ride.

To my right is a girl with long dark hair. I grab her hand and say “Come on. We’ve got to get to a lower floor.” She does not want to go; she is preoccupied with the food and drinks on the table. But I am insistent and won’t let go of her hand and tug her out, protesting, into the corridor.

Now, I have no idea who this girl is, but I seem to know her and I seem to feel responsible for her so I keep pulling on her hand and nudging her to the stair well. She is chatting away irritably because she wanted the food and drinks on the table. I keep trying to get through to her that there is a freaking tornado heading right for us but it’s like talking to a child.

I manage to get her down the stairs and onto the second floor of the building but she won’t go any lower. She walks into a large suite and I walk over to the window and sure enough there is the damn tornado, still heading right for us. I try to convince her that the second floor still isn’t safe; we need to be on the first floor or even better in a basement, but now she has moved from irritability to anger because she has stayed in this suite before. She keeps going on and on that the management had claimed she had gone through all the booze in the bar but “I never touched it!” she says indignantly.

I keep trying to calm her down and coax her out of the room, but she won’t let it go.

“They charged me hundreds of dollars!” she said. “Look!” She pulls up out of thin air a map of the hotel and touches the suite that we are in and it starts to glow red. “Here!” she yells. “Here is the room. The very room we’re in! This is where they claimed I drank all the booze but I never did! I want it on record! FOR POSTERITY. I NEVER DRANK THE BOOZE.”

At this point, I am thinking “you doth protest too much” since she was pretty damn obsessed with the food and wine in the conference room, but for some reason I still feel compelled to try to get her somewhere safe. I take her hand again and try to tug her to the door but she pulls away. She is in a full-on tirade FOR POSTERITY DAMN IT and I can’t get through to her. I run back to the window. The tornado is still coming. We’ve got a couple of minutes tops. Do I try to talk her down? Do I stay with her and try to minimize damage when the tornado hits? Or do I leave?

I wish I could say I did the heroic thing and stayed, but I didn’t. I left. As I walked through the door to find the stairs to the basement, I remember thinking “Some people just don’t want to be saved.” And then I woke up.