I'm walking through a truly enormous house. I think it is meant to be my friend Lesley's new(ish) house, which I have been meaning to visit and tour in real life for months.

There's a lot of work to do in the house, and old, patterned wallpaper covers almost every surface. Still, it's an architecturally impressive space, with giant angled ceilings and beams that I imagine must get caked with cobwebs and dust. I wonder how Lesley and her husband plan to clean the highest of the crevices, or if they will just let them be.

As I'm walking and gazing upward, I realize I'm dreaming. I've been hoping to have more lucid dreams lately, and have begun reading a book on lucid dreaming to try to get my brain primed. So once I realized I was dreaming, I got excited. It hasn't happened in a long time.

Then I hear a phone ring. It's my mobile. I answer, and the voice on the other end sounds just like mine. It's talking to me in a quiet, mumbly tone and I can't make out much. I ask the voice to please speak up, that I'm having trouble hearing. As the voice is talking to me, dream me is thinking about what awake me read in that lucid dreaming book: That if you encounter yourself in a dream, it's OK to ask that self questions about your Self. (At least, I think I read that. I just flipped back through the book and can't find the passage I'm remembering.)

After a few hard-to-understand exchanges with the voice, I ask it, "Are you me?"

The voice — my voice — says to me, clear as day, "Asshole."


The Santa hat

I had this dream a month ago but forgot to post it. I told my boss about this dream in real life and his reaction was, "Was she hot???"

I am visiting my childhood best friend, Christy, at her house, which is this depressing hovel of a place where she has several large put bulls running around. (This is the total opposite of how she lived when we were children.) She looks the same as always — incredibly thick, long blonde hair and a sweet round face. I can't believe she lives in such filth. The house is basically a shack with a dirt floor.

She tells me about how she's secretly sleeping with my boss, which is super juicy gossip. Then she shows me a video on her phone of a party they attended recently. My boss is sitting in a chair, completely wasted and wearing a Santa hat, and he's giving an impassioned soliloquy that's barely intelligible. Once he's done, he bolts out of the chair and out of the door and into the yard, where he runs smack into the mailbox and falls down.

Extremely questionable PDA

An authority figure in my life (not going to say which one because yikes) and I are spooning on a couch in a very large room that feels sort of like a warehouse or a hangar. Somewhere brightly lit with those suspended fluorescent lights that hang from chains suspended from corrugated metal ceilings. There are plenty of people around, including people we know and one of his close friends, but he is all over me, hands and mouth moving swiftly and surely. Voraciously. I'm surprised at his aggression.

I'm incredulous that it's happening but I am loving it; it feels like it's been a long time coming and the tension has been broken. But I'm worried about being seen because what we are doing is a Very Bad Idea. He doesn't seem to care, though, whatsoever. So I hold up a small red blanket in front of us as if that is going to keep us hidden just enough to keep going. I think to myself that I need to text Amber and tell her this is happening, and almost do so, but then remember that it's rude to use your phone during intimate encounters.


Buggin' out

I've gone to the foot doctor to complain about my big toe. It hurts, right on top. Right where the hair is. Yes, I have hair on my big toe. IN REAL LIFE TOO, NOT JUST DREAMS!

The doctor is treating me and I don't realize until he starts talking some crazy shit that he has used a fairly unconventional method of relieving me of my ailment: He has sliced open the top of my toe and inserted some sort of large insect, who has orders to go in and retrieve whatever it is that is bothering me.

The large insect goes in and fetches another large insect and then a tiny, tiny, tiny fish, both of which had somehow lodged themselves beneath the skin on the top of my toe.

I get stitched up and that's that.


Nip (pink) slip

I'm doing work for some colleagues in Staunton, Va., that includes me taking some arty photos and sending to them for their input so they can choose which ones they want to use in their publication. I don't realize until much later, after I'd sent the batch of pictures, that one of the pictures includes the entirety of my right breast, thanks to the fact that I was wearing a nursing top in it and didn't realize I was peeking out.

Then the email chain comes back to me, and they are scandalized. I am humiliated, and can't believe I didn't notice this before I sent it to everyone on their staff.

I figure I will lose my job because everyone is going to assume I did this on purpose.

Always a bridesmaid ... again

Amber is getting married and in celebration is riding around town on a school bus full of her bridesmaids, all of whom are dressed up in white with fancy headpieces on. Amber's dad is driving the bus and I'm trying to catch it in town but I keep getting to the wrong spot or missing it. Finally I am just standing near a curb next to a parking lot and the bus comes to a stop beside me. I can't figure out how to get in and won't go around to the other side, so Amber's dad does a huge U-turn in the middle of the street so that I can get into the bus without having to step into the street.

Once I'm on, the atmosphere is a little uncomfortable but celebratory. Amber seems excited at what's happening, but I can't recall who she's marrying or who any of these dozens of bridesmaids on the bus are.


Convenient store

My parents have re-purchased the old convenience store they used to own. Except now it's in a much cuter location in the much more happenin' downtown Saltillo, where trendy storefronts have popped up among the tidily landscaped sidewalks.

I arrive at the store with my camera for the handoff from previous owners to my parents. I take the opportunity to explore the inside of the store, which apparently is attached to my old elementary school (Saltillo Elementary), which ceased being a school when I was in first grade. I go through a door and it leads into the auditorium of the school, where there are dozens of books laid out on a tarp on the floor. It's dark and I don't know where the light switches are.

I wonder to myself if my parents will be able to hack it this time around. Having that store the first time was rough on their finances and their sanity. But part of me is sort of comforted by the idea of working at my family's convenience store, and I briefly get excited about putting together their website and social media presence.


Killer kittens

I was at work, or working someplace with a lot of my colleagues. I don't recall now what we were doing, but it was something time-sensitive.

And then, at some point, we were in a kitchen. I opened the freezer and saw it was full of a bunch of live, bloodied, fighting, rabid kittens. I took one out, but I don't remember why. Maybe because there were a bunch of scary ass kittens in the freezer and I was curious?

But it immediately starting scratching and biting me. It was basically trying to kill me, but it was a kitten so it hurt but it wasn't like being mauled by a lion. I decided to put it back in the freezer, but instead of putting it back with the pile of other killer kittens, who were on the right side of the freezer, I put it on the left. On top of the ice cube trays and a frozen pizza. I was afraid of smooshing it when I shut the door, so I tried to push its arms out of the way and get it situated in there. It kept scratching and biting at me, though. Its claws were like needles on my skin, the way kittens' claws usually are. Except more murderous.

Finally, it laid its head down on its outstretched arm and went to sleep, and I could move it so it wouldn't get squashed when I shut the door. It was a little brownish-black tabby, with some silver in it. It was cute. But murderous. So I shut the freezer door and went back to what I was doing.


A restless night

Last night and this morning were full of dreams. I remembered them all when I got up to empty my bladder at 6 a.m., but now I can only remember snippets.

Beauty queen
I was getting ready to go to work, though the house I was in resembled the house I grew up in. My husband came back into the house to tell me that a beauty queen who spoke only Spanish had showed up and needed my help. Someone, a woman I knew in the dream, had told her she could come to our house and I would take care of whatever problem she was having.

I went downstairs to meet her, and told her in halting Spanish (even in my dreams I'm not as fluent as I used to be) that I didn't know why she was there, but that I had to go to work and couldn't help her. She kept saying that [the woman whose name I forget now] told her to come here, and she had nowhere else to go. My husband told me he had to leave or he would be late, and I shouted, "Just because I work for an understanding company doesn't mean I can just not go to work!"

My next course of action was to try to reason with the beauty queen. I tried to convince her that being a beauty queen was a dumb thing to do with one's life, and that she should want more. "Nunca querías más?" I asked her. She responded, in perfect, pained English, "I have eight years of experience wearing dresses."

We went out into the backyard, and a lot of people were milling around the driveway. They all turned to leave and I got intensely jealous, since I was stuck there with this beauty queen when all I wanted was to go to work. Two of my friends showed up and started setting something up in the backyard. In the dream, I remembered thinking it would be something fun for everyone to play with. 

Eventually the woman who had sent the beauty queen to me showed up, and I expressed my anger with her. How could she be so selfish? So rude? The woman stood by the fence separating the driveway from the backyard and laughed it off. She brushed off my anger and the fact that I had to miss work because she sent this lost, confused beauty queen to me, who I didn't know how to help anyway.

Tow-truck boyfriend
My husband, mom, two sisters and I were pulling into the driveway of the house I grew up in. Someone was parked in front of me, a navy blue car about the same size as my Civic. It was getting ready to storm, and I wanted to get my car under the carport but this car was in the way. My youngest sister said she would call her boyfriend, who drove a tow truck, to take care of it. But by the time we got out of the car, the blue car was gone.

I got back in and pulled my car forward, and it took a few tries to get it straightened out so that when someone eventually tried to get into the passenger seat they wouldn't scrape the door against the evergreens on the right, and the driver wouldn't hit the gutter on the left. My brother-in-law was at the door, opening it and telling us all to hurry up and get inside. The storm was coming. Leaves were blowing around, and I could smell the rain.

My youngest sister announced that she was going to call her tow-truck boyfriend to come tow my car someplace, since we were all going to be drinking that night and she didn't want me driving. Despite my assurances that I am capable of not drinking and driving without having to tow my car away, she insisted. Over and over she told me she was texting him to come get my car. I got more and more angry, explaining that he would pull the back bumper off the car. Explaining that when I am at home, my car sits outside all the time and though I drink every day, I don't ever drive drunk.

The rest of my family agreed with me, but didn't seem to understand how important it was that we not allow my 21-year-old sister's boyfriend—that I had never met—to tow my car away someplace nobody knew of.

Wine bar
I was sitting at a wine bar; there were small tables around but I was alone so I sat at the bar, sipping on something red. I chatted here and there with the bartenders, but mostly I eavesdropped on their conversations and chortled with them when patrons would ask dumb questions about wine.

Someone approached the bar with a box of plastic lowercase Bs, contained in a thick plastic bag but open so I could see them.

"Oh! You brought back our ice cubes!" the bartender said, and I realized they were meant to be filled with water and frozen. They had looked like those chunky fridge magnets at first.

Four women came up and ordered wine, and said something that made obvious a rudimentary knowledge of wine. The bartender and I shared a knowing glance as she poured them their red wine. As soon as they took the glasses, they started dancing around violently. They laughed and cheered and yelled "wooo" as they danced. There was something about the song that made me take note of a name. "Michael Brendan Scott," I think. I wrote it four times on a large cocktail napkin. I kept writing it, over and over again.

When I woke up, I was saying the name in my head.