Tuesday, September 16, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream…

I usually remember my dreams. I don’t remember them so vividly that you could ask me about it the next week and I would be able to tell you the details, but sometimes there will be a dream that will stick with me for a bit. Last night I had a dream like that. I can’t remember all of the details of it, but one part of the strange conglomeration of ideas stands out above all else. I remember in the dream sitting at the edge of a lake in the middle of a forest, at night, I am partially in the water, and there is a steep drop off just past where I am sitting with another woman who’s face I never see but I am happily chatting with. My two “kidnappers” are diving farther out in the lake looking for coins, but can’t seem to find any. To my surprise I look down at the bank of the lake where I am sitting and notice all of these silver flecks shimmering in the moonlight. As I pull them out one by one I realize that these are the coins the two men are looking for. There seem to be millions of them as I start throwing them in a mason jar I had at hand. The whole situation seems strange to me. Of course it’s strange, it’s dream world.

As I said earlier, the two men diving were my “kidnappers”, but I didn’t feel as if I were being held hostage. And the coins I was collecting (which I thought were all quarters but ended up being a mix of silver coins, mostly dimes)? They were going toward my $10,000 ransom.

I always try to glean my own answers from my dreams. But this one caught me off guard for two reasons: one I hadn’t experienced the elements in it before, and two it has stuck with me for most of the day making me feel like it is important. I was silly and looked at dream analysis websites, none of them lending a helping hand toward what I felt the interpretation might be. So, I’m just going to let it simmer and perhaps the meaning will come to me… or I will go slowly mad trying to figure it out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Believe It Is Called a Menagerie

I have always been a lover of animals. My mom told me once before I moved out of her house that she had had a nightmare that she came to visit adult me and had to literally step over animals no matter where she went. I promised her at that time that it would never be that bad. While I was growing up my family always had just one dog. This is all well and good because, looking back, that one dog didn’t get nearly the attention and love he deserved. I was always pestering my parents for more animals, and they thought for some reason that giving me fish would do the trick. Not so much.

When I graduated from college and moved out on my own I adopted a cat from my now husband’s mother, who couldn’t afford to keep all three of hers. My cat, Tigger, has been my steadfast pal through four moves in as many years, and I think quite content to be the only creature in the house. When hubby and I moved into our own home this January we started to contemplate adding to our little family, but not in the same way most newlyweds do. We wanted a dog. So at the end of March we adopted Cleo in to our life. Cleo is a great dog, very low key, and we joke that she is more cat-like than dog-like, and on top of that could care less about Tigger. As a result of Cleo’s addition to the family, Tigger hid out in the one room Cleo wasn’t able to go in to only making brief ventures out to go to the litter box and after a month or so to come back to sleeping with me. It took at least four full months before Tigger would venture out regularly to make her patented comments on things or occasionally to curl up on my lap while I’m watching TV. I honestly felt bad for her, and there were times when I would seek her out in her hiding spot to pet her that it looked as if she truly missed the attention.

Hubby decided for an anniversary gift he would take me to a shelter and get me a kitten. For the week prior to our journey to visit with kittys needing a good, loving home, I struggled. On the one hand Tigger had taken this long to adjust to having Cleo in the house, how long would it take for her to adjust to a third animal? On the other hand was the kitten who I knew would likely adjust immediately to the living situation and because it was the same species likely make it easier for Tigger to adjust because she’d lived with other cats before. On yet another hand (three hands, creepy), Tigger might like having a kitten to boss around. I came to terms with the whole situation by the time we hopped in the car to go to the shelter. Really I felt like I was getting a friend for her as much as anything else.

Enter Elwood. Elwood is a wiry five month old tuxedo kitten that had called to me from the pages of PetFinder.com for weeks. The shelter suggested we get a young kitten and a boy to make it easier on Tigger. I can tell from their interaction now that Elwood has been with us for over a week that Tigger still doesn’t like it – but accepts it more readily than she did the dog. She knows she can, and will, put Elwood in his place when necessary. Like last night. Tigger was happily laying with me in bed and in blast Elwood and as he flies on to the bed (because we all know kittens don’t actually walk) he discovered that Tigger was where he wanted to be. But Tigger, quickly discerning the situation and not having had a good snuggle in a while put her ears back and gave a low growl. Elwood hopped back a bit and went to lay down next to my husband. Content, Tigger went back to purring. I think Tigger is okay with the situation.

So our house is up to three animals, and I don’t think we will be adding any more any time soon. That will probably make my mom very happy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thoughts on Smaller/ Simpler Living

Some time just after hurricane Katrina happened a blog I read regularly wrote a post about a company called Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. The thing that interested the blogger at the time, having just been a Katrina survivor and losing just about everything she owned to the storm and flooding, was that some of these houses were small enough that they could be hitched up to a car like a trailer and driven away. The thing that interests me is that people actually live in these tiny houses full time. In fact Jay Shafer, the founder of Tumbleweed, lives in one of the smallest house models coming in right under 100sqft of living space.

I don’t know what it is exactly that I find so attractive about these tiny homes. It could just be a novelty or a cute idea to me, but it could be something else too. I was thinking this morning about it and while I know I could never live in a home as small as Jay does – especially with a dog, two cats, and oh yeah my husband. I think the novelty of it for me comes down to living in just the amount of space you need. Here in the US we’re all about bigger is better, but what happens to all of that space you aren’t living in and using on a regular basis? It ultimately becomes wasted space, a decorated show room that you need to dust and clean but never really use. I’m a pack rat. I always have been. I know a lot of the stuff that I have I may never use again but I still keep it around because hey one day I just may need my high school chemistry notes. Ok, I’m not that extreme, but I know people who are. With such a small amount living space it force me, at least I hope that it would, to minimize what and how I consume.

There are many reasons to down size your living space, including what I mentioned before. Ultimately the largest reason is an environmental one. How effective is it for one person to live in a 2000sqft house with all the trimmings? The same person would likely do just as well in half or less space, but our American imperialist attitude is to conquer the space both with ourselves and the things we own. You don’t see that in Europe, you don’t see that in Asia, heck you don’t see it in Canada, because they tend to take advantage of the space they have not the space they believe they are entitled to. But I digress. Ultimately if we all lived in a smaller amount of space then that would leave more for the natural world, and because we are consuming less to fill these spaces it’s better for us environmentally and economically.