Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Dreaming and Obssessions

 


I woke up to the dog yipping in his dream. I hung my head over the side of the bed and in dawn’s early light I saw him lying on his side, his little legs pumping in the air. He didn’t wake up for another two hours, but I couldn’t go back to sleep. Sometimes he sleeps so late in the morning that I feel compelled to make sure he’s still breathing. I dread the day when he’s not, knowing Levi will most likely be the last dog I’ll have in my long life. I’ve never lived without a dog, sometimes two at a time. I have photos of me before I was old enough to walk and a black dog who was big enough to jump into my playpen, which I’ve been told she did whenever I cried or someone came up on our porch who Blackie didn’t know. She was my babysitter while my mom was busy inside the house.

I have vivid dreams, too, and have often wondered what I look like when I dream. My most frequent dreams involve running down a long hallway or alley. Doors are everywhere and I’m trying to find the right one. I don’t think my legs are pumping when I have those 'searching dreams.' I’m more prone to experience sleep paralysis which is common when people are awaken before the REM stage of sleep in completed. You’re conscious of your surrounds but you can’t move or speak until the REM cycle is finished filing your recent memories over from one part of your brain to another, long term storage area. Think of the brain during sleep like a computer, doing maintenance. I don’t like my ‘searching dreams’ but my others usually range from okay to feel-good-all-day fun. I'm careful what I read or see on TV before falling asleep and, yes, sometimes those romance books I’ve been addicted to since the pandemic started have on occasion giving me a few X-rated dreams. Just sayin' I'd rather be romping around with a gorgeous guy who didn't get the memo that I'm older than dirt than to be spending my dream life plotting out how I’m going murder my next door neighbor which is why I don’t read psycho killer books.

There was a long period in my life when I could task myself to solve a problem while I was sleeping. Like ask myself where I put something I’d been looking for or to recall a bit of information that was eluding me and when I’d wake up the next morning, the information would be on my conscious mind like a hypnotist's trick. I kept a dream diary for years and spent time every day analyzing my dreams. I quit doing it when my dad was in his last five years of life. He had some episodes where he couldn’t tell the difference between his dreams and his real life and I would get calls in the middle of the night where I’d have to help him sort out what was really going on. His dream were not nice, feel good dreams and it scared me that one day that could happen to me as I aged.

I still remember many/most of my dreams when I wake up but I don’t purposely try to document them before I even get out of bed which is the trick to building up your ability to recall dreams…you have to transfer them from one part your brain to another before they float away. (And, yes, everyone dreams.) At first it will only be fragments you remember but the more often you record those fragments, the more recall you’ll get over time. I don’t recommend but doing dream diaries but if you do it, remember that the often weird or disjointed content of our dreams comes from our brains sorting through our memory banks, looking for space to dump new data off. It’s the brain's job during sleep to transfer of short term memories from our last waking hours to long term memory storage. As we age and we don’t sleep as well as we used to, we can start losing our recent memories of, say, what we ate for dinner the day before but we can still recall details of events that happened 25 years ago. Getting quality sleep and dreaming are important. If we don't sleep we don't store current events.

To this day, though, one dream I had back in the ‘70s caused my husband a lot of grief and has the power to make me laugh. Now. But back then I wasn’t laughing. I dreamed he was having an affair and it seemed so real I accused him of doing so, which of course he thought was funny at first that I got so mad over a dream but two days later I was still mad and he was frustrated. How did I expect him to defend himself against a dream? “We’re practically jointed at the hip!” he said, “when would I even had time to have an affair?”

In recent years with the invention of smart watches that can track our sleep cycles, I got mini obsessed with tracking my REM sleep (which is the stage of sleep when we dream). Going to my Fitbit dashboard each morning was the first thing I did after starting the coffee pot. After having the watch for several years it quit syncing and I debated about getting another. I opted instead to get another brand that takes my blood pressure and my pulse. It still tracks my sleep cycles but doesn't do it in percentages like my Fitbit did and that broke my REM sleep obsession. I was too lazy to the math on my own. When this cheap watch I have now dies I'm going to get one with so many functions that I won't be able to raise my hand, it will be so big and bulky. Yup, a SEAL team watch goes right up there on my Want List next to 'magic pants' aka cargo pants with a zillion pockets and a photographer's vest with a zillion more pockets. And in my dreams I'll actually be strong enough to walk around with all those pocket full of stuff. Instead of running up hallways and alleys searching in my dreams I'll be searching pockets looking for my lip gloss or a folding fishing rod in case I get stranded out in the wilderness. ©

28 comments:

  1. I love dogs and can imagine how sad it will be when Levi eventually passes.

    I used to let my subconscious solve problems for me while I was sleeping, but it would wake me up when it found the answer. I decided I needed the sleep so stopped doing it. šŸ˜€

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  2. Trust me. If you get stranded out in the wilderness, lip gloss and a fishing rod will be the last thing on your mind. The second thing, maybe: at least, the lip gloss. I managed to get stranded twice in three days last week, and I'll admit it -- when I bought a toothbrush, toothpaste, a hairbrush, and mouthwash in the local Dollar Store, I threw in a cheap lipstick, just because. I already had the AAA membership and the portable charger for my phone and ipad, and believe me -- I don't ever leave home without those! (Yes, the whole episode is the stuff of nightmares, but I'm not in any mood to write about it. Once I get my car back, and I'm permanently back home, then maybe!)

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    1. In my dreams I got stranded in the mountains of Montana where a fishing line would help more than a AAA membership...no car, no roads. But after our last power outrage I bought a sun powered phone charger so in my dreams I need to start carrying that in my magic pants. LOL

      Hope you made it home without too much damage to your mood. You spend so much time out in the country I can't imagine any situation you can't handle.

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  3. I've talked with friends and family, and lately we've all had lots of more vivid, odd dreams. I think the combined stresses we've all been under (election, pandemic, holidays) are making us work overtime in our sleep.

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    1. That's a fact, for sure! I had hope our daily drama coming out of Trump would be over by now but he doesn't want to give up his cash cow and the public stage.

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  4. Yes, I have been having a lot of dreams during COVID too. In my dreams I am always in charge of organizing some large gathering - like alumni gatherings, or large business conferences, or giving a lecture at a convention - and I never did anything like that when I actually worked. Probably since I can't see anyone right now, I dream about seeing everyone!?!
    I wish you sweet dreams!

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    1. The A-Z Dream Dictionary says this: "To dream that you are organizing means that you need to sort out some issue in your life. You need order and stability. Consider what you are organizing and how it parallels an issue in your waking life. Alternatively, the dream signifies that you are in a rut. Life has become mundane and monotonous." Ohmygod, does that ever fit living through a pandemic! I'd say you're missing people and stability and sick of the mundane side of not enough human contact.

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  5. I use a fitness band also and check my sleep each day. Mine doesn't let me know when I have REM sleep but it get a lot of deep sleep. I do dream a lot though.
    Had to laugh about wondering if your feet paddle like a dog. I had that same thought but still have no answer. Callie often snuffles and paddles but some times she lets loose with a deep and fierce growl. When she is in the other room, it is a bit scary till I see the feet going.

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    1. Levi has never growled but I can see why that would be scary, thinking someone was in the house.

      Levi yips a lot in his sleep, never have figured out what that means because the only he yips when he's awake is when he wants treats and I'm not paying attention to him sitting next to the cupboard where I keep them.

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  6. I had the Weirdest Pandemic Dream EVER last Night and assessing it was just Weird too, I won't go into Details that was so bizarre that it's funny now, but it did involve a Friend I've detached from due to her Politics... and a really not-so-handsome Comedian that I'm assuming had Fathered a Boy Child I was now given to Raise... at least the Kid was real Cute but the ugly Comedian was being a Dick about filling out some Paternity Paperwork for the Child's sake. If I told you who the Comedian was you'd howl... so I won't... embarrassing really since WHY THAT GUY of all Men on Earth, Right? *Bwahahahaha!* And The Friend, she was on Hard Times, had Citrus I gave her a Year ago from this Property when we viewed it and she tagged along, stuck in thick Ice in her Freezer and not much else foodwise in the whole house. She was vaccuuming fake Christmas Tree shed off her Carpets when I came to check in on her and her house was literally empty otherwise, except The Son was there crashed out and I had to wake him to say we just had to leave... I couldn't take seeing her in the condition she was in and be unable to Help her... she was too far gone.

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    1. That's one crazy dream. I wouldn't even begin to know where to start to figure it out.

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  7. Okay, I know the suspense will kill you my Friend, Comedian was of all people Dom Irrera, I have no Idea why... but apparently he Fathers adorable Nightmare Dream Children he doesn't want anything to do with! *Bwahahahahaha!*

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  8. Like others, I've been having crazy pandemic dreams. Some of them involve so many random people and places, it's hard to figure out what's going on. I've always had vivid dreams, but this is nuts. :-)

    We met a really lovely 11 month old black poodle being walked by one of our new neighbors yesterday. I was immediately smitten. Not that I'm hooked on poodles, but that mid-sized dog is in my wheel house. DH is not keen on another dog, but I can feel that I'm going to want one at some point. We'll see. They're a ton of work (as you know) and can be a financial drain (as our last one was), but man, there is nothing like that energy in your space. I will have commit to being the main 'dog person' on this one. DH says he doesn't want to be pulled off his feet on ice when he's in his 80's, so I guess I will have to take it on. I'm still cogitating. Breed, size, timing. But I think it's coming...

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    1. At least at the CCC I'm going to they'll have heated sidewalks so the danger of being pulled off my feet is minimal. But a big dog can do that. I love poodles, too. They are so easy to train. Standard poodles would cost a fortune to have groomed! Levi cost $55 and he's only 30 pounds.

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    2. I did look into the cost of grooming a poodle and it looks significant. Probably as much as my own hair. Yikes. :-)

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    3. Every time I joke with Levi's groomer about the cost they remind me that he's getting a bath, haircut, blow dry style, a pedicure and manicure for the $55. LOL

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  9. LOL, It says a lot about the design of women's clothing that plenty of pockets are the stuff of fantasy dreams!

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    1. I think it says more about me having an illogical fear of being homeless and living on the streets. LOL

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  10. I'm just starting to remember some dreams. I suppose it is another Covid thing. I no longer buy pants/leggings if there is not at least one pocket! I had one of those vests of many pockets. It looked sleek and elegant until I put things in those pockets. Now I have a Sash bag that holds almost everything and still looks sleek.

    I'm running out of ideas to blog about ....

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    1. How does a sash bag differ from a purse? Do you mean a cross-over purse? I started using a cross-over, hands free purse because of the pandemic but I don't like it as well as my healthy back purse.

      I'm not running out of stuff to blog about but it is getting harder without outings to write about from time to time.

      I think none of us are sleeping as well as we used to before the pandemic and the election cycle so we're waking up more often thus remembering dreams more.

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  11. I seldom remember my dreams. But one I sure did and like you who worked with your husband and are together 24/7 I dreamt he had an affair. I was so angry at him when we woke up. He told me to go to sleep and he would apologize. He thought that was funny. I did not. Boy it felt real! We still laugh about that. "his dream affair"

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    1. Mine, too. It felt so real an no amount of logic seems to shake it for a few days. All these years later last night I dreamed about him and he was in full-flirt mode with me and I woke up happy and smiling. LOL

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  12. I get so frustrated that I can't remember most of my dreams. But I did recall one from the other night -- I ran into a pair of twins I knew in grade school and have tried hard to find since. I wanted that one to go on for a long time! Interesting about the watch -- I'm thinking of getting one to track stuff.... we'll see.

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    1. I have tried many times to keep a dream going after getting up to pee the night, but it never works.

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