Writing & Reflection – The Dream #1

Wedding Cake Decorated with Cacti

Wedding Cake Decorated with Cacti

I had the following dream the other night (April 28, 2014):

I am in a large house and baking a wedding cake.  For some reason, it is the day of the wedding and I and my crew have prepared all the other food at the wedding reception, but the cake is not yet done.  As I struggle with finishing it, and failing, the bride and groom grow increasingly angry at me.  Eventually, I have a sheet of cake finished with a layer of pineapple and with cream cheese frosting, but it’s not typical tiered wedding cake.  There is not enough for all the guests to have some and it is a big failure.

I feel angry and ashamed at having failed so miserably.  Throughout the dream, I feel dread and anxiety over finishing the cake and cannot figure out why I am so behind.

I’ve been thinking about this dream since yesterday.  The feelings are clear – anxious, full of dread and shame, not wanting to confront the bride and groom who are (understandably) furious with me.  Especially since the rest of the meal has been good.  And then when I finally get some cake to them, it’s certainly not enough.  I have failed and am a failure.

There are some elements that feel familiar to me – I am in a home setting, although I don’t think it is my home, but perhaps the home of either the bride or groom or one of their relatives.

Brides and grooms represent, to me, the promise of the future and the coming together of two individuals into a new family.  Usually homes represent to me the ‘self’ and to the extent that the home is shabby or nice, has many rooms or few, these are aspects of my ‘self’ that I am aware of or am exploring.

So with all that analysis – what do I make of this dream?  Ultimately, it just seems to be an anxiety dream and even though the setting (a wedding) and my role in it (I’m the maker of the food that is shared between the bride and groom and their guests) might be unique (at least I think it is), I’ve had many dreams of anxiety, of the sense of not doing something, of being late, of being exposed and of feeling like a failure.

The one unique aspect of the dream that I focused on over and over (in the dream state) is the cake, what type it is, why I am having such trouble getting the ingredients and putting them together and so on.  I am not sure, but suspect, that the detail of the pineapple and cream cheese frosting (delicious as it sounds!) may be worth exploring, but I don’t really have any big associations with it, except yep, it sounds pretty good.  It also sounds pretty healthy in a relative sense.  Perhaps the main part of the cake is a carrot cake.  That could certainly be likely.

Just to make sure I wasn’t missing any traditional associations, Wikipedia supplied that wedding cake normally symbolizes fertility and good luck.  Again, that makes a level of sense – and if I just focus on good luck as part of it, my inability or failure to produce the cake or enough cake might mean limiting the good luck of the couple or my self.

One of the aspects of being newly retired is the issue of – so what do I do now?  Is it okay to spend the day reading blog posts by others?  Is it okay to just play games on facebook?  Shouldn’t I be planning a trip?  Shouldn’t I be trying to find a volunteer position in the community?  How long before I can’t do the things I want to do?

I feel anxious just writing that last paragraph.

Perhaps that is the crux of the cake! – I am in a new relationship with myself and my sense of ‘self’.  No, there is no ritual to commemorate this new way of being, that of an elder, a sage, a crone.  At least not in our culture.  And I have felt that I have failed my self, have not been in alignment or authenticity with my deepest values, for a long time.  I am, like many people in my age range, realizing with a start – I have limited time.  This is it.

One other detail, perhaps irrelevant or not, about this.  We received a phone call from my 83-year-old dad who lives in Florida on Monday.  He’s had a lot of health issues stemming from a lifetime of smoking – COPD, heart issues with an ejection fraction “incompatible with human life” (said by a nurse friend of mine), and just knowing he’s getting weaker.

But he’s a man with a tremendous will to live.  So he’s excited with the possibility of treatment using his own stem cells.  It’s highly experimental and expensive and he might not be a good candidate after all (he sent off his records to the doctors for their review.)  But it was like he wanted us to give our permission and our blessing for him to spend a lot of money in exchange for – what?  A few more years?  A few more good years?  We don’t know what the exchange would even be at this point.  It might not be worth it to him.

Eventually I said to him, “Dad, first they have to say yes to you.  Then you have to decide if you want to say yes to them.  You’re smart and rational, and I think you’ll make the right decision for yourself.”  I think that was a good blessing, no?

If he gets extra good life out of this, I think I’ll bake him a cake.

The Story of Us

P1010146I don’t know what it means to “rescue” a dog.  Do you . . . really?

See, I didn’t actually rescue Izzy; I adopted her.  Well, okay, my mother adopted her from a local foundation.  They got dogs from all over; somebody literally found Izzy running around on the street, quite pregnant.  Poor doggie!  But that somebody couldn’t keep her, so he/she contacted an organization and it’s entirely possible that one organization contacted another until she found her way into a foster home in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

The foster home was just one of a few that fostered dogs for this foundation.  In her case, Izzy was allowed to give birth to her pups and they were adopted out in due course (we sure wish we had pictures of her puppies.)  Once she was non-pregnant, she was fixed and innoculated on the foundation’s dime, and fed and put up for adoption on a regular basis with no takers.  This went for almost a year from what we’re told.

I’m honestly not sure why she wasn’t adopted.  It probably was that she looked goofy – she’s got the big bat ears and face of a chihuahua, but the body of a small terrier.  No curly tail.  She’s a definite hybrid.  But she was immediately sweet to my mom and I, so I was puzzled by nobody taking her prior to us.

Like I said, my mother actually did the adopting.  She is a dog person and once you are, you always want a dog.  You may have cats or other animals but in your heart . . . you always want a dog.  So because they accepted pets in her apartment complex, and she had a pal there who was quite dog-oriented, Mom thought why not?

The only thing was . . . my mother walks with a walker.  And it had been a very long time since she had had a dog.  She’d forgotten the rules to dog ownership.  Number one rule – you’ve got to be willing to walk the dog at least twice or more each day.  Or you’ve got to provide some yard for the dog to be in.  You really don’t want a dog pooping or peeing in your house or apartment.

So she’d get her walker together and the dog and go out.  But then she’d forget to take her out, or she had a social engagement and didn’t take the dog out before she left . . . with predictable results.

Izzy found spots to pee on.  Since they weren’t in her bed (dogs won’t soil their beds usually), she peed near my mother’s bed.

Oh joy.

Plus, it was a small apartment so Izzy reacted to people walking up and down the hallway by barking at people knocking or ringing the doorbell (she’s a gooooood watchdog.)   And she seemed to have a real problem with, or fear of, men.  Especially younger men.

So after about three months of Izzy at my mom’s, I got the call.  Turns out mom’s dog pal, Cynthia, had decided she’d take the dog if my mom was going to return it, which was what my mom was thinking of doing.  Cynthia was a big dog person as I’ve mentioned, and would also take it upon herself to pick up strays that she found running about.  Not that I have a problem with that, per se, but she basked in the glow of being a “good person” who loved animals.  In fact, she loved them to their detriment.

She already had two dogs and the limit was two.  So really, she’d just have to re-home Izzy herself.  I couldn’t figure out why she was insistent that my mother give her the dog.  Then I called the foundation and spoke to the president who informed me that Cynthia was one of their informal volunteers and one of those people who loved animals, but didn’t always think through the issues of having an animal.  She didn’t always treat them so well.  This sounded about right, because she seemed to want to be the heroine of this poor dog’s fate.  I had an evil thought that she’d be telling everybody the story of how SHE rescued this poor dog, and how SHE was the dog’s only good luck and how SHE found a loving home for this poor unfortunate wreck of a creature.


When the day arrived that I’d been dreading, I got on the phone with my mother and said, look, I’m going to return the dog to the foundation because you’re really not up to this challenge.  They’ve agreed to this, but can’t take her until Saturday, so we’ll foster her for the week.

That’s when Mom announced that she’d given the dog to Cynthia.  What?  I told her in no uncertain terms, “you call her and tell her to return the dog.  NOW.”  What I pointed out to her was that our agreement with the foundation included the fact that if there was a problem with the dog, we were to return her, not pass her on to any old third party of bat-shit crazy wacko.  My mother had sort-of failed to absorb this fact, that we’d made this agreement with the foundation.

An hour later, the dog was back with Mom and I was on my way over to pick her up.  The dog wasn’t that thrilled, especially as the first night, we confined her in a large bathroom (with food and water, okay?) because we really didn’t want her just running around messing up the joint.  By the second day, she’d calmed down and let us pet her and walk her and by the third day, we’d decided to keep her.

Well, my husband actually turned to me and said, “you know, we could keep her.”  Actually, since he’d been pretty negative to the idea of my mom having a dog (“she can’t handle a dog, what, are you crazy to encourage her?”), I was pretty surprised to hear him say this.

I think it happened this way:  although Izzy wasn’t crazy about the guys in general, she’s smart and she’s a survivor and she recognized as only a canine can, that the ‘Publican was a dog person (even though he was masquerading as a cat person).  So she turned her funny bat-eared face up to his, gave him the chihuahua sad-eyed stare, and melted his heart.  She’d snuggled in beside him and that was that.

She was ours and we were hers.  Really, what is a rescue?  And who rescued whom?





Can I Have a Hall Pass?

We’re going to be at Dockweiler Beach for a few days and I’m not sure if there will be any wi-fi service available.  So, I suspect any post for Friday will not be happening.  Not that I won’t be writing that day – I just won’t be writing for this venue.

Happy Friday everyone and catch you when we’re back home.