Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another one about dreams

I guess my subconscious has completely accepted the fact of my youngest brother's untimely death. I say that because last night I had a dream in which his death was mentioned - by me.

In the dream I was at my mom's house, where Charlie lived. The phone rang and I answered it. A man on the other end asked to speak to Charlie. I sort of stuttered and asked him to hold on. I was going to give the phone to my mom so that she could inform the caller of Charlie's death. Why her and not me? I guess because I thought mom might actually know the person who was calling. But before I passed the phone to mom I asked who was calling. The man said he was from Brigham Young University (why? who knows?) and he was conducting a questionnaire. At that point I told him that Charlie had died in July. I don't remember the rest of the dream.

The fact of Charlie's death now showing up in my dreams makes me think that perhaps I have been dealing with accepting his death on a deeper level. But I'm not psychiatrist or psycologist or whatever, so I don't really know what it means.

In another dream last night - and here we get back to the wierdness - I dreamed about an insect that was slowly flying around in my mom's house. It was large and fragile, and a shape that I can't begin to explain. So here's a little sketch.

Yes. That's it. It was sort of a curved stick with five (or possibly seven, but I think five) insect body-shaped things attached. The middle one was, I guess, the actual insect body. And it was flying in this shape. But when we caught it and/or it was stopped on a wall, the stick part completely collapsed and hung down beneath the middle part. It was about two feet from left to right, and it was gliding slowly and gracefully through the house.

I asked my other brother, Doug, how it got in. He showed me the window screen, which was in desperate need of repair. I told him, accurately, how to repair a window screen. Someone else was there - I'm not sure who he was - who was impressed that I knew how to repair a window screen.

And that's what my dreams were about last night. Real life combined with weirdness.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weird Dreams

I have the strangest dreams. I often wake up and wonder, "What the hell was that all about?!" For example, a few nights ago I dreamed a sort of spy scenario, where the bad guy was some sort of sea animal (fish or whatever), and we - whoever "we" were - had to fight him or it from inside of it. So we had to put this sort of cone-shaped thing that was filled with liquid over our heads and breathe the liquid, then insert ourselves head first into this fish-thing's body through a slit in its skin. I remember not being able to get my shoulders through the slit, so I had to get my accomplice, who was smaller than I, to go in instead. I also remember being inside and trying to recruit some other sort of person, who wasn't really a person, who lived inside this fish-thing to help us, but the other person-thing didn't want to help. She had household chores to do or something.

This sounds so incredibly silly that I'm sitting here laughing at myself. And wondering if I should see a therapist.

I also remember a dream where the Chinese were secretly training their olympic athletes in the USA, inside a hidden area in a hotel. Like there was a floor of the hotel that no one knew about that was used to train these athletes. And this was all done in secret because it wasn't legal, for some reason. When discovered, the leader jumped down some sort of chute that led to a get-away car. I knew that following him down the chute would NOT land me in another car, but I did it anyway. Whatever happened, I ended up miles and miles away in the wrong direction.

I don't mind having these weird dreams. They're very entertaining. Sometimes I think I should try to turn them into a story that could become a book. It would have to be a sci-fi book, I think.

I also have some disturbing dreams with recurring themes, although the details change. In these dreams I'm extremely mean, doing all I can to bring misery to others. Sometimes I'm even beating up on family members, or at least screaming at them. Last night I dreamed that my family was making me see a psychiatrist. Honest. But I was so mean and unyielding that I ended up breaking the psychiatrist before he could break me! When I have beating-up-my-family dreams I feel horrible when I wake up. I often wonder what causes me to have dreams like that. I get along fine with my family and can't imagine any scenario that would have me beating on any of them, or even screaming at them. I wonder if it's one of the medications I take.

I wrote in an earlier post about dreaming that I'm back in the Army. I still have those dreams. It still bothers me, in the dream, that something has gone wrong and I'm not retired!

Oh well. It's getting late and I'll be dreaming again, soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My New Umbrella Hat!

I got my new umbrella hat today! I had to order it from England, but the wait was definitely worth it. It's stunning! ;-) Even though it came from England, it was still remarkably affordable. I wonder why this particular style of umbrella hat isn't available in the USA. But I searched the internet and the only one I found was in England. Thank goodness for PayPal. They convert the money for the buyer and seller and make it all very simple.

I know you're dying to see it, so here you go.

Yep. It's camouflage!!!!! Now I have three styles: the original and most common multi-colored umbrella hat; a patriotic red, white and blue USA umbrella hat; and my new camouflage umbrella hat.

If you want your very own camouflage umbrella hat (and who wouldn't?!!), you'll find the seller I bought from on eBay. Just go to eBay and search for "camouflage umbrella hat." It was only 10.99 pound sterling, including shipping. (I can't find the british pound (money) sign on my computer.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Double Standard

I watch several "police-type" shows: Law & Order, CSI, Without a trace, and others. Why is it that, in all of these shows the men are dressed very professionally, always in a suit and tie, while the women are mostly dressed in cleavage? The way the women dress in these shows seldom matches the professional style of the men. When it does, there's still a good dose of cleavage.

Okay, I know why. To get men to watch the shows. Doesn't say much for the show's writers and producers does it? When you think the men won't watch unless the women show a little boob, it doesn't say much for your confidence that the show is any good.

I say dress the women in the shows the way they would be expected to dress in the actually police or FBI environment. Let's find out if the show is any good, or if the ratings are just a guide to how much cleavage can be seen.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pictures, pictures, pictures

I've been up all night scanning old photographs. Most of them are of me at some point in my life. I decided to do this after my youngest brother died. I decided to get some photos ready for when it's my turn. Hopefully that won't be for quite some time, but you never know. Anyway, when they have my funeral or memorial service or whatever, I'll already have the photo displays ready! (Unless, God forbid, something happens in the next couple of weeks!)

So far I've got a whole bunch of pictures scanned and on my computer. I'll slowly make print copies of them (by uploading them to, of course). Then I'll buy a couple of huge poster frames and mount them attractively in the frames.

I've got to add some recent photos, though. I don't actually have any recent photos. I suppose I'll have to have people take pictures of me as my life continues so I'll have "recent photos" for the display.

I've also been trying to figure out my military assignments. I know where I was stationed and in what order, but dates fail me. I know I have all that information lying around somewhere. I just have to find it. I've signed up on a military website where I'm listing all that information, which is a good thing since it sort of forces me to get that information together. You can find the website here.

I can stay up all night because I'm taking some days off of work. I had a couple of vacation days and "special" days that I needed to take before November 1st, so I'm taking them now. Got to go back on Wednesday, though.

I'm also trying to get the house cleaned up a little while I'm off work. So far so good, but there's a lot to clean!

Here's one of the pictures I scanned tonight. It's a picture of me with Arnold Schwarzenegger taken on March 11, 1989. I attended the first "Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic" bodybuilding contest in Columbus, Ohio, that weekend and my VIP ticket included having my picture taken with Arnold.

And here's one of my last reenlistment. It was at Ft. Meade, Maryland. I think it was in 1987.
That's Lieutenant Colonel Charles Gross administering the oath of enlistment.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dr's Appointment

I made yet another doctor's appointment to try to figure out this constant fatigue I'm feeling. I'm just telling you so that those of you who "are worried" about me can keep me in your prayers, so that I will get out of bed on the 4th and 11th of November and actually go to the doctor's appointments. I will address the fatigue issue at both of these appointments.

Thank you for worrying about me! It's a nice feeling.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Award, the discount and the camera

My employer (Walgreens) is very generous with employee discounts. We get a 15% discount on everything but dairy products every day. We get a 20% discount on Walgreens products every day. But every now and then, for various reasons, they'll give us one day with a 25% discount.

Now, I work in the Photo/Camera department, and I get to see all the new high-megapixel digital cameras. For some time I'd been looking for something to replace my four megapixel 3x zoom digital camera. We had a nice eight megapixel, 5x zoom, 3" LCD display GE camera come in that looked real nice. But at $149.99 there was no way I could afford it. Even with my 15% discount it was out of my price range. But then came 25% discount day. At the same time I received an unexpected check - a $100 award for a suggestion I submitted to the company ($67 after taxes). I also took some aluminum cans to be recycled, which earned me another $5.00! So I bought the camera! After the discount, minus the check amount and can money, I ended up paying only about $46 for my new $149.99 camera!

I'm now trying to decide if I should sell my old camera, which would bring down the cost of the new camera even more. Or should I send the new camera to mom in hopes that she would learn how to use it. That's what I'd really like to do - send it to mom. But I don't think she'd use it much. She doesn't really take many pictures. So I'm still thinking. If I sold it I wouldn't get much. Technology is moving ahead so fast that my "old" digital camera is only worth about $50 brand new. If that much. Maybe I'll try to sell it on ebay. And I'll throw in a 1gb SD card.

Part of me wants to keep it. I'll keep the new camera at home to use for special occasions - special picture taking sessions. And I'll keep the old camera with me for spontaneous photo opportunities. I have this fear of losing any camera I'm carrying around on a regular basis, so I don't want to take the new one. On the other hand I miss a lot of photo ops when I don't take a camera with me. Decisions, decisions.

I'm going to go out and take some pictures with my new camera soon, and I'll be sure to post some of them here. Some videos, too. "Watch this space!"

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Moth

I took a picture of a moth that was on the building where I work. It's a pretty big moth, and a pretty moth, so I'll share the picture with you.

It's not much to write about, but it's better than nothing, right? And I do enjoy my bugs! Maybe some of you do, too. This particular bug is a sphinx moth. You see them buzzing around flowers just like hummingbirds. If you care you can google it and learn more.

You might wonder why I was taking pictures outside the building at work. Well, we were told to do a "pet photo shoot" which took me outdoors for three hours. When I didn't have customers I was photographing moths and weeds. Well, wildflowers. But wildflowers become weeds when they're where you don't want them to grow. Here's one at work:


The pet photo shoot went well. But chain-wide we didn't have many customers, so I'm pretty sure we won't ever do that again!