Giving Speeches and Negotiating with Cats

Cohort 35 has completed their program. I’m advised by a former colleague that I must give a talk, either at the beginning or end of what I assume to be the graduation celebration. Despite a battery of questions, I can’t conclude what the celebration is specifically for, why I need to address the gathered crowd twice, where the event will be, what sort of remarks would be appropriate, etc.

I spend some time trying to acquire this information. I come across two exchange students in the middle of the lake. It’s not clear whether we are in the lake, on the lake, or above the lake. After I explain why I need the information, they tell me they don’t know, but maybe I’ll find out if I jump from a height into the water. I do jump from a height into the water, I’m not sure what I jump off of.

I’m back with my former colleague, who tells me I will only be doing the opening address, as I don’t have the rank to deliver the closing address. I ask more questions about who I will be addressing, who’s attending, what the content should be, etc. There are no answers.

I find myself sitting clothed on a bed. My cousin is in the room telling me I MUST run a Discover Software class in Southbank, because that is the only program they will consider. She has brought friends to provide testimonials. Three cats jump up on the bed, an adorable little kitten, a smaller grey cat, and a huge orange tom cat. The tom cat has the most to say about the merits of the course, but turns the conversation back to the opening remarks I need to make, and asks me how I’m preparing. He then questions what time I’m planning to head to the venue, and what time the event actually starts. I tell him I have not been preparing, and I don’t know what time the event starts, or even where it is. He tells me maybe there is something that can be done, if only the Southside could access the Discover Software course. We start negotiating times and dates for the course. I wake up.




My mom is in the passenger seat and I am driving a cream coloured Wesfalia camper van. We are on what can only be described as a narrow footpath that hugs the side of a canyon. There is a sheer rock face rising up outside my driver’s window, and an abyss dropping down below the window on my mom’s side.

Somehow, the van stays on the path that is clearly too narrow for it. The impossibly narrow trail veers to the left and for some reason, my mom leaps out the passenger side of the vehicle, hanging on to the vehicle like a spider. I try to focus on navigating the corner, while yelling at my mother to get back inside the freaking vehicle.

As we round the corner an arch looms ahead. It looks like it’s made of huge styrofoam boulders, but is still way too narrow for the van. Mom is still hanging onto the outside of the vehicle, and I become more anxious as I try to coax her back inside. I’m worried she will be brushed off as we go under the arch. She re-enters through the window just as we hit the arch, and boulders fly everywhere.

The trail sharply descends, and we find ourselves parked on a sandy beach at the base of the bluff. I turn to my mom to give her a piece of my mind for being so reckless, but she has climbed out the window again.


Was I at a Rally Last Night?

I’m in a large meeting space, possibly a conference room in a hotel. There are hundreds of other people there, all managers and employees from a previous employer I used to work for. Everyone is dressed in business wear, and the mood is light. Though it’s not clear why we are gathered, I get the sense it is to hear a good news announcement of some nature. As I look around the room, each person who I settle my gaze on, I know. There is a very comfortable familiarity in the room.

Before it becomes clear why exactly we are there, several of us find ourselves riding mountain bikes, still in our business wear on a fairly technical, very muddy narrow trail. I observe one former coworker lose control, and he and his bike veer off the trail, through some bushes and toward some boulders. I stop with the intention to help, but he waves me on. The trail widens and out of nowhere a large truck is behind me. There is nowhere for me to go to get off the road so I try to pedal faster. The mud and the steepness of the trail make it difficult. After rounding a corner, there is a small trail that leads off the road, and I take that.

In the next moment, we are rejoining the large crowd, but in a new hotel that seems to have multiple entrances on multiple levels. I get the sense it is very new and fancy. There are even more people there now, and the mood has become a little uneasy. As I am greeting a few new people, I notice a group of individuals in dark suits entering. They look like lawyers, and I recognize a few past union executives and union representatives with them. The chatter falls away, and a few others who have been there the whole time, who, like me used to work with the union, or currently do including the current union president,  look visibly uncomfortable.

A few of the people I have known the longest in the room get up and leave, and I follow them. As we go outside we are now in the small town where I first started working for this employer. The others I’m with produce what looks like pickets signs, seemingly out of nowhere. The signs are facing away from me, and are all really odd shapes. They walk to an intersection on two rarely traveled residential streets and start displaying the signs. Before I can catch up to them and see what the signs depict, I wake up.

Elusive Sunsets and Tiny Lighthouses

It’s dusk in a forested area. I’m there with my brother, and he points out a break in the underbrush that shows a glimpse of the sun setting over on the far side of a lake. I want to take a photograph of the scene, but there is still a lot of brush between where we are and the lake. We begin to make our way through the brush toward the lake, but there always seems to be more, taller, denser brush, the further we go. As we move toward the lake, the view entirely disappears. Before that can become worrying, we are entering a large warehouse style building.

The building is filled with 1000’s of lighthouses, some stacked to the ceiling in rows, some still in production. There are craftsmen and labourers bustling about, very serious in their work. The variety and volume of lighthouses, some no more than 4 feet tall, others much taller, strike me as funny, and I start to laugh. This seems to seriously offend one of the workers, who aggressively points out the fine workmanship that has gone into each lighthouse. Indeed, on close inspection of one near where we are standing, there are 1000’s of tiny nails, perfectly spaced, in perfectly straight lines in every surface. The nails are sticking out of the wood by a few millimeters each, giving the lighthouse a slightly furry look.

Once we have conceded to the fine craftsmanship, we are guided back and forth down the long rows of stacked and stored lighthouses to painstakingly appreciate each one.

Mercifully I woke up after inspecting about a third of the lighthouses on hand.

Construction Sites and Baby Bottles

I find myself in the lobby of a nice hotel.  It is crowed with people either arriving at, or leaving some sort of event. Some people appear to be in costumes, but I can’t ascertain the type of event from the people gathered in the lobby. I suddenly see a coworker I used to work with years ago, I’ll call him Antonio. I approach and we greet each other. He is dressed in an unremarkable manner, he is there with his wife. She has a cowboy hat on her head.  As I focus on her, the hat shrinks to about 1/3 of the size of a regular cowboy hat, and now sits askew on her head like a fascinator. We shake hands and make small talk.

Suddenly we are no longer in the hotel lobby, we are on a construction site, Antonio and myself. Where Antonio has never had any manner of accent before, he now has a comical Russian accent. He takes me through the construction site to a rough storage area. It is sheeted in with plywood, is long and narrow, and is full of items not related to construction at all. Antonio grabs an empty box and starts filling it with random items that he insists (in his hilarious accent) are crucially important. I can’t see what he is putting in the box, as the area is poorly lit.

I am now standing on a sidewalk in the dark, underneath some scaffolding,  holding the box of items. Antonio is nowhere to be seen. Instead, I have been stopped by an old style London Bobby, with the big hat and the long white cuffs. He is demanding I open the box and give him the items inside. I comply. I open the box and find, amongst a great deal of indiscernible junk, several objects that are the shape of baby bottles, but they are all one piece – there is no way to open them. There are a few single ones that are a bit larger in size, and one set of three smaller pink ones shrink wrapped together. As I’m considering what these weird bottles could possibly be used for, the bobby gets rather agitated and  demands I hand over the set of three shrink wrapped bottles. I wake up before I am able to respond.


A Plaid Dress and a Coconut


I’m on a farm, or large rural property. It seems like spring, as it is dirty and muddy, there are people around but I’m not clear who they are. I am about 12 years old, I’m with another little girl who looks similar to me, and is dressed like me, long light colored braids and a plaid or gingham dress.

For some reason a sudden sense of urgency to escape emerges and everyone starts running away, I’m not sure why, but the little girl and I start running together. We are running down a gravel road. On the left side there is a long steep bank down to a river the runs far below. On the right side there is a wide graded ditch, with a small bank into dense brush, so dense it’s impossible to pass through it and hide.

In time we notice a big jacked up truck with massive tires following behind us. We decide that is what we are running from. We jump down and start running along the ditch, bit we are still as exposed as when we were on the gravel road.

Suddenly we come to a small tunnel through the underbrush, and I urge the little girl to crawl in. She refuses, as she thinks there may be bugs. The truck is almost on us. I notice I have a small coconut in my hand, and the outer shell is removed from part of it, and there is a mushy sac protruding.

I decide our best plan is to play it cool, so we nonchalantly lean against the bank, one on either side of the tunnel, and I munch on the coconut like it’s an apple.

The truck pulls up, but I don’t see who’s inside. I wake up.

The Watchers

I’m in my home, though it’s no a place I’ve seen in my waking life. There are adults and children, two boys, who are my family, though I have never seen them in my waking life.

My high school friend Kathy comes over, I can’t determine if it is a planned visit or not. She has travelled to be here, and needs somewhere to sleep. There is nowhere in the home to put up a guest, but I tell her I have an apartment not far away.

We set out to the apartment, we walk there along a trail that I do remember from my childhood home. The trail follows the shoreline of a lake, and is slightly overgrown, but it is very familiar.

Soon we notice that the trail has turned into the interior of a building. The building has a surreal feeling to it, as though we are walking down a large hallway, with rooms on either side of us. There are no doors or walls on the rooms, and as we pass, the occupants look up from their activities to observe us. Some seem to expect our presence, some are indifferent, and some alarmed or even annoyed. We walk past bedrooms, dining rooms, and living rooms. I feel increasingly like we are intruding, and begin to look for a way out. I have not been able to locate my apartment, nothing looks familiar to me, a realization which alarms me. In time I notice that each room has a door on the far wall that looks like it leads to the outside.

Positioned in front of each door is a black device with brass trim that looks very similar to the coin operated binoculars you might find at a scenic viewpoint. Some of them are face out through the doors, others are looking inward and seem to be tracking us as we move along through the building.

I ask what they are, someone tells me they are Watchers, and we are not to look at them.

In the next moment, we are at the docks, similar as to what is portrayed in the movies about the time when the Irish immigrants arrived in New York; busy, dirty, confused, with Watchers positioned in various locations. We walk past a young man who gets shoved into a Watcher, and in a flash he is lifted up onto a stump that has appeared from nowhere, he has a burlap back with a strange, eerie face lightly printed on it, and a noose around his neck.

I wake up.

Nowhere to Hide

This is a dream from about  two years ago, before I underwent hypnotherapy. I’m sharing it because I remember it so vividly, and also because although it scared the crap out of me, i think the imagery in the beginning of the dream would make a fantastically weird but visually interesting photograph. 


I am running through a field, toward a house on the horizon. I’m fleeing from someone or something, I don’t know what. I’m running for my life.

Aa I get closer to the house, I realize with a sinking feeling that it has no walls, only studs, it’s still under construction. Still, it’s the only option for shelter. I continue toward it without slowing.

I reach the house and I’m frantically searching through it for somewhere to hide. There is nowhere, everything is exposed.

I look back out out across the fields from where I have just come.  There are now orderly rows of a crop, it looks like potatoes, forming diminishing lines toward the horizon.

Three white vans pull up along the side of the field, about 500m from the house.

Several men get out of each van, each dressed in a white hazmat suit with an old style gas mask on.

The men spread out across the field and start moving toward the house, approaching along the rows of potatoes

They are carrying weapons, or devices that I can’t quite make out.

My already heightened fear rises further.

I resume my frantic search for a place to hide as they near the house.

The men enter into the house through the door, through the unfinished walls, coming in like a terrifying wave of white,

As they enter the house, I try to move to the far back corner, staying as far from them as possible.

They move through the house slowly, with purpose, as though they are searching for something. Some of them look right at me, but don’t make any indication they see me.

I try to scream, no sound comes out

The men are getting so close I can see their eyes through the gas masks. They don’t seem to see me.

I’m frozen, not concealed but can’t move to run away.

The men move past me, exiting through the unfinished walls at the back of the house.

I wake up in a cold sweat.

Fashion and Fights

I am standing on the top of an outdoor landing at the top of marble stairs overlooking a grand estate. There is a wide marble path that extends from the bottom of the stairs to a large, lavish home. The path passes by fountains and other features.

I’m standing on the landing talking to Tyra Banks, who is running some manner of fashion event on the estate, there are dozens of models emerging from the home at the far end of the path.

I mention to Tyra that there is an opportunity to take a visually strong image of the models walking single file in their flowy gowns along the path back toward the house. Tyra agrees, and as the models return to her on the landing, she starts organizing a refresh of hair, make up and wardrobe while I set up my camera gear. The models start walking down the stairs to get into place, and I notice as they go many are carrying placards with protest slogans written on them.

The next thing I’m aware of is I’m watching a TV show with someone, though I can’t determine who my companion is. I notice that I can’t actually see the TV, only the scene within. It’s a tight shot of a street corner, and my companion comments that it’s a main intersection in our hometown. It does have a familiarity to it. The era of the props and  characters seems to be in the late 1800s or so. A gentleman in nice clothes enters the scene from the left, then turns and walks away from the viewer. He seems to have what looks like the handle of a very angular metal cane or something similar wrapped around his head, with the shaft of the device protruding out at an angle from his body. I comment to my companion, “what a weirdo” and the man turns and gives me a withering stare (it is Hugh Grant), before carefully climbing into a waiting carriage, supposedly so as not to disturb his head-cane.

I’m suddenly back at the estate, though it’s now significantly rundown, and the models with their placards have turned into a full blown rally of some nature. I’m behind a family as we walk down the stairs. The woman from the family says something to the family in front of them, when a man approaches her, begins shouting at her, then shoves her and and starts taking swings. A crowd forms around them, and I can no longer see what is happening. I notice someone in the crowd is holding a sign that says “Stop Violence Against Women”. I note the irony.

I wake up.


A Busy Raccoon and New Scottish Neighbours

The dream begins with me walking up a narrow rural road in the evening. I have the sense and familiarity with the place that I thin I’m walking to my parent’s home. I make a right turn onto a small side street, and simultaneously everything goes dark, what sounds like a vehicle passes behind me, and I hear a person or a creature approaching me, though I can’t quite place from which direction.

I fumble to start the flashlight on my cellphone, but the beam of light is so weak it doesn’t help much. I do determine that the creature I’m hearing is small, maybe a squirrel or something, and it’s running all over in a most excited way. It keeps running up to me and bumping into my legs. It doesn’t seem particularly hostile, just strange and excited.

I decide that the best way to deal with this little critter is to just keep pressing on to wherever I’m headed, so I do so. He carries on with me, running all over like a weirdo.

The further we walk, the bigger he gets. Now when he runs through the feeble beam of my cellphone flashlight, he is about the size of a house cat. As I notice this, I also notice my light reflecting off something not far ahead of us on the road. As we approach, a collection of computer equipment slowly comes into view, sitting in the middle of the dark road. It’s all set up with a few CPUs, monitors, and a ton of wires. There are also several external hard drives connected. It’s all just sitting there on the road.

The critter, that now appears to be more of a raccoon than anything else, despite having short grey hair, more like a house cat, runs through the equipment, stopping periodically to rub up against one of the CPUs. It occurs to me that this equipment may belong to the critter, or more reasonably, the critter’s owner. Perhaps if I keep moving, the critter will stay behind.

Not the case. As I proceed down the dark road, my new little friend is at my heels.

Not sure how or why I’m here, I find myself sitting in a shallow, dry ditch on the side of the road, still in sight of the computer gear. I’m sitting in the ditch like it’s a sun lounger, and I’m beside a large hockey bag that appears to be mine.  The raccoon is curled up on my chest, and the darkness is gone. I am sitting in this ditch looking across the road when out of nowhere a Scottish festival leaps into full swing. Immediately on the other side of the road is what seems to be a large Scottish family all dressed in traditional clothes doing some manner of enthusiastic dance.  Just beyond them I see a man with a falcon, tents, and a variety of other activities. My attention is drawn back to the dancing family, particularly to a young woman who is facing me, and staring at me. She has red hair, freckles, and a very intense expression as she stares at me.  I have never seen her before.

The scene doesn’t last long, and suddenly I’m in a living room with the family who were dancing. It’s a long, narrow living room, sort of like it’s inside a train car. Two long couches face each other, are very close together, and the backs of the couches are absurdly high for the space.

I’m sitting next to a man, I think he is the head of the family. The raccoon is curled up on his lap. Across from him is the young woman who was staring at me so intently during the festival. There are several more people, ranging from young kids to adults all crowded into the seats as well, but I can’t see their faces clearly. I start to ask a question about the raccoon, when the woman cuts me off. She tells me that I damaged one of her hard drives the night before, and as a result she has lost a number of images.

I do recall running over something with the wheels of my hockey bag, but before I can respond, my alarm goes off.