Wide Awake in Wonderland

We’re only dancing on this earth for a short while

Your dreams may toss and turn you now November 11, 2008

So I woke up this morning with Cat Stevens playing in my head (just in my head, not on the radio or anything), which is kind of weird really. Nonetheless, seeing as it was out of nowhere and strangely apropos, I took it as a sign and decided to update the tag line on this blog. And the ‘about me’ was adjusted too. And even my outgoing voicemail message on my cell phone. Reality has settled in. Although I still haven’t fully unpacked my backpack, I also haven’t strapped The Beast on in over a week. It had to happen sometime. Elvis is back in the building.


Meanwhile, I’m still grappling with a serious case of jet lag. Thus, 7:00 this morning wasn’t the first time I woke up. I also woke up at 4:00 in the middle of a dream that I was hooking up with George Clooney. If you’d asked me yesterday, I’d have described that as pretty much the perfect dream, and one I’d be sorry to see interrupted.


However, it turns out having it cut short wasn’t as bad as it sounds. First off, in the dream I was dismayed to find that I was only wearing a sheet, and I was concerned that might send George the wrong message about what kind of girl I am. But that wasn’t all. You see, George had some rough breath. Dumpster meets outhouse meets rotten egg rough. And after I got over the shock and dismay, I was desperately trying to figure out how I might get him some Altoids or even just a TicTac (and maybe a pair of panties for myself). A dab of toothpaste. Some floss. Anything.


And I think my duress at the ultimate opportunity turned gross situation caused me to tune into the fact that my sleep hypnosis CD had gone nuts and in the real world, a male voice had been saying, “Anything is possible” for almost five hours.


You see, I somehow got my hands on a couple sleep hypnosis CDs earlier this summer. They open with this guy with a strange accent talking you through how your feet are relaxing and your shoulders are relaxing and then once you fall asleep, he rattles on about how “Anything is possible” and “It is. You know it. You accept it.” This I know because I had it on my iPod during my trip in Europe, and it was one of the only tracks that didn’t get wiped out. It was my hope that it would help me fall asleep or fall back asleep when the general ruckus that is a hostel dorm room competed with my beauty sleep. However, sometimes it had the opposite effect. The droning voice itself would keep me awake and I would lay there and listen to the parts you’re supposed to sleep through. Anyway, the point is that the positive affirmations are only to go on for an hour, but somehow my CD got stuck on the phrase “anything is possible” and repeated that until it wormed its way into my conscious mind.


But maybe in a way that was the endless repetition I needed? Because I woke up again a couple hours later ready to work and ready to write and feeling energized and excited and enthusiastic and like, well, anything is possible.


Six impossible things before breakfast July 12, 2008

So I recognize this blog is morphing a little bit from “reminiscences about my first solo backpacking trip through Europe in preparation for the second” into “why airline travel sucks,” but bear with me as I purge those demons. We still have 21 days left until I get on my flight to Iceland, so there’s ample time left to get through it all.

Meanwhile, I had to take a short little flight yesterday from a small, indiscriminate city in Ohio to the east coast. It was an AirTran flight, and although I’ve heard them referred to as “another Express Jet waiting to happen,” I weighed the odds (and the super discount fare), and figured I’d endeavor to survive it. 

Anyway, when I got there, the line to check in baggage stretched halfway across the airport…and wasn’t moving. Twenty minutes into my wait, I noticed the same family that had been at the self-service monitor when I arrived was STILL THERE. At first I thought maybe they’d biffed it somehow: like their baggage weighed 100 pounds apiece or contained their prized fireworks collection. Forty (!!!) minutes into the wait (this is simply to check bags, I hadn’t even faced security yet), I was close enough to the front to see that ONE guy was working the entire counter – and not well. People in the self-service lane (which had two monitors) would check themselves in, and then wait for ten minutes before the dude would come and put the tags on their bags. Then he’d return to the other end of the counter and the entire ‘process grinding to a halt’ scenario would repeat.

To my surprise, people were taking this more or less in stride. In fact, the only real pointed gripe I heard came from a seven-year old girl who looked at her mother and said with incredulity, “FORTY minutes to check bags!?”  However, when 25 minutes before the flight was to leave, a female AirTran employee came out from her siesta and announced that the baggage room for our flight was closed, a near riot erupted. At least 40 people by show of hands were still waiting to check bags, and the pushing and jostling and f-words started to erupt. I think I heard someone scream “Attica!”.  In the end, I made it on and somehow my bag did too, but in all honesty I’ve seen third world airlines do a better job than this particular arm of AirTran.

On another topic, while on my run this morning, I started thinking about all these different business ideas and alternative income strategies floating around in my head. I’d be lying if I said I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life or even where I wanted to live or spend my time or hang my hat, but I feel myself starting to think differently and really trying to see what’s possible. I think – at least for me – the biggest obstacle in my way has always been my own brain. For me, the mantra of the next 16 weeks will be to consider the impossible and find ways to do it anyway.

With that, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Alice in Wonderland, and my related thoughts of the morning:

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Most people may not find these things “impossible”, but considering the limitations I consistently place on myself, they’re downright fantastical considerations for me:

1. Keep and somehow do my job while I backpack Europe for 13 weeks.

2. Start a second blog to chronicle what I eat on the road – Anthony Bourdain on the cheap.

3. Somehow sell some inventions I have floating around in my head.

4. Move to Manhattan

5. Start a little restaurant serving fresh made organic juices and finger foods

6. Master time travel, go back and save Lincoln, Kennedy, and Malcolm X. Come back and see if that makes a big difference. If not, make some more trips and get rid of a few random folks – perhaps chosen out of a hat? Keep mixing it up until we have flying cars and Oprah is president. Then take a nap.


There’s nothing quite so sweet as Monarch butterly meat July 2, 2008

Filed under: Dreams — wideawakeinwonderland @ 6:36 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Today is going to be a busy one, and out of concern that I won’t have time to do my blogging later tonight, I’m on it first thing this morning. However, I’m not really at my best in the early morning, and I’m still getting over this super weird dream. So in the spirit of dreams helping to connect one to the greater myths and themes and issues of their life, I’ll share it with you. If anyone out there is a gifted dream interpreter (or even a willing hack or bored amateur), feel free to have at it.

Okay, as I remember it, I was at a cooking competition, and we were offered our choice of meats with which to prepare a meal. I decided to go with the Monarch Butterfly. I’d never heard of this, so I was possibly making the task uneccesarily challenging (not being familiar with the flavor or cooking times), but I suppose I was feeling ballsy. We were also given an assistant, and I recognized mine as Hung, the winner of the third season of Top Chef.

So, just to give you the scene, we were in a little outdoor kitchen, kind of like something you’d find at a fair or carnival. The butterfly meat was quite large and pale – like a razor clam or a split breast of chicken. I decided to cut the butterfly meat, bread it, and cook it in butter – like cutlets. I put Hung in charge of tending to the frying process, as I went to work on some other items. At some point, I look over and it’s very clear he’s pulled the meat while it’s still raw, as it’s clear and pinkish in the spots that don’t have breading on them. I felt frustrated as – c’mon already, he’s the winner of Top Chef! He can do better than this! – but I put it all back in the pan to finish cooking and didn’t comment.

It’s at this point it occurs to me that I’ve never seen a butterfly large enough to produce such a giant piece of meat. I start grilling Hung, “Where are these butterflies from? Are they endangered? Is it okay that we’re eating them?” However, before he could get back to me with a response, a man comes up and introduces himself. His last name is so complicated I have him repeat it four or five times and then finally say back to him, “Mocha Chocalata ya ya?” This suddenly sets off a bout of singing at all the competing outdoor kitchens, and some of these people are really damn good.

I’m watching this for a while, and then I walk back over to my outdoor kitchen where I find that Hung has burned up several pans and thrown them in the trash and all the spatulas and tongs and turners are completely ruined with the handles completely melted off or bent in two or the like. Needless to say, I was pretty ticked off at the guy, but there wasn’t time to get into it with him. Besides, what was done was done.

I now turned my attention to my (thankfully not ruined) butterfly cutlets. I was considering making a hollandaise sauce flavored with lavender and honey, although I still had no idea what the meat tasted like and if that would be any good. However, I liked the idea of it, as it seemed an appropriate garnish for a paleolithic butterfly.

Then I woke up.