Strange dreams

Man, I just had a strange night with two very weird dreams.

In the first one I was getting married to Mr Esther, not as we were 22 years ago but as we are now and we were very happy. Everything had been arranged at some minimalist low-key venue / restaurant place but then I found I had forgotten something essential (flowers? dress?) and Mr. Esther and my oldest brother went off in search of it. The next moment it wasn’t me getting married but my younger sister and we were at the speeches part. My father stood up to give his speech and I was really looking forward to that as he always gave well thought through speeches. He walked over to another open area and we all followed with interest (strangely, my sister didn’t have a partner there, so who she was actually marrying was unclear). My father started to address my sister but after two sentences some very corny song started playing (can’t remember which one) and my dad transformed into a walrus! He was wearing a walrus suit and lying on the ground, holding a microphone pretending to sing that song to sister. He had no tusks and looked pretty much like this…

Everyone was laughing as it was so out of character for my dad to do this, he was not a performer and certainly not someone who liked to dress up. “I need to film this for Mr. Esther!” I immediately thought as Mr Esther wasn’t back from his errand yet and I took out my phone to do so. When my father ended his act everyone applauded and I just felt very sad because that really hadn’t felt like my father at all; I really missed the thoughtful speech he could have given. At that moment I woke up, feeling very out of sorts.

It took a while for me to fall asleep again and then I had my second weird dream. Due to Corona restrictions all restaurants here are closed and dining indoors or outdoors at one is prohibited. I was walking in a town and saw that outside a restaurant some tables were occupied by diners. A lady waiter in passing said that it was just the staff taking a break but it looked like there were too many people there to just be staff servicing take away orders. Then Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) from the TV show was suddenly there, looking very much like this…

… and he started asking the same questions, intending to enforce the Corona restrictions. He wanted everyone to disperse but first started grilling the waiter about why so many people were eating outdoors and clearly didn’t believe all the people there were staff. I didn’t want to stick around for that, mostly because I suddenly found myself standing there in just my underwear without a bra! I turned around to leave and just then a tram arrived. I quickly hopped in, feeling very self conscious about my state of undress (even though I did have a lovely, trim body very unlike my own). I walked to the back of the thankfully almost empty tram and there found a bra and a trenchcoat which I quickly put on. At this point I again woke up.

Yeah… I’m still trying to figure out what all that was about… Showing your true self? Missing my father? Missing family parties? Desperately wanting to eat out again? Wishing law enforcement looked like William Murdoch? I think I’m going to be feeling a little weird all day.

When I was 17…

This whole Anne with an E craze of mine has me thinking about my own teen years a lot and about the boy I was in love with at that age. I fell in love with Jer during junior year when I was 16 and that went on until graduation a year and a half later. It was unrequited as far as I know, although even now when I re-read my diaries I do wonder whether maybe there was a little interest from his side as well after all. I guess I’ll never know. In any case, it never amounted to much. We were thrown together a lot in classes and such (it was a small school) but I never got up the nerve to ask him on a date and although I do remember many looks and small interactions, like for instance him borrowing my pen (like Anne lent Gilbert hers in last week’s episode)…

Gilbert borrows Anne's pen.gif

… he never asked me out either. We certainly never had moments like these…

Gilbert and Anne fireside 02

With some memories flooding back, I decided to go though some of my diaries that I wrote at the time and I found a list of little dreams for the near and further future that I had written when I was at the beginning of senior year. It is filled with teen angst. I was 17 and trying to put Jer out of my head. It was so much fun reading that list and going though the items on it, I just had to also share here!

I went to an international boarding school (got there on a scholarship) in The Netherlands for junior and senior year, while my parents still lived in Germany. I went home every vacation but, effectively speaking, I have not lived with my parents since the age of 16. I loved it there, I loved Jer and I apparently penned this list of little dreams in september 1987:

I want to talk to my parents just for the sake of hearing their voices (they’re in East Germany now) – Yes, this was 2 years before the Berlin Wall fell in Germany and while my parents were there I couldn’t speak with them on the phone (which normally happened 2 or 3 times a week)

I want to go back to Israel  – I lived in Israel for the first 10 years of my life and had just been back there again 9 months prior for the first time after I had left. Over the years I have luckily gone back several times, even blogged about one such visit when I was older and married with kids here.

I want Jer to fall in love with me without me necessarily falling in love with him, or would I? – At that time I was trying so hard to not be in love with Jer and at that time was convincing myself that I was succeeding in that mission. I wasn’t. I continued to pine for him for the next 8 months.

I want to be appreciated – I guess I was appreciated in many ways, it’s just hard to feel that people do appreciate you when you are an insecure teenager and your crush doesn’t return your love.

I want Rob to fall in love with me, it would make me feel good. – Rob was a new boy in school, popular, good-looking type and I had caught him looking at me a few times (I so don’t remember this, just read that in my diary!). I had no interest in him whatsoever romantically and I don’t think I ever exchanged more than a few sentences with him but I wanted someone to pine after me the way I was pining after Jer. Guess that ties into the whole being appreciated thing again.

I want to watch Jer in peace and quiet without him noticing. – Oh man, I used to watch the guy all the time!

I want to succesfully stay away from love for a while, it only makes me depressed. I guess at the moment I’m doing pretty well on that subject. – I wasn’t doing well at all.

I want to meet Gregory Peck –  That’s one dream that alas never came true.

I want to be a very good journalist for the school newspaper – I had just started on the newspaper at the beginning of senior year. I ended up being OK.

I want to be able to sing nicely – Nope, never happened.

I want to spend 1000 guilders on anything I want to in one day.  – This was way before the Euro and nope, never happened. Unless booking a vacation counts.

I want to be able to play piano and tap dance – Never learned how to tap dance. Did take piano lessons a few years later but never had the discipline to stick with it. I still have a piano at home, though (which we are now thinking of selling).

I want to finish school without doing much work – I could have done more, but I still worked pretty hard compared to earlier years. I had a scholarship to live up to after all. Graduated pretty well, in the end, which was worth the work I had put into it.

I want a faithful watchdog named Spec (from Spectrum) – Huh? I have no clue anymore what that was about! And what about my lifelong wish to have cats? Why wasn’t that on this list?

I want someone to dedicate the song ‘ Nothing’s going to change my love for you’ to me. (e.g. Jer even though I don’t love him, I just want him to love me) – See? I was still pining even while pretending I was not! And oh my goodness, seriously, that song? I can’t remember ever liking it but I guess I must have to a certain extent if it is included on this list. Yikes.

I want to have a Volkswagon Beetle that I want to name Fred 5 – Actually, I do remember that wish, although I can’t remember why I chose that name. I still have a wish for such a car to this day! Not practical and it’s expensive but even my kids know that if we one day become millionaires, such a car would end up in my posession.

I want to spend at least a year in Rome – This was due to loving the movie Roman Holiday and having visited there twice in my teens. It’s not a particular wish nowadays, although I certainly wouldn’t mind if such an opportunity presented itself.

I want to see a beautiful movie – I have seen many!

I want to read a great book – Yep, have read a few!

I want to go to a David Bowie concert and dance with him on stage while he’s singing ‘China Girl’ – I did the concert a couple of years later! But alas never the dance on stage.

I don’t ever want to be breathtakingly beautiful – beauty doesn’t last – Wasn’t a realistic wish anyway, to be so beautiful.

I don’t ever want to lose my dreams or stop having dreams – Yes, I still do have dreams! They change a bit over the years but I always have dreams and like having them.

I want to be both realistic and romantic,  although not so romantic that I’m blinded from reality – I can still get behind that statement and on the whole think I have an OK balance regarding that.

I always want to have a problem once in a while so I learn properly how to appreciate happiness – Interesting, I’d completely forgotten I ever thought something like that but I can get behind that, even now. The darker parts in life can sometimes help you appreciate the lighter parts more.

I want to sit snugly in a big chair infront of a fireplace talking to the one I love while outside a storm is raging – We have a fireplace and I have sat and chatted there with my love on cold days. So yes, checked that item off my list!

I’ve had crushes in my life and went out with a few but I have only ever been head over heels in love twice in my life – the first time with Jer in high school, which is why I guess I can relate so well to the Anne and Gilbert love in Anne with an E and all the terrible confusion surrounding that at that age.

My second big love was Mr Esther. When I met him in class, just like I had met Jer in class, I vowed to not make the same mistake twice and this time I made sure I actually talked to and became friends with the object of my affection. It’s always good to learn from your mistakes. Jer and I were never meant to be but Mr Esther and I were and in hindsight I’m glad that I had had the high school experience to learn from.  I can still feel the angst and confusion and insecurity on almost every page of my teenage diaries.


Gosh, I am glad that I’m not a teen anymore! My poor kids…

A Hallmark nightmare

I tend to dream… a lot. I don’t always remember my dreams but I remember them often enough. A few years ago I even blogged about a vivid one I had involving my dad and Richard Armitage. Mr Esther is often surprised at how much I seem to remember from my dreams. When a month ago the newest ‘Mach was’ theme was announced as ‘Do something with dreams’, I figured that by the time the deadline came around I’d probably have some silly dream or dreams to blog about. I was right. Herba sent a reminder for the ‘Mach was’ theme and I read that reminder right after a very eventful dream night. Thus the idea for this post was born.

In times of troubles, I tend to escape to easy fare now and again and find myself watching Hallmark movies. I have blogged about them before and while I don’t binge them like I did two years ago when I posted about them, I do see a fair share of them. Now that Christmas is edging closer, the Hallmark Channel is screening Christmas movies (oh my goodness, Hallmark completely adores Christmas!) and after watching one of those last weekend, I had that dream. In the dream I was stuck in one such Hallmark movie and it went something like this (I will be embellishing somewhat, not all of this actually happened in my dream, but I was inspired)…

It is the end of the afternoon, the sun is just setting, and Esther is driving alone in her car somewhere in rural middle of America. The landscape is covered with beautiful snow. She passes through a lovely town called Mistletoe and everywhere she looks there are homes covered in Christmas lights, with santas and sleighs and deer gracing the front lawns and many houses also sporting American flags or symbols…

“Trump country,” Esther finds herself thinking and, “wow, this is a Christmas-lights-rush, not unlike a sugar rush! A bit over the top but fascinating nonetheless.”

She drives through this overly-decorated world and turns into a quiet road just as she is leaving the town again. Suddenly the car skids, she tries to control it by wildly turning her steering wheel and braking but it doesn’t help. The car slides off the road and as she lands full stop in a ditch on the side of the road, the airbag opens, she feels her head snap forward and backward and she hears something crack underneath her. That doesn’t sound good. She is stranded and her neck hurts. She takes a few moments to control her shaking and her ragged breathing.

After the first shock, she figures she needs to get out of there and find help but luckily help isn’t far away. Just as she gets out of the car, she finds that a pick up truck has stopped behind her and a tall man is getting out. He’s not only tall, also dark and handsome. Instead of immediately thinking that he’s completely her type, she’s thinking, “Is this why there are so many trucks in America? So they can rescue stranded women in the snow? We don’t have many of those where I live in my Dutch city. Then again, we barely have snow.”

Things happen quickly. The handsome man, let’s call him Joe (as in Joseph and Mary – befitting a Christmas story), is concerned about Esther who insists she is fine. She doesn’t wait for introductions (rude big city girl that she is) and asks him take her to the nearest garage so she can arrange for her car to be towed and repaired.

“I’m afraid the garage is closed for the day,” Joe says, “but you can call them tomorrow. The car will be alright here.”

“Could you point me in the direction of the nearest inn, then?” Esther asks, walking to the back of the car to get her suitcase out of the boot.

“Our inn is closed for refurbishment, the nearest inn is 20 miles away,” Joe says. 

Esther, feeling a little overwhelmed and still shaky from the crash, stumbles a little, rubbing her neck and Joe is quickly at her side to steady her.

“Listen, you may have a concussion or whiplash. I’m Joe, the town doctor, why don’t you let me take a look at you in my practice which is close by.”

If there is one thing Esther hates it’s being poked and prodded. She doesn’t even like beauty spas and wellness centers, even going to the hairdressers is a chore she prefers to not do more often than once every 3 or 4 months. Letting a doctor poke and prod her really isn’t what she wants right now but in the end Joe is persuasive enough and she drives with him to his practice. He looks her over, pronounces her fine enough but also says that he would like her to not sleep alone that night, just in case. He offers her a guest room in his large house, where his recently divorced sister and niece are also staying for the time being. With nowhere else to go, Esther accepts.

Of course, Joe’s sister Mary and her daughter Eve (as in Christmas Eve) are lovely. They all share dinner and get to know each other. Mary and Eve talk about getting their Christmas nails done and won’t Esther like to join them. She smiles sweetly and declines as she doesn’t enjoy beauty treatments either.  “You’re an unusual woman,”  Mary says, trying to make sense of the fact that it is possible that there are women on this earth who would not enjoy having their nails done. Joe is starting to be intrigued by this charming stranger from a city abroad with her odd out-of-town ways.

The next morning is a Saturday morning and as there are no weekend calls, Joe accompanies Esther to the garage. The car is towed to the garage and Esther is told that it will be at least a week before the car is repaired, which means she will be stranded in the small town of Mistletoe over Christmas. Oh no! But Joe doesn’t seem to mind.

“Come, help us bake Christmas cookies!” Joe says cheerfully. Esther smiles half-heartedly. She hates cooking and baking. Why does everyone in a Hallmark movie always love to cook and bake? Maybe, like all the women in Hallmark movies, she will end up loving baking after all? She agrees to join in, and Joe, Mary and Eve spend a few hours baking with Esther while they listen to Christmas songs. 

Final verdict? The company is fun, and of course it’s sweet when Joe removes some flower from her face and if he’d lean in only a little further, they could be kissing. Other than that, baking in itself still sucks.

“Oh, we need to still set up a Christmas tree in my practice!” Joe then says and Esther and Joe go to the Christmas Tree Lot to pick a Christmas tree. It needs to be just the right tree and Joe educates Esther on how to pick the right one. Admittedly, it’s a nice tree but it really is huge. They set it up (it takes a while to get the tree standing straight) and decorate together. Joe takes ages to get all the Christmas lights placed ‘just right’ and the tree is very prickly as they decorate… and decorate… and decorate. A few lingering looks and smiles are exchanged, which is really the highlight of all of this. The tree is so huge it takes ages to decorate. “No wonder they only ever show couples in Hallmark movies hanging up the last few ornaments. This is only marginally more fun than baking,” Esther thinks. “At least the mess of tidying up the boxes is his and not mine to deal with.”

“Shall we all go to the Christmas Line Dance this evening?” Mary later asks when they get back to the house.

“Really?” Esther thinks, “Country music?” but sure, she’s game. It’s always good to try new things, right? Yep, line dancing doesn’t turn out to be her thing. She has fun and a lot of laughs, especially when she lands in bemused Joe’s arms a few times because of missteps, but this will never be her music.

“How would these people like ‘Assassin’ by Muse? Not so much, I bet,” Esther thinks, starting to play that song in her head…

The next morning Esther is up early and when she goes downstairs for breakfast she is cordially invited to come to church with Joe, Mary and Eve. 

“Oh no!” she thinks, “Just because I told them my father was a minister, they think I am religious too! Must set things straight.” So, she tells them, “Sorry, I am an atheist…” 

Their mouths fall open in amazement, Joe doesn’t seem to comprehend that statement. She can almost hear the wheels in his mind churning, saying, “Not Christian… not possible… does not compute…”

But, Esther doesn’t want to be rude to her kind hosts and comes with them. “I bet they think they’ll convert me. They won’t.” And she’s right, nothing in that church service, especially the sermon, has any remote attraction for her. “If anything, I’d rather be Jewish,” she thinks.

Joe and Esther go for a walk in the snow in the afternoon and talk about life. Joe gave up big city life and a high-flying career as a promising surgeon for a small country practice. 

“Doesn’t it get too quiet and isolated? What about going to an arthouse movie or to a rock concert or a museum? Shopping somewhere where there’s actual choice, the joy of people watching while sitting in a café in a busy city? And how do you deal with everyone interfering with everyone’s business? Doesn’t small town gossip get very annoying? There is joy to be had in a little more anonymity.” But all of that doesn’t seem to be an issue with Joe. He can’t imagine ever living anywhere else than in this little Christmassy town of Mistletoe.

“People here have family values,” he says.

“They have family values in the city where I live as well,” Esther counters.

Admittedly, the scenery in and around the town is beautiful.

On Monday Joe is back at work in his practice. Esther accompanies Eve to school and while she’s there she is introduced to the very kind headmaster (the token kind Hallmark African-American). They talk and she finds they are looking to replace an English teacher who just quit and Esther (oh miracle of miracles) happens to be an English teacher. She subs for a few days and of course she does well…

Here the dream starts working overtime… Christmas… Christmas… Christmas all around! Joe works to awaken Esther’s “Christmas spirit” which has remained dormant in protest: they listen to carolers… build snowmen… go ice skating… go Christmas shopping… help with more decorating at the church… more baking… always more baking… everyone is shiny and smiley… the magic of Christmas… Joe’s here… there’s a job here… small town Mistletoe is the only place to be… America is the best place in the world… MAGA… now I start to sweat (or is this menopause coming through in my dream?)… forget the outside world… stay here… wholesomeness forever… live for baking… and a few classes at school… and home making for Joe… and church (but I’m an atheist!)… forget your family and friends in the outside big bad world… oh no, everyone always has dead parents and family in these Hallmark movies… Is my family gone?… Is this the place to be?… With Christmas decorations… and Christmas stories…. and Hallmark Christmas movies…. and cheesy Christmas songs… stay here in this one small place forever… I am being sucked into a small town Christmas vortex…  MAGA… Joe… Christmas… decorations… baking… no more outside world… stuck here…    HELP!

I wake up with a start and sit up straight in bed, heart beating in my throat. Wow, that was beautiful and terrifying at the same time! I look to my right and see Mr Esther breathing deeply, sleeping beside me. Hallmark small town Christmas is pretty and all, but I think I prefer where I am with the husband I have… where I feel I can be myself… where I don’t have to bake or go to church… where Christmas decorating isn’t a constant thing… where I feel I can breathe and be different… I plant a careful, light kiss on Mr Esther’s head so that I won’t wake him and I lie down again, beside him. Hallmark is very pretty, Joe was very pretty and sweet, but that is not my world. This is my world and I am very content here.

I dreamed a dream…

I tend to dream about things that preoccupy me and sometimes I remember those dreams, sometimes I don’t. Last night’s dream I do remember very vividly and it has stuck with me all day! I blame that dream on all the pictures I’ve been admiring from the Battle of the Five Armies behind the scenes posted by Thorin_Only on Instagram (thank you!)…

So here goes…

In my dream I am going to a new movie with Richard in it, together with a friend of mine (what movie and which friend remain somehow unidentified in this dream, however). The cinema is huge, I’ve never been to such a huge cinema before in my life and somehow that cinema is in Los Angeles (not that I have ever been there). My friend and I are seated somewhere near the front to the right of the screen. And then the lights go out, I remember telling people to be quiet, and the movie starts. We get an instruction at the beginning of the movie to please follow the usher, so we all get up and walk through a pretty and narrow and old street (totally not LA, I think! Maybe we are in the film set?), with nice old historic houses on each side and the street is made of cobblestones. We cross a bridge over a river, we have to walk uphill a bit and we come to a restaurant. There we are asked to find our seats. I see a high table for two, square and small, and a man with his back to me is sitting at it on a bar stool. I take the seat opposite him and find it is Richard Armitage who is sitting there, looking down! He looks very much like this:

Instagram Thorin_Only (10)

Of course, I am thrilled to be sitting opposite the star of the movie! A lady/hostess starts talking and my attention is distracted. She is telling some sort of story about escaped slaves being hidden in this building, the details I can not recall. Then I look back to Richard and he has transformed into character and now looks pretty much like this:

1987 Papa

This man is my father… Richard Armitage has somehow morphed into my dad! He slowly looks up, his forehead crinking a bit like this (although he does look more serious)…

Instagram Thorin_Only (7)

… and respectfully he interrupts the hostess. Carefuly measuring his words, like he is explaining something that is very important and really needs to be heard, he patiently tells her (and everyone else in the restaurant) that her story is, in fact, not correct. He progresses to talk about what really happened in this building and that not all people who are portrayed as heroes in her story really are heroes. I start crying, so very moved by seeing my dad come to life again, explaining things patiently like he used to; he looks and feels so real! My dad/Richard doesn’t seem to notice me sniffling, but continues to play his part. Then, at the end of his speech my dad smiles at me, a bit like this…

1988 Papa

… and this part of the performance/movie is over. Everyone is awestruck and I must get up and move on with the rest of the audience and return to the cinema. The funny thing is that Richard is not only my dad, he is also somehow in part my oldest brother (who of all my siblings looks most like my dad).

My friend and I make our way back to the cinema to see the rest of the movie (this restaurant piece was apparently a ‘live’ part of the movie) and take a wrong turn, we have missed the bridge! We turn around and make our way back to the bridge and just before we reach it, we see Richard/my brother sitting at a sidewalk café! I go up to him and although he completely looks like Richard, he feels like my brother. It’s not awkward talking to him (as he is my brother) and I realize I had never before put two and two together: my brother and Richard are one and the same man! Silly me for not seeing that sooner!

“Do you realise why you made me cry?” I ask him.

“Yes, I know,” he says and smiles at me, “I know you miss him, I do too.” He then apologizes for not being able to join us at the cinema, he has to stay at the café with the production team.

My friend and I walk back to the cinema, we take our seats again. I make a mental note to not forget to tell my mother that this movie involves quite a bit of walking and uphill too, so if she wants to see it, she must consider that. The lights go out and the rest of the film starts… and I wake up…

Yes, I am very aware of my Oedipus complex… and never more so than today…