Prosecco Dream Notes, with ‘My Cousin Vinny’

September 30, 2023 (reading time 2 minutes)

After sharing a bottle of good prosecco with Ann last night, I dreamt of a place, a resort and hotel, with a pneumatic ski lift; giant tubes that could lift one with hair standing straight up, shooop!, straight to the top of the mountain. Sans skis, as I supposed they would get stuck in the tube.

At this resort, someone, not me, was prepping to take his bar exam, to become a lawyer. The test was conducted on a proprietary terminal with a time limit for completion, and our candidate had signed in and launched the exam, but stopped at question 1. Then he wandered off to admire the pneumatic ski lift.

The clock was ticking. I wanted to help him, and was pretty certain I’d noticed a paper copy of the exam somewhere nearby, not that it would necessarily help. But our examinee was unconcerned with the passage of time, and oddly confident he’d finish despite having wandered off. Such dreams annoy me, since I’m pretty sure I’m both the observer and the observed in them.

This dream was likely inspired by having recently seen ‘My Cousin Vinny’. Released in 1992, it’s a memorable film. Vinny was a New York lawyer who took six years and six attempts to pass his bar exam, and had never tried a case in court. He finds himself defending his cousin, wrongfully accused of murder in a small county seat in Alabama. Joe Pesci plays Vinny, Fred Gwynn the crusty judge, and Marisa Tomei won best supporting actress that year as Mona Lisa Vito, Vinny’s girlfriend.

It’s a film well worth revisiting.

Road Trip, Day2

September 26, 2023 (Reading time: 1 minute)

We slept in a private home last night, the way one does these days via an app on our phone, and it was just fine. We a found a few crumbs in otherwise clean sheets, and the elderly lady of the house was kind and helpful. She seemed grateful to have a bit of company passing through.

The home is one of those row houses in a modern development with fruit trees and a patio. The trophies of children now grown and departed decorate corner tables here and there in the house. I had a good night’s rest despite the jets from Dulles International climbing out overhead. We’re three miles from the Potomac River and the Maryland state line.

Ann is here in Virginia to claim free fabric and other quilting notions. A friend invited her to come fetch them and a sewing table before they were discarded. So we’re hoping for a rain-free trip back to Charlotte with this booty riding in our pickup. The table is a handsome thing, but too big, really, for Ann’s sewing room. She plans to re-gift it to another quilter down in Georgia: A journey for another day…

Road Trip!

September 25, 2023 (Reading time: 1 minute)

Ann is being gifted a sewing desk, which she will re-gift to a friend, but is very excited to be getting, as well, a bale of quilting fabric. The only catch is that we must drive something approaching a thousand miles to fully execute this retrieval.

The journey will take us up to far northeastern Virginia, which means tilting at the windmill of Washington, DC traffic. I am not looking forward to that, but it could be fun. The plan is to stay at an AirBNB, and those have always proven interesting. You meet people you’d not otherwise meet, and sometimes dogs and cats, too.

We’ll be in the vicinity of the Manassas/Bull Run civil war battlefields. If there’s anything worth seeing or doing up that way, let me know in the comments.

In browsing the morning news, tucked in with the insanity of the Republican House and the general idiocy of the Republican Presidential campaign was the happy news that the writers’ strike is close to ending. Huzzah!

So, those are this morning’s stray notes. I must needs get my act together for the journey ahead. Have a lovely day, everyone.

Journal Entry: The Gambler and the Thief

September 24, 2023 (Reading time: 2 minute)

Yesterday I was confronted by a stranger at the McDowell trolley stop. He was inclined to chat, so I indulged him, and learned he was bound for some bar to watch a college football game. His manner was the striking thing about him: He was fierce, a bit, and seemed a little angry under his skin. He was also unusually open about himself, admitting to a problem with drink and drugs, and gambling. In the course of a few minutes I’d learned this well-groomed guy had spent time in Tampa, LA, and now Charlotte, and was not presently using. I decided that maybe this underlying anger was at himself, to be headed to a bar where he shouldn’t be drinking, and watching a game he shouldn’t be betting on.

I had another striking encounter last night, in one of those dreams that persists on waking. A different stranger inserted himself into my path and task, which was to shift a vehicle and boat trailer at a sandy rustic marina. This fellow had longer, darker hair, and was taller than the angry guy, and his manner was jovial, engaging and friendly, except he was intent on talking me into handing the truck, boat and trailer over to him. He was larceny with a smile. No matter how I countered his intent, he’d smile and shake his head, refusing to get out of the truck, and reaching for the keys in the ignition. Eventually, I ran him off by summoning the boat yard guard.

Over coffee this morning it occurred to me there was some relationship between these guys, and some reason for their persistence; the focus they clearly command for me.

First, the two of them differ from me in many respects, being engaged in action challenges, while I usually pursue duty and observation. I was on a grocery shopping trip when I met Angry Guy, and was doing my job for the marina when Chuckles, the boat thief, showed up. They were, by turns, tempting personal demons of addiction, and thievery, while I sat there, a foil to their actions.

I’m glad to have met them both, if only for the opportunity to reflect on them, and try to capture them in words this morning. They are both characters, the stuff stories are made of, and their choices, however questionable, are full of life and momentum, and remind me to engage with my demons and the world too, and not merely observe.

Journal Entry: Time for another jab…

September 23, 2023 (reading time; 2 minutes)

I awoke this morning with a notion of starting a journal now that I’m getting comfortable in my seventh decade here on Earth. Modest goals, I thought, just a paragraph or three daily to clear my head, or set down my nightly dreams, or rage against wrong-doings to set the world aright before the important business of solving the NY Times Wordle.

Maybe I’ll post these up on the blog, too, at times. There aren’t many out there who would be so rude as to read them and laugh.

Ann and I are getting over our is it fourth COVID vaccination? (Ann has corrected me: It is our SEVENTH!) My left arm has a knot at the injection site which matches a sore place that remains in my right arm from the jab last year. I’m also apparently due for a flu shot, too. I don’t mind. We’re grateful for the margin of safety from these measures. I don’t do respiratory infections well. Sore arms are a small price to pay.

I’ve had COVID twice now. Thrice if you count the rebound episode the second time, but that was only re-testing positive after an all-clear instance. Or it could have been a false positive. There’s never absolute certainty in a world riven by pandemic, not that you hear that word so much now. The panic has faded. We see masks but not so many. I’ve stopped using one myself, unless asked to. There wasn’t a line for the vaccine this time, and I forgot to ask for the once again free COVID tests. Just last summer they wanted $20 for a pair of them.

And to be clear, COVID hasn’t taken a physical toll on me. We know people who have been hit hard both with their health and peace of mind. I’m grateful for Paxlovid, and for Ann’s and my continuing health. I’m grateful for my physician, Eugene Sangmuah, and for the virologists and microbiologists who curtailed the disaster. Thanks, Gene! Thanks, y’all!

One Week in Corsica

Long, long ago, when I was just recently back from a fantastic week on the island of Corsica, I wrote a book in which I blew up big sections of Paris and Corsica. At the time, there were several groups fighting for the independence of Corsica; perhaps they still are–it seemed rather entrenched. I finished the book just before September 11, 2001. Somehow, it didn’t seem appropriate to do anything with it just then, so I put it away. And now, almost a quarter of a century later, I dug it up.

The link to it is below. If you read nothing else, try chapter 7. I like it best. And chapter 1. The rest kind of … sucks. By the end of retyping it (since 22 years ago I didn’t save it on a disk), I was inserting sarcastic comments, making fun of my own writing: [Oooh, magic! She pulled out a gun she’d left at home! Now it’s a fantasy book!] or [How could she come in? There were two big people blocking the doorway? Ah, must be more magic!]

Also my characters don’t grow or change, they just sort of lump along like day-old doughnuts, pulled by unseen forces until they have a bad idea and then they do something stupid. I’m almost embarrassed to put it out here, but the upside is I’ve gained two inches of space on my bookshelf.

Anyway, here’s the link to the whole thing, rather than chapter by chapter. Read it or not. Read it and make sarcastic comments and send them to me. We might as well get some humor out of it now! It’s in both Microsoft Word and a pdf (the pdf loads faster, at least on my laptop).