Dreamin’ is Free

Today was one of those days while driving down the I-5 freeway, my tired brain thought I left my car keys at the last appointment. For two long seconds, I had a panic patting my pockets–“Where are my keys?!” moment. Effin’ ridiculous. I wonder if I’m getting enough sleep. I’m not sure about sleep, but I’m getting waaaaay too much rest.

The other day I read that many people are continuing to have strange dreams, “Pandemic Dreams”. Dreams about being unable to get the simplest thing completed; walking through a maze-like existence, experiencing some sort of repetitive behavior that increases anxiety. In October of 2020, the magazine Scientific American explains we are having more dreams because we are resting more which equals more REM sleep.

Relaxed schedules may also have caused dreaming to occur later than usual in the morning, when REM sleep is more prevalent and intense and, thus, dreams are more bizarre. Dream-tweets reflect these qualities: “I was taking care of a newborn girl that had COVID … it was so vivid and real.” Increased dreaming during late-morning REM intervals results from the convergence of several processes. Sleep itself cycles through deep and light stages about every 90 minutes, but pressure for REM sleep gradually increases as the need for deep, recuperative sleep is progressively satisfied. Meanwhile, a circadian process that is tightly linked to our 24-hour core body temperature rhythm gives an abrupt boost to REM sleep propensity late in the sleep period and stays elevated through the morning.

As a single woman, working two essential jobs, living in a small apartment…my dreams are a bit different. I’m not dreaming about bugs attacking me or social distancing faux pas in the soup aisle. I’m dreaming about celebrities sliding into my bed and hugging me, saying witty things. Last week Jimmi Simpson (left) kept me laughing and calm with some stories in bed. This week Mr. Jason Sudeikis (right) joined me for a coffee & conversation while sitting on my bed. He was so laid back and kind. Nice, warm conversation–with another person–in the same room; this is something I’m lacking during the pandemic. As I have mentioned before, according to my dream dictionary dreaming of celebrities can mean that you seek more excitement in your life. That may be true. I think dreaming of people coming to my house for food and conversation during a time of social distancing is a different type of excitement.

I look forward to the gym reopening and, like, being able to hug people again, and standing next to people. Touching surfaces like exercise bikes, armrests in the movie theater, shake a hand “hello”, hug a friend goodbye, but–I will never go bowling again.


CREDITS
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-covid-19-pandemic-is-changing-our-dreams/

cover photo from Unsplash, São Paulo, Brazil

Day 279: Confessions of a Sus

I play Among Us.  My name is “poptart”.  You may wonder why a 52 year old woman would want to play a real-time murder mystery set on a space ship with the prepubescent of our population,  but you’ve no need, I will tell you why I do it.  I’ve entered a very specific time in my life where I gain great satisfaction defeating children in games of deceit and strategy.  Today, however, those raggamuffins booted me out of two games in less than 30 minutes.   Don’t they have better things to do like Google history homework answers or something? I crashed on Pink’s argument that she couldn’t be the killer because “I’m only 8.”  If she’s 8, then I’m 8.  Ridiculous argument!  That pink flower in your hair only makes you more creepy, PINK!

It is 6:30 p.m. as I begin to write and I want it to be 6:30 a.m. tomorrow.  At that time I will have things to do: wake up, catch the days headlines, take a shower, have breakfast, get dressed then go to work.  When I’m at work I’ll have even MORE things to do.  Between now and tomorrow I have TWELVE hours to do something with.  At least 8 hours of that can be used for sleeping.  During COVID I’ve tested my sleeping abilities AKA: time travel.  I can fast forward about 3-5 hours at a time with an elongated blink of an eye …which is really what sleep is, one long blink. Rarely can I make it more than 12 hours in one undisturbed lay-down.  The longest since March is a good, very nice and needed 10 hours in bed.  Sleeping when bored is the highlight and delete of unwanted hours.  The “>>2x” button on your Blueray.  

What the heck will I do for 12 hours?

I started one adult task; reading a self-help book, “The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child” by Nancy Newton Verrier. 

The Primal Wound is a book which is revolutionizing the way we think about adoption. In its application of information about pre- and perinatal psychology, attachment, bonding, and loss, it clarifies the effects of separation from the birth mother on adopted children. In addition, it gives those children, whose pain has long been unacknowledged or misunderstood, validation for their feelings, as well as explanations for their behavior. Since its original publication in 1993, The Primal Wound has become a classic in adoption literature and is considered the adoptees’ bible. The insight which is brought to the experiences of abandonment and loss will contribute not only to the healing of adoptees, adoptive families, and birth parents, but will bring understanding and encouragement to anyone who has ever felt abandoned.

A friend loaned me the book.  We are both adopted children. The book helps you work through the emotional trauma of abandonment all adoptees experience.  She recommends it highly. It will be a tough read.  About 10 minutes in I begin to cry a little. 

The sun set at 4:21pm today.  I should have gone for a walk, but I didn’t. 

Tomorrow will be a better day.

‘effin Pink

TY TAEM!

I’m very excited to have a small collection of my poems published in The Abstract Elephant Magazine this month. It’s such a beautiful magazine with an ideal mission. Please visit it sometime soon.

The Abstract Elephant Magazine is an interdisciplinary, digital publication dedicated to understanding the issues of the human condition through the arts, the sciences, and philosophy. This magazine began with the intention to create a space for comparative endeavors and interdisciplinary research since our basic belief is that improvement in the human condition takes place in open dialogue and debate.”

Check out my work here: https://abstractelephant.com/2020/11/23/before-after-poems-quarantine-covid-19-shannon-laws/

Thank you!

Photo by Tim Oun on Unsplash

Custom Fit

They took your data. Then they took control. The Great Hack uncovers the dark world of data exploitation through the compelling personal journeys of players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal. In select theaters and on Netflix July 24.

I use to watch a show called “The Lottery Changed My Life”.  As you may know, some people are naturally better at handling change than others.  Most lottery winners, one out of three, go broke, waisting the miraculous opportunity.  Another attribute of a sudden gain in money is the amplification of whatever characteristic you possess, vices, and blessings.  Money doesn’t change people, it amplifies what was already there.  Regardless of how good you may be at adapting, all major change comes with stress (see chart below).

A pandemic, a lasting event that is both unexpected and stressful much like winning the lottery, could be described as a one-size-fits-all global catastrophe. Although it has a blanket effect on people, it is also extremely customized per person based on what our situation was before it hit.  Each of us has unique circumstances that have created a specific pandemic experience.  It is as unique as our address if we are fortunate to have one.  As I walk about my day these past three months I hear different experiences from each acquaintance, co-worker, relative, or strangers that I chat up.  Here are the basic types in no particular order:

-My job is essential, working more hours, I’m exhausted, resources are difficult to come by, communication is slowed

-I was laid off from work, my unemployment was messed up, took 6 weeks to get it, I had to visit the food bank and paid no bills while waiting for unemployment to arrive

-I haven’t paid my rent since April 1st and I’m afraid I’ll be evicted on August 1st.  I cannot afford to move so I will end up in my car

-We sold the home we lived in for 20 years, we are downsizing in preparation for retirement, I’m going on a vacation will be back in two weeks

-My wife got COVID-19, she’s high risk, was in the hospital for almost three weeks.  The bill came and it’s close to $50k dollars! We will be paying this for the rest of our lives

-I hang out with friends, I’m young, I found a cool mask online.  Glad school is over

-One day in March all of my clients called me, all 23 of them in one day, to cancel service.  My husband came home early the same day—laid off from his job!  I’ve been crying all week! We don’t have savings and I’m scared

-My husband and I are fighting more now. How can I leave him during a pandemic? I’m sheltered in place with someone I hate

-I work from home since the shelter-in-place mandates.  I attend six zoom meetings a week with different departments. Almost 90% of my socializing is done electronically.  It is somehow exhausting

-I’m doing OK. Left social media and got rid of my smartphone years ago to free up my time working on my art.  I howl at the moon every night at 7:00.  I’m worried for my neighbors

-I leave the house once a month for groceries.  I work on my yard, sit on the porch, read, and talk to my neighbors as they pass by. I’m bored, but I want to be safe.  I’m in a high-risk category. I am in no hurry to get back out there

-Laid off from the refinery and on unemployment since May.  It’s like an extended vacation! I’m almost finished with my backyard projects, I’ve gone fishing, camping visited my Uncle over on the lake in Eastern Washington.  All of this pandemic stuff and mask requirements are stupid.  Once it’s over I’ll get my job back

-Two of our adult children needed to shelter in place at our home.  So all six of us are under one roof again.  I am very busy right now.  When I come home sometimes very late I step over the sleeping bodies of two of my kids in the living room.

-I discovered that my regular life is similar to shelter-in-place.  For about 10 years my work has been online, in a virtual office, I’m a gamer, and my whole social network is virtual.

 

So if you’re like me today and feeling a little pouty, consider this new mask that includes a window into your soul!  Let the world see your pouty luscious lips. Don’t let an all-cotton mask keep your gloss light hidden.  Shine on, baby, shine on! Only $7.99–

 

 

 


https://www.playusalotteries.com/en/lottery-news/article/10723/10-facts-about-lottery-winners.html

Click to access lifechangestresstest.pdf

Day 40: Light at the End of the Tunnel

Shower Thoughts: No other species is watched more while pooping than dogs.

Oh my goodness, day 40 has arrived!  It’s been 40 days since the official declaration from our governor to Shelter in Place, March 24th. We are in the middle of our 5th week. We learned on Friday, May 1st, the lockdown will be extended to May 31st.  How are you holding up?  Hope you are healthy and adjusting to your new normal.  As soon as we adjust completely, perhaps, going through all the stages of grief and loss, at some point we’ll be thrown back into the fire.  This morning I am thinking about the working class returning to dead-end jobs. I’m wondering what factors make a job a good job.

The 5 stages of grief and loss are: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.

Many Americans will return to their jobs to face a brilliantly obvious discovery, a very REAL tried and true FACT- they are underpaid.  Their previous jobs were unable to prepare them for regular emergencies such as a new transmission much less a pandemic.  Middle-class life is now 30 percent more expensive than it was 20 years ago.  Meanwhile, salaries, which have stagnated for decades don’t go as far as they once did to cover the necessities.  Do we really want to go back to “normal”?

Michigan

People with guns are starting to freak out.  Last Thursday, April 30th, hundreds of well-armed citizens waving MAGA signs crashed the state capitol of Michigan demanding that the country reopen.  They wanted to get to the House floor where representatives were in session but were blocked by state police and sergeants-at-arms.  In Michigan, it is legal to carry firearms as long as it’s done with lawful intent and the weapon is visible.  Lawful Intent?  hmmmm… In my town, if this lockdown extends another two months, my biggest concern is folks might just start biking naked or something.  But, there are many parts of the US where the breaking point could result in converting Doug’s Toyota Tacoma into a freaking ISIS tank and start patrols!

I’m wondering about the demographic that stormed the capitol.  Are they the same that was studied in various reports over the last two decades?  Did you know that the suicide rate for white middle-aged working-class men has spiked?  This group of Americans appears to be the most pissed off and depressed.  Why?

For white men without a college degree, the average growth in median wages between 1979 and 2017 was a negative number (−0.2 percent a year), even as median hourly earnings for all white workers grew by 11 percent in the same period. This wage deflation has had well-documented cultural ripple effects, depressing marriage rates as men’s appeal as partners fell along with their earnings. Without a stable family life, these men are more isolated, with fewer of the sorts of social buffers that might inoculate them against suicide or drug abuse. As a result, the rates for both have gone up.

For what it’s worth, I was raised in a working-class neighborhood in South Seattle and my folks had small businesses.  A part of me recognizes these men.  They are the sons of my neighbors.  My personal interpretation is that these suicide rates reflect a group of men unwilling to seek self-improvement in the form of therapy or education. Perhaps in their culture it is a sign of weakness, or maybe they do not believe they are wrong, mentally injured, or perhaps it is a simple financial barrier.  Adaptation to our changing world is difficult but necessary.

So, let’s move ahead a few months.  We have a Presidential election coming up.  Is Biden going to go the way of Hilary or Barak in his campaign outreach?  Will he be able to identify, and connect with the majority of voters?  …also could folks start voting out the sellouts in the Senate?  Seriously.  Otherwise, in my view, Trump will simply be more fuel to the unpredictable, unstable, despair bonfire.
F*ck Trump!

 

Here is my current mood expressed in a meme.  Thanks for visiting.  Be safe, stay healthy.  -Shannon

 


https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/14/heres-how-many-americans-are-not-saving-any-money-for-emergencies-or-retirement-at-all.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/hundreds-protest-michigan-lawmakers-consider-extending-governors-emergency-powers-n1196886

https://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/april-may-june-2020/white-death/

My book of poetry:
https://www.villagebooks.com/product/fallen-shannon-p-laws

Day 32: TGIF I think…it’s Friday right?

Shower Thoughts: Last night my friend asked to use a USB port to charge his cigarette, but I was using it to charge my book. The future is stupid.

Happy Friday everyone!  Oh wait, IS IT Friday?  I’m not sure.  Let’s see- Traffic looks like a Sunday afternoon, every day feels like a Saturday, kinda, but sometimes the grocery stores are busy like it is Thanksgiving.  Hmmmm… I’m not sure.  What does it feel like for you?  At times, especially last week, it felt like floating in jello, honestly.  Existence is vague and with little reference of location and time.  My clock and calendars are handrails along a dark trail.

This is me in my car last week, getting ready to deliver some supplies to a high-risk tenant.  I’m still working *knock on wood* and happy to help folks.  I haven’t had more than a sore throat since last December, and I chalked that up to the pollen count.  However, on Monday I have a video appointment with my personal doctor and hopefully, it will result in testing.

Whatcom County in Washington State is offering very little testing opportunities.  An acquaintance of mine was tested about 8 days ago and laughed telling me about it.  He said it felt like a drug deal.  His doctor gave him directions and an address where he met two ladies, dressed head to toe in PPE, working out of an unmarked van in an alley downtown.  He was their ONLY customer.  I’m not aware of any mass testing operation happening in Washington like I see in California, where folks are qued up in mile-long lines perhaps at a stadium parking lot.  Of course, testing and re-testing will help our nation determine if the lockdown is working.  HAHAHAAAAA! …but it is not happening.

The Federal Government, State, and Local appear to be completely discombobulated.   Our ‘effin president basically confessed to offering more Federal aid and services to the Republican States AND (sweet Lord) wants scientists to look into UV and disinfectant injections to kill the virus INSIDE US!—???  Another WTF moment.  EVERY DAY is a WTF moment with this administration.  Unbelievable.

My current mood in meme form.  Take care of yourself and your loved ones.  Hit “like” to let me know you were here.  Wishing you good health. -Shannon