Thursday, January 28, 2016

#TBT: Take all the money in the bank, I think I'll just stay here and drink*

In college, my general rule of thumb when it came to alcohol consumption was that I had about a four to five hour window - if I started drinking in the early afternoon, say, if we were hanging out at Chris Greene Lake on a lazy sunny day, I would be done and ready to go to bed by early evening.  If I was heading to the Corner with my sorority sisters and we left the house at 10 p.m., I was good for a late night.

Which is why it was kind of astounding to me that on a hot, sunny day in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, at the ripe old age of 31 - when the tolerance I had built up in my early 20s was long in the past - and with my mother, no less, I was partying for 12 hours straight with no ill effects.

I was in PNG visiting my mom, who was serving there as the U.S. ambassador.  After hanging out with her for a couple of days in Port Moresby, we took a trip out to the island of New Britain to get some beach time and scuba diving in.  We stayed in Rabaul at the Kaivuna Resort Hotel, which was owned by an Aussie couple.  My mom had stayed there before and knew Bev and Brian, the proprietors, and they treated us like family.

Which meant that they expected us to start drinking with them immediately.  Because that was what they and their friends did - they drank.  All day long.

We had been in our rooms after checking in for about 20 minutes and were unpacking our suitcases and thinking about what to do for dinner when the phone rang.  It was Brian.

"You gails comin dan to th' baaah?"

It doesn't quite work if you don't imagine it with the heavy Aussie accent.

"We'll be there!" I responded.

So we went down to the bar.  We had burgers for dinner, which was good because we needed something in our bellies other than all the beer we ended up drinking.  And we met the motley crew of Australian and New Zealander expats that formed their little community.  They were of different ages and professions, including a guy named Hamish who was about my age and was super cute, and who ran the local car dealership or something like that.  But they had their common culture and their common love of beer to bind them together in this remote place.

The nightly gathering at the Kaivuna bar

The next day, Bev had arranged for an excursion for us out to Little Pidgin Island, an uninhabited little stretch of sand and trees and driftwood.  She and Mom and I hopped on the boat at about 8 in the morning, enjoying the views of the beautiful ocean and the still smoldering Tavurvur volcano which had ravaged the area seven years earlier in a massive eruption.  The cooler she packed had some sandwiches and some cookies, but it was mostly filled with beer.  We were set up with beers in hand by 9 in the morning.
on the boat
our destination - Little Pidgin Island

Beers in hand
I don't remember exactly how long we were hanging out on Pidgin, but it was at least 4 hours, not including the boat rides out and back.  But in any event, that wasn't all that was on tap for the day. 

After a quick shower and change, we were headed to the Rabaul Yacht Club - which sounds much hoity-toitier than it is because it's nothing but a rather rudimentary open-air wooden structure - to celebrate Oktoberfest.  As one does in Rabaul (much like one goes to Reykjavik to celebrate Passover).

What ensued was hours of drinking beer, putting on bizarre costumes, engaging in games, and generally acting ridiculous.  In other words, it was awesome.

First one to chug their beer and then place empty cup on head wins
Hamish has a conversation with the love child of Marilyn Monroe and the Easter Bunny

I helped my team win some sort of race involving carrying a full pitcher without spilling it.  The University of Virginia prepared me well.
Mom, Bev and I toast to a great day
We were at Oktoberfest until around 5 or 6 in the afternoon.  Remarkably, Mom and I were all still in relatively good shape.  I couldn't really say the same for some of the other folks, though.  But we decided to keep the party rolling and headed back to Kaivuna, where we congregated out by the pool.

We were hanging out around a tall table, having some food and drinking more beer, telling stories. Hamish and I had gotten a bit flirty, and at one point he invited me to go out to an abandoned airfield to "look at the stars."  I was tempted, and to my surprise, even Mom was encouraging me to go, but I thought better of it and declined.  I was having too much fun where I was.

Peter is drunk enough that it seems like a good idea to eat sauerkraut with his bare hands.  Brian is horrified.
Even at night, it was warm and humid, and between that and all the beer, we were all feeling toasty. So of course, we took the tall table and put it in the pool.

Hijinks ensued.  There was pool dancing. Pool drinking. The pool proved no impediment to smoking. One guy even slipped and cracked his head on the side of the pool - we cleaned him up, put a bandage on it, and kept going.  It was an epic experience. 

Peter and Campbell in the pool.  Note Campbell's lovely head wound.  It ain't a party until someone almost loses an eye.
Finally, at about 9:30 - when it felt to us like 2 in the morning - we decided to call it a night.  We bade goodbye to our crazy friends and headed to our rooms to go to bed.

Miraculously, we woke up the next morning a bit tired, but remarkably hangover free.  When in Rome....

*In the spirit of Facebook's Throwback Thursday meme, I've decided to do the occasional #TBT post.  It's fun to look back and remember stuff like this, especially when I have pictures.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lift up your spirit with a song, it's family time, it's family time

When I was growing up, my grandparents were people I saw once or twice a year, at most.  Meaning that for my parents, their parents were people they saw once or twice a year, at most.

That was the paradigm.  That was our normal.  And it was the normal of just about everyone I grew up with, as they were all similarly situated - we were overseas, living exciting and exotic lives in exciting and exotic faraway places.  The exciting and the exotic took the place of the familiar.

When I was younger, it didn't occur to me that this experience wasn't everyone's experience. That it wasn't normal and natural for families to scatter as the children reached adulthood.  That it wasn't normal and natural to see your grandparents only sporadically.

As much as I love the way I grew up, as much as I cherished the exciting and exotic - as much as treating the exciting and exotic as the normal and ordinary has shaped so much of who I am - I am realizing how much I miss the familiar.

Emotionally, I feel extraordinarily close to my family.  I talk to my mother just about every day.  I communicate with my brothers regularly.  In my heart, they are a huge part of me.  I have friends who openly yearn for the kind of relationship with their mothers that I have with mine.  They talk about wanting to be adopted by my family, and I think they are joking, but a part of them wants it not to be a joke.

But like my parents in their adult lives, I don't actually get to be with my parents or my brothers very often.  None of us live in the same city.  My parents getting to see their children - or their grandchildren, who, let's face it, are the real draw these days - is the exception rather than the rule.  No regular sleepovers at Mimi and Papa's house.  No growing up with their cousins on a day to day basis.

Fortunately, my parents have the means and the good health to visit relatively frequently.  And we have our annual beach and Thanksgiving get-togethers.  But increasingly, as we all get older, it doesn't feel like enough.  I feel like I have cheated myself in choosing the life I chose.  Like I cheated my children.  But I can't leave now.

So we have our visits every few months.  My parents come and we spend time together.  The kids sleep over at their hotel and have fun swimming in the hotel pool and riding up and down the elevator and running up and down the halls.  We do fun things like go to the zoo or go to the mountains or go to the rodeo at the National Western Stock Show.  I feel safe and protected, enveloped in the love of the people who care about me more than anyone else.

But it's never long enough.  After two or three days, our chests tighten and we have to say goodbye again for a few months.  The children hide rather than give the hugs and kisses that mean that they won't see Mimi and Papa again for awhile.

And I resume the mantle of full adulthood once again, feeling like I'm taking care of everyone but without anyone to take care of me when I feel like need a break.  It's a cold and lonely island, until the next time the bosom of the family can envelop me once again, even for just a few days.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A day on the slopes

In every direction, it's whitish grey and the visibility is limited - clouds plus blowing snow from the wind.  The lift ends above the tree line, so it's all very bare and exposed - there's something almost desolate feeling about it. I'm well bundled up, but I can feel the frigid air on the gap between the top of my goggles and the top of my balaclava, and on the tip of my nose.

A photo posted by Wendy Jacobs (@wendyalisonjacobs) on

I ski over to the top of the run, where the incline starts. It's a steep run, classified as a black.  I'm wearing my low/flat light goggle lenses, but I'll have to really focus on the snow, both to avoid ice patches - there have been a few of them today - and also because the light sometimes makes the surface look like nothing but a fuzzy white expanse, without any ability to see the detail.

I start down, at first at a mellow pace, checking out the snow and the light.  The snow feels good - my skis turn cleanly, and I can see the surface just fine.  So I pick up speed. I feel my heart rate start to increase, the muscles in my legs engage, feel the wind on my face and the rush in my ears.  The run makes a big curve to the left, and right at the curve there's a sharp increase in the pitch.  I take it down at the steepest point, picking up even more speed. I'm going very fast, bringing me right to the knife edge of safety - if I catch an edge or lose control at all, I'm in real danger of being severely injured. So I pick a line and stay on it, keeping my core and my legs rock solid, shutting out everything in my life except what my body is doing at this very instant.

My legs start burning, so I hold the line until the terrain levels off a little bit and I can stop to take a rest near some trees. Feeling the pounding in my heart, I take some deep breaths, giving my muscles a short break.  I look around and marvel at the beauty around me - the grandeur of the mountains, the snow on the trees, the sun that's starting to peek through the clouds.  I stand there and smile as my heart rate starts to go down again.

After a minute or so, I head down again and finish the run.  And I spend the day going up and down and up and down the mountains, trying to cover as many different runs as I can.

It's exhilarating. I love the gorgeous setting and the strenuous physical exercise. I love the speed. I love that I have to be totally engaged and focused, both mentally and physically, in order to avoid killing myself. I love that sometimes it's a little bit scary. I even love the cold - it assaults my senses and makes me feel alive.   The entire experience shuts out every stressor in my life and puts me totally in the moment, which, with my constantly buzzing brain that I can't turn off, is a respite.

At the end of the day, I head back to the front of the resort and make my way down a final run to my car.  Along the way, I see a ski patrol person on a snowboard, pulling a sled behind her containing a guy who apparently injured himself.  She passes me and I'm surprised she's going as fast as she is, because it's a blue run that has some steep sections where it seems like it would be harder to maintain control if you're attached to a big, cumbersome sled behind you.  But hey, what do I know?

All of a sudden she catches an edge and falls, and the sled carrying the injured guy passes her and starts sliding down a steep incline.  She's on her stomach with her arms out in front of her, holding onto the rope attached to the sled, digging the edge of her board into the snow in an effort to slow herself down.  But the sled is too heavy, and it continues to slide down the hill.  Then it hits a bump and the sled tips over, dumping the injured guy onto the ground and grinding the whole spectacle to a stop.  I ski over to her and ask if she needs help or if she wants me to call someone.  She waves me off, clearly annoyed and embarrassed.

I feel like it's all a metaphor for something, though I'm not sure what.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I know what boys like, I know what guys want.

This is how I know that, in whatever psychic form it takes, the Universe has a sense of humor.

Because my "I'm licking my romantic wounds but hope is not lost I am woman hear me roar" post hadn't been up for three hours before I got hit on by a married man.

A few days ago, I got a Facebook friend request from a guy I didn't know.  Which isn't that unusual - I've gone to so many schools and lived in so many places that often I'll get a friend request from someone who also went to one of the overseas schools I went to, only at a different time from when I was there, or friends of friends who I'll feel like I know virtually because we're all commenting on the same posts or whatever.  So if we have no mutual friends and I have no idea who the person is, I'll block the request, but if we have mutual friends, I'll usually accept it.

So this guy, who I will call "Don," sent me a friend request.  And we had a couple of mutual friends, so I accepted the request, not really thinking anything of it.

Then tonight, as I'm trying to muster up some interest in the national championship football game, drinking bourbon while wearing sweatpants on my couch, Don sends me a private message.  He has seen comments from friends sending love and support, hang in there, that sort of thing, so he sends me some well wishes.  I assure him I'm fine.

He keeps sending message that have a little too much cute information, like he's trying to flirt.

I check his profile - he's married with kids.  His profile picture features his wife and children.

I roll my eyes, and provide perfunctory responses to his inquiries.

He suggests wine or whisky to drown my sorrows - I tell him that I'm already on it, glass of bourbon in hand.

"You are so totally impressing me," he says. "You're so engaging.  You're so attractive."

Then he asks me what I'm wearing.

I should probably cut the conversation short and block his profile right then, but it's so ridiculous that I'm curious to see how far he'll take it.

I tell him, "sweatpants and a Washington Capitals t-shirt."

That brings up comments about what a beast Ovechkin is and how he just scored his 500th and 501st career goals.  

I tell him that 500 was a good goal, but that 501 was the one that was really insane (and a replica of 499, which led the Caps past the hated Rangers in overtime the other night).  I throw this detailed assessment out on purpose, because I know what his reaction will be.  It's almost too easy.

"You're totally pulling off the super cool chick - bourbon and hockey?  C'mon."

Yep.  He's such a fucking cliche.  But yes, bourbon and hockey.  I'm that girl.

We go back and forth like that for another minute.  He tells me his height and weight, makes some more suggestive comments and tries to get me to respond in kind.  I get bored and beg off, claiming I'm heading out to meet friends.

He leaves me with, "Thanks for chatting with me Wendy. You managed to be at once sweet and sexy. Almost like a good dish at a Chinese restaurant."

What. The. Fuck.

And also, how perfect.

I have a good chuckle.  It was a nice little ego boost.

And then I block his profile.

Monday, January 11, 2016

We push and pull and I fall down sometimes

It is the dilemma of writing a public blog that sometimes the thing I want to write about is the thing I need to be careful writing about, either to protect someone's privacy or even to protect my own to a certain extent.  Which raises the obvious question of, "why not just write about it privately?"

And sometimes I do.  I have a journal that I scribble in, often when I'm trying to work out a thought or a feeling, or when I just want to think by engaging in the physical act of taking pen to paper. But I feel like I write differently, and more carefully, when I write for an audience, so usually when I feel compelled to write about something, and write it well, I do it here.  After nine and a half years, it's a hard habit to break.

Which brings me to my current predicament.

My heart hurts today.  That's all I'll say, because the details are tangential to the point of this post.

Over the weekend, I was voice-messaging with my high school friend Kristin, who is one of my favorite people.  She lives in Switzerland, and I haven't seen her in a million years, but we're in pretty regular communication nonetheless. Our favorite way to keep in touch is by Facebook's messenger system, which allows you to send recorded voice messages.  The wrinkle is that each recording can be no more than one minute long, so rather than type, we talk by sending a series of digital voice messages, however many it takes to form the sentences and paragraphs we mean to convey.  It actually isn't as cumbersome as it sounds, plus I don't have a problem hearing my own voice, probably from years of writing briefs and legal correspondence via dictation when I was in private practice.

Anyway. I was explaining my situation to Kristin, who, in addition to being a wonderful and wise friend, is also a therapist, so she's a great listener and gives good advice.  And I didn't really need advice so much as validation of my own sense of what I already knew I needed to do, which Kristin was happy to provide.

But one of the things that really struck me was when she told me that she could hear the pain in my voice, and that even though it sucks to be hurting, it's healthy that I'm allowing myself to feel and express the pain  - "you're in it," was how she described it - rather than bottle it up or repress it.  A couple of other people have made the same observation.

Which, in a way, I find comforting.  Because as much as I'm feeling heartsick today - some of it exacerbated by a lack of sleep plus the exhaustion that comes from crying - I also know that feeling like this means that I was willing to put myself out there, that I was willing to risk being hurt by allowing myself to be emotionally open and honest.  It's how I've said I want to live my life, so at least I'm practicing what I preach.

There's something to be said for that.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

I want something else to get me through this semi-charmed kind of life

I had a couple of hours free this afternoon while the kids were at a friend's house, so after making an effort to deal with the seemingly endless detritus that my children leave in their wake, I sat down, fished around for something interesting on HBO, and settled on a documentary about heroin abuse in Cape Cod. Apparently it's a huge problem. All these kids from solid, middle class families, good students who play sports and have friends and are loved by their parents - they get caught up with drugs out of boredom or peer pressure or, most depressingly, because they suffered an injury for which they were prescribed Vicodin or oxycontin and got hooked and graduated to the harder stuff, which is cheaper and easier to come by.

The documentary features interviews with young people, including young adults with children, who want so desperately to not be slaves to their addiction, but who can't kick it, and end up overdosing or in jail or jumping from one detox program to another, or just living horribly depressing lives in which every day consists of getting high and then figuring out how to get enough money to get more drugs so that they can repeat the same pattern tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow after that.

One of the kids mused that every person on Earth is an addict.  Everyone is addicted to something.  The shitty thing for him is that he is addicted to heroin, and it will probably kill him.

When I heard him say that, my first reaction was to scoff and say, out loud, "not me."  And from a physiological perspective, it's true.  I used to smoke socially in high school and college.  I know plenty of people who have smoked and tried to quit, but had a terrible time with it.  I've heard that for some people, nicotine can be as addictive and as difficult to quit as any opiate.  But I could totally take it or leave it, and when I decided that I didn't want to do it anymore because I wanted to train for a half-marathon, I didn't.  I didn't miss it, I didn't crave it, I didn't need it, and I don't remember the last time I either touched - or wanted to touch - a cigarette.

Same with alcohol.  I like to have a glass of wine, or a cocktail if I'm out for dinner or a drink, but if someone told me I could never have another sip of alcohol, I would shrug and say, "fine."

Even with opiates, which I have taken for pain after surgery or when I separated my shoulder, I enjoyed the buzz that they gave me, but once it wore off, I didn't care and didn't need to seek it out again.

But the kid in the documentary wasn't just talking about physical addictions - he was speaking more globally.  And after initially taking the superior attitude that I was above that sort of thing, I couldn't get what he said out of my head.

What are the different things that people crave, and what does it do for them when they attain them?  Material possessions?  Status?  Sexual conquests?

It made me think about people who collect things - stamps, spoons from the different states, glass figurines, baseball cards, dolls.  I never understood the desire to collect anything like that, largely because it always struck me as such a fundamentally unsatisfying venture.  As soon as you got that rare stamp, that new doll, that baseball card you were seeking, you'd enjoy it for 5 minutes and then start thinking about the next stamp, the next doll, the next card you want.  You're never done.  You never truly have what you want.

But what about cravings or obsessions that are more intangible?

I know people who have an overwhelming need to know things - to memorize dates and facts, to always know the answer, to acquire knowledge for the sake of knowing more than the next guy.  Or people who flit from one romantic venture to the next, never settling down with one person, always looking over the shoulder of the person they're with to find the next person they want to be with, out of a fear of missing out or a fear of being tied down or a fear of getting bored with one person.

It makes me think of Rose Castorini, the mom in Moonstruck, who knows her husband is cheating her, and she keeps asking the men she encounters, "why do men chase women?" What do they get out of it?  If they have a good woman who they love, why would a man need more than one woman?  And the answer that she lands on is, "because they fear death."

That revelation leads to the great line when her husband comes home after being out with his mistress, and she says to him, "Cosmo, I just want you to know that no matter what you do you're going to die, just like everybody else."

No matter how many books you read, no matter how many people you sleep with, no matter how many mountains you climb, you're going to die, just like everybody else.

On the other hand, maybe our addictions are what makes it all worth it - if we're going to die anyway, we may as well go after what we crave.

So what's my addiction?  It's not drugs, it's not stuff.  As much of a know-it-all as I am, it's not knowing everything.  It's not sexual conquest.

I actually know what it is.  It's the thing that, for me, has always made life more worth living than anything else, and which has led me to the poorest judgment and the biggest mistakes.  It's just hard to say it out loud.

What's yours?

Friday, January 08, 2016

And soon, in a park that was Girl Land before, you'll do what you like, and you'll be who you are.

Yesterday when I picked up the kids from their after-school program, Josie announced, "Mama, I have a new boyfriend."

She has a new "boyfriend" fairly regularly, generally some poor little dude who becomes the object of her hugs and hair scruffles and occasional kisses on the head.

She's not a shy girl, is what I'm saying.

Which, hey, why not, right?  It's the 21st century.  There's no reason women can't or shouldn't go after what they want.

But still, a part of me wants to tell her to play at least a little hard to get.  She's only six - a little young to get herself branded as the Violet Bick of the elementary school,

"Who's your new boyfriend?" I asked.

"Adam," she said.  A cute boy in her class with a gorgeous head of curly black hair.

"So what does it mean that he's your boyfriend?" I asked. "Does it mean you talk to him or sit with him at lunch or something?"

"I give him pictures that I draw."

A relationship based upon exchanging works of art.  I like it.

Later, when we were at home chilling out and watching a movie (the Karate Kid remake, which was surprisingly not sucky), Josie sat at the coffee table in the living room and worked diligently on a picture she was coloring.  She worked on it for at least an hour and a half.

At one point, I said, "kids, as soon as the movie is over, you're going to bed," and she huffed at me, "Mama!  How am I supposed to finish Adam's picture?? I won't have enough time!"

I rolled my eyes.  "Then you'll have to finish it in the morning, but you're going to bed when the movie's over."

A little while later, she came over to show me the picture.  She had done a beautiful job, coloring the moon and stars in bright colors.

"Does Adam draw pictures for you too?"

She gave me a look like I was high.  "No, of course not."

"What do you mean?  Why not?"

"Because I do stuff for him, he doesn't do stuff for me."

What the fuck??

"Josie, if he's your boyfriend, he should be doing nice things for you, too.  Don't act like you're his servant."

"I am his servant," she responded.

"No, you're not.  Girls don't exist to do things for boys.  Girls and boys are equal, and if they're friends or boyfriend and girlfriend, they should both be doing nice things for each other."

She blew me off and went back to writing, "To Adam, love Josie" on the bottom of the picture.

I found this entire exchange very disturbing.

I am an unabashed, enthusiastic feminist.  And not in the bra-burning, humorless, man-hating sense that certain people have wrong-headedly taken the word to mean.  I love my bras, I have a great sense of humor, and God knows I adore men (my life would be so much easier if I didn't, but alas).  No, I am a feminist because I believe women should be treated equally before the law, in business, and in society in terms of their opportunities, that they should be granted the same agency and autonomy as men, and that they shouldn't be judged according to double standards, sexual or otherwise.

Nothing about the way I conduct myself or live my life could possibly give my children any reason to believe anything but that women should be in relationships in which they are true partners, that they should strive for whatever career they desire and are qualified for, or that they should in any way be viewed or treated as lesser than men.

So why is my daughter overtly declaring that having a boyfriend means that she is his servant?

Not sure how to handle this one.  It might be time to download Free To Be You and Me, which I never thought my children would need, a full 43 years after it was released.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions

When I lie awake in the middle of the night or early morning, I often feel like my brain is buzzing.  I can't turn it off.

I have a tendency (annoying as hell to many, I'm sure) to over analyze every little thing.  It could be something that someone said, and I will think about it and parse the sentence, or wonder at their word choice.

Why use this word as opposed to that word? What I think she actually meant was the other word...

Or I'll think about a conversation or an interaction, and pick it apart from a psychological perspective.

Why is her attitude toward me so quick to change? What's going on?

When my job involved litigating cases, I would write briefs in my head.

I'm obsessed with being able to remember things.  At one point, back in my early years living in Atlanta, I got it in my head to memorize, in alphabetical order, all 159 counties in the state of Georgia. During bouts of insomnia, I would recite to myself, "Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin ..."

 No reason except that I decided I wanted to do it, so I did. Seriously, what the fuck was that about?

Or I'll go through my life and try to remember the layout of every house in every country I've ever lived in, or the names of all the teachers I've ever had.  Phone numbers. Song lyrics.  Movie dialogue.

It's a little crazy, I know.  But at least it's a benign crazy.

Sometimes I play the time machine game.

If I could go back in time and step into my life at any particular point, where would I start?  Maybe I would go back to India, relive that happy time, and then, when applying to colleges, make a different choice.  I was accepted to the honors programs at both Michigan and Virginia, and I chose Virginia. What if I had chosen Michigan?  Who would my close friends be?  Would I have gone to a different law school, or not gone to law school at all?  Maybe I would have gone to medical school instead.  Where would I have worked after that? In which city? Doing what?  Who would I have dated or loved?

Maybe I would go back to Atlanta.  What if I had worked at a different firm?  What if I hadn't made a mess of the relationship that was so important to me?

What if I hadn't gone on the surf trip to Costa Rica, but had decided on a different vacation?

Or what if, in Costa Rica, I had let a fling be a fling and left it at that?  Instead of behaving completely out of character and pursuing something that had pretty much no chance of working out, and if I'm honest with myself, that a part of me knew that but I pursued it anyway.  Ignoring what I knew about myself and my needs and tendencies, disregarding my own judgment and character, living a life I knew was wrong for me.

Kind of like being in a mild version of a fugue state for 10 years, but without the amnesia.

Every little choice affects the path you end up on, in ways that seem imperceptible at the time.

As I I lie there in the dark, my ability to immerse myself in that alternate reality is powerful. Even fully awake, I'm so present in my imagination that it's almost like I'm in a particularly lucid dream, one of those that feels entirely real.

But of course, I know that I'm awake.  At the heart of it all, I am fundamentally a realist.  And after a few minutes, I roll over, look around my room, and bring myself back.  I think about the day to come, my schedule, my obligations, and I make a plan.