Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Tennis in the heat, weird dreams in bed

At my happy place, Holyoke Canoe Club
I dreamt I was in Atlantic Beach (Long Island) site of idyllic summer days. My father was gone. My mother didn’t own the house anymore but had an agreement with the woman who did own it that we could use it on weekends. We went for a weekend. I planned to run on the boardwalk and take a walk with my mother. 

We heard that the woman was coming earlier than expected, with her kids. I have seen this woman before in my dreams. She isn’t nice. She wants to rearrange the furniture. We have to “butter her up” so she lets us continue to use it. I say to one of her daughters, “I grew up playing kickball in these streets. I need to keep coming back.” 

She says she will take care of it. But they want us to leave early. There will be no time for the run or the walk. I ask my mother if we can stay an extra couple of hours and maybe hang out with our neighbors, the Lublins. It doesn’t seem likely.

In another part of the dream, I am down at the ocean. It is supposed to be calm. But the waves are rough. A tidal wave approaches. I dive into it, then come up for air. I run to dry land, into a room, but the water seeps through. Then I am standing under an overhang. The wave crashes over it. Tiny droplets fall onto my head. Tidal wave dreams seem to be about surging emotions. I have a lot of variations. I think I did OK in this one.

I also dreamt that I walked into my mother’s jewelry store and stood back in shock when I saw my aunt Cinny behind the counter. I thought, “But you’re dead!” When I walked closer, I saw that it was a woman with red hair, with a strong resemblance to my aunt. 

Out of the blue, a voice said, “You believe in Jesus!”

I said, “I do not believe he is the son of God, but I do believe he was a good man.”


My friend and editor Mimi thinks I should stop already, but I don’t know how to tell my subconscious to get out of there.

In the dream, I went into the newspaper office and talked to some reporters who were there. I asked if (managing editor) Wayne would let me write three reviews a week. I said I really missed being in the office and would even do it for free. A reporter said they were letting go, not hiring. I decided to go to the library to look for other newspapers that might accept a review. Then I remembered that I was a freelancer and could pitch anywhere I wanted.

In real life, I have been playing a lot of pretty good tennis. It is a little crazy to do this in the heat. It is of course not good for my skin. But I don’t see how you play tennis this summer without getting sun. I finally found a relatively comfortable sun protection shirt, made in Australia. I wear sun protection gloves. I use sunscreen. It is my therapy and so I continue to do it.

I have skipped a couple of George’s Wednesday clinics at the Canoe Club in favor of yoga with Meghan at the Hampshire Y. The clinics are like summer camp for adults, and a lot of fun, but it is also so much sun despite starting out on George’s “air conditioned” court near the river. He makes it really difficult if you say you need to leave early. (I know, I’m a big girl, but if you know George, you’ll know what I mean about how hard it is to do the opposite of what he says. Note to self: Next time just do it, to save your skin.) Also: Do not neglect the yoga. It provides an important balance.

I had to play singles in a summer league match. I haven’t played singles in a long time. I have a claim to fame in winning at the Districts in singles. A long long time ago.

When I was practicing on the Mount Holyoke courts, I chatted with the coach running the summer tennis camp. I told him I was a little nervous about playing singles. He said, “I always tell people, 'You’re a tennis player, not a singles or doubles player.'" That made an impression.

Out on the court, I said “bounce, hit,” a method I learned from reading The Inner Game of Tennis. It helps quiet mental chattering and calm nerves. I reminded myself that I was strong. I fixed my strings (not really because there is nothing to fix; it is just another technique that improves focus.) I bounced around on my toes, despite getting tired. It helped me keep energized.

We played the whole two hours. I have to admit that by the end, my back was stiffening up. 

I won in two sets, in a “timed match,” meaning we ran our of time when I was ahead by two games at 5-3. I think I won the first set 7-5, but it is mushing in my memory with last night’s winning match in the heat, this time doubles, with my summer team, the Paper Dolls, with a fun partner. I had already played in the morning with a regular Monday group. When we stopped, the sweat was dripping into my eyes to the point where I couldn’t see.

I mentioned to my partner that at Dana-Farber, my home-away-from-home, they wouldn't be happy about all the sun on my skin. I can't remember who knows what.

She asked if I was in treatment. I have a good nutshell summary that consists of past leukemia and current side effects including problems with my skin. If there is time and it seems appropriate, I throw in four bone marrow transplants. She said you would never know it.

When we were done, I walked very slowly out of  Forest Park . You could say I trudged. I headed straight to Friendly's for a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone.  By the time I got it, that ice cream tasted pretty great.


Gwen Agna said...

I love reading your blog, Ronnie. Thank you for your clarity, honesty and extraordinary courage. Love, Gwen

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