Monday, April 19, 2010


Last Thursday evening, Jeff and I attended an end-of-the-year potluck supper for our life group. We knew it would be fun--life group get-togethers always are--but we had no idea just how fun it would turn out to be.

It started out pretty much as expected. We arrived, we chatted, we laughed, and once everyone had arrived, we ate. While we ate, we chatted and laughed some more. After dinner, I was not surprised that those who finished first took their own dishes to the kitchen and then returned for the dishes of those who finished later. As one of the last to finish (I was talking too much), I was mildly surprised that two different people almost took my plate before I had finished. Strange, but I chalked it up to overeagerness to be helpful. It turns out that I should have chalked it up to a determination to keep me out of the kitchen!

Jeff finished even later than I did (he had seconds) and made it to the kitchen without being intercepted. I found out later that after he was already in the kitchen, across the room from the door, placing his dishes by the sink, he noticed that the two or three ladies who were in there at the time were looking at him in horror. At the same time, he noticed the cakes on the counter. He quickly whipped his head around in the other direction and said something along the lines of, "I didn't see anything!" He said later that he was surprised that he didn't turn from the sink to see the ladies lined up in front of the counter; they said later that they were frozen in shock and couldn't think quickly enough what to do.

Not too long after that, our hostess stood up to make a short speech. In it, she revealed that our life group had been talking about us behind our backs--planning a surprise baby shower! Then the games began. First up was a "descrambling" game. The group was divided into two teams, each of which was shown a scrambled word at the same time. The first team to descramble the word got a point. The words all were pregnancy- or baby-related, like "high chair" or "diapers." My team won by a huge margin.

Then there were races. For one, a couple from each team had to put a cloth diaper on a baby doll--using only one hand each. They were judged both on time and on how well the diaper was on. Other than banging the doll's head against the table--which both teams did at some point--both teams did well. There also was the "Who can drink a bottle of juice fastest?" race (we forgot to specify that it was against the rules to untwist the cap and guzzle it, so that's what the winner eventually did) and the hanging baby clothes race, in which a representative of each team had to multitask by simultaneously holding the baby, hanging baby clothes on a clothes line, and telling a story into a mobile phone. That one was funny because of the stories people came up with and the poor little baby doll who ended up with her face in a man's armpit while he held her in a basket.

After that, it was time for gifts. Wow, what a haul!

I don't know if you can see everything clearly in the picture, so let me tell you what's in there: We have three stuffed animals, massage oil (a gift for Jeff that I'm going to appreciate greatly!), a onesie/skirt set, a short set, a hooded winter suit with cool foldover arms and legs, and more assorted onesies and sleepers. We also have a wonderful variety of bibs, diaper covers, wash/burp cloths, a navel protector, and onesies that were embroidered just for us by one of our friends. And the circle pattern that you see peeping through in the middle is a tiny bit of the nursing cover that will be so incredibly useful as I learn to nurse modestly in public (think 14+ hours in airplanes and airports on the trip to Cairo). Oh, and I know you probably can't see this in the picture: there's also a bouncy seat. It's up at the top, at the corner of the "Drool is Cool" bib and the nursing cover. Okay, so it's just a picture in the picture, but the APO mail system has been slow lately, so the real thing didn't quite make it here in time for the shower. But from the picture, I think Alexa is going to enjoy it. And I like the looks of it--it has safari-type animals on it, sort of an unofficial, accidental theme in the bedding and such that we've picked out. (We didn't pick a whole matching set, just some separate sheets, blankets, and a mobile, but it definitely is turning out to be a safari theme.)

We have great friends, don't we?

After the gifts, we had a time of prayer. Our group prayed for us, for Alexa, and for the two couples in our group who will be leaving Cairo permanently this summer. That part was bittersweet--life as an expat has many more good-byes than life back in the States had. But at the same time, we would never have met all these wonderful people had we stayed at home, and the joy of the relationships definitely outweighs the sadness of the good-byes. It's even possible that we'll see one of the couples again.

After this more serious time, we got back to the lighthearted bits--it was time for cake. Two of them, to be precise. And they both tasted as wonderful as they look. You can't really tell from the pictures how large they were--we ended up taking home half of the chocolate one, at the insistence of the person who brought it. Only about 25% of the white one was eaten that night--it was huge--and the rest was divvied up among all the guests. We took home a paper-plateful of it, too. Both remained tasty over the next several days.

After cake, everyone started winding down. It was getting late; I wasn't the only one whose eyelids started drifting downward. After the other guests had left, our host and hostess kindly walked with Jeff and me back to our place--we live maybe 2 blocks from them--to help us carry our cake, presents, and dishes.

It was a good night. The potluck part was fun; the shower was hilarious. And most importantly, it was a time of great fellowship with great friends.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sharm el Sheikh

Toward the end of February, Jeff and I took a mini-vacation and spent a long weekend in Sharm el Sheikh. (I know, I've taken my sweet time writing about it, but what else is new?) Some friends were spending a week there to dive, and we decided to join them for the last part of their vacation. We arrived on a Wednesday evening and flew back to Cairo that Saturday.

Because our friends were diving, we knew that they were both getting up and going to bed early. When we arrived Wednesday night, they very well may have been asleep already. So we checked in, unpacked a little, then went in search of the restaurant we had chosen for dinner: El Kababgy, the Oriental restaurant on the resort. (Here in Egypt, what we would call "Middle Eastern" is labeled "Oriental," in accordance with the way the word was used before Europeans became aware of the Far East. So an Oriental restaurant is not Chinese or Japanese, but local, often serving Lebanese and/or Egyptian food.) We got a little lost on the way, but that was due to the darkness and our own exhaustion more than anything else, I think. It was worth the effort to find the place--the hummus, shish tawook, and kofta all were delicious.

After dinner, we headed back to our room for some sleep. On the way, though, I stopped to take a couple of photographs. The lights of Sharm across the bay from our resort were beautiful, although I couldn't get any pictures of that to turn out well. I also was fascinated by the traditional lamps that were used to provide the (sparse) lighting on the stairs and walkways.

The next morning, Jeff and I slept late. Then we found our way to the main restaurant (I forget the name) where the breakfast buffet was held. There we found an omelet station, a fruit bar, a bread bar, an Oriental corner (which boasted fuul and some other local breakfast dishes), and a variety of egg and sausage dishes (not pork sausage; that's very unusual in Egypt). Most importantly to me, there also were the usual fresh, delicious juices--orange, apple, and hibiscus. After enjoying a leisurely breakfast, Jeff and I took a walk around the resort to see what was available. Then we headed to the pool, where we spent most of the day relaxing and reading.

That evening, we met up with our friends for dinner. Their dive team had told them about a good steak restaurant in Na'ama Bay, an area not too far from the resort, and we were up for anything. We took a couple of the hotel taxis to the area where they'd been told to go, but we had issues finding the exact restaurant that had been mentioned. We were able, however, to find another steak place that was very good. The best part about the restaurant was the atmosphere--it looked like a jungle in there. There seemed to be trees growing inside the restaurant. The lighting was dim, mostly candlelight. The music was unfortunately loud, but it didn't detract too much. After a very nice dinner, we rolled ourselves out of our seats and began heading back.

I must say, it was interesting watching our friends--who are living outside of the U.S. but not in Egypt--negotiate a taxi fare. There was quite a bit of discussion about exactly which taxi we would be getting into, as it wasn't the drivers who were negotiating. There was a long line at the taxi stand, and those drivers at the front of the line wanted outrageous prices because they had had to wait so long to get to the front of the line. It was set up so that once a driver was in the line, they couldn't pull out, so the order in which they received passengers was fixed. Passengers who didn't want to pay the large prices could negotiate with representatives of other drivers, who may be parked across the divided highway, a long walk down the road, or who may not be parked at all--they may just cruise by and illegally stop to pick us up. I'm not sure how many taxis were rejected for fear of crossing the busy road. It was a new situation even for Jeff and me, since nothing is that organized in Cairo; we just flag down a taxi and negotiate right there on the street, no matter how many horns are honking behind us.

The next day, the group all met for breakfast. Our friends weren't diving that day, as they were flying the next and needed a day between diving and flying for safety reasons. We decided to spend the morning relaxing by the pool. While the others headed there, I grabbed my camera and made another round of the resort. There were just too many beautiful sights that I hadn't captured yet. After my detour, I rejoined the others and spent the morning reading and relaxing.

Around noon, we decided to leave the resort for lunch. Our friends confessed that every day as they traveled to and from the dock, they had been eying the McDonald's down the road with longing--it's funny the things you start to yearn for when you live in a country where they aren't available. We were going to take a taxi there, but the hotel taxis were inflexible in their pricing, and they were going to charge us as much for a 2-minute drive as it would have been for a 15-minute drive, so we decided to walk. It really wasn't that far, and we thought of it as a preemptive strike on the calories we were about to consume. So we walked to McDonald's and thoroughly enjoyed the absolute glee with which our friends attacked their burgers. Afterward, a few of us walked two doors down to Starbucks (mmm, Frappuccino!), while a couple more went to the nearby convenience store to stock up on snacks for the next day's plane ride. Unfortunately, one of our number started feeling badly--I think she's allergic to wheat and unknowingly had consumed some in her yogurt--so we postponed the shopping we were going to do and headed back to the resort instead. We all agreed that we were ready for our afternoon naps anyway :-)

A couple of hours later, four of us went out to do our shopping. We went back to Na'ama Bay and allowed the shopkeepers to lure us in, although we disappointed most of them. We did a lot of looking and very little buying. Our friends were looking for t-shirts to commemorate one of the dives they had taken--Thistlegorm, I think, a wreck site that's a really big deal to divers, and justifiably so, from the pictures they took. They also wanted some cartouches, but Jeff and I cautioned them against anyone who would be able to customize them in the time they had left--tourists have been known to discover that the characters were glued on. It also seemed that the vendors were offering lower quality for higher prices than what we've seen, so we offered to simply order the cartouches from our favorite jeweler and ship them. (We still haven't done that, but we plan to do it this weekend, promise!) Then we started looking for "typical Egyptian" souvenirs, and I admit that I had a hard time coming up with something that is typical Egyptian other than cartouches, papyrus, alabaster, and distinctive lamps or mashrabeyya (there's a picture of what I mean here), the last two of which are common throughout the Middle East. We did eventually find a shop that had a variety of authentic--rather than touristy--Egyptian items, some of which even had tags from one of my favorite charity vendors here in Cairo. Better yet, they even had clearly labeled prices, which were reasonable, considering that it was located in a very touristy area. And, when I spoke with the shopkeeper in Arabic and he was curious as to why I was able to do so, I told him that Jeff and I live in Cairo. He shook his head, said "I wish you hadn't told me that," and dropped the prices on the items we purchased by about 10%.

After making our purchases, we headed back to the resort (more fun with taxis!). Later that evening, we met at El Kobabgy for dinner. Jeff and I were the first ones there, so we waited outside for the others. While we waited, we watched a woman baking bread in the traditional oven located just outside the restaurant. She saw us watching and gave us a sample of flatbread fresh from the oven--so delicious! Eventually the others showed up and we all went in to enjoy our last evening in Sharm.

The next day, we all left at different times, some very early, others not until late afternoon. Jeff and I enjoyed a late breakfast, then checked out of the hotel. We got back to Cairo in the early afternoon and had some time to get settled back in at home. I quickly discovered, while catching up on Facebook and with friends' blogs, that we had missed the event of a decade in Cairo--a genuine hail and rain storm, a true deluge! I'm glad that we didn't have to put up with the headaches that our friends here reported--such as stranded metro riders, parking lot roads, and water up to the 12-inch curbs--but I couldn't help but be a little miffed that Cairo finally got real rain, and we missed it. Oh, well, maybe next year ... but probably not.

(Side note for anyone who may want to visit Sharm: we stayed at the Sofitel resort in Na'ama Bay. It was beautiful--all of the pictures throughout this post were taken on the grounds; this last one is of a pattern that was on the ceiling of the reception area. The rooms were clean and mostly comfortable. Our air conditioner didn't seem to be functioning as well as we would prefer; it got hot during the day, even when we left it on all day, but it cooled off quickly in the evening when we opened the main door and the door to our balcony to let a breeze come through. The service and food at all three restaurants that we tried was very good--El Kababgy, the main one, and another outdoor cafe where we had lunch on Thursday. Overall, I would recommend it as a great place to go for a weekend getaway. I don't think I'd want to stay longer than a weekend unless I was diving or had other activities planned, though. Oh, and a word of warning for American prudes like me--there were guests from all over the world, so pool-side attire ranged all the way from niqab to topless bikinis.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cute Little Things

Not too long ago, Jeff spent two weeks back in the Washington, DC, area for work. His hotel was in the same area where we lived before we moved to Egypt--in fact, it was the same hotel in which we stayed for a few days after the movers took our stuff and before our scheduled departure. Jeff, therefore, was able to spend evenings and 3 weekend days (he arrived on a Saturday and left two Fridays later) with friends; he even attended our home church for the first time in almost two years. And even better (from my perspective, though not from his), he was able to spend a full weekend visiting Babies'R'Us, Target, and other brick-and-mortar stores to actually lay eyes--and hands!--on some of the things we've been looking at online and considering for Alexa. Thanks to his trip, we were able to decide on the glider we want for the nursery, and he was able to give me guidelines within which I can pick out any crib, changing table, and dresser I want once I go back this summer. He also made a decision about the baby carrier that we'll purchase for his use (I had already chosen mine--turns out he'll get the same kind, or we may even share) and the new digital camera we'll use to record those cute little moments of Alexa's life. It was a good, productive time, in addition to fun for him--watching March Madness live, eating at his favorite restaurants, seeing friends, and in particular, spending lots of time with his "bestest buddy" from college (who again earned his "bestest buddy" status by accompanying Jeff on the baby shopping expedition).

But Jeff did not content himself with doing the bare minimum that I had requested for Alexa. He dragged his buddy not only to the furniture department, but to the clothing department. Unbeknownst to me, he was on a mission to show me in a tangible way that he's excited about our coming daughter and that he wants to be involved in her life and in the decisions that we have yet to make before her arrival. This is what he came back with:

I'm not sure if you can read it or not, but the onesie says "Daddy loves me." I think that says it all, doesn't it?

Jeff wasn't the only one thinking of our little Alexa while he was home. Another good friend--friends, actually, a husband and wife couple--sent a gift back with Jeff. When we opened it after his return home, we found these adorable little items:

Again, I'm not sure how well the details will show up in the picture. The onesie in the middle (which does have sleeves; they're just folded back so you can see the other onesies too) has a teddy bear and a duck on it, and the one on the right has a giraffe. The left one has a pattern of teddy bears, giraffes, ducks, and sheep. And of course, the sleeper has frogs :)

I've also purchased just a couple of things for Alexa here in Egypt. At a charity bazaar, I bought a hooded towel and a board book that I remember fondly from my own childhood:

And then there are all the wonderful gifts that we received at a surprise baby shower a couple of nights ago--but I think I'll hold off on sharing those. I may write a post about the shower itself, so if I do, I'll share pictures then.

I think it may be a good thing that I'm not in the States right now. Baby items are just such cute little things--in the States, it's entirely too easy to go to the mall or to Target or to [insert your favorite store] and spend entirely too much money on them. Here, I'm sure that there are stores that have the same cute little things, but I've had no reason to find them before now, and I'm doing remarkably well at resisting the impulse. It's allowing us to save the money we'll need for the larger baby purchases I'll make this summer ... and maybe have enough left over to buy some more cute little things too :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What's In a Name?

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
                                       -- William Shakespeare

It is true that the name of a thing doesn't change the essence of the thing. A rose really would smell just the same whether it were called a rose, a cloud, a lamp, or a grave. The essence of the rose would not differ just because of its name. In fact, the reason why most of us probably consider the word rose to be pleasant is because of the thing that it names--rather than the name affecting our perception of the thing, the thing affects our perception of the name. We probably would not have such a positive attitude toward the word rose if it described, not a fragrant flower, but a putrid body odor.

The same thing holds true with human names. There are names that I never particularly liked, until I met some wonderful person who happened to have that name, and now I have a more favorable opinion of the name itself. There are names that I used to love, until I met some arrogant or cruel person who happened to have that name, and now I dislike the name itself. But to some degree, the opposite also holds true with human names. The names that we give sometimes seem to affect the character or personality of the child who is named. Of course, it may just be that certain types of parents give certain types of names and also engage in certain parenting behaviors that tend to result in certain types of children--a mother who names her child "Elizabeth" or "Matthew" will probably raise that child in a much more traditional way than a mother who names her child "Apple" or "Thor." Human names also can affect the way people view the person who carries the name--we tend to have a stereotype of "Martha" that is very different from our stereotype of "Delilah."

Given names are not the most important attribute of a person, but they are important, for the reasons stated above. Naming a child is one of the great privileges--and great responsibilities--of parenthood. It can be a difficult decision, but it's also one of the more fun tasks, provided that Mom and Dad both go into it with a positive and flexible attitude.

Yes, Jeff and I have been discussing names for our preborn daughter.

Yes, we have come to a decision. (No, we have not yet chosen a backup boy's name, just in case the doctor's "pretty certain" turns out not to be certain enough. We will choose one, but we haven't done it yet.)

Yes, we're announcing that name today.

No, not quite yet--you'll have to keep reading if you want to know :)

The first bit of the name that we decided on actually was the middle name. Jeff mentioned long ago--before we even married--that he would love to name his firstborn daughter after his paternal grandmother. He used to go visit his grandparents on their farm for the summer when he was a child, and he has wonderful memories of the time he spent there. Later, his grandmother moved into an assisted living facility near his father's home, and Jeff visited her as much as he was able. She died a year or so before we married, and it was a very difficult time for Jeff. So when he said that he would like to name his daughter after her, it didn't occur to me to refuse. However, I did negotiate with him--I asked if he would accept his grandmother's name as his daughter's middle name rather than as her first name. I freely admit that my preference was due to a superficial--but important to me--factor. His grandmother's name starts with the letter R. When I was a child, I had to attend speech therapy because my Rs sounded like Ws. I speak more clearly now, but there have been moments throughout my life when the R sound just wouldn't come out correctly, and I was teased unmercifully by a few schoolmates. I often feel slightly self-conscious when saying words beginning with R, so you can imagine my chagrin at the thought of going through the rest of my life with an R-named daughter! Luckily, Jeff was fine with the request, even before I explained why I made it.

Because we already had the middle name picked out, all that was left to us recently was to choose the first name. It was important to me that the name we chose be pretty and meaningful. I also would like for it not to be too common, but all of my favorites were more common than I prefer, so I focused instead on the meaning and on how it sounds with the middle name we chose and with our last name. I love the idea that names' meanings could influence the child's character, and I greatly appreciate the meaning of the middle name we chose: it means friend.

I considered several meaningful first names that sounded nice with the middle and last names our daughter will have. Jeff considered a few. I got stuck on one of the first ones that I considered--a name of Greek origin that means defender. I love the idea of my daughter being a defender. A defender of truth, of justice, of any younger siblings we may eventually give her. And I like how it combines with her middle name: defender-friend. A defender of her friends, a friend of those who defend. Someone strong and principled enough to be a defender, and caring and personable enough to be a friend. In my mind, it was perfect.

Eventually, Jeff agreed with me. So we have a name. Would you like to hear it?

Alexa Ruth.

Our daughter, the defender-friend. I can't wait to meet her.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I hate dreams.

Oh, not the inspirational "I have a dream" goal-and-aspiration kind of dreams--I'm a big fan of those. No, the ones I despise are the ones that come when you sleep, when you're most vulnerable and defenseless. I've hated those as long as I can remember.

I have good reason, too: They've never been kind to me. As a child, I would wake with night terrors--those middle of the night awakenings that are filled with unexplainable fear, the remnant of nightmares that you don't remember even as you wake up. Sometimes I would remember the gist of the nightmare (it had "something" to do with vampires, or with demons, or with evil people trying to hurt my little brother--who actually was littler than me at the time--and only I was there to protect him; but I had no specifics, just the general awareness of who the bad guys had been). On very rare occasions I would remember more details, at least for a few minutes, until I was fully awake. Most often I didn't remember anything at all about the dream. Once my father told me that it would help if I talked about my nightmares, but I was ashamed to admit that I was still so terrified and didn't even remember what I was afraid of, so I made up a nightmare to tell him. I developed my own little mantra-like prayer that I would repeat over and over every night until I fell asleep--and every time I awoke in the night. "Jesus, help me. Let me fall asleep quickly and sleep all night. Don't let me have any bad dreams. Don't let me be afraid. Please help me, Jesus." I said it well into my 20s.

The blessing for me is that I don't remember my dreams. As I've gotten older, there have been times when one of my friends would tell me about the wonderful dream she had. I assume that there is no way all of my dreams could be bad, and from time to time I became determined to remember a good one. So I'd be sure not to set an alarm clock, and as I slowly woke up, I would focus on remembering. Without exception, every time, the dream I remembered would be scary or sad. Eventually I just thanked God for removing the memories of my nighttime fears and sorrows, and I stopped trying to remember. For me, there is no such thing as a good dream.

When I became pregnant and started researching what to expect, it didn't take long for me to find the little tidbit about dreams becoming more vivid. "Ha!" I thought. "Not a problem, I don't remember them anyway, and that's the way I like it." Famous last words.

So far I've remembered three: the gist of one of them and some details of the other two.

The first two weren't really that bad. They were both early on in the pregnancy, either the same night or within a few nights of each other. For the first, in the dream, I was very close to my due date, still here in Egypt (although that won't be the case in real life), when Jeff told me that he was going on a sailing trip with a friend. (No, Jeff doesn't sail, but in the dream he did, and the friend desperately needed him to go for some reason that was not explained to me.) I cried and begged him not to go, sure that something would happen and he wouldn't come back. He went anyway. In my dream, it was like one of those movies, where you see the person sitting still and time passing all around her--I sat on the sofa and did absolutely nothing the whole time he was gone, which I think was several days, possibly weeks; I didn't even eat. I just sat there, numb and abandoned. Then he came back and asked me what I had done while he was gone. I couldn't tell him; for me, it was like he had just walked out the door. I had shut down and I couldn't explain where the time had gone. He was very concerned. Then I woke up. This dream was miserable while I was in it, but as soon as I woke up, I was fine. I decided that apparently I had a fear of being abandoned, but even my subconscious knew that Jeff would never abandon me, so I shrugged it off.

The second dream is the one I only remember the gist of. In this dream, I left. I didn't want to but I had to. I was completely alone and afraid, hiding in some abandoned area from something bad that was following me. But in the dream I prayed and somehow knew it would all turn out okay. Then I woke up. I chose to interpret this dream in a reassuring way as well--I know that no matter how I feel or what my situation, God is there and will take care of me. Not so bad for me. Downright pleasant, considering my usual nighttime horrors.

Then there was the dream I had last night. It was, without a doubt, the worst dream I have ever had. And I remember way too many details. Way too many. In the dream, I was with my husband and my mother when my mother told me that my sister had committed suicide. (In real life, there is no indication at all that she would ever do such a thing--she isn't even depressed.) I remember feeling the numbness that can be such a blessing in times of horrific news, the numbness that shields the mind from having to take it all in at once. And then I had to say something. My mind skittered across the questions that I knew I eventually would want--or need--to have answered. Why? How? As soon as I thought of a question, I recoiled from it, knowing that I couldn't handle the answer. Finally I settled on a question I could handle: When is the funeral? But as soon as I opened my mouth to ask, I lost control. I started sobbing and buried my face in my hands, trying to hold the emotion in until I could stuff it away somewhere. Then suddenly I was somewhere else, with someone else, who I don't know, other than that she was female. We were walking along a wide asphalt path with manicured lawns on either side. She was chattering on about some inane topic like people do when they don't know what to say about the thing that really matters, but I wasn't paying attention to what she was saying. I felt a burning need to know when my sister's funeral was, and I knew that this other person could tell me. But again, when I opened my mouth to ask, I lost control. That time, when I covered my face with my hands, I woke up.

I woke up gasping for air. I looked around my room, realized it was only a dream, and burst into tears. That's never happened to me before. I've woken up crying and even yelling before, but as soon as I realize it's only a dream, I'm able to let it go. Always--that's a skill I've spent a lot of time learning, and I've gotten really good at it. But this time I couldn't. I was struggling so hard to hold it all in, to stay quiet and not wake up Jeff, that it physically hurt. I got up and went into the bathroom, where I just cried for a good ten minutes. When I thought I was okay again, I went back to bed, but before I even lay down, I started crying again. Back into the bathroom I went. Eventually I calmed down enough to go back to sleep, but when I woke up again this morning, it was still there--which is very unusual; even if I do remember when I wake up at night, I don't remember the next morning, not more than the gist of it. But this one, I still remembered so clearly. I started to tell Jeff about it but started crying again and decided that maybe if I just didn't think about it, it would go away. It hasn't. It's lingered all day, making me tired and teary-eyed. I took a nap this morning, because I know that the more tired I am, the more emotional I get. It didn't help.

So now I'm writing about it, hoping that if I express it in this way, I'll be able to release it. I don't understand why this one is hanging on so tightly. There is no truth in this dream that I can discover. There is no reason to fear that my sister is suicidal. There is no reason for me to remember this dream. This dream has been haunting me all day--and on Easter, for crying out loud! It needs to go away already.

Which leads me back to the beginning, with some modification.

I do not merely hate dreams. I utterly despise, abhor, and loathe them.