Category Archives: dreams

Tornado Warning for Wilkes-Barre Brings Back OK Memories

Today is an odd weather day in Northeast PA. We have a tornado watch. That doesn’t happen too often. Sure, we get hail and damaging winds. But I believe the last time we had a really devastating tornado in Wilkes-Barre ish areas was in 1998 at Lake Carey. At any rate, I had one of my end of the world dreams last night. We were leaving town quickly and by the time the bus we were on got out of town, I overheard someone saying the town was gone. In my dream, I had to pee so I told someone that I was glad I didn’t stop to pee after all or else I may not have made it. (I don’t know what the end of the world came from in my dream.) So, like you may also experience, when you have to pee in your dream, sometimes you wake up and have to pee, too. So, I woke up. I grabbed my iPhone to see what time it was. It felt early. I have no windows in my bedroom, so it’s a dark dungeon and I never know what time it is. Oversleeping is a result. A welcome result. My iPhone though was as dark as my room. Died overnight. (Like all those people in my dream.) I plugged it in and ran downstairs to pee. The clock on the stove told me it was just after 11. I took a few swigs of apple juice from the jug and when I got back upstairs to return to bed, I saw my phone also got some juice. And several old texts from earlier in the morning popped up. They were from the weather channel.

Tornado Watch for Wilkes-Barre.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Luzerne County.

Shit, I thought. Is my dream coming true? I lay back down,heart still racing a bit from having a movie-like Armageddon dream (it wasn’t a nightmare – it was more like a movie) but maybe racing because fear of dying in a tornado in the waking world was setting in.

I lived in Oklahoma for three years and that’s when I first really learned about tornadoes. In my memoir, I wrote a chapter about aclimating to Tulsa. Here’s a small excerpt of that chapter. To bring you up to speed, this is almost halfway through the book – the first part is about growing up in the Poconos. Here, I was 13, it was the Spring of 1992 and I had just moved to Tulsa — this was my third school that year.


One of the first things I learned in my new school is that we may have made a tiny mistake in moving to Tulsa. I am not sure if my mom knew how much she was endangering our lives by bringing us to Oklahoma.

tulsa tornado
This is an image from the most deadly tornado in Tulsa. I also lived there for that, 1993 or 1994 I think. It destroyed a huge truckstop when it came up I-44. Image credit from

I knew what tornadoes were: I’d seen the Wizard of Oz many times. But, I never thought I’d have to prepare for one. Since it was spring, which everyone in Tulsa called Tornado Season, we had tornado drills to practice how we’d survive if high, spiral-shaped winds hit Nimitz Middle School. Back in Pennsylvania, we only had fire drills, so this was quite scary. When the tornado drill bell sounded, we proceeded to the interior hallways and sat Indian-style facing the lockers. Being by the interior walls was safer, we were told. There were no windows, so we’d be protected from glass shards. We put our arms behind our necks and placed our heads down in our laps. This would shield us from the debris. After the first tornado drill, when we were back in the classroom, we were issued an informational packet with all sorts of safety tips and preparation techniques from an educational program Channel 8 News put together called Travis Meyer’s Wicked Weather Guide. Travis was a local meteorologist, so I trusted his judgment and studied his guide as if it were material for an exam.

But, I wasn’t at school the first time a tornado threatened my new city.

One Thursday in mid-May, Joe, Theresa, Michelle, Dan, and I were planning on going to the movies, New Jack City I think.   It was raining and I was getting petrified. I knew that rain in the heat could cause a thunderstorm and that thunder and lightening could bring a tornado. Our television had been on all day and, on the little ticker beneath the show, there was a tornado watch for Tulsa County. A watch, according to Travis Meyer’s Wicked Weather Guide, meant there was a possibility a tornado could form. But, a little later in the day, that watch transformed into a warning, which meant there were actually tornadoes on the ground. There was no way I was going outside.

“I am not going!” I yelled to Joe, even though going to the movies was one of my favorite things to do. Not much could tear me away from the prospect of Reese’s Pieces and hot, drizzly butter, but dying in a tornado did the trick.

He just laughed at me and continued watching TV. I called my mom at work. The mall management was instructing all employees and shoppers to head to the mall’s tornado shelter but, yet, she assured me everything would be fine; it was just a precaution. I’d be safe at the movies. My aunts and Dan had gathered at our apartment for the family outing. They saw I was freaking out.

“What’s the matter with you, Gutt?” asked Dan. He’d nicknamed Theresa and I “Butt and Gutt.” He even drew stick figures to represent this duo. Mine had a bubble in the front; Theresa’s bubble was in the back. I hated it.

“Don’t you watch TV? There’s a freakin’ tornado,” I cried from the hallway, the interior hallway.

“Well, a huge movie theater is safer than this place,” he said.

I didn’t care. I did what Travis Meyers said to do when severe weather struck. I pulled my twin foam mattress into my bathroom and told my family I was climbing in what was dubbed the safest place in the house, the bathtub. A video we watched in school showed totally destroyed houses with toilets and tubs still standing admist the debris.

“Oh, Jesus Fucking Christ, Donna. Stop your happy horseshit. Let’s go,” Joe said.

“We’re gonna die. Don’t you care?” I said getting into the tub. “Oh, I forgot my radio.”

I got out of the tub and went across the hall to my bedroom to grab my AM/FM alarm clock, which had batteries inside as a back up. This way, I would be aware of all the destruction and find out when it was safe to come out of the tub.

“I can’t believe you’re gonna miss the movie,” yelled Theresa. I was leaving her alone with all adults. She liked being with the adults anyway; she always sat at the adult table on holidays while the boys and I had more fun at the kids’ table. “You’re such a wuss.”

Wuss, I thought. I had the guide, in black and white, right here. Meteorological professionals don’t call it a tornado warning for no reason. There was a serious threat. She asked me one last time if I was really going to sit in the bathtub while they went to enjoy a movie.

“Yes. I told you guys. I’m staying here. You guys are crazy.”

She left the bathroom and I heard the front door slam. I could hear thunder and rain. I read and reread Travis Meyer’s Wicked Weather Guide in the bathtub until I became bored. The weather had calmed down. I put the mattress back on my bed. I plugged back in my alarm clock. I survived my first tornado. I waited for my family to come back from the movie theater, secretly wishing Joe got caught up in the winds like the cows in Wizard of Oz. But, the tornado had passed our part of Tulsa — this time. In fact, the Tulsa World the next day called it an F0 tornado, only causing some tree branches to fall.


Eddie & Petty: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with Eddie Vedder – A performance that moved me! Plus- Did you hear about the new Tom Petty Anthology?!

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

I was getting sappy with my Facebook status update and then sappier commenting on my own status. But, I wanted to share my feelings further. Lately, I’ve been blogging book-length posts. I could go on, but I will keep it short.

I just bought Runnin’ Down a Dream, a four-hour documentary film about Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. I watched half last night and finished the movie tonight. I teared up last night at the career of this group. I’ve always been a HUGE Tom Petty fan, but there was a lot I didn’t know about the band’s history . I am so glad I have this movie and my already huge respect for this musical, lyrical genius has quadrupled.

What made me tear up again tonight, and then I’ll admit, later sob as I replayed the track over and over was the bonus footage of Eddie Vedder joining Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers on stage for “The Waiting.” Earlier in the Runnin’ Down a Dream movie, there was a clip of  Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam if ya didn’t know) talking about how in 1981 he eagerly awaiting the release of Tom Petty & the Heartbreaker’s album, Hard Promises. Vedder loved the song “The Waiting.” He waited in line the day the album was released and then learned the song that night. He was that excited. And then, almost a decade later, he grew up to be become a rock star himself. An incredible one at that. Incredible hair, too.

So– here was my facebook update:

Indescribable– the feeling I just got watching Eddie Vedder sing “the Waiting” with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Imagine being a kid w/ a guitar, waiting months for your fave album, waiting in line to buy it, and learning your fave song in one sitting– then you become a rock star yourself. Your inspiration is STILL a star. And then– you get to sing THAT song with him. I watched it six times. Chills. Tears. I can’t even begin to fathom what Eddie must have felt on that stage.

Then, I left two comments for myself:

I wish everyone’s wildest dreams could come true. I wish I didn’t procrastinate so much. That could be me with Augusten Burroughs one day if I’d try harder.

What a reflective night I am having. But seriously. We all have our childhood heroes and people we are fans of. Can you just imagine being in that situation where your idol becomes your fan? When they respect the shit out of you? What a life bonus.

I thought about everything I want to do and how I just do too much dreaming and not enough doing. I want to feel what Eddie Vedder felt one day. The clip from Runnin’ Down a Dream (embedded below) isn’t the first nor the only time they sang together- they actually did a bunch of dates together. But in this clip, you can still see Eddie shake with excitement as he joins the stage with Tom Petty and during the instrumental parts, he’s playing air guitar (sort of) along. He’s just so into it. I love it. Love it.

But the lyrics of this hit song say it best: Oh baby don’t it feel like heaven right now/Don’t it feel like somethin’ from a dream

For your enjoyment, here’s Eddie Vedder & “The Waiting”: (P.S. Eddie Vedder sings the crap outta this song. Incredible job, man.)

On a side note– did you see what Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers are up to? As of this writing there is no release  price, but there is a HUGE Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Anthology coming out November 22, 2009 – but it’s only available at Best Buy then, so wait until the 24th when you can buy it from your local music shop – but the Tom Patty & the Heartbreakers Anthology has a few components with more TP & H than you could ever ask for – curious? I won’t spoil it here because I want you to go to to see for yourself how amazing this package is! I just followed the anthology on Twitter too, at @tompettydotcom.

What is your dream? What are YOU waiting for? I am waiting for a lot, but November 24 sure sounds good.

Oh heck. Here’s that clip from the documentary about Vedder talking about “The Waiting”:

My Nightmare- Was it from eating too much?

I ate entirely too much at Jackie’s SuperBowl party. I had six or seven beers, but I wouldn’t say I was drunk. I think I had too much food to get drunk. Everything was so freakin’ good, I just couldn’t stop eating.

So, I think my digestive system was just freaked out and on overload that it sent all sorts of strange signals to my brain, which then turned into a massive nightmare.

When we got home from Jackie’s, I crashed on the loveseat. Dave went upstairs to bed. Then around 1:30ish, he heard me screaming bloody murder:


His heart was racing and he ran to see that I was just having a nightmare. What was so strange was that my cat, Spectra was lying content on my tummy like nothing happened. She must be used to my strange sleeping habits.

But yeah- I was being chased I think, and it was one of those nightmares where you are screaming but nothing is coming out. So you keep trying to yell. I guess in real life I was screaming because it woke Dave out of a sound sleep and he was upstairs.

I was literally sleeping and laying down, but when he got me up and back to reality, I was panting, out of breath and my heart was racing so fast- I made him feel my chest (come on, mind outta the gutter!)… it was one of the worst nightmares I had in a long time, at least in my body’s reaction to it.

But yeah- my cat just laid there. That’s the funny part. I can laugh now that I realized no bad guy was chasing me and I have my voice back. if you are interested in what dreams mean.