IN THE DREAMHOUSE : Puppets, Aliens, Jan Brady, Bjork, and Separation Anxiety

     Last night I struggled to keep my head above a stew of disorienting dreams that all bled into each other. I'm not sure of the order of these things, but here are the various elements:

     I was hanging out with Jan Brady, and we were looking through a bunch of old photos of us together as children, at birthday parties and such. The photos were obviously from the 70s. They were square, and had that distinctive coloring to them. I wasn't sure if Jan was actually Jan Brady, or just a family member or friend who looked a lot like her, and I didn't want to offend her by the comparison, and not knowing if she really WAS Jan Brady or not.

     Bjork (or possibly Mimi, a longtime library friend I met when she was in charge of the children's room at the Santa Ana Public Library) and I were receiving help from eerie yet beneficent aliens in order to operate a large machine. The machine (like the photos of Jan and me) looked distinctly 70s-era. It was that gross tan/beige/Band-Aid color, very large and blocky, with reels and slots and lots of buttons. It also had color ink cartridges. Bjork (or Mimi) and I were trying to thread long strips of film through it, but we couldn't figure out which slots or trays to put it in.
     I don't know what the purpose of this machine was. It was all very mysterious and exciting. But the aliens' instructions were too complicated and confusing, and we just couldn't figure it out. My dad was hanging out nearby in another room, and wandered by to say, "Wow. It's amazing that even WITH alien assistance, that thing is still too complex to figure out."

The one in the dream looked kind of like this.

     Anthony and I were with a big group of friends up in L.A. at some sort of art/performance event. Lots of people performing one after the other. Everyone there was actually performing briefly at some point, even Anthony and me. There was an organized line-up, with Anthony and me following Matt and the rest of our group of friends. Anthony was last, so as I followed Matt into the performance area, Anthony was in back and I lost sight of him.
     I was involved with these big elaborate European marionettes made of papier mache. In the back of the venue there were shelves full of them, and they were totally cool. One of them was even a Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus. I discovered that they had hinged mouths, and their bodies unscrewed at the waist line so you could remove the lower half and put your hand up into the torso in order to work levers that opened and closed the mouth. The mouth made clicking noises that fascinated me.
     I guess it was designed with the detachable lower half so that you could convert the marionette into a hand puppet. The strings and crossbar must be removable.
     I did my brief performance, whatever that was (details not included in dream), and grabbed my Santa puppet and made my way past the curators in the lobby and out the front door. I joined my friends and we all waited for Anthony, who should have been right behind me.
     Other performers started coming out, and I grew puzzled, and then anxious. Anthony had been RIGHT BEHIND ME in line. I went around back to the rooms where the performers were all lined up ready to go, and searched for Anthony everywhere. No sign of him, and everyone I asked knew nothing about him. I circled back out to the lobby and asked the curators, who also showed no sign of knowing anything about Anthony.
     By that time I was getting panicky. I wanted to call or text Anthony on my cell phone, but of course it wasn't working and I was getting weird error messages I didn't understand. I stashed the Santa puppet in the car in the parking lot and went back circling through the venue. No sign of Anthony ANYWHERE. I could feel it in my chest, this horrible constricting ache.
     I noticed that there were a lot of former classmates from high school in the line-up waiting to perform. Not all of them nice. I started fearing that maybe some dangerous bully types had abducted Anthony. It turned into this awful cycle of me going through all the rooms of the venue, searching, asking people, then out into the parking lot, desperately trying to get my cell to work, then back into the venue searching...
     At some point I finally woke up, and went straight into the living room to find Anthony, who had woken up before me. I gave him a big hug.