In your dreams

Dream interpretation has become a popular and lucrative business, so today The Home Front -- in a blatant attempt to tear off a piece of that action -- features "Ask Dr. Dreamweaver," an informative guide to your dreams, nightmares and other nocturnal admissions.

Dear Dr. Dreamweaver: I often have vivid nightmares in which spooky wraiths appear out of rain clouds and offer me Starbucks coffee. I'm concerned because these dreams keep me awake at night. Signed, Sleepless in Seattle.

Dear Sleepless: Your subconscious is telling you it's time to move to a drier climate. And, you should lay off the caffeine.

Dear Dr. Dreamweaver: I'm a mother of three small children. Recently, I dreamed they all were sitting around the kitchen table, chewing on my purse. Please explain. Signed, Nervous in Nantucket.

Dear Nervous: Your signature is apt because this is what we professionals call an "anxiety dream." You're anxious about how much it costs to raise your children, and that manifests in this dream in which they're gobbling up your purse. These dreams are nothing to worry about, though they do tend to recur. As your children get older, particularly as they approach college age, you may find they're chewing up your 401(k) as well.

Dear Dr. Dreamweaver: I work in a large office. Recently, I've had several dreams where the walls of my cubicle are closing in on me. These dreams are very frightening, and I wake up in a sweat. Is my subconscious trying to tell me something? Signed, Claustrophobic in Columbus.

Dear Claustrophobic: Dreams often illuminate stresses from our daily lives. Your cubicle dream indicates you feel pressured and alone in your job. The company may be growing, and you fear you'll be squeezed out by new employees who are younger, more ambitious and better-looking than you. Your subconscious is telling you it's time to update your resume.

Dear Dr. Dreamweaver: I recently dreamed I was in a Chinese restaurant, ordering pork dumplings, when I got into an argument with the knife-wielding chef because I insisted on paying him in Oreos. Does this mean I'm crazy? Signed, Alarmed in Albuquerque.

Dear Alarmed: Yes.

Dear Dr. Dreamweaver: I often have wonderful dreams in which I'm no longer a computer nerd. Instead, I'm a rock star, surrounded by beautiful, adoring women. Could this mean I should take up the guitar? Signed, Lonely in Los Angeles.

Dear Lonely: In your dreams.

Dear Dr. Dreamweaver: I often dream that I'm taking the final exam in a college class. Usually, it's a class I've forgotten to attend the entire semester, and I know none of the answers on the quiz. This seems unusual to me, since I never attended college. Signed, Stumped in St. Louis.

Dear Stumped: These dreams are very common, indicating anxiety in your waking life. There's nothing to be done for them. Just be glad that you, unlike so many who have this dream, aren't taking the test in the nude.

Dear Dr. Dreamweaver: I often dream that I'm falling. I know that's not unusual, but in my dreams, I'm naked and plunging toward a large vat of creamed corn. What could this mean? Signed, Plummeting in Poughkeepsie.

Dear Plummeting: Dreams of falling often indicate a life that's unfulfilled or out of control. In your case, these dreams indicate you need to change careers. Look for something in professional wrestling or the adult entertainment industry.

Dear Dr. Dreamweaver: I have a recurring nightmare in which I'm surrounded by snakes. Snakes, snakes, everywhere. In the distance, there's a tall white monolith with a pointed top. What could this mean? Signed, Disturbed in D.C.

Dear Disturbed: A strict Freudian analysis of these dreams would uncover sexual connotations of various stripes, but the explanation is actually quite simple. Dr. Dreamweaver sees from your postmark that you live in Washington, where Congress is back in session. 'Nuff said.

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