Posts Tagged ‘Dream’

October’s Still Blue

To the surprise of many, it’s still Blue October. After we secured a post-season spot, I celebrated a “Royal” lunch with one of my sons in Cardinals nation.  We wore it proudly.

Royal Lunch

The Royals won the wild card game – and in dramatic fashion – coming from behind, stealing bases, and smashing those timely hits. The hometown crowd erupted when the game-winning hit skipped sharply past the third baseman near the line – “FAIR BALL!!”

That night, life in Kansas City went up a notch. There were celebrations in living rooms (mine included), at watch parties in social establishments, and in workplaces that could not shut down. As the Royals’ manager well stated, “The players didn’t quit, and the fans didn’t quit.”

The team hit the road to play the first two games of the Division Series in California. Personally, I thought if we could just win one game, it would keep us in contention.  In my wildest dreams, I didn’t imagine the team returning to Kansas City with a two-game lead and itching to sweep. I gathered my gear for that first home game.

Gear

My sons and I tailgated with a few friends.  The parking lots were crowded, people were friendly, and we all were there to witness a common goal unfold.

Working More

It was a spectacular Sunday afternoon, a blue October sky.  The aroma of every kind of barbecue item you can imagine was in the air.  Hatchbacks were wide open, music strummed along, fans shared food and drink, and we watched the Chiefs on television from the tailgate next door. Time quickly passed. My son brought a broom, along with many other hungry fans.

Division Championship Game

We scattered to our seats  armed with rally rags and allowed plenty of time to get situated for the opening ceremonial rituals associated with an important game such as this.

Stars & Stripes

I agree with a friend who said, this sight gives me chills each and every time.

FlyoverOverhead

The visiting Angels silenced the home crowd with a first-inning home run, but the home team Royals took control and did not relinquish the lead once attained. Again, the boys in blue would not quit. Hit after hit, play after play, they did not disappoint their fans. The visiting team went home, and the Royals and their fans “PARTIED LIKE IT WAS 1985!” They (we) were division champions, and I got to witness it. “Let’s Go Royals” echoed through the spiral ramp down just like in 1985.  Fans hugged strangers. It was a night to remember, and it would not be the last.

As we moved to the American League Championship Series, tickets were hard to find. But my excitement did not diminish as I watched from afar – rally rag, rally beads, and hope prevailed. The first two games were in Baltimore, and I left for a sisters’ weekend getaway and watch party. All of us were ready to cheer on our Royals!

Sisters watch partysisters watch

The truth is, we might have been a little rowdy; but we weren’t alone. Strangers from two wedding parties left their groups to join us in the library bar when we were asked to leave the more-formal dining room. (Hey, we tried to go there to begin with, but the doors were closed. We were simply looking for a TV and a little food. Management decided to open it.)  🙂

Elms

Love that shirt, “Party Like It’s 1985.” Why doesn’t someone write the song? Why don’t I write the song? Well, someone else did, and I couldn’t have said it better.

Who would’ve dreamed this as the season began early last spring? Many extra innings and sleep deprived, we won the wild card game, swept the division series, swept the league series – it really did happen. I watched the final game in my living room. Pinch me!

Now, we wait a little longer. I’m catching up on laundry because my closet is depleted of anything blue. World Series tickets are impossible to obtain, especially at face value. At this point, it’s a rich man’s game. It’s not so bad. I can experience the thrill from afar. This is so good for our city, and I couldn’t be more proud of our team.

I can remember 1985 as memories are made in 2014. For almost thirty years, I tried to convey the excitement, the camaraderie, the full stadium – the good old days – to my sons. Now they know; they have experienced it. It’s happening in their lifetime. Boys, it really is real.

One final note, lest someone be swift to judge and think that I’m concerned and way too excited over such a temporal thing: just know that I rejoice every day that my name’s written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I am thankful for life, breath, health, and a job. I pray that the entire world can live in peace.

But for right now, please, just let me enjoy this ride a little longer.

The ride

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Day Job to Dream Job

Several years ago, a very special person debuted in my life through my “day job.”  I didn’t realize at the time that she was not simply passing through; but she would be one who would remain a life-long dweller in my world.  Oh, she lives many miles away now (we’re talking thousands); but she’s still in my world.  She transitioned from acquaintance/coworker to friend, confidant, encourager, business helper, and adviser.  Sometimes I call her “Doc.”  She watched my sons grow from young boys to men.  So, I think you get the general picture of what she means to me.

In our office in corporate America, she had all of the attributes you would want in an employee – topnotch skills, was well liked – worked well with everyone, was trustworthy, reliable, punctual, and dependable.  Quite frankly, I never witnessed a mistake – the perfect employee.

But corporate America has its own agenda, is far from perfect; and when the day is done, you can never look to the company to be your life-long friend.  The Fortune 200 company went bankrupt; and little by little, one at a time, we all scattered.  She was one of the very last to leave – she helped shut the doors, literally.  We stayed in contact through various job opportunities and shared the good and the bad over the next several years.  Along the way, she helped me become the writer I am today.  And I watched her, very strategically, pack her chute.  As it turns out, seven years (the year of jubilee) after we received the word of our Fortune 200 company’s demise, she jumped!

For nearly four years, I’ve watched her not only survive on her own but work from where she wants, when she wants, and grow her own business.  So this past month when I read Day Job to Dream Job, naturally I thought of her.  I found myself thinking, “She could have written this book.”  But she says if she had this toolkit a few years ago, it would have been even smoother and easier.

I had some of those same feelings “… if I had read this last year …”

You see, after eleven years, the corporate job I transitioned to, after the death of our Fortune 200 company, merged with another company.  I found myself faced with yet another employment decision.  (By the way, this was actually my third major job transition having spent my first decade of employment with yet another corporation that transferred to a different city.) Each time, the choice was hard, and the transition was not easy – moving to another day job. After all, I was “comfortable.”  This one little quote from Kary Oberbrunner would have cleared my mind completely:

“Your day job served a purpose and hopefully you served it – with integrity. But to advance, you must let go.” (Part 3 The Payoff, page 214, “Day Job to Dream Job”)

All of us are on separate journeys faced with unique situations. Where are you at today?  Do you need to bust out of prison?  (Then definitely watch this compelling trailer.  The author wrote the book from Shawshank Prison.)

Maybe you simply need to make a change in your day job and move from one to another, whether by choice or by force. Or maybe you need to be prepared for a time in the future.  I think this is worth your time today to be prepared for tomorrow.

DJtoDJ

[Click here to begin your dream job.]

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Just Dream It!

At one point in my life, there was nothing I wanted more than to figure skate Olympic style.  Problem was, I didn’t start training until I was 23 – just a tad bit late.  So as I sit here this morning doing one of my favorite things these days (sipping coffee in bed) and wait to watch a few hours of Olympic ice dancing, I remember.

A ballerina – that was my first artistic dream.  I wanted a beautiful tutu and I wanted to be the featured dancer.  I think I was about four years old.  I pretended in secret because of physical limitations due to a couple of surgeries.  I wasn’t supposed to “strain” myself in the abdomen and groin area.  So I hid from Mama and pretended and practiced on my own without formal dance lessons.  I had three crisp cancans (white, yellow, and blue) that I wore with my Sunday dresses.  These became my tutus.  I changed my wardrobe when I changed the old 78 records on that old player.  I didn’t understand what first position was, but that didn’t stop me from dancing.  I dreamed it, and I danced what I felt from the music.

Did I become a famous ballerina and that star?  Obviously not.  But I did the little I could at the time.  And life changed and evolved as did I.  Life happens as we make choices and decisions.  But my love for dance, elegance, and choreography always remained.

Ice skating fascinated me as well, but there was never an ice skating rink in the towns in which I lived.  I watched Peggy Fleming then Dorothy Hamill and dreamed of flowing elegantly and being a ballerina on the ice.  Instead, my sister taught me to twirl a baton when I was 14.  I perfected that well enough to make the team and enjoyed the formations and choreographed routines.

And life continued on.  I did a stint in the military then focused on continuing my education and a corporate career.  I squeezed in a few ballet lessons (Mama wasn’t around to watch or worry :-)) then settled in Kansas City when I was 23.

There was an ice skating rink – a few of them actually.  So I signed up for adult group lessons.  If I could just learn to skate backwards … that would be awesome.  There were a few basics to learn first – like how to stop and start and how to trust the blades to hold you, the inside edge and the outside edge, balance, bending the knees, and then finally the basic 3 turn.  After a few weeks, skating backwards was on the schedule.  I couldn’t wait.  The teacher worked with each of us individually after some initial instruction and demonstration.  Nothing she showed me worked.  “Bend your knees, lean on the edge.  Try to cross your left foot over the right as you lean.”

It was hopeless.  I was not going to get this.  The thing I longed to learn above all else would not come easily, maybe not at all.  My body didn’t cooperate and neither did my brain.  I stayed late during the open skate session and practiced on my own for a couple of hours to no avail.  I just couldn’t get it and left my weekly Monday evening lesson disappointed.  I went about my normal work week and thought that I would not sign up for the next set of lessons since I couldn’t seem to get past this hurdle of skating backwards.  And then, that Thursday night/early Friday morning, I awakened from a dream.

I dreamed I was skating on a highway.  I was on an exit ramp that wrapped around in a complete circle.  I completed a 3 turn to switch directions from forward to backward.  I maintained my balance on the turn and since the ramp was spiraling down, crossed my left foot over my right, bent my knees, leaned in deep on the inside edge and kept going and going and going!!

But it was just a dream.  My eyes opened and I was fully awake instantly.  Yes, it was a dream; but it wasn’t “just” a dream.  I felt it.  I had figured it out, and I knew it.  Out loud I announced, “I can do it, I can do it!!”  I couldn’t wait to get to work and tell someone.  Others didn’t seem to share my excitement.  But I knew I could do it.  The following Monday, I sat down on the bench outside of the rink and laced my skates.  I was early and excited.  My instructor arrived as I tied up my last lace and I bubbled over that I could do it.  She questioned, “Skate backwards?  Did you practice?”

“No.  I dreamed it!”

I don’t think she believed me, but I didn’t hang around to explain further.  I stepped out on the ice and showed her.  Just like in my dream, I did an outside 3 turn and kept skating.  And then I discovered the most amazing thing.  I could skate much more powerful backwards than forward.  I didn’t want to stop for the lesson.  I didn’t sign up for additional group lessons but instead signed up for private instruction with a coach, made a skating skirt, and purchased a pair of very good customized boots (skates).  I learned a great deal over the next couple of years – dance steps, spirals, spread eagles, layback Ina Bauer, a few jumps and a few spins.  I had tremendous stretch and flexibility but poor spinning technique.  I knew I couldn’t really compete, but it was fun to learn and dance on the ice.

I cried when Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner had to withdraw from the 1980 Winter Olympics just before their performance.

And then life continued on … babies to have, sons to raise, ballgames to attend.

I remembered my dream and stepped onto the ice again 25 years later.  At some point over the years, my customized skates were sold in a garage sale.  I rented a pair and was surprised at how weak my legs were.  I could barely complete a 3 turn.  I stayed an hour but left when a hockey team showed up to practice.  What was I thinking?  I’m 50 something!

Dancing, dreaming, skating – these days I have a small wardrobe of dresses (not tutus) and shoes (not skates).  I dance on a wooden floor instead of an ice rink.  I dance for enjoyment and exercise.  I don’t compete.  I listen to the music and sometimes I fall asleep meditating on a new waltz pattern.  And I know it’s true:  if I can dream it, I can do it.

And I cried when Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the first Olympic gold medal in ice dancing for the USA.  It was beautiful.

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The Dress, The Dance, The Dream

My arms were full – two sacks of groceries plus the mail.  I dropped everything onto the breakfast bar.  A magazine fell to the floor.  I stooped to pick it up and was spellbound with the cover.  It was the most beautiful gown I had ever seen – a full-length champagne satin skirt draped down from a beaded bodice overlay – pearls and sequins, white and silver.  How I longed for that dress, but $300 was impossible.  I tossed the catalog onto the desk when my three sons barreled in.

“What’s for dinner?”

Months went by.  I imagined myself in that gown.  My golden hair hovered over the middle of my back.  It could easily be swept up so as not to distract from the elegant gown.  But where would I wear the dress?  My time was soaked up on baseball fields when not at work.  I didn’t care about the practicality of that dress in my closet, but how could I ever come up with the money?  Perhaps someday my Cinderella dream will come true – to wear this flowy gown and dance at the Harvest Ball.

Eventually, I discarded the catalog.  There were baseball gloves, bats, and balls to buy.  Whenever an updated catalog arrived in the mail, I peeked inside.  It was listed in the special occasion section but still $300.  A year went by when, to my surprise, the dress was advertised on clearance for under $100.  I charged it and couldn’t wait to try it on as I rushed into my bedroom and shut the door the day it arrived.  It was just as gorgeous on me as the model – or so I thought – until my youngest son burst through the bedroom door.

“Why are you wearing that?”

“Just trying on.”

I felt silly so hid the dress in a remote closet in the basement.  Years passed.  When I exchanged a few items in the closet to go along with the seasons, I wondered, “Should I keep this dress?  Will I ever get to wear it?”  Do Not Remove This Tag still hung from the inside.

Ten years passed – sons grew up, a divorce after thirty years – and I needed to find my way.  I had to dance and enrolled in ballroom dancing classes no longer afraid to live my dreams.  Several months later, although I was still a novice, my teacher coaxed me to perform in a public routine, a waltz showcase.  We rehearsed for months.  A few weeks before the performance, my middle son returned home from college for the summer and was struck with cancer.  I said I would withdraw from the program.  But three weeks later, he had recovered from surgery with a good prognosis; and it appeared I could dance – just a few days away.

I ran to the closet, riffled through the sandwiched dresses, and found it – my perfect sparkling dream.  I took it out of the clear plastic bag, snipped off the tags, and stepped into the dress.  My oldest son zipped it up, and I modeled it around the house.  When I turned to head back downstairs, the sixteen-inch zipper split!  I could not consider another dress.  Everything was planned – the jewelry, the nails, the shoes – it had to be this gown.  The performance was the next evening.  Could I save my dream?

The next morning, I telephoned every tailor listed online.  I found one who agreed to help if I could get the dress to her immediately, but I couldn’t leave work.  My baseball-mom friend delivered the dress in her engine-blowing suburban, and they shared a chuckle about my obsession.

Dress in tow, I arrived at the studio early and adorned myself – the gown, rhinestone necklace, bracelets, earrings, and the glitter-filled white nails.  I’m not sure which had more bling – the beaded bodice or my skin.  My hair, still golden, did not have to be swept up.  I learned that shorter hair helped me age with grace.  I gazed in the full-length mirror and felt good.  My heart pounded from anticipation and nervousness as the emcee announced my name.  My teacher waited at the door; my moment was at hand.  Adrenalin transformed into confidence the instant my silver shoes touched the wood floor.  The skirt flowed with each rise and fall; the bodice glistened with each twirl.  And I couldn’t stop smiling as we waltzed without missing a beat.

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Dream On

I once had a dream, a plan that would change the course of my life and solve a problem.  The plan was coming together quickly and efficiently, so much so that it occurred to me one day I should probably seek God’s counsel.  So I said, “God, if this is not your will for my life, please close the door because this is moving fast, and I am prepared to forge ahead.”

The dream involved drastic changes.  The doors to my dream shut as swiftly as they had opened with no explanation.  My dream was gone, and I could not ignore the truth that God had probably answered my prayer.  I just wish he had explained the “why” to me.

During this period of time, I had shared this plan with a friend.  My plan caused her to dream – a plan to change the course of her life and move to Alaska.  She asked me if I would help her fulfill her dream and accompany her driving to Alaska from Kansas City because, after all, she needed her car once she arrived.  Always up for an adventure, I said sure, thinking it would be months down the road after she sold her condo.  Then one day she decided to take action and the “when” became now.  She had it all planned – let the realtor continue with advertising and the sale of her condo and she would rent a cottage in Alaska until her condo sold which would clear the way to purchase one in Ketchikan, Alaska.  She packed several boxes of personal belongings and shipped them ahead, rented a storage unit in Alaska, and made all of the plans for our road trip to fulfill her dream.

So we set out on her dream-filling adventure  – a 28-hour drive to northern Washington and a two-day ferry ride on to Alaska.  We started out the first leg of the trip with sunshine on a mild autumn day in the Midwest.

We stopped for gas a couple of times and lunch and found ourselves still driving just after dusk – trying to arrive at our first overnight destination.  We were about an hour away in falling rain when I noticed a deer on the passenger side of the road.  Before I could alert her, there were three more deer before us in the road.  We struck one as they scurried across the interstate.  She miraculously kept control of the vehicle even though we immediately knew there was extensive damage because of an awful rubbing noise coming from the tire/wheel area and the driver’s side headlight was shining off in the field left of the interstate.  She lowered her speed and managed to get to the next exit where we stopped for help.  The local sheriff arrived, completed the necessary paperwork, cut away the headlight, and pulled off the body parts scraping the tire.

Before Surgery

Lo and behold, we were able to continue our journey in the dark rain and arrived at our first overnight destination exhausted and hungry.  Surprisingly, she said the car drove fine.  This was a trip that needed to be executed according to plan in order for it to work.  We had to catch that ferry in two days, and she had to have her car because she was not returning to the mainland.

The next morning we continued down the open roads of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.  The sun was bright and sky was clear, but the wind pulled on the small car making it very difficult to stay on the road.  We later learned there was a severe wind advisory.  As we drove through Sturgis, I was sure glad we weren’t riding a motorcycle!

Mid-afternoon we stopped in Billings, Montana, and realized it would be very difficult to make our second night destination, Spokane, Washington.  We pulled out the atlas and decided Missoula, Montana, was a much more realistic goal, changed our hotel reservations, and kept on truckin’.  We still had the benefit of daylight savings time, but somehow darkness seemed to come earlier than planned and we couldn’t make our adjusted destination by nightfall.  By the time we reached Butte and pulled into Wendy’s for the last supper (no Wendy’s in Ketchikan), Cathy had relinquished the wheel; and I was driving a “stick” for the first time in five years.  No one seemed to mind that we drove with our brights on to compensate for the lack of a left headlight.

We enjoyed the spacious room at the Courtyard in Missoula and crashed into our comfy beds.  Our story caught the interest of the waitress the next morning at breakfast who looked at the car in amazement, thought we were quite the adventurous duo, and snapped this picture of us as we left for the last leg of our road trip.  It was another clear day, and the brisk wind continued to howl.

We had received much advice from well-meaning friends and family suggesting we rent a car or change our plans.  After all, we weren’t sure we could open the hood to check the oil, water, etc.  But we came to the conclusion that since the oil had been changed and all fluid levels were checked prior to the trip, we would just forge ahead.  The airbag hadn’t deployed, and we did point out to our concerned loved ones that, indeed, we managed to “fix” the car during a pit stop in a quaint, little Idaho mountain town.

After Surgery

We crossed over into the state of Washington through the mountain range and thought for sure we were back in Kansas as we endured the four-hour drive to Seattle.

Washington Kansas?

Cathy tired and relinquished the wheel to me again about an hour from Seattle.  Guess I hadn’t done too badly the previous night.  I was wide-eyed and bushy tailed (as they say) and pretended to be Dale Jr. as I drove through another mountain range and into Seattle rush-hour traffic.  Oh my!

We stopped for about an hour in Seattle to hold Cathy’s great nephews – three-month-old twins and parted with hugs and homemade pumpkin pie.  There was more rain and night driving the last 90 minutes as we headed north to Bellingham where we would board the ferry the next day.  Once in Bellingham, we celebrated with dinner in the hotel restaurant.  A good night’s rest was welcomed as I crashed sideways on the bed after my last bite of pie.  The next morning, I left a copy of Reflections in the lobby library, and Cathy received a visit from the insurance adjuster who wrote her a check for the “deer” damage.  We loaded the suitcases back in the broken carriage that had been our home for three days and drove it onto the ferry at the port of Bellingham.  God kissed the sky with a spectacular sun as we stood on deck and awaited departure.  After navigating nearly 2000 miles, we were thrilled to leave the driving to the captain for a couple days.

Passengers – that’s such a pleasant word.  We enjoyed the views along the majestic scenic route.

 

 At 7:00 a.m. on the second morning we docked in Ketchikan, and surprisingly were kissed with the sun again for three days as we settled into the Christmas cottage.  The views from the cottage were spectacular. 

But I was especially partial to the “sunset reflections.”

Cathy took care of business, opened a bank account and post office box; and we deposited things in a storage unit that made it in the deer-stricken carriage.  We viewed the condo she hopes to buy.  We perused the shopping district and visited with merchants.  I chose my token souvenir.  It seemed so fitting when the merchant told me they were “dream catcher” earrings. And then it was time for me to go.  I think we were both gripped with sadness.  We met when we were in our twenties and had shared moments and memories for over thirty years – years of employment, children, birthdays, anniversaries, recipes, parties, births, death, and divorces.  And now in our fifties we would share one more hug and goodbye as I boarded a plane for home.

Three flights later I was home, returned to work, and Cathy settled in alone.  And then Mother Nature proclaimed her power as an earthquake struck and Cathy found herself in a tsunami warning forced to evacuate to higher ground.  She must have wondered if her dream was going to collapse.  A few hours later, she was cleared to return to the cottage with the threat of disaster gone.

And life continues on.  She withstood rain, wind, wild-animal disaster and natural disaster – earthquake and threat of tsunami.  But she weathered the storm, endured the journey, reached her destination, and is making her dream of peace and happiness come true.  And I believe God watched over us every step of the way.

The moral of this story is two-fold.  Above all else, don’t give up on your dream.  Press on, grab hold of your dream, and do what you can to make it happen.  But if your dream suffers a fatal blow (like mine), catch a new one.  Just maybe it’s time to dream a new dream.

Yes, by all means, DREAM ON!

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