Setting Records with Manning

I had a dream. It was a sports dream, which is unusual for me because I’m not exactly the world’s most athletic guy. I don’t watch football and I don’t ski downhill. In fact, I’m more likely to make great chicken wings for people who watch football and more likely to fall downhill.

But last night, in my dream, my wife and I heard that Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark were trying to break a record for the most receiving yards on a ski slope. It was a pretty ingenious set up. Dallas was on skis. Peyton was at the top of the ski hill; this is Indiana so it wasn’t really a mountain. Peyton would yell Omaha and Hike! and fall back while Dallas would shoot off in a downhiller’s tuck. Peyton would cock that shotgun arm and throw the ball. As Dallas approached the bottom of the slope, he would reach up with grace and ease and snatch the ball out of the air, pulling it into the numbers every time.

Because it is a dream, my wife and I decided to go to the slope and see if we could help. My reasoning was that I could be sliding down the hill and receive a ball or two while Dallas took the ski lift back for another run. We could double the yardage thrown (and set the record as a team).

When we arrived at the top of the slope, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were sorting through a box of my old bank statements. While everything else about the dream felt real, that part didn’t make any sense and the illusion began to fade. Al and Cris said that Peyton had just thrown a whopper of a pass to Dallas and in his enthusiasm, had run downhill to celebrate with his receiver. Not to worry, they would be right back.

I agreed to wait. My skis were strapped on and I was ready to get into the game. My wife, while nervous for me, was supportive and encouraging. As we waited I practiced my snow plowing, because it’s been 40-years since I strapped wooden boards to my feet and voluntarily threw myself headlong down a mountain.

But minutes turned into hours and despite Al and Cris’s reassurance, I realized that Peyton and Dallas had gone into the ski lodge. They’d set their record and left the slopes, without me.

From there, my dream shifted to a school and/or diner / and or Welcome Back Kotter episode and the entire storyline fell apart.

As a general rule, I don’t interpret dreams but I’d like to give this one a try. We all know that dreams reveal our subconscious desires. It’s obvious that my subconscious somehow connected to Peyton’s subconscious, subconsciously. What I learned in that dream and from my subconscious connection to Peyton Manning is that he is trying for a comeback, and my subconscious knows this. He’s calling out for help. I think I’ll email him today and ask how I might be able to ease his pain.

I have no idea why Dallas was in my dream. He’s a nice guy and all but just like a yellowshirt character on Star Trek, he is just an extra in my movie of the mind. Al and Cris were simply obnoxious.

I feel better unpacking that little drama; now here is to helping set the record!

Living Life Large

Bath Time AdventureHere’s the deal:  Life is what you make it.  The Adventure is where you find it.

As a child, every bath is an under water adventure.  Every pine tree is a potential fort.  Every mud puddle a new discovery.  We find excitement in the every day.  We relish in the little things.  Why?

268I think part of the reason is that all things are new to us.  When you reach the age of 50, you’ve taken over 18,000 baths or showers (assuming you are fastidious about your hygiene).  At some point, there are no more grand discoveries below the bubbles.  But, is that really true?  Aren’t there always sea monsters lurking below the deep?  I propose there are just as many undiscovered treasures today as there were when we were three.  We simply stopped looking.

Our lives become regular acts of function.  Our activities, if they don’t serve a purpose are assigned to the column of “wasted time” or “foolish endeavors”.

Look at a 4-year-old as she walk down the sidewalk. Do they simply put one foot in front of the other?  Do they see this mode of transportation as nothing more than a means to take them from Point A to Point B?  NO!  They hop.  They skip.  They wander from one side of the pavement.  They intentionally splash the mud puddle.  They walk on the grass instead of the path laid out by grown ups.  It isn’t just a walk…It is a grand adventure.

When is the last time you watched your neighbor get their paper from the mailbox?  Did they hop to the curb, twirl around twice and reach into the box with a flourish?  Of course not.  They are too old for that kind of foolishness.

174Some of the happiest people I know are children because they see life as an adventure.  They go through each day with energy and pizazz.  And we could learn something from them.  Where we see yards that need mowed, they see a jungle that holds dangerous lions and exciting discoveries.  Where we see walks that need shoveled, they see a winter wonderland of fun and magic.  They look beyond the mundane and see the new and exciting.

I propose that we live this day to its fullest.  Today we strut with our heads held high, instead of walking with the weight of the world on our shoulders.  Today we sing our favorite song loudly and slightly off key when we are in the bath, instead of mindlessly performing our routine of wash, rinse, repeat.  Today we wear clothes that are garish and bright and do not match because we like them and for no other reason.

500If this is too much for you, start small.  Wear miss-matched socks.  Swing by GoodWill and find the ugliest tie you can buy for $1.99.  Wear your tennis shoes with your suit.  Sprint to the car and then hop up and down until your are out of breath.  Eat your toast…up-side-down!  (I know, whacky, right?)

Life is an Adventure.  Unfortunately, too many of us have stopped living it that way.  Instead of a great mountain climber, we’ve become an old retired Sherpa.  Instead of a deep see explorer, we’ve hung up our fins and snorkel.  It’s time to come out of retirement, if for no more than one day.  It’s time to get the gear down from the closet.  It’s time to make life grand again:  One hop, skip and jump at a time.

The Life of Gary

“Gary” lives in frog-like bliss under the new waterfall.

Last September I bemoaned the poor frog who decided that residence in my plastic water feature was the perfect home.  I wrote about it in “A Very Shallow Gene Pool”.  In my mind, the frog, affectionately named Gary, wasn’t long for this world.

I don’t know if it is because the weather was so mild this winter or if Gary is just more hardy than I realized, but I saw him earlier this spring bouncing from one plant to another as if he hadn’t a care in the world.  We caught him once and marveled at his survival powers.  He slipped from our hands and jumped away.  I haven’t seen him for weeks and just assumed he’d found better lodging along a REAL waters’ edge.

Earlier this week I tore out the plastic water feature and replaced it with a bubbling water and rock ensemble.  Can you believe it?  Gary is still hanging out, enjoying the splash of the water in the cool of the morning!  Gary is now the size of a small goat and seems to be very content hanging out near our back door.

And Gary reminds me of life’s simple truth:  No matter the conditions, the hardship, the situation, we ALL have an incredible ability to survive.  And in some cases, we are even able to thrive.

I don’t know what you are facing today, but if my friend Gary can make the most of disruption in his life, I know you can make it, too!  Now get out there and hop like you mean it!

Life’s Journey

August 9, 1985 the Journey began.

Let’s take a break from our deep thoughts for just a moment.  No prayers.  No scripture passages.  No Holy, lofty thoughts.

Instead, I want to pause and take a moment to reflect on my darling wife and all that she means to me.

She is the one person who stood with me, walked beside me, carried my burdens, strengthened my weakness and celebrated my success.

She has been there when I’ve struggled my greatest and soared my highest.

I would do anything for her, to protect her, to honor her.  And I know she would do the same for me.

She is the greatest gift of my life and the love of my heart.

I am so very thankful for my dear Anita.

Life has not always been, nor will it always be easy.  But if we are standing side by side along that road, we’ll be okay.  We are a great team and I can’t imagine this Journey without her.

Out With The Old

We aren’t big car shoppers.  By that, I don’t mean to say that we don’t buy big cars.  What I mean is that we don’t buy a lot of cars.

We’ve been married for 26 years.  In that time we’ve owned a few vehicles.  But we’re cheap and avoid paying top dollar for any car.  We’ve only owned two brand new cars over the years and the second was picked up on Saturday.  You can look for Anita driving the 2012 Hyundai Elantra Touring.

Believe me when I say that we would rather pay less and get a used car but there are none out there.  Of course there are lots of used cars but they are practically the same price as a new.

Of course, we are not simply upgrading because we like to have that new car smell.  If it were as simple as that we would have purchased the “New Car Smell” in a can that is sold for $4.95 at AutoZone.  No, this purchase was one of necessity.  If it were within my power we would still be driving Goldie (our 2002 Dodge Caravan with 209,000 miles and water pouring out of the front of the engine).  But my mechanic swears that, while fixable, it isn’t a wise investment of another $500.

This coming from the man who’s replaced the window crank on our 1993 Plymouth Voyager so my daughter could roll down her window.

This from the guy who snipped the electric power supply to the torque converter on our 1995 Buick Century so my son could get home from Bloomington without having to stop every 30 miles to let the car cool down.

So good-bye Goldie and hello Silva…our newest family member.