Thursday’s Theme Music

Today’s theme music comes via a movie and the cats (but not the movie, Cats). The movie was Fighting With My Family. Featuring a strong cast, I’d wanted to see it when it came out but it went through our town’s theater like a gust of wind. Fortunately, it’s shown up on Epix, so I was able to enjoy it the other night.

Much of the music played during the movie jarred movies out of my brain and into my stream. One particular one was “Born to Raise Hell” by Motörhead (1994). I’m more familiar with the Cheap Trick cover, but the song reminded me of an airman who worked for me on the battle staff at Onizuka.

Such a demure, quiet person, with a southern accent, it was surprising to discover that she was a joyful metalhead. I love those sort of surprises, when preconceptions and stereotypes are overthrown.

The cats came into it as I was talking to my young ginger boy this morning. He’d been getting up in Boo’s face. Boo is a bedroom panther with issues. After speaking the magic words that stopped the conflict (“Stop it now, or you’re going out, Papi,”), I talked to the ginger and told him, “You’re just born to raise hell, aren’t you?”

“Yep,” he mewed back.

So this is for them. Feel free to sing along. Cheers

A Chaotic Collage Dream

It was messed up from go, a frenzied and frantic circus. It took me a while to work into any semblance of coherent structured memory, and I could be wrong. Then, again, this is what I took from it, so…

The dream included Mom, wife, peeing, being in the military (yeah, again), cleaning, and, well, chaos.

Chaos was the overall theme. In the beginning, I needed to use the restroom. After I did, Mom came in to clean after me while I changed into my Air Force uniform and hurried off to work as my wife kissed me good-bye.

I was in command and control once again. Once again, I faced a disorganized situation. Aircraft were inbound. Some carried VIPs, but an inspection team was also due, and we were not ready. I scrambled to get us ready, working up checklists and procedures, trying to train other people, and setting up flight-following boards. This was being done against radios blaring with communications with commanders and aircraft, and ringing telephones.

Then I had to use the restroom again. Rushing over there, I found the facilities inadequate, but my bowels didn’t care. Lowering myself to the tiny seat on the tiny bowl, I did my business. When I finished, I discovered I’d pissed on the floor.

As I discovered that, old women who were present chided me, “Oh, your mother isn’t going to be happy about that.” Well, no, d’uh? Who would be? I rushed to clean it up using white towels, but there seemed too much of it for the towel, and it was taking up too much time.

Mom arrived, as the women predicted (and noted). While chastising me for the mess, Mom shooed me away (“Go to work, I’ll clean it up.”) She dropped to her knees to clean the floor as I donned my uniform again and raced away.

My wife intercepted me to tell me that there was a problem. As she did that, my co-workers called out to inform me that the aircraft were arriving. Then the commander called me and said, “There’s a change of plans.” Oy, vey,

The dream ended.

Yeah, I see how it all speaks to my current frenzy of thought and direction.

Yet Another, Yes, Military Dream

This one was a bit different. In the military again, with a friend, and our wives, and others, in a hotel. He’d once worked for me, but eventually passed me in promotions while I chose to retire. Now, here he was a CMSgt, E9, which is the senior enlisted rank and pay grade in the Air Force, urging me to come with him to party and do things.

A special guest was due, the highest enlisted position in the Air Force, a position and rank called the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. There is only one at a time. My buddy was eager for me to meet him and have drinks with him.

I went along at first, but then decided, no. I’m done. Not interested. I’m passing.

He came by in his mess dress with medals and ribbons, and black tie to collect me. I was in jeans and a tee shirt. He said, “You’re not ready.” His face fell when I told him that I wasn’t going. He tried cajoling me to change my mind. I held firm.

“That’s not me,” I said.

He shook his head and said, “Man, I’ve so disappointed in you.”

I told him, “You’ll get over it.”

Then he went on, and I turned away to do other things.

The dream ended.

A Baseball Dream

I began as a middle-aged man, probably in my thirties, in the dream. Somehow, I was asked to come to high school to play baseball.

Several points from reality should be noted: our high school didn’t have a baseball team. I didn’t play for our baseball team.

But in this dream, I said, “Sure,” and went off to play this game. A brief tryout, conducted by my high school football, track, and wrestling coaches, was conducted: “Can you pitch?” I threw some fastballs; they were satisfied.

It was a loose “old-timers vs. young players” game. I was part of the old-timers. Teams were formed: I’ll pick him, I’ll take him. I was selected and was riding the bench until I was asked to pitch in relief in the middle of the game. None of us knew how that would go, but I pitched well, striking out several. Then I batted, and hit a triple. Very cool. By the game’s end, I was considered an unexpected hero.

Back home (after a dream team leap), I was asked to play in a second game. I agreed. Time details were provided.

Now, I was worried. Anxiety levels jumped because, hey, there were expectations. Then I started overthinking things and confusing myself about what time I was supposed to be there.

All sorts of things next happened. I was getting dressed, but paused to pee. When I did, there was a commotion out in the house. Hearing it, I peed on the bathroom wall. It was like, oh, no, but then I threw on a robe to go see what was going on.

My Mom and her boyfriend and their friends had returned from a trip. She and he were their current ages.

They’d arrived home early and unexpected. After briefly greeting me, they went into a chaotic conversation about flights, schedules, and tickets. You’d think that they were planning the trip instead of just finishing it. By the way, Mom asked, did you call your Dad? He was supposed to have surgery. I hadn’t heard anything about that.

Amidst this, I scrambled to dress. They’d given me a uniform. I put that on but now I couldn’t find my glove, bat, and ball. The first two were located with help from my Mom’s boyfriend, but then I couldn’t locate the ball. At last, a cat was spotted batting it around and chasing it.

I retrieved the ball, a mold-covered lime orb that had no resemblance to a baseball or softball. What the hell, that wasn’t important, I decided, and I was running late. Scramble, scramble.

I headed for the field. Along the way, I met my wife. She was going to the game. But first, we were being assembled in a classroom. Some of my friends from this period in my life were there. Weird. The teacher (an old high school English teacher of mine who didn’t remember me) was going around, passing out reading material that we were to read aloud. Each of us were given excerpts from different classic pieces of literature.

Then, though, I protested that I had to go. Telling them that I’d see them at the game, I rushed away. Now I’m in this huge U.S. Air Force facility, passing displays about AF history, technology, and traditions. I’m with some of my military peers. We agree, boy, has this stuff changed.

As I pass through the AF facility, I’m trying to understand where we are. It seems like an air base, mall, museum, and flying ship at the same time. I have a deep, sneaking suspicion that those impressions were all true, that we were somewhere high in the atmosphere.

There wasn’t time to consider it more than that, because, oh! Time! Baseball game. I wasn’t sure what time I was supposed to be there, but now I believed that I was definitely late. Rushing to the field where we were supposed to play, I discover that no one else from my team has already, not even the coach. Holy shit, where is everyone? What’s happening? Am I in the wrong time, place, and date?

Some young players show up. My tensions eases. The coach still hasn’t shown. What the hell, we’re supposed to play soon.

He finally shows, and apologizes for being late, but there was a family thing. I talk to him, and end up counseling him on how difficult families can be. Then he tells me that I’m going to be the starting pitcher. Can I handle that?

Sure, I can, I answer, but I’m enormously doubtful. I remind myself that I was successful before. But that was different, it was unexpected, and now, given the chance, I was overthinking it all, and that would probably skew my performance. I needed to relax and not worry, I told myself.

As I take the mound to warm up, the dream ends.

‘Nother Military Dream

Yes, it was another military dream. This one was all about flight-following, on the surface, but I found it was about change.

Flight-following is a low-level task in Air Force command posts that often consumes a lot of time. Flight information — mission number, type of aircraft and configuration, tail number, kind of mission, scheduled times and durations, aircraft commander’s name, etc. — are posted in logs and folders, along with getting written on big boards. The info necessary to coordinate and track safe and successful missions are called in via radios and telephones from multiple ground agencies and the aircraft. It was done on paper on in grease pencils on plastic boards when I was in the military, but as small computers were coming out, I saw them as ideal for coordinating all of this via electronics. Naturally, as I progressed in rank and responsibilities, I did less and less flight-following.

Anyway, we weren’t flight-following anything in this command post when the officer in charge announced that it was decided that we should. As the dream progressed, I was trying to explain to her that it’s not as simple as just making an announcement. She insisted that we were only going to do certain missions.

I spent the dream talking with others about it. Old, unused flight-following boards were revealed on the walls, so once upon a time, flight-following was done there. Meanwhile, several young lieutenants came in to agree with me, telling others that they thought that this was a mistake, surprising me with their insights.

Not a weird dream at all, a very affirming dream, it was all about change, of expecting something to come around again. The dream didn’t much surprise me; I feel like there’s been an energy shift, and then decided that I’m opening myself up to change, and I’m expecting change. It reminded me that change is part of cycles. That sums up my personal philosophy: change is part of cycles, and it resides on a circular spectrum, and it’s always moving. Sometimes it goes retrograde, but it’s always moving.

I think the dream was just telling me, yep, changes are coming. We’re sliding along the spectrum one more time, going back to something to go forward.

Monday’s Theme Music

“There is freedom within, there is freedom without…”

As I was thinking about my dreams this morning — there’s been a staggering dream surge in the past two weeks — those lyrics from the song by Crowded House, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (1986), entered my thinking stream.

The song was released at a busy time for me. I was in the military, stationed in South Carolina. I’d traveled a lot that year and the previous year – Egypt, Somalia, Delaware, Florida (multiple times). I’d been assigned to South Carolina (Shaw AFB) in the previous year (1985) after four years in Japan, at Kadena (Okinawa). Then, suddenly, in October, I had notification of a new assignment, for three years in Germany, reporting in December.

Thinking of the dreams and the song just brought all of that surging out of me. Lot of places, lot of flights, a lot of faces, a lot of time away from home and my wife. Since then, I retired from the military (1995) in California and moved to Oregon, worked in start-ups, and then with IBM for fifteen years. It was a chaotic life, but seemed normal.

“Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over. Hey now, hey now, when the world comes in.
They come, they come to build a wall between us. You know they won’t win.”

Yes, but sometimes it feels like an uphill fight to get to where you want to be. Does the battle ever end? I supposed I could simply stop fighting and accept whatever will be.

Yeah, I know, more first world whining. I’ve had more options, freedom, and success than many ever find.  I made those decisions and choices. I wouldn’t change it. It brought me to where I am, for better, for worse.

And it’s not over.

 

 

 

 

Thursday’s Theme Music

It’s Thanksgiving in the United States today, a holiday imbued with myths and traditions, and many memories for someone like me.

I have some wonderful Thanksgiving memories. Mom worked hard to make holidays a success — except Mother’s Day (yeah, d’uh, she took the day off, didn’t she?) — and Thanksgiving was always terrific at her house. Later, in the military, my wife took on the same role. Overseas, she coordinated and orchestrated Thanksgiving dinner among several families, and we always invited the single people to come over so they felt less alone.

I benefited from that, too. My Uncle and his family had me over for Thanksgiving when I was in basic training, saving me from a chowhall dinner. I had a great time with them. There were other Thanksgivings with co-workers’ families a few times when I was stationed overseas on temporary unaccompanied duty, like the time with Tony’s family in the Philippines. There were also a couple chowhall Thanksgivings, though.

All that brought the Alan Parsons Project song, “Time” (1981). It came out the year that we reported for duty in Germany. We lived off based that first year, and it was one of the times when it was just my wife and I. It was still memorable.

Why “Time”? Because of the lines, “But time keeps flowing like a river, to the sea.”

Yep, although it does make me think, there’s a sea of time out there, somewhere.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin was released in 1974. I’ve been hearing a live cover by George Michael, with Elton John as his guest (1991) at the coffee shop. Naturally, it ended up stuck in the stream, looping around a few times.

There are many memories associated with the song (like dances, kisses, and good-byes). It came out right after I graduated high school and went into the military, so it’s branded as part of that era, that transition from teenager living at home to adult on their own. As the Michael version came out during my final tour, it almost exactly bracketed my military career. Just a little coincidence, but one that ends up attaching sentiments to the song for me.

Friday’s Theme Music

I’m afraid today’s music is another one that just snuck into the stream and refuses to depart. I don’t know why it came in – I was cleaning the kitchen at the time and planning my day.

“Rosanna” by Toto isn’t a bad song at all. I got to know it and all of Toto IV (1982) intimately. I was stationed at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, Japan, at the time. My best bud, Jeff, loved the Toto IV album. The harmonies enthralled him. We used to go camping up at Okuma, where the military had a recreation area, and Toto IV with “Rosanna” was always played a few times a day.

Good ol’ Jeff. Fun, smart guy. Haven’t heard from or about him in decades.

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