How to Allow a Volunteer Job Take Over Your Life and Dream

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Have you ever panicked over wheat-grass?  Spent some time counting leaves on a stalk of Silver-leaf?  Become ecstatic about receiving 500 pounds of onion seed?  Debated green mung beans versus yellow mung beans?  Wondered where to buy Lunaria or a Cardone puff?

You would if you were Deco (decorations) Chair for a Rose Parade float.Volunteer Ad

Aaahhh yes, its the first week of November and that means that my volunteer job as Deco Chair for the LaCanada Tournament of Roses Association has completely taken over my life.

Which means . . . very little time for riding and working on my dream of becoming an accomplished equestrian.

To give you an idea of how overwhelmingly “float” takes over our house at this time of year:

Last night, my husband and I were talking back and forth between the kitchen and the office.

Our 6 year old asks: “What are you talking about?”

“Float,” I answer, laughing.  “Do we ever talk about anything else?”

Our 6 year old replies: “Well, maybe when you’re with other people.”

Yesterday morning, despite it being in the 70’s and absolutely gorgeous outside, instead of riding, I was trading e-mails with our flower broker, trying to get on the same page for mum terminology:  She kept talking about “poms”.  What the heck does she mean by “pom”, I wondered.  Is that what I think of as “standard float mum”?

In case your interested, here’s what I finally understand:  “Pom” means any mum with multiple blooms on one stem.  Then there are sub-types.  So, a “pom cushion” mum is what I call “standard float mum”.   There’s also pom buttons, pom spiders, pom starburst.  China mums are completely different – those just have one bloom per stem.  Poms come 6 stems to a bunch, 4 bunches to a bundle.

Whew.  Glad we got that cleared up.

Now my life as a deco chair can move forward.  (Nope, that wasn’t sarcastic – this is the sort of stuff I worry about and must know.)

If only I could take my dedication to the LaCanada Rose Parade float and apply it to my dream of becoming an accomplished equestrian.  Float lends a certain rhythm to my life:

  • Design meeting for next year in the end of January
  • Concept decision and theme draft in the spring
  • Initial deco list call-out in late June
  • Flower meeting in July
  • Material ordering through late summer and early fall
  • Site visit in early November
  • Deco Week starts Dec. 20
  • Parade Day on Jan. 1
  • Jan 2 the whole process starts over again

I need to find that same rhythm for riding and allow that to dictate a bit more of my life rather than just fitting in riding when the time presents itself.  It might look something like:

  • Show season starting in late May or early June
  • Ride as much as the weather allows through the fall
  • Winter off with some plan to stay in shape (both Nikki and myself) as much as possible
  • Ride again in spring as soon as the weather allows

Float has a deadline:  The Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade starts at 8:00 January 1 without fail.

Hopefully, Catherine making us state our goals for next year will give me the same sort of deadline for becoming an accomplished equestrian.

Until next week!

Where maybe there will be riding, but definitely more Rose Parade, Deco Chair,  and float stuff.


danelle_50x50(Danelle left 8 Women Dream in March of 2010 and is still working  on her dream is to become an accomplished equestrian)

  • Heather

    I can’t believe the beauty of that horse of yours either!

  • Your life on the farm stories are very funny. I cannot believe you build floats too. I live for the Rose Bowl – I bet float day is a hoot.

  • Kim, the traveler

    That’s such a big job, but beautiful results! I had to quit volunteering so much for my kid’s schools, and being a girl scout leader, I was getting burnt out. Now I’m getting kind of bored though;)

  • Heather, the e-commerce builder

    Holy crap! The work that goes into these are incredible. Thanks for sharing the insane details.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Hey there – the pilot who saved his passengers and landed safely in the waters in NY – Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger has been named grand marshal of the 2010 Rose Parade. You must be so excited!

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    OMG! I just looked at your Facebook photos of this event. I love the potion bottle and the art sketch of the final float is amazing!

  • I like the idea of creating a rhythm and schedule for your riding. Definitely need to prioritize our dreams or else they won’t happen… Life takes over and other things take priority!!!

    We are here to help you make it happen!!!


  • Veronica

    I will appreciate a float a lot more after reading your blog, thanks.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    500 pounds of onion seed? Good lord. No wonder you are thin.