Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giving Thanks!

South Haven Lighthouse
taken November 26
Thanksgiving has passed, and I have returned to my blogging duties.  Needed some time to collect my thoughts and maybe think about those things I am thankful for.  We seem to be getting into a bit of a family tradition at Castel de Atwood at the Glen Allegan. Almost sounds like a scotch, but truthfully its always neat to see the family, but sometimes it would be great to meet up more than once.  Unfortunately my schedule gets so jammed, but as I was reminded....its really no excuse.  I am terrible at breaking away and spending time with those I SHOULD be spending time with.  Its that work thing where I am compelled to work hard and make something of myself.  Like the heading of my blog, I am trying to point my life in a new and positive direction.  I just have to quit saying and start doing!

Mary Lou -
my wife of 25 years
During our few days visit, I gave some thought to some of the things I am thankful for this year.  I mean, one penny just won't cut it!  I do have a lot to be thankful for.  Health. For both my wife and I.  Even my folks looked very well.  Life.  That I able able to live my life in a country that values life. Employment.  Thats a biggie around these parts lately.  Love.  That there are people that love me for who I am (even though I sometimes may not show it back as often).  Blessing.  That I have a warm comfortable home, dependable transportation, yes even my Harley is a blessing, food on the table, clean clothes, and the tools I need to live my life.  Family.  That they support the direction my life is heading, and being secure enough in the knowledge that they are there for me when I need them as much as I am there for them should they need me.  Safety.  That we have men and women serving both home and abroad, keeping us all safe from all enemies, both foreign and domestic, and that they have written that check payable to the United States, at a cost of their life.  While I am not maybe the wealthiest person in terms of monetary or physical possessions, the gifts I have inside me as well as those around me are what make me rich!

Jesse and Cheyenne
Our two daughters
I took some time before I left for one last ride on Melissa.  Went up to J&P Cycles to get a full face helmet.  At the time I had this crazy thought of riding Melissa over to Thanksgiving, but those temps just got colder than expected.  I did learn I can ride in sub 30 degree temps, but I need some better gloves.  My gloves, even with the fleece lining, are terrible!  I need some heated gloves or at least some heated grips.  That would make a huge difference, but those are both rather spendy items.  The ride up was colder than coming back.  On the way home, I stopped at a christian bookstore and picked up a little birthday gift for Jesse, our daughter.  Nothing like waltzing thru a christian bookstore in full Harley leathers, eh?  Had one gentleman ask me if I was lost, another asked me if I had enough sense to find my way to a warmer climate.  As I left I could almost sense my Guardian Angels laughing hysterically.

Funny-those don't LOOK like
Notre Dame colors!

Soon I will be preparing Melissa for her yearly hibernation.  I make no qualms about how much I HATE not riding.  Like the saying goes, "If I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand".  There is oil to be changed, filters to change, and time to get the service manual out and figure out how to do simple things like changing fork oil, or brake pads.  A new seat will be needed for next season.  Also a luggage rack so that an extra helmet can be strapped on, or perhaps a simple pack of clothes.  Also need to make a few needed repairs.  An electrical problem, as well as a faulty gas gauge.  I am still planning a trip to Wyoming, but I may put that to the side a year if things work out a certain way.  Perhaps a second bike might just make its way into the garage.  If nothing else, a trip just to The Badlands would be just as fun.  Stay tuned, you never know whats next!

Sister Tara and Glenn

Kamilla the exchange student
from Norway. 

My cousin Deb and wife Mary Lou

Sister Rhonda

Rhonda's husband Steve
A "unique" perspective on him!

Aunt Barb.  Maybe I should put the
In the meantime, find something to be thankful for. Christmas and Hanukkah are here!!

Peace and Love!

Me at my drafting desk.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Affair of the Heart

The flags flying through the
\fall colors at my office.
It's Veterans Day today.  When we all give thanks to those who have served our country's military services in one form or another. When we should all take pause for just a moment, turn to a veteran near you, and just say "Thanks for your service!".  Oh if it were all THAT simple.  I served in the navy at a time when nuclear weapons protesters were shouting obscenities at me on occasion, maybe pointing out my family lineage in ways I never knew, or just making a scene just to make a scene. I never wanted to serve for attention, but that kind of attention I could just as soon do without.  I really don't talk too much about my service, because all I really did was stand my watch - nothing more, but today I got several "Thank You's" and I really feel a little embarrassed by it all.  There are PLENTY of men and women who HAVE served who are much more deserving of a Thank You than I am or ever will be.  If I had actually been shot at or commanded men in battle that might be one thing, but babysitting a bunch of nuclear weapons on a ballistic missile submarine isn't exactly the cornerstone of an exciting military career!  My brother, however, is much more deserving of a Thank You, so from me to you bro - Thank You for your service!

My wife Mary
Deep in thought about how to keep me in line!
Its been a rather stressful few weeks.  I am the only man left standing in my department at work, and trying to do the work for the entire department is proving to be a bit of a strain.  Mary and I both have been fighting off the flu bug.  To top it off, Mary, my wife, went into a cardiac care facility for a heart catheterization the other day.  And this was not something that we were exactly expecting.  In fact, she was almost rushed into the care unit because her symptoms were almost indicating she was close to a heart attack.  GULP!  Try as I might to keep cool, that sort of test is not exactly what I would call normal.  ANYTHING that involves the heart is always a bit tricky - I don't care what doctor says what.  Prayers were said, calls made, and in we went.  We spent pretty much most of the day in the cardiac unit.  Doctors even told us if they found blockages what to expect.  Stents might be used, or even bypass surgery was a possible option.  In the end, all the thoughts and prayers from everyone won out, and as it turns out, there were no blockages of any kind.  Not even a burp.  To say THAT coming just before the holiday season - what a wonderful blessing to receive knowing at least your loving spouse who has been your lover for over 25 years has a clean set of pipes.  COOL.

Mary and I earlier this year
Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  My riding time is now almost at a standstill.  I did take some time today to go to the airport as part of a Welcome Home for a Marine returning from his tour in Afghanistan, but apparently this Marine missed his connecting flight home, so the airline put him on stand-by.  Tell me - what stupid airline puts a returning war hero on stand by??  Here is a Marine who hasn't been home in several months, and when he gets to the states....to HOME, they put him on stand-by.  I have my own opinions about such people, but repeating those feelings might get a little rough...stupid third rate jerks!  On the bright side, I put in some riding time last weekend.  Just took off, got lost, roamed around aimlessly through the countryside.  Not a care in the world.  That's the way to ride!  Some of my best praying times come like that.  Lately I have been trying to come up with a plan for a motorcycle trip to Wyoming next summer.  Actually, I have been plotting this trip for many years, but just didn't have the motorcycle yet.  I have the route planned, sort of, but its time to start figuring out some of the logistics, getting some much needed replacement parts on the bike, losing a few more pounds, finding some bike bags, stuff like that.  I am sure it will happen at some point, its just a matter of putting it all together.

Life has a funny way of tossing you rotten eggs.  Its how you deal with the crap that helps build the character of a person.  I suppose I could have run off and gotten all mentally irregular over Marys health issue that came up, but it never would have solved anything.  I could easily start beating down brick walls over my frustrations at work.  Maybe even put in for a rubber room reservation over some of the obstacles thrown in our path this whole year.  Anymore, it doesn't hardly faze me I guess.  Not sure if its some sort of "maturity" thing, or that I just don't care to get that excited about it.  Its been nearly two years ago I jumped on the wagon as it were.  For the most part I have been doing ok, not having hardly a wee dram of Guinness to quench my thirst, but the last month or so I have had a night or two of indulgence.  A glass of 15 year old scotch can be a wonderful thing, in moderation.  I found that I didn't need those Friday nights like I thought I did, but after awhile, I still had an occasional craving, so I caved.  A friend told me that just going as long as I did without a drop had a positive effect on me.  There have been many challenges this year, a lot of forks in the road, and sometimes a little cow pie in my eye from time to time.  In my mind - just wash the crap off, and get ready for the next manure truck!!!

Peace and Love Everybody - Its time for the holidays!!!

MY ultimate dream bike- The Harley Davidson
Elctra-Glide Ultra Limited.