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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wisteria and chives, colors I love~

The Wisteria Wrap is coming along. I felt compelled to do a photo shoot with it alongside some chives in bloom; the colors were great together! Can you tell where I had to start a new skein in a later dye lot? I can't!



My firstborn daughter CJ is planning a trip real soon, and will be surprised when I gift this to her! It looks like I may have to kick it up a notch and get 'er done if I'm to meet the new deadline!

Of course, Miss Pepper had to get in the picture too!


Igor thinks it is all pretty hilarious, and imagines her falling off the deck rail, not that he would have anything to do with it....



Saturday, May 19, 2012

A purple haze, and other adventures in knitting

The Wisteria Wrap has come along, a lonnnnng way since its inception, and I'm plugging along with 3 new skeins of yarn at my disposal to complete it whenever I achieve the desired length. I won't know that until I get there, but pretty sure one skein more will do it.

We've decided to sell LunaC, Stella's garage mate. DH hasn't got it in him to ride his bike, RA, combined with a bad hip and other issues prevent him from enjoying it.

Since I won't have saddle bags to carry things to and from town, I invested in an overnight bag got the bag seat o Stella. I love it! It's big enough for my knitting bag, a gallon of milk, and a few small things I might need to pick at the grocery from time to time. It's perfect for running orders into town if an Express comes in.

I'll get a better pic when I've got her outside tomorrow :)
Nats is still in Texas, since last Wed, and is having the time of her life! Her BF Jake took her to Red Lobster for dinner last night. Today they drove up to San Antonio to Sea World for the day. She sounds so happy, I truly hope she has found what she needs. She's definitely taken by the uniform! I can see it now, The Desperate Military Housewives of Ft. Hood, she'll fit right in!
I can't believe that they found each other after nearly 5 years apart. I have a felling they were never quite over one another, back when Jake moved. I have to admit we didn't leave good company last time we saw him, but they were kids, and we were being cautious parents, not really very understanding. I don't think the separation was necessarily a bad thing, just something that can be looked back upon as a life lesson.

Igor got his summer cut today; he's a pooped puppy.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Things that go swimmingly in the night~

My mom was a character.
She was a pretty outspoken person with a lot to say, and she didn't mind telling you what she thought. She was usually right , too. And if you didn't t like what you heard, just keep it to yourself, or it would bite you in the end. " If the truth hurts, let it hurt!" was one of her more popular sayings.
I got a little of that from growing up with a doubtful mom. She insisted on honesty, but when it came to me, She was a hard sell. She pretty much didn't believe most of what I said, and it was usually a losing battle to get her to change her mind. Once she figured you weren't on the up-and-up, she wrote you off. I never lied to Mom, but how many can say they believe everything a kid says?
I am very much like her in that respect. I don't carry grudges, but if I feel I've been wrongly judged, I move on quickly and quietly. I never gave up trying to win back her approval, my one strong trait to this day.

Yesterday was Mothers Day, and I spent it taking the Advanced Rider course at the Kutter H-D dealership. It was an all-day event, the weather was perfect! There were 5 of us, 4 war vets ranging in age from their 60's to 20's. I was the only girl, and noticed the approving grins when I first walked into the class.

We had 9 exercises to complete. While the instructor made it clear these were all strictly rider option exercises, we all wanted to come out of there better riders, so we we were to do our best, and not worry if we couldn't do a particular set perfectly.

The first 3 hours in the morning run, went perfectly. Most of the excersises were repeats of skills we learned in the first Riders Edge course. It was a good way to warm up the bikes, bodies and minds. Most if it came easily; the only difference was, we were on our own bikes this time, not the loaner Beulls we rode during the first class.

2 of the guys had touring bikes, and watching them do figure-8's was jaw-dropping amazing! None of us envisioned this as a life-saving technique, but it was a great way to learn to what extent you can turn a bike, regardless of size or weight. Those touring bikes weigh in at 800+ pounds. Stella and I were lightweights at 568 lbs of fun. Still, it was pretty amazing to see seasoned rides take those curves throughout the course, with relative ease. We all found out by way of our instructor, what we were doing wrong. Right away, he noticed I was not using my right index finger when braking, much to my surprise! Funny, I never noticed that, but the seasoned touring guy said he did the same thing... wow. I caught myself later on my return trip, doing it again, and quickly made my correction, an Ah Hah! moment. :-)

We took a lunch, enjoyed Jimmy Johns subs, on Kutter. Then headed out for the second half of the day. The exercisers got progressively harder, and I was starting to feel it in my clutch hand. Halfway I to the 6th set of skill tests, we were to do a quick stop in a curve. I had the concept, but was getting tired and my left arm was starting to wear out from the many tight U-turns, swerves and curves we had already practiced.
I did the first set of quick stops in the curve, fine. But, when I came around to do it a second time, I felt my arm wanting to just give up, and my reaction time was not there. I told the instructor I was beat, and he told me to park it and take a break and rehydrate.

When the group came back in from their rounds a few minutes later, one offered me a couple advil to elevate my now aching left shoulder. After a 10 minute break inside and a full bottle of cold water, we were ready to roll and this time I managed the tests without noticing my shoulder as much. Toward the end of the final tests, I could feel a dull reminder, but told it to stand down and pushed on.

We got our bikes lined up for our evaluations runs, and without further adieu , I did mine effortlessly. The instructor told me later I stayed in the box, I didn't even notice! YAY ME!

We all completed the course and came away with a better understanding not only of our bikes handling, but our own advanced skills, things we will need to survive in most any situation.

I am completely in awe of Stella, my little Sporty! I did things on her I never thought possible, and am totally in love with this bike, can't wait to get back out. My shoulder seems fine, but I'm not going to push it. We'll go gas up later, my light came on as I pulled in last night. We put 23 miles on Stella during the road course, adding 62 miles round-trip. The girl has over 1500 miles since July 31, 2011, 500 since Jan 14 of this year! :-)

If you are reading this post while preparing for your own Advanced Rider course, and are looking for tips, (as I did the night before), you probably won't learn anything that you can take with you on your rides. It did me little good reading others posts, gave me too much to think about. So, don't worry. You will do fine!

Ride safe , rubber side down, shiny side up!

PS: OYeah, Jim, our instructor said he bets I wipe down Stella every day, she looks Showroom new! I do, after every ride! :-) :-) :-)




Friday, May 11, 2012

...going down the rabbit hole with a matchstick~

....I can't see what lies ahead.
I find myself in a situation without a map, no GPS, no ethereal voice to tell me, "you are coming to an exit in 60 feet."

100 years ago, (or at least it feels like)I watched my Dad die slowly from terminal lung cancer. It spread so fast, I didn't have time to prepare for what was to follow... I got a call from a relative one day, flew out on the next plane, and Dad was gone 10 days later. I sat with him for 5 days after his release from the hospital, and let hospice come every day like clockwork, to do what they needed, to see to his physical needs. I was there to help him in any way I could that would make his last days as easy as possible.
It wasn't easy. Mom was there, in body; her mind had left the building long ago. She tried to help, she was hardwired by almost 50 years as the devoted Wife and Mother. She didn't remember how to hand him things, got frustrated easliy, and saddened when Dad would tell her to stop whatever she was doing.
I don't think I had any more of an idea what to do, than my mom did..the Blind leading the Blind. Dad was so patient, so tired; most of the time he slept, and if he needed anything, he would ring his bell. He had lost his voice around Christmas of the year before, could barely be heard above a whisper.

I watched as my Dad take his final breathe that day, afraid to touch him, for fear it would hasten his passing. I could just sit there and watch as he took his final breathe, stoking his head. I had already called the hospice nurse, Nancy. I was waiting for her at the front steps 20 minutes later; she knew immediately she had arrived too late.

Like a storm trooper, she set to task making all the necessary phone calls and arrangements to the funeral home, ordered the paperwork, and finally she gathered my Mom and brought her to my Dad's side, for their final moments together. I couldn't move, it was like my feet were nailed to the floor. I watched as Nancy slowly explained to Mom what had just happened. She spoke to her in slow, clear words that Mom would understand. I watched helplessly as my Mom's thoughts turned, and the realization hit her, and then I watched as her heart broke. As tears streamed from my eyes I watched as finally the recognition in her eyes faded away. None of us knew what to say to her-we gathered around to hug and comfort her, and guide her quietly away as the attendants came to gather Dad's still form and wheel him outside to the waiting hearse. The hospice nurse instructed us to allow Mom remember things they way she would, and not feel a need to remind her that Dad was now gone from her life. She told us to let it go. To remind Mom would only cause her to grieve all over again, and it was not going to help, and would not be fair to her.


The rest is a blur; I try not to go there these days, its too sad to have to relive. It hurts to remember all over again. But I can't forget.
The mind doesn't want to go there, it shuts out the unpleasant, in an effort to shield itself from further pain and damage. The body doesn't give up, it just keeps going and going, until it falls into troubled sleep, too exhausted to maintain a watchful vigil. Right now, more than ever, I need to know what to do. I need to know I will do the right thing, if I ever find myself in a similar situation. I don't want to be afraid to do what feels right, no matter what. I don't want to be left with any doubts or regrets, that I should have done this-or-that...will it make any difference after the fact. No. Then it will be too late. I can't allow doubt to take seed. Regret is a bitter pill.

No regrets....

Guiding Spirit, please don't leave me when I fall asleep. I need to be awake, and fully capable of giving my all, when called upon.

Woodland retreat, a chance encounter~

I went to the Natureland county park yesterday, a perfect day for a bike ride, and had the pleasure of meeting a very interesting person while there, a Korean War Vet. He introduced himself and went on to explain how he was temporarily homeless. At first I thought, how can this be possible, a decorated war veteran, 86 years old, without a home! He immediately clarified, saying, "Oh, don't feel sorry for me!". He went on to explain that he and his wife had recently sold their home and were temporarily living with a daughter and her husband in Lake Geneva. I felt a little embarrassed at my premature reaction.

Seeing my bike, he asked about my riding experience, which I proudly proclaimed as a Newbie middle-aged first time bike owner. He said that at his age, 86, he was just doing what he wanted, with the time he has left.

At length he told me he enjoyed trail hiking and mushroom hunting. He said his daughter gave him a map to the park, and after an inquiry at one stop, finally found it. He asked me about trails in the park so he could go morel mushroom hunting. I told him I had just started coming back to this particular park after discovering it 2 years ago, while out on am evening ride with Mike and the kids. I told him about one path that took visitors to a picnic area, with a small drainage pond, and we headed out to see what we could find.


We walked down a path that opened to the picnic area, and continued on to the opposite end of the area. The path continued on around, then took us to a clearing where we found a huge mound. I am attempting to find out more and will keep you posted,but we need to go there soon, before the kids are out of school. We were there around 4:3O and were met with several cars full of high schoolers wanting to hang out. I'm not paranoid but it gets a little crowded when there are more than 4 cars full of teenagers, IMHO :-)

We returned to the parking area and lingered at the bridge for a while, not quite wanting to leave each others company just yet. We talked about his house hunting in Indiana, Illinois and lower Wisconsin, and his wish to find a parcel with 6 acres, so he could raise sheep. He dug out his camera and using an attached stylus, scrolled through his camera roll to show me pictures of a ranch somewhere in the area that raised Scottish Blackface sheep.
He asked my name and I, his, Edward and I shook hands. After a while, it was time to leave, so he asked me how to get back to Hwy 12, where he said he'd have no difficulty finding his way back to Lake Geneva. I told him I was going that way, and he could follow me back as far as Hwy ES. Reluctant to part company, I hopped on Stella, and we headed on down the highway. As I made my turnoff at Hwy H, I heard him honk a loud Thank You! Stella replied, Beep! Beep! I wish we had more time to spend chatting, the old guy and I. It was one of those chance encounters I will remember every time I go back to my favorite retreat. Perhaps we'll see each other again, there at the park.

I'm taking Mike out there today to see Crane Island and the nesting White Cranes. He won't be able to see the mound, unable to walk the short distance with his bad hip, but its not that far.

Let's go take a ride!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Forever Young, and in our dreams~


....I had a dream once when I was around the age of 16.

A relative, my Mom's brother's MIL, was in hospital, so before my shift, working as a Band-Aid ( Cali version of Candy Striper) I went to visit her in her room. She had had a leg amputated, she was diabetic. She cried her leg hurt, the nurse told me it was " phantom pain", a common occurrence with amputees.
Mrs. Sales was delirious with pain, and a little help from the mess, but she remembered who I was when I told her I was Penny's daughter.

Then I had a dream of her that night. In my dream, she was young and beautiful, in a blouse and skirt, standing in a halo of light, waving at me. I said to her, "goodbye, Mrs. Sales..." and she smiled and continued to wave.
The next morning at 8:30, my mom got a phone call. When she hung up, she came in to wake me to tell me Mrs. Sales had passed in the night. I told Mom I already knew. The lady in my dreams was her, as a young woman, her Spirit vibrant and alive . Long story short, That song stuck with me ever since.
We never forget those closest to us. They won't let us. :)