Monday, February 20, 2012

New Opportunity and Challenge

It is finally official and I can now share it with you.  I am making a career change. Hopefully it will be my last. Perhaps you might call it a consolidation, instead.  For years my heart has been with TEAM OREGON, our motorcycle training organization.  My body has been forced to be elsewhere in the name of making a living.  Now I've been given the chance to re-unite the two.

This is a camera phone photo taken yesterday at a class / instructor training event. 

Once in a while orbits align and you have the chance to follow your heart.  I was given such a chance and I knew if I didn't pursue it I would regret it for the rest of my days.  So I went for it and things worked out. 

I've been appointed as the new Training Manager for our motorcycle training organization.  It is a full time staff position. It includes oversight over our nearly two hundred instructors and those we expect to add over the next few years as we grow to meet the demand.  Repsonsibilities also include quality control for our current training materials and courses.  As time goes on we will be testing new methods of training such as online courses. 

There's a bit of trepidation being felt here, too.  I've spent 12 years training for this position.  Not with that exact purpose, but in doing the things involved in the job. Over the course of that time I've become friends with all the wonderful people who are my fellow instructors.  It has been gratifying to help so many to achieve success and the satisfaction of accomplishment.  It will be great to be in a position to help them more but there is also the worry of making sure I do right by them and our students.

I cannot begin to describe how blessed I feel.  Some good folks have unselfishly shared their time and energy on my behalf over the years.  I have been, and always shall be, grateful for them and have always tried to pay it forward.  I have a passion for riding motorcycles and teaching others to do so for the first time or to improve their skills.  Now I can also make a living at it.  How lucky can a guy be?

Miles and smiles,



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Glad it didn't turn out THIS way!

Recently Beemergirl found herself in a sticky situation.  Fortunately, all turned out well in the end.  

This reminded me of something I ran across recently which shows things could have turned out much, much, worse.  

Apparently this person was waiting in the drive-through at a local drive-in.  They seem to have gotten their toes stuck in the glove box and could not get loose.  Nobody responded to this poor person's cries for help.  You know how badly garbled things sound through those speakers at the ordering board.

Not only do you get a great deal on the car but it also includes the original owner!

As an added bonus you also get the friends in the rumble seat.  For some reason they must have thought the order was just taking an extra long time to be cooked.  Being so occupied with texting they never noticed what was REALLY happening until much too late.

Let's just all be glad that Oilburner came to rescue ( under duress or not ) and this did not happen to our dear fellow blogger!

Miles and smiles,


Monday, February 13, 2012

Deep appreciation!

Instead of making a reply comment on the last post I decided to do this post.  My reasoning is that I wanted everyone to be sure to see my heartfelt expression of appreciation for you all.  It was truly touching to see everyone's comments and well wishes.  Some shared their own stories.  It's a testament to the sense of community that's developed in our blogging world.

I hesitated in sharing the experience of losing my grandmother.  It affected me deeply but these things seldom affect others outside a small circle.  That's not a negative commentary.  Simply the way life is.  In the end I wrote about it for a couple of reasons.  One reason was for a sort of personal closure.  The other reason was to reach out and share something that hit me so personally with some other human beings that I've come to be fond of.

That's really who's behind these blogs.  When we call up the blogs on our monitors we see the words and photos lit by whatever makes our screens glow brightly.  Real human beings sit at keyboards and bring these images to life.  What we write is motivated by our humanity.  The things that affect us, interest us, or even irritate us.

Some of you I have met in person.  I know your faces and personalities.  Like the whole group sprawled out in my hotel room in Bend.  That meeting and the late supper is still a treasured memory.  Whether I've met you in person or not, I know about you from the photos and your writings.  We get to know each other's quirks along with a host of other personality traits.  

When I read your blogs and your comments I see the humans behind it all.  So many good hearts beating inside great people.

I just want you all to know how much I've appreciated the journey of discovery as I've been blessed get to know you all over time.  My life is richer for your being in it.

Miles and smiles,


Friday, February 10, 2012

End of an Era.

My grandmother passed away last week at the age of 92.  Old age and cancer finally got her down on the ground and in a stranglehold.  Her passing marks the end of an era.  There are no longer five generations of my lineage alive.  It also closed the book on a mother-son relationship.

Look at the photo of my grandfather on the right.  He was the original Marlboro Man.  There is no posing here.  We really did ride, wrangle, and rope.  Looking at him pretty much explains my rough and tumble upbringing and way of living.  

The only one left alive out of this photo is likely that damned horse on the right.  Bud is probably still out there rebelling against anybody trying to ride him.  Actually, I'm sure he died long ago but you never know with Devil Horses!

I posted this photo here last Summer.  It's a technically bad photo taken with a cheap camera phone.  Nonetheless, it speaks volumes to me.

I'm sure she was mostly thinking about Grandpa.  On the other hand, she was already ravaged by cancer at this point and had lost her right leg to it.  I'm sure she couldn't help but see and contemplate the side of the headstone with her name on it.  A beginning date with an ending date yet to be engraved.  

Most folks don't want to think about dying.  I don't either, to be honest.  Yet, I force myself to contemplate my mortality while I can be constructively moved by it.  I want to enjoy the assurance now that I value holding my wife and kissing her goodbye or hello.  I've made the effort to let good friends know how much I treasure their friendship.  I regularly express affection and love to my children.   

Grandma was able to be at home until the end.  For the last couple of weeks she was confined to a hospital bed in her living room.  Caretakers were there 24 hours a day.  Hospice was wonderful about providing the needed medications and regular visits from medical staff.  There really wasn't any more to do for her except keep her comfortable.

Towards the end she got a bit demanding and seemed unappreciative.  It was a lesson to me in love, patience, and empathy.  I'm a bit shamed to say that my first reaction ( though stifled ) was irritation.  Then I would look at her and think about what she was going through.  Love and empathy cover a multitude of transgressions.

I think many people are too quick to judge others.  It's easier to brush somebody off or even take grave offense if we can somehow make them out to be deserving of what they are going through.  On the other hand, it's hard to know if that shabby looking person approaching us is actually in dire straights or has harmful intentions.  Do we show empathy and understanding while trying to help?  Or do we take measures to protect ourselves?  The world has gotten very complicated, hasn't it?  

On Saturday Grandma was pretty normal for where she had gotten to.  Saturday night she took a turn for the worse.  She refused to eat and seemed a bit "out of it" for lack of a better description.  During Sunday Grandma was in and out of consciousness.  She was in a lot of pain and we were giving her morphine every half hour under the doctor's blessing.  It was this day that holds my last memories of her.

Grandma would sleep for a while until the pain woke her up.  She would toss and turn and cry out.  I would stand by the bed and take her hand.  When she felt me touch her Grandma would open her eyes and see me.  The most bright and beautiful smile would cross her face.  Then, still holding onto my hand she would go back to sleep.

That is such a powerful memory for me.  I find myself, the grizzled road warrior, tearing up a bit writing this.  Once upon a time she held the hand of a child to give him comfort and assurance that all would be okay.  That child became a man.  Now it is his hand offering her comfort and assurance that all will be okay as she faces whatever dark journey awaits her.

By Monday she wasn't waking up at all.  Grandma passed away at 12:40 Tuesday morning.  Her departure was eerily similar to Grandpa's.  He was also unconscious leading up to the end.  I heard him take several shuddering breaths and then there were no more.  Grandma did the exact same thing.  There's that moment when the conflicted feelings hit at once.  So sad to see the end of someone dear to you.  Relieved to know the tremendous pain and suffering are over for them.

Thank you for all the love you've given me and for all you've done to help me turn out the best I could be.  Your body may no longer be with us but you will always live as long as we can treasure your memory.

Have fun with Grandpa at the ranch.  Give him my love when you see him.