Sunday, December 27, 2009

Year End Reflection

As many of us do at this time of year, I become reflective on the events of the past twelve months. It is often the turmoil we see most instead of the blessings. Yet, without the turmoil, the blessings often slip by us unnoticed. One of my many blessings for which I am thankful for are my mentors. One helps me view my turmoil as opportunities, another helps me focus on my gift for putting words to paper, yet another leads me down paths of spiritual awareness. Wrapped in all of these blessings is one that many in this country are struggling with, and with each cashed paycheck I pray for those who go without steady income.

This year, Blaze and I found each other and traveled nearly 10,000 miles together. We were both blessed to return home safely. Our trip to the Great Lakes, while a fantastic adventure, found me in the midst of personal turmoil. I could have easily tossed off all and given up without the help of friends. Teaching me to focus on what I want versus what I don’t want helped me to better places in my life.

My grandson arrived into the world this year. We worried and stressed when doctors suggested he may have a disability with life long effects. Yet, with prayer and time, he was found to be whole and healthy. We rejoice in his perfection each day.

Another grandchild would not be so lucky, and in the first trimester lost its grip on life. This grandchild lives in our hearts if not our home. His sibling however, it strong and continues to grow, a blessing we anticipate in the coming year. The one who was lost taught us that life is fragile and precious and not to be taken for granted. We are ever mindful of this truth.

As the New Year approaches, along with the unknown, I am resolved to focus on what I want, not what I don’t want. Hold positive images in my mind, representing success. Leave the past behind, and focus on the future. Love family, and appreciate more, those who call me “friend.” In this way, like the old year, the New Year will take care of itself, and I will emerge at the other end, even more amazed and delighted at what has unfolded than even my own imagination could envision.

Be mindful of where your thoughts travel. Keep them focused on where you are going, not where you’ve been. Appreciate all that is good, and transform that which isn’t into something that is. You can do it! Anybody can. I wish many blessings to all of you in the coming year with a special thank you to my mentors. Life is better because of you, and I am blessed to call each one of you “friend.”

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It Could Have Been Worse!

I’m humming Christmas tunes to myself, and heading home having received a surprise gift from the boss in a ½ day off, my mind turning over the stuff I want to do with this bonus. Only 15 minutes from my destination, I slow a bit to make room for a white pickup coming off the ramp onto the roadway. He’s no sooner in front of me when “CRACK” something hits the windshield. The steering wheel literally vibrates from the impact. The bed of his truck is full of junk. Some of it looks like torching equipment. I follow the truck to the lights up ahead. The first is green, I proceed. The second is red, so I honk a few good ones, throw it in park, put on the flashers and jump out.

The driver sees me coming and cracks the door.
“Something’s come off your truck and given my windshield one hell of a star burst.” I tell him.
“What was it?” He asks.
I’ll be damned if I know. It happened so fast!” I say as I look into the pile of junk in the truck.
He steps out to take a look at the window. Then turns to me and shrugs his shoulders.
“Oh well, just road hazard.”
“What?” I ask.
“Look” he says. I don’t have insurance and it’s just road hazard anyway.
“You don’t have insurance?” I ask incredulously. I’ve heard of such things but never ran into someone who didn’t carry any. The truck looks pretty good so I’m surprised. He should at least have liability.
“My truck is paid for” he says as if that explains why a person wouldn’t have insurance.
I can see my Dad now, a retired insurance guy listing the reasons someone should never be without at LEAST liability.
I already have his plate number, and he gives me his name, which I write down.
He turns on his heals, jumps into the truck and takes off.
I return to the car and ….yank yank….CRAP, I’ve locked myself out! The engine is still running and here I am out in the cold wind.

I get myself out of the road, and call my husband on his cell. It goes straight to voice mail. CRAP again. I call the office instead and tell the lady who I am, who I’m looking for and that it’s an emergency. She puts me on hold to go look for Andy. Once I’m on hold I look up and notice a state trooper coming toward me. I hadn’t even noticed that he pulled up behind my car. I tell him what’s happened and that I’m on hold waiting for my husband. I’m hoping he can bring the spare key.
“Unless you can open it for me?” I ask.
“Sorry, no.”
The trooper puts out flares, and calls dispatch to send a local cop. “Just a courtesy as this is their jurisdiction.” Since we are standing there waiting for the local and my husband, I strike up a conversation.
“And I thought my day was going good. First I get a bonus ½ day off, but then this happens to my window and then the guy tells me he has no insurance. Don’t things come in threes? What next? Maybe I’ll run out of gas.”
“It could be worse” he says. “Today is my day off.”
I stare at him a moment, start to chuckle, put my hand on his shoulder and say “you win!”

I change the subject, and tell the trooper that I can’t believe folks drive around without insurance.
“I got hit in the cruiser by an uninsured motorist” he tells me.
“You’re kidding!” I say as I look the cruiser up and down.
“Not this one” is his next comment. And we both grin looking at the sparkling new vehicle.

He gets back in the cruiser to talk on the radio. He asks me a few times if I want to get out of the cold. I politely decline. On the third time around, he indicates that its only 20 out and who knows what the wind chill factor is.
“Thank you officer, but I’d rather not get into the habit of sitting in the back of a cruiser” I say.
“No” he says.” “What you really don’t want is to get in the habit of sitting in the back of a cruiser in handcuffs!”
I really start laughing now, and walk around to climb into the cruiser. It is certainly much warmer in here, and it smells good too. That is when I notice two pizza boxes on the seat beside me.
“Oh damn!” I say. “It looks like I’ve interrupted your lunch. And maybe not yours alone!”
Then he tells me he’s been on duty for 16 hours and was just heading home to have lunch with his wife. I ask him his name and then apologize for the cold pizza.

The local cop finally pulls up behind us. It has now been 45 minutes since the first one has arrived. The trooper gets out, walks around to let me out. (Not a good feeling having no control over the door handles.) The local cop doesn’t seem in a good mood. He has his all business face on. The trooper tells him what happened to me, and the cop takes notes. We see Andy coming around but he’s stuck in traffic. Some of this traffic is my fault too! The trooper goes off to eat cold pizza leaving me to chat with the local.

Since I can’t get my registration out he’s asking my name and address, you know, all the details. He calls it into dispatch wanting to make sure I am who I say I am. We talk about the incident so he can make a report. While he’s writing I notice his name tag.
“I have a couple of neighbors by that last name” I tell him.
Without missing a beat the office says “Yup, and one of them is my brother.”
There is a slight pause.
“Jeremy is your brother!” I ask incredulously.
He nods.
“Gee this day keeps getting better and better. Now you even know where I live!”
The cop finally cracks the smallest discernable grin, but it vanishes quickly when Andy finally arrives with the spare key. We wrap up our question and answer session. I get some pointers on what to do next and head home.

I don’t know why things happen as they do, only that they happen for a reason. During riding season we look at our local finest as the enemy to be avoided when we want to open the throttle for a bit more wind therapy. Today however, my gift was getting to know Scott, and how he works lots of overtime so the wife can stay home with the kids. That Hunter takes his job seriously, but has a compassionate side too, wanting me to understand what all my options are in the details he was willing to share. I came away with a new respect in what dealing with the public must be like; it’s a Christmas gift of empathy and understanding.

Things indeed could have been worse.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Warning about Cheap Imitation Knockoffs

There has been a lot in the news lately about cheap imitation knockoffs. The media gives advice on everything from handbags, watches and clothing to electronics and cell phones. We are advised what to watch for and how to spot a fake.

Of all the great advice that is given to protect ourselves from fraud, there is one piece of advice that has yet to be brought to light.

Please move the children away from the screen. This could result in them needing therapy….

Santa would not be caught dead on a scooter!

Please have a frank discussion with your children and grandchildren and let them know that any Santa on a scooter is probably a fake, and the gifts possibly all knockoffs.

Then present them with this next photo. Clearly this is the real Santa; trying to avoiding detection and zipping along to make sure every child gets their gift under the tree on time!

Just thought you should know.

(It was for your own good.)

Merry Christmas!

And many blessing in the New Year!

photo source: Flickr

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Love Handles

Here is a motorcycle accessory that I have not seen before, and may be just right for some of you out there. Just in time for Christmas too! It’s a product called Love Handles. I just love that name! Love Handles are moveable armrests that can be easily attached to a wide selection of motorcycle backrests (sissy bars) for the comfort of those who ride on the back.

Love Handles is the brain child of Bill Freer and Mary Martin. When Bill purchased his new Harley, Mary became reluctant to travel by motorcycle saying she hated the bumps and turns and could never find a good place to grip. It cut down on the number and duration of their journeys. Neither was pleased with the turn of events and knew something had to be done.

Their product, they believe, promotes companionship between rider and passenger. It offers a sense of confidence and promotes a comfortable ride for the passenger resulting in longer and more frequent rides, bringing couples back together.

Love Handles doesn’t stop at just offering a sense of security to the passenger, it also doubles as a multifunctional accessory. Solo riders may be interested to know that it can double as a luggage carrier. The product can be attached to most Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha motorcycles in about 10 minutes, and detaches within seconds.

To promote their new product Bill and Mary will travel much of the winter promoting their product at motorcycle tradeshows nationwide. You can check out some of their other products at and They also have a newly formulated blog which will be used for other riders to share stories about trips, riding and experiences. When you’re at the show this winter, be sure to look for Bill and Mary and check their product out. You have to admire a couple that will go to any length to solve a problem.

example of Love Handles

Friday, December 4, 2009

Harry Hurt
Dec 13, 1927 - Nov 29, 2009

The motorcycle world lost an icon this week. Harry Hurt, principal investigator of the Hurt Report, died Sunday at the age of 81. His groundbreaking research still used today; is the basis for motorcycle safety programs and is credited with saving countless lives.

Harry is acknowledged as the giant in motorcycle accident research, working relentlessly to uncover the facts, and make them public, which sometimes irked folks when his facts didn’t support their pet theories. His studies proved that helmets can prevent brain injury; speed is not a factor in most crashes; two-thirds of motorcycle crashes involve cars and two-thirds of those were caused by car drivers who violated the motorcycle’s right of way. Harry Hurt’s study was based on 900 motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles from 1976 to 1977. Similar studies have been done that support his findings.

Harry was a lifelong motorcyclist and never had a crash in his life. He rode a cornucopia of motorcycles, even an off-rode trail bike to walk his dog.

Despite the evidence that has helped save so many lives, 5290 people still die yearly in motorcycle crashes. To that end, the US DOT announced a new Crash Causation Study in October. The government agreed to contribute 2 million to the study with the understanding that partners in the research would come up with the matching funds. The MSF agreed to kick in 3 million in funds. Since then however, the price tag has risen, being estimated at between 8 to 9 million dollars. The government then decided to cut the scope of the study from the 900 -1200 (as in the Hurt report) to only 300 crashes. This was not in the agreement MSF signed on for and they are now withholding funds saying the study will be compromised in being comparable to those in the past.

You don’t need me to rehash all the details here. You can find information about the study at Read the MSF statement here: And if you agree that the study should remain at 900 crashes and not cut to 300 you can sign a petition here: I think we owe it to Harry Hurt, who probably has saved many of us because of his study, to see that the report is done right.

Harry is survived by his wife, two sons, three daughters and ten grandchildren. A remembrance will be held at Paramount lab in January.