Saturday, November 25, 2017

Appreciation is a lost art

This is my neighbor's tree. It takes center stage in the view from our living room window. For more than a decade, my neighbor has decorated that tree like a Christmas tree with big, beautiful old school C9 lights. It was a simple sprinkle of holiday cheer on a street where few houses took part in decorating.

My neighbor's old pine tree, cut back to a stub.Beyond the holidays, my neighbor would sometimes turn the lights on during spring storms, adding a little glee to a snow frenzy.

Last month, the tree got whacked. Haven't yet seen my neighbor to ask why. The tree appeared healthy and full; now it's a tall stub of wood. Though it's no longer full of bristly branches laden with lights, last night we noticed it had sprouted a bright blue lighted Star of David. It was simply beautiful. Tonight, though, it is bare.

Funny how a tree can remind you to cherish and appreciate the things in life that you take for granted.

I miss that tree.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Racing with Dreadlocks

Whenever I meet someone not yet a track day rider or racer, I always tell them "if I can do it, anyone can." I tell them how my guy has been racing around the midwest since '06, with me as his Tire Warmer Application Specialist, and how I never considered racing as I had so little seat time on anything other than a vintage Honda streetbike.

Then, one weekend while on tire warmer duty, I saw a girl on the track. It was an ugly, cold race day in Kansas. This girl was out there, though, hauling ass. I didn't really see her doing battle with anyone, but it was cold and wet, and not conducive to spectating. I only caught glimpses of her coming onto the long straight, dragging her knee, dreadlocks flying out the back of her helmet. But she was out there with the guys. I didn't know who she was, but she was pretty damn cool.

A few months later my husband & I took a trip to Grattan Raceway and I was treated to a 2-up session (two riders on one bike, riding on the race track). It was a perk they offered the non-racers at the event (i.e. the kids, girlfriends and wives).

Bait taken; hook set. I now wanted my own track bike. We dug a retired FZR600 out of a friend's barn, cleaned her up and within the month I was out on the track, skittish as a new colt, happy to have graduated from the spectator club.  I was on my own bike, hitting triple-digit speeds and freaking myself out.  What a rush!

Soon race season came and I remembered that girl I'd seen, dreadlocks flying, having the time of her life. With the support of my husband and some amazing friends, I decided to get my official license and attempt this racing thing, if only to say I tried. When they said I'd passed the test and earned my "wings", I was giddy.  I couldn't wait to add my number "31"  to that old FZR and grid up with the others.  I came in dead last in nearly every event I ran that season, probably even setting a record for being lapped. But I was a RACER.

Recently, at the 2012 CCS/ASRA Season Opener at Heartland Park Topeka, I met some friends from an online Women Road Racers group.  It was great to put faces to names and share hugs with women from all over the country.  We talked and told stories and encouraged one another to keep getting better and faster.

After the event, while browsing old race pictures online,  I came across the image from my memory: a girl racer with dreadlocks flying out of the back of her helmet. I double-checked and sure enough I'd spent an hour the previous weekend chatting with my racing inspiration and hadn't even realized it (she no longer has dreads)! I promptly sent her a note to say "thank you!".  Racing is a small world after all.

Don't ever think as women we don't inspire others just by being out on the racetrack. Even growing up in a motorcycle house, spending years on a streetbike and helping in the pits, it had never occurred to me that I could do this. I know excellent female racers, too. They are amazingly talented and I call them friends.  But it was the image of Ms. Dreadlocks (Jen, by the way) screaming down the straight that stuck in my mind and spurred me to take this leap of confidence.

Now my 12-yr old daughter wants to race. I'm hoping I'm her inspiration, but know it could be any one of us our there on the grid. That's pretty damn cool.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Life is good, but short

For lack of a better assessment, the past 12 months have been an exercise in human emotional elasticity. From elation to devastation, if there is an emotion left to sample, I’ve not seen it. It’s all left me pondering where I am in life and how to leave this world a better place.

A few weeks back, a high school acquaintance died quite suddenly. He was one of those young, healthy and positive people whom death snatches away with a snarl, leaving friends and family awash in disbelief and sadness.

In the wake of his passing, I’ve found myself re-evaluating my place in this world. I’m a mother, wife, daughter and friend, but am I really good at any of those? Am I doing my part to bring joy to those around me, or am I the one griping because gas is expensive, I’m unemployed and my jeans don’t fit like they used to?

So I re-drew my game plan, counted my bountiful blessings and realized that yes, I am good at some of those roles, but there is always room for improvement. Here’s to a better me and hopefully, more joy to share with those I love.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Time!

POLITICS: children building sand castles on a beach. One castle has a wide drawbridge that lets everyone in. The other castle has a broad moat that keeps bad guys out. While the children bicker over which castle is best, the winds of change blow the sand away. 
I'm still waiting for the kid with bricks & mortar who builds castles on common sense, not the shifting sands of passion & marketing.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's the Last Day of October...holy cow

...and now we begin that frighteningly, sickeningly fast slide into the holidays. I don't think I'm ready for this. I just did find my Halloween decorations!

Think we're all set to go for tonight, though:

1 HALO 3 Master Chief Costume with matching super-cool helmet (CHECK)

1 Masked Banana Costume with appropriately masked stuffed sidekick (CHECK)

1 Large Bowl of Assorted Candy that is not my favorite kind (CHECK)

2 Large Insulated Cups for Portable Margaritas (CHECK) <--ha! I kid, no, really I do

Since my kids are preteens, I believe this may be my last chance to accompany them on their annual fall candy begging spree. Not going to worry about action pics this year. Just going to soak it all in :) And, of course, sneak their candy when they're not looking.

Happy Halloween! May the goblins be few & the Snickers be plenty!

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Momma's Birthday Song

My beautiful Maddie wrote, and sang, this song for my birthday.  I love it!!!!

My Momma's Birthday Song

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Boys vs Girls

The past 24 hours have been quite the learning experience in terms of the Tween Set. For me.

1.  Daughter's sleepover: Twister, Silly Bandz swapping, Rock Band on the Wii & everything smells like flowers & candy. Son's sleepover: loud, loud, messy & LOUD & my house smells like sweaty frogs.  And Axe. I think that other smell was Axe.

2.  Girls share Krispy Kreme doughnuts, even carefully dividing the ones they all want so everyone gets a bite.  Boys will arm wrestle to the near death for any glazed ring of goodness, no matter how many other perfectly edible doughnuts are left in the box. Then they crush their juice cups in victory.

3.  Girls eventually sleep at night.  Sleep means dreaming about trips to Build-A-Bear and the new American Girl store.  Boys consider sleep unmanly.  Who needs sleep when the world runs on sheer adrenaline, Airsoft guns & LEGO bricks?

4.  Girls are divided on the whole Justin Bieber is awesome/lame debate. Boys think everything is "beast", love Megan Fox and all want Olivia's phone number (Olivia, of course, is the new girl at school who hasn't yet realized that most boys smell like sweaty frogs).

5.  Girls post about puppies & their best friends on their Facebook status updates.  Boys post about wanting "hot" girlfriends even though they've never touched a member of the opposite sex.

6.  You can count on determining at least one child per sleepover who's next sleepover invitation will unfortunately get "lost in the mail".  For girls, this may not become evident until the morning after.  For boys, this is glaringly evident the moment you let them in the front door.

Now that I think about it, I don't recall my brother ever having a sleepover with his pals, while I had several. My mother was/is a wise woman.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


What a morning! Wrapped my last radio show and have called it a day. When the money crunchers slash budgets, what can you do? Cling to the sinking ship or swim for calmer waters. So, I'm swimming off to my next adventure: Marketing Director for Tornado Bait Racing, my husband's motorcycle race team!  Radio has been a fun ride, but sometimes you just have to call it like you see it.  I'm excited to finally be working with people I LOVE in a sport that makes my blood race, literally.  Motorcycle racing is more than just guys in leather pants going fast, you know. 

Thanks to all the friends and listeners I met through the years. You are definitely what made the job worthwhile. I'm continually amazed at your kindness. I'll do my best to keep my blog updated, but would love to hear from you, too. 

Please do keep in touch :)  I'll be seeing, there and on the racetrack!!  Ride safe!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Where Did It Go?

While I was up to my eyeballs in closet cleaning this past weekend, I came across a box of saved school work from my big girls, K & M. Artwork and spelling tests and creative writing assignments were mixed in with the report cards and field trip fliers. The little kid handwriting, with it's grammatical training wheels and misspelled words, brought little misty tears to play. Forgetting the pile of closet debris around me, I stepped into my personal time machine and took off.

K's "All About Me" poster was eerily fortelling. And M's birthday party pics captured her glee with ease. Time flies is truly the most accurate statement ever uttered. How could my precious little people, my motherhood guinea pigs, be all grown up now and out on their own? With ballet recitals and soccer games, cheerleading and SkillsUSA checked off on their TO DO lists, where did I fit into their world now? My heart ached and my eyes grew a bit more than misty.

After a moment, I carefully placed the papers and drawings and photos back in the box, checking to make sure no edges were bent or 3D art masterpieces crushed. Then I pushed it back into the closet and headed downstairs. My two youngest babies were playing Star Wars Legos in the front room and suddenly needed big hugs. Or was that me?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No one has ever died from a Dust Bunny attack

Whew! Days One & Two of Operation School Year 2009-10 can be successfully crossed off the list! And Day Three seems to have gotten off to a great start, too. Cannot believe my kids are growing up so fast...they look so big and so Non-Little-Kiddish lately. Makes me sad and proud at the same time. Does every parent say that? Of course, then they head back to the computer or throw another load of laundry in or get to working on something extra for the job.

STOP! I have to tell myself that again and again...STOP, and enjoy the kids while they are here. The chores will wait (no one ever died from an attack of dust bunnies), work will be there tomorrow (yes, it will), and NOTHING is going to happen on Facebook that really means anything (trust me on that). What once seemed like such a long time, eighteen years, flies by so quickly....carpe diem!

(pic: my brother and I on the first day of school, circa 1975)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tornado Nationals!!

AWESOME weekend! Ron & I took the kids out to the AMA Tornado Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka to see some motorcycle racing (yea, I know, shocking!). Really cool to see friends of ours mix it up with the big boys (and girls, in the case of Melissa Paris). John Deuser, Matt Hall & Jamie Hall raced well. They may not have had the big rig set-ups, but they did have some of the biggest cheering sections out there. Ron will be with them on the grid next season. Can't wait!

LOVED that the big name riders were so accessible and friendly. My son got his new hat signed by Jordan Motorsports riders Geoff May and Aaron Yates, and I snagged pics with my faves, Ducati rider Larry Pegram and Danny Eslick, along with Martin Cardenas, Roger Hayden, and Aaron Yates. Pegram even graciously signed T's hat after he won Sunday's Superbike race.

And check this: when we met Pegram on Saturday morning, I mentioned I worked in radio. He asked which station so he could listen while driving to the airport on Monday. When we saw him on Sunday, right after his second big win of the weekend, I said "Wow! Now I've REALLY got something to talk about on Monday." His reply: "On 98.1, right?" With everything he had on his mind, how in the world did he recall that?? Very cool guy. And I LOVE that he calls his wife right after each race. Gotta love it!

Equally cool: we bumped into racing legend Scott "Mr. Daytona" Russell strolling thru the paddock. Ron and our friend Greg Williams (owner of Cafe Racer, Inc) were a bit starstruck. I'm not as familiar with his racing feats as they are, but his commentary on SPEED TV with Ralph Shaheen is great. Quite a coup for us all.

Pretty great weekend all around. How was yours?

Friday, July 10, 2009

What's Your Passion?

Had you asked me 20 years ago what I would be doing for fun "when I grew up", I would have never imagined my reply would be "riding motorcycles". To someone who doesn't ride, the allure and thrill cannot be adequately explained. The words just don't exist. Lots of folks just smile politely and nod when I go on about my two-wheel addiction. That's alright. I'm sure their zeal for golf will always escape me, too. (For me, golf is only fun if it's involves gnomes, windmills and waterfalls. Hello, Cool Crest!!). And I'm okay with that.

But even though they might not share my enthusiasm for bikes, I know that I'm in good company with many who do. Whether you ride a Harley or a Honda, tour the backroads or drag a knee at the track, pilot your own ride or prefer a passenger seat perch, it's a sport that gets in your blood and never leaves. Know what I'm talking about? WHAT'S YOUR PASSION? To start you off, here are some pics from a recent trip with my fellow Motorcycle Addicts. Enjoy!