Saturday, August 10, 2013

Part III: Falling

Hi Friends,
Back again for the third in this series of posts about the last couple of weeks in my life...

Part III: Falling

Sunday had been good, I walked my dogs, had a drive through the foothills, I cooked a nice dinner for me and Sean, and we watched some TV (I can't remember if we were watching this or this, but both are SO good!). I was starting to feel normal again, the grief of the last week starting to subside.

Later in the evening, I dozed off on the couch, when I woke up and got up, my feet somehow didn't get the message and I falled down.

I sat on the floor cursing for a few minutes, then got myself up, turned off the lights and went to bed. The next morning I woke up to this!

See, it's not gross because I put a party hat, shades and a mustache on my toe!

Doctors office, X-rays and air casts - oh my!

I've been working from home this week (because my boss is rad and understanding) and thank goodness too, because my office is huge and I'm supposed to keep off my feet and keep this one elevated. Oh joy. I've spent a lot of time on the couch (rewatched two seasons of Doctor Who and a whole bunch more Supernatural). A lot of time with my laptop open, and a lot of time composing these last three posts. It took forever to find the right words.

I've also spent some time out here, but not enough...

I've been a good patient, actually following doctors orders for once in my life. I did dig into a stitching project though and made a lot of progress, pictures of that soon!

Think I'm going to grab some ice tea and head out to the hammock for a bit, it's a nice day. I hope you're having a nice day, too. I'm going to be poking my nose into all of your blogs catching up in the next couple of days, can't wait to see and hear what you've been up to!

Part II: Drifting

Hey Folks, welcome back, thank you for sticking with me here.

Part II: Drifting

I last left off tell you about a friend that was killed right here in my home town while he was out taking a ride on his motorcycle.

Carl was a good guy, and taken far, far too soon. He was 33 years old, he just got married in March, and he was a daddy of a five year old little girl. To say that he'll be missed is a gross understatement.   

In all honesty, Carl and I weren't super close in the present day, I wish that'd been different, but we always stopped to say hello when we'd see each other around town or at the farmers market. I first met Carl back when we were just kids, maybe 1983-1984. My best friend's mom and Carl's moms were very close friends and as a result, Carl was around a lot when we were little. I remember him as a sweet little guy, very little, I think he was about 3-4 years old when we first met, he was adorable.

The week between Carl's death and his funeral was sad one. Gutted for those he leaves behind, his new bride and his daughter, and all those who loved him, I couldn't shake that drifting, discombobulated feeling.

The fact that he was just going about his business, taking a ride, enjoying the summer - doing the same thing I was doing the night he was killed just breaks my heart. This could have just as easily been me.

It's unfair. And I know, I know that life is unfair, but somethings are just unfathomable and seem so meaningless. Why? Why did this happen?

Carl's funeral service was last Friday. There were hundreds of people in attendance. A reunion of sorts, the worst kind. So many familiar faces, friends and family, all wracked with grief.

I know that for as long as I live, I will never forget the sound of Carl's five year old daughter, crying sorrowfully, sobbing and calling out "I want my daddy!" in the church that afternoon, or the wave of fresh sorrow that crashed over everyone who heard it, like a physical punch to the chest. It was just as horrible as it sounds.

But there was goodness too, funny stories and memories of those who loved him.

After the service a group of about a dozen of us gathered for a meal, not ready to let each other go just yet. Then later, we gathered at the home of a friend. We talked, we watched the kids play, we thought about him.

The next day, I felt numb. Wrung out. 

On Sunday I decided I needed to clear my head, to shake loose some of the sadness clinging to me. I needed to be outside, so I packed a backpack and my dogs and headed to the hills for a while. I needed to get some air and be in nature.

I went to a place my brothers and I used to go to a lot and walked and walked and walked. Took a few photos, and said goodbye to Carl.

You can't stop, you can only move forward.

I don't know what was in that guy's head as he was driving though town that evening, I don't know why he didn't see Carl's bike. Maybe he was distracted, maybe he was drunk (they're looking into that and news of such has been excruciatingly slow), but whatever the reason, he killed someone who wasn't doing anything wrong, someone who was out for a cruise, who should have gone home to his wife and little girl, all because he wasn't paying attention. Lyndzi and Nevaeh's lives will never be the same.

Please, please be careful out there friends. Be present behind the wheel. Take that extra second when you're driving to look in your mirrors, over your shoulder and entering intersections, lives really do depend on it.

Love to you all,

Part I: Flying

Hello Friends,
It's been a while since I've been around these parts or blogland in general, over two weeks - which feels like a long time to me. I guess it's because - and this may sound weird - so much and very little have happened in that time. Let's catch up, shall we?

Part I: Flying

Just after my last post, Sean and I took a trip on the Vespas that we'd been looking forward to for months. We rode our scooters up to Lake Tahoe to join up for a scooter rally with a local club. This was to be our longest ride together, and the farthest away from home on the scoots.

We were a little nervous about the trip, safety on the road is something I take very seriously.  There's no protection between you and the road, or other cars when you're traversing the roads, highways and streets on two wheels. You've got to be on your game and keep your head on a swivel.  The road to Lake Tahoe is a long way over some pretty high mountains. Luther Pass has an elevation of 7,740 feet, and Carson Pass is 8574 feet! 
Here I am with our scoots, packed and ready to roll. You'd be surprised how much you can pack onto a Vespa. We each had three days worth of clothing and other necessities (hello, flat iron & flip flops) and we weren't even fully loaded. What a great feeling to know I can set out on the road prepared for several days journey on my scooter. I love this thing, I tell ya.

The ride up was fantastic! Very little traffic, it was hot, but not miserably so, and in the mountains, riding a Vespa feels like flying, they are so smooth, and quiet. You don't hear the machine, all you hear is the muffled sound of the wind blowing around your helmet. It's amazing.

 We took Hwy 88 from Lodi to Lake Tahoe. It's a very windy road, through some gorgeous scenery - my favorite kind for scooting. After you've ridden for a while, you gain an understanding of leaning on your bike so that moving in and out of turns and is pretty darn fun. Straight roads bore me to tears.

We had a great time at the rally, the folks we met up with are terrific, funny, generous people who just enjoy each other and riding. The theme of the rally was Luau At The Lake, so there were lots of tropical touches, like this backdrop thingy, I had to include this silly picture of Sean and I.

As a guest, of the club I didn't feel comfortable taking a lot of pictures of the group, and while you're riding you can't, but here are a couple from our stop at CalNeva when we road all the way around the lake which was fabulous. I'm looking forward to riding there again, just Sean and I, so we can stop along the way whenever we see something interesting, and there's lots to see.
I think there were somewhere around 35 people on all different types of scooters riding together around Lake Tahoe. What a gorgeous ride, and what a great time!

This place is really neat, and has some very cool history if you're into Frank Sinatra & Marilyn Monroe. 

Another big reason for this trip is because it coincided with our nephew's 11th birthday. He's getting so big, starting 6th grade in a couple of weeks. Crazy how fast that happens. 

I was happy to get to spend some time with him. I miss them all so much since they moved to Tahoe. This boy is such a special kid. Kind and smart. Adventurous and fun (and funny!). Brave and sweet. Athletic and bookish. He has the best laugh, when he laughs really hard his whole face crinkles into a humongous smile. I love him so.

Every time I see him I trap him in an vice-like Auntie hug and hold him tight until he wriggles free, giggling and squirming. I'm sure it's totally embarrassing, but I won't be able to do that forever, he's not going to stand for that kind of thing when he's 16, or ever after, so I'm getting all the squishes I can while the gettin's good. 

His birthday party was held on Pope Beach, just north west of South Lake Tahoe. 
It's a beautiful beach, could it be more lovely?

 It's also a great place for families.

 My little niece is getting big too. Such a funny girl, this one, she has the cutest, quirkiest sense of humor. 

My sister-in-law, Apryl makes the neatest pinatas! She's made one just about every year for J's birthday.

They take a real beating before the loose their goodies.

And then it's every man (or little girl) for themselves to grab for the plundered booty.

This little skull cap was all that was left of the pinata :)

It was a good time.
Until we got some sad news.
A friend of ours was killed the night before. Hit by a careless driver who made a left turn in front of his motorcycle and smashed into him. The accident was one block from the hospital, which didn't matter, the damage was too great. Carl passed away in the operating room as surgeons tried to save him.

The rest of my time in Tahoe that weekend is a bit of a blur. We finished up at the scooter rally on Sunday morning, had lunch in town, then got on the road mid afternoon. Our ride home was subdued, and extra cautious. It was not lost on me that we were doing exactly what Carl was doing when his life abruptly ended, taking a ride on his bike, enjoying the summer...

The news of Carl's death has shaken me, angered me immensely and set my mind drifting, I'm planning to write a bit more about it in my next post. 

Please take care out there, friends. Please look twice for bikes on the road. Like I said earlier, for those of us on two wheels, be they Vespa, Harley-Davidson, or anything in between, there is no buffer between us and the road apart from our safety gear which doesn't stand a chance against cars and trucks. And even if we're doing everything right, some don't make it home from a ride.

I know this subject is heavy, and not my usual blogging style, which I prefer like to keep light and bright. But this is me real life, and something that has affected me which I feel I must share.