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Sunday, September 30, 2012

A quick one

UPDATES - I just got back from vacation    I'm tired, my ass feels like it's still in motion but overall it was a wonderful time.  It's good to be home.

Bob - my neighbor and friend is still recovering and although its unlikely he will live by himself again, considering how I was saying goodbye to a friend in the last post (and how the family was going to remove life support on Friday) I see his recovery as nothing short of a small miracle.  He was actually smiling and laughing when I saw him late tonight.  Sadly he is still not able to walk or talk but at least he's making progress.  Thank you all however for your kind thoughts and well wishes.  Let's keep that positive energy flowing.

I have some images and thoughts in the back of my head that need to settle first, bags to unpack and laundry to do before this blog can be seriously updated.  Soon I promise.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

For Bob - a memorial.

Oct 22, 2012 - A sad day.

My good friend Bob died after a long battle.  He was surrounded by friends and family and passed quietly.  I  will miss my neighbor and friend. His daughter Bonnie is now part of our family.  I think he would have wanted that.  Enjoy tuning that old 52 Chevy my friend.

Bob on the Left, me on the right
Sept 19, 2012 - UPDATE!!!

Bob's condition, while still dire, is getting better.  He's moving about and showing some signs of recovery.  It's still not know if he will make a full recovery.  But it's better than no recovery at all.  Keep the prayers and good vibes coming Y'all!


I am saying goodbye to a good friend because I don't think I am going to get the chance. Well that is not true, on Thursday I will be saying my goodbyes.  On Friday morning I am leaving on vacation and will be out of town to October 1st.  My plans can not be changed.

Bob Bushart is my neighbor and friend and I've known him for about three years now.  He's a few years older than me and suffered from a variety of ailments and issues.  Still though, he was full of life and willing to do anything, try anything and help out where ever he could.  He and I told stories of misspent youth in bars and questionable nightclubs; playing a little game of who was telling the bigger lie.     He was a car guy and very well known in his home town of Rochester, NY and often told stories about how he rebuilt this or that.  I often tried to get him to help with the Burgman.  "Your blind and I'm an mechanical moron" I tell him.  "What possibly could go wrong?"  

A little over a week ago he went into the Hospital to clear a blockage.  Something happened, the doctors are not sure what, and my friend entered a coma.  He is not expected to recover and this Friday, they will be removing him from life support.  Due to circumstances we will not be here when they do that.  I would love to provide a shoulder for his loving daughter during that time.

If any good comes from this it's the knowledge that life really is for the living.  It really is a crazy, beautiful thing and I'm glad that I got to share a all to brief piece of my life with him.

Good bye Bob.   We will miss you buddy.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September has always been a sad month

As far back as I can remember the month of September has always been a month of transition.  It meant shorter days and longer nights, cooler weather, the leaves losing their green wholesomeness and falling, falling down. 

It meant going back to school, sweaters and football games, kissing my girlfriend to "keep warm" and running through piles of leaves the colors of stained glass and hearing that satisifying crunch.

In the back of my mind however it also meant winter was waiting just around the corner.   Snow, endless nights, cold and ice.  I hated the winter.  I hated all that it stood for.  All during college and even going back to high school I made it perfectly clear that I was moving south.  Towards the warm weather, following the sun.  Winter was death.

After college I lived outside Charleston, SC briefly and then in Charlotte, NC for ten wonderful years. A decision to take a management position took me back to Pittsburgh, PA for another ten.  I would still be there, if the economy would have held up and things had gone as planned...but life has a tendency to go all wonky when you least expect it.  So I moved to Tampa, Florida and life has been wonderful since.  I loved living in Pennsylvania, expect for the last few years where, I am not joking here, we had 36 inches of snow.  After the third year of sub zero temperatures and miserable days behind a was time to go.

I've not been home to Pittsburgh for any length of time since.  At the end of the month I'm spending ten days there.  I will not have my bike but I'm still hoping that a few friends of mine will be willing to let me ride theirs.  Three years ago the idea of riding the back roads on a bike meant using a bicycle.  It's funny how things change.   I am unsure if I'll be able to ride, but I think my gear just might find it's way into the back of my car for the drive up.
It's funny that now I am looking forward to the cool, dry air of winter.

Winter here in the south allows me to sleep with open windows, eat dinner on my lanai and ride much more comfortably.  I normally throw a light sweat shirt on under my jacket and that is all I need.  I've an old pair of orange hunting gloves that I might wear at night, it's been as low as 32 degrees (0 C for my European friends).  For once September doesn't seem to be a last gasp of warmer days.   It seems like a new beginning.

Well at home I'll be visiting old friends, visiting the Riverhounds new stadium site, drinking some Iron City well sitting at the famed Primanti Bros. Restaurant in the strip.  It will be good to be home.

Maybe September isn't such a sad month after all.

Friday, September 7, 2012


I've been giving a lot of thought to how I look at things lately. I was driving somewhere the other day in our car, down a semi-twisty road I ride my bike down sometimes and thinking about how the view changed.  On the bike I start at the outside of the curve, leaning into the apex and then accelerate out of it...trusting physics.  My view of the road changes as I start on the outside and then move in.  On the outside of the lane I have a much better view of what is ahead of me, I make slight adjustments on the brakes and throttle as I go...I am engaged.  Driving the automatic transmission car I felt none of this.  My view of the road never changed as I flew through the curves.  I don't think many people realize that just by changing your position, moving a few feet in either direction gives you a different outlook, a different perspective.

As I sit here and right this a friend of ours lies in a hospital bed awaiting open heart surgery.  Another friend of mine, who I know only online, has a 19 year old daughter with a brain tumor in the hospital.  I sit here and complain about my job and worry about money.  Things that are really not important giving their circumstances.  Perspective matters.

I have also run a small business over the last few years.  I started it because of what happened to the economic several years ago and I needed to work, to make some sort of living.  Today I make about half of what my "normal" job brings in and have the chance to expand it by becoming a wholesaler of fine German Chocolates.  Their is also talk of adding a "food cart" to the business between my partners and I, to serve the needs of a local community college who recently had it's funding cut.  If we do this then suddenly the simple part time job that I do for extra scratch now looks more and more like a full time endeavor.  My perspective changes again.

When you look at the famed picture on the side what do you see first?  The vase or the faces?  All this information is being processed, filtered and your brain determines what is most important to you at that moment.   I thought about this a few nights ago, Susan and I didn't have a fight about my riding the bike and she knows it's important to me.  My little jaunts down unknown roads when I run a errand is my way of exploring, of getting to know the place I now call home.  She would rather I go to the store and come straight home.  My ride to work is my commute.  I take no joy in it...even though I do break up the ride sometimes by taking a different route if time allows.   To her it is "my riding time" and she sees no difference between it and my barreling down twisty roads over a weekend.

Just a moment ago I read that above paragraph to her...I was wrong.  It's not that she minds me going, it's that she doesn't know where I'm at.  If I wreck on a back country road, and am taken to a Hospital in Tampa she would not know about it.   Perspective matters.  Her view of my little rides now makes sense to me in a way it didn't.  We now see both the vase and the faces!

What does this have to do my motorcycle?  With riding in general?  Two things happened to me this week that dealt with perspective.  First was an incident involving me sitting at a stop light waiting for the light to change.  I got involved in a slight altercation.  I'm not going to go into the details of it, because frankly I don't wish to worry those that love me.  Lets just say that I drove in angry to work, so angry that at one time I seriously considered pulling off the road to relax a few minutes...because I was afraid I would take out my aggression on the bike and ride faster than normal, or cut off other motorists.  I had to remind myself that in Florida we have "conceal and carry laws" and "stand your ground" laws.  If the idiot in the cage that pissed me off was as stupid as his actions where...then who knows how stupid he was?   Or what other stupidity he was capable of.

The second was I pulled into a store to treat myself to a drink.  A young man was there, surrounded by a gaggle of young teen age girls (perhaps this grouping should be called a "giggle"?) which he was obviously responsible for.   His eyes light up seeing the Burgie, and after a few minutes talking about the usual questions (gas mileage, can it do highway speeds?) - Questions that all Burgie owners are asked at one time or another he said simply.  "I need to get me a real motorcycle."  he said, with a look of longing in his eyes.

I let the comment slide as he piled his daughters and their friends into the mini van, a look of tired resignation on his face.  After all, it's all a bout Perspective.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Just some images from a short ride

The girlfriend and I had a little fight after I came home from a brief 35 mile jaunt, where I feel I don't do enough recreational riding (where I am riding just to ride and not commuting or running errands), she said she gets tired of my daily rides.

I didn't think of it that way before this.  But in any are some random shots of some of the odds and ends I saw today...with some odd little captions.

The backup of memory

The bus don't run here no mo.

She's waiting

The world's loneliest train depot.