Monday, May 29, 2006

To Hell's Canyon and Back

Thursday May 18th was the beginning of our first Harley adventure for the riding season.  We met our friends at Bellingham Harley Davidson at 8:45 AM and departed at 10:00 AM for our destination in the Tri-Cities area, staying in Richland, Washington for the evening.  We left with seven bikes and three were two- up (Mike and Jeannie Gilbert, Dawn and Dave Johnson, Dave Nichols, Ken and Michelle Thompson, John Dunne, and Larry and Billie Marrs) for the Hell’s Canyon rally in Oregon, with our HOG leader, Mike Kennard, waving goodbye to us.  The rest of our chapter group, including Mike, left on Friday morning.

It was sunny 500 weather as we headed down I-5 with Mike Gilbert as road captain and Dave Johnson riding sweep.  We stopped in Sultan for lunch at the Dutch Cup then headed over the pass to Leavenworth and Wenatchee where we peeled off some of our warm weather clothes and made a couple of extra stops for water in the 1130 heat.  We rode south to Richland but before we could get there we endured dust storms, wind reaching 50 mph, rain, sleet, hail, and barely visible conditions.  I kept thinking tornados and found out when we finally reached our hotel that everyone else was thinking the same thing.  There was nowhere to hide so we kept riding through the miserable conditions. The bright spot was that in a quick stop to grab jackets and rain gear, Jeff and Carlene Veltman, who left a little later in the day, had caught up to us and joined our group for the final miles.

We checked in, took quick showers, hung up our wet clothes, and walked across the parking lot to Margaritas for a wonderful Mexican dinner, some relaxing conversation before saying good night and getting some much needed sleep.  When my head hit the pillow, I was out.

Friday morning most of us slept in, consumed the complementary continental breakfast, dressed in our rain gear because of those dark clouds hovering above, drove to Starbucks for a wake up jolt, then hit the road by 11:00 AM for the short ride to the Washington-Oregon border.  We arrived to find Rita and Dave Bode already at the meeting place, so we gassed up the bikes, checked in with the Friday group by cell phone and decided to eat without them, since they were about an hour out, and get back on the road.  Someone had their cd player still playing on their bike and Larry danced me around the parking lot to the sway of the music.  Just as we were ready to ride out for the final leg of our journey, the 2nd group arrived, so we exchanged hellos and good byes and our group was down the road again on our way south on highway 84 on the eastern side of Oregon into Baker City while the 2nd group stopped to eat.  (The Friday group, Mike and Cis Kennard, Dick and Barbara Wells, Larry Brown, Rick Huggins, Roger and Dottie Schneidereit, Tina and Richard Roemmele left Bellingham Starbucks at Sehome at 6:00 AM for the long ride straight through to the rally.)

While chapter members arrived on different days and were scattered between several motels and hotels, the town of Baker City is small so we were only blocks away from each other.  We found Candie and Sky Dartt and Ron Johnson and his brother Jay, and everyone had dinner at Barley Browns Brew Pub.  We had to sit in three separate groups but everyone had a great time laughing and enjoying the evening among friends.  I had the Angry Chicken Salad:  grilled onions and bell peppers, hot pepper flakes, grilled chicken, feta cheese, served hot over romaine lettuce with a warm Caesar dressing.

Most of the group met up at the Oregon Trail Restaurant for breakfast on Saturday where Bonnie and Bob Halstead joined us and then we split up in groups choosing to ride to the dam, the interruptive center, or just relax in town.  We went with the group to the interruptive center, lunch in Richland, OR., then back to Baker City for a little shopping.

Saturday evening the party started in the Kennard’s hotel room where most of the group gathered for some sort of cold drink before the evening festivities started.  We had wrist bands as proof of registration and for that we received a pin, free tacos on Saturday night, and entry into the bike show if you wanted to enter your bike.  2500 bikers were expected for this event and our own Jeannie Gilbert won first place in the trike division.  We walked back to the Oregon Trail Restaurant for dinner and some of us went to the Veltman’s penthouse suite for a last Hoo Ra with the group before heading home the next day.

Morning came to fast and it was breakfast by 7:00AM. Everyone already anticipated the coming rain and we all dressed in our rain gear before pulling out and heading for home by 8:00 AM Sunday morning.  We crisscrossed paths with several groups during the morning.  Larry and I rode back with Jeannie and Mike Gilbert to Kennewick where we stopped for lunch together.  They stayed behind to spend a little time drying out their clothes and visiting with their daughter and grandbabies while Larry and I headed off to Yakima to meet up with Cis and Mike Kennard.

We pulled up in front of “Howard House” the Victorian home Cis and Mike own and received the grand tour.  The home was their former beauty school which has now moved down the street.  We were relaxing when we heard that familiar rumble of pipes--John Dunne and Rick Huggins had pulled up out front.  They had seen Larry and me go by while they were stopped for lunch and just drove down the road looking for our bike.  Cis and I walked to the local Mexican food store for snacks and drinks then we all watched and laughed at Mike’s favorite internet videos.  We walked through the alley to Black Angus for a dinner of appetizers, salads, steaks, and dessert.  The weather had cleared and everyone enjoyed the early evening on the third floor deck.  

I woke Monday morning to the thunder of JD and Rick’s pipes as they left about 7:00 AM for their journey home.  Cis and Mike were at work at the beauty school so Larry and I packed up our bags and waited for them to return.  Breakfast at Mels, a few stops to try and find a warm sweatshirt for me (no luck) and rain gear for Larry and we were on our way home in the rain.

It rained so hard we could hardly see the road at times--the fine gray mist of fog hung over the mountain tops and floated down into the valleys as we made our way home.  Mike surprised us with lunch at one of his favorite spots, the Angel of the Winds Casino.  Hot coffee and strawberry shortcake was all Cis and I managed but Mike ordered chicken fried steak for Larry while he devoured shrimp cocktails.  This must be a Thursday night dinner ride sometime with the group.

I think the only thing worse than riding in the cold and rain is going into a warm building and then having to put on wet gloves and ride another forty miles in the cold rain to get home.

1,100 miles down and back including side trips.  I would do it all over again to spend time with friends although I might let Larry splurge on a bike trailer.  I know I’m a wimp.  I admit it.  Who cares?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mother's Day

My daughter Kelly few home Thursday before mother’s day. A friend picked her up in Seattle and Kelly called on the phone laughing, asking what are these tall green things? Living in Las Vegas for the last nine months and looking at sand, rock, and brown hills had made her forget about green trees, grass, and plants.

We had some time alone before her brother Michael showed up to cook dinner for us and Jerrilynn and Haley arrived to get ready for a night out in White Rock BC. Friday we were off for pedicures before having lunch with Michael at the country club. I came home and Kelly went off to visit friends for the afternoon and a movie with Sam in the evening. Someone ask Kelly if her mom was mad because she didn’t just stay home with me. She told them no, that her mom understood, and I do. I love having her home but when you are young you want to be on the go and I know she loves me.

I never really truly understood how special Mother’s Day was until I no longer lived close to my mother and my own children were scattered. There is nothing better than being a mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin.

I had beautiful flowers on the table when I woke upon Mothers Day, cards from the kids and Larry, church service, lunch with my family, and a present from the kids when I got home. The sun was shining and it was a wonderful day. Jim called on Monday to say happy mother’s day because he was on duty all day Sunday. In my heart, my children are always with me and I know that they love me. Home is where the heart is.

I called my mom to tell her I love her. My mom is sweet, kind, loving, and gentle, all things God intended mothers to be. My kids will tell you she is the best cook, the best grandmother ever and they are right. My mom is not just my mom she is my best girlfriend.

Kelly flew back to Las Vegas, Michael flew off to Boston on a business trip, Jim is working and loving every minute of it, and Larry and I are leaving on a Harley trip to the Hells Canyon Rally in Baker City Oregon.

Monday, May 15, 2006

LOH: we are women, hear us roar

I am part of a group of ladies known as Ladies of Harley, part of the Mt. Baker Harley Owners Group Bellingham, WA.  We are more than women in black leathers.  We are an active group of women who raise money with their “Change for Change” program, several hot dog flipping events for tips, and our first ever garage sale this year.

We have made cash donations to the Ferndale Police Dept. for their Teddy Bear Program and cash donations to several school districts each year to buy school supplies for needy children. The Ladies give a mock baby shower for themselves each November and donate the gifts to the GRADS program in Bellingham, a program that allows teen moms to complete their high school education while providing daycare for their babies.  We participated in the Jingle Bell Walk for the first time last year and a benefit for Camp Katrina in Louisiana.  

We are women, hear us roar.  We are making a difference by providing help and assistance to women, children, and families in Whatcom County through our fundraising.  We are secretaries, teachers and university personnel, health care workers, business owners, artist, homemakers, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and daughters with a love of Harleys and hearts of gold.

We flip about 700 hotdogs each year during the annual Harley-Davidson of Bellingham June bike show.  The dealership buys the hotdogs, buns, condiments, and drinks which we distribute to visitors for a donation to our tip jar.  This money allows us to buy school supplies, emergency food, and art supplies for the GRADS girls.

Our inaugural garage sale was a huge success.  Who could image that people would line up at the gates of the Kennard Estate and then run to grab the treasurers the members had donated when the gates opened.  A number of our male members also volunteered to help out during the sale and we used their muscles to move heavy items for customers.   We laughed lots and enjoyed the sunny afternoon.

Some of us also took home a few treasures shopping while we set up on Friday and Saturday morning.  My finds were a Victorian ladies chair that needs some new upholstery, an odd fellow’s podium, and a vintage croquet set.  Now, my husband Larry couldn’t see the beauty in my finds, but the podium will become a night stand and a base for one of my father’s birdhouse lamps.  The ladies chair will probably wind up in the same room as the podium just looking cute upholstered in reds, suede, lace, corduroy, stripes, Swiss dot, and quilted remnants.  I bought the croquet set for the wooden balls which I someday hope to have enough to fill an old bowl and be a topic of conversation when people ask why I have them.

We sold everything except a Harley--but had several parked in the circular driveway for people to admire.  The Ladies of Harley is not just a group I belong to; they are my friends who have become another family.

How LOH will spend our time and money this year:
Our own webmaster, Jeannie, is starting a non profit with her son to provide computers and software to low income and needy children.  Jeannie has a heart for helping children and this is just one more way she gives to others.  So the Ladies will provide funds to help out.

We will continue to support GRADS with tips from our annual hotdog flipping event at the bike show in June.

We will make a cash contribution to The Mighty Max fund ( which will help families who have children being treated with Charge Syndrome at Children’s Hospital in Seattle.  We are working with Max’s mom, Amy, and our own LOH member, Candie, who also works at Treasury of Memories on a Harley scrap booking fundraiser to benefit the Mighty Max fund.

We will participate in the Jingle Bell Walk again in December, a community service project during October for make a difference day, a baby shower to benefit GRADS in November and possibly an event to raise money for the cancer foundation.  

Our focus in LOH this year is primarily on helping children, but when you help a child you help their family, and the whole community benefits.

I am proud to be a Lady of Harley in the Mt. Baker Chapter Harley Owners Group.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mom - research associate in the field of child development and human relations

Have you ever thought about the true value of what it would take to pay a mom for all that she does? has now put a dollar figure on the “mom job" of both working and stay at home moms.  “Stay at home moms” would earn $134.121 annually and “working moms” would earn $85,876 annually for their “mom job. Housekeeper, day care provider, teacher, dishwasher, cook, computer operator, maid, housekeeper, secretary, bookkeeper, janitor, chauffer, nurse, CEO, and psychologist are just a few of the many jobs a mom does daily.
On you can include your own personal information, with the Mom Salary Wizard then create a hypothetical mom paycheck and mom pay stub, which can be printed and emailed to family and friends.
Proverbs 31:31 give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
A friend sent me the following urban ledged story in an email about “moms”.
A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk's office was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.  "What I mean is," explained the recorder, "do you have a job or are you just a...?" "Of course I have a job," snapped the woman.  "I'm a Mom!" "We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation; 'Housewife covers it," said the recorder emphatically. I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.  The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient and possessed of a high sounding title like, "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."   "What is your occupation?" she probed. What made me say it -- I do not know -- The words simply popped out.  "I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations." The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right.  I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.  Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire. "Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?" Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, "I have a continuing program of research (what mother doesn't) in the laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said indoors and out).  I'm working for my Masters (the whole darned family) and already have four credits (all daughters).  Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (anyone care to disagree?!) and I often work 14 hours a day (24 is more like it).  But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers. And the rewards are more about the satisfaction, rather than just about the money." There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up and personally ushered me to the door. As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.  Upstairs, I could hear our new experimental model (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.  I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!  And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than, "just another Mom." Motherhood!  What a glorious career!  Especially when there's a title on the door.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


My younger son, Michael, was just hired as the coordinator of a program at St. Joseph’s Hospital. He has been working there for over a year while going to school at WWU. He will graduate in August with his BA. There is still some discussion between us as to whether he will actually walk down the aisle in a cap and gown.

Currently Michael has an evening class once a week as he finishes his BA program. In between school and work he must now hire a replacement for his part-time position and take his first business trip to Boston in May as the coordinator of his program. Michael is a service orientated person and this job allows him work with seniors and their families.

Michael graduated from high school and WCC at the same time through a program called Running Start in Washington State. Life experiences in the work force after community college and a move away from home helped him decide that he needed to return to WA and school.

Back at WCC and a year later and Michael was a licensed masseur. This helped to pay the bills but he realized it still was not the job that would fulfill him in life.

Back to school at WWU and a BA in sight, Michael can focus on his job and make plans for a Master’s degree. He is bright and loves school. His professors love him as do almost everyone who meets him.

My baby will be twenty-five in June but all grown up. I am proud of who he has become.
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