Sunday, January 30, 2011
A few years ago a man and woman posing as husband and wife and pretending to be stranded knocked on the door of a nice older couple across the street and down a few houses. They pulled a gun and tied up the man while the lady took the wife to the ATM to make a withdrawal. Fortunately no one was hurt and a few days later the news came out that it was an inside job. A few weeks earlier these folks had hired a contractor who told someone about the potential for a heist at their house. This event shook people up in our neighborhood and was a reality check that this can "really happen here". I felt the strongest urge ever to protect my family and came real close to buying a handgun. What stopped me was Amber's strong desire to not have a gun in the house.
Through the years while we lived in California every once-and-awhile I would have the urge to get a .22 rifle to go plinking with other guys. But I've always respected Amber's desire to not own a gun and just put that urge out of mind.
Friday I made the plunge and bought a handgun. (Wow, that was new statement!) I've been researching it for a few weeks and in fact struggling a bit with how it'll all pan out. As many of you know who read this blog I'm a volunteer chaplain at the county jail. Let me pose just a couple of questions that I've been pondering. Does owning a gun for protection mean that I'm not trusting God? Is it okay to tell someone about the love of Christ while carrying a concealed weapon? The answers that I've found to these two points deserve at least a full post on their own but I won't go into it now. Maybe you have some thoughts on these questions and I'd really like to hear them.
It's an unpredictable world with some people who mean harm to others. I don't think that statement means that I'm paranoid because I do fully trust in God. But because I work at the jail I'm more aware than most about the reality of what goes on around us. Everyday all of the news sources bear witness to the fallen world around us.
Years ago I was in the National Guard. We were trained on all sorts of firearms because back in the day the National Guard was just that - a national guard. I enjoyed it when we would camp out at Camp Pendelton Marine Base and have our annual weapons training. So firearms aren't new to me but like motorcycling there are do's and don'ts and I plan to restart the learning curve. I'm looking forward to our son teaching our grandson and me.
I know some of you might find this subject scary and upsetting. Recently we had the tragic event in Tucson, Arizona where six people lost their lives and nineteen were injured including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords when a gunman opened fire at a shopping center gathering. Amber and I were watching NBC's Dateline the following evening. They interviewed a guy who was nearby and carrying a pistol. He got to the scene after the gunman was wrestled to the ground and felt bad that he didn't arrived earlier and maybe prevented some of the devastation. Amber said it's scary to think there are people walking around us with guns. I said no that's comforting to know that there are people familiar with guns who are available to help protect us. Even police agencies will tell you they can't be everywhere.
A couple of years ago an Iran veteran attending an Oregon University was expelled when it was discovered that he had a handgun on campus. He was a Marine veteran with a concealed permit trained in the use of weapons and he got verbally scourged and expelled. My feeling is this is the guy you want on campus and in fact he should have gotten a break on his tuition to help compensate him for his experience and availability.
Well, I thought I would "let the cat out of the bag" and write on this subject since most likely there will be a sprinkling of future posts on this point. Our oldest grandson is 14 and has plans to go into the Army after high school. He really looks up to our son so who knows, he might want to go into police work.
Friday, January 28, 2011
I love to capture things engulfed in fog. Fog is like an extra filter and it does some nice things with the available light. Early Wednesday morning I drove to Eugene to work. The temperature was in the mid 30's (F) which kept me off the bike. Of course it warmed up to the low 50's during the day but I wimped out on the 90 minute morning ride in the cold.
It also reminded me of traveling on vacations with my parents when I was a child. I would peak over the front seat and see the red and white flow. The fog causes some tunnel vision and brings emphasis to the colorful movements.
I hope your highways are fog-free and remember... stay on the red side.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Our oldest grandson had a basketball game this morning. Everyone piled into our 4Runner with Amber at the helm which allowed me to take the Beemer. As I was putting my gear on I noticed rust on the rotors - a telltale sign of stagnate steel. A bothersome discovery that put my lack of riding lately in perspective.
May your rotors not gather any rust. Go forth rust free.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
This day was our son's 30th birthday. He's our youngest and the father of two. He's beginning his career as a policeman and he and our daughter-in-law are saving for a house. Amber and I are thankful for our family.
I've had surgery on both knees as a result of running injuries but all three of those times I didn't have the peace that I felt on this morning. It wasn't a peace that was conjured up either, but a conviction that whatever was going to happen that day everything would eventually work out for good. This comes from my faith that God has every detail of our lives in His loving hands.
This morning was to be the first of three hurdles that I felt I had to cross. Within an hour the radio active liquid would make its way to a lymph node which would be determined as the sentinel node. Later in surgery the node would be removed for biopsy to test if cancer cells are present. If the cancer had spread then this one would have the evidence first in the chain of the nodes that follow. There was a strong chance that the solution would make its way to the left perotid gland located where the upper and lower jaws meet. This would be more risky as facial nerves run through the middle of this gland. These nerves would have to be disrupted to extract the lymph node so partial facial paralysis would be a possibility.
Growing up in SoCal I had my share of sun exposure and even got scorched a handful of times. Five years ago I had a spot of skin cancer appear on my left temple. It wasn't the type that spreads so I had it removed with mohs surgery and that was that. The doctor highly suggested that I wear sun blocker which I did for a month or two then stopped. I shouldn't have stopped.
The early part of November at the urging of Amber and one of our daughters I made an appointment with a dermatologist. He took a biopsy. In the late afternoon on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving the doctor called to say it was melanoma. And it was deep enough to be concerned about it spreading. What stood out from that conversation was when he said, "Melanoma is not the death sentence it use to be." Everything else sounded ominous. Those of you who have had a cancer diagnosis know what the thought process is like.
The first hurdle was crossed successfully the morning of the surgery when the radio active material made its way to a lymph node behind my left ear. I was grateful it didn't go to the perotid gland and ready to get on with the surgery. Amber and I would wait another three hours before I was taken into surgery. The surgery lasted about two hours. The second hurdle was crossed.
When I woke up in recovery two nurses were having a friendly argument over whether the Oregon Ducks or the Auburn Tigers would win the national championship. It's funny how during surgery time doesn't pass like it does when sleeping. There is no concept of time.
Portland Area Tram. It was a nice drizzly beautiful ride.
This last Monday afternoon the surgeon called with the biopsy results. The sentinel lymph node taken from behind my ear was negative for melanoma. The cancer had not spread. It took a little while for that to settle in. I'm grateful that God has spared me from this cancer. The third hurdle was crossed.
I'm not one for long posts. Some might wonder why all this talk about lymph nodes and glands over an episode of skin cancer. Melanoma is serious but like most cancer it's preventable. I wanted to go through the development of this because our sport/hobby of motorcycling takes us outside and although we're covered head to toe with riding equipment, at some point we're taking in sun exposure. This is meant to show the consequences of not being diligent about sun protection. I wasn't careful, but wearing a hat and using sun blocker are now part of my daily routine.
I rode yesterday for the first time in almost a month. I worked at the jail in the afternoon and came home a long route that was new to me. What a nice time of being back with machine, camera, and beautiful scenery. I rode today too and the old feeling is back. Lord willing I'll be putting the miles on again.
I hope the weather allows you to ride these January days.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I had surgery last Thursday for one of life's unexpected events. I'll have more details to follow. I haven't ridden in a few weeks and I can't ride for a few more days. Besides, I want to wait to post until after I can once again experience the exhilaration of riding.