Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Playing "What if" can sometime really cause headaches!!

I was recently talking to a friend about Goldwings. We are both thinking about getting one sometime in the near future. He said he never rode one and would like to do so, to make sure he liked the feel of the bike. I rode a friend's Wing, but only for about 10 miles or so, down to Walmart and back. But still enough to give me a big grin. :-) I suggested he look into EagleRider, which sometimes rents out Goldwings.

After that, I took a look myself. The local EagleRider does rent out Goldwings, at $150 a day. Yikes! I was looking around their site some more, and saw that they have some special prices on one way rentals, basically to move bikes into different locations in the country. Mostly from Orlando and Los Angeles to DC. Ho hum... Then I saw they also have some in Nashville, TN. Who knew they needed rentals down there? I looked down at the various time periods that they were offering, just out of curiosity. I saw they had one in late October. For some reason that rang a bell. Hmmm, a little more digging up and I found these posts from Kosherblog: Here and Here. A kosher BBQ contest being held in Memphis on Oct 21st. Pardon me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard. Hmmmm, wonder what flights to Nashville cost? Call up Orbitz.com... Yikes, unless I want 3 layovers, it's like $200. What's this? My fingers already typed up the Greyhound bus schedule... I could get an overnight bus there for $45. Let's see, if I left after work on Thursday, I could pick up the Goldwing in Nashville on Friday morning, ride around, then either crash at a cousin in Nashville, or ride over to Memphis. Either way, do the BBQ in Memphis on Sunday, and ride back Monday (maybe Tuesday too). Wow, this is great!

Then reality started sinking back in. That'd mean leaving my wife and kids alone for 5 days or so; during school too. Hmmm, a little bit selfish I guess, especially since they probably wouldn't be going on the Ride to Remember in Omaha next May. Sometimes it's nice to dream, and with internet research now, I can fill in the details on the dream so easily. Flight availability, costs, schedules, same with trains and buses, hotel reservations. I had even thrown up a few routes from Memphis back home on Google Maps. It makes the dream even more tempting. But the priorities (family!) come first.

And Laya, since I know you are reading this... it's NOT meant to try to nudge me into sending me off. I was just thinking about how even 10 years ago, I wouldn't have been able to pull together all this information, schedules, prices, availability, maps, etc., in a matter of just a few minutes, and that's what I'm mainly talking about. But hopefully you'll excuse me if I try to make BBQ Brisket that Sunday! :-)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bribery works...

Now that Tikvah is 4, the doctor wanted to do a blood screening, and since our home was built before 1978, that includes a check for lead. She was annoyed enough at the shots she got, I knew the blood draw wasn't going to be any fun. First off, there was no way Laya would do this. She has trypanophobia, an extreme and irrational fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles. So if she were with Tikvah, she'd freak out, which wouldn't help Tikvah any. So I took her. Before we left home, I snuck something into my shirt pocket. I gave Tikvah a brief explaination of what was going to happen, but didn't go into a lot of detail that would only scare her more. I filled out the paperwork and when the time came, we went into the lab. Tikvah started to get nervous and paced the room a little bit. But then she saw the Cinderella stickers. "Oh, Cinderella!" The phlebotomist gave her a couple of stickers to help calm her down. She sat on my lap, and started to whimper a little bit. I kept reassuring her, and directed her to look somewhere else, not at her arm.

Of course, the moment the needle went in, she cried and cried. They didn't take a lot of blood, but it took about 15-20 seconds to get what they needed. As soon as she finished, the phlebotomist put a band-aid on Tikvah and said she was all set. But Tikvah kept on crying. I then reached into my shirt pocket and pulled out a strawberry lollipop. "Do you want a lollipop?" As soon as she saw it, she said "yes" and stopped crying immediately. Not even a whimper afterwards! The change was so sudden, the phlebotomist laughed. So I guess a little bribery is okay... :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Volume Control

You know, sometimes it's nice to wear hearing aids. Yes, most of the time it's a pain; while they do enable me to hear, it's not perfect. Especially in loud situations like a restaurant, or a meeting where several people are talking. But last night it came in handy. I was on my way to a Ride for Kids meeting (I'm on the Task Force helping to plan the event), and stopped in at the Ben Yehuda kosher pizza shop to grab some dinner. The meetings are in Maryland, so while it's a pain to schlep out there, at least I get to have a choice of a few kosher places. Anyway, it was someone's birthday, so there were about 20 kids (maybe in the 7-10 year old range) running around, screaming, etc. I just turned off my hearing aids and enjoyed my book and calzone.

Come to think of it, this came in handy earlier as well. I'd turn my hearing aids down when in the car with my parents, reading my book as we went various places. It was so bad that just before I turned 16, I realized I didn't know how to get ANYWHERE, so need to put the book down and watch where we were going. One time I also turned my hearing aids down (or off) when my mother was scolding me for something I did (I have no idea what it was now...). Once she realized what happened, oy, I got a double lecture! (and she made sure my hands didn't get anywhere near the aids) :-) Hmmm, maybe I should write about the other ways I tormented my poor mother...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Jury

I know I just sent a post in a few hours ago, but I just got this and wanted to post it, and comment too. I was raised with dogs, my family had (that I can remember) 2 Collies (Heidi and King), and 2 Bichon Frises, (Muffin and Marshmallow). My parents have another dog now, a mix breed, looks like mostly terrier, name Farfel. I don't currently have a dog, maybe when the kids get a little older, but I'm still a dog lover. Mickey, the Bichon who lives in the same courtyard as I do, knows that he can run over to me any time for a big petting session. :-)

Anyway, it's because of this that I'm always upset when I hear about people who engage in dogfighting. And when it's someone like a famous football player, that kids look up to, and want to be like, it makes the crime even worse.

Whitwell, TN

I know this is "old news" but DixieYid expressed interest, and wanted to see some pictures.

In 2006, the JMA's Ride to Remember went to Whitwell, TN. This is the home of the PaperClip project. You might have seen or heard about the movie. It's a small town in TN that has a 97% white population, and almost no ethnic diversity. The principal, Linda Hooper decided that the kids needed to be exposed to some type of cultural diversity training. They decided to learn about the Holocaust. However, the kids couldn't get their minds wrapped around the number "6 million." They knew what it was in theory, but couldn't "see" it. They decided to collect 6 million paperclips. A long story later, they received millions of paperclips, and also a rail car that was actually used in the Holocaust.

The members of the JMA contributed over $50,000 to the school, most of which went to pay for several Promethean boards (interactive boards that people can write on, but also connects to a computer, fancy stuff I never had when I was in school. ;-) ) Despite all that we gave to the school, I think they gave us so much more. Linda Hooper, the principal, said that when they build the new school in a few years, she wants us back. I know we'll be more than happy to go!

The starting point. We had about 150 bikes or so. (The number depends on who you ask :-) )

When we arrived, it was pretty dark and drizzly.

But the auditorium was full of excited middle school kids. They were cheering for about 15 minutes straight.

One of the things we gave them was a flag that we made up symbolizing our ride down. The Australian folks signed on to the ride a little late, so we didn't have their flag on here.

After the presentation (I didn't get any good shots), we were free to tour the school. The children made artwork as part of their studies. These were some that I thought were interesting to view.

This letter came from Germany. Someone had heard about the project, and gone through some old files he found in a warehouse. These files were used in some Nazi related affairs, so the paperclips that were holding some of the papers together were some that were used by Nazi's. He sent 6 paperclips. 3 stayed with the letter, and 3 are in the box car with the other clips.

This is the rail boxcar, it was actually used to transport people to the death camps. The school converted it to a museum, housing the paperclips. You see a film crew below. These are the folks who made the Paperclips movie. They are doing a "sequel." How the paperclips project has affected the school, the community, people who comes to visit (like a bunch of Jewish motorcyclists!) etc. The only problem was they kept telling us to ride our motorcycles quietly when we were leaving. Ummmm, granted, I don't go for the whole "LOUD PIPES" thing, but motorcycles do have a running engine which isn't hidden under a hood guys!

This is a display case from inside the boxcar. On either side are a display case carrying 5.5 million paperclips each, for a total of 11 million clips. The Nazis didn't limit their hatred to Jews. 5 million gypsies, homosexuals, handicapped people, political opponents, etc. were also murdered.

Outside of the box car is this memorial. It also holds 11 million paperclips (once the story went out, they received too many clips, so they were able to do this second memorial). This one is dedicated to the children who were murdered in the Holocaust.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wild and Wonderful West (by G-d) Virginia

Last week I stayed overnight at the Concours Owners Group (COG) rally in Davis, WV. To get there I had to cross the Eastern Continental Divide. Up, up, up, and then Down Down DOWN!!! Because 1) They were predicting thunderstorms, and 2) I planned to go back to work the next morning, I decided to take the van, rather than ride my bike there. Those mountain roads are sometimes nerve wracking on a bike. They didn't seem much better in the van!! Oy. In fact, by the time I got back into VA, I could feel and hear (if I turned off the radio) the brakes grinding. I just had them checked... Yep, once again, I have completely worn out the brake pads and was grinding the calipers directly onto the brake rotors. I need to carry hearing people in my van more often. (or teach Tikvah and Ahava when to alert us to various audio problems) The last time I did this was about 7 years ago in my old car. I went to a Midas near my old office in Arlington and they fixed it up for me. This time I went to the Midas near my new office (a town over from Arlington). Turns out the manager moved and was at this shop and remembered me!

But besides the brake issue, I had a great time seeing folks from COG at the rally. They had a BBQ banquet that night. It smelled delicious. No, really, I enjoyed my peanut butter and jelly sandwich very much! ;-) They also had doorprizes that night. Lots of good things, gift certificates, parts, clothing, and the grand prize, a Zumo 550 GPS. Me... nothing. Oh well, I still enjoyed it all anyway. Hopefully in a few years I'll be able to go again and spend more than one night. But still, in all honesty, I feel more connected with people at the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance's Ride to Remembers.

I don't remember if I mentioned it here or not, but next year's ride will be to Ohmaha Nebraska. "What the heck is in Ohmaha?" is what most people ask me. The National Holocaust Endowment Fund. Education and rememberance for folks out in Nebraska.

Monday, August 6, 2007

From my Blogger-in-law...

My wife's sister, with her whole family (her husband, and my soon to be 1 year old niece) made Aliyah this past December. We miss them terribly, but are happy that they made the plunge into something they wanted so much. Bro-in-law is a lawyer, and was nervous about finding a job once the move was complete so he could support the family. He found a job, and wrote about it at this blog site here: http://jobmob.co.il/blog/3-job-myths-for-immigrant-lawyers-in-israel/ Maybe he'll start a blog of his own some day. :-) In the meanwhile, I'm proud of all of them.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Yes, we are proud of you, but...

Our youngest daughter, Ahava, is currently in the midst of being potty trained. She's now in the stage where she's using the potty, and wants credit for doing so. This usually involves "Look, I made in the potty" and mom or I (or even big sister) taking a look in, and giving her great praise and applause, and a star on the refrigerator calendar. Then cleaning it up. (To bro-in-law in Israel... you thought diapers were bad?? Good luck with this one... you have about a year or so, then YOU'LL be doing this! *evil grin*)

So anyway, last night when the kids were brushing their teeth, I laid down on my bed for a few minutes (didn't sleep well the night before). Ahava then said "Daddy, daddy, look!!" Before I knew it, she was walking in the bedroom, carrying her potty. I jumped out of bed and took it from her. "Oh, sweetie, very nice, but ummmm, next time, just leave it in the bathroom, don't bring it into the bedroom, okay??"

At least it was only a number 1... Kids...