at home in
Welcome to my home place!!
Hiya. Again, it has been far too long since I've updated. This time, a lot has changed. I don't have time to get into it all right now because Paige is trying to teach me HTML in an instant. Good luck to her! For now, I'm just typing over what I had and hoping it works out okay.
... clm 01/20/06
As the heading already explained, I live in Montana--in
Helena, Montana, to be exact. Montana has been home since July, 1991. Before
that, home was in Erie, Pennsylvania, for three years; Winton and Merced,
California, for two years; Ambridge, Pennsylvania, for 12 years; and Wexford,
Pennsylvania, for 18 years--beginning with my birth on November 1, 1954.
To save you the math exercise, I'll provide the answer--I'm 51 years old.
My favorite picture. (Thanks
to John Stafford,
Winona, MN, friend, photographer and owner of Pico.) Here's a better view
of Pico. (And another photograph by John Stafford.)
This photo is another favorite.
The 'little' kitty, an orphaned Montana mountain lion, is now fully grown.
And this one is from much,
much younger days!
Home--regardless of where it was at any given time
and until recently, has long been shared with three pretty fantastic people
whom I truly admire, appreciate and enjoy. These three have tolerated my
many quirks; forgiven some rather blatant indiscretions; supported my wisest
decisions, as well as some of those not-so-wise ones; encouraged my greatest
successes; overlooked my many failures; challenged me in my strongest moments
and comforted me in my weakest. Each, in his and her own way, has given
to me far more than they have ever asked of me. And yet, when I see them
as they are today, I know that while they have been giving of themselves
to me, they have also been taking from me in more ways that I've ever hoped
that they would.
beyond the family as "Tom", is my oldest son. He is responsible for forcing
me to overcome computer phobia and to cross the threshold into this virtual
world. He did so by taking total advantage of my weakened state during
a post-surgery recuperation period that included a couple of weeks of bed
confinement. His set me up with a bedside computer with Internet access,
provided a brief introduction and pointed me in the direction of Usenet
and rec.motorcycles.harley. Even before the pain medications had had a
chance to wear off, I was hooked.
Michelle is a more recent addition to our family. She and Shawn were married in October 2003. I couldn't have picked a nicer, more caring daughter-in-law. She's pretty talented, too. Michelle is seriously into scrapbooking. Most importantly (from my view as Shawn's mom) is that she is my son's best friend, too. She not only tolerated but embraced his passion for International Scouts, 4-wheel driving and off-road racing. In fact, her win record as the driver of his racer tops his!
Shawn has been the dominant male of the family since
he was about six years old, and he's always taken that role very seriously.
To him, that meant doing all that he possibly could to make life a little
easier for his mom. The only fault I could ever find with that was that
he was sometimes guilty of what I called "over-kill." Which means that sometimes,
by going beyond his abilities or his authorities in his attempt to make
my life easier, he'd inadvertently compound my problems. However, the help
and support that he's provided throughout the years has been invaluable
and has enabled me to accomplish much that I would have been unable to accomplish
Michelle used her scrapbooking talents to present me with a very unique Christmas present this year. She created a beautiful calendar with an entry close to the end of July that announced the due date for their first child, my second grandchild.
Visit here to see pictures from their wedding. Also, if you're extremely patient, you can visit Shawn's Page to immerse yourself in all things International and learn more about Shawn and Michelle.
Ric, known also as "Rich",
is my second son. Ric's special gift to the world is his desire and ability
to bring laughter into lives--especially at times when laughter is most
needed. Ric is the most difficult of my children to describe. He's quiet
most of the time, and yet he can be quite animated as well. He generally
takes things in stride, and yet can be passionately committed to a particular
interest. He makes few stands, but when he does, he won't be moved. He seems
disinterested in the physical evidence of caring--seeking instead the evidence
of respect for his individuality and awareness of self.
One thing I can be sure of with Ric is that he will
come through for me in those situations where I'd have least expected him
to do so and in ways I would not have thought possible. I just don't have
any way of knowing what those situations will be or when they will occur.
Ric abandoned Helena and home a few years ago. But he hasn't gone far--only as far as Missoula. He spends his time there playing hockey and working for UPS.
Here's an early picture of Ric. Wasn't he adorable? And, here's a photo of Ric on ice. Finally, check out this more recent picture of Ric with his girlfriend, Krissy.
- Paige is my youngest,
my girl child. I could write volumes about Paige, but since she already
has, she's saved me the time. Just follow this link! Paige has
been a trip, she's been an experience, she's been an adventure. She approaches
life much as a newly born colt tests its legs--running and kicking, tripping
and falling, then getting back up to do it all over a little bit better.
She's gutsy, she's spunky, she's spirited. She's also very sensitive, caring,
giving, sharing. She accepts responsibility for and the consequences of
her actions with a level of maturity far beyond her years. She holds her
own in battles with her brothers, then suffers on their behalf when they
may not even realize themselves that they are hurting. She'll grit her teeth
and laugh to hide her hurts from the world, then cry for the hurts of her
Paige will question; she will debate; she will advise;
she will argue and she will demand. She'll also beg, plead, shout and pout.
(See Paige pout.) But when all is said and done,
whether or not she has gotten her way, she'll still be the first person
to defend you when you're under fire from any other source.
Here's a photo of Paige lookin'
pretty in a dress once worn by her mom.
And one of Paige with Bob,
a cat that stayed with us for a couple of weeks a few years ago.
- There is one other very special family member--one
who came along a few years ago to brighten up all of our lives. Carrie is my granddaughter, Paige's child, and an
absolutely adorable six years old. Paige and Carrie had a home
of their own, but they missed me a lot. They moved back in with me a while ago. They drive me nuts sometimes, but life is interesting! And, we're making it work.
There's no way I could adequately explain just how
much Carrie has given me in her six years, but I treasure each and every hug,
all the kisses, and most of all, the smiles that light up her eyes and the
excitement in her voice when she greets me upon my return from work--whether
I've been on the road for a week or at the office for a day.
You can visit Carrie's web page by following this link.
With this link,
you can watch a short video (thanks to Jon Green) taken in August, 2001.
And for lots more pictures, follow this one.
Here's the entire family as of 2004. Obviously, a new picture will have to be taken after Shawn and Michelle have their baby later this year.
Home is also shared with a couple of four-legged
- Ebony was the unexpected
consequence of my having sent Paige to the store for a gallon of milk.
She arrived in 1996. She looks like a petite
version of a black lab, and she is, in fact, mostly lab. But she's supposed
to have some blue heeler in her as well. Ebbie thought that she was a pup for about five years--a very energetic pup. (Fortunately, she has outgrown the worst of
her "Destructo-dog" stage.) I'm totally hooked on her, and she's definitely
decided that she is mine. Unfortunately, she has severe allergies to just about everything, including herself! The poor dog has been on various medications and regular shots for most of her life. And, still, she scratches and itches and loses her fur. Regardless, she's a cutie, and she loves us. And, she's definitely the smartest dog I've ever owned.
Thanks to Paul Anderson (owner of the Heritage Softail
in the background) for this picture of Ebbie
sitting pretty and proud on the tank of my bike. I think she'd ride, but
I haven't yet figured out how to keep her safely on the *back* of the bike!
Paige took this more recent picture of Ebony.
- Lacy arrived at Christmas
in 1997 and is Paige's cat. She moved out with Paige for awhile, too, but she drove Paige nuts--breaking things and making messes. Paige assured me that she would be happier and safer with me. Now that Paige and Carrie are back, too, I guess the move made sense. She's not too crazy about the second cat Paige 'found' for us. That one has claws. But Lacy has been much nicer to me since Charm moved in. Of course, that could be because the vet put her on a diet at about the same time. Lacy likes to eat, and she thinks she's starving all the time. She's nicer to Ebony, too, except for the fact that she steals her food in the middle of the night. Needless to say, the diet isn't working out as well as the vet had hoped.
Lacy has beautiful blue eyes, although they show
as red is most photographs. This photo shows Lace
with her favorite type of mouse.
- Charm was a stray who moved into my wood shed a few years ago. I knew that she was there, but figured that if I ignored her long enough, she'd leave. She didn't. Instead, she managed to survive a cold Montana winter out there without anyone providing food or water. And she scared anyone who wandered into that shed by darting out of whatever hole she'd been hiding in at the time. Springtime in the Rockies (that's a rather magical time, by the way, but the magic doesn't last. Trust me.) arrived, and a wandering male cat caught her eye--as well as a bit more of her than I wished. The last thing I needed was a family of wild kittens living in my wood shed, so I tasked Paige with making friends with "Shed Cat." Paige fed her once, and Shed Cat immediately turned into one of the most lovable strays I've ever seen. Didn't take long before she wasn't a stray at all. What it did take was a trip to the vets for shots because she was trying to get into the house with Lacy. Because of the possibility of pregnancy, the vet couldn't give her shots. They could, however, spay her which would abort the kittens. Then they could give her the needed shots. During the spaying, they discovered that she was, in fact, pregnant. And that she had a bladder infection. So, two days and $400 later, Shed Cat came home to live indoors. I realized when the vet informed me that her records were officially filed as "Shed Cat" that some renaming was in order. Carrie voted for "Tooth Fairy." We all settled for "Charm."
The Fun Stuff
Yes, there is fun stuff to do in Montana...Montana...Montana.
(Splitting logs for firewood is not one of them.) In fact, there
are so many fun things to do in Montana, that the completion of this section
will have to wait. For now, how's this: hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain
climbing, wildlife spotting, rodeos, skiing, boating, panning gold, mining
sapphires, rafting, hockey, ice skating, snowmobiling, and 4-wheeling in the
Then there are my personal favorites:
- Salvaging old vehicles that not many other people
would find interesting , then extracting from them whatever life may remain.
I've successfully socialized one of my children into following this path.
In fact, Shawn has far surpassed me in this area and has become a Scoutaholic.
- Exploring new territories on my motorcycle.
I've only been riding for a few years, but I have put on some miles in
those years. (Along with some road rash.) My bike
is a late 84 XLS Roadster, also known as the sow. I bought her, sight unseen, during a long-distance
phone call. The first time I saw her was the day she was delivered. And
up to that moment, I'd *never* operated a motorcycle. In fact, I hadn't even
been on the back of one for about 20 years prior to the summer before I
bought the sow.
Other bikes owned by the family include a 66 HD (Aermacchi) M-50 and a 72 Honda 350. We also
have a couple of matching mini bikes with lawn mower engines--60-something
Sears Roebuck and Co. (Note: The minis are being loaned to a friend for
awhile, supposedly for use by his little boys, but I'm pretty sure the dad
is the one with the real passion for these particular toys.)
Learning to ride the sow was an adventure in itself.
And I'll write something about the experience to link into here at some
point. For now, I'm going to link to some trip reports that I wrote
previously. Those trips include three very memorable ones from 1996--first,
the Winona Trip, then My Ride to the Sun and, finally, the Beartooth Highway adventure. I've included
a link to a wedding ride report because the ride
remains worth remembering even though the marriage is best forgotten.
1997's trip was the First Ever RMH Run to the Sun,
and you can find out all you need to know about that adventure by visiting
the official "sunrun" web site. There
are trip reports on the web site from most of the previous years, as well
as details on participation. Why not plan to ride along on the
next one? (See the web site for details and contact info.)
The Virtual Bar & Grill
Unfortunately, the motorcycle exploration activities
are limited during the winter months. That's when I find the most time
for Internet exploration and visits to my favorite Usenet place: The Virtual
Bar & Grill of rec.motorcycles.harley.
Be sure to check out the rmh FAQ.
It is filled with lots of valuable information about rmh and the people
you'll meet there, about bike maintenance and repair and about motorcycling
Well, this page has been created, and it has been
recreated a few times over. But I know there will be more. If you'd like
to suggest improvements along the way, or to just say "hi," use this link. (It even works!)
Thanks for stopping by. Take care, be safe and enjoy!
CLM -- created, 1/25/98; last revised, 01/20/06.