Saturday, September 27, 2008

In Memorium Paul Newman

The checkered flag is at half staff here at "Ramblings..." in honor of the death, this morning, of Paul Newman. Paul's love of road racing, and his participation in the sport, is legend among those of us who ourselves love the sport and/or who love driving really fast around a closed track under controlled, supervised conditions.

I was at Lime Rock race course on the day Mr. Newman took his last ride around the track. In fact, it was on my track day. We gladly gave up some of our time out there to let his car follow behind the pace car for a few laps. Newlin refused to take photos - it seemed a violation of privacy. He wanted also to remember Paul Newman as he was, dressed, helmeted, behind the wheel of his Datsun 200sx in which he won all eight races he entered in 1979 in that car, or his later Corvette.

For photos, see
For the skinny on how Paul Newman got into racing, and his early years, see
(hope the links work. Otherwise, put Newman Sharp racing for the history link, or Newman Haas racing for the photos, in your search engine.)

Rest eternal grant to him O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon him, and may there be abundant road racing in his new life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Rambler is Home

Well, vacation is over. It's funny, I want the posts on this blog to be decent, at least, literature, not simply posts for the sake of posting. At the same time, while I haven't made the time to formulate what I want to write here upon my return, I feel a responsibility to post something so you won't lose interest!

First, vacation was excellent. Newlin and I camped out three times - twice at Housatonic State Park, which I just love, right down there on the river, and once at Cascade in New Hampshire, also on the river, which is lovely, but the campground itself is a bit creepy. Oh, by the way, I'm talking about tent camping, not camper camping, cooking on a white gas stove on the picnic table, making tea on a really cold wish-I-had-my-gloves morning so I can warm up my hands.

The first day we were at Housatonic, we had just pitched the tent and gotten everything inside, and were arranging our space, when the rain came. It didn't pour, it deluged, if I may coin a verb. And it deluged for over an hour. When it finally stopped, the campground was water logged. There was three inches of water in the fire ring. We survived.

The next night, it rained all night long, but this time we didn't wake to standing water in the campsite. So, better. And still I love camping. Maybe for me it's a reminder of playing at camping when we were kids, even though we never really camped out overnight, tying together all our tricycles and wagons to form a "wagon train" and traveling what I recently found was only a few yards down River Road to the side of the Passaic River in Millington New Jersey to "camp out". Regardless of discomfort, the camping part was the best. On second trip to Housatonic we woke to a great horned owl hooting across the river. In my book you can't beat that!

Now to the good stuff: Yes, I did drive Lime Rock Race Track! Wow, what a great day, a great experience. Now let's face it - I was driving a Saturn, so you know I was not nearly as fast as the Ferraris that were on the track with me, but I was faster than the driver of the Lotus, which should have been faster than me and everyone else, but we were all novice drivers so you have to make allowances.

I learned stuff about myself; I learned stuff about my car. What I learned most was I can trust both of us - myself and my car. Cool.

And as I write this, I realize there's no way I can describe the experience, and maybe I don't even want to try. I'll say this, though, I may just want to do that again someday.

I've been back a week. Lots to do last week to catch up, and wonderful first Sunday back. Now I return to my routine: office at 10 a.m., Starbucks at 2 p.m. with a doctor's appointment at 1:10.

This week I have an MRI - this is to check to see if the breast cancer has returned. I've already seen my radiation doc - she's leaving so I don't know who I will see at my six month check up. I see my GP today, my chemo doc next week. The MRI is being done at my surgeon's request. It's the month for follow ups.

I find I resent the amount of time I have to spend with doctors post-cancer. I also hate it when people try to change the way I feel about it by saying such unhelpful things as "You survived! It's good to have them keep checking so they can catch anything else early." blah blah blah. Do me a favor: If you run into me, and I choose to share my anger at the, don't try to make me "feel better" about it because your attempts just make me feel a. guilty b. pissed that I shared anything with you c. even more angry because you just don't get it. Thanks for helping me by honoring my feelings just as they are instead of trying to turn them to what you think are the appropriate feelings, because, my friends, there ain't no such thing as appropriate feelings. There are just feelings.

Except for all the doc visits reminding me of last year's hell, I'm feeling pretty good, looking forward to the months to come at Grace Church, and slowly getting the yard and gardens back in shape after four weeks of neglect. But more on that later.

For now, this will have to do. Be talking at you later! Peace.