Sunday, January 13, 2013

Life's Greatest Times

Happy New Year

Ok I admit it.... I have been in a serious funk lately.  Stress on many different levels has run me into the ground and so much so, that I don't recall the last time I had felt this low.  Maybe after Naomie died?  Maybe after Christi and the kids left?  I dunno, but I have been struggling to snap out of this low for a few weeks.  I think I am finally doing that now, thank goodness.

While cleaning up some stuff from the kids' visit over Christmas, I finally decided to tackle my bookcases and reorganize them and cull some of the old stuff.  I came across an old notebook of mine.  This was a notebook I used when a cancerous mass was discovered on my left kidney in July 2004.  I had gone into the hospital with appendicitis and the scan revealed something more than just an inflamed appendix.  That was a scary time, hearing the dreaded "C" word and going under the knife to have part of my left kidney removed.  

This stressful time had me think about many different things, one of which was the question, "what are my fondest memories in life so far...."  So I started a list.  I want to share that now.  Realize I wrote this in August 2004.  I should add to this list....

1977-79:  Living in Ilwaco, WA
I was 7-8 years old and we moved from Spokane to Ilwaco.  We lived in a new house in a new development out by the airport.  There was lots of open land with areas to explore, lots of other kids in the neighborhood and even a pond in the backyard!  Combined with the sights, sounds and smells of the beach, I was in heaven.  For the first year, we didn't have TV so my sister and I played outside most of the time with friends.  I was outdoors almost every day playing football, baseball, riding bikes, playing in the pond and getting into mischief.  It was a great time to be a kid.

Summer of 1984
My dad & stepmom bought new motorcycles (Honda XR350R & XR250R) during that summer, my dad wasn't working so we went motorcycle riding almost every single day.  It was a dream summer.  Starting out in Vantage, WA, we worked our way west towards the Cascades and rode just about every trail and dirt road possible on the north and south sides of the Kittitas Valley.  We logged over 1,000 miles on our dirt bikes and every day was a new adventure.

Polar Icebreaker Trips 90-92
Not all my time aboard CGC POLAR SEA was the greatest time of my life, but there were a select few times that I will never forget.  Some that come to mind are seeing the stars at night in the middle of the ocean, crossing the Panama Canal, swimming in the middle of the ocean (nearest land was 2 miles down!), ports of call in exotic places, Greenland, Prince William Sound, Australia & Antarctica.  Going for helicopter and boat rides and of course, seeing the wonderful creatures of the sea.

Trip to Alaska July 1992
Driving the Al-Can highway to my new station at Valdez, Alaska was a great time.  

Elk Hunting Camp
The times I have spent at our hunting camp in Joe Watt Canyon, Thorp, WA, are some of the most wonderful times.  Being outdoors and experiencing adventures, enjoying the campfire and good times with friends and family.

Trip to Seward, AK July 1993
Naomie and I took a trip on the Alaska Marine Ferry E.L. BARTLETT from Valdez through Prince William Sound to Seward.  It was a crystal blue sky day and the winds and seas were calm.  We had a blast during the 11 hour transit through the most beautiful body of water I have ever seen.  We saw lots of otters, eagles, whales, puffins, glaciers, ice and just the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.  We spent a couple days in Seward at a wonderful Bed & Breakfast and then drove up to Anchorage and then on to Valdez.  It was the first real vacation the two of us took together.

Labor Day Weekend Sep 1993
Flew down to Spokane and spent Labor Day Weekend with my family and it was the first time my sister's husband and I really got to spend time together.  Will and I really bonded this trip.  We left a day early for Labor Day camp in Ellensburg and just had an adventure riding motorcycles, camping out, driving around, shooting guns and being crazy.  It was a great time.

Marrying Naomie February 5, 1994
Clearly it was the happiest day of my life up til then.  It was a sunny and beautiful day in Valdez.  And although none of our families were there, we were married in front of our 'church' family at the First Baptist Church.  It was a very special day and just perfect.

Investigating Officer's Course, Yorktown, VA July 1994
I had a blast at this school and being in Virginia.  

Fishing in Alaska with Naomie, Kim, Lawrence and Paul, Aug 1994
The silvers were running in Prince William Sound and we took out the morale boat, a 24' Bayliner.  It was a fish frenzy with double and triple hook-ups and the silver salmon loved to run, fight and dance.  In just a few hours we caught 17 fish.

The birth of Erik February 2, 1996
A huge moment that changed my life forever.  As soon as that little peanut came out, I felt a big change come over me.  No longer was I the apprehensive or indifferent man when it came to babies, but I was the confident and attentive father and I wanted to do everything for him.  I think it was several days before Naomie got her chance to change his diaper.  I held my beautiful 6lb 3oz little dooder-boy.  I couldn't believe that I was a father.

Cranberry Lake Hare Scramble Race Sep 2001
This was an epic off-road motorcycle race where I raced my heart out for nearly 2 hours battling and battling and overcoming all sorts of obstacles, gritting my teeth, going for broke and letting it all hang out.  I won the 4-stroke amateur class, my first off road victory.

That is all I have listed in my journal.  I plan to add to this list to bring it up to date.

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