A Quick Review of 2023

I apologize. I did not do a lot of posting here in 2023, but I plan to do more–a lot more–in 2024. This will be quick, but an important update near the end. So, let’s begin.

I motorcycled to two events last year. In June, I met up with friends at our Kentucky Backroads Campout at Lago Linda Hideaway in Beattysville, KY. We were fewer this year, but a mighty force. The roads in Eastern Kentucky are delightful. It is a motorcycling paradise. The second trip was to Wailin’ Wayne Weekend in Nelsonvile, OH, in September. I was camped out with 500 of my newest friends. I met up with old friends there, and made a few new ones. WWW is incredible for dual sport and adventure riding. Again, the roads in SE Ohio are fantastic. 

If I am headed south, the Augusta Ferry is one of my favorite ways to cross the Ohio River. I’m headed to Eastern Kentucky.
Gathered around the campfire at Lago Linda Hideaway where we solved all the problems of the world, and talked about motorcycling too.
Old friends at Wailin’Wayne Weekend, Tracy and Teresa.

And, I did a little fishing. 

Fishing with my go-to-rod, my Tenkara USA Hane’.

On another motorcycle adventure, one that was not mine but I was very involved, was when my friend Sam Manicom planned to stay at our home for two nights during his romp through the USA countryside. It ended up being six as his hydraulic clutch was busted, and needed repairs. Mike Fitterling was also here as the three of us planned to ride to the AMA Vintage Days. Mike went on solo, and I entertained Sam for four more days. 

Sam’s clutch went kaput just two miles from my home as we was departing … for the first time.

Lin and I did not travel much in 2023, but we did attend a Garrison Keillor show in Wabash, Indiana. We met up with two of her sisters and shared a Vrbo rental. It was quite nice. 

For Thanksgiving, we did our usual. Turkey on the Weber. 

Oh, I almost forgot. I bought another motorcycle, a 2023 Kawasaki KLR 650. This is my third KLR. I regretted moving along the last one, and when I was offered an inventory closeout deal, I bought it. As of this writing, I still have the two Moto Guzzis, the V85tt and V7iii. 

2023 Kawasaki KLR 650 along the Little Miami River, South Lebanon, OH.

And now, a health update. You may recall, I have prostate cancer. It’s low-grade, but it’s still there, a lesion about the size of a dime on my prostate. I have been poked and prodded, had four MRIs and two biopsies. Five doctors and one surgeon have told me this will not kill me. I will die of something else. My December MRI indicated no change in size, and I will be visiting my doc at the end of this month for a consultation.  My latest PSA was 4, the highest limit of normal. It has been lower for the past year or so. Our strategy is “Active Surveillance.” It’s like the CIA or FBI: keep an eye on it.

I have read up on prostate cancer, and looked at all the possible interventions. I don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease. Most men will get a prostate cancer and live with it. That’s what I am doing. The very hardest part of this was learning to overcome the emotional roller coaster of having the c-word. In that aspect, I have conquered the prostate cancer and for now I have been living with it for at least three years. So what did I do at age 73? I went out and bought another motorcycle. “F..k” cancer.

On another subject, I had had the most incredible year sharing life with my best friend, lover, companion, confidant, and wife: Lin. She’s the best. 

See you on the highway. 

Brent

 

The Box of Old Photos

My wife and I were searching through our very unorganized boxes of photos recently, and at the bottom of one of those boxes was a shoebox of old Polaroid photos taken by me as a teenager. That Polaroid was my birthday present from Mom and Dad for my 13th birthday. I still have that camera. 

I thought I had lost these to time. They are photos of the horses, motorcycles and cars that I owned as a teenager. I see plenty of stories coming, walking down memory lane. Stay tuned.

See you on the highway.

Brent

 

This is Personal, but for a Purpose

I started writing this piece a week ago. Should I or shouldn’t I? I decided to turn my story into one of encouragement for others.

Two and a half years ago, with my first-ever elevated PSA, my family physician said, “I think I feel something there. We should keep an eye on that.” That is the purpose of a prostate exam, to know if further examination is necessary. As an Army Vietnam Veteran, I decided to proceed through the Cincinnati VAMC for my health care. I am glad I did.

Cincinnati VAMC 1-31-2023

First, there were the exams and blood work which led to recommendations and an MRI which revealed a lesion on my prostate. A biopsy was ordered. The results of that was one cancerous sample. Five doctors agreed the best course of action was “keep an eye on it.” In medical terms and treatment, it’s called “Active Surveillance.” Sounds like something the CIA or FBI would do.

Six months later, another PSA and MRI showed no change. I began to think, “Well, this is good. Hope it stays this way.” Subsequent six-month follow ups and PSAs all looked good. Then, in the fall 2022, with a slightly elevated PSA, the doc said, “We should get an updated MRI.” That showed an increase in size of the lesion and another biopsy was ordered. That was last week and the results came two days ago.

The biopsied lesion went from one cancerous sample to four, but still considered low-grade prostate cancer. Active surveillance is still an option, but treatment is now in the conversation.

Even though I have been living with prostate cancer for two and a half years, this change has been an emotional roller coaster. I am so glad I have an understanding wife who is my biggest supporter. She is much more than that.

Why does the C-word scare us so? I cannot express how much I appreciate the doctors and nurses of my health care team at the VA. They have been excellent. Professional. Personable. I feel fortunate to have them.

It’s a little scary, but my doctors have told me this was caught early, and it’s not going to kill me. However, it’s still a roller coaster ride of emotions.

The Purpose for this Post

I could rattle off some of the stats about men and prostate cancer, but that info is available elsewhere. What I want to do is to encourage men to have that annual prostate exam. Begin with the PSA which is an indicator. And, ladies, encourage your man to get that exam. Early detection is the best defense for a longer and happy life.

Be well, my friends. I love you all.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Appetizer Failure. Or, was it?

I frequently post pictures and descriptions of the food I cook. Pizzas, Fish. Steaks. Casseroles. Turkey on the grill. Looks good and I get compliments, especially on Facebook. So, it is only fair that I post a food failure.

IMG_20230120_151541068_HDR

This is the cheesy bread that I attempted to make, looking into the trash can. It is a recipe that I learned and often purchased when I was a professor at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, (1989-1993). I would go over to the student center cafeteria for lunch and order a salad and some cheesy bread. It was so delicious. Makes a great appetizer too.

This attempt was a failure because I accidently removed the cap of the seasoning instead of popping the lid to shake some on the cheese-onion-mayo mixture.

IMG_20230120_152227339_HDR IMG_20230120_152142827_HDR

I screwed that cap off without thinking and poured a whole bunch of salt and pepper blend onto my cheese mixture. Damn.

Well, thinking I at least need to finish the appetizer and give my effort a taste test. Maybe it was not too much. I soon learned that was not the case. I took one bite. The whole batch of cheese mix and the three appetizers immediately went into the trash where it belonged. Now, off to the grocery store to replenish supplies.

IMG_20230122_151534407_HDR_2If properly done, it is grated cheese, finely chopped onion, mayo, with a little salt and pepper, spread on French or Italian bread, and a quick broil in the oven to melt the cheese.  It’s delicious. Not willing to admit defeat, and to learn from this experience, I tried it again the next day to accompany a bowl of chili. The cheesy bread was outstanding. Chili too.

The appetizer is best if the bread is slightly toasted before topping it with the cheesy mix. You get a better crunch when taking a bite.

IMG_20230121_180046082_HDR (1)

Pop it into the oven under the broiler. Keep an eye on it. It does not take long for the cheesy mix to start bubbling. Wait for just that right amount of browning.

IMG_20230121_180417977_HDR

Take it out of the oven. It should look like this.

IMG_20230121_180503093_HDR

Transfer to your plate and enjoy.

IMG_20230121_180601851_HDR

Yum. That was oh-so good.

Failure is only a failure if one stops at that point. One failure can be a learning experience resulting in success. In other words, try, try again until you succeed.

See you on the highway … or maybe at the grocery store.

Brent