August 31st, 2005
Today I slept in again but I didn't concern myself terribly much as I'd stayed up fairly late. I took a nice warm shower, stretched, and watched some of the hurricane coverage, then jumped on my bike and went for a ride out to NE Portland and after Troutdale turned onto the old highway thinking 35mph, what the %*&$!? Haha. Actually, I kept my speed down since the road was narrow and there were quite a few blind spots, pot holes, rocks, and pieces of wood on the road. The last time I was out that way I thought I saw someone I used to know getting ready to go on a hike. Was that you?
I was also thinking a little bit about yesterday. For some reason I really wanted to smoke yesterday and I didn't know why. Granted, I had no serious inclination to smoke however that question remained. So today I'm out riding when I realized one of the main reasons I smoked. It was one way a wounded soul could say, "Hey, I've been abondoned, hurt, and used, and though I don't have much to show for it I got through it so I can smoke all I want! Look at me, I'm invincible and nobody can hurt me!"
[Flashback] Saturday August 26th & Sunday August 27th, 2005...
I'm not going to spend a lot of time writing tonight but I'll tell you a few things. Saturday I got up, had some breakfast, and a cup of coffee (which was a mistake, my stomach started hating me almost immediately). I read, watched tv, socialized, and took a shower, before getting on the bike and following my mother up to Y-reka (sp?) where we did some grocery shopping. Afterwards I took my mom to lunch then she went b-day shopping for my sister and I headed back down towards Weed.
I went past weed and looked for that first exit into Mt. Shasta, took the second left and went under the graffitied train crossing, down the windy road, trying to remember the best way to get to my grandmother's old place. Found the turn, up the slight incline, turn that corner to the left half expecting the house to be there still. The house, the one my grandfather built with his own two hands, was now replaced by a "no trespassing" sign. Strangly, the mail box still had the name of my grandfather who died in 1983.
It was the first time I'd been back since I heard it had burned to the ground.
I thought about walking into the rubble of a home I spent so many nights and had so many happy memories but I had a feeling my uncle would show up and see some hooligan in a red getup and knowing him he'd ask questions later so I continued up the road and around the loop, down, and did my best to remember how to get to the cemetary where my grandparent's were burried. Got there and the sprinklers were going but what did I care? I was water proof! So I walked in, cooled off, greeted my grandfather, then got back on the bike and headed down one of the backroads for a few before turning around, getting back onto the freeway, and climbing the steep driveway back into my sister's garage.
That night I made a dinner I hadn't made in years. Everyone liked it. I stuffed myself I was so hungry after another hot day on the freeway. The rest of the night went as normal (see previous eventing).
The next day I'd originally planned to head home but instead stayed as we'd be celebrating my sister's b-day. Most of the day I wasn't exactly sure what to do with myself. The kids were out playing. The adults were either working or stairing at the tv. And I was reading on and off. Then I decided I couldn't waste a sunny day in-doors--especially since I heard word that one of my uncles, a man I've learned to dislike greatly over 30 years, was going to be visiting and I just wanted to get out of the house. So I borrowed my mom's digital camera, grabbed the tank bag, and headed up the Everret Memorial Highway to the top of Mt. Shasta.
On the way I spent some time thinking about my uncle. Perhaps he's always treated me like shit, talked down to me, and more or less talked "shit" about anything I was dumb enough to admit liking in his precense. So I'm thinking about the book I've been reading and thinking no one's beahvior is set in stone and the biggest thing is I can't set my own mind up one way or the other trapping me in some narrow minded idea about who my uncle is/was/will be and at the same time trapping myself into a tiny box saying, "This is how the universe is because that is how it was." Well enough of that, I thought. I'm not going to worry about what he'll act like in two hours, I'm going to keep driving and just enjoy the fresh air.
So I'm going into the curves of this old highway getting a great deal of practice counter-steering, leaning, rolling on the throttle, shifting up and shifting down quickly and as needed to maintain a quick but safe pace up and around the corners and past the cliffs and listening to some techno while praying to the big pixie in the sky to keep the deer away from the road, pleeeeease!
I stopped several times on the ride and took pictures which you can view on my Visions page and also along with this journal entry. I wish I'd had my Nikon but I didn't have room, see Thursday's journal entry! And next time I go on a road trip I'm going to be purchasing a special gas mounting tripod for my bike so I can just screw either the Nikon or my Sony camcorder on and get some pictures/video while I'm actually on the road. Granted, I'd get one now but with school and b-days and property taxes coming up I don't have a lot of mulla to spare.
Came back down the mountain. Hit a big rock and felt the handle bars jerk but my direction was steady and sure. Then back to weed and my brother-in-law had one of his vans in the garage so he could replace the rear brakes so I park the bike down below and find my uncle inside and he's pleased to see me and yacking and being someone else.
If there's one thing I've noticed about my dad's side of the family is that they're typically critical until they go senile at which point they turn into some of the nicest people you could imagine. I sure hope people will consider me nice before I go senile!
I copied the pictures from the camera to my brother-in-law's computer then back to my Creative Muvo. Laid back. That night my mother made a roast, potatoes, and carrots, which we all enjoyed. Sister went to bed, brother-in-law went from A to B to C to D, mom stayed up watching tele, dad falling asleep on the couch with a book in his hands, and my neice trying to sneak out of her room at every opportunity to see what kind of secret and exciting stuff we adults were (or more likely were not) up to.
I spent the last few minutes of the night getting my motorcycle gear ready, cleaned off the bike, checked the hardware, then laid down on the couch, finished my book, and went to bed looking forward to my first 450 mile solo motorcycle trip.
To be continued
August 30th, 2005
Today I woke up a little late, probably the first day I've slept in since my vacation started, and thought I should probably do something useful around the house. Then I thought no, I've been up to something every day of my vacation whether that be riding 600 miles or cooking dinner for my sister and family and I'm going to take one day and do nothing productive, useful, or meaningful and with the exception of brushing my teeth, getting dressed, and dropping a movie off at Hollywood Video, I've been relatively successful.
[Flashback] Friday August 26th, 2005...
I woke up after my father left to an arbitration, a job he's been doing for years now. You could say when he retired he couldn't stop being of use to those around him somehow and being he does like to have the final say in all things a legally binding arbitration with him in the middle of the table definitely gives him the best of all worlds while being able to help people out.
I believe we ate pancakes that morning but don't quote me on it. Yes, actually do because I now recall having two pancakes, or at least one and a half, before jumping in the shower and getting in a mindset for my first day long 260 mile bike ride. Got out, played with my daughter, and hung out with my mom. Waiting, waiting, my dad was taking too long, he was supposed to be back by noon but finally a little after 1pm we get a call that he's ready to be picked up from the court house and he thinks it's too late to go because it'll be dark before we get to Mt. Shasta California but I say no worries, no worries at all, since I'm riding behind it'll make riding at night easy and I won't have to worry about speeding to keep up with my "pace car".
So we're finally ready to go but no, dad's gotta go to the hospital to get his allergy shots and then it's to Redmond so they can stop at the credit union. It's too hot out so I'm not going to stop and lolly gag at the hospital with all this bike gear on so I shoot out into the country towards the home I grew up in and it was a strange experience. When I was young I often biked those roads, albiet on a 10 speed, and that ride took about 30 minutes or so. This time at up to 100mph it took a few blinks of my eye as I shot over the all too familiar terrain and stopped outside the driveway of the old homestead looking at the changes made to it. The new owners have added a couple shoddy buildings outside and had taken out the plants by the front window and replaced them with plastic forest creatures.
I also noticed the hill that was beyond that front window, a hill I had looked at all my youth and there was something powerful there, a memory, and when I recognize something so strong like that I know there's something to be learned from it. What? I didn't know then but some day I will be able to take the symbolism, the memories, and emotions, and use that as fuel for further transformation. It is so strange now being able to spot these images as if they are neon signs and know, just know, that there's fuel there waiting to be ignited and light my way. Where will this one lead me?
I managed a tight u-turn in the middle of the road then shot back into town using the back road which goes by other memories I know. There's the Yokers old place, past those houses, remember that? And the graveyard on the right where someone you never knew was burried but is visited every Sunday by those you do know. And then down main street past a guy on a Harley who's too full of himself to put his hand out in greeting and a silver RX-8 on your right--oh, now someone in P-ville has one, I am no longer special! lol
Did I mention I also stopped for gas and the old bloke there inquired about my ride and where I was headed and "it's a good day for it" says he? Well, that did happen too.
I stop opposite the 7-11, put the kick-stand down, and get the disc alarm attached to the front break, then head across the street to pick up a few gatorades to keep myself from being dehydrated. Two drinks, no caffiene, no cigarettes, how very different, how very strange, but change is the name of the game isn't it?
Back at my bike I'm waiting for my parents to show up, they said they'd meet me in the park but I don't see them. There's a guy in a white truck stairing at me, what's up with him? He's preoccupied. Then my parents show up, my dad comes over and we chat as I get my gear back on. You see, it's not like just plopping your ass down in the seat of a car. First I need to get down and take the alarm off the bike and get the tank bag hooked back on. Then I get the jacket all zipped up, helmet in place, chin strap tight, glasses back on, then gloves after which I check the bike's fluids, clutch, breaks, blinkers, and headlight, before getting the engine going. It's all part of the ride, at least if you want to enjoy it safely.
So then I followed several car lengths behind my parents as they drove to Redmond under the hot mid-day sun. Once in Redmond there was much time spent at traffic lights and I sweated like a dog under my gear and once at the credit unions' drive through I practiced my slow maneuvers in the parking lot in an attempt to keep cool, since I couldn't find any shade. Next, before heading off I waved at my mother to stop near me and showed her the hand signals for "I need gas" and "I need to stop, my ass hurts" and "hey mister biker dude, have a good one" and also let her know she didn't need to speed up if I got on her bumper as I could always stop significantly faster than her car could without skidding out and doing something "fun" like high siding myself (something I did not tell her about as I know information like that would only stress her out unnecessarily).
So after another stop at Fred Meyer so she could deposit the check from the Credit Union (I don't claim to understand their finances) we hit highway '97 South to Bend, Oregon. I hadn't been on this highway in a long time and hadn't been in Bend since an x-girlfriend, well over a year ago, left me with nothing but memories of being manipulated, decieved, and cheated on.
I thought once I'd brought true loyalty into my life it would mean everything would change. What I have learned, however, is that it means one thing and one thing alone, that you will still hit all the same ups and downs in life but your heart, your spirit, will go through those events with clarity and focus and purity and no one can take that away from you once you've found it. Sure, people will lie, cheat, steal, what have you, but if you're 100% true, if your dream has a positive intent, if you speak with integrity, then no one can harden your heart or your soul. Nobody. And you may be lonely and you may get used but you go home feeling good about yourself and that's not something you can buy.
And so we traveled through Bend and as we hit the lava fields south of town my butt really started to hurt and I found myself strategically placing myself forward on the seat then back and in every position in between. I must have looked a little silly to anyone behind me for any length of time, but that's the life when you aren't riding a Goldwing!
Then I glance down at my cell phone and it's blinking, blinking, and I'm like oh man, not work again! So I flash my brights at my mom and give her the "need to pull over" signal and we pull into a Shell station and I check and it's my roomate so I call and my daughter's out of the car so I let her talk to her mom. After she gets off the phone (has to be asked to get off the phone as we're a little busy trying to get to Northern California) my mothers flashing her car lights so I can check and sure enough her right low beam has gone out.
So we're off again and through traffic we go and so on and so forth for dozens and dozens of miles I'm keeping a close distance, keeping my eyes peeled for deer, and listening to my MP3 player.
We stopped again in Chemult, Oregon, where we always stopped on our trips to California when I was a kid. As we rode into the tiny town I recalled that the man who sold me my first new car, the Jetta, in January of 1999, had owned some land out here. And I forgot about him as soon as we entered a restaurant I remembered from my youth. I remember having a burger or fish & chips and always, always having a big milk shake with it. But I'm old and don't drink milk shakes anymore so my daughter did in my stead while I went to use the bathroom and did a little shimmy dance trying to get my padded motorcycle pants down far enough to sit down--I know, too much information, but that's what you get for coming to The Temple, isn't it?
What did I eat? A bacon cheeseburger with fries, a glass of lemonade, and two glasses of water. I know, I should have eaten lighter but biking makes me hungry and I could have easily eaten twice as much but no need to chance getting drowsy on a bike--something that does and should scare the hell out of anyone since trying to follow a delayed apex line on a blind corner is not something you want to do with droopy eyelids!
So we eat and we leave and I'm wishing I could do at least 90mph, I'd get there faster and have a whole heck-of-a-lot of fun on the way but that's okay, I'm just following and listening to an episode of Coast to Coast AM and George Noory is ripping a guy a new asshole because he had claimed to have captured a bigfoot and had tricked people into purchasing access to his web site but then this guy claims he was conned by some other people but I heard that show last weekend or whenever and he had said he'd caught the thing so I was pretty happy to hear him getting slammed on a show that I sometimes believe has a low standard when it comes to guests' claims. Thanks for bringing integrity back and making investigations into the unknown more serious C2C!
As the sun started to set we hit North Klamath Lake and I again started to be pelted by bugs. Wait, no, this time I'm hitting dozens and dozens and dozens of these little green buggers worse than I had the previous evening and I'm going around corners and barely able to see out of my helmet and getting a bit nervous by this point after all, if it gets dark headlights are going to start shining off their guts and tiny wings making it harder for me to concentrate on the roads and the corners. So when we stop at some road construction just before Klamath Falls I flash my high beams at my mother and give her the "Need to stop and get gas" signal, which was true, but I also used that time to switch from my bug covered smokey faceplate to my clean and clear nighttime faceplate.
Ten minutes later that was covered in bugs too!
And so all I could do was think how horrified the Dalia Lama might be killing so many sentient beings and then I thought I can just wish them away but no, plunk, plunk, plunk, they kept hitting until we passed the wetlands and it was dark and now I was riding fairly close to my parents so I could see the white line for some distance ahead of both of us and keeping my eyes off any oncoming vehicles to keep from being blinded by the bugs and wondering what a sad sight this must be my parents car having one headlight out and the driver must be thinking "hey, get your headlight fixed!" then they see me and think, "Oh, another person who needs to get--oh, it's a motorcycle, nevermind!"
It's also getting pretty cold out so as I ride I'm trying to strategically zip up my air vents to keep a little warmer and all the while wishing I'd bought some cold weather gloves with gauntlets. I also noticed it was cold then warm then cold then warm again as we went up and down hills and into valleys and I enjoyed every time we hit a warm pocket of nightime air. Just one more great thing I learned that I loved about motorcycling through the countriside as the stars started to come out and shine down. And there, just over the hills, Mt. Shasta being lit up with the last sunshine of a dying sun.
And then we were in Weed, California, and I found it had some pretty fucked up roads for being on a motorcycle. Pot-holes, screwed up concrete everwhere, horrible rail road tracks...ug...so finally got to my sisters where my daughter immediately dissapeared with her two cousins doing whatever it is kids that age do (i.e. get into "trouble" ;) and the adults sat/stood around and talked. My sister gave me one look about the bike but otherwise didn't say much and my brother-in-law came out to look it over and chit-chat but I just wanted to get my gear off, have a few cold glasses of water, and sit my pained butt down on a soft, cooshie chair!
That night was fairly typical. The kids played then took baths then gave us old folks hugs before heading to bed. My sister went to bed fairly early and my father sat on the couch reading one of his books while my mother staired at cop show after cop show. Then finally they went off to bed and I found myself on my bed--i.e. the couch--flipping through channels on the Dish while my brother-in-law ran back and forth to the computer, garage, bedroom, not seemingly able to stop in any single place for very long. And I'm just laying there reading a book I'd bought for the trip and intended to started reading in Eugene. It's called The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz. Here are some quotes I'd like to share with you:
"We no longer lived in heaven because lies have no place in heaven. This is how humans lost Paradise: We dream lies. We create the whole dream of humanity, individually and collectively, based on lies."
"But there are two kinds of artists: the ones who create their story without awareness, and the ones who recover awareness and create their story with truth and with love."
"He looked at me with a big smile and said, 'You know, most people around the world believe that there is a great conflict in the universe, a conflict between good and evil. Well, this is not true. It's true that there is a conflict, but the conflict only exists in the human mind, not in the universe.'"
"How can I say, 'God, you have created billions of people, and they are not perfect'? For me to say that I am not perfect or that you are not perfect is the greatest insult to God..."
"...seeing the way that I dream can give you an idea of what you can do with your dream."
Before I forget that first quote is the one that provided the key to opening that verse from The Lord's Prayer I was talking about last night. You'll understand when you are ready :)
Then I watched Apollo 13 on The History Channel, turned the TV off, and fell relatively quickly into a deep sleep. And I dreamed about Prineville, my old home, how it had changed, and how I could never go back.
To be continued
August 29th, 2005
It's late and I've been home about two hours and I'm writing to share some of the details of my vacation. Why? I don't know why. Well, one reason is to get my fingers moving and stretching since I noticed after two hundred miles and a night of sleep my left hand would become completely immobile, tensed up as if overnight I'd gotten an extreme case of left-handed arthritis. Or I'm writing because this is the first vacation I've ever, ever, ever, ever had in my adult life (where I wasn't laid off, sick with the flu, being cheated on, loosing my marbles, moving to a new home in 100+ degree weather, etc.) and I wanted to share it. Or maybe I'm writing because I told myself I would when I got home so here I am eating a few kettle chips and letting my butt get used to being on a chair with plenty of cushioning!
[Flashback] Thursday August 25th, 2005...
After writing my previous journal entry I left for the motorcycle shop in Hillsboro to pick up the back pack I'd ordered a week earlier only to find out it still wasn't there yet. I was getting a little impatient; I'd planned to leave early Wednesday morning to beat the mid-day heat so I asked them to get a tracking number to see where it was at and if it would even arrive. The salesman called and found out that company X (Joe Rocket) was no longer supplying the pack I wanted and they didn't let anyone else know so here I could have left a whole day earlier! So I looked around and found this Agio 1850 Backpack which I bought along with bunjies for the back of the bike (in case I wanted to hook anything else on).
Got back home, packed up, and finally hit the road at about 1pm. There was plenty of stop and go traffic on my planned route which was highway 26 followed by 217 then Highway 99 West which I was going to take south to Eugene, over a hundred miles away. I had the backpack on my back, which didn't help me cool down in the sun, especially at traffic lights, and the map was folded and in view up in the plastic visor of the black magnetic tank bag. MP3 player was filled with almost a gigabyte of music and Coast to Coast radio shows and I was in a state of partial disbelief that I was on this huge dreamlike quest, I was doing something I'd always wanted to do but until this last year haven't known how to set all the dominoes up, so to speak.
So there I was riding through town after town and countryside in between smelling the fresh air, the diesel of the truck in front of me, the farm trucks, the cows, some animal dead in a ditch, the sprays from water pipes in the fields. That is, quite frankly, one of my favourite things about biking and it's something I didn't expect. A full face helmet, by it's nature, doesn't let the wind hit you right in the face but a little is continually sneaking in through the vents and down by one's chin so just the right amount of every smell sneaks in and it's just a beautiful orchestra of scents. Some are what we'd consider "good" smells while others are "bad" smells, personally I take the good with the bad and enjoy them all since the entire experience is just well, you have to do it to know what I'm talking about.
Oh, and I was good about keeping my speed down which is hard on a bike. Frankly, after you've ridden a few hundred miles on bikes you realize that judging your best speed using the speedometer isn't as safe as knowing what's safest for your skill level based on the road conditions, your knowledge of the roads, time of day, etc. For instance, at one point I ended up, along with several others, stuck behind a slow (SLOW) moving farm machine and there wasn't enough room on the left for cars to pass. Should that stop lil' ol' me? Ha! So roll back on the throttle, hold on for dear life, have an out-of-body experience, and in about 1.5 seconds I've passed the whole gaggle of cars, the tractor, and am a football field in front of the pack and coasting along without a care in the world.
Don't worry, I slowed down!
Did I mention I also had my cell phone in the plastic visor of the tank bag? Well, I did, you know, just in case work called and tried to interrupt my ride so sure enough I get a call about 30 minutes north of Corvallis so what do I do? What the hell do you think I did, I kept biking!!! But yes, I am loyal--and my ass was killing me!--so after getting in Corvallis I pulled over in the shade of one of the downtown buildings and called my friend at work and went over a few things then talked about bikes and whined about my ass (for some strange reason I love to whine about my ass, especially to my hooligan co-worker buddy). I also used the opportunity to down a bottle of filtered water which, quite frankly, is easy to do on a hot day on a bike one after another after another since you'll sweat those bottles in the next hour or so anyway!
So after drinking like a thirsty dog and being more than ready to get moving again so I could cool off again I put my earphones and helmet on (always a small chore), on the bike, clutch in, ignition on, check-neutral, engine cut-off switch, kick-stand up, and light'er up! Of course then I was just stuck in traffic for about five miles until the end of Corvallis but after that it was zoom zoom and cool air coming through the vents of my jacket and plenty of opportunities to practice my counter-steering and cornering which, I might add, has improved significantly over the past five days or so.
Bloody heckola muffins! I forgot I was also on a timeline to hit Eugene for two reasons. First and most importantly, I planned to stop, get something to eat, then head to Prineville, in Central Oregon, where my parents live, and I had to get there before dark (for those who don't know a motorcycle's low beams only light up enough road to "safely" ride at 35mph). The second was to deliver a package which I was carrying in my backpack which was taking up the space that would otherwise have been used to hold my Nikon--sorry, no pictures and I feel bad since there was so much beauty I caught while riding!!!
So I finally arrived in Eugene around 5pm and got stuck in rush-hour traffic out on the west side of 11th, rode into town, up Willamette, and to a post office I'd only been to once many years ago and was worried that maybe this was the wrong memory and the post office wasn't really there but it was and fortunately it was open until 5:30 so I had just minutes to spare as I walked in. Five minutes later I had the helmet off, had dug through the backpack to find the package, sent it--oh, he asked if I wanted priority or first class and I almost laughed because all I had to do was get on the bike, go one mile, drop it on a porch, and it'd be done--"First class is fine," said I.
So I got back on the bike and not sure what I wanted to do about food I vroomed on down to the Dari Mart I once worked at, took off my gear, grabbed three drinks (two of which I downed in only minutes), and two greasy hot dogs. Once down at the table I called my roommate to let her know I was still alive and then my dad since he and my mother were under the impression I'd be there already (see that great film "The Backpack Fiasco"). Off the phone. Thinking about all those past memories and times at this Dari Mart.
I have to admit I've always been a nostalgic person. And you know, in many ways that's all I've got anymore. Here I was back in a town I lived almost a decade in, where I went to two colleges, where I lived in countless apartments, knew dozens and dozens of people, had several jobs, was married in, and I didn't have one single human soul I could call up and say, "Hey, I miss you. Do you miss me? Wanna go get some coffee? A beer? Mind if I crash at your place tonight?"
Part of my mind says it would be 'normal' to have that, that no one I've ever known is in the boat. But then I think the older and wiser I get the less normal I am and frankly, what does it matter? This is my life, these are my experiences, and they don't have to be like anyone else's and nobody else needs to understand them. I finally get that.
So I go to this place, my old home which I loved and is still in many ways close to my heart, and what I have are memories. Look, there's Sundance groceries, I love their salads. There's a place I lived, it was painted, and there's another, oh, and I used to walk that road at night. And I'm thinking I would never have imagined myself zooming up and down those same streets on a 919cc sport bike asking myself if my next memory, that next old friend, is just a memory or another lesson in disguise.
I didn't have time for lessons though. I'd actually brought a couple of books so I could take a break in one of the city's parks, read, and get a little rest before the second leg of my trek. Instead I had to eat and run so I was back on the bike and down to the university oh, and I remember a few cops eyeing me. What is it about cops always eyeing me on my bike? Actually, when I get a picture of myself on the bike it'll probably be obvious, I look like a hooligan on my hooligan and they hooliknowit!
Next I'm going East on a highway I've done a million times in several cars since my highschool days. I'll admit, I was a bit nervous. This would be my first experience on a mountain pass on a motorcycle. I knew there were some steep corners and plenty of deer waiting to jump out and knock me off my ride. I found, however, that I was taking most of the corners much faster than I would have in my old '99 Jetta. In that car I'd take a suggested 45mph turn at 55mph-in the RX8 I'd be able to easily do those same corners at 70mph. On my hooligan? First off, it's not terribly safe to look down when you're cornering since cardinal rule #1 of motorcycling is "you go where you look" but when I did I found I was hitting some of these corners and accelerating up to 80mph without noticing myself rolling on the throttle too much.
That was nothing compared to my canyon ride today, though! But I will share that with you another time!!!
When I got to the top of the Cascades it was sunset. If you haven't been on that pass at the top there was a huge forest fire years ago. Normally this scene looks a bit descolate but that afternoon the sun was shining at just the right angle and the forest was glowing in an array of dark and light purples and greys. Oh, was I wishing I had my camera but I was also glad I didn't because I didn't have time, night was almost upon me!!!
Speaking of things being upon me, riding along the McKenzie river for an hour at sundown was a rude awakening to something I hadn't been ready for in any of my motorcycle research or training: bugs. Did I say bugs? I mean a lot of damn bugs!
Splat! Splat! Splat!
All over my face mask and you can't wipe them away with your fingers or you just smear guts everywhere and that makes your vision worse and you can't make your vision worse because if it's too bad you need to open the visor to see the road and if you open the visor to see the road splat, splat, splat, right into your glasses, nose, and mouth!
Anyway, arrived in Sisters just after dark, stopped at the Shell station to do something I'd never done before and which I think gave the attendant a little chuckle. I squeegeed my visor with the helmet still on my face before hitting the road again.
The rest of the sixty minute ride was a bit nerve wracking. I'd ridden in the dark before but in the city where things are lit up nicely. Out in the country if something jumped out in front of me I'd have to rely on all my skill, training, and quick responses. So at every opportunity I got four or five car lengths behind someone else and used both their and my headlights to give me enough visibility to plan my path of travel, which was particularly important around turns (those of you who motorcycle know what I'm talking about).
Then I got to my parents' place. My daughter was there as well, she's been with them for the last month because I am a pathetic parent and have had to work then wanted some me, me, me, time for a few weeks. Hugged her, she went to bed (it was late), then I called a friend of mine so I could go see her house. Drove five or six blocks to my friend's new place, talked with her and her cute little daughter for a bit, and saw plenty of pictures and other things from their trip to Disneyland. Went back to the old folk's, put the bike in the garage, then laid on the couch and watched some tv since everyone else was in bed.
It's strange. When I was a kid people would come visit and they'd get the beds in the house, it was just common courtesy and practice. Well, I'm an adult and I still get the couches. That's not a complaint, though, I don't mind having the couch, that's where the tv is, I get to stay up the latest, and this couch in particularly I've spent some of the best and worst nights of my life on, what's another night with an old friend?
So I laid there and ate some Ritz crackers and drank a couple glasses of water, watched an episode of M.A.S.H, then a silent film about a clown named "HE - Who Gets Slapped" which, although simplistic in plot, was something I could identify with. And then TV off, brush teeth, crawl under the blanket, and ponder The Lord's Prayer for a bit.
The last few months I've been pondering The Lord's Prayer as I go to bed. I'm not a Christian, mind you, but this, I believe, is one of the wisest prayers ever written. From a Christian point of view it's a standard. From an Eastern point of view it's been said to contain phrases that focus attention and cleansing energy on all the chakras of the human body. Me? I just think it's genius and keep finding new secrets inside it.
That night I was thinking about the lines "Our father thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." Now what does that mean? There are the usual interpretations which is typically something like, "God, you've got the say about things in Heaven so have the say about things here on Earth too." I wasn't satisfied with that answer and I knew there was something more to learn but I couldn't figure it out and in fact I've been working on this little conundrum for a week or more when I'm about to get to sleep. What does it mean? I had some inkling it had something to do with being able to have "Heaven on Earth" or bring Heaven and God's will into our daily, moment-by-moment, lives, but I wasn't exactly sure how.
Well, that is until I found a clue in a book a day or two later then that light bulb in my head went off. I was right. There was something powerful hidden under those words, something amazing and awe inspiring, something available to anyone of any faith, age, race, or whatever.
To be continued
August 25, 2005
This morning I woke up at 8am and lazily listened to National Public Radio for an hour before getting up, brushing my teeth, and putting on my jogging duds. Yes, today is the first time in my life (to the best of this aged memory) that I've ever jogged in the early hours.
Things I saw:
- Mothers pushing their baby jogger doovers
- Baby bumble bees
- Gaggles of dogs
- One owner of a gaggle who cursed, "Goddamnit"
- Two cats, one chasing a grasshopper
- A couple picking blackberries
- Drummers dancing their way to the kids' park
And now I'm having a bagle and in a moment I will take a nice, warm shower, then pack for the trip. No, I won't be writing for awhile, but that's okay, isn't it? Of course, I haven't written much this month, busy, and this being the first real vacation of my adult life I'm rather enjoying not doing much but riding my hooligan, enjoying movies with Vipasanna, playing with the cats, and reading while in the hot tub.
August 22nd, 2005
Today you and I spent a few hours together in the warm wind and sun and in the cool fresh breeze and shade. 136 miles, our longest ride to date. On Wednesday/Thursday, depending on when the pack gets here, we do 114 then take a few hours to stretch our legs, read a book, and take in the sights, then another 132 miles to the comfort of a warm bed (another term for an all too familiar couch). On the next day or the next we're on a 250 mile trip either back north or down south, who knows where the road will take us (as long as it's continually forward and with plenty of traction to spare!)? If down south then a few days later we will find ourselves on a 350 mile trip up north back to the comforts of home.
August 21st, 2005
Can you believe it, I pulled out my wallet and threw a wad of cash your way and I don't even like wearing anything besides a big, heafty boot! And yet and yet and yet and yet--oh, I love wearing you in the evenings and on Saturday's and Sunday's when I'm thinking I'll just mozzie around the house and read a book or watch the tele or kick us up on the desk and pet one of four attention starved cats!
Do I feel naked? Sure. But strangely looked after. Ah, those relaxing moments. Just please do me one favour, don't ask me for a ride, k? No to squids, no k-splat for me, no-no-no!
Time to be lazy, time to just be,
August 18th, 2005
I'm just going to be honest with you, I wasn't exactly wanting to find you. No, it's that my old ones you see, people were looking at me funny, especially at work. I mean, that happens when the heals rip open and you love the things so much you try to sew them back together--and of course I run out of the right colour of thread so it's pretty obvious and by now the suits are starting to tease a bit and that damaged gossip I choose to spend a few months of my life with didn't like them either so I looked and I looked for days or weeks, I don't know it seemed like forever, until I found you. A bit expensive, not quite what I wanted, but comfortable, quality, good looking.
So I picked you up.
You didn't quite hold me tight like I liked and it was a bit weird when we drove about, but we got used to each other. You, the good looking ones that the suits and talkers didn't do double takes at, me, the guy walking from A to B pretending to fit in for a little bit, usually for 8 hours at a time, before putting you besides the books and putting on the others or...or as we've gotten to know each other we spend more time together and before we know it it's time for bed and you're off and I'm off and it's goodnight until the next workday.
August 17th, 2005
I remember when you and I met that early summer day in 2000 at the Loyd Center Mall. You were sitting there idly up on that pile of boxes. I knew I wanted to meet someone new, someone rugged, someone that would last me and help me get where I was going. Who knew we'd be together all this time. We've been together through three jobs, a few psycho's (many of them hair stylists), and a new house and car and we were together for months belt sanding the deck and painting it every afternoon while we listened to NPR together. Do you remember way back when how we'd go to work, I'd wear the kilt, a t-shirt, and my hair was purple and blue? That was so freakin' fun and the compliments you got!
Now you're ripped and falling to pieces. I wanted to take you on a ride but I'm afraid you'd be pulled into the chain and that wouldn't be any fun for either of us! So sometimes we get together, when you're feeling up to it, and go out to mow the lawn or pick some weeds and we listen to NPR and remember the days where we were completely alone walking the streets of this world looking for a mountain to climb.
And we did that too, remember?
August 16th, 2005
I've been upset lately. I admit it. Upset, sad, lonely, frustrated, tired, worn out, ready to throw in the towel, making excuses, taking responsibility, everything and anything in between here and there over and over again and somehow managing to get enough sleep.
I know those who swing between being calm and collected to acting like they're ready to kill someone. Many I know are more or less frustrated and unhappy; at some point this year almost all have admitted "it's" not worth it. People from my past have been dropping in like rain drops and just as fast they evaporate. I've got only one close friend; sometimes she's there for me like the sun and the moon, at other times she pushes everyone until I cry uncle. I've got an internet stalker that won't leave me be, a daughter I miss who's miles away, a throat that more or less worries me, and a deep sadness that no matter how much I've changed, no matter how much I've learned, that you can't offer to listen to someone who doesn't know what they're really saying, you can't offer to share with someone who is not able to listen, you cannot ask for space from someone who wants to take it away, you cannot ask for love from someone who does not love themselves, and most of all everyone you meet is wounded but is somehow content on their separate merry-go-rounds.
I stopped smoking. I stopped drinking soda except for rare occassions, like at the movies. I drink coffee significantly less. I jog every two to four days. I stretch. I eat fruits and vegetables. I take some time to look in the mirror and care for myself. I take in more of what is healthy and breath out more of what is unhealthy: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Sometimes I feel like I do more breathing out than breathing in.
I knew this month would be difficult. I have everything I ever really wanted in life--well, all those "big" physical things I could buy or build. I realized long ago I can't make anyone love me. I realized long ago that it means more to master myself and my will. And so I've learned to build upon the failures and successes of the past and gather these things which I have always wanted and I always knew that this wasn't happiness I wasn't buying but things--or on a deeper level, the ability to set high goals and make them come true. And I did that. I said I'd transform myself and I did that.
Butterfly, time to turn the page.
So the ride is getting at the top of a five year hump and seeing over the top. The ride is feeling upset, sad, lonely, frustrated, tired, worn out, ready to throw in the towel, and the rest. The ride is knowing that there's a part of me that believes I'll have some enlightened moment sometime during my vacation then I flip forward and I know that's hopeful expectation because it's always breathing in and breathing out. That's what there was, that's what there is, that's what there will be. Transformation happens between the breaths.
Do you understand?
August 15th, 2005
Dear Dr. Duck,
As you know I've had a sore throat on and off for five or six weeks--I take that back, I've had a sore throat for five or six months and I'm a little shocked your records don't show that as I've seen you three or more times this year.
The first time I came in you gave me flonase, a nasal spray, which gave me bloody noses, headaches, and eventually a sinus infection. The second time I came in to visit you again attempted to prescribe flonase and I said no, that makes things worse so you give me Nasacort, another nasal spray.
At this point I'm thinking what are you thinking, it's my throat that hurts and my lymph nodes that are swollen--you've asked and I can breath just fine, so why do you sigh then say, "Well, lets try the flonase, two shots in the morning, two at night." I don't like having steroids in my body but you're the doctor so I trust you, right?
That time you also prescribed amoxacillin and that had a slight effect. You said come back in two weeks and when I did you were on vacation (nice of you to let me know ahead of time) so I met with another doctor who did a strep test, looked, and most importantly listened. We talked about my diet, wholistic medicine, and a whole gamut of things within a checkup that lasted over fourty minutes and covered possible contributors such as infrequent "acid reflux" to my past history of smoking to my allergies and my diet. She got me in for a cholesterol test and told me it looked like I had a chronic ear infection based on symptoms you've never informed me about. She prescribed me something for my tense backs, a medication which, with stretching and excercise, has been enormously helpful. She prescribed a strong antibiotic which for a week and a half, seemed to have kicked my sore throat entirely. And most importantly, she listened closely to the description of my symptoms.
Unfortunately the antibiotics stoppped working this weekend so being upset and frustrated I came back. After doing the usual checkup and shaking your head you said it's probably just allergies--but did not listen to me that I've had allergy checks, know what I'm allergic to, and allergies come in response to a stimulus, they don't stay for weeks or months on end (nor do they react to antibiotics). Just to be sure--and since you didn't during my other two visits--you checked me for strep (hmmm, your temporary replacement seemed to manage this one on my first visit with her). Then you prescribed me flonase?
I'm sorry, do you have an ear infection? Flonase gives me sinus infections! You know that, I've told you that every time I'm here and every time I visit you prescribe flonase. Got the flu? Flonase. Got a headache? Flonase? Got any symptom that's somewhere close to the nose: flonase.
Six months of pain, swelling, and headaches and that's all you can offer? Wait! Wait! Allegra. Thank you, so after six months now you're the allergy expert who knows more than me or my allergists over the years and I have this strange and unique allergy that follows me from the valley to the high desert to the mountains and to the sea, in the bedroom, to the lawn, and everywhere in between. An allergy that is not effected for better or worse by weather or bloom, by diet or mood.
And when I'd mentioned the swelling began after taking tylanol-PM and you joked...well, that says it right there.
I will now seek out a doctor with skill, knowledge, compassion, and listening skills and if this turns out to be something serious, you will hear back from me.
I've had a very upsetting day. I thought I'd finally gotten over this sore throat which has been with me for almost all of 2005 then it came back at the end of my run of antibiotics (which gave me the trots for a week) and it comes back renewing concern and worry and frankly making my daily life, especially communication with others, uncomfortable and frustrating.
Very upset. Throat getting worse. Called a specialist. Will write a complaint to my x-"doctor" and register with a new one.
I did have a good moment this afternoon, though, and it's the kind of little thing that keeps me going. While out jogging in the sun and heat I found myself behind two bikers who slowed down so I too slowed to a walk and looked ahead to see a four or five year old boy on a "Big Wheels". They finally past and I walked up by the little guy and he was huffing and puffing to get up the hill then got to the top and shot down the other side and I was happy. I never had a Big Wheels but I wanted one horribly at that age and it was so good to see him enjoying his.
With that said I want to publically thank my roomate for the fish sticks. I didn't connect the two earlier this afternoon but I remembered I'd been craving fish and chips this weekend but was eating salads and vegetables instead so it means a lot that she remembered.
(Now if I'd get my mind in gear and say my thank yous in real time!)
Little things, little things...
August 14th, 2005
Tonight I have managed to scrounge up some time to write. I know, I know, bad, bad Aslynn yet again, right? But in my defense I did get up early to spend time with my parents and daughter before they left to Central Oregon, went to a farmers' market and had lunch with my roomate, bought a few birthday presents for my daughter after having been stuck in back-to-back freeway traffic for 15 minutes while on my bike in 90+ degree weather--actually, here's a funny story. So I bought the presents and along with that a few drinks to keep from being dehydrated (heat stroke and dehydration can easily happen on a motorcycle if you don't watch yourself). I gulped one down in less than a minute then had a few sips of the second, a "fruit punch" sports drink, then put it in my backpack. So I'm riding down the freeway then downtown Portland past New Ren and up through the twisties and for the first 15 minutes or so I felt really wet on my back and arse and I'm thinking, jeeze, I know I was sweating but jeeze am I sweating! Get home, walk in and my roomate asks, "Why is your butt all red?" So she worked on washing off my daughter's gifts and I wiped down the back of the bike then got naked and unfruit-punched myself in a hot shower.
Then I went, got some 7-up, washed the car (she's feeling neglected :( then came home and we watched a Russian film called Burned by the Sun. Did some work, listened to the tele in the backround, finished two loads of laundry (i.e. continued unfruiting my things), did some work on several hundred photographs I took last Friday at work (well, at a park with my co-workers), ate (eating) a salad, and now (deep breath) I have a few spare moments to type--wait, I must check my work machine for a moment--one e-mail then I'm done! :)
Thoughts/questions that don't exactly fit in anywhere...
#1: I've been perceiving a lot of dissapointment in people lately, especially last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Empathy sucks sometimes.
#2: Making a conscious choice does not make one close minded.
#3: Did you cut your hair really short?
#4: I miss being held, touched, and loved in a romantic (yet truely sincere) way. Honestly, I've forgotten what that feels like and I always think about my commitments and this lifetime and I sometimes feel alone in it, but that, I understand, is okay.
#5: A red sports bike passed me today and I wondered how fast my bike would go then I pulled back the throttle and thought, "Oh, this is what he meant by, 'I had a smile on my face like a cat that caught the canerie.'" Put another way, I plead the fifth but those 10-20 seconds were wowzers wooha fun!
Vell, I'm off. Gudnit booger, aha
August 12th, 2005
I have been naughty this month. All my peeps must be wondering, "Aslynn, why have you not written often?" and you know, I don't really have an answer except to say that my triglycerides are borderline high, I've been practicing my motorcycle skills, my parents are visiting, my daughter is back for a few days...blah, blah, blah...all lame excuses, I know.
And so I will tell you about my day.
I woke up at 7am and jumped in the shower. A little groggy but okay. Pondered taking the bike in to work but today was a "Staff Development Day" and the morning would be a large meeting in which I didn't know what to expect and given that I didn't want to be carrying my jacket and helmet around I decided to shorten this sentence by saying I drove my car in. Well, I got in my car and one of the dash lights was on, which gave me a bit of a start. Pulled out the manual and it was the "low tire pressure" light. So before hitting work stopped at the Shell station, put a little bit in all four tires, checked the oil, then headed to work where I sat in the parking lot enjoying fiften minutes of NPR with my arms going across my chest and my eyes blissfully closed.
At 8:30 we had a continental breakfast during which I consumed some pinapple, a strawberry, several scones, small muffins, and several cups of coffee. And though I would normally dread such a day--they're usually what I call "palm, palm" sessions--these two and a half hours were coordinated by someone with a great deal of experience who not only knew what he was doing, but had a way to truly encourage everyone to collaborate. It was easily the most productive "Staff Development Day" I've experienced at any company I've worked for and well worth the few hours--of course there are those that may disagree, but then if you don't talk about collaborating as a team how can you share common goals?
Guess just like someone I once knew who thought everyone just had to psychically know what they wanted at any given time. Ever experienced that one?
While I was there I wrote down this quote, "Deception is accepted perception." I do not know who said it, though.
I also wrote a reminder to myself to share the following with you:
"There's nothing magical about The Temple, there's nothing particularly special about me. Everyone has been wounded, everyone gets moody, and everyone expresses similar experiences differently and everyone expresses different experiences similarly. Do you understand? I am not 'perfect', The Temple is not a facade or a statement I put out here to the world to convince you that I do not have my ups and downs too. I do. So what is it, this place? Why do I feel it necessary to write here and share when it would be easier (and cheaper) to keep these thoughts to myself? Do you understand? Do you want to?"
At 11:30 I drove home and found my parents still asleep. Spoke to my daughter some about the birthday list for her grandma that she's been making (or been stubbornly trying to to make) so we can go b-day shopping this weekend. Around this time my dad came out in his PJ's and I thought this was funny, typically I'm the one getting up at noon and they're the ones getting up at the butt crack of dawn.
And THEN I got my hooligan gear on and had my daughter help me with the bike gear and getting everything outside onto the driveway--no complains or stubborness this time! lol And I was pretty excited. Up to this morning I'd done about 80 miles on the bike all within say 10 miles of my house. I've been on the freeway for short, fast stints between exits just to get a feel for merging, but today was the first day where I was to drive from NW Portland down to south Tigard. I had the entire route planned in my mind so I wouldn't hit any surprises--and, life being what it is, one of the main roads I planned to ride was closed for road construction. Bugger! So left. Straight. Stop. Start. Stop. Right. Ah, back on the right road again! Then I get to the intersection I used to call "the worste intersection in Portland", got through without issue, kept going south, got lost, turned in circles, stopped and asked a kindly woman who was doing yard work where the park was, then got to the park for the afternoon portion of the staff development day which included:
- Sports (baseball, volleyball, etc.) -- for those interested
- Dunking managers in a big bucket 'o water ($1 a shot, all for charity)
- Group Picture
(not necessarily in that order)
So I got there and played bingo and I was determined to win. I mean, in 30 years I must have played hundreds of games of bingo and I have NEVER won, never! And things always happen that makes me think I have bad luck with this game. For instance, today I was given a bingo card but I turned to put my stuff away then grab my plate of food then when I went to sit down another co-worker had taken the card so I just got another one, no big deal, right? But guess who wins? Ha! So in that game and the next three or four the people who are winning are sitting right next to me and I'm getting 1 or 2 spots off most of the games--in one case having about 6 "almost but not quite" bingos! Dangit!
And then I won! I got up, screamed, took my board over for checking and yelled, "I am never playing this game again!"
Right...so the festivities ended, I took several hundred pictures which I'll be posting to the company intranet on Monday. Got on the bike and headed home through rush hour traffic which gave me plenty of opportunities to practice my starts and stops, choosing where to best position myself, etc. And to be quite honest I enjoy rush hour traffic much more on two wheels! Got home--took a LOOOONG route through some back roads and twisties for extra fun--then made tortilla soup for everyone. Watched Battlestar, some Band of Brothers, and here I am.
And with that said, goodnight.
August 10th, 2005
I can't believe I slept in two and a half hours past my alarm this morning! I heard my cell phone ring, looked at the clock, and said, "Oh shit!"
Needless to say I have been utterly exhausted this week! The moto course wore me out and I've spent much of the last few days buzzing about Portland on my hooligan machine enjoying every minute of it except the 10 or so minutes into it when I dropped the bike on some soft dirt and gravel. Long story short, I was nervous because the tires weren't broken in, nervous because the bike was 5 times more powerful than the Nighthawk I'd ridden the last few hours of Team Oregon's Basic Rider Training, nervous because it was over a hundred pounds heaver, and my weak point in class was slow maneuvers (10mph and slower). Needless to say I spent the next five or ten minutes doing tight circles and stops and starts until I felt comfortable on the bike, then went back out in traffic and did 0 to 45mph in about 4 seconds--wowzers, that was fun!
A few years ago I would have gotten very upset after ditching the bike. No, not because I was unsafe, I did it with no traffic around and my best friend was trailing me in her car, so that wasn't an issue. Once I got going again it didn't bother me that the bike had a few scratches, it was all about safety, having a good time, and the air hitting up against me.
I thought about what had happened and the more I thought about it the more I saw it was just karma working it's natural course again. You see, I've always been someone who's good at doing things fast. I can ride a bike at 60mph for the first time, no problem, do a fast corner, no problem, but slow? Even the one psychic I've ever gone to said, "You're not afraid of big things, you rush right in. But sometimes you have a hard time with the smaller, day to day things."
Slow, that's harder for me. The same thing goes with everything in my life, including friendships. Being an empath I've often lacked the patience to take things at a rate other people are comfortable with. If you could see into people's hearts and minds would you feel comfortable dancing around playing social games just because it's somehow expects, normal, or they've got hangups? Damnit, why does everyone have hangups?!
But I digress...
Over the last few years I've learned to slow things down and that, to be quite frank, pisses some people off. Trust me, I've been cussed out by some who are really saying, "Go my speed, me, me, me!" Of course I can speed up too, when I want. And I can be in the middle. All can be good places to be. The best place to be, though, is at the staying speed.
And so, though much has been on my mind, I will leave you with those simple thoughts and suggest that you learn the value of flexibility and know how to spot the staying speed. It'll make all the difference between a freakin' awesome ride through the twisties and a trip in the meat wagon--figuratively and/or literally speaking, of course.
Your hooligan friend,
August 7th, 2005
As many of you know I spent this weekend (Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday) taking the Basic Rider Training course provided by Team Oregon. Friday night, which was all class time, was easy and straight forward. I've always been the brainy type so throw me an idea and I can wrap my head around it. Saturday we were on the bikes and in the class. Today, Sunday, class then bikes, written test, riding test.
Yesterday was, of course, the first time I've ever driven a motorcycle. There were a number of types there, all small models (to non-motorcycle peeps that means only a couple hundred pounds in weight and 250cc's displacement or less). Riding these little bikes was not as easy as a co-worker had lead me to believe. The little Suzuki I was on for most of the two days was under 150cc's so it had just enough to learn and not enough to scare the bejesus out of a newbie--yet I felt like I was sitting on my daughter's bicycle with my knees up high. Got used to that fairly quickly but then this whole thing about rolling on the throttle smoothly is hard on a bike with a throttle that goes from nothing to 2/3rds power when the bike goes over a crack in the pavement. Fortunately I was able to compensate by playing the clutch as soon as I got a feeling for its friction zone--then the cable snapped (snap!) at which point I hit the engine cut-off switch and abrubtly (bam!) came to a stop and made some desparate hand signals to one of the instructors which I think might have translated to, "I can't fucking move, this thing's gone tits up!" Instructor pulls out another bike, a Honda Nighthawk with almost 250cc's of power and we spent 5 minutes getting the engine to idle normally--I went one lap and it stopped 3 times! What a pain. Then I discover unlike my first learning bike this one has a kick but now the throttle is nice and smooth when rolled and the clutch goes from not-engaged to engaged in holy-sh*t so now I'm trying to control a bike that has the exact opposite issue of the first bike.
I've heard it said that you should treat your bike like your toothbrush, don't let anyone else ride it because everyone's bike has it's own unique personality and traits. I learned that lesson today. One bike demanded being in 2nd or 3rd to do a lot of the excercises and had a finicky throttle, the other had to be in 1st gear all the time or it wanted to zoom, zoom, zoom, and had a clutch with almost no friction zone (which meant the bike snapped into gear quickly and went zoom, zoom, zoom). They felt like completely different machines and it stressed me to no end since I had to take the riding test on a machine that I'd only been riding for about 30 minutes.
Hello, I'm not into short-term relationships!
So I screwed up on the swerving test because I had no feel for the friction zone and this bike did not want to be swerved--it wanted to go forward or in a curve and fast (Ready, Aim, Fire, woohoo!). But fast stops? Slow down then roll into a corner and get some good speed? Yeah, this bike would have been awesome fun on the country roads near my house.
On last complaint since I'm being onery tonight: the space on this bike between the left foot peg and the shifter was so small I had to put the toe of my boot down vertically to get it under and lift! That was a challenge if ever there was one while you're thinking: break, look, roll, lean, roll harder you! Woohoo!
Then the day is over, we've walked the jalopies over to the shed and waiting anxiously for our tests. I passed, good on stopping, good on corners, good at turning my head and using my peripheral vision. At the same time I need a lot of work on slow swerves and making tight right hand turns at low speeds (my observation).
If you asked me I'd rather my weakness be in an area where if I slam into a car I'm doing it at 3mph! Of course I still need to master it just in case I need to do it to get outa the way of some jackass who's not paying attention.
So tomorrow I'm going to get my motorcycle license and if I have time tomorrow afternoon I'll take my bike up to the college or other parking lot to practice slow speed maneuvers on it. It's going to be quite interesting going from a little itty bitty bike that my 10 year old could probably ride to a bike that's 500lbs wet (that means it's 500 pounds when the tank is full, which it is). Didn't drop a bike at the class so I'm not terribly concerned, however, I won't be able to walk it or put my feet down to stabalize this size of bike as easily.
Good thing I bought this one, at one point I'd wanted a Yamaha FJR and that sucker's a heavy (but beautiful) beast!
So stressful but good day for me, at least as for as the test. There were other things that bothered me as well (universe throwing some interesting questions/karma my way which I do not have a clue what to do with). Oh yeah, my roomate and best friend also took the course and she passed in flying colours (her bike didn't break down!).
Now to find some riding partners. Anyone interested?
August 3rd, 2005
Last Friday afternoon I took half a day off from work so my daughter, roomate, and I, could make a little pit stop on the way to Prineville, Oregon. So instead of taking our normal route out Highway 26 then 84, then up to Goverment Camp, over the mountain, through Warm Springs, and Madras we instead went south on I-5 to Woodburn, then down to Salem, east through Mill City, and over one of the most beatiful mountain passes in all of Oregon.
Oh yeah, and we stopped at Taylor Motorcycles where I purchased this Honda 919.
So as of today I have in my care:
- A Joe Rocket Meteor moto jacket
- Joe Rocket moto gloves
- Scorpion EXO 400 helmet
- Leather Boots
- Frame Sliders
- Xena moto lock/alarm
Things I'm missing:
- An Oregon motorcycle license
This may seem a bit crazy to some people--and to others not so crazy but to me it's absolutely crazy as insane as in nuts as in out there. I mean, the only time I've ever been on a motorcycle was as a six or seven year old sitting in front of my uncle as we shot down Johnson Creek Road, down the hill, then back up to the house! Sure, I've spent the last several months emersed in motorcycles, learning about the physics, the engines, the brakes, what to do, what not to do and you know, these things are complicated machines! You can't just get on and expect to be safe and most people don't even know you have to counter-steer the beasts (in other words you don't steer the direction you want to go like a mountain bike). Hell, even after years of experience there's still plenty to learn.
Motorcycling is not driving with 2 fewer tires!!!
And of course there are those that would say this has something to do with the fact that I spent a fair amount of my life on edge, suicidal, and to that I have to say sure, I can see where you're coming from but no, I've wanted to be on a bike since I was four or five or six (whenever CHiPs was first on the tele). And then there are some that would say that this is just my need to extend my penis yet another few inches (i.e. the RX-8 wasn't enough) and to that I'd say no, my penis works fine, thank you very much, it's really about the desire to feel the wind through my hair, save a substantial amount of gas, and do something I've always wanted to do (but was too chicken shit to).
About the only thing you could hold over me is that I gave up the idea of planning my life around a car with seating room for a wife and a kid and possibly another. Instead I adopted a little girl who needed a dad and I have a best friend, otherwise I am alone. I am a black angel, one that's been to hell and back again and is not afraid of heaven, hell, or earth.
And so I got this bike and this weekend I take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation beginner's course then in a few months I'll take the intermediate course then the advanced class. And so on. And then I will ride and save the planet a bit of gasoline and I will enjoy being alone with the wind going through my hair and truly focusing all of my mind and spirit on the road, on the curve, on the gravel and that patch of oil and other possible things coming my way because I love life and I love taking on a challenge and I love going out there and doing things I've dreamed about doing instead of hiding and doing what people expect of me, stay inside, do your job, keep your mouth shut, stay off motorcycles, they're dangerous!
Life is a dangerous sport and we're all bound to die so yeah, I'm a bit crazy spending so many $$$ on something I've never ever done and something that could potentially put me in a full body cast. The thing is, I don't plan to die on a bike but I sure as hell don't plan to hide behind this keyboard either.
How about you?
August 2nd, 2005
A few days ago I finished The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It's not a thick book by any means and sure, I could have read it in an afternoon, but this one took me several weeks. It is perhaps one of the wisest books I have ever had the pleasure of reading and one of those few books I could say, "If I could master these few things then I will have done something!"
I'm going to add this book to my Books to Learn by page. I suggest this book to everyone that yearns to learn and grow.
You can visit Don's site at: http://www.miguelruiz.com/
Another good suggestion is the film Krieger und die Kaiserin, Der or Princess and the Warrior directed by Tom Tykwer who did Run, Lola, Run (Franka Potente stars in both). Good film, nice symbolism. Yadda, yadda. If you like German cinema, check it out.
Ever notice how most American's don't like foreign films? I used to think it was because people were impatient. Now I think maybe it's because as American's we like a quick stereotype. I mean, with a good French, German, or Chinese flick you can't pin a character as "the doctor" or "the laywer" or "the nurse" but you have to take each moment it comes and I think people just want to be able to put those characters in a safe little box so we know who they are and have a pretty good idea about what to expect from them instead of wondering why that german guy keeps crying, why did he beat the shit out of that television, does he need some prozac or...or do we have to find out what's going on at the same time he is?
Think about it.
Tomorrow I will tell you about something crazy I did last Friday...or...if you stick around to find out what's going on at the same time...maybe it won't be so crazy after all.
August 1st, 2005
You'll have to forgive me for not writing in so many days, but for several I was out of town and last night I was completely exhausted--which is how I'm feeling tonight so...I'll do my best basing this long, rambling entry on notes I've jotted down since last week starting with one word: "Sushi". This was, of course, to remind me how much I enjoyed eating sushi last Friday night at home with my roomate. I think I could have easily eaten a pound of the stuff, yum!
I'd written another note: "Who are you deep down?" I guess I was wondering why so many people put up with themselves. I mean, there's who you are and who you could/want to be, why don't most people rip their skins off trying to get out and breath and be who they are deep, deep down instead of putting on a mask. Granted, wearing masks is a legitamate aspect of being human--yet I look at my life and can easily categorize it in stages, usually 3 - 5 years in length each, where I push myself to evolve and evolve and evolve and open and breath and become more and more and more what I was all along...but just a bit wiser and twirling a few more grey hairs between my fingers.
Remind me to tell you about something I did that shows I am being who I want to be instead of wanting to be who I could be!
Next note... I've been having some strange dreams lately. I think I had one on Thursday and I don't recall much of it but it was like nightmares I used to have years and years ago--at least in content. The thing was I wasn't directing the dream, I wasn't emotionally involved, it was almost like a video cassette from somewhere else that I was supposed to pay attention to for reasons that would later be apparent to me. Then the next night someone from the previous night was kissing me yet beautiful as they were their mouth tasted putrid. I had yet another strange and related dream today and though I am normally very quick to be able to analyze dreams I know the dreams aren't done yet, I have at least one or two more before I truly understand. The puzzle pieces will fit together when they're ready.
It's almost time for me to find my voice. I think it will happen near the end of 2006 and it will be one of my most obvious transformations to date.
Over the last year quite a few people from my past have reached out to contact me, usually by e-mail. A few years back I decided to cut off everyone in my past. Anyway, I'll talk about this decision at length some other time--for now, it's enough to say I made that decision and yet people have been coming out of the woodwork lately and one, who surprised me late last night, made me ask why, if I were to open my life to people again, why I choose to have some people on my "yes" list and others on my "avoid at all costs" list. That's not to say that I can't "move on"--but then, I'm not going to be unfair or close myself to reality just cause I have experienced pain, dissapointment, or what not. I'm not the center of the universe, after all. Something to think about.
Oh, check out the Visions page. Put some great pictures up from this weekend's visit to Sisters and Prineville, Oregon.
Last note. Lets say, "Empathic--pick up trais of others."
So my roomate rented a movie called Dirty Filthy Love which was about a man with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I liked the film. It was funny, honest, thoughtful, and touching. And I had to admit, I liked it because I can relate to it because I have an Obsessive Compulsive Order (I don't believe in disorders--we're all different and that is good, do you understand?).
You see, a few years back after a divorce and a job loss and loosing every friend I had and then loosing another job I found myself checking the house every time I left on a trip or going to bed. I'd check the stove to make sure it was off then the lights then the floorboard heaters and then I'd do it all over again because I was tired (at that point I was hooked on sleeping pills--I couldn't get any sleep without them) and I couldn't remember if I'd just turned things off or if that was the night before or the night before. So I'd have my route through the apartment and I'd check the door and I'd go upstairs and after getting to the top I'd wanna go back down and check again. I had no friends, no job, nothing but two cats and a bunch of stuff and a lot of painful memories and more loneliness than I ever had in my whole life and yes, a little hope and this idea that one night I'd forget to check and the apartment would burn down and then I'd be alone and on the street and my cats would be ashes :(
It's not so bad anymore. I go through the house at night, make sure the house is "tucked in". When we leave for trips I'll spend quite a bit doing this. Is everything off? Are the cats fed? Are all the doors propped open so the cats don't get trapped in a room? Did I turn the gas water heater down so it doesn't waste gas? My roomate calls it my "ritual" and you know, for me it is a choice. I don't mind checking things because it doesn't interfere with my life and frankly I have more important things to focus on like eating healthier and getting regular excercise and learning how to be a more loving, honest, and trustworthy human being.
Who gives a shit if I check?
I digress... The reason I brought that up is to say that as an empath I am very susceptible to other people's..."disorders". Got panic attacks? Sure, I'll help you overcome them--then a few years later I'll start having them every other day and it'll take me years to overcome them. Afraid of abandonment? Great, I'll pick that one up too. Not caring how we treat our body (smoking, booze, etc.)--yikes, I picked that up then had to shake it off! Chew and play with your fingernails? Oh, I'd have that one now if I didn't wise up to the fact that I'm so suseptable to empathic/psychic energy! Ha!
Like it or not I gotta be more awake than most, I'm a magnet for emotional states cause I gotta understand and I gotta know and I gotta be and I gotta grow and grow and grow and grow and grow don't ya know?
That is simply one aspect of who I am.