Thursday, November 17, 2011
The truth is, we all have things to be thankful for, even if our lives are spiraling downhill, or life seems to be a constant uphill struggle. There is almost always SOMEthing that we can stop and be thankful for. So, I wanted share with you the thank you checklist that I've been mentally go through every night when my head hits my pillow.
Thank you for this day, another day in my life. Thank you for my health, well-being and physical abilities, and the health and well-being of my family.
As materialistic as it might sound, I’m grateful for the things I have around me, a nice house, good vehicles, the privilege of riding a motorcycle, and the ability and opportunity to race, and all life’s little and not so little conveniences in my possession.
I’m thankful for having been able to work in animal medicine, and find my passion, and hope to continue to be able to do that at some point soon.
Thank you for the fulfilling and unconditional love of my animals and for the opportunity to save precious lives.
And finally, I’m thankful for the people who have touched my life. Some of them may not have been in the best way, but I am stronger for the experience nonetheless. But, mostly, I'm grateful for my loved ones, be they family by blood, or by association, for my friends who may as well be family, and for the friends I’ve made that I have never even met in person, but am privileged to connect with regularly through the internet. Thank you for the support, kindness, caring, consideration, encouragement, education, commiseration, and LOVE. I may not always act deservedly of it, but I am truly grateful for each and every one of you.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
They say that change is the only constant in life. Everything around us is ever changing, some slowly, some in leaps and bounds. You can't escape change. But sometimes you can delay it. The world is closing in, the future is in the air.
This is the time of year that sends me into a tailspin, and makes me reflect upon all of my relationships, past and present, and the seemingly happier times in my life. People may see me, or read my blog, and make their judgments on how happy or unhappy I seem, but there are few people out there, if any really, who truly know everything about me, and how I think. I don't let just anyone in, having learned that lesson the hard way, betrayed by my inner circle. The wounds are still fresh, and will definitely leave permanent scars. The walls are up now, and I'm not sure there is anyone out there that can tear them down, or would even want to. Betrayal changes a person, and their relationships from that moment forward.
Change for the worse has a way of giving you a whole new appreciation for how good things once were, and, conversely, change for the better can give you a sense of relief and accomplishment in what you have overcome, a new perspective on your strengths and abilities. Relationship changes, well, that's a mixed bag of feelings. A majority of my insecurities are a result of those feelings of fear, dread, anxiety, hope, excitement, joy, sorrow, anger, despair, loss, faith, prayer, that come with ever changing relationships in my life. When you've had more people in your life come and go, or let you down, I suppose that second guessing everyone around you is only natural.
In spite of all the let downs, I still see myself as a die hard believer, a fixer, a leave no stone unturned to try to make the outcome work in your favor kind of person. But, sometimes, I do find myself wondering where the cut off point should be. When should you cut your losses, and when do you try 'one more time'? Where is that elusive line in the sand that dictates when enough is truly enough, or the point where you are crossing over into 'fool territory'? I guess that's where faith comes in. I have faith, and I cling to it, but sometimes, when it's all I can do to remain standing when the winds of change are trying to knock me down, my faith is bending in the wind too. Not just my faith in others, but my faith in myself is being bent to the breaking point.
I'm just trying to withstand each storm, and will assess the damage in the aftermath, that's all any of us can do.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I’ve been asked to describe what it’s like to ride, and it’s really tough to put a feeling into words. Riding is religion for some, a way of living, not a pastime, it’s a devotion more than a hobby.
It’s so much bigger than words. Its that great love that makes your heart soar and puts a contented and fulfilled smile on your face. When you ride you are one with the bike, immersed in the goodness of which God has created. Multi dimensional experiences, sights, sounds, smells, feeling the sun and air, wind, dirt, weather...easy to get lost in the joy of it, but a little danger there to remind you that even though you feel like the only being that exists in this place and time, you are fully exposed to everything around you, with nothing between you.
My bike is my other half, we are simpatico. I’m a warm weather girl, a desert rose I’ve been told, so when it’s hot and sunny, and I’m on my bike, it’s the best feeling in the world. Sometimes I hear Zeppelin singing “Oh let the sun beat down upon my face” when I ride...Mostly I wanna be just like a little kid in a field, blue sky overhead, arms outstretched, feeling every molecule of warm weather and fresh air being absorbed into my skin, head back, eyes closed, turning in circles until you fall down in the grass laughing. Well, I can’t close my eyes and spin around, but that’s the inner feeling. As a passenger, I have closed my eyes and stretched my arms out to feel the soft summer air rushing across my skin. But, on my own, obviously that can’t work out well.
My bike brings me a giddy kind of pure joy. I get the biggest thrill over the shock factor when people find out that’s my bike, and that I drag race it. It's just lil' ole me, yeah...it's MINE...yeah, I did that....hell yeah, I race it with NITROUS too! It’s definitely a perma grin. A smidgen of smugness, a ton of pride, and a whole lotta passion. Me and my machine, an open, winding road, where we become one living breathing roaring being. I feel rooted into the seat, the tires smoothly rolling down fresh pavement. A little lean to the right and we drift right, shift my body left, go to the left. Sometimes, when I’m feeling really in tune and part of the bike, I’ll shift my hip to one side, then the other, making us move back & forth, it’s a smooth flowing, seamless connection between rider and machine, a feeling of flawless control. Perfection. I’ve likened it to the closest you could get to being able to fly. The machine feels like a part of you, so it feels almost as if you could open your arms wide and lift off. It brings me a warm, radiant smile, that I can feel grow from the inside out. It’s a fever, an addiction, an obsession, my heart’s desire.
I saw one of my riding fb friends say if he wanted to know if she was a good woman, all he had to do is look at the toe of her left boot (for shifter marks). When I look down at the scuffs on my boot, I'm not bummed that my nice boots are scarred, I'm beaming with pride, because that makes it obvious to all who see it. Every click of my odometer is a trophy to me, the higher the numbers the more abundant the experience.
As the summer days wind down, I can feel the hours left of riding season ticking away. Come early fall, every sunny, warm day is one of which to be taken advantage, because you never know which one will be the last day you will ride. Every opportunity is a moment to savor the good stuff.
Over the winter, I swear I can hear my bike whimper from the dark corner of the garage. She’s pouting, and so am I. I’m restless, and bored, lost, impatiently counting the weeks down til spring. Every time I hear a bike, I feel my heart frown. I miss her, desperately. Visits to the dealer make me drool over the shiny new bikes, and if there’s one on the floor that they happen to start, the sound gives me goosebumps, and the smell of the exhaust is intoxicating. My mind drifts back to summer days, the sound of a Harley, the smells of exhaust and fresh cut grass. The good days indeed. By the end of winter I am on pins and needles anticipating the start of a new riding season, like a kid counting the days til Christmas.Riding brings me inner peace and contentment, a warmth. It's living in the moment and embracing all that is good in life, and the serenity and focus to work through the not so good. It's two wheel therapy. No matter how many miles and hours I spend on the bike, when it comes time to put her in the garage, my heart is always disappointed. My spirit wants a never ending journey of peace and contentment.
Monday, July 25, 2011
It felt like it had been an eternity since my last AMRA race. I raced the season opener back in March, but having passed on the Georgia race because it was too far to drive, and opting out of the June Bowling Green race because no one was going & the weather was looking unfavorable made it feel like I hadn’t raced since last season. Money is always an issue when it comes to drag racing. It’s an expensive and rarely, if ever, profitable habit. Expenses of food, entrance for the weekend, race entries, and fuel in an RV that only gets 9 mpg all become factors in making the decision if you’re going or not. This race, being in Michigan, was the closest to home it will ever get for me, so I was glad to be going, even though no one else decided or was able to come with.
A nice, short, 2 ½ hour drive to the track was a welcome treat, barely enough time to get nervous on the ride there. Upon arrival and seeing the Friday night Chopperfest schedule showed grudge racing, I didn’t get any test & tune track time in, and figured I’d get that in Saturday before the races. Well, Saturday’s driver’s meeting informed us that due to money issues the track was not allowing us to test & tune like usual. I don’t know what that was about, maybe it had something to do with the track not wanting to pay people to dry off the lanes after the morning’s rain, who knows. But there was no test & tune before Sunday's races either. I was a tad bit bothered, to say the least. I usually need to get a few ‘throw away’ runs in so I can focus on one detail at a time. My first run, the bike almost always misbehaves, and I count on having that extra seat time. Then I can start paying attention to things like launch rpm, arm position, and light timing. But, that was not to be this weekend. Right from the get go, my divisions were staging, back to back. Good when it’s over because it’s nothing but down time to relax after that, but not so good if you haven’t had time to warm up properly! Qualifying runs were just ‘ok’ as far as times go, I’ve done better, but I’ve also done worse. My best run wasn’t even in SE class, where I have to be as close to 11.50 as possible, but the field wasn’t too large, so it turned out ok, as I qualified 10th. My best time of the weekend, an 11.68 wasn’t even in SE class, so my qualifying time ended up being 11.86, with a really pathetic reaction time. I suppose I could say I did that to play head games with whoever I draw to race against, but that would be too calculated for this beginner lol. Nope, I just plain sucked due to no extra seat time. My E class time was a decent 12.09 (which is up there with my best no-nos times) , I wasn’t spraying NOS, it was too hot and I had too many concerns over bottle pressure. At one point I paired up against a Screamin’ Eagle, which I was again sleeping at the tree, but ended up beating, in spite of having a brain fart & letting off at the 1/8th mile. WHAT was I thinking!?!?!? Lol I was thinking, whoo hoo, I’m done…oh wait, no I’m not, they just have the 1/8th mile marked well, get back on that throttle stupid!!! And I still beat the Screamin’ Eagle with the bigger motor , bwahahahahaha!
Once they posted the results brackets, I was informed I was paired up with the division points leader, oh joy. He’s running consistently in the 11.5’s and cut a .04 light…SWELL. It was a long night bouncing back & forth from resigning myself that I was being eliminated first round, to thinking, so use it to your advantage, he will see your stats and think he can relax, surprise him. Morning drivers meeting was uneventful, and I had a long time to ruminate over the situation, as my classes were in running order numbers 12 & 13. SE class (11.50 class) was first, and I had an over full bottle of nos, and the purge was only working when it wanted to. Spent a lot of time worrying about it, and it had to be manually purged several times. I mentally envisioned myself cutting a good light, nailing shifts, & having a good run, and telling myself he was just some other rider, so what if he’s points leader, that doesn’t mean squat. I rolled up to the line, made sure I was the last to stage, kept my rpm’s up, but my RT was only so so, and the bike bogged pretty bad off the line. I guess I must have dumped the clutch too fast. Needless to say, he won. Oh well, time to line up for the Eliminator class. I chose 12.08 on my dial in, because I’d be pissed if I broke out of my best time of 12.09. Turns out I didn't have to worry about breaking out, cuz it bogged again, and I ran a 12.46. I fouled by .078, but he fouled worse, so I won. It was close though, he ran a 12.39, so if we hadn’t both fouled, we were just about neck & neck. My 2nd round of E class was a disappointment from the get go. My opponent was only 9.90 second Screamin’ Eagle Destroyer rider Andy Horn, no competition there! LOL I cut one of the best lights I had all weekend, but I was too aggressive off the line, and the bike got almost sideways and I probably did a 20 foot burnout. Apparently some woman watching said “OH SHIT” , that’s kind of what I was saying to myself, as I’ve never gotten so squirrelly on a launch that I had to put my foot down. I mostly rode it out though. I guess I picked the wrong spot to line up, and was just a little bit aggressive off the line. You live, you learn. There’s no shame in losing to a Destroyer, I want one of those SO DAMN BAD!!! (Note to self...I NEED sponsors BAD)
All in all, a good time was had. I learned a few things from talking to the folks around me. I had forgotten how friendly, and genuinely nice the AMRA ‘family’ is. It’s more than just a competition, in fact, the competition part takes a back seat to the camaraderie and celebration of doing what you love. I did catch myself sitting (sweating my ass off, of course) in the staging lanes looking around me, and remembering how insanely intimidated I was at my first event. I was seeing all the racers around me, and feeling like I was a fish out of water, an amateur that didn’t belong here. This was only my 3rd AMRA event, but I really felt more like one of ‘them’, and that was because they’re all really good, and regular folks, just having fun and sharing the love. It’s an expensive addiction, and I want more more more!
From where I sit, even though life can be tough to manage, and it could be difficult to see the finish line through the clouds that sometimes loom ahead…LIFE really is ultimately GOOD, and getting better with each passing day.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
It's storming pretty intensely here this morning, and I'm sure my basement will be taking water through the garage stairwell as it has been for a long time now. On the long list of to do things when there is 'extra cash', yeah right. The weather has it's way of making one miserable, if they allow it. In spite of the gloom and darkness, thunder and torrential down pouring out my window, I choose to look at the sunlight. How my silly dogs light up my life, the anticipation of the next trip to the race track, my shiny black motorcycle, my freedom to sleep in if I choose/aka the bright side to unemployment.
My perspective, as of late, has been enlightened by the owner/Mom to the Husky I have volunteered to foster while she is receiving chemo and hopefully a stem cell transplant for brain cancer. I had never met her or known about her, I merely responded to a post on animal control's wall one day. I love huskies with a passion, and I'd have a whole sled team if I had the resources. They're hilarious and silly, and a joy to be around. They bring me joy. So, it was just my way to pay it forward. Turns out, Sandy (Abby's owner/Mom) is just about all alone. She's quite sick, the cancer seriously affecting one whole side of her face, her speech, the ability to close one eye, and her ability to walk without aid. Yet, having no family left to speak of, has been fortunate to find a great friend and a neighbor to bring her to and from her treatments, they look out for her. In spite of her disabilities and sickness, she insisted on coming out to my house to help retrieve Abby from me and to personally thank me for caring for her beloved Abby. She kept trying to insist on giving me money, and of course, I declined ever time. What a sweet woman. Sandy hasn't been well this past couple weeks. Her blood work has not been good enough to receive the last chemo required to start stem cell transplant (a pretty serious setback). And, lately, has had a lot of pain. If she can't manage her pain on her own, she will be admitted to the hospital eventually.
So, I find myself thinking about Sandy, and all she is going through, and that helps me realize that whatever I have going on is part of the 'don't sweat the small stuff' theory. And know that everything shall pass...it all does. My request to all of you is, please, pray for Sandy, who is almost all alone, and fighting so hard to get through this treatment. Pray for her treatment and recovery during this incredibly difficult time that requires extraordinary strength.
Thank you :)
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Did the first poker run of the riding season today. I’ve always loved poker runs. It’s a perfect combination of getting in a bunch of miles with multiple destinations, going places you’ve never been, having the camaraderie of a bunch of bikers kicking back and sharing a meal at the end of the trip, music, a little gambling, and of course, a chance for prizes. The best part of it all is it’s for a good cause.
This run was for Breast Cancer. That’s a cause I wholeheartedly support, and I try to find as many events as I can. My maternal Grandmother had breast cancer, and it’s listed as her cause of death (long story here, but it was a multitude of events post mastectomy that were just too much for her to handle). I was called in for ultrasound after a questionable mammogram several years ago. Then, after the ultrasound, I had to go in for a needle guided biopsy. It took what seemed like forever to get the results, and an eternity sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for her to come in to give me the results. “It isn’t cancer, but, we need to remove it or it will be.” I needed a lumpectomy. I had a bit of a meltdown on my drive home, lucky I could even see the road, actually. The procedure was fairly normal for everyone involved, but not for me. I had to go in very early in the morning, go to ultrasound so they could insert a wire in the exact location of the lump, then be wheeled to the OR for the surgery with this protruding piece of wire, surreal for sure. I was full of anxiety and nerves, but the staff at the St. Anthony Breast Care Center was warm, and caring, and made me feel so much more comfortable, and less alone.
Thank God, that for me, the final results of the lumpectomy were negative and I could go on with life as I knew it. A huge relief. Now, I take into consideration how much comfort a quality staff and facility means to a patient. ALL donations to breast cancer help develop skills and tools to help the patient, or gives the patient basic needs such as free mammograms or donated wigs so those in chemo can get some feeling of normalcy. So, if you can, give whatever you’re able, because every dollar is like a warm and caring embrace to someone in a desperate moment of need.
On my ride today, I spent some time absorbing and savoring the sensations that I’ve missed so much over the winter. The wind in my hair, the sun on my face, the silky soft warm air on my skin, the sporadic pockets of floral perfumed air, good music from my iPod, and the sound of my bike and the wind becoming one from underneath me, and traveling up through me. There are all sorts of explanations of what it feels like to ride a motorcycle. I think it must be as close to flying as you can get without actually leaving the ground. If I could, I would close my eyes and spread my arms out in the open and soar. It’s the feel and sound of the wind rushing past, almost through you, and taking in every sensation of your environment. You are so absorbed in that moment of living that the machine beneath you is no longer noticeable, it becomes an extension of you, and then you alone are being propelled forward through space, all time stands still and you simply feel, observe and live in the moment. Well, that’s my take on it anyway. It brings me to a place where I appreciate all the little things so much more, and feel closer to the Universe, or God, or whatever you want to label our creator.
It’s living in the moment and loving life, and feeling like life is giving you a warm and caring embrace. You don’t have to ride to feel that way. I suggest you go out and find something that you do that makes you feel good, and feel the powerful embrace of life. For me, it’s riding.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
We all have quirks, traits, pet peeves, reflex reactions, and instincts. Good or bad, desirable or undesirable, they make us who we are.
- Me, I’m a chronic thinker, and I worry too much. But, it makes me prepared for what might come my way. I like to plan, and know what’s going to happen, so I’m as well equipped as I can be to handle what’s next.
- I’m stubborn, but that means I will stick with something until all avenues are exhausted, I give my best effort and then some.
- Some might see me as a know it all, but really, I just have tons of ideas and a lot of excitement and passion to see if I can do something and if it will make a difference.
- I’m impulsive, and impatient, I like to go out and get what I want or need as soon as possible.
- I can be insecure about some things, but it's merely a result of past experience, and it shows that I don't believe that I'm all that. I know I'm worthy because I give my all, but I'm not so arrogant that I'm certain there is nothing better.
- I’m eager to please, and love to be valued, which, sometimes makes me more selfless than I should be.
- I may be needy, but it only means that I feel so strongly that I crave and desire something so much that I just want that much more.
- I love with abandon, sometimes to my own detriment, and because of that, I’ve been burned, but I still believe. That has made me afraid of being vulnerable and trusting completely. It takes a long time to let someone in. But I promise, if you get there, it will be SO worth it.
- I’m devoted, caring, giving, and will be there if someone I care for needs me.
- I can be too negative, but there are certain things in my life that I cannot change (yet) and they have a way of dragging me down. I do my best to find the good stuff and focus on that, but even the most positive people in the world have their moments.
- I believe that God and the Universe have a plan, and I am a child of destiny. I’d like to know what that destiny is (there’s the chronic thinker worrier talking) but wouldn’t we all like to know that!?
- I am a believer in fate, and I refuse to let go of my hopes and dreams, but sometimes fear I’m beating my head against a brick wall. Yet, my stubbornness keeps me going and believing.
There you have me, in a nutshell. A little mental, some might say crazy, but it is who I am, and what makes me different than anyone you will meet!