Saturday, June 25, 2011


Well, it's official! I have my motorcycle license. Looking back, I'm not quite sure what I was expecting when I embarked on this endeavor, except to say that I was very probably spurred on my the amazing bucket-list-item-completion rate accomplished by my Aunt Carol. She is one of those people who says, I think it'd be cool to fly a plane. So she does. And I think it'd be fun to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. So she does. And I'm (this is me talking now) a little fed up with myself and my comfort zone. So, I think ultimately, I wanted to ride because I could. Why not? And I really wanted the satisfaction that goes along with saying that I did it. It's the same satisfaction that comes from climbing 14ers. Let's be honest, nobody really does that for the journey so much as the destination. There was a lingering thought in the back of my mind that I may just fall in love with riding and buy a bike and a matching helmet and jacket and be that girl. But if I had stopped to think about it, I would have remembered that I'm the kind of person that only likes the adrenaline rush if I'm not in charge of the controls.

After the first hour of riding, my nerves were definitely running amok. I was picturing myself handing in my helmet and calling it quits. You have never seen such a blatantly awful motorcycle rider. It wasn't fun, it wasn't freeing, it wasn't really much of anything positive. And so, regardless of what my intentions were to begin the class, my intention after that first hour was to see it through if only to prove to myself that I could do it. Forget any thought of buying a motorcycle. Forget the matching helmet and jacket. I just wanted to make it through the 16 range exercises and the riding exam without dropping the bike. I wanted outside of my comfort zone and I sure got it. And then some.

I was granted a short reprieve when day two was rained out and rescheduled for a week later. That gave me a whole week to psych myself up for the riding exam (the written exam was a piece of cake, by the way, and was finished on day 1). Perfect weather greeted myself and my seven classmates as we got to the range on Saturday morning. One guy had gotten off work an hour before, so despite my sleepless night, I felt like I was in better shape than him. I won't take you through all the remaining exercises, except to tell you that accelerating out of turns is definitely the reason people ride. It's a rush, even at 15-20 mph. And I will admit to being the only rider who hit the "car" during the swerve exercises. Did I mention I was awful? Don't worry, it wasn't an actual car.

The time for the exam came, and I knew the hardest part would be my U-turns, performed to the left, then the right, in a box the size of a closet. Left turn, no problem, right turn...let's just say it's a good thing the box boundaries were paint lines and not brick walls. I blasted right through it. +3 points. (The riding exam is scored from a zero. Each infringement is worth positive points and you have to score less than a 20 to pass). The swerve part of the exam went just fine, thank you very much. In fact, everything else on the exam went just fine. I ended with a 3rd-best 3 points. I won't tell you how my coworker scored, but everyone in the class passed.

After a short (ha!) trip to the DMV, I'm now official. Although, I could kick myself for taking my camera on day two and not getting any pictures. So, the only one I have to give you is a sample of the motorcycle I rode on day two. That's pretty much it, correct color and all, except mine didn't have a sideview mirror. I'm gonna try to go back to the range and catch the class on a riding day and ask to borrow a bike for a pic. Otherwise, my mom will leave me out of the Christmas letter.

So, bottom line, face your fears and knock something off that bucket list!

Monday, June 13, 2011

For Hilary, who needs a distraction from productivity

Ok, so it's apparently been a while since I've graced the internet world with my presence. So, before I fall asleep at the keyboard (I need a nap), I'll try to write something worthwhile. Here are some random musings for a Monday afternoon:

*New Year's Resolution update: my resolution was to go one place I'd never been and try three new things (preferably things that stretch my comfort zone). I've been to several new places, courtesy of Peter and Jenny's wedding (see previous blog on Minneapolis) and mostly a kick-butt European cruise. Morocco, the Canary Islands, Madeira, and Spain (Granada and Barcelona) have been knocked off the list.

And, as far as me trying new things go, I'm well on my way to knocking out that goal. I'm shooting for major firsts here, so I won't count trying escargot or logging my first Bud Light at age 26. But Speed Dating in February and my upcoming Motorcycle Classes definitely count. The 3rd item is TBD, but I promise, I'll deserve a pat on the back when it's done.

*I'm super-stoked for summer movies. Notably, the last installment of the brilliant HP franchise which will hopefully portray the end of the series with due diligence. And of course, in a million years I couldn't dream up the genius of James Bond and Indiana Jones in a Firefly-esque Cowboys and Aliens. It may tide me over until the next Bond movie. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they figure out how to salvage the winning Bond formula and overcome the fiasco of Quantum of Solace. For those who liked QoS, it wasn't a bad movie, just a terrible Bond movie, especially on the heels of Casino Royale.

*The Bashin' Bastians continue the dominance. My kickball team is the biggest mess of hodge-podge players I've ever met. No offense to my team, I think you all are great. I'm just referring to the fact that I never thought I'd end up captaining what is essentially the free-agent team. Especially after playing on the free-agent team last year and suffering the biggest absence of team unity that I have ever endured in my 22 years of team sports. I was so certain I could come up with my own rag-tag team to play, and instead fell about 7 players short. Thanks to 5 free agents and some nice recruiting on the part of my teammates, we now have a solid 14 who have contributed to a league-leading 6-1 record. And a couple fun happy hour outings. Still probably not enough positives to convince me to captain again in the near future. On a sports-related side note- props to Organized Chaos for a well-deserved championship in flag football! That's three championships in 8 leagues for me since I moved back from Omaha.

*I found someone at work who has an equally shameful degree of arachnophobia. We spent our lunch break on Sunday swapping spider stories and laughing at our own illogical hysteria. She was arguing with a friend at a bar about the severity of a black widow bite. He said it was fatal, she claimed that if you were healthy enough and large enough to begin with, you would be miserable for many hours, but would likely survive. To boost her argument, she tried to google black widow venom on her phone, not realizing that pictures would likely ensue. When a picture of a black widow filled the screen, she screamed and threw the phone across the bar. Someone else had to retrieve the phone and clear the screen before she would take it back. I think that's right up there with me waking my parents up in the middle of the night sobbing, my mom panicking and asking if there was an intruder, and my dad sitting up calmly and asking if there was a spider. Yup, we're pathetic. Also at work yesterday, my own minor version of "substantial but temporary" damage as I squirt myself in the eye with alcohol (isopropyl, not of the drinking variety). It burns, but washes out ok. Also speaking of alcohol on my face, turns out I'm not the only one who spits out beer at Old Chicago. Several weeks ago, my pizza was rendered inedible when someone next to me said something that was funnier then than it is now and beer came out my nose. Last week, a coworker repeated the offense, only instead of spraying his pizza, he made it all the way across the table onto me. Fun times. See, we don't need drunken sign language to keep us entertained.

Ok, I think that's enough. I'm ready for my nap. Buying a new lawn mower will have to wait until later. And I'll try to update my blog more often for the five people who read it.
I reserve the right to make this blog as worthless to read as I feel like, and also to write as infrequently as I deem necessary. Just thought I'd let you know since I finally decided to share my blog.