Monday 8 february 1 08 /02 /Feb 06:47

It was Spring, 2005, when I visited my brother, Ray, in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. He showed me his cherry-red Harley Road King and said, “Wanna go for a ride?” It would be my first time on a motorcycle since my brother took me on a ride when I was 18 and in the Corps. I said, “Sure!”


He turned that bad-boy on, and I straddled that gigantic, loud, shiny-red thunder-machine. The instant he saw my feet touch the passenger pegs, Ray blasted off. So fast he darted that I was sure I'd have to scoop up my vital organs from ground. I screamed like a horror movie as my finger nails pierced into his torso. As soon as I recovered, I commanded to him to... “Go faster!” He cracked up and lamented to me that his wife wasn't so fun.


I was 44 when I had that Harley ride. Perhaps it was also the beginning of a midlife crisis. I came home and demanded to my husband that he get a Harley. Caught by surprise, he asked, “What the hell?” I explained about my thrilling ride and he said, “That's ridiculous. I don't do motorcycles.” I pouted and said, “Well, then, I guess I'll have to find me a boyfriend with a motorcycle.”


Although I was kidding about the boyfriend (sorta), I wasn't kidding about my need for excitement. If I die at the age my mom died, then I only had 15 years left. And at 44, who knows when my health would turn to crap. I was a nurse and knew there was a lot that could go wrong. After all, early cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease run rampant among my ancestors. I was ready to really live. I was ready to ride on a Harley behind my husband and let nature smack me.


My retired husband thought about it and decided to go for it. So, the linear person he is, he was on a long quest of online research. He probably got a crick in his neck evaluating motorcycles as meticulously as a monkey picking ticks. I think it got him a little excited to know that there was a new way he would thrill me.


With flying colors, he passed a class and got a license. But things didn't turn out as I had hoped. My cerebral monkey tick-picker was not my confident Harley-loving brother. He was super-cautious. And when he talked about the day he would take me for my first ride, he looked as like a death row inmate envisioning the electric chair.


Another day I'll describe the first time I rode behind my husband on his new motorcycle.


Was there a moment you remember when you just knew you had to feel the thrill of a motorcycle ride?

By TigerLily - Posted in: Motorcycle Riding - Community: Coping with Midlife Crisis
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Sunday 7 february 7 07 /02 /Feb 07:22

Life isn't want I envisioned when I married the man I've stuck with for 28 years. Allow me to reminisce....


I took a double-take when I first saw him. He was a tall, strapping Marine, 15 years older than I, and older than all young attorneys where I worked as a legal services specialist in the Office of the Judge Advocate General in Camp Pendleton, California. His voice was commanding and his demeanor arrogant.


When he caught me observing him, I turned away, embarrassed, as if I had just been caught picking my nose. I think he could tell that I was curious about him, maybe even a little interested.


After he met with his boss, the Judge Advocate General himself, this new Marine introduced himself to me. He was going to be my boss. He asked where I was from. “East Chicago, Indiana,” I said. “It's not Chicago, Illinois. It's right next to....”


He curtly interrupted to say, “I was born in St. Catherine's Hospital.”


Wow, what a coincidence. So was I!”


I was glad to be assigned to be his personal secretary. He was brilliant! All the lawyers asked him for advice about cases and he always had sage advice.

I answered calls for him and often the calls were from a little voice, perhaps a child of his looking for “Lieutenant Bolton.” That got me to wonder.... it was when I noticed a wedding ring on his finger. Hmmmm.... What exactly did he want from me? The cad!


Once, on a Friday afternoon, he overheard the last part of my phone call. When I hung up he asked, “Are you setting up all your dates for this weekend?”


Annoyed at his married, flirtatious ass, I said, “No. I'm taking care of a little girl this weekend. I'm taking her to the zoo.”


I wish someone would take me to the zoo.”


In an attempt to put a clever stop to what was starting to feel like sexual harassment I said, in a snotty tone, “Oh, Lieutenant Bolton, feel free to come with. And by all means bring the wife and all the little ones.”


My wife died two years ago, and my son is in Illinois with his grandparents for the summer.”


I was speechless and ashamed. So I let him go with us to the zoo. I was a corporal, he an officer. An intimate association was illegal – fraternization – a crime punishable by the USMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice.)


At the zoo, we small-talked. I told him I loved to ride roller coasters. He agreed they were fun. I told him I love traveling. He shared his exciting adventures in Vietnam, Japan, and Hawaii. I told him I wanted a large family, and more than anything at least a little girl. He said a daughter would be great. I told him I was a fantastic Mexcian Cook. “Great, my favorite,” he said. I told him I loved going to the beach. No surprise: he like that too.


That was the beginning of our romance. So he risked a 16-year career to marry me.…. and then things changed drastically.


Here was his real view on my favorite topics.


Amusement parks: “Roller coasters make me sick. But take Tim (his 13 year old son). He'll like it.


Traveling: “I'm sure I'll get transferred... some day.” But he wasn't.


Family: He donated his sperm and tried hard to give me a girl. The first was a boy and the second was a girl. After we knew the girl was healthy, he made a beeline to the vasectomy clinic.


Mexican Food: I made him chorizo con huevo tacos and he threw them up.


The Beach: “No way! It's cold, it's sandy, it's windy, it's salty, it's nasty.” I said, “But I think it would be lovely to one day make love on the beach.” He said, “Seriously, Lily. Would you actually like to get sand up your p...y? I said, “Well, if you put it that way, you romantic devil-you, then forget about it.”


So a life with my “soul mate” turned out to be a life of duties, work, and certainly not what I had envisioned. Even the little girl that I wanted turned out to be more of a demon-spawn, especially during the teen years.


My biggest bone was that my man didn't understand my need for adventure. I should have known this could be a problem. After all he was almost a generation older. But at the time, I was young and gullible.


But today, after 28 years, life is near perfect. We enjoy riding our motorcycles together, and I can freely express my fun spirit riding fast and for an additional thrill, when allowed by the state I'm in, I ride without a helmet. I never thought I'd recapture the fun that I thought I had missed in the first 25 years of our marriage. And I have to admit: a motorcycle ride is better than sand up my But making love on the beach is still on my bucket list. Perhaps it'll happen if I outlive Burl. But given our genetics, that's not likely.


Has motorcycle riding in some way filled something in your life that was missing?

By TigerLily - Posted in: Family - Community: Motorcycle Riders
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Thursday 4 february 4 04 /02 /Feb 11:06


A few years ago, while riding through Arizona, one of the riders in my club said to me, “I thought you were an intelligent woman. Why don't you wear a helmet?”


"Because it's not mandatory in Arizona,” I explained.


There are times, however, when a helmet comes in handy: like when it's hailing. But for the most part, a helmet tends to hurt my neck and can partially obstruct my view. I've also had some bad experiences with helmets – like when part of the visor comes off and I have to hold it with one hand until I can safely stop to fix it.


I think my well-meaning, pro-helmet friend was trying to shame me to conform. I was flattered, not insulted that he questioned my “intelligence.” It was his way of saying he cares about me. But should his concern for my welfare supersede my desire to be helmet-less?


Indeed, a motorcycle accident without a helmet can be the difference between life and death; or life and quadriplegia; or life and permanent mental damage. I, better than many, know the consequences. As a registered nurse, I've cared for patients with various injuries, motorcycles as well as cars – and certainly many other types of injuries for which laws cannot control. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the ratio of injuries between motorcycle riders and car drivers are fewer. Because to ride a motorcycle, all of your senses must be heightened. You must be able to see the road well; to hear trouble to your bike or trouble headed your way; to smell something burning on your bike; to feel any strange movements caused by faulty mechanics. Senses don't need to be quite so sharp to drive a car. And yet, taking a person's right to drive is not taken as lightly by society, as forcing helmets on riders.


I'm almost 49 years old. I've lived the better part of my life for others – parents, husband, children, extended family, employers. Add to that the pretenses I've kept up about being “virtuous” among religious zealots – and man, they're all over the place. So as I get older, I tend to appreciate my freedoms more and more, my favorite of which is: freedom of expression. Quietly, and sometimes not so quietly, more freedoms are being taken away.


For me, riding a motorcycle in perfect weather, wearing a skimpy tank-top, an ordinary pair of jeans, a pair of tennis shoes, and no helmet, is as close as it gets to feeling free. I've earned it. My children are grown and can survive without me – like I've survived without mine. My parents are dead and don't need me. My husband would eventually get over my death and would likely find someone more compatible. But this does not matter to many. They care only about how they feel. And they will shove their self-righteous values and morals down individuals' throats. Let's not kid ourselves: if those of us who value freedom are not vigilant, we will have our freedoms taken away. In a country that often punishes more severely for acts that are non-violent and victimless, how free are we, really? And how much more do we stand to lose? The answer: a lot! How about the freedom to even ride a motorcycle? Already there are places that deny motorcycle riding because of the “noise factor.” Some cars can be noisy, too!


Some sort of helmet-wearing law is required in most states. These requirements are slowly being infiltrated to kill that specific freedom like a slow cancer. Perhaps as early as in my own lifetime, a Federal law will require everyone to wear a helmet – much like seat belts. This might give relief to those on the road who fear watching someone on a motorcycle crash and die. It might give relief to loved ones who want at all costs to protect theirs. But what about my needs? Don't I deserve the right to choose when, if at all, to wear a helmet? Have I not paid my dues to society as a tax-payer, to my country as a veteran, to my family and friends? Should individual rights be taken away in the name of “safety?”


I know, I know – these laws are meant to protect me; whether I want to be protected or not. Others say that an injury has the potential to cost taxpayers a lot of money in hospital care. What if those of us who value our freedom not to wear a helmet signed a waiver saying: If I get injured and the likelihood is less than 50% that I can be recovered as a fully functional human, I hereby give my permission to be given a lethal injection. (And just to prove that I value life as much as the next:) Further, I hereby give any valuable organs to anyone that needs them. Don't get me wrong, I believe in protecting the most vulnerable in our society – children, the elderly, those with handicaps, and animals. We need laws to keep order and protect them.


Would a helmet law quiet the cheapskates who cry about spending our tax money on “irresponsible” non-helmet wearers? Probably not. Those people tend to be cut from the same cloth as those who value life above and beyond someone's individual freedom.


I think there are times when whether you live or die should be a personal choice, as in cases of terminal illness. And I'm optimistic that the oppressions of today could be – at least in part – successfully challenged. I'm hopeful that “enlightened” baby-boomers and generations thereafter will be the pragmatic voices that will fight through activism to restore some of our lost freedoms and to attain new ones. And I'm not just talking about helmets.


But while the debate continues, I intend to ride as much as possible, helmet-less, in States that don't force me to wear a helmet. And the next time someone suggests I should wear a helmet, I'll suggest they stop eating french fries. After all, a lifetime of bad eating can also kill.

Dear European friends:  What do you think about helmet laws?

By TigerLily - Posted in: The freedom of death - Community: Motorcycle Riders
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Tuesday 2 february 2 02 /02 /Feb 06:59
Today I rode my motorcycle in the dark to our club meeting. But on my way, a car almost side-swiped me. It was dusk. There was a white car next to me. I saw it inching in close to me – no signal - so I put my brakes on and swerved a little. I have a very loud horn – sounds like an 18-wheeler horn – but since I was caught by surprise I was afraid to look down to find it. Instead, I focused my attention on braking and staying "upright."


The driver was an older woman with glasses – kind of looked like my mom. The husband was sitting in the passenger seat. He's the one that saw she was about to hit me and must have told her to get back into her lane. The look of shear fear on his face, along with his mouthing some words that could have been something like, “Ay, Mamacita mia!” brought a big smile to my face. He reminded me of my own father – a nervous back-seat driver who's biggest fear was just about to come to fruition. But there was no harm done. And the experience made me sharpen my awareness skills. After all, I rarely ride in the dark.

The experience made me long to enjoy another meal made by my mom's loving hands. I longed to keep my father company while he drank beer, chain-smoked, and reminisced about his life. My parents were very different people; yet they were deeply connected – if mostly in a co-dependent/enabling relationship. But now that they're gone, I believe they are in a better place. That's also a relief. I don't worry about their well-being. I don't stress over keeping distressing information from them. I'm glad they were not alive to know about 9-11, my daughter's psychological meltdown, my son totaling a few cars, my brother going to prison – this time for a longer time. I had some serious upsets in my marriage a year ago, and I would have had to suck it up very quietly. That would have profoundly distressed them …. and the stress of secrecy would have added to my own pain.

So while I long for their presence, their death gave me freedom. As long as they were alive, I would have had to live my life differently. I would have had to censor my speech, keep up the pretenses, and in no way would I have had the guts to ride a motorcycle. That would have been too unladylike for my mother to bear. And my father would have been disgraced that his “virtuous” daughter was mounting a gigantic motorcycle. The thought that it might be vibrating ever-so-deliciously between my legs would have made him want to vomit.

But if they still exist in some other dimension; if they are able to see into my heart, I know they would be charmed. In their new existence, I'm sure they have risen to a new level of enlightenment. They would realize that every tragedy is an opportunity for individuals or mankind to evolve to a higher awareness. They would understand that pain can be used to grow by finding ways to heal. And as far as my motorcycle-riding is concerned, they would be happy to know that motorcycle riding gives me joy. After all, life is about enjoying the happy times between the sad. And goal-setting is a means to increase those happy times while decreasing the negativity.

I look forward to being in the next dimension. I wonder what thoughts and ideas I have today, will change when I'm dead. I wonder if any of our actions here on earth truly matter in the afterlife, if there is one.

By TigerLily - Posted in: The freedom of death - Community: Motorcycle Riders
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Monday 1 february 1 01 /02 /Feb 06:31

So Jesus has long hair, but men with long hair are scorned by Christians? What gives?

It got me to think about other things. Like the day I paid attention to a church ritual, when I was told to, “Eat this bread, it is my body,” I thought, yuck! And then to wash down the “body,” we were to “take and drink, this is my blood.” Double yuck!! I recently heard a British, transsexual comedian, Eddie Izzard, say that he thought Jesus was a cannibal and vampire. Makes sense to me. I was an adolescent thinking like that. Maybe there's something odd about my sexuality. Could there be a connection? Although I had these weird thoughts about my religion's rituals, I knew to keep my mouth shut, lest I be accused of being a “pa-gen.” If you're Muslim, I think it would be like being an “infidel.”

Speaking of dogmatic views and rituals, the word “dogma” spelled backwards is “AmGod”. People with dogma, act as if their ideas AreGod. What does this have to do with motorcycle riding? Nothing. It's just a thought I had while I was riding one day.

That's the thing about riding a motorcycle on a beautiful day enjoying nature. I can think – especially on a long, lonely road where I don't need to worry about cages. (“Cage” is motorcycle lingo for “car.”) There is scientific evidence that exposing our face and neck to sunshine decreases depression. It's a natural upper. Sunshine + fresh air + nice scenery on a motorcycle with no cages = creativity.

It's been a long day today. I made jalapeno turkey enchiladas, rice, beans, and zucchini bread to take to my son's new place because it's his only day off of the week and he and his friends and my husband were landscaping all day. To make the zucchini bread, I had to take this jumbo zucchini that I bought at the dollar store and grate it. My daughter and her boyfriend were near the kitchen and I felt an odd need to turn my back so they wouldn't see what I was doing.

This is a practice blog for me. It may seem like I'm all over the place – but, like a bee collecting pollen, there is a plan.

I purposely found this French blog to bond with Europeans. So if you're out there, please comment. What do you think of my blog so far? Does it suck? Does it make you laugh? Can you relate to what I'm saying?  I promise not to bite.

Do tell...

By - Posted in: Religion - Community: Motorcycle Riders
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