Clean Up on I-35

November 2010 found us zipping north to help one of our (six) sons.
We’d almost made it to the Texas coast for some time away from cold and windy OKC.  This would have been the last trip of the season before the holidays when the weather would force us into hibernation until late spring.  A sense of urgency turned us around and called us home.
cool shot paul on bike fb
Traffic was fast and heavy, holiday travelers, but we had one of the few perfect tail winds, ever.  It was like riding in a bubble and we were making record time including gas and pee stops!  The speed limit was 70mph, traffic pushing much faster.

Just south of Waco, the bike wobbled and then began an eerily familiar reeling from side to side. I screamed, “What happened?”  A split second before being dumped off I heard, “There’s oil on the road!!”  Several paces up a car had lost it’s oil filter which meant the oil immediately drained onto the highway.

Four wheels, no problem.
Two wheels, chaos.
Motorcycle___Cartoon_2Like a rag doll tossing out of control, I fought to keep my head off the pavement and my arms tucked close to protect my hands.  Over and over I could see the traffic racing up behind me.  The 18 wheeler trucks were daunting.

Truck on freeway“This is gonna hurt” was rolling around in my head like preparation for the inevitable.  I’ve not been afraid of death for quite some time.  I believe that life on the planet is a stepping stone to the next life.
But PAIN?  Pain bothers me.  Being crushed before I go is overwhelming, and maybe only slightly better than drowning.

In a matter of seconds it all came to a screeching halt. There had to be some fancy maneuvers in that traffic to get it shut down so fast but I was only impressed with one.  The one where I stopped rolling, flat on my back in the right lane as a large SUV rolled up. The front tire stopped… inches from my head.


A family from Memphis dashed out to check on me as I scrambled to the shoulder.  It was the thot of someone crashing into them and still getting creamed at the last second that gave me the rush of adrenaline I needed to finish getting out of the way.
I told the dad how grateful I was for his slick driving – he had no idea how close it was becuz I was almost under his vehicle.

They said they’d seen us in traffic earlier and prayed for us… they have parents that ride motorcycles, had been thinking of them and were inspired to pray for our safety.
What are the chances here?
family-prayer-featured1I wondered about my chauffeur.  All I could see was acres of parked cars.  He soon found me and shared the details of what had happened. He was fine.  It had been about as thrilling as an amusement park ride!  He slid along behind the bike on his butt down the interstate.  Just think “luge” in the olympic sports.  I wonder if we can get a video when we get to heaven…  He had some bruising on his backside and the heels of his boots were sheered off but that, my friends, is beyond amazing.

street-luge-skateboarding1We refused the ambulance, towed the bike to the Harley dealer (on the other side of the road), rented a car and drove the final 6 hours home.  We suffered some minor road rash, bruising, and a little damage to my hand, but nothing compared to the deer wreck…
We didn’t even total the bike!

IMG_2595This story could have tragedy written all over it. Walking away from odds stacked against you twice, is extraordinary.

I think it’s important to write about the lighter side of life, too, and saved a funny moment for the “tale” end.  Directly across from where we landed was the entrance to a cemetery.

St_James_Cemetery
Even the irony hasn’t killed me.

Deer XING

Yeah. That’d be great.

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After the 2009 Sturgis Run, we continued the ride up thru Wyoming.  It was a beautiful day near Devil’s Tower and all was well in my world.  I had great hair, nails to match (copper with black to go with the ’07 Road King), rockin’ along with my iPod, glossed up and ready for a two week tour of the western part of our great country. 

6320_1187187713610_1045815098_580049_2814627_nCruising along without any warning and a chance to hit the brake, the bike suddenly wobbled violently from side to side until I was thrown off and rolled like a log down the two lane road.  I’ve heard stories about life flashing before your eyes when you’re about to lose it, and yes it’s true… more than 40 years flew by in seconds.  I have a new level of appreciation for the wonder of the human brain.

Coming to an abrupt stop several yards down the road, I confess, my first thot was
not relief,
not gratitude,
not noble,
not normal.

Looking at the bike laying on it’s side even further down the road
I am embarrassed to say that my first thot was, “Well, there goes the vacation.” 

OK, there you have it.

And then I gathered myself up, ran to where my chauffeur had landed on his back, blood pouring from his nose and head, reality slowly gripping it’s cruel hand around my heart.  He was conscious and I could tell by the colorful vocabulary that he just might be ok, but still I wondered… Internal injuries?
Broken bones?
How do we get help?
What the heck happened???

We hit a deer.  She had come up from a low place on the side of the road and ran straight into the front wheel.  Sparing the gory details, she never knew what hit her and she did not survive.

In a very short time people gathered around… where they came from was at first a mystery.  They were bikers who had stopped down the road and witnessed the crash.
Minutes later an ambulance arrived and carried us 15 miles into the little town of Sundance.  My chauffeur had a nasty case of road rash, similar to 2nd and 3rd degree burns where gravel from the road dug it’s way in.

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I had broken fingers, a little road rash, bumps and bruises, but mostly worried about my husband and his injuries. The emotional trauma started unfolding.  We were messed up, in a lot of pain, far from home.

The ER team treated us like family, helped us find a place to stay with a pharmacy and restaurant across the street that we could walk to… yeah, that’s important when you have no transportation.

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After a couple of days to rest, the next challenge would be keeping up with all the gear, towing the bike 60 miles to the nearest dealer, and driving 1,000 miles home.
One does not simply rent a car in small town Wyoming.
One makes a reservation and waits.
Three days.

 The next few weeks were fairly foggy coping with the constant weeping of skin and changing bandages (he looked like a mummy), surgery to insert a Frankenstein contraption for my broken bones, physical therapy, a mountain of insurance paperwork.

Ready for Halloween!

We’ve had plenty of time to reflect on the goodness in every hour along the way, most importantly everything that didn’t happen.  That deer could have landed on top of us instead of running into the wheel, and I wouldn’t be here to tell this tale.  I’m guessing there’s still a purpose to carry out down here on the planet.

MuleDeerPicSo, just exactly how do you jump back on the bike?
Ride without fear?
Well, I didn’t. 

It’s a process of healing the body and the mind, making the decision to trust that it’s possible to ride again, and acting on that decision.

It’s riding with fear until it’s the one that falls off.

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By the way, my handsome man did at least wait until the day after I got the rods out of my hand to load me up on the new bike and ride north to finish the trip.  I didn’t even get a ride around the block or across town!  Maybe, just maybe, it was better that way.

(Who could predict that adversity would rear it’s ugly head again in a little over a year… stay tuned for the next chapter.)

Serenity from Sturgis. Seriously.

Bretts Sturgis Pics6

STURGIS
It doesn’t matter…

what you look like

what you’re wearing

what you’re NOT wearing (giggle)

how much money you have

where you work
OR

where you live.


You fit in AND you are welcome. 

The roughest outlaws.

Naked women. 

Christian clubs.

Sweet older folks.

EVERYONE fits in the carnival of characters packed into the tiny South Dakota town for a short time.  (Maybe part of the beauty is that it doesn’t last long?  Wink, wink.)

paul and bob

 


But, how great it is to feel that acceptance and appreciation, the irony of it found in the diversity.
The respect the biker community pays to each other is unmatched.

 


Respect results in acceptance.
  That goes for self-acceptance, too.

There isn’t much in life we can change, except “me”.  

Self-respect opens the door to self-acceptance.
Wisdom and understanding are inside, waiting patiently for me to come in and sit down a little while.
More than likely it will be a good, loooooooong while.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
2010-Sturgis-Trip-771

BYOB

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Some days are so perfect I wish I could bottle them, let the aging process work it’s magic, and enjoy them all over again.

Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco… 

A great place no matter the weather, but that day was one of the most extraordinary, ever. 
Perfect temperature, sunny, calm. 
There were only a few people around, so the walk was easy, no bumping into each other and having to worry about the usual details of travel – where’s my purse? camera? lip gloss?
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It was def a day to savor every detail of tranquility in the harbor and I was mesmerized with the perfection of the pieces fitting together that made it so beautiful.

Then it hit me… bottle it.

To remember this day with intention IS like bottling it.  paul and the boats - fb

I have quite a few perfectly bottled days in my collection now… and I’m building a bigger vault in the back of my head for easy access.  

When I need a break from an unpleasant present, I reach in and take out a special day. 
It reminds me that even if today is difficult, it too, will be gone tomorrow, and maybe that’s not so bad!

Perspective.

images-1

 

We’re gonna WHAT???

San Francisco…
Lombard Street.

sanfrancisco-lombard-street_2461_600x450The world’s most crooked street.
8 hairpin turns.
27% grade.

Two-up headed down
on a touring bike?

Let me repeat… EIGHT hairpin turns at a 27% GRADE.

 

We were near the end of the pack headed off for a day of adventure in the Bay area…
And hadn’t gotten the memo.
It was too late.  I was trapped and my protests were quickly dismissed by the guy who’d always been there to protect me.

What?  Sit tight?  Hold on?  Don’t worry?  It’ll be ok?  We can do this?  WHAT??

I want off and I want off right now!!4999585-View_of_Lombard_St_from_the_Hyde_St_San_Francisco

I’m fairly agreeable and game for just about anything but… this.  Skydiving had nothing on this.

My chauffeur kept inching forward and my 3 second window to jump off was over.
It would have helped if I’d known I had a 3 second window.

 

 CalvinHobbes+wagonOh sweet, baby Jesus. 
The only thing to do was shut up
and stop breathing. 

After an eternity of about 7.64 minutes, we were at the bottom of the hill basking in the glory of accomplishing the next to impossible.

 

I didn’t enjoy it,
I’ll never do it again,
and it ranks right up there in the top 3 worst experiences on the bike.
#1 and #2 were wrecks, so that should tell ya somethin’.

The good newz is:
1. My pants stayed dry.
2. The level of pride in my chauffeur’s riding skills soared!  (He is still just as amazing.)
3. The terror didn’t last THAT long.
4. If it’s possible to medal in that event, we are gold, baby!

WELCM_ATTR_2_E

It was a dark and stormy ride…

Buffet – a violent shock, or to struggle against
Not the endless bar of yummy deliciousness.

(In West Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, there is a buffet of wind that goes on forever.)

snoopy+typingAnd then it slammed into us in Pensacola, Florida, as we crossed the bay and several wide open spaces.  It was so wild that I wondered what I would do first if we got blown over the rail and into the ocean… Get out of my boots or leather jacket?  My helmet?  I always imagine best case scenario, landing upright without a scratch and capable of rational thought.

 

When the weather is wild, my thoughts get crazy.  On the back of the bike there’s not much to do, except… plan for the worst.  This was a non-stop sideways assault and the physical challenge was exhausting.

6a00d8341c85cd53ef01901ee07c5a970b-800wiAfter we found a place to rest up my chauffeur said something interesting.  He “gives in” to the wind, and allows it to push him around a bit.  If he resisted every gust, it would make keeping the bike on the road much more difficult.

I’ve been blown over by everyday life… My finely tuned attitude of “riding hard” (don’t quit) worked against me.  Quitting would have been a better choice in more than one job and a marriage. I was out of balance and didn’t understand that holding on tightly to what I thought was right was going to result in hurting myself (and my passengers – my kids, but that’s another story).

1470000_767647203249025_1665448863_nI released my rigid grip on a few ironclad beliefs, and found a ticket to freedom.  Some truths were simply not true.  It was uncomfortable dismantling parts of my faith, turning them over and looking at them in a new light, from different angles.  But the result is that now I’m the “me” that God intended all along, right-side up… rain, shine, wind… yeah, especially wind.  As much as I hate the wind I am grateful for it’s purpose.

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Slacker

Call me a slacker…
I’ve needed a good swift kick to write.
It comes from pondering the purpose of writing… tossing words into space where they just float around, bumping into stars.
The efficient-productive part of my personality has a big conflict with that.
I’m not into self-promotion either, “Hey! Check out my new blog!!”
I confess I’ve been looking for a reason to put fingers to the keyboard again.
Only trouble is, I can’t find one.
So, I’m going to write for the one explanation that’s left, and it’s not a good one,             but it’s all I have for now.

Because.
I.
Can.

image
Someday, I’d like for my boyzz to look back on what their mother could do and did.
But more than likely it will be my great-great grandchildren who go digging in time to find something amusing for a school project.

 
This blog is titled BikersWife for obvious reasons, but I hafta let you know we haven’t ridden much in the last couple of years.
We’ve been married 5.8 years and have shifted our focus to building a bizniz on a solid financial platform.
In our previous marriages, the worlds that we had helped to build were ripped apart.  Divorce has a way of doing that.
But we’ve been given an opportunity for something fresh, new… dare I say holy?
Well, maybe.
It has a whole different feel to it that’s pretty amazing.

This decision has been a beautiful ride of it’s own!
But it won’t be long and I’ll be writing about new adventures around the country. We have plans to hit the road within the year.
Until then I’ll be digging through the files, writing about the old stuff.
I wonder how time will color outside the lines of what I first scribbled down!
calvin1

 

Know who you’re running with…

In the past few years we’ve ridden with several groups.
The good memories outweigh the bad, but we’ve discovered it’s usually better to ride our own ride.

Compatible riding styles, places of interest, time in the saddle makes it fun.

Or hell.

Going the distance, stretching physical and mental limitations reveals true character.
Crossing the Mojave in the afternoon of a mid-August day is an assault on those limitations….. one definition of hell on earth.

Someone who has your best interests at heart is a big part of what makes the ride, the RIDE!  Funny how that works in friendship and marriage, too.

No matter what group you saddle up with, someone takes the lead. It might be hard to imagine, but it’s possible the leader of the pack will venture down some dark, dangerous roads. Oh, not hard to believe?  Yeah, I’ve been figuring that out.

If it’s possible to go back to my 22-year-old self, after decades of blindly trusting leadership, I’d say:

Pack your bags, expect the best, prepare for the worst and keep your eyes open.
Will this adventure take you where YOU want to go?
Are there enuf stops along the way to make you feel important?
Do you get to vote?
Beware of smooth answers when you ask questions.
Trust what you see, not what you hear.

It may be a few hundred miles before the truth comes out.  If the ride becomes all about someone else, it’s been their ride since the beginning. Nice words and promises are…  jack squat! (this is a pg rated blog post)

A few years ago we found ourselves on the back end of several thousand miles, completely miserable from the weather and fatigue… totally frustrated with personality disorders that popped up in the group.  Instinct had told us much earlier we needed to swallow some pride and find our own way home. No, wait, that was fear, sore butts, swollen feet, sunburn, bad attitudes and apathy.

But, we did what we thought was right at the time by hanging in there — tolerating bad behavior in the name of patience and grace.  It took exhaustion and dehydration to get the memo.  Never again.

I’ve been guilty of going the extra mile off the bike, too.  (Shocking.)
Honor, respect and loyalty are easy for me, but it’s taken a long time to figure out who deserves it and when.  Not many.  Not often!

It’s a million times better to find my own way, trust my gut. Dad always told me to be true to myself.  He was right!   Being true doesn’t erase pain and worry.  It doesn’t guarantee the wind at my back.  But it’s made me a better me!

Two Wheels Move the Soul

In the last post I mentioned that the current chapter in life was filled with more drama than I could handle at that moment.  I’m happy to say that life has slowed up a bit, at least to a predictable rhythm. Those issues are not yet resolved, and in the case with my boyzz, it has become worse.  However, I have made some changes so that I can maintain a respectable level of sanity.  

Parental alienation.  In this extreme case, it feels like an illness that came on slowly without any warning signs.  There are no physicians, prescriptions, therapies (laws or attorneys) that make it go away, or numb the pain.  I am grateful for wise counsel that has encouraged me to take care of myself.  As a mom, this is most perplexing because we are wired to be nurturers and will sacrifice our lives for the safety of our children… but there comes a point when letting go is the only choice left, which really isn’t a choice, but it’s the oxygen I described in the previous post, and where I am today. 

It’s taken several months to have confidence in some of the decisions I’ve made, although peace has been there since the beginning.  If anyone ever tells you that peace is a sign of smooth highways ahead, don’t believe it. 

Peace works more like GPS assurance that you’re moving the right direction, but it doesn’t necessarily tell you about the unexpected dirt road, change of highway number, construction zone, or bad weather.

 

On our June ride through Colorado and New Mexico, I was shocked at how differently I could see my life… being away from the 24/7 mental stress helped me to have a clear perspective on the realities and my choices on how to respond to what “life” was handing… no, throwing at me.  Some of the well-known sayings in the biker world went to a new level in my understanding:

Colorado, near Ouray

 

Four wheels move the body.  Two wheels move the soul.

Burn rubber, not your soul, baby. (Craig Fernandez and Reggie Bythewood, Biker Boyz)

Sometimes it takes a whole tankful of fuel before you can think straight.

You never see a Harley parked outside a psychiatrist’s office.

 

In all of the turmoil and uncertainty I am most grateful for my knight in shining armor who carries me off into the sunset on his white horse… well, my biker dude and his red Harley. It’s the same… and every girl needs a man who will rescue her, sometimes from herself!

The make-up always looks great at the beginning of the ride…


 

 

 

 

 

Oxygen

Oxygen

Well.  I haven’t tossed anything out here in a while…

There are issues that have consumed my creative time since last fall and at the moment we are in the middle of some drama.  Most of my life has been drama-free… I can’t say that I do it well, and I’ve had to learn how to play some parts that are way outside of my comfort zone.

Issues from the past and ongoing legal battles make up the majority of what I’m trying to  describe.  Knowing that my children are continually placed in the middle of those issues has been quite taxing and at the end of every day I have to remind myself of how much I cannot control.  It usually takes awhile for me to process it all “one more time” before I can fall asleep.  And that’s what I’m doing tonite.  Trying to fall asleep.  Thus, I blog.

Writing is therapy is writing is therapy is writing.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve sat here with my sweet mac in my lap, sorting thru plenty of <fantastic!!!> notes from our bike adventures.  I start to write what might be a good post and then quit half way thru. If you could see all the different screens I have open!  Oh, the trips and sights and fun and wild rides that I can hardly wait to get into… and before I know it I am stuck. Quite the irony of so much to work with and nothing to say.

For the most part, life is just about as fabulous as I could ever have dared to dream.  The love and encouragement I get from my handsome chauffeur and my family is incredible.  But… when relationships with children are splintered because of reckless decisions within a different branch of the family, it takes a tremendous amount of energy figuring out how to manage it.

Life is a crap shoot.  Planning, hoping, believing and working for the very best it can be is never a guarantee that’s what you’re gonna get.  And there is no perfect way to respond to everything life throws back at you.  Making life good for those you love is about what you choose, because they also will choose to either appreciate it, use it, abuse it, or leave it.  The analogy of the airplane emergency drill is a good description… when the masks fall down the parent is supposed to grab their own oxygen BEFORE they help their child.  There’s been a lot of grabbing for the oxygen around here.

So, I am breathing.  That’s good newz.  

Mostly I am muddling my way through, hoping for the best.  And “the best” seems to be a long, painful road. There is no perfectly right or wrong way to respond to every event that pops up. I am not afraid of the muddling any more either.  There are characters playing roles in their own stories that intersect with mine and to predict how this tale will end is impossible.  There isn’t a performance I can give that will save the day.  There isn’t a performance by anyone else in my story who can destroy it either.  My faith is in the Author and Director of my life.  He is writing my story… we just happen to be in the middle of a scene that is a cliffhanger…  

Stay tuned.

Top 10

Top 10 reasons I love bike trips…

#10 – It’s fun to wear fringy leather and cute boots… and little old men tell me I look hot… their eyesight may be failing, but it’s still rings nicely in my old ears.

#9  – The food… need I even continue and why isn’t this in the top slot?  We live to ride, and ride to EAT!  Our fave places are the quaint cafes and diners, mom-n-pop home cookin’ with plenty of local flavor.

#8 – I always come home with a new appreciation for my bed, pillows, shower and creature comforts that will never fit in my saddle bag.

#7 – Scouting for a place to retire is a lot more fun in 3D.

#6 – The physical and mental challenge  – if I hafta explain this one you still wouldn’t understand.

#5 – Meeting new people, occasionally someone from a different country.  

#4 – Prayer time… with nature in my face and an iPod in my ears it’s a perfect way for me to talk to and hear from God.

#3 -  Seeing new places and taking new roads.  We don’t always have a set route and we often make decisions later into the ride.  So much depends on the road conditions, traffic and the weather that we can’t know everything ahead of time.  It’s a lot of fun to not always know exactly which road we will take!

#2 – Never ending opportunities for photography.  I am a shutter-bug and enjoy capturing special moments so that we can look back later and remember the adventure.  If we ever succumb to dementia I have a pretty good supply of memorable material. 

I know you think I might have saved something spiritual or insightful for the top spot, but, sadly no.  

It’s all vanity. 

#1 – I love bike trips because I don’t hafta fix my hair!!!!!!!!  It always looks just right and there really is no such thing as a bad hair day when you’re on the bike!

Control? What’s That?

On the bio page above I addressed my motivation for writing, the desire to write my perspective on life for my boyzz should they ever choose to know more about dear ol’ Mom.  Yet, I confess it’s taken quite a bit of time to decide that it’s a good thing for me to do… I’ve found it’s normal to go thru cycles of “What I have to say is not blog-worthy” and “I’m not getting any younger so I’d better hurry up and write, just write anything!” Finally, writing simply because I enjoy it overcame those pesky worries.

Much of the last 3 years I’ve seen our beautiful country from the back of the Harley.  Many people don’t understand spending so much time on two wheels and there is a saying, “If I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand.”  I can say it opens my mind to praying and thinking in new directions.  It’s a pipeline to heaven and the ink in my pen.

The brain is for creating.  Paper, pencil, pixels… are for remembering.

* * * * * * * * * *

One of the first lessons of being a good, little biker chic is understanding that you don’t get to have control ~ I’ll address influence later.  Zero, zilch, zip, nada, nothin’.   I don’t make the decisions about speed, steering, keeping the rubber side down.  It takes faith and trust in my biker to make good choices, or I am NOT riding.  However, he’s an excellent chauffeur and has earned my respect.  He’s only tossed me off on the highway twice now, but we’ll save those stories for another day…

Regular life is simpler when I remember that any control I do have is always about me. Yep, that’s it.  But it doesn’t mean it’s easy. I can’t stop the rain, the sun, or other people.  When some action causes them to cross over the line into my lane, I am only in control of my response.  I get to control me.  When people make harmful decisions I protect myself or avoid them.  If I’m afraid, I hold on and pray.  If I’m confused, I sit still until I get more information.  If I’m soaking wet or burning up… um, ok, I yell!  And if I get dumped off?  So far I’ve been able to roll with it trusting God to take care of me.  Life is good but it is…

Definitely. Not. Easy.

Being a biker chic ain’t easy… sure, I may glamorize it just a touch for my clueless friends and family.  There are days when the ride is near perfect and the road is smooth. And then other days when the weather or people you encounter make the ride difficult.  It may be uncomfortable, even painful for awhile, but I comfort and control myself by making adjustments for the next big ride…


In The Beginning…

   In our motorcycle adventures the last few years we have averaged 20,000 miles annually and no, my butt is not sore. Extreme weather conditions and two wrecks we walked away from have been great sources of inspiration.  But first, some background…

My little girl life was abnormally non-dysfunctional.  Got that one figured out?  There were the usual experiences with bullies and heartaches but my family had a fairly healthy way of living.  My parents and my sister have been anchors of trust and hope, always there with words of comfort and wisdom.  Although Dad flew to heaven in June 2008, I still hear his voice in my head from time to time, and I treasure everything he tried to teach me before he left the planet.

I married for the first time at the age of 23.  With “Happily Ever After” tattooed on my heart I was convinced that nothing could ever break the faith I had in that commitment.  The first sentence in this paragraph tells you otherwise.  Early adult life was incredibly difficult living away from family on a very meager teacher’s salary, helping my husband get through engineering school.  The lessons in those 5 years could make their own blog. After 21 years and 2 children the marriage dissolved due to issues he could not overcome and I later realized how it had been an unhealthy place for me.  I’ve learned a lot about myself.  And others.

I was the kid with the rose-colored glasses and plenty of faith to find more good than bad in everyone.  That super-positive outlook on life also kept me from seeing clearly when people abused my good nature, took advantage of me…  

I have found a better balance and become more skilled at seeing life realistically.  I like it better this way.

PS – It’s never too late to live happily ever after.                                                                      

                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello world!

My computer screen is covered up with all kinds of info I need to make this blog work just right (and my eyes are slowly glazing over).  At this point I don’t have anything really awesome to say.  Check back tomorrow and see wuzzup with the biker’s wife.