Getting Our Kicks (Part Two)

 

 

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I would like to take a moment and express my heartfelt concern for the people of Quapaw, Baxter Springs and others that were hit by the recent tornadoes. Our trip on Route 66 took us through Quapaw and will be included in this series but due to the recent storm outbreak I wanted to share that our thoughts and prayers go out to all who are suffering because of this disaster.

 

Mike and Tam Ready To Roll
Ready To Roll!

 

We stopped in front of the weathered old post office in Niotaze, Kansas. The dilapidated white building brought to mind a simpler time. A time when this small, quaint place was important.  We noticed a Harley Davidson motorcycle under the carport of a house across the street begging to be rode on this wonderful spring afternoon. Its owner forced to ride the lawnmower instead.

The weather was perfect. The wind had a pleasant chill to it. Normally, I don’t tolerate the cold but this was refreshing when partnered with the warmth of the early evening sun. I was also decked out in a sweatshirt, and sweatpants. If the temperature had been any colder I would have donned my helmet.

I enjoy riding sans helmet. It allows me a fuller experience. I love the feel of the sun on my face.

We made our way quickly through Caney, Kansas. Caney is close to the Oklahoma border. Mike and I have a tradition that started when we were younger about state border crossings. Well, any border crossing, actually. We got to the leaving Kansas sign and began our ritual. Arms in the air with jazz hands (not spirit fingers), singing dootooly, doo, dootooly, doo (ala Wayne’s World dream sequence theme) over and over until we have passed the welcome to Oklahoma sign. This time Mike added a Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive disco move to the mix and wiggled the bike a little. I joined the disco moves. I was even brave enough to add a couple of extended leg moves aka kicks while dancing with my arms and body. We were both laughing at the pleasure of our choreographed border tradition.

The sun was still very bright in the sky. The wind however was getting crisper with the coolness threatening the disappearance of our warm beacon. It was not very long before we were in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It was around 7 in the evening. Hunger had set in for both of us. We noticed a Golden Corral and swung in for a much needed meal. We were delighted to discover that the steaks we got at the buffet were tender, juicy and very flavorful. The cook had gotten our steaks perfectly medium rare, which was an absolute treat. We were surrounded by tables full of families with small children. There were two precocious little girls seated to the left of us. The face of the older of the two girls was framed in a delicate cascade of bright yellow gold curls. They were not the intentional kind, forced to be by curling iron or brush. Her little sister had a short do of light brown fluff. They were with their grandma and great aunt. Mike and I both reveled in the excitement of having finished that part of our lives and began contemplating our new role as grandparents with joy.

When we stepped out of the restaurant the sun was working on its departure from the sky. The air was getting colder. I grabbed my leather jacket and gloves out of our saddlebag. I forgot to leave my gloves off in order to put my helmet on. This time it didn’t matter I was able to put it on and snap my chin strap together with gloves on. That was a first for me. We jumped (not really, we mounted in an awkward, uncool, and definitely old person way) on the bike.

There was a deep brownish gray haze growing in the sky towards the west of us. Traffic was fairly light as the sun was setting. As I looked behind us to the east, I witnessed a beautiful sunset. There was a diamond, cross pattern of clouds with a radiant neon pink, orange swirl in the center of one of the diamonds.. I wish I was brave, and experienced enough to have snapped a picture of it.

The haze began to build as we drove further south. The luminous scene showed that there were a few grass fires on the left of us. There was even a minor section along the highway on fire. The flames licked at the pavement and moved fast through the dry grass. The fire deep in the hills behind the highway was intoxicatingly stunning. The smell was richly sweet like the smoke that comes from the smoker when Mike smokes meats.

The sun had finally set just before we got to Tulsa. The transition from light to dark was highlighted by the range fires. Shifting focus from visible smoke to the increased intensity of the red-orange flames. The flames dissipated from sight as we entered Tulsa.

We got a room at the America’s Best Value Inn. We were surprised at the time when we finally got to our room. It was only 9 o’clock. We were ready for a break. Our bodies were wore out from the road. We savored our tiny respite.

To Be Continued . . .

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Poetic License

Poetic License

Come check out the new additions to my poetry page Poetic License!!

NaPoWriMo has lit a fire in the poet part of my soul as well as reworking some of my older pieces.

Enjoy!!

https://sharingmidlifecrisis.wordpress.com/poetic-license-1/all-is-well/

https://sharingmidlifecrisis.wordpress.com/poetic-license-1/butterfly/

https://sharingmidlifecrisis.wordpress.com/poetic-license-1/the-art-of-being-a-victim/

 

butterflyoverclover

Getting Our Kicks (Part One)

 

Mike and Tam leaving home
Mike and Tam heading out on the road for their latest trip.
Direction; Southeast
Destination; Unkown

 

Our original intention was to go to Arkansas and maybe stop by to visit Mike’s cousin.  Our first little stop was on 160 just before Dexter, Kansas. Frequent stops are required for us because of Mike’s back and my RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). I don’t mind because it forces us to take our time and find hidden gems along the roadside. This first stop was on the corner of a dirt road and the highway.

Highway 160 horses
Two of the horses we befriended on our way down Highway 160.

        Three neglected geldings were grazing in a mostly dirt filled pen. It was only about half an acre. The condition of these gentle creatures was very poor. Their hooves were in need of expert care, cracked and curling up towards their shins. The coats that hung on these thin majestic creatures were mottled with chunks of crusting mud and balding patches with sores. There ribs were visible underneath their overlooked hides. It was a sad sight. Despite their apparent mistreatment by people, they sauntered to the fence where we stood.

 

Mike grabbed a patch of long thick leaves. I grabbed patches of newly sprouted rye grass. The first horse that approached the fence nibbled on my offering a little bit but then he darted towards Mike and inhaled what he had to give. I was enjoying rubbing the muzzle of the last horse to come to the fence. He seemed to be on the bottom of the tiny social structure that was in this paddock. His condition was the worst of the three. He had a few large sores on the inside of his spindly legs. I pitied him but there was a connection with this one.

“They really like this stuff over here.” Mike pointed to a large patch that looked similar to several of the tall patches that dotted the pasture and were on the corner around the power pole outside the fencing.

Low Horse
This was the last horse to the fence. His coat is caked with dried mud and his hooves are in desperate need of attention. Poor boy.

“Whatever you have, it smells like onions.” I grabbed a nice cluster of these juicy greens but the horses backed away from the fence. One horse took and separated what Mike said they liked and spit it to the ground. They ate the few pieces of weeds that had come along for the ride with the other plants I picked. “I don’t think they like those plants. He just tossed what I gave him in the dirt and didn’t touch it.”

“I think they are onions. Look.” he held up a large bundle, roots and all. Sure enough, they were onions. We were surprised by discovering wild onions. The horses made their way away from us. Tired, I suppose of us attempting to feed them onions instead of the fresh, bright, green weeds they preferred. Mike started the bike. It startled the trio and set the sprinting to the corner farthest from us.

Ladybug on Mike @ Cedarvale, Kansas gas station
Our lucky little hijacker on Mike while he is getting gas at Cedarvale, Kansas.

We stopped again in Cedarvale to put gas in our tank, grab a drink and buy smokes for Mike. The town was basically the tiny gas station surrounded by minute structures falling into disrepair. I discovered a ladybug on Mike’s back as he started to fill the tank. We considered it a lucky blessing for our trip.  The road we traveled was very scenic. I love the Flint Hills. It delights me to travel through them. Watching as the horizon ebbs and flows like a sea hued with nature’s vibrancy. It is for me an inspiring landscape. The creams, tans and light oranges of the flint interspersed with greens, greys, bright yellows, oranges, brilliant purples and flashes of an occasional blue or violet.

I can embrace the awe I have for this section of country in a more intimate way on the bike. You get to touch the scenery and be touched by it. There are too many distractions in a car. The car ride dulls the experience. It steals the emotional connection of the place from you. I was never aware of how much I had missed of what surrounded me in a vehicle. When the casket of glass and metal are removed the richness of life is able to flow into the soul in a profound way. It releases the chains and lets loose an abundance of beauty unrivaled by any modern convenience. It allows for introspection and connection to the vast possibilities that abound. This, for me, is church.

 

 

 

Cedarvale, Kansas ladybug
Just in case you missed it.

 

To Be Continued . . .

 

Lowered Expectations, An Excellent Exception to Expecting

I have pleasantly discovered that by lowering my expectations I have opened the door to freer experience and less emotional bullshit. The world through expectations is one fraught with land mines. I’m too old and life is too short to dodge the slings and arrows of others, let alone the bombs I create for myself. That’s what expectation is. A bomb that you have constructed based on your own beliefs, feelings or needs. I know this all sounds like disenfranchisement and a completely cynical view of the world but I assure you it’s not.

Let’s explore some expectations and see how they really work.

  • I expected to be educated by the public school system

Buying this expectation cost me a large chunk of my self esteem.

I have also since learned that learning happens for everyone,

every day, every where, no matter what.

  • I expected my father to love me unconditionally.

This also cost me a huge chunk of my self esteem.

He couldn’t give what he didn’t have.

He has to live with his choices while I have found power in letting go.

  • I expected both my girls would attend college.

They are individuals with their own specific path.

I have no control over what makes them happy.

They are their own people.

  • I expected to be independtly wealthy.

Life happens.

There are things in life more valuable to me than money.

  • I expected to hate growing old.

As I get older my self esteem increases exponentially.

I am relishing the release of preconceived notions.

I enjoy taking advantage of my growing wisdom.

My gray hairs are a beautiful silvery gray.

There are many others that would just bore the socks off everyone. My point is that when you expect, it is a game of emotional roulette.

I have been on a journey of shattering expectations. Recently, my husband helped to goad me to break free from an expectation of women that has always bothered me, sitting to pee. When I was a girl, my mother’s friend was at our home with her son Brandon. Brandon and I were summarily dismissed to the backyard so the two friends could drink and gossip the day away. I heard him exclaim “I gotta piss!” I turned to witness him pissing on my mother’s roses. I was five at the time but it fascinated me. My husband knows that since that day I was always envious that men could pee standing up. Just another one of my weird quirks.

 

 

HBBfamilyphoto

 

We were watching an episode of Honey Boo Boo and the girls had wanted to do what I had always wanted to do. They attempted with a funnel. It did not go well but my husband started the conversation. “I bet if you stood up and put a little pressure behind it you could do it without a funnel.” Feeling inspired I stripped my pants off and ran out of the house to see what would happen. It was a success. I was excited by this and we talked about it more when we were in bed. He challenged me to give it a try in the house. I did and I haven’t sat down to pee since.

Letting go of expectations has led to some amazing discoveries for me. I suggest you try it, too. Just don’t expect anything and anything could happen.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/great-expectations/

Zero to hero: Escaping my fear

The cacophony of items streaming through my mind when I started my blog were very bipolar. The greatest item was the desperate need to overcome my fear of failing as a writer. I have always been a writer, despite being dyslexic words have always taken me beyond the mundane ways of life. I have always hidden my words because like many others I am damaged goods. My over riding sense of unworthiness amongst the mass of voices already out there and the ones clamoring to be heard have always informed me how insignificant I am. Therefore I have rarely shared any of what I write. I have a novel that I started thirteen years ago. I stopped working on it about five years ago because of my devastating inner monologue. The words have never ceased to flow from my mind to the laptop. It is just that my fear is so certain they have little value compared to the ones that are already there. This is the hope upon which I have dwindled into a 42 year old hack.

My husband and I bought ourselves a motorcycle for our 21st anniversary last October. That one tiny choice led to my reinvigoration. I had never been on a bike before. Truthfully, I was terrified of being so vulnerable to pain but my husband was a gentle tutor. He schooled me on letting go of my tension and fear. The more we rode the further we traveled. The roar of the motor combined with the intensity of the wind brought my mind to a singular focus. I am a writer. The ride clarified my thoughts. The inspiration of all that surrounded me seemed to quiet my insecurity and erase my previous failures.

I have been constricted by the alleged rules of society all of my life only to discover that the only rules are the ones I create. I am trying to hone in on making my existence one of true liberation. I seek to liberate myself from doubt, self hatred, self destruction. I have been a slave to those for way too long. They have worn me down to a tired self loathing lump of physical and emotional pain that was moved or stilled by the whims of the powers greater than me. I never wanted to live a life dependent on the kindness of others but there I was moaning about how miserable I was due to the injustices and misdeeds of the world around me. My life had become a passive one and passivity was a brutal master.

I wanted to rage against my fate and our anniversary gift was revealing the universal secrets of rebelling and living outside the boundaries. The bike was an ethereal key to unlocking the shackles of my fear and setting me on a path of actively living true to the soul within me. My blog is my coming out into the light of liberty, a step on the path of actively living true to the writer in me. The truth that drives me to create my blog is to quiet my fear and prove that my insights are of value in this world. Even if only to myself, my words are worthy and if by some miracle I am a gifted writer then my emancipation will be completed.

 

Fear derides me

Panic hides me

Berating soul

Dividing whole

Imprisoning self

Depriving health

Imploring hate

Eroding fate

Building the cell

That emulates hell

Promoting silence

Inviting violence

Stealing my way

From the bright ray

Terror my chains

Pain my stocks

Fear reigns

This battered box

 

 

Illusionary Vinyl

Our connection was deeper than the grooves of the albums you shared with me. As my mother, you were often mean and contradictory but when it came to the music I was a trusted confidant. When you left all I wanted was to keep those small discs of vinyl that brought us together. I didn’t get them but that doesn’t erase what we shared when those magic pieces of vinyl spun on the turntable. It connected me to your joy, pain and the things in your life that you just didn’t know how to say. My earliest memories are of your music surrounding me and filling the room. There was so much wrong with us but when those shiny black discs made their way from the crisp, colorful paper covers everything was right. I miss that, now you’re gone. I still have the music. Styx was on TV last night and I was immediately taken back to sneaking your Grand Illusion album from the stereo stand and listening to it while waiting for you to come home from work. Praying that I would hear your car pull in the drive to be able to dispose of the evidence quickly enough. That was when I was a little girl. When I was older I have memories of attending concerts with you. Bob Dylan was our first. God, that sucked so bad. He was so drunk and that asshole in front of us attempting to school his jail bait date on the importance of Dylan’s music to the sixties counter culture movement and how much we laughed at how asinine that guy’s comments were. The Phil Collins concert that we scared the shit out of each other driving from KC to Wichita late at night passed that haunted cemetery. I haven’t been to a concert since you died. I don’t know why. I just haven’t. Maybe, it would hurt too much to experience it without you. Perhaps I have lost the interest in attending concerts as I’ve aged. After all, it’s just a grand illusion, to be here missing you, missing the music, missing that connection, mostly missing us. The bond we shared over our love for the feelings that could only be expressed through sound.

 

Our Midlife Crisis

It amazes me that one instant can alter the course of your life so severely. Looking back to before our adventure began we were drowning in despair and heartache. It wasn’t always that way for us. We were blessed with a beautiful family and we worked very hard to get a home in the country. This home was what we thought would ensure our future, make us whole, etc.. After all, it was the American dream. Then came the financial collapse and we were caught in a struggle to save what we believed to be our only purpose, home ownership. We were clinging to what we believed was our only real dream. We were at the whims of the courts and the bank. We were simply shells. Going through the motions of living and struggling to keep what we felt made us complete. There are no regrets for our circumstance. We mourn only the energy wasted on languishing in our own misery to keep what might not be ours to have.
Then he saw an ad for a really cheap but nice motorcycle. I had never been on one before but knew that Mike had grown up on a dirt bike and missed that feeling. This one small purchase removed the sword of Damocles that hung heavy above us. Whatever happens with our original dream happens. The real life we are living on the bike is what matters to us now. We live and die by the trip.
I never understood the fascination with sitting on top of a motor on wheels flying down the road. I do now. It is hypnotic, euphoric and sublime. I have known nothing that is as intoxicating as a ride on the bike. I’m strictly a bitch in the bitch seat because I can’t wrap my mind around being able to command such a powerful beast into following my lead. I’d much rather wrap my arms around my man and enjoy the ride.
That is what this blog is about. Our adventures on the road, the instant friends, the weird moments, the potholes and the unusual detours. I call this our shared midlife crisis because we’re both at that age [you know our kids are leaving the nest ( well technically, they should leave but are no longer our legal responsibility and whatever they do to the house, they do)]. Don’t get me wrong, we love our girls but we did have them early in life and suffered for it in order to come out on the other side young enough to enjoy our post-children lives.
That age I spoke of is 40 and 42, respectively. It still blows my mind that just this one thing opened the door to a world that we are ready to discover. The odds have always been against us. We met when he was 16 and I 18. We are members of Gen-X. We had our children young and have only the school of hard knocks to thank for our education. We really, according to the statistics should not be together. I am also awestruck that we have discovered a new, and exciting hobby (ala midlife crises) together. He didn’t go out and get the bike for himself. We got it together.
We are learning who we are as adults without children and finding out that we really did hit the spouse lottery. It was all entirely by accident. I couldn’t be more grateful. It is in the stretches of highway when all you can hear is the mixture of wind and motor that I marvel at the life I have with him. I am a total pussy when it comes to heights, speed and anything that would logically lead to pain. So, my nature makes me adverse to the motorcycle world. It is only the fact that every atom of me has faith in him that I dare sit on a motorcycle.
I’ve learned in this last 6 months of riding that fear has a larger hold of me than I had thought. Fear is still a large part of my decision making process but when it comes to Mike and the bike, I choose Mike and the bike over all. I know the reward far outweighs the risk when it comes to Mike and the bike. I’ve also discovered that we are both gypsies at heart. Fellow travelers, wanting only to envelop the soul of the road, needing only to dance with eagles and horses. We have embraced the world as our home and have embarked on a journey of discovering its many rooms. I look forward to having you all along for the ride.