Hey people. Get ready for some big changes. Can't say any more at the moment, but the next time you come here, be prepared.
Here's just an update on where I'm at right now, otherwise known as "SueNews."
Writing-wise, many of you know already "I'm on a break!" Here's the deal: About 5 years ago I decided if I was ever going "be a writer", like I'd always said I'd do when I grew-up, I'd better get at it. Like most things I take an interest in, I became obsessed. I devoured books about it, read tons of other people's work, listened constantly to books on tape, joined a writing group, and spent about every spare moment writing a novel.
Now I've written about 3, well, 2 & 1/2. I've re-written all of these bunches of times, so it feels more like I've written 5 or 6. Almost 2 years ago, I discovered a *new* genre called YA (young adult) and got very excited about that because it was all about teens & edginess, a couple of things I connect to rather well. Thing is, agents who liked my work thought my voice might actually be a little too mature for young readers, and also wanted me to change my stories around and add tons more sappy love interest stuff.
Now I'm totally sick of YA, and have a hard time even finding anything to read in that genre that interests me. So now I'm "on a break", letting ideas just float around. I think the whole publishing process thing kind of burned me out too. I'm recharging those batts I guess.
Mood-wise, lots of you know I can run very hot and cold. The last couple years I've felt kind of like a snapped power line, arcing around all over the place with way too much energy. Suddenly I'm feeling less "pent-up".
This is kind of good, well, okay, I know it probably IS good, but it's weird too. It reminds me exactly of how I felt when I was a teenager-- like I was fire itself. Fire is always hungry, and you have to keep feeding it to stoke it and keep it going. It's kind of exhausting, but if you don't know how to be anything else, or are not sure what will be left if the fire goes out, it's kind of scary to feel it "dying-out."
Anyway, I'm in that mode-- trying to poke around in the embers and see what else is in there. Maybe being super wound-up and having that tight chest feeling like you're about to freaking hulk-out any second isn't really WHO I am, but just a way I can, at times, feel. I guess the main thing is, to keep striving for awesome, and trying to be a force for good, and roll with it because it is "life" after all. :)
Here are two songs to illustrate these mixed feelings. The first is my beloved Foo Fighters, doing "My poor brain". "This is a black-out, don't let it go to waste. I want to detonate. Sometimes I wish that I could change. I can't save you from my poor brain." I TOTALLY relate. But am feeling less like that right now. The other is an old favorite-- Sheryl Crow doing "Soak up the sun." "I'm still the king of me. It's not getting what you want, it's wanting what you got." YEAH. Totally there right now.
All this stuff I'm telling you, coupled with me being really sick of Britts hitting the blog looking for "slag-this-that-&-the-other", and people searching for "sanjaya ponyhawk" & "big fat bacon" (seriously?-- Yup.) etc, are prompting the aforementioned big changes coming next week. They're good changes though. :)
Last weekend is a total blur. Actually, it blurred right into yesterday.
Check out this bike I found at a garage sale Saturday morning for Megan. Note the "rock'n'roll saw blades" inside the wheel spokes. I'm calling it the Super-Awesome-Rad, Power Bike. It makes anyone who sees it need to ride it. It has wicked front shocks too.
Here's me trying to convince Meg (photographically) of it's coolness. Hoping she just goes with it even though it's not "girly." If it was my size I'd ride it around town for sure. I might anyway!
Saturday afternoon I helped over at the trail, getting ready for a "duathelon" race Sunday. Racers ran a 5k through the hilly woods, then biked two continuous laps through the toughest half of the course, then ran the first leg of the race again--- in 90 degree super humid temps. ~crazy~
I wasn't racing (thank god! - Blech-- I hate running in heat!) but I like the vibe over there, with all the racers, and really like the people running the trail. They're my friends now and I love helping out friends. :)
To recap, so so far my weekend has gone like this:
Sat morning: Procure Super Awesome Rad Power Bike
Sat afternoon: Help set up for Sunday's race
Sat night: Double feature rentals that kept us up until about 1 a.m.
Sunday: Got to the trail about 6:30 a.m. to help with race which went until about 2:00 p.m.
By this time I was kind of on fumes. I got home and hit the couch and almost instantly fell asleep. But it didn't last long. Dan woke me up. There was something he wanted, badly. (Get your minds out of the gutter people-- I'm talking about a Honda trail bike.)
Remember my weekend of sue-point-oh and being all open to trying new things that led to me deciding it would probably be fun to find myself a little Trail-90 somewhere? Yeah-- When Dan saw a crack in the motorcycle door he quickly rammed his foot right in it. Like any guy, he's always wanted one, but it was "verboten". No kids, no motorcycles was part of "the deal."
Now that I've rationalized the little non-threatening, not very fast and rather cute trail bikes aren't really motorcycle motorcycles... well, in classic Dan fashion he's decided he needs the slightly more fancy, more expensive version of what I am looking at-- a Honda Trail 110. He found one, in Janesville WI.
A spur of the moment 12 hour road trip was on. Here's me at the beginning. Yeah, I'm already tired, and it's 4:00 Sunday afternoon, and the car has no AC and it's super hot and humid. My hair is NOT awesome. At all. But what the hell?--- We've got a cooler, and a tool box--let's hit it!
It was pretty fun at first-- a last minute adventure! So what I was kind of spaced-out from sleep deprivation and still wearing the same sweaty clothes from being at the hot trail all day and hadn't really eaten anything all day? "Road-trip, road-trip, road-trip!"
At one point Dan looked over and goes, "Ugh. There's cat hair all over your boobs." Me, "Why are you looking at my boobs instead of the road? You're supposed to be driving." (inattentive driving = major pet peeve of mine.) Him, in his dorky "I am super awesome" voice- "Because it pleases me." Me, "Yeah? Well check it out buddy." ~moosh~ Him- "Sorry officer, I was distracted by my wife's cat hair encrusted cleavage."
Yup, tons of joking around, arguing about who should have extra straws with their DQ shake. "You def need like, 5, because that's how much you suck!" Tons of laughing at all the cheese and fireworks billboards. Tons of beautiful, rolling WI scenery. But like any long road trip, it got old.
Here's me about 11 hours later, somewhere in WI. Driving had become like playing some intense video game at this point. I was craning forward trying to keep it between the dotted and solid lines, seemingly unable to predict curves. Dan had to take over for the last leg. I was def impaired.
But-- it was worth it. Dan got his 110, and want to know something kind of freaky? This is basically Dan's birthday gift (mine will be mine). The guy we bought it from got it from the original owner-- his uncle. That guy dutifully filled-out all the info in the little owner's manual as soon as he got it--- on 6/7/84. Dan's B'day is 6/7. (The year is different, but still-- his birthday and the bike's are the same!!)
He was understandably trashed three hours after we got home, when he was supposed to get up for work, so for the first time in 15 years, he called in sick. He really did feel like crap and had a GIANT headache that had been building all night. When we finally got up, we went out and played with his new toy. He was a happy dude.
After taking turns zooming (okay, in my case-- putting tentatively) around the house (literally- we just drove it around the yard, down the driveway, making a circle around our house), we decided to go kayaking. So we spent a few hours on the river. Dan admitted skipping IS pretty awesome. (He never does this-- nevar.)
And our garage now looks like this. Actually, it gets worse. On the other side are my kayak, and the Super Awesome Rad Bike, plus art supplies, plus all the regular "garage-y" stuff.
All in all, not a bad weekend, even if it lasted three days.
Hey people. Last week an old art pal of mine (okay- she's not old, but we're pretty good buds is what I mean) came up to my place and we went on a little expedition to a junk yard one town over.
For those of you who've never been to a junk yard-- if you're going (for art purposes anyway), be sure to bring a couple buckets, some gloves, shoes you don't care about getting dirty (this actually goes for all your clothing), a camera, and a big smile-- because until you win them over the junk yard guys are going to think you're a total weirdo & not want to let you in.
You need to convince them you aren't going to be a big pain in the butt, or try to make off with any saleable parts, or sue them if you get a scratch or whatever, and you aren't going to be high maintenance and need a whole bunch of help that will take them away from their actual work.
Once we convinced them to let us into the inner sanctum (the main yard), and that we were only after basically garbage (to them)-- little rusty do-dahs laying around on the ground etc, we began scavenging. That's when I first saw her---
The first thing I said was, "Oh honey..." because to me she was beautiful, and a little dangerous looking, with her chicken wire windshield. What kind of a life did she live before winding up here? Then I saw the remains of her race number.
Her and everybody else probably thought she was done for. End of the line. Wrong. Not now that I've seen her. WAY too cool to let her just up and die in a field somewhere. I'm plotting how to haul her to my place, maybe in one piece, maybe in sections. The junk yard main cog told me I can have her cheap. She's not restorable. All I see is beauty here-- and stories.
She has friends too. Check out this crackling paint. Pretty cool huh?
Hmm. Same age as me. Maybe it's no coincidence I find all the "flaws" and "destruction" on these old beauties are what makes them the most interesting. The broken glass shone like jewels.
Look at this design. You just don't see this anymore-- well, that's not totally true-- there is good design out there, but it's kind of like music I guess-- I have a deep appreciation of the roots, even as I enjoy the new. Look at the moss growing on the frame. Cool.
When I saw this hood I thought "Blue Roan." I've got a big horse in my brain right now. I recently saw a half-Percheron, half-Frisian-- huge and gorgeous-- thick arched neck, sculpted muscular legs, kind of a short back for his height, compact head. I see it dappled-- blue, white, & blue-gray steel. But roan would be cool too.
Look at this transformation-- the bleached paint with rust coming through, like a beach-- waves on a beach.
After filling our buckets we headed over to some other art bud's place to see what they've been up to. There was so much more awsomeness it won't all fit in one post. I decided to do a whole post just dedicated to that visit over on the art blog, so check over there later today.
In other SueNews:
Around the old hacienda it's the cat's favorite time of year-- when they find little spots in the perennials or underbrush to take a nap jungle style.
That is when they're not sacking-out on the deck... (This is Ray.)
Rough life huh? (This is Tootie, Mike's main squeeze- Yes, they're still a "thing".)
This was funny-- the other day me and Trusty Pam went up to St. Cloud to check out the "Jail Trail". (We're trying to expand our horizons.) No sooner had we got the bikes off the car than this young guy, about 20 or so, goes, "I think I've heard of you-- Is that Penny?"
I almost died laughing! "Yep-- this is her. You can touch her for a quarter." That's right, Penny is now famous.
The Jail Trail was fun, interesting, lots flatter than our normal trail (Hillside), but TONS of trees super tight against the trail, and tons of twists etc. Very, very tight trail. Pam was in the lead, and I was just thinking how she should probably always lead when we check out a new trail because I'm way more cautious and it would probably frustrate her to follow me. I'd for sure do a slow recon run, then maybe hit it again if I still had any gas in the tank, or just come back and be bolder next time.
I was just thinking of some witty remark to make like, "I may be more cautious, but you def get more bloody," (I have the record for the most spectacular, bone breaking crash, but Pam def has the record for the most blood spilled, and most "dismounts.")-- when WHAM. She totally nailed a tree with her knee. She got a point-- blood all the way to the sock = 1 point.
We walked for a while until it seemed to bleed a little slower at least. We didn't get very far before we got to this weird rickety bridge with no sides and missing boards going through a swamp. At the end it dropped off into a patch of really gnarly, super bumpy roots. I was leading now and Penny bucked like a champ but we made it. A little while along I go, "Wow-- those were bumpy huh?" -- Nothing.
I look back and no Pam. I stop and wait. No Pam. I get off my bike and jog back down the trail-- here comes Pam, looking a little shaky-- she went over the bars into the roots. By now she was kind of a wreck, so we walked a bunch more. Of course we had no bug spray. Eventually she felt up to riding again and we took whatever shortcuts we could find back to the lot. We'll have to go back and try for a clean run someday.
My times at the trail are stuck at the 55 minute mark. I can now ride some stuff I couldn't last year, so there is progress being made, but I am not in great shape yet, and probably carrying some extra weight. Next week I'll weigh in and face the music.
Kate though--- sent me this awesome pic of her and Megan riding in a 30 mile ride at their place! They've never ever tried anything like this so it was huge for them. They actually made it the whole ride. Megan said after she probably could have had a better time on her own bike, not having to wait for her mom. (Hmm, not too sure about that, but approve of her spirit.) She's the kid I never had-- she got all riled-up when people would pass them and want to pour it on. Next year she may get a chance to try it on her own bike.
I think it's awesome they were both willing to go outside the box and risk failure to try something new. I'm so glad they had a good experience! Kate-- your seats are kind of low for road riding though! (God-- everyone in this pic's are.)
Hey people. It's pretty close to Penny's birthday. I got her just about exactly a year ago. Last weekend she rode in her second race-- her first for real one with an actual racer on her-- let me explain.
You may have heard me mention awesome girl racer Sam before? Her bike broke during the race, flat tire I think-- so anyway-- she was in a pinch so I let her borrow Penny. Sam had major skid marks all over her legs from her wipe-out, but hopped on Penny and finished the race.
Some of you guys tend to think I'm really out-there or athletic or whatever for doing the stuff I do, but seriously, if you met the actual racers like Sam-- you'd quickly see I'm just a civilian for sure (so far).
I talked to a couple other racers Sunday (girls). One was injured, but her lap time-- riding hurt, and just "for fun", with stopping and checking stuff out, not being in any big rush, is the same as my having a heart attack panting and drooling lap time-- 55 minutes. Another racer, who is admittedly "fast", was disappointed in her double lap time of an hour twenty minutes.
That's going twice around the whole course! Taking no more than 40 minutes per lap!!!
I will have to work like mad to get my lap time down to 45 minutes. And that's only going once around!
To give you an idea of how hard core & insane these people are: The top finishing "advanced men" racers finished w/in 2 seconds of each other. (One is the guy I told you about last year who tied in a race because he waited for his competitor to change a flat tire on the course.) The day before, they both raced in a 100 mile race. Yes-- 100 mile race.
After taking first and second going two laps at the nearly eight mile very hilly trail, they RODE HOME something like 45 miles (they're friends who live near each other apparently).
So, uh-- yeah. I'm not hard-core at all. :)
But I will still keep working at this and having fun, and maybe, MAYBE feel fast enough to go in another race by fall or something. After all, Penny is now one up on me!
Next post will be about my awesome junk finding / artist lair exploring day. ~score~
Hey people. So, I'm still drooling over that little Honda. I called the seller again and left a message saying "Please, please, please don't sell it to anyone else and call me as soon as you get the title." Now Dan wants one too (maybe). He likes cool old stuff too, and has this idea of us taking them on vacations with us to go exploring around together. That sounds super fun.
Here is a video of some of the exploits last weekend. You can see my bro-in-law John tooling around on my future ride, at one point Dan almost hits him on the ATV. Craziness!
In other SueNews: Super excited about going to the junkyard today. Another art pal is coming along. She's changing mediums-- going from stained glass to metals. She's working in a number of ways with her art and is super talented. I can't wait to see what she comes up with. Anyway, it will be fun going to troll through junked-out cars etc.
Trusty Pam got herself a road bike a couple weeks ago and has been putting on beaucoupe miles. Tonight it's FINALLY going to not be raining. (There have been three times it literally started raining the minute we were ready to go ride or run in the last week-- sucks!) I'm going to attempt to keep her in sight on my Hula Bike (aka- the dork).
I am so out of shape it's not even funny right now. Such a disappointing turn-around from late winter when I was confident I'd be 10lbs lighter, in super shape, and maybe even entering mountain bike RACES this spring. Now I'm just struggling to get back into reasonable condition so stuff feels doable and fun again.
I can tell my mood has been dragged down by not being able to get out and move as much. Maybe in a couple weeks (if the weather cooperates) I'll be playing a different tune.
Hey people. That's what I'm yelling at myself today, but because of fun plans with a couple art pals, "real work" (actual welding) will start tomorrow I guess.
We creatives have a method when we feel depleted and tapped-out. We say we're "filling the well." It's kind of like doing math in your head, kind of like keeping the goose that lays the golden eggs alive. To the outside world you may look bogged down in inertia, but at times like this, your main job is to collect ideas and let your brain run it's self-check.
So yesterday here was pretty much the only outward sign of productivity-- new hangers. Take that laundry! Yes, it was a mighty blow I struck against disorganization and un-hung-up clothing the world over. ~wipes sweat from brow~
In my head though-- a whole bunch of amazing crap was going on. For one thing (stop smirking Katie) I guess I have a new obsession... You guys, I'm like, getting this, almost for sure. Dan's on board and everything.
Check out the original ad from the early 70's-- Sure it can't go over 50 mph, but it can carry 450 lbs I guess, and just LOOK at it you guys-- it's so cool! Plus-- it's almost like they jumped into some time machine and already knew about my unlikely gun incident last weekend. Not to mention-- her outfit looks amazingly like Tina's. Now I guess I'll have to get my own bad-ass jumpsuit to ride around town in. It's going to take a lot of practice to ride standing on the seat like this though, shooting off a gun... (Just kidding. About the gun.)
Here's the original ad copy:
"Remember her sister? The Trail 55? This kid is the Trail 90 and she packs 30% more oomph. Load her with 450 pounds. She’ll make out better over the rough terrain than anyone in the business. The big push comes from the OHV single cylinder 4 stroke engine. She’ll climb over 50% incline if you feel so inclined. And deliver 160 miles per gallon. The Trail 90 comes with an automatic clutch, extra hand brake and the only standard equipment spark arrestor approved by the USDA forest service. If you like the athletic type try the new Honda Trail 90. Price? $330 plus a modest set-up charge. Contact your local Honda dealer for more information. "
Check out the rad helmet I could get--
Or this "Speed Racery" one!
160 miles per gallon people. Just think of how many trips to Target and Cub I could get in on a tank of gas! So anyway-- that's fun.
I also looked at tons of metal sculptures on line (more filling the well). When I do this I'm not looking at stuff and going, "Yeah, I could make something like that." It's just that as I look new ideas kind of take shape, or threaten to-- unformed almost-ideas begin floating through the goo. It's kind of like your brain becomes a lava lamp.
Another exercise is being open. (This goes with Sue-point-oh too.) If I get an idea, play the "what if?" game all the way out. So when I had an idea of a side business running a concession stand, that led to a whole bunch of ruminating about menus, start-up costs, environmental impact, partnerships, investigating expenses, etc etc.
Let's just say I'm not running out and buying a booth anytime soon. But I do really like the idea of a micro business-- super lean, super simple. I could see having a little soup-of-the-day delivery route on my new motorcycle or something. "The souper- cycle?" Then again-- I'd rather just do art, and maybe start writing again eventually.
Also-- I know I haven't mentioned Penny much lately, but that's because it's been really wet. I unfortunately let myself get REALLY out of shape in the last month. I rode a few days ago and the trail totally kicked my BUTT! Somehow I've back slid a tiny bit. I'm better than I was last year, but-- not feeling very zippy or confident right now.
This doesn't mean I'm getting less interested in riding though. I think it's really important for me to keep doing it and learning, and challenging myself. This is super mental for me as well as physical. It is physically very demanding, but I work through a lot of fear to get to the fun, but when I get there, it's such a great feeling of accomplishment and, well, joy.