Category Archives: motorcycle diaries

Get Your Bookworm On

The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays

Erica and her boo were talking about their reading habits, how it developed, what they’re reading now and the obstacles to a more robust bibliophilic life. They’ve also taken up a reading challenge which I think is a cool way to push yourself.

I developed the reading habit early on, praised for my abilities in first grade, that compliment fueled an above average vocabulary and a voracious appetite for books. My room as a teenager would be pretty spotless, but if you looked under my bed…dozens of books. My favorites were Judy Blume, Madeline L’Engle and then Stephen King. But I read almost anything, trashy romances, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, whatever.

I never developed much of a TV habit, even now I haven’t seen my favorite shows (Grey’s Anatomy or 30 Rock) in weeks but I almost always have a book going. I just finished Tourist Season: Stories by Enid Shomer, which I’d recommend if you are into short, character driven stories. I liked it but probably won’t read it again. Prior to that I was reading The Between Boyfriends Book (hilarious!) and Female Chauvanist Pigs (hilarious but smart!) at the same time, which I tend to do, read a “light” tome and something “heavier” at the same time. Sometimes I’ll have 3 books going at once.

Like most readers I have both a physical pile of “To Be Read” and an Amazon Wishlist full of dream books. I’m starting Kickboxing Geishas tonight which I’m looking forward to and I owe a copy of FCP to a friend who is in grad school, but I might have to buy her her own copy because I CAN see reading this one again.

Some of my favorite books of all time:

The World According To Garp, A Prayer For Owen Meany, IT, The Secret History, The Vintner’s Luck, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Honeymoon With My Brother, PUSH, Holidays On Ice, A Memory of Running, Children of Ham, The Alchemist, Vagabonding, The Power of One, The Bible (seriously) and The Way Forward is With a Broken Heart.

One book I’ve tried to read twice and just give up on: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt.

Book Bandwagon that I haven’t jumped on: Harry Potter.

Let’s hear some of yours…

Oh and also, if you are a reader have you ever seriously dated a non-reader or someone with lopsided reading habits from your own? For example, one of my exes didn’t read alot of books but was a ravenous newspaper nerd, another ex doesn’t read alot of fiction but is into finance, real estate and personal development stuff. I was joking with a friend recently and we both agreed that we have fallen a little bit in lurve with someone based solely on their bookshelf. I know, I’m so shallow!


Reset Button?

I am so ready for it to be Friday.

[1] Dear Distracted Driver: Thank you for almost side-swiping me and making my life flash before my eyes. It put a lot in perspective and made me feel a giddy rush of gratitude that I am alive. Actually that feeling hasn’t quite worn off yet. Please watch for crazy chicks on motorcycles, we’ll love you for it.

[2] Dear Karate class: Please stop kicking my @$$. I couldn’t close my fist and I have a helluva purple bruise on my left forearm. It is ON!! No more Ms. Nice Chick!

[3] Dear Frost: Go away. I’m not mad about having to scrape my windows on monday, but I am mad that you’re signalling the end of golf season. I need a few more weeks, you’re like a parent coming home from vacation early without warning.

[4] Dear motorcycle: I’m sorry that I dropped you in the driveway, I am distracted and busy. Forgive me, I promise to always feed you premium unleaded fuel and polish your chrome.

Last week was so…sublime, this week? Not so much. Let’s all turn off the lights, get under the covers, snooze and wake up and forget all this has happened.

And yes, I know that life is good. Great in fact, but even us eternal optimists have an “off” day every now and then.

Happy Halloween Ya’ll!

My Cheating Heart

It has been raining here in New England the last few days and people are startled to find out that I’ve still ridden my bike to work each day. The chief reason is that if you don’t get into the office by 7:30am there’s NO parking left. Seriously, there’s like 100 spots for 300 people. No matter, I actually am finding that I like driving less and less.

The other reason that I have pushed myself to ride my motorcycle in the rain and at night is so that I can get more comfortable with those conditions and situations. I don’t want to be riding somewhere and the sun set or the weather turn unexpectedly and I “freak” out. So I’m trying to learn as much as I can about how to handle conditions now, while I’m in a small town that is VERY motorcycle friendly.

It is starting to get to the point where it may be too cold to be doing a whole lot of outside activities. But I’m going to hang in there as long as possible. I need to find some new hobbies and obsessions because soon it’ll be too cold for golf, too cold to ride, and I’m too committed to what I’m doing now to pick up and travel.

So, my cheating heart is looking for new loves and returning to the old stand-bys.

What are your hobbies? Do they change with the seasons?

Obamania at Dartmouth


Obamania at Dartmouth, originally uploaded by AndrewCline.

The Presidential Debates are on campus at Dartmouth tonight. You guys might be watching it live now. Well, so am I because I didn’t win tickets in the campus lottery, but I’m taking my ire out on the hundreds of people milling in the streets in the path of my motorcycle.

This grand event has shut down parking everywhere within a couple miles of The Green (center of campus) and it has been a very great asset to have a two-wheeled method of transport.

This hotbed of cosmopolitan activity also hosted the Telluride Film Festival this past weekend. I DID in fact get tickets to that. I caught 3 of the six films showcased.

Margot at the Wedding, Into The Wild (to be released nationally soon I believe) and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (go see this if you ever get the chance-it was amazing).

So, on my last evening in town for a few days, I’m happy to report that I kind of feel like a New Englander. But with a southern drawl yall.

I apologize (but not really)


This might be turning into a (not at all interesting to you) hobby blog. I apologize, but not really. I’m sure the only thing worse than reading about my motorcycle obsession, is reading about my (one sided) golf addiction. I will soon be giving you details on the technical aspects of all of my hobbies…aren’t you excited? What? I’m nosey, yes I DO want to know about your hobbies and how you’re spending you’re free time!

I wanted to be hanging out with some old friends this weekend, but time and circumstances prevent(ed) that.

I did however get to play some golf (what’s new, i’ve played more this summer than ever), again this weekend. One of my housemates has a membership at the local Kountry Klub (they are perfectly wonderful to me) and I can play all I want for $25 on any given day. The weather today was sublime here in New England, mid-70’s, warm sun and not a cloud in the sky.

I’m loving my new Nike SP-3 golf shoes (pictured) and hit my driver pretty good today. I got the shoes on sale in June but have been wearing my older Nikes most of the summer, but the toe-box on those is a bit tight so I’m going to use those for muddy/wet course days.

I banged out a 200 yard drive right down the fairway on the 3rd hole! My putting however makes me want to cry and fling my putter into the nearest water hazard. I only lost one ball today and that was because I was too lazy to try to find it. I walked two miles this morning, went to the gym and by the 9th hole I just didn’t care anymore.

So, all this to say. I missed my friends in VA this weekend, but I think I made the best of it. I’m working on increasing my overall level of activity and fitness and New England seems to be full of gym rats, cyclysts, runners, hockey players, golfers, etc. We’ll see what happens when that first frost hits!

For all yall working on fitness goals here’s a great post from Gretchen over at The Happiness Project:

Exercise helps make you happy. People who exercise are healthier, more energetic, think more clearly, sleep better, and have delayed onset of dementia. They also get relief from anxiety and mild depression, comparable to medication and therapy.

But even when you acknowledge the tremendous benefits, if you’re not already exercising regularly, it can be hard to adopt the habit. I managed to change myself from a natural sloth to an enthusiastic exerciser by using all these tricks:

Always exercise on Monday. This sets the psychological pattern for the week.Never skip exercising for two days in a row. You can skip a day, but the next day, you must exercise no matter how inconvenient.

DON’T link exercise to weight loss as a way to motivate yourself. Although it’s quite true that people who exercise regularly are far more likely to keep weight off, you’ll find yourself justifying missing your run by turning down two Saltines. And if you don’t lose weight easily (who does?), you’re likely to give up exercise as futile.

Give yourself credit for the smallest effort. My father always said that all he had to do was put on his running shoes and close the door behind him.

Think about context. I thought I hated weight-training, but in fact, I hated the weight-training area of my gym. Do you try to run in the mornings, but recoil from going out in the cold? Do you hate the loud music in your gym? Is your work-out so exhausting that you can’t face the rest of your day? Re-think your choices.

You must exercise frequently. If you think you’re staying in shape by joining games of pick-up basketball, you should be playing four or five times a week. Twice a month isn’t enough.

If you don’t have time both to exercise and take a shower, find exercise (weight-training, yoga, walking) where in many cases you don’t need to shower afterward.

Look for affordable ways to make exercising more pleasant or satisfying. Could you upgrade to a nicer gym? Buy yourself a new iPod? Work with a trainer? Get a pedometer? (they’re only $25). Exercise is a high life priority, so this is the place to spend some money if that helps.

Think of exercise as part of your essential preparation for times you want to be in especially fine form—whether in performance (to be sharp for an important presentation) or appearance (to look good for a wedding) or mood (to deal with a stressful situation). Studies show that exercise does help.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, i.e., don’t decide it’s only worth exercising if you can run five miles or bike for an hour. I have a friend who never exercises unless she’s training for a marathon.

Beware of magical thinking:
 Having a gym membership doesn’t mean that you go to the gym, and owning a yoga mat doesn’t mean you practice yoga.
 Just because you were in shape in high school or college doesn’t mean you’re in shape now.
 Saying that you don’t have time to exercise doesn’t make it true.


Happy Labor Day All!


Green (but not with Envy)


I am in lurve with my motorcycle. The one pictured here is my dream bike. The Triumph Bonneville T100, so if anyone is feeling particularly generous….

I got a ticket within 48 hours of owning the thing, but it is sooooo worth it. My permanent tags came in the mail and now I’m a legit, registered bad @ss!

Reasons why I love my motorcycle:

1. It’s HOT, I love the look on people’s faces when they realize I’m female! It’s always this surprise/awe/”that’s cool” look.

2. It’s much better for the environment. I’ve filled the tank up twice and spent a total of $7 on gas in the last two weeks.

3. No jockeying for parking at the college. Motorcycle parking is FREE!! And I can park it right on the bike rack path. I have walked or rode my bike to work the two weeks I’ve been here. I have driven my car maybe 5 times.

4. It pushes me to push my limits. I’m not an adrenaline junkie by any means, and zooming around gets my blood pumping and satisfies my “adventure” jones.

5. It requires me to pay attention in a way I don’t when driving. You have to be seriously defensive-driving oriented on a motorcycle. I’m hyper aware and the biggest risk I take is riding in shorts.

6. Other Riders. I love the motorcycle community. As I stated before, its like an underground club you become a part of and I love talking bikes with random people. There’s a professor at the college that has the EXACT same bike that I do, but his is a 1981 (mine is a 1980–and in MUCH better shape I might add). And we park 5 feet from each other every day. Several of the guys I work with have bikes and at least once a week we get into bike oriented conversations. These are people who on the surface I would probably have little in common with. But I enjoy their company and zeal for the sport/hobby.

7. Did I mention it’s just HOT? If I had a nickel for everyone who asked for a ride on my bike I could afford that T100.

Motorcycle Diaries


My Mint Condition Classic 1980 Suzuki GS250, originally uploaded by funchilde.

I will admit that I felt like a bit of a bad @$$ today towing my new ride down the interstate (nerve wracking!). I decided to get a small, classic bike to tool around and make my mistakes on before I jumped into a several thousand dollar bike with a paint job that would send me to the bank if it got dropped or scratched.

Riding her around the block this evening was worth taking my last motorcycle class a couple of weeks ago. Wherein out of the 4 of us that showed up, I was the ONLY ONE who finished the class and got to ride. Not because I’m JUST THAT COOL, but because I”M THAT MUCH OF A DORK! It was 100 degrees, we had on boots, jeans, long sleeves and helmets. One lady just left and went and sat on a curb. But ahhhh, the wind on my face and the breeze on my arms, the look of awe in the neighborhood kid’s faces (yeah kids, I’m a rockin’ old biker chick) was so worth it. Although I took Jumpstart last summer and then the Basic Rider Course (BRC) to get my license, I decided to take Jump Start again just to make sure I am ready since I haven’t been on a bike since last year.

I’m towing her up to NH and I have an 80% buyback guarantee on her, so I’ll probably upgrade to a 500/600 cc in the spring or summer of next year (if I’m in the country). I should then have enough hours/miles under my belt to take the Experienced Rider Course, which unlike the Jump Start and the Basic Rider courses, you need to have your own bike for and you have to have some experience in order to get the most out of the class.

One thing I totally didn’t expect is that when you buy a bike and get your license, you become part of this underground “family” of riders. I notice “My other car is a motorcycle” stickers now, I wave at people on everything from Harleys (the most popular brand in the US) to Hayabusas (the fastes production bike you can buy). It is a diverse group united by the love of all things on two wheels. I have had deep discussions w/ crazy looking white guys with american flag bandanas and grizzly adams beards and full out “leather” cycle gear and teeny chicks who can barely put their feet on the ground but ride Ducati Monsters! Everyone is welcome into the fold. And is it bad that I half want to laugh at this and half want to join?I promise to always wear my protective gear and to always put safety over style.

If you’re working on some goal or dream, keep putting one foot in front of the other. I still have a big one that eludes me, but I won’t ever stop trying. And if you see a wobbly, grinning, chick on a classic bike, tearing around the neighborhood, slow down and give her a smile and a wave. It’s probably me making a beer run on my bad @$$ motorcycle. Now if I can just figure out how to get my afro into this helmet…..