Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dance With the Road

It was another wonderful weekend.

The weather was amazing, wonderful, incredible....in a word, perfect.  It was sunny, highs were slightly north of 90 degrees, and you couldn't ask for a better late summer day.  The kids in South Carolina start school again today so it was a last gasp of summer for many of them.

We spent part of Saturday on the water, pulling the kids on a big inner tube.  They talked me into trying it, as well, and I'm relieved to say that I held on for dear life.  I'm still held together pretty well and far from fragile but this can be a pretty bumpy ride.

And, yesterday was all about the bike.  We decided to go for a road trip down the coast to Beaufort but at the last minute ended up diverting to Edisto Island.  Neither of us had ever been there and we thought it would be a prettier ride.  It was wonderful.

Yesterday's motorcycle adventure to Edisto Island - 160 miles RT

One of the cool things about South Carolina is that everywhere you go is (a) filled with history and (b) very photogenic.  It's easy to stop just about anywhere and there'd be pictures to take (example here).

Anyway - It was a beautiful ride on a beautiful day.

Every time I ride it just gets better and better.  As we were navigating Hwy 174 yesterday it became apparent to me that riding a motorcycle is like dancing.  When I'm traveling on a highway in the car I'm typically 5 mph or more above the speed limit at any given time.  It's all about getting there.

But on the bike, I'm typically 5 mph below the speed limit.  When the road curves you lean into it.  When it's time to slow down you downshift, or pull the clutch to slow the bike.  It's a very active interaction between rider, bike, road, other traffic, and environment that I find intoxicating.  Plus, there's a unique sense of "community" among bikers, whether it's a simple two-finger acknowledgment as you pass one another on the road or chatting at a stop somewhere.  The simple fact that you're both on a motorcycle is enough to forge a bond.

Lunch on the Edisto Island

Maybe it's because it's still all so new, but I really wish I had found this 15 or 20 years ago.  Regardless, I've found it now.  As with many aspects of my life - better late than never.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


I haven't had any "official" responsibilities outside of work in a while.  It has been nice to have most of my free time to myself.  There was a time when I had very little of it - between HRC, GLAAD, other organizations, other commitments....it was like having several full-time jobs.  I'm still enjoying having my free-time to myself.

I went to Cleveland over the weekend - up on Saturday and back on Sunday.  It's a 530  mile drive from Charlotte - across Virginia, West Virginia, and into Ohio.  Honestly, those kinds of drives are almost "casual" - anything I can do in 8 hours or less really isn't much of a trip.  The drive was uneventful, the scenery was nice, I'm in good spirits - all things considered it was very pleasant.

The reason I went was to accept an Award for being inducted into the Gay Games Hall of Merit at a pre-opening-ceremony reception.  Everything went smoothly, and I had a good time.  It was nice to see some of the wrestlers from San Francisco who I first met when I attended a Memorial Day Camp/Tournament there in 2006.

Golden Gate Wrestling Club - May 2006
Both of the guys next to me in this photo were in Cleveland.  So was the only other girl in the photo.  I didn't stay to compete (for a number of reasons), but it was nice to reconnect with everyone.

I made a bunch of travel arrangements last week.  I'll be flying home to Rochester for Mom's Birthday Aug 26-31, I'll be in Atlanta at SCC the following weekend, I'll be in Washington DC for an event at the end of the month, and I'm flying to Denver to see my son and attend a Buffalo Bills game there in early December.  I also expect to be doing a trip to Epcot next month, and would love to get to Annapolis for the Boat Show in October.  We'll see how it goes.

The news on everyone's mind at the moment is the tragic suicide of Robin Williams.  Topics for discussion on FB these days seem confined to suicide or death, and although sadness seems to be a consistent theme thoughts on those two subjects - death and suicide - seem mixed.

I think about death more these days.  As I get older and see more and more people who die at an age at or near mine it becomes more of a reality.  I've said before and I very much believe that a significant portion of life involves preparing for death.  Whether it be accepting tenets of one's faith as they relate to death and beyond, recognition that life is finite so making the most of our time here, or any number of other very profound realities - it's something we'll all face sooner or later.

My mom's 85th birthday looms on the horizon - at the end of the month, to be specific.  We'll all be gathering in Rochester, NY.  This year will involve a bigger than usual celebration.  We've got relatives, friends and neighbors that we haven't seen for 30 or more years coming.  My sister has arranged a get-together at the local sailing club on Saturday.  I'm actually very much looking forward to it.  But there's very much a recognition that we need to enjoy these times while we can.

As life goes on I feel more and more pressure to do some of the things at the top of my bucket list.  The item at the top of that list is to visit Europe.  I've never been there.

Anyway - I don't mean to make this morose so I'll change topics....

As anyone who has been here for very long knows I mark significant annual dates as landmarks.  Perhaps no date is more significant than the day I had SRS - August 10, 2000.  That anniversary recently passed with little or no fanfare.  It's very much a non-thing these days.

Ironically, when I think of that week I think of three things.  I think of the unpleasant "prep" the night before.  I think of my mom and sister being there.  And, I think of what it was like to finally get out of bed to take a shower after the bandages had been removed.  It was gone.  Finally.  Although many years have passed the amazement I felt at that moment has never faded.  It still amazes me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Time Capsule

The final phase in the effort to move the rest of my "stuff" across country from Arizona to here is underway.  I'm unpacking boxes and putting stuff away.

I'm actually of two minds about this.  One of my minds realizes that I'm halfway through my lease so the possibility that I'll just have to pack it all back up again in a few months is very real.  The other mind wants to make my apartment as homey as I can, and is actually enjoying re-discovering everything I've been living without these past few years.

Case in point - today I'm wearing a top that was recently unpacked.  It's pretty, and thankfully it still fits. It's like having new clothes!  In fact - one of my co-workers already asked if it was new.

I don't like to think of myself as a hoarder, but at the same time I collect things I realize I'll probably never look at again.  Ever.  For example, I've got newspapers from during all the Buffalo Bills Super Bowl games, covering all the hype leading up to the game as well as the game itself.  They're in 2 mildly heavy boxes.  Why keep them?  I dunno - I just want to.

I know some who would rather forget their past.  I am not one of those.  My past is part of who I am.  Parts of my past brought me a significant amount of happiness.  They were part of who I was, and I suppose in some way I don't want to loose that.  I suppose it took me a long time to realize that I don't have to give it up.  Anyway - that's not an excuse for hoarding.  It's just something about me.

This was a bit of an odd weekend.  A typical weekend these days involves driving to Charleston on Friday after work, then back to Charlotte at dinnertime on Sunday or very early Monday.  Due to some schedule things and some pretty crummy weather in Charleston yesterday I was back in Charlotte by noon.  That gave a half a day here that I don't usually get.  It felt "odd", and I think it's going to throw my whole week off kilter.

I certainly had no problem filling the time.  I did some stuff with the dogs, I spent a little time doing some things outside, I washed all my bed linens, and of course there's the unpacking thing.  My apartment looks significantly smaller now with all this new old "stuff" in it.

I suppose I've got a pretty good life right now.  My career is going well - I'm being well paid and I seem to be fitting in well here.  I'm surrounded by my creature comforts.  Although I'm not in Charleston full-time I'm close by and get home on a regular basis.  My health seems to be good.  My head and my heart are happy.  I suppose I should enjoy this quiet time while I can.  But, to be honest, I'm restless.

I'm not sure why.  I just am.  I suspect I'll have more to say about that once I figure it out.