Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sandy's Adventures With Wheels

Rollerblading through Walsingham Park is a pleasurable and peaceful endeavor to me, but weekend mornings can be a bit challenging with the increased traffic on the winding path of the 6 mile pedestrian trail - groups of walkers engrossed in their conversation spread across the entire width of the trail, the under 6 set who haven't yet mastered the art of continuing to pedal straight ahead while staring at the oncoming skater, cyclers cresting a blind curve at the exact moment I'm passing some walkers, and lots and lots of dogs of all sizes with all leash lengths.

This morning, a woman's remonstrance to me "Try not to fall!" got me thinking about some of my other adventures with wheels....

A basic understanding of the "...equal and opposite reaction" principle might have stood me in good stead on the day I willingly collaborated with my friend, Patrice, to stand on a skateboard - yes, I, who did not own or know how to ride a skateboad - and hold onto a rope attached to the back of her bicycle. The theory was that she would tow me along. Well, after the first 2 feet she towed an empty skateboard because I was lying, unconscious, on the pavement. I came to consciousness to the sound of her sobbing, "please don't die, Sandra, please don't die..."

I haven't stepped on a skateboard since.

When David got his pilot's license (no, this is not our plane pictured above), he was so enthusiastic about the joys of being PIC (pilot in command - don't laugh - it is a true acronym used in all the general aviation literature) that he simply couldn't imagine that I wouldn't love flying a plane just as much as he did. Faced with my reluctance, he tried to trick me into falling in love with it by suggesting - no URGING - me to take a "pinch-hitters course" - the theory being that I would learn how to land the plane if he became unable to do so.

After more than 20 hours of instruction and numerous bouncing landings , the only thing I knew for sure about piloting was that I should NOT try to be the PIC. I persisted through three different instructors, a near mid-air collision, and clipping the tail of another plane parked on "the college ramp" when I taxied in, physically and mentally spent at the end of a lesson. I believe that incident cost us several thousand dollars in repair work.

Then, in the season of empty-nest, I decided I would enjoy our motorcycle rides even more if I was driving my own bike instead of squeezing in behind David on his Harley. I thought about how much I loved bicycling and how I needed to be taking on new challenges - since the flying gig hadn't panned out - and learning new things. I imagined myself motoring around our city and across the nation - the freedom, the exhilaration! During one of our visits to the local Harley store for parts, I got the inside scoop on a private instruction class put on by the dealership. The female salesperson told of her experience with such enthusiasm and hope -"Small classes...nobody fails...the instructors just keep helping you until you get it..."

I talked with David, plunked down the cash, and found myself in the Shriner's parking lot on the coldest weekend of the year. I had passed the written part of the course with flying colors, had made it through the first day of riding instruction on our 250cc (I think) student motorcycles.

Hindsight tells me I shouldn't have been wearing brand new, totally inflexible, dense soled boots that weekend, that I should have INSISTED the teacher let me do the Saturday afternoon shifting drill over again so he could see that I really wasn't getting the feel of it, that I shouldn't have doubled up dosage of my cold meds and given myself a practically sleepless Saturday night....

Long story made tolerable? I saved myself from being kicked out of class (yep - the instructor had already pulled a 400 pound rider from the squadron) by up-shifting up when I should have down-shifted, and applying the brakes just before I hit a wet patch on the curve...I came to consciousness 15-20 feet from where I last remembered being, with my classmates gathered around me. Apparently I'd been out long enough for them to all slow down, park and dismount. I had to get stitched up just above my eye, and I pretty much lived on ibuprofen for a few days while my twisted ankle and banged up knee recovered. The bruises were about the most colorful I've ever had.

In the interest of keeping his wife a few more years, David got me a much smaller motorcycle for Valentines Day that year. I was thrilled, and for a few weeks, practiced on the mostly quiet airport road to our hangar. But I had changed from a rider who rode "with" the bike, leaning into the turns with confidence, to a "stiff as a board" rider that the hangar pilots laughed at. I signed up for a repeat class a few months later, but woosed out and cancelled. We still have the bike and I'm not ready to give up on it yet, though I haven't ridden it for several years...

These days my dream scenarios of riding in the open air of Florida feature convertible automobiles, bicycles, and kayaks.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pacific Sleep Time

Can't seem to post a comment to address Susan's comment re Amber's recent entry this morning, so will do it via a post.

Susan - I loved that you noticed and had such concern about our writing posting times. I had wondered/worried about the same thing when Sam first started his blogs. Not to worry - blogspot apparently records our entries at Mountain or Pacific time - If I post at 6:00 am my time, the post will read 3:00 a.m.

Another publishing note: if, like me, you sometimes take more than one session to write and publish your blog entry, the date and time of your post will be listed as the first day you started it, and be slipped into date order among other entries that have been published since you began writing - it won't be the first entry on the blog, unless you click on Post Options at the bottom left corner of the Compose screen and enter the date and time you want listed as your post time. SO, if you want us to THINK you're up in the middle of the night to provide quality writing for your loyal readers...have at it!

I, personally, like the use of "Samber" when referring to them as a couple . I say "Sam and Amber" often, and appreciate the economy of the compound name, as well as the fact that unlike "Branjolina", they didn't have to leave out any letters of either name to get the couple moniker - "Samber" represents a union/fusion of their complete selves. David and I never came up with a smooth couple moniker using our names....any of the rest of you have some good ones?

Photo note:  This from our girls' birthday weekend with Mom last fall to Apalachicola - this is one of the views from the boardwalk at the state park.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

YEA New computer

My new computer is up and running so I'll be adding more brain cells as I learn how to do stuff. Last week was not a good time to explore the Dell when the a/c was out. Thanks to Kyle and David, the man you recommended didn't need to put in a new compresser--just a time delay. And I learned what to do in the future, but I'll write it down in case the memory bank is closed the day the a/c quits. On Robin's entry re: she and Bruce running away. Dad and I didn't see their note but told them next time we'd help them pack and had a reminder of when Susan wanted to run away to Grandma's when she was about 5. I think Sandy was the only one who didn't try , or maybe she did and we didn't know it. Glad that Gustav is gone but look out for Hanna and Ike.