As is typically the case for me, life is never boring for very long. Since moving to my new place in the Nantahala National Forest life has continued to move at a break-neck pace on many levels and has been quite peaceful on other levels. I find that I do miss traveling on a frequent basis and seeing the country. But I have been working on some priorities that need attention and planning for some travels in 2015. After I returned from taking Mom home and going to Georgia for the beginning process for my new leg, I came home and quickly set to growing The Write Hand and aligning some priorities.
Dealing with the new leg company and the insurance has been quite a pain in the rear and has given me much grief. The atrophy continues and I simply do not fit in the prosthetic very well. I am walking poorly and in a great deal of pain each day. I have no choice but to remind myself that it will come in time. I was exceptionally blessed when 50Legs.org set me up with POA in Orlando and frankly, I was very spoiled. Down there you stay for a week and the whole deal gets done. The new process is one piece at a time with several weeks in between each visit.
As for business, I’ve been advertising locally and online, as well as bidding on jobs on contractor sites. I have crafted the outline to my book and slowly, ever so slowly I have begun that process. I continue to put out ROAD Lines radio and ROAD Lines feature column with The Road Hawgs network. Those two ventures I do for fun and education; I had hoped it would lead listeners back to my “real job” via my website and generate business. That has not happened. And while we at The Road Hawgs continue to try and improve and engage our audience members and partners, we are still growing the paid advertising department of the network. That being said, these two fun things take up a great deal of time that I could possibly use more wisely elsewhere. I am still evaluating what to do with that in 2015.
Despite all this chatter about legs and priorities, I always manage to fit in some fun and excitement. I was exploring my area one weekend when I stopped at a flea market. They were nearly closing and I had not even parked yet when I saw an older gentleman bringing out small dog crates from his vendor booth. I was not very happy to see him somewhat tossing the crates into the back of a minivan; not super evil but poorly enough I had to stop. I through the truck in park and got out; the man was returning to his vendor booth as I approached his minivan. I looked about the crates and one had tipped over; small black paws energetically tried to escape. As I peered inside the crate the cutest little black face stared back at me and her tail wagged so fast I thought it might fly off her little butt. The old man had returned by now and did not have a nicest tone of voice when he saw me by his minivan. I grabbed the crate with the little black dog and opened it without asking his permission. I took the puppy out and was instantly attacked and licked. This little creature was full of spunk and love to give. I introduced her to my B.B. Girl who sat waiting in the truck. B.B. was none to impressed but she’s an old girl set in her spoiled ways. I reached in my purse and took out the cash that I had. I turned to the old man and made him an offer. He declined of course saying that the dog sold for much more. I asked him how many dogs he sold that day and he said none. I told him that this dog had ear mites and a cloudy eye that may mean blindness or cataracts. I made a snide reference about it being a shame people breed dogs for the sake of money and not the love. I held the money out again and said, “You can take this money home and tell your wife you at least sold one puppy, or you can let this poor animal sit here until somebody says something to the authorities.” And that is how Sportster came to be my newest love.
B.B. Girl has been very instrumental in training Sportster. Little Sportster chases B.B. everywhere though it is not always welcome. Sportster has done rather well in her training and she is such a wonderful little ball of energy that she even wears me out.
I had hoped to entertain my FB friend Ginger and her dude. They were on vacation and not far from me in Tennessee but unfortunately as they made their way towards me on the bikes, the weather turned wicked bad and they had no choice but to take cover and run from the hills. The weekend following I did get lucky enough to have my good friend Big Tom from Florida come and stay with me. I wish it had been longer but we made the most out of our visit. We yapped until all hours and we had a fantastic motorcycle ride through Route 129 (commonly called, The Tail of the Dragon); from the south end to the north end. Uncle Tom had a grand time with B.B. Girl and Sportster. Tom has become a friend through a friend and as time passes and we see each other here and there, we share more and more. He is one of those brothers that knows me, gets me, and looks out for me. When Tom left my place he was headed first for Cherokee, NC to find something special for his peace-pipe (he talked of feathers and traditions during his visit). As Tom left I began my day like many others. I first sat down to the kitchen table to roll some cigarettes. In the tobacco I found the tiniest white fluffy feather – I immediately thought of Tom and his peace-pipe mission that day. I set the feather aside and my brain wandered about how I could preserve it for Tom. A little later in the day I set out to clean up some of my yard. In so doing, believe it or not, I happened upon a blue jay feather in bright blue and black. Now I knew that I simple had to figure out a way to preserve these for Tom. Fast forward – – – it took a little time but I eventually found some hemp twine in natural colors. I carefully glued and wrapped the cord neatly around both feathers and finishing it off with a loop. I wasn’t sure how Tom would affix it, but I knew he would love it and find a way. It took a little while for the project and the mail, but my smile was bright when I saw his FB post about his special gift coming in the mail. Here’s to you my friend… Smoke in Peace!
In between priorities and such, I decided to try out Match.com (yep, the dating website). For about two weeks I would check back every so often and of course with the app you never miss a beat. There were some kind messages here and there but only one dude that seemed like he might have some qualities that interested me. So this dude (Greg) and I chatted online many times and progressed to the phone. He lives in the town where I go for immediate shopping and so one day I asked him if he wanted to meet at the local Burger Basket. We did this after he was off work and sat chatting there for nearly two hours. Over a two week period we did some stuff with other folks and I genuinely enjoyed Greg’s company.
We got together to ride one day with Greg’s friend Johnny Walker. They guys took me to a Pumpkin Chunkin Festival which was a blast and a half. I had never seen the likes of these machines. I cannot fathom how much money these people put into catapults that throw pumpkins over a mile.
Greg even took me for a nice dinner on my birthday and later we joined friends. All in all, Greg and I make excellent friends and I have extended friends as well; right here in my new area. I didn’t put much more effort into the dating site after that because things really started to heat up for me in other areas. Perhaps I was not intended for a relationship of that type, I am busy and go and do as I please. I am blessed however that I do my utmost not to burn a bridge and Greg and his friends here look out for me and have become a very good network to have.
I received a super special treat for my birthday from my sweet friend Shayla of Sweets by Shayla. One of my favorite treats arrived by mail and it made me smile big and dance goofy.
I did of course get many opportunities to take some local rides and explore my new surroundings. Not only is riding and the natural beauty some things that refresh and invigorate me, but the riding is also so that I can share some roads with my friends when they come to visit me here. So far, Wayah Road is the most challenging and breath-taking. In fact, I got to ride Wayah Road with two gentlemen that I met for the first time at Myrtle Beach Bike Week earlier this year. Lee lives somewhat local (in biker standards) and Richard lives in SC and comes here to visit rather often as he has family in these parts. That was a really special day because we did a very lovely ride and while it is always great to meet folks that have followed and supported me; there is just a whole other level of brotherhood when I actually get to ride with these kinds of folks. It is a testament not only to the obvious heart that is bold and apparent in the motorcycle community but also to the power of social media.
I have had a couple visits back to Georgia for my latest prosthetic leg. I am very happy with the company and the leg man but of course it just doesn’t happen as fast as I would like. I was spoiled going to Orlando for a week and having an entire leg built in that timeframe. Now, it’s a piece at a time, weeks apart for appointments. It will be January until I get the final leg and that’ll be fine because of my deductible and starting that fresh for 2015. When I go to Georgia for these appointments I get to stay at Hunter Farms and that always bring a smile to my face. Sportster got to visit Uncle Tim and since she fetches wood (ok sticks) and since she catches moles, she is a welcome new visitor on the farm. But BB has grown on Mr. Tim and now she hides from Sportster by forcing her way up into Mr. Tim’s recliner with him. That cracks me up, because he IS NOT a lap dog kind of guy.
On one of my trips to Georgia I was able to meet up with Mr. Frank Boorne. Frank has accomplished some amazing riding that has been documented by Harley Davidson. You can certainly look him up online for more information and to follow him on Facebook, but one tidbit that is fascinating to me is that he was the first person in the world documented by Harley to put 100,000 miles on the Twin Cam motor when it came out in 1999. He did this in 17 months and 26 days. Then they took his motor back… WHAT?? Yeah, for testing. Harley has documented all his mileage on more than a dozen motorcycles he has owned and he has received accolades from Harley Davidson for over 1,160,000 miles. The lunch with he and his wife Theresa was a great break in my day of driving and doctor appointments. I look forward to visiting with them again.
I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my Mom in Charleston, SC which is something I have not done since I was a child. It was a lot of funny making Munster Cookies with Mom and of course, we over ate. Great grandma spoiled the girls as always but BB let Sportster know that “this is my Grandma”.
When I returned home from Mom’s there wasn’t much of a break before my friend from IL, Bill came to visit us on his vacation travels to Florida. He stayed about 5 days and we had a couple of great riding days. As it goes for my visitors, whether on the road or at home, I still have to work during the day and typically my friends are on their vacations. This means they entertain themselves for a while until I am free to cut-loose. Bill was extremely helpful with some manual tasks around the property that I could accomplish maybe not easily or quickly as a two-legged person. I am very thankful for that help and it took a few things off my to-do list. And the night before Bill left for his next adventure, I held a wee dinner party with him, Greg, and Chuck. We ate, we drank, we laughed, and I was a happy girl to have friends around.
The PTSD is calming down a bit but sometimes things set me off and I don’t even know it’s coming. The final scene in the season finale of Sons of Anarchy was just such a trigger. I don’t want to spoil if for those that haven’t seen it on DVR yet, but let’s just say a semi truck in a curve and a motorcycle…. I guess since I have a very vivid and creative imagination, my brain gets carried away with images, thoughts, and questions. I try hard to keep a chin up attitude and usually the funk doesn’t last more than a day. I’m looking forward to speaking in 2015 to a group of soldiers at Ft. Rucker, Alabama on the subject of PTSD and also speaking at their Bike Blessing. I think too often folks don’t understand the damage to one’s psyche from a major life trauma but it’s very real. For some it can be so debilitating that life ceases to exist for them. We all need to try and understand the best we can and provide support to those we know who have experienced such horrific tragedy.
It’s almost time for me to head to Illinois to enjoy the Christmas Season with my son, granddaughter and friends. Having a home-base now lends itself to different financial goals and I am trying hard to bolster business at The Write Hand. In January my business will convert to an LLC and I am very pleased with this milestone. Whether I decide someday to get a “real job” or continue this business full-time, the steps necessary to ensure compliance with ‘the system’ are tedious. Until my body is fully healed and I am in a place where legs don’t change often and the pain allows me a steady use of my prosthetic, I continue on my current path in order to support myself. It’s a juggling act but thankfully I don’t need a leg to juggle – hehe.
I am looking forward to also speaking at the Steelhorse Sisterhood Summit in Colorado in 2015. I’ll share my solo female nomad story, the triumph over tragedy, and also PTSD. I encourage all women riders to look up Steelhorse Sisterhood and join this fabulous organization of female motorcyclists. As I said, some other things have been heating up… I cannot let cats out of bags but I am sure hoping that some new 2015 opportunities will come to light very soon. Keep your eyes and ears open for more details.
I hope y’all will join me on some of my call-in radio shows as I am having a great deal of fun with this new format and my call-in guests on The Road Hawgs network.
Until the New Year, I hope you enjoy your holidays, whatever you may celebrate. Keep the faith, help somebody in need, and strive to have a fantastic 2015.