Thursday, August 9, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee ~ Inspiration and change

Good Morning, darlings, and happy Thursday!

The bike trip with the husband was quite lovely. I am loving the comfort of the new bike, and Dave is quite enamored of the ability to listen to music on the bike.We dug out some CDs, had a little iTunes burning party, and ended up with quite an interesting playlist.

I brought along an old Meatloaf CD, but it was a bit battered, and the husband was worried it would damage the CD player, so that was a bummer. And I just bought Lit, The View from the Bottom, yesterday, so we didn't have that one, either (but I'll tell you, I like it. And not just because the band was nice to IzzyG [formerly known as Sprite]).

This playlist is cool because it's almost a perfect mix of the two of us, and even included some surprises. I know ya'all don't know my husband, but go ahead and take a guess as to which of the above are his favorite bands.

I'll wait a minute while you think about it....

And I'll tell you my favorites - Train (always my #1) and Theory of a Deadman.

His favorites at the moment are Buckcherry, Nickelback, and 4onthefloor.

4onthefloor is great bike music - They're from Minneapolis, and I bought the CD last year at the Willie Nelson concert at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth (same place IzzyG - formerly known as Sprite - and I just saw Lit). All their songs are in 4/4 time, and the set was so unusual that I couldn't leave without a CD. And I had a feeling my husband would like it (so right).

I bought Alabama for the trip, which turned out to be not-so-great bike music. Hubby was skipping tracks, and then I found the button that allows the passenger to skip tracks, so then we were both skipping tracks and laughing at each other. Perhaps it's an issue of sound quality - that particular CD had a "tinny" sound that hurt my ears. I still love Dixieland Delight, but the rest of it - meh.

And then there was the ultimate, final musical surprise - Journey.

It's funny how you can live with someone for TWENTY years, and still be utterly shocked that your husband would burn, select, and actually insert a Journey CD into the player, and then be content to ride along listening to it for over two hours.

I mean, seriously? The guy who loves Buckcherry chooses Journey? Not that I have anything against Journey, mind you, but I'd just been to the Summerland Tour featuring Marcy Playground, Lit, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray, and Everclear. Journey's almost a bit too 80s after that.

Ok. Well. Enough about the music.

Sitting unplugged on the back of a bike for a couple of days really lets the mind wander. As the passenger, my main responsibilities are: 1) "sit still for God's sake" and 2) wave.

It's a big, heavy bike, and the husband would prefer not to let go of the handle bars to wave, so waving has always been my job.

See, there's a kind of universal biker club, a brotherhood who loves to ride, and who acknowledge one another along the way with a wave.

Not a parade queen wave, nor a geeky flappy wave. Oh no. It's a gesture to the side of the bike or toward the ground with either the pointer finger extended, or two fingers extended in the V sign. No crazy hand - flapping -fingers - wiggling waving going on. That would be way uncool.

Trust me on this. When it became my job to wave, I did a little research to make sure I was offering the "we ride" salute in the coolest way possible. Personally, I use the V sign. The pointer finger wave is pretty cool too, and I found that gesture quite useful in Sturgis when I wanted to signal to another bike, or God forbid an automobile, that we were going to change lanes, and intended for our bike to end up in "that spot, right there, the one I'm pointing to." So I stick with the upside down V salute. (In South Dakota, by the way, during Bike Week, you just give up on waving altogether because we're all here and we're all cool as hell without the wave. And anyway, there are so many bikes that you'd be stuck in a permanent wave, which would be annoying).

On this most recent trip, we stuck to quiet little highways in northern WI. Highway 35 from Superior to Danbury, Highway 70 from Danbury to Woodruff/Lac du Flambeau, Highway 41 to Hurley, Highway 2 back to Superior. There weren't a whole lot of bikes. In fact, for 150 miles on Highway 70 (freaking phenomenally idyllic ride, btw) I think I only got to wave 5 times.

casino run by Lac du Flambeau band
We rode through a lot of national and state forest areas, a lot of small lakes and small towns (I fell in love with a town called Stone Lake, WI and daydreamed for quite a while about moving there). We rode through two Indian reservatsion - Lac Courte Oreilles (and a town phonetically named Couderay, which totally cracked me up), and Lac du Flambeau.

I had no idea now many national forest campgrounds there are in my home state of WI. Kind of made me wish that I cared more for roughing it. Maybe we'll try that next summer. We love nature. Except for the mosquitoes. And the spiders. And the discomfort of morning dampness. Oh yeah. And the part where the only thing I can cook over a campfire with any success at all is a hot dog on a stick.

Yeah, never mind.

We stayed at a couple of casinos - St. Croix and Lake of the Torches, and that's always a bunch of fun. My husband and I like the games, and we don't play more than we're willing to lose, so if we're entertained for a few hours, that's a good time. (He usually wins, and I usually lose).

I did play this slot machine called Black Widow literally for HOURS on the same 20 bucks. I was pretty sure the Widow had the hots for me. I was seeing these faces in my sleep that night, I swear. It's my new favorite. Wish there was an app for my iPhone. (Obsessive much?)

So sitting on the back of the bike leaves a lot of time for thinking.

And thinking leads to ideas, yeah, and ideas lead to all sorts of trouble.

My girl, IzzyG - formerly known as Sprite - is growing up. Yesterday was her 9th birthday.

I have learned that there is a price to be paid for naming a child after a hurricane.

This child has an explosively outgoing personality. I mean, come on - she was onstage with Lit. And maybe Lit's been kind of on hiatus for a decade, but I saw them up close and live, and I'm telling you, they are a Major Rock Band.

IzzyG has been working on a video series - she's all energy and ego - and she's been after me to post more of her videos on YouTube, which I've been avoiding doing because I'd like to edit them and get them looking a bit more professional (the Virgo in me) and I know it's going to be time consuming. And as a writer of novels, I tend to be stingy about giving my time away.

But. Here's the kicker. I'm wrapping up DeVante's Choice, the 3rd book of my Vampire DeVante trilogy. This has been, literally, a 20 year project. And obviously I'm not going to be making a living  as a writer any time soon. And I'm perfectly okay with that.

Truth is, lately I've been getting more pleasure writing my impossible romance short stories than I get out of writing the full-length novels. Novels require a major time investment and an emotional investment which doesn't leave room for much else.

from meme generator
I recently saw this picture on Facebook (bear with me, there's a point to this abrupt subject change).

This picture hit my gut.

I was born a few blocks away from Lake Superior. And I continue to live within view of this huge, beautiful, freshwater lake.

The fact that there is a worldwide shortage of water is almost incomprehensible to me. It's like a myth, or a fairy tale. And yet... it isn't.

And how on earth is IzzyG ever going to top singing on stage with Lit?

So there I was, thinking... what if we found a way to channel IzzyG's outgoing personality, energy, and ego into something positive? We're getting to the tween years. Raising her thus far has certainly been a challenge, and somehow I don't think she's ever going to be easy. But what if we had a collaborative project, something to work on together? What if we got involved with or a similar organization that helps villages in third world countries get access to clean water, one village at a time?

I've always said this child will change the world.

And maybe waiting for her to do it on her own isn't quite enough. Maybe I should help her get started.

What do you think?

Happy Thursday, darlings! I hope you all have a stellar weekend!

(I did a really nice edit of the video, and spliced another short clip in at the end - so here's a link to the new improved version, which is the 3rd upload, and 2nd edit. Cuz I plopped in the logo at the end, and I did not have permission to do that. So it's all fixed now, no copyright infringement).


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  2. Hey, nice post...I enjoyed the biker discussions too. I happened to be in Sturgis during the big ralley one year (many years ago now) and it was eye-opening for sure. We had a blast though. And the stuff sounds very cool.