The Year of Firsts…

Two days ago was the anniversary of my late husband passing. In the beginning, those who has lost a love one has told me that in grieving, it will be “the year of firsts”. Experiencing the first holiday, birthday and anniversary without him.

I noticed that there are other things that once were shared experiences such as going to the grocery store, movies and charity fundraisers are now the “firsts” for me. Even things such as cooking was a huge challenge for me since I enjoyed cooking for him and not for myself. As I move into my new place, is when I finally finding energy to try cooking again instead of eating salad and a dinner roll every night.

Not just in shared experiences but such as things that I depended on him to take of care for me now I had to learned to take care of myself. The biggest challenge was learning how to maintain the motorcycle myself. With the help of my son, I learned how to changed the oil, gaskets and seals. After I broke the throttle cable, I learned with the help of YouTube how to replaced it myself without anyone help. That was a huge milestone for me, having the confidence and trust in myself to accomplish those things.

Now as I think about it, I think the biggest “firsts” is learning how to deal with my emotions. I was never an emotional person. I actually bottled up it most of the times or if I’m alone then I can release it in private. In the beginning I hated crying and now after a year I learned to let it roll down my face and wait for it to pass. There is an old saying “Time Shall Heal All Wounds” but actually in grieving, it does not lessen the pain but it becomes easier to ride the wave (the emotion).

Today it is Christmas and originally I did not want to participate in this major holiday and wanted to take a ride to nowhere to be alone. However, I learned that some were hurt that I wasn’t going to be at the family event. At first I was hurt that they didn’t understand how it would be awkward for me to be there. After some deep soul searching, I realized that I’m the last connection to my late husband and they need something to hang onto. So it will be my gift to them this year to be present at the family event. I know that I may need to take a walk to deal with my emotions because I’m still a private person about it. I’m learning it is ok to grieve and to feel all of the raw emotions. Also, I know that in May, it will be my time to find peace and a closure to the “Year of Firsts”.

Remember, that life is too short and take the time to let your friends and love ones know how they touched your life.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope that your day is filled with love and joy!

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Stepping Stones

As I pack for my trip down to Baja California for the week, I just realized that the last three months have been a stepping-stones toward my journey in May in so many different ways.

SteppingStones

Such as the day I broke down in Yosemite with a broken throttle cable. Actually, that day meant a lot more to me then I led on.  It was the first time I didn’t get frustrated or get angry at him or god for making it difficult on me.  I just stared at the situation and figured out with a level head on how to handle the situation.  The broken throttle cable also taught me to trust myself and gain confidence that I can learn and do it by myself.  Before the previous ride out to Joshua Tree, I have had asked a couple of biker friends to teach me how to replace the broken throttle cable but none of them followed through so I sat down at the computer and watched a couple of YouTube videos on how to do it. So, I took a deep breath and dived in.  As I took the bike apart, I took a bunch of pictures so I can make sure it put the new one back in correctly.  The project was successful.  It taught me to trust myself and not to doubt my ability.

Now that I think about the concept of Stepping Stones, I realized that all of my life has been a stepping stone into this journey.  From the day, when an English teacher told me that he was not God and was going to have to suffer in his class when I asked for help in class and to the day I learned how to let go with love in Al-Anon.

Even the little things in life are stepping-stones for example, when my husband passed away, there were certain things I lost passion in doing such as cooking, reading or even watching a movie.  Slowly but surely, I have been pushing myself into these activities.  In my new place, where I’m living does not have a stove so for a while, I have been eating a ready-made salad and a dinner roll every single night.  Now, I’m learning how to cook out a toaster oven which has been a challenge to say the least.

I’m finally started reading again.  Before, he got sick; I was on a kick about traveling by a motorcycle and downloaded a bunch of books such as American Boarder by Carla King, A Blind Curve by Linda Crill and Touching the World by Cathy Birchall and Bernard Smith.  I was able to read most of them but the last one I never got around to finishing it. So recently, I picked it up again and started the beginning once again.

I can’t remember the last I went to the movie by myself but I really wanted to see the Hunger Games in the theater.  Believe it or not, this step was one of the harder one for me.  It really made me feel alone and realize that my life is moving on without him.

Each of these stepping-stones is showing me how to move forward in my journey and to gain courage and confidence within myself.  Once again, I’m using a tool that I once learned in Al-Anon by letting go with love of the life that I once knew and embracing the new one that is ahead of me.

Promises to keep…

I struggled writing all of my life and I really hated taking the required English classes in high school.  Well that was until my senior year where I had to take an American Literature class which was taught by Mrs. Sharma.  She made learning fun and was the only teacher that recognized that I was struggling with the language.  She was the one who showed me how to write visually versus auditory.  It still not perfect but I have come a long way since I first walked into her class.

frost

It was in her class I first heard the poem “Stopping By the Wood on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost.  I immediately fell in love with this poem.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promised to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep

I was and still am mesmerize by the last paragraph.  While reading this in class, we also had a class discussion about each line and the summary of this poem and most of my classmates and I felt it was about death and suicide.

Now that I have stumbled upon a book of Robert Frost’s poem while unpacking, I took a moment to re-read my favorite poem.  Reflecting upon the words again, this time I feel it’s more about one’s journey in life.  For example in one of paragraph of the poem, the horse thinks it queer to stop without a farmhouse near, which to me sound like the rider finally stop in his busy schedule to pause and look into the woods and reflect upon life.  While reflecting into the woods, it dawns on the rider that he must continue his journey since he has promises to keep.

As I reflect upon own my journey, I realize that I too have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.

Double Take?

dou·ble takenoun – a delayed reaction to something unexpected, immediately after one’s first reaction.

Have you ever gone on a ride and did a u-turn just to see if you really saw what you think you saw?

Last weekend, I went on a ride through Joshua Tree National Park with a group of fellow TW200 riders and on the way to Eureka Peak, we stumbled upon a street warning of the curves up ahead.  Really?!?!, didn’t we just ride through a bunch of curves already and what’s the heck is a street sign doing in the middle of the desert?  The only theory I have is that someone sued the government for not warning about the curve up ahead  and they were willing to comply so they won’t get sued again.

StreetSign

So I decided to go through my photo archive to see if I could find any other odd signs or attractions that we have stumbled upon over the years.

This picture below didn’t come out very well but it a street sign that reads “Hollywood” and “Vine”.  Uh?  I thought we were in Borrego Springs, CA and not in Hollywood, CA.  I wonder who took the time and money to put this one out here in the middle of nowhere.

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These Concrete Dinosaurs can be found in Apple Valley, CA.  Apparently, in the 70’s, the owner of the property, Lonnie Coffman, had a dream of owning a miniature golf course began building these concrete dinosaurs but apparently his dream never came to fruition.

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Here is a stuffed moose located on Hwy 247 in Lucerne Valley, CA.  The coat of this moose has seen better days but it is out here in the desert 24/7.  I couldn’t find any information on this moose as to how he came about or what his story is all about.

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Last but not the least of the odds things on the roadside is the Airmail boxes.  Apparently, they’re everywhere.  The first time I heard about them was on another motorcycle blogger website; www.fuzzygalore.com/2014/06/is-there-a-registry-of-air-mail-boxes and just recently I stumbled across one on Hwy 247 in Lucerne Valley, CA as well.

AirMail (1)

Apparently, there are many more roadside oddities up here in the High Desert of California.  I guess it is time to start exploring some more to find them. Do you have any pictures of roadside oddities that you had to do a double take?