Reasons why I’m happy I finally got my license

Yep, that’s right – since my last post in February, I actually got on the road – a lot – and GOT MY LICENSE OMG.  I’ve had it for a month and a half, now – and now driving feels a lot more natural.  It’s amazing, being able to go wherever I want (within reason; highway driving is slightly intimidating right now as there’s crazy amounts of construction on IN 37/I 69 right now) and not have to worry quite so much about all the silly things I had to worry about while scootering, including…

  • what the weather will be like
  • if there’s snow on the roads
  • if Mia will actually be able to make it up a hill
  • what the speed limit of a specific road is and if I can actually hit the speed limit on Mia without angering other drivers in the process

Sure, I’m still angering other drivers on the road, but only on the twisty-turny roads out to Lake Lemon, as I’m apparently the only person who listens to those suggested speed signs for those corners.  I don’t want to take those suckers too fast and fall off the road/hit another car/hit some wildlife (although I’ve seen more deer in Bloomington while driving than I have out in the country!).

But yes, I finally have my license. And I’m still really enjoying driving, for many reasons…

  • RADIO.  I listen to the radio pretty much wherever I go.  Strangely enough, it helps me focus.
  • Windshield wipers are fantastic (although I need to get used to them, sometimes they get a little distracting while I’m driving – but I’ll take that over having to wipe off a helmet visor constantly).
  • Sitting in traffic isn’t as horrible in a car as it is on a scooter.  On the scooter, I’d have to be super aware of all the other cars around me because nobody pays attention to anything that’s not on four wheels and taking up an entire lane, plus I’d be stuck standing still in baking heat/pouring rain/freezing cold.  Lapis keeps me cozy, comfy, and dry.
  • PEOPLE ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION TO ME ON THE ROAD.  I don’t have to drive like I’m invisible!  Although I do keep super aware of everything, and try and keep my quick reflexes in good shape, because I know all my super senses from scooting will keep me safe in a car.
  • Related to the last point: I have a protective bubble now!  When I rode Mia to work for the last time a few weeks ago, after taking Lapis to work for about a month, I felt weirdly exposed.  Oh, I still loved being on two wheels, but I realized just how much safer it is to be in a car.
  • I can actually carry stuff with me, more than what fits in my scooter trunk/backpack.  Need to bring my work laptop home, but don’t have my backpack?  I can put it in the backseat and it’ll be fine.  I couldn’t do that on the scooter – mostly because my laptop is ginormous.

I’m super happy I have my license.  Sure, it took me seventeen years, but I did it.

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Lappy at work on the first day I was able to drive her in, next to her buddy Gipsy Danger (my friend Morgan’s car).

Mia’s enjoying her retirement from being a heavy-duty commuting scooter – she’s got a new home with my brother-in-law, and he’s enjoying riding as much as I do.  Which is awesome.

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Damion and Mia!

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Reasons why it’s a good idea to learn how to drive

I did it.

I finally set up my first official driving lesson.

I’m excited and terrified all at the same time.  To combat this, I’m thinking of all the reasons why it’s good to learn how to drive.  Here are the best reasons I’ve come up with:

  • I won’t have to base timing my commute on when the sun will be up, what the weather will be like, and what traffic is going to be like.  (Well,  I probably will base my commute on traffic, but it won’t be such a terrifying hassle to get to work during rush hour)
  • I can listen to MUSIC while I go places. (And maybe I’ll blast electroswing out my windows while I drive around downtown to combat the crappy bro-music that the little undergrad bros listen to)
  • I won’t have to worry about high winds pushing me over.
  • I will be in a big safe cage of metal and airbags, as opposed to sitting on a little chunk of plastic and metal hurtling down the road at 35 mph.
  • I won’t have to base my clothing choices on what’s safe to wear on a scooter.  (I can wear skirts and dresses without worrying about flashing my underwear to the city of Bloomington when a stiff breeze comes up!)
  • Raining?  All I’ll need to worry about is having an umbrella.  No need to wear the ridiculous day-glow pink rain suit if I’m in the car.
  • Holy crap, I’ll actually be able to see more of the road at night, as Lapis’s headlights are way better than Mia’s.
  • Did I mention Lapis is HEATED?  I won’t have to wear twelve layers when I want to go somewhere in February.
  • I also won’t have to limit what I take places because there’s only so much room to stash stuff in Mia, or choose what bag I take based on what I need to drag places.
  • HOLY CRAP I CAN DRIVE TO INDY IF I WANT TO.
  • I’ll also be able to do fun things with my hair!  No more having helmet-safe hairstyles!
  • Also: why wouldn’t I want to drive this delightful little nerd-mobile around town?
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I can do this, you guys.  I can totally do this. I just have to learn how to do stuff with my feet that I typically do with my hands (gas and brake), and how to do stuff with my hands that I typically do by shifting my weight and gently moving handlebars (steering).  I can do this.

Anxiety: please leave.

Anxiety is like the worst uninvited guest, one who shows up unannounced and stays far too long for anyone’s comfort. Sometimes it’ll take the hint and leave, after too many suggestions that maybe now is not the time. Sometimes it’ll just stay there into the wee hours of the night, rambling on about things you don’t want to hear long after you should have gone to bed.

Tonight is one of those nights. I’m laying here in bed, typing this on my phone, waiting for the valerian root I took an hour and a half ago to kick in and help me emotionally unclench, listening to Ross snore. I’m trying to focus on how cute his weird squeaky snore is, because if I don’t, my brain will just go off down its rabbit trails of anxiety-inducing thoughts that make things worse.

Maybe I should have snuggled the cat for longer. Steve’s purring calms me down. And he knows I’m not doing well tonight. He was glued to my side earlier, and is laying by the gate at the end of the hall right now, keeping watch as best he can over his human.

Writing helps. It gives me a thing to focus on. If I have something to focus on, something to keep me distracted, I feel better. Doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it occupies all my thoughts. Writing, reading a book, listening to a purring cat or a snoring husband, so long as it takes up my whole brain, I’ll eventually get better. Eventually the uninvited guest will leave, if I ignore him long enough.

I just have to remember that I’m in a good place now, a safe place. I have a house and a car and a husband who cares about me, and two cats and a scooter which is finally mobile again. I have people who love me and care about me, a wonderful job that I love, and a warm bed to snuggle into at night.

And after a while of telling myself that, the anxiety will go away, leaving me emotionally ragged but ready to move on.

Music in the back of Pop’s car

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Pictured: not my dad’s car

Two things happened today:

  • Leonard Cohen passed away
  • I talked to my dad for the first time in over half a year

And these things do interrelate, strangely enough.  Let me tell you a little story.

As a young girl, I always loved going places with my father.  Going for a ride in Pop’s fancy cars was always thrilling – his red Corolla, his silver Saab, his green Audi, his string of fancy silver BMW wagons.  He’d always be playing music of some sort, too.  One of my favorite memories of riding in my dad’s car focuses on one late night, I think on the way back from the New York State Fair, in his Saab with the little lights in the back seat that made me think of reading lights on airplanes.  We were listening to a cassette, Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man, and my favorite song started playing – Jazz Police.  I had no idea what the lyrics meant, I just liked the way it sounded.  It gave me goosebumps to listen to it.  I remember sitting in the backseat, looking out the window up at a full moon as Pop navigated his way through the crowded parking area in a field by the state fairgrounds, listening to Jazz Police.

Every time I’d end up riding in Pop’s car, I’d beg him to play Jazz Police, and he’d oblige.  (Unless we were listening to the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.  That was something we’d both sing along to, and I knew every word to every song before I’d even seen the movie, thanks to my dad.)  Eventually he got a car with a CD player, and I think Jazz Police was relegated to a shelf in his den.

I hadn’t talked to my dad in a while, until today, anyway – I’d tried calling a number of times, and left voicemails at his office, and upon hearing of Leonard Cohen’s death I thought I’d give him one more call, leave one more message, and see if he’d get it.  Since I hadn’t spoken to him since March, I had no idea what was going on.  Was he sick?  Did my mother somehow get him to hate me?  Was he simply too busy? (The answer: he had a hip replacement earlier this summer, and is just now getting back to work full-time.)  I finally got a hold of him today, and we talked, and I felt better.

And when I got home, I rolled my scooter into the garage, crawled into Lapis (my car) and put on Jazz Police on repeat and closed my eyes, pretending I was in the back of my dad’s old Saab, getting lost in the bass and the lyrics (which I have far more understanding of now), and I could almost smell the leather seats from his old car.  (Which is a feat, considering Lapis has barebones fabric seats.)  And for a moment, it was like I was young again, maybe five or six, lost in the music in the back of Pop’s car.

Five whole years.

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Five years ago!

Five years ago today, exhausted and slightly damp from splashing fish tanks due to the bumpy mess that was the Walnut St. exit off Rte. 37, Bryan pulled our giant moving van across six parking spots in front of what would be our new home – once the landlady showed up to give us our keys, anyway.  I was about to enter an entirely new chapter in my life, in an unknown city, with all my friends and family about 800 miles away.  It was Bryan and I, and three betta fish, against the world.

I was also about to start a new job, one I was ridiculously excited about because it involved helping people learn about technology.  I had no idea what I’d be doing, aside from helping people out during workshops about Photoshop and Word.  So much was unknown at that point, both at work and in life, and it excited and terrified me.

A lot’s happened since then.

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Yesterday!

Fast forward five years, and we have today.  I kissed Ross goodbye as he went to work, and he pouted slightly because I won’t be home until nearly 9 pm due to teaching an evening workshop.  I gave my cats some attention before getting ready for my day.  I scootered to work on Mia, a five mile trip, with my helmet open so I could enjoy the morning breeze.  I flopped into my desk chair, at the desk across the aisle from the one I started in five years ago when everyone in UITS moved over to the Cyberinfrastructure Building.  I marveled a little bit, even after being in my current position as Senior IT Education Specialist and Video Development Coordinator for a year, that I’ve pretty much got my dream job, and can do it full time.

I have a car that I need to learn how to drive.  I have two scooters, two cats, a room full of My Little Ponies and yarn.  I have a loving husband who I don’t know what I’d do without.  I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for.  I’ve gone through a divorce, crashed my scooter on accident, written two workshops from scratch, started a blog (that sorely needs updating), crocheted entirely too many objects for one person to enjoy, and grown immensely as a person.

Bloomington has been very, very good to me.

I’m alive.

Not that anyone really reads this blog, anyway, but I’m still here, and eventually I’ll update it with something more than just “oh hey I exist”.  I promise.  I’m working on my website, and figured I may as well link to this thing, in case people want to read what I’ve written here.

In other news, I am exhausted, the weather is depressingly rainy, and I ordered a large box of yarn today.  Nothing too out of the ordinary in the life of Beth…

Things that have been happening

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me here – between work, vacation, and everything in between, I haven’t had much time to write a post.  So, here I am, rambling about what’s happened in the past… month or so since I last wrote.

I ended up selling Scooterlou.  Again.  I felt it was the responsible thing to do, considering I hadn’t ridden her since it got warm outside again, and she’s nowhere near as fast as Mia.  I ended up selling her to one of Scott’s brothers, and she now lives with a herd of Honda Metropolitans – which makes me happy.

The biggest reason I sold Scooterlou is this…

IMG_20150524_165333Yes, I am finally learning how to drive.  Ross’ mom was thinking of selling her Mustang, and I’ve always wanted one and figured “hell, this is the perfect motivation for learning how to drive – actually owning a car.”  So I ended up buying the Mustang from Connie.  Meet Captain Kathryn Stella Janeway.  Her interior is now covered in My Little Ponies.  Would you expect any less from me?

Before Janeway was brought down here, Ross and I went to Florida to visit family.  We went to the beach, relaxed a lot, and got a tiny bit sunburned.  (Which is better than last year, when we both got VERY sunburned.)

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That’s a picture from Nokomis Beach – it was absolutely lovely there.  I picked up a lot of seashells, got startled by a school of fish, and generally enjoyed myself.

I really should start working on my costume for Indy PopCon, which is at the end of the month.  I want to do a steampunk-themed Pinkie Pie costume – which shouldn’t be too hard.  I’ve just got to put the pieces together.  Morgan’s painting my Party Cannon, so I know that’s gonna look amazing when it’s done – I hope the rest of my costume will follow suit.

That’s what’s been going on in the life of Beth lately.