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All About Me
Nifer
Name: Nifer
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Back September 2012
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Just checking in ... letting those of you who still read know that while I may not update on a regular basis ... I do still stalk this site on a regular basis... One of these days I might actually be inspired to start writing here again.
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1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
Rode a snowmobile and an ATV.  So much fun on both!!  Oh .. and dropped the motorcycle.  And yea, it is just as painful as you might imagine .. on many levels!

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Mostly.  Failed on the quitting smoking .. but lost 60+ lbs.  I count it as a win.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Kinda.  Had an abortion in July.  Which was kind of a big deal, because I was told I would never be able to get pregnant, ever, due to health issues. Then wound up pregnant ... and had to make the difficult decision to terminate because attempting to carry to term was a 1 in 8 chance of death on my part, and a silly percentage of complications, including death to infant, and significant birth defects.  This was the year that I got confirmation that my "girl parts" have declared war on my body and soul.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just my own .. but spent time in a state I've never been in for any significant time before and had a blast! (Philadelphia, PA for a good friend's wedding)

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A car that is road trip worthy. Would like to have spent more time visiting my out of state, and out of country, friends.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory?
July 15th.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Losing 60lbs.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Aside from the utter fail at being a woman ... not having more excess money.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Aside from my girl-parts declairing jihad on the rest of me .. I remained major injury free.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Can't say in mixed company  ;)

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Brian. He is now, and always will be, the awesome.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
My mother.  Her reaction to my situation in July made me so angry I couldn't talk to her for a few months. And when I re-opened communication, it was to tell her how hurt and disappointed I was in how she reacted to my decision.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Paying off medical bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Learning new skills ... riding a snowmobile for the first time .. riding an ATV for the first time .. both were super fun!

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
"Speed"

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
A little sadder.

ii. thinner or fatter?
Thinner!!

iii. richer or poorer?
About the same

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Asking important questions ... like .. what are we, exactly? Friends who fuck? Dating?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Asking the circular questions of woulda, coulda, shoulda.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Up north, with Brian's family

22. Did you fall in love in 2011?
I wouldn't say I fell in love because I was already there .. but hearing that someone else say it to me like they meant it ... priceless.

23. How many one-night stands?
Two

24. What was your favorite TV program?
"Master Chef"

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope

26. What was the best book you read?
REAMDE

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Not sure ... have a lot of stuff that I found that is fun, but nothing life changing

28. What did you want and get?
Weight loss

29. What did you want and not get?
A pregnancy that was safe to carry to term

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Muppets

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 38 .. had sushi dinner with friends, and it involved cake!  First time in years I've had cake on my birthday.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having the answer to the question I've been too afraid to ask.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Professional.

34. What kept you sane?
If I say alcohol .. does that make me an alcoholic?

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
None really .. I don't generally lust after things I have no hope of obtaining. 

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Woman's issues.  Get your government and opinions out of my body. You don't know my situation, you have no right to tell me what decision I am allowed to make.

37. Who did you miss?
My friends who either moved to, or live in, other states. Since my car is crap, I haven't been able to raod trip to visit them.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Kristin - who can't love another biker chick who loves theater!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Just because you can't be the best mommy on the planet doesn't mean you can't be the best auntie ever!

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"All I need is speed .. how fast can it go .. can it get me .. zero to 60 .. can it outrun his memory .. all I really need .. is an open road .. and a whole lot of speed" 

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Paid out about $2k in medical bills ... now my car is demanding another $1k in misc repairs, including (but not all inclusive to what is wrong with it) .. the straight pipe on the muffler, which houses the catalytic converter (which will need to also be replaced), as well as the timing belt and speed sensor.

Can December be over now?  My checkbook is crying ....
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A lovely screenshot of my character flying through the air after being punted off the mountain by a giant.

She's not always flying through the air getting dead .. currently she's marching through Skyrim leaving a trail of naked dead bodies in her wake. :) 
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I think this is what I'll be doing for a while ...

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Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:-Knowing when to come in out of the rain; - Why the early bird gets the worm;- Life isn't always fair; - And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies, don't spend more than you can earn, and adults, not children, are in charge.

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsibility, and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights,I Want It Now,Someone Else Is To Blame,I'm A Victim.Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, do nothing
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So .. I'm driving home from work a couple months ago. It's the first really, really nice day. It's almost 90, I'm sans helmet, sans gloves, wearing ubiquitous black dress pants .. and seriously considered ditching the leather coat because I was really warm, but since I was only a couple miles from home I decided that it wasn't worth the trouble of trying to smoosh that beast it into my tiny saddlebag.

Sitting at a red light in rush hour traffic behind a large cargo van when the light turns green. I pull forward as traffic starts moving, look at the road in front of me as it's revealed by the van and ... horror of horrors!! .. it looks like someone poured a drum of oil up my lane. It's shiney, and completely covers the lane for as far as I could see (aka: the bumper of the cargo van in front of me).

My inner monologue is telling me "don't you dare touch your brakes" and "can I get over to the dry lane next to me?". I'm lallygagging in the very beginnings of second gear and trying to edge over to the dry lane, when the van in front of me hits his breaks. A quick mirror check tells me I'm boxed in, and that bumper in front of me is slowing down. Knowing this will end poorly, I gently tap the break ... and the bike gets squirrly, skittering out from under me.

When I felt it go, I kicked off of it (getting caught under it when it falls is one of my worst fears) with a "stay in your lane .. please please please .. stay in your lane" as I tuck and roll, watching my baby do acrobatics down the street without me. Using the momentum I had, I vault to my feet before I even stop moving and start walking over to where my bike rests, and then realize that I'm upright when maybe I shouldn't be and do a quick self-check for anything broken. Satisfied that my legs bear weight, and my arms are working, I start to notice details around me.

The bike had stopped to rest wheels to the sky, resting on it's handlebars. The car behind me managed to stop at a respectable distance, and everyone who could see me had their windows down asking if I was ok. I saw no less than 5 people already on the phone calling it in. 3 cars pulled off and their occupants got out to assist. My guardian angels obviously know how to work the metaphysical phone tree.

One guy, who was walking on the other side of the street, silently stepped through the traffic that had stopped to make sure I wasn't a bleeding heap in the road, handed me his packages, pointed at 4 of the guys who were standing there wondering how they could help, and then pointed at the bike. Everyone took an edge, turned it shiney side up and set it gently on the curb. He then took his packages, and continued on his way - all without saying a word or acknowledging my thanks.

One lovely gentleman (turns out later he was a mechanic) looked over the bike, reattached the gas line, which had popped off - which was, amazingly enough, the only thing to come unattached - and pronounced the bike ok - to he suggested addressing the bent handlebar sooner rather than later. :)

A cop arrived a short while later while I waited for my buddy to come and escort me home .. I'm pretty sure they got about a dozen calls about a girl who's bike went tumbling down the road without her. After assertaining that I was ok - he got on the radio with the DPW at my instance to get a clean up truck out there STAT! Now that I can actually SEE the road ... literally the entire lane was covered in oil for at least 2 blocks. It looked like an oil drum just spilled all over the road and I was really worried that the next person to cross it wouldn't have been so lucky as to walk away.

Final damage - the engine guards got a little scrapped up (that's their job, right?), as did the top of the windshield and top of the right turn signal. Small dent in the gas tank where the handlbar hit it .. not even deep enough to crease the paint. Handlebars were bent - but they were straightened back out again at a buddy's garage and are still rock solid after being fixed. Saddlebags didn't have a mark on them, nor did anything else, for that matter.

Damage to myself .. well - this is the amazing part. The jacket took some scarring from where I slid on my left side, popped the zipper of that pocket and wore away a bit of the embroidery, and my knees got a bit of road rash. The pants - believe it or not - survivied the encounter with the pavement. I didn't even know I was bleeding until I got home and changed. My hands, which I was really worried about - not a single scratch, and my head never hit the pavement. I can only assume that since the lane was so slick with oil that I slid across the pavement instead of getting chewed up by it. However, my riding buddy is now calling me the accidental queen of "tuck and roll baby!". I guess there was a reason I learned to fall from horses for so many years. Who knew I'd ever need to apply the same skills on the road.

All things considered - I know I was damn lucky. So much could have gone badly that didn't. I'm ok .. the bike is ok .. and I didn't cause any collateral damage with my traffic acrobatics.

Still mad that I dented the gas tank tho. It's the only think I don't know how to fix.
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For those of you in the IL/WI/IA/MN area ... come one come all to the 12th annual Tubing Trip!! 

There is a caravan that leaves from my place at 9am for those of you who are local, or coming from the south.  Otherwise, meet at the Point Bluff Resort off HWY Z just north of the WI Dells.

Bring your cooler full of libations and munchies (anything goes, so long as there is no glass) and your sunblock and be ready to relax and float down the WI River.

Let me know if you are interested in coming.  The invitation can be found here:

http://www.facebook.com/?sk=lf#!/event.php?eid=120311604711463


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I went riding with my friend, Brian, up to his parent's place in Menomonie, WI.  For those of you unfamiliar with WI geography .. it's about 300 miles NW of Milwaukee, about an hour or so from the Twin Cities.

The morning started cold and rainy - at least at his house. By my place, it was slightly warmer - and significantly less wet. So, after talking it through, we decided to head out.  Our route was simple - HWY 18 west, then pick up HWY 12 in Madison and follow it all the way to Menomonie.

The trip out wasn't terrible to Madison .. it was grey .. it was chilly - and we did have an epic battle with the wind for a good portion of it .. but not a terrible ride. We picked up HWY 12 on the beltline around Madison and had a pleasant ride up 12 for a good chunk of the way.

We stopped to warm up and take a break from the bikes at a great little coffee shop in Tomah called Natural Connection. It's a health store with a variety of organic tea, organic soaps/shampoos, organic ... well, everything. They also had a great coffee bar with a very friendly barrista who made me the best damn "dirty chai" on the planet. (chai with a shot of espresso)

Things started to go downhill from there. About an hour later it started drizzeling. A short while after that, it started actually raining. After about an hour of that bullshit, we pulled into a gas station in the middle of nowhere to thaw out a bit .. and that was where the trip got really rough.  The rain would not let up, the wind picked up, and the temperature dropped.  I was a wet, cold, shivering, miserable mess. I now understand why people carry rain gear in their saddlebags at all times, and will be picking up a suit for myself in the very near future.

By the time we got into Eau Claire, I was barely human. My hands were numb, my shoes were so filled with water that it actually splashed out when I shifted gears. I only had enough energy to focus on the wet (slippery!) roads and chant to myself "I will NOT drop this bike .. I WILL not drop this bike .. I will NOT drop this bike .. I WILL not drop this bike".  Needless to say - it was brutal - and it went on for a couple hours. I was soaked to the bone everywhere not covered by helmet or leather jacket and shivering so violently that dropping the bike was a very real possibility .. but one I was not willing to let happen at 50mph.

By the time we got to the farm, I was barely coherant. I was shivering so hard that I couldn't even manage to get my gear off unassisted. Brian pealed my gear off me me like a toddler and helped me get into dry cloths. It took me several hours, a couple quilts and every spare blanket in the room, along with a snuggly Brian, to finally stop shivering.  It was terrible. I never want to be that cold again. I learned that after about an hour of doing it, shivering HURTS!  Every time I stopped, I'd just lay there and pant, praying it wouldn't start again .. which it did ... until I finally fell asleep ... or more to the point, passed out. Hypothermia is the suck.

I did learn a lot about myself on the way up tho. Had anyone told me how terrible it was going to be, I would have put money on my not being able to make it. I would never have thought that I had it in me to endure that kind of physical punishment. However, every time I thought I was at the end of my endurance and willpower to keep pushing on .. I found another bit in reserve. Even after we got to the farm where I distinctly remember saying "I've got nothing left... " I realized that, if I absolutely HAD to do it - I could have kept going. Kept pushing onward.  I have often been told I have the willpower of a goddess - but I've never before been tested like this, so I never saw it in myself.  Now, I know that I do. I was pushed well past any physical endurance I thought I had, and still had more to give.  I surprised myself. And now I have a whole new bar of "is this really bad? really?  REALLY?"  If I can make it over 3 hours in the rain, on a motorcycle, soaked through, with the temps in the low 40's, at 50mph (Brian estimated the temp adjusted for wind chill at about 10 degrees), then I can make it through anything!

Sunday dawned .. bright and sunny. Temps in the mid to upper 60's - a perfect day for riding. And the ride back was fantastic.  HWY 12 through the state is beautiful.  Aside from it being a bit breezy, I couldn't have asked for a better day - and it made the hell I went through the day before totally worth it.  There is nothing that compares to a great ride on a scenic back road.  We even managed to find a couple photo ops along the way .. below is my favorite. Found it outside of Black River Falls - a biker bar called Scooter's.  "Jap Bike Parking Only" - I couldn't resist putting my Honda in front of it.  And, if you look close, you'll see the bikes hanging up are all old Hondas.  :)



We even managed to get a couple more Rustic Road photos for our patches!  Below is one of the better photos.  Oh - and hey - I haven't posted photos of myself since I dropped about 40lbs - so yea! How skinny do I look here?  :)  Keep in mind, I'm wearing "armor" in the form of a thick leather jacket, another jacket under that .. and 2 shirts under that.



The weather held out until we reached Madison .. and then two things happened .. the temp dropped from 60's to high 40's .. and the wind got viscious!  We fought the wind the rest of the way back to Milwaukee. Let me tell you - that's a workout on a motorcycle! I'm sore in places I didn't know I had muscles.

All in all - it was a good weekend. I learned a lot about myself .. and saw a lot of my state that I've never seen before.  I can't wait until the weather decides to warm up (ever!) and these kinds of trips will be more relaxing.