Cat Mum!

Happy Belated New Year bloggers! My first post for the year, and I have exciting news! I’M GOING TO BE A CAT MUM!!! This has been a loooonng time coming. M and I have been talking about this for a few years, and the plan was always to adopt a couple of cats and/or dogs from a shelter.

There’s a great mobile app called PetRescue available on both iPhone and Android. It lists, not only all the animals in Australia needing homes (cats, dogs, guinea pigs, horses, etc), but it also gives you a synopsis of each animal’s temperament, for example, whether they should be an only pet or if they’re well socialised, if they like being picked up and held or are more independent, or any special care needs they may have, etc. See link to their website here: PetRescue. Trying to contact the carers via their email form has always been a bit glitchy but the foster carer mobile numbers are also listed anyway, and I found that to be a better method. It really is a wonderful and valuable service that they provide.

It’s rather sad that I’ve been looking through their cat and dog profiles over the years and favouriting ones that sounded like they might suitable for M and I, while knowing full well that we were in no position to adopt for some time, mainly because of the predicament around our house—which has been an ongoing saga for some time but that’s another story altogether. Every few months I’d return to the app. It was so heartening for me to see that most of the animals I had favourited had been adopted. I liked knowing that. It’s little things like these that bring a smile to my face and reinforces for me that there is good in the world. 🙂

M and I had been keeping an eye out for a couple of Maine Coons on PetRescue over the years. They were few and far between so I decided we should broaden our requirements somewhat. It didn’t matter anymore what age or type of breed they were or weren’t, as long as their profiles stated that they were part of a pair, were litter trained, affection was a must, got along with other animals and little people. We’d visited some shelters and found cats I adored but we had to hold off again because we were moving house, and then because we were travelling later in the year. Other times, someone else had beat us to it and one or both had already been adopted. 😦

20161229-truda-pj-and-i

Thrilled to meet Dr Truda M. Straede (founder of the Australian Mists) and PJ. The Australian Mists come in spotted or marbled. PJ is marbled.

Between Christmas 2016 and New Years, a couple of Maine Coon mixes had become available via PetRescue for adoption. Needless to say, I was beyond excited! It was very important to us that our pets had a bond because they’d be keeping each other company while we were at work and elsewhere. Again, one of those kittens ended up being adopted by someone else so my excitement was very short lived. We recognised that, based on our current lifestyle, we couldn’t commit the time or energy to familiarise two separate kitties with each other.

And so the pet search cycle began again, but this time, I looked up Maine Coon breeders in Victoria instead. That unexpectedly led me to the Australian Mists. As I read more and more about them, I fell in love with their temperament. It sounds nutty but M and I had always hoped we’d find a couple of cats we could take on little outings. Most of all, I love that they’re loving AND gentle with adults and kids, dogs and other cats. While it wasn’t a determining factor, I also learned that they’re the only Australian Pedigree cats. The Australian Mist Companion, authored by Dr Truda M. Straede, is provided to new owners when they adopt through her cattery. Truda is also the founder of the breed, and her booklet advises that the origins of the Australian Mist is one half Burmese, one quarter Abyssinian, and the other quarter Domestic. You can find out more about them here: Mist MysteryWikipedia and Animal Planet Video.

20170108-xin

Xin (心) loving her new toy, and then placing her paw ever-so-gently on my hand! My heart melted. The lighting makes her look much lighter here than Jin.

We met Truda and her Mists. They were all so friendly, and yes, gentle! Even when they were playing. While we initially chose girl and boy siblings for adoption, we decided in the end, based on the connection we shared, on a second girl instead.

20161229-jin

Jin (金), the first time we met her. The lighting makes her look much darker here than Xin.

I’m proud to say that we have the two most adventurous and brave kittens of the litter. They’re both spotted, as opposed to marbled pattern, and they’ll both grow up to be chocolate brown in colour. We’ve given them Chinese names. The more cheeky of the two is Xin (心). The ‘x’ is pronounced between an ‘s’ and ‘sh’ sound, and means heart. And Jin (金), which means gold. Together, they are our hearts of gold. I’M SO EXCITED AND HAPPY!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m determined to be, not only a loving, but also a responsible Cat Mum, so I’ve been doing my research and asking lots of questions! I’ve already learnt so much from Truda, other Cat Mums, and the Lort Smith and RSPCA websites.

I initially felt pangs of guilt that we weren’t adopting from a shelter instead, that I’d betrayed those animals, but I met and fell in love with Xinny and Jinny. I wasn’t going to reject them because they didn’t come from a shelter. And if we could have adopted any of the affectionate shelter cat/kitten pairs I enquired about or met last year, I wouldn’t have felt so heartbroken each time, and I wouldn’t even have thought to look up Australian Mist or Maine Coon breeders, but that is how it came to be. We were ready and I didn’t want to wait anymore to adopt two felines to love, and for them to love me just as much, if not more, in return.

20170108-xin-and-jin

My adorable spotted girls, investigating. Xinny (back) and Jinny (front) Du. It will take a couple of years for their colour to darken.

20161230-pj-2

This is a much better view of PJ’s marbled coat. Pictured here snuggling up beside me even though we’d only met minutes prior.

 

Advertisements

Caring For Dad

This last week and half has been up and down. Aside from helping care for a previous partner’s daughter, I hadn’t had to be a carer for anyone. In saying that though, I could see from watching carers, Mum in particular, how much hard work it was. That was the reason I made the offer many years ago to look after Dad and insisted she take a bit of time off and relax. It’s only been some years later that she finally took me up on my offer.

It’s been lovely hearing Mum’s excitement to catch up with her sister, who’s from Canada, in Singapore and board a cruise ship together.

My partner, M, and I drove from Melbourne to Canberra on 24/11, and then at 03:30 on the morning of 26/11, we drove Mum to Sydney airport.

mel-cbr

Google Maps shows that it’s a 6.44 hour drive from Melbourne to Canberra but when you factor in toilet and food stops, it’s actually a 7.5 hour trip.

 

We made sure she checked in and met the people she was traveling to Singapore with. We walked her as far as we were permitted to at the departure gate and wished her happy travels and then drove back to Canberra in time for me to prepare lunch for Dad.

 

Then on 11/12 we’ll be picking Mum up from Sydney airport with a stop off at my Uncle’s house on the way home. The day after that, M and I drive back home to Melbourne.

cbr-syd

Six hour round trip from Canberra to Sydney Airport, not including the stopover in Punchbowl.

Initially, I worried that Mum would get seasick on the cruise and packed her with seasick tablets and chewable ginger lollies, but she called a couple of times within a few days from the ship to ask how everything was going. I was so relieved and pleased to hear that she was enjoying herself. Eating a lot.  🙂

Back home, the first few days were especially challenging. Dad missed Mum terribly but didn’t want to talk about it. M and I could see that he was frightened, confused and sad. Thank goodness it only lasted a few days. I think it helped that we’d spoken to her. The thought that something might happen to Mum is a huge threat to Dad. Affections aside, he depends on her completely.

It’s really nice that Dad trusts me enough to look after him, but I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do a proper job of it, mostly because it would mean that Dad wouldn’t agree to Mum taking another break. I’ve tried to ensure that as much routine and consistency has been maintained as possible. Routine? Yes. Consistency? Well, even Mum told me she had difficulty with this in terms of his diet so I don’t feel so bad.

I love Dad and try my best to look out for him whenever I visit, and even from Melbourne when possible. If I’m being honest though, caring for him has really put a strain on our relationship. Most notably from my side because I try and keep as much of a normal and consistent façade for Dad as possible so as not to cause him distress. I realise that that’s not a healthy stress management strategy. My approach would usually be to have a civilised talk with the person about the issue. Failing that, I’d remove myself to get some space, which I think is what most people tend to do because it’s easier. In this case, I can do neither but my consolation is that it’s only for a short period of time.

The physical side of things (cleaning and tidying) are relatively easy in comparison to the mental and emotional challenges. The latter two are the most difficult for me at the moment. While I try to resist not letting Dad’s issues become my issues, he’s my Dad and watching and listening to his melancholy is just unbearable. It weighs my heart down like an enormous weight pushing me down to ocean floor. It hurts too much to watch anyone suffer, let alone someone you love in pain. Yet to try raise him out of it is even more emotionally and mentally draining, especially when it doesn’t work. I try to remind myself how difficult and scary it can be being elderly, and with a disability on top of that. Some days are better than others, and as I write this, I look forward to one of the better days.

What this experience has reinforced for me is how important it is to take time out to look after me as well. It’s so easy to forget because I want to make sure he’s comfortable, but it only ends up putting pressure on myself. M has been so wonderful with Dad, which has allowed me to do things for myself, like doing my nails and catching up with a school friend. A much needed release, and relief.

I take my hat off to my Mum. She more than deserves her holiday and I would come back and do this again so that she could take another holiday next year. I hope Dad’s okay with it, and I hope it’s something she also feels comfortable with.

The Power of the Unspoken workshop testimonials

Video

 

Following my recent workshop, The Power of the Unspoken, here is the video of the participants’ testimonials. The workshop footage will be uploaded at a later stage.

To keep the video under three minutes, we had to brutal and cut, and cut, and re-cut so much. It was difficult and unfortunate, but I wholeheartedly thank everyone who was generous enough to record a testimonial for me. Much love

Reflections on my first workshop: The Power of the Unspoken

Image

I was very fortunate to have won the 2016 Toastmasters District Humourous Speech Contest in May this year with the help and support of numerous Toastmasters members and non-Toastmasters. While I still have much to learn, the positive feedback I received following my win inspired me to share my learnings and give back to the Toastmasters community, which has helped me enormously.

On Sunday 11 September, I ran a public speaking workshop in Melbourne focusing on facial expressions, gestures and pauses, the three techniques I’ve called the Power of the Unspoken.

I was incredibly humbled by all who attended and wanted to learn, including those who travelled fair distances to participate, as well as the number of accomplished Toastmasters who were excited to be there!

ha-du-workshop-0904586711

All photos provide with compliments of Norman Lingwood

Aside from wanting to share my learnings, I also wanted to raise money for one participant to receive free entry to the 2017 Toastmasters District Annual Convention, with any remaining money to be contributed to the convention funding. To do this, I had to charge a registration fee. I’m extremely grateful to the participants for their willingness to pay. Fiona Price was the lucky winner on the day and will be attending the 2017 Convention for free, with compliments of the other workshop participants.

Aside from covering the three “unspoken” techniques, I also shared a few key habits I used to help me win the humourous speech contests. One of them being daring to fail. Part and parcel of learning something new is making mistakes. The example I gave was my one of my own, which happened to be the biggest and most public mistake I made as part of preparing for my first workshop. The one they were present at.

In a nutshell I sought advice from someone with a legal background to help prepare a request for consent from participants so that I could film the workshop. The first version I sent out was very legal and confronting. I then created subsequent versions and sent each one out to various participants, which, I’m sure, made me look like I had no what I was doing. That is, in fact, very true. I didn’t know what I was doing. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to make mistakes, but sometimes they’re inevitable. The main lesson for me there is not to over complicate things.

My message in the workshop was don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and don’t be ashamed of them either because they are what will help you grow and develop your skills, and you as a person. Provided that you learn from them. That last bit is pretty important! I can speak from firsthand experience that the learnings far outweigh the initial embarrassment of the fail, and when you do learn from it and do better next time, it’s no longer a fail, but rather, a win.

It was immensely rewarding to share my learnings and make a difference. I’m very thankful for both the positive and constructive feedback I received on my workshop, and am very much looking forward to incorporating some of those suggestions when I run this same workshop again in March 2017.

img_91234462317

Talking about pauses with one of my groups during the brainstorming session.

My second incident with a vehicle

I was involved in another vehicle incident last Tuesday evening. It made contact but it was slow so I escaped with a few bruises. Two bumps and a small scratch on my left shin, which I’m guessing is from the pedal when the car pushed me off balance but I managed to land on my feet after a bit of a stumble. There’s another bruise on my right elbow when the car drove into me. It was pushing me so far into the gutter that I thought it was going to run over my bike and me with it.

Shin Elbow

The first thought that came to me after I realised I was ok was “AGAIN?!” What am I doing wrong? Is it me or just bad luck?? What’s going to happen next time?!  I’ve been over and over it in my head, wanting to know what I could’ve done differently so that that wouldn’t have happened, because seriously, as much as I love cycling, I don’t want to die. All the while, fuming that another driver’s careless act had put me in danger again.

couldn’t understand why, in the nine years that I rode my motorbike everyday in rain, hail, wind and shine for commuting and recreational purposes, I never once had any incidents with other vehicles. I started cycling about two years ago and already, I’ve been knocked off by one car and nearly run over by another. With all the hype around how dangerous motorcycles are, I actually think cycling is way more dangerous. At least with a motorbike, you have an engine to power you so you can get away from the idiots, and you’re travelling roughly the same speed as other vehicles, as opposed to a bicycle, not to mention how less friendly drivers are to cyclists.

Replaying the scene in slomo, I was approaching a red light and before I reached the white line at the front of the lights, it turned green so I started to peddle. I looked at the light blue car at the front of the lights, diagonally in front of me. It had also started to slowly move forward. I knew that I was in their blind spot, but I didn’t have to worry because he didn’t have his indicator on and the car’s wheels were facing straight as it continued to travel ahead. WRONG! In similar instances where other cars have done the right thing and indicated that they were turning, I’d slow down and give way to them. The driver in the old faded light blue car must have decided at the last minute to turn, I wasn’t fast enough to move out of the way. There was nowhere for me to go, I had to do a hard left. I screamed, he or she must have heard and hesitated momentarily mid corner as their car was pushing my bike into the gutter and me off my bike. I yelled numerous expletives at the driver as they continued slowly around and out of the corner, hesitated again twice as if wondering whether or not they should stop but ended up driving off. I tried to memorise their registration and get off the road at the same time. In the midst of everything, the registration number was there in my head, and then it was gone again. A pedestrian came and asked if I was ok. He had also noticed that the driver hadn’t had their indicator on but wasn’t able to get their vehicle registration either. I thanked him for asking if I was ok and cycled the rest of the way home. I was furious, frustrated and upset that there was nothing I could do except let it go. I felt so helpless, which only added to my rage.

As a motorcyclist, I always tried to look out for myself, not trusting that any other road user was going to do what they’re supposed to or what they looked like they were going to do. I should apply the same approach to cycling. However, there is no doubt in my mind that this driver was at fault. I hope whoever he or she was, had an extremely guilty night’s sleep that night. I also hope that he or she doesn’t end up killing someone on the road one day.

A couple of people suggested that I persist and continue cycling because if I didn’t, who knows how long it’d be when I’d get on the bicycle again? I didn’t want to stop riding but two incidents were enough to shatter my confidence and gave me a good and proper scare. I certainly didn’t want a third; naturally I was very reluctant to keep riding to and from work this week. As it turned out, there was an alternative to travelling along Sydney Road during peak hour traffic in the evenings. A very wonderful person introduced me to the bike path that runs beside the train track and parallel to Sydney Road. I recently moved into the area so I’m still finding my way around. I gave it a try last Thursday night, it takes a bit longer but I’m ok with that. I’m so relieved and pleased that I can keep up my commute that I welcome the extra exercise!

Slowly, slowly, I hope to rebuild my confidence.

The cycling adventure that never made it to Frankston

One Saturday, a couple of the boys and I ventured out on our bicycles for a leisurely ride along Beach Road to Frankston. Why Frankston? I can’t even remember. However, due to freezing weather and other commitments, we only made it as far as Brighton and that’s where we had our BBQ. Don’t let the blue sky fool you, it was freezing!

Here are my lame attempts to warm my hands on the BBQ. The boys thought it was hilarious! My efforts were quite futile, and I refused to walk or cycle anywhere except the nearby restaurant for a hot chocolate to warm up. I dreamt of warmth inside the restaurant, but alas, no. As if the lack of heating wasn’t enough, there was also a cool draft from outside, but as soon one of the boys mentioned heat lamps on the sheltered deck, I was the first one out there! It wasn’t long before I was smiling again, ahhh, the warmth was absolute heaven!

So our break ended up taking much longer than we’d planned, as did the ride to Beach Rd from Parkville. Two hours later, a burger or two and sufficiently defrosting, we parted ways to head home. It was still a fun day, except for the being cold bit!

Back on the bicycle, post crash

It’s been a few weeks since I started cycling to work again, not every day, mind you. As always, when you go back to something you’ve taken a break from, it’s slow and hard, and believe me, my muscles have been hurting from lack of use! Having said that, I’m consoling myself that persistence will pay off. In fact, I remind myself that’s it good for me and will make me fitter and stronger every time I’ve got a heavy load on the bike that slows me down and there’s a headwind, all while I’m peddling uphill and over speed humps! The hill is a right hand turn into a roundabout so there’s no run up, and of course, it’s at the end of my ride when I’m already feeling fatigued, but stopping isn’t an option, and when I do get to the top, I feel a quiet sense of achievement, albeit feeling like I have jelly legs and seriously struggling to catch my breath. A few minutes later past some intersections, I welcome the aromas of soup emanating from a corner cafe/take-away. On a winter morning, that smells pretty darn good!

Cycling home at the end of the day and taking in the regular smells of pizzas, pasta and burgers just past the halfway mark makes me smile. It hasn’t been as cold a winter this year as last year, even though it’s already getting lighter and warmer. I know this because I remember chickening out of cycling last winter because my ski gloves failed to keep my fingers warm but I’ve been loving it this winter, despite the initial dread, so I was elated when the driver who hit me eventually paid for the new helmet and minor bike repairs. I say minor because my body took the brunt of it. Having said that, I’m very lucky that I walked away with just bruises and scratches! Here are a few pictures of what the bruising looked like about a week or two after the crash, I drew antennas on them. 🙂

 
I wouldn’t say that the crash killed my confidence but it’s certainly not the same. I’m traveling on a quieter street to take it easy and let my mind gradually readjust to being on the road in peak hour traffic again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has its down sides, while there’s less cars traveling on this road, there’s a lot more cyclists, which can be frustrating at times when you arrive at the lights and there’s a big cluster already there waiting.

I hate to state the obvious but cyclists have to rely on our bodies to power movement of the bicycle. I’m sure if motorists in general had to power their vehicles the same way, without an engine, they’d have a lot more consideration and appreciation for cyclists. I’m sure they’d also be more careful if they didn’t have the metal shell around them for protection or engine to accelerate them out of danger. Of course, not all motorists are idiots on the road, just like not all cyclists behave themselves, but in terms of safety, cars have much less to worry about than cyclists and should show more understanding towards cyclists the way they do with pedestrians. Not everyone agrees with this, but it’s what I think.

Anyway, given that I’d blogged about the crash and things have now been more or less sorted, I thought it appropriate to upload one last post relating to the crash. It’s a happy ending to an unhappy story. If only all things in life could be like that. 🙂

I called and spoke to the driver who sideswiped me

I called the driver yesterday who sideswiped me the night before, primarily to tell him a couple of things that I wasn’t able to say to him that night. I told him I accepted his apology, thanked him for stopping and trying to help, and that I was alright. I also asked him to pass on a message to his daughters from me to tell them that I was ok, given that they’d seen what had happened. I guess having them know that their Dad and I had spoken and that I’d asked him to pass on a message to them would help them, in some way, to move on from the incident. Why did I do that? It think it was partly to help me move on, and partly because I could see how genuinely sorry he was and how he was prepared to go out of his way to try and make things right that night, so I wanted to offer him something in return. If I’d been more seriously injured, I don’t know that I would’ve been able to make those same gestures. Anyway, I’m glad I did because I found out that his daughters had asked him repeatedly after the incident why he had hit me. As I suspected, he’d come from the opposite side of the street that was heading south, through the three lanes of stationary traffic facing north, in an attempt to u-turn and turn left onto Faraday St.

I asked if he and his daughters were ok given that nobody, including myself, had asked him that that night, and he said that they were. I also wanted to let him know that I needed to replace my cracked helmet and the crooked rear wheel. Again, he told me that he’d cooperate with what was needed, which I appreciated.

The conversation was somewhat awkward, given the circumstances, but I’m glad I made the phone call, and so was he. He said he was embarrassed that he hadn’t asked for my number so he could call and check if I was ok. I guess we were both in shock at the time. He thanked me for letting him know I was ok and for my message to his daughters. There wasn’t much else to say so I just told him I’d be in touch if anything else came up. Hopefully what’s left to sort out will get sorted relatively quickly and I can get back on my bicycle again.

I wondered whether I should add the pictures taken today in this post. In the end I decided to include them because, while I accept that the driver is very sorry and I want to show that crashes have an affect on both parties, these and other bruises are in fact my post-crash reality.

I was hit and knocked off my bicycle

I’m a chicken when it comes to the cold, but anyone who knows me knows I love being out in the rain, whether it’s on the motorbike, bicycle, or walking. So I was very excited when I saw the weather radar last night! There was rain, rain and more rain on the way. A colleague told me I was brave to cycle home in that weather. I knew what he meant, but I didn’t think I was brave, just doing what I really enjoy.

Image

Years of riding a motorbike on wet and dry roads in metro and country Victoria, and I get knocked off on a bicycle! Go figure, but I guess you can never say never. I was heading north down the hill on Rathdowne St in Carlton at a relatively good speed but slowed down as I approached the red lights at Faraday St. Unfortunately, it wasn’t slow enough because a car came out at a 90 degree angle through the stationary traffic before I reached the intersection, not having seen me, and sideswiped me. I suspect now that the car had come from the other side of the road, through the traffic.

By the time I saw the car, it was too late. I braked hard but it was too wet for the brakes to grip so the bike and I skidded forward. I swerve but the car had already made contact and bumped me off my bike onto the tarmac with my bike on top of me. The car hit my right leg—I seriously thought I was a goner—jammed it against the bike frame, propelled me up off the bike seat, and then I fell onto the road, first on my bum, back, and then the back of my helmet, which is now cracked. I tried to get up three times, but I couldn’t and gave up. I’m thinking it probably had to do with the load of my panniers on top of me, but I just remember feeling weak from the pain. I was very lucky that there wasn’t anything solid to my left that the vehicle could’ve rammed me up against, because I certainly would’ve sustained more serious injuries.

Image

I felt hands lifting me up from behind and beside me, and saw a couple of others lifting my bicycle. I kept hearing voices around me asking if I was alright. I almost went into automatic mode to reply “yes, I am”, but then thought, I’ve just been hit by a car! So I kept repeating “No, I’m not”. I’m kind of embarrassed about that though because what else was I suppose to say?

The man who hit me was very, and repeatedly, apologetic but I couldn’t respond to his apologies. I was in a lot of shock. I was angry, partly at him for hitting me, and partly at myself for not lashing out at him. Reflecting now, I’m extremely glad I didn’t. He had two children in the car who would’ve seen everything that happened, from their Dad lifting me up off the road to me limping onto the footpath. They continued to watch what was going on while their Dad wrote his details down for me. I could see from the way the older of the two was looking at me, she would have been about seven years old, that she knew something bad had happened.

He could have killed me, and his daughters would have seen. It wasn’t until he tried to write down his details that I noticed how flustered and upset he was also. This, and seeing his daughters watching us, brought me a level or two back to reality, and reminded me that I wasn’t the only one impacted by this. As I write this, it’s dawned on me that at no stage, did I or any of the witnesses ask if he or his daughters were ok. That saddens me. I didn’t think this at the time, but I can say it now, just because someone does a bad thing doesn’t automatically make them a bad person.

He offered to give me a ride somewhere as my bicycle was unrideable, but I couldn’t accept a ride from him, and to be honest, I didn’t trust his driving at that moment. Both he, and the woman who had hung around to watch over my bike and waited for me to make sure I was ok, tried to get my bike going but it wasn’t going to happen. The whole time, the rain never eased and I was starting to get cold from not moving so I ignored the aches in my body and pushed my bike to Velo Cycles after calling them to say I was on my way. I could have called the RACV to pick me up, but I was upset, confused and still in shock, and I desperately needed to walk it off. I got there after they’d closed and locked up but one of the staff was waiting inside for me. How beautiful is that? I can’t believe he fixed it on the spot and I was able to ride home! It instantly lifted my mood!

Maybe it’s because I spent so much time riding my motorbike on the road and being exposed and accustomed to traffic around me, I don’t know, but I was so grateful, among other things, that the crash didn’t take away my confidence to ride home in the rain, albeit, a little nervous and sore, and that I didn’t sustain any major injuries.

Yes, I’m careful. Yes, I had right of way, and yes, it was his fault. He hit me, and it’s absolutely inexcusable. However, I’m a strong believer in learning from my experiences, and what I will take from this for my benefit, as simplistic as it may sound, is to be more careful going downhill, particularly next to stationary traffic. I hope, also, that this experience will make him more careful.

Despite my whinging every so often, I do love cycling to work, and I love cycling in the rain. I refuse to let that experience put me off riding in the rain or on the road, and I’m determined to get back on the bicycle as soon as my bruises have settled. They are the positives I want to focus my energies on.

My Experimental Blog

I’ve been umming and ahhing about my first post for way too long, subject, style, language, format, blah, blah! The most important thing, I decided, was to stay true to me!

So here I am with my experimental blog. Why? Part of the reason is curiosity, but mostly due to the absence of my motorbike, which forced me seek out any distraction just to maintain whatever sanity I could. I was in denial for 12 months or so about not getting another motorbike; it was initially what planted the seed for setting up my blog in the first place. I thought, how perfect would it be to blog about what I love more than anything when I get another bike! I initially held off on launching my blog to time the inauguration with my new purchase. I got my hopes up because getting another motorbike was so important to me and I wanted it so much, but when the realisation hit me that that wasn’t going to happen as soon as I’d like, everything came crashing down. It took about a week to pull myself back together again after finally accepting that fact, and at the risk of sounding dramatic, there’s an emptiness and a constant ache that never goes away, like you’re just going through the motions of daily life because there’s a major part of you that’s missing. I’ll hold off on going into detail about all the various emotions I went through, as this will dredge up all the misery that I had to deal with.

Aside from the devastation I felt about not being able to get another bike just yet, there was also the subsequent thought of “well, what the hell am I going to blog about now?!” Like some who have been slow to catch on to the spread of social networks, it took me a while to take the whole social networking thing seriously, starting with twitter, which I reluctantly and clumsily tested. With each new social network I sign up to, it’s like being the new kid all over again, learning the etiquette do’s and don’ts, yet trying to keep it real throughout. There’s things about the twitterverse and tweeps that I’m still figuring out, but at least I’ve managed to fumble my way through enough to find, not only that it was a much needed outlet and connection point for me, but also what an endless source of information it really is! It didn’t take long for me to become a twitter addict, tweeting on average at the moment about 18.5 times a day, an avid tweeter according to www.howoftendoyoutweet.com.

In answer to the question of what will this blog be about? Here’s the thing. Until I get back on a bike, it’s going to pretty random. I have a couple of ideas in mind that’s still bike related, but given my situation, clearly it won’t just be bikes so stay tuned!