Guest Blog

Well spring seems to be coming early this year.  So early in fact we have gone on a motorcycle without having to bundle up like an Eskimo going for no tan lines.   Which brings me to a very poor transition to my guest blog.  My husband has a blog that you can view here, but I love this one about the secret motorcycle handshake.  I hope you enjoy, or at the very least become empathetic to how randomly strange my life must be married to Tim. 

The bikers guide to the secret handshake.

Every society, weather it be secret or not, has a certain expected ritual in which individuals identify themselves with that particular society. In the office world, it has a form of “Casual Fridays”, In the Party School Fraternity, it looks more like a upside-down beer chugging contest. Whatever society you are a part of, there are rituals, regardless if you know it or not!

Bikers beware, what I am about to share has been passed down from generation to generation, unknowingly through time. It is a truth that will awaken the realization to others that bikers, although they work hard to communicate their solidarity, are actually one of “Them”… A part of the “In” crowd (please don’t egg my house or throw rotten fish at my windows, you know that its true).

Just like the frat boys of old, or the Illuminati… The secrets in the handshake (or beer guzzle if you prefer).

It begins at about 100 meters out, the recognition of another biker heading your way. Any further than 100 meters makes it more difficult to distinguish if it is a “True” motorcycle, or a set of motorized wheels that an 8 year old would get for Christmas, or a last attempt mode of transportation for someone who can’t keep a license if their liver depends on it (and in most cases it does).
At this point the handshake truly begins….

step 1. Recognition – I see them, do they see me?
step 2. Loyalty? – What kind of bike are they riding? Harley, Harley Wannabe, Crotch Rocket? and will they respond if I initiate?
step 3. Execute – The Most Vital of Steps!
step 4. The Return
step 5. The George Lucas!

Steps 1&2 are fairly self explanatory, yet critical to the “Brotherhood”. It’s not a pretty site when you let slip a brotherhood tradition, to someone who is driving a metal frame powered by a lawnmower!

Step 3 – The Most important, is the execution of the “Secret Handshake”.
The execution begins from the neck. As you are riding (regardless of what type of bike you may be on) at the point of execution the bottom of your chin should be parallel to the gas tank on which you sit. The neck should be limber, but still firm in that you don’t want a sudden gust of wind to ruin all that you are preparing for.

At this point, the chin should be lifted heavenward no more than 15-20 degrees at which point the chin should stop moving and begin its return to its resting place parallel to the tank. This movement should take precisely 1.5 seconds to complete from start to finish. Any faster, and you risk looking like you are having a spasm, any slower and the people driving next to you will begin looking for the piece of sky that is falling. This move should not exceed more than 15-20 degrees, any more than this and you risk whiplash, and a good sound laughing from your passing brother

This is the tricky part…. As soon as the chin has begun to move, the left arm should also move… out away from the body turning only at the shoulder, elbow locked in the same position as you were driving. The arm should move out so the left hand is facing the opposite street ready to greet the passing driver. Now not everyone sees the importance of the hand shape as I do. Let me explain.

Some bikers prefer to extend the first 2 fingers out as the “Peace” sign… This is perfectly acceptable, however discouraged by me because of its insinuation that you are a part of another crowd… the hippies.

Others see it as just sticking your hand out fully extended…. here’s the problem with that;
1. it looks like you are trying to fly– please, for the love of all that is holy… don’t flap
2. If your arm is raised too high, you can be mistaken for a white supremacist, or one of the Luftwaffe.

My preferred method is sort of a mixed approach – first two fingers go lazily out the other fingers stay in roughly the same shape as while riding. This speaks volumes… it says, Hey man, what’s happnin…. your cool, I’m cool — but not too cool, ya dig??

Now at this point you have completed the execution!

Step 4. The return. If you have judged carefully, and the other driver has seen you then as soon as your arm has been extended you should see the return “Handshake” from the other driver.

If there is no return, don’t worry… You may not have completely botched the execution…. It may be that the other driver has misjudged and assumed you wouldn’t “Shake” because of bike breed type, or other factor. However it may still be your fault so try every time you see another biker (of course there could be other environmental factors, wind, water, sun, etc.)

Step 5. The George Lucas, Affectionately called this, by me, based on his use of sunsets as a metaphor for change… At this stage of the “handshake” there is nothing left to do but to ride off into the sunset, hoping for another opportunity to prove your mettel in the brotherhood that is the biker!

Looking for Spring!

Its cold, well it was today and three days ago….but it will get cold again before it gets warmer.  I am so excited to have a greenhouse this year to get my spring crop cooking early.  So you can only imagine what kind of a girly sequely dance I did yesterday when my burpee seed order got here.   I ordered super sweet 100 tomatoes, lots of lettuce and some basil.

The lettuce I’ll start this weekend, then the tomatoes and basil in a few weeks.  With all luck, some sunshine, water and lovey words to the little seedlings I’ll have a small simple crop for summer.  I also got nasturtiums, and vinica to start for the flower beds.  Yippe!  I would love to hear from the other gardeners out there.  I’m just learning so any advice or recommendations are welcomed.  Happy digging.

Pastors Wife Barbie

Retro Blog:  Once upon a time I use to blog elsewhere, original air date March 2008

Disclaimer:  I really don’t care if you agree with or like my opinions.  To find out why I don’t care you will have to get to the bottom of the blog.  
So when I wear my heart on my sleeve its not as funny as my other blogs but I will try.   As I am sure many of you know I have been married happily to a wonderful man with a strange profession for four years now (well almost four).  By strange I don’t mean urinal cake tester or zoo infertility specialist that collects “specimens” from the male elephants, I mean a minister.  So that would make me the “pastor’s wife”, or PW for short.  What a wild ride it has been trying to figure out what that means to me as opposed to everyone else.  It has been one of those ‘be yourself everyone else is taken” journeys.  So the brief chronicle begins, it’s a four part trilogy. 
Part 1:  The novelty
For the first six months it was more of a novelty as the bliss of marriage, with its extra dirty clothes and man hair on the bathroom floor, began to invade my life.  The hair on the floor is a literal invasion; they have their own navy and everything.  I think I just grinned and smiled through this phase, kinda like tour guide Barbie. “oh my cheeks hurt”. 
Part B:  Greater Expectations
Then I started seeing what was expected of me.  Obviously it would be tacky of the church to come right out and state many of the expectations.  For example, no one would say “don’t wear your blue jeans to church” even though it was a contemporary, laid back church and I had worn my jeans since day one.   The day I wore a dress (which I hate for many reasons) there was a comment from someone high up on the totem pole. They said “aw she looks like a pastor’s wife”.  Hmmm…. confused much??   I started catching on to the expectations and started to panic.  Way in over my head I joked that I was going to make a pastors wife Barbie.  She would come wearing a strand of pearls, with a book on how to play bridge, and 101 casserole recipes.  Don’t forget the accessory packs; how to decorate like Martha Stewart and how to dress like Mary Poppins. 
  
Part 3:  Becoming Barbie
I felt like perhaps I needed to re-invent myself.  I bought dresses (which now reside at good will), cooked for everything, allowed my home to be invaded by toddlers with chocolate fingers and hyperactive kids terrorizing my dogs.  I felt captive, like I wasn’t allowed to have my own space and my own rules.   Then I started to think pastors wife Barbie should come with a little pink Bible in one hand and a little pink Prozac in the other.  I don’t have the statistic in hand but the number of people in ministry that end up on mood altering drugs is staggering.  I thought about counseling, even though I was told by someone (again high up on the totem pole) that they didn’t believe in counseling, only deliverance. Point being I was stuck in a rut, and needed something. I voted for counseling instead of prescription drugs, they just weren’t for me.   So I guess you could say my demons made me go to conseling and it was well worth it.  Thanks guys, you’re the best? 
Part now: No more Barbie
Eventually, I came to see that their expectations were just that theirs.  Next step, I had to figure out what God put in me and who He made me to be.  Not what pathetic plastic clone with a stupid grin plastered on her face another wanted me to be.  If they were upset that I wasn’t what they expected that was their deal not mine.  It’s not about being a rebel or wearing a “here I am deal with it” chip on my shoulder, so please don’t misinterpret. It is about being comfortable as me.  We are in different church now that is so wonderful; everyone is genuine which makes it easy to be me.  I feel like I am back at step one but smiling for a different reason and minus the novelty.  The man hair has been here all along to comfort me. 
So in conclusion this isn’t a rant against where we were, or a pity party.  It’s to say two things.  First: don’t let anyone put you in a box that they have fashioned for you.  I guarantee the junk in your trunk won’t fit, believe me I got a lot of junk in my trunk.  Its hard some days, I still get sucked in, I have to remember to  let go and let Him.  Second: be genuine with your pastor’s wife.  If you missed her on Sunday morning just say you noticed she wasn’t there and missed her.  Keep your expectations of her just that, yours.  If she doesn’t match up oh well.  For goodness sake tell her she is a sexy woman of God, we love that stuff!!  So now you see why I don’t care, your opinion of me isn’t mine to worry about its yours.  Thank you and come again. 

Fall Planting

Because its my blog and I can do what I want.  I was pondering what to plant for the fall in my planter boxes.  I’m sure I will land on pansys because they are my favorite and seem to do well in the back yard this time of year. Unlike the petunias that have fried to a crisp.  They have even been taken over by the vinica (?) volunteers from last year.  Here are a few pictures of what I’ve done over the years, somethings successful and some not so much. 

Creeping Jenny, Portulaca, Ornamental Grass and Zinnias

Petunias and Cast Iron plants, when they were really small

pansy

pansy
Dahlia

I think its one of moms black eyed Susans

I really have no idea but isnt it pretty

Hmmmmmmmm………..  So what do you like to plant in the fall?
 

FOOOOOOOOD!

If you’re anything like my husband and me you can’t ever decide where to eat or break away from routine places.   We get stuck in a rut sometimes, all good food in the rut (see below), but a rut none the less.   At one point we had a few of the favorite “ruts” listed on a cork board in his office.  We would throw darts at it to choose where to go. So now I’m putting together my dinners bucket list, a few places I want to try.   Who knows the rut list might even get a few new contenders.   
I found a few resources helped with the task.  Personally, I find the web to be the largest place for current information.  There are lots of restaurant guides out there but for this post I’m narrowing it down to two.  First , www.urbanspoon.com , the site is user friendly and has a quick catagory reference on the front page.  Their mobile app makes it easy to find something new or read a review when you are on the go.  Second, there is www.restaurantrow.com that is comprehensive and easy to use. It allows the hungry user to view the menu, read reviews and make reservations!  If you consider yourself to be a worthy food critic you can even become one of the Row’s reviewers and make a little extra money.  So using these resources I have my dinners bucket list.
Rut list
OCharlie’s
Papa Johns
Brixx
German Cafe
Indochine
Bucket List 
The Harp – Irish pub
Grand Union Pup – okay so Ive been but I really want to go back
Someplace posh downtown
Zaaki Grill – felafel yumm
The Goody Goody Omelet House – That’s right, I’ve never been there! 
Got any good suggestions out there?