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All material on this website is © Donna JT Smith unless otherwise noted.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Bold, Blonde Biker Babe and a Poem

Let's start with the poem!  Yea, Poetry Friday!
Today Chelanne is hosting at Books4Learning. 
And Yea, Summer Poetry Exchange!  My second poetry partner was Joy Acey for the poetry exchange organized by Tabatha Yeatts.  If you haven't done this exchange in the summer, certainly check out the abbreviated winter exchange and then next summer's exchange.  It is so much fun!

I wrote the poem below for Joy.  I searched her website and found that she had a beautiful photo of the westernmost lighthouse in the USA, Kilauea Lighthouse in Hawaii, where Joy lives:

I happen to live in the opposite corner of the world, where just up the coast is the easternmost lighthouse in the USA at Quoddy Head State Park in Lubec, Maine:

So I wrote about the lighthouse, and how what we do as writers, is like the job of the lighthouse.

The Lighthouse

As the lighthouse
Sending its beam
Across the waters
In the night
And through the fog
Reaching and
Forever changing
The lives
Of those it touches
At just the right time -
So is the writer’s pen.

By Donna JT Smith, June 16, 2016


And now for the motorcycle updates:

My newest bike in the growing herd, the Honda Shadow Aero 750... has now acquired the license plate "Daisy", having had it transferred from the Suzuki Burgman scooter.  I will be selling the 400cc scooter and my learners' bike, the Yamaha Virago 250cc.   Each was a short but, I feel, necessary step in my journey to becoming a full-fledged motorcyclist. I maybe could have skipped the Burgman, but it was still good for a couple of rides to feel the movement without having to think about gears yet.  But the Virago was the perfect bike to get me going.  I will always have a special place in my heart for it!

It takes my breath away when I think of riding.  It is exciting, scary, calming and powerful all rolled into one.  A lot of the techniques of horseback riding return when I am on the motorcycle, along with bicycle riding form.  But I'm really surprised at how much it feels like horseback riding - even the necessity to ride with "soft eyes", keeping your vision open and not single-minded focus.

A few days ago, I took my first public road ride on a very small stretch of road from the old Naval Air Station parking lot out to a small shopping center that abuts the Starbucks parking lot.  My husband and son dropped me off at the old airbase parking lot to practice all alone on the much bigger, heavier and more powerful Shadow 750.  They said when I was done, they'd be at SB if I felt up to driving it over, or they would pick me up at the parking lot when I called.  I just nodded.  I would be calling shortly.

I practiced turns and clutch, stopping and starting, rode a little on the very quiet roads in their connecting parking lots... and then made the BOLD move, out to the public main road through two controlled intersections about 100 yards then into the busy shopping center parking lot.  I parked the bike right up close to the parking lot for SB, and walked over to claim my victory coffee! 

I have since, ridden three times in our small, rural development where I have met one walker and a fawn.  Not much traffic here.  Not much going on in here, except for that one wild 65 year old woman riding a red motorcycle - oh, wait, that would be me!

The inevitable happened Wednesday morning while on our small association road.
I dropped the bike.
Twice.
I was stopped and attempting a very tight turn on an uphill at our mailboxes - a turn my son told me "You should not be doing.  No one would do that turn."
Ok.  I learned another thing.
If it's too hard, don't do it.  Don't force it.  It was another horseback riding lesson really... being "intense" vs having "intent".

I called a neighbor who kindly came and helped me right the bike...no damage to the bike.  I was okay, too.  Well, except for that nasty knee that wasn't quite healed from the train platform landing fiasco.  I opened up the fresh, thin skin, as I knelt on it to get up.  So we are doing that all over again!  Oh, well, it could have been worse.  Just taught me that my priorities for starting up on a hill should be foot brake first, but only if I'm in first gear!  Sorry, for all that technical stuff for those of you who don't ride a motorcycle...  wait!  Who here does ride?  Anyone else out there?

Wednesday afternoon, my son called me and asked if I wanted to ride to Starbucks.  He'd come out and take my 750cc bike to his house in town, or I could use the small 250cc, and we could ride the five miles from there to get coffee.  I hesitated and looked at my knee.  I made all sorts of excuses in my head, and quickly took all sorts of body assessments, before hearing my voice say, "Yes, and I want to take the 750".
What?  I said what?
And I got my boots, jacket, gloves and helmet.
And we did it.  I did it.

Bonus trip!  Last night I rode with my husband and son from our house, down the one main road on the island to Five Islands dock, got a soda, and then headed back home.  7 miles down, 7 back (funny how that works).  Hills.  Curves.  Narrow roads.  Traffic galore - lots of tourists.  Two dogs in the road.  People standing and talking in the road (we ARE in Maine).  We made it to the ocean and back.  It was tense at times for me, and I had to keep reminding myself to relax my legs, my arms, my shoulders...even my jaw.  And each time I relaxed, I had fun. 

Who is that platinum blonde with the red motorcycle?
Each ride and step further seems a small victory perhaps.  But I am reminded of all the little victories my first graders had, that felt huge in their eyes (and often in their parents' eyes and mine, too).... and they all added up little by little to become an accomplishment that hadn't been before.  So in each little step, I find a bit more strength coursing through me, a sense of "it ain't over yet" - and the knowledge that the "fat lady" ain't even here to sing anymore! (did I mention minus 45 pounds yet?)

I hope someday, that each of us can find a new thing at an old time, and embrace it.  What will your "new thing" be?

More
More things to learn,
More stuff to do,
More sweet adventures,
More growth for you -
Hold on, let go,
Just have some fun;
It's safe to say -
You're not yet done. 

Donna JT Smith, 2016

Friday, July 8, 2016

Losing Points


I lost points on Wednesday.  For my landing.  I just couldn't stick the landing.  I think the freefall was right on the money.  Very good form.  Just the landing wasn't good.   It was painful actually.

Before you think "motorcycle", it wasn't.

I drove home to PA with my daughter so she wouldn't have to drive alone with the two children.  It's a long ride with a four year old and a two year old... so I went along.  The next morning very bright and early, she drove me to the SEPTA commuter train to catch Amtrak in Philadelphia.  I gave her a hug before my leap to the train.  I was not supposed to leap, but somehow in looking at the train door I was heading toward, I inadvertently neglected to look down and notice that there were two concrete steps leading down to the concrete platform.  I ended up on hands and knees about two feet from the train.  I'm not sure that I didn't do a pirouette before the landing.  Pirouettes are always good for extra points.  Landing on hands and knees is not good for anything.
This is what I tried to focus on - just outside my window for much of the ride.
So instead of having a relaxing trip back, I had a very painful one.   Besides having exposed nerve endings on my right knee and ankle, a darkening lump on my left knee and minor scrapes on my elbow and palms, my right knee wouldn't allow me to put much weight on it.  I was confined to my seats for all parts of the journey.  I should write all of this journey down before I forget it, as it was so, so interesting on so, so many levels... from not having first aid kits on trains, to water floods being absorbed by mountains of paper towels (forcing the closing of one of the handicapped bathrooms), to being shuttled at top speed through South Station in a wheelchair while a Red Cap blew a whistle to clear my path to get me to a cab.

Yes, I must write this ALL down.  For it was almost an Alice in Wonderland adventure getting home on Wednesday.  By 9:30 pm, I was again at home, having not eaten all day...
I couldn't walk to the Cafe car, and there was absolutely NO TIME left between trains.

Yes.  I have to write this all down.  It is almost funny.  Almost.  Maybe tomorrow it will be funnier.

Right now, my knee is stiffening up and is quite sore.  It will be fine.  I just can't ride my motorcycle yet.

Skip this next picture if you are squeamish.  I'm showing much to much skin, or lack thereof.  The second picture is better.


My very scraped knee right after I cleaned it up a bit.

This took my mind off my problems as noted above.
At any rate, skipping through some of my work, I found this poem and noticed I had posted it on May 18, but being late on a Wednesday, there were no comments on it.  So I think I can post it again - it reminds me of my path this Wednesday... only in a better way!

A Writer's Path

I'm writing along
And humming a song,
I have to take care not to
                                     trip.
My words tumble out
And wander about;
The words are all doing a
                                      flip,
Omitting some there
Resitting them where
They're sensible, with the right
                                             clip;
Yes, that is the way
All writers convey
Their story, and end with a
                                      quip.

Donna JT Smith, 2016


Poetry Friday is at... let me go check!  BRB.  Sorry!  I needed to update my Poetry Friday list! 
So head on over to Katie's at the Logonauts for more poemy fare.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday is License Day

It's Poetry Friday, hosted over at Tabatha Yeatts' place, The Opposite of Indifference
I have just a bit of background stuff to put here to start out.  If you just want to skip down to the poem, you certainly may - I can't stop you and I won't even know.

For the past two days I have spent almost every waking hour learning about motorcycle safety and strategies for riding, and riding a motorcycle.  I am exhausted!  After my first unsuccessful attempt at the motorcycle safety class, I was disappointed in myself.  I posted about this a little while back.  But I had made another reservation in another class at LORE, a different school.  Instead of cancelling that reservation when I found the earlier class, I kept it in my "back pocket" just in case I didn't pass the first time.  It ended up being fortunate that I did.  Classes fill up fast, and I wouldn't have been able to get in until late July or August if I hadn't.  My second class was just what I needed.

So I went to this new class, with a few skills thanks to my wonderfully brave son who got me over the fear of speed (like 15 miles an hour...).  I sat again amongst a group of young men with motorcycle, snowmobile, dirt bike, living life on the edge experiences - but this time there was another younger woman who had never been on a bike either.  She did a great job and it was kind of motivating for me.  I didn't feel quite as much a fish out of water or alone, and the "rear" wasn't as far back as it had been, thanks to my son's help.  Okay, I'll sneak a part of my poem in here that I wrote during breaks at the class:

Grandma's Motorcycle Class

I look around -
and what do I see?
Boys, young men,
sitting all about me.
All riders from birth,
or so it would seem,
So daring and brave
pursuing a dream.
And I am a grandma
who's late to the game;
But I'm putting on bold,
trying not to be lame.
I don my helmet -
no wind in my hair
Then on go the gloves
and jacket I wear. 
I straddle my bike
and lay on the throttle
Let out the clutch
and try not to waddle.
Riding in circles
over obstacles popping,
Weaving and shifting,
emergency stopping!
The guys were amazing
and did it with style -
And I did it too
Just look at my smile!


by Donna JT Smith, 2016

And yesterday - YES!  I passed my motorcycle written and riding test!  I am amazed and so thankful that I didn't give up.  It feels like such an accomplishment to have done this.  I do have to admit that last year I could not have done this.  The maneuvering of a motorcycle would not have been possible for me.  My back hurt if I walked too much because I was 42 pounds heavier!  Yes,  I have lost 42 pounds now!!!  I still (and this is hard to admit out loud) have some more to go.  But it is still coming off steadily at about a pound or half pound a week.  I'm just slowly and steadily staying the course.

Ok.  Enough back story.  Now for the real treat.  It's poetry exchange time organized by Tabatha Yeatts.  This week while I was visiting my daughter and son-in-law (ok, my grandchildren, too!) I received two packages in the mail.  When I returned to Maine the evening before my motorcycle class, I opened the packages.  One package was my new motorcycle helmet I'd ordered in Laconia while at Bike Week, and the other was from Irene Latham.  Irene's poem, like my new helmet, "fit" so beautifully!  The second part of Irene's gift was a small notepad for tucking in my pocket for writing on the road - with the Herman Melville quote "It is not down on any map; true places never are.".  With that there was a frame with Scrabble letters spelling out my OLW - "BOLD".  (Besides the fact that the word was awesome to have on there, how did she know I LOVE Scrabble, Words With Friends, Alpha-Betty...any word games...but, of course, Scrabble was "my first love").
I will be putting a picture of me and my motorcycle in the frame - or of something else I decided to BOLDly undertake this year.

And then there is the poem.  It just fits and flows and is perfect for the feelings of the days I've just undergone.  Thank you, Irene, for putting so much of your "self" into my "shoes", to create such a perfectly "fitting" poem just for me!  I just love it, love it, love it!


Summer Ride
- for Donna

Asphalt steams
beneath the wheels
and the miles
keep coming:
sweet throttle
blister me home.

How long must
we ride
before we remember
the sun, too,
greets each pnk
morning
as a beginner?

And so we strap on
our chaps,
turn the key.
Soon the engine
rattles, sings.

For once
we stay straight -
and then,
mile by mile,
we learn to weave.

By Irene Latham©
2016 

And now, I must put on more sunburn gel.  It was very sunny yesterday and I was outside all day, forgetting sunscreen.  My face is burned.
And I must apply more Arnica gel.  It was very physically taxing on a motorcycle for hours and hours finding muscles you thought left when you were 35, or younger. 
Now to get up the courage to take my own motorcycle out for a spin sometime today.  I know my son and husband have already got a route planned for us to go for a backroad ride to our favorite breakfast place on Saturday morning...

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday is

Oh, wow.  I wasn't sure of what I'd write today, and had just started writing the title to my post when the phone rang.  I stopped at "Friday is", and answered the phone.

It was one of my brothers. Now I have something to write about.

On Wednesday he was attacked by a pit bull when he was out jogging.  
He sustained multiple bites up his legs, requiring stitches in his ankle by the Achilles tendon.  He won't be jogging for a bit.  
The dog is in quarantine and then will most likely be put down.  The dog came tearing out of a house at him.  The owners tried to stop the dog and chase it off, but it circled him and came back, attacking four times. My brother was finally able to get himself into an enclosed porch and relative safety.

Scary.  He and his wife had been out jogging together, but his wife had stopped jogging just before reaching that house and headed back home.  He jogged on a bit farther, before turning around.  It was on his return trip past the house when the pit bull attacked.

Six weeks prior to this, the dog had attacked someone, but no charges were filed - a family member perhaps?  The dog should have been taken care of then, but it wasn't.

There are lots of kids that play outside in that neighborhood and a home with older people who go out with walkers.  Was this a blessing in disguise?  I think so.

My brother was able to withstand the attack and get himself to safety.  Yes, he was badly hurt, but almost anyone else would have been killed that day.  Or another day in the near future.  It comes so close on the heels (June 6) of a child being killed in Maine by a pit bull.

We need responsible dog owners.  We need people to realize that first and foremost a dog is a dog, not a human, not a toy, not a baby... and, as such, it has instincts.  Even when you try to train and domesticate the "fire" out of them, it is still there.  They are a dog.


Dogs

They wag,
they run,
they sniff,
they fetch,
they slobber
on your toes;
But always be
aware that
they have
thoughts
nobody knows.

by Donna JT Smith, June 17, 2016

Poetry Friday offerings are being hosted today by Carol at Carol's Corner.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Bike Week in Laconia

Saturday was a long day of driving in the car behind my two of my favorite people in the world.  If my daughter were there, I'd have to say my three favorite people, but she wasn't there this day.

I spent the day driving while my husband and son each rode their motorcycles up to Laconia, NH, for Bike Week at Weirs Beach. 
Lots of bikes line the streets everywhere this week.
Since my husband hasn't been riding long, after our very long break from biking, he wasn't comfortable yet on his new bike to take a passenger.   So I followed in the "support vehicle".  It ended up being a very nice thing for me, as it was never sunny, and started raining for the trip back home.  I got to stay warm and dry, while the guys braved the elements.  We stopped frequently for cups of coffee, and at one stop I bought them dry gloves to go with their coffee!  Boots and socks would have to wait until we got home, though I contemplated having them pour the water out of their boots and drying them at the gas station hand dryers.
It was a fun day of food, music and shops carrying all sorts of motorcycle paraphernalia.
Check out the two mopeds in the center - decked out like Harleys!
I don't know if I'll ever ride my own bike up there or not.  I enjoy being a passenger.  I remember that took a while getting used to also, so who knows?
I think we are driving up again this Saturday to check out another section of the festivities.  Hopefully the weather will be better!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Bold New Learnings

It's Poetry Friday, and I have a couple of thoughts today on my new learnings.  It is another uncomfortable zone to put myself in.  BOLD.  Bold is not necessarily "comfortable"!  As a matter of fact, it is mostly UNcomfortable.  I am outside of my comfort zone lately - definitely in my UN-Comfort Zone.  It is something that is good for us to do, especially as teachers, I think.  It puts you more in tune with the students' zones of comfort and uncomfort...?  Perhaps that is the "Discomfort Zone"?

New Learnings

So many things to think of,
So many things to do,
So much to be aware of,
So much I never knew!

Someday it won't seem novel,
Someday it won't feel strange,
Somehow it will come natural,
Somehow it all will change!
by Donna JT Smith

I have barely had the time (and definitely ran out of energy) for posting this week.  After last Thursday's departure from my motorcycle riding class... I was too slow and holding back the rest of the class of men who had ridden motorcycles before.  Who knew the basic class would not be to learn how to ride a motorcycle?  It said I would learn how to... but I guess if everyone else already knows, then that is the baseline.  And I was too far below it.  Of course I was disappointed.  I haven't ever been asked to leave anywhere.  I have never really failed at things I've attempted.  So this was crushing.  I cried all the way home.  Two hours.

But when I got home, my son and husband were there to support me.  They encouraged me and immediately got my Burgman out of the garage and drove it to a parking lot.  There they had me practice starting and stopping, turning and balancing.  It was a redeeming exercise.  It was really quite like the old saying about getting back on the horse after a fall.  I hadn't fallen off my horse, but I'd been told that I wouldn't be able to ride.  So I basically had fallen and wasn't confident in my abilities at all!

I re-enrolled in another class at the end of the month at a different school.  Then I realized, my Burgman is an automatic, so practicing on it for long, was going to only help with my fear of speed and get me some turning practice.  I still wouldn't be ready for clutch, brake, throttle coordination to go with that.  The grips on the Burgman are both brakes and your feet have no jobs to do except hold the bike up when you come to a stop.  It's like moving from an automatic to a manual shift car.  Just because you can drive an automatic doesn't mean you can drive a manual.

Sooooo - I needed a manual motorcycle to learn on.  And that is just what we did.  I searched Craig's list one more time, and came up with this:
2004 Yamaha 250
We picked it up the next day after insurance and registration were all set.  My son drove it home after work, and he IMMEDIATELY spent about an hour with me at an empty parking lot, getting me comfortable on this bike!  Phew.  I can't tell you how nervous and anxious I was... and still am!  I go back and forth with feeling like "I can do this." to "What am I thinking?"!

I am a little more comfortable than the first day.  I still don't know if I will ever be totally "at one with the bike", but it is still too early to tell.  When my husband or son talk about taking it on the road when I get my license, I start to sweat and want to get rid of the bike just so they will stop mentioning it!  I'm so far from that it seems.  I don't seem like it to them for some reason.  Maybe because they are not inside my head listening to me do the checklist of things I want to remember.  "hand on brake, hand on clutch, ignition on, red engine button on button, push start engine button, press shifter (left foot) to get into first gear, release hand brake, slowly release clutch, start rolling, feet up, don't touch the brake pedal or shifter when you put your feet up...look up, not down".   I'm getting a stomach ache just writing this down.  And yet, it is becoming quicker and more automatic all the time.

If you don't ride a motorcycle, then going through the checklist is just a bunch of words.  When I think about it, it is like reading.  When you come to a word you don't know as a first grader, and we put the list of strategies in front of them:
Look at the first letter, get your mouth ready, look through the rest of the word, skip it, go back, think of the meaning, listen to yourself as you read... It is a confusing jumble of things to do when they are reading, but pretty soon it is all happening without them even being aware that they are doing it.
Pretty soon they are just reading. Pretty soon they are just writing.  Pretty soon they are blowing a bubble, whistling, swimming, diving, dancing, painting, hitting the ball...
And it seems like they always have been doing it to them and even us.

I'm looking forward to the day when I don't overthink it, when it feels like I've always been doing this!  And if that day never comes for me... well at least I can say I tried it, did it, and decided not to do it! 
Look, I'm riding!
Naturally

I once became a reader -
Words tumbled from my tongue;
I once became a writer -
With pencil words were sung.

I learned to dance and whistle,
I swam and gulped at air;
I swung and hit a baseball
No matter foul or fair!

Each day I keep on learning,
There's time for one more lesson;
Each day that I am breathing
Is time for one more blessing.

by Donna JT Smith

Please visit other Poetry Friday contributors!  Head to Carol's place at Beyond Literacy Link There's lots to learn out there!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Watercolor Averages

On Friday, Jama asked why she never knew that I was a painter.
Well, there's a reason for that.
I'm a secret painter!  I've always loved to draw, but haven't done it often.

I've actually recently begun painting with watercolors.  I think I can safely say that.  About 30 or more years ago, I took one class in watercolor and I was not very good at it.  It's really something you need to keep doing to get a real feel for the paints.  So I stopped and resumed life instead of doing another painting, I had kids.  And we raised horses.  And moved.  And then I retired and thought, "Why not try that watercolor stuff again?  You don't have to eat on a schedule anymore.  There are no horses waiting for supper.  No kids waiting to be picked up at soccer practice." 
One day out driving, I noticed a sign by a library saying they were doing watercolor classes on Wednesday mornings.  It was only hour away from home, which may seem far to you, but everything is about an hour away from home (or more) in Maine. I signed up and went for a couple of months.  It was a wonderful time of paint and coffee and talk - very informal, not pushy, lots of trial and error and error and praise for good attempts and minor successes.  It was a wonderful time and maybe I should go again.  It stopped for a bit in winter, and I haven't been back.  It's an hour away, and I did one good painting.

I do a few really awful paintings and then one good one.  Then I stop for a while, frozen in fear that I cannot do it again.  And that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Of course you can't do it again if you never do it again.  But then again, you can't fail either, if stopping isn't failing, that is!  I regulate my success/failure rate that way I guess.  Or I think I do.  I don't really.  You have to swing and miss most of the time to bat a .300.  If you don't swing, you don't miss.  If you don't miss you don't get any score.

I do love all manner of creative expression.  As with most things in my life, I've just never become proficient at them.  I know a little about a lot of things.  Some things I do well, but most I do just at a moderately successful level.

Here's a chronological ordering of watercolors I've done that I am okay with right now.  I say right now, because, just as a child looks back at work they did when they were younger and thinks - "ewww!"  I have done that with work that I let percolate a bit.  "Ewww! How could I have thought that was good?"  And then pick apart all the bad things about it.

My Cow (I don't have a cow)

A Spark entry
This year's Christmas card
Ginger - a present for my husband
It is time to pick up the brushes again.  It was a long time coming and lots of experimentation and futzing about, but finally for Spark 29, I got my paints together and came up with my Journey to Iceland watercolor.

Journey to Iceland
Bravely, boldly.  And not too seriously!  Who cares what it looks like?  Right?  Just have fun.  You should try it.  You don't have to show anyone your work.  I just do it as a bit of validation (maybe?) for myself.  Or a bit of trying out "Bold", my olw for 2016. Good, bad or indifferent, I'm trying to make things to be okay in their own right.  A beautiful attempt, maybe not a beautiful conclusion... but beauty in the boldness!  Oooh,  now there's a title for a poem... "Beauty in the Boldness".  Perhaps a theme.  Let me mull this one over.  I think I have something percolating.  Bye!




Friday, June 3, 2016

Spark 29

Today for Poetry Friday, I am merely going to point you in a direction....
Spark 29, organized by Amy Souza, is now being uploaded item by item on the GetSparked website.  Writers and artists are paired and then given 10 days to respond to a work that they are given by their partners.  I participated for this session as both artist and writer and was paired up with Alyscia Cunningham, who also signed up as artist and writer.  Alyscia sent me a piece of writing, called "Journey to Iceland".  I did a watercolor as a response to it.   And she sent me a photograph, to which I responded with a poem.  The poem may be found here and the watercolor with her story is here.
Shortly Alyscia will post my writing with her artistic interpretation, and my art/photograph with her written response.  Keep checking for more pairings at GetSparked.org, and consider joining in for Spark 30!
Thanks Jone for hosting today!  There are more links to poetry on her website "Check It Out"!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Are You Ready for This?


If you joined me last Tuesday here, you saw that my husband had bought a Harley Davidson Sportster, white and shiny, for me to join him on to tool around the countryside... my son also got himself a big ol' bike, sharp and black!
We are going to Laconia for Bike Week opening on Saturday, June 11.  I would be the passenger on the new saddle we bought for my husband's bike.
But then suddenly these two guys started prodding me to get my own bike - that I'd really enjoy driving instead of being a passenger.  It's not like this is the first time my husband's mentioned it.  But somehow with the two of them coaxing me... well... I am now the proud owner of a blue Suzuki Burgman.  It is a motorcycle size scooter, with automatic transmission.  It's much easier to get on and off this, since you don't have to straddle the bike.  It can go highway speeds and great distances comfortably.  It has a 400cc engine, so it is considered a motorcycle though you sit on it as you would a scooter.
Because the engine is large and it is a motorcycle, I need a motorcycle license to drive it.  I must have two days of motorcycle training.  The training sessions are not that easy to find, since Maine just in May changed the laws and will not issue permits any more.  Classes are backed up into July and mostly in August.  However, after making many searches on the Internet, and a few phone calls, I was fortunate enough to find a "no show" for this week!  So now it is looking like I may just be able to ride into Laconia Bike Week under my own power!  It's just over a two hour drive - since I'll need some breaks (not brakes) probably, it will be closer to three hours, I'm sure!
I got my temporary vanity plate plate for my blue bike.  "DAISY".  Daisy was the name of my blue Schwinn bike when I was young - my pretend horse for a number of years.  I think it is a fitting name for my new blue Suzuki bike!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Spark Start

Today is the day I submitted my inspiration pieces to my partner for the Spark 29 challenge that Amy Souza hosts.  Both my partner Alyscia Cunningham and I have decided to participate as Artist and Writer.  So early this morning she sent me a photograph and an excerpt from a written piece so that in the next ten days I could respond to each.

When I saw the photograph, a phrase came immediately to mind and I began the poem just as soon as I zipped my two files off to her - one poem and a photo.  On June 5 we will reveal to each other what we have produced from our inspiration pieces.

Unless something else occurs to me, I have finished the written piece.  It was just there for me, so I wrote the whole thing in one sitting (even though I was supposed to be writing something else entirely - as I am supposed to be doing even now!)

Now for the hard part.  The art.  I know I can take a picture pretty easily for this one.  Well, I think I can anyway.  But I was thinking I might want to do a watercolor instead.  I have not done much watercolor lately.  I need to do that.  Then again - maybe it should be something else entirely.  Not sure what.  I will let that stew a bit longer.

A Writer's Path

I'm writing along
And humming a song,
I have to take care not to trip.
My words tumble out
And wander about;
The words are all doing a flip,
Omitting some there
Resitting them where
They're sensible, with the right clip;
Yes, that is the way
All writers convey
Their story, and end with a quip.

Donna JT Smith

Not a great poem, but one nonetheless... and it didn't take a long time to write.  That is the plus.  That is the poem's finer quality.  I will write something good some other day when I don't have a million things to do.  I was going to say bazillion, but I don't have THAT many things to do!  No one does.