Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Positive Word for the Ladies. :)

You are not less woman because of your size.
You are not less woman because of your personal style.
You are not less woman because of your occupation.
You are not less woman because of your interests.
You are
as much woman
as you should be.
And don't allow the status quo to convince you otherwise.

Beat Poetry for Body Image Advocacy

I KNOW the struggle. The struggle is real and the struggle is here and the struggle is NOW. Beauty is not as it appears; it is not what they of Hollywood and the mass media and diet pill companies and plastic surgeons want you to believe it is. Beauty is not Barbie. Beautiful and thin and perfect are not synonymous. Beautiful is not white, it is not black, it holds within it every color and no color at all. Beautiful is not a size, or numbers on a scale. Beautiful has no race. Beautiful has no gender. Beautiful has no age, wealth, religious or national allegiance. Beautiful is broken and gloriously imperfect. Beautiful is not something to be strived for or sought outwardly; true beauty comes from within.  Beautiful is kindness and compassion, beauty is courage and strength. Beautiful is the ability to stand back up, dust off and walk away when it's knocked down, and to be the helping hand to others when it sees them in that low, dark place. Beauty is standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Beauty is in each and every one of us, and it is up to us to recognize and embrace that beauty in others...and within ourselves. Stay beautiful, my friends. ♡

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Shift Of the (Variable) Gears

Long time no see, interwebs! I apologize for that.

Wow. So much has happened since my last post that I'm not sure where to start!  I've since collected more bikes, got a regular working stiff job at an awesome motorsports shop, and while the pounds have been melting away with the increased activity...I've kinda stopped caring. In fact,  I've had a paradigm shift in my body positivity, no matter the shape. I've taken up body image advocacy, because we should all love the person we are, as we are, inside and out.

In other news, I didn't realize what a challenge this would be, blogging from my phone. More updates from a more blog-worthy machine, and soon!

Stay beautiful and stay riding, my friends!

Monday, March 30, 2015

How Shotokan Karate Saved My Life

On 29 March, 2015, at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, my Shotokan training saved my life. It also kept my temper in check, preventing a knee-jerk reaction to the incident, fueled by anger and adrenaline.

It was a busy Sunday afternoon as I departed 99 Ranch Market on my 150cc scooter, heading down McKinley towards the Magnolia detour. In the vicinity of the on and off ramps for the 91 freeway, a woman in a dark blue SUV was too engrossed in conversing with her traveling companions to watch her surroundings and merged into me, forcing me into oncoming traffic. With a small, red pickup truck coming at me from the front and this SUV bearing down on me and pushing me into them from the side, I simultaneously witnessed a short film about the finer points of my life while being forced to do some quick math.

Before beginning on my path to learning Shotokan, I was in a major accident on my 750cc motorcycle, in which I nearly lost my leg and had to endure an seven hour surgery in addition to six months which, when they were not spent in bed, were spent in a wheelchair, as well as seven months of physical therapy. The accident was my fault, and mine was the only vehicle involved; it had happened because I panicked in a much less dire situation and made a newbie riding mistake. Shotokan has proven to be a form of therapy for me, showing me I can do more than I thought I could and pushing me far past the limitations my physicians had placed on my recovery. It has sharpened my reflexes and my own situational awareness, helping to make me a better rider and, I'd like to believe, a better person through discipline and taking the dojo kun to heart.

And without it this day, I surely would have been severely injured, or perhaps even killed.

Even if I had managed to get lucky if this incident had happened before my Shotokan training, I can almost guarantee that I would have lost my temper, climbed off of my scoot, and confronted the driver. While I am not a violent person, I do have a serious problem with idiots, which is amplified when said idiots get behind the wheel of a two ton vehicle and carelessly endanger the lives of others.

However, neither of these things happened. While I was understandably frightened (read: scared witless), I managed not to panic as I had in my previous accident. Instead, I got out of the SUV's way and rode the double yellow line until I was past both truck and SUV—and out of harm's way. Upon halting at the next red light with the SUV still behind me, some choice phrases that could burn a sailor's ears ran through my mind like a news ticker as fear cooled and clarified into anger. I must admit: I was livid. The blatant lack of situational awareness and further unawareness of this person who had just jeopardized my life was burning in my brain. I wanted to park my scooter at the intersection and walk back to the SUV to give the driver a piece of my mind. But, I refrained, as the mantra of 'to refrain from violent behavior' replaced the more colorful phrases of the insult-ticker. Instead, I just looked back at her, shook my head and said a comparatively tame 'what the hell is wrong with you' into the muffling confines of my helmet. She stopped talking to one of her passengers and just stared at me in that certain manner that a bovine, standing on a set of tracks, stares down an oncoming train.

I truly believe that my Shotokan training saved my life today, and kept my behavior to a higher standard than I expect of others. When I realized this at 1:30 in the morning, long after the adrenaline and the anger had worn off, when the realization of just how close a call I'd had sank in, I broke down and cried, safe in my home, my scooter in her parking space without so much as a scratch.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Riverside Type-In

Some of you were aware that I collect typewriters. Now, you all are! Follow my red scooter down to Riverside's historic Mission Inn Avenue to see some awesome machines, drink fantastic coffee and peruse the local antique shops. I'll see you there!

If you see this, you know you're heading in the right direction!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

An Introduction to the Fat Chick


My name is Anna, and I'm a fat girl. While I'm not ashamed of my fluffiness, I am on a quest to lose some weight. Since I started watching what I'm eating in earnest, I've lost twelve inches, which is a small victory for me. But I've still got plenty of fluff to shed.

As with all good books that should not be judged by their dust-jackets and bindings, I am more than my size and my age, which is a rockin' thirty this year! Woo! I'm pretty awesome, and this blog will chronicle why over time. (For an infoblurb, just look at my blogger profile.) I'll try to stay on topic, but no guarantees!

What is the topic, you ask? Well, besides what's already been mentioned, I love scooters. A lot. And I have an inordinate amount of knowledge about them. My scooter is my only mode of transportation; I don't own a car and, since I was in a pretty serious motorcycle accident last year, I haven't been able to walk far or to ride a motorcycle. I just recently started riding my scooter again, and it's almost as if that year spent in the hospital, my bed at home, in a wheel chair, in physical therapy and on crutches never happened. Well, save for the pain, numbness, scars and slight limp I'll forever bear. And I sometimes use a cane. But, I digress.

So basically, I'm a fat chick who is a scooter geek. This is my story.

As of right now, I have a 49cc Ruckus clone. I call it the burro, because it's small, slow, and generally used to haul things. This is my ride:

                                                         Complete with ironic air freshener!

While I love my scoot, it definitely falls into the category of 'Cheap Chinese Scooter' (hereafter referred to as 'CCS'). While that generally isn't necessarily a bad thing, mine happens to be the cheapest of the cheap, and this model should probably be avoided at all costs. Not because of any actual safety issue, mind you; but this model is rather unreliable. That being said, my burro has only really let me down a couple of times. I'll never sell this strange mechanical creature, though as soon as I'm able, it will be getting a heart transplant, as well as some other modifications.

But all of that takes money. A pretty good chunk of money, actually. Especially for someone who has been out of work for a year. And a 49cc does. not. go. fast. In fact, if I don't want to completely piss off people in four-wheeled vehicles (hereafter referred to as 'cages') I have to stay in the bike lane. This guy can't even keep up with surface street speeds. And if I want to ride with someone with a bigger bike or scoot? Forget about it.

It's obvious I need something a little bigger and quite a bit faster.

So, after some looking around on Craigslist and at different dealers (and doing an ungodly amount of research), I've been able to narrow my options. I love classic Vespas and Lambrettas, but I'd be worried to have one as my daily driver and would probably baby it more than was healthy for myself or the scoot. I also don't want a 'come-get-this-thing-outta-my-driveway-for-fifty-bucks-cause-it-doesn't-run'; I want something that I don't have to fix before I can ride it, so I can go out and, y'know, maybe get a real job?

With that being said, check out this vision of loveliness:

                                                                 How you, gawjuss?

While it has all those classic Vespa lines, this, ladies and gentlemen, is a clone. It is a Valentine 150cc, manufactured by Puma Cycles Corp. and it meets all of California's ridiculous emission standards (while I'm all for saving the environment and down with global warming and all that jazz, it's already a tiny, two-wheeled vehicle, for the love of Gus!). The local scooter boutique that carries these classy little scooters, Riverside Scooters has a fantastic warranty on everything they carry, and they service the scoots in-house as well. In fact, this is where I took my burro to clear the cobwebs after it's fourteen-month-long slumber. Purrs better than most CCS's in it's bracket do now. But let's have another look at that Valentine:

                                             That is some tasty scooter goodness, right there.

I believe the Valentine comes in four colors; besides these two, there is a pale blue and an eggshell white. Of course, I'm going for that eye-catching, standout red. 

                                         The minty fresh green is another nice color option.

The shop owner, Mike, is something of a philanthropist, too. In the shop, he has both a large collection barrel for pet food and a 'Pennies for Puppies' jar, both donated on a regular basis to Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center and their outreach program to Meals on Wheels to help both shelter pets and the pets of homebound individuals. As an animal rescuer and someone who was recently homebound, this strikes a chord with me. He even offers discounts to people who bring in pet food to donate! You can't go wrong with that!

                                                         Even the gauge cluster is classic.

So, when I go to pick my Valentine up, I will be strapping as much cat and dog food to my scooter as I possibly can...and have my husband ride the burro back home, or something.

Save for the LED taillight, the Valentines scream classic from every angle, including their cute little scootery backsides!

And did I mention the shop itself oozes cool? If it were any cooler, it'd be a bona fide hipster hangout. Which is suspect probably isn't too far in the future anyway.

In addition to plenty of scooters, Riverside Scooters carries accessories, vintage license plates, and hand-made soaps. Autographed photos of celebrities, records and license plates grace the walls, and the floor is a very pretty hardwood. And Mike himself is one cool cat, with lots of fascinating stories. He's a real people-person.

I even took to selling some of my typewriter collection to expedite the home-coming of my Valentine. If you're interested, here's the Craigslist ad for the remaining for-sale machines. I'll get into the how's and why's of the typewriter collection in another blog, or, you can check out my blog all about them here.

So, it's nice to meet you, O' blogosphere-at-large, and I hope that you will enjoy my future posts on my journey through weight loss, going everywhere on a scooter (and where I go, if it's interesting enough) and just general stuff about,

Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up out there!