Cadwell Park

So dudes, I was having a little bit of a crisis when I returned to Spain after three weeks in the US. I am not entirely sure why. I mean, I returned to a great place to live in terms of city and living arrangements, with a job I know and that am good at, for a company that appreciates me and let’s me work from anywhere, anytime.

So what’s my problem? For starters, and this may mark me as a crazy animal lady, but I miss my dogs and feel guilty for leaving them. These are two animals that have been through everything with me, one I have had her entire 8 years of life and the was my late husband JM’s dog who became mine shortly after she moved in. And since I am allergic to human children, well  I take care of these hairy little personalities and they bring me lots of joy.

I also spent time with my family and some dear friends, not nearly enough time with either, and leaving them was tough. So while I wouldn’t say I felt homesick (mind you I miss the convenience of everything, but that is another story for another time), I felt a little lonely and kind of like, well, what am I doing here since it can be so difficult to do what I want to do (ie ride motorcycles)

So I pulled myself up by my little bootstraps, chucked myself under the chin, and said, damn it, if I’m here spinning my wheels (ha) then I’m gonna make the most of it.

So I went to ride a racetrack in England.

Actually, I am not a huge fan of England. I lived there two years as a teenager and while I loved it then, I can’t see the point of me being there now.  True to form, it was cold and dark and misty with some thick fog thrown in, with many inappropriately dressed women (short skirts baring thick white thighs in 55 degree weather), over cooked carrots and peas and meat pies. For all its faults, however, people are quite friendly and the area around Lincoln is really beautiful.

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We didn’t get on track until 11am, because there was too much fog. It was a little rainy, and my first session I couldn’t see a thing because my shield fogged so bad, but Cadwell Park is a fun track with a famous hill that launches your front wheel if not your entire bike into the air.  I rode an R6 and got around ok by the end. I haven’t seen any riding photos, I ran out of time to look at them but I’ll post some later if I find some.

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We did have a drink after riding at a funny little pub with an impressive collection of keychains hanging from the ceiling, that was worth the trip alone.

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Settled in Spain

Dear Spain:

When I left you the first time, you knew I would be back. As much as I complained about your glacial pace of getting things done and how you wouldn’t let me own a vehicle, you knew what Italy had in store for me better than I did. I know I threatened to leave you for Italy before, so when I came running back to you, you could have made things really difficult just to punish me. In fact I was expecting it. I thought I would have to live in a rat hole (and there are oh so many to choose from) until I found a decent place to live 3 months from now. And sure, my wallet got stolen again pretty much the second I returned.

But you came through for me in the end, didn’t you? You gave me a room with my own bathroom and some pretty decent flatmates. Oh, and this view right outside my rooms french doors:

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So thanks, Spain. I’m happy to be back.

love,

Me

Wherein I criticise my fellow US citizens fashion sense

I love my country, but I have some criticisms about people here. Lots of them, actually, but today I’m going to comment on our appearances in the corporate workplace.

First, gentlemen, what is the deal with the lack of grooming? It’s not unmanly to make sure that at age 36 your ear hair does not disgust your neighbor in the work team meeting. It is irresponsible is what it is. Wayward eyebrows and hair growing out of the top of your noses should be left for when you are 89 and don’t care anymore. And if you are married and have any of this going on, you definitely need to fire your wife because making sure you don’t look like this is in part of the job description.

Moving onto clothes. The American corporate culture (among others) dress really f-ing poorly. People, you need to buy clothes that fit you. That means pants, shirts, shoes, undergarments – everything. Dudes, your dockers need to at least reach the tops of your shoes. In fact they need form a break above the ankle, but we will move onto that when we cure you of the fear of shoe dirt on your pant hem. Also. Buy the correct waist size, ok? I know you are deathly afraid of appearing the slightest bit “gay”, but buying pants 3 waist sizes too large, year after year, just looks sloppy. Seeing a hint of the shape of your ass is not a bad thing. That’s why they curve the seat area. This goes for shirts too. Swimming in a sea of blue fabric is prison wear, not office wear. But hey, here is the good news. Your socks? Crazy as you want them to be. Really! Go nuts with them. As long as they aren’t white. Unless of course you are wearing running shoes, and are in fact, going running Then white is OK. Don’t even get me started on workout wear as office wear.

Ladies, I am talking to you too. If you are not a size 4, don’t buy a size four. Or, if you must have that size hanging in your closet so you can keep that delusion going, have a couple of big girl pants and skirts that you wear while you wait for whatever it is you are waiting for. By the way, stretched out purple cable knit sweaters were never intended to be worn to the office. Those are for cleaning out the garage when it’s cold, or painting in, or washing your giant Newfoundland dog in. Undergarments are important too. V necked sweaters over strapless tube dresses form a strange X shape on your chest and it’s visually disturbing.

Fellow citizens, please choose the correct size teeth.

It’s great that we go to long lengths to take care of the teeth, and I agree that their appearance is important. I mean, some of the chompers I see in Spain are, to put it bluntly, frightening. I don’t just mean crooked. I mean such rich shades of brown I am certain they brush with tobacco. And snarls so broken and overlapped I wonder how they can close their mouths. In fact, I have seen many an errant tooth poking out of a lip, prompting me to quickly look away lest they smile.

But no, there is a limit people. One can go overboard. Straightening, whitening, whatever – it’s all good. But if you are going to replace your real teeth with big shiny fake ones, then they must fit the mouth they are in. See, not only do they look strange, but we can hear if they do not fit you. You may as well stick Chiclets on your teeth and hold a business meeting while trying to talk through the giant gum squares. It just doesn’t do you any good in the whole gaining respect arena.

Ape Factory

So a friend of mine in the US spends a lot of money at the Aprilia factory. In fact, I am pretty sure he keeps them in business. Anyway, he has befriended quite a few people there over the last ten years or so, so when he heard I was moving to Italy, he contacted his people and put us in touch, since I was going to be living 30 minutes or so away.

I meant to take this very tour ages ago, but I never had the time off and the transportation in Italy at the same time. So when I went to pick up my belongings, I made one last stop at the Aprilia Racing factory.

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Laura and I got a little tour. It was short but it was worth staying the extra day for it. Though this did mean we had exactly one day to get from the East side of Italy to Barcelona. But I digress.

Oh hello Valentino Rossi.

Oh hello, Valentino Rossi.

Simoncelli's championship winner.

Simoncelli's championship winner.

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JM made a visit here and sat on Tetsuya Harada's bike in 2003, when he worked for the brand.

Most important for me to see, Tesuya Harada's bike.
The bike is still on display, but today its friends have joined.

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Don’t worry, we asked if we could take photos.

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Biaggi's supermoto bike.

Biaggi's supermoto bike, back for some repairs.

The truck just back from the Misano SBK roung.

The transporter just back from the Misano SBK round.

Before you ask me – I don’t know what is going to happen with Moto2 next year since there are no 250GP entries, but I think they are building a team. I think that they think they are building a team. But this is solely speculation on my part, I have zero supporting info in this area, no one told or showed me anything, and I’m not releasing any secrets or any photos that were unapproved for public release with this post. Just clearing that up.

Directly after this, we drove across Europe without stopping. Which I don’t recommend for a fun time.

Going back to Cali (for 3 weeks)

Before I post awesome Aprilia factory photos, let it be known that I am currently in the US.

You see, I had an interview for a perfect job with an important company I have been longing to work for since before I ever moved to Spain. You might say it is the reason why I moved here. Yes, I had a legitimate interview, in person, after an initial phone interview had me lookin sharp. Ya’ll may know who this company is and it’s the best place I could ever hope to get into. I thought the interview went well, I was feeling fancy. I even started making plans around my new schedule. But Dream Job decided to go with someone else. So, jobless, I bought a ticket for three weeks of nursing my wounded dream in California. Fortunately, the day after I learned my true love rejected me, I had word that I was wanted on a Navy project for my old company in the US. Good timing, as it would be helpful to be at some team meetings and discuss in person the project.

I have been here three days hanging out with my very happy dogs and cleaning my fathers house. I made him buy a vacuum and an industrial carpet shampooer and have been throwing out  mountains of junk and scrubbing the cat pee out of the rugs. When I’m not cleaning, I nursing my rejection with comfort food and reality TV. For today’s self comforting event I went shopping at Trader Joe’s. God how I miss TJ’s. I love absolutely everything in this store and there is not one thing similar I can come close to buying in Spain, except for the tomatoes. The cookie selection alone brings me to my knees.

I have a funny airport story for you all, but you’ll have to wait, because I hear my mini oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and Project Runway calling.