2010 – the year of Action

April 29, 2010

2010 – the year of action is the title of the Epilogue of “To Drink the Wild Air” tackling the inevitable question  when reading this  – what  ACTION ??  There are different facets of action items within my project but the most important one is – to spread the word.

In the beginning there was only a vision, a vague vision I might add. It was my first summer back in California in 2004. I just had moved to San Francisco coming from Miami. Traumatized by the events preceding this cross country move I was sitting at the beach and decided to start writing my memoirs.

This was my house in Miami. It was a paradise. 

 I bought it in 2002 and had to sell it in 2004 before moving back to California.

I am not a writer. I had no idea how to go about a project like this – I had no idea what such venture would entail – I had no idea how much time it will take – I had no idea about anything. I just got up one morning and started with the research. 

Six years later in February 2010 the last key stroke of around 198.000 words was locked in. I couldn’t do all of it by myself. I hired a freelance writer in order to consult on structure, style and grammar. The actual writing process lasted for almost 3 years mostly on weekends or evenings. I took frequent “writer vacations” and put myself someplace up in the mountains in total seclusion to get work done, and sometimes nothing at all happened for lengthy periods of time due to other commitments in life. 

I scanned several hundreds of old photos to digitalize my archives. I spoke to family and old friends by phone to ask questions, I traveled to Europe and tracked down people I haven’t seen for more than 20 years to talk about old times.  

What did this process teach me?  It was a great journey. It gave me utter mental satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment the moment the manuscript was finished.

Everything poured out of me.  The stories of adventure, freedom and motorcycles, the horizon filled with opportunities and the big colorful wings carrying me sure- footedly along my path paved with the consequences of my own actions and influencing choices.    By the end I finished the manuscript with the fulfillment of having vicariously re-lived my life again. The taste of every nuance of emotions ranging from fearless to reckless, carefree to happy, sad to depressed, indifferent to attentive and  devoted to disappointed.  It all came back to me. 

There is no doubt – no regret – no drama – no catastrophe –no cliché in my story! What you see is what you get.  A happy narrative of a life well lived so far, yet only having scratched the surface of experience, with the end result that I am inspired by my own life again!

The mission is to transmit and project this exact sentiment on to other people. People I don’t know.  Strangers. My current actions reflect that very mission, although most of the time I am not able to see the next turn in front of me in the jungle of all uncertainties, but  action and effort is penetrating and ongoing.

I had a chance to read in public again on April 23 and I was invited to submit some chapter text to a magazine. More of that next time.

One major mile stone will be when “To Drink the Wild Air” is available at the cyber shelves of Amazon.com.  The earth will tremble…..

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The magnificence of birds

April 22, 2010

In the book I have many references to the horizon as being the one and only thing that fascinated me from a very early age, always projecting my own visions of adventures and experience.  The metaphors however of having big colorful wings carrying me thru the clouds and bright skies to the nearest horizon are a lot more powerful… I am just about to grow new wings – as we speak.   

I speak to birds and they speak to me. 

Raven” is an interesting fellow. His eyes always twinkle mischievously and his black shiny feather coat is more beautiful than all the diamonds of this world.   

I’ve conversed with the bald Eagle in Alaska, flying majestically above the clouds in the blue sky scanning the earth for prey. Once the prey is identified “Eagle’s” precision and grace is facilitating a torpedo like descent to earth to stay nourished.  No salmon can take a relaxing afternoon swim in any lake, river or in any bay. The only enemy of “Eagle” is human civilization and worldly ignorance. 

“Parrot” is precious because of its colors, sounds and smarts.  Parrot is intelligent enough to entertain humans but never lose their spirit and instinct within. I envy the parrots for their colorful wings, grace and elegance.

“Toucan” is the gem under the birds of prey. Toucan has qualities Eagle, Raven or Parrot cannot match.  The hook bill  of Toucan is razor-sharp and absolutely dangerous, hence it can be deadly. Toucan is changing colors with the seasons of the year. Bright yellow like the sunshine, a turquoise brighter than the Caribbean sea , a green deeper then the green of any emerald ever seen, screaming red, fluorescent green, orange, black and white. Just magnificent.


Pink is “IN”

April 15, 2010

I like pink. I am really not the pinkish girly type but I think pink is a color everyone should adopt and bring into his or her life in one form or another.  Usually the color pink is found in the world of fashion – pink ties, pink shirts, pink stilettos, pink tank tops, pink hair ribbons or pink lipstick. In my rather edgy world I invited the color pink to my everyday live the way I saw fit.

I had no pink lipstick – butI had a pink race bike.  I bought this bike from an ex-national champion and it had the classic HONDA race colors of red-white and blue. It was a hot bike from the beginning but just too dull for my taste and in the spirit of self promotion and attracting sponsorship possibilities I had it painted in sizzling hot pink.  It was a girly bike all right and that was what gave the racing scene the edge. Which guy wouldn’t want to chase a pink bike??? You tell me.   

Many years later when my path carried me down south to live in sprawling Mexico City, I found the perfect car for me in the midst of 20 million other cars racing around that place. The same way I found my boyfriend Juan down there in the midst of 25 million inhabitants – but this is an entirely different story.

I decided to play it cheap and found an old, classic, remodeled Volkswagen Beetle (year 1978) – in fluorescent pink.

 When I saw it for the first time, I knew that this vehicle would be my loyal companion throughout my stay in México. I had to hand it to Alberto, the man and previous owner who uninhibitedly created such eye candy in a predominantly  ridiculing machismo culture. He sold it to me. I was the perfect person to come along as the white and tall “gringa” chick.  So, I ended up driving around Mexico City in stylish pink. Chapters 18 and 19 of the book are talking about live in México.

My pink Volkswagen and I were inseparable. It carried me every day to work and through all my travels across the whole country. It survived bad gasoline, pot holes on the streets of the size of crater lakes, many flat tires, a number of fender benders, it was my shelter when nothing else was available, it protected us from the monsoon rainfalls when stuck in the Mexican rainforests and it was stripped and broken into so many times – I was surprised it was never completely stolen.  

 I cherished it and I loved it. I never would have given up on its spirit but a rude awakening forced me to part with it a lot earlier than I ever wanted to. With all its imperfections and age, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, it caught on fire due to a short circuit and burned down to the ground. All I had left was the carcass of a Volkswagen beetle, torched by a sea of ugly flames and spit out as a pile of pinkish/black stinking debris.

My loyal companion, my beloved pink Volkswagen had died a tragic death, left beyond recognition or any hope of repair. I sold it in parts for 1500 Mexican pesos. It was a great car.


Spark Plugs vs.Cosmetics

April 8, 2010

NGK vs. Maybelline, Champion vs. Rimmel, Bosch vs. Revlon, or should it be performance vs. beauty?

Let’s bring it to one common denominator.  Performance and beauty. Two characteristic words describing power and elegance honed in strictly defined and different worlds but easily interchangeable.   Beauty can be found in performance and performance can be beautiful. Every which way is possible.      

It all happened in Germany.The first four-stroke gasoline combustion  engine was invented by Mr. Nicolaus Otto in 1876 and 20 years later  two still very  famous gentlemen, at least by name,  Mr.Karl Benz and Mr.Gottlieb Daimler patented the first  so-called “automobile” with the  Otto-cycle combustion engine concept . This was the beginning of the car revolution as we know it today, pioneered by the brand of Mercedes-Benz.

 Every little component in an engine is interdependent and positioned in precision to its interactive and specific job duties.  A spark plug is one of those components. It is an absolute “must have” to make an engine run. The embedded electrode produces the spark and carries the current to ignite the air/gasoline mix in the combustion chamber.   If there is no spark – there is no running engine – as simple as that.  A spark plug is as old as the combustion engine itself and it still looks pretty much the same since 1876. The only thing changed are the materials and its now rather slick appearance, hence it has changed its makeup. Nowadays we are talking about V- Power, G- Power, and Iridium, Laser Platinum or High Power performance spark plugs as the new breed of beauty in performance.  

This picture was taken during a race event in 1984. In my opinion, every woman should be able to change spark plugs. Why not?  So, it happened that I was pretty entrenched into the spark plug world.  A world I knew and I felt comfortable in.

Always up for exploration,despite my spark plug fetish, I became adventurous and broke into the world of modeling and feminine beauty. Beauty in appearance that is!  Unknown instruments like mascara, lip stick or an eye shadow brush was a totally new world for me.  It took utter concentration on my part to apply makeup the right way and after my first attempts my face looked like a crayon drawing produced by a four-year old…..  there was a lot for me to learn. Already the terminology of super lustrous, illuminating, pink twinkle, disco gloss, and creamy feel, long-lasting, shiny, comfortable or forgiving seemed funny to me. Everything was gibberish to me.

So I went from the race track to the runway performing the cat walk. With 5’9  (176 cm) and 130 pounds (58 KG) I was far too short and hopelessly overweight for this scene but as long as the makeup looked good the show went on.  

This  picture shows my debut in modeling around the same time. This photo never made it further than into my desk drawer, but here it is – out in the open.   The picture is proof enough that makeup can be magical.

For many years spark plugs dominated my life, then spark plugs and makeup overlapped for some time and by the end there was only the makeup left.  

I have a feeling that the conventional spark plug as we know it will not survive another 134 years with the rapid development of alternative technology trying to eliminate CO2 emissions. The electric engine generation is knocking on our doors and sooner or later will take over. Makeup on the other hand is never going to die. It always will be every woman’s best companion to transform her into something radiant and beautiful.  It never crossed my mind to buy a spark plug just for the fun of it but I understand the world of beauty better now and I make sure to find the specific, age defining, forgiving, illuminating and lustrous products to make me feel fit into the world.  Now it is only about beauty.