Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Identity Fumbling

Monday 4/15/19

First, let me talk about the book.  Then I will talk about other things, I promise.  Sorry to go on and on about this new author stuff.  This writing and publishing and promoting is all new to me and it takes over my everyday thoughts.

The other day I was talking with someone who had been a caregiver.  We shared the feeling of joy and purpose that flowed through most of our days.  How our love grew and changed over time caring for our loved ones.   I told her I felt fulfilled caring for George.  That all my life when I was doing one thing I was wondering if I should be doing something else.  But while care-giving I knew that caring for George and myself was my top priority.  No doubts.

Now that doubt,  am I doing the best thing with my time, returns.  I feel fulfilled working on the book and sharing the book.  So when I have social dates, take a day to bike, I have this little voice saying, "you should be working on the book promotion, publishing, learning..."

Tonight the book club in my neighborhood is meeting.  They chose for this month my first book, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.  I offered to stay home because I didn't want them to feel awkward about criticizing the book.  I mean, if they hate it, I want them to be able to say that without being embarrassed.  But the members insisted I attend and take in the critiques.  They thought I was running from the honest feed-back.   No no, that's not it.  I am excited and I have been looking forward to this.

The hostess has asked me to talk about the making of the book and I will be reading some from the second book.

I have even postponed the publication of the second book because maybe they will have some insight to help me improve the second book.


Did you notice?  This blog is all about me.  It is totally weird.  Me, my life, my book, me, me, me.  It doesn't seem right.  Before, the blog was about us and Alzheimer's Disease and living with both joy and sorrow simultaneously.   I hope you will excuse me as I try to find my new way.

Preparing to Travel

This past week I got to meet and hang out with the people I will be traveling with around the Netherlands in May.  Mari, who has invited us and organized the whole thing lives right next door to me.  She and Jerry were friends (Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders) before we moved here.  They were the ones that told me the place was going up on the market.  I was able to buy the place without the expense of a realtor.

Mari and Jerry are VERY active and positive people.  What I learned from meeting their friends is they hang out with positive folks.  Which is great, because we won't have to listen to whiners on the trip.  We all have learned to do our best to roll with whatever comes our way and make the best of it.  I am so lucky to be included in this travel group.

I learned that it will be about 65 degrees F during the day and in the 40s at night in the Netherlands.  So I bought a jacket that packs small and a raincoat to keep me dry in the spring rains.  And get this, I had to buy padded underwear!  I will be riding a conventional bike on this trip.  my trike will remain home.  So sad to say goodbye to my comfortable seat. 

I met Lois.  I will be sharing a room with her on the boat (bike and boat tour).  She is really nice, positive, a former nurse who worked with dementia patients.  She also has bouts of insomnia and worries that she might snore.  We will get along fine. 

This trip I will be riding a "wedgy" and leaving my beautiful trike at home.  Sylvia Halpern (a friend and world traveler by tike) travels on planes with her trike.  I am hoping to try that on my next trip.  Just wrap it up and wheel it up to the baggage area.  If I succeed it will open up all kinds of travel and trike possibilities.  Exciting ventures...  If I can keep on Trippin' and trikin' I am a happy woman.

Monarch Mama Report

In the flower garden I share with my neighbor There are several prolific collard green plants.  Yesterday I cut some to chop and cook with sweet potatoes.  I found a cocoon under one of the big leaves as I was washing it.  Lovely green with gold bead trim.  Why did nature make them so pretty?  The leaf now sits in a cup of water on my front porch.  I hope the butterfly emerges before the leaf wilts and dies.

I had not gone for a massage in several months, but my back had been hurting in spite of the stretches and exercises I had been given by Greg Brown.  He was the guy that came up with the exercises that George and I did and I explained I the first book, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.

I went for a massage this week and shared seeds and plants with my masseuse.  She has a big yard and had requested them.  Milkweed for all, spread the fun!

Nutty Prize

At the Windermere Talent Show I won the nutty prize!  Jerry video taped the performances so I am able to share it here.  My sister watched my practice and said it looked and sounded like poetry.  Both laughter and tears.  Let me know your thoughts.  Comments are welcome.

Shares of this blog or video are welcome too! Share with your friends and on your social media.  People who sign up for the blog in April (Click the Join tab above) will receive a copy of one of the chapters in the second book!!!

More later...

Monday, April 1, 2019

Too Silly to be Old

I am having fun.  I hope you are too.

I am proud to be a monarch momma.  Love those fat little guys that turn into orange butterflies that visit my garden.  I have been starting new milkweed plants (it is the only plant that the caterpillars feast on.) And a friend of mine has asked me to save the seeds and she is going to plant a large area in Milkweed.  It does well here.  The plants look so much different than in Wisconsin.

The pictures of the blossoms were taken by my friend Mark B.  He and his wife, Jane visited a real short visit this winter.  We had a great time kayaking and hanging out.

Pictures Pictures Pictures

On the Facebook Group Susan Straley Writes I have been asking people to post pictures of themselves or someone or something with the book.  I have gotten a great variety of pictures.  And some of the folks have shared the pictures on their personal page!  Yeah, spreading the word about the book and our story.  I love it.

I have been promising to put the pictures together in a kind of slide show video.  Each time I put them together, I get one more picture that is great and I have to add it to the video.

I have gotten 20 pictures.  Each of the contributors will receive a free copy of the second book when it is published (Expecting June, 2019).

Thank you!  Here's the video.

Now I will continue to hope for pictures and anyone that shares their picture of the book with themselves or someone or something on their Facebook or Instagram page and tags me (so I see it) will have their name put in a drawing to receive the second book as a gift of thanks.  Tweet it too if you like.

And the video below is me practicing for the Talent night in our neighborhood.  Pretty rough.  Being silly for April Fools Day.

I am trying to get hold of the video they took at the event.  I WON 2nd place.  And the people were so good and so talented!  I was shocked.  I was so embarrassed to do it.  But I had my friend, Margaret hold the microphone and we busted out laughing so much, I think that helped. 

Bye Bye Birdies

Our friends that only spend a 3 to 6 months here in the Inverness, Florida area are heading home.  Within a 3 to 4 week period from late March to Late April the social calendar gets lighter, the area gets quieter.

I dream of traveling to visit folks over the summer, but I don't know if that will happen.  Though I do have plans to see my sister in Wisconsin and my brother who will be visiting Minnesota.  If I do, I hope to connect with Alzheimer's support groups in the area and do book signings at events.


OH and did I tell you???

I am  going to the Netherlands!  Yes!

My neighbors and friends were talking about their plans to go do a bike and boat and I said, "That is on my bucket list."

And they said, "Come along!"

Fortunately they invited other friends so I am not the only tag-along.  Everyone says I will love it so much and want to go back again and again.  I don't know, that is what they said about camping and when I tried it this winter it just seemed like a lot of work.

Anyway, I will let you know how it went after I return in June.

Book News

I have been contacted by the YMCA and I am excited to do a fundraising book signing for their Art from the Heart project.  They have an art program that gets caregivers and those with dementia out and socializing and having fun.  So wonderful.  Waiting to set a date.

And I was featured in the Coping with Dementia newsletter.

And an article I wrote for Teepa Snow's newsletter was featured in April!  She instructs caregivers all over the United States on Compassionate Care methods for those with Dementia.  I am honored.

If you haven't bought the book or want to gift the book, here's the link to it on Amazon.

Madison, Wisconsin, Bicycle Trails Everywhere

July 9, 2020 Hi there!  I made it safely to Madison, Wisconsin. I am sitting writing this in Kathi's den.  She has a separate window...