Saturday, September 28, 2019

Likin' the Lichen, Bees, Friends, and Fall Color Rides

Mary didn't have a book about mushrooms, but she brought out a book she had about lichen. 

I read the first few pages and learned that lichens are a mixture of fungus and a...   shoot, I forgot the word!

Moments like these get scarier and scarier.  Most of my friends are older, and I am seeing some memory loss in a few of them.  Besides that, I watched my Mom and George and friends live and die with dementia.  It is SCARY!

Ok, thanks to Google, I am reminded that fungus and algae are in a symbiotic relationship that creates lichen.  "Rather, it is a symbiosis between different organisms - a fungus and an alga or cyanobacterium."

When taking pictures of mushrooms I found myself wondering if something was a lichen or a mushroom, or just a mold.

I think we saw all three in the woods.

My sister Mary and I had fun going on two more mushroom walks while I was visiting in Rhinelander, WI.

I love that I took the picture below and then when going through my pictures was surprised to see the mushroom seeping drops of liquid.   I have seen this before, with many many black bugs enjoying the syrup.

 Mary thought this was mold (below).  It was soft and flaky.  I look at it now and it looks like an old couple kissing.  Or is he (on the left) holding his hand over her mouth (on the right?)

I guess I have an over-active imagination?  You tell me, what do you see?

Mary and I also attended a Qui Gong class at Nicholet College.  I loved it. 

The Qui Gong class was a series of gentle standing movements.  We were moving of the spine, strengthening the legs with easy squats and lunges. 

The exercises were easy to follow along (not like Tai Chi) because the movements are repeated several times. Flexing and spinning the spine gently, stretching and strengthening actively.  Some balance movements were part of it too.

The class also included a period of walking meditation.  We were looking out the windows at the woods as we gathered in energy.   Lovely, lovely...

Here is a link to a YouTube video of Qui Gong.

On my last day in Rhinelander, my sister expressed dread and a bit of anxiety over facing the long winter with many many days when the is sun hidden behind layers of clouds.  After having lunch with Dave and one of Mary's friends, Mary and I went to a class on mindfulness. 

It was meant to be!  The topic was all about facing the coming winter.

Here are some ideas I remember from the class.
  • Catch yourself thinking about it, and change the words and description.  "Dreary" can become "Silver". "Cold" can become an opportunity to cuddle, get warm infront of a fire, and hug a mug of hot beverage.
  • Get outside, get active
  • Pay attention to social.  Go to the library or the coffee shop where people are, call a friend, attend a gathering.
  • Do some Qui Gong!  A little bit twice a day makes a big difference.
  • Use a full-spectrum light a 1/2 hour a day at least.
  • Kind of sad and low energy is ok and you can used these methods to help.  But if it goes on for longer than a few days or a week, get help.  These methods won't help lift you out if you go below a certain threshold.  There is no shame in needing help.  Some bodies run real low on the brain chemicals needed lift one out of depression.  Some bodies need medical assistance for seasonal affective disorder (sadness during the low-light months).

Starting South with Birds and Art

On  Tuesday evening I gave my brother-in-law a hug and told him I loved him very much.

I don't know when I will get to see him again.  He is no longer able to travel to Florida.

I didn't say goodbye to my sister because she was meeting me in Wausau the next morning.  She and I and three of her friends were going to an art museum that focuses on nature in art.  There is a special display this month called Birds and Art. 

I packed up and left my sisters as the sun was rising and went to Anytime Fitness, but felt drained and didn't do many weights.  It could be the saying goodbye, the idea that now I am heading South... it could be anything.

It was 59 degrees as I started driving south.  I heard that my friends in Florida were still experiencing 95 degree days.

I saw a picture of chickens with remarkable detail.  I learned it was by Carl Brender's work.  I am familiar with his work, George was a fan!  The large picture that is packed in my van that I have hauled all the way from Florida is actually a Carl Brender's limited edition print.

I will be delivering it to the employee that was with us the longest on my way to Waukesha, Wisconsin.

After the museum we went to downtown Wausau to a Mexican restaurant for lunch.

My stomach full, it was time to say good bye to my sister. 

She is such a wonderful sister and friend.  We connect so well. 

Mary can no longer travel to Florida while she is having to watch over her husband.  He is living well with dementia, but leaving him for a week to visit me is not in the cards this year. 

I got a long wonderful heartwarming hug.  I started to cry and I promise to come see her next July of 2020.  These sayings are on Mary's fridge. 

Yep!  Thank you, Mary.  The visit and sister time was just what I so wanted out of this long journey.  Thanks for the mushroom walks, the comfy bed, and your wonderful advice.

Once when walking with Mary I mentioned that I was going to try to find seasonal work for next summer up in the North somewhere.  Then I told her about all the things I would rather do, all the trips I want to take.   She said, "I really think you should take another year before you do that."

YES!  All I needed was one person to tell me to do that and I am starting to think of the possibilities for next summer.


 Just a short drive to Steven's Point area, where I visited friends Rolf and Barbara Garthus.  They have a lovely home in the woods near Amherst, Wisconsin.    We had arranged to ride together.  They took me on a lovely 22 mile ride on the country roads with a few hills.

 It was a lovely ride.  The weather was perfect too.  The roads were so low-traffic that we were able to ride side by side and chat most of the time.

Both Rolf and Barbara have electric assist on their trikes.  They were kind enough to go my pace and wait at the top of the hills for me.

They finally retired this year after owning and running the Hostel Shoppe in Steven's Point for 40 years.  We talked about the process of selling a business, the possibility of going to the Trike Rally on the Couer D'Lene Trail in Northern, Idaho next year. 

I had just learned that my friends, Regis and Cindy (who I visited in North Caroline earlier on this trip) were going to be camp hosting in the area.  I am so excited for them to be spending their summer in that beautiful part of the country.  I would love to visit.  

If I go I would have the opportunity to see so many of those that I have connected with through riding tricycle.   But it is a LONG way.  And the Climate Crisis is out there telling me to pay attention.  I wonder how long it will take to ride a trike to Idaho...

Barb made a wonderful dinner.  I felt bad because I didn't bring anything to contribute to the meal.  It was lovely.  Afterward, Barbara showed me the lovely cookbook that her daughter-in-law wrote.

I would love to read the front background information part of the book.  I don't read cookbooks normally, but this looked lovely and interesting.  Vibrant India is the title, by Chitra Agrawal.

The daughter-in-law has created a line of sauces that are now available in some grocery stores and Walmart!  Cool... well, they are spicy hot, but that is cool.

Thanks to Rolf and Barbara for the bike ride, the great meal, and the comfy accommodations for the night! 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Mushrooms, Moths, and The 100 Year Old Woman

Greetings from Wisconsin

I have been having a great time at my sister's in Rhinelander.

I went to Anytime Fitness to join Mary in an exercise class. When I pulled my trike up next to the building to lock it, I saw a wide variety of moths. There is a light on that side of the building that must have been on all night. And in the morning, the cool fog descended and the moths found a place to park on the side of the building. There were big ones and little ones and tubular looking ones.  There were ones that looked like leaves and ones that blended in with the brick.  I loved it!

Mary had invited her friend Bettina over for lunch one day. This woman drove herself over to Mary's home, climbed the stairs to Mary's back door, and after lunch walked around the yard admiring Mary's wildflower plantings. Bettina has traveled to Boston and California this year. She turned 100 years old this year.  She attends Learning In Retirement classes and Silver Sneakers exercise classes.

She read my book and lavished me with praise. "I have never met an book author before!" she exclaimed with delight.

Well, I have never had the pleasure of dining with a bright and interesting 100 year old woman before.  Thank you for coming to lunch, Bettina!  And thank you, Mary, for inviting her and sharing your wonderful friend with me.

I learned after seeing several bees sleeping on flowers that bees do sleep, and they often do it on flowers.

Bettina suggested a forest trail to take to view mushrooms.  There has been a lot of rain in the area and Mary had already seen a lot of mushrooms on a trail.

Mary and I went on a mushroom walk.  WOW!  It was fantastic.  I told her I could do that everyday during my visit.  I am hoping we can try another trail today.

The internet is very slow here.   It took over 12 hours to upload the short mushroom video.  Pictures can take a long time too.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Boat Rides, Fall Colors, Audio Book Progress


Book Publishing Takes Time

Before I left Florida I got a bit ambitious.  I hired a great voice actress to read Alzheimer's Trippin' with George and create an audio book from it.

She had found a few mistakes in my writing (surprise, surprise).  I had to remove all the pictures from the book (over 1200!) to make the audio version.  Where the picture added to the story, I had to describe the picture or what was going on. 

Anyway, she was kind enough to make notes of the errors and I will be able to go back and fix the paperback and Kindle versions when I get the time. 

After that I decided to pay someone to professionally edit The Journey Continues.  Only they are editing the audio book version of that also.  That book is already up on Amazon in paperback but will officially launch in Kindle and Large Print on December 4th, 2019.   I hope to have the audio book version ready at the same time.

Well, guess what? 

First the audio book was completed and is ready for my review. 

So I need to sit at the computer and listen to that carefully for any corrections I would like the audio producer/actress to make.  That takes my time.

The good news is that Robin Siegerman, the voice actress, has done an exceptional job!  I am already in chapter 7 and I have found only one word for which she needs to change the pronunciation.

Next the editor of The Journey Continues sent me his corrections.  I am to go through the whole book correction by correction and accept or make comments on each correction he made or question he has.  Wow.  That take more of my time!

I didn't think of how much work would be coming to me while I was traveling.  I think I will space it all out.  A couple hours a day, and the rest I can enjoy with my sister, friends and family. 

Which means I will blog less often.   I will miss you.

Soon the audio version of The Journey Continues will arrive for me to edit.  I may need to put off the release of that until January.  We'll see how things go.


I left you in my last post contemplating how I would get around or through Chicago.  Well, I plowed on through.

You don't think of this, but before you enter a big city, stop and empty your bladder.  That way you don't have to try to pull off into some unknown neighborhood looking for a place to pee.

I didn't have to do that, but I sure was anxious to get out on the other side of the city.

I was driving north up Highway 41 in Wisconsin when I suddenly remembered I had an extra stop today.  I was carrying a big picture that I was to deliver to a former employee that now works at John Deere in Horicon, Wisconsin.  I took the next exit and pulled over to see if I had passed Horicon.  I was exactly East of it.  Not bad for remembering just in time.

Instead for trying to find his number and calling him right then, I drove to Horicon, parked, and went to the security building.

The guard called John (the former employee) and he didn't answer.  The guard would not let me leave the big picture with him.  He was not allowed to keep packages.  I called John and left a message, then I walked around town a bit.

I was anxious to see my friend in Neshkoro, Wisconsin.  So I left and drove some beautiful roads through northern farmland scattered with woods and wetlands.  

John called when I was over 20 miles from Horicon.  I said I would drop the picture off on my way back South.  (I hope I remember!)

My friend Audrey was having a neighbor couple over for dinner and graciously allowed me to join in the fun.  I stopped at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store for salad supplies and made my salad contribution to the dinner.  I made the salad like a person living out of their van - right there in the parking lot.

It was a great dinner, the neighbors took us on a pontoon boat ride around the lake they live on.

In the morning of 9/18/2019, Audrey and I were able to walk and talk.  She shared some pictures and memories she had of her late husband.  She lost her husband to dementia shortly after my George passed.  We are sisters in care-giving, grief, and moving forward. 

We were both early risers and I was back on the road again by 8:30, heading toward my sister's in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Biking and Triking Through Amish Country


On September 16, 2019, Frankie, Dennis and I drove over to the Pumpkin Vine Trail to ride our bikes.

 We started riding and Frankie pointed out the Amish farms.  There were quite a few with washing hanging out on the line.  Frankie loved this quilt.

There were lots of horses in pastures and Amish black carriages in driveways and under carport-like shelters.

We saw a composite bench that had been chewed up quite a bit by squirrels.

The trail was lovely with lots of shade. 

We rode by cows and buffalo and bulls, lots of clusters of white farm buildings and houses with long clotheslines filled with dresses and overhauls and white shirts.  On some of the buildings were solar collectors.

This area of Indiana is the manufacturing hub for camper trailers.  We passed lots full of campers and biked past the Winnebago manufacturing plant that smelled like plywood.

We arrived at the end of the trail in a town called Shipshewana.  We got off the trail and rode some crushed gravel and tar streets to a very nice cafe with a lovely fresh salad bar.  It appeared the owners and managers were not Amish, but many of the waitresses and staff were wearing Amish gear.

Frankie stopped one and asked the difference between Amish and Menonite.  Amish don't drive cars, the Menonites do.  Amish women wear white caps, the Menonite women where black lacey head covers.  In the restaurant were a Menonite couple and a young married Amish couple as customers.

On our way back to the trai we rode down the main street of Shipshewana.  It had a large shoulder on each side to accomodate the single horse and carriage that the Amish use for transportation.  In the middle of the shoulder was a worn down groove where the many horses clomp as they pull the carriages.

We must have seen 10 or more carriages coming in the opposite direction as we rode the mile through town.

My mind did a flip when I saw a Chiropractic Clinic with Massage and Accupuncture offerings and a slab out front with a railing to tie the horses.  There were two Amish carriages and their horses waiting while their owners either worked or received services in the clinic.

It was a fun ride on a lovely fall day in Indiana with my friends Frankie and Dennis.  Thank you for the great time and great visit.

Now I have to figure out how to either get around Chicago or plow on through it.  Tomorrow I will arrive in Wisconsin!

Going On 70 and Feeling 30

When I returned from the Everglades I parked my trailer at an angle so that the distance from the electric box to my trailer would be shorte...