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! 

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