Saturday, June 27, 2020

Drippin' in Florida

Hey there!

It's hot here!  Hot and humid.  I am sitting writing this in front of a huge fan at the shelter by the pool.  Here the WIFI is strong.  There is no WIFI at my campsite.

My air conditioner works in my Weeroll!  I slept with it on last night.  We will see if I will need to use it again tonight.  There aren't critters at this campground and so I have been leaving my doors open with the screens in place.  Trusting that no coons are dogs will come open my bins and eat my food.

Friday, June 26, 2020, we kayaked on the Suwanee River. 

I saw one sturgeon jump.  All the springs were covered by the dark water of the river, so we didn't get to visit any of them.  But the current was swift.

When we got back to camp some of us cooled off in the springs here, which are brown too with the swollen Suwannee.  On the post in the picture you can see the different flood heights from years past.  This flooding is nothing.  There is a stone wall around the spring area, but this year it is completely invisible under the dark waters of the Suwanee River.

One of the sisters ran over an object that punctured her gas tank on her tow vehicle when she was still five hours away.  She rented a U-haul to tow her trailer the rest of the way while mechanics repair her car/truck.   It was challenging trying to back the trailer into a spot.

Below is a picture of Heather my next door neighbor at this resort.  She is pretty cool and very nice.  She has an ice-machine and made me some ice for my drinks.

In the late afternoon we had a yard sale.  All the at-home time during COVID gave us time to gather some things we wanted to get rid of.  We brought them to the yard sale.  I am glad I didn't buy anything.  I brought a lot of stuff to sell but only sold two items.

I put two copies of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George in the sale.  If they don't sell, I can donate them to libraries along my travel routes.

I bought some 50/50 tickets to support Sister Corp which does disaster relief work and other charitable works.

At dinner, Beth from Georgia came to visit my site.  She has done a lot of kayaking in the swamps of Georgia and loves it.  She gave me some ideas and contacts for doing some kayaking and camping in Georgia next spring.  I am thinking March.  I think I booked something with Debra next spring but I think it is in late April.

I heard from a Sister that Florida has had to reduce access to alcohol in bars because so many were not following the rules.  This link will take you to the article in my local paper.   I have been recording the numbers every night since March.  But now without access to WIFI I missed the last couple nights.  I was really surprised to see the numbers had grown so much since I last looked!

Since everything is very politically divided these days, we try very hard not to discuss politics or religion.  It  used to be so easy to do that, we would never even consider talking about such things when gathering with friends. 

Now it is a bit more difficult.  So much of our daily lives is filled with Covid and other news and changes.  It seems strange to create a bubble where the world is just about the weather and hiking, biking, kayaking, health and camping stories. 

All the while seeing some of us with masks on, most without masks.  I am observing that most people assume the comfortable distance of three-feet apart rather than the recommended six feet.  Since many of us are older it is harder to hear each other when we wear masks or sit six feet away. 

Friday night there were smaller gatherings at campsites.  I had some alone time and then went and briefly visited a few.  There are about 30 women at this event and with the physical distance it is better to gather at a few different places.

Saturday morning Robyn and Grace and I went riding. 

Some of the gals are playing corn-hole while I am writing this.  In the pool a bunch of kids are playing Marco Polo.  It is fun to hear them yelling "Marco" and responding "Polo".

The sky is hazy from a dust cloud that has traveled here from the Sierra Desert.  Don't you think it strange that we can be sitting in Florida and breathing in particles from the Sierra Desert.

I am finding it very comfortable to have a little bit of social time and then hours on my own. 

Hey, Mari, Margaret, and Marilyn, I did yoga this morning in my Clam screen tent after the bike ride.  It was great, though I missed having a video to follow.   I know you probably kept to your routine too.
As the day warms, I might hang out in the spring even though the water is dark and scary.  The water in the spring is warm on top and 72 degrees about 12 inches below the surface.  The swimming pool has water so warm it isn't refreshing, so I will do the spring. 

Friday, June 26, 2020

Adios and Launch Florida to Wisconsin, COVID-style in my WeeRoll

Hello!  And greetings from the road!

“In every walk with nature one receives much more than they seek”
Two days before the launch of this trip I received a birthday card and gift from Bev.  We had met and became friends in Junior High School.  Bev makes jewelry and lots of other decorations.  She made me this necklace with the above saying on it.  What a wonderful launch to my trip!

The night before launch I attended two COVID-Style Happy Hours.  I got and gave physical-distance hugs and well wishes.   I looked around for a good tree to hug, my body and heart yearning to give the comfort and connection that only comes from a good hug.   The only trees were too skinny to get a good hug.

I was so glad to hear that Debra would have an experienced camper with her on her first night out in her Weeroll.  I was sad to be missing that experience with her.  She and I wanted to camp together but between COVID closings and her family visiting, it just never happened.

Debra and Connie are leaving on their trip in July and starting off together. Debra told me she will be watching to learn from me as I experience my first week in the trailer.

After my first night on my trip… yes day one of my trip has been lived… I realize that the reason I wanted to camp was to come to a balance between spending more time outside in nature and the comforts of home.

Packing for a three-month trip is daunting.  Two and three days before leaving I kept thinking I should be packing.  But the stuff I needed to pack that wasn’t already in the Weeroll, was stuff I use often.  My clothes, my computer, food, bath stuff.  I would get up from my chair, walk around wondering what I could pack now.  I was worried that the final packing would take too much time. 

Sometimes I could pack something… checkbooks and paperwork, books I haven’t opened yet, a rug.  I created a pile by the front door.  I created and printed a packing list I could check off.
Fortunately my first destination was only two hours away.  So I could spend all Wednesday morning packing on the day of departure.   Wednesday the 24th came and I got up, made coffee and went to get the Weeroll parked in storage.   I parked it on the street in front of my home instead of in the drive which is very slanted.  I got the extension cord out and plugged in the fridge.

The day was a hot 97 degrees and humid.  I must have walked a mile, back and forth to the house.  The biggest time consumer was emptying the fridge.  I even moved the fridge out and cleaned behind it and unplugged it.   

I should have also had a check off list for stuff to do when preparing my house to sit for three months without me.  After I cleaned the fridge I forgot to prop the doors open so it wouldn't mold inside.  And I forgot to spray for bugs just before walking out the door.   After I got to camp I texted my neighbor about the fridge, Mari.  Thanks for taking care of that, Mari.

My camp site is slanted it two directions, but I managed to get it level pretty easy.  I need to ask some skilled campers how to chuck the wheels when they are propped up on legos.

Last time I propped one wheel up with the legos, I couldn't put the chucks in place.  For those who don't do trailers, the "chuck" is that semi-circle black thing we wedge under the wheel to keep the trailer from rolling.   If you only put one lego under the wheel, there is not flat surface to wedge the chuck.  So this time I made a longer platform.  I could see a situation where I would need more legos.

Pretty dang good job for a newby!

My first day it took a lot of time first packing up and then when I arrived setting up.  By evening my hips ached and I was tired.  

The first few days of this trip I am camping with Sisters onthe Fly.  It is a women’s camping group.  I have been on only two other camping trips with them.  The very first one I wasn’t even an official “Sister” yet.  But it was at this campground with some of the same women I will see this time.  It should be fun.

But on Wednesday night, tired and achy, even though there were gals gathering together to chat at 8 p.m., I went to bed instead.

I thought I would have to use the air conditioner at night because it was so warm.   But I turned on the fan and left both the front and the back doors open on the trailer.  After a little while I actually had to cover myself with the sheet and turn off the fan.

I hope I can sleep like that most the time.  The sounds from the woods were wonderful.  Bugs and frogs and I swear I heard a bird snoring.  

This time I parked the trailer so that the electric and plumbing are on the driver’s side, but my portable sink/table is on the curb side where the side door is.  It is working out well so far.
I am not sitting inside the Clam screen tent.  My neighbor Mari gave me a very comfortable but heavy folding chair.  I have not used it yet, except to hang wet clothes on.

I didn’t pack a lot of clothes because I planned on washing them out every night or every two nights.  But I found out on Thursday morning they don’t dry well inside the Clam.  I had heard there is no air circulation inside those tents because the screens are dense enough to keep out the no-see-ems.  It is now late Thursday afternoon and the clothes I hung to dry last night are still wet.  I have put a fan to work on them. 

I had mentioned in a Facebook comment to Debra that my clothes weren't drying so she needs to pack more than two outfits.  Well, a bit later I get a text from our mutual friend Robyn.  She is also a Sister on the Fly and was coming to this event.  She texted that she could pick up some clothes for me.  I had to laugh.  Thank you, I did pack three outfits and a bunch of winter clothes since I am heading to Wisconsin.
Thursday afternoon about four of the Sisters went for a kayak ride.  The Suwannee River is swollen and moving fast.  The springs in the campground are brown.  I decided to go kayaking tomorrow.  Today I did some nesting by hanging up a basket and my only decoration.   Like it?

I then went a cooled off at the pool where there were four or five other Sisters to hang with.
I am enjoying myself so far.  I am keeping my distance and staying outside except to view the inside of someone’s trailer and then I try to keep my space and wear a mask.  

Speaking of viewing other peoples trailers.  This one is two spots down from me.

Florida jumped from 1,000 new cases to 5,000 new cases of COVID in just a few weeks.  I hope the campgrounds stay open and no one shoots the gal from Florida.

There isn't wifi at the campsites by the river, so in order to launch this blog I will need to go up by the pool or over to the office.   For now the Weeroll has a desk and I am writing into a Word Document.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Launching a Trip Now, During COVID

“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. 

Live it, feel it, cling to it. 

I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.”   Sylvia Plath

The last time I posted I was feeling anxious and not very up-beat.  I apologize if I passed on those feelings to you. 

I am better now.  I hope you are ok too.

There are several things that turned it around for me.

I realized I wasn't focusing on the good in my life.  I have learned before that making a little effort to change my outlook makes a difference in how I view the world and my happiness level.  I made a list of things I am grateful for.    I was amazed when in no time at all I had filled three pages in my journal.  I could have gone on and on and on.   Wow!

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the changes and things in the news, I suggest you try that exercise.

I blocked a few people on Facebook.  Not that I don't like them as people, it is just that we were not getting any closer to common ground and it was starting to stress me out even when I wasn't on Facebook. 

I watched some artsy videos on Youtube instead of the news.  I was so impressed with the Alvin Aily Dance School fund raiser that I sent in a donation the next day.  Here is a link to a dance performance about Greenwold or this short one that is more uplifting.

I had the air conditioner installed in my Weeroll at the Weeroll manufacturer.  They reimbursed me for the cost of getting someone in to replace the grease cap on the wheel of my camper on my first camping trip/shake down trip. So I didn't have to write a check and I got money put in my Paypal account!  Yay!

On the way home from Weeroll I was listening to the radio and you know how sometimes they have those inspirational breaks.  Some minister will come on with a story or words of hope.  Well, one of those came on and it was a great reminder to me that so much more good is in the world than bad.  

He reminded me that when we see or hear on the news about someone doing something bad we need to remember that for every bad act, there is hundreds if not thousands of people doing good.  As I write this people are picking up litter, calling on the sick, sewing and sending out face masks, educating and caring for children, donating food and supplies, complimenting and thanking others.   For every act of looting there are thousands demonstrating peacefully.  For every shooting there are hundreds de-escalating situations, comforting others, kneeling or dancing with others, giving and sharing, smiling and laughing together.

 I brought the camper home and plugged it in and the air conditioner worked.  While I was at it my neighbor Ken came and asked if I needed help drilling anything.  I wanted a couple more tie-down rings.  So yes!  He installed two more for me.  Thank you, Ken!

Another thing that happened was my sister started sharing her peaceful moments in pictures.  Lovely pictures of quiet waters reflecting rocks and trees or pictures of lovely mushrooms or spring flowers.  

Our Wisconsin friend Mark has been sending out emails every day with lovely pictures from his walks or his yard where he has had a variety of birds visiting his bird feeder and pond this spring.  It is a lovely way to brighten our days during COVID physical distancing.  Thank you, Mark.  Thank you, Mary.

Then, of course, there is biking.  

And though I am still the odd gal out (most of my bike buddies are couples),  I have had wonderful rides side by side with Margaret and then Mari.  One day Holly. who lost her husband recently, rode by my side for a while.  I love that!  I don't mind riding by myself, but I tell you, I just am so thrilled when the conversation is flowing at the same time we are rolling on the trail.  I feel worthy of company and I value that feeling so much!  Especially now that hosting parties and gatherings are on hold.

The Tall Guy

This morning I walked down to Wallace Brooks Park where they have what I call a playground for adults.  I was doing pushups and trying to do pull ups and other exercises.  A tall slim guy with pinkish round glasses stopped.

I had seen him before and he had kept looking at me as he walked around the sidewalk that goes in a circle around the park.  I remember thinking about him as I left that day, wondering if he had an interest in me.  It could be that I looked like someone he knew or he was watching for what exercises I did.  But I let my mind wander over to maybe he was interested in meeting me.

Well this morning he stopped and said, "How is your exercises coming?"  

I said good as I walked over to do my pushups on the low bar. 

He complimented me on my shirt.  I thanked him and couldn't think of anything else to say so I started doing pushups.  He paused and then kept walking.

I looked for him after my set was done.  He was gone, I think I saw him in the parking lot getting into a car.

As I thought about the interaction, I realized I should have talked more, asked questions.  Found out why he was stopping to talk.  Was he a creep?  Was he a nice guy that was interested?  Was he one of the advocates for the adult fitness equipment and was pleased to see someone using it?   I then realized he had been wearing long pants and a dress shirt, like he was going to work after his walk.  I bet he was instrumental in the design of Wallace Brooks Park.

Maybe I will try to get down to the park at the same time in the next few days and get another chance to talk with him and learn what's what.   Why is this interaction causing my synopsis to fire?

But, hey, I am leaving town in a few days.  So even if there is a possibility that he was interested in getting to know me, it's not good timing.  

Getting Ready to Go TRIPPIN'!

I am set to go.  I have neighbors and others to watch over my place closely.  

I am getting very excited.  

My first stop on this adventure is a gathering of other women campers.  Sisters on the Fly will be gathering for physical distance socializing and fun at a campground on the Suwanee River.  Instead of potlucks we will gather with our own personal meal and set our chairs six feet apart outside.   

 That was another thing I heard on the radio the other day.  Someone said, "I hate the term social distancing."  They went on to say that we are social animals.  We need to connect with each other.  Covid shouldn't prevent us from doing that.  And we can do that while remaining physically distant.  

Yes!  Like six feet and outside, or inside if everyone wears a mask.  See it is the concentration of the droplets that is creating infection.  So if you are in a well ventilated area like outside and apart from each other or you are all wearing masks, the amount of droplets is dissipated (or absorbed by the masks) and that reduces the chance of infection.    Yay!  It is nice to hear I am doing it right for a change.

Come along with me on this trip to Wisconsin.

If you have not been receiving emails from me notifying you of these posts, Then click here and give me your email address so I can let you know when I post again.  


Book News

 Both my ebooks are on sale for $2.99 during June, which is Alzheimer's and Brain Health Awareness Month.  Visit AlzAuthors and see what other dementia-related books are available... some for free!



I would like to say, Happy Juneteenth!  Over two years after the slaves were freed by the emancipation proclamation, the news was announced in Texas.   I learned that the Wiki page on Juneteenth has an increased viewing of 850% over last year at this time.  

Open our eyes, open our minds, open our hearts.

Monday, June 15, 2020

And Now for the Angst

 June 15, 2020

Hi all,  

I hope you are doing well and able to remain positive no matter what life throws your way.  

I went for a ride by myself.  I did over 30 miles.  I stopped at the flower shop in Floral City and bought three bouquets to share with folks.  They looked pretty nice on my trike.

Our moment in history, June 2020, feels like we are standing in the middle of a food fight.  We are getting stuff thrown at us from all sides! 

I was listening to a historian/author on NPR the other day and they told of all the happenings in the late 60's.  Protests, violence against protestors, assassinations, a crazy war, distrust in our government institutions... he said it felt very much like the U.S. was falling apart.  Similar to today.

I saw some comedians on Youtube saying, "You know what happens when a country is in chaos? They get invaded."  So the comedians began begging Canada to invade us... "and bring your health care with you."

I hope you take comfort in that we survived the 1960's so we will probably survive our current unrest and crazy times.  

I am spending a lot of time chilling in nature.  I have another batch of monarch babies to watch.

I send donations to organizations doing the work.  I am comfortable with my COVID-19 excuse for not volunteering or marching, I am over 65, I am supposed to stay safe so I don't overwhelm the hospitals.  

Notice I didn't say, "staying home" or "sheltering in place."   No, I am going to travel, pulling my home behind me.  Only nine more days to launch!

JUNE - Alzheimer's and Brain Health Awareness Month

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time to increase understanding of what dementia is and how it impacts the lives of those it touches. It's also a great time to work to decrease the stigma and silence that too often accompanies an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Each June AlzAuthors hosts a book sale and giveaway to help caregivers and those concerned about dementia find knowledge, guidance, and support offered through shared wisdom and experience. AlzAuthors is the global community of authors writing about Alzheimer’s and dementia from personal experience. I’m proud to be a part of this growing non-profit organization, and I’m excited my book Alzheimer's Trippin' with George is a part of this sale. 

Starting June 15th through June 22nd you can take advantage of this biannual opportunity to purchase excellent books for freeor at reduced prices. AlzAuthors offer a variety of genres, including fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and children’s and teen literature. Most are available in Kindle and e-book, and many are available in paperback and audio. I encourage you to build a library and share them widely to help guide and inspire you (or others).

They have traveling libraries in three new states.  I sent Alzheimer's Trippin' With George to all three.

Weeroll Update

I leave on my Weeroll adventure at the end of  June.   Right now the Weeroll is back in Ocala at the manufacturer getting the air conditioner installed.

When I backed it into the parking spot the guy there unhooking my Weeroll said I did a better job than an lot of men that bring their trailers in.  So women, is that an insult or a compliment?  You decide.

Speaking of decisions... I have decided on a name for the Weeroll!  It was a tough decision because there were so many great suggestions.


Camper (or Cramalot)...  

Life is living adventurously, cramalot?

I already found a little painted picture of lilacs to hang on a wall.  And my friend Mark has been sending out a picture a day to distract and entertain some friends during COVID and he sent the lovely picture above just as I was trying to decide.  It was a signal!

When I travel, if I observe someone in the care-giving role, whether it be Alzheimer’s, Stroke, Parkinson's, MS, or whatever, it doesn’t matter.  I observe that the caregiver is dedicating their time and their life energy to help another navigate life.  I then walk over and present them the gift of one of my books.    

They may not have the time or energy to read it, but if they do, I hope it helps them feel not so alone.  And even if they never find the time to open the book, maybe they will share it with someone who will benefit or donate it to their local library.

I plan to take books with me this summer in my travels.  I want to drop some at libraries.  Not too many, I have weight and packing room to think about.

I may have less opportunities to observe other people, since I won't be going into restaurants due to Covid-19.

Traveling during COVID will be different. 

Some states still stop people at the boarder to inquire about their reason for entering.  I hear these blockades are only set up on the interstates, not on the smaller highways.

I have been told by some friends that I had hoped to do a social distance visit that they aren't visiting with anyone right now other than family.  So I won't be able to visit them.

My sister worries that I will be lonely in Wisconsin because my social life is so here at home in Florida.  But when I shared that concern with my friend, Beth, she said, "You'll be fine.  You of all people will make new friends fast."  Thank you, Beth!  I feel reassured.

My friend and neighbor Marilyn sent me an article about a family that is traveling and details the equipment they pack to deal with pee and pooh in case they don't want to or can't use the public restrooms.  There is a distinct possibility I will travel through areas where the public facilities will be closed.  I am prepared with my buckets and bags and wipes and toilet paper.

I have reservations at campgrounds along the way.  None of them have contacted me yet to cancel.  The COVID cases are going up in several states now,  In Florida we had well over 1,000 new cases each day this weekend.  

We are trying to learn to live, keep the economy going, and love as safely as possible.

Angst and Systemic Prejudice

If you are ignoring the news, to keep your calm, then you can avoid this section.

I wrote the following a while ago and didn't finish it because it was a scary time, and I didn't want to add to your fear.  

Even though I don't watch TV, the news reaches me and I grieve for our country and the world.

Sometimes I think I need to get off this planet, but then I realize I am not even as big as the period at the end of this sentence.  My being here or not only matters to my circle of influence in this specific period of time on the earth.

I feel even smaller because last night I checked the world population meter.  I do this every night but usually I just check in to record the cases of and deaths from COVID19.   This time I looked at the world population.  This year... just this year, the world population has increased by well over 32 million souls.  That is births minus deaths from all causes.

That puts our 117,000 deaths in the United States in context by numbers, but not by emotion.   It puts my own little life in context, but not by emotion.   We are strange beings, our drive to survive is strong. 

Maybe my wanting to escape the planet is because I just don't want to do the work it is going to take by many many people to make our country and world a better place.  For those of you reading this in the future, this is not only a time of a global pandemic, it is the time when our systemic racism has been exposed.

It is a the time of the peaceful marches, It is a time of some police and guardsmen kneeling with the protesters and in other places the police and guardsmen are shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at peaceful protesters, pushing some and beating others with billy clubs.  It was a time of looting and property destruction (Two different groups but lumped into one in the minds of many). 
The event that ignited people to head to the streets was a video of the murder of a man in Minneapolis.  A black man held to the ground by a police officer with his knee on the man's throat.  The man passed out and still the officer kept his knee on his throat.  And three other officers just let it happen.  Would one of them be me?  Would I just stand by and observe, maybe weakly protest... "Hey, maybe you should remove your knee," I'd say.

It is a time when one little statement could set someone off.  The video below explains why many of us are defensive.

I have thought that prejudice is demonstrated in a statement that asserts and assumes and groups all people with one characteristic in common to also have other characteristics in common.  Right now it is, "all protestors" and "all police" and "all Democrats" and "all Republicans".  

I went to have happy hour at my friends' home.  I would go nuts without these little get-togethers!  Thank you, Beth and Jim!  

Beth told me she was reading White Fragility.  

I then watched a program on Youtube with the author speaking about White Fragility.  I highly HIGHLY recommend it.  Even if you don't have a prejudice bone in your body.  Even if you are the nicest person ever.  Save this link and watch it when you have an hour.  Let me know what you think.

A friend posted on Facebook this article on what white people can do to fight racism.  75 Things White People Can Do

The only thing I have done in the past is attend MLK events once a year and donate to groups that fight racism.  I need to do more.  That means I will have to step out of my comfort zone.

Well, that is one of my goals anyway... to do stuff that scars me every day.


May you experience the joy that comes after you succeed in doing something that scares you.

A Miracle and a Good Laugh

 Greetings from Inverness, Florida. I have sooo many stories to tell.  So much fun to share.  But I will save you from yawns by telling you ...