Sunday, July 26, 2020

Rainy Day Inside 72 Square Feet

July 26, 2020

Hi!

I hope you are finding ways to feel good about yourself and beat the heat these days.

It is a rainy Sunday.  It promises to stop a couple times today so I can get out and walk.  I can also go for a drive.  My sister says we got about three inches in Villas County, Wisconsin.

There are two places I was thinking of checking out today.  If it had not been raining I had planned on riding my bike to Three Sisters.  It is a small resort town about 16 miles away by bike... I think.

The second place I could drive to is a parking area or two for the Bearskin Trail.  It is a limestone packed surfaced bike trail that goes from a resort town (Minoqua, WI) to a dead end near Hwy K at the southern terminus.  I want to ride that trail this week.  With all the rain it may have some soft spots.  It would be nice to ride it from the country into Minoqua and dine outside at an open-air restaurant.  Maybe today, after the rain, is not a good idea.  The trail will be soft in spots.

We will see what this day brings.  I will let you know what comes up.

So far I have been settling into a kind of routine.  I get up in the morning and after dressing and making my bed, I have the toilet holding tank to empty and maybe the  bucket under the sink.  Sometimes when I have lots of vegetable cleaning and dish cleaning and laundry cleaning and me cleaning, I have to walk the bucket under the sink to the waste-water dump three times in a day.

This week I kayaked, did Qi Gong and Ai Gong (Qi Gong in the water) and Yoga. Most of the time the activity is in the morning.  But this week I also went with the Northern Paddle and Trail Club on a kayak ride around a lake at 5:30 in the evening.

The first part of the week I was still attending an online class for advertising on Amazon.  I really don't know if it helped me.  I have so much more work to do.

The sales status of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George actually went DOWN during the class and all the work.   I want to give up sometimes, but then, who would I be?  What would be my mission then?  My identity is now tied up with being a writer... maybe not my identity, but it gives me a sense of purpose.  So I will rest and then give another push.

Which will be easier now because I bought myself a Jetpack which is a hotspot so I can get on the internet from anywhere that I have Verizon service.  Yay!

There aren't near as many wading birds on the waters here, I miss seeing Ibis, egrets, and the variety of herons.  On our kayak rides I have seen Great Blue Heron's and Hawks. 






In one clear lake I saw lots of little fish.


 On a Monday morning we went to try Ai Gong which is Qi Gong in the water.  It was held at a private camp for kids and families.  Many of the children have autism, so an Eagle Scout put up a music garden recently.  The camp isn't open for guests right now, but the Ai Gong instructor got permission for us to use the beach.  Mary and I hiked in to see the music park.

It was amazing.


These tall parallel pipes had a lovely low tone.  When I struck one and listened to the waver of the sound waves, the other pipes started to vibrate.  And when I struck two and put my head between them I had to laugh.  It felt like I had taken a happy pill.  It was... a trip.




 Mary and I linked up with some of our fellow yoga classmates and went for a nice ride.  They like to hike and bike too, so I hope to connect again.


In the evenings I sometimes potluck and socialize at a distance with neighbors at the campground.  They get a bit closer to each other than six feet.  I stay at the perimeter and dash in to the table to fill my plate with the stuff that I cooked.

One of the seasonal campers made me these stairs!  He said, "That is what we do here, we help each other."   He said to make him some soup.


I got a vase from Goodwill and filled it with wildflowers from the road sides.  Lovely!

 




One evening the women from the potluck went down to the lake to watch the sunset.  It was lovely, but we walked away before the sun hit the horizon. 



The news still reached me.  A couple friends in Florida send me updates on the COVID case numbers in our county there.  Remember, I left just a month ago and the number of cases was less than 120.  And there had been 13 deaths.


Well, my day is shaping up.  I have the car packed with an umbrella and my exercise bands.  I am going to the park to work my upper body.  Then I am going to pick up Mary and walk with her on the Bearskin trail which is about 1/2 hour drive from here.
 

Thanks for checking in on me!  Now tell me what have YOU been doing or thinking this past week?


Saturday, July 18, 2020

First-Time Seasonal Camper Settling In


7/18/2020

Greetings from Lake George Campground!

It is Saturday morning and it is raining.  

My neighbor here had warned me last night that there were severe storms in the forecast including possible tornadoes.  She said between 3:00 a.m. and 5:30.  It is now 5:28 and the Weeroll isn't rocking yet.

I imagine if I were in my tent-cot I would be stuck in the prone position.   

But I have coffee made and I am sitting at my little desk writing to you!  How cool is that!  Smiles.

I arrived in Rhinelander on Monday and drove right to my sister’s house.  I disinfected my hands with the hand sanitizer I keep on the console, I put on a paper face mask.  And as I step out of the van I hear my sister running toward me, her arms outstretched.  Oh my!  Oh my!  

We sat on her beautiful back deck, overlooking her yard.  It was clear she had been keeping herself occupied during the COVID shut-down by planting flowers. 

 This is Only the Lonely plant.  Mary says it is a member of the tobacco family.




Dave, my brother in law stepped out.  Always ready with a joke, he came out wearing a gas mask.  I hugged him even though my mask was off.  I turned my head away and then quickly stepped back.

I visited for an hour or so and then I had to go to the campground and get my refrigerator plugged in again.

The camp site is roomy, though a bit slanted.  I have water and electric but no Wifi (bummer) and not sewer.  I walk about ½ a block to empty my holding tank (a two-gallon pitcher) and my five-gallon bucket under my outdoor sink.   

There is a half a cement block next to the waste-water dump opening.  It is used to hold the flap open while I pour.   There are several cement blocks by the waste water dump site.  I haul several to my camp site to make steps up to my door.





Unpacking my bicycle I learned that if I transport the bike upside down I need to put padding under the handlebars.  The cover over the gear-shifter busted in transit.




Monday evening Mary and Dave came over with their own chairs for a visit.  It was too warm for a fire.

Qi Gong and Yoga Outside


Tuesday there is Qi Gong (Chee gong) in the park.  It was wonderful.  The practice is connected to nature with movements of trees and reaching for the sun.  At times we imagine gathering energy and moving it to places in our body.  It is like a meditative and moving prayer.

They used to do the exercises in a basement classroom.  Now, with COVID closing the building, they do it outside.  The instructor tells us that in Japan they do it outside all year long.  As we were going through the movements I had a vision of being all bundled up in winter, the snow falling or blowing, still doing the movements in the park. 

After class we gathered a bit to chat.  The instructor invited us to a class she is teaching in the water over by St. Germaine on Monday.  It sounds wonderful! 

Yoga

Mary’s yoga class is meeting out in a large open field by Nicholet College.  I was the first to arrive the morning of the class.  The dew was still clinging to the grass, the sky was clear, the air cool enough to wear a light jacket.

Off to my left was a woman throwing Frisbee to her Australian Sheep Dog.  Off to my right were two fawns grazing.  Yep, you read that right.  I watched as the two fawns, curious, started to walk toward the dog.  But they didn’t go far.  The woman had the dog well trained.  It wanted to investigate the fawns and me, but she made the dog sit, then lay down until it was ready to chase the Frisbee again.  


Nice!

We had about seven of us spread out on the field doing yoga under the sun.  It warmed up quickly.  The fawns’ mother snorted from the woods across the road.  The fawns ran to her and immediately began nursing.  We were glad to see them reunited.   

What a lovely class!  The instructor does the classes for free.  Next week we will make a donation to a church food pantry.


Bryan Cohen's Amazon Advertising Class


In early June a fellow AlzAuthor, Marianne Siucco, recommended a class on Amazon Advertising. 

The class would be on-line so I could attend while traveling.  What I did not anticipate was that the class started the day after I arrived in Rhinelander.   

Though the instructions say you have to have Wifi and an hour to complete the assignments, the assignments take much longer.

It was probably due to the fact that I am 67 years old.  I would watch the instruction video and then read the assignment and go, “What?” and I would have to skim through the instruction video again and stop and start it as I did each step.  I decided to just concentrate on promoting Alzheimer’s Trippin’ with George in paperback (the book that recorded our road trip to Wisconsin, Idaho, Oregon and Colorado).


One of the assignments early on was finding out what my earnings were last month and my ranking in sales in the book category.   Yay!  The book was a top 100 seller on Amazon in a couple of categories.


I worked on Mary’s deck overlooking the flowers and the bird feeders. 

Besides a wide variety of birds, (thought of you bird watchers, Regis and Cindy, Mary Ann and Diane), she has at least four kinds of squirrels visiting the feeders!  


There were little noisy red squirrels, bigger grey squirrels, ground squirrels (which look like chipmunks), and black squirrels.   I guess a black squirrel is a grey squirrel with a twist in the genetic code… kind of like white squirrels.  Yes?  Comment below if you know. 

When we visited the Grand Canyon many years ago, there were black squirrels on the north rim of the Grand Canyon that are a divergent cousin of the regular squirrels on the south rim. 

As you can see, while I was working away I would take breaks from looking at the screen.  

Mary came out and said it felt awkward, to have me hanging outside while they were inside.  How do we do meals?  I had brought snacks with me.

She said I could use their downstairs bathroom as long as I wore my mask when walking through the house.  She doesn’t know about the flush plume.  That’s what the scientists have discovered, that when we flush the toilet a plume of germs shoots into the air.  If we have COVID those germs will be in that cloud and hover there or lay down on surfaces.

It was strange.  To think that I could be bringing with me a disease that could hurt them.
 
Eventually, if I continue to be careful, we can start acting like a household.  No masks and shared indoor spaces.  We could dine together inside and cook together inside and Mary and I might even be able to play cards!  Yes!

Kayak and Rainy Work

Mary and I arranged to go kayaking early on Wednesday.  

When we were putting our kayaks in a loon called out.  A nice sign, I thought.  The kayak glided over the clear calm water of the boat-launch channel and onto a lovely lake with the mist rising up.



I smiled and thought of George gliding along too.  I know that he and I would have looked at each other with big grins.  Sharing in the delight of that moment in time.

The surface of the lake was still and reflecting everything.  Off in the distance we saw a gathering of six loon!  

 Loons are usually just a couple on a lake.  Mary said this must be a gathering of males without mates.   Then they did a dance on the water and two flew off.  

We floated around the edge of the lake and into a bay.  I passed a beaver dam.  Later when I looked back at Mary passing it, I saw the beaver swimming between us.  I wanted to yell at Mary to look, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to scare it away.  It did eventually dive and slap its tail as it disappeared.  That got Mary's attention.

When we got back to the main lake, the loons were closer.  We floated and watched them, then they headed right toward my kayak.  My thought was that maybe they learned kayaks round up fish, Mary was thinking the brim of my hat might look like a beak and they thought for a moment I was another loon.




What a lovely ride and just long enough.  On the way home, Mary stopped at McDonalds and we got coffees, “with two creams each, please.”

One day it rained and I set myself up in the garage with a table and chair to continue with my online learning.  Mary said we got four inches of rain!


Riding Bicycle and Tricycle Alone

I have reached out to WI Trikers, a Facebook group, to try to find others in the area that would like to ride.  So far I have not had luck. 

I have gone on several short road rides.  The scenery is lovely and there a lots of rolling hills.  Many more hills than I am used to in Florida.  The roads are quiet that I have been on so far, and those that are a bit busier have a shoulder.


One morning I was riding my bicycle up a hill and it started skipping gears and then the chain got stuck between the spokes and the cassette on the back wheel.  I pulled and pulled and was wondering if I had to walk all the way back to my van.  I didn’t have any tools with me… duh!  How many years have I been riding?  

Fortunately, it finally released and I was able to ride back to camp being careful not to shift into low gear.  Later I put the bike in the van and drove it to Mel’s, a local sporting goods shop with a repair shop in the basement.  I was pleased to see all the staff and customers wearing masks.  

While I was there I asked the staff if they knew of any bike groups or people that do social bicycle riding together.  Nope, but there are lots of nice roads to explore, they told me. 
 
The mechanic said that his back log is two to three weeks.  I left the bike there.

My trike is good to ride too, but the roads are bumpy, and I prefer the bike with the shock absorbers on a bumpy ride.  Maybe I will ride to a trail next week.

Day for Business and Weeroll

I went to Menards and found two nice chairs so Mary and Dave don’t have to bring their own when they come visit my camp.

Since it is the weekend now, I have met some of my seasonal camper neighbors.  I was excited to learn they have a happy hour.  My idea of happy hour is 4:30 or 6:00.  But those times passed.  Finally at 7:50 they gathered to walk down to the bar for their happy hour. 

“Oh, I am sorry,” I said, “I don’t do inside gatherings now.” 

Bummer!  

Though I did get to sit and chat with Tom who only lives a mile or two away from camp.  He and his wife have a seasonal site here.  He is a teacher and we talked about the demands from the Education Secretary and the President that children return to schools in the fall.  They are threatening to take away Federal funds for schools if they don’t re-start school in the fall.

Tom said his school has infants (on-site day care) up to 18 years old.  He said that it will be up to the states to decide and that Federal funding goes to Special Needs programs and free lunch programs for starving children.  

I bought flower pots… heavy ones that I won’t be hauling back to Florida.  







I bought a marine handle for hanging onto for getting into the trailer.  It attaches by strong suction cups.   It seems to cling real well, and then I will walk by and it is laying the ground!  Not helpful!

I don’t have to hang on, I put it up for others wanting to go in and look.   I guess they will have to cling to the door jam.

The rain has stopped!  I have homework for the Amazon Advertising class but that requires internet.  But then so does up-loading this blog post.

Make it a good one.

****
Oh!  Before I hit send!   

I went for a walk to the post office to pick up mail.  Mary went too.  When I stepped out of the post office she was pulling weeds in the garden in front of the Post Office.  I joined her.  We got quite muddy but it was fun.



We were walking home from the Post Office when I saw a sign and it took a moment to sink in what it meant.




I let out a cheer and ran over to get a picture.


In all my travels north I only saw Trump 2020 signs.   It was getting scary.  It just isn't natural to have only one candidate's signs up. Not in a democracy!

For those of you reading this in the years to come, Donald Trump is  currently President.  In the fall there will be an election.  And it looks like the rival on the Democratic side is going to be Joe Biden.

You will know what happened next.  Right now, we don't have a clue.



Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Traveler's Shuffle


Hello Readers of this-here journal! 
 
Thank you for being here… there… along for the ride.

Earlier today, both of Lilac’s side and back doors were open.  It is morning but still dark outside. 
I was snuggled in the warmth of my cot with a slight smile, the quilt was folded double for added warmth.  

I heard thunder and then a few drops pinged on the roof and thudded in the dirt outside.  I had to jump up and out of the trailer in order to shut the back doors.  (This is when conservative jammies come in handy.)

Now I am sipping coffee and writing to you.  The rain is tapping on the roof.  All the windows and doors are shut.  I have paper towel stuffed into the groove of the front curb-side windowsill that leaked in the last big rain.  I am sitting at my lap-top, the lap-top is sitting on a TV tray, which serves as my desk in this trailer.  

It is dark, the screen is bright.

I have with me on this trip a larger folding table, but it doesn’t leave much room for morning and evening stretches.  The stretches are necessary to avoid chronic back and hip pain due, the doctor says, to arthritis, bulging discs, and degenerative bones in my lower back.  (Welcome to 67 years young.) The TV tray is just big enough for my laptop and a cup of coffee.  As Goldie said, “It’s just right!”

I have set the alarm on my phone to remind me to stop writing and get going at eight.  I am going to a Qi Gong (Chee-Gong) class in the park – rain or shine.

I am dressed for the day and there is an old pink towel draped over my shoulders.  When I packed in Florida it was 93 degrees and humid.  The winter clothes were stuffed in a cloth bag and hung from the head-rest of the passenger seat in the van.  There is a bag of outer-wear too, including a winter jacket.  

In Rhinelander, WI, even though it is July, it is time to move the cool-weather clothes into the Weeroll.  The drawers are full of stuff in here. Items aren’t used very often will be moved into the van.  It is like a dance… the traveler’s shuffle.

Last I wrote to you I was going to drive back to my son’s home in Janesville for a visit.  His wife, Mel, was in the hospital recovering from surgery.  Jeremy is the only person allowed to visit during these COVID times.  

Jeremy offered to make me a vegetarian meal!  Yay! 

He made French-cut green beans with a hearty chunky marinara sauce.  It was filling and very good.  Thank you, Jeremy!

We had a nice visit, inside, at a distance, wearing our masks except when we were eating.  Jeremy has asthma and had trouble while I was there.  He uses a nebulizer.  

He sat on the end of his chair, his knees spread wide, slumped over his belly slightly.  He moved his red face mask above his eyebrows in order to puff on this… bong-like mouth-piece attached to a tube that goes to a machine.  Puffy smoke-like vapor emerged from his “pipe”.  It really looked like he was a hippy with a read head-band puffing on his bong.  I had to laugh.  

It was a great visit.  I drove back to camp glad to see he is managing his life well even with huge health and life challenges. 

On Sunday, July 12, I only had a short drive to my friend Audrey’s home in a small town in central Wisconsin.  Before folding up camp, I went for a brisk walk on the bike trail.

The items I normally bungie to the curbside wall, (a folding chair, the portable sink station, folding table and two-wheel bike, I took extra care to make them snug against the wall, covered so they don’t scratch the wall (they did anyway).  I wanted to keep it snug so that I could easily move around without removing the stuff.  There will be only one night at Audrey’s, I won’t unhitch.  Then off I go to Rhinelander, where I have a site for the season and lots of time to spend with my sister and her husband.

I took only back roads to Audrey’s and it was a lovely drive on county highways and roads with names.  At one point I passed a painted barn and I turned around to go back and get a picture.



I stopped for a walk in Columbus, Wisconsin at a park where the building has been in use since it was built. 



 There was a lovely Armed Services Memorial with names of local vets imprinted on the paving blocks.



The park had play-grounds, Frisby golf, a swimming pool with life-guards, and the highschool football stadium.  There were shouts from a crowd nearby playing and watching a baseball game.  

 In Columbus it seemed there was not COVID to worry about.  I saw no face masks at the coffee shop I stopped at.
The Greenlake area has lakes on either side of the road.  I parked a while for another walk.  It was a lovely Sunday and it seemed everyone that owned a boat was out on the water this day.



Is this a boat trailer for a pontoon???


Back at the trailer I walked around it to inspect, and found that the gussets on some of the windows are failing.  This constant vigilance and repair is the life of a camping trailer owner.



The side windows slide open.  When I have them open the mosquitos get in.  I found there is a gap between the screen and between the two sheets of glass.  I will have to stuff them with something if I ever want to have the windows open in a mosquito infested area... like northern Wisconsin.


I was anticipating Audrey’s driveway.  A long one with no turn-around.  I needed to park close so I could plug in the refrigerator.  
I did it!  

It was good to see her lovely face and her sweet dog, Foxie and Charlie the cat.   


 I had bought a four-pack of Champaign to celebrate our July birthdays.  We went for a long walk and then sat by the lake and drank and had supper.

I used her upstairs restroom where she rarely goes.  I took a shower!  My first naked shower in a week or longer.  Wonderful!  Thank you, Audrey.
I slept in the Weeroll with the doors open.  No mosquitoes because I kept the side windows closed.  Problem solved fore now.

 In the morning we had coffee inside Audrey's porch looking out over the peaceful lake.  It made me want to live on a lake.


The ride to Rhinelander was lovely.

I had gotten a text from my sister saying she was looking forward to a masked hug!

I drove straight to her house before going to the campground.

I got a HUG!!!!  It had been since mid-March!  Yay!

************

So much more to tell you, but I am taking a class on line for selling my books on Amazon.  It is an advertising class.  It takes several hours of computer and on-line time a day, plus visiting and enjoying my time here.

So more pictures and info will come later.  I just wanted to let you know I arrived safe and YES!  I got a hug.



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