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Are You A Volunteer Critic?

It is nice to be in one place.  No days spent packing up and driving to the next place.  

Physical Training

I have mapped out a nice nine-mile route that I ride my bike on several mornings a week.  Eventually I will add weight and practice the hilly route loaded.  
I am training my body for the 300 plus mile tour I will be doing in September with friend Joan.  We will be riding the Allegheny Gap Trail and the C&O trail.  The C&O Trail has some very rough surfaces, so I am training on my two-wheel bicycle.  Since I arrived in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, I have not even removed my recumbent tricycle from the van!

I set some physical goals for myself and went to meet with a personal trainer at Anytime Fitness.  Sydney is a slim young woman with a physical training degree and a cheerleader inside her.  

I told her I wanted to be able to jump up onto something.  I told her that I was afraid to even jump onto a rug for fear of catching my toe.  Well, I guess that was negative self-talk because the first day of training she had me jumping onto a step and by day three I had raised it up.  (Beating my chest here.)

Instead of one trainer one trainee, the training is done in groups.  Even though the exercises she gives me are personalized to my goals and abilities, she shows me what to do watches to see if I got it right, then goes onto the next person in the group.  
I like it and already I can feel I am making a little progress.
Goals are to:
  • Strengthen core and shoulders so that putting my two-wheel bike into the van isn't such a struggle and going to cause me injury;
  • Be able to do two perfect unassisted pull-ups;
  • Do ten wide and ten narrow mens-style push-ups;
  • Do down-dog to up-dog back to down dog with chin sweeping the floor ten times;
  • Be a faster, stronger rider in prep for the September tour in Pennsylvania;
  • And be able to jump onto something a foot or higher.

Improving on Book One

Yesterday I called my friend Jean in Mississippi.  She is slowly making her way through my first book, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.  I laughed because I really know the book is too too long.  Even with pictures, 600 pages is too dang long!

Then I asked Jean if she would help me by making notes of where I could cut stuff out.  She was happy to.  She said she would mark the pictures too.  A ten, she said, would mean definately keep, and a one means it isn't needed.   Yay!  Some help with purging!

That is why on this third book I am glad to have a few volunteers to look through the first draft and advise me on what to add, what to take away, and where I could improve.  

Sometimes critics can stop us in our paths, but I already published the first two books.  My friend Margaret was a big help with the first book, helping me round out the beginning and the ends and catch a lot of grammatical errors.  

But it is time to go back and create a second edition, clearing out the fluff and focusing the storyline.

If you would like to help by volunteering to mark up your copy of the first book or making some notes and emailing them to me, I would love it, really I would!

Since the first book is the first book in the Trippin' series, it has to be good enough to tempt people to want to read the second and the third, right?  

I have so much to learn and do.  The days fly by! 

Progress on Book Three

I mailed out the first draft of Book Three to the three friends that volunteered to help me by reading through and catching flaws and making suggestions.  I am excited to see what they come up with!  Catch the errors!  Praise is good for my ego and suggestions for improvements will help me think through how to change it for the better.

My sister gave me an impassioned mini-speech about how I need to follow my heart and say what I need to say because that is what some people out there reading my books need to know.  Call it divine guidance or universal kismet.  I am driven for a reason, she said.  Don't let others tamp down what I need to write.  I love my sister!  She lifts me up.

Sister Time

This spring my sister's dog passed.  Spirit was a lovely quiet small dog. After Mary and Dave experienced the heart-breaking void for a while, Mary went in search of another small dog.

Arky is a wonderful little dog.  My sister is facing some challenges with needing to house train Arky.  (They are making good progress on that front.) Arky has a passion for chasing squirrels and chipmunks causing her to sometimes flip when she reaches the end of her leash. This instinctual drive to chase small things makes it impossible to have Arky off-leash unless she is in a fenced in area.

I have enjoyed my time taking Dave, my brother-in-law living with dementia, and Arky to the dog park.  Arky is pretty good at fetch, and chases what we throw with such speed and persistence she is an inspiration.

One day Mary and I took the kayaks up the Pelican River and floated back down.  Mary wanted to try taking Arky.  I had seen how Liz's dog, Diego, rode so well in the kayak.  Arky too, is going to turn out to be a great kayak dog.  We need to put a platform or rug on the front of the kayak for Arky to sit or lay on.  

Meeting Up with Others

I was riding my bicycle through the campground where I had stayed last year, Lake George.  There I saw the seasonal campers I met last year.  They were out having their morning coffee and cigarettes.  I stopped to chat and this year I got to hug them.  I invited them over to my place for a happy hour on a Saturday night.  

They are still young enough to have to work, so they are only around during the weekends.  

Lisa told me that over the winter a mammogram showed she had cancer!  She went through a mastectomy.  I later texted her a picture of a woman with lovely tattoos over her mastectomy scars.  I told her about a picture in my doctors office that made a deep impression on me.  A shirt-less woman with one breast removed is looking up at the sky with arms lifted high in a joyful prayer of gratitude. 

Last year Tom insisted on building me some stairs for my trailer.  They were wonderful and sturdy and I am sure kept me from injury. This year my camper isn't sitting as high, so the old stairs he built for me and I left with him to store, won't work.  Tom insisted on building me a new step.  One day I came home from my wanderings and there it was, a new, wider safer step.  Thank you, Tom!

Last year I rode bicycle on the Three Eagles Trail with the Northern Paddle and Trail group (NPT).  This year I joined them again.  They only ride about 16 miles.  So I arrived early and stayed late and biked 32 miles on that lovely trail.  

We went of ice cream in Three Lakes.  They had these suckers with real crickets in them!

I loved chatting and riding with new bike buddies, Mary and Susan.

 It was fun riding with them.  I have sent in some dates and times to NPT for other rides on the Bear Skin and the Manitowish Trails.  I have also signed up for a hike with a Northern Adventures Meetup Group.

A few days after our ride, Susan texted me and invited me to come to her beautiful home in the woods on a lake.  Susan makes stained glass art and I had expressed an interest in seeing her work.  I took Arky with me (I was doggy sitting that day).  I got to see her lovely work and she showed me how she works with copper instead of lead.  Pretty stuff!  And a lot more talent for selecting colors and transparencies that I would have.

We went for a walk on a narrow path in the woods.  Susan has a labor-doodle and Arky and he were playing and jumping.  Not streets around, and we were on a peninsula, so there was water on three sides.  I took the leash off Arky and let her run.  She was so funny, leaping high over ferns.  It was funny and cute until she disappeared over a knoll and didn't come back when called.  

Oh no!  Losing the dog?  It was a scary few minutes until she came trotting back toward us on the trail.  Lesson learned.  A bit more training in the come-when-called department is needed.  


Early Morning Messages

Yesterday my sister was able to spend a day with her visiting friend because I was here to have supper with her husband and make sure the dog was walked and fed.

Dave and I went to the dog park.  There Arky met up with Jake, a dog just a bit taller than she is, with longer legs.  They zipped and zipped around the park.  It was amazing the speed and energy they have!

I then drove us to Dave's favorite food place, Culver's.  He loves their fish dinners and always, always gets a chocolate malt.  I am always tempted to get a shake or malt too, but then I would defeat all my efforts of the day to not gain weight.  One sure way to gain weight is to get into the habit of sipping on shakes or malts.

We took our take-out meal to Hodag Park and dined while Arky wound his leash around the legs of the table.  I kept sneaking glances at Dave's chocolate malt, tempted to ask for a sip.  Then I told myself that Dave would be nice enough to allow me a sip, but then would probably never dine with me again.  Ha ha.

Our meal was interspersed with Dave expressing his gratitude for the free healthcare he gets from the VA.  "Though I worked my but off for four years, it's nice to get some pay-back," he says.  And then, "I don't know where Mary went."

Mary had gone for a pontoon boat ride with her friends.  

Later as we sat by the lake and watched a few pontoons float by way out, I wondered if one of them might be Mary and her friends.  Later I learned, one of them was and they were dancing!

Earlier in the week Mary had asked me if I had noticed a difference in Dave from last year.  I remember asking the same question of others who came to visit after not seeing George in a long time.  We need reassurance that the decline we see is not just our imagination or us just getting tired.  Care-giving while losing someone is very tiring.  

Yes, I had seen the progress of cognitive decline in Dave since last year, I told her.  As I write this I remember that Dave is a very private person.   I hope he won't mind about me writing this. 

Later, Mary and Dave and her friends visited my campsite.  It was good to see them, though the visit wasn't long enough, Dave decided it was time to go.  Keep 'em happy! When they need to go, and you can go, then go!

This morning shortly after my alarm went off, my cell phone alerted me that I had a text message.  It was my sister expressing her gratitude for our friendship.  Awww.  I am where I am supposed to be.  Content in my Weeroll.


  1. We are happy that you can spend time with Mary and Dave, help out in many ways - and help with Arky’s training. It is so good for dogs to be socialized and learn that other humans can take charge.
    I complement you on your training for your fall ride. The first part is called The Great Allegheny Passage and has lots of info on their web site. Be certain to check updates before you start out - and each day you have internet. Both the GAP, and C&O have long, remote sections where trees can fall, blocking the trail, washouts can occur and bridges can be damaged. You should carry a small, folding saw to cut away branches from fallen trees so you can maneuver the bikes around even if the tree is to big to cut through. You also should be prepared for possible detours that will be in the trail updates for not the trail websites.
    At this point, I do not know when I will be biking. I have developed a very painful pinched nerve in my right(uninjured side) ankle chic makes it difficult to stand, walk or bike. The physical therapists and docs are trying to find out what is wrong and fix me up. In the meantime, we’re still home in Maryland.

  2. OH no, Ann! I am so sorry to hear of your new symptom. Sometimes an injury on one side makes us change our posture and of course you are using the other leg differently. So sorry, I know how you love to be active. This has got to be very frustrating. Hugs and a kiss on the ankle.

  3. Thanks for the encouragement- and reposting in Facebook (along with correcting the “chic” to which). I am hoping that the nerve conduction study can be scheduled this week and locates where the nerve is being pinched. I have to be patient.


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