Showing posts with label City of Inverness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label City of Inverness. Show all posts

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.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Perspective Adjustment - Nature Heals Us

Friday, May 8, 2020

I am grateful for nature.  There are few things that raise my spririt up more than seeing something rare in nature and soaking up a beautiful day.   Especially if I have someone with whom to share the experience.

So I am going to tell you all about my totally awesome day I had recently.

I am also grateful for wonderful neighbors and friends that lift my spirits and sometimes they help me move heavy furniture, loan a tool or volunteer to assist with something.

I will tell you all about THAT too.  But first I need to talk a bit to those folks in the future who will be reading this and wondering what is going on in the world at this time.

We Are Living at the Beginning of COVID-19

Historical Perspective 2020

It is easy for us baby-boomers who have lived most of our lives with freedom of movement and freedom to express our opinions to fall into a self-pity party during this time.  We have lived in a period of economic growth for most of our lives.

When I feel my four-year old inner self start to whine, I think of these facts that were shared on Facebook recently.

We have been into the shutter-in-place only a few months.  
Japanese internment -- 1 year
Holocaust -- 4 years
Great Depression -- 10 years
American Slavery -- 246 years

Skip this section if you are currently living through this COVID-19 thing.  I am writing this section to give the future readers of this blog a look into what is happening around me.

This COVID-19 lock-down, shutter-in-place, safer-at-home isn't so hard on me because I am retired and in Florida where I can get outside everyday.  I can chat with neighbors and friends outside at a distance.   My income (for now) is safe.  I understand the stock market goes up and down and as long as I don't have to sell right now, I am fine.

I am very grateful to be where I am at.

For those in rural or colder climates it isn't so easy.   It isn't as easy to socialize at a distance.  Though people are using the phone and internet to have conversations and keep in touch.  In the colder climates it isn't as easy to get out in nature.

For those in urban areas without nature and with more strict lock-downs it has got to be incredibly hard.  Imagine being without work and locked up in an apartment for weeks, months! Not as bad as Ann Frank and the many Jews and others forced into hiding for years during the Holocaust.  Not as bad as slaves who were forced to hide in fear for their lives. 

We really don't have it so bad.  It is just taking some adjustment... and we like to complain.

And we worry about those that didn't have any savings to cushion them when this hit.

There are many, many workers and business owners that were struggling before this all hit.  I know of a coffee shop and a restaurant that had just opened in Inverness a few weeks before the shutdown.  All that initial investment and planning and work.  Now they may not be able to open their business again.   Some restaurants may not be able to make it with the new spacing requirements of six feet between customers.  Things are going to be different for a while.

And will the spacing be enough?  This article explains that indoors even at six feet for long periods of time can be enough to spread the disease.

Millions of American workers who have lost their jobs or fallen even further behind in their bills.   Even with the states slowly opening their economies again, so many of us will be afraid to go to restaurants and bars due to the threat of infection.  Then of course many won't be shopping like we were because of the unpredictable nature of the economy.  Which isn't all bad.

Sometimes I think that even with all that it wouldn't be so dang stressful if we didn't have social media making it easy to toss around conspiracy theories and fuel the us-vs-them mentality.  People are protesting the closing of the businesses and schools.  Some say the virus is a hoax and they don't practice social distancing, they don't wear face masks.

My neighbor told me she went to the grocery store and even with all the signs and the precautions and the education there were so many people not wearing masks, not kind enough to care if they were unknowingly spreading the disease.  When my neighbor was done shopping, she went into her car and cried.  (You see when you catch the disease you may not have any symptoms but will be spreading it through the air when you talk, breath, laugh, cough, sneeze, and even fart.  If you have pants on, it is like wearing a mask on your butt.  Or you could think of a mask as wearing pants on your face so all the crap doesn't spill out and get on other people.)

They say that the numbers aren't as bad as they predicted. Of course the numbers aren't as bad as originally projected, because we are staying home, social distancing, and shutting down.  They would be so much worse if we weren't doing that.

And now, wearing of a mask is being politicized.  This virus doesn't care if you are Democrat or Republican, Socialist, or Skin Head, old or young.  But some don't believe the virus is real, or don't believe they or anyone they know and love can get it, or they just want to say, "screw you" to the world.

Supplies for keeping our hands and surfaces clean went out of stock in early March.  I have been hunting for rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer on line and every time I enter a store.  I had heard that this flea-market style store had some.  So I stopped there on one of my bike rides.

They had a big bottle of 80% alcohol for sanitizing. 

When I went to check out, the clerk told me the price was $28.  Wow.  A small bottle (maybe 8 oz) used to be around one dollar.  Now, with the shortage....  She said that a brewery made the stuff.  And it wasn't so much a shortage of the alcohol but there was a shortage of the plastic bottles which used to come from China.  Now we aren't letting stuff come from China because the disease started in Wuhan, China and for other political reasons.

So this is what my kitchen counter looks like with all my sanitation supplies.

The bottle with the black label is the 80% alcohol that I bought for $28.  It doesn't smell like rubbing alcohol.  It smells like... high proof, low quality booze.  It makes me nautious to use it.  Fortunately it evaporates quickly.  I hope I don't smell like an alcoholic.

I rinse out the wipes and put them in a container and pour the alcohol on them to get wipes that work fast on germs.  I also have a container with wipes and bleach water.  When I got out I either take a baggie of alcohol wipes or the bottle of hand sanitizer.

It is hard to believe we are at the beginning of this COVID pandemic.  Those of us living in it just keep thinking it will be over soon.  Certainly we can't keep the economy closed for much longer.  There are some promising things on the horizon for vaccines and treatments. Maybe this won't take the full 18 months to two years that the disease experts first predicted.

I hope you skipped this section if you are currently living through this Pandemic.  You didn't need to be reminded of all that.  It didn't tell you anything new and added to your stress.  Sorry!  I warned you, didn't I?

But hang in there, because the next sections are more up-beat.  I promise you.

New Beginnings and Hope

Amsterdam has announced that they are planning to rebuild after COVID in a different way.  Instead of measuring themselves by their GDP they are going to use other measurements that include health, well-being, the environment, and more.  They call it the donut.  Trying to balance between economic well-being and human and environmental wellness.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have many people and countries learn from this time and re-adjust?   

Speaking of hope and changes that could come from this down-time...  There is a cute video out by TomFoolery of a man reading a story book to his son THE GREAT REALIZATION: Hind-site 2020.

Yesterday was a beautiful day and I biked down to feed the goats on my own.  On my way back I got a call from my friend, Kathi.  She had just traveled from her Florida home to her Wisconsin home in her sister's RV.  She said she had very little if any exposure to the outside world on their trip except to get gas and walk around outside.

I was telling her that some rural communities that usually are full of tourists in the summer in Northern Wisconsin are asking people to stay away this year.  I told her I was hesitating about going to Northern Wisconsin for the summer in my WeeRoll.   I don't want to be the one to drag COVID up through the country.

Kathi listened to my reasons why I wanted to go and she advised me to go.  Time with my sister is important and especially if I follow the guidelines for social distancing and cleaning my hands often, I should be OK to go.

It Has Been Two Years Since George

I was riding with friends when one of them asked me if it was two years ago in May that George passed.  I had to think about it.  Sure enough, he died May 20, 2018. 

That thought got me thinking.  My house-mate, Carolyn, left to go to her home in South Dakota and the master bedroom was free.  I should be ready to move back into the room.  I had moved out because the only place for the queen bed was the same place it was when George died.  Since it takes energy to keep my brain from ruminating on those last days, I have just avoided spending a lot of time in the room.

Instead of changing to a smaller bed and rearranging the room, I was using the excuse that I didn't want to buy a new bed and get rid of a perfectly fine queen bed. So I would just keep the room in that arrangement and not sleep there.  Instead I was sleeping upstairs.

But now it is two years and my neighbor, Jerry, offered to help me move the bed out. (I don't think he comprehended how heavy it was.) 

That very evening that he made the offer to help, I disassembled the bed.

I moved the cot in that I had purchased for the Weeroll camper.


I tried sleeping on the cot that night.  And I slept well!!!

The next day Jerry came and helped me move the big bed into the garage.  Then we took the couch from the den and moved it into the master.  After he left I pushed the couch to different locations.

The whole process wasn't without shedding a few tears, but now I am back in the Master bedroom and I am liking the extra floor space and the simplicity of the space.

In fact, moving the couch out of the den gave me more space in there too.  It is cleaner, less cluttered, I like it!

Preparing the WeeRoll

When I started this post, I mentioned being blessed with neighbors and friends that continue to help me out.

One day I arranged for neighbors Dave and Craig to help me move the mini fridge from my kitchen into the Weeroll.  I was proud of myself for backing up the Weeroll into my driveway without taking out any bushes or buildings.

 It took two minutes for Dave and Craig to get the fridge into the trailer.  Then I proceeded to set up my cot and use the D-rings and some straps to hold things in place.

Cindy and Regis stopped by while the Weeroll was in the driveway.  Cindy had volunteered to sew curtains for the trailer before I bought it.   She wanted to look at it and measure the windows again.

She had volunteered to make the curtains when I was debating about buying the trailer. 

I was whining over the work I would have to do after I got the trailer.  Making curtains seemed overwhelming to me.  Cindy took away that pressure by saying she would make them.   I don't think she really expected me to take her up on the offer.  Ha ha.   Thank you, Cindy! 

We are not allowed to keep our trailers parked in our driveways.  So that evening I was driving the Weeroll back to the storage area when I encountered a neighbor who had questions about the Weeroll.  Somewhere in the conversation I told him I was planning on removing the back seat in my minivan.  It has the stow-n-go seats so if I remove the seats I will be removing weight and have a nice pocket for storing things when I travel. 

The dilemma, I told him, was I needed to cover the pocket with something so I can roll my trike in and out.  He offered his experience doing that same thing with his van and his table saw!  Cool! 

Sometimes I think it might be all of you readers saying prayers for me and sending love and good thoughts that brings all these wonderful blessings my way.  Thank you!

Stuffing the Weeroll

I should be at an age where I don't need more STUFF.  In fact I am trying to get rid of stuff.  (I am happy to announce that I put the queen bed up on Facebook Marketplace and sold it in a day... for $80.) 

But it seems the more I get for the Weeroll the more I seem to need for the Weeroll.  It was time to get a mini microwave that I would place on top of the fridge when camping.

During this time of shuttering in place I shouldn't be going out shopping.  But ... well, the article on risks says that it isn't the brief encounters during shopping that will spread the virus (as long as you wash your hands and don't touch your face and no one sneezes or coughs on you and you wear a mask in case you cough or sneeze...).

On a Sunday morning early, I drove to Walmart.

I wore my mask and took my wipes.  The Walmart greeter presented me with a rose... and said, "Happy Mother's Day".  Oh!  "It's Mother's Day!". 

The rose was kind of orange... George's color, perfect.  My sister said later, "Awww, that was George sending you a sign and wishing you a Happy Mother's Day."

The shelf with the small microwaves was empty.  The clerk said the parts are made in China and so the supplier is tooling up elsewhere.  It will be about seven weeks before the microwaves start arriving again.

As I shopped for other items, I kept encountering a robot used to sweep the floors.  I don't think it can completely replace humans.... it doesn't get into the edges or the corners.

I tried to think of somewhere else in town I could check for a microwave.  But they were all big-box stores. 

Later I ordered one from Amazon.  Sigh.  So much for supporting the local economy!

A Totally Awesome Day

We have had a few cooler days here in May.  I decided I wanted to go do the Van Fleet Trail.  That trail can be really hot since it goes through the Green Swamp and has areas without tree cover.   Thank goodness that Debra said she would go to.  It is so much more fun to share with a friend.

We left Inverness in our separate cars at 7:30 a.m.   By the time we got there we were already having an awesome day.  While traveling down Hwy 48 we had to stop three times for animals in the road.

  1. A family of sandhill cranes
  2. A peacock
  3. Two brown cows that started kicking when I honked my horn.
When we started our ride it was even cool enough to wear a light jacket.

We road from Mabel (the northern terminus) to Green Pond Road.  It was almost 40 miles round trip.

There is a section on the trail with three bridges.  We stop at the bridges to see if we can see any gator or turtles in the water below.

As we approached the second bridge I saw a lot of large white birds.  When I stopped to look I saw the water was boiling with fish. 

There was Ibis and Woodstorks and Egrets wading in the waters and up in the trees and bushes.

And there was a huge gator just laying there among them.

Debra and I stayed there a long time watching.

At one point I looked down and saw the bushes were white below me.  Then plop!  I said, "Shit!". 

Debra and I kept saying that the weather was perfect, the sky so blue.  We had a lovely time and did almost 40 miles. 

And the experience was so much more because I got to share it with someone.  Thank you, Debra!

When I started heading home I went through a love-bug storm.  These bugs seem to always be mating in flight.  Their guts are acidic and it will eat the paint off your car.

I finished off my totally awesome day by washing my car.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Natural Joy


I hope your are doing well with your new routines.

A Morning Walk

This morning the birds were singing.  It was a lovely 52 degrees when I stepped out for my walk, my face-mask tucked into my pants pocket, my binoculars tucked under my arm. 

The trail that runs past our neighborhood is a state park and therefore is closed.  I have read it is scheduled to re-open on May 15th.  Breaking the rules, I walked down the trail because I had seen a nest of large white fluffy birds there the other day and I wanted to get a closer look with the binoculars.

I was alone on the trail and as I approached the lakes that boarder both sides of the trail in this area I was awed once more by the beauty.  A light swirling mist was rising up from the waters.

I suddenly missed George deeply.  I talked to him and told him so.  I also told him I was often glad he was gone.  At the same time I was appreciating the beauty I began to cry.  I told George I know how much he would also enjoy this walk and this scene.  He would also be excited to go get a closer look at the birds. 

I told him I missed sharing these moments with him.  I missed holding his hand and having him rub my back.   It was a lovely moment, really.  Missing him and imagining that his spirit still accompanied me on this outing.

I arrived at the place where I could observe the nest in a small cypress tree in the shallow waters.  The white birds have necks that move like Anhingas and when I got home I looked up Anhinga chicks and really think that is what they are.  I didn't see the parent today.

As I stepped away from viewing the chicks something large and silent swooped over the trail and landed on a branch over the pond on the opposite side of the trail.  I think it had found its sleeping perch for the day.  Its lids were heavy and it didn't move much.  I think it was a barred owl.

As I headed back home I saw a small possum next to the trail.  It's back legs sometimes giving out.  It must be sick that it didn't notice me as I walked by.  I took several pictures, none of them turned out.  I didn't want to crouch down or get closer,  I thought he might have rabies or distemper and I wanted to be able to move quickly if he started coming toward me.

Staying Positive During a Pandemic

It is Tuesday, April 28, 2020.  It took a while for me to figure out it was Tuesday since our days now don't have the normal structure that used to define our weeks.

If you spend much time looking at the news you will get frustrated, full of worry, and well just feel like crap!  So don't do it.   That's my advice, for what it is worth.

I suggest you step away and step out into nature.  And if you can't do that reach out to someone who is also isolated.

It also helps me to put these days in a historical context.

I don't know who to attribute this poem to but it is beautiful.  If you can't read it, I am re-writing it below.

This is Timeless...
And people stayed at home
And read books
And listened
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
More deeply
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed

The person that sent this to me also sent the information that pandemics come about every 100 years.

1720 - The Plague
1820 - Cholera
1920 - Spanish Flu
2020 - COVID19

The changes are just part of the ebb and the flow of life.

There was a time (and it may come to that yet) when wearing a face-mask was mandatory or go to jail.  I wear it when people are around, but when exercising I need to breath in fresh air and release the bad air.  So I try to keep away from people so I can breath freely when exercising.  

If you are still having a hard time with all the changes in your life, read this article from the Atlantic.

Weeroll Update

I called the campground in Wisconsin where I have reserved a seasonal site for the year.  The manager understandably is frustrated with the situation.  Wisconsin will be allowing campgrounds to open on May 15th, but the community areas such as the showers and the bar and grill must remain off limits.

She said she received my deposit but has not taken it to the bank yet because she is one of the vulnerable and isn't venturing out to the bank.

So now it is in MY hands.  Do I want to travel to a place without a shower, without gathering places like libraries and coffee shops where I can get good WiFi?

I am anxious to try out the Weeroll though.  I received my cot, the shelves and curtain rods are installed.

I am envisioning sleeping in the space with screens across the doors and the night breeze flowing over me.  I imaging peeking out at the star-lit sky.  I imagine sitting and walking with my sister (six feet away of course).

I also think that being that I am over 65 and being that I will be traveling over several days, that I would have to self-isolate when I get there for 14 days.  Yuk to that!  I imagine dealing with mosquitoes while I try to prepare my dinners outside or go for walks.

I have decided to wait until the lifting of restrictions has gone on for over 20 days and see if the new cases of COVID start increasing again.

In the meantime I will continue to work on getting my Weeroll ready... just in case.

Dodo Me

It was just in September or early October 2019 that I set down my purse and the wrong person picked it up and started using my bank card.  I was on my way home from Wisconsin and Indiana in a town in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The other day I went to the liquor store (yes, they are open as an essential business).  I was going to buy my friend that worked on the Weeroll some beer.  (That was my excuse.)

When I parked my car in the lot I pulled out my charge card and hid my purse.  I got out of the car and I saw an older man with a face mask that must have called in his order standing with the trunk of his car open.  A staff person was loading a case of something into his car and he showed her his drivers license.

"Oh!  I guess even old folks like us get carded here," I thought.  I better bring in my license just in case.  I reached into my car and retrieved my purse.  Still hanging onto my charge card.

I went in, grabbed a cart and placed my purse on the child's seat.   I zoomed down one aisle to the beer cooler and grabbed the beer, that zoomed down a different aisle to the check-out counter.  There were only about five customers in the whole store.

I paid with my charge card and went to my car, unloaded the beer and returned the cart.  Back at the car I noticed I didn't have my purse.
Was it hidden still?  No.
 Was it under the beer? No.
Was it in the back seat? No.
I dashed back in the store and checked the cart.  Nope.
I dashed down the aisles I had traveled, I looked in the hands of any customers I saw.  Nope.
I asked the clerk.  No.

Cuss words.  Hunt more in the car.  No.
Back again to retrace my steps.  No.
Ask a different clerk.  No.


I return home and start to make a call to the bank to report the missing bank card (at least I had my charge card!)

Then while I was making the call, in came a call and I decided to pick it up.  It was one of the clerks.  Someone had turned in my purse!  OH MY!  YAY!!!

When I posted a thank you on Facebook a friend said I was beginning to act like an old lady that keeps losing things.


I have been instructed to put the dang strap (which it has) over my neck and shoulder.  If I did that it would be easy to keep it with me.  This is my new skill to practice... mindful purse carrying.


I have started to gather data for book three, but I am mixed about what it will be about other than more memoir-journal-style ramblings.  It is hard to gather data when I don't even know what data will be useful.

In the meantime I will keep posting here, and as I tell my story,   I hope that you may find something to make you smile.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Surreal Living In the Beginning of COVID-19

It is March 26, 2020


I hope you are well and finding ways to stay mentally healthy.  We are social creatures and isolation and distancing are both un-natural and uncomfortable.

I found a song on Youtube that was supposed to be funny, but made me sad. "All by myself, don't wanna be all by myself anymore..."

Those of us that are retired are feeling very fortunate to not be depending on a wage right now, with many businesses closed for a period of social distancing in an effort to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

I woke up this morning having another difficult night trying to sleep.  My shoulders hurt because they are used to heavy lifting at the gym, I think.  Or maybe they hurt from the lack of giving hugs and getting hugs.  This social distancing is physically difficult for those not living with family or pets.

When I descend the stairs to start the coffee, I can sense my tears are ready to erupt.  This is a feeling I am very familiar with, these un-shed tears were often present when I was experiencing the slow loss of George to dementia.

We are all experiencing loss of the life we knew just a month or two ago.  I was doing ok until they closed the Withlacoochee Trail.  Now, disconnected from so many of my friends, and my schedule of regular rides disrupted, the change this pandemic has placed on so many lives is finally touching me a little.  I am so fortunate, but I can still grieve over the changes we are all facing.

Promoting my Alzheimer's books seems silly now.  Though I know they could provide someone with entertainment and a caregiver with comfort and reassurance.

I spend a little time each day on twitter and there are several Alzhiemer's Caregivers and former Caregivers that provide support to each other.  Some are authors like me, some are pod-casters.  Jennifer Fink contacted me this week to arrange a short interview via Zoom.  She wanted to gather ideas and just empathy for all the caregivers and family members out there who are trying to keep their loved-one with dementia safe from COVID-19.  Some of them have their loved one in a facility and are locked out of that facility, unable to visit.

Jennifer's mother is in a home and has already forgotten Jennifer is her daughter, but she remembers she is the nice woman that comes to visit.  That bit of memory will most likely be gone by the time Jennifer gets to see her mom again.  And Jennifer really REALLY wants to just be able to go in and hold her mom's hand.  She worries that her mom will die before she gets to see her again... that she will essentially die alone.

ARG!!!  It is all so depressing!

So you know what I do?

1) I look for funny songs and videos on Youtube in the evenings.

Feel free to share a favorite in the Susan Straley Writes Facebook group.  If you are not a member, just join and answer the questions.  A lot of people like to watch movies and TV shows, but I just can't get into it.  Ever since I had skin cancer in 1989 and realized my time in this life really IS limited, I stopped watching much TV and now most movies don't attract me either.

2) I go for walks and ride the streets.  

When I am walking I might see a neighbor I like and walk with them trying to keep six feet between us.  Six feet is the recommended distance to keep so you don't spread the virus.  Any of us that are feeling well could have the virus and not know it.  Even if we feel fine we need to keep our distance.  The virus is very contagious.

3) I vowed to not go to the store for a full week.

I thought I wasn't a shopper, but man, the grocery store is constantly calling to me... "Come, come now!  Our shelves are almost bare.  You know you would much rather have nachos and ice cream for supper instead of that left-over soup."

I cheated yesterday and ordered some nuts and dried fruits from .  I was going to order dried beans but all of us have become survivalists in the last month or two and all the dried beans are out of stock.

4) I arrange small social gatherings.

This is the best thing that I have found to do.  I have the advantage of sitting outside with folks at a safe distance because we live in Florida which is warm and our area has few biting bugs most of the day.

I think Debra started it by inviting Carolyn and me over on Monday evening.

On Tuesday I sat with my neighbors, Mary and Jerry, Margaret and Zip.  My house-mate Carolyn came too.  We sat in a circle.  Earlier that day Margaret said, "I have so many words in me that just need to be let out!"

On Wednesday I met up with a new friend and neighbor at the pool and we chatted for a hour.  We were going to bounce around in the pool, but the pool heater isn't working.  It was uncomfortably cold at 72 degrees. 

We watched a lovely hawk sit on the fence a long while and then took off flying over our heads.

Also on Wednesday I went for a street ride with Debra and Glen.  We rode through areas of Citrus Hills and wow, I didn't know we had so many hills so close to home.  The trail is pretty flat.

I had to ride the trail a couple miles to get to the meeting place.  I have since heard that the Ranger is stopping people and telling them get off the trail or issuing a warning.

5) I listen to audio books.

I just finished listening to, Before We Were Yours.  I can tell you if you are looking for something relaxing to read, that isn't it.  It was gripping and at times suspenseful.   I hated how tense it made me, but I couldn't stop listening.

My friend Kim shared her audio book with me, Olive Kitterich.  She said it is a nice story.

6) I reach out by phone, Facetime, and text to others.

I am fortunate in that my sister is open to chatting with me almost every day.  We have never done this before, but I think we both need the contact and conversations.  One day we both were feeling down, so we made a pledge to do something to combat the feelings.  Mary was going for a walk in the woods.  I was going to meditate 20 minutes.

Speaking of my sister... she and her husband still deliver meals on wheels.  She uses her hand sanitizer after each home and before she enters her car.  I need to start volunteering somewhere during this... where?

7) I practice backing up my Weeroll.

Ok, I have only done this once or twice.  I also spent some time sitting inside it, thinking of what will go where.  I cut an old yoga mat to be the size of the mini fridge that I have.  It helps to figure out how things will fit.

What a Difference Three Weeks Makes

It is hard to believe that only two weeks ago I was listening to the news reports about COVID-19 (called the Corona Virus back then) and wondering if I should be worried.  I flew to Arizona on March 6th and packed wipes and was a bit on edge wondering if I should cancel my flight.

The number of cases of COVID-19 in the United States was small, I had not been watching the news and didn't know anything about why this virus was unique.  I was thinking of the Swine Flu which hardly touched my life, and I remembered the talks about Ebola.  They both were slowed before they became a problem for my family and friends, my corner of the world.  I was ignorant of any of the science explaining why COVID-19 was different and a big worry.

It is only 20 days later now, and the CDC website reports the number of cases in the US is over 68,000.  The number of deaths almost 1,000.   It is still kinda small numbers in the big scheme of things until you realize that those numbers happened in just three weeks and are doubling every 2-3 days.

Here is a video giving you a view of exponential growth.

Here is another video.

I have heard people argue that we are making too big a deal out of this.  That it hasn't killed as many people as the regular flu each year.  They are probably not taking into account that this flu is brand new and in just a few months has spread to pretty-much every country and started to grow from there, over coming the ability of the medical system to care for the victims in many places (New York City and Italy especially).

Well no sense in worrying.  "It is what it is," George would say.

I found some bean seeds and planted them.  And I see I have a couple potatoes in my cupboard sprouting... I will try planting them.  Who knows how long this pandemic will go on.

Please share some of the things you found to help you stay connected in spite of social distancing.  Are you pitching in to help somewhere?  Tell me about it, I would like to hear!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Covid-19 Changes


COVID-19 Changes

It is Wednesday, a lovely warm sunny day in Florida.  I decide that even with the "Social Distancing" that we are trying to abide by, I can go to exercise and yoga at the club house.


1) there are only three of us spread out in that big room.
2) I decided to disinfect my hands before entering
3) I brought along a rag to touch any door handles or remote controls.
4) None of us are coughing

It was great to be back among my friends and neighbors.  We did the "Covid Hug" which is standing far away from each other and putting our arms up like cactus arms and moving them up and down.  I know, corny.  But it makes us smile and feel loved, and THAT is so important.

For those of you in the future reading this, in 2019 there was a flu that only resided in animals, but one day in 2019 it morphed and transferred into a human and then transferred human to human.  This flu, as I understand it, can sit on a hard surface ready to infect someone else for 48 hours.  It attacks the lungs mostly, and can be deadly to those with weakened immune systems.  The good news so far is that it isn't deadly or very damaging to the young with strong immune systems.  The bad news is that since it morphed into a virus that can transfer to humans it has morphed one more time creating two different strains.  This is a concern to the scientists that study viruses and if it keeps morphing it will be hard to develop vaccines.

The governments around the world had learned from past viruses that if they cancel events and really reduce human to human contact they can slow down the transfer of the virus.   This way the capacity to treat patients will not exceed the need and fewer people will die as a result of catching the illness.

So that is what is happening around the world right now.  When I heard they had canceled the National Basketball Association games, it hit me how serious this was.  The NBA and others make millions of dollars on games, yet they were canceled.  Since then they have closed schools, bars, and cancelled all gatherings of more than 10 people, including weddings, funerals and church services.

There are currently 3 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Citrus County where we live.


After yoga, my housemate Carolyn and I left on our trikes this Wednesday morning to meet others on the trail to go for a ride.  We are feeling very fortunate to have the trail and our trikes.  We feel safe from transferring any germs when we are riding.  We are able to leave our homes and ride and even socialize as long as we don't touch each other and keep a safe 6 feet between us when we are standing still.

We met up with Debra and Glen, Frankie and Dennis and were going to the Withlacoochee Trail down past Floral City and do a little road riding around some small horse farms and then have a picnic at the park.  Spreading out at the picnic tables so we aren't too close.

On the way to Floral City, Covid-19 and the changes it has brought in all our lives is all we talk about it seems.  We debate whether the beaches are closed and agree that the bars have been closed to reduce or slow down the spread of this very contagious virus.

Dennis is a doubter,  He doesn't think this flu is a big threat.  He says that other flues have killed more people and that more people die in car accidents.  When I returned home I found a video on exponential growth and sent it to him.  (If the lily pads double each day and fill the pond on day 60, when is the pond only 1/2 full of lily pads?  Answer -- Day 59.)  Also this flu, from what I understand, became a concern when it transferred from being an animal flu to being transferred to humans and then human to human.  And really became a concern when it morphed again in just two weeks.  Sounds like a science fiction movie to me.


If you are worried about all the changes.  Start to journal your worries.  A study of 51 participants with anxiety found that a worry journal helped reduce anxiety over a regular journal.  So each day just take some time to write down all your worries.  Then in 10, 20, 30 days go back and take a look, see which worries came true.

I had started having a chest congestion weeks before we even heard of COVID-19 it seems.  Maybe even two months ago.  It doesn't make me cough, but it is a burning and congested feeling in the chest.  This morning it made me cough on our bike ride.

There is a joke being passed around that the reason there was a run on toilet paper in the stores, (The shelves are empty of paper products now), is because when someone coughs everyone around them shits their pants.

I decided to return home instead of completing the ride.

I didn't know if I should go in.  Do I just weather it out at home and not burden the medical system with another person?  I don't feel that bad.  But what if I am contagious and I am sharing a house with Carolyn and I am going to the grocery store?   And do they need me to get tested so they can track where the cases are? 

I called my doctor just to ask if it was worth getting tested since there is no treatment or cure.  They have on their recording a special line for talking with someone about COVID.

Emily answered and when I told her about the congestion she said I have two factors.
1) I have been traveling
2) I have congestion in the chest.
She made an appointment for me to get tested that very afternoon.

At 1:00 from the parking lot I was supposed to call in and get instructions.  I was not to enter the building.  I called and was instructed to follow the green footprints into a side door.

I was given a mask and taken to an exam room where they took my temperature which was 99 degrees.  They listened carefully to my chest and my story about how the congestion started probably a whole month ago but it seems to be getting worse.  They palpated my lymph glands around my neck, some were slightly swollen.

"Allergies,"  she tells me.  She said if the Musinex and two other medications she prescribed for nasal congestion (even though I protested) doesn't work they will Xray my lungs.  I don't feel I have nasal congestion, but she said that the drippage causes irritation in the bronchial tubes and that can cause a bacterial infection, so let's get this under control.

When I mentioned on Facebook that I had been to the doctor a woman I know going through Chemo asked me why I went, since there was no cure.  She has a lower immune system and is having to utilize the medical system. She is trying to convince people not to get tested and stay home.


Commercial Star

On Tuesday the Withlacoochee Riders biked.  When we were gathered by the Caboose on the trail, a man with a big camera came to me.  He had called me about a month ago and asked if he could film us riding the trail.  He is from the Department of Parks and something... I think it used to be Recreation but I think they changed the name.  Anyway, he was creating commercials for the bike trails in Florida.  So he interviewed me with the bikers scattered behind me.  It was awkward with the huge camera in my face, my sun protecting hat and helmet on, trying to be clever and instead being super stupid.  Oh well, water under the bridge.

I didn't tell him I was an Author and that I wrote a book that included our life using the trail in The Journey Continues and bike trails elsewhere in Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.    I now wonder if I should have...

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