Showing posts with label Corona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Corona. Show all posts

Saturday, August 22, 2020

You Can Be A Wellness Tripper

It has been at least 12 days since I last wrote to you.

There have been many moments when I am just thrilled to be where I am and doing what I am doing.  This is new for me.  Outside of taking care of George, I have always wondered if I should be doing something else.   

It may be a side-effect of COVID distancing that I don't feel rushed to be or do something more than I am at the moment.  That is a wonderful feeling.

While I wasn't writing to you I was doing other fun stuff!   

I went for a walk with my sister Mary through Rhinelander, WI and took a picture of this beautiful rock.

One day when she needed a hug I was so glad I was nearby to do just that.

My friends, John and Sandy from Sussex, WI came to visit!  They stayed at a different campground because this campground office/tavern proudly doesn't follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

I had thought about going to that campground next year, but they are strict about having an RV-Certified sticker on your trailer.   Since my Weeroll is  registered as a utility trailer, it probably would not qualify.  They aren't even allowing tents during COVID, even their Port-a-potty is locked.

We had dinners together outside around the camp fires, we kayaked, swam and biked.  It was a good visit.  She shared with me this bug spray that seemed to work and was natural.  She says it is made in Rhinelander.
 I hitched up Lilac (Life is Living Adventurously after all!) and headed to the Root River Trail in SE Minnesota to meet up with my Florida bike friends, Ann and Fred, Ruth and Bill.  
I managed to fit the two wheel bike and the trike in the back of the van.  On the trip the tables that are budgied to the wall in the picture below fell over anyway.  So Now I travel with them laying on the floor.  It works!
 Everything moves to the floor.  And the battery operated lights are wrapped and placed in a drawer.

We stayed at the Eagle Cliff Campground which is across the river from the trail in Whalen, MN.  If you have been to the trail you will know that Whalen is where you will find the World Famous Pies place.  The name has changed, but the pies are still a hit.
I am glad I had tacked an extra day onto the start of our stay so I got to ride the trail by myself the first day.

Arriving in Houston, I stopped for coffee at the coffee shop.  I was so glad they were open and had out-door seating!  So many restaurants and shops are only open Thursday through Sunday.
I had put a book on my bike in the hope of donating it to the Houston Library

The library was also closed and not accepting donations.  On my way back out of town I passed a Little Free Library!  Perfect, since I had already signed the book "To the Residents of Houston".


Ann and Fred had been spending some time near family up by the Paul Bunyon Trail in northern MN.  Before they left to meet me she posted this picture she took from her campsite.  I felt the need to share it with you.

It was so good to see these friends and hang out again.  We all were able to speak freely about our opinions of the responses to the COVID pandemic and all that is going on in our country.  We also spent a good amount of time sharing information about the books we are reading.  I took notes: 

The Speckled Monster

The Jew Store

Queen Bee

The Dutch House

KizzyAnn Stamps



I had many moments when I felt I was right where I should be, doing what I should be doing.  That is a wonderful feeling.  I hope you have some of those too.

On the way home I decided to pull into Prentice, Wisconsin.  This is the town that I moved to on my own after high school.  I worked in the only motel/restaurant in town and rented an upstairs studio apartment.  

My mother had spent part of her childhood in Prentice and had fond memories of the friends and fun she had there.

As I walked the streets I tried to recognize places.  I tried to locate the drug store where my mom and dad had their first "date" when he walked her down to get an ice cream cone.  The drug store building may be gone, or this may be it.

Prentice is too small a town for a library.  But I found a Little Free Library full of good books.

Dementia Education Inc. in Citrus County announced they were doing a Wellness Challenge, it just felt right that I should gather a team of folks to check our wellness practices and at the same time raise some funds for educating caregivers and friends and family members of those with dementia symptoms.

Join Susan Straley's Wellness Trippers!

Folks are joining our team, don't be left out of this fun adventure.

The friendly folks at Dementia Education, Inc. sent in a press release about our team.  It is the FIRST team to form.  Join Susan Straley's Wellness Trippers today! 

Here are the rules.

"Upon becoming registered Participants, individuals may download from the official Citrus County Virtual Wellness Challenge web site a form for scoring their participation.  At the end of each week, Participants may report their scores to a Challenge Database via e-mail.  Top performance scores in both Individual and Team Categories will be reported on the Coping with Demetia and Citrus County Aware for Alzheimer’s FaceBook pages, then totaled for a period of four weeks for the purpose of recognizing Participants and bestowing final Award. Awards will be given in both Individual and Team Categories with the largest team receiving the prestigious Mary Blair Darling Award."

There are three steps to join the team.  1) Download the form and fill it out.  Be sure to put "Susan Straley's Wellness Trippers" as the name of the team you are joining.  2) Send $10 to Dementia Education (follow the instruction at the bottom of the sign up form).  3) Let me know by emailing me, posting what you have done on Facebook and tag me, or text me at two six two 844 84 six nine.

Then on September 13, 2020 start scoring.  There is a form you can download.  Look in your download folder after you click on it.  It is a PDF.  This will help us see what areas of our life we need to reach into and do more -- Enlightening, Fun, and well Team Building, I hope.   

Do I Stay or Do I Go Now

When you are faced with being a caregiver for a parent or a spouse, you either do it or you don't.  

If it is your parent, you are their child no matter how good or bad your relationship has been up to the point of their needing your oversight or direct care.  But you do have a choice... don't you?  You may feel trapped, but once you make the final decision to stay or go, either way, it can be freeing.

As a spouse you are bound not by blood but by a contract.  

 I just saw a book introduced by AlzAuthors of a woman who married a man and then within the first year or two he was diagnosed with early-onset dementia.  Bam, just like that, newly wed to caregiver.

Even I, after 39 years of marriage wondered if I would stick around for the duration.  I wondered if I could just walk out, end our contract. I look back at that time of indecision as the most agonizing and difficult part of the whole process outside George's death.

Divorce is pretty common in marriage, and by the time a spouse gets the dementia diagnosis there have been some major arguments, some personality changes, that can make a wife or a husband wonder if they should seek a lawyer and end the contract.

Maybe you are one that never even considered leaving, it never entered your mind.  But don't hate yourself or doubt your original love if you do have those thoughts.  It's ok.  Let's not judge ourselves or others.  We are all made of different stuff. 

I have a hard time not trying to solve other people's problems.  All we can do as outsiders is listen, offer help, be there, and try very hard not to offer solutions that can seem like criticism.  My parents were good at biting their tongue as we children grew into our own lives.  I try to emulate them.  Sometimes I even succeed! 

There... that is my sermon for today.

Speaking of Going...

I have got most of my reservations made for my trip home.  There are a few people I will visit along the way.  John and Sandy let me know they would like to meet up with me on the Sparta Trail.

I leave here September 16th.  It seems too soon.  I am loving this little home, being close to my sister, having a simpler life.

I joined the Northern Paddle and Trail group and posted a bike ride for tomorrow.  I have at least two people joining me!  We will be riding the Three Eagles Trail starting in Three Lakes.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Campground Dust and Traveling Pooh

Morning - July 6, 2020

It is quiet and peaceful here this morning.  The birds are singing.  Most of the guests here are still sleeping or soaking in their morning coffee.

If I just look in front of me I see trees and grass.  I am fortunate to have an end of the aisle site at the very busy, sardine can lay-out of the Timberline Campground in Goodfield, Illinois.

When I entered the campground yesterday around noon I was a bit shocked.  This place was buzzing with golf carts and dirt buggies zipping around at high speed sending up dust clouds that hovered over the air.  The pool area was packed, groups of people were gathered at campsites.

I got here so early because I packed up all I could and hooked up last night for an early departure.  I must have left the campground in Vienna, IL around 6:15 a.m.

The drive here was uneventful except for a few miles on a flat but wavey pavement very straight country road.  I had to drive it at 40 mph.  Mostly I was on the interstates.

Once in Goodfield, I went to check in at the campground office and there were about 10 people in the large room. I was the only one wearing a mask, ("You are welcome.").  Check in was quick but when I arrived at my site it was occupied.  I checked the paperwork and check-out time was at one o'clock.  There was an un-occupied spot with a table in the shade.  I called Debra and my sister, Mary.

I texted Peggy and we arranged to meet for supper at the Busy Corner Restaurant.

The bottle I use to hold my pee mixed with water had started to leak.  I decided to go shop for a new container, only this was Sunday.  Would there be anything open?  Well, no stores in Goodfield, but the next town over had a Dollar General.

Today while stopped to get gas I saw in my car window that I had tufts of hair sticking out on the sides of my head and the hair on top that was supposed to be sticking up was flat.  I guess I need a mirror.  I had been using my car windows, but this morning I didn't get a good reflection or I was packing up and forgot.  I drove nine miles to a Dollar General and I was happy to see that all the customers and the clerks I encountered were wearing masks.  "Thank you!"

At exactly one o'clock the folks occupying my site pulled out.  I pulled in, as I was driving on gravel I could hear the brakes on the trailer grabbing too aggressively and dragging the tire.  I had been trying to adjust, but it was time to pull out the manual because what I was doing wasn't working.  Fortunately I had brought my Weeroll folder with me.

For those of you reading this that don't have a trailer, I have a little box mounted in my van that wires up to the trailer when I am hooked up.  It operates the brakes on the trailer.  There are three controls on the box.  

I had kept trying to adjust with the sync buttons, which didn't help.  I carefully read the directions again and the adjustment was quick.  I have to be hooked up, I have to adjust the gain.  It was at 2.0.  I moved it down to 1.5 after I parked the trailer.  We will see if that helps once I get going again.

This trip I decided to pack my bike upside down.  I wanted to be able to keep the bike in the trailer if I am only staying at a place one or two nights.

Behind the bike is my folding sink with a towel over it, a tv tray, and a folding chair.  I have another folding table I moved to the car because I won't use that again until I get to Rhinelander where I will be staying for two-plus months.

I try to keep things from rubbing against the walls of the trailer because the paint comes off the aluminum pretty easy.  I already have some scuff marks.  Debra says to use pool noodles and bungee or plastic tie them on.

You might think I can just go in and sleep in my trailer stealth camp mode.  I supposed I could, except that everything gets moved to the floor in transit.  There isn't much room to stand.  But I suppose I could put enough items back up to have some floor space to manuevre.


Bill D. emailed me in response to my complaint about the humidity and clothes getting moldy before they dry.  He said to hang them in the car since the car gets hot in the sun.  He has done a lot of camping.

I had time before supper, so I washed my clothes in the sink.  They have a laundry room here, but with all the croud and no masks, I don't want to risk it and spread COVID on this trip.  Besides, playing in the water is a good thing to do on a 90 degree afternoon.

I have laundry soap with me, but I used shampoo to wash the clothes.  I learned this trick from Sylvia Halpern who travels very light.  The shampoo does the best job I have found in getting rid of the stink that clings to bicycle clothes.

As long as there was soapy water, the table needed washing.  As I began to wash, I stopped and took a picture so you could see how clean the former tenants left their site.

Dealing with Pooh

I have stopped using public restrooms if at all possible.  At first it was intimidating.  We all pooh, but then we flush and walla! Gone.  It took a few days to finally try the system I had set up.

The system is a five-gallon bucket and inside it is large Folgers plastic container with a lid.  The Folgers container is stuffed with plastic shopping bags.  On top of that I have a small bucket with a shopping bag lining it.  At the bottom of the bag is a peice of a disposable bed pad (left over from my days caring for George).

After I do my business I have TP, wet wipes, and paper towels that cover the mess and help absorb smell and moisture.  Done!   Charlotte uses special bags.  I hate buying plastic to create more plastic waste, so I am using used shopping bags, which can leak so I have to double layer them.

I try to remember to use my cloth bags when shopping, but I still have quite a stash of plastic bags.  And during the original lock-down grocery stores were not letting us use our own bags.  These are special times.

Dinner with Peggy and Denny

I arrived at the Busy Corner Restaurant early and the outside area was not occupied at all.  So I was able to select a table in the shade and a seat away from others.  It worked out wonderfully.  The staff wore masks.

It was great seeing Peggy and Denny again. Denny had biked 63 miles that day and was hungry.  Peggy began to plan our ride for tomorrow.  They both have medical appointments in the morning so we are meeting at 9:30 to ride.  I am so looking forward to riding!

They asked me to keep them posted on the return south plans.  They would love to meet up maybe in Minnesota or Iowa or here again and ride!  What fun!

Peggy complained that Denny (who read my books on his e-reader) wouldn't let Peggy use his e-reader.  But what she really meant is she doesn't like to read things on the computer.  I understand, neither do I.   I prefer holding the book, turning the paper pages. 

Peggy said she wanted to read my books but hadn't yet.  I told her I had brought some paperbacks with me and she seemed thrilled and asked me to bring them with me when we meet today.

Then they paid for my dinner!  Thank you!  Wow, that was unexpected!

I will gift her the first book, about our travels and rides at different places in 2016, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.   The second book, The Journey Continues, is about the rest of our journey with Alzheimer's disease and the wonderful support we received in Citrus County, Florida.

Back at camp, a good thing about the Timberline Campground.  It has good (though unsecured) internet!  This is a first on this trip.

The internet allowed me to check the COVID numbers in the evening and watch a youtube video.  The air conditioner running helped block out the noise of the racing dirt buggies/souped up golf carts.  But it didn't block the booms of the remaining fireworks.

I cut my hair a bit this morning and used my new mirror to put the tufts in the right places on my head.

Oh, and thanks again to Bill D.  The clothes were dry and smelling fine this morning!

 Thanks to those of you who have commented on these posts or sent me an email in response.  It is good to have you along with me on this trip.  Along with the memory of George, it keeps me company and makes it more fun.

And thanks to the internet at my site, I can write to you.  Now it is time to get ready to ride with Peggy and Denny.

Oh, and below is something that someone wrote on Facebook but I don't know who.  It has been copy and pasted and shared but the author is unknown.  Enjoy a romp through 2020 so far.

Not mine... but awesome!
Made me laugh...
Dear Diary 2020 Edition,
In January, Australia caught on fire. I don’t even know if that fire was put out, because we straight up almost went to war with Iran. We might actually still be almost at war with them. I don’t know, because Jen Aniston and Brad Pitt spoke to one another at an awards show and everyone flipped the f--- out, but then there was something happening in China, then Prince Harry and Megan peaced out of the Royal family, and there was the whole impeachment trial, and then corona virus showed up in the US “officially,” but then Kobe died and UK peaced out of the European Union.
In February, Iowa crapped itself with the caucus results and the President was acquitted and the Speaker of the House took ten years to rip up a speech, but then WHO decided to give this virus the name COVID-19, which confused some really important people in charge of, like, our lives, into thinking there were 18 other versions before it, but then Harvey Weinstein was found guilty, and Americans started asking if Corona beer was safe to drink, and everyone on Facebook became a doctor who just knew the flu killed way more people than COVID 1 through 18.
In March, shit hit the fan. Warren dropped out of the presidential race and Sanders was like Bernie or bust, but then Italy shut its whole ass down, and then COVID Not 1 through 18 officially become what everyone already realized...a pandemic and then a nationwide state of emergency was declared in the US, but it didn’t really change anything, so everyone was confused or thought it was still just a flu, but then COVID Not 1 through 18 was like "ya’ll not taking me seriously? I’m gonna infect the one celebrity everyone loves." and totally infected Tom Hanks, but then the DOW took a shit on itself, and most of us still don’t understand why the stock market is so important or even a thing (I still don’t), but then we were all introduced to Tiger King (Carol totally killed her husband) and Netflix was like, you’re welcome, and we all realized there was no way we were washing our hands enough in the first place because all of our hands are now dry and gross.
In April, Bernie finally busted himself out of the presidential race, but then NYC became the set of The Walking Dead and we learned that no one has face masks, ventilators, or toilet paper, or THE FREAKING SWIFFER WET JET LIQUID, but then Kim Jong-Un died, but then he came back to life… or did he? Who knows, because then the Pentagon released videos of UFOs and nobody cared, and we were like man, it’s only April….
In May, the biblical end of times kicked off historical locust swarms and then we learned of murder hornets and realized that 2020 was the start of the Hunger Games but people forgot to let us know, but then people legit protested lockdown measures with AR-15s, and then sports events were cancelled everywhere. But then people all over America finally reached a breaking point with race issues and violence. There were protests in every city, but then people forgot about the pandemic called COVID Not One Through 18. Media struggled with how to focus on two important things at once, but then people in general struggle to focus on more than one important thing, and a dead whale was found in the middle of the Amazon rain forest after monkeys stole COVID 1 Through 19 from a lab and ran off with them, and either in May or April (no one is keeping track of time now) that a giant asteroid narrowly missed Earth.
In June, science and common sense just got thrown straight out the window and somehow wearing masks became a political thing, but then a whole lot of people realized the South was actually the most unpatriotic thing ever and actually lost the Civil war, and there are a large amount of people who feel that statues they don’t even know the name of are needed for … history reasons..... but then everyone sort of remembered there was a pandemic, but then decided that not wearing a mask was somehow a God given right (still haven't found that part in the bible or even in the constitution), but then scientists announced they found a mysterious undiscovered mass at the center of the earth, and everyone was like DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH IT, but then everyone took a pause to realize that people actually believed Gone With The Wind was like non-fiction, but then it was also announced that there is a strange radio signal coming from somewhere in the universe that repeats itself every so many days, and everyone was like DON’T YOU DARE ATTEMPT TO COMMUNICATE WITH IT, but then America reopened from the shut down that actually wasn’t even a shut down, and so far, things have gone spectacularly not that great, but everyone is on Facebook arguing that masks kill because no one knows how breathing works, but then Florida was like hold my beer and let me show you how we’re number one in all things, including the new Not Corona Beer Corona Virus. Trump decides now is a good time to ask the Supreme Court to shut down Obama Care because what better time to do so than in the middle of a pandemic, but then we learned there was a massive dust cloud coming straight at us from the Sahara Desert, which is totally normal, but this is 2020, so the ghost mummy thing is most likely in that dust cloud, but then I learned of meth-gators, and I'm like that is so not on my f-ing 2020 Bingo card, but then we learned that the Congo's worse ever Ebola outbreak is over, and we were all like, there was an Ebola outbreak that was the worse ever?
In July…. Aliens? Zeus? Asteroids? Artificial Intelligence becomes self aware?
Author Unknown

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.

Going On 70 and Feeling 30

When I returned from the Everglades I parked my trailer at an angle so that the distance from the electric box to my trailer would be shorte...