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

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Weerolling My Life Away - Amid Chaos in the USA

6/4/2020

It is Thursday,  I only have a quick moment to write before I get ready to go to a birthday gathering.  I am excited to tell you all about my first trip in my Weeroll. 

But this afternoon a group of neighbors with whom I have been having COVID-Style happy hours is going to celebrate one of our member's birthday.  This time, however, the birthday gal wants to have our gathering inside her house, on her chairs, eating a shared cake.

Yes, keeping our distance inside.   I am not sure it is safe if one of us happens to be sick and doesn't know it. That is the big thing about this illness.  You can be sick and contagious and not have symptoms and spread it around to quite a few people, just by talking, sighing, laughing.

But, hey, enough is being said about the turmoil in the world without me reminding anyone.  Instead I will insert a link to a video of an interview of the Dali Lama on how he deals with fear and change.  You may find it a nice reminder to turn away and chill a while.

So back to our birthday gathering.... I will go, and stay a little while, and wear my mask so I don't infect anyone else.    How do you eat cake and wear a mask?  Maybe I will take my cake home...


Alzheimer's and Brain Health Awareness Month


In June, the Kindle/ebook version of both books are on sale.
ONLY $2.99

 

Weeroll Update


I just got home a few hours ago from my first excursion in the Weeroll.

I am really glad I did this shake-down cruise the way I did.  The first night I drove over to Debra's.  She was having me and friends Connie and Jerry over for dinner on her screen porch.

I had loaded up my Weeroll with everything but food and clothes earlier in the week.

I was proud that I was able to pull the Weeroll curbside on my dead-end street to do the final load.  My neighbor Jerry said that I could have plugged in the fridge and left it over night in the street in front of my house instead of testing it the first night in Debra's driveway.

Ok, now I know... but what is the fun in that?  I liked my plan better.

When I arrived at Debra's I again was proud of my backup job.



I was glad to do this test only three miles from home because it turned out the extension cords I packed were two-prong and I needed a three-prong plug.  I used one Debra had and then I decided to bike home in the morning and get my own three-prong extension cord.


At dinner, I sat my six-feet away and used a TV tray.   I had made salad, Connie had made upside-down cake, and Debra had made a pasta-veggie dish with Alfredo sauce.  It was all yummy and Connie and I kept saying, "It's sooo good!".

Debra said there was a rule for the dinner.  We can't talk about COVID, racial injustice, murders or politics.  We had a great time and a very refreshing break from all the changes and stresses.
 

**********
I just took a break from writing this to run to the Birthday gathering.  Only no one was there.  I then remembered getting a call from Angel telling me the time was later.   I don't remember what time she said.   Sigh... life at 66 in the midst of stress and changes.  I must write things down.

**********

Debra shared a pineapple hard seltzer with me.  Then I drank two glasses of wine with some of the seltzer.    Since I don't usually drink that much, it wiped me out.  When we closed up dinner at 7:30, it felt strange not to help Debra clean up, but we weren't entering her house yet due to COVID.

I left the party and climbed into my Weeroll and left both the back doors and the side door open.  The magnetic screen doors kept the bugs out. 

Yippee!  I could run the fan and the refrigerator at the same time!  I had been told I might have problems with 15 amps of service.  I used the 12 volt battery that my friends Bill and Christine had given me to charge my phone.  There is a little plug for the DC next to each electric outlet in the Weeroll.  In the dark, the cigaret-lighter style plug throws a lovely blue light up on the white wall.  It makes a nice nightlight.

With all the drinking, I didn't stay up much longer, and I didn't even change into my PJ's.  I lay down, thinking I would just rest awhile.  It was hot, but the fan and open doors really helped.

The drinking also added to my ability to fully test out my pee system.  It worked well.  I will take pictures and explain it in a future post.  My friend, Charlotte, used to spend a lot of time on a sailboat and in a tent and a camper.  She shared with me how she deals with pee when she is camping and I am copying her system for night-time wee-wee.

In the morning I made coffee!  I turned off the fridge, plugged in the pot, and when the pot was done, I unplugged the pot and turned the fridge back on.

My fridge is just a regular apartment fridge.  I put a bunch of containers with water and some ice packs in the freezer.  When I am driving, the fridge won't be working, but I will distribute the ice packs around the fridge to keep things cold.

The fridge sits on a cut-up old yoga mat so it doesn't move easily.  I then put some pool-noodles behind it when traveling to keep it from moving back and messing up the wall.  I have bungies and straps hooked to d-rings attached to the wall where there are structural bars for strength.  These keep the fridge door shut too.




There is an area next to the fridge that is a catch-all.  I have a box of little things I am not sure if I still need, and the coffee pot.  Hopefully I will figure out a better looking system by the time I leave at the end of June.

I pack my trike in the back of the van and my two-wheel bike in the Weeroll.



I texted Debra and asked if she wanted to ride before I took off on the rest of my test trip.  She said, "sure!". 

Cool.

We rode about 16 miles.  I stopped at home and got the right cord and some more ice packs for the trip.

I was to drive about an hour to Archer to meet up with Lois. 

When I got to Dunnellon at a busy intersection a woman pulled next to me in the right turn lane and gestured back at the trailer.   I looked in the side mirror and there was my side door on the Weeroll flopping open!  I was sure I had closed it good and locked it!

I pulled over as soon as I could at a gas station.  There are two locks on the door.  Kind of like a regular door.  A dead bolt and a latch lock.  I had locked the latch lock.  I pushed on the door and locked the bolt lock.

Just a few more miles down the road by Rainbow Springs State Park, I again saw the side door was flopping open.   I pulled over in the grass.  This time I opened the door and tested it while the door was open.  Both locks seemed to be working ok.  I then looked at the door and where they were supposed to go was all cut out, like there had been a problem before and they had cut material out to make it work.

I fiddled with it and eventually figured out that if I leaned hard on the door the bolt would fully engage.   I didn't have any swinging doors after that.  I had itchy feet though, I had met up with some fire ants in the grass at the side of the road.

I didn't set the GPS for Lois's address, I thought I had all the turns mapped out on a list of turns written on a tablet of paper.  But I missed the turn toward her home and ended up in Gainesville before I realized it.  I called her. 

"Don't drive back this way," she said.  We arranged to meet at a gas station in Gainesville.

Due to COVID we had no welcoming hug when she arrived.  We just had big smiles and she gave me a tuna sandwich to eat on the way,  Thank you, Lois!  She is always thinking of others.

We tried to avoid the freeways, but got onto a busy one in Jacksonville and I lost her.  Thank goodness for cell phones we found each other again.

Little Talbot Island State Park is NE of Jacksonville, FL.

**************
I went to the birthday party.  It was at 7:00 not 4:30!  I sat in the furthest chair well over six feet away from folks, which was the only chair that had such distance, so I was lucky.  I wore my mask and brought my cake home.  The mask made it hard for people to hear me.

Angel had this flower candle thing that she had bought on-line.  It opened up when she lit it, began to rotate around and play Happy Birthday.  So we didn't have to sing.  She used a candle snuffer to put all the flames out.  In the future we will look back and laugh that we used to blow our spit all over the cake while blowing out the candles.  We are living through all kinds of changes.

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

On the Little Talbot Island campground side of A1A highway is a tidal river basin, on the other side of the highway is a park and the Atlantic Ocean.


I really like the portable sink table I bought.  We had a hand-washing, dish washing, vegetable washing station.  I even used it for a sponge bath and to wash my hair during our stay.

What I realized is that I need to move it to the door side of the camper where the picnic table is.  It just makes sense instead of walking around the trailer all the time.

The red item in the picture above is an Igloo ice-maker.  I still have to decide if it is worth it to carry it.  It makes a handful of small ice cubes every nine minutes.  I only used it when we first arrived and then used the freezer in the fridge to make cubes.  I had bought it when I was camping in a tent.  I may still want it for making smoothies, since I won't be freezing much fruit if any.  

After we set up camp, we got our bikes and went exploring.  First stop was the river basin.  The tide was up.

There is a bike path on the other side of A1A.  We rode to the end and then back to the boardwalk to the Atlantic beach.

We spontaneously walked into the big waves of the Atlantic in our clothes.  We didn't swim long, but the dip rinsed off the sweat and made the rest of our evening cooler.




I stood under the clean-water shower on the board walk a long time to get my clothes and body rinsed off so I didn't need to go into a shower-room to wash up.


The second day we took a bike ride down A1A to Fort George.

It was closed due to COVID.   That was ok.  We had a lovely ride on the loop road leading to Ft. George.

When we got back from our ride, Lois rested, and I went down to the river bank.  It was low tide and there were three boys fishing with a net and poles.  I had fun watching them and the little crabs that would come out of their holes and wave their one big claw around either attracting a mate or scaring off the competition.  I think they are called Fiddler Crabs because it looks like they are playing a fiddle when they wave their one large claw.



There was a very muddy kayak on the shore.  I thought maybe the boys had drug it up, but while I was sitting there a man pulled up in his truck and and loaded it.

"Did you capsize?" I asked.
"I got stuck out in the mud and had to push it back.  It was awful," he said.
"Oh no, you forgot to check the time for low tide!"
"Yep," he said.

Yep, those of us that didn't grow up by the sea....
Live and learn. 




Our second full day, after a kayak ride ourselves, Lois drove me to Fernandina Beach for ice cream.  Oh my goodness was that good!

It has been a while since I shared a vehicle with anyone.  We wore our masks, and of course I got a tickle in my throat and wanted to cough the whole way.  It is the fear-of-coughing tickle. 

Back at camp we were sitting at the picnic table when I noticed something strange about the hub of the wheel on the curb-side of the Weeroll. It appeared the hub cap was missing.

I walked around to the other side to look at the other wheel to get a comparison.  It had a hubcap!



 
Oh, my, I had lost a hubcap already! 

Then I saw that something was flopping around inside.  Hmmmm, that doesn't seem right...  I sent pictures of it to a friend and then posted pictures on the Weeroller's Facebook page.   I asked if this was something I need to worry about or can I drive home with it?


 Tom, the manager/owner of Weeroll replied that all I have to do is remove the wheel and with a big hammer bang the grease cap back on.   Yikes, I wasn't ready to use a jack yet.  Lois suggested I call my road-side assistance insurance.

Instead I searched googlemaps and found a mobile rv repair place.  He came out in a couple hours.  New grease cap, added grease.  The wheel spins silently and well.  No damage to the bearings, I am relieved.  $300.  Tom at Weeroll said he would pay and to have the repair guy call him to get his charge card information. 


I don't know why I didn't do that.  A flaw in me, not to want to make people pay for stuff that happens. But hey, it is my first time out, it make sense that the manufacturer will pay for it.  I will send Tom the receipt and let him figure out how to reimburse me.


I think Tom was expecting $100.  Maybe Jax charged me too much for labor, but then, he had to drive according to google at least an hour just to get to the campground and back to his shop.  He warned me he charges $150 per hour when I called.  I didn't care, I just wanted it fixed!

Lois had checked the weather.  It was going to rain in the morning.  So we packed up as much as we could so we could leave first thing in the morning.  I even hooked up the trailer but left the lego-style leveling block under one wheel.  I have a handy level that measures levelness both front to back and side to side.  This was a pretty level site, I only needed one lift block.

I had not used the public showers yet.  I had used my outside sink to wash up a bit.  I walked down to the showers a couple times before I found it empty.   I did a quick shower.  I picked the handicap stall because it was bigger, leaving more distance between me and the next stall in case someone came in.

Sure enough, another person came in and chose the shower next to mine.  So much for social distancing in the shower!  The instructions on the walkway to the restrooms tell us to wait until the coast is clear. 


Continuing our efforts to concentrate on fun and relaxing things...

Naming the Weeroll

 Thank you to all of you who have suggested names for the Weeroll.

Here are some of my favorites:

Hamper (like Camper with an H, and Debra's granddaughter proposed that one. It's cute!)
Joy ("I packed Joy," "I entered Joy," "I took Joy with me."  Pretty cool, hey?  My lovely friend Margaret proposed that one along with Faith and Hope, which are also very upbeat and lovely.)
How WeeRoll which is the one I thought up but hasn't gotten great reviews.  I am not attached.
Silver Palace  came from a Facebook friend.  It is appropriate, especially if I leave it plain on the outside, plain and silver.
Cramalot makes me smile.  It is appropriate for sure!  Especially when I start packing for a three-month journey.  It came from my long-time friend, Bev.  I like it!
Lilac Debra's daughter, Lori, is visiting and she proposed LILA which is an acronym she said for "Life Is Living Adventurously".  We were chatting over at a happy hour and we all liked it especially when someone added a C for camper and made it Lilac.  "Decorate it with purple and flowers and it would be so you," Debra said.  I had been envisioning some decals of flowers and an orange butterfly (to represent my  George).

You know me and decisions.   I haven't settled yet.  What do  you vote for?

Downsizing

 When I got home after listening to the radio for a few hours I was ready to run away.  When times get tough, people like me get the heck out of the way.

I was ready to sell my house and store the little stuff and sell the big stuff and just go go go.  I started thinking when I die I don't want to leave a mess for my family to sort through.  Just lighten my load now.  

I was also going to give up Facebook.  Social media is so full of miss-information.  We all have made the mistake of helping to disseminate bad information.   There was a program on NPR about the bad actors that know algorithms and are pushing our buttons, fanning flames, and hurting our country and communities.  ARG!  I wasn't going to talk about this stuff!  

Anyway, as far as Facebook goes, I am still there.  Trying to learn how to navigate... yes, I am addicted to the easy access to friends and groups.

And regarding the downsizing... I am only 66, but things happen all the time.  Anyday my end could happen and I would be leaving a mess for others to clean up. 

Why do I have so much?  I gathered stuff when I was hosting parties (dishes and tables) and having guests (beds, dressers, bedding) and renting out rooms.  Then George and I camped in tent-cots and big tents and small tents.  I have stuff!

I announced at Happy Hour with my friends I was going to clean out and sell my house.  

"Where are you going to live?" Cindy asked.   She pointed out that even in my Weeroll I need a place to park it.  And with COVID cases still on the rise there may be a time they close the campgrounds again.  She knows several full-time RVers.  They have had to park in the driveways of friends and families.  Without a bathroom in my Weeroll, that might get old fast.

Sigh.

Ok, so I can still clean house and get rid of stuff.  I am starting to post things on Facebook market place.  And it is scary.  I am not a hoarder, but I get it.  It is scary to give up stuff because sometimes, after you give it up, you need it again.  You sell it for $5 and have to buy it again for $90. 

And while I am getting rid of stuff... I am shopping for more stuff... for the Weeroll.  I want:

  • Rugs to wipe my feet before I enter and after I enter;
  • Step (it's a doozy stepping down from the side door);
  • D-rings and bungies (more tide downs);
  • Straps to easily mount my patio umbrella over the side door for when it rains.
 
I will let you know how this downsizing is going, and prepping for my longer trip, which starts on June 25th.  In the meantime, stay safe, work for peace both world-wide, in your country, in your town, in your home, in yourself. 

And here is a dance video to give you a break right now.  It's long, I didn't watch the whole thing, but is pretty cool.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

How Wee Roll During COVID and Beyond?

Friday 5/22/2020

I am sitting in the quiet at the dinning room table.  I am bent over a large plate of salad with a big glob of re-fried beans and a couple handfuls of Fritos.

My cell phone rings. The display tells me the call is from Rhinelander, WI, but it doesn't identify the caller.  I decide to pick it up because my sister lives in Rhinelander.

Do you hear what I hear???  Available Now!

It is Karen from Housekeeping at Holiday Acres.  This is the resort where I had applied to be a "Towel Girl".  Guests of the resort would bring their dirty towels to the Towel Girl (me) and I would give them fresh towels.   A job as Towel Girl was supposed to be my part-time job this summer.  A time filler, a way to meet folks, a couple bucks in my pocket, I was looking forward to it.

But then the pandemic happened and everything is up in the air.

Karen said she just met with the managers of the resort.  They decided that they are not doing Towel Service due to COVID protocols.  She told me that Saturdays and Sundays they need staff for cleaning the cabins.  Would I be interested in that?

Yes, I would do that.  When does she need me?

She said when I get there to just come look her up and fill out an application.  Even if I arrive mid-July.

Cool, some motivation to get my Weeroll rolling!

Actually I already have a date set for trying out the Weeroll.









I had contacted Lois who had shared a room with me on a boat in the Netherlands a year ago.  We got along well and have since met up a few times.  I asked her if she would like to go camping with me.


She said, "Yes!"

She has a tent.  She named several campgrounds.  I guess I got lucky because the first place I looked up was Little Talbot Island State Park (which is by Jacksonville and quite popular) had three spots and I booked one for June 1st.

Immediately I let Debra know in case she would be ready to test out her new Weeroll too.  She tried to book a spot and all the spots were taken.  She won't be able to join me!  I hope we get another opportunity to try out our trailers together.

So I have a camping date for June 1st.  Cool.  Now I have a deadline for getting my Weeroll ready to go.

The curtains are done thanks to my friend, Cindy.  She made them out of old sheets and they turned out great!  I am very pleased.  Light and airy, and a hint of grandma...

Today I added some items and figured out some more ways to keep stuff from jumping around.








I installed a screen across the back door so I can get a nice cross breeze and look out at the stars from my bed if I feel safe leaving the doors open.

I have to tweek it because the bottom of the screen blows out when I close the shower curtain I hung in case I need some privacy.  I either need weights or I need to mount a steel bar to the threshold and then insert more magnets in the bottom hem of the screen.


Naming the Camper


What should I name it??  The gals in Sisters on the Fly name their trailers.  Debra called her first trailer Gator.  I think she is calling her Weeroll Itsy... or is it Bitsy?  Another Sister called her yellow and white trailer, Banana Split.

I was thinking Howwee Roll.  Howie is a male name, but it is better than some of the other stupid names that have come to me.

WOW Weeroll
Waywee Roll
Eye Roll
Trippin' House
Rollin' Home

The thing is, "WEEROLL" is in big block letters on the front of the trailer.

So why not just call it WeerollMy Weeroll?  I don't know, this decorating and naming stuff isn't where my talents lay ...

Yearning

I wonder if this symptom of wanting something, missing something, yearning for something is a symptom of social distancing?

I didn't put a name to the feeling, but then my sister mentioned she had some social time and some nature time and she still felt a yearning.  For what?

Sometimes I fill the yearning with food... and more food.

I reach out a bit to others, but not enough.

When George passed two years ago I told myself to reach out and hug someone every day.  I was doing pretty well with that until this pandemic.  No hugs... since mid March.  Wa wa wa... what a baby I am!

5/27/2020 Wednesday


Well I sat down and started making reservations for my trip to Wisconsin.  Yep, I am going.

Ok, I was the first to wonder why the snowbirds were returning home, they should just stay put!  But that was back when staying put was going on for only two weeks or a month.  Now it is time to figure out how to live and survive without spreading the disease.

If I have my house with me, what will be different?

I will be getting gas more.
I will probably be shopping for groceries more often (storage is smaller).
I will be sometimes using public restrooms more often.
And some campgrounds will not have no-touch check-in, so I will have to interact with them.
And then, there is always the risk, when anyone leaves their home, especially in a car, that there might be an accident or incident.

So, ya, it seems riskier to travel.  I will need to be extra careful disinfecting my hands and wearing a face mask.  And even so...

On the other-hand, I am 66 and not getting any younger.   My sister is about my age too.  We are  both in good shape, but that could change.

Though my back and hip problem that haunted me last year have really eased because of exercises and stretches I have been doing, I know that some day that pain or another pain will come.  I will someday be less able to hike and bike and drive and camp.

At first I just started to map my journey and find a campground every 300 - 600 miles.  That filled me with fear and dread.  I didn't want to get caught somewhere I didn't feel safe or worse, I felt super lonely and alone.

Then I remembered a few people I have biked with that invited me to contact them if ever I was traveling their way.  So then I started mapping my trip from friend to friend, trail to trail.  And guess what!  I will be meeting up with someone every place I stop to stay!

First I am doing a Sisters on the Fly event near Cheifland, FL along the Suwanee River.  Then from there I launch over to ride with a friend by Milford, Florida.  Then onto trike with Jean in Mississippi.

In Southern Illinios I will be riding the Tunnel Hill Trail with folks I found through a recumbent Trikes group on Facebook.  I will be there over the 4th of July.  No toilet facilities open, I will use a bucket and sponge bathe.

Near East Peoria, Illinois I ride with Peggy, whom I re-connected with at the trike rally early this year.

On to Madison, Wisconsin stay for several days and meet up with my friend Kathi, my son and his wife, and other friends.

Finally by mid July I will arrive in Rhinelander where the campground that I have a seasonal site at will not have open showers or bathrooms.  We will figure it out.  Anytime Fitness Gyms are opening, so maybe I will be able to use their showers...  Or not.  It's ok.

When I was a kid we visited my grandmother's farm.  We hauled water in buckets and heated some water on the stove.  Then we would bathe in a washtub.  I am experienced and blessed with clean water.

Great audio narration by Voice Actor Robin Seigerman


Other Happenings

Thanks to Jeremy and Mel that sent me this cute blouse for Mother's Day.  It is purple and matches my glasses and my new style.  Love it!

 One afternoon some birds came banging on my door.  I would shoo them away and then they would bang it again.  One time a little bird knocked himself out.  I watched while his eyes slowly became more alert.  I got tired of watching him and went inside.  Later he was gone.


COVID Continues to Infect


I am venturing out a bit more.  The Florida Governor and our county board is urging businesses to re-open if they can after being shut down for two months.  Some small businesses just aren't going to be able to make it.

Some restaurants seem to be packed (which isn't good if any of the staff or guests are infected and they don't know it).  But some restaurants are struggling with less customers than before.

I have not sat down in a restaurant yet.  There is a case where on restaurant customer was infected with COVID-19.  And that one customer managed to infect almost everyone at their table of 7 or so and half the people at the next table.   They even infected one person that was up-wind from them.  The conclusion is that poorly ventilated small spaces with prolonged exposure (1-2 hours in a restaurant) is where infections are transmitted.  Of course it is prisons, care homes, public transportation and hospitals that are also places where transmission is likely.  Hopefully most of us can stay out of those places.

Distance
Outdoors

That is how I try to do my visiting.

I went to Donna's again for a happy hour.  She was the one that told me if you can't hug a friend, hug a tree.  So when I left her screen porch, I made a point to hug her tree.  She took my picture and I look pretty happy hugging a tree.  I need to do that more often!

My granddaughter graduated from High School.  Due to COVID they didn't have an in-person ceremony.  Instead they had a video of the ceremony and the valedictorian and other speakers.  I got to thinking that I hope this is a tradition that they keep even if they have an in-person graduation ceremony in the future.  It was nice being able to attend while drinking coffee.  To cheer when my granddaughter's name was called.

When my son graduated he was only allowed to invite a few people to the ceremony.  With the video there is no limit on the size of the audience.  You can invite family and neighbors and extended family.  I like that.

I also like that after my granddaughter's name was called, I didn't have to sit through the endless list of names following hers.

Congratulations to graduates of 2020.  Abby I am proud of you!

Go Trippin' and Trikin' with us - Available Now.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Natural Joy

Hello,

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.

Sigh.

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.

Yes.

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.

Writing?


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.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Refilling the Cup during COVID19

April 15, 2020

This is normally Tax Day.  But the government has pushed off Tax Day to July 15th.   What are you doing to celebrate not having to pay your taxes for a few more months?  Confetti Party?

Encouragement for Caregivers


AlzAuthors is an organization that provides networking and cross-promotion for authors who have written about dementia.  Many of the authors, like me, have written about their experience as a family caregiver.  Some are experts in the field and some have written books for children.  There is a wide variety of books.

This week I was invited to create a short video of encouragement and solidarity for caregivers dealing with even more stress during the COVID-19 stresses.

Here is what I sent them.






One day I was feeling teary... it is only natural with all the changes and worries we are facing.  I am sure most of us have our moments if not days.

I went to bed sad but told myself that it was ok to be sad but that the next morning I would do some things to refill my cup.  I had no idea what that was, but I have a few tricks that have worked for me in the past.

I woke up still sad.

That's ok, I told myself.  I massaged my cheeks upward to force my face into a smile.  Then I started thinking about who I can reach out to.  Who is having a rough time too and might appreciate a virtual or six-foot greeting.

Before the day was out I had set up four COVID-style happy hours.  Because we are in Florida we can gather in small groups at a distance outside.  So these happy hours are on people's driveways or on a shady patio.

COVID-Style means: 6 feet apart; chairs are cleaned or bring your own chair; fewer than 8 people; no snacks or drinks shared; no passing of dishes, phones or stuff;  no entering or passing through hosts home; bring your own beverage.

The gatherings usually last only two hours or less.  Time to connect and then our bladders or our hunger send us home.  

Blueberry Pickin' - COVID safe

My house-mate Carolyn and I rode our trikes yesterday down Hwy 44 to Floridas Best Blueberry Farm.  It was a blast.  There was a slight cloud cover protecting us from the full heat of the sun, the traffic was light, and the activity was wonderfully clean with wide spaces between people.

 Highway 44 has a sidewalk for about the first three miles heading east of Inverness.

 It was nice to see things up close, places I normally see while speeding by in a car at 55 miles per hour.


 I had read in the Citrus Chronicle about the coming of an RV park along Hwy 44 near Inverness.  Now there are signs up.

 The shoulder was roomy enough for three wheels and the traffic was lighter than normal.

 About the last quarter mile of the road into the farm was loose sand.

Even the grassy areas the sand was loose and we could hardly get traction.  So we locked our trikes and walked the rest of the way into the farm.


 When we arrived at the gate there was a sign with instructions on COVID safety.  There were hand washing stations, then the clean buckets and bags.  When we were done  there was a big vat of disinfectant water where we were to place the bucket.  Any cash payment we were to place in bucket with disinfectant also.

There were many many rows of berry bushes.  Lots of room for us pickers to spread out.


 I picked two buckets full.


While I was picking I heard familiar voices.  I looked up and there was my former neighbor Sara (on the right in pink).  With Sara was Wilma and Wilma's niece.   They are a little closer than social distancing rules allow for the picture.  Wilma's husband of 70 years passed away recently so closer proximity is needed right now.  Wilma and Hesh were our adoptive second parents when we lived in their neighborhood.  We spent many hours playing cards and chatting with them.

I wanted to step in and hug too, but real hugs will have to wait.


Book III

I have started... just started to gather information for a book about the time just before George's diagnosis.  A time when we rode our trikes from Northern Illinois to Florida.  It will be a while...



Weeroll Update


Whoo hoo!  A neighbor, Dave, is "stay-at-home" bored.  His wife is keeping him pretty busy with a to-do list.  But still he offered to help me with anything I needed on the Weeroll.  Isn't that fantastic???

Today we met and I showed him the trailer.  I had written out everything I wanted done.  He was good with it and offered to make me a table that will fold down out of the way as well as the counter in the front nose of the trailer.

I am excited to see what he does.  I am trying to keep it simple.  The less I have the less to maintain and the less weight to tow.

Another thing I want to do is remove far back seat of the van so I can lighten up and use the stow-n-go cubby hole for storage too.  But I have to think it through.  When I remove the seat, the floor of the van over the cubby hole disappears too.  I have to design an easy to lift and hold up lid for the cubby hole.

Well, I have time to think on it and plan.

Next time I post I may have pictures of the progress.  Until then, stay well and keep refilling your cup.



Topping It Off In Wisconsin

 Hello, A special shout out to the three guys that advised me through the purchase of my Ford Truck in May, Jim, Bill and Regis. On July 26t...