Showing posts with label Covid19. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Covid19. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Free Virtual Dementia Caregivers' Conference

 Hello!

 I have not written to you in a while.  Sorry, procrastination happens. 

 Maybe it wasn't procrastination as much as the anxiety or weirdness of the political unrest. (For you reading this in the future, on January 6th, 2021 there was an attack on our US Capital with the crowd chanting to hang the vice president who was about to certify the election results from the 50 states.) 

The events on top of a year of the rise in cases of COVID19 has many of us anxious and I didn't want to write anything about it and add to our anxiety.  But how could I write and not mention it?  Families and friends are torn apart by not just differing opinions, but deep beliefs in what is the truth.

How do you prove what is real when someone insists that every source you site they don't trust.  Every fact you site they believe is false. That is some of our experiences during these times.

Anyway, that isn't what I am writing about.  

What I wanted to let you know about is a free virtual conference for caregivers happening in February.  No matter where you are, you can attend as much or as little of it as you want.


 Here is the link to register.  https://conference.coping.today/

 I am thrilled to be invited to be part of an Author's Panel discussing the power and benefits of keeping a journal. 


If the dates and times don't work for you, no worries, the whole conference (except Teepa Snow's presentation) will be recorded and available to view after the conference.   Pretty cool!

Thanks to Coping with Dementia for putting on this conference.

What else is happening?

Carolyn has returned!  She rented a room from me last year and it worked out very well.  She is quiet, nice, clean and she rides a trike.  What's not to like!

This year she has a puppy with her, Nine-month-old Josie is cute and well-behaved and likes to play fetch with me.  

Debra and Glen's dog died.  So they were anxious to come over and meet Josie.  They have a fensed in yard so one day I took Josie over to play and they were thrilled to sit in the yard with me and play with her.   Their new dog arrives in early March.

 I am excited!  I bought an inflatable paddle board and it arrived yesterday.  I thought it would be something I could take with me traveling and do some early morning floats while the water is like glass.

I am hoping to test it out this week before it gets cold again.  We have had three wonderful days of warm weather this week so far.

Today our bike group biked the Van Fleet Trail.  It was a great turn out with over 20 people riding!   It was wonderful to hear the chatter as we glided down the trail and pointed out the gator at the bridges.

 

When I got home from the ride there were men up on the roof of my building.  All four households have agreed to get a new ridge vent put on our building.  My tile roof has leaked four times in the four years I have lived here.  I hope this puts an end to it.  It's a relief to see something getting done.  They said they found quite a few rotten boards they had to replace today.

****

COVID

Covid cases continue to grow, along with hospital stays and deaths.  Our place in history.

The health department has started giving the Covid vaccines to those 65 and older in Florida.  The vaccine is given in two does 28 days apart.  Debra and Glen got theirs already.  I have yet to get an appointment.  The grocery store pharmacy is giving them, but it is only able to provide so many before they run out of appointments or supply.  I go online and try to get an appointment, but they sell out quickly, so I have not yet succeeded. 

President Biden signed an executive order giving war-time effort to the elimination of the virus.  This will increase the supplies needed to test, treat, and distribute the vaccines.

****

Writing

I finally started the long journey to book three.  My sister has a friend that does a blog called If it Brings You Joy.  

One of her posts was setting your intention.  Write it down as an intention, "I intend ..."  So I wrote down that I intend to have drive and joy carry me through writing and publishing book three.

Each time I would try to start writing I would get stuck on something and end up not moving forward.  So I gave myself permission to just let the drive and joy happen when they happen.  

The other day I did yoga and took a walk, I weeded and watered the garden, I started a jig saw puzzle, and I played with Josie and still managed to look at and edit some of my old journals for the period of my life I want to write about next.  What I realized is that I can still make progress.  Maybe it is the pushing, the I must, that is keeping me from moving forward.  And since I am one that values my freedom, allowing myself the freedom to do it in my own time, might be just the ticket to get the creative juices flowing again.

We will see.

Coming up

In February I go on a couple camping trips in my Weeroll. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Locked Out or Unhinged?

 Sunday, December 20, 2020

 

I did it again.  Some days my mind is just not in the moment and somehow I lose track of important stuff.

I was looking forward to this trip.  I was traveling just two or three hours to the coast east of Orlando, FL.  I was excited because I would be spending my holiday with some up-beat and active friends.  We were to be camping in an area where there is water for kayaking, lots of nature for birding, and a trail for biking.

 But this morning as I was packing I was in a foul mood.  My neighbor, Mari, commented, "Sue, you are frowning!  You should be smiling, aren't you excited?"  

I hadn't even been aware I was in a foul mood, but then I realized that the thrill of going just wasn't in me.  I felt frayed... is that a feeling?  I felt like my brain was a bit scattered.  It wasn't working as sharp as normal and I was having to work extra hard to concentrate and make sure I didn't forget anything.  Mari reminded me I had a packing list for trips.  But I had not used it.

Instead I had spent some of my morning signing up for another camping trip.  This one is in January with the Sisters on the Fly Sister Corp.  The trip will be a working trip, helping someone on the coast of Louisiana rebuild or clean up after the area was hit by two hurricanes this summer and fall.  

And as I ran upstairs to turn the thermostat down to save on energy while I am gone, I remembered that in a week or two Carolyn will be arriving to rent a room from me and share my home with me.  Wow!  Time is moving so fast.

Maybe I was scattered because I was watching the neighbors' Labrador.  I walked it before I started packing up.  


 I finished packing and I hooked the trailer up to the van.  I did my walk around to check that everything was ok.

Now that I had the trailer packed gave Ellie the dog one last walk around the block.  It started to rain.  

In the van I began the drive east in the rain.  After a picnic stop, the rain stopped and the temperature rose to the high 70's.  

It was 2:30 when I checked into Manatee Hammock campground and backed into my site.  It is a roomy site with trees, I can walk to the inter-coastal, it's all good.

I go to unhitch and I reach in my pocket for the trailer keys.  

No keys.  I pat myself down, no keys.  I search all the jackets, the back pack, the purse, the console, under the seats, the floor, between the seats.  

I paused and tried to calm myself and think.  

Can I do this week of camping without my trailer keys?

1) I can't unhitch the trailer because the hitch is locked.

2) I can't plug in my fridge/trailer because I don't have access to my cord which is in the toolbox that is locked.  My water hose is there too.

3) I can't get in the trailer because the trailer door is locked. 

I walk back to the campground office to see if I dropped the keys there.  Nope.  

I told the campground host I would have to drive all the way back home to get the other set of keys.  He said call "Pop-a-lock".

I walked back to my car and trailer and I called my insurance because I have road-side assistance.  But I couldn't get through.  They were busy, the recording said, and short-staffed due to COVID-19.

Then I called Pop-a-lock nearby.  The woman that answered said the locksmith was working on a job right now and would call me after he was done.  "It will be about an hour," she said.

I waited two hours.

As I was waiting I remembered that the back of the trailer has a padlock on the door.  I could enter in the back!   I started working to get the trailer set up to use

My friends came over and visited a while.  They said they heard the no-see-ums are bad here.  They helped me set up my CLAM screen tent.


 

They left and I called my sister to chat.  While I was on the phone, my friend Regis returned with his keys to see if any of them would work on my hitch or tool box.  None did.

I then told him if I couldn't get into my tool box I would need to hitch a ride from him to a store to get an extension cord and a hose.  That is the stuff I need from my tool box.

Regis left and returned again with an extension cord and a hose!



 

Yay!   

I called Pop-a-lock after waiting two hours.  This time the person that answered the phone said the locksmith in my area doesn't work on Sunday's and he will call me the next day.  Sigh.

Cindy has plans to ride the trail tomorrow and maybe visit the nature preserve to look for birds.  I would love to join them but that means I would have to haul my trailer.

Traveling with the trailer means I would have to strap stuff down again and move everything back to the floor so it won't fall and cause damage.   Another adventure, another lesson.

Regis gave me these words of wisdom: "Keep a spare set of keys hidden somewhere." 

That means not at home (which is where my spare set of keys is sitting).

It is raining again.  It is dark.  I have shelter, I have light, I have my computer, I have my bed, my fridge is plugged in and I can make coffee in the morning.  I am having a mini celebration.

We will see what tomorrow brings.

Books

I am listening to Untamed.  My sister had mentioned she was reading the book and was really pulled into it.  I love it.  It is real, it is poetry, it is inspiration and motivation.  

It makes my own simple writing style look... simple.  I shouldn't compare myself, but you know how we humans can be.

She said today as I was listening on the drive here that grieving is a kind of metamorphosis.  You snuggle down, feel the pain, get through it, and on the other side you are transformed.  Your old life doesn't fit anymore because you have changed.

I thought, oh!  I am searching for what fits now.  I am no longer George and Sue, I am just... Sue... and seeking a life that fits the new me, the changed me.  

I want a life with lots of moments when I know that I am where I am supposed to be and doing what I am supposed to be doing.  Those are moments of content.  The pants fit.

One thing I know that fits is this writing I do.  Because I just can't stop.  I think about just giving up and going a different direction, and I just don't want to do that.

The good news is that I am selling more audio books!  A friend let me know they were listening to both books just this week.  I told him others had told me the books made them laugh.

When he finished listening to them he contacted me again and said he didn't laugh so much as cringe.  Ha ha.  Yes, there was some of that too, mostly in The Journey Continues, the second book with the tandem trike on the cover.

 Speaking of The George tandem trikes.  They are sold and shipped to a man in Huntsville, Texas who is caring for his wife who has...  drum roll please... Alzheimer's Disease.

May you both get miles and miles of smiles from the rides on The George tandem.


Christmas 2020

Many families are still getting together for this holiday.  The numbers of Covid cases continue to rise and hospitals in California are running out of ICU beds.   The first vaccines have been given.  It is expected that it will take a year or longer to reach all those who will take it.  Can we then gather again in groups, put our heads together as we whisper, shout at each other over the loud music in a bar?

What do you miss most?  

Hope your holidays are enjoyable even with the safety precautions for COVID.    May your 2021 be full of peace and hugs.




 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Alignment

 For those of you who have hooked up trailers to pull, you know that there are two satisfying sounds.  

The first is when the cup receiver on the trailer slides down onto the ball of the hitch on your towing vehicle.  At first it was a scary sound for me, but after a few times the sound was cause for a mini-celebration, a pat on the back.  

The second sound is when one pushes the latch into place.  There is a latch that slides under the ball to prevent the trailer cup from bouncing off the ball.  Sometimes I have gotten the first sound (the receiver engaged with the ball) but I couldn't get the latch to move into place.

That has required me to wind the trailer back up off the ball in order to free the latch and try again.

I am telling you all this technical stuff because this morning I thought I heard both good sounds.  I thought I saw that the ball and receiver were engaged.  I guess I was relying a bit more on the sounds because it was still dark out at 6:30 this morning when I was hitching up Lilac to my van.

I woke up at 2:30 and couldn't get back to sleep.  I was excited to be going on a trip again.  This time I was planning on meeting up with some fellow trike riders to ride Sanibel Island in Southern Florida and then the Everglades for a moonlight ride on Halloween.

I think I was also a bit nervous.  Because folks have been asking me how my summer went in the Weeroll and I had nothing bad to say.  It  was a wonderful time, I did over 6,000 miles and didn't have any problems.  I keep telling them how wonderful it was and then I say, "knock on wood."  Not that I am superstitious...

I know that no problems isn't how things will continue.  Life usually has a few lessons and bumps along the way.  

After trying to fall back to sleep, I gave up at 4:00, made coffee and started packing up the trailer.

It was still dark out when I pulled away from home and headed out of town.  I was at the last light in town, waiting for the green and thinking about something.  When the arrow light had the cars next to me moving out so I moved out, only to realize the light was red.  I stepped on the brake and "BAM"!

I thought maybe someone ran into the trailer, but there was no one close enough.  Then I thought that maybe the electronic brakes needed adjusting.

For those of you who don't haul a trailer, there is a set of  brakes on the trailer that are wired to the brake in my van.  When I step on the brakes both the car brake and the van brake engage.  I have some controls inside the van so I can adjust how vigorous the trailer brakes are.

When the light turned green I went on, listening.  The next time I had to stop at a light, again the BAM!

I made it all the way to Townsen Park, which is about 16 miles by bike.  I had stopped at Townsen because  I planned to get rid of my kitchen scraps by feeding them to the goats near there and get a little walk in before I spent hours in the van. 

When I pulled into Townsen the trailer made the noise again. 

 

I have a nice little dent in my bumper now.  

It took me a moment to figure out how to fix this.  Then I wound down the post to lift the trailer receiver off the van.  I could inch forward the van to get the ball back under the receiver.   I wound down and lowered the receiver onto the ball.

Then the lever (latch) wouldn't latch!   The cure for this I had already discovered.  I wound the pole back down to lift the receiver off the ball and release the lever which was stuck up on top of the ball.  The next time when I lowered the receiver it fell into place and latched like it should. 

Which reminds me, I told Debra the pole is getting rusty.  She said it is aluminum, it shouldn't rust!  I don't know, but mine is rusting.  She said to make a list for the Weeroll factory and take the trailer back to the factory to get stuff fixed before the one-year warranty expires.

As I started walking toward the goats I could feel the crack in the sole of my sandals.  It is almost all the way across the ball of one foot and almost through all the layers.  I had ordered a new pair.  I got the new pair, but for some reason I didn't pack the new pair.  Sometimes my thinking is off...

I hope my sandals make it through the week until I return home!



The goats were glad to have treats.

Speaking of "what was I thinking?" moments.

While packing my trailer with stuff from my fridge I was shocked.  I found a piece of pizza I had put in the fridge and forgotten about.  I NEVER forget about pizza!  That is a sure sign I am either under stress or I am losing brain.

For those in the future, 2020 is a bit if a stressful year for us all.  Why?  Well, because of ... well let's see:

COVID and its social and economic impacts;

A country that seems divided.  

We have numerous countries and hackers and spammers interfering in our elections by spreading false news, luring people onto false voter registration sites, and messing with our electronic voting systems.

The unprecedented things that our current President says and does makes many of us nervous. (Like he tweets a several hundred times a day, runs up a seven trillion dollar deficit, threatens to not leave the Whitehouse if he loses the election, and he seems to not condemn the actions of some folks that tried to kidnap the Governor of Michigan).  Everyday he tries to shock us some more.  He is a showman and a salesman and he is quite successful at that.

The Senate just confirmed Amy Barrett to the Supreme Court while over 60 million people have cast early ballots and the election is less than nine days away.  Folks are predicting the Supreme court will vote away our health insurance shortly after the election.  

California, Oregon, and Washington and now Colorado are still burning with lots of fires.

Louisiana is about to get hit with a hurricane for the third time this season.

What am I leaving out?


Signs of Dementia

But it could be my brain is fading, it could be.

Which reminds me a friend asked me what are the early signs of dementia.  WOW, there are so many signs but someone could have one and not others.

You might notice a personality change.  This could be that the person loses interest in something they used to have a great interest in, or it could be a nice person turs mean or a trusting person becomes suspicious. 

Becoming quieter or talking a lot more.  George started to stutter as his brain tried different neural pathways to find the rest of the word, (the old pathway had died/disappeared). 

George started to sway on his feet, he began to stumble.

Of course memory loss, usually short-term.  Sometimes people develop false memories.

Here is a list of 10 signs the Alzheimer's Association has listed. 


Good News

The good news is I fixed my hitch and didn't have any more problems on my trip to Perriwinkle Campground on Sanibel Island near Fort Myers, FL.

I got a text today from Jeanne Clayton who I met via Facebook and biked with her in Southern Illinois on the Tunnel Hill Trail.  I had presented her with The Journey Continues: Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.   

Here is what she said:

"Just wanted to let you know that I fisnished [The Journey Continues] Alzheimer's Trippin' with George this morning.  I started it yesterday morning.  I laughed and cried throughout.  What an awesome book..."


 
The campground is pretty cool.  Just behind my site there is a pond with a wide variety of ducks.  There are cages with many kinds of birds and a cage of Lemur monkeys and Squirrel monkeys.


It is less than a mile to a big long beach for walking, wading, swimming, and just experiencing.

 



Shortly after I arrived a couple pulled up to ask about the Weeroll.  It turned out they are from Wisconsin and are full-time RV'rs.  They own a peice of land in an RV park in Florida and then travel in the summer.  They don't even own a storage area.

They bike, and said they might come to the Everglades and join us for our full-moon ride on the Shark Valley trail on Halloween.

I am still wondering if that full-time is for me.  I certainly love my house but feel so much more like my life "fits" me in my little Weeroll.  

I looked on line at stories of tiny-houses.  What I have heard is that they are not allowed (nor is a parked RV) on land in Citrus County, FL.   Where are they allowed?  Do I want to move away from the Withlacoochee and my Withlacoochee family?  I don't think so, but this COVID has changed things so much!  There is more research and thinking to be done.  No hurry... except I am not getting younger.

The trikers I met up with are old like me.  So it isn't late nights of partying.  At least not this crowd.  We will be up early tomorrow though.  Will from Polk City is leading a few trikers on a tour of Sanibel starting at 8:30. 



Saturday, September 5, 2020

Boo-hoo and Yippee and Wahoo!

 Hello hello, I am still in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

 I can't believe it!  September already and my departure day is fast approaching.  I have had such a great time, I don't want to leave here.  

For those of you just checking in, I have been staying at a campground in Rhinelander, WI about six miles from my sister's home.  I am camping my first season in a little Weeroll camper.  

It has been great to spend time with Mary and her husband Dave.  

It has been great to be in one place to work out the kinks of staying in a small space.

It has been great to escape the heat of the Florida summer, to meet new people, to be outside and enjoying life even during a pandemic.

The beauty of the north woods is sometimes like stepping into a fairy tale.  There was a moment when my sister and I were on a walk in Holmboe Preserve.  We were on a rise looking down at the dirt path in front of us onto a board walk over a brilliant green mossy area mostly in shade but dappled in sunlight.  It just felt like we were stepping into a Geographic Magazine picture or ????  It felt unreal.


That happens a lot here.  I wish I was a good photographer because maybe I could capture it and share the feeling and energy with you.

Yesterday, Mary and I had so much fun.  But I will get to that later.  I want to fill you in on a couple of things and exciting news first.

Biking

I joined a group called Northern Paddle and Trail.  They have a Yahoo group email.  So I have been posting when I am going for a ride and inviting others along.  I quickly learned that most of the riders are used to riding five to ten miles. 

This week I biked from just South of Boulder Junction to Manitowish on a paved trail that is an extension of the Boulder Junction Trail.  I wanted a longer ride, so I arranged for two meeting places along the route.  One where they could ride about 22 miles and one where they could ride about 10.

One person joined me at the 22 mile place.  We had a super duper ride!  When we would stop, other bikers often stopped to chat.  I think they were all working from home or on a break from work and anxious to chat with folks at a safe distance.  People were so friendly, just like on the Withlacoochee Trail at home.  

In Manitowish we stopped at Dixie's Coffee Shop that had plenty of outdoor seating.



 I was trying to take a selfie with the Dixie sign in the background and a couple with masks on came up and offered to take our picture with my phone.  I don't know if Jay was holding his breath, we didn't have our masks on.  I may have tried to hold mine.


One of the waysides we stopped at had lovely decks made with composite wood/plastic with a picnic table.  It wasn't looking over any view, there was no water.  It seemed strange to put in all that expense for a deck.  It gave the impression of big money, though.  So maybe that is the purpose.  

Jay told me that much of this part of the trail was paid for by one woman.  I didn't research the story.

The bike trails have helped the local areas, so the community is investing in even more trails.  I saw this sign announcing the up an coming North Creek Loop Trail.

I was happy to have a working speedometer on my trike now, thanks to the folks at the Hostel Shoppe in Stevens Point for picking it out and installing it for me.  I biked 45 miles and even with the many stops and some steep hills, I averaged 10 mph.


On the morning we were supposed to be doing Qi Gong class we got notice the class was canceled so Mary and I met at Buck Lake Almon Preserve to walk and do some Qi Gong on our own.


We walked to a board walk where the cool air touching the still warm pond water was creating a mist that was rising off the pond.  We did our Qi Gong there,   Another surreal moment.  I kept expecting the energy that we were pushing around would cause the water to ripple, but it never wavered.  My how my imagination enriches this Qi Gong experience.

In Qi Gong, an ancient practice, it is about re-balancing the Chi energy in your body and around your body.  The exercises have descriptive names like Fountain and Shake Your Tail Feathers and Flying Pigeon.


Many of the moves involve moving the spine and it occurred to me that the re-balancing of the chi is about allowing your spinal fluid to move as it should, and exercising your nervous system.  This seems very important to me, since George had a pooling of spinal fluid in his brain and when we did our exercises to keep him mobile I had a hard time getting him to flex and twist his spine. 

I am grateful for this time to learn just a bit of this ancient exercise practice, which is much like Tai chi but without having to memorize long series of movements.  

There is a neighborhood of tricycle riders in Inverness.  I am in a group with them on messenger.  They mentioned that we could teach each other stuff we know as something to do during COVID or after.  I said I could show them Qi Gong when I return.  We could do it in a park or on of their large yards.

After our walk, Mary headed home and I walked a different path.  I am glad I did because I saw a porcupine climbing a tree close to the path!

I took a picture but of course the camera was focusing on the limbs between me and the animal. 

Reconnecting with Friends!  

When George and I moved to Waukesha in the early 80's we joined the New Comer's Club.  We met and had fun with other families making their way into a new life in a new community.  We didn't know then that the friendships we were making would last a life time.

Stan and Debbie were one of the first couples to move away from Waukesha to Northern Wisconsin.  They had stayed in touch with some of the other couples over the years and George and I even attended the wedding of one of their sons a few years back.

Well, Stan had recently had a health crisis, an infection in his spine that had him in the hospital.  I had heard about it from our mutual friends and contacted Debbie to send love and support.

She said Stan wanted to come up and visit and see the Weeroll.  He had recovered enough to do an outing and my campsite was about an hour away from where they live.

Wonderful!  I was a bit nervous about cooking for them.  I decided to roast veggies over coals from our fire.  So I chopped veggies, wrapped them in foil and some ears of corn, to put on the coals.

They were to arrive at 11:00.  Time to build a fire, let it burn out and then roast the veggies in the ashes.

But it turned out the wood was all wet.  Debbie and Stan are seasoned campers, but even he had a hard time keeping the wood burning.  I borrowed a neighbors grill and we used the fire instead to cook the meal.  It turned out great! 

Debbie is also a writer.  She is writing a children's story and writes poetry.  She took a class this summer and brought to me some of the handouts for helping me get over some of the roadblocks to writing.

After they left I sat by the fire and read the notes.  One of the pointers was talking back to our negative self-talk.  We get held back by negative self-talk so we are supposed to write down positive responses to our negative phrases. 


I tell myself I am organized.  I and getting more organized.  I am focused.  I am getting more focused.

I posted about our visit on Facebook and another friend from that Waukesha Newcomer's Club contacted me.  They are only 45 minutes away.  Would I like to come visit, have lunch, and go for a ride in their boat?  

"SURE!!" I replied.  WOW, I am reconnecting with fun folks and loving it!

While I was sitting by the fire that evening I heard this huge clammer coming up the road to the campground.  Thunk-da-Clunk-da-Thunk.  "What the heck?"

Then into the campground slowly came a truck pulling an old, rusted, trailer shaped like an airstream.  The tires were totally shot and some remaining rubber was flopping around, but mostly the trailer was rolling on its rims.

There is a rented house on the property here.  The truck pulled that trailer into that rented house's driveway.  I wondered if they were going to cut the trailer up for scrap or fix it up and used it for storage or guest quarters.  I envied the ambition it took to take on such a project.

I wish I had taken a picture as the trailer went by me.  It was several days before I got over to take a picture.  By then, one of the walls had collapsed.  Did that happen on purpose?  Or did they start working on it and it just fell over?


Other Stuff

I am surprised to find I don't mind riding on my own.  I went for a road ride and stopped to sit by a dam.  While I was sitting there a frog jumped past me.  I had not thought of it before, but I guess frogs need to migrate to new spaces to get genetic diversity.


My sister wanted some chunky organic peanut butter and the stores in the area no longer carried it.  So I went online.  First I looked at Walmart.  They didn't have any.  

Then I shopped at Amazon and found some.  I got a text from my sister a week or so later.  The package had arrived and she thought the jars might be broken.

I was surprised to see that the package was a Walmart box!  I had ordered it from Amazon.  So Walmart is now selling through Amazon?   I guess if you can't beat them, join them.



I emailed Amazon and so far have not seen a response.  I guess I better check on that.  We lost three jars and I got a bitty cut on my finger cleaning the mess.

 

Come On Join Us for the Virtual Wellness Challenge

I am thrilled to announce that I have 13 people on the Susan Straley Wellness Trippers Team that will be supporting Dementia Education as they work to improve their wellness habits.  

We are participating in the Virtual Wellness Challenge put on by Dementia Education, Inc.  

Starting on September 13th (the day I leave here) we will be checking a list of ten healthy habits and marking off those items we did that day.  It goes on for 30 days.   That is long enough for us each to maybe make a change for the better and add a new wellness habit to our weekly mix.  

It is not too late for you to also join in.  Click here to learn more and sign up.  It's only $10 and helps a worthy cause.

If you have trouble signing up, let me know and I can do it for you.

 

Book Report 

Well, I got my invoice from Amazon advertising for last month and it is my biggest yet.  

I had taken the Amazon Advertising Course by Bryan Cohen on August 12.  As a result I increased the number of ads I have been running.  I looked at my earnings, not as much as the outgo... but more than any previous month.  

Then I saw that I sold several audio books, which comes from Audible, not Amazon.  When I add the Amazon and Audible proceeds together, I came out ahead!

That's good to know.  So I guess I will keep trying and keep learning!



A Trip to the Past

So now I will tell you about our wonderful day yesterday.  It was so much fun!  
 
I had thought I would take a trip over to Phillips.  My grandmother's farm is there, we had spent many vacations on the farm growing up.  And then I had lived and worked in the area when I was 18 and 19.

I got hold of one of my cousins in the area via Facebook messenger and he agreed to meet me, Covid style, at a park in Phillips at 2:00.

When I talked to Mary about it, she wasn't enthusiastic.  She didn't really know if she would go.

I talked to her husband Dave the night before.  I told him I needed him along to help keep the conversation flowing with my cousin.  Dave is a good conversationalist in spite of his dementia diagnosis.

Since we would be spending so much time sitting in the car and sitting visiting,  In the morning I went back to Buck Lake and walked the trails again, fast this time... except when I got to the board walk I did the meditative Qi Gong walk.  Sooooo sooo lovely.



After my walk I went to pick up Mary and Dave.  Dave was tired.  He decided he wasn't going.  

Mary had already packed up water and jacket and was ready to go.

Cool - a girls day out!  

I drove us over to Phillips which is about an hour away.  We took Hwy D out of Brantwood, which is a blink-and-you-miss-it town.  Not even a store or a gas station.

We went straight to the Emory Town Hall and Cemetery where our dad's parents are buried.   We started hunting for the tombstones.  It had been at least 10 years since we had been there, I think.

This tombstone made me laugh.  It says, "Trust me, I know what I am doing."  The person buried was 20 years old.  Hmmm.

 

We found our grandparent's tombstones and those of Uncles and Aunts and our Cousin Don.  We remembered that near our Grandmother's grave was a wooden structure holding an antique doll.  The grave of a young girl.  The wooden structure and the doll were still there.  


When I was 18 or 19 living in the area I had crushes on several guys.  I saw one of their tombstones.  They died in 2016. 


Someone is still placing artificial flowers at the graves of our relatives.

Our next stop was the swimming hole at what we used to call Root Beer Creek for the brown tannin-stained water.   I stood on the culvert and picked up some rocks and giggled.  I remembered sitting here often and tossing the stones into the culvert to hear the plunk and echo.

I tossed some stones down into the culvert.  The sound was the same and we both smiled.

 

 The creek has a rock dam to make the swimming hole.  The dam was covered in grass, it looked totally different than years ago.


 We walked up the hill to Grandma's farm.  As we approached I saw the sagging roof.  Oh my, the house is still standing!

There was a gate across the entrance.  We stood.  I knew the neighbor that had bought the farm, though I hadn't seen him in probably 30 years.   Mary, said, "Heck with it, I am going in."  We walked around the gate, I am SO glad we did!  The memories came flooding back.

 

 "Grandma's garden was here," I said pointing to the right.  We walked in past a huge, 10 foot tall lilac bush.  There were quite a few jack in the pulpit.  

 


Mary said she would like to dig some up and put them in her garden.  It just so happened I had a trowel in the trunk.  We vowed to get a container in town and come back for some flowers from Grandma's garden.

We remembered the trees and the times we dressed Grandmas dog in doll clothes.  Grandma used to have a stage-coach style bench that we used to bounce on.

We came to the house, the foundation had collapsed a lot, but the logs that my Aunt and Uncle had placed in there when they had inherited the place are still there.

The front door was wide open, though we didn't dare step inside, seeing the shape of the foundation and walls.  

Oh my!  There is the pantry!  There is the wood stove!  There is the sink where we washed our hands and brushed our teeth!  Look, the mirror is still there, and the curtain over the storage area!



The chicken barn was squeeking as parts of it blew in the wind as we approached.  The door was open and I stuck my head in.  It still smelled like chicken manure!



My Grandfather's sister and brother had a farm across the street.  Nature is trying to reclaim that house.  I so wanted to get close and peek in, but there was a dense growth all around the house.


I remembered my Aunt Martha made the best fried chicken from her the chickens she raised and butchered herself.

We had to get to town to eat lunch and then meet my cousin Robert.

I parked the van on the main drag in downtown Phillips.  As we were walking up the street I told Mary that I used to be a waitress at that cafe up there in front of us.  When we got in front of the place that used to be the Crystal Cafe about 48 years ago when I worked there.  It was open!

It is now called Red Beard Bistro.

We decided to see if they had anything for us.  OMG, they had veggie burgers!  When we were ordering I told the waitress I had worked there 50 years ago.  I was so excited to be there.  It was weird.  I felt like I had taken my Mom's place... an old lady returning to places of her childhood.  When did I become that old lady?

 

 I think the red booths are the same, but there used to be counter with stools on the right, I think...

Mary told me she was having so much fun.  I was glad because I really was too.

After lunch we rushed to get to Elk Park to meet up with Cousin Robert.  

What a fun visit we had!  Robert still is funny.  

We didn't know much about him or his family.  He had married and has grown kids.  It was cold in the shade, but he was on a medication that makes him burn easily in the sun.  Part way through our visit  I went and got more jackets out of the car.

We asked about all the relatives and tried to piece-meal a story of each one.  I was surprised to learn that one of our cousins is in a nursing home.

Before we parted Robert asked if we would ever have a family reunion again.  "We could have it here... reserve the shelter," he said.   

He then told me about the new city campground by the beach.  I told him that maybe I could arrange to camp here and just put the word out and have people RSVP.  We could even do it COVID style, have boxed lunches, people can bring their own chairs and spread out.

After we parted I drove over to the city campground to check it out.  It only has electric at each site.  So to camp there I would have to haul water and waste.

 


 Mary and I returned to our grandma's old homestead.  

Did I tell you that my dad was born in that house?  Did I tell you that my grandfather built that house?  Did I tell you that we spent a week each summer while we were kids at that house?  My dad returned each August to help them get the hay in.

There was no plumbing, we hauled the water from the well house.  The heat was the wood stoves, one in the kitchen and one in the living room and big vents in the ceiling of each to let the warm air rise to the second story where the bedrooms were at.

Often when we would visit, other relatives would come to visit.  At night when we children were sent to bed we would sometimes lay on the floor and look down through the vent and try to understand the conversations.

On the garden side of the house is a huge cedar tree.  We remembered the tree... much smaller when we were young.  Mary hugged the tree and came out smiling big.


There was a chicken wire around the girth of the tree.  It was probably put there when my grandma planted it, I am sure, to protect it from the deer.  Mary says that deer love eating baby cedar trees.

Mary dug up some Jack-in-the-pulpit plants and a few other things.  We hunted for a baby cedar tree, but didn't find any.


Second Cousin Kenneth, who now owns that property (I think), if you see this post, you will know that the people invading your property weren't doing damage... just trying to harvest some memories.  Thank you!








Journal Keeping - You Don't Need to Write Well

 February 12, 2021 Today was the final day of the annual Caregivers' conference put on by Coping with Dementia .   This morning I was pa...