Showing posts with label Covid19. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Covid19. 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, August 10, 2020

Wee Are Rolling in Rhinelander, WI in Crazy 2020

Hello and Good news!
 
The book sales for Alzheimer's Trippin' with George were real!  It wasn't a toad after all. (See the previous post to understand what I mean by that.)  As a reminder, I can look at how my advertisements are doing on Amazon.  I can see a report that tells me how many shoppers have viewed my ad, how many clicked, and how much was sold. 
 
 

One day I checked and I had only one or two clicks on an ad but over $274 in sales.  Since the paperback book is around $24 each, I thought there was an error.  
 
But it isn't an error.  It appears that one person bought many books!  Thank you, whoever you are, on behalf of the many caregivers who will receive comfort and education and entertainment from the books.  
 
And on behalf of the caregivers that benefit from the education and support provided by Alzheimer's Family Organization where a portion of the proceeds will be donated.  
 
FYI, the book is reduced to $23.25 for August.  August is George and my wedding anniversary month.  A long running supportive relationship full of love and long bike rides is a good reason to celebrate.



 
And now that we are on the topic of Alzheimer's and caregiving, I have two items of interest on the topic.
 
Teepa Snow did a helpful and informative video about swallowing and dementia via Facebook. I looked for it on YouTube for those who are not on Facebook and want to see it.  What I found isn't that particular video, but she has one on feeding in late stage dementia.

Join My Team!


We will call the team... 
 
Wellness Trippin' 
or 
Wellness Trippers 
or 
Susan Straley's Wellness Tripper's

What do you think?  Ed Youngblood fo the Dementia Education will be sending me more information today.  But here is what he and Debbie Selsavage from Coping with Dementia told me.

The fee is $20 for the team (I will pay that.)
Everyone on the team pays $10.
 
So watch for future posts to find out how to sign up!

Now here is the REAL interesting part.  Wellness isn't just walking, running, biking or playing pickle ball.  It is meditating, praise prayer, dancing, singing, reading, doing yoga, eating vegetables and fruits probably.  We will find out more when the information arrives.  So even if you are in a wheelchair you can participate.  Because Wellness is holistic, and involves all the parts of you.

If you want to be on my team, send your name and email to me.  I don't want to put my email out there for spammers to find so here is the trick:  susan underscore trikes at  yahoo dot com.  Let's support Dementia Education.  

Maybe we can be the biggest and best team!

Weeroll Encounters

I am staying a while at this campground near Rhinelander, WI. 
 
But this week I got an email from my Florida biking friend, Ann A.  She is meeting another mutual friend at the Root River Trail in South Eastern Minnesota.  I had planned on going that route when I leave here in September, but wouldn't it be so much more fun to do it with friends???
 
It is 300 miles away.  I booked it.  I am leaving here on the 17th to camp for a few days by Lansborro, MN.  Then I will be trucking it all the way back here to spend more time at my seasonal campsite before heading home.  
 
I love meeting up with folks places!  And the Root River Trail is definitely a great rail trail among hills and following a river it goes through several small towns that have be rejuvenated by the trail tourists.
 
Then I had a conversation with Debra.  She had just returned home from visiting her daughter and was itching to go traveling in her Weeroll, Itsy.  So we arranged for Lilac and Itsy to meet up at Ft. Pickens in the Panhandle of Florida on my way home!  Whoo hoo!  This park is on an island on the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola. We will get sand, beach, and some riding in.  It will be great!
 
My friend Joan will come spend a day or two biking or hanging out with us there.  
 
I am loving it!  Being in one place I get to think about how to fix things, change things to make them more accessible or comfortable.

On of the Facebook groups of newby campers and RV women they have questions about lighting and the best items I have gotten for the trip.

So much could be listed.  Like the rough rug at the bottom of the stairs and the absorbent rug just inside the door.  Even with those, it isn't enough and I am still sweeping up sand, especially after a rain when the sand is wet and clings to my shoes and feet.
 
I love my portable outdoor sink.  I use it so much!  I wash me, wash the veggies, wash the dishes, refill jugs, wash my clothes.   And use the table part of cooking and chopping.



I said I added light with these battery operated lights that attach with sticky velcro.  I can detach them when I travel so they don't fall and break.
 
 
 

My indoor sink is helpful.  I can take a sponge bath, brush my teeth, all in the privacy of my trailer. I use command hooks to hang jackets and my towel.  Of course the counter top that Dave H. made me is wonderful.


I have a little Probreeze space heater that is great for cool mornings/days.

There is a pocket shoe holder next to the door to hold keys, rags, flashlights, masks.  It helps me not lose stuff.  Everything has a place.


My fridge and microwave make it easy for me to eat (as demonstrated by my expanding waistline.  The portable pot that my sister gave me is working out great and is much more comfortable than the bucket.  I try to squat slowly to exercise my squat muscles.

Just behind the portable potty is a tiny waste basked with a lid.  Just the right size and the lid keeps the odors from the food scraps and pee paper from smelling up the trailer.

Speaking of smells.  I thought my trailer was smelling bad when I first walked in because of my shoes, but it turns out I had a rotting sweet potato in my food storage bin just inside the door.  Yay, it's not my feet!


I love my Verizon Jetpack that allows me access to the internet to blog, check email, post on Facebook, even watch YouTube videos when my energy is low.  It is secure so I can do banking and reserve future campground sites.  I love it, love it, love it!  When it starts to rain, no problem, I can spend lots of time indoors in the comfort of Lilac and work or surf.

Adventures in Rhinelander

Mary took me with her to visit her friend, Betina.  Betina is over 100 years old.  This past winter she fell down a flight of stairs and was in rehab a while, but now she is back at home.   As you can see she is quite the gardener, her back yard is full of flowers and bird feeders.

When we arrived she showed us an old doll chair she is re-finishing.  She is making a dress for an old doll she has found and she will put the doll on the chair.  Mary says Betina always has a project or several going.  She is very creative.


The down side of living so long is that none of her siblings or friends have survived.  The friends she has now are fairly new.  She said the friend she has known the longest she has only known for 45 years.  

Yes, that seems like a long time, but when you think of it, Betina was probably retired or close to it, by the time she met this woman who is now her friend of 45 years.

Twice I have driven over to Three Lakes to ride the Three Eagles trail toward Eagle River.  It is only 10 miles long, but a lovely trail.
 





 
One day I rode it with my two-wheel bike.  The next time I rode it with my trike.
 

 
In Eagle River there is a DQ right by the trail.  The lobby is totally closed due to rising numbers of COVID cases in Wisconsin.  So I used the busy drive-through.

 
******* Interlude ********
 
Which reminds me.  Mary and I were out for a bike ride around Rhinelander and we decided to get a coffee at McDonalds.  We rode up to the drive through to order.  
 
"I am sorry, the drive through is reserved for automobiles.  You have to come to the lobby." came a voice over the intercom.
 
"We don't want to go in the lobby, it is safer out here," I responded.
 
"We are especially busy this time of day," she responded.
 
"There are no other cars behind us," I said.  And thought, "What difference does it make what kind of transportation we are using????"  We will be ordering the same thing on our bikes or on foot!
 
"We would prefer you come in," she said.
 
"We are the customers and we prefer to order here," I said.
 
"I will get someone to take your order," she said.  And there was silence.  and silence, and silence.
 
So we went in and ordered.  Hey McDonalds and other fast food places.  What does it matter if we arrive on two wheels, three wheels or four wheels?  Take our order, take our money, give us our food.
 
End of rant. 

***** End of Interlude ********
 
Last time I rode the Three Eagles Trail I decided to do more riding so I drove my trike over to the Big Lake Loop road that I had passed on my drive up to the trail.  It was a lovely rid and I was glad it didn't have a lot of hills.

At one point I came around a corner and encountered a fawn grazing on the other side of the road.  I talked to it as I rode on by.   It's legs stiffened and it kept a watchful eye, but didn't take off. 
 
 
 
Then I thought, hey, I should go back and see if I can get a picture.  So I did a u-turn and rode past it again taking pictures.  Again it's legs stiffened, ready to run.  
 
Well, now I am going the wrong way, so I had to turn around and ride past it a third time.  This time the fawn just looked up and then kept grazing.  No stiff legs, no watchful eye, "Oh ya, it is just that purple clicking object."  No big deal.
 
 
The yoga instructor had to cancel class two weeks in a row as she was feeling ill.  She and her daughter got tested for COVID and the test came back negative.
 
I rode to our out-door yoga spot and did some on my own.  It was lovely weather and no biting bugs bothered me.  A big plus!
 


I like riding to town to run errands. 
 
 
Mary and I drove over to kayak a big lake then portage over to smaller lake north of Woodruff somewhere.  There were not houses on either lake and on the smaller lake there were individual rustic camp sites.  The water was tinted but clear.  It is a pretty cool place!
 
  
 
When we portaged over we found the smaller lake's water level was up.  We had to walk through soggy mud and leaf littered water to get in our boats.  There were lots of frogs jumping out of our way.  No gators in Wisconsin and I didn't see any leeches either.
 


COVID 19 News

Hey! 
 
Are we getting tired of this physical distancing and face-masking stuff?  
 
Are we tired of being afraid?  
 
A trip into a store can be scarey.  Or simply passing someone too closely on the sidewalk or bike trail can have me holding my breath and wondering.  
 
Are we tired of not getting together with our friends indoors, to play cards or eat together?

Well tough!  Because this ain't going away soon.  Some vacation tour organizations are not booking any sooner than spring of 2022.  Arg!  

I think ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.  Tradition is to have 15-25 friends over and we squeeze around tables and we laugh and eat each other's food buffet style.   Sigh.  Not this year.  Some how I hope to do stuff outside with a fewer number of folks.  How do I do that?  maybe every day for a week, small outside gatherings... Everyone byod (bring your own dinner).  Not the same, different for sure.

We will figure it out.  
 
We will have fun anyway.  
 
We will be grateful to be in Florida where we can gather at a physical distance outside.  My heart hurts, my eyes water.

I found out a friend from my old neighborhood (they moved out but revisit the hood regularly) has tested positive for the COVID.  I worry about her.  She showed up for the book signing when I launched the first book in 2019, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.  I was thrilled and we shared a big hug and lots of smiles.  
 
She already has health and breathing issues.  All the neighbors are in a tizzy, how did she get it?  Who was she in contact with? She said she wore a mask at the clubhouse card parties. (Yes, they were still playing cards at the clubhouse.  When I acted surprised, my sister reminded me that for some that is their life.  They don't bike or hike.  They connect with others through games and gatherings.  This isolation is hard for them.  Whoops, I was caught being judgemental.  Yikes, sorry folks!)  
 
My friend with COVID never used the restroom at the clubhouse and disinfected her hands.  Did she get it at the clubhouse?  I don't know.  I don't know if she was the only one wearing a mask there.  Remember, the mask doesn't protect her.  
 
Which reminds me of a video of how to make your paper mask a better fit.
 
My friend might have got COVID at a store or ????  Hopefully they will be able to trace its origin.  Then I hope she tells the rest of us, because I wanna know if the stuff I am doing is ok.
 
I have been entering my sister's house without us masking up.  We have been sharing a car without masking up.  I figure since we are both being careful... is that enough?  Mary and I even played cards one day.   It is wonderful and comforting to have some folks I can be around.  I just don't want to be stupid or a danger to her and her husband.

The seasonal camper that got it here at Lake George is in the hospital and on a respirator.  They say he has improved, spending more time off the respirator. 

In the meantime, 250,000 people are converging on Sturgis, South Dakota for the annual motorcycle gathering.  In the pictures I have seen, maybe 1 in 20 is wearing a mask.  It looks like they are distanced on the street, but the streets are full.
 
So many people are angry about being required to wear masks.  Store clerks and store guards have been injured, a couple killed, when someone was told they needed to wear a mask and instead they pulled out a gun or a fist.  Nothing new, humans acted the same way in 1918.  Or should I say, those in the USA.  I don't know that this happened in other countries.  I should research that, because I am thinking something went wrong in our educational system to teach science, critical thinking, and non-violent resolutions to differences.
 
On April 6, 2020 I wrote down the COVID-19 numbers in a post entitled Watching the Curve, What Are You Doing?   Today while making some changes to how robots can find my blog, I came across the numbers again.

Citrus County had 43 cases and two deaths.  Florida was still just over 10,000.

April 6, 2020

Each night I sit in my bed and write down the numbers in my diary.

Last night it was:
World Cases  1,272,860
World Deaths   69,424
US Cases  336,673
US Deaths  9,616
Florida Cases  12,350
Florida Deaths  221
Citrus County Cases  43
Citrus County Deaths 2

Growth of this magnitude is hard for my little brain to comprehend.  That is why I write it down and why I watch it.  I am trying to get my mind around it.

Of course now we know to watch those numbers reported each day, since the number of tests are increasing, the number of cases found will increase.  The real telling number is the numbers currently hospitalized and the number of people that die each day or week.

Here are the numbers for today from the dashboard.

World Cases 19.900,000
World Deaths  732,000
US Cases  4,974,959  -- 54,590 New Cases
US Deaths  161,284 -- 1,064 New Deaths
Florida Cases  536,931
Florida Deaths 8,277
Citrus County Cases 1,544
Citrus County Deaths  36

And I will add here the Citrus County Current Hospitalizations: 148
Citrus county is at about 1000 cases per 100,000 population according to the Florida Health Covid 19 surveillance dashboard.

Flowers and My Space


I hate to leave you with COVID stuff.  

A green house in town had some containers they were giving away for free.  So I got a few.


And this is where I wrote to you today.  Or I could say... this is how I roll in my Weeroll.



Saturday, July 18, 2020

First-Time Seasonal Camper Settling In


7/18/2020

Greetings from Lake George Campground!

It is Saturday morning and it is raining.  

My neighbor here had warned me last night that there were severe storms in the forecast including possible tornadoes.  She said between 3:00 a.m. and 5:30.  It is now 5:28 and the Weeroll isn't rocking yet.

I imagine if I were in my tent-cot I would be stuck in the prone position.   

But I have coffee made and I am sitting at my little desk writing to you!  How cool is that!  Smiles.

I arrived in Rhinelander on Monday and drove right to my sister’s house.  I disinfected my hands with the hand sanitizer I keep on the console, I put on a paper face mask.  And as I step out of the van I hear my sister running toward me, her arms outstretched.  Oh my!  Oh my!  

We sat on her beautiful back deck, overlooking her yard.  It was clear she had been keeping herself occupied during the COVID shut-down by planting flowers. 

 This is Only the Lonely plant.  Mary says it is a member of the tobacco family.




Dave, my brother in law stepped out.  Always ready with a joke, he came out wearing a gas mask.  I hugged him even though my mask was off.  I turned my head away and then quickly stepped back.

I visited for an hour or so and then I had to go to the campground and get my refrigerator plugged in again.

The camp site is roomy, though a bit slanted.  I have water and electric but no Wifi (bummer) and not sewer.  I walk about ½ a block to empty my holding tank (a two-gallon pitcher) and my five-gallon bucket under my outdoor sink.   

There is a half a cement block next to the waste-water dump opening.  It is used to hold the flap open while I pour.   There are several cement blocks by the waste water dump site.  I haul several to my camp site to make steps up to my door.





Unpacking my bicycle I learned that if I transport the bike upside down I need to put padding under the handlebars.  The cover over the gear-shifter busted in transit.




Monday evening Mary and Dave came over with their own chairs for a visit.  It was too warm for a fire.

Qi Gong and Yoga Outside


Tuesday there is Qi Gong (Chee gong) in the park.  It was wonderful.  The practice is connected to nature with movements of trees and reaching for the sun.  At times we imagine gathering energy and moving it to places in our body.  It is like a meditative and moving prayer.

They used to do the exercises in a basement classroom.  Now, with COVID closing the building, they do it outside.  The instructor tells us that in Japan they do it outside all year long.  As we were going through the movements I had a vision of being all bundled up in winter, the snow falling or blowing, still doing the movements in the park. 

After class we gathered a bit to chat.  The instructor invited us to a class she is teaching in the water over by St. Germaine on Monday.  It sounds wonderful! 

Yoga

Mary’s yoga class is meeting out in a large open field by Nicholet College.  I was the first to arrive the morning of the class.  The dew was still clinging to the grass, the sky was clear, the air cool enough to wear a light jacket.

Off to my left was a woman throwing Frisbee to her Australian Sheep Dog.  Off to my right were two fawns grazing.  Yep, you read that right.  I watched as the two fawns, curious, started to walk toward the dog.  But they didn’t go far.  The woman had the dog well trained.  It wanted to investigate the fawns and me, but she made the dog sit, then lay down until it was ready to chase the Frisbee again.  


Nice!

We had about seven of us spread out on the field doing yoga under the sun.  It warmed up quickly.  The fawns’ mother snorted from the woods across the road.  The fawns ran to her and immediately began nursing.  We were glad to see them reunited.   

What a lovely class!  The instructor does the classes for free.  Next week we will make a donation to a church food pantry.


Bryan Cohen's Amazon Advertising Class


In early June a fellow AlzAuthor, Marianne Siucco, recommended a class on Amazon Advertising. 

The class would be on-line so I could attend while traveling.  What I did not anticipate was that the class started the day after I arrived in Rhinelander.   

Though the instructions say you have to have Wifi and an hour to complete the assignments, the assignments take much longer.

It was probably due to the fact that I am 67 years old.  I would watch the instruction video and then read the assignment and go, “What?” and I would have to skim through the instruction video again and stop and start it as I did each step.  I decided to just concentrate on promoting Alzheimer’s Trippin’ with George in paperback (the book that recorded our road trip to Wisconsin, Idaho, Oregon and Colorado).


One of the assignments early on was finding out what my earnings were last month and my ranking in sales in the book category.   Yay!  The book was a top 100 seller on Amazon in a couple of categories.


I worked on Mary’s deck overlooking the flowers and the bird feeders. 

Besides a wide variety of birds, (thought of you bird watchers, Regis and Cindy, Mary Ann and Diane), she has at least four kinds of squirrels visiting the feeders!  


There were little noisy red squirrels, bigger grey squirrels, ground squirrels (which look like chipmunks), and black squirrels.   I guess a black squirrel is a grey squirrel with a twist in the genetic code… kind of like white squirrels.  Yes?  Comment below if you know. 

When we visited the Grand Canyon many years ago, there were black squirrels on the north rim of the Grand Canyon that are a divergent cousin of the regular squirrels on the south rim. 

As you can see, while I was working away I would take breaks from looking at the screen.  

Mary came out and said it felt awkward, to have me hanging outside while they were inside.  How do we do meals?  I had brought snacks with me.

She said I could use their downstairs bathroom as long as I wore my mask when walking through the house.  She doesn’t know about the flush plume.  That’s what the scientists have discovered, that when we flush the toilet a plume of germs shoots into the air.  If we have COVID those germs will be in that cloud and hover there or lay down on surfaces.

It was strange.  To think that I could be bringing with me a disease that could hurt them.
 
Eventually, if I continue to be careful, we can start acting like a household.  No masks and shared indoor spaces.  We could dine together inside and cook together inside and Mary and I might even be able to play cards!  Yes!

Kayak and Rainy Work

Mary and I arranged to go kayaking early on Wednesday.  

When we were putting our kayaks in a loon called out.  A nice sign, I thought.  The kayak glided over the clear calm water of the boat-launch channel and onto a lovely lake with the mist rising up.



I smiled and thought of George gliding along too.  I know that he and I would have looked at each other with big grins.  Sharing in the delight of that moment in time.

The surface of the lake was still and reflecting everything.  Off in the distance we saw a gathering of six loon!  

 Loons are usually just a couple on a lake.  Mary said this must be a gathering of males without mates.   Then they did a dance on the water and two flew off.  

We floated around the edge of the lake and into a bay.  I passed a beaver dam.  Later when I looked back at Mary passing it, I saw the beaver swimming between us.  I wanted to yell at Mary to look, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to scare it away.  It did eventually dive and slap its tail as it disappeared.  That got Mary's attention.

When we got back to the main lake, the loons were closer.  We floated and watched them, then they headed right toward my kayak.  My thought was that maybe they learned kayaks round up fish, Mary was thinking the brim of my hat might look like a beak and they thought for a moment I was another loon.




What a lovely ride and just long enough.  On the way home, Mary stopped at McDonalds and we got coffees, “with two creams each, please.”

One day it rained and I set myself up in the garage with a table and chair to continue with my online learning.  Mary said we got four inches of rain!


Riding Bicycle and Tricycle Alone

I have reached out to WI Trikers, a Facebook group, to try to find others in the area that would like to ride.  So far I have not had luck. 

I have gone on several short road rides.  The scenery is lovely and there a lots of rolling hills.  Many more hills than I am used to in Florida.  The roads are quiet that I have been on so far, and those that are a bit busier have a shoulder.


One morning I was riding my bicycle up a hill and it started skipping gears and then the chain got stuck between the spokes and the cassette on the back wheel.  I pulled and pulled and was wondering if I had to walk all the way back to my van.  I didn’t have any tools with me… duh!  How many years have I been riding?  

Fortunately, it finally released and I was able to ride back to camp being careful not to shift into low gear.  Later I put the bike in the van and drove it to Mel’s, a local sporting goods shop with a repair shop in the basement.  I was pleased to see all the staff and customers wearing masks.  

While I was there I asked the staff if they knew of any bike groups or people that do social bicycle riding together.  Nope, but there are lots of nice roads to explore, they told me. 
 
The mechanic said that his back log is two to three weeks.  I left the bike there.

My trike is good to ride too, but the roads are bumpy, and I prefer the bike with the shock absorbers on a bumpy ride.  Maybe I will ride to a trail next week.

Day for Business and Weeroll

I went to Menards and found two nice chairs so Mary and Dave don’t have to bring their own when they come visit my camp.

Since it is the weekend now, I have met some of my seasonal camper neighbors.  I was excited to learn they have a happy hour.  My idea of happy hour is 4:30 or 6:00.  But those times passed.  Finally at 7:50 they gathered to walk down to the bar for their happy hour. 

“Oh, I am sorry,” I said, “I don’t do inside gatherings now.” 

Bummer!  

Though I did get to sit and chat with Tom who only lives a mile or two away from camp.  He and his wife have a seasonal site here.  He is a teacher and we talked about the demands from the Education Secretary and the President that children return to schools in the fall.  They are threatening to take away Federal funds for schools if they don’t re-start school in the fall.

Tom said his school has infants (on-site day care) up to 18 years old.  He said that it will be up to the states to decide and that Federal funding goes to Special Needs programs and free lunch programs for starving children.  

I bought flower pots… heavy ones that I won’t be hauling back to Florida.  







I bought a marine handle for hanging onto for getting into the trailer.  It attaches by strong suction cups.   It seems to cling real well, and then I will walk by and it is laying the ground!  Not helpful!

I don’t have to hang on, I put it up for others wanting to go in and look.   I guess they will have to cling to the door jam.

The rain has stopped!  I have homework for the Amazon Advertising class but that requires internet.  But then so does up-loading this blog post.

Make it a good one.

****
Oh!  Before I hit send!   

I went for a walk to the post office to pick up mail.  Mary went too.  When I stepped out of the post office she was pulling weeds in the garden in front of the Post Office.  I joined her.  We got quite muddy but it was fun.



We were walking home from the Post Office when I saw a sign and it took a moment to sink in what it meant.




I let out a cheer and ran over to get a picture.


In all my travels north I only saw Trump 2020 signs.   It was getting scary.  It just isn't natural to have only one candidate's signs up. Not in a democracy!

For those of you reading this in the years to come, Donald Trump is  currently President.  In the fall there will be an election.  And it looks like the rival on the Democratic side is going to be Joe Biden.

You will know what happened next.  Right now, we don't have a clue.



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