Showing posts with label utility trailer conversion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label utility trailer conversion. Show all posts

Friday, June 19, 2020

Launching a Trip Now, During COVID

“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. 

Live it, feel it, cling to it. 

I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.”   Sylvia Plath

The last time I posted I was feeling anxious and not very up-beat.  I apologize if I passed on those feelings to you. 

I am better now.  I hope you are ok too.

There are several things that turned it around for me.

I realized I wasn't focusing on the good in my life.  I have learned before that making a little effort to change my outlook makes a difference in how I view the world and my happiness level.  I made a list of things I am grateful for.    I was amazed when in no time at all I had filled three pages in my journal.  I could have gone on and on and on.   Wow!

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the changes and things in the news, I suggest you try that exercise.

I blocked a few people on Facebook.  Not that I don't like them as people, it is just that we were not getting any closer to common ground and it was starting to stress me out even when I wasn't on Facebook. 

I watched some artsy videos on Youtube instead of the news.  I was so impressed with the Alvin Aily Dance School fund raiser that I sent in a donation the next day.  Here is a link to a dance performance about Greenwold or this short one that is more uplifting.

I had the air conditioner installed in my Weeroll at the Weeroll manufacturer.  They reimbursed me for the cost of getting someone in to replace the grease cap on the wheel of my camper on my first camping trip/shake down trip. So I didn't have to write a check and I got money put in my Paypal account!  Yay!



On the way home from Weeroll I was listening to the radio and you know how sometimes they have those inspirational breaks.  Some minister will come on with a story or words of hope.  Well, one of those came on and it was a great reminder to me that so much more good is in the world than bad.  

He reminded me that when we see or hear on the news about someone doing something bad we need to remember that for every bad act, there is hundreds if not thousands of people doing good.  As I write this people are picking up litter, calling on the sick, sewing and sending out face masks, educating and caring for children, donating food and supplies, complimenting and thanking others.   For every act of looting there are thousands demonstrating peacefully.  For every shooting there are hundreds de-escalating situations, comforting others, kneeling or dancing with others, giving and sharing, smiling and laughing together.

 I brought the camper home and plugged it in and the air conditioner worked.  While I was at it my neighbor Ken came and asked if I needed help drilling anything.  I wanted a couple more tie-down rings.  So yes!  He installed two more for me.  Thank you, Ken!

Another thing that happened was my sister started sharing her peaceful moments in pictures.  Lovely pictures of quiet waters reflecting rocks and trees or pictures of lovely mushrooms or spring flowers.  

Our Wisconsin friend Mark has been sending out emails every day with lovely pictures from his walks or his yard where he has had a variety of birds visiting his bird feeder and pond this spring.  It is a lovely way to brighten our days during COVID physical distancing.  Thank you, Mark.  Thank you, Mary.

Then, of course, there is biking.  

And though I am still the odd gal out (most of my bike buddies are couples),  I have had wonderful rides side by side with Margaret and then Mari.  One day Holly. who lost her husband recently, rode by my side for a while.  I love that!  I don't mind riding by myself, but I tell you, I just am so thrilled when the conversation is flowing at the same time we are rolling on the trail.  I feel worthy of company and I value that feeling so much!  Especially now that hosting parties and gatherings are on hold.

The Tall Guy

This morning I walked down to Wallace Brooks Park where they have what I call a playground for adults.  I was doing pushups and trying to do pull ups and other exercises.  A tall slim guy with pinkish round glasses stopped.

I had seen him before and he had kept looking at me as he walked around the sidewalk that goes in a circle around the park.  I remember thinking about him as I left that day, wondering if he had an interest in me.  It could be that I looked like someone he knew or he was watching for what exercises I did.  But I let my mind wander over to maybe he was interested in meeting me.

Well this morning he stopped and said, "How is your exercises coming?"  

I said good as I walked over to do my pushups on the low bar. 

He complimented me on my shirt.  I thanked him and couldn't think of anything else to say so I started doing pushups.  He paused and then kept walking.

I looked for him after my set was done.  He was gone, I think I saw him in the parking lot getting into a car.

As I thought about the interaction, I realized I should have talked more, asked questions.  Found out why he was stopping to talk.  Was he a creep?  Was he a nice guy that was interested?  Was he one of the advocates for the adult fitness equipment and was pleased to see someone using it?   I then realized he had been wearing long pants and a dress shirt, like he was going to work after his walk.  I bet he was instrumental in the design of Wallace Brooks Park.

Maybe I will try to get down to the park at the same time in the next few days and get another chance to talk with him and learn what's what.   Why is this interaction causing my synopsis to fire?

But, hey, I am leaving town in a few days.  So even if there is a possibility that he was interested in getting to know me, it's not good timing.  

Getting Ready to Go TRIPPIN'!

I am set to go.  I have neighbors and others to watch over my place closely.  

I am getting very excited.  

My first stop on this adventure is a gathering of other women campers.  Sisters on the Fly will be gathering for physical distance socializing and fun at a campground on the Suwanee River.  Instead of potlucks we will gather with our own personal meal and set our chairs six feet apart outside.   

 That was another thing I heard on the radio the other day.  Someone said, "I hate the term social distancing."  They went on to say that we are social animals.  We need to connect with each other.  Covid shouldn't prevent us from doing that.  And we can do that while remaining physically distant.  

Yes!  Like six feet and outside, or inside if everyone wears a mask.  See it is the concentration of the droplets that is creating infection.  So if you are in a well ventilated area like outside and apart from each other or you are all wearing masks, the amount of droplets is dissipated (or absorbed by the masks) and that reduces the chance of infection.    Yay!  It is nice to hear I am doing it right for a change.

Come along with me on this trip to Wisconsin.

If you have not been receiving emails from me notifying you of these posts, Then click here and give me your email address so I can let you know when I post again.  

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Book News

 Both my ebooks are on sale for $2.99 during June, which is Alzheimer's and Brain Health Awareness Month.  Visit AlzAuthors and see what other dementia-related books are available... some for free!

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PS

I would like to say, Happy Juneteenth!  Over two years after the slaves were freed by the emancipation proclamation, the news was announced in Texas.   I learned that the Wiki page on Juneteenth has an increased viewing of 850% over last year at this time.  

Open our eyes, open our minds, open our hearts.

Monday, June 15, 2020

And Now for the Angst


 June 15, 2020

Hi all,  

I hope you are doing well and able to remain positive no matter what life throws your way.  

I went for a ride by myself.  I did over 30 miles.  I stopped at the flower shop in Floral City and bought three bouquets to share with folks.  They looked pretty nice on my trike.

Our moment in history, June 2020, feels like we are standing in the middle of a food fight.  We are getting stuff thrown at us from all sides! 

I was listening to a historian/author on NPR the other day and they told of all the happenings in the late 60's.  Protests, violence against protestors, assassinations, a crazy war, distrust in our government institutions... he said it felt very much like the U.S. was falling apart.  Similar to today.

I saw some comedians on Youtube saying, "You know what happens when a country is in chaos? They get invaded."  So the comedians began begging Canada to invade us... "and bring your health care with you."

I hope you take comfort in that we survived the 1960's so we will probably survive our current unrest and crazy times.  

I am spending a lot of time chilling in nature.  I have another batch of monarch babies to watch.





I send donations to organizations doing the work.  I am comfortable with my COVID-19 excuse for not volunteering or marching, I am over 65, I am supposed to stay safe so I don't overwhelm the hospitals.  

Notice I didn't say, "staying home" or "sheltering in place."   No, I am going to travel, pulling my home behind me.  Only nine more days to launch!



JUNE - Alzheimer's and Brain Health Awareness Month




June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time to increase understanding of what dementia is and how it impacts the lives of those it touches. It's also a great time to work to decrease the stigma and silence that too often accompanies an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Each June AlzAuthors hosts a book sale and giveaway to help caregivers and those concerned about dementia find knowledge, guidance, and support offered through shared wisdom and experience. AlzAuthors is the global community of authors writing about Alzheimer’s and dementia from personal experience. I’m proud to be a part of this growing non-profit organization, and I’m excited my book Alzheimer's Trippin' with George is a part of this sale. 


Starting June 15th through June 22nd you can take advantage of this biannual opportunity to purchase excellent books for freeor at reduced prices. AlzAuthors offer a variety of genres, including fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and children’s and teen literature. Most are available in Kindle and e-book, and many are available in paperback and audio. I encourage you to build a library and share them widely to help guide and inspire you (or others).




They have traveling libraries in three new states.  I sent Alzheimer's Trippin' With George to all three.

Weeroll Update


I leave on my Weeroll adventure at the end of  June.   Right now the Weeroll is back in Ocala at the manufacturer getting the air conditioner installed.

When I backed it into the parking spot the guy there unhooking my Weeroll said I did a better job than an lot of men that bring their trailers in.  So women, is that an insult or a compliment?  You decide.

Speaking of decisions... I have decided on a name for the Weeroll!  It was a tough decision because there were so many great suggestions.


L.I.L.A.C.

Life
Is
Living
Adventurously
Camper (or Cramalot)...  

Life is living adventurously, cramalot?

I already found a little painted picture of lilacs to hang on a wall.  And my friend Mark has been sending out a picture a day to distract and entertain some friends during COVID and he sent the lovely picture above just as I was trying to decide.  It was a signal!


When I travel, if I observe someone in the care-giving role, whether it be Alzheimer’s, Stroke, Parkinson's, MS, or whatever, it doesn’t matter.  I observe that the caregiver is dedicating their time and their life energy to help another navigate life.  I then walk over and present them the gift of one of my books.    

They may not have the time or energy to read it, but if they do, I hope it helps them feel not so alone.  And even if they never find the time to open the book, maybe they will share it with someone who will benefit or donate it to their local library.

I plan to take books with me this summer in my travels.  I want to drop some at libraries.  Not too many, I have weight and packing room to think about.

I may have less opportunities to observe other people, since I won't be going into restaurants due to Covid-19.

Traveling during COVID will be different. 


Some states still stop people at the boarder to inquire about their reason for entering.  I hear these blockades are only set up on the interstates, not on the smaller highways.

I have been told by some friends that I had hoped to do a social distance visit that they aren't visiting with anyone right now other than family.  So I won't be able to visit them.


My sister worries that I will be lonely in Wisconsin because my social life is so here at home in Florida.  But when I shared that concern with my friend, Beth, she said, "You'll be fine.  You of all people will make new friends fast."  Thank you, Beth!  I feel reassured.

My friend and neighbor Marilyn sent me an article about a family that is traveling and details the equipment they pack to deal with pee and pooh in case they don't want to or can't use the public restrooms.  There is a distinct possibility I will travel through areas where the public facilities will be closed.  I am prepared with my buckets and bags and wipes and toilet paper.


I have reservations at campgrounds along the way.  None of them have contacted me yet to cancel.  The COVID cases are going up in several states now,  In Florida we had well over 1,000 new cases each day this weekend.  

We are trying to learn to live, keep the economy going, and love as safely as possible.

Angst and Systemic Prejudice

If you are ignoring the news, to keep your calm, then you can avoid this section.

I wrote the following a while ago and didn't finish it because it was a scary time, and I didn't want to add to your fear.  

Even though I don't watch TV, the news reaches me and I grieve for our country and the world.

Sometimes I think I need to get off this planet, but then I realize I am not even as big as the period at the end of this sentence.  My being here or not only matters to my circle of influence in this specific period of time on the earth.

I feel even smaller because last night I checked the world population meter.  I do this every night but usually I just check in to record the cases of and deaths from COVID19.   This time I looked at the world population.  This year... just this year, the world population has increased by well over 32 million souls.  That is births minus deaths from all causes.

That puts our 117,000 deaths in the United States in context by numbers, but not by emotion.   It puts my own little life in context, but not by emotion.   We are strange beings, our drive to survive is strong. 


Maybe my wanting to escape the planet is because I just don't want to do the work it is going to take by many many people to make our country and world a better place.  For those of you reading this in the future, this is not only a time of a global pandemic, it is the time when our systemic racism has been exposed.

It is a the time of the peaceful marches, It is a time of some police and guardsmen kneeling with the protesters and in other places the police and guardsmen are shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at peaceful protesters, pushing some and beating others with billy clubs.  It was a time of looting and property destruction (Two different groups but lumped into one in the minds of many). 
 
The event that ignited people to head to the streets was a video of the murder of a man in Minneapolis.  A black man held to the ground by a police officer with his knee on the man's throat.  The man passed out and still the officer kept his knee on his throat.  And three other officers just let it happen.  Would one of them be me?  Would I just stand by and observe, maybe weakly protest... "Hey, maybe you should remove your knee," I'd say.


It is a time when one little statement could set someone off.  The video below explains why many of us are defensive.
  

I have thought that prejudice is demonstrated in a statement that asserts and assumes and groups all people with one characteristic in common to also have other characteristics in common.  Right now it is, "all protestors" and "all police" and "all Democrats" and "all Republicans".  

I went to have happy hour at my friends' home.  I would go nuts without these little get-togethers!  Thank you, Beth and Jim!  

Beth told me she was reading White Fragility.  

I then watched a program on Youtube with the author speaking about White Fragility.  I highly HIGHLY recommend it.  Even if you don't have a prejudice bone in your body.  Even if you are the nicest person ever.  Save this link and watch it when you have an hour.  Let me know what you think.






A friend posted on Facebook this article on what white people can do to fight racism.  75 Things White People Can Do

The only thing I have done in the past is attend MLK events once a year and donate to groups that fight racism.  I need to do more.  That means I will have to step out of my comfort zone.

Well, that is one of my goals anyway... to do stuff that scars me every day.


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May you experience the joy that comes after you succeed in doing something that scares you.



Monday, April 6, 2020

Watching the Curve... What are you doing?

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

I look back and compare from a day or two ago trying to grasp and get my mind around it all and trying to see the bigger picture.

Then I write down the things that I am grateful for that day.  Because it's all kind of scary, isn't it?

I am grateful for blue sky, and butterflies.  I am grateful for conversations with friends.  I saw a humming bird today in the front garden.  I am grateful for the rain.

I am grateful for farmers and grocery store clerks and truck drivers.  They are still working and exposing themselves and when they return home, the expose their families to possible infection.

Since I last wrote the Governor of Florida issued a shutter-in-place order.  We are only to go out for a walk or bike ride, get groceries, go to the pharmacy.  All "non-essential" businesses are closed.  I think bike shops are essential because they are still open.  Some are reporting an increase in bicycle sales.

On April 3rd I received my first home delivery of groceries.  I had ordered the groceries from Publix online on Sunday and the soonest they could be delivered was Wednesday. 

I then set up a table to clean everything before I brought it into the house.

Here is a video of a doctor explaining the cleaning process.

And a nurse explaining how cross-contamination can spread the virus.

The future might look back on these days and wonder why we were such filthy folks.

"Do you mean they brought their groceries into their homes without washing them first?" they might ask, eyes wide in disbelief.

I had the grocery-delivery woman leave the groceries on the porch.  She had to see my license so she stepped back and I laid the license on the porch and stepped back.  She stepped forward and scanned it into her phone.  Then she stepped back and had me flip the license so she could see the back.  Always staying at least 3-6 feet away from each other.  The new COVID dance.





Maybe those in the future will wonder why we walked around with our faces naked to all those germs out there...

Yes, the CDC is now recommending that we all wear face masks when we have to be in the public.  They are finding that the droplets we exhale can stay in the air and able to infect others for up to three hours.

My neighbor, Carol, posted on our neighborhood Facebook page that she had made some masks for folks and I raised my virtual hand, "yes! I want one!  Purple if you got it."

She delivered mine last night and I had to have her leave it in a box by my porch.  No contact, six feet of separation from others and wash it before I use it.



I like the mask.  It's pretty!



Maybe we are on the cusp of a huge cultural shift.  And maybe it won't just be about sanitation or face masks.

I have seen a huge amount of creative videos on YouTube lately.  Singles, Couples, and whole families re-writing songs with lyrics addressing the new situation we find ourselves in.  Just go to Youtube and search for "Covid song" and you will get a long list of suggestions.

A family with four children performed a song from Les Miserables.


And I have read about engineers putting their minds to solving the need for more ventilators for COVID-19 patients.  One team I read about has created a working ventilator out of existing items like a blood-pressure cuff, and things you would find in a hardware store.  The FDA has promised to speed up the approval process for items that could be of help during this crisis.

My old neighborhood, Stoneridge Landing, has gotten creative and twice a week at a designated time they go out with their golf-carts and bicycles, and dog walkers and do a COVID-Cruise around the neighborhood.  Those that want set out their chairs and wave to the passers.  It is a great way to connect while staying safe.  They have decorated their carts for a Christmas theme and this week they are decorating for Easter.

I saw in the news that one neighborhood was all stepping out to music every evening and dancing.  Just one or two songs, just a quick, "here we are and we are OK" fun way to check in with each other.


Weeroll Camper News

Debra emailed me.  She had made reservations for Anastasia State Park (near St. Augustine, FL) for camping four nights in late March 2021.   I followed suit and made a reservation.  Then I wondered if we will be out of this crisis by then.  Will we still be waiting for a vaccine?   The only way I see this ending is we find a vaccine or we all get it and either grow immunity or die. 

The shutter-in-place strategy is trying to buy time so that the hospitals can have enough ventilators and equipment and staff to deal with the number of cases.

I then felt guilty about spending the money to make the reservation.  I vowed to donate an equal amount to help those struggling financially through this.

I spent an hour or two one cooler afternoon fixing the door screen on the Weeroll.  I am gluing steel washers below the door threshold and then sewing magnets into the hem of the screen.   I need about four more small magnets.



I was hoping to use those fridge magnets.  I have several of them, but they are not strong enough to hold the screen to the washers.

Bill, my friend that gave me the 12 volt battery wrote to me after my last post and told me that I should fasten the battery box to the tool box and then put the battery in the box.  He also told me to fasten everything down in the trailer.   Since it doesn't have shocks, like an RV, things will bounce around a lot.  So I have to keep that in mind as I decorate the trailer, I knew I was going to have to put in D hooks to strap down things. I will have to keep that in mind.  Thanks again, Bill!


Writing, Riding, Socializing

Some writers are really getting a lot of writing done during this safer-at-home time.  That is not me.

My books were selling at an OK clip until about a week ago.  Then the sales just stopped.  I know that if I publish another book it will help, but the commitment isn't there.  Just call me "Wishy-washy Suzy".

What are you doing?  

I bet you are doing great things.  I bet you are sewing facemasks or delivering meals or helping elder folks use Zoom or Facetime to visit their family or friends.

 Not me.  I am: calling and Face-timing friends; going to the pool because we can space ourselves out and chat; driving 40 minutes to Brooksville to ride a trail there; washing my hands; cleaning surfaces; and checking the news.  

Speaking of Brooksville.  I rode the streets from there to go feed the goats.  They were anxious for good veggie scraps, I could tell.


 Sometimes I will post on Facebook a bit of news that I think is reliable and good information.  Then I spend time responding to comments.  Sometimes I have to take the post down because it turned out to either be partially false when I checked on Snopes.com or it was causing too much political defense from both sides of the aisle.   We are walking a narrow line on Facebook these days.  No wonder so many people just post puppy videos. 

Glen and Debra and I set out to ride Turner Camp Road to the end the other day.  But the traffic was a bit too much for Debra and she turned around.  Glen and I went to the end and stopped at Potts Preserve.  The ranger was there and he told me I could bike in to use the toilet.  I think it is open for hiking, but I won't do that alone.  Anyone have good GPS and want to go for a hike?  6 feet of separation, of course. 

Potts preserve is where George and I got lost on the trails and ended up spending the night on the trail in February of 2016.   I will remember to take my cell phone this time and to let others know when and where I am going.

 



On my way to Brooksville I stopped at McDonald's and got a sandwich from the drive-up window.  It was my first time doing take-out since the "safer-at-home" efforts.  I learned that McDonald's is now delivering!  Wow.

I tipped the cashier... I have never done that at McDonald's before.  Strange times.

Stay safe... and let me know what you are doing these days.


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Trippin' Again - Flying to Pheonix, Weeroll Design

March 6, 2020

Hello Friends, Family, and Followers,

I am sitting at the Tampa airport.  I have a couple hours before we fly and thought I would dash off a note to you.  Life is more fun when shared, after all.


I have a keyboard that connects to my iPad by Bluetooth.  I packed it and brought it along in case I felt like writing to you.  But guess what!  I packed the keyboard in the pannier that I checked as luggage.   So my fingers may fumble a little more than usual as I peck this out with my thumbs on the touch screen.

It is Friday and I am flying to Phoenix, AZ.  I first made plans to do this when my sister-in-law announced in September or October that she was going to have a celebration for her 80th birthday.  I have not been to Phoenix and don't remember much about AZ.  I am sure I must have been to AZ at one time, maybe as a tween when we visited the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.

Initially when I booked the flight I was going to ship or check as baggage my own recumbent trike.  But then I connected with friends that used to ride the Withlacoochee with us and it turns out they, Bob and Rose, have an extra trike they can loan me for my whole trip!   So much easier.  So if I can figure out how to post my pictures, I will be posting pics of the trike and what I see along the way.



The Weeroll


I took measurements of my new camper, Weeroll.  Debra and Frankie and I went on an outing to IKEA to get ideas and stuff.  I had never been to one and I had been told it was an experience.  The nearest one was in Tampa.  I didn't get anything big like furniture.  I did get some battery operated lights.  And we had a great lunch.  IKEA has a buffet and my big breakfast was less than $5.00.

My friend Mari told me when she couldn't sleep she was planning ways I could furnish and decorate my camper, complete with storage baskets under the bench style bed.

That gave me the idea to share my measurements with you.  When I return from this trip later in March, I will start purchasing and working on getting the trailer furnished.  I like getting ideas, so feel free to design away.  The key is I have a mini fridge to put in the camper.  I don't have the dimensions with me,  but it is at least 2 1/2 feet deep, and at least 22 inches wide...  I plan to put the microwave on top of it.








One day I got a call from a neighbor, my Weeroll was parked in the wrong spot.  He met me over at the corral and I was able to back up my van to hook up pretty easy.  Then I drove to an empty parking lot to practice some more.  I got a new slot to park in and I was thrilled because it was a straight back-in.  Not a 90 degree turn which I have not come close to doing well yet.


I am very proud to have backed the Weeroll into its slot and unhook all by myself.  Lesson learned, be sure to disengage the ball lock before lowering the front wheel.

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...