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  • Writer's pictureBen R

The Heat is On!

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

It's been quite hot and humid here in Minnesota, just as I see it's in many other parts of the country. It has become that time of year where I either get up super early (for me like 5:30am) or wait until evening to go cycling. I just finished my second ever century ride a week ago from this past Saturday. I'm proud that I managed to hydrate and consume carbs intelligently to sit on the bike for nearly 8 hours. I was definitely feeling it the last 10 miles, but had enough in the tank to finish strong. My partner was sweet enough to make me a little congratulatory spot in our garage. Though she didn't know, I actually managed 105 miles total. The shirt is awesome!

I have been cycling fairly consistently since the middle of June. When I'm "not spending time in the saddle", I've spent a number of hours in our yard; weeding, watering the numerous plants we have, watering said lawn, and watching in amusement this family of 3 chipmunks pop their heads up and down repeatedly in our back yard.

As my partner and I have been learning yard maintenance with a new house, we are definitely learning from some mistakes.

  1. We realized a few weeks ago that we initially fertilized our yard too soon. We are using natural fertilizer, due to having dogs. Earthworm poop was used back in April I believe, but when you live in Minnesota, you sometimes don't think about hard freezes overnight. Unfortunately we had several more afterwards and that messed up the nitrates getting into the soil properly. Now we just put some down the other week and have been watering it.

  2. Of course, living in Minnesota, you get to experience all types of weather and conditions. Now since the end of June it's become very humid, little wind, and no rain. Guess what enjoys hot, humid conditions with moisture? Mushrooms! We have learned that we must back off on watering daily. Thankfully the little mushrooms are easy to dig up from the grass. Don't want our dogs eating them!

As we all know, Covid is still going on and might be rearing it ugly head at a greater rate in the coming months. Last week, I was in the mood to try and educate others about mask wearing and systemic racism. I was not successful. It often disappoints, and sometimes angers me to see online and in the news, how ignorant and selfish people are. I really worry about our future generation if we can not teach accountability to others. Humans are notorious for repeating history. Anyways, I won't go on with this as there's plenty of evidence out there for anyone to find and research on.

That does remind me to say that I have a members only forum on this website. Please sign up and let's have discussions. I have set up topics on mental health and Covid, but I don't mind if you want to discuss the heated race issue. All of these issues can and does affect mental health! While I'm promoting, I also have a Facebook page under the same name as the website.

What else have it been up to?

I had a little fun in our backyard with placing a few of our football team gnomes in our landscaping. The one pictured is a little bashful! :)

I haven't heard anything from my employer of when or if we will be returning to work anytime soon. I have to say, I'm a little disappointed in not hearing from our president on any updates or what the company might have or be planning. If this is your first post read, I work for a company that works with individuals with disabilities in a day program and out in the community. Obviously, we have to take our clients safety into consideration, but I'm not sure if many of the staff would even feel safe going back at this time, considering the rise in daily cases.

I recently did another Zoom online presentation for a group of local nursing students. I was one of 3 speakers who shared their story on dealing with mental illness. The presentation ended up being really good, with lots of questions from the students and their instructor. I give myself a little pat on the back for suggesting to the NAMI organizer to implement a Q & A after each person's presentation. I went first, and the response was wonderful. You often hear in presentations that you wait until the presenter is finished before asking questions. I disagree with that format. Forty-five minutes or longer for a presentation is a long time to recall what questions might pop up in an audiences mind during that time. As we all know, attention spans aren't the greatest. I've always received a lot more out of a presentation that includes audience participation. With remote meetings, the urge to zoom out or become distracted is more prevalent.

One final part of this blog post is an exciting announcement!

We got a new puppy!

Meet Hazel, an 8 week old petite bernedoodle. She is very observant, sweet and loving, and has a great temperament. She's overall, well behaved, but she is still a puppy. I'm learning a lot from my partner on how to train puppies. She has been mostly sleeping as I write this blog post. Yay!

We are not putting her around our old gal, Fiona, who seems to keep rebounding after we think we are going to have to put her down. We don't want Hazel to accidentally hurt Fiona, as she is already heavier than Fiona. Doesn't take much. Our other dog, Lola, is definitely playing the disinterest game, but hopefully they will start interacting more. Hazel has already started to inch closer and closer each day.

I think we are very fortunate to have gotten her from a wonderful breeder. She was not scarred at all last night with the 4th of July fireworks. I know she misses her 3 other sisters and brothers, but she seems to be warming up to everyone just fine. I've had my parents over a couple time to play with her.

Can't wait to post more pictures as her personality develops in the months to come. She will be between 15-20 lbs when full grown.

In summary: Overall, my mental health is a lot better than it was a month ago. While things going on still get to me, I'm doing better of moving on with the day to day. Having a puppy certainly keeps one distracted! Haha


  • I will be starting a new anti-depressant medication tomorrow. It's not that the old one didn't work. It's more of an issue of a certain side effect from its use. Please wish me luck!

  • Again, I want to encourage my readers to use the forum to post any questions or comments you may have.

  • I'm going to be doing live video check-ins on my Facebook page during the coming weeks, so make sure you like and follow my page for announcements on when I will be doing so. It might be difficult to do them around 7pm CST, as we are active with the new puppy, so look for times of 11-1, 5-7 or after 10 for the live videos. Those are current kennel times for Hazel.

One more item: I'm planning to do a post (video preferably) soon on dealing with Alzheimers. My father is in the moderate stages. I might actually do it live as I'd like to hear from others on how they coop with a parent with this terrible disease. It has definitely affected my mental health at times.

Until next time...

Stay safe, stay hydrated. Remember you are Not Alone. Together, we are Stronger!


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