From Rebecca: Thanksgiving and my mom Betty Lee

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, the holiday where we celebrate the gathering of Pilgrims and Native Americans to give thanks for friendship and abundance. Traditionally we celebrate it with a big meal that we eat with as many family members as possible, where we say what we are thankful for, and then after the meal we fall asleep will watching football on television. The holiday is about family, tradition, gratitude, and food.

It was one of my mother’s favorite holidays. Betty Lee was big on counting your blessings, but she also really loved that every few years her birthday was the same day as Thanksgiving. Last Sunday I had conversations about her with my father and with my sisters. She passed away almost four years ago, and we are thinking about her a lot. We aren’t going to be all together this year, instead we are having small gatherings in our own homes. I never realized how much she and my step-father did to get us together for the holidays and birthdays until she passed away. Without her calling with the time, place, and expectation to be there for family get-togethers, we just don’t get many of them arranged anymore. We do see and talk to each other a lot, so that is good. Maybe the big meal together is more for families that are far apart from one another. We are blessed to live as close as we do. We are not as close as we would like to be my step-father, but we try to keep in touch as much as we can.

My mom and step-father, when they were still in good health, loved going places and talking to people. In restaurants they knew the servers and managers, in banks they knew the tellers, and in grocery stores they knew many of the cashiers. They really liked knowing about other people and had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. If someone had trouble and needed help, my mom and step-father would give that help if they could. Mom loved keeping in contact with people on the internet, especially Facebook. My sister Marjorie has inherited these traits. She also likes keeping up with a wide circle of friends on the internet. When I go to restaurants with her, she knows all the servers and managers. They stop by the table for a minute on the way by to chat with her and she cares about many of them. At one place, she is such friends with a few of the servers that for a while she was giving them rides to and from work when they had trouble with transportation. Mom would be so proud of Marjorie.

Mom also spent her life exploring her spiritual path, inner truth, and how to live her faith. She sometimes explored paths that were different from those her family, and sometimes society, were following, like A Course in Miracles. She followed her own sense of inner right and wrong, while accepting that others had different views. My sister Jennifer also explores her inner spiritual truth and how to live her faith. She participates in her church and struggles with how to follow her path and God’s plan for her. Her father, mother, and sisters are not a part of her church and that faith, but she is true to herself by choosing to be there. She also uses her artistic skills to help others who are in pain because of tragic loss. Mom would be so proud of Jennifer.

I am not sure what I share with Mom, other a love of books, but I know that her life on earth flows through us and with us into the world. I am so thankful that she was my mom. It is one of the things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving, along with my dad, sisters, step-father, nephews, niece, brother-in-law, husband, mother-in-law, my friend Joe, and my other friends. Mom was a big believer in going around the Thanksgiving meal table and saying our list of what we are thankful for each year.

I know there are people who do not celebrate Thanksgiving the same way, and see it in light of the eventual oppression of the Native people of this land by the European people. I am aware that the Natives got the short end of every deal they made with the people and nation that followed the help that tribe gave the Pilgrims that first pivotal year. But I love the spirit of two different groups gathering together to celebrate friendship, generosity, and achievement. The Pilgrims had lost so many in the ocean crossing and the first devastating winter. Then, with help, they learned to live off the land and grow crops in their new home. They had food and skills to go into another winter from a better position. In gratitude, they invited their teachers to a feast, to celebrate having an abundance to share. We honor that meal with our holiday.

So if you are in the United States and participate in Thanksgiving, may you have a good meal and great company. If you don’t celebrate the holiday, may you still have many blessings to give thanks for this year. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Crazy day after yesterday’s technology problems

Greetings, readers. I’m not quite certain what happened with my computer yesterday, but it was very slow going. I don’t think it was a virus because my anti-virus checker didn’t find one. However, the two separate scans needed to solve the issue took most of the work day. My computer runs terribly slow when the virus checker is active.

As for today, Rebecca and I are going to work on the website dealing with my health insurance. We obviously couldn’t do that with a computer that might have had a virus. I figure that this job will take a good chunk of our work day today. This is why I am typing in the blog entry. Rebecca will edit it when she arrives, which will save time.

To be honest, I didn’t get the computer working correctly until an hour or more after Rebecca left yesterday. It’s a good thing that it wasn’t our back-up-files day because neither one of us wanted to put our flash drives into the funky acting computer. I am confident that all issues have been taken care of. As we work today, time will tell if my computer is still running slow or if we will be able to use it for work as needed.

Well, until next week, take care, have a great weekend and happy reading.

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Hawaii Five-O classic ’68 to ’79

Greetings, readers. As a binge TV watcher, the latest show that I have been enjoying is the classic Hawaii Five-O. The way I have been enjoying it recently is that I will watch one episode per season. Watching it that way makes it very easy to see how much Jack Lord aged during those years. Hawaii Five-O was one of my favorite programs along with The Waltons and M.A.S.H when I was youth. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs downs for this series, classic Hawaii Five-O.

In 1968, when the series began, the 30-something Jack Lord had a look and feel of a James Bond. Everyone wore short hair, thin ties, and polished shoes. Steve McGarrett was the super cop, the head of the fictitious state police. To me the first season was hysterically funny although the series was a drama. Characters Chin Ho, Kono, and Dan Williams, when asked if they knew anything about the case, would always reply something to the effect that they had no new information. This would leave super-cop McGarrett to be the one who figures out the crime. After a season or so of this, thank goodness, CBS decided to change the format slightly. The other characters added more and didn’t appear so stupid. Steve McGarrett, however, remained the one who always cracked the case.

In the early years, when I was a youth, Steve McGarrett had a wonderful black car, a 1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham. From season 8 to season 12, his classic car was replaced with a new model. I liked the old one better. I read on the internet that a car collector purchased the original Hawaii Five-O Mercury. I wish I was that person; I would love to own that car.

At the end of season 10, Kam Fong, who played Chin Ho Kelly, wished to leave, so his character was killed off. That made me very upset because I liked him, yet it gave Jack Lord the opportunity to shine with his acting skills, as his character swore to Danno that he would not rest until he caught the killer of his friend. James MacArthur, who played Danno, hung around for one more year. No mention was ever said about where he went or what happened to him. For their final season, season 12, three new characters were created; Lori Wilson, the first female character to join the team, the Hawaiian strong man who played Truck, and Danny’s replacement, Kimo. I have to be honest, book him Kimo didn’t have the same ring as McGarrett’s catch phrase book him Danno.

Two quirks I have with the series; one minor and one major. The minor one I believe took place in season 9 where the Hawaii Five-O team was magically transported to a different building. I believe this was because the Iolani Palace was being renovated in real life. The major one, which makes me chuckle every time I see it, happens in the later seasons during car chases. One scene McGarrett will be driving his new Mercury Marquis, then the next scene he’ll whiz by in his old car, and back and forth it will go. Obviously the editors didn’t care; to them a black car with McGarrett in it was fine. When you have seen the episodes as many times as I have you can forget storylines and pick up little details like this. To them cutting and slicing was probably being cost-effective, to me I call that bad editing.

I did give the new Hawaii Five-O that started about 4 seasons ago a trial run. Although it is still on the air, I don’t watch it. To me there will only be one Hawaii Five-O, what Netflix streaming calls Hawaii Five-O (1968) Classic .

That’s our post for today. Feel free to chime in with your favorite shows in the comments, and for my friends on Facebook and Twitter, leave a comment on there if you wish. So have a good day, bundle up if you are in the deep freeze, take care and happy reading.

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Top ten list of favorite holidays

Greetings, readers. Today’s top ten list, as you can see by the title, is my favorite holidays. So here they are and one through five are in order.

#10. Valentine’s Day [I used to love this holiday, but with my luck with the opposite gender not being so good, this holiday has slipped way down on my list.]

#9. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day [When Mom and Dad were alive, I would get them nice gifts and sometimes I would buy Mom flowers. Now that they are both gone, I visit their gravesites on those days.]

#8. Memorial Day [As a kid I loved Memorial Day for on that weekend the Indianapolis 500 race would be on TV. It is one of my favorite sporting events. Also this holiday meant the end of the school year was soon approaching and summer time would soon begin.]

#7. Labor Day [This is the day where the workers of the United States are honored, and when I was a kid it meant the end of summer and school would begin the next day.]

#6. St. Patrick’s Day [It is an Irish holiday and the tradition is that everyone should dress up with some green in their outfit. I always enjoyed doing this. A couple of years ago I plumb forgot and was teased, though in fun, by my friends at Panera Cafe. I also enjoy the holiday because green just happens to be one of my favorite colors.]

#5. 4th of July [When I was living at home, I would always watch the New York Macy’s 4th of July fireworks, which was shown on a New York TV station that our cable company picked up. I watched it for at least a decade before they went with alternate programing. Now, kitty cat Keekee and I watch our local fireworks from the living room window on the top floor of my apartment building. The window faces Beaver Stadium where the fireworks are shown.]

#4. Easter [In my youth I enjoyed getting all dressed up in my Sunday best for church. Later when I officially became Catholic, I enjoyed getting palms on Palm Sunday and attending midnight Mass on Easter Eve. Many good memories with Mom and Dad over those years.]

#3. Thanksgiving [Another one of my biggies. As a family oriented person, I always enjoyed holidays such as Thanksgiving where the family got together, watched parades, football, and eat that delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. This year I am going to watch my parade as usual and partake of the Thanksgiving meal served at one of the local diners. I did that last year and found the day quite satisfying.]

#2. New Year’s Day [New Year’s Eve and Day go together for me. I would always watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, drink some champagne with Mom and Dad on the stroke of midnight. On the day itself, one of my favorite things to do was watch the Cotton bowl game on New Year’s morning. After a day of football and making New Year’s resolutions, the holiday season draws to a close.]

#1. Christmas [My all time favorite holiday. Even as a small child, I knew Mom and Dad bought the presents but I still believed in Santa Claus. I always enjoyed watching Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a wonderful story told be Burl Ives in that version. In recent years, I concentrate more on the meaning of Christmas, buying myself only a small present perhaps, but I do decorate my tiny apartment. Watching such classics as A Christmas Carol, and TV channel 11’s Yule Log, are must dos, along with plenty of egg nog in between Christmas and New Year’s Day.]

Well, there they are. Most of them are in order. As always please feel free to chime in with your list. Add it on Facebook if you wish. I know that people of other faiths and in other countries celebrate different holidays, and feel free to share about those too.

As always, have a good day and weekend, take care, and happy reading.

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Week off yielded good results

Greetings, readers. Yes, Rebecca and I are back at it after a week off. I felt I needed it to get some personal things in order. Overall, I would say that the week off was a success. I took the figurative bulldozer to my bedroom and struck bed. I must admit that after three years of sleeping in a recliner, climbing into a comfy clean bed felt good. Now, I know that I am doing things that an early teenager should be doing. Well, guess what, I started my training late.

Rebecca told me this, and she is correct, that having specific goals is the key. To say that I am going to clean my room at some point is all well and good, but to say I’m going to have my place presentable for company around Christmas time is a stronger goal with more motivation. I must always remember, however, with my health ailments, I can only do it a little at a time. I must choose my battles.

Since returning from camp the second week of August, I have successfully changed my sleeping schedule, made good progress on my apartment, passed my inspection, and have taken steps to deal with my depression. I would give the last three months a B grade for my objectives. Rebecca told me many times that I have said in the past I’m going to do something and it never gets done, or stays done. This time I am happy to report not only am I surprising her, I am also surprising myself.

On a very brief side note, cold weather is here in central Pennsylvania. The storm that came over Alaska and came through the mid-west, is here tonight. Yesterday’s high: a pleasant 61; tonight’s overnight low: a frosty 30. I am glad that I will be inside. Last night, a bus driver told me about something she heard, which I had not heard about yet: a phenomenon called flash freezing, where the temperature can drop 10 to 20 degrees within minutes. I’m not sure about that short amount of time, but perhaps in a half hour. She said that might happen here, but luckily it didn’t. I shall continue to enjoy all the sunny days I can get, even if they are cold, for sunny days with blue sky lifts my feelings of depression.

Okay folks, I’m done babbling. This coming Friday look for a top ten list, and a From Rebecca in the near future. So, until Friday stay warm, be happy, take care and happy reading.

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Update for this week – 11/5 – 11/7, 2014

Greetings, readers. This is Rebecca and my week off from work. I’m not sure if we mentioned that last Friday. So, this very short entry is to say hi, wish you all a good week and weekend & tell you that blogs will be back on Wednesday, the 12th. :-D Until then, take care and happy reading.

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Keekee got a glowing report at the vet and happy Halloween

Greetings, readers. This is something I have not done before. I am dictating the blog today, Thursday, to have it ready to review and publish tomorrow, Friday. I’m doing this because I need tomorrow to be a big creation day. So let’s just pretend it is Friday.

As you read this second paragraph, Keekee will have been home a whole day and hopefully will not be mad at Daddy anymore. I had a hell of a time getting her into her pet carrying case. I only use it to take her to the vet, so she knows what is going on. Yesterday was her semi-annual senior wellness check. How lovely. I understand that keeping Keekee healthy is a priority, but twice a year for 80 plus dollars? And more if there is to be blood work done. Well, if it means keeping Keekee healthy until she is 15 or so, my accountant will just have to live with it, because she is extremely high on my priorities list.

After Rebecca and I review and edit this, I’m going to begin dictating a new story for camp book 3. That project is going slower than I want it to, but it is going. My other project, The Parlor’s Secret, is not only not off the runway, it hasn’t even left the gate yet. What I need to do for that project is put on some music without words and dive into it, typing the first draft myself. I need to see the events of the story as if I were watching a movie. After a good chunk of it is completed, I will hand it over to Rebecca for editing.

Very soon now I have to leave, calling the work day early, because I have to get ready for Keekee’s appointment. [As the title says, Keekee got a glowing report and, besides one bad tooth, she is perfectly healthy. Vitals are perfect, coat and skin are healthy, and her eyes are clear and beautiful.]

So have a happy Halloween, a great weekend, stay warm if it is cold, take care and happy reading.

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I’m on a budget now

Greetings, readers. After three or four months of continuously spending too much money, I’ve decided to make a budget on paper and try to stick to it. I need it on paper because that can be copied onto a computer document; I’ll be able to see it and work with it. For me it is always better when I can see something and adjust it as needed.

My accountant has not been happy with me because I’ve been spending way too much money. So this morning, before our weekly meeting, I jotted down a preliminary budget that I am going to try in November. Expenditures include groceries, Zipcar rentals, medications, and trips to eat out. The first area I can work on is to cut down going to places like Panera and Denny’s. That will be difficult, for I love to get my morning coffee and blueberry muffin while I have my computer time, usually at Panera. If my spending situation does not improve, I will probably be forced to make coffee at home and find something breakfast-like to munch on. Instant oatmeal comes to mind as a good choice. I had it every morning during my school years.

Downtown State College does not have a grocery store per se, but one of our drug stores close to me does have several food aisles. I’m going to compare prices with the other place I go to, which is right next door to me.

I’ve never been good at saving money. I’m not a big impulse spender by any means, but every once in a great while if I see something I just have to have it. Now that I am on my new budget, that is the first thing that will definitely be cut out. Impulse spending is a no-no.

Three of my biggest expenditures will be for Keekee, unfortunately. I have cat food to buy, cat litter, and of course her treats. Also there are her vet bills, like the upcoming check-up, but those are handled by the accountant. Keekee is my baby girl, and I’m not going to scimp on her.

Briefly on another topic. Apartment cleaning is going well. Slow, but well. I’ve made definite strides in the living room and bedroom; I do think Rebecca is proud of me. I have set a lofty but obtainable goal for myself. I am planning to have my accountant and his wife over for coffee or tea near Christmas time. I have that long to get the place in white glove inspection order. My accountant doesn’t believe I can do it. That is all the incentive I need. Haha.

Until Friday, take care, have a good few days, and as always, happy reading.

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Top ten list of places I want to visit or revisit

Greetings, readers. Something this morning made me think about all the places I’ve been and all the places I still wish to see before I die. I thought to myself, wow, there is a top ten list to work on today. Probably only the top three will be in order. So, without further ado, here we go.

#10. Walnut Grove, Minnesota. I would love to see the town made famous on Little House on the Prairie and visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum.

#9. Take a trip to Holland to visit the relatives.

#8. Catalina Island, California. I was there with my ex-wife Georgia once and it was beautiful.

#7. Los Angeles, California. Georgia and I did the tourist attraction bus tours. That was such fun. I would love to do it again.

#6. Wilmington, North Carolina. My friend David’s daughter is going to college there and she just loves it. It is about ten minutes away from the beach. If all goes well, I will see Wilmington at Emily’s graduation.

#5. Gottlieben, Switzerland and the Drakensberg castle, which I remember as a hotel. Gottlieben is a little town, and I do mean little, on the Rhine river. Back in the day, you could take boat rides to various points along the river.

#4. London, England. I would love to hop aboard a British Airways 747, fly to Heathrow airport, get on a double-decker tour bus and see the sights of London, including Big Ben and 65 Eaton Place.

#3. I would dearly love to cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas. Georgia and I had a wonderful ten-day cruise and it was one of the highlights of my life.

#2. While we are on the topic of cruising, two more ships come to mind. Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (my parents and I traveled on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 when I was a child. I was too young to realize what a wonderful experience it was.) Also I would love to go aboard the Princess cruise line’s Pacific Princess, aka the Love Boat.

#1. To continue to go to Bear Spring Camps in Maine for as many years as I can. It is my favorite place in the world.

There you have it; an easy peasey top ten list for a Friday. Take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

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Fish or cut bait

Greetings, readers. As the title implies, very soon it will be time to make up my mind whether to continue my writing ‘career’, or cut bait and move on to something else; like a real job. I’ve loved writing since my mid-20s, but lots of failed projects and the lack of book sales have got me down.

So far I have three small books and one play under my belt. Not a whole lot for someone who will turn 50 next July. I think about my pop a lot with his thirty scholarly books, uncounted essays, teaching notes for classes, and overseas lectures. Should I compete with my dad? Nope. Do I sometimes? Oh yeah.

What job could I do? I think about that a lot. My body won’t allow me to do work that requires strength or balance. My dream job, being an airline pilot, was taken from me when my seizures began at age 16. Now that I’m fully medicated I might be able to drive a cab, but I’d probably get lost around town. Lol. There’s a toy store in the next block over from my apartment. Perfect….. I think. Maybe I’ll apply. Can you sense my uncertainty?

Anyway, as far as the here and now, we’ll keep blogging and writing stories for camp book 3. Fear not. I’m not depressed. We’re just stuck in the mud in 1st gear again. Grr.

Until Friday, take care, have a great day and happy reading.

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