From Rebecca: Joe getting ready for camp

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Joe is very busy today getting ready to leave and go to camp this week. He has lists of things to do and he is checking off items at a fast pace.

It is a beautiful day to do errands in State College. The weather is cooler and the sun is out; perfect for driving or walking around.

I will be doing a few blog entries while Joe is gone, though I am not sure of the exact days yet. I will be writing to you from the local library, as Joe will have with him the laptop we usually use. I love our library, so this will not be a hardship.

As Joe would say, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

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Blog entry #300!

Greetings, readers. It has been almost a year since my 200th blog post. On these milestones, I usually share about how the blog is doing, but I recently wrote about the most popular entries in a different post. After much thought, I’ve decided to share with my readers how this past year has gone for me from camp last August to camp this August. I did plenty of writing for the blog and that work is shaping up wonderfully. Other writing projects, however, not so much. This was the worst year I’ve suffered through in a long time when it came to writing a book. No one is to blame, it just happened that way. When I returned home from camp last August, Rebecca and I agreed that I should broaden my horizons and write a mystery novel or some other bigger work. At the time I was all for that; it never happened. Fiction is not my forte yet.

Also last fall, I was battling through depression and really not feeling all that great about myself. Recently I’ve taken appropriate steps, i.e. finding a psychologist and I’ve made strides toward having a much better mental outlook.

Yes, this old worry wort continued to get grey hair this past year, sulking over many things, but I recently have come to understand that I should only worry about things I can change, not about what I can’t. After much reflection, I have had quite a wonderful life, including a fabulous childhood. Sometimes I think kids don’t know exactly what they have at the time. I can remember not liking junior high or high school, and now wish that I can go back to those carefree days. One thing’s for sure, at least in my opinion, music and TV shows were more to my liking then.

This past year I did all the things that I told myself I would do while I was at camp; including watched the Thanksgiving parade, took my traditional Christmas lights ride, watched the Christmas Yule Log with lovely Christmas music, watched the New Year’s Day bowl games, continued to perform my shows, visited Godmother while she was still alive, as I tried to keep up with my writing.

I can’t believe that it’s this late in the summer already and it’s time to go to camp once again. Even though it is only for one week a year, I really do live for it. Recently I told myself that perhaps this will be my final year there. Time will tell, but the biggest factor will be my monetary situation. Money permitting, I will probably always do something every August.

To close this 300th entry, I would like to thank each and every one of my readers for your loyalty, and both Rebecca and I hope that you have enjoyed the entries since our 200th post. So far this is the only entry that is going to be saved to a draft until it is time to be published. I wanted to be sure to do this before I went away to camp. Again, many thanks, and look forward to another 100 blog entries and more.

While I am away at camp, Rebecca will be keeping up the blog. She will post at least two entries.  Have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

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Can’t believe it’s almost time to go to Maine again

Greetings, readers. This will be a short one folks, because time got away from us. One week from tomorrow, I will be leaving for my annual trek to Bear Spring Camps in central Maine. It seems like it was just Christmas and now it is summer vacation. Am I ready to go? Mentally yes. Do I have all things packed away and ready? No. Far from it. I have laundry to do, supplies to purchase, a rental car to get; the list goes on and on. My mother was always so good at making the last-minute trip preparations; I am still a work in progress. Each summer I seem to do one thing better than the year before.

I’ve begun a list of things to take and number one on that list is Mom’s beloved binoculars. Will camp be ruined if I forget them? No. But sometimes they do come in handy. Other things that are going to go on that list: a flashlight with batteries, my radio, a box of CDs to play in the rental car, and at least one hoodie for those cooler evenings.

Kitty-cat Keekee has already begun to mope. Somehow, I think she knows that I am leaving. Her yearly shedding has begun early. But I know that she will be in good hands as Rebecca will take care of her. I’ll be at camp from August 2nd until the 9th, returning home on the 10th. Then it is back to work for us that coming Wednesday. It is such a short break but for me it is needed; I just get this craving to get out of town at least once a year. This coming May I will also be away for a week as my best friend David’s younger daughter graduates college.

On Friday, the already-written 300th blog post will go up. Rebecca and I think it is a good one. Until then, stay cool – we’re having a heat wave – take care, and happy reading.

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Top ten list of things I loved about my college years

Greetings, readers. Recent reflection, walking around the State College area, allowed me the opportunity to reflect back on my college days. I went to Pennsylvania State University after graduating from Mt. Aloysius Junior College. Many happy memories came from those years.

#10. The freedom I felt at leaving home for the first time. [I think most late teenagers experience this.]

#9. The college romance. [I almost asked my junior college girlfriend to marry me.]

#8. The learning experiences. [Learning, yes; test taking, no.]

#7. The socializing. [The dances, the socials, and those crowded cafeteria times.]

#6. From my Penn State days, the small bowling alley they used to have. [At one time I was actually a pretty good bowler; had a 144 average.]

#5. From my junior college days, the game room. [I spent many hours there shooting billiards and listening to the pop music on the juke box. Sometimes Paula and I would grab a mid-evening burger and shake.]

#4. Penn State football weekends. [Sometimes the evening noise level does get to me, I'll admit, but there is nothing like the collegiate football atmosphere on a Saturday afternoon.]

#3. At Pattee Library at Penn State, they had a music listening room. [I spent many happy hours listening to classical CDs, both from the library and the music I brought in.]

#2. The occasional walk around the Penn State campus on a sunny warm day.

#1.Graduation.

That’s my top ten list of college memories. Please feel free to chime in with your own and leave them in the comment section.

Until next time, have a great weekend, enjoy summer, and happy reading.

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Recent aviation news, including Malaysia flight 17

Greetings, readers. Yesterday I learned that a second Malaysia airlines flight met with a disastrous end. I wish to send condolences from both Rebecca and I to the families of the victims of both Malaysia airline tragedies. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

Yesterday was also the anniversary of the downing of TWA flight 800, on July 17, 1996. I wish to send condolences to the families from this too. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

On a brighter aviation note, Rebecca told me about a women named Amelia Rose Earhart who recently completed her flight around the world; the same trip that the original Amelia Earhart began but didn’t finish when she and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared. Congratulations to both Ms. Earhart and her co-pilot Shane Jordon.

Take care, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

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My life today

Greetings, readings. What a beautifully cool day it is in State College, Pennsylvania. When I say cool, I mean mid-70s with low humidity. I’ll take that any day I can get it. After the torrential rains we’ve had the last few days, to have a day like this is very welcomed.

Rebecca and I are having our usual Wednesday, which includes our meeting with the accountant, as well as doing the Wednesday blog entry. As I am dictating this, I’m trying to fight with my back, which is acting up. I’ve canceled my afternoon plans and will just take it easy when the work day is done.

My regular readers might know that we are approaching blog entry #300. In case that time comes when I’m gone at camp, Rebecca and I will work on that entry, and save it to draft, so that it can be posted even if I am not here. Don’t worry, it will be something better than a plain old top ten list. Haha. Just what the topic will be, however, is as yet undecided.

The arts festivals which finished this last Sunday were big successes, and it seems so strange to have the town quiet again. The set-up/take down crew worked through the night and dodged rain drops to get Allen Street open for traffic again. I only walked through that section of the festival a couple of times this year, but just to see all the children playing and having fun while their parents bought arts and crafts, was a pleasure. We won’t see this kind of hustle and bustle again until late August, when students move back in to the dorms and the first Penn State home football weekend takes place; and yes, I did say football weekend. We like to make it a party instead of just a game.

Until Friday, take care, have a great day, enjoy the weather if you have good weather, and happy reading.

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Mid-July means arts and crafts

Greetings, readers. This Friday’s blog entry begins by talking a little bit more about the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. It has been going on as long as I can remember and attracts hundreds of thousands of people a year. For local businesses in the downtown area it is an economic boost. A store owner once told me that he relies on Arts Festival week and the home football games of Penn State to keep his business going until the holiday shopping season.

I’ve walked down Allen Street only a couple of times so far this year but have seen many, many people enjoying the music, the good food, and the sidewalk sales. My favorite thing to do, which helps on a hot day like this, is to walk through a man-made area with ferns and shrubbery while a gentle cool mist comes down from a hose over top. It is so refreshing. The little children enjoy the water-dumping machine. Buckets fill with water, get too heavy, and tip over on the waiting children. Gleeful screams and laughter can be heard all day long from this area. I remember about five years ago when State College was having a rather nasty heat wave, I emptied my pockets and walked under the water buckets clothes and all; it felt so good.

For serious Arts Festival folks, the sales booths go up the Penn State campus, almost to Pattee Library, and wander around to some of the side streets of campus and downtown. At specific venues there are live music events as well. It can be a daunting day out if it is hot and humid; but people shouldn’t worry, because there are always bottled water and lemonade stands. Artists create wood sculptures, they make leather goods, and many people either paint or sketch. People come from near and far for the variety of artists. The festival is so big each year and there are only so many slots to fill. Many artists come back as many years as they can.

There’s also a festival called the People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts out in Boalsburg PA, not far from here. It was started several years ago by local artists who couldn’t get a spot at the one downtown. They run simultaneously and as far as I know both are attended well. I’ve personally not been to the one in Boalsburg because it is hard for me to get out there and the one here in town in almost at my front door.

As for Rebecca and I, next week will be a regular work week, complete with two blog entries. We are giving much thought to the upcoming 300th blog post. Both of us want to make it something special.

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

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My computer’s woes are temporarily fixed

Greetings, readers. This past Tuesday, I took the five-year-old laptop to Best Buy, here in State College, for what I’d hoped would be a quick fix of my internet issue, for not that much money. I was pleasantly surprised. After about fifteen minutes, and within my budget, I left the store with a working computer. Thumbs up to the Geek Squad! :-)

My plan, as I’ve told Rebecca, is to keep this current laptop running until at least Christmastime. This past week’s technology grr put that hope in grave doubt. But again, the Geek Squad came through with flying colors. The gentleman took my computer behind the curtain to their back office, where of course I couldn’t see what he was doing to it. So I’m not sure whether it was a toggle fix, a re-download of a command, or just what it was. I would feel silly if I found out that the fix was something I could have done myself. In my defense, I tried everything I knew to try. I hope this doesn’t happen again, because as stated, it is very important to both of us to keep this computer going for another few months.

We’re going to wrap up this Thursday blog entry now, as Rebecca and I have a couple of errands to do outside the office. We will be dodging the crowds of this years Arts Festival, and smelling the aromas of the delicious food. I love summer and this mid-July event.

Until tomorrow, when we will have a usual blog entry up, take care and happy reading.

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Happy 4th of July… a few days late :-(

Greetings, readers. Happy 4th of July to everyone. I sincerely hope that you will be able to see this on the 4th of July. I’m having massive internet issues at the moment and said blog entry is being created on my word processing program. If the internet connection resolves itself, later I will be able to copy and paste this into the blog program and add tags and a category. Wish me luck.

The laptop that Rebecca and I use is a five-year-old ASUS brand which has been a Sherman tank. I really love it. With it we have put out the three books and all the blog entries that you have enjoyed. Sadly, I fear the old laptop is coming to the end of its twilight years. Time will tell.

We got an early start today and that’s okay with me because I have a full day of plans set for myself. Later on I plan to go to Panera, which is open today, and read the rest of Darren’s first three chapters. And of course tonight I will be watching the fireworks display from my apartment window, which looks out towards Beaver Stadium. I am on the top floor of my building, giving me a great view. It should be gloriously cool tonight with low humidity. The last two days and nights have been scorchers. My rule of thumb for fireworks evening is I turn off the AC and open the windows, so that Keekee and I can hear the kabooms as we watch the lights show. With temperatures expected to fall into the 50s, I may need to wear my hoodie.

4th of July is one of those days I look forward to every year. When I was younger, I always thought of summer in three phases. Phase one was from when the school year would end in early June. Phase two begins today. Not too long from now, preparations will be made to go to Maine once again, and the day I pull out to go to camp is the first day of phase three. When all the Penn State students arrive in late August, to me summer is over.

Getting nostalgic for a moment, today would have been the day that Dad would get out the old grill in the backyard, and have the first of two cookouts. We’d have steaks and corn on the cob with Hires root beer. His second cookout was usually right before we all went to camp.

Rebecca and I are going to wrap up this rather short entry so that we can edit and get back to trying to fix the internet issues. Enjoy your 4th of July, stay safe out there, have a great weekend and happy reading.

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From Rebecca: Techonology grrr 5

Happy belated 4th of July to everyone. Joe dictated and I typed an entry on Friday for the holiday, but the internet connection on Joe’s laptop is not working and we could not get to the internet in order to post the entry.

Joe is taking the laptop to an expert early this week, so hopefully the problem will be solved by Wednesday or Thursday. so he can do his blog posts this week (among other things he likes to use the internet for, like Facebook and iTunes). If you don’t see another entry from him this week, you’ll know he is still struggling with it.

So, as Joe would say, until next time, take care, have a good week, and happy reading.

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