Happy Friday and camp time approacheth

Greetings, readers. I cannot believe that a week from this evening I will be sitting in a Waterville, Maine motel room, getting ready to move into camp the next morning. I made my reservations for the motels and the rental car. That’s done. Even with my camp list made, I must remain alert so as to not forget something that I want to take. My memory issues have caused problems for me in the past. A few years ago, I forgot Mom’s beloved binoculars.

I have an updated list on my computer and will begin to check things off this afternoon. Since I’m sleeping on my recliner these days, I’ve decided to use my bed for the holding place for the things I will take. Clean clothes, of course, will be packed in the suitcase straight away. I don’t want kitty cat Keekee to sleep on my clean T-shirts; which she would do, if given the opportunity. I know for a fact Keekee will mope the second she sees the suitcase come out. Poor baby always does.

Quickly, here is a review of what I have achieved this past year, personally. I am most proud of two things. I promised myself last September that I would go to bed early and get up early. Rebecca kept it to herself, but I know that I have said that to her the previous years after camp and not followed through. This year I actually achieved that goal and feel healthier for it. Secondly, I promised myself that I was going to clean my apartment and keep it that way. Though I still have a little bit of work to do in a corner of the bedroom, I am no longer calling myself a hoarder. The living room is fairly neat, and the kitchen and bathroom are perfect, thanks to the help of Cathy from my building who helps me every other Sunday.

As for this coming year, I vow to do a lot more writing and reading. I plan to take a library book with me to camp to read in the evenings. That is something I’ve never done before. My biggest project is to have my bedroom perfect by next camp. I know I can do it.

While I’m gone, Rebecca will be doing blog entries from the library and taking care of Keekee. Her health and love to kitty cat is greatly appreciated. Also, Rebecca will handle the Wednesday meeting to give my mail to my accountant in case any important bills come in.

So, until after I return from Bear Spring Camps, enjoy Rebecca’s entries, take care and happy reading.

A heat wave in central Pennsylvania

Greetings, readers. For the first time in a number of weeks, the mercury is going to push past 90 degrees farenheit, and the humidity is atrocious. I’m not really complaining, because I froze my tailbone off this past winter. The last few days were in the low 80s with low humidity. Almost springlike. Then someone decided to turn up a thermostat. They could have done it a little more gradually.

In the springtime we had a lot of rain. Recently, not so much. Perhaps a passing thunderstorm, only lasting 15 to 20 minutes. This is quite normal for central Pennsylvania for this time of year. Knock on wood, we usually don’t get tornados because this area is too mountainous. We do get the strong storms with flash flooding.

I’ve been keeping tabs on the weather in Maine recently. This last week was a washout for campers. I’ll be arriving at Bear Spring on the 8th of August. Hopefully all that rain does its thing and moves on. I’m hoping for sunny and warmer so I can go boating, fishing, and swimming. The beauty about camp, though, is if it rains or it is cool, you can read a good book or play a game of Yahtzee while sitting in front of the fireplace.

I can’t believe that camp time is almost upon me again. This year went by so quickly. I longed for summer and its wonderful warmth, and here summertime is 2/3 complete. Not too long after I get back from Maine, the Penn State fall semester will be beginning, as well as college football. That time of year always brings cooler temperatures and changing colors on the leaves of the trees. I hate to say it, but in about 9 weeks, we will definitely begin to see a change in the daytime high temperatures. Where did my summer go? :-(

On Friday, we’ll have another blog entry for you, on a yet unknown topic. Until then, have a great couple of days, take care, and happy reading.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Greetings, readers. Especially, the new readers. Yesterday we had a five-star gold banner blog day. 115 views, by far the most views ever in a 24 hour period, excited me no end. When I checked the stats page at 11:30 last night I almost screamed. My average views per day is around 20, so you can see what a huge jump this was.

The blog entry Top ten list of things I like about Bear Spring Camps was not only fun for me to write, but my idea to link it to Peg Churchill’s camp Facebook page really did the trick. My idea was to share my good memories about this wonderful place with other people who go there. I did not expect so many people so quickly to read the entry, but I am most pleased and thankful that they did. I would like to welcome all my new readers and invite them to stay on board if they wish to. I have written about Bear Spring Camps in the past and will continue to do so. For those of you who checked out the archives, you’ll know that I do blog about many other topics as well.

A special thank you goes out to Peg Churchill herself and her husband Ron for creating the Bear Spring Camps Facebook page. It is a truly wonderful way for all the campers to keep up on news and look at gorgeous photos dealing with Bear Spring Camps.

Please do check out my tabs and let me know via Facebook or my blog’s comment section on a topic that you would like me to cover. I’m always open to new ideas. One thing I’ll let you know in advance, I really don’t do politics, because whether I bash the Democrats or the Republicans, it just makes me angry. I write my blog to feel good, not get upset.

Until Wednesday, have a fantastic weekend, take care, and as always happy reading.

Top ten list of things I like about Bear Spring Camps

Greetings, readers. This top ten list will be composed of wonderful experiences that have happened to me at Bear Spring Camps, which is located in central Maine. I’ve been going there for the better part of the last 45 years, and have loved every second of it. If there is a heaven on earth, that is it. And away we go with our countdown.

#10. The trip itself. [From the moment I leave the parking lot of my building to the moment I arrive at camp, I consider it to be part of the yearly experience. I truly savor every second.]

#9. Great Pond. [The lake is eight and a half miles long by three miles wide. There are plenty of great places to catch fish for those who like to do that. It is also very good for taking a pleasure ride in a boat, a kayak or a canoe, to explore all the nooks and crannies of the lake. Campers have lots of fun swimming by the shore, playing King of the Raft, and throwing a tennis ball around.]

#8. The shops in Belgrade Lakes. [Small town shopping in the general store and picking up souvenirs in the Maine Made Shop is a truly delightful experience. Both places have sweatshirts, hats, mugs, and other collectables dealing with the state of Maine. Day’s Store also has several aisles of groceries items.]

#7. Hearing crickets at night. [On the rare hot evening, I will leave the wooden cabin door open and listen to all of nature’s beauty.]

#6. Rain falling on the tin cabin roof. [It is a most relaxing way to sleep, unless you are afraid of storms. The only thing I get upset about is that fishing will be rained out the next morning.]

#5. Morning fishing excursions. [From the days of fishing with Cy Greco and Bob Smarz, to more recent excursions with Dave Trost and his family, I’ve always enjoyed going out to catch the big one, though I rarely do.]

#4. A good land day. [I learned this expression from my mother and it refers to sunny warm conditions, with too much wind over the water to make boating safe. It allows me to listen to music, to go on visits, or to go to town.]

#3. Bonfires. [Even though the wind can make them too smoky, I do like to sit around a good campfire and tell stories. I’ve been told I’m a good storyteller, and my little nephews and nieces just love it.]

#2. All the delicious food. [Since I was a youngster, I’ve looked forward to the delightful and delectable three square meals a day made from scratch. The breakfasts are my favorite and usually I will partake either of eggs or pancakes. The noon meal is what most of us call dinner, and Sunday chicken dinner with all the trimmings is number one with me. The evening meal is supper and consists of hot dogs, burgers, or perhaps yesterday’s dinner left-overs as a casserole. I have never been disappointed with BSC food.]

#1. All the wonderful people. [This is truly a generational place. The original owners’ granddaughter is now in charge and doing a great job. Also, the campers are multi-generational. I’ve known some folks since I was five years old. Others, I’ve known their whole lives.]

Well, that’s our list. I hope you’ve had as pleasant a time on your vacations as I’ve had on mine.

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

One video led to another

Greetings, readers. Last night I had a little bit of a set back in my routine. I was watching fun YouTube videos, mostly baseball bloopers and people giving foul balls to other folks. My favorite was from Fenway Park in Boston, where a 12-year-old boy handed his souvenir baseball to the little girl behind him. She looked at him and smiled with a facial expression that said if I was older I would mary you. The TV announcers were so impressed that they made sure the boy received one baseball from each of them.

The way my TV/PS3 set up works is that when a video is finished, it says on the screen ‘you may also like this’ with a selection of several video choices, and it is up to me to choose one. As the videos went on, I watched a military dad surprise his daughter during a baseball game, a military mom surprise her daughter at a football game and, after ten minutes, the suggestions turned into just war veterans returning home.

After fifteen minutes of watching kids cry as their mommies and daddies surprised them, I found myself getting into a melancholy mood and the tears started flowing. I took my psychologist’s advice and stopped. It was time to find classic NFL games and watch them instead. One problem, I got lost in the game and when I looked up at the clock it was quarter to one in the morning. Way past my bedtime.

I am very proud of the fact that I have kept my promise not to sleep in this year. I will get up no later than 8:00. Needless to say I was a little bit cranky when the alarm went off this morning, but that is my own fault.

As far as YouTube videos go, the other night I typed in the word Reba and watched several episodes of Reba McEntire’s wonderful show. From there it was on to some of her concert footage where the actress who plays Barbara Jean joins her in singing the show’s theme song, called “I’m a Survivor”. But as happens with me quite a lot, that song struck a sad chord, and I became emotional.

When I get back from camp this year, I think I will have a new routine in place, for evenings will be spent either reading or writing. It just seems to me that once I get onto YouTube, I either depress myself, lose all track of time, or both. Something to talk to my therapist about. Ha ha.

Next Wednesday, I’m expecting to have a top ten list for you, so look forward to that. I wish you a great weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Getting ready for camp is filling my brain

Greetings, readers. Another Thursday blog entry. With all reservations made early this year, I find myself wanting to dig out the list and begin to put things for camp in a special spot in my apartment. When I was little, my mom would always put everything by the closet doors in the foyer. That was her special spot. The night before the car got packed, that area was so full of stuff that we couldn’t even open the closet doors. With my small apartment, I don’t have that big an area, and it is a little too early anyway.

I do have my list on the computer and it’s already updated. Things I’m taking include a flashlight and batteries, an umbrella, a radio, and a GPS unit. And, of course, my clothes neatly packed.

This year’s side trip, if I can find it, is going to be a certain street in Portland, Maine called Commercial Street. I have seen a representation of that street all year in the Train Simulator computer game. To my happy surprise, when I did some research on Google Earth, everything was exactly as the computer game depicted. I can’t wait to see it. I’m going to purchase at least two disposable cameras. I’ve been keeping up to date with the weather in Maine and it has been good. Hopefully that trend will continue through my vacation. Something I’m going to add to my list, which I’ve never brought before, will be books from the library in case it rains.

Speaking of books, unfortunately no new pages of the Dickens book I’m reading were read this morning. I wanted to try to read some of it every morning. But my sinuses said no. I told Rebecca to come late so I could have a nap. I am 50 years old, I’m entitled.

Yes, there will be a blog entry tomorrow, but I had this idea and I thought let’s do it. I realize we have been blogging a little bit more than usual the last couple of months, but inspiration strikes. Rebecca and I continue to set aside Wednesday and Friday as our blog days.

This morning I awoke to a wonderful sight. It was something called blue sky and no clouds. It had been cloudy and rainy pretty much since this past Sunday. After work hours, I’m going to go run a couple of errands and fully enjoy the sunshine.

If you have good weather then enjoy it, do take care, and until tomorrow happy reading.

Darn it, I broke my Bear Spring Camps mug

Greetings, readers. For those of you that don’t know, I go on vacation every August to a place called Bear Spring Camps in central Maine. In the office, the owner sells a few souvenirs, shirts, and hats. For the last two years I have purchased for myself a Bear Spring Camps coffee mug. The first one came home with me and got cracked in transit. I didn’t even get to use it once. Last year I bought an identical replacement and happily used it until the morning of my birthday just a few days ago. I knocked my cup of coffee off the table and I heard a clink. I knew the handle had broken off. Unfortunately I was correct. I’m 0-2 with BSC coffee mugs.

Shortly I’m going to contact Peg Churchill at camp to see if they are still selling them this year. If they are, I am going to ask her to hold one for me and I will try once again to make it last more than a year.

I’m not usually a klutz. Maybe the Bear Spring Camps cups are jinxed. I don’t really believe in such things, but you never know. I don’t think I would be quite as upset as I was if it hadn’t happened on my birthday.

The rest of my birthday was flawless. I did exactly what I wanted to do and heard from all my Facebook friends. As I replied on FB, I was feeling the love. For dinner, I cooked myself a mac ‘n cheese and had some ice cream.

Now here is something you don’t know about me. For me cooking is burning water and I nuke everything. I just decided last week that I was going to get a chicken pot pie and use my oven for the first time in almost 10 years. Many of you will have to read this sentence twice – like I said, I don’t cook. Besides burning a finger a little bit, everything turned out perfectly. And it is true what they say, food cooked in an oven tastes better than food cooked in a microwave.

Do I have any reflections on turning the big 5-0? Actually I was a little melancholy that day. There are more days behind me than are in front of me. But if I worry about that, my hair will just turn grayer. I have decided to live every day to the fullest, deal with what life throws my way, and enjoy it as much as I can. A friend of mine once told me – and he was correct – that life is too short for bullshit. In other words, don’t worry about what you can’t fix.

Well, kitty cat Keekee is hungry, so I’m off to feed her, then Rebecca and I will edit this post and publish it. Until Friday, take care, enjoy your day, and happy reading.

OMG I’m almost 50

Greetings, readers. Yes, on Monday I’m going to be a half a century old. Doesn’t it sound depressing when I say it that way? To me it sounds better to say the big 5-0. Actually the way I think about life and my body is that you are as young as you feel. Sometimes I feel like a little kid, and some days I feel about 65. I like to play video games, listen to music, and sing. At least those things keep me feeling young.

What have I done in 50 years? I’ve written three books and a play. I’ve worked with Darren as he turned the play into a novel. I’ve gotten most of a college education. I’ve met several interesting women, every one of whom I’ve loved. I’ve blogged for 3 years and have loved it. And for the past 9 years I’ve taken care of my feline child Keekee. She’s my good little girl.

What do I plan to do in the next 20 or 30 years? My creativity is trying very hard to come back and I’ve got an idea that will be turned into anything from a short story to a novella. We’ll have to see how long I can stretch it. I’m still learning my craft. After having writer’s block for a year and a half, I must tell you it feels good. Now, for the sad news on this topic. The two fingers which I type with the most are suffering minor injuries. One because of a slight burn and the other because of an inflamed cuticle. I tried to type this morning but it hurt too much. I know, I know, excuses, excuses. I think that is what I’m going to put on my tombstone.

A large part of me wants to, before I die, get a used car so that I can continue to enjoy driving. My accountant and I butt heads about that topic about once a month. For me to obtain wheels, the book sales would really have to take off.

Ever since I was 13 years old, I’ve had a strange feeling I would die between my 59th and 60th birthday. It’s an eerie thing to believe I’ll only live another decade. Hopefully I’m wrong. I’d love to live to be a 100, if my health kept up. Imagine the technological advancements. I don’t think we’re going to see anything like the holodeck in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but perhaps a few more diseases might by cured. Time will tell.

On a brief side note, the Arts Festival here is going well. I might walk down Allen Street to listen to some of the music and see some art on display. It’s a nice day … for a change.

Tonight, hurting fingers or not, I’m going to type pages. I have nothing else on the agenda, so I’m going to do it. Wish me luck.

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

The Arts Festival is here again

Greetings, readers. Today is children’s day at the 49th Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Every July artists from all over come to display their wares. The first day, always a Wednesday, is for kids. They can play in the water bucket soaker, have their faces painted, and eat lots of yummy food. I believe that at our local library they have activities that kids can participate in indoors.

Tomorrow the booth sales begin up on campus and downtown. Goods include pottery, drawings, leather goods, sculptures in wood and metal, paintings, and glass works. I will admit that since everything is handmade, the prices range a bit high. But people do buy; sales have been good the last few years I’ve heard. One big factor is the weather.

It’s a running joke that during Arts Festival it is either a hundred degrees or it rains everyday. The forecast that I read called for cooler and drizzly. To me, that is not pleasant to walk around in. If I want to shop for things, I’ll go to a nice indoor mall or flea market.

In Boalsburg, a town not far from here, is the competing festival, the People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts. It has only Pennsylvania artists and has been running for 23 years. I’ve not visited it and to tell you the truth I’m not sure why. For one thing, I don’t have a car any more, and I would expect parking to be a hassle anyway. There is a bus that goes to Boalsburg, but I don’t have enough interest in it to go. If I want to go to a festival, there is one outside my front door.

Tomorrow I plan to partake of some of the delicious food. There are some choices that I don’t ever see except during this festival, like corn dogs and bunt cakes. Instead of meeting Rebecca at Panera, I might meet her in front of the library where there are some benches.

Friday or Saturday, I’ll walk down Allen Street and see what kind of live music they have playing. I can’t stay long, because the volume bothers my brain. A couple of years ago, I walked right by one of those big speakers on the way to a bus and it damned near put me into a seizure. Not fun. I do like to see what’s going on, just so I can say that I was part of this year’s festival crowd.

Until Friday, enjoy the good weather if you have it, have a good couple of days, and happy reading.

The blog’s new look

Greetings, readers. I thought it was time for a change to the look of the blog. We had the previous style for quite a while, and as people say, change is good. The new theme is called Big Brother. I really don’t know why it is called that, but it is. I was drawn to its simplicity, great look, and, being a Penn State fan, the blue on white color scheme.

I wanted to try to put a picture of Keekee back on the home page at some point. I don’t think that I’ll do it with this choice. The colors would clash. Also, without a picture, the latest entry is visible on the screen without scrolling down. I was afraid that Rebecca wasn’t going to like the choice, but she did. We are both very happy that all the tabs for other pages are clearly visible up top, and no one has to search for them.

Another reason for this blog entry is that I am considering taking a personal day tomorrow. So if I do take that day off, we will have our quota of two weekly blog entries. It’s very important to me to do this. I enjoy relaying what goes on in my life, and Rebecca has told me that some blogs start strong but don’t get added to for months at a time. Although the comments are few and far between, I do have a nice number of followers. Never having any negative comments, I must be doing something right with my choice of topics.

I mentioned before that I was going to discuss topics a little more controversial at times, such as news and politics. In a previous post, I mentioned the Washington Redskins and their team name offending people. I can also see the same thing happening with the Confederate flag. I do not like racist people and do not condone it in any way. I learned that the suspect shouted racial slurs before and during his shooting spree in the church in South Carolina. Today I saw in the news that TV Land is pulling the reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard. The show’s famous car the General Lee had a Confederate flag on the roof, and that flag is extremely taboo right now. In 1865, when the civil war ended, both sides of the conflict became once again the United States of America. The Stars and Stripes is our national flag. People in this country should learn to put their differences behind them. There is enough hatred in this world, why don’t we show the rest of the globe that the color of our skin means nothing. It’s a person’s heart, mind and soul that is important.

Until next week, take care, have a wonderful 4th of July weekend, and happy reading.