Who will win this year’s Super Bowl?

Greetings, readers. Three teams out of this year’s final four of the National Football League’s playoffs are, to say at the very least, surprises. Everybody and their mother’s uncle expected the New England Patriots to be there, but not many thought teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings or Philadelphia Eagles would be playing for their conference’s championship.

While the Vikings and Eagles are great teams, they are being led by backup quarterbacks. They are darned good ones, but backups nonetheless. Also, the Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles is a relative unknown. I would thoroughly enjoy seeing two teams such as the Vikings and the Jaguars play in this year’s Super Bowl. Another historic first would be if the Minnesota Vikings would be able to play in their own home stadium, where the Super Bowl will be played this year. In the history of the Super Bowl game, a stadium’s home team has never made it to the big game. If the Vikings beat the Eagles in the play-off game this weekend, it would lead to a truly historic event.

Just how likely is the Vikings and Jaguars matchup? Not very. It seems like the National Football League for some reason never wants to have a “home game” in the Super Bowl. Here is my prediction. Eagles to play the Patriots and the Patriots to win convincingly. You see dear readers, after many years of the New England Patriots winning championships in a plethora of ways, I just think that Tom Brady and company will find a way to pull it out of the hat once again. How boring! My two cents is that it would be wonderful for the National Football League to crown a champion that has never won a Super Bowl – the four-time losers, the Minnesota Vikings come to mind.

Lastly, on another note – and I will have a full R.I.P blog entry tomorrow – the wonderful lady camper Mrs. Jean Bennett passed away recently. She was one of my mom’s generation and it is sad to lose another Bear Spring Camper whom I knew as a child.

Until tomorrow, prayers go out to all the victims of the California mudslides, all who are caught in bad weather and storms, and good thoughts to all those who need it. Let’s think spring.

Until tomorrow, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

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A short blog entry today before I call bingo

Greetings, readers. I am still under the weather, but feeling well enough to call bingo tonight until our regular bingo caller gets back from work. Around 5pm, I’m going to Panera and get some turkey chili and coffee. That will not only clear my sinuses, but it should give me all the energy I need to get me through until 9:00.

It’s been a long time since I’ve called bingo and I hope it goes okay. Every once in a great while there is drama in the community room. When I call though, it’s my game and I let people know that I won’t take any shenanigans. As Katharine Hepburn said in On Golden Pond, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just get along?”

I canceled my afternoon appointment because I wanted to sleep. I need to kick this cold in the butt and be ready to go to work tomorrow morning. Unless I am hacking up a storm, I’m going. I love my customers and I can’t miss any more money. I wonder if any of my customers asked where I was on Tuesday? It’s not like me not to be there. Because I handle money though, I decided it was best not to go to work.

This blog entry is being created with me using my speech recognition program and I must say, it’s amazing. So far, I’ve ‘typed’ 239 words. For me and my writing career, this is the best thing since ice cream … and we all know how much I love ice cream. After my cold goes away and I’ve read and edited Four’s a Crowd, it will be time for me to begin the first of two projects I have in mind. Oh boy, I can’t wait.

Well, that’s it for this short blog entry. Very soon I am going to go outside and breathe some good air. Dinner should perk me up as well. When I get back from bingo calling, it will be lights out.

Until next Wednesday, I bid you a great weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

A brand new year with the same old clunky technology

Greetings, readers. Hello from head cold land. Don’t worry, I’m probably not contagious anymore and we are taking precautions on the laptop with disinfectant wipes. I am staying in my corner and Rebecca is staying in hers. I had thoughts of calling her off today, but we have a lot to get done, my accountant is coming, and I actually sound 100 times worse than I feel. I feel dandy, but I sound like I am breathing through mud.

I have an app on my computer desktop that I really like, that lets me see new emails and reply to them without going to my email site and logging in. I like it a lot, but it has one bad drawback. I found out from an email I sent to Darren using said app that the name Lisa shows up instead of Joseph in the sender line. It doesn’t happen when I compose an email in the site itself, just from the desktop app I like so much. I believe I have found a way to fix it, but both times I’ve tried, just when I go to hit the save button, it starts to do something and then freezes. And alas, I am still Lisa. A big technology grrr. I am also having massive computer problems today with the laptop running slow and freezing. That may be the problem with changing Lisa today, I will continue to work on this issue to get it solved.

Darren and I are doing a contract for Four’s a Crowd, with a lawyer drawing it up for us to sign. We both think it makes a lot of sense to have our agreement in writing. The lawyer’s appointment that we had scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed. It gives me a week to kick this cold and us more time to flesh out the points we want the lawyer to put in the contract.

As soon as I’m feeling better, I want to take my proof copy of the book and plow through it in a week. That is my goal. Everyone else already has their edits in. As usual, I’m the one lagging behind. More than likely, I will go to Panera, find a big table where I can spread out, listen to my music under earphones, and lose myself in a good novel … and it is a good novel.

After work hours today, I have a couple of errands to do, one of which is to stop at the market and pick up items such as cold tablets, O.J., and tissues. Alka-Seltzer Cold and Flu works wonders. If I’m still stuffed up on Friday, I’ll take a couple of packets to work. At 3:30 I have to go to therapy, and then I’ll be back for the day. I have another day off from the job tomorrow to rest and recoup and be ready for Friday. Some people can do this, I cannot; I cannot be cheerful and smiley when feeling sick. I would probably turn to a grumpy customer and say, “What the heck do you want? And here’s your darn food.”

Lastly, on a weather note, our cold snap has finally broken and we have more seasonable temperatures. The week-long single-digit temperatures were actually beginning to affect my nervous system. Yes, cerebral palsy reared its ugly head yet again. Now that the temperatures are in the 20 and 30s F, I am feeling much better. I do expect more frigid temperatures, but heck, it is only January and spring time is quite a ways away.

Please send good thoughts to me for a speedy recovery. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

My speech recognition software finally came in

Greetings, readers. Every penny that I spent on Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium voice recognition software was well worth it. It only took fifteen minutes for the program to learn my voice well enough so that I could dictate an email. Most impressive. I think this is going to be the shot in the arm I need to get my writing career going again. I have a couple of ideas, I just have to get them going. I’m going to talk to my boss at work and see if I can’t take a few months off. Walking to buses in the brutal cold and snow and/or ice, is something my handicapped body is not looking forward to. Call my a wimp if you want to, but I think I will ask if I can return in the springtime.

This voice recognition program has a feature that I was not expecting. It will read back to me what I dictated … in my own voice. Rebecca had an overwhelming reaction because it reminded her of something she heard about the late movie critic Roger Ebert, who had mouth cancer and lost the ability to talk. When they added a feature to his typing equipment that used his own voice from previous recordings to read out his words, his wife cried the first time she heard it, as it had been so long since she had heard his voice. I can talk just fine, I just can’t type or write longhand for any length of time.

While I got this software on sale, it wasn’t exactly $9.99, so believe me when I tell you I’m going to make good use of it.

The first project I have in mind to use it for is a book about former sports stadiums that have been demolished and what the land is used for now. The idea hit me last week in the middle of the night. It woke me enough to take a couple of notes about it. That is how I knew it was going to be a good idea. I love sports, classic things such as stadiums, and it is going to be such fun to learn about and report what’s on those sites. Old stadiums have long been an interest of mine, for I have been a sports buff since I was a child. In 2013, I did a top ten list on stadiums that have gone by the wayside, and was interested to see that many of the stadiums on the list are ones I want to research for the new book.

If I can get that voice recognition program to work without much hassle, I think this might be the project that kicks me in the proverbial butt. Cross thy fingers.

On a side note, I finished binge-watching the second part of the third season of Fuller House. A very cute season and already we can see the children growing up. The middle kids are in high school already. Good grief. SPOILER ALERT: Stephanie and boyfriend Jimmy are trying to get pregnant with Kimmy Gibbler as the surrogate. The final scene of the season finale was sweet and touching. With the announcement that Kimmy has baby on board that leads me to believe that there is definitely going to be a fourth season. I already can’t wait.

Okay, there you are up to date with what is going on with me. I am in a heck of a better mood than I was yesterday. It’s now time to go feed Kitty who’s been very good, edit this blog and post it.

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

I am sick and tired of life

Greetings, readers. I have felt very strange over the last couple of months and until recently I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was bothering me. Well, the picture is becoming a little bit clearer now that the fog has lifted, and I don’t like what I see.

My desire to write is at its highest point in two years. When I say to write, I obviously mean work other than the blog. My problem now is that I have no time or energy from working at the fast food job to do said writing. I am 52 years old and I feel like my life is a waste.

On the positive side of the job,  I am an extremely outgoing person at my cash register, and my regulars love me. I do get a lot of enjoyment and self-esteem from this work. I feel, however, that I must give serious contemplation to either quitting or, at the very least, taking a few months off.

This winter has been brutally cold and walking to and from busses to go to work has already become a hated chore.  I get up at 4:00 in the morning to check Facebook, have some coffee, and listen to music before I have to get ready to go. I blink twice, and it’s 8:10. There goes that morning. I come home from work, dreadfully tired, with feet aching, I put a little food in me, watch an episode or two of something, and usually have lights out by 9:30.

On my three days off from my fast food job, I write with Rebecca for roughly three hours, and I must also do all the chores that need to get done and I had no other time to do, such as appointments, laundry, shopping, etc. When in the hell do I have time to sit down and write? Some might say at 4:00 in the morning. Ah, no, my functioning brain is barely active at that time. In the evening? I’ve actually caught myself falling asleep during my TV shows. Again, the brain is not in creative mode. You can see why I’m depressed.

Do my therapy sessions help? Yes they do, for a short time, but then I begin to look at my life in general and I come to the conclusion that I have wasted most of it. Three quarters gone and only a quarter to go. I have three books to my name, which if you put all three together, don’t equal the pages of Darren’s novel adapted from my play. I would have to say, Dear Readers, that my biggest accomplishment has been this blog, and that is primarily thanks to the help of Rebecca’s typing and editing skills.

Now, don’t worry folks, even though this entry is full of red flags, I am a fighter and a survivor and will do whatever I need to do to get this situation under control. Tomorrow, I’ve cleared the docket to read and edit Four’s a Crowd, either in the morning or, if I have Rebecca come in, after she leaves. I always try to leave each entry on a bright note, and here it is. I ordered speech recognition software for the computer. Once it comes in and I master that, I won’t have to type anymore. That could solve many problems quickly. Cross thy fingers.

Until next time, stay warm, have a great day, have a cup of coffee or hot cocoa for me, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Is the weather cold where you are?

As Joe wrote yesterday, he is taking a personal day to get things done and I am doing the blog post today. He might do an entry himself in the next few days, depending on his energy level.

We are in a cold weather pattern in central Pennsylvania this week, and probably next week, too, with below freezing temperatures. It feels like January and February out there, so I guess our new year started early. People are going to have to bundle up for the First Night State College series of events this weekend. At least the ice sculptures  won’t melt this year, like they do in years when we have weather in the 40s on New Year’s Eve. I love seeing the ice sculptures in the following days, matching the designs to the organizations that commissioned them. For example, Centre Area Transportation Authority usually has a small ice replica of one of their buses outside their downtown office.

It was very cold yesterday, and for waiting at the bus stops and walking to and from working with Joe, I had all my winter weather clothes on. I had on two pairs of socks, sweatpants over my slacks, a hoodie, my coat, and gloves. I have a new coat, a bulky unwieldy heavy annoyance that I call blanket-coat. I like the length, but the pockets are an inch too low for me to really use. The best part of this garment is that it keeps me warm. I was standing at the bus stop for ten minutes on the way home with the temperature of 11 degrees F and I didn’t feel at all cold in blanket-coat. That was awesome.

For all of you who are also struggling with cold weather and snow, I hope you end each day safe, warm, and comfortable this winter. Happy New Year.

Until next Wednesday, or until Joe puts up another entry this week, have a good week, take care, and happy reading.

Don’t cross the boss!

Greetings, readers. Last week I learned a valuable work place lesson. I heard through ‘the grapevine’, that one of my superiors said something uncomplimentary about me. I decided to nicely confront him about it. After our discussion, I was satisfied with the outcome and thought that all was peachy again. Umm, wrong.

Another one of my superiors was also in the meeting room that day and was actually part of the conversation. Now, I feel that the second manager is treating me differently than she did before. She isn’t nasty, she’s … colder. I’ve always had a low self-esteem issue and it could be that she is having other problems at work or perhaps personal problems, and the timing of her indifference is a huge coincidence.

The time that I am spending on reading Four’s a Crowd and editing, as well as my own personal writing projects, has suffered greatly in recent months. I may have to make a decision soon whether or not to stay with the job and earn money (which eases the stress of daily life) or to quit my job and write. I know, I’ve talked about doing more writing before, but things always seem to come up. Work, health issues, a performance, or time to go to Maine, are good examples of what gets me off track. Will I miss the income? Absolutely. But I know of another place which would hire me if I could just pass their on-line entrance exam. It’s practically across the street from where I live.

I’m going to play the wait and see game for about a month. That will be two more pay periods. During this time, I will be keeping eyes and ears open to see whether or not everything calms down. Hopefully it will.

On a minor note, did I put up even one decoration for Christmas? No. I did not. However, I did go to two holiday meals and yes, I stuffed myself stupid. Next year I vow to decorate this apartment to within an inch of its life. Lol.

Finally, a R.I.P. to one of my favorite sportscasters of all time, the legendary Dick Enberg. He passed away on December 21st at the age of 82. For many years he announced pro football games on NBC and, in his later years before retiring, he was one of the play by play announcers for Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.

Tomorrow will be a personal day and either Rebecca or I will put up the blog. Who knows, there might even be two, one from each of us. Until then, take care, stay warm if you are in the frigid cold snap, and happy reading.

A new look for the new year

Greetings, readers. As you can see, I’ve changed the look of the blog. I’ve decided to keep this look for at least three or four months. During this time, I’ll see if it is functional, easy to use and rather or not we like it. I won’t make any rash decisions, but if after that time Rebecca and I don’t think it’s what we want, we’ll go back to the look we had before, which was called Chateau. I do happen to like that one very much. This theme is called Twenty Thirteen.

Guess how much Christmas decorating I did yesterday. Not a gosh darn thing. The news I found out yesterday dealing with my workplace threw me for a loop. I’m not going to go into specifics here, suffice it to say it was not pleasing to me. I might ask for a leave of absence to heal my legs and feet and to concentrate on my writing. If I cannot be accommodated, well I tried. I don’t want to admit that Mom was right, but she might have been correct that this type of job is too much for me.

I have two ideas for a writing project in my mind. And even though I would miss the income from not working at my restaurant job, I feel the need to be creative. I think that is what the Lord put me on this planet to do and I must pursue it. Hopefully my manager will understand. I purchased voice recognition software that will hopefully let me dictate easily the dialog and prose I have in my head into a word document. As I’ve mentioned before, when I try to type things, my favorite buddy is the back space key. That is just too frustrating and slow.

I have one minor appointment this afternoon, and after that some decorations are going to be put up in this place. If I don’t do it soon, I might as well not do it at all. Bah humbug. To be honest, as I might have mentioned before, I don’t know why I’m not in the Christmas mood this year. The days seem to come and go and before I know it, it is bedtime again. I think to myself, sometimes out loud, well that is another day I didn’t get done what I wanted to do.

I wish to give Christmas and holiday greetings to all my blog readers around the world, with good wishes for a prosperous and happy 2018. There are many things that I am going to do this coming year. I’m going to put together a second blog book and get it out. I am going to begin to eat better, and one way I will do that is during the next Lent. Yes readers, I am making it public, I am giving up ice cream for Lent. I’m sure I can do it if I put my mind to it. Now watch, I’ll just substitute Doritos. Lol.

Please leave a comment in the comment area and let us know how you like the new look of the blog. So far, I like it a lot.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful holiday weekend and we will see you then, perhaps with a top ten list. 🙂 Enjoy, stay warm, and happy reading.v

I am way behind in my yuletide preparations

Greetings, readers. It is quite bizarre how fast this Christmas season has flown by. I could swear I just woke up on Thanksgiving morning and watched the Macy’s parade with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. I blinked my eyes twice and it is December 20th. I’ve only listened to a hand-full of Christmas carols, and my apartment is not decorated at all. Bah humbug to me.

There have been a number of things that I believe has caused this delay in decorating. First of all is my job. I come home from it tired and needing to sleep. I don’t seem to get much done on the days I have a shift; it is work, eat, and sleep. On the days I don’t have a shift, I have work with Rebecca and errands to do that can’t be done on job days. Second is the time I have spent proof-reading and editing Four’s a Crowd. Apparently I am the last of the readers to finish my editing. Shame on me. Luckily I know the material like the back of my hand, especially my part of it. Once I get rolling, it won’t take me long. Lastly, when I could be reading at 4:00am, I am playing Out of the Park Baseball 18. Today was game 5 of the completely fictitious Canadian Baseball League World Series. Somehow my brain isn’t engaged for activities like reading and editing at 4:00 in the morning. Fear not, Darren and Rebecca, it will be done.

After the holidays, I plan to revamp my schedule. Whether that means taking some time off from work, or changing my job schedule, has yet to be determined. I’m certain that everything will fall into place. It always seems to.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected in the Amtrak train disaster, as well as in the tour bus accident in Mexico. So sad. The California wild fires, although I’ve heard they have been partially contained, will probably burn for another several days. I’ve been calling my aunt, who lives near one of the fire areas, and she is uncomfortable from the smoke but holding her own.

Finally, very soon two of our long-time establishments will be going out of business. Not because of the economy, but rather the sale of the building in which they are housed. Spats Café and Speakeasy has been around for 30 years and the Rathskeller Bar has been underneath the cafe in the same spot for many decades. I always hate it when establishments go bye-bye, especially the ones I remember as a youth or a teenager. The State College area is not really effected that much from the recession because there are a lot of college kids who attend school every year and need books, Penn State clothing, souvenirs and anything else Penn State they can get their hands on.

I wish everyone good luck with their holiday shopping. Enjoy your plans with family. And until tomorrow, take care and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Snow on the ground

Where Joe and I live it started snowing last evening and stopped sometime this morning, for a total of four inches. It is the first significant amount of the season, although I know that many of you reading this got your first snow some time ago. It looks pretty while I’m sitting inside and seeing it through the window. The streets are plowed and treated, and traffic looks like it is moving normally. Darren and I have a stool on our balcony, and it looks like it is standing in a white blanket while wearing a white fluffy hat.

I have a sore throat, that is better today but still there, which is why I am writing this post from home. Yesterday, Joe gave me a handful of Cold-Eeze and the day off today to recover. I slept a little more than usual and am resting, and that has helped a lot.

I can’t think of anything else to write, so I will make this a short piece. Joe might put up another blog entry this week, if he can find the time. (He is finding that the days he works at the restaurant he comes home too tired to do anything else except watch TV and go to bed.) We will work together again next Wednesday and hopefully Thursday to bring you new blog entries.

Until then, as Joe says, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.