What a great trip I had and boy was it hot

Greetings, readers. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I go to Maine to cool off from the midsummer’s scorching heat. This year the average daytime temperature was in the upper 80s with one sunny day reaching 92. Yes, readers, I went into the lake for the first time in four years.

The rented pontoon boat, which the Trosts and I shared the cost of, was moored down at David’s dock this year because of my Goddaughter Ashley’s advanced pregnancy. The boat ran well … once we got it started. Getting the engine to turn over was another matter. Both David and I agreed it either had a clogged fuel filter or the fuel pump was starting to go bad. I made mention of this to Spencer, the owners’ son, who is now running the camp for his Mom and Dad. Spencer is the fourth generation of the Mosher family, on his mother’s side, to run the camp.

Our server in the dining room this year was a delightful young lady by the name of Eleonora, and as you can guess by her name, she is Italian. One of the family members, Joan, spoke Italian, and she and Eleonora, I’m sure, had delightful conversations. I overheard one of them, but of course I was unable to understand what they were saying. I hope Eleonora returns next year. I would very much like for her to be our server again.

Last year’s big upgrade to the dining room was new chairs. This year’s improvement was track lighting instead of the big flourescent bulbs. Once you got used to it, it was very nice. The only problem is from the front porch it was hard to tell when they flicked on the lights. In years past, there was no doubt, the entire dining room became bright, and it was time to eat.

The Thursday highlight was lobster night with live entertainment. This year, a man played an acoustic guitar while a woman (not certain if it was his wife or not) had a tambourine. They were quite good, but if the truth be told, both Dave and I agreed that they weren’t quite as good as the performer that Peg hired the previous two years; Dave suggested to me that he was probably all booked. One of the stand-by songs, which the campers requested and sang along with, was Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” That song has special meaning to me, for I performed it during one of my shows at Addison Court.

What will next year hold? Well, I did very well with my spending, so I already have enough money for next year’s camp. I’m going to get a part-time job around town, to get a little extra pocket change which will help. Mostly though, I am going to concentrate, at least through Christmas, on two writing projects. A story about a young man and his girlfriend in a Bear Spring Camps type setting, and also I am going to try to develop and write the pilot for my own original sit-com or drama. Wish me luck.

Okay, there’s the news from this year’s camp adventure. As I say almost every year, it is great to go on vacation, but once it is over, it is good to come home. I am taking a personal day off tomorrow, and Rebecca will take one next Thursday. But fear not, a new blog will be posted both days.

So until next time around, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

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From Rebecca: I made a change to the blog page

Hi, Joe’s readers. When we look at the number of views for the blog, Joe and I notice that each post day a lot of his views come from Facebook. The statistics page breaks down the number of views from Twitter, Facebook, and the WordPress reader. So I was a bit bummed to see a notice from WordPress that they will no longer automatically send each blog entry to post on Joe’s Facebook profile page. We both like sharing with our friends and family on Facebook, and also it cuts down on the number of views. Double bummer.

I was looking at the blog site settings to see if there was a toggle to switch back on (there isn’t) when I noticed a feature I had forgotten about. Under each individual entry is a section of sharing buttons, and Facebook is one of them. From now on, we will just use that button to share on Facebook. While I was in settings, I also saw a place to click so that these share buttons show up on the home page, under each entry. Cool! I called Joe to ask if he minded if I make this change, and he gave the okay. So I added some buttons for other places to share, and clicked the box to have the buttons on the front page, too. Please let us know how you like it, or if you don’t.

While I had Joe on the phone, he said it was hot in Maine this year and that he was having fun. He had me put the phone on speaker so he could say a few words to Princess Josie. When she heard his voice, she tilted her head and sniffed the phone. So cute.

Well, next week Joe will back here and blogging. Until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I AM writing this blog entry from Joe’s old laptop

Hello, Joe’s readers. Joe’s old laptop is slower than I am used to writing on anymore, but it seems to be working just fine now that the security update is finished. It started last Thursday, and finished today when I turned the computer on again. I didn’t use the laptop in between because I wasn’t writing a blog entry until today.

Joe is having a good time in Maine and even did some swimming in the lake as it is hotter than usual up there this year. I have talked to him a couple of times while he has been gone.

Princess Josie, his cat, has been a handful today. I have been checking up on her since last Thursday, but haven’t stayed very long on those visits. Today and tomorrow I have hours to spend with her, and she is using that time. She is demanding many head rubs and a lot of attention. It made it difficult for me to do some of the file sorting I am doing with the extra hours without Joe here. I have half a trash bag of paper and envelopes to throw out and a huge envelope of paper to be shredded. Quite an achievement with Josie needing attention in the middle of the sorting.

Those of you who are regular readers know that in the past I have taken care of Joe’s late cat Keekee on this long vacation week. I will say this about Josie, she doesn’t shed as much as Keekee did. Keekee was a lot calmer and less exasperating, but I would take handfuls of fur off when petting her. (I really miss Keekee right now.) Josie is a one-year-old ball of energy who keeps jumping on the table and trying to get into my papers. She is sweet though, when she is playing hockey with a bottle lid or when she takes a rest. I’m glad I have the chance to know her.

On another topic, it stopped raining around here for a couple of days, but we got hot muggy weather instead. I felt like I was going to melt by the time I got to work today. It is forecast to rain today and tonight. I don’t know if the humidity will get better or not. On the plus side, humid and hot is normal for August in Pennsylvania. When was the last time we had a normal weather month? Maybe I should be celebrating as I slog through the seasonal heavy air.

I will have another blog entry tomorrow. Until then, as Joe writes, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I am not writing this entry on Joe’s old laptop

Hi, Joe’s readers. Before he left on vacation, Joe dug out his old laptop for me to use while he was gone, since he took his current laptop with him. It needs to be kept plugged in when in use and is a bit slower, but the last time we used the old thing it still connected to most of the sites we want with no problem. This morning we plugged it in, made sure the tricky power pack stayed connected with the green light lit, and powered the laptop up. No problem. I looked forward to writing the blog post at Joe’s, maybe with the title, From Rebecca: I am doing this entry on Joe’s old computer.

Then a Microsoft box popped up that read it needed to update the security, don’t unplug or turn off the computer, it might take almost an hour, you can still use the computer while it downloaded and installed the updates. Well, that sounded like a great idea to me, it had been a while since we used it, and I would feel better using something with up-dated security files. I had stuff to do in the meantime.

Joe took off after giving me instructions for the care of kitty cat Princess Josie. I settled in to go through a bunch of paperwork, old invoices, medical files, old bills, other mail, etc. from the last few years and sort out what needed to be shredded, thrown away, or kept. I did that for a productive couple of hours while the Microsoft program kept downloading and updating, slowly going from 0 % to 100% over and over. It did not let me do anything else while this was running. Two and a half hours later, the process finally ended, only to put up another message that it would have to re-start the computer to finish the up-date, it would only take another couple of hours. I didn’t have that long, so I shut the computer down. I will have to try it again another day, maybe next Wednesday when another blog entry is due.

Other than that, and the persistent rain we still have this week, it has been a very good day. Princess Josie, also known as P.J. or just Josie, was okay being alone in my presence for the day. I expect by this time next week she will be missing Joe a lot, but hopefully I can help her past some of the loneliness. She is a beautiful cat, energetic and curious. She gets into so many things we don’t expect her to, like my folders and papers when I am there.

That is it for today. I’ll be back with another blog post next Wednesday and Thursday. As Joe would say, take care, have a great week, and happy reading.

T minus one day to vacation and oh, my God, am I not ready

Greetings, readers. I am so not my mother. My mom would have had everything ready to go and sitting by the front door of the house days ago. Me, I’m still doing laundry less than a day before pull out time. Do I have my lists? Yes. And I know where everything is. I just need to gather it, pack it and put it off to one side. Ready for the bad news, readers? It looks as though I will be traveling both days in the rain. Not fun. Oh, sure, I’m going on vacation, heading to Maine, my favorite place, but traveling in good weather is always nicer and safer.

The Hertz rental car I’m going to get is a ‘Chrysler 200 or similar’. I’m praying for the Chrysler 200. I’ve driven one before and loved it. I will have my handy-dandy GPS unit with me to help the way. I also want to have the Hertz agent, if the car is equipped with it, set up my cell phone so I can make calls hands-free.

As I look around the room at all the things I’m going to take, I’m calm and content that I know where everything is. I won’t be rummaging through closets looking for a piece of equipment, such as a radio or a box of CDs.

At this moment, here comes kitty cat Josie. I am reminded about just how much I will miss her and how she will miss me. In just the first three months or so, we really have developed our daily routines. I left her for a long weekend once when I went to see my friend Dave and family, but how she will react to me being gone for more than a week, time will tell. The good news is that Rebecca will be here to feed her, give her water and treats, and to keep her company during frequent visits.

Before I know it, I will be sitting on the porch of cabin # 23 looking at the lake. According to my computer weather map, it is going to partly sunny, and 85 – 90 degrees F most days. That is a little bit hotter than usual for Maine. I’m taking my swim trunks for I do see myself going into the lake this year. I don’t like cold or cool water, so I’ve not gone in for a swim for at least three years.

Buddy Dave told me to bring the Yahtzee game because he wants to have a tournament and declare a champion and I am going to hold him to it.

Okay, I think I’ve got all the news out and into the blog. At 1:00, Rebecca will depart, I’ll meet my friend at 1:45, and pick up the car at 3:00. As you can see, this will be a hectic afternoon. I will see you in a couple of weeks. Rebecca will be in charge of the blog until I get back. So until then, take care, have a great a vacation if you are going on one at the present time, and, as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: Bad weather is exhausting

As Joe wrote yesterday, he had a doctor’s appointment today, so I am writing to you again today.

It has rained for what seems like forever in Pennsylvania, though it has only been a week or two. The last couple of days the entire state has been deluged, with flood warnings in most counties and weather radar maps full of green. Anyone going outside gets wet, even with umbrellas, it is a fact of life right now. Yesterday, I came home from work with wet slack legs, a soaked umbrella, and damp bags. Last Tuesday, Darren and I unloaded his mom’s groceries from the car in a downpour. It was a relief to get indoors and a grudging acceptance of the weather when we went out.

Despite all our trouble and discomfort, I also know we are lucky. State College has areas of flooding, but not rivers of water through our streets. None of us need to be rescued, or are completely blocked off from home or work. It is possible some of the commuters from outlying areas might have those problems, and I wish them well. I look at pictures on the news of cars, homes, towns destroyed by rising water, and I feel grateful and blessed to be dry inside. I see pictures of the wildfires out west and cannot imagine running from a home that might be ash the next time I see it. What does their air smell like, taste like? How do they build a new life from the destruction? There are areas of the country in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit; I cannot conceive going about my life in those conditions either. As inconvenient as constant rain has been for us here, it could be so much worse.

So, wherever you are reading this, I hope you are dry, and cool, and comfortable. I hope you have electricity, and good food, and dry feet. I hope you are as lucky as we are.

Until next Wednesday, as Joe would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

All the ducks are in a row for Maine

Greetings, readers. I am extremely relieved today. Weeks ago I had procured all the hotel rooms for my trip up to Maine and back, and only needed to confirm the car rental. I also bought a baseball game ticket for the Friday evening game in Portland – Go Sea Dogs! Unless it rains, I will actually be inside Hadlock Field. I have seen it from the outside twice. This will be the first time that I hunker down Friday evening in Portland. Saturday morning, I’d better get an early start, or I will be stuck in a lot of traffic on I-95 on the way to camp. It is going to be an enjoyable vacation, I can feel it.

Until just a short time ago, I still had not nailed down the rental car. The agents and I were playing phone tag. Finally, this morning, I got a hold of the person I was trying to talk to all along, and he confirmed that there would not be a problem, and that I would definitely have a vehicle August 1st. Now all my i’s are dotted and my t’s are crossed and it should be a stress free vacation … and let’s face it, to be stress free is why you go on vacation in the first place.

On to the next topic, I’ve been getting into the X-Files lately. Boy is that a strange series, yet I’m drawn to it. All seasons will be On Demand until late September. I have no idea where they will be going after that. I don’t have enough money to cough up to buy all 11 seasons, so for now On Demand, Hulu and other such viewing choices will have to do. The first season wasn’t too bad. I’m currently watching the second season; it is much creepier. I am also as a writer learning how characters meet in episode one, and by the middle of the second season, Dana Scully, usually very strong and in control of herself at all times, lets her guard down enough to trust Fox Mulder in a vulnerable moment where she broke down in tears and needed a hug. I won’t be able to watch all the episodes before leaving on vacation, so I think I will skip around to different seasons so I can get an overview. It should be interesting.

Lastly, ouch – I whacked my small toe on a box. It’s not broken, but I think I did stove it pretty good. I have the feeling it is going to be tender for a few days. That will teach me not to clean my room.

As I sign off, I hope that those of you in any flooded areas are well. We had torrential rain here yesterday in State College, Pennsylvania. Today, so far, not so bad, though more storms are expected. Please keep your fingers crossed that I will not be sitting in the cabin in Maine during a week of rainy weather.

I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in the morning, but Rebecca will put up tomorrow’s blog entry and I am quite certain it will be a good one. Until next Wednesday for me, take care, enjoy, and happy reading.

The internet has made me brain dead

Greetings, readers. Computers and the internet were created to make our lives easier and they have. In the process, however, I think they have turned my brain into oatmeal. Yesterday, I went to look up something in a search box on the Google homepage and before I could type it in I had forgotten what I was going to look up. OMG!

Now I know I’m no spring chicken any more, but if I can’t hold a thought for more than three seconds you might as well put brown sugar on my brain, add a little milk, and eat it. This is how I remember things being when I was a child.

If I needed to have a phone number, I went to something called the phone book with white and yellow pages and looked it up. Then I called out on something now called a landline phone. And in my earliest years, I put my finger in the little hole and used the rotary dial. Now, I bring up a name on my cell phone with a pre-loaded number and it auto-dials it. No fuss, no muss, no remembering phone numbers. If my mom wanted to cook or bake something she used something called a cook book and read it off the page. Today you go on your phone or tablet, punch in the recipe and read it from there. Also there are gizmos like Alexa that can talk to you via the internet and probably give you your cooking instructions. Another thing I used to do by myself is drive a car. Readers, as scary as this sounds, there are now cars that can basically drive themselves. Two words for you: No way! I’m going to be in control of any car that I drive. “Oh, but it is safer.” Yes, but if it breaks down and you think it is still working, then you better start digging your grave. You get my point.

When I was little I used to play something called a record made of vinyl. Then we switched to 8-tracks, cassettes, and eventually CDs. But now with companies such as iTunes and Spotify, you pay $9.99 a month and all your music is at your fingertips on phone, tablet or laptop.

I recently watched an episode of the X-Files from this brand new season where Scully and Mulder were eating in this restaurant run completely by machines. Mulder inserts his credit card and decided to not leave a tip because his meal wasn’t prepared correctly. All the sudden they find themselves prisoners in the café, have to break out, and spend the rest of the episode evading machines trying to get them. I’m going to have to watch the episode again because I really don’t understand why they were in Asia in these ultra modern houses where everything was run by computer.

Now let me explain something to you before I go much further. Do I use and enjoy any of these modern amenities? Absolutely. We couldn’t have done this blog without the internet. We would have had to put our thoughts down in book form or written articles for a newspaper. In the past, we would remember facts and figures either by writing them down or memorizing them, and children actually had to bring pencil and paper to school. Now in some places I’ve heard you can’t attend class unless you own a laptop. Have we actually begun to enter the Star Trek/Jetsons era? I suppose it is inevitable. In that respect I admire the Amish and the Mennonites. They try to keep it as simple as they can.

This afternoon, I have to go pick up two baseball tickets I purchased via the internet; yes, it is convenient. I am taking a friend of mine to a State College Spikes minor league game. Even in the age of the internet, we still have personal interactions.

Next week will go like this. Wednesday will be a regular day and Thursday I will have a doctor’s appointment, so I will dictate a blog via speech recognition to be edited later. I bid you a wonderful weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Eight copies of the new book ordered for trip to camp

Greetings, readers. I know that eight copies of Four’s a Crowd doesn’t sound like many, but this novel is about 300 pages long and I can’t load the trunk of the car down with boxes and boxes of books. I’m going to solve that problem by bringing plenty of business cards as a backup. The cards arrived this morning and are perfect. I’ve not made up my mind yet whether I’m going to charge my Bear Spring Camps family the full price of $14.99 or the discount price of $10.00. I am leaning towards the discount price, but I will have to clear that with the co-author Darren Taylor.

I little something about Amazon.com. As it stands now, the book is three selections down from the top of the page. None of us knew that Four’s a Crowd was the title of an old film. That is first on the list. Scroll down until you see a yellow book with a toppled wedding cake. That’s our book. I am confused by a list of booksellers on the side of the page saying they are selling copies of the book, new and used, for many different prices. I happen to know that we have sold only one copy through Amazon, to someone we know, so they do not really have any printed copies to sell. Upon ordering, a copy will be made just for the buyer, from CreateSpace, so there is no warehouse with a lot of copies gathering dust. There is no hard copy version, since the print-on-demand version for this book only comes in soft cover. The list price is $14.99, so if you see any other price listed right now, it didn’t come from us.

The idea to make business cards just for this project was one of our better ideas. They look ultra professional and have all the information you need, including a short book blurb on the back. The blurb reads: “This is the story of an elderly couple who moves in with their son and his wife. When Alice begins to have health issues, it makes life difficult for the Detmore family. Join them in their journey through this period of trial and tribulation.”

I cannot believe that it is almost camp time once again. I’ll leave in only a couple of weeks. Good God, as Norman Thayer would say. I am going to have to update my list of things to take … which luckily I found on the computer … and check off all my items. Mom’s binoculars are going, as is the Yahtzee game, a copy of the novel for me to read, and most importantly, the computer. If I have any good ideas for writing projects, I can work on those in the evenings.

Speaking of writing, as soon as the blog is published, Rebecca and I are going to work on a list of ideas for a TV pilot script that I am thinking about writing. I’ve been watching shows On Demand lately and finding all kinds of good things. Then I get depressed, thinking, gee, why couldn’t I think of that? Maybe I’ll come up with the next blockbuster hit. Maybe I’ll call it the Y-Files. Lol.

Okay, that is what is happening today. Sorry this entry is up a little later than usual, but due to a morning’s doctor appointment our schedule was altered. There will be a new entry up tomorrow, so until then, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

Brand new business cards were just ordered and other topics

Greetings, readers. I’m very happy to announce that for a really reasonable price I have designed and ordered brand new business cards exclusively for the novel Four’s a Crowd. I think they look really sharp and will be here by the 24th. I will be able to do some scouting around to see who wants one. We have the pertinent information on the front and a little blurb about the book on the back. I think it is just enough to get people interested. The book is for sale right now at Amazon.com for $14.99.

This is one of my first attempts to try to stir the pot for this new book. I’m sure I’ll come up with other ideas as well. Darren is doing his part in spreading the word as he can when he and Rebecca are shopping or doing other errands. My motto is, every person you tell, could tell another person and the ball could get rolling that way. It is said that word of mouth is the best way to advertise.

There is a book fair at our local arts festival this weekend. Depending on hot it is outside, I might get to the book fair. I’m not one to stand out in the heat too long. I do plan on offering the library a copy or two for their collection. I forget whether they have a local author’s section, but if so that is where it would go. I cannot say enough about this book and how pleased I am on how it turned out. Darren’s work enhanced my story and made the novel complete, while retaining the true essence of my play, Kimberly.

On to something different, I found out yesterday, after the blog entry was posted, that the TV show LA to Vegas has been cancelled. Boo-hoo. Granted it was not the best show in the world, but if you wanted 22 minutes of a good laugh, it did nicely. I guess I’m going to have to find another show to watch, for I don’t think that On Demand keeps cancelled shows on for very long.

Speaking of TV shows, I’ve also been watching Gotham and the reincarnation of the The X-Files. Until the end of September, all seasons are On Demand. I used to watch The X-Files re-runs years ago and was really into it, and then as usual other shows came along. I ended my viewing evening with a couple of episodes of 9-1-1. I found out something extremely interesting during one of the episodes. A dumb-butt guy pilot dude thought it would be romantic to propose to his girl-friend by faking an on-plane emergency while having her read the handbook. Half-way through she got to the proposal part and went into what looked like a heart attack. When they got on the ground and paramedics arrived, it just so happened that said character was taking a medication that I am on, that causes heart palpitations, which I had. How cool is that? I am going to re-watch that episode, write down the name of that drug, and if I am still on it, get off it if at all possible.

Okay, there is my all over the place blog entry today. I enjoy writing these multi-topic blog entries now and then. I’m still trying to come up with a good idea for a top ten list, which I promise will be before I go to camp. Until next Wednesday, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.