Monthly Archives: August 2012

From Rebecca: Steel Magnolias

I will be writing a series of blog entries about my favorite films; movies I like, enjoy, love, and/or that mean something to me. I am starting with the 1989 film Steel Magnolias.

I saw this film in the theater when it first came out, and I own it on DVD now. I have seen it a lot of times, including when it is shown on television. I love this movie and can quote whole chunks of it.

It is about a circle of woman friends sharing parts of their lives with each other, for comfort and support. It stars Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Julia Roberts, and Daryl Hannah. It is about woman making mistakes and learning from them, making choices and living with the consequences, and the many faces of love. Love for a friend, love for an enemy, love for a husband, love for a child, love for a mother.

There is a particular scene with powerful performances from the actresses. It made me cry when I watched it in the movie theater and it still makes me cry every time I watch it. And then laugh. Those of you who have watched the film know the scene I mean. The first time I watched it, I was laughing so hard I missed a few lines of dialog. “Laughter through tears. That happens to be my favorite emotion.” – Dolly Parton as Truvy. (That is the basic quote – I may have botched it a little.)

This is also a film I can watch with my husband, who likes it too, and that makes it extra-special to me.

If you want to add anything about Steel Magnolias, or share with us you favorite films, feel free to leave us a comment. Joe and I will respond.

A blog entry from the diner

Greetings, readers. As I was sitting here at the Ye Olde College Diner in State College, sipping coffee and thinking about life, a blog post idea came to mind. I began thinking about all the careers I wanted to have before my health issues stifled me.

When I was young, my love of airplanes prompted me to want to become an airline pilot. When my seizures began at age 16, well … there went that dream. I’ve kind of kept the dream alive by using Microsoft Flight Simulator X, a marvelous and complete airplane simulation.

Seizures also prevented me, at least in my mind, from getting any kind of strenuous job. I am physically weak from cerebral palsy, so I’ve just wanted to sit my butt down and do nothing. Then an idea hit me. Hey, I can write sitting down!

This is how I became a writer. I started off writing part-time, in between Penn State University night classes. After PSU, my writing hours increased. Don’t get me wrong, I wrote when I was younger, too. It’s just that my writing in my younger days was more for enjoyment, not for making a living.

Yes, readers, with bad health, cab driver (I like driving, too) and bus driver are out. With all the medications I take, I’d never pass the pee test. And, with the weak arms, any job that required heavy lifting wouldn’t do either. No, this is not a “poor Joe” entry, I promise. Actually, it’s a revelation piece. I’m come to the realization what I can and cannot do. And yes, I am still discovering things I can do. : )

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

Short blog entry for Wednesday 8/29/12

Greetings, readers. First off, my kitty cat Keekee says hello to all of you. LOL. As I am still getting back into the swing of writing after my vacation and being sick, I am finding it devilishly hard to get into my working groove. Ideas are not coming as quickly and the ones that are, quite frankly, suck rocks.

On to other news. In October, I am hoping to have a book signing at Webster’s Bookstore Cafe, which is conveniently located across the street from where I live. Tomorrow morning, writing assistant, Rebecca, and I are going over there to enjoy coffee, mingle, and get the process started with the owner. That will be in our first hour of work and will be considered to be on the clock. I have been told that I go out for coffee too much. Well, this time, I’ll be working and enjoying my java.

Lastly, in a day or two I will be going to the local drugstore and turning in my one-time throw-away camera to have the pictures developed. These pics are from my vacation in Maine. The ones that turn out the best will be added to my gallery page. Give me a week or two to get this done. Rebecca will put up an entry, with a topic of her choosing, on Friday.

Until then, take care and happy reading.

Renewed enthusiasm and ‘oatmeal brain’

Greetings, readers. As the title of today’s entry implies, I’ve two topics on my mind. First, I’ll fill you in on some good news about my writing career. And secondly, I will share with you one of the pitfalls of my medication regimen.

Starting off with writing, I had been a bit depressed since the new book came out. Work had wound down, sales were lackluster, and no new ideas were taking shape for the new year (after Bear Spring Camps; mid-August to next August). Then suddenly last week I got an idea to re-vamp my children’s book series. It was like a light switch had turned on. Things suddenly began to fall into place. We now have at least 15 good ideas for children’s books. I hope to be able to develop ten or more of them into actual books and publish them on I’ve talked to writing assistant, Rebecca, and she agrees that we will work on one or two of them at a time, bring them to completion, and then release them for sale. So thumbs up to that point.

Now for oatmeal brain. Let me explain. Because of my cerebral palsy, I am forced to take medication. Most of my drugs are downers to help a mild seizure disorder. Folks, not fifteen minutes ago I went to look up something on the internet and by the time the search box came up I had completely forgotten what I was going to search for. I asked my doctor about this issue the last time I saw him, and he said that symptom can absolutely happen. I just have to keep telling myself that this is normal for me once in a while and do the best I can with my disability. I suppose not getting too upset is the key. My mother, who granted didn’t have the health problem that I do, did crossword puzzles and her brain remained sharp as a tack until the day she died. Perhaps I should take up that hobby … or at least word searches.

For next week, I shall try to post at least one new entry and I will give the go ahead for Rebecca to post a new one as well. Have a great weekend. Take care and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Changes

I have made a few changes in my life lately. I just started a new part-time job and my daily schedule has been up in the air.

I hate change. Even good changes. I like to know what to expect in my day and week. But I also know that I will form a new normal routine with the new shifts. So I just need to keep going until I get used to my new responsiabilities.

It is fun to learn new things. I like knowing things and having knowledge. I also like passing on the knowledge I have to other people if they need it. So these days I have excitement mixed with my nervousness.

Life keeps going forward and that is a good thing.

Top ten list of things that drive me nuts

Greetings, readers. This list is the top ten things, as the title suggests, that are the most pet peevey to me. Number ten, of course, will the least obnoxious and number one the most.

#10: People who park their cars where they know they shouldn’t. I live in a building that has precious few parking spots. I am sinisterly happy when illegal parkers get towed.

#9: Loud talkers in restaurants. Granted, when you have a family of nine with three children at a Denny’s, or such other family restaurant, noise at big tables is unavoidable. Tables of two or three should use something called an indoor voice. Granted, when I’m enjoying my Tuesday evening coffee with my friend Jim, sometimes I am aware that our voices travel when we are having a spirited discussion. Guilty as charged.

#8: Cars with loud mufflers. As I understand it, there are actually kits that people can purchase to make their vehicles louder and it is still legal. If you need this to prove your machoness, I suppose I can give you a hand wave . . . but just barely.

#7: Cars with extra loud horns. Again, I believe a kit can be bought to make any vehicle sound like a freight train. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have been walking along the sidewalk when such cars pass by and blow their horn. With my high startle reflex, the loud noise does make me jump. CP makes me nervous that way. Sorry.

#6: Summer schedule bus service. I completely understand that our local bus system has to run fewer buses in the summer time because we are a college town and fewer students mandate fewer runs. That doesn’t mean I have to like the inconvenience.

#5: Bad announcers on sports telecasts. I’m not going to mention names here because that’s not appropriate, but I always thought that announcers were supposed to be unbiased. Let’s just say this. Some sports announcers think the Dallas Cowboys can do no wrong, even when they do.

#4: Rude people. I cannot stress enough how much I hate it when people either interrupt me on the phone when I am speaking, or do it in person. I was always taught the standard rule of etiquette that when someone was speaking to you, you closed your mouth and opened your ears. The other pet peeve with this topic are people who use excessive vulgar language. Oh, sure, once in a while I’ll let a bad word go out of frustration, but some people I have witnessed incorporate it into the English language way too much.

#3: People who talk down to me. Having Cerebral Palsy, I understand that sometimes I come across as too happy or slow. When I’m engaged in a conversation, I can tell when someone is humoring me or talking down to me. Folks, it hurts.

#2: People who are hypocrites. We just love these people who say not to do something and then turn right around and do it themselves. Case in point, I have witnessed people tell their teenagers not to drive too fast. A week later, that person is complaining to me that they got a speeding ticket. Practice what you preach.

#1: People who lie to me. This is personal to me, folks. I am leaving names out of this, but I have been burned at least three times in my life by people who have been flat-out liars. The bottom line is, it makes me feel like a chump who has been taken and never learns his lesson. So I am left with either trusting another liar and feeling stupid, or not trusting what anyone tells me, which hurts me relationships and lowers my trust in people. I am still working with this issue, but I am glad to say I am getting better with it.

Either tomorrow or Friday, Rebecca will put up a post from either this computer or the one at the library. I have given her the okie-dokie to write about whatever she wants. Her established format will be From Rebecca: topic. Until next time, take care and happy reading.

A surprise Tuesday entry

Greetings, readers. As I get ready to go back to work tomorrow, I have to turn my brain back on. Yes, I’ve been on vacation in Maine and at home now for about two weeks. I always had a hard time getting back into the flow of things after vacation. Hopefully by adding an entry today, as well as one tomorrow, I shall be back into the working frame of mind.

A top-10 list will be posted tomorrow, and Rebecca will have the go ahead to put a new one of her own up on Friday. Also this week, Rebecca and I have to talk about the writing projects for the fall. As possible projects, we have two children’s book ideas, as well as Bear Spring Camps three.

I came back for Maine with 14 new story ideas. Approximately 10 to 15 more will have to be developed to have a viable BSC three. I think it can be done.

On a personal note, my old TV finally gave out. Of course, I have all my electronics going through it such as my PS3, DVD and cable box. This is going to be a major expense to replace. I found a stopgap measure, which is a fairly inexpensive, small TV at a store nearby. This I think shall get me by until at least Christmas. I’ll know more after tomorrow when I had my meeting with my accountant.

Until tomorrow afternoon, take care and happy reading.

Almost well again : )

Greetings, readers. As Rebecca told you, I returned home from a successful vacation in Maine and promptly got sick. I am at about 90% I’d say, and will be quite ready to get back to writing new entries within a few days.

Along with a ‘Top Ten’ list entry from me, look forward to a new post from Rebecca, as well. : )

Until quite soon, take care and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe is back from Maine

Joe got back from Maine in one piece but is feeling ill this week. So he is taking it slow work-wise. We forgot to talk about the blog earlier today when we worked, so I don’t know if he is planning to post an entry this week or not. If he does – yay! If he doesn’t – he will write something for you next week.

Have a great day and week. Thanks for reading!

From Rebecca: A little bit in a hurry

I don’t have much time to write and post this. I am at Schlow library again on a public computer and have 45 minutes left on my allotted time. When Joe and I do a blog entry together it usually takes an hour or two to write, edit, and tag the whole thing. It has taken me about an hour to do these few posts on my own. So I’d better get crackin’!

I have enjoyed doing blog posts while Joe has been in Maine. He is on his way back to Pennsylvania today so this will be my last one. I hope to do more in the future, but of course that is up to Joe.  : )

Keekee was soooo clingy today and is shedding more than I have ever seen her shed hair. I know she didn’t understand what I was saying, but I told her that Joe would be back with her tomorrow. I can tell she misses him so much. I am a pale substitute, as much as I did pet and feed her.