Monthly Archives: March 2014

Boy, do I have spring fever

Greetings, readers. First off, good job to Rebecca for the great blog entry from the other day. It got lots of hits, as hers tend to do. Two thumbs up.

Now, oh boy, am I waiting for spring time. To put it politely, I am tired of freezing a certain section of my body off every time I walk across the street for a cup of coffee. I don’t know if I have hyperactivity or not, but when I am at home, I want to go for coffee, and twenty minutes after I get there, I’m thinking about all the reasons why I want to hurry and get back home. Welcome to my world.

Going to and from my various local errands this past winter was very uncomfortable for me. I have made my broken-down coat last as many years as I can. It is going to be tossed away when spring time hits. Next winter I will go to the Goodwill store and purchase its replacement.

I have already decided what I am going to do this spring and summer. First, I’m going to do a lot more walking. I no longer have my massage therapist who kept me healthy and feeling good. So every warm sunny morning, before it gets too hot in the day, I will devise a route and walk it – say four times a week. I would also like to think that I could partake of some kind of sporting activity. That may have to end up being bowling, because after all these years, if I would try softball or basketball I think I would fall on my face and pass out.

Another thing I want to do this spring and summer on Fridays here in State College is go to the local farmer’s market and purchase healthier, fresh food and have a better diet. I will have more energy and my risk for diseases later in life will be less. I am going to now share with you, my readers, my basic diet. Tortilla chips, ice cream, marshmallows, occasionally a tall cup of grape juice, and my only real nutritious food of the day, a real fruit wild blueberry muffin with my morning coffee. Yes, indeed, I do need to eat better and soon.

Lastly, while the weather is going to be better this summer, I hope to visit family members. That is always achieved more easily when the weather makes traveling safer, with no snow or ice. There are a number of people who I would like to visit and get caught up with, and I really can’t wait to do it. I have been sitting in this small apartment way too long. One of these years I still hope to move to either the Carolinas or Florida. Whether that will really happen or not is debatable.

Until next time, have a great weekend, take care, think spring, and happy reading.


From Rebecca: Birthdays

Birthdays are on my mind lately. My family has a few birthdays in March, including my husband Darren, and including someone yesterday. I wished the woman with this milestone a happy birthday, and she expressed regret that she was getting older. I think a lot of people feel that way; that we love the special day but don’t like seeing our age number go up. I know most of us don’t feel like our age. I am almost 50 years old, and most days I feel so much younger. I still want so much in my life, can it really be  half over? And then my body aches or my feet hurt, and I feel way older.

When the month of someone’s birthday is here, the next time I see him or her, I say, “Happy birthday month!” I wish people a happy birthday week, too. I like the extra time to celebrate people I love, especially if I can’t be with them on the actual day. Birthdays represent the day we came into this world and that is awesome. And we all deserve a day to feel special, if only to ourselves. We all have an impact on the world, we all change things big and small in the world around us, just by interacting with others. We touch so many lives. On our birthday, we celebrate another year down, and another year ahead. We celebrate being alive.

Though part of that is also seeing so much change: where we live, where we work, where we shop, what we buy. Familiar businesses go away, new buildings go up, streets get new names. We see changes in music, film, and technology. I have two nephews and a niece all under 20 years old. When I was their age, my sisters and I were still playing albums on the turntable and just getting into cassette tapes to listen to music. My teenage and pre-teen relatives listen to music on their electronic devices. Thankfully there are still radio stations, so I can keep up with the new music. As an old-fashioned, getting older person, I wrote the first draft of this blog post in longhand on paper before typing it out on the computer screen; if I were younger I might have an electronic tablet for that. New technology is fun, but the old stuff is good too. Getting older means balancing all the technology and choosing what works for us from what is available.

I have a blessing that I usually use for birthday cards, to reflect that birthdays are the start of a new year. I bless you all with it now: May you be surrounded by joy, love, light, strength, comfort, laughter, and peace.

My initial thoughts on Malaysia flight 370

Greetings, readers. I am treading lightly on today’s subject. As with many people in the world I’m sure, Malaysia airlines flight 370 is on my mind. Something doesn’t quite seem right. There are enough satellites circling Earth to pinpoint nearly anything, yet it has taken nearly two weeks to find the remains of this Boeing 777; if it indeed crashed.

As I understand it, the plane was taken off-course on purpose and could be anywhere within the large plane’s fuel load capacity. I totally get that. That bird can fly many, many hours. This does put the searching teams at a great disadvantage. Start from the runway and search each of the 360 degrees in the full circle and then fly the flight’s fuel capacity. Am I saying they should have found it after two days? No. But to me it is smelling more and more like a possible, if not probable, cover-up.

I saw on the news that the pilot had a home version of a flight simulator and part of the flight plan of MA 370 was deleted. Was this to see if he could get away with something and not have it detected? There is a red flag for ya. And what about the co-pilot? He was either in on it, knocked unconscious, or killed. It’s looking like it is going to take months, if not years, to unravel this mystery. I was going to do some speculation of my own, but I have decided to wait for more facts.

To conclude, again many thoughts and prayers to the friends and families of those on the flight. I can only imagine the horror you are going through. Good news or bad, may there be some form of closure soonest.

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

Of grief, family, friends, and work

Greetings, readers. The tough last few days of Godmother’s viewing and funeral are behind me but the grieving process will continue for some time. I am still not over my parents’ deaths, and probably never will be completely. We always hold our loved ones in our hearts and keep them alive that way. Just the other day, though, I had a minor setback. I had some good news, picked up the cell phone, and was going to share it with Godmother. I’m still learning that I can’t do that anymore. With any luck, when it comes my time, I’ll see all my family in heaven.

I am looking at the beautiful yellow flowers that my cousin Wino and his family sent to me. They are magnificent tulips and carnations. So many people came up to me at the viewing and funeral to give me their condolences, as I gave condolences to Godmother’s family. It was nice to see everyone, of course. But I wish the circumstances were different. When we get to our age, however, occasions like this begin to happen more frequently. Again, thank you to all.

On to news of the day. Rebecca and I are off to our usual slow Wednesday start. We had our meeting with my accountant, which ran a bit late, and subsequently got to a slow start to writing today. It seems that Wednesdays are our let’s-get-caught-up, check-email-and-Twitter days. It is a good day to get back in the grove. Tomorrow, we are planning either working on a new short story or on writing exercises. My depression about recent life events is still hampering my creativity.

On a brighter, more encouraging note, I am reading a very good book. Yes, you may need to read that sentence again. I, the non-reader who wrote, am reading a book. For those of you old enough to remember The Waltons TV show, middle child Erin Walton was played by Mary McDonough. Her book, Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin Walton, is keeping my interest and attention much more than previous books I’ve tried to read. Perhaps because this is a memoir, which is the genre that I write, it is most appealing. Although I am only on page ten, I have promised myself that I am going to finish this book and then drop her a note on Facebook telling her just how much I loved it.

Now before you all think I am some important person, no I don’t know Mary McDonough personally. But she does have a Facebook page and has actually responded to something I wrote to her. A very friendly person.

Lastly, most sincere and deep prayers go out to the families and friends of the passengers of Malaysia flight 370. I can only imagine what you are going through. I obviously will keep my fingers crossed for a favorable outcome, but I think any kind of closure would be welcome after nearly two weeks.

Until next time, take care, have a great day, and happy reading. P.S. Rebecca, I am glad you are feeling better 🙂

KeeKee’s birthday

Greetings, readers. I am on my own today because Rebecca is a tad under the weather. Best wishes to her. Get well soon! 🙂

On to the topic. My cat is now eight years old; technically a ‘senior cat’ as described by my vet. When I got KeeKee, she was less than one year. I don’t know her birthday, but her former owner said it was around mid-March. So, I decided years ago that March 15th would be it. That’s tomorrow.

I can’t believe I’ve had her that long. It seems just like yesterday. She was a wee bundle of fuzz. Now, she’s a middle-aged cat. I’d say about 56ish…, if you believe the animal-to-human conversion equation. How time flies! I always thought I’d be allergic to cats, but now I don’t know what I’ll do without her when she’s gone. And yes…, she is just like a kid. She’s a family member.

Well, in less than an hour I’ve got an appointment to go to. So, this short blog entry must now be spell checked etc.

Until next week, take care, enjoy your weekend and happy reading.

News about my Godmother Katherine Young

Greetings, readers. Monday afternoon my Godmother, Katherine Young, passed away in her sleep after a long illness. She was in her late 80s. I will miss her very much. She was a wonderful woman, who enjoyed giving and going to parties.

Rebecca, as well as many other of my friends have been wonderful helping me get through this trying time. This is going to be an unusual week for me. With other family members coming in over the next several days, I will have to be available at a moment’s notice to lend support. Rebecca and I will work tomorrow and Friday, but possibly for shorter sessions.

The working plan for this week is as follows: with my kitty cat’s birthday coming up, Rebecca and I intend to write a very short blog entry tomorrow to try out the post-at-a-later-date feature in this blog, which we have never done before. Hopefully it all works out so that we will have something for Friday. On Friday, I have an appointment in the afternoon which was unavoidable and had to be scheduled for work time hours. Rebecca will be here for that shift. Next week Wednesday we will get back to work as usual.

Take care and be well. Please pray for us if you would. And happy reading.

Finding time to write in my daily routine

Greetings, readers. I’ve been talking to Rebecca recently about when is the best time to do my writing. I suppose I am the only one who can answer that. I know that her husband, Darren, who is also a writer, has his time early in the morning. With me not being an early bird, that time won’t work for me. Here is how a typical day goes for this writer [Wednesday through Friday].

I will set my alarm to go off no later than 10:15. I know that is going to sound very late for the majority of you, but I will explain that part later. After I get myself dressed and ready to go, I meet my writing assistant Rebecca at Panera cafe at noon. I like to get there about 11:15 so I can have a muffin and coffee first. At noon we will chat for ten or fifteen minutes and plan out the three-hour workday. Then it is back over to my apartment which then doubles as my office.

Between 12:30 and 3:00, we do our writing thing, which can include anything from the blog entries, to editing, to writing exercises to prime the pump.

After 3:00, I will usually turn on the TV and watch some Netflix. At 6:00 I will grab something for supper, usually not very healthy, but something. Oddly enough, this is the time I begin to feel the most awake. I have been a night owl ever since the days of my marriage to Georgia. We were night owls together and our average bedtime was 4a.m.

When I go to Bear Springs Camps though, it is easy for me to get up early, fish, have a nice long day, and get to bed early, like a normal person. Why can’t I do that here at home? I’ve been told by people that I am lazy, undisciplined, and/or I’m just doing what I want to do. If I had a magic wand and could say I will change one thing about me and have it stick, painlessly and effortlessly, it would be this: I would change my daily schedule to enjoy a nice long day, with at least three hours of writing time every day but Sunday. I’m working towards that goal, but progress is painfully slow.

As a side note, the frigid weather is finally breaking. I have looked at the long-range forecast yesterday and found that mid-thirties are going to be the norm as of tomorrow. Thank goodness. We are again enjoying a beautiful day out today, sunny and a tad bit warmer.

Lastly, Rebecca and I spent the first part of our work day getting caught up on my social media connections. When I first started on Twitter, I could not compose a tweet within the 140 character allotment to save my life. Rebecca is pleased, as I am, that I am learning to get my point across more succinctly. That is, at least on Twitter. Here and everywhere else I still tend to ramble. Ha ha.

Well, that is our blog for today. As always, I wish everyone a good weekend, a safe one, do take care and happy reading.

What my blog means to me

Greetings, readers. Rebecca actually came up with the idea of doing a blog, and it was a good one. I’ve been writing my blog now since December 2012, with 254 entries. I must tell you though, that when I first began, I didn’t have a clue as to what I would be writing about. I thought to myself, surely my day isn’t important enough that people would want to read about it. But lo and behold, people were and still are. I love technology when it works.

The blog entry which has received the most views is Remembering my father, Professor Joseph J. Kockelmans. When it first came out I had an idea that it might be a biggie, but even I am shocked to see that it averages a view per day. Wow! Oddly enough, the Top ten list of modern conveniences gets viewed several times a week. At first that was a head scratcher, but with my blog available worldwide, I think people want to check out what I consider to be modern conveniences. Also, an entry that is viewed regularly is the Top ten list of Air Crash Investigation stories. I believe this coincides with when actual air crashes happen and people use those search terms and my entry must come up.

What does the blog actually mean to me? It means self-expression. It allows me to say hey world, this is what I think today … whether it is important or not. To this day I’ve never had a commenter writer in and say how stupid the blog entry was, so I must be pleasing people. Granted, I only get a non-spam comment once in a blue moon, so it is a three-star banner day when it does happen. Again, I must admit when Rebecca suggested this to me I thought dear Lord, this is going to be a disaster. However, three words can sum it all up. Oh, what fun. I can honestly say, I don’t know if I will ever close down the blog. We’ve averaged two blogs a week. That might slow down at some point, but as for closing it, I don’t think so.

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