Monthly Archives: December 2015

Happy New Year to everybody

Greetings, readers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my readers for coming along with me on this ride during the last four years. It’s been more fun than I could have ever imagined. I’m looking forward to a great year of blogging in 2016. I’m going to try to spread my wings and discuss political topics, since the general election is less than a year away. I have plenty of opinions about said topic, but that doesn’t mean I’m always correct.

Throughout the coming year, you can expect blog entries dealing with what is new in my life, video game reviews, my famous top ten lists, and a follow-up to the extremely popular post on the show Air Crash Investigation.

On a personal note, I’m a little bit sad today and I feel like taking my Christmas decorations down before the new year begins. I’ve never experienced this before. Mom and Dad would always keep the tree up through the first week of January. I don’t have a tree, but Mom’s manger set and candles are on prominent display. When it does come time to take the manger set down, I will have to acquire a brand new box and use plastic ziplock bags for the figurines. The set was my mom’s and is very fragile. Great care will have to be used to put it away correctly. With my bad hand, great care and precision are not my strong points.

Kitty cat Keekee got an unexpected present last night, as nine cans of cat food were on the community room swap table just as her daddy was out of food. I was quite pleased to get them.

On Wednesday, we’ll be back from the holiday with a top ten list on an as of yet unknown topic. So once again, happy New Year, have a safe and healthy 2016, and happy reading.

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Resolutions for a New Year

Greetings, readers. With 2016 right around the corner, it’s time for me to make a few New Year’s resolutions. At first I had an idea to make this entry a top ten list, but I’m not going to, just in case I can’t come up with 10 resolutions.

Things I want to continue working on: I want to continue to keep my bathroom and kitchen in the apartment in good shape. My friend Cathy is a tremendous help. I need to do more. The living room fluctuates between passable and messy, and currently needs attention. Once I clear off the old, dead chair, I’ll be able to figure out how much room I have in here for new furniture. I will certainly want to keep the new stuff clear and usable. Just think, I’ll be able to have house guests. Another thing I want to continue on is the blog. Rebecca and I are 460 entries strong and I have no plans at this moment to shut it down. It is completely enjoyable and right now is my only means of creativity.

Things I want to begin working on: I’m going to borrow a bulldozer and clean out my bedroom. I’m going to sell my father’s single bed with hopes of putting a double bed in there. I’ve always had that size of mattress, it is what I am used to and what I like. I always feel like I am going to roll off of Pop’s bed, and that is not a good feeling. Also, I want to volunteer or get a part-time job. I do fully understand that if I get a job now, in late December or January, I might not be able to go to camp in August. I don’t know what the procedure is for people with part-time jobs to get time off. Full-timers have to work one year before getting a vacation week.

The biggest thing I want to try to do in the next 6 months and beyond is choose one writing project, either with Rebecca or on my own, and work on it every day. I need to flex those creative muscles and even if the work never gets sold, it is practice. And it will have a purpose. In the last week or so I’ve come up with 2 or 3 great ideas. I always do my best thinking at 2 in the morning when the lights are off. I have jotted down some notes and I’ll be ready to go after the holidays are over.

A very long-term resolution is to make it to September 24th to celebrate the one-year anniversary with my girlfriend, Traci. It has been a long time since I celebrated an anniversary.

If you would like to leave your New Year’s resolutions on my Facebook page or here in the comments section, please do. We’ll compare notes.

There will be a blog entry tomorrow and just like last week Rebecca and I will be off on Friday. So until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Merry Christmas eve and Christmas

Greetings, readers. This will be a short blog entry today, because I have a gazillion things to do before tonight’s Christmas Eve light ride and tomorrow’s Christmas festivities. As has happened in the past, things that I need to find disappear into the black hole that I call my apartment. The latest lost item is my electric shaver charger cord. There are two places that it may be hiding in. If it’s not in those two places, I’ve got a problem.

I was listening to lots of Christmas music yesterday and I’ll be sad when the season is over. Somehow it just seemed to go quicker this year. I feel like Traci and I just got back from Thanksgiving a few days ago. In actuality, it was really three and a half weeks.

Some time next month, I hope to begin my new budget as planned, though the beginning of a new insurance policy year may blow up my expenses for medication and co-pays until my deductible has been reached.

Finally, I will let everyone know that the first blog of the new year will be my annual New Year’s resolutions. I’m going to choose resolutions that are realistic and that I can attain. Spoiler alert: One of my resolutions will be to keep up with old friends better than I have been. So to my Facebook reader friends, you might just get that invite for coffee sometime.

Again, happy holidays to everybody, and here’s to a great 2016. Until Wednesday, take care, enjoy, and happy reading.

Dreary warm Christmas week

Greetings, readers. I know that the calendar says that it is Christmas week, but today the temperature is 56 degrees and tomorrow it might hit 60. Now, I know that we have global warming and El Nino, but I think 60 degrees is pushing it a bit much. It is also raining all day with grey skies. As much as I hate snow and ice, I do like a white Christmas, for it reminds me of good childhood memories. It was much colder in those days.

My girlfriend and I are going to continue the Christmas Eve lights ride tradition, which we are both looking forward to. The Zipcar rental has already been procured, and even though it might rain, at least it won’t be freezing rain. As of this moment, the light ride is a go. Other holiday traditions which I’m indulging in are the lighting of scented candles, and listening to plenty of Christmas music. Tonight, or tomorrow night, I will watch A Christmas Carol, as I always do, and, if I can find it on YouTube, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I know I had two opportunities to see Rudolph, but they were both shown on Tuesday evenings when I’m not home.

Christmas morning, I’m going to see if there are any parades on, and then Traci and I have a full day of visiting her family. I’m looking forward to that, because I’ve not seen her sister Roni since high school; she was in my graduating class. I can just imagine all the wonderful food and pleasant conversation we’ll have.

The day after Christmas is always a downer for me because it is the beginning of what I call the dead season. Shortly after New Year’s the town’s outside decorations come down, and without leaves on the trees, the whole area looks dormant. Sometimes I suffer from my depression at this time, but I’ve already taken steps with my therapist to help me this winter. I don’t think it is going to stay warm all winter, but every warm winter day is one day closer to spring.

On January 2nd, I’m going to watch the Penn State bowl game. I was a little disappointed by how the team finished the season, but we are going bowling, and that is good for the school.  A few days after that, I think all my Christmas decorations will be taken down and boxed, and the business of the new year will begin.

I bid everybody a happy holiday season. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

A hectic week is almost finished

Greetings, readers. With a combination of three hours of calls to representatives from healthcare.gov, along with working on the website, I was finally able to procure my health coverage for 2016. The second hour and a half call was necessitated by the fact that for a while it looked like I was going to pay much more for my seizure drugs. It turned out that in actuality, they are much cheaper. After I hung up the phone, I did my happy dance.

As this title implies, lots went on this week. Not necessarily a whole lot of writing other than the blog, but important things none the less. One of the things that took place was a walk downtown to purchase a Christmas gift for my girlfriend. In case she reads this blog entry before Christmas, obviously I can’t spoil her surprise by going into detail at this time. After Christmas, all details will be shared.

On Wednesday, I finished my Christmas decorating, and have burnt lots of scented candles this week for the holiday. I’ve enjoyed such aromas as pumpkin pie, eggnog, and mistletoe and pine tree. When the holidays are over, I’m going to purchase candles with scents such as clean linen or ocean sea breeze. I prefer the light scent of a candle as opposed to the heavy spray of an air freshener.

When the holidays are over and all the decorations come down, I’m going to find a permanent home for a number of things in order to clean out dead furniture. There are several stores in town that sell used furniture and I will try there before I go to the more expensive shops. After all, Keekee with her claws will leave her mark on the first day.

Today the new Star Wars movie officially came out. I do plan to see The Force Awakens, but not on opening weekend. I’m not the kind of person who likes to wait in line for three hours or more. Don’t worry, no spoilers. Feedback from my Facebook friends so far has been rather positive. The three prequel Star Wars movies did not impress me at all. Give me the old cast and the Millennium Falcon any day.

On the subject of movies, I have been looking for the remake of Poltergeist and have not seen it on Netflix yet. I’m not expecting it to be better than the original, but I do enjoy movies dealing with ghosts, poltergeists, and the paranormal.

As far as next week goes, we will have one blog on Wednesday, possibly another one on Thursday, and have Christmas day off. I can’t believe the holiday is almost here. Time marches on. Before I know it, I will be making my new year’s resolutions, saying happy St. Patrick’s Day, and packing up to go to Maine. There went half a year in one sentence. Lol.

Until next week, have a great weekend, continue to enjoy your holiday season, take care, and happy reading.

No, I am not prepared for life

Greetings, readers. After spending three days working with healthcare.gov, two with Rebecca and one on my own, I have come to the horrible conclusion that I am ill-equipped to handle real life challenges. I’m just fine listening to music, perusing Facebook, and playing video games. When it comes to real life situations that require me to use my brain, I am a cross between Herman Munster and the Swamp Thing. Today when my accountant was looking over the health plan I chose and saw a couple of problems, I actually caught myself feeling the same way when Herman “goofs it again.”

This all stems from – and Mom, I love you to death – me not being prepared for real life. As far back as I can remember, everything was done for me. My parents were fairly well to do and I was physically challenged, so I really wasn’t encouraged to get a job early in life. I know I’ve blogged about certain topics like this before, but this recent phone call and possible health care blunder, has brought these feelings back to the surface. Luckily, it doesn’t last very long. Much to talk about with my therapist on Monday.

Let me explain what happened with the healthcare phone call. First of all, the 40 minute hold time did not put me in a good mood. Second, once we got going, of course, there were many questions to verify that I am who I said I was. After that was taken care of, we got down to business. I explained that I didn’t want my current plan to roll over and wanted to choose another one. Looking at my new plan in more depth today, however, I realize I probably made a mistake. Yes the premiums are a bit cheaper, but my out-of-pocket money for drugs per month will be more. Ouch!

Since the new policy doesn’t begin until January 1st, I might still have time to change it. But I’ll have to talk to them tonight. I’m going to take a piece of paper and jot down specific questions to be answered.

My problem is that I’m not thorough. I don’t think things through. My health care policy is a perfect example. I saw a $30 a month in savings in the premiums, with the next choice higher, and said I’ll take that one, without asking exactly what the plan does and does not cover. Before we began this blog today, I must admit I was angry with myself and Rebecca knew it. She’s a good friend not to give me any I told you so’s or you should have done this or that. The reason I was angry was because my mother would never have allowed this to happen. She was the queen of organization and not leaving any stone unturned. Every question would have been answered to her satisfaction or she would not have taken the policy. Oh, mother, how I wish you were with me now. Since that’s not possible, the only thing for me to do is to accept the encouragement of my friends and say I will do better next time, learning from my mistakes.

Until Friday, take care, throw good thoughts my way to be strong, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: A new date book for a new year

‘Tis the time of year for me to start a new date book, officially called an engagement planner. I prefer the one called Cat Naps, with pictures of various breeds of cats resting with various props and materials. They are so cute. Each page has a picture on the left side and a week of days, Monday to Sunday, on the right side. At the beginning of each month is a page with the whole month on one side and a page for notes on the other. I really like this format and look for it every year.

I use the date book to keep track of appointments, both mine and Joe’s, what days I work, events, birthdays, various anniversaries, and other things I might need to know, like when the public bus system goes to reduced service.

Cat Naps actually holds the last few months of one year as well as all of the next year, so I can start using it as soon as I like when I buy it in October or November. This year I chose to start using it in the first week of December. So during the Thanksgiving holiday, I sat down with the book from 2015 and the book for 2016, and transferred information from one to the other.

It was interesting to see when some annual dates will fall, and a reminder that there are a couple of January birthdays to get ready for soon after the holidays. I make note of how long it has been since family members have died, or how long I have been working for Joe, and family wedding anniversaries. I noticed this next year it will be 8 years since my father-in-law died, and time is passing fast because it doesn’t seem like he has been gone that long. 2016 is a leap year, with February 29th being on a Monday (I see that I have a doctor’s appointment that day, also). It is a quirk of life that my two nephews and my niece all celebrate their birthdays on the same day of the week, and I was pleased to see in the new book that the day will be Sunday, the day I visit family every week and will be able to be with them in person. Joe’s birthday will be on a Wednesday, so I will be able to see him too. My dad’s birthday will be on Monday, as will mine. I saw that my late mother’s birthday will be on Thanksgiving day in 2016, something she really got a kick out of when she was alive. The new book also tells me that it will be 14 years since my first date with Darren, and 12 years since we got married.

I look through the pages, and see a new year spread out for me, ready to fill with more events and milestones.

I hope 2016 will be good to you, filled with people and events that matter to you as much as mine matter to me.

Your call is important to us, please continue to hold

Greetings, readers. Rebecca and I have just spent the last 35 minutes on hold trying to get help with the government’s healthcare marketplace website. We heard the phrase, “Your call is important to us, please continue to hold for the next available representative,” about ten times. Now I understand that the deadline is vastly approaching to sign up for a healthcare plan to start in January. I still feel frustrated because I was wasting Rebecca’s time.

Around 1:30 in the afternoon, I’m quite certain was indeed the busiest time to try to call them. Rebecca wrote down for me the questions I need to get answered and I will try to call again early tomorrow morning. Luckily they do have a 24 hour phone number. I must admit, I am unsure of myself sometimes when handling important things on my own. Low self-confidence is rearing its ugly head again. Hopefully, when Rebecca comes into work tomorrow, I can say that we are ready to proceed on the website.

Now for a little more venting. I cannot tell you how many times over the years I’ve gone to make an important phone call which should only take minutes, just to be put on hold. Do I understand that I am not the only human in the world? Of course I do. But we all have our selfish times and want to be helped at that moment. I must get over this silliness. As long as I get the answers I need, so that the application can be finished and a health insurance plan chosen by the 15th of this month, all will be right with the world.

If anybody else has had issues with this or any other website, or have been put on hold for what seems like an eternity, leave a comment here or at Facebook, and share your story.

Until tomorrow, have a good day, take care, and happy reading. Venting over.

Top ten list of things that are going on in my life right now – Dec 2015

Greetings, readers. Rebecca and I thought it would be a good idea to post a top ten list of things that are going on in my life in the current moment. Most are good things, a few of them are perhaps not so good. I don’t think I would consider any of them “bad”. Life is a journey and a struggle and every once in a while we get a peach pit in our peaches and cream. So here we go.

#10. Fog. [The last four days State College, PA. and surrounding areas have experienced thicker than usual fog. This morning I awakened early as usual, looked out my window, and could not see the buildings across the street. Very unusual. State College is prone to bad weather from time to time, but thinking about it, I must admit fog is the phenomenon we have the least.]

#9. Learning to win on the WWE 2k16 wrestling game, PS3 version. [As my regular blog readers may remember, recently I got a copy of this wonderful video game. It is much more difficult than I was expecting. I am finally learning how to win on it. My overall record is 2 wins, 11 loses, and a whole bunch of just watching the computer playing against itself. Fascinating game. I must be careful, because I can play it for hours, which is not good for my very mild seizure issue.]

#8. Christmas decorations going up and excited about Christmas. [Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. Even though I can no longer have the big, real Christmas tree with tons of ornaments and lights, I do try to decorate a little bit to remind myself of the great days when Mom and Dad would spruce up the house and would make it look magical. Pop never let us turn the lights on once tested until Christmas morning, which made it seem more wonderous.]

#7. I am enjoying Spotify music service. [For $9 a month, I am considering Spotify to be a steal. I have found tons of songs and complete albums to listen to. Also, you can click and drag songs into playlists you create. So far I have four lists: my collection of 70s and 80s songs, Beatles songs done by the a tribute band The Coverbeats, my favorite list of KISS songs performed live, and Christmas songs. If you are on Spotify and want to listen to my playlists, drop a comment here or on Facebook and I’ll send you the link.]

#6. Working on a new budget for the new year. [I continue to struggle with money. I keep running out before the end of the month. Here today on the 9th of December I was already talking to my accountant about the slow leak in my wallet. I bought some new pants, a belt, and underwear last night and even though I should have been expecting the amount, the bill gave me sticker shock. I needed the clothes very badly. My old slacks were literally worn out. I need to find a way to get what I need and make my money last longer at the same time.]

#5. New issues with Zipcar. [Up until a month or so ago, my dealings with Zipcar were great. Recently … not so much. The last two times I’ve tried to rent, I’ve either had an issue with the vehicle or none were available despite the reservation I had made ahead of time. The last time, the car that was supposed to be mine for the morning was in for maintenance. I was not told about this – oh joy, oh bliss. The friend I was going to drive to the train station, and who had agreed to pay for the rental fee, had to take a cab. I am picking her up this Sunday, let’s hope all goes well. If not, Zipcar and I will have major problems.]

#4. Doctor appointments for both Keekee and me. [Keekee’s appointment is for a semi-annual wellness check, complete with vaccination, clip nails, and new bag of food, just to name a few things. I have a neurologist appointment in January, to make sure my brain is running the way it should. These appointments made this list not because they are particularly noteworthy but because of the expense it will take to get us there and back. I will either have to take a bus, a taxi, or rent a Zipcar. It is easier to take a cat in  carrier in a Zipcar. Some bus drivers don’t mind, others do, but it is legal. Also, I have a routine dentist appointment in a few weeks.]

#3. Waiting for a notice from the copyright office for my play Kimberly. [We sent in the application, play, and the check a couple of months ago. I want to know that is done by the time Rebecca’s husband Darren is done with the novel based on the play, so that we can then copyright his work.]

#2. Six book sales at the end of November. [Whoot. I was very excited to check my CreateSpace e-store page and find three sales for each of the Bear Spring Camps books. Yay, team! It is not enough to pay the rent, but it is a start. And I am glad that people are still enjoying Picking Up Where We Left Off and Tales from North Bay and Beyond.]

#1. My girlfriend and Thanksgiving with family. [Traci has been my girlfriend since late September, and she went with me to spend Thanksgiving with David and family. Regular readers will know that she got along great with the family and we all had a wonderful time. This is in the #1 spot because Traci was so happy to be introduced to the family and both she and I are happy to have each other, as well as them.]

So, this sums up this top ten list and my life at this moment. Although things are definitely on an upswing for me, I am still grateful for my therapist. She still continues to help me quite a bit.

There will definitely be a blog on Friday, on an as of yet unknown topic. Until then, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

My Christmas decorating is almost finished :-D

Greetings, readers. The manger set, which was my mom’s, is now up on the credenza. With it is a picture of mom on one side, and a battery operated candle on the other. That small area of my apartment…, done!

Today, after morning coffee and Christmas music, I’m going to dig out one or two strands of lights. They’ll go around my framed snow scene painting, which is behind my recliner. I hope all the lights work. I have bad luck with lights sometimes.

Located in my hall closet are my three snow globes; two of which light up! By the end of the day, I think this place with be filled with the look of Christmas. I know it’s only December 8th, but I’m late already. Most years my decorations are up the day after Thanksgiving.

Well, this is the end of this unexpected, typed and edited on my own, blog entry. Rebecca and I will be back tomorrow with another one.

Until then, take care, have a good day and happy reading.