Monthly Archives: July 2017

My last blog entry until I get back from camp

Greetings, readers. I am dictating the last blog of my year, I measure a year from vacation to vacation, as I sip a Coors Light. I spent most of the morning doing loads of laundry which will be packed in a day or two. I’m trying desperately to keep up with my tasks so I don’t get behind on what I need to do. A week from today I will be leaving and trust me, this week is going to go fast. Between having Rebecca here for two days of work next week and four work shifts at my fast food job, I’m not going to have a lot of time to do other things. My feet will be hurting and I will be quite tired. Rest and sleep will be #1 priorities on the down-time list.

For those of you who read yesterday’s blog – great view numbers by the way – I did locate my Take-to-Maine list and have begun to set a few things aside. I’ve also been in contact with my employer to make certain of what days and hours I work. I may need to ask off for the day before I leave; things might get too hectic around here.

What else is news with me? Well, I’ll share something with you. I am a huge fan of On Golden Pond. I had an idea for a sequel and wrote to one of the movie’s co-stars to test the waters of interest. To my happy surprise, Doug McKeon (young Billy Ray) wrote back to me. He told me that Ernest Thompson, who wrote the play, would have to be contacted before any work could be produced from my project. Even if I could not get permission from Mr. Thompson to use his characters, I still might work on the project just for fun and practice anyway when I get home. You never know what it might lead to.

I know I talk about the weather a lot, but after two beautifully cooler days, the humidity is back and it is forecast to rain in the early evening. I’ll have to bring my hoodie with me to work because I don’t want to stand at the bus stop this evening and wait unprotected. I certainly don’t want to get a cold right before vacation. That would be dreadful. My work shift today is 3pm to 8pm. I do love my job but believe me at the end of the shift my feet are ready to go home and be put up.

There is a little bit of a lull in town now, in between the arts festivals and the beginning of the college football season which begins in late August. If my sources are correct, the first four out of five games are at home. That is where I will be able to see if I am cut out to work the register at my job.

Next Wednesday I will be here but I will be doing last-minute chores. The blog will be written by Rebecca and if I’m here at the appropriate time, I will help edit it. I would like to take this opportunity right now to once again thank all of my readers for reading me and enjoying my blog over the past year. Trust me, this ride is nowhere near over.

Until soonest, take care, have a great couple of weeks, and happy reading.

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Last minute chores to do before leaving for Maine

Greetings, readers. Yes, it’s that time of year again. I can’t believe that another early August has rolled around. Time flies and I always find myself behind the eight ball completing my last-minute chores. The panic and rush-rush will all be worth it though in ten days, when I’ll be relaxing on my cabin’s porch.

The first thing I must do is fire up the old laptop and transfer the ‘take to camp’ list I made years ago. I update it every year, taking off items that aren’t used. It is really a big help to me, keeping me organized during this hectic week before I pull out.

It goes without saying that I also must do multiple loads of laundry. With only one washer and dryer on my floor of the apartment building, I try to choose a day and begin my washing chore when the room opens at 8:00 in the morning.

Lastly, I am drawn to follow my mom’s example to double-check my reservations for the motels and the rental car. I’m very glad I called the rental car agency this morning because there was a snafu. The gentleman I talked to on June 1st never put my car reservation in the computer system. That would have been loads of fun if I had walked over to get the car and there wasn’t one the day before I wanted to leave. This minor fiasco makes me want to double-check my motel reservations. It might sound easy and straight forward, but to me, I learned from my mom years ago to never leave any details of the preparations to chance.

Rebecca and I will be working tomorrow and then I’ll be done for two weeks. As Rebecca stated last week, she will take over in my absence and I have no doubt that she will give you something interesting to read while I’m gone. She always does.

So until tomorrow, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Paperwork and clutter

Medical organizations really love to send paper, don’t they? I like having information sent to me in the mail so I can hold it in my hands and have it for future reference. But I don’t need three copies. Well, maybe there is something different and new for each mailing, but it adds up. Joe gets a lot of paper from insurance, doctors, bills, with many explanation-of-benefits notices. One of the things I will be doing while he is in Maine will be to go through the giant stack of paperwork and organizing it. I will shred some of it, like notices for appointments that have passed, and putting the rest in folders where they belong. I do this every year, and then spend the next twelve months shoving it in a bag or binder. Well, some things get filed or disposed of during the year – Joe never keeps junk mail – but there is so much that I find myself putting all the medical papers in one bag and personal paper like rent receipts in another bag to be sorted later. Later turns out to be every August.

Joe struggles with clutter too, as regular readers know. Stuff gets piled up and then every other week or so he will get on a tear to throw out all the trash and organize items he keeps. The chair where a lot of this stuff is kept, which Joe refers to as Dead Red (a broken recliner), is soon to be gone he says. So this coming year we will have to find a new home for the paperwork bags and files I put there, and he will have to find a new place for the stuff that he stores in it. The chair is sad, with the back off the seat, and filled with clutter. I am looking forward to seeing how getting the chair out of the room we work in, and seeing whatever he might replace it with, changes the space in here. Exciting days ahead.

I am writing this at Joe’s on Wednesday. He is back from his appointment (Wednesday’s post explains where he was and why I wrote two posts this week) and we edited this blog together. We are going to try to schedule this to publish at 1pm on Thursday, July 20th. We will check to see if that WordPress feature works and publish it by hand if it doesn’t. If you see this shortly after 1:00 on Thursday afternoon, you will know that it worked. Yay technology, when it works!

Next week Joe will be back for both blog entries. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Blog schedule for July and August

Greetings, Joe’s readers. You are seeing a lot of From Rebecca entries lately, and while I hope that all of you enjoy reading my pieces, I know that you are partaking of Joe’s blog to see what is on his mind. Last week, Joe’s friend Dave came to visit on Thursday, and two weeks before that Joe had something personal came up. Please bear with us, both entries this week will be from me, and this will continue off and on just another month. There are reasons for that.

This week doctor appointments have knocked out the working together time for Joe and me. Today Joe is at a check-up with his primary physician, and tomorrow I will be helping my husband Darren and his mom at an urgent doctor’s appointment for her; with her mobility issues and bringing the car around to the front of buildings, it is so much easier to get my mom-in-law to her appointments if there are two of us. To make up for the lost work time tomorrow, I am writing the blog entry for Thursday too.

Next week will be normal for us, working Wednesday and Thursday together. As usual, Joe will dictate the blog posts while I type, then we will edit. Joe will be busy getting ready for Bear Spring Camps, so I imagine that his other writing will be halted for the time being, but he will do the blog.

The following two weeks, the first two in August, Joe will go to Bear Spring Camps in Maine, and I will do those four blog posts from home. I will be spending time with his cat Keekee during regular work hours, so those entries will be a little later in the day than usual, but I will get them up on those Wednesdays and Thursdays.

After that, Joe will be back and we will go back to normal with two blog entries a week from Joe on various topics. I expect him to come back with lots of motivation and ideas for the rest of the year, as he does after every vacation at Bear Spring Camps. He will be raring to go with ideas for writing, cleaning, organizing, and improving his life in general. It is always an exciting time to be working with him.

So hang it there with us for the next month. I hope you will like my posts, and Joe will be back before you know it with more of his thoughts and wisdom, plus he will be here both days next week.

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

From Rebecca: Happy Birthday, Joe

Today is Joe’s birthday, and if you read his post yesterday, you know that he is spending it with his good friend and brother David Trost, who is visiting for a couple of days. I’m sure they are having a great time together. Hi, guys! Happy Birthday, Joe!

I have known Joe since we went to high school together. I was a bit in my own world back then, but Joe easily befriended me anyway. He has always been interested in other people, in seeing the good in them, and being a good friend to them. These are traits he still has. Once in a while someone will take advantage of his niceness, of his easy trust, and it will make him feel stupid for a bit of time. But he is still willing to help the next person he sees that needs assistance and offer a shoulder to cry on. I admire that. It is my natural inclination to pull away from people I don’t know, and Joe’s natural inclination to move closer in order to say hi. He is a special person.

As I’ve said before on this blog, it has been an experience to watch Joe in his fast food job. He has approached it with so much excitement and joy, even though lately he has also experienced some of the disappointments and mishaps that can occur at any job. He will be taking a couple of weeks off in August when he goes to Bear Spring Camps in Maine, and no doubt when he comes back he will start a new work schedule as the town gets ready for the Penn State fall semester.

Joe wrote yesterday that he will be back next Wednesday with a review of his laptop, but he has an appointment that morning, so he will probably do that on Thursday instead. I might be writing the blog entry again next Wednesday, unless Joe gets back in time to do it.

As Joe would tell you, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

My friend Dave is coming for my birthday

Greetings, readers. My buddy and brother Dave Trost is coming up tomorrow to visit me for my birthday. What a fantastic surprise. I’ll be turning 52 tomorrow and it will be nice to have Dave here. We’re planning on having birthday dinner at the Indian restaurant right underneath my apartment building. I suppose after that it will be back upstairs to watch movies or YouTube. Quite honestly, I would not mind just sitting and chatting about the old days. I love it when we reminisce.

Dave is able to take this two and a half day vacation because the poor boy cracked a bone in his ankle playing softball. That is a major ouch. Luckily for him, since he is planning to drive down for the visit, the walking boot is on his left foot. I don’t imagine we’ll be walking to Panera or any of the other eateries because I’m going to want my buddy to rest that foot as much as possible.

Another reason I don’t want Dave walking around town is that this just happens to be the week for our Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Panera and Sheetz will be crowded and who knows if we will even get a table. I might try something called OrderUp, which is an online service that will pick up food ordered from a restaurant and deliver it to your door. I think David will enjoy staying off his foot as much as he can.

Although Dave’s visit will be a short one, it has fallen on my birthday week and Arts Festival week. If Dave is feeling up to it, we might check out the food venders on the block nearest my building. I heard they have yummy corn dogs, bundt cake and funnel cake. That sounds like a treat for a person with a sweet tooth.

The weather, as is usual for this time of year where we have the Arts Fest downtown and the People’s Choice Festival in Boalsburg, is supposed to be warm and muggy with a chance of rain. That in itself is reason enough to stay in and play Yahtzee all evening. I can remember many an evening at Bear Spring Camps when Dave and I would play Yahtzee to pass the evening away. I still have very fond recollections of those nights. I even know where to find my Yahtzee game and score pads.

I’ll be certain to have a 12 pack of Coors Light so that when Dave arrives he can sit down and begin to enjoy his weekend. Usually we would walk together to get it, but this visit he gets pampered a bit. One of the movies that I know David will want to watch on Netflix is the Minions. My buddy just loves those yellow little characters.

The next blog entry we will be doing when we are together again next week will be a review of my new laptop computer. I won’t go into the full review here but I can give you a spoiler, I like it very much. Rebecca will be doing the blog tomorrow from home, which I am sure will be awesome.

Until I write again next week, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

My options for my side trip on the way to Maine

Greetings, readers. Over the past few years when I have driven myself to Bear Spring Camps, I’ve taken a half day for a side trip. One year I stopped in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire and spent a few hours at the seaside. The town looked nothing like how I remembered it from when I was a boy. With many more shops and hotels, it is certainly geared for the tourist trade.

Two years ago I stopped in Portland, Maine and had an absolute blast. I drove to the Portland Sea Dogs baseball stadium, Hadlock Field, to see it they had a souvenir shop. I was extremely happy to find that they did. I bought way too much stuff; two baseball caps – both home and away, two sweatshirts, a baseball, a coffee mug, and a refrigerator magnet. After that I drove around Portland a bit and had a late lunch at a waterside seafood shop. They had a delicious lobster roll. After spending way too much time in Portland, I had to tear myself away to get to Waterville for my Friday evening hotel reservation.

What to do this year? Hmmm. I could revisit one of those two places, or choose something completely different. Now that I own a GPS unit, I might even venture into a bigger city, such as Boston or Hartford and do a little sightseeing. My Friday evening hotel reservation this year is in Augusta, roughly 20 miles from the Waterville exit, so I will be close enough to camp on Saturday morning so as not to feel rushed or think that my first day is getting away from me.

Obviously I did not see all of Portland when I was there before. If I venture back this year I can drive all around, not just down Commercial Street. As some of you might remember from a previous blog entry, that street is depicted in one of my train simulator routes and it was amazing how accurate the game was, right down to the corner convenience store. If I do go back to Portland, I will stop at that seafood shop for another lobster roll. I really enjoy them, as did my mom.  It was Mom’s favorite meal during the Maine trip, and I will have one in her memory.

Usually I don’t stop anywhere on the way home, but depending on traffic, I just might this year. Again, having my own GPS unit will come in handy. It opens up a lot of options for me. One of these days, if I sell enough books and become independently wealthy (LOL), I will use my Garmin and visit places in the country I always wanted to see. For now though, the Garmin is only for the Maine trip.

Next week I expect to have a two-day work week with Rebecca, even though Thursday is my birthday. I’m not a kid anymore and I don’t mind working on my birthday. We’ll have two more exciting blog entries for you. One of them just might be political. I’ve been biting my tongue ever since President Trump got elected. I don’t know how much longer I can do it. I might just have to speak out.

So we bid you a good weekend, please do take care, good wishes to any people in the Montana earthquake who might have been injured, and as always, happy reading.

The joy of paying forward

Greetings, readers. I’ve watched many YouTube videos dealing with the phenomenon called paying forward. It is a concept where a person receives a blessing from out of the blue, usually from a stranger who does not expect anything back. At some point in the future the person who received the gift may do a good deed for someone else, paying the blessing forward. This idea fascinates me and I think I am going to start doing it.

As I frequent Panera café, an easy opportunity for me to pay forward would be for me to pay for the lunch of the person standing directly behind me. I’ve not done that yet, for fear of the person becoming offended. One day soon, I might just get up the courage to try it. In this world of hatred, war, and injustice, doing a little deed like paying for a meal, contributing to a charity, or leaving an extra generous tip is a way to brightens someone’s day.

I will write more about this at another time, but one way I am paying forward right now, is with a GoFundMe page to benefit a cerebral palsy charity. I started it a couple weeks ago, and although it has gotten off to a slow start, my site appears to in full working order now, and I look forward to, at some time in the future, giving the donations to this charity. As some of you may know, I have a mild case of cerebral palsy, that while not getting worse, will never go away.

This coming Christmas season I plan to donate to the charities that have volunteers who stand on the corners each day and ring their bells. I’ve only done that a couple of times over the years, for fear that charities are not what they claim to be, but if you can’t trust the Salvation Army, who can you trust? I’m also going to buy a toy or two and drop it in the Toys for Tots bin. That will make a little boy or girl a little happier on Christmas morning.

Other ways that I can pay forward? It is a matter of keeping your eyes open and looking for opportunities to make someone’s day happier. I remember one time many years ago, a person who was down on his luck wanted to buy a cup of coffee at McDonald’s with exact change. He didn’t know that the prices had just gone up and he was four cents short, and the cashier at the time would not sell him a cup of coffee. I gave him a five dollar bill so that he had not only enough money for his coffee but also a McMuffin of his choice. He almost cried. What did I get out of the exchange? Only the pleasure of seeing someone who wasn’t expecting any good fortune turn and smile as he walked away with his breakfast.

I think if more people would do this in their daily lives, not only in this country but around the world, there might just be little less hate. With the talk of nuclear missile tests, wars, and other atrocities, it is time for some good news. It is time for change. It is time for kindness to replace anger and indifference. Let’s each of us make a vow, my readers, in the next month to pay forward. Then, in the comment section, tell me your story and we will share it with everybody.

Until tomorrow, I bid you a good day, take care, and happy reading.