Monthly Archives: December 2017

From Rebecca: Is the weather cold where you are?

As Joe wrote yesterday, he is taking a personal day to get things done and I am doing the blog post today. He might do an entry himself in the next few days, depending on his energy level.

We are in a cold weather pattern in central Pennsylvania this week, and probably next week, too, with below freezing temperatures. It feels like January and February out there, so I guess our new year started early. People are going to have to bundle up for the First Night State College series of events this weekend. At least the ice sculptures  won’t melt this year, like they do in years when we have weather in the 40s on New Year’s Eve. I love seeing the ice sculptures in the following days, matching the designs to the organizations that commissioned them. For example, Centre Area Transportation Authority usually has a small ice replica of one of their buses outside their downtown office.

It was very cold yesterday, and for waiting at the bus stops and walking to and from working with Joe, I had all my winter weather clothes on. I had on two pairs of socks, sweatpants over my slacks, a hoodie, my coat, and gloves. I have a new coat, a bulky unwieldy heavy annoyance that I call blanket-coat. I like the length, but the pockets are an inch too low for me to really use. The best part of this garment is that it keeps me warm. I was standing at the bus stop for ten minutes on the way home with the temperature of 11 degrees F and I didn’t feel at all cold in blanket-coat. That was awesome.

For all of you who are also struggling with cold weather and snow, I hope you end each day safe, warm, and comfortable this winter. Happy New Year.

Until next Wednesday, or until Joe puts up another entry this week, have a good week, take care, and happy reading.

Don’t cross the boss!

Greetings, readers. Last week I learned a valuable work place lesson. I heard through ‘the grapevine’, that one of my superiors said something uncomplimentary about me. I decided to nicely confront him about it. After our discussion, I was satisfied with the outcome and thought that all was peachy again. Umm, wrong.

Another one of my superiors was also in the meeting room that day and was actually part of the conversation. Now, I feel that the second manager is treating me differently than she did before. She isn’t nasty, she’s … colder. I’ve always had a low self-esteem issue and it could be that she is having other problems at work or perhaps personal problems, and the timing of her indifference is a huge coincidence.

The time that I am spending on reading Four’s a Crowd and editing, as well as my own personal writing projects, has suffered greatly in recent months. I may have to make a decision soon whether or not to stay with the job and earn money (which eases the stress of daily life) or to quit my job and write. I know, I’ve talked about doing more writing before, but things always seem to come up. Work, health issues, a performance, or time to go to Maine, are good examples of what gets me off track. Will I miss the income? Absolutely. But I know of another place which would hire me if I could just pass their on-line entrance exam. It’s practically across the street from where I live.

I’m going to play the wait and see game for about a month. That will be two more pay periods. During this time, I will be keeping eyes and ears open to see whether or not everything calms down. Hopefully it will.

On a minor note, did I put up even one decoration for Christmas? No. I did not. However, I did go to two holiday meals and yes, I stuffed myself stupid. Next year I vow to decorate this apartment to within an inch of its life. Lol.

Finally, a R.I.P. to one of my favorite sportscasters of all time, the legendary Dick Enberg. He passed away on December 21st at the age of 82. For many years he announced pro football games on NBC and, in his later years before retiring, he was one of the play by play announcers for Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.

Tomorrow will be a personal day and either Rebecca or I will put up the blog. Who knows, there might even be two, one from each of us. Until then, take care, stay warm if you are in the frigid cold snap, and happy reading.

A new look for the new year

Greetings, readers. As you can see, I’ve changed the look of the blog. I’ve decided to keep this look for at least three or four months. During this time, I’ll see if it is functional, easy to use and rather or not we like it. I won’t make any rash decisions, but if after that time Rebecca and I don’t think it’s what we want, we’ll go back to the look we had before, which was called Chateau. I do happen to like that one very much. This theme is called Twenty Thirteen.

Guess how much Christmas decorating I did yesterday. Not a gosh darn thing. The news I found out yesterday dealing with my workplace threw me for a loop. I’m not going to go into specifics here, suffice it to say it was not pleasing to me. I might ask for a leave of absence to heal my legs and feet and to concentrate on my writing. If I cannot be accommodated, well I tried. I don’t want to admit that Mom was right, but she might have been correct that this type of job is too much for me.

I have two ideas for a writing project in my mind. And even though I would miss the income from not working at my restaurant job, I feel the need to be creative. I think that is what the Lord put me on this planet to do and I must pursue it. Hopefully my manager will understand. I purchased voice recognition software that will hopefully let me dictate easily the dialog and prose I have in my head into a word document. As I’ve mentioned before, when I try to type things, my favorite buddy is the back space key. That is just too frustrating and slow.

I have one minor appointment this afternoon, and after that some decorations are going to be put up in this place. If I don’t do it soon, I might as well not do it at all. Bah humbug. To be honest, as I might have mentioned before, I don’t know why I’m not in the Christmas mood this year. The days seem to come and go and before I know it, it is bedtime again. I think to myself, sometimes out loud, well that is another day I didn’t get done what I wanted to do.

I wish to give Christmas and holiday greetings to all my blog readers around the world, with good wishes for a prosperous and happy 2018. There are many things that I am going to do this coming year. I’m going to put together a second blog book and get it out. I am going to begin to eat better, and one way I will do that is during the next Lent. Yes readers, I am making it public, I am giving up ice cream for Lent. I’m sure I can do it if I put my mind to it. Now watch, I’ll just substitute Doritos. Lol.

Please leave a comment in the comment area and let us know how you like the new look of the blog. So far, I like it a lot.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful holiday weekend and we will see you then, perhaps with a top ten list. 🙂 Enjoy, stay warm, and happy reading.v

I am way behind in my yuletide preparations

Greetings, readers. It is quite bizarre how fast this Christmas season has flown by. I could swear I just woke up on Thanksgiving morning and watched the Macy’s parade with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. I blinked my eyes twice and it is December 20th. I’ve only listened to a hand-full of Christmas carols, and my apartment is not decorated at all. Bah humbug to me.

There have been a number of things that I believe has caused this delay in decorating. First of all is my job. I come home from it tired and needing to sleep. I don’t seem to get much done on the days I have a shift; it is work, eat, and sleep. On the days I don’t have a shift, I have work with Rebecca and errands to do that can’t be done on job days. Second is the time I have spent proof-reading and editing Four’s a Crowd. Apparently I am the last of the readers to finish my editing. Shame on me. Luckily I know the material like the back of my hand, especially my part of it. Once I get rolling, it won’t take me long. Lastly, when I could be reading at 4:00am, I am playing Out of the Park Baseball 18. Today was game 5 of the completely fictitious Canadian Baseball League World Series. Somehow my brain isn’t engaged for activities like reading and editing at 4:00 in the morning. Fear not, Darren and Rebecca, it will be done.

After the holidays, I plan to revamp my schedule. Whether that means taking some time off from work, or changing my job schedule, has yet to be determined. I’m certain that everything will fall into place. It always seems to.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected in the Amtrak train disaster, as well as in the tour bus accident in Mexico. So sad. The California wild fires, although I’ve heard they have been partially contained, will probably burn for another several days. I’ve been calling my aunt, who lives near one of the fire areas, and she is uncomfortable from the smoke but holding her own.

Finally, very soon two of our long-time establishments will be going out of business. Not because of the economy, but rather the sale of the building in which they are housed. Spats Café and Speakeasy has been around for 30 years and the Rathskeller Bar has been underneath the cafe in the same spot for many decades. I always hate it when establishments go bye-bye, especially the ones I remember as a youth or a teenager. The State College area is not really effected that much from the recession because there are a lot of college kids who attend school every year and need books, Penn State clothing, souvenirs and anything else Penn State they can get their hands on.

I wish everyone good luck with their holiday shopping. Enjoy your plans with family. And until tomorrow, take care and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Snow on the ground

Where Joe and I live it started snowing last evening and stopped sometime this morning, for a total of four inches. It is the first significant amount of the season, although I know that many of you reading this got your first snow some time ago. It looks pretty while I’m sitting inside and seeing it through the window. The streets are plowed and treated, and traffic looks like it is moving normally. Darren and I have a stool on our balcony, and it looks like it is standing in a white blanket while wearing a white fluffy hat.

I have a sore throat, that is better today but still there, which is why I am writing this post from home. Yesterday, Joe gave me a handful of Cold-Eeze and the day off today to recover. I slept a little more than usual and am resting, and that has helped a lot.

I can’t think of anything else to write, so I will make this a short piece. Joe might put up another blog entry this week, if he can find the time. (He is finding that the days he works at the restaurant he comes home too tired to do anything else except watch TV and go to bed.) We will work together again next Wednesday and hopefully Thursday to bring you new blog entries.

Until then, as Joe says, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Frustrations with health insurance

Greetings, readers. For the past half hour, Rebecca and I have been calling numbers trying to find out information about my soon-to-expire health insurance coverage. The deadline for the marketplace is two days away and I was supposed to get a letter from the state telling me rather I qualify for medical assistance through them or not. I looked in my mailbox today and got all the mail from this last week; no such letter was in the pile.

This brings me to a problem. I cannot proceed on the marketplace website without said information. Sometimes I think the government does this on purpose. Their mission: give Joe grey hair. Just now, Rebecca and I called three separate numbers; two of them were not the department I needed to talk to and one was a non-working number. Thanks Yahoo!, get your information updated please.

With many of my co-workers sick with colds, flu, and such, I feel like I am going to need my health coverage very soon. I’m praying I won’t have a lapse in the coverage, for knowing my luck, that’s when I’ll get double pneumonia.

Yes, it seems the town bug has hit, mainly because of the sudden drop in the temperature. Yesterday morning, I walked from the bus stop into work and said to myself, yep, winter is here alright, even if it isn’t officially here until the 21st of this month. I’ve had to forgo my comfortable hoodie for the bulkier down coat. The pockets are not as deep so I have to my cell phone and keys in my backpack.

On Monday, we’re having a code inspection in the apartment building, starting on my floor around 9am, and the notice said I need to contain any pets. I’ve asked the restaurant manager who hired me if I can work a later shift on that day. I’m hoping she says yes. If not, poor Keekee will either be locked in the bathroom or crated up until I get home. She will not be a happy kitty cat. I used to work the 3pm to 8pm shift, and that wouldn’t be bad. If I was put on the 5pm to 11pm shift … well, let’s just say I’m used to going to sleep at 9:00. My fuel tanks would be running on fumes. I hope to get a response from my manager by this afternoon.

Rebecca is not certain quite yet if she is coming down with something or not. I’m sure she hopes to make it tomorrow but her body might rebel and say no, you need to sleep today. If that is the case, either I will put a blog entry up or Rebecca will from home.

Speaking of the blog, I’ve made an executive decision. Beginning in Feb 2018, I am going to begin to compile blog entries from years two, three, and four for my second blog book. I’ve been meaning to do this for quite a while, and I was going to call it Greetings, Readers 2, but I think I will use my creativity and come up with a different name. My target date to have that out is mid-April. Between the novel and my new blog book, there are many positive achievements for our creative endeavors coming out before I go to camp in August.

Well, that just about does it for today. I’m going to call it an early session and let Rebecca go home and recoup, if she is indeed catching something. I am going to rest my feet most of the time today and tomorrow before I go back to my fast food job for the Friday and Saturday shifts.

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

From Rebecca: Editing Four’s a Crowd from proofs

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Joe, my husband Darren, and I are doing the unusual practice of doing heavy edits in the proof copies of Four’s a Crowd. Usually this would be done before the proofreading work, but we got blocked and needed a way to push forward. As regular readers know, Joe wrote a play, Kimberly, which four years ago Darren began adapting into the novel Four’s a Crowd. Darren and Joe would get together every few months and touch base with what Darren was doing with Joe’s characters and plotlines to expand them, and make notes on moving forward.

Darren finished writing the first couple of drafts, then we printed off copies so that the three of us could do edits. We did a couple of rounds of that, in starts and stops, and then sometime in the last year the progress just got stuck. As the three of us worked at different stages, we would think that one of us was doing something with the book, only to find out that the person thought that someone else was doing something, so all three of us would be in waiting patterns. And then nothing moved forward on the project for many months and Darren gave up.

Someone, I think it was me, suggested we just jump to the next step, which was getting proofs, and edit from there. Which we did, and the project is moving rapidly now. We are using the print-on-demand publisher CreateSpace for the novel. Joe had a good experience with them when he published his three books, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, Beyond North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger. I downloaded the CreateSpace formatted templet, and started plugging in the content. We had to wait a couple of days for the review, but then we were ready to order proof copies.

For Darren, this was the first time he held a bound book with his name on it as author, and he was pleased. The book is thicker than we imagined, and has a heft to it. We are all really proud of it. We will be changing the front cover photo, we still need to put in author photos, and make a few more cosmetic changes, but it is already an impressive achievement.

We got four of copies for editing, one for Darren, one for Joe, one for me, and one for Darren’s mother who agreed to read it and give us feedback. Darren’s mom read the book in two days and loved it. She pointed out a few things to change that helped a lot. I was going to say that Darren finished his editing yesterday, except he is sitting on the sofa right now with a pencil in his teeth and the book in his hands making more changes. Joe plans to do some editing with his copy today, while he also rests from a very busy week. I am on page number 232 out of 300 in my copy, so I don’t have much left.

Except for Joe who is using a sheet of paper, we are making our changes and suggestions right in the book with pencils. I am not sure why, but it is so satisfying to write directly in the book. The novel feels so much different in bound form than in loose sheets of typing paper, and editing in that form feels different too. Darren has already put his mother’s changes in his copy, then when I am done he will put my edits in his book too. In early January, Darren and Joe will have a meeting to go over Joe’s changes and put those in Darren’s copy too.

Then we put the edits in the manuscript computer file, upload the book to CreateSpace again, get another proof (which should read a lot smoother and faster), edit and change and upload again, and when we are ready, we will hit the publish button. And then Darren and Joe’s book will be out in the world ready to buy, hopefully by the end of March 2018. We will keep you posted.

Joe will be back next week with a new blog entry. Until then, as he would write, take care, have a great week, and happy reading

Self review of my latest performance at Addison Court

Greetings, readers. On Friday, December 1st, on my late father’s birthday, I performed my latest show for all my friends at Addison Court Apartments. The Mimic (the persona I use for performances) and friend Mike Weaver rocked out to the Beatles and to some Christmas tunes. I performed the live album The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl. Here’s my official review.

I started my show rather oddly with the song I was going to do in the middle of the show. My friend Tasha from work, who had every intention of coming but wasn’t able to, wanted me to sing Luke Bryan’s “Move”. For weeks I struggled with it and wasn’t sure rather or not I was going to be able to learn it in time. But once I put that cowboy hat on and the tape was running, I nailed it to the wall. Tasha watched the video I made of it and was deeply moved.

Then I grabbed my sport jacket and began the first segment of the Beatles show, with “Twist and Shout” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. I know these songs like the back of my hand, so not much practice was needed for those. Then came the bugaboo called “She’s a Woman”, sung by Paul McCartney. Though I’ve heard it many times, I really had to study the lyrics; if you’re not careful it can be a tongue twister. Continuing on with songs such as “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” and “Can’t Buy Me Love”, the show sped along. Before I knew it, it was time for “Roll Over Beethoven”, the last song before my break. Then Mike Weaver took over.

His segment was Christmas carols. My two favorite songs he did were “Jingle Bells” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. He used a small Christmas tree prop and literally walked around it as he performed the song. He also acted out and sang along to “Frosty the Snowman”. (It reminded me of the old 1953 “Frosty the Snowman” short cartoon video from my childhood, which was shown during commercial breaks on my local channel 6 during the Christmas season.) Well done, Mike.

My second Beatles set began with one of my favorite Ringo Starr songs, “Boys”. Not only did I nailed it, I crushed it. I think people could sense that I was really having fun. I followed that with “You Can’t Do That” and later in the set, was a Paul McCartney early classic “All My Loving”. I must admit, I did have a little difficulty with his higher pitch on this song, but I trudged through willingly. Running out of steam, I ended the show with some air drumming and back-up vocals for “Long Tall Sally”. I didn’t quite know all the words because it is a quick song, so I just did the best I could. The response from everyone was quite positive and a couple of people gave me heartfelt compliments on the job I did.

I would have to give myself a solid 8.5 out of 10 for this performance. It was way better than the last one was.

Before I close, within the last week the world lost a dear friend in actor and singer Jim Nabors. I don’t care how many times I watch the Indianapolis 500 from now on, no one will ever be able to duplicate Jim Nabors’ rendition of “(Back Home Again in) Indiana”, which he sang at the beginning of the event for many years. R.I.P to Jim (Gomer Pyle) Nabors.

Rebecca will be blogging tomorrow because I am taking a much needed day off. We’ll be back together next week on our usual Wednesday. So until next time, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.