Monthly Archives: January 2018

Life without my KeeKee

Greetings, readers. I’ve been struggling very much to cope with the loss of my cat, Keekee. This Friday, it will be only two weeks since she’s been gone. It feels like much longer though. There are many tough times, but I think the toughest is when I come home from work or from doing errands. I open the apartment door and expect to see Keekee run to greet me. That will never happen again.

It’s funny how in 12 years there are so many habits that a pet owner and their pets can form. My cat and I had what I called our breakfast routine, our time for dinner and our time to “go sleepies.” Every night when it’s time to turn out the lights I’ve caught myself a couple of times wanting to begin the evening routine, but stopped myself, thinking just how crazy it is for me to talk to myself. Yes, it is very difficult for me.

You always think you have tons of time with your pet, but you never know. I found that out the hard way. What I thought was a tooth problem turned out to be cancer of the tongue. She had no chance to win that battle. She was born on approximately January 25, 2006 and she passed over the rainbow bridge on January 19, 2018.

This blog entry is not going to be that much longer, dear readers. It is still very painful for me to talk about her. I’m sure that every day will get better and better and I do plan on adopting another support animal in April or May. My biggest concern is that I will use the same phrases that became such a part of Keekee and my daily routine. It took Keekers just two days to learn the phrase,’ dinner’. Cats are extremely smart and I don’t think it will take my next furry buddy long to learn all those fun phrases and routines I come up with.
I am looking for a cat which has already been litter trained, approximately one-year-old or less and short-haired or hypoallergenic. That would be my best fit. I’ve already looked on Paws.com, and found a couple of cute choices. But it’s too early. I have starred the website so that I can easily find it again when the time is right.

I used my voice recognition program to write this blog entry today, then edited it with Rebecca when she got to work. A funny thing came up because of that. I spell KeeKee with a capital K in the middle. Rebecca has not been doing that for entire history of this blog; she has spelled it Keekee, and I let it go. Today, I spelled it with two capital Ks, and that is how it is spelled in the title. We changed the spelling to Rebecca’s version in the body of the post to stay consistent with previous entries.

As for tomorrow, I’m not certain whether Rebecca and I will be getting together or not, though one of us will do a blog entry. I either have to pick up Keekee’s remains this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Yes readers, I did have her cremated and am going to bring her home. She will sit next to my parent’s two poodles and my other cat from long ago, Peaches.

Until very soon … possibly tomorrow, take care, have a great day, and, as always, happy reading.

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From Rebecca: Our Souls at Night

There is a new film on Netflix streaming that I have been watching in parts for the last week and finished today, called Our Souls at Night. It stars Jane Fonda as Addie Moore and Robert Redford as Louis Waters. It is a gentle slow-moving story of two people connecting to one another after decades of living in the same town. It is based on a book by Kent Haruf, which I see our local library has in its collection.

Our Souls at Night starts with two lonely people who have trouble sleeping at night, until Addie knocks on Louis’s door and asks him over to sleep in her bed. She isn’t proposing sex, just that they talk and keep each other company in order to fall asleep. He needs some time to think about it, but then agrees. It is awkward at first, but as they eat dinner together and lie down in the same bed, they begin to talk about the events of their lives and the choices they made. They become friends and companions. The town starts to gossip about them, and they brave it out. Partway through the film Addie’s grandson Jamie arrives to stay with her, played by Iain Armitage (the actor who now plays Sheldon Cooper in Young Sheldon on CBS). Having Jamie living there changes and adds to the relationship developing between Louis and Addie.

There is not much action in this movie, just the two main characters interacting with each other and other people. The big actions in the story come from decisions contemplated and emotional risks taken. There are no shouting matches, smashed dishes, or dramatic reveals. Just mature adults in relationships with the various people in their lives doing the best they can. By the end of the film, they have both faced mistakes from their pasts, and worked to make the damage better. The performances by Robert Redford and Jane Fonda are strong, understated, and good, from the first awkward pauses to the last comfortable conversation.

I plan to recommend this film for Joe, given his love of On Golden Pond. The films are very different, but they do both have as a plot point an older couple taking care of a boy for a while. In On Golden Pond, Jane Fonda played a character leaving the boy with her parents, and in Our Souls at Night, she plays the mother agreeing to take care of the child. I think Joe would appreciate having the same actress portray two sides of the same event.

I know not everyone has subscribed to Netflix’s streaming service. My thoughts on the various streaming services and the shows that some people have access to but not others might be a good blog topic for another day. But for now, if you do happen to have access to this film, I do recommend it for anyone who enjoys a gentle film about a developing relationship between two mature adults.

Until next Wednesday and a blog entry from Joe, I hope you are comfortable in whatever weather you have, take care, and happy reading.

R.I.P. to Jean Bennett

Greetings, readers. This is a long overdue R.I.P. to a wonderful lady and fellow Bear Spring Camper, Jean Bennett. She passed away on January 6, 2018. Mrs. Bennett was a sweet lady and loved her entire family very much. There are many nice things I remember about Mrs. Bennett and this piece will be a tribute to her.

Though she was a reserved woman, she always greeted me with a warm smile and hello. She collected donations for the camp’s annual softball game to benefit Pine Tree Camp for mental and physically challenged children, and took pride in doing so. During said game, she was the score keeper. I remember every time the campers would not score during an inning, she would turn the zero into a frowny face. What fond memories the brain can conjure up; I haven’t thought about that score sheet in years.

When it was their turn to host happy hour, Mrs. Bennett was the supreme hostess. She and her husband Mr. Bennett had a nice selection of refreshments, hard and soft, for everyone to enjoy, as well as snacks, cheeses and dips. They had the largest cabin, with what I think is one of the best views of the lake.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are two of a handful of folks that I put in the category of ‘my mom’s crowd’. When I was growing up, just like I had my crowd at camp, she had hers. They are people in their 60s and up. If I continue to go to camp for another decade or so, I hate to say it, but many of my mom’s crowd that I knew as a child may be gone. I’m not saying anything negative about the new folks, but every generation has its own unique feel.

Mrs. Bennett, I miss you. I know you and Mr. Bennett are up there in heaven having a happy hour and keeping a watchful eye on your family. Thank you for your friendship of all these years and much love.

I’m taking tomorrow off as a personal day but next Wednesday’s blog topic will deal with my new fascination on YouTube. I’m currently watching Canadian Football League Grey Cup games from the mid-1970s. Rebecca will put up an entry tomorrow. It is too soon for me to do a post about losing my cat KeeKee, but I plan to do it next Thursday. So until next week, take care, have a great few days, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe’s kitty cat Keekee passed away today

Greetings, readers. Keekee passed away this afternoon at 2:10. Joe will probably post a blog entry about this soon with his feelings and thoughts. I wanted to put up an entry with the news and a few photos of her today. She had cancer, and Joe didn’t want her to be in pain or suffer. She was at the vet’s for two nights and then today they put her to sleep. Joe was with her.

I am feeling sad, of course. I’m used to seeing Keekee every week when I go to work with Joe in his office/apartment. She was usually quiet while we worked, though every once in a while she would want all the attention in the room on her. I haven’t thought about it lately because it has been a long time since she did it, but once in a while she used to just zoom from one end of the room to another and we never knew what set her off. All work would stop for a few minutes until she calmed down again. A lot of times she would curl up on his lap when he dictated the blog entry, and then jump up ready to eat when he asked if she was ready for dinner.

Those of you who are long-term readers of this blog know that Joe goes to Bear Spring Camps in Maine every August and that while he was away for that week and a half, I would take care of Keekee. I made sure her water bowl had enough water, that her dry food was full, that she got half a can of moist food, and kept her company for a few hours. I would post entries about how she was doing and how much she was shedding (she shed so much when Joe was away!) By the end of the first week he was gone, she would want to be pet a lot. It was actually the only time I would pet her so much and for so long in one sitting.

I promised photos and here they are. I will miss Keekee very much.

 

 

 

 

I had to take Keekee to the vet

Greetings, readers. Today’s entry was going to be a R.I.P for Jean Bennett, who passed away recently, and I will write that soon, but something happened yesterday that is filling all my thoughts. I had to take my beloved kitty cat to the vet, for she had a lot of mouth pain. As it turns out she had two bad teeth which had to go … that was the easy fix. She also has a tumor on her tongue. That might not be able to be fixed.

She stayed at the vet’s office overnight and will be examined thoroughly today as well as operated on as necessary. They are also going to do a biopsy on the tumor, and the results won’t be back for five or six days. I’m hoping that one of the vets can simply remove it today. If they leave it in her until next week, which will facilitate a follow up appointment, I’ll have to watch her not eat for seven more days. That will make Joe’s stress meter run high. I just called a moment ago to see how she survived the night. Keekee is an indoor cat, and she is not used to being away from home for more than a few hours at the vet’s office. The nurse says she was hiding behind her little litter box, but other than that she was doing okay. She’ll be put under mid-afternoon and my vet said he will give me a call when the procedure is finished. I’m hoping she’s done today so I can go out and bring her home, because I have shifts at my fast food job the next two days. Keekee takes precedence however, so I may have to call off to pick her up and bring her home.

Last night was very strange, not having Keekee here, as was this morning when she didn’t come running for her breakfast after my alarm went off. I’ve never thought of Keekee as a support animal, but I suppose she is. My family and I have always had pets, and if it is Keekee’s time to go to kitty cat heaven, I will wait until after this coming camp and then look into perhaps getting another feline friend. Just to be clear though, nothing will ever replace Keekee. No other animal will have her exact habits again. There is still a decent chance that everything will turn okay and she will be around for many years to come. I am preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

To the Bennett family: Mrs. Bennett was a dear friend of mine and at Bear Spring Camps was one of my mom’s crowd, as I like to say. An R.I.P. in her honor will be written next week.

Until next Wednesday, take care, think warmer temperatures, and as always, happy reading.

Who will win this year’s Super Bowl?

Greetings, readers. Three teams out of this year’s final four of the National Football League’s playoffs are, to say at the very least, surprises. Everybody and their mother’s uncle expected the New England Patriots to be there, but not many thought teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings or Philadelphia Eagles would be playing for their conference’s championship.

While the Vikings and Eagles are great teams, they are being led by backup quarterbacks. They are darned good ones, but backups nonetheless. Also, the Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles is a relative unknown. I would thoroughly enjoy seeing two teams such as the Vikings and the Jaguars play in this year’s Super Bowl. Another historic first would be if the Minnesota Vikings would be able to play in their own home stadium, where the Super Bowl will be played this year. In the history of the Super Bowl game, a stadium’s home team has never made it to the big game. If the Vikings beat the Eagles in the play-off game this weekend, it would lead to a truly historic event.

Just how likely is the Vikings and Jaguars matchup? Not very. It seems like the National Football League for some reason never wants to have a “home game” in the Super Bowl. Here is my prediction. Eagles to play the Patriots and the Patriots to win convincingly. You see dear readers, after many years of the New England Patriots winning championships in a plethora of ways, I just think that Tom Brady and company will find a way to pull it out of the hat once again. How boring! My two cents is that it would be wonderful for the National Football League to crown a champion that has never won a Super Bowl – the four-time losers, the Minnesota Vikings come to mind.

Lastly, on another note – and I will have a full R.I.P blog entry tomorrow – the wonderful lady camper Mrs. Jean Bennett passed away recently. She was one of my mom’s generation and it is sad to lose another Bear Spring Camper whom I knew as a child.

Until tomorrow, prayers go out to all the victims of the California mudslides, all who are caught in bad weather and storms, and good thoughts to all those who need it. Let’s think spring.

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

A short blog entry today before I call bingo

Greetings, readers. I am still under the weather, but feeling well enough to call bingo tonight until our regular bingo caller gets back from work. Around 5pm, I’m going to Panera and get some turkey chili and coffee. That will not only clear my sinuses, but it should give me all the energy I need to get me through until 9:00.

It’s been a long time since I’ve called bingo and I hope it goes okay. Every once in a great while there is drama in the community room. When I call though, it’s my game and I let people know that I won’t take any shenanigans. As Katharine Hepburn said in On Golden Pond, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just get along?”

I canceled my afternoon appointment because I wanted to sleep. I need to kick this cold in the butt and be ready to go to work tomorrow morning. Unless I am hacking up a storm, I’m going. I love my customers and I can’t miss any more money. I wonder if any of my customers asked where I was on Tuesday? It’s not like me not to be there. Because I handle money though, I decided it was best not to go to work.

This blog entry is being created with me using my speech recognition program and I must say, it’s amazing. So far, I’ve ‘typed’ 239 words. For me and my writing career, this is the best thing since ice cream … and we all know how much I love ice cream. After my cold goes away and I’ve read and edited Four’s a Crowd, it will be time for me to begin the first of two projects I have in mind. Oh boy, I can’t wait.

Well, that’s it for this short blog entry. Very soon I am going to go outside and breathe some good air. Dinner should perk me up as well. When I get back from bingo calling, it will be lights out.

Until next Wednesday, I bid you a great weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

A brand new year with the same old clunky technology

Greetings, readers. Hello from head cold land. Don’t worry, I’m probably not contagious anymore and we are taking precautions on the laptop with disinfectant wipes. I am staying in my corner and Rebecca is staying in hers. I had thoughts of calling her off today, but we have a lot to get done, my accountant is coming, and I actually sound 100 times worse than I feel. I feel dandy, but I sound like I am breathing through mud.

I have an app on my computer desktop that I really like, that lets me see new emails and reply to them without going to my email site and logging in. I like it a lot, but it has one bad drawback. I found out from an email I sent to Darren using said app that the name Lisa shows up instead of Joseph in the sender line. It doesn’t happen when I compose an email in the site itself, just from the desktop app I like so much. I believe I have found a way to fix it, but both times I’ve tried, just when I go to hit the save button, it starts to do something and then freezes. And alas, I am still Lisa. A big technology grrr. I am also having massive computer problems today with the laptop running slow and freezing. That may be the problem with changing Lisa today, I will continue to work on this issue to get it solved.

Darren and I are doing a contract for Four’s a Crowd, with a lawyer drawing it up for us to sign. We both think it makes a lot of sense to have our agreement in writing. The lawyer’s appointment that we had scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed. It gives me a week to kick this cold and us more time to flesh out the points we want the lawyer to put in the contract.

As soon as I’m feeling better, I want to take my proof copy of the book and plow through it in a week. That is my goal. Everyone else already has their edits in. As usual, I’m the one lagging behind. More than likely, I will go to Panera, find a big table where I can spread out, listen to my music under earphones, and lose myself in a good novel … and it is a good novel.

After work hours today, I have a couple of errands to do, one of which is to stop at the market and pick up items such as cold tablets, O.J., and tissues. Alka-Seltzer Cold and Flu works wonders. If I’m still stuffed up on Friday, I’ll take a couple of packets to work. At 3:30 I have to go to therapy, and then I’ll be back for the day. I have another day off from the job tomorrow to rest and recoup and be ready for Friday. Some people can do this, I cannot; I cannot be cheerful and smiley when feeling sick. I would probably turn to a grumpy customer and say, “What the heck do you want? And here’s your darn food.”

Lastly, on a weather note, our cold snap has finally broken and we have more seasonable temperatures. The week-long single-digit temperatures were actually beginning to affect my nervous system. Yes, cerebral palsy reared its ugly head yet again. Now that the temperatures are in the 20 and 30s F, I am feeling much better. I do expect more frigid temperatures, but heck, it is only January and spring time is quite a ways away.

Please send good thoughts to me for a speedy recovery. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

My speech recognition software finally came in

Greetings, readers. Every penny that I spent on Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium voice recognition software was well worth it. It only took fifteen minutes for the program to learn my voice well enough so that I could dictate an email. Most impressive. I think this is going to be the shot in the arm I need to get my writing career going again. I have a couple of ideas, I just have to get them going. I’m going to talk to my boss at work and see if I can’t take a few months off. Walking to buses in the brutal cold and snow and/or ice, is something my handicapped body is not looking forward to. Call my a wimp if you want to, but I think I will ask if I can return in the springtime.

This voice recognition program has a feature that I was not expecting. It will read back to me what I dictated … in my own voice. Rebecca had an overwhelming reaction because it reminded her of something she heard about the late movie critic Roger Ebert, who had mouth cancer and lost the ability to talk. When they added a feature to his typing equipment that used his own voice from previous recordings to read out his words, his wife cried the first time she heard it, as it had been so long since she had heard his voice. I can talk just fine, I just can’t type or write longhand for any length of time.

While I got this software on sale, it wasn’t exactly $9.99, so believe me when I tell you I’m going to make good use of it.

The first project I have in mind to use it for is a book about former sports stadiums that have been demolished and what the land is used for now. The idea hit me last week in the middle of the night. It woke me enough to take a couple of notes about it. That is how I knew it was going to be a good idea. I love sports, classic things such as stadiums, and it is going to be such fun to learn about and report what’s on those sites. Old stadiums have long been an interest of mine, for I have been a sports buff since I was a child. In 2013, I did a top ten list on stadiums that have gone by the wayside, and was interested to see that many of the stadiums on the list are ones I want to research for the new book.

If I can get that voice recognition program to work without much hassle, I think this might be the project that kicks me in the proverbial butt. Cross thy fingers.

On a side note, I finished binge-watching the second part of the third season of Fuller House. A very cute season and already we can see the children growing up. The middle kids are in high school already. Good grief. SPOILER ALERT: Stephanie and boyfriend Jimmy are trying to get pregnant with Kimmy Gibbler as the surrogate. The final scene of the season finale was sweet and touching. With the announcement that Kimmy has baby on board that leads me to believe that there is definitely going to be a fourth season. I already can’t wait.

Okay, there you are up to date with what is going on with me. I am in a heck of a better mood than I was yesterday. It’s now time to go feed Kitty who’s been very good, edit this blog and post it.

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

I am sick and tired of life

Greetings, readers. I have felt very strange over the last couple of months and until recently I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was bothering me. Well, the picture is becoming a little bit clearer now that the fog has lifted, and I don’t like what I see.

My desire to write is at its highest point in two years. When I say to write, I obviously mean work other than the blog. My problem now is that I have no time or energy from working at the fast food job to do said writing. I am 52 years old and I feel like my life is a waste.

On the positive side of the job,  I am an extremely outgoing person at my cash register, and my regulars love me. I do get a lot of enjoyment and self-esteem from this work. I feel, however, that I must give serious contemplation to either quitting or, at the very least, taking a few months off.

This winter has been brutally cold and walking to and from busses to go to work has already become a hated chore.  I get up at 4:00 in the morning to check Facebook, have some coffee, and listen to music before I have to get ready to go. I blink twice, and it’s 8:10. There goes that morning. I come home from work, dreadfully tired, with feet aching, I put a little food in me, watch an episode or two of something, and usually have lights out by 9:30.

On my three days off from my fast food job, I write with Rebecca for roughly three hours, and I must also do all the chores that need to get done and I had no other time to do, such as appointments, laundry, shopping, etc. When in the hell do I have time to sit down and write? Some might say at 4:00 in the morning. Ah, no, my functioning brain is barely active at that time. In the evening? I’ve actually caught myself falling asleep during my TV shows. Again, the brain is not in creative mode. You can see why I’m depressed.

Do my therapy sessions help? Yes they do, for a short time, but then I begin to look at my life in general and I come to the conclusion that I have wasted most of it. Three quarters gone and only a quarter to go. I have three books to my name, which if you put all three together, don’t equal the pages of Darren’s novel adapted from my play. I would have to say, Dear Readers, that my biggest accomplishment has been this blog, and that is primarily thanks to the help of Rebecca’s typing and editing skills.

Now, don’t worry folks, even though this entry is full of red flags, I am a fighter and a survivor and will do whatever I need to do to get this situation under control. Tomorrow, I’ve cleared the docket to read and edit Four’s a Crowd, either in the morning or, if I have Rebecca come in, after she leaves. I always try to leave each entry on a bright note, and here it is. I ordered speech recognition software for the computer. Once it comes in and I master that, I won’t have to type anymore. That could solve many problems quickly. Cross thy fingers.

Until next time, stay warm, have a great day, have a cup of coffee or hot cocoa for me, and happy reading.