Monthly Archives: December 2019

So good-bye yellow brick road …

Greetings, readers. After nine years and two months of writing the blog and other various writing projects, Rebecca and I have decided to close up shop. We will miss working together, but at the current moment it is the correct decision. The blog doesn’t pay the rent. Does this mean that I am closing the blog? Absolutely not.

The blog shall be open for everyone to enjoy and comment on, though I would ask you to please comment on my Facebook page. I visit there everyday. There are other blog topics to write about, but with me physically challenged and trying to find myself again, I’m going to take a short time off, and I shall try to get back to a once a week schedule at the beginning of the year. Rebecca said that she will also occasionally do a From Rebecca, and that is cool. She and I will have to touch base now and then to make certain that we don’t blog about the same topic. Lol. You know what they say, great minds think alike.

As we work on blog entry 871, I find myself looking back upon all the topics we’ve written about. There are a multitude of Top Ten Lists, R.I.P.s to numerous folks famous or otherwise, tons of entries about the weather, as well as blog topics dealing with Air Crash Investigation episodes and modern conveniences. It still gets me in the funny bone why Top ten list of modern conveniences was such a big hit, but it was.

I have also tried my hand at calming the country down, saying things like give peace a chance. What happens? More shootings. With only 15 people a day on average reading me, I guess I shouldn’t expect to be as powerful as a TV evangelist. 😉 We’ve also talked about natural disasters, and have prayed for those victims and families.

Am I calling this day a defeat? No. This is simply another chapter in my life. The brain is working better these days. I’ll explain why in a minute. But still I lack those tools to write that great American novel; that big hat hook that would put me on the map. I’m only 54 years old, so I’m not counting myself out yet. I know I’m not supposed to compare myself to my Dad, but hell, he wrote 30 books, albeit about theology and philosophy. My three books deal with my camping experiences and blogging. My fourth venture, of course, was as the co-author of Darren Taylor’s novel.

One of my current projects, which is improving my brain power, is playing an app on my phone called Wordscapes. I made words, usually from a group of four or five letters at a time. The higher the level, the more words you have to make and the harder it is. I can feel myself filling out the puzzle faster than the first time I tried to play it.

Oh, yes, readers, I have had many successes in life and shall continue to do so. I don’t think I shall ever close the blog down, and will add to it when I have big news to share. For instance, I am doing a one-man performance of A Christmas Carol locally tomorrow from 5 – 7pm. Rebecca or I may possibly even write a review. For anyone in the State College area, it is at the 3 Dots Art Gallery at the corner of Beaver Ave and Pugh Street. Come one, come all.

It has been a pleasure and an honor writing for you, and it has also been a true honor and pleasure to work with Rebecca these last nine years. Again, this is not good-bye.

So I will say, friends, until we meet again, much love, take care of one another, happy holidays, and we will be in touch soon … and oh, yes, as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: I will miss working with Joe

Hi, Joe’s readers. Joe and I will have our last work day together next Wednesday and I am feeling sad. It is the right decision for us, I know it is, but I will miss so many things about working with Joe, including helping him write for this blog. It has been nine years since we began working together in October of 2010, and those years were full of words Joe dictated to me as I typed on his two different laptops. It has been such a privilege for me to work with Joseph Kockelmans, who is a sweet, decent, loyal, old-fashioned man. It has been my honor to assist him in writing his books, stories, and blog entries.

This is blog number 870, and I am proud of my From Rebecca posts in that number. I enjoyed sharing with you, Joe’s readers, on those occasions, and I thank you for reading my thoughts along with his. Looking back at a list of my posts, I am so proud of so many of them. I wrote about such a wide range of topics: About Joe’s performances here in Addison Court, as in this example; I wrote two entries about one of my favorite places in the world, Schlow Centre Region Library, the second of which is here; I got to share my thoughts on entertainment, for books, movies, and television; about things going on in my life, both personal, and in my hometown; it has been my pleasure to write about my family and good memories, as about my mom, my childhood, and these two about Joe and my husband Darren. Joe was always generous allowing me to have a voice on his blog, and I am grateful. I enjoyed it very much. I intend to write a few new blog posts next year.

Joe, with my typing and editing assistance, wrote and self-published two books of short stories, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, a book collection of his blog entries, Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, and collaborated on a novel based on his play, Kimberly, with my husband Darren Taylor, called Four’s a Crowd. Plus 870 entries so far on this blog. We have a lot of which to be proud.

I have been coming to Joe’s home office every week for nine years, and we have talked about and shared so many things in our working friendship. I will miss hearing his voice, seeing his face, talking about the events in our lives on a regular basis. We will talk on the phone and on Facebook, but it won’t be quite the same.

On a happier note, I have known Joe since high school and we have been in each other’s lives off and on since then. As we go forward in the new direction for our decades-long friendship, I know that this is by no means the end of it.

My annual Christmas Eve Light Ride tradition is in jeopardy

Greetings, readers. With Zipcar no longer an option for me, my Christmas Eve Light Ride tradition may be coming to an end. Since I was a little boy, I’ve only missed one year and that was due to an ice storm. Rebecca and I were just on the Hertz car rental site and discovered that though it would be easy and convenient (the office is down the street from me) the cost would make the one night event outrageously stupid, even by my standards. You know me, readers, I never like to cancel anything that is traditional.

This past year I have just not made that much money. My books have not been selling and my other sources of income have come in a trickle. I always tell myself that things will work out somehow, but this year I just don’t see it being economically feasible.

To rent a car for three days, they are probably closed Christmas Eve, will cost approximately $400.00, according to our research on their website. One passenger who wants to go with me said that she’ll chip in for the cost. At least one other passenger would have to do the same to make that price tag possible. Right now, dear readers, I give my traditional Christmas Eve Light Ride chances only at 20%.

Now, on Christmas Eve, the buses still run at least to a certain time. It may very well be that my friends and I will ride CATA’s W bus and let it drive us around Park Forest and surrounding areas. I will be sure to let the bus driver know that is what we are doing so he doesn’t look at us and ask if we have missed our stop. The only other alternative, which I will tell you just dawned on my this very second, is to see if anyone else made a YouTube video of the same kind of ride, or walk around their neighborhood. It’s been said that besides porn, you can find almost anything on YouTube.

On to a different topic. Guess what I’m doing tonight, dear readers? I’m going to my first Shakespearean play experience, a movie playing at the State Theatre, called A Winter’s Tale. I really don’t have a good idea what it is about, but I am intrigued because it is a Shakespearean dramedy. I am not much into Shakespeare though at my age I should be. Hell, with me being a writer, I should have been into all the classic authors. It’s ironic that I am a writer that doesn’t read other people’s material. I think I just solved my problem!

I am starting to change that. On Spotify music I found a delightful version in an audio book of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. I have seen two movie adaptations of this story and love it. It is one of my favorites … probably second to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It is read by an unnamed younger woman I’m estimating is in her late 20s to early 30s with a delightful voice and she is able to bring all the characters to life. I would love to find out her name, then go to Google images so I can take a peek at who is reading to me. So far, no such luck. It is the unabridged version of the story and I’m listening to it, as I said, through Spotify, which is now connected to my brand new Alexa. Oh, what great sound. It sounds like there is a human being right here in the room with me.

Yesterday, again on the internet news page, I saw such headlines as shootings, the stock market is tumbling, and plane crash kills nine. I stopped right there. My therapist told me to stay away from depressing news topics. I realize it is kind of hard to keep up tp date without reading the news. I would love to see a news broadcast that gives as much equal time to good honest heartwarming stories which raise peoples spirits as it does to the bad news stories which tend to depress people. I remember one time, I think I mentioned this before, I was watching a newscast on a New York channel which consisted literally of 50 minutes of bad news, a few minutes of sports, about three minutes for the weather, and then a oh, yes, by the way, nice story to close out the broadcast. I had to wait the whole hour to get the two minute final story that perked me up for the evening. Blech. Fortunately that channel is off our cable system and I don’t watch much news from any other source. Some people say I’m uneducated or not in the loop. Well, readers, I know what I know. I shan’t be bombarded with one bad news story after another. Maybe one day this world will learn that violence and revenge is not the answer. Okay, I’m done with my mini-sermon.

Well, readers, only two more blog entries with Rebecca until our nine-year stint comes to an end. 😦 But as mentioned before, my blog will stay open for you, my readers, to peruse and enjoy, and I shall strive to put a new one up either every Wednesday or every other Wednesday. I can’t lose the few steady readers I have, and I am blessed to have you.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful week, love one another, if you are thinking about hatred-give peace a chance, take care and happy reading.

Every clean home must have a schedule

Greetings, readers. For years I have dealt with this minor hoarding problem of mine. Bill Updegraff, my accountant, laughs every time I say I am going to clean my room. I’m even starting to laugh at it now.  I found out, however, that if I do a little bit each day something strange occurs. Things get done and it actually looks better. Who knew?

The task I am not looking forward to is once again cleaning out the fridge and freezer. I promised myself up and down the Bible that I was not going to let that happen again … but I did. On my computer I have actually started a Word document called Daily and Weekly Chores. I’ve noticed with myself that if I write it down and can see it, I am more apt to get the chore done.

I would like to purchase a new or slightly used love seat with a single bed in it for the living room. That’s not going to happen until I clean out Dead Blue and Dead Red (the two defunct recliners.) I just know that when I get to that chore, somewhere at the bottom I will exclaim, “Oh, that’s where that thing was!” There are at least three DVDs which I know I have but cannot find. I bet they are at the bottom of Dead Red. I’m going to start with Dead Blue though. It has the lessor amount of stuff on it.

Sundays and Wednesdays will be take out the trash days. Mondays … usually my completely free day … will be allocated for such things as getting rid of the accumulation of stuff. Tuesdays I think shall be the day to vacuum. With me allergic to dust – and having a ton of it in here – I don’t know if I’ll have to get someone in here to help me or just get a dust mask to wear. If not, it will be the sneezin’ season every Wednesday. Other days will be allocated for the kitchen and bathroom detail such as keeping the fridge clean, wiping down the inside of the microwave, refilling Princess Josie’s two feeders, cleaning the toilet, etc. If I can keep to such a schedule, in a few weeks I might have a half-way decent looking place. But I tell you, folks, some days I just don’t have the energy. All I want to do is sleep. The next time I see Dr. Sulman (yes, I know I missed my appointment the other week) I am going to have him test my blood to see if I am iron or potassium deficit.

So wish me luck on this endeavor. Within the hour, unless there is a torrential downpour, I am off to the bank to get my finances in order. Another chore I must learn to keep on top of.

There’s the Sunday blog, written on Wednesday and scheduled to publish today. Have a great few days and we will see you Wednesday. Take care and, as always, happy reading.