All posts by josesphmkockelmans

About josesphmkockelmans

Lots of fascinating things about me to come soon.

Arg! Oh what a terrible morning I had #2

Greetings, readers. For the last few months I’ve enjoyed a set morning routine. It involves going to Panera with my friends Smith and Traci for coffee, breakfast, and conversation. It is a wonderful way to start the day and I now look forward to it every morning that it’s possible to do. I had plans to go this morning but a back spasm said no. My back going out is one of the most frustrating health issues that I have to deal with, because I literally have to turn out all the lights, take two Aleve, and go back to bed. I let my body reset.

To my happy surprise, when I laid down, the back spasm almost instantly ceased. Friend Smith had already gone back to her apartment and I didn’t feel like knocking on her door and saying what the heck, let’s try it. I took a nap for about an hour, setting my alarm for 9:15, just enough time to get dressed again before Rebecca came. I didn’t have any breakfast food in the house and the only regular coffee I have is instant. So I had to pretend that my new box of K-Cups was not decaf. I also missed out on my delicious papaya green tea which I get every morning along with my coffee to hydrate myself. Yes, readers, I am trying to take better care of myself.

Some of the other things I do to help my diet is eat more oatmeal. Also at the McLanahan’s corner store pre-packaged cups of fresh fruit on one side of the display with sandwiches and salads on the other side are for offer. I helped myself to a few containers of delicious watermelon. Also to aid in my efforts to eat better I am definitely considering getting Meals on Wheels again. They are not the greatest, but most of them have some veggies in them. I am not a big believer in these protein shakes that supplement your diet, for I have no idea how many chemicals they have in them.

Smith is trying to get me to drink more water, which I must admit I am not a big fan of. She is impressed that I am drinking Panera’s cold papaya green tea. Occasionally I’ll mix it up and have their lemonade. Both are healthy and good hydrating beverages. Now readers, get ready for the shocker. I’m seriously contemplating giving up coffee completely. I think I am starting to lose the taste for it. I never thought I’d say that, but I fear it’s true. Perhaps I’ll just cut way back.

When spring rolls around the last thing I will add to my new health regimen is walk, walk, walk. Because of my lack of exercise, and because of standing in one place at my fast food job for a year, I have a little arthritis in my hips, making that morning trek to Panera a bit stiff. If I do a lot of walking in the warmer months, I’m hoping that some of that stiffness can be alleviated. If it is tight muscles, that’s fine. If arthritis has come to stay, that is a completely different story. I have to use a walker for our morning coffee excursion. Later in the day, everything loosens up and I am back to my own self. For all my younger readers out there, I’m just kidding, but don’t get old. It’s no fun.

There is today’s blog entry. I will put up another blog entry mid-day on Sunday. I apologize that last Sunday’s was put up so late in the day, but it was a very hectic Sunday. I’m sure you can all relate. I’ve heard that snow storms are coming across the country, so please stay safe, don’t drive in it if you don’t have to, and until Sunday, take care, have a great few days, and happy reading.

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In Memory of Air Florida Flight 90… again

Greetings, readers. Yes, another January 13th has come around, marking the sad anniversary of a very deadly and very avoidable plane crash. I wrote a commemorative blog entry about Air Florida flight 90 seven years ago. More time has passed, but the heartache goes on. Here is a re-post of that entry.

Thirty years ago today a terrible air tragedy took place. Air Florida’s flight 90 took off from Washington D.C.’s National Airport at 4:01 pm. It stayed airborne for less than 30 seconds. It hit cars on a bridge, killing four people, before plunging into the Potomac River. Of the 79 passengers and crew on the plane, 74 died. I thought about this much over the years and it has weighed heavily on my mind. Several very simple things happened and if any one of them had not occurred the crash might not have taken place.

The D.C. area was in the grip of a blizzard that day, over a foot of snow was on the ground and the airport was closed most of the morning into the mid-afternoon. Once the runways were cleared, planes began taking off again. Palm 90, as it was called in the tower, was to be de-iced, pushed back, and lined up waiting for its turn to take off.

I have seen a TV movie, called Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac, and documentaries, including Discovery Health channel’s Critical Rescue: “Heroes on the Potomac,” about this event and they all concur that three things contributed to the disaster. First, when the plane could not push back easily, the Captain applied reverse thrust to aid the tug tow tractor, as it is called, in the push back. Secondly, the wings did not appear properly de-iced, so when the plane was sitting in line for take off, extra snow was piling on top of snow and ice that was already there. Lastly, and most importantly, the engine’s anti-ice systems were not engaged.

When I learned of this, it infuriated me. I thought to myself, how can a pilot and co-pilot be sitting in a blizzard and not activate the systems that would keep the plane free of freezing precipitation. Since they were a Florida based airline, however, I suppose I can understand them being used to not using the anti-ice system.

When the jet crashed into the 14th Street Bridge and plunged into the Potomac River, it didn’t take long for heroes to emerge. Two gentlemen helped rescue the few survivors that were huddled in the freezing water. They were Lenny Skutnik and Roger Olian. Tragedies sometimes tend to bring out the best in people. They might wonder if they have the right stuff. When the time came, both men jumped into the frigid river and did their part in the rescue effort.

Two more heroes were Gene Windsor and Don Usher who performed the daring helicopter rescue. But the biggest hero of all was a man named Arland Williams, who was so tangled in the wreckage and knew he could not escape, that he kept passing the rope to other survivors so that they would have their chance to be rescued first. He made the ultimate sacrifice. To me, it is fitting that the 14th Street Bridge was re-named the Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge years later.

For family members of people who died in automobiles on the bridge, and passengers and crew in the plane, my heart goes out to you. It was a tragedy that did not have to happen in my opinion but it did. I’m certain that the FAA learned something from the accident and has taken steps to prevent bad weather crashes from happening in the future.

Rebecca and I will see you on Wednesday. Until then, take care, have a great few days, love one another and happy reading.

What the heck haven’t we talked about?

Greetings, readers. As we approach our 800th blog entry, Rebecca and I are beginning to become stuck in the mud for new blog topics. This is sad to me. I hoped to go on forever. Am I telling you I am shutting down? Perish the thought. But I’m not going to bore you with construction updates, weather forecasts, my failing writing career, or daily trips to Panera. It will soon be time to go outside the box and push the envelope.

I promised myself that I would not blog about politics, but I might have to break that promise. Rebecca and I spent an hour today discussing how much we both dislike President Trump and the current partial government shutdown. Heaven forbid that it takes years to resolve. Rebecca keeps going on about the GOP in Congress needing to grow a spine and stand up to their leader. I agree. People are getting hurt by the shutdown, mostly federal workers who are not deemed necessary to pay. Some people even had to postpone giving their children Christmas gifts. With the change of power in the House of Representatives but not quite in the Senate, change will not be as quick as it could have been. A new bill will have to be written, passed in the House and Senate, more than likely vetoed by President Trump, and when the Congress overturns the veto, the government can open up again.

What really angered me the other day, is when I read on the Microsoft Edge start page that high-ranking government officials, “gladly accepted their $10,000 a year raise.” I just love it that they can take their money and run while some federal workers have to do without.

I know I have friends, family, and other readers on opposite sides of the political coin, and I do not wish to offend any of them. This may be a sticky wicket. But when I am talking about the government shutdown for an hour and then trying to come up with a blog topic that seems less offensive, none of the alternatives seem to be as pertinent.

Other topics we could discuss are all the senseless mass shootings, or careless folks starting wild fires. Children who play with matches or someone who tosses a cigarette out in the wilderness need to be set down and spoken to of the dangers of dry brush. Now I know things like lightning strikes can be causes so it is not always the human factor involved. After blog #800, I’ll see just how large I can grow my grapefruits and will begin to go outside my comfort zone and blog on other topics such as conspiracy theories, the government, alternative lifestyles, and other so-called taboo subjects. We’ll see how that goes. Lol.

I’m going to try to put a blog entry up this weekend. Rebecca caught a couple of editing blunders in the entry I did last Sunday, and we fixed them this morning. I promise I will try to be more thorough in my editing this time around. Until then, take care, be safe, spread love around if you can, and, as always, happy reading.

Getting used to my new thermal travel mug

Greetings, readers. My very good friend, Smith from down the hall, swears by her thermal travel mug. She said that she’s had it for years, and has never had a problem with it. I just happened to be doing a little grocery shopping at the corner market, and saw these travel mugs sitting on the shelf. Although Smith’s is still working perfectly, it was looking a bit worn. I said, “Merry Christmas to you and to me.” That’s right folks, I bought one, too.

I happen to be using mine as I’m dictating this blog entry. It is a Contigo™ brand, and when it claims that it keeps liquids hot for seven hours, it means it! I just got back from Panera not that long ago, popped the open and close tab to the open position, and almost burned my mouth. This coffee was poured about an hour ago; roughly 6:45 PM. Wowzers!

Smith was so happy that I got her a new one because this morning she realized that her old one was gone. After having it many years, it either fell out of her backpack on wheels, or she left it on the counter in a store. 😦 She told me that it was the perfect design, and that the newer ones weren’t as good. When I saw a few still of the old design at the corner market, I pounced. Now, after I gave Christmas presents to two others, three of my closest friends and I have new thermal travel mugs.

This is what it says on the sticker of the travel mug: It keeps liquids hot for seven hours, cold for 18 hours, and is leakproof… If you put the lid on correctly. If you don’t, it’s a human dribble cup. Since I’ve only had the mug since Christmas, I have not had adequate time to test if it really does keep things hot and cold as long as it is supposed to. If tonight is any indication, I would say I’ll have hot coffee as long as I want it. It’s a 20-ounce mug – that’s 591 mL for those of you in Europe, which is more than enough coffee for me. If I finish this whole mug, I probably won’t blink tonight, not to mention sleep at all.

I just took a look on the Contigo™ website, and found that there are many designs to choose from. I saw the one my friend wanted, and grabbed it. Isn’t it funny how ‘perfect’ designs always seem to get replaced by something ‘better’? It is in this bloggers experience that newest hardly ever means better.

If any of my readers own one of these thermal travel mugs, and would like to chime in on what they think of them, leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.

Rebecca will be back with us on Wednesday, and we’ll have a brand-new entry ready for you. Until then, have a great Sunday evening, take care, prayers all around for those who need it and as always, happy reading.

My new year’s resolutions 2019

Greetings, readers. I’ve thought long and hard about what I want to change in my life in 2019. The first thing that came to mind was to better my diet. That will be a slow process, but one of the things I can easily do is drink a cup of green tea at Panera every time I go. I shall get the benefits of its antioxidants and, according to WebMD, the benefits from lowing cholesterol levels and improving blood flow.

Resolution number two. I’m going to try to be kinder to strangers. New Year’s Eve day I was at Panera having a cup of coffee, trying to collect my thoughts, when I spotted a mother and three little girls. The children were all so well-behaved, I thought wouldn’t it be nice if I bought them a cookie to share? Hoping I wouldn’t come across as the older creep, I cautiously approached the mother. After the mother gratefully accepted my offer, I went to purchase the large M&M candy cookie. When I presented it to them, the children were all smiles. It felt so good to give rather than to receive. I watched the kids occasionally as they ate their lunch and sure enough they finished every bite. Then they shared their cookie.

I’m going to try to be more positive this year. I tend to be a pessimist at times and lose my cool way too easily. I shall work on that every day with meditation and therapy for anger management. It is nice that I have a therapy session this afternoon and I can start this resolution right away. Therapy really is helping so much. I am sure my doctor can continue to help me with my negativity and occasional short fuse.

I’m going to try to repay kindness to people who have shown kindness to me. Again, giving is better than receiving. I understand that when you are a little child, you love to get presents. Try giving, young children, you’ll be amazed by how good you feel.

This year, I’m planning to write at least one to two pages a day on a work project so that this time next year I’ll have a book of between 365-730 pages. Yes it is going to go very slowly. If I really get on a roll, I might even type more than that per day. I need to get that great American novel out if I have it in me.

Now for my biggest resolution. Thanks to a point-out from Rebecca, I’m going to stop bad mouthing people. Sometimes when I talk about my friends, I tend to harp on their bad points and how they irritate me on a particular day, without saying anything about their good points. I’m going to learn how to be thankful for all my friends, knowing that no one is perfect, and I sure as hell am not. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that if you were to ask any of my friends about my bad points, the list would be about two pages long. That is why I need to change things.

What are some of your new year’s resolutions? Leave them on my Facebook page or here on this page’s comments section.

Rebecca and I are down to working one day a week now. I’m going to try to dictate a blog entry on Saturday when the work crews are not working and it is quiet, then post it for you late Saturday or Sunday.

Until then, take care, have a great day, have a blessed 2019, and happy reading.

Sunny day today and warmer weather coming

Greetings, readers. I’ve looked at my weather app on the computer this morning and we’re supposed to have temperatures in the low to mid 50s F the next two days. It’s beautifully sunny today and in the 40s. I don’t care if it is going to rain in the next day or so, any day in late December it goes above 40 is one day closer to spring. Hell, yes! Sorry, President Trump, there really is such a thing as climate change.

I’m hoping beyond hope that I will be able to enjoy the two warmer days. Sometimes after the weather has gotten colder and then warming up again, I turn into Mr. Lethargic. I plan on getting up early in the morning and do any Facebooking, Twittering, or any other such computer stuff before it gets warm. If it follows the pattern that it has in past years and I do get sleepy, I will be able to take an afternoon nap and still think that I got something accomplished. Sometimes getting things accomplished for me is tough. Between construction noise, my low self-esteem, my boatload of daily medications and other factors, my creativity and brain power are not what they used to be.

Let’s see what is going on in the news for a moment. Prayers go out to the victims and their families in Indonesia where two volcano eruptions and a tsunami reeked havoc. Prayers also go out to those impacted this holiday season by the storms and delays in travel from weather. I hope you all get home safely.

If you are in good weather, enjoy it. If you are in nature’s fury, please be careful. Have a blessed New Year. We will see you next Wednesday, and as always, happy reading.

See you next year!

A late Christmas present for a dear friend

Greetings, readers. A very dear friend of mine whom I’ve known since junior high school has had a very rough couple of years. Me, being the kind of guy I am, wish I could wave my magic wand and make it all better. I don’t have one of those, so I thought to myself what is the next best way to pull off a Christmas miracle? Then the answer hit me.

My friend has always wanted to take a cruise to the Bahamas. I’m going to do my best to be Captain Santa’s elf. I’m going to start a GoFundMe page for her and her fiancé in order to raise money to send them on that dream vacation.

Her health is not what it used to be and I really want her to be able to enjoy the cruise that she’s always wanted to go on. Rebecca and I were crunching numbers on the Royal Caribbean website, and we will continue to do so on other cruise sites. The amount we came up with is $4,000, which is $2,000 per person for the cruise tickets and travel expenses. I’m thinking about a cruise in April 2019. That will give us plenty of time to raise the money and find the perfect cruise for them.

I’m going to construct the first draft of the GoFundMe page contents. I told my friend I would let her see it, in case there were any changes she wanted to make. Once she gives me the thumbs up, I will complete the GoFundMe page and make it live. I am so excited to make this happen for her.

Finally, on a Christmas topic, I did manage to string two strands of lights around a picture frame and my bookcase. They look extremely pretty. My kitty cat, Josie, to my happy surprise has only pawed at them one time. I’m shocked beyond belief. I fully expected her to pull the strand down minutes after I plugged it in and all the lights lit up. I also hung up a couple of stockings. I drank plenty of eggnog, went on my traditional Christmas Eve light ride, went to two Christmas dinners, and passed out at 8:30 Christmas night with a full belly.

Rebecca and I will be here tomorrow, for our last Thursday, as we go down to one working day a week … at least for a while.

Until tomorrow, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, love one another, take care, and happy reading.

Fuller House season 4

Greetings, readers. I couldn’t wait for December 14th, the premier date for Fuller House, season 4. I’ve watched every episode in the new season and loved them all. Please be aware before reading this blog entry, that it has spoilers for the entire series throughout.

The more I watch this show, the more I like it. I love the way Candace Cameron Bure brought her real life Christian way of life to her character D.J. The three female characters range from age 41 to 36 in this current season. Yes, I remember them from the original show Full House, when they were little kids, and Jodie Sweetin was so light that she could be attached to a hook on the back of a closet door to say her, “Just hangin’ around,” joke line. All of the children have turned out to be beautiful, smart women who are exceptional actresses.

Things I love about this show. The same house but updated with newer furnishings. Yes, Danny’s old couch is still there. But I’ve noticed some different wall hangings, a change of tile around the kitchen sink, little things like that. It is what you would expect if you walked into a house 29 years later. There is not one character I don’t like. Yes, Jackson can be a little bit whiney, but being a momma’s boy, I can relate. If anyone reads this blog who has anything to do with this show, please keep the romances of Rocki and Jackson, and Rose and Max going until the end. They are all so cute together. I also love the fact that they are taking D.J.’s romance in the Steve direction. Steve was D.J.’s high school boyfriend before going their separate ways. In the first few seasons of Fuller House, D.J. was in love with her veterinarian partner Matt. Yes, they were cute together, but I am, as they say on the show, team Steve. I am also thrilled that Stephanie and Jimmy now have a child together thanks to Jimmy’s sister Kimmy. In the final episode, Jimmy proposes to Steph, and it was one of the most well done scenes in the series to date. Lastly, I love how they are making this series about the “youngsters” with only the occasional visits from Danny, Jesse, Joey, and Becky.

No show is perfect and here a few things I don’t like so much. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen vehemently refuse to be on Fuller House. Every year on one of the holiday themed episodes when a toast is made at the table, someone is always wishing that Michelle can come next year. After four seasons, this is getting a little ridiculous. Offer them a billion dollars for a cameo or kill the character off already. No sitcom is supposed to be that realistic but not to see your sister in four years without an explanation of bad blood does not logically work for me. Most Fuller House fans would love to see Michelle make an appearance but we have more or less given up on that possibility. Another thing that is rubbing me the wrong way are the divorced characters Kimmy and Fernando. They are back in love but the show’s creators don’t seem to be taking it anywhere. Make daughter Ramona the happiest girl on Earth and have her parents get re-married for Pete’s sake. Yes, there really isn’t much that I don’t like about this show. Perhaps it is that I was a Full House lover and in my eyes they can do no wrong.

What do you think about Fuller House? Reply in the comment section in Facebook or below with your thoughts.

Before I close, R.I.Ps go out to Penny Marshall and Sondra Locke, two great actresses and directors.

I wish you a great weekend, a Merry Christmas, and we will see you next Wednesday. Happy reading.

I wish I lived in a house

Greetings, readers. This morning, I was going to do a few loads of laundry. Two things prevented me from doing so. Another tenant beat me to the washing machine by minutes. And I only had change to wash and dry one load. Here are some of the advantages if I owned a house.

First of all, the laundry machine would not require coins. Second, I could do as many loads as I wanted to throughout the day. I wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting my load of laundry while, perish the thought, someone else was waiting for the machine. Another advantage of owning a home is that I would not be living downtown here next to this horrendous construction. Yes, I know construction happens in rural areas, it is just that this last month has tested my patience so much that at times I wanted to walk into their construction site and drain the diesel out of all their machinery.

I would have much more room and having to move out of this apartment would give me the opportunity to clean out once and for all and only take what I want and need with me. I don’t see this happening, because of money issues, but oh there are times when I wished I owned a home. The laundry room has hours of operation, meaning that I can’t sneak in quietly at 2:00am and wash a load of sweatshirts. It 8am to 10pm and 99.9 percent of all people here do it in those hours. Every once in a while you will find a cluck who has already begun their wash at 7:00 or 7:30 in the morning. Is that a horrendous faux pas? No, but it isn’t 8:00 either.

I’m not saying all apartment life is bad. I’m downtown near stores, bus stops, the library, and wonderful eateries. I am very thankful to have the roof over my head, a nice pet, a kick-butt TV, and a working PS3 … when it decides it wants to turn on. But make no mistake, if I ever win the lottery, I’m buying a mansion, complete with staff. Let us know in the comments what you would do if you won the lottery. Would you buy a car, house, or boat? I would give 10 percent to charity, buy my family and friends niceties that they have always wanted, and treat myself. And yes, folks, I have learned from my mistakes, I would bank the rest.

The downsides of owning a home is that you are responsible for all repairs and general upkeep, not the apartment maintenance person. If anything breaks around here, I call John. If my plumbing would go bad in my house, I would call Roto Rooter  and then open my wallet wide. There truly is no perfect world.

That’s today’s blog. We’ll be back with another one tomorrow. I bid you a fantastic day, spread love around, take care, and happy reading.

What a strange evening I had yesterday

Greetings, readers. Around 5:00 yesterday afternoon I got into one of those funky moods that comes over me now and then. So what did I do last night? I tortured myself with four and a half hours of the best of YouTube marriage proposal compilation videos and pregnancy announcement videos. Boy am I a glutton for punishment. It got me thinking about my life and where I stand right now, without a wife and kids.

Most people would watch one, maybe two, but no, I just kept hitting next video. I will admit I saw some really great marriage proposals. I also saw some pregnancy videos where the grandparents-to-be did not know that there was more than one baby about to be born. My personal favorite was when the mommy said here is your grandson, waited a few seconds and then said and here’s his brother, to which everyone in the room screamed. Rebecca had a good point when I told her about this; why would you not tell your family about a multiple birth? Some people just want to surprise their families so badly.

I purposefully stayed away from the other set of videos that tends to torture me, which are soldiers coming home and surprising their wives, girlfriends, children, parents, etc. Oh, that starts the flood, they really pull the heartstrings with me, especially when Daddy comes home to the kids.

It is now several minutes later after I took a break because of the clamoring construction crap going on outside my window. Rebecca and I will have to deal with it the best we can. She had construction by her home for about five years. My nightmare just began in July. I have approximately two years left before the building next door is completed. Hopefully the new stores slated to be in the lower half of the building will bring jobs and prosperity to our area. A couple of them are going to be clothing stores and I’m hoping that at least one store will have some kind of groceries or basic supplies. Our CVS store was in the demolished building where this new apartment complex is going to stand. I went to that CVS often for a great many things. Maybe in a couple of months it will be published in the newspaper exactly what businesses will be going in the new building.

There’s today’s blog entry. We’ll see you next week with entries on Wednesday and Thursday. I bid everyone a great weekend, stay safe, give your family members a hug, and as always, happy reading.