Category Archives: from Rebecca

From Rebecca: Joe asked me to do a blog entry today

Joe asked me to write to you, his readers, telling you he plans to have today’s blog entry out tomorrow. He isn’t feeling well today.

It is hard for me to believe that it has been almost six months since Joe and I worked together. There are times when I miss him very much, and times that a busy week goes by and I don’t think about him more than once or twice. The times I miss working with him most are when things come up that I would have taken part in, like when he gets ready for Bear Spring Camps. For many years, by June we would have booked his reservations for a rental car and for the hotel rooms on the way up there, the way back here, and the Friday night before his week there started. This year, of course, everything is so different because of the virus, and Joe decided to cancel. But I still feel something missing when I think of that annual process going on without me. Plus, there are so many world events going on that we would have talked about, and I miss those discussions in his office space.

Yesterday I was reminded how long it has been when I tried to write down something being told to me; I haven’t typed Joe’s dictation in a so long and I am so rusty at it now!

Joe will be back tomorrow with a blog entry. Until then, take care, stay safe, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Top ten list of things I miss about working with Joe

Hi, Joe’s readers. It is a new year, and it feels so weird not to be spending Wednesday mornings with Joe anymore. We worked together for nine years and did a lot in that time. It was the right decision to stop, but I miss Joe and a bunch of other things. I came up with six or seven to share in a blog entry, then broke a couple up to reach ten items. I hope you enjoy my list. Hi, Joe!

#10. My Cat Naps weekly engagement calendar book. Every year I got a new one and used it to keep my special date reminders, my work hours, my appointments, and Joe’s appointments. I loved those cat pictures. This year I have a smaller pocket calendar from the bank which works just fine but is not them same.

#9. Going to the library and the bank after work. It was so easy to leave Joe’s place and walk to first Schlow Centre Region Library and then to my bank. I would get a week’s worth of books at Schlow, before taking my paycheck to the bank and get a week’s worth of money. I would take a CATA bus to and from work downtown, so parking was never a problem! I have worked out other times to visit both places, but it is not as convenient.

#8. Joe’s cat Princess Josie. I am not as close to PJ as I was to his late cat Keekee. But I think I would have gotten closer to her with a few more years. I was looking forward to watching her mature into an older cat.

#7. Joe’s friends. Over nine years of meeting Joe at his apartment building, I have gotten to know a lot of the residents – some only by sight – that have come and gone. Joe is a friendly and generous man, so he has been close friends with a lot of them, and I have gotten to know them through him. I will miss exchanging hellos with them, especially the women he goes to breakfast with most days.

#6. Bear Spring Camps. This one is odd, since I have only been to the vacation spot in Maine only through Joe’s descriptions, but I will miss being connected to it through Joe, and hearing about his trip when he gets back every August. I will miss taking care of his cat while he is away (though last year I was glad that his friend Smith helped with this as I couldn’t get there every day Joe was gone) and giving him updates on her. I will miss the vacation folder I have added to every year so that now it is thick with details of hotel rooms, rental cars, and dates, and we would use it to book that year’s hotel rooms and rental car. ( I will have to tell Joe where I stored that!)

#5. Organizing – the files, mail, appointments, etc. I have already mentioned some of my organizing routine with the date book and the vacation folders. There were many folders over the years, and many pieces of paper and mail that needed to be sorted and either stored or thrown away. I also kept two sheets of paper with weekly To Do and Tasks Done lists. They came in very handy over the years.

#4. Writing and editing with Joe. He would dictate as I typed and then we would edit his writing. It was so fun searching for and finding the right word or phrase. During editing, it is like magic to take a sentence that isn’t quite working, and make it good. To make it smooth and say just what we had in mind. It is the best feeling.

#3. Goofing around with my friend. In between tasks or when we finished early, Joe and I would talk about TV shows, world events, things in our past, and just in general take a work break. We laughed a lot and enjoyed each other’s company. We still talk and text, but it isn’t the same as being in the same room every week.

#2. The blog entries. Between the two of us, this blog site has been updated an average of twice a week since late 2011. I typed Joe’s dictation for most of this site’s 871 posts. We covered a lot of subjects. I will miss doing this form of communication every week.

#1. Visiting with Joe and catching up on his life every week. Joe has been my friend since high school, and I enjoyed working for/with him. As I said above, it won’t be the same not being in the same room with him.

Life is full of changes, and many times those changes are abrupt and shocking. Joe and I ending our work relationship is one the planned changes and it is okay. Joe and I built a lot in his apartment office in nine years, and I am proud of what we accomplished.

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.

From Rebecca: Joe’s surgery was today

Hi, Joe’s readers. Joe had surgery on his shoulder today. I haven’t talked to him directly, but I got a message from one of his friends telling me that his procedure went well. I could hear his voice in the background and he sounded good. I don’t know how long it will take for him to have use of his right arm again, but I hope it is soon. Joe will probably tell you everything about it himself next week in a blog entry.

I missed having work time with Joe, but I did have a good day otherwise. I got the chance to see my stepfather and sister for the first time in months, and had fun. It was a spur of the moment meeting, which I usually have trouble saying yes to, but everything fell into place so smoothly that I easily agreed to do it. I would not have been able to see them today if Joe and I had been working as usual, so it seemed like fate that I could be there. I’m sorry Joe had to have surgery, but I am glad I got to see two members of the family that I don’t see every week.

Well, that is all the news I’ve got. Joe will be back next Wednesday with a new blog entry. Until then, as he would write, have a good week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe at 3 Dots on Wednesday

Joe and I are working next Thursday instead of Wednesday, so the next blog entry will be on Thursday. Joe is performing music on Wednesday, August 28, noon to 1:00, at 3 Dots, a new place in downtown State College. If you are in the area of Beaver Ave and South Pugh Street at that time and would like to see him sing, the performance is free and you can bring a lunch to enjoy with the show.

So, until next Thursday, have a good week, take care of each other, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Short note while Joe is away

I had a different subject picked out for a blog entry while Joe is away at Bear Spring Camps, but it has been a long day and all I have energy for is a quick update.

Joe is having a good time at camp, after having a couple of mishaps on the way there. Those of you who follow him on Facebook already know he got into a couple of traffic jams, and had a back spasm on the morning before he arrived at camp. The joys of Wifi in restaurants let him communicate in almost real time, before entering a sparse internet zone at camp.

I was with Joe’s cat, Princess Josie, today and she is doing well. She snuggled against me a few times during my visit and I got to pet her a bit. She didn’t shed as much as Keekee used to every year while Joe was away, but Josie did shed a little more than usual. My theory is that Joe’s daily interactions with his cat just naturally thins her coat and it builds up when he is gone. Anyway, we spent some time together and it was good.

I’m not sure if the next blog entry will be next week or the week after that. Until then, as Joe would say, have a good week, take care of yourself and your loved ones, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe is flattened by back spasms

Greetings, Joe’s readers. When I got to work today I found Joe walking bent over and in pain. He tried to ease his back spasms by lying down for a bit, but he said he couldn’t find a comfortable position and felt like a Mexican jumping bean. Next he tried walking it off by going up and down the hallway, which seemed to help a little. This is the worst spasm he has had in years, kicking off a pain every few seconds. I hope he feels better soon. He asked me to write the post today, because he can’t sit down or focus long enough to dictate it.

When I come to work every Wednesday, I set up a card table to put his laptop on for me to use to type dictation. Joe is sitting at the table now, seeing if leaning forward in a different chair will help. So far no success. He is looking for that one magic position that will get it to stop. As we only work together one day a week now, this is really putting a crimp in today’s progress.

I am actually amazed by how much Joe can do on a day to day basis with all the physical problems he has. It keeps him from doing some things he really wants to do, like write for a few hours at a time, but he is able to do a lot of things he needs to most of the time. A day like today where he is stopped by his body is a good reminder of how well he usually does.

——————-

Joe got his back to calm down at least enough to try to dictate a few paragraphs.

Hi, readers. Thanks to Rebecca for getting this one started. It took two Aleve and a big swig of NyQuil to calm this spasm down. This was probably the worst back spasm in a couple of years. If I only knew what I did to make it start. I was just sitting at Panera taking my meds. Yes, my body has a mind of its own. Like Rebecca said though, most days I can get by with no problem.

Something else is weighing on my mind, which unfortunately I cannot disclose at this moment, but suffice it to say that prayers are needed for a good friend of mine on a couple of levels. Prayers for her would be much appreciated. Tyvm.

We have enjoyed several beautiful mornings in a row; a little unusual for State Cloudy, Pennsylvania. I’ve heard the forecast calls for rain overnight and tomorrow morning, but I will take every nice morning I can get.

Traci’s sister Roni is scheduled to meet us tomorrow morning at 7:00 for coffee at Panera. Hopefully it will not be downpouring then. Friend Smith will also be there and is eagerly looking forward to meeting Roni. It should be a very pleasant gathering.

Well, there is today’s blog entry. Again, thanks to Rebecca for getting it started, and you will be happy to know that finally at 11am the back spasm seems to be over. Thank God!

I’ll dictate another entry on Sunday, so until then, have a wonderful few days, take care, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: It has been a while since I wrote a blog entry

Hi, Joe’s readers. Joe got caught up in Easter yesterday, and didn’t get to do his usual Sunday entry. He has begun spring cleaning today, as he wrote he would, and he asked if I would do an entry for him. I said yes, I’d be happy to put something up.

I’m not sure what to write about that isn’t the weather (really nice yesterday and today), politics (does anyone else think that the media/congress should be focusing more on the Russia interference with our elections and government, as well as what Trump and Co knew or did), or health (my knees are sore or painful a lot this last month.) Joe and I are trying to pick different topics for the blog, other than the same ones. That’s why for the last post he did a list of his blessings.

It is a reminder to me of my blessings. My husband, my mother-in-law, my sisters and their children, all my parents, my books, my library, my television shows/movies, my technology, and the health and mobility I do have. I have struggles and problems, but I am so lucky, too.

Joe and I will be back at work on Wednesday, and then he will dictate another blog entry for you. Until then, have a good week, may you be safe and comfortable at the end of your day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Snow day

As Joe wrote in yesterday’s blog post, we are having a work at home day because of the forecasted storm over all of Pennsylvania. Snow day! State College is forecast to have about a foot of snow today, which is a lot for a first real snow of the season. This morning it looked clear and I was beginning to think that we wouldn’t get much after all, then just before 11:00 it began to flurry. By noon, we had steady snow and the beginnings of a lot of accumulation. Here it comes.

I am so glad that I can be home today – thanks Joe! – and look at my balcony get slowly buried. I feel so cozy in my warm apartment without having to go out in this. The newscast says it is slick out on the roads, and I send a prayer up for the safety of all the people who have to drive in this storm, especially the bus drivers. I take the bus to and from work, and no matter what the conditions I always feel safe with them at the wheel. We are lucky it isn’t freezing rain, like the western part of Pennsylvania is getting. Snow is tough enough for traveling.

My husband Darren is making Hamburger Helper for dinner right now, and it smells great. I have many blessings, including a spouse who cooks so well. I will be doing the dishes after we eat, of course. We also intend to clean the apartment later, which I guess is a good use of a day off work.

Where ever you are, dear readers, and whatever weather you are experiencing, I hope you are safe. May you end your day warm and comfortable.

From Rebecca: Darren and I went on a date today

Joe said yesterday that he was taking today off for personal business and dictating the blog entry, but he is feeling under the weather and he asked me to put an entry up. Feel better soon, Joe!

My husband Darren and I decided to go on a date today and get out of the apartment together for a while. We ate at Olive Garden and it was a good experience. We had plenty of bread sticks, salad, and pasta, and it was all delicious; we ate just enough to be full without being uncomfortable. We get take out fast food a lot, but we don’t often go to a restaurant to sit and eat there together. It was nice and we had a good time.

While we were out, we did a few errands, like getting gas for the car. It rained off and on, which was irritating, but we didn’t get too wet by the end. All in all, we had about four hours out and about, and came home satisfied.

I hope you all are having a really good day. Joe will be back next Wednesday. As he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.