Category Archives: from Rebecca

From Rebecca: Ugly day outside

Greetings, Joe’s readers. It is a snowy, rainy, icy mess outside, though I am surprised that the few cars I can see on the road outside my window are moving okay. Joe and I are not working together today, because of the bad weather. Pennsylvania had a storm overnight that is continuing all day, as those of you who live in this state already know. Northern PA was forecast to got more snow, southern PA to got more ice, and central PA, where Joe and I live, got a mix of snow and rain. Yesterday, authorities asked anybody who could stay off the roads today to do so. A lot of people still have to get out and about, but for the rest of us it is a Snow Day! No school, no work, stay home all day!

The schools, a lot of businesses, and  Schlow Centre Region Library are closed for the day, adding to the feeling of a shared community experience and a holiday. Although there are a lot of people who still had to go for important commitments or to go to work, and they didn’t get to share the holiday. I know that I could have gone to work today if I chose to do so, since the bus system is still working. (A big shout out to the drivers and staff of CATA – Centre Area Transportation Authority – for always getting me to and from work no matter how bad the weather is. The bus might be running late, depending on the conditions, but it always comes. In fact, their buses are running today.) And I have better balance when walking than Joe, who really cannot go out in snow and ice because he might fall and injure himself, so I could have made it to his apartment to work. Joe arranged for me to stay home today, to not have to slog through the cold, snow and icy slush, and I am grateful to be able to sit in a warm room, snug with my legs in a blanket, typing this on my home computer.

I decided to stay home last Sunday too, instead of visit my family as usual. We had a snow storm that day which gave us about three inches of snow, and now I am home during this one. I am wondering if I am getting more timid as I get older. As long as it was snow and not ice, three inches didn’t intimidate me before, even when it was falling while I drove. Although, looking back, I did drive in some bad road conditions when I was younger. There were a few times I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to the bottom of a certain hill and stop safely. Age is supposed to give us wisdom, but maybe that is what shutting down options looks like. We decide not to eat a super hot pepper and now we are wise because we didn’t burn our mouth like a foolish young person. Put like that, refusing to try new things looks noble, doesn’t it? It is true that older bodies don’t heal damage as fast, and a fall can take us out for days instead of hours. Maybe being careful is wisdom.

I hope you are all warm and comfortable, if not right now than by the end of your day. Joe and I will be working in the same room tomorrow, and he will have a new blog entry up. Until then, take care, have a safe day, and 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.

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.

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.

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

From Rebecca: Happy Thanksgiving Day 2017

Greetings, Joe’s readers. I hope you are all having a good holiday. In the United States we are celebrating Thanksgiving Day with food, family, football, and, for some of us, a nap. For those of you not celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you are also having a day of good food, family gatherings, and maybe a nap. May all of us feel blessed.

Joe will be back with new entries next week. Until then, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: The day before Thanksgiving

Darren and I are going to have his mother over for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, and we have a few things to do to get ready. The main thing today is to deep clean the apartment, something we do about every two months. We know we should do it more often, but we just don’t. We keep things clean in general all the time – we do the dishes every day, put things back where they belong so that clutter doesn’t accumulate, and take the trash and recycling out at least once a week. Today, though, we will be cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, and running the vacuum. It takes us about 45 minutes to get through it, and having his mother over tomorrow is a good push to do our deep clean.

Joe got on a bus this morning, traveling to visit his buddy-brother David and the family for a long holiday weekend. He has been so excited about seeing family members he only sees a few times a year. Many of them he last saw in August at Bear Spring Camps, but a few of them weren’t there this year, I think. Anyway, I expect he will have a lot of fun and fellowship.

Darren will cook the dinner tomorrow, while I get his mom. We don’t cook a whole turkey, but instead he will bake sliced turkey breast under gravy, and make some mashed potatoes and carrots to go with it. It will be a small family gathering but a good one. I am one of the lucky people in this world to get along with a mother-in-law. I love Mom a lot and she loves me back.

I am grateful for so much in my life; my family, my friends, my books and shows and other entertainments, as much health as I do have, my physical comforts, having a car (Joe’s life would be easier at times owning a car, so I see first-hand what a blessing it is), and my dear husband. I appreciate Thanksgiving day for the yearly reminder to count our blessing and say thanks. It is so easy to focus on what we don’t have, what we wish we had, and how we wish life was different. It is a good thing to be in gratitude.

That is it for today. Tomorrow I will post a quick greeting, then next week Joe will be back, probably with a top ten list. Take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

 

From Rebecca: Joe is relaxing and resting today

Joe has worked a lot at his other job this last month and he will work from tomorrow through next Tuesday, before working with me again next Wednesday and Thursday, so he took today for a personal downtime day. And I have to confess, I worked an extra shift for my other job last Saturday, and at the time it didn’t seem to tire me out, but now I am enjoying having an unexpected extra day at home. So far, it has been nice.

After I publish this blog post, my husband Darren and I are going to play a section of a board game called Descent. It is a game he had for a while and we started playing it off and on a few months ago. Darren likes strategy games that are complicated and take many hours to play all the way through, like Axis & Allies, while I like simple games that can be played in less than two hours. It is therefore difficult for us to find games that work for both of us. Descent seems to be a good in-between game. It has sections that can be played in a few hours, and while there is a whole booklet of rules and takes a bit of strategy, playing it was easy for me to learn and is as simple as I need it to be. I play the easier side, the overlord, which helps. Darren plays the two hero adventurers who use weapons and powers to fight my monsters and gather loot. Enough complication for him, while I have enough simplicity with my monsters and their spelled out powers. A nice way to spend the afternoon.

Four’s a Crowd, the novel that Darren adapted from Joe’s play Kimberly, is one step closer to being published. Yesterday I uploaded the file to the CreateSpace site, and later today Joe will look at the interior review page, then click save and continue. He will fill out a few more boxes, then send it to be reviewed by the site, then we can order proofs. We will edit the proofs, make corrections, then do the process again. We expect to have the finished book ready to sell early next year, hopefully by the first of March.

Well, that is my day. I hope you are all having a good time, and that soon you have a chance to step out of routine and refresh too.

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

From Rebecca: Re-post about school friends and Facebook

As I wrote yesterday, I am re-posting an entry from Joe’s third year of blogging. I had a lot to choose from, including a few From Rebecca entries that I liked. Going through the year, I saw that early 2014 was really cold with a lot of snow, that Joe discovered Train Simulator on Steam, and wrote a lot about sports and his childhood.

I picked this entry to re-post because I think most of us can relate to time passing so fast since high school, and using Facebook to keep us in touch with people we met way back then. And in touch with people we met since then, too.

Joe will be back with an entry next Wednesday. Until then, enjoy this blast from the past.

Catching up with school friends

October 10, 2014

Greetings, readers. Although I will never consider myself old, I had a strange incident happen yesterday. I was communicating on Facebook with a friend of mine who I always visualize as that teen-age kid I went to school with. When she was telling me about her poor health, I remembered, oh, yes, she is almost 50 years old, just like I am. We aren’t those young kids anymore.

My knees creak, my neck hurts, and sometimes I can’t get to sleep for love nor money. And as far as running, heck some days I can barely jog across the street. Yes, even though I consider myself young at heart, I am a middle-aged person. I must remember this.

Facebook gives me an opportunity to keep in touch with many of my friends from school. It’s so strange that I always think of them, no matter who they are, as the kids I used to know. I think that is because we don’t go out and party together, I don’t go to the school reunions, we just don’t hang out. So those visions from the past are all I have.  I wouldn’t trade the memories of those early years for all the world.

It’s funny. When I was in junior high and high school, I didn’t think I had many friends. Now I can go through the yearbook, looking at all the pictures, and I smile knowing that I had many more friends than I thought. Up to this point I really have had a good life.

This brings me to an idea. Maybe sometime this spring or early summer, after the snow melts, I am going to see if a group of my school friends would like to meet somewhere and hang out for an afternoon or evening. Perhaps we can book a hall or a hotel’s dining room. That would be cool. As a lot of you know, I dwell in the past. I think it would be a good thing for me to see my friends, swap stories, and get re-acquainted.

Switching gears, over the last few days, I’ve had some time to think about my recent obsession with simulation games and “playing” in general. My mom, the psychologist, probably would have told me that I am trying to go back to my childhood where life was perfect, my problems were taken care of for me, my friend David was there to play with, and TV shows and sports were there to be enjoyed. That’s my opinion. This Monday, I will see what my therapist will say.

Until next Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

P.S. I am very happy to see the recent upsurge in the viewing of my performance pictures and my book page.

From Rebecca: Joe has a head cold but is feeling better today

As I said in the title, Joe has a head cold this week, which he hopes is gone by his restaurant shift tomorrow morning. He called me yesterday to discuss our arrangements today and his voice sounded rough, but it was much better when I met up with him today to take care of a few work items. He was still stuffed up, but his voice was smoother. We had our meeting, and then he said he will rest today to get ready for tomorrow.

I have noticed that the last month or so Joe has been stressed and tired when I’ve seen him, so maybe it isn’t surprising his body sat him down to rest for a short time. It is a good reminder that in our busy lives we need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves. We need to get enough sleep, eat balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise, take time to relax in a peaceful space, and be patient with ourselves when we make mistakes.

Easier said than done, of course. I certainly could do better. It would help me to eat more vegetables and fruit. I need to start stretching exercises and I keep putting it off. I tend to push my bedtime to get just seven hours of sleep, give or take twenty minutes, even though I do better with eight. I do get some peaceful time to relax and that is nice. I read a lot and that is good.

We seem to live in fast-moving, chaotic, stressful times now. It is difficult to take in the world’s non-stop disasters, crisis points, threats, injustices, and needs, and still function in our own lives. All the more reason to balance all that out with some self-care. I hope you, readers, are able to stay healthy and sane in a world that seems to be more insane with every day. Both Joe and I appreciate you reading his blog, and we want you to be okay. May you find a peaceful place today to rest, relax, and renew. I hope that Joe gets well overnight, and feels renewed, too.

I will be putting up the blog post tomorrow; I intend to do a re-post of one of Joe’s past entries. I plan to choose one from his third year. The re-posts seem to work, and it is a good way to get a second chance to be seen for a good post that didn’t get a lot of views the first time. If you read this on Joe’s site, you will see at the bottom that WordPress has three selected posts that it suggests as related choices; this is another good way to see some older posts. I like this feature a lot. Until tomorrow, take care, have a good day, and happy reading.