Category Archives: from Rebecca

From Rebecca: I made a change to the blog page

Hi, Joe’s readers. When we look at the number of views for the blog, Joe and I notice that each post day a lot of his views come from Facebook. The statistics page breaks down the number of views from Twitter, Facebook, and the WordPress reader. So I was a bit bummed to see a notice from WordPress that they will no longer automatically send each blog entry to post on Joe’s Facebook profile page. We both like sharing with our friends and family on Facebook, and also it cuts down on the number of views. Double bummer.

I was looking at the blog site settings to see if there was a toggle to switch back on (there isn’t) when I noticed a feature I had forgotten about. Under each individual entry is a section of sharing buttons, and Facebook is one of them. From now on, we will just use that button to share on Facebook. While I was in settings, I also saw a place to click so that these share buttons show up on the home page, under each entry. Cool! I called Joe to ask if he minded if I make this change, and he gave the okay. So I added some buttons for other places to share, and clicked the box to have the buttons on the front page, too. Please let us know how you like it, or if you don’t.

While I had Joe on the phone, he said it was hot in Maine this year and that he was having fun. He had me put the phone on speaker so he could say a few words to Princess Josie. When she heard his voice, she tilted her head and sniffed the phone. So cute.

Well, next week Joe will back here and blogging. Until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I AM writing this blog entry from Joe’s old laptop

Hello, Joe’s readers. Joe’s old laptop is slower than I am used to writing on anymore, but it seems to be working just fine now that the security update is finished. It started last Thursday, and finished today when I turned the computer on again. I didn’t use the laptop in between because I wasn’t writing a blog entry until today.

Joe is having a good time in Maine and even did some swimming in the lake as it is hotter than usual up there this year. I have talked to him a couple of times while he has been gone.

Princess Josie, his cat, has been a handful today. I have been checking up on her since last Thursday, but haven’t stayed very long on those visits. Today and tomorrow I have hours to spend with her, and she is using that time. She is demanding many head rubs and a lot of attention. It made it difficult for me to do some of the file sorting I am doing with the extra hours without Joe here. I have half a trash bag of paper and envelopes to throw out and a huge envelope of paper to be shredded. Quite an achievement with Josie needing attention in the middle of the sorting.

Those of you who are regular readers know that in the past I have taken care of Joe’s late cat Keekee on this long vacation week. I will say this about Josie, she doesn’t shed as much as Keekee did. Keekee was a lot calmer and less exasperating, but I would take handfuls of fur off when petting her. (I really miss Keekee right now.) Josie is a one-year-old ball of energy who keeps jumping on the table and trying to get into my papers. She is sweet though, when she is playing hockey with a bottle lid or when she takes a rest. I’m glad I have the chance to know her.

On another topic, it stopped raining around here for a couple of days, but we got hot muggy weather instead. I felt like I was going to melt by the time I got to work today. It is forecast to rain today and tonight. I don’t know if the humidity will get better or not. On the plus side, humid and hot is normal for August in Pennsylvania. When was the last time we had a normal weather month? Maybe I should be celebrating as I slog through the seasonal heavy air.

I will have another blog entry tomorrow. Until then, as Joe writes, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I am not writing this entry on Joe’s old laptop

Hi, Joe’s readers. Before he left on vacation, Joe dug out his old laptop for me to use while he was gone, since he took his current laptop with him. It needs to be kept plugged in when in use and is a bit slower, but the last time we used the old thing it still connected to most of the sites we want with no problem. This morning we plugged it in, made sure the tricky power pack stayed connected with the green light lit, and powered the laptop up. No problem. I looked forward to writing the blog post at Joe’s, maybe with the title, From Rebecca: I am doing this entry on Joe’s old computer.

Then a Microsoft box popped up that read it needed to update the security, don’t unplug or turn off the computer, it might take almost an hour, you can still use the computer while it downloaded and installed the updates. Well, that sounded like a great idea to me, it had been a while since we used it, and I would feel better using something with up-dated security files. I had stuff to do in the meantime.

Joe took off after giving me instructions for the care of kitty cat Princess Josie. I settled in to go through a bunch of paperwork, old invoices, medical files, old bills, other mail, etc. from the last few years and sort out what needed to be shredded, thrown away, or kept. I did that for a productive couple of hours while the Microsoft program kept downloading and updating, slowly going from 0 % to 100% over and over. It did not let me do anything else while this was running. Two and a half hours later, the process finally ended, only to put up another message that it would have to re-start the computer to finish the up-date, it would only take another couple of hours. I didn’t have that long, so I shut the computer down. I will have to try it again another day, maybe next Wednesday when another blog entry is due.

Other than that, and the persistent rain we still have this week, it has been a very good day. Princess Josie, also known as P.J. or just Josie, was okay being alone in my presence for the day. I expect by this time next week she will be missing Joe a lot, but hopefully I can help her past some of the loneliness. She is a beautiful cat, energetic and curious. She gets into so many things we don’t expect her to, like my folders and papers when I am there.

That is it for today. I’ll be back with another blog post next Wednesday and Thursday. As Joe would say, take care, have a great week, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Bad weather is exhausting

As Joe wrote yesterday, he had a doctor’s appointment today, so I am writing to you again today.

It has rained for what seems like forever in Pennsylvania, though it has only been a week or two. The last couple of days the entire state has been deluged, with flood warnings in most counties and weather radar maps full of green. Anyone going outside gets wet, even with umbrellas, it is a fact of life right now. Yesterday, I came home from work with wet slack legs, a soaked umbrella, and damp bags. Last Tuesday, Darren and I unloaded his mom’s groceries from the car in a downpour. It was a relief to get indoors and a grudging acceptance of the weather when we went out.

Despite all our trouble and discomfort, I also know we are lucky. State College has areas of flooding, but not rivers of water through our streets. None of us need to be rescued, or are completely blocked off from home or work. It is possible some of the commuters from outlying areas might have those problems, and I wish them well. I look at pictures on the news of cars, homes, towns destroyed by rising water, and I feel grateful and blessed to be dry inside. I see pictures of the wildfires out west and cannot imagine running from a home that might be ash the next time I see it. What does their air smell like, taste like? How do they build a new life from the destruction? There are areas of the country in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit; I cannot conceive going about my life in those conditions either. As inconvenient as constant rain has been for us here, it could be so much worse.

So, wherever you are reading this, I hope you are dry, and cool, and comfortable. I hope you have electricity, and good food, and dry feet. I hope you are as lucky as we are.

Until next Wednesday, as Joe would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Happy 4th of July 2018

Happy 4th of July to everyone who is celebrating our nation’s birthday! Happy Wednesday to all the readers from other nations! I hope all our readers are having a great day.

This is a stressful and chaotic time for the United States of America right now, but today is a reminder that our country started with a brave and daring gamble that people would govern themselves. It required individual states to work together to form one nation, with a balance of power. This country has had ups and downs, times of great strife and times of calm harmony, and through it all we keep heading toward the promise of that beginning, the promise of freedom for all of us.

Happy Birthday, the United States of America!

From Rebecca: Four’s a Crowd is published!

Joe hit the button at CreateSpace.com at noon today and published Four’s a Crowd! The novel that Darren adapted from Joe’s play Kimberly will be on sale on Amazon in 3-5 business days. Joe was a little disappointed that Four’s a Crowd wasn’t available right away, but I guess Amazon needs a few days to get the product page set up.

If you are interested in what the book is about, here is the description we have on the back cover:

Lyle and Kimberly Detmore are a young married couple who have settled into a quiet life together. Henry and Alice Detmore are an older married couple who were having a good life before their health issues forced them to sell their home. They moved in with their son, Lyle, and the daughter-in-law that Alice has never liked.

It doesn’t take long after they move in for the two women to begin exchanging sharp words and the men to take cover. Battle lines are drawn. The house is filled with yelling, tears, slamming doors, misunderstandings, fears, secrets, and unexpected news.

Underlying it all is the love between husband and wife, child and parent. Can these four people figure out how to solve their problems and live in peace as a family before it is too late?

It took us all more than four years to get to this point, and here it is, even if there is another slight delay. Thanks for joining in our celebration. I am so proud of Darren and Joe for writings these characters and their stories. Hooray!

Joe will be back on Wednesday. Have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe just left our place

Darren and Joe had a good proof-editing session for their novel Four’s a Crowd. They didn’t change much, just a few words here and there. Joe came to our place with his laptop, and Darren was on our laptop. They each had a copy of the working file open on the computer and called out page numbers for the other to go over; mostly just the parts that were changed the most since the last ordered proof. They worked well together and agreed on a final version to publish.

We went to CreateSpace.com and uploaded the file for review. The self-publishing site will get back to us in 24 hours with their approval of the format. We expect the book to be published tomorrow, and then immediately available to buy on Amazon. Booksellers and libraries should also be able to order it by tomorrow afternoon. Whoo-hoot! Joe worked so hard on the play, Darren worked so hard on adapting it to a novel, and we have all worked hard editing the book, so this a very sweet moment. One more step!

After that, we will look into getting the book on Kindle. We know from putting two of Joe’s previous books on that service that we will need it re-formatted for the e-book structure, and that will take time and/or money to arrange. We will keep you updated.

Joe will be back next Wednesday with an entry, and one of us may possibly write a brief announcement here over the weekend after Four’s a Crowd is published and on sale. Until then, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: It is Thursday again

Joe is taking care of personal business today, so here is another Thursday blog entry from me. It is a gorgeous day outside with a lot of sunshine and a hint of coolness. Perfect.

We are so close to publication day for Four’s a Crowd and I am so excited. Darren has finished his final edits and put them into the manuscript file, and Joe is doing his final editing in the next few days. Next Thursday we will all get together, put in Joe’s changes, I will update the chapter of contents, and then we will submit the file to our self-publishing site, CreateSpace. Once they approve it, we will push the publish button. Four’s a Crowd could be on sale within two weeks! We will keep you updated.

I wrote last month about the construction noise next door driving Darren and me crazy. Well, it is still going on but a few weeks back the majority of the work moved down the road a ways, and we got a bit of a break from some of the beeps, scraps, bangs, and rumbles. We can still hear it, but it is easier to live with at the moment.

I’m just beginning to read the second book in a series I like. I read Binti, by the author Nnedi Okorafor, earlier this year, and was touched by it. It is the science fiction/fantasy story of a young woman from Africa who goes to another planet to study, and on her journey a tragic event leads her to be an instrument of peace between two species. Heartbreaking, but also full of hope. I look forward to diving into Binti: Home later today.

Joe will be back on Wednesday, and one of us will have an entry on Thursday. As Joe would say, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Getting Four’s a Crowd ready for publication

As Joe wrote yesterday, he is using a personal day today, and I am doing the blog post. Regular readers know that my husband Darren adapted Joe’s play Kimberly into a novel, Four’s a Crowd. They have been working on it for over four years now, and it is finally close to being published.

Darren and Joe are going through the second proof now, making the final changes. When they are done, probably in the next week or two, we will submit the updated file to CreateSpace and then the book will be available to the public. It is so exciting to be this close.

We have all three put so much work into this book. Joe created four unique characters in his play, and with his feedback Darren expanded them and their world in a novel. I gave advice and edited as best I could, and, plugged everything into CreateSpace’s formatted template. My main correction for the second proof has been to fix indent markers on two chapters that didn’t get done the first time I tackled that problem. Technology grrr. It looks like I got that problem fixed now.

CreateSpace will automatically put the published book on Amazon for us, and we have high hopes for selling it, but we aren’t sure yet how to reach people other than our friends and family to see and buy the novel. Joe and Darren have worked so hard on it, and written a great story of a family overcoming personality conflicts and challenges from aging to find unity. It would be so disappointing if it didn’t sell. I guess the only way to find out is to go forward, do our best, and hope.

Watch this space for updates, and our big announcement once we do publish Four’s a Crowd. I can hardly wait.

From Rebecca: Construction next door

As Joe wrote yesterday, he has an appointment this morning, so once again I get to do the blog post. I decided to talk about the construction project that my husband Darren and I live next to, which has been ongoing for years now and is scheduled to continue for some time now. Sometimes the activity is heavier, sometimes it is less so, but it is constant.

I wouldn’t mind it so much, but it is loud. There are back-up beepers that sometimes go off all day long, amid sounds of banging, scraping, and machinery moving. I grew up on a busy street in town, so the sounds almost become background noise to me, but Darren grew up outside of town where it was a lot quieter. All this noise drives him mad. He gets stressed, then I feel stressed. We play the TV or music up loud to cover the construction sounds, which works for the most part, but not completely. I will say, considering how much he hates back-up beepers and noise, Darren is actually doing well managing his nerves and anger. I’m proud of him. He has had a lot of practice at not flying off the handle with this going on so long.

Half of the construction area we can see is a spot that used to be a rolling green space beside a driveway outside the old building. The structure is being built on and renovated. We watched them cut down the trees, put up a fence, tear up the grass, and move the dirt around from place to place over months. They put a new road in through where the grass was. Then they moved it over a few feet. Months later they moved it again, to where it stayed. The road went back and forth between being one-way or two-way for periods of time, and now it appears to be permanently two-way. They finally stopped moving the dirt around in seemingly random patterns about six months ago, and put in a retaining wall, then a small parking lot.

The rest of the area is still being dug up and moved around. The inside and front of the building is done for the most part, but the back part is still in progress. They also have supplies along the fence, and it looks like a dump, which I find particularly annoying.

Darren and I cannot wait for this ordeal to be over. We deal with it the best way we can and hang on to the knowledge that it will over at some point. It could be worse, and it will get better.

This turned into a real rant, didn’t it? Thanks for letting me get it off my chest.

Joe will be back next Wednesday and Thursday with blog entries. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great week, and happy reading.