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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.

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.

I must do something I’m not good at; stand firm

Greetings, readers. Events took place the other day here at my apartment building which has caused me to lose a friend. I am not happy to say this, because I really liked this person. Her emotional disability is more than I can handle, and I cannot take the drama and stress. I must walk away.

I’ve known this person for a number of years now and there have been good times and bad. Recently, however, the bad times have outnumbered the good. I don’t know if any of you, my readers, have experienced this before, but it is thoroughly frustrating. Being the son of a psychologist, I tried to pick up as much as I could from Mom. That small advantage I gained was not enough to keep this friend.

Life will go on without my friend (name omitted for privacy reasons) though I feel like I failed. Losing a friend pains me like an open wound. The pain will go away, but it will take time. In the meantime, I shall rejoice in the friends I still have. I need to look forward, not back. If this person ever does come to her senses, and gets and stays on the proper medication, perhaps one day the friendship can resume. Until then, I need to take care of my own emotional health.

On to a different topic, in four weeks Rebecca and I will type our last regular blog entry together. 😦 As mentioned, I will put up the occasional blog entry to keep the blog alive and fresh, as I hope Rebecca will do too from time to time. Probably no new entries will take place the last week or two of December, with a new entry the first week of January.

I saw on the internet news page that the last several days a plethora, unfortunately, of shootings occurred. Prayers go out to the families of the victims and a special prayer goes out to those folks who think that violence is the only way to get the attention they seek. Give peace a chance. There are always people available and willing to help you with almost any problem. I am proof of that. I was severely depressed years ago, thought about ending it all, told myself that I was not a coward, and contacted the therapist that I still have today. Violence is not the answer. There are counselors, clergy people, and good old-fashioned best friends you can confide in. If you are thinking about doing something desperate or violent, please think it over for a day or two, and try any of the options I just mentioned.

Well, it must be getting close to winter time, folks. I saw Tussey Mountain Sky Resort all lit up the other night. As we speak, I can see man-made snow on the mountain, though it has been dark the last couple of nights. You would never get me on those slopes on skies. Heck, I can barely walk on the snow on the sidewalk sometimes, much less ski. One day I am planning on taking the local bus to the resort, just to check it out. I might even have lunch there. 😉 Any local takers? We could make a party of it.

I am still holding out a slim hope for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but with this loss last week, I think that even a wild-card berth is not obtainable. If we finish at 500 [8-8], I feel we will be damned lucky. I’m still upset at the Cleveland Brown’s defensive player who, in my opinion, tried to kill our quarterback by hitting him over the top of his head with his own helmet. I’m sure that anyone who follows football has seen the clip. The poor kid has already had one concussion, he doesn’t need a second one.

There’s the news for now. Until next Wednesday, have a great week, please love one another, may your favorite sports team win this week, and as always happy reading.

We’re going on hiatus. This is not the end of the blog…, I promise. :-)

Greetings, readers. Fear not, for this is not the end of the blog. Rebecca and I are going to take a break for several weeks, so that I can get my new writing project off the ground before I leave for Maine. Have I run out of topics to blog about? Absolutely not. All schoolchildren or college students look forward to a summer vacation, free of the daily grind of classes and homework. That is what’s happening here.

After today’s blog entry is posted, the next new one will appear on August 21st. I have several writing project ideas in my mind, and one in particular which is bubbling up to the surface. I’m going to keep it a complete surprise until the project is well underway. That’s always been one of my downfalls; letting people know what my project is about, and then have folks tell me that idea has already been done before. ☹

Rebecca has told me many times that even if an idea has been done, to go ahead and write my story and put my twist on it. That is sound advice. We had a conversation the other day about how many versions of a Christmas Carol have been produced. In the current TV market where old series’ reboots are commonplace, I am going to strive to write a story dealing with the topic I know very well, and put my own slant on it. It’s going to be loads of fun. 😉

before closing, I hope everyone in the United States had a wonderful Fourth of July, that you stayed safe if shooting off fireworks, and had safe travels home. Please have a wonderful rest of your summer, give someone you love a hug every day, give peace a chance, not war, and until next time…, happy reading.

 

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.

A new look for the new year

Greetings, readers. As you can see, I’ve changed the look of the blog. I’ve decided to keep this look for at least three or four months. During this time, I’ll see if it is functional, easy to use and rather or not we like it. I won’t make any rash decisions, but if after that time Rebecca and I don’t think it’s what we want, we’ll go back to the look we had before, which was called Chateau. I do happen to like that one very much. This theme is called Twenty Thirteen.

Guess how much Christmas decorating I did yesterday. Not a gosh darn thing. The news I found out yesterday dealing with my workplace threw me for a loop. I’m not going to go into specifics here, suffice it to say it was not pleasing to me. I might ask for a leave of absence to heal my legs and feet and to concentrate on my writing. If I cannot be accommodated, well I tried. I don’t want to admit that Mom was right, but she might have been correct that this type of job is too much for me.

I have two ideas for a writing project in my mind. And even though I would miss the income from not working at my restaurant job, I feel the need to be creative. I think that is what the Lord put me on this planet to do and I must pursue it. Hopefully my manager will understand. I purchased voice recognition software that will hopefully let me dictate easily the dialog and prose I have in my head into a word document. As I’ve mentioned before, when I try to type things, my favorite buddy is the back space key. That is just too frustrating and slow.

I have one minor appointment this afternoon, and after that some decorations are going to be put up in this place. If I don’t do it soon, I might as well not do it at all. Bah humbug. To be honest, as I might have mentioned before, I don’t know why I’m not in the Christmas mood this year. The days seem to come and go and before I know it, it is bedtime again. I think to myself, sometimes out loud, well that is another day I didn’t get done what I wanted to do.

I wish to give Christmas and holiday greetings to all my blog readers around the world, with good wishes for a prosperous and happy 2018. There are many things that I am going to do this coming year. I’m going to put together a second blog book and get it out. I am going to begin to eat better, and one way I will do that is during the next Lent. Yes readers, I am making it public, I am giving up ice cream for Lent. I’m sure I can do it if I put my mind to it. Now watch, I’ll just substitute Doritos. Lol.

Please leave a comment in the comment area and let us know how you like the new look of the blog. So far, I like it a lot.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful holiday weekend and we will see you then, perhaps with a top ten list. 🙂 Enjoy, stay warm, and happy reading.v

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.