Tag Archives: changes

Goodbye old brick building next door

Greetings, readers. I’m feeling a bit sad today because a very old building, which I thought would stand forever, has been completely torn down. During my lifetime, the old brick building next door to Addison Court Apartments was a Weis supermarket, and later a CVS pharmacy. When I was a small boy, my grandmother used to get her hair done in a salon in the back of the building on the first floor. Oh, what vivid memories.

I’m not exactly certain of the building’s complete history, but I have some recollection of it either being a furniture store or another supermarket before it became Weis. I’m going back into my brain for memories around the year 1975, so some details will of course be sketchy.

This morning I watched the bulldozer mash up the last bits of rubble and put them into big piles. A while later, two dump trucks arrived and debris was loaded on, one truck at a time. Truck A would take off and dump its load somewhere, while truck B was loaded with more debris. This is going to be an endless chain of events throughout the day. When all the pieces of rubble have been cleared, the next step is for the construction workers to come in and begin digging – probably with jack hammers – to get down to the proper depth to build the new parking garage. In the old brick building’s place will be a brand-new, seven-story apartment building for students and ‘young executives’.

I don’t know how much of my wonderful view I’m going to lose. The old brick building was only three stories tall, with apartments on floors two and three. I took the eighth-floor apartment because I loved the view. Well … we’ll see how much of it is left when the new building is complete. I know that my town has quickly become a small metropolis, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. One major high-rise downtown has already gone up, with a sister building set to be built right across the street from it. Oh joy, oh bliss. I’m certain it will be several months before the new building is complete. I’m praying the building will not have balconies. Can you just imagine how loud it will be, and the school semester parties the kids will have? Oh brother!

I shall keep you up-to-date on the progress of the new building, and let you know if there will be any businesses on the ground floor. I’m certain the building will be modern and beautiful, but to me, nothing can replace an old brick building which was part of my childhood.

Until next Wednesday, I bid you a great weekend, do take care, and as always, happy reading.

The internet has made me brain dead

Greetings, readers. Computers and the internet were created to make our lives easier and they have. In the process, however, I think they have turned my brain into oatmeal. Yesterday, I went to look up something in a search box on the Google homepage and before I could type it in I had forgotten what I was going to look up. OMG!

Now I know I’m no spring chicken any more, but if I can’t hold a thought for more than three seconds you might as well put brown sugar on my brain, add a little milk, and eat it. This is how I remember things being when I was a child.

If I needed to have a phone number, I went to something called the phone book with white and yellow pages and looked it up. Then I called out on something now called a landline phone. And in my earliest years, I put my finger in the little hole and used the rotary dial. Now, I bring up a name on my cell phone with a pre-loaded number and it auto-dials it. No fuss, no muss, no remembering phone numbers. If my mom wanted to cook or bake something she used something called a cook book and read it off the page. Today you go on your phone or tablet, punch in the recipe and read it from there. Also there are gizmos like Alexa that can talk to you via the internet and probably give you your cooking instructions. Another thing I used to do by myself is drive a car. Readers, as scary as this sounds, there are now cars that can basically drive themselves. Two words for you: No way! I’m going to be in control of any car that I drive. “Oh, but it is safer.” Yes, but if it breaks down and you think it is still working, then you better start digging your grave. You get my point.

When I was little I used to play something called a record made of vinyl. Then we switched to 8-tracks, cassettes, and eventually CDs. But now with companies such as iTunes and Spotify, you pay $9.99 a month and all your music is at your fingertips on phone, tablet or laptop.

I recently watched an episode of the X-Files from this brand new season where Scully and Mulder were eating in this restaurant run completely by machines. Mulder inserts his credit card and decided to not leave a tip because his meal wasn’t prepared correctly. All the sudden they find themselves prisoners in the café, have to break out, and spend the rest of the episode evading machines trying to get them. I’m going to have to watch the episode again because I really don’t understand why they were in Asia in these ultra modern houses where everything was run by computer.

Now let me explain something to you before I go much further. Do I use and enjoy any of these modern amenities? Absolutely. We couldn’t have done this blog without the internet. We would have had to put our thoughts down in book form or written articles for a newspaper. In the past, we would remember facts and figures either by writing them down or memorizing them, and children actually had to bring pencil and paper to school. Now in some places I’ve heard you can’t attend class unless you own a laptop. Have we actually begun to enter the Star Trek/Jetsons era? I suppose it is inevitable. In that respect I admire the Amish and the Mennonites. They try to keep it as simple as they can.

This afternoon, I have to go pick up two baseball tickets I purchased via the internet; yes, it is convenient. I am taking a friend of mine to a State College Spikes minor league game. Even in the age of the internet, we still have personal interactions.

Next week will go like this. Wednesday will be a regular day and Thursday I will have a doctor’s appointment, so I will dictate a blog via speech recognition to be edited later. I bid you a wonderful weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: Hi, having a quiet day

Greetings, Joe’s readers. I am having a low-key day, hanging around with my husband Darren, doing some apartment cleaning later, some book work, an hour or so of playing a board game later with Darren, and waiting to hear an update from Joe. He has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon about his heart, and hopefully he will find out what is going on with it soon, without needing more tests first. If I may speak on his behalf, knowing Joe, he will probably let you know any definite news the week after he gets it. Good luck, Joe.

Darren, Joe, and I have been working on Darren’s novel Four’s a Crowd based on Joe’s play Kimberly for the last half decade. We’ll make progress on it for a while, then it will stall, then we will pick it up again, and so on. Right now I am doing work on it before we send it for the second proof. We all wanted the book to be ready to publish by now, but it stalled on my watch. I picked it up again, then ran into problems that took a bit to figure out. The other day, I was sitting here frustrated because the formatted software I was working with did something that I needed to undo and didn’t know how yet. UGH! Darren listened to me groan and moan for a while and then said it wasn’t worth it, maybe bag the whole thing. No, I can get this, don’t give up on it when we are so close. I think I have everything figured out for the moment. I need to change a bunch of tabs by moving the margin line, update the chapter page number index, and add the front cover attribution, then it should be ready for the second and hopefully last proof. So close to publishing it!

In other news, I need a new coffee maker. My late mother gave me the one I have now, almost fourteen years ago when Darren and I moved into our apartment. I use it once a day, don’t let it stay on past half an hour, and vinegar is regularly, so it has held up a long time. But it needs to be cleaned with vinegar every month now instead of every six months, steams a lot more when brewing, and it takes twenty minutes to make four cups. I don’t like change and I don’t want to lose something my mother gave me, but every time it makes a series of loud hissing sounds like it is demonic or a giant angry cat, I know the coffee maker is on its last legs and I need to replace it. I’m bummed, but I know that I will get used to the new coffee maker. I usually come around in the end when things change.

Not much else to say today. I had a few topics I thought about writing about, but I couldn’t get any to gel and develop enough for a blog entry. I will say I was really impressed by last Saturday’s (3/24/18) March for Our Lives, the rally in Washington D.C. for gun reform laws, and the other rallies across the country that joined in. There is a lot to despair in the world these days, but seeing the youngest generation be so strong, focused, and vocal about a shared goal gave me a lot of hope for the future.

Joe will be back next Wednesday, and probably Thursday as well. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

We are trying our new work schedule this morning

Greetings, readers. It is only 10:30 in the morning as we start this blog. In a week, Rebecca and I will be trying something new. In this instance I think new will be good. We will be switching our work hours to the morning. There a few reasons for this change.

First off, I have found myself getting more and more tired in the mid-afternoon. I really struggle between the hours of 2:00 and 3:00. No, I really don’t want to get hooked on 5-Hour Energy. So the next logical choice is to adjust our work hours. I’m always more awake and alive in the morning. So starting next Wednesday, we’ll begin work at either 9:45 and go until 12:30, on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I shall leave Rebecca Friday afternoons free in case she wants to pick up hours at her other job.

The other important reason is that I can spend time with my girlfriend Traci after that at about 12:30, and then take my nap in the afternoon if I wish. At Bear Spring Camps this summer, I would eat my big meal at 12:30, come down to the cabin and literally sleep until 4:00 when the afternoon boat ride occurred. Just call me Mr. Sleepyhead.

This new change will mean a few things for me, primarily the adjustment of my early morning routine. I don’t necessarily want to get up at 4:00 or anything strange like that, but I am used to checking Facebook, Twitter and emails, etc. I also enjoy a couple of hours of music to fully wake me up. I already get up at 6:30 and I will have to see how these routines fit in before 9:45.

Tomorrow will be back to our old schedule for two more days. We will see if I can stay awake. Haha. I do have ideas for Bear Spring Camps book 3 and they will need to be fleshed out. So we do have some work ahead of us to keep us busy and focused. Lack of focus equals lack of work. As I mentioned before I fully intend to either have a project finished by the end of July or have it well on its way to completion. I promised myself something that no one knows about until now. You, my readers, will be the first to know that if I do not produce this year I will not take my vacation next August. From now on I earn my week off.

On a very small side note, in approximately a week and a half, I will find out if I can get a job at Panera. If not, Sheetz, Dunkin’ Donuts, or a whole list of other places advertising for help will receive my application.

Until Friday afternoon, have a wonderful couple of days, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Two entries in a row!

Actually, two entries in a row from me usually means Joe is in Maine, but not today. He is getting ready for his weekend trip to New Jersey with Traci, for his Goddaughter’s wedding, and asked me to do the entry again while he does things like laundry and packing. He is over his cold and feeling much better.

If he was doing today’s post, his topic probably would have been the crash of TWA Flight 800 on July 17, 1996 as the 20th anniversary is coming up. It is possible that he might still do an entry about it next week. Regular blog readers know that Joe loves planes and simulated flying, and watches shows, like Air Crash Investigations, to find out what goes wrong when planes crash. It angers him when people die because of problems that could have been avoided, and it saddens him when people die when it could not be avoided.

Switching topics, I read a book this week that really got me thinking. It was a novel by Liane Moriarty called What Alice Forgot. It is about a woman who hits her head and loses the last ten years of her memory. To Alice it is the year 1998 and she has to adjust to the fact that it is really 2008. In 1998 she was happily married, pregnant for the first time, with close relationships to her sister and friends. In 2008 she is in the middle of getting divorced, has three children, has a thinner body from a diet and exercise routine, all new friends, and the people she used to be close to are angry with her or distant. She is confused by all the change just a decade made to her life. She doesn’t know her children, and is amazed by how wild and precious they are, with such distinct personalities. She seems to have a full schedule with many projects, school functions with her kids, a lot of appointments; she had a busy life. In the week after her accident, she approaches decisions and interactions in a fresh way, as an outsider to her life, because she doesn’t remember any of the recent history that would have dictated her responses. It seems that a large part of the time she had been angry, tense, bitter, willing to lash out to hurt others, and lonely. When she relates to people from how she felt about them in 1998, she changes the relationships for the better. She doesn’t remember her appointments, so when one comes up she either misses it or has to wing it. Then she gets her memory back, including memories of her children being born and growing, and the real trick becomes to keep the positive changes while not losing the good things from the past decade.

As I read this book, I started to think about what changes have been in my life in the last decade. If I had a pause in time with a fresh slate, what would I want to change, and what would I want to keep? I did lose a lot in the last decade – my church disbanded and I lost touch with my friends from there, my mom and father-in-law both died and I miss them both, I have let my step-dad drift out of my life, and my jobs are completely different. I gained some things too – I am close to my dad, sisters and my nephews and niece, I work with my good friend Joe, and I have a much closer relationship with my dear mother-in-law. One of the things that has remained constant is my love for and from my husband, Darren. I don’t know if I will follow through on these things, but I should see my friend Nora again and visit my step-dad Bob.

The other day I was hanging out with Darren, no TV or books or other distractions, and it was nice. I noticed my mind was racing with what I still had to do that day, and I thought of Alice. I relaxed and tried to think about just that moment and enjoy time with my husband. No history, no future, just him and me. I need to do that more.

If Joe were writing this he would also add something about the people killed in violence these past weeks. The deaths that happened just before the ambush in Dallas, during the attack on police in Dallas, and yesterday in Nice, France. From both of us, to the family and friends who lost loved ones in these events, our hearts and prayers go out to you.

Until next week, stay safe, be cool in the heat, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

My thoughts on Window 10

Greetings, readers. We are back in action after my Friday off. Today I am going to share with you my thoughts, likes, and dislikes about the Windows 10 upgrade I downloaded on the computer last Thursday.

It did take quite a while to finish; well past the time Rebecca left. Here are some of the good points.

By clicking the start button I have several choices at my fingertips, or in this case a mouse click, with lots of new and interesting features. From that button, I am enjoying a very easy-to-use calendar, I can link multiple email accounts there, manage my photos, and much, much more. Also, I can finally download many desktop themes, which I could not do with Windows 7. I love variety and all those extra backgrounds have really given my computer a new and exciting look. I can choose from multiple sandy beach pictures, photos of the forest, wonderful city skyline pictures, and the snowy Christmas set. These have really made my computer look nicer and come alive. The computer seems to start up, boot up, and shut down much faster, which is good.

What did the Windows 10 update not do? I was hoping beyond hope that it would help the AVG antivirus eliminate the pop-up ads that have plagued this computer for about 2 years. The first day it seemed to, after that not so much. I’m still learning exactly what Microsoft Edge is. I believe it is the new browser they have. I like the look and so far I have had no problems with it.

Time to give ratings. For the Windows 10 look: a 10 out of 10, no pun intended.

For new features: a good solid 7.5.

For problem fixing: well I really wasn’t expecting it to run like a new computer, only a 5 out of 10.

On a side note, on Friday, the blog will be a R.I.P. tribute piece to the great Muhammad Ali who passed away on Friday, June 3rd. And next week will be another short week for us with blog entries on Wednesday and Thursday. Doctors, doctors, doctors, ugh.

That is all the news I can think of for now, so until Friday, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

A new look for the new year

Greetings, readers. For at least the first part of 2016 I have decided to change the look of the blog. I have changed the theme from ‘Big Brother’ to ‘Chateau’. This is just is short entry today to see how everybody likes it. Please leave a thumbs up or down if you wish.

Rebecca and I will be back tomorrow and Friday with two more blog entires. I hope everyone enjoyed their New Year’s holiday and stayed safe.

Until tomorrow, be warm, take care and happy reading. 🙂

 

The blog’s new look

Greetings, readers. I thought it was time for a change to the look of the blog. We had the previous style for quite a while, and as people say, change is good. The new theme is called Big Brother. I really don’t know why it is called that, but it is. I was drawn to its simplicity, great look, and, being a Penn State fan, the blue on white color scheme.

I wanted to try to put a picture of Keekee back on the home page at some point. I don’t think that I’ll do it with this choice. The colors would clash. Also, without a picture, the latest entry is visible on the screen without scrolling down. I was afraid that Rebecca wasn’t going to like the choice, but she did. We are both very happy that all the tabs for other pages are clearly visible up top, and no one has to search for them.

Another reason for this blog entry is that I am considering taking a personal day tomorrow. So if I do take that day off, we will have our quota of two weekly blog entries. It’s very important to me to do this. I enjoy relaying what goes on in my life, and Rebecca has told me that some blogs start strong but don’t get added to for months at a time. Although the comments are few and far between, I do have a nice number of followers. Never having any negative comments, I must be doing something right with my choice of topics.

I mentioned before that I was going to discuss topics a little more controversial at times, such as news and politics. In a previous post, I mentioned the Washington Redskins and their team name offending people. I can also see the same thing happening with the Confederate flag. I do not like racist people and do not condone it in any way. I learned that the suspect shouted racial slurs before and during his shooting spree in the church in South Carolina. Today I saw in the news that TV Land is pulling the reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard. The show’s famous car the General Lee had a Confederate flag on the roof, and that flag is extremely taboo right now. In 1865, when the civil war ended, both sides of the conflict became once again the United States of America. The Stars and Stripes is our national flag. People in this country should learn to put their differences behind them. There is enough hatred in this world, why don’t we show the rest of the globe that the color of our skin means nothing. It’s a person’s heart, mind and soul that is important.

Until next week, take care, have a wonderful 4th of July weekend, and happy reading.

Change to blog side features

Greetings, readers. When I changed the theme for the blog a few weeks back, I failed to see that the tabs for the other blog pages weren’t visible. This has been corrected, thanks to Rebecca. They are now on the right hand side of the homepage under the search box, or for some of you it is on the bottom of this page with the rest of the widgets.

As you can see on the site, there is now a link to the About page, My books for Sale, Performance Pictures that are from my shows, and the Picture Gallery which includes photographs of my father and Keekee.

Thank you to all my readers. Take care and have a great day.

From Joe and Rebecca: Corrections on the blog

Greetings, readers. As those of you who are regular readers know, my next book will be blog posts from my first year of doing this blog. As we started going through the entries on our A-Z document, we noticed some typos and other errors that we corrected, and that we want to correct in the blog as well. This led to a discussion between Rebecca and I.

{From Rebecca: I have a perspective on changing things in blog entries after they are published, that comes from reading other blogs and seeing how they handle changes. I also read a blog post – a long time ago – on why changing or just deleting posts and/or comments on blogs is wrong. It takes something off that blog, after some people have read it and some people have not, and that is not playing fair. I am paraphrasing and I don’t think I am clearly stating the author’s point, but that is the gist of what I read as far as I can remember. The changes I see on other blogs are handled with a strike through of the part being changed and the correction next to it: example, The broon brown dog jumped. So that is where I was coming from on making changes in the blog.

{However, the changes we have found so far in the first few posts in the book are simple typos, and Joe would like to just change those in the blog without calling attention to the mistakes. It is his blog so he will do it the way he wants to, of course, but he values my opinion. I thought it over, and realized that the spirit of the issue is that typos and inserting a word in to clarify a sentence does not change the meaning of an entry. But changing someone’s name or spelling of a name, or adding a sentence/paragraph to a piece, etc., is different. That would change the meaning of the post enough that we would then want to let people know that a change was made after the post was published on the blog.  The best way to do that is with the ‘strike through the old version next to the change’ approach.}

From Joe: I agree with Rebecca and this is going to be our new adopted policy for changes. Hopefully there won’t be many to change, but we wanted to have a stated policy in place. And this entry today is to let you know what we have come up with. A small change will just be edited in, and a large change will have a strike through next to it.

From both of us, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.