Tag Archives: Christmas decorations

A late Christmas present for a dear friend

Greetings, readers. A very dear friend of mine whom I’ve known since junior high school has had a very rough couple of years. Me, being the kind of guy I am, wish I could wave my magic wand and make it all better. I don’t have one of those, so I thought to myself what is the next best way to pull off a Christmas miracle? Then the answer hit me.

My friend has always wanted to take a cruise to the Bahamas. I’m going to do my best to be Captain Santa’s elf. I’m going to start a GoFundMe page for her and her fiancé in order to raise money to send them on that dream vacation.

Her health is not what it used to be and I really want her to be able to enjoy the cruise that she’s always wanted to go on. Rebecca and I were crunching numbers on the Royal Caribbean website, and we will continue to do so on other cruise sites. The amount we came up with is $4,000, which is $2,000 per person for the cruise tickets and travel expenses. I’m thinking about a cruise in April 2019. That will give us plenty of time to raise the money and find the perfect cruise for them.

I’m going to construct the first draft of the GoFundMe page contents. I told my friend I would let her see it, in case there were any changes she wanted to make. Once she gives me the thumbs up, I will complete the GoFundMe page and make it live. I am so excited to make this happen for her.

Finally, on a Christmas topic, I did manage to string two strands of lights around a picture frame and my bookcase. They look extremely pretty. My kitty cat, Josie, to my happy surprise has only pawed at them one time. I’m shocked beyond belief. I fully expected her to pull the strand down minutes after I plugged it in and all the lights lit up. I also hung up a couple of stockings. I drank plenty of eggnog, went on my traditional Christmas Eve light ride, went to two Christmas dinners, and passed out at 8:30 Christmas night with a full belly.

Rebecca and I will be here tomorrow, for our last Thursday, as we go down to one working day a week … at least for a while.

Until tomorrow, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, love one another, take care, and happy reading.

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I won’t be decorating for Christmas this year

Greetings, readers. This is not Ebenezer Kockelmans talking, but any Christmas lights I hang anywhere will be played with and ripped down by the young rambunctious kitten, so what’s the point? A month full of, “You stop that kitty,” is not going to keep me in the holiday spirit. So unless I can find an area where said kitten can’t get to, this will not be a decorated home this year.

In the past, I have been creative and strung Christmas lights around my coat rack, various hung paintings, and even the big book case. As you can see, I’m still pondering in my mind any place I can hang lights that can be a safe bet, not to be played with. To me it would not be the Christmas season without the color of lights. On the other hand, I don’t want to keep poor Josie in the penalty box 24/7. Not only would that give her early arthritis, but it would be punishing her for something that really isn’t her fault. Kittens love to play with things. It is in their nature.

Even though my former cat Keekee and Princess Josie are both listed as short-haired domestics, Keekee was not a mouser, she was a jumper. P.J., as I call her sometimes, is the opposite. Perhaps if I hang some lights in the kitchen in an area where she can’t jump, I can at least enjoy some color as I make coffee or food. If worse comes to worst, there are YouTube videos of a crackling fire in a room full of decorations and a Christmas tree while playing Christmas music. That is always enjoyable for me and I enjoy ambiance videos anyway.

On to another topic. Speaking of YouTube, I saw George W. Bush’s eulogy for his father in a video on YouTube. The service was in the beautiful National Cathedral in Washington D.C. It was probably George W. Bush’s best speech ever. He only stumbled on his words once towards the end when he was getting emotional. And yes folks, presidents are human, he did break down and cry a little when he thanked his father for being the best dad in the world. Former presidents Jimmy Carter with Rosalynn, Bill Clinton with Hillary, Barack Obama with Michelle, and current president Donald Trump with Melania were in attendance in the front row.

Many videos of the entire day’s coverage are on YouTube for anyone to view. I highly recommend it if you are a Republican or a Bush family fan. Continued prayers go out to the Bush family. This must be a terrible time for them and I am sure they can benefit from people’s prayers.

Next week, we will be back for another Wednesday blog on an as of yet unknown topic. At the current moment I have a machine gun called a jack hammer right outside my window driving me absolutely chocolate bon-bons. Hopefully by next Wednesday that phase of the construction will be over and the jack hammer will be gone. I am having a lot of trouble concentrating and dictating. But we push through. I bid all of you a wonderful weekend, love your neighbor and your families, take care and happy reading.

Don’t cross the boss!

Greetings, readers. Last week I learned a valuable work place lesson. I heard through ‘the grapevine’, that one of my superiors said something uncomplimentary about me. I decided to nicely confront him about it. After our discussion, I was satisfied with the outcome and thought that all was peachy again. Umm, wrong.

Another one of my superiors was also in the meeting room that day and was actually part of the conversation. Now, I feel that the second manager is treating me differently than she did before. She isn’t nasty, she’s … colder. I’ve always had a low self-esteem issue and it could be that she is having other problems at work or perhaps personal problems, and the timing of her indifference is a huge coincidence.

The time that I am spending on reading Four’s a Crowd and editing, as well as my own personal writing projects, has suffered greatly in recent months. I may have to make a decision soon whether or not to stay with the job and earn money (which eases the stress of daily life) or to quit my job and write. I know, I’ve talked about doing more writing before, but things always seem to come up. Work, health issues, a performance, or time to go to Maine, are good examples of what gets me off track. Will I miss the income? Absolutely. But I know of another place which would hire me if I could just pass their on-line entrance exam. It’s practically across the street from where I live.

I’m going to play the wait and see game for about a month. That will be two more pay periods. During this time, I will be keeping eyes and ears open to see whether or not everything calms down. Hopefully it will.

On a minor note, did I put up even one decoration for Christmas? No. I did not. However, I did go to two holiday meals and yes, I stuffed myself stupid. Next year I vow to decorate this apartment to within an inch of its life. Lol.

Finally, a R.I.P. to one of my favorite sportscasters of all time, the legendary Dick Enberg. He passed away on December 21st at the age of 82. For many years he announced pro football games on NBC and, in his later years before retiring, he was one of the play by play announcers for Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.

Tomorrow will be a personal day and either Rebecca or I will put up the blog. Who knows, there might even be two, one from each of us. Until then, take care, stay warm if you are in the frigid cold snap, 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

I am way behind in my yuletide preparations

Greetings, readers. It is quite bizarre how fast this Christmas season has flown by. I could swear I just woke up on Thanksgiving morning and watched the Macy’s parade with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. I blinked my eyes twice and it is December 20th. I’ve only listened to a hand-full of Christmas carols, and my apartment is not decorated at all. Bah humbug to me.

There have been a number of things that I believe has caused this delay in decorating. First of all is my job. I come home from it tired and needing to sleep. I don’t seem to get much done on the days I have a shift; it is work, eat, and sleep. On the days I don’t have a shift, I have work with Rebecca and errands to do that can’t be done on job days. Second is the time I have spent proof-reading and editing Four’s a Crowd. Apparently I am the last of the readers to finish my editing. Shame on me. Luckily I know the material like the back of my hand, especially my part of it. Once I get rolling, it won’t take me long. Lastly, when I could be reading at 4:00am, I am playing Out of the Park Baseball 18. Today was game 5 of the completely fictitious Canadian Baseball League World Series. Somehow my brain isn’t engaged for activities like reading and editing at 4:00 in the morning. Fear not, Darren and Rebecca, it will be done.

After the holidays, I plan to revamp my schedule. Whether that means taking some time off from work, or changing my job schedule, has yet to be determined. I’m certain that everything will fall into place. It always seems to.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected in the Amtrak train disaster, as well as in the tour bus accident in Mexico. So sad. The California wild fires, although I’ve heard they have been partially contained, will probably burn for another several days. I’ve been calling my aunt, who lives near one of the fire areas, and she is uncomfortable from the smoke but holding her own.

Finally, very soon two of our long-time establishments will be going out of business. Not because of the economy, but rather the sale of the building in which they are housed. Spats Café and Speakeasy has been around for 30 years and the Rathskeller Bar has been underneath the cafe in the same spot for many decades. I always hate it when establishments go bye-bye, especially the ones I remember as a youth or a teenager. The State College area is not really effected that much from the recession because there are a lot of college kids who attend school every year and need books, Penn State clothing, souvenirs and anything else Penn State they can get their hands on.

I wish everyone good luck with their holiday shopping. Enjoy your plans with family. And until tomorrow, take care and happy reading.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone

Greetings, readers. It is the day before Thanksgiving 2016 and I am in a happy mood. My anger earlier this week from my Zipcar debacle has faded and thoughts have turned to the holiday season. As I’ve mentioned before this is my favorite time of year. I love to watch my Thanksgiving Day parade, enjoy a scrumptious turkey dinner with all the trimmings, take a nap and then begin to decorate the apartment.

Decorating will be a slow process this year because I have to find where some decorations were stored. My manger set’s box came apart last year and I have forgotten where I put the manger pieces. I’m sure I will find them. I know exactly where my lights are; they are in a big bag in the walk-in closet. Unfortunately, I think all four strands are together in a tangled mess. If I cannot untangle it, or if too many bulbs are broken, I might just go to CVS and buy new ones. Other small trinkets, such as stockings, wooden houses, and glowing snow globes are easy to find and put up.

Yummy holiday delights such as candy canes and eggnog are in stores for the offing. I’m not too big a fan of candy canes, but I love eggnog. I have to watch how much I drink because it is very rich, not to mention fattening. Hell, it’s once a year, I don’t care.

When I was much younger, my family would cook a turkey and the house would smell wonderful. As all of you know, I don’t cook, so Traci and I are going to go with her family friends to the Nittany Lion Inn for their buffet dinner. That means no leftovers, but I can deal with that. If there are any football games left to watch when I get home, I will sit down and do so. That is also part of my family holiday tradition.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is always the day when I begin playing Christmas music. I know some restaurants have already started, but I wait until after Thanksgiving. I don’t want to rush the year away.

That’s my holiday tradition in a nutshell. I bid you all a wonderful happy Thanksgiving. We’ll see you next week. Take care, and as always, happy reading.

Christmas things put away and creative juices flowing

Greetings, readers. For today’s blog entry, I’ve decided to share with you what I did late last night and this morning. I looked at my apartment and literally said out loud enough is enough. My girlfriend, Traci, gave me a storage bin and I used that to put my Christmas decorations in. After labeling the box, I put it in the walk-in closet. With Star Wars music playing in the back ground, I got inspired. I thought to myself, with a little work I could have this place ready for me to begin on my writing projects as early as tomorrow morning.

After putting away all the small Christmas decorations, and putting things back on the credenza where they go, I unplugged my portable speakers and attached them to my record player. Yes, I do still have plenty of vinyl. I’ve always done my best writing with John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra playing in the background. One day I will listen to Star Wars: A New Hope and the next day might be The Empire Strikes Back. I’m very excited about the prospect of creating again. The blog is so much fun, most times I don’t even consider it work, though it is writing.

After I took a short break to rest my back, I tried out the old stereo. Besides the speed being a wee bit fast, it sounds great. With all the holiday goings-on over with, such as light rides, movies, and gatherings, it is now time to sit my butt down in a chair and spend the next several months doing some good creative writing. Even if none of it gets sold, I firmly believe I will be flexing my writing muscles and adding tools to my writing tool belt.

Wednesday will be a day off for personal reasons, but Rebecca and I will be back with our usual two blog entries, one on Thursday and one on Friday.

I’ll be watching the Steelers in the play-offs on Saturday, so go Pittsburgh. I bid everyone a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Happy New Year to everybody

Greetings, readers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my readers for coming along with me on this ride during the last four years. It’s been more fun than I could have ever imagined. I’m looking forward to a great year of blogging in 2016. I’m going to try to spread my wings and discuss political topics, since the general election is less than a year away. I have plenty of opinions about said topic, but that doesn’t mean I’m always correct.

Throughout the coming year, you can expect blog entries dealing with what is new in my life, video game reviews, my famous top ten lists, and a follow-up to the extremely popular post on the show Air Crash Investigation.

On a personal note, I’m a little bit sad today and I feel like taking my Christmas decorations down before the new year begins. I’ve never experienced this before. Mom and Dad would always keep the tree up through the first week of January. I don’t have a tree, but Mom’s manger set and candles are on prominent display. When it does come time to take the manger set down, I will have to acquire a brand new box and use plastic ziplock bags for the figurines. The set was my mom’s and is very fragile. Great care will have to be used to put it away correctly. With my bad hand, great care and precision are not my strong points.

Kitty cat Keekee got an unexpected present last night, as nine cans of cat food were on the community room swap table just as her daddy was out of food. I was quite pleased to get them.

On Wednesday, we’ll be back from the holiday with a top ten list on an as of yet unknown topic. So once again, happy New Year, have a safe and healthy 2016, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things that are going on in my life right now – Dec 2015

Greetings, readers. Rebecca and I thought it would be a good idea to post a top ten list of things that are going on in my life in the current moment. Most are good things, a few of them are perhaps not so good. I don’t think I would consider any of them “bad”. Life is a journey and a struggle and every once in a while we get a peach pit in our peaches and cream. So here we go.

#10. Fog. [The last four days State College, PA. and surrounding areas have experienced thicker than usual fog. This morning I awakened early as usual, looked out my window, and could not see the buildings across the street. Very unusual. State College is prone to bad weather from time to time, but thinking about it, I must admit fog is the phenomenon we have the least.]

#9. Learning to win on the WWE 2k16 wrestling game, PS3 version. [As my regular blog readers may remember, recently I got a copy of this wonderful video game. It is much more difficult than I was expecting. I am finally learning how to win on it. My overall record is 2 wins, 11 loses, and a whole bunch of just watching the computer playing against itself. Fascinating game. I must be careful, because I can play it for hours, which is not good for my very mild seizure issue.]

#8. Christmas decorations going up and excited about Christmas. [Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. Even though I can no longer have the big, real Christmas tree with tons of ornaments and lights, I do try to decorate a little bit to remind myself of the great days when Mom and Dad would spruce up the house and would make it look magical. Pop never let us turn the lights on once tested until Christmas morning, which made it seem more wonderous.]

#7. I am enjoying Spotify music service. [For $9 a month, I am considering Spotify to be a steal. I have found tons of songs and complete albums to listen to. Also, you can click and drag songs into playlists you create. So far I have four lists: my collection of 70s and 80s songs, Beatles songs done by the a tribute band The Coverbeats, my favorite list of KISS songs performed live, and Christmas songs. If you are on Spotify and want to listen to my playlists, drop a comment here or on Facebook and I’ll send you the link.]

#6. Working on a new budget for the new year. [I continue to struggle with money. I keep running out before the end of the month. Here today on the 9th of December I was already talking to my accountant about the slow leak in my wallet. I bought some new pants, a belt, and underwear last night and even though I should have been expecting the amount, the bill gave me sticker shock. I needed the clothes very badly. My old slacks were literally worn out. I need to find a way to get what I need and make my money last longer at the same time.]

#5. New issues with Zipcar. [Up until a month or so ago, my dealings with Zipcar were great. Recently … not so much. The last two times I’ve tried to rent, I’ve either had an issue with the vehicle or none were available despite the reservation I had made ahead of time. The last time, the car that was supposed to be mine for the morning was in for maintenance. I was not told about this – oh joy, oh bliss. The friend I was going to drive to the train station, and who had agreed to pay for the rental fee, had to take a cab. I am picking her up this Sunday, let’s hope all goes well. If not, Zipcar and I will have major problems.]

#4. Doctor appointments for both Keekee and me. [Keekee’s appointment is for a semi-annual wellness check, complete with vaccination, clip nails, and new bag of food, just to name a few things. I have a neurologist appointment in January, to make sure my brain is running the way it should. These appointments made this list not because they are particularly noteworthy but because of the expense it will take to get us there and back. I will either have to take a bus, a taxi, or rent a Zipcar. It is easier to take a cat in  carrier in a Zipcar. Some bus drivers don’t mind, others do, but it is legal. Also, I have a routine dentist appointment in a few weeks.]

#3. Waiting for a notice from the copyright office for my play Kimberly. [We sent in the application, play, and the check a couple of months ago. I want to know that is done by the time Rebecca’s husband Darren is done with the novel based on the play, so that we can then copyright his work.]

#2. Six book sales at the end of November. [Whoot. I was very excited to check my CreateSpace e-store page and find three sales for each of the Bear Spring Camps books. Yay, team! It is not enough to pay the rent, but it is a start. And I am glad that people are still enjoying Picking Up Where We Left Off and Tales from North Bay and Beyond.]

#1. My girlfriend and Thanksgiving with family. [Traci has been my girlfriend since late September, and she went with me to spend Thanksgiving with David and family. Regular readers will know that she got along great with the family and we all had a wonderful time. This is in the #1 spot because Traci was so happy to be introduced to the family and both she and I are happy to have each other, as well as them.]

So, this sums up this top ten list and my life at this moment. Although things are definitely on an upswing for me, I am still grateful for my therapist. She still continues to help me quite a bit.

There will definitely be a blog on Friday, on an as of yet unknown topic. Until then, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

My Christmas decorating is almost finished :-D

Greetings, readers. The manger set, which was my mom’s, is now up on the credenza. With it is a picture of mom on one side, and a battery operated candle on the other. That small area of my apartment…, done!

Today, after morning coffee and Christmas music, I’m going to dig out one or two strands of lights. They’ll go around my framed snow scene painting, which is behind my recliner. I hope all the lights work. I have bad luck with lights sometimes.

Located in my hall closet are my three snow globes; two of which light up! By the end of the day, I think this place with be filled with the look of Christmas. I know it’s only December 8th, but I’m late already. Most years my decorations are up the day after Thanksgiving.

Well, this is the end of this unexpected, typed and edited on my own, blog entry. Rebecca and I will be back tomorrow with another one.

Until then, take care, have a good day and happy reading.