Tag Archives: cruise

My spring cleaning begins a week from tomorrow

Greetings, readers. Yes, I have set my date of April 22nd, to begin my spring cleaning. I’m going to take this week to do lots of writing on my two projects. Work begins promptly at 9 AM tomorrow. I’ll also spend this week tweaking my spring and summer schedule, which not only includes the aforementioned, but also making plans for my trip to Maine in August.

We’ll begin with the trip to Maine. I began going to Bear Spring Camps in 1970, and have only missed three years. Unfortunately, I’m afraid this year… perhaps next, will be my last. As my monetary means run dry, I’m saving up for one last extraordinary vacation. I want it to be a cruise, but recently I’ve seen some articles about cruise ships that are making me think twice. When the time feels right, and the right deal pops up, I’m certain that the dream vacation on the sea will be a go!

With the sunrise earlier and earlier, I think it’s time that I begin getting out of bed before 6 AM. I used to wake up at 3:45 every morning, but that got a bit taxing on my body. So, I pushed it up to six. With the construction people working next door, if I worked from 4:30 until they began working at six, I could have an hour and a half of quiet and solitude for writing. Even though the jack hammers aren’t making noise anymore, trucks and concrete mixers make their own bothersome sounds. When I used to type my material, I would listen to music from the Star Wars albums. Those were quite inspirational to me, but quite impractical when using the speech recognition program. I’m certain I’ll find that happy medium.

Now for the big task! As mentioned earlier, April 22nd, will be the big day that this swamp I call my apartment gets cleaned out. Will this task be completed in one day? No way! I’m looking at a two or three-week task. You see, I can’t clean eight hours a day. With my delicate system, I have to clean for perhaps only an hour at a time, before either taking a break or stopping for the day. First up… the kitchen. That’s not in bad shape at all. I expect I can get that done in an hour or so. When it comes time to go through the mounds of junk on my two broken recliners, a.k.a. dead red and dead blue, I’ll have to have plenty of trash bags and a dust mask. The two areas of the apartment I’m dreading most are the bedroom and the walk-in closet. The back-left corner of the bedroom is one ‘storage area’, while the walk-in closet houses a lifetime of videotapes and DVDs, as well as a plethora of miscellaneous junk. I’m going to need a hand with the closet. Fear not, I shall get it done.

There is today’s blog entry. Continued prayers go out to all who need it. I bid everyone a fantastic few days. Rebecca will be back on Wednesday, and will have a new entry up by 1 PM.

Until then, do take care, love one another, be safe, and as always, happy reading.

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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.

At camp this year, I’ll be taking lots of pictures

Greetings, readers. This year might be one of the last seasons that I go to Bear Spring Camps. When I was a kid, I imagined that I would go to Bear Spring Camps every year until either they sold the place, or I died. As an adult, more realistic choices have to be made. Money is an issue, though I might have enough for five more years of vacations. As most of us know, we can’t have two big vacations in one year, and there are a couple of other things I would like to do with that money. One thing I would like to do is take a three-to-five day cruise, perhaps to the Bahamas. Another thing would be to perhaps take a few days and travel to a destination that I’ve always wanted to see, such as taking in an Orioles baseball game in Baltimore, or going to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Okay, the cat’s out of the bag, I loved Little House on the Prairie when I was younger.

For this summer, I’m going to purchase several one-time throw-away cameras and click, click, click all over the camp ground. I want every shot from every angle. Also, if my friends agree, I would love to have pictures of them. I do understand though that some people are camera-shy, I know I am. I think the best thing to do is stick with taking photographs of the camp ground and surrounding area. I will miss Bear Spring Camps so much when I am not able to go back.

As I blogged about a week or two ago, I also have an idea for a small side business. With the camp owners’ permission of course, I would find all my VHS tapes that I filmed over the years, see if they can be put on a DVD or Blu-ray disc, and recreate a virtual Bear Spring Camps day. I would like to thank all the readers who read that blog entry; that one really seemed to pop, with people thinking it is a good idea.

What else am I going to do with myself in August when I am no longer able to go to camp? There are many local sites and activities here in central Pennsylvania of which I have never partaken. One is the Grange Fair at the end of August. Others are local amusement parks and camping grounds which have small cabins, where I could get that hint of relaxation and nature. Would it be as good as Bear Spring Camps? No. But it would be something close.

Yes, yes, pictures, pictures. Just in case my time is limited, I’m going to bring Bear Spring Camps to me. Later on today, Rebecca and I are going to check out GoFundMe and see if there is a way for me to get the Virtual Bear Spring Camps project off the ground. I will definitely keep you up to date on my progress. A lot of my regular readers showed interest in that idea. 🙂

So there you have it folks, that’s the news for today. I’ll have a top ten list ready for next Wednesday. I hope you enjoy the coming days, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things I’ll love about being married again

Greetings, readers. In June of 2018, I plan on tying the knot for the second time. My fiancé Traci and I are enjoying being engaged and our relationship is progressing nicely. There are a few bumps in the road as with any couple, but I feel we can work those out well before the big day. Here’s a top ten list of things I’ll love about being married again, in no particular order.

#10. Making decisions about vacations together. [Both of us hope to, at some point, take a cruise together. There are websites where good deals are on offer. A nice five to seven-day cruise to the Bahamas and back would be a lovely introduction for Traci to be on a cruise ship. I’ve been on them twice.]

#9. Companionship on a full-time basis. [I am so used to being able to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it. As much as I enjoy this, there is a nice feeling of going to bed together, seeing each other the first and the last thing of each day, taking long walks, and enjoying stimulating conversation.]

#8. Partner for the tough times. [Undoubtedly, there will be tough times now and then where one of us will have to rely on the other. And also to discuss what is bothering the person and allowing the other to help. We can’t be so proud that we can think we can solve our problems by ourselves. In fact, having a partner means that we are not alone when facing life’s challenges.]

#7. Inspiring each other. [We have already begun to do this, even before the wedding. Both Traci and I have personal issues to overcome. We both egg each other on and are there for support of the other when times get tough or we have a setback. We have each other’s back.]

#6. Holiday visits with family. [For the last several years, I have celebrated holidays either by myself or have taken a trip to New Jersey to be with David’s family. Now we have the opportunity to spend time with Traci’s family and friends, as well as my buddy and brother’s family. This also affords the chance, if the opportunity arises, to have both families present on occasion, i.e. the wedding and reception.]

#5. Making up after a fight. [Neither of us like to fight, but it is inevitable that in close quarters we will disagree on something from time to time. I expect all of our fights to be verbal since I was raised to not put an unloving hand on a woman. I expect after all is said and done and the anger vented, we will come to a solution to our issue and make up. That is the part I will look forward to in this situation. Will I pick a fight just to make up? No. Although I’ve heard some people do.]

#4. Growth of relationship in close quarters. [At present, Traci and I only see one another when we eat out, run errands, or when we visit each other at her apartment or mine for coffee. When we are married, we will live under one roof and we will have to learn to accept each other’s quarks and habits. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do if we keep the lines of communications open and share our feelings.]

#3. Intimacy. [I shall admit to you, my readers, I was never one of those teenagers who had sex in high school. I was shy and awkward and so sex and intimacy came much later in my life. I’ve been divorced now for over ten years and have not had a serious girlfriend before Traci. So I am looking forward to making strides in our intimacy.]

#2. Sharing life stories and memories. [I know I have a gazillion stories from my childhood, and years with Dave, that can make Traci laugh and lift her spirits. People say laughter is the best medicine. She can also make me laugh, she has a good sense of humor. I’ll admit sometimes I can’t tell when she is kidding. LOL.]

#1. The wedding reception. [Every now and then, both families will be under one roof for a social occasion. The first one will be our wedding reception. We will be sending out the save-the-date magnets for people’s refrigerators approximately six months prior the wedding. With the reception that evening, both families will mingle. I see everyone getting along splendidly. Dave’s whole family adores Traci, and Traci’s sister Roni always gives me a big hug too when Traci and I are leaving our coffee outings.]

There is my top ten list of things I’ll love about being married. If anyone would like to add some that they experienced, please leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.

Next week, Rebecca will be here on Wednesday and my schedule for Thursday is still up in the air. If we don’t work that day, one of us will put the Thursday blog up so there will be two next week.

Until then, have a super-duper weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Dreams of the last few nights

Greetings, readers. It is not uncommon for me to have vivid dreams that I remember almost in their entirety every now and then. However, it seems that the last several nights in a row my brain has been working overtime. I’ve been told that there are two schools of thought about dreams. One is that they are always symbolic to something in your life, and the other is that it is just your brain firing and that the dreams mean absolutely nothing. I believe choice number one. That it is a way for us to work out issues in our lives.

The dreams I’ve had over the years have been filled with people I know, in situations I know, and in some circumstances I’ve completely relived happy memories from childhood. On the other hand, some dreams are sketchy, with people I don’t know, and they are set in dark and sinister places. As you can imagine, those are not my favorite dreams.

I shall share with you now one example of each. My favorite dream starts out a little bit on the scary side as I’m walking on a misty night, and I come to a huge tower-shaped hotel. Once inside, I am walking around brightly lit corridors with pretty pictures on the wall, fancy doorknobs and a hallway leading to either an indoor swimming pool or to the stern of a luxury cruise ship. I immediately jump into the hot tub and relax. Is my mind telling me to jump in water? Or am I going back to an earlier time in my life where I had the opportunity to enjoy things like an indoor pool membership or something fancy like that? I’ve had this dream with both destinations several times in the last fifteen years.

The other kind of dream, the one that is much more frightening, is the one where I’m walking on a very narrow road that I seem to know, but when I wake up I know it is completely unfamiliar. Is this road near my camp in Maine, or somewhere closer to home? After some time of walking, I get to what appears to be Bear Spring Camps, where I vacation every summer. My family and friends are all there but the cabins and the layout are completely different. Some are much fancier than they are in real life. My cabin is dark and dreary with not much light, and a rickety old bed. It almost feels like a tool shed. How did I get this lucky, to get one of the worst cabins? During this dream, I feel very uncomfortable in this place. I try to leave but I am continually drawn to it. From the outside it is a very small cabin but it has many more rooms than it should have, each darker than the next. Have I ever awakened screaming from this dream? No. I don’t think I’ve ever finished searching the cabin. Perhaps one day. I’m almost certain that my therapist would interpret this to be a searching dream, that I am looking for something that I haven’t found yet. In the past twelve months, I’ve had this dream almost exactly the same way three or four times. I guess we can call that a recurring dream.

What do you believe? Do you believe dreams are nothing more than the brain firing at night, or do you think every dream is symbolic and means something for your life? Post a comment down below or on Facebook and let me know what you think.

Tomorrow is going to be a day off, both Rebecca and I have important errands outside the office. I will try very hard to put up a short blog entry sometime this weekend to make up for tomorrow.

So until soonest, take care, enjoy your day, and happy reading.

Top ten list of Star Trek holodeck programs I would have if the technology existed

Greetings, readers. As a Star Trek fanatic and a holodeck episode lover, I started to think, just what programs I would create and save if I had use of a holodeck. In the Star Trek world, even though a person is in a small room, the concept is that holographic images are displayed and moved so that people are tricked into thinking they have unlimited space. Here’s my list in reverse order.

#10. A visit to any city I chose. [Maybe one day I would create Paris and sit to enjoy coffee in an outdoor cafe. The next day, perhaps Rome to visit the Colosseum. Or to Devils Tower in Wyoming.]

#9. Drive a car to anywhere. [Oh, what fun it would be to drive to Maine any time I wanted to.]

#8. My own baseball league with my own home team and personally designed stadium. [I could see the Pennsylvania Lumberjacks, perhaps.]

#7. A house with a virtual family. [This idea, I must admit, came to me after watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, “Real Life”, where the Doctor created the perfect family, but B’Elanna Torres thought that was too easy and changed the program. I would set it up so that I could control the weather and the type of home and furniture we had, but I would randomized how my family reacted to me day-to-day to be more realistic. I would not have the “perfect” family.]

#6. A train ride to anywhere. [I could ride an Amtrak in America, take a local in New Jersey, or hop aboard the Orient Express. Lots of intrigue and mystery there.]

#5. Take a virtual cruise. [I could set it up for any number of days I chose and for any destination. I could take a quick trip to the Bahamas, or a cruise around the world, stopping at all the wonderful ports of call. This one would have to be saved and gone back to. ]

#4. An airplane ride to anywhere. [I absolutely adore aircraft. I wish I could fly in them more often. If I only had an hour, I would take a prop pane ride from State College to Pittsburgh. If I had more time on my hands, maybe I would hop a jet and fly cross-country to California. I could sit in my virtual airplane seat, take notes, and type my stories.]

#3. To speak to any writer I chose and pick his or her brain. [I could share my limited amount of work with them and ask them to critique it. Hopefully they would be kind.]

#2. A day at the beach. [Imagine the warmth, the sand, the smell of salt in the sea breeze, and of course, the ocean. I could spend hours in this program.]

#1. Recreate a day at Bear Spring Camps anytime I chose. [I would have a few scenarios in this program with different kinds of weather, different times of the year, and, of course, the people I know from real-life Bear Spring, as well as computer generated fictional families. You would hardly ever get me out of that program.]

Honorable mention: Camping in a tent. [I’ve never gone camping in a tent before, but if there was one big enough that I wouldn’t feel claustrophobic in, it would appeal to me. To hear the crickets at night and have my campfire going would be soothing and peaceful. I love nature, especially crickets and the sound of birds.]

There’s my list. I hope you enjoy. Whether you are a Star Trek fan or not, please do chime in with your list, either here or in Facebook.

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

Decisions, decisions

Greetings, readers. Life is full of decisions. From a very early age I always had to make decisions of what I was going to do that day. Would I wear my red sweater or my yellow sweater? When Dave came down to play, would we play Wiffle ball or Nerf football? As the years went on, and I got into high school, those decisions were more long-term. What college was I going to? What should I major in? Etc.

To answer those last two questions, I stayed home here in State College, Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University, majoring in Liberal Arts and taking some night-time writing classes. Around the age of 20, I had to decide what I was going to do with my life. I wanted to be a writer. I’ll be honest with you readers. I wrote a lot more back then. I could put classical music or a Star Wars record on in the background  and type for hours. For some reason, now I can no longer do this.

More recent decisions have dealt with my writing career and its recent lack of productivity. Yes, Darren is still working on turning my play Kimberly into a novel called Four’s a Crowd, and that is showing remarkable promise. When she is home, Rebecca is the editor of the project and is currently proofreading it. I am trying to figure out what I am going to be doing next. I firmly believe that it’s going to be a fan-fiction script for a web-series called Star Trek Continues. I came up with a very good outline, with Rebecca’s help, but after looking at it more closely, I realized that my idea was perilously close to an episode from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  I told Rebecca, and I’m promising you my readers, this project is not dead. It’s just on hold for a while until I can come up with an idea that is more my own.

As far as decisions for later in life, they would include: Where am I going to live in my golden years? Will I move to sunny Florida, steamy Arizona, or California? Probably not. Something tells me that I shall remain here in State College the rest of my life. Mom and Dad are buried here, and actually my plot is also there, near my mother.

The decision whether or not to get a used car, to take a cruise, or to marry again are the three big ones. At this point, due to finances, the cruise might be a fantasy. The vehicle will always remain on my wish list. And a second wife, well … time will tell.

Until tomorrow, when I hope to have the top ten list I am working on completed and ready to go, take care, think spring, happy belated St. Patrick’s Day, and happy reading.

Our voyage on Voyager of the Seas

Greetings, readers. When I was married to then Georgia Kockelmans, she and I went on a cruise in 2005 which was one of the happiest times we spent together. It was a ten-day grand vacation, with two days down and two days up on the Atlantic Ocean, and four ports of call in the Caribbean. Our ship was Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.

Good friends of ours drove us to Cape Liberty cruise port in Bayonne, New Jersey where Georgia and I waited several hours for the ship to be cleaned and re-stocked. We had much to do in the meantime; there was customs to go through including showing passports, and baggage checks. I had the eager anticipation for this trip of a little boy. It was the first time I had been on a liner since 1973’s Queen Elizabeth 2 crossing of the Atlantic Ocean with my parents. I was wide-eyed at the whole experience. Then we got the news: something had delayed our boarding and we were all going to be in this waiting area for much longer than anticipated. Since we were all checked in, that gave people time to smoke, stretch their legs, and get a drink. However, we weren’t allowed to venture far away from the boarding area. Finally in the evening around 7:00 or 8:00 as best as I can remember, we were allowed to board.

When we got to our stateroom, our luggage was in front of our door, just like it was for other passengers. If memory serves, when the ship was finally ready to cast off, we were already three to four hours behind schedule. It was going on 11:00 p.m. Georgia and I went out to our balcony and watched our ship sail under one of New York City’s bridges. We swore the top of the ship was not going to clear the bottom of the bridge, then we both looked at one another as if to say, “I’m sure this captain has done this a hundred times. It must be safe.” We watched it safely go under the bridge and out to the open ocean. Then Georgia and I went into the stateroom and enjoyed the complimentary beverage that was given to all passengers.

While I don’t remember every single detail of this voyage, I shall now tell you a little bit about the ports of call. We visited Labadee, Haiti; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Freeport, Bahamas. What I think we did was go to the southern most port and work our way back north, but I’m straining my memory eight years now so I hope I’m not fibbing.

At one of the lovely ports, Georgia and I decided to go swimming with the dolphins. Now, I can’t swim to save my life. For insurance reasons, even the most avid swimmer was made to wear a safety vest. One of the park employees had to hold me while I kicked my feet, so that I could use both hands to pet the dolphin, and give it a little kiss. All of the sudden I saw Georgia’s eyes get big. I looked over and saw the person holding me up was swimming in front of me. I had one of those hey, wait a minute, moments. I thought to myself, “Hey, if you are in front of me, who is holding me up? I must be treading water all by myself.” And sure enough, I was. As soon as I realized it, I began to flounder like the Titanic. The guy came back over quickly and caught me.

At another port, Labadee, Haiti I believe, I went hog-wild with my souvenir buying. I wanted remembrances of my trip. Of course, everything was hand-crafted, and quite expensive. Looking at the items much later, Georgia and I both chuckled over the fact that they were probably not worth the money I paid. It was worth it as I had these reminders and do to this day.

Two highlights now from on-board ship. While neither Georgia nor I was big on dressing up for the formal dinners, we did do it once out of the two formal nights. I rented a tux from the shop, and Georgia looked elegant in her best outfit. We sat at a big table with many of our fellow passengers and enjoyed delicious food, wine, dessert, and coffee. We fit in as best as we could. All other times, we dined in leisure clothes, on our time schedule, at the venues on the promenade levels, cafes, the 50’s style diner, or our personal favorite, room service.

The other big on-ship highlight was the couple’s massage at the fitness center. Two words describe that: completely scrumptious. It was an hour-long session, being rubbed down and pampered from head to toe. We left feeling like a million bucks.

On the cuter side of the ship’s decor, in every elevator was a plaque on the floor with the number of days left in the voyage. Changing them every day must have been a lot of work. Other niceties on the ship included the clubs and our ultimate favorite place, the casino. Georgia, my hat’s off to you for your prowess on the slot machines.

As the ship approached Bayonne, New Jersey, we both knew that something magical was ending. I always expected to take another cruise one day, but we never did. The whole ten-day experience is something I will always treasure. Years later I found on the internet a webcam mounted to look over Voyager of the Sea‘s promenade deck. It instantly brought back the feeling of being on board.

Next Wednesday will be a personal day, and Rebecca has asked to do the blog entry on Thursday. On Friday or the following week, since a lot of my readers seem to be big into the Air Crash Investigation series, I will do another blog entry about that show. Until soonest, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.