Tag Archives: family

Top ten list of things I would have liked to do in life

Greetings, readers. This is not a list to bash my self-esteem, but it might just serve to open my eyes and let me see some of the jobs or occupations I dreamed about having when I was younger. So here we go, and as always this is not in any particular order, except for #1.

#10. Be a writer with a lot of books and screenplays under my belt. [Over the last fifteen years or so, I’ve had many good starts on writing projects but they all seem to fizzle out quickly. Sometimes it is a problem with the story line, other times people beat me to the good idea, and a lot of times it is my body not cooperating.]

#9. Own my own vehicle again. [After my 2008 crash and other issues I won’t get into, my monetary situation is such that owning a vehicle is impossible. It’s too much money for maintenance, repairs, gas, parking, etc.]

#8. Play sports. [At age 52 and a half, my days of playing a pick-up game of football or softball are long behind me. My legs and knees are stiff and sometimes it is a chore just to jog across the street.]

#7. Have a son to carry on my name. [My plan to have a family young, in my 20s or 30s. is long gone. For me to be a father, I would either have to adopt a child or marry someone young enough to have a child. Most women in the age bracket of 20s or 30s would find it creepy to marry someone in their 50s.]

#6. Be a professional entertainer. [For years I was so shy, I lip-synced in all my musical performances that I did for family, friends, and, later, for my pals in my apartment building. Now that I’ve learned to drop my shields and actually sing, I’ve found out that I am not all that bad. Another chance wasted. I could have been the next member of KISS. Lol.]

#5. Own a house. [Yes, good old pride of ownership. I know it comes with its costs. I’d have to pay property taxes, mow the lawn, and fix the pipes. But I would have loved every minute of it. When I go to visit Dave and family in their house, I feel like I’m home. Here, it just feels like I’m in my apartment.]

#4. Be a TV sports broadcaster. [When I was a child, I loved watching Curt Gowdy call NFL football games. He had a style all his own. Later, there were the teams of Don Criqui and Bob Trumpy, and of course, Dick Enburg and Merlin Olsen. My favorite sportscaster though was the incomparable Howard Cosell. He knew his job inside and out, was incredibly intelligent, and covered every event from football to boxing with style and dignity.]

#3. Be a truck driver. [For a while when I was younger I had the notion of being a truck driver. I would have been able to see the country and do something I love to do; drive. Health reasons killed that idea.]

#2. Be a talk show host or D.J. [When I was a little boy, I had an old-fashioned tape recorder and I would pretend I was a D.J. I would announce the songs and then play them on my record player. It was so much fun. I also loved Johnny Carson of the Tonight Show. I had a fantasy that one day maybe I would have my own talk show or take over for him when he retired.]

#1. Be a pilot [I’ve always been fascinated by aircraft and my dream as an early teen was to be a commercial airline pilot. My health issues at age 16 ended that dream promptly.]

Well, there it is. Again, I’m not trying to throw myself a pity party. I’m just showing you, my readers, and me, my missed opportunities. I’m starting to find my niche in life and it could very well be that I write plays and either adapt them to a novel or give it to someone else to do it. Dialog just seems to be my thing.

Until tomorrow, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.


From Rebecca: Happy Thanksgiving Day 2017

Greetings, Joe’s readers. I hope you are all having a good holiday. In the United States we are celebrating Thanksgiving Day with food, family, football, and, for some of us, a nap. For those of you not celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you are also having a day of good food, family gatherings, and maybe a nap. May all of us feel blessed.

Joe will be back with new entries next week. Until then, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: The day before Thanksgiving

Darren and I are going to have his mother over for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, and we have a few things to do to get ready. The main thing today is to deep clean the apartment, something we do about every two months. We know we should do it more often, but we just don’t. We keep things clean in general all the time – we do the dishes every day, put things back where they belong so that clutter doesn’t accumulate, and take the trash and recycling out at least once a week. Today, though, we will be cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, and running the vacuum. It takes us about 45 minutes to get through it, and having his mother over tomorrow is a good push to do our deep clean.

Joe got on a bus this morning, traveling to visit his buddy-brother David and the family for a long holiday weekend. He has been so excited about seeing family members he only sees a few times a year. Many of them he last saw in August at Bear Spring Camps, but a few of them weren’t there this year, I think. Anyway, I expect he will have a lot of fun and fellowship.

Darren will cook the dinner tomorrow, while I get his mom. We don’t cook a whole turkey, but instead he will bake sliced turkey breast under gravy, and make some mashed potatoes and carrots to go with it. It will be a small family gathering but a good one. I am one of the lucky people in this world to get along with a mother-in-law. I love Mom a lot and she loves me back.

I am grateful for so much in my life; my family, my friends, my books and shows and other entertainments, as much health as I do have, my physical comforts, having a car (Joe’s life would be easier at times owning a car, so I see first-hand what a blessing it is), and my dear husband. I appreciate Thanksgiving day for the yearly reminder to count our blessing and say thanks. It is so easy to focus on what we don’t have, what we wish we had, and how we wish life was different. It is a good thing to be in gratitude.

That is it for today. Tomorrow I will post a quick greeting, then next week Joe will be back, probably with a top ten list. Take care, have a great day, and happy reading.


Making plans for a Thanksgiving visit

Greetings, readers. The bus tickets have been purchased and I am going to be on my way. Dave and family invited me to New Jersey for Thanksgiving weekend and I gleefully accepted. After checking out Zipcar and Hertz I figured out that Megabus was the way to go. For a modest price, I will be able to enjoy a five-day mini-vacation.

I am able to go because of generous friends who offered to take my work shifts on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Two people offered and I hope my manager doesn’t schedule them both because one will be angry at me. If either one of you is a regular reader, you have just saved my weekend and I owe you a favor.

I’m going to have to look at the Megabus website again to see if I can bring a suitcase and a carry-on. If it is one or the other, the computer will be staying home. In the late evenings at David’s, after our brotherly chats are over, I like to go upstairs to my guest room, crawl under the blankets, and check my email or listen to music. The one thing I am worried about is that my body is programmed to wake up at 4:00am; that will not be happening at David’s house. I will be sleeping in.

I can’t wait to get there and enjoy the family’s hospitality. The Thanksgiving meal itself will be in the dining hall at Geri’s church and it is big enough for the entire family. I will probably ask David if I can say Grace or make a speech, as I always tend to do. I’m looking forward not only to the feast but also to be with family once again. I shall treasure every moment.

What are the things I am thankful for this year? With my life looking up at the moment, here is my brief list: I am thankful for my kitty-cat Keekee, who is in good health, besides perhaps a slight eye issue; she’s doing great for being almost 13 years old. I am thankful for my family and friends and the possibility to travel and see them. I’m also grateful and thankful that my job has worked out and that most managers think I am doing an excellent job … and making a little extra scratch doesn’t hurt either. Lol. Last but not least, I am thankful for Rebecca and Darren for their years of not only friendship but of hard work to help me put these various writing projects together. As I told my friend this morning, I don’t care if Darren’s book doesn’t put me on the map, I’m hoping it will put him on the map. Kimberly was a cute play. Was it polished? Not by any means. Darren took a good solid skeleton with some meat on the bones and turned it into a literary breathing human being.

I wish to say Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and readers. Your support over the last year has meant so much to me and has kept us going. The recent upswing in view numbers is continuing and we like it.

I said yesterday that this entry would be a top ten list, but other work earlier this morning took time away from our working hours here at the office, so the promised top ten list will come as soon as I come back from vacation. My mistake.

Next week Rebecca will post two blog entries, most likely re-posts of her choosing, as I will be on the bus and in New Jersey, cramming myself with turkey and trimmings.

So until next time, have a wonderful holiday, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I am typing this on Joe’s old computer

Joe took his new laptop to camp and left his old one behind. There is just enough life in it to do a few things, like the next few blog entries. The funny part here is that I have been so pleased since Darren and I got fast internet in our place to be able to do my blog posts from home when needed, and now I am excited about being able to do them during work hours at the office while Joe is away. I guess I’m happy either way. If I do them during work hours, you will get the posts earlier in the day, which is good.

Joe got a little bit of a late start this morning, but he is on the road now, on his way to one of his most favorite places on the planet. In two days he will be sitting on his cabin porch looking out at the lake. He will also be visiting with his buddy and brother Dave and the rest of his family, something he really enjoys doing. He made sure to pack his Yahtzee game and score pads.

Joe’s cat Keekee is hiding somewhere in the room. She hates it when Joe leaves, so she hates it when he bustles around packing luggage and bags. She has had a tough few days, and she will be a sad cat until Joe comes back. In a little bit I will feed her and I hope that helps her a little. She likes her soft food a lot. I’ll be in and out of Joe’s place while he is gone to feed and check on her, as I do every year. Poor sweet cat.

Joe just called and said that he made it to a truck stop for a bite to eat and then he will be on his way again. He said that if I was still writing the blog entry, which I am, to tell his readers that he loves the Hyundai Tucson that he rented. I am glad he has a car he is comfortable in; otherwise it is a long trip.

That’s it for today’s blog post. Until next Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Bear Spring Camps opening day 2017

Greetings, readers. Although Bear Spring Camps has a relatively short season of only four and a half months, I do get excited on opening day. I’ve been going to this camp, located in central Maine, since I was five years old, and have truly loved every moment of it. As I get older though, and as my monetary situation changes, it is becoming obvious that my years at camp are numbered. I might only be able to go another three to five years. I have learned through inspirational videos to treasure every moment of life, which is how I am looking at the camp experience.

I saw on the Facebook page for Bear Spring Camps that Peg and Ron are beginning their 34th year of them running the business. The camp opened in 1910. Peg’s grandfather started it, and at some point her father and mother took over the day-to-day running of the camp. At the beginning, it was truly a fishing camp, with quite rudimentary cabins. Now they are quite plush and filled with modern conveniences like small refrigerators, and new wood stoves in some of the cabins. Last year my cabin got an upgrade with new wall insulation and a larger living room area. I really like it. I’m going to keep that cabin as long as I’m able to.

When I was younger, I would buy a calendar at a souvenir shop in Belgrade Lakes and number the days until I would be back at camp again. I was that obsessed with it. I don’t do that any more, but I do keep track of things like the camp’s opening day, closing day, and I still do get very excited about two weeks before I am to arrive for my week at camp in August.

I wanted to take Traci with me this year, and still might if I can talk her into it, as it will feel strange being engaged and not with her for 10 days. We will miss each other of course, and talk to each other every morning and evening on the phone. That is what we did last year and it worked very well.

As a long time Bear Spring Camper, I wish Ron and Peg Churchill and family a successful 2017 camp season, and I can’t wait until August when I will get there for my week at camp. I will fish, swim, go on pontoon rides, visit with family and friends, and have my annual happy hour. As many of you know, I am a man of tradition.

Next week I am expecting a two blog work week. One of them hopefully will be a top ten list. Until then, I bid you a great weekend, take care, enjoy the warmth, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: Family stuff

Those of you who have read Joe’s blog for a long time will know that he has written many times about his struggle to hold on to items he inherited from his parents, even when he didn’t have the space in his apartment to keep all of them. He had to let a few things go in periodic clean outs, and it was difficult for him each time. This is on my mind today, because my family is struggling with a similar issue of losing family stuff, and it is a heartbreaker. We thought some items were safe at a family member’s house and it turns out that they were not.

The items are from my mother, who passed away, and my stepfather, who is still alive but has a lot of health issues. One item in particular was a stuffed leopard that my sisters and I had as children, that our mom kept and then it went with our stepfather when he moved after she passed. After one of my sisters asked about it this week, another sister found out that at some point it was thrown out after something got spilled on it. The other stuff was important too, but this is the item I really cared about and it is gone. I really wish that we had taken it the last time we were all there together a few years ago, but it didn’t seem polite at the time. I ached about the loss for a few minutes, and then thought, okay, there is nothing we can do about it now.

An added complication is that, due to certain circumstances, when our stepfather does pass away, all of his stuff might be lost, and there might not be any items from him that we inherit to remember him by. Does this possible loss matter? Just how much do we need family heirlooms as reminders after loved ones are gone?

I do cherish the items I have from people who are no longer with me. It is nice to look up on my bookcase and see a scarf from one of my grandmothers, the statue that reminds me of my other grandmother, my copy of the spiritual book that my mother gave to each of her daughters while she was still alive. These items sit among the ones I have from people who are still with me, like the pictures of my nephews and niece growing up, the candle my mother-in-law gave me, and something from a dear friend who is like a sister to me. I like the memories and the reminders of my loved ones. My life is richer because of all the people in it. But I also know that I don’t lose that if I lose the mementos.

If I don’t end up with my stepfather’s pocket knife, I still remember him using it. I still remember him cooking meals and joking with my mom in their kitchen filled with knickknacks, cutting the lawn on his sitting mower, pointing to his picture of a ship he crewed on and telling me about his experiences on it, sitting at his computer, fixing the latest of his parade of vehicles, and trying to figure out his latest electronic gizmo. My stepfather was a force of nature once upon a time.

I don’t think of my stepfather like that much anymore, and maybe I do need reminders. Maybe other family members will have to do that for me instead of his stuff. And that is okay. And maybe I will end up with an item of his to spark my memories. That would be good too.

Joe will be back with a blog entry next Wednesday. Until then, take care, have a great week, 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.

I leave for Bear Spring Camps a week from tomorrow

Greetings, readers. A week from tomorrow I shall be on my way to Maine. How this year flew. In my mind I already have the list of things to take, which is going to include the Yahtzee game and other small items such a the binoculars and a camera. Obviously I can’t take everything in my apartment, the rental car’s trunk is only so big.

I’ll be taking my computer and music, as always, as well as headphones. It seems that no matter where I go, I need to have my tunes with me. It has been a hot humid summer in Maine, as well as here in Pennsylvania, so I’ll be sure to pack my swim trunks; it looks very much like I am going to be literally jumping in the lake. It is very refreshing when it is 85 or 90 degrees. Now that I am older, it has to be that hot for me to go into the water. I remember David and I as teenagers would be out there frolicking in the water trying to clobber each other with rafts in temperatures in the upper 60s. We were young, wet and having fun. We didn’t care about feeling cold.

I’m definitely going to miss Traci while I’m gone, and she is going to miss me. She has already informed me that she wants to go next year. I’ll have to try to get us a different cabin with a ramp for smoother entry in to the front door.

I expect to catch big fish this year, as well net many for David. We have a pontoon boat for the week, so it will be easier for me to get on and off, and will have plenty of places to sit. The older I get the more I can’t handle the small fishing boats. Another added bonus is that the 50 horse-power engine can get us where we are going twice as fast.

Camp evenings are blocked off for three very important things. My alone time for taking notes for possible new book stories, or just meditating. Yahtzee nights with friends and family. And there will be at least one evening with singing and storytelling with the younger kids.

As for the rest of this week and next, I’ll be filling out a job application on-line tomorrow, we will have a blog post on Friday, and as for next Wednesday I will probably be packing. We will see if I can squeeze one more blog entry in from me before I leave. Fear not though, for while I am gone Rebecca will put new material up every few days. Oh, yes, another year of blogging is not only upcoming but highly anticipated.

Until Friday, I bid you a good couple of days, watch yourselves in this heat wave, take care, and happy reading.

Sorry folks, we’re from Virginia

Greetings, readers. My girlfriend and I are home from New Jersey after having a wonderful time at my Goddaughter’s wedding and reception. A funny thing happened on the way there though. I didn’t get lost, but I took a couple of roads I wasn’t really supposed to take. Luckily they all headed toward Philadelphia and New Jersey.

The Zipcar rental we had was a delightful Ford Focus. When one Zipcar is damaged, it is usually swapped out with another one in their fleet, and the car could be from any state in the Union. This particular vehicle had Virginia plates. Every time I made a wrong turn, put on the brakes too hard, or almost caused a wreck, I would say out loud to Traci, “Sorry, folks, we’re from Virginia.” She got a chuckle out of that. I’d driven the route once before and now having driven it again, I will feel much more confident driving it in the future if we are indeed invited to another family function at Dave’s house.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about the wedding. It was an outdoor wedding at a lovely venue. Everyone looked elegant, and when Ashley walked down the aisle, with David, my best buddy and brother, I will admit I did shed a tear. My Goddaughter was getting married. Just as the ceremony was going to begin, an ominous storm cloud formed behind the main building. The wind picked up and so did the pace of the ceremony. Fearing soaked clothes and ruined hairdos, the ceremony was pushed into second gear, yet it was beautifully done, and as the wedding concluded just in time, a few pictures were taken as it began to rain. Everybody headed for the doors to get back inside for the reception.

We made our way into the bar area and I told Dave, “I’m going to have a drink. I’m not driving this evening, this is my Goddaughter’s wedding and I’m going to celebrate.” Traci and I both ordered a delicious drink called a Malibu Bay Breeze, which had pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and coconut rum. It didn’t even taste alcoholic. I could have had ten of them. Though with my medications, that would have been a huge mistake.

Throughout the evening I threw caution to the wind and tried to dance on the dance floor. I looked more like a puppet having his strings pulled every which way but give me an “A” for Effort. I really didn’t care, I was having fun.

Two special moments occurred about half-way through the evening. First was my dance with Traci. She is shy and reserved and really doesn’t like to put herself forward in public, but she was having such a blast that she readily accepted my request to dance on the dance floor. The other sweet moment was when I approached the D.J. and requested Percy Faith’s “A Theme from A Summer Place”, my mother’s favorite song, and danced with my Goddaughter to it. I told her that I was giving her and her new husband this song, from me and Grandma Doc. She almost cried. Holding Ashley, dancing with her at her wedding, was one of the proudest moments of my life.

The next day, after a minor vehicle issue, we were at David’s house for brunch and an afternoon of relaxing. Traci and I were so bushed, that we both ended up taking naps. It might have been a little bit rude, but we were tired and couldn’t help it, and everybody understood.

I want to publicly thank here in this forum Dave and Geri Trost and family, for having us at the house, booking our hotel reservation for the first night, and making sure that our stay was stress-free and wonderful.

I shan’t bore you with the details on the ride home because nothing note-worthy happened. As I’ve said before, going away is fun and wonderful but when it is over, I’m glad to get home. Keekee was especially happy to see me. She looked at me as if to say, “Put your bags in the bedroom and feed me now.”

Finally, my prayers, my love. my support go to Ashley Nicole Trost-Levandowski and her new husband Derek. If there is anything I can ever do for either of you, please do not hesitate to ask.

Until Friday, take care, watch yourselves in this heat wave, enjoy life, and happy reading.