Tag Archives: Four’s a Crowd

A short blog entry today before I call bingo

Greetings, readers. I am still under the weather, but feeling well enough to call bingo tonight until our regular bingo caller gets back from work. Around 5pm, I’m going to Panera and get some turkey chili and coffee. That will not only clear my sinuses, but it should give me all the energy I need to get me through until 9:00.

It’s been a long time since I’ve called bingo and I hope it goes okay. Every once in a great while there is drama in the community room. When I call though, it’s my game and I let people know that I won’t take any shenanigans. As Katharine Hepburn said in On Golden Pond, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just get along?”

I canceled my afternoon appointment because I wanted to sleep. I need to kick this cold in the butt and be ready to go to work tomorrow morning. Unless I am hacking up a storm, I’m going. I love my customers and I can’t miss any more money. I wonder if any of my customers asked where I was on Tuesday? It’s not like me not to be there. Because I handle money though, I decided it was best not to go to work.

This blog entry is being created with me using my speech recognition program and I must say, it’s amazing. So far, I’ve ‘typed’ 239 words. For me and my writing career, this is the best thing since ice cream … and we all know how much I love ice cream. After my cold goes away and I’ve read and edited Four’s a Crowd, it will be time for me to begin the first of two projects I have in mind. Oh boy, I can’t wait.

Well, that’s it for this short blog entry. Very soon I am going to go outside and breathe some good air. Dinner should perk me up as well. When I get back from bingo calling, it will be lights out.

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

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A brand new year with the same old clunky technology

Greetings, readers. Hello from head cold land. Don’t worry, I’m probably not contagious anymore and we are taking precautions on the laptop with disinfectant wipes. I am staying in my corner and Rebecca is staying in hers. I had thoughts of calling her off today, but we have a lot to get done, my accountant is coming, and I actually sound 100 times worse than I feel. I feel dandy, but I sound like I am breathing through mud.

I have an app on my computer desktop that I really like, that lets me see new emails and reply to them without going to my email site and logging in. I like it a lot, but it has one bad drawback. I found out from an email I sent to Darren using said app that the name Lisa shows up instead of Joseph in the sender line. It doesn’t happen when I compose an email in the site itself, just from the desktop app I like so much. I believe I have found a way to fix it, but both times I’ve tried, just when I go to hit the save button, it starts to do something and then freezes. And alas, I am still Lisa. A big technology grrr. I am also having massive computer problems today with the laptop running slow and freezing. That may be the problem with changing Lisa today, I will continue to work on this issue to get it solved.

Darren and I are doing a contract for Four’s a Crowd, with a lawyer drawing it up for us to sign. We both think it makes a lot of sense to have our agreement in writing. The lawyer’s appointment that we had scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed. It gives me a week to kick this cold and us more time to flesh out the points we want the lawyer to put in the contract.

As soon as I’m feeling better, I want to take my proof copy of the book and plow through it in a week. That is my goal. Everyone else already has their edits in. As usual, I’m the one lagging behind. More than likely, I will go to Panera, find a big table where I can spread out, listen to my music under earphones, and lose myself in a good novel … and it is a good novel.

After work hours today, I have a couple of errands to do, one of which is to stop at the market and pick up items such as cold tablets, O.J., and tissues. Alka-Seltzer Cold and Flu works wonders. If I’m still stuffed up on Friday, I’ll take a couple of packets to work. At 3:30 I have to go to therapy, and then I’ll be back for the day. I have another day off from the job tomorrow to rest and recoup and be ready for Friday. Some people can do this, I cannot; I cannot be cheerful and smiley when feeling sick. I would probably turn to a grumpy customer and say, “What the heck do you want? And here’s your darn food.”

Lastly, on a weather note, our cold snap has finally broken and we have more seasonable temperatures. The week-long single-digit temperatures were actually beginning to affect my nervous system. Yes, cerebral palsy reared its ugly head yet again. Now that the temperatures are in the 20 and 30s F, I am feeling much better. I do expect more frigid temperatures, but heck, it is only January and spring time is quite a ways away.

Please send good thoughts to me for a speedy recovery. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

I am sick and tired of life

Greetings, readers. I have felt very strange over the last couple of months and until recently I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was bothering me. Well, the picture is becoming a little bit clearer now that the fog has lifted, and I don’t like what I see.

My desire to write is at its highest point in two years. When I say to write, I obviously mean work other than the blog. My problem now is that I have no time or energy from working at the fast food job to do said writing. I am 52 years old and I feel like my life is a waste.

On the positive side of the job,  I am an extremely outgoing person at my cash register, and my regulars love me. I do get a lot of enjoyment and self-esteem from this work. I feel, however, that I must give serious contemplation to either quitting or, at the very least, taking a few months off.

This winter has been brutally cold and walking to and from busses to go to work has already become a hated chore.  I get up at 4:00 in the morning to check Facebook, have some coffee, and listen to music before I have to get ready to go. I blink twice, and it’s 8:10. There goes that morning. I come home from work, dreadfully tired, with feet aching, I put a little food in me, watch an episode or two of something, and usually have lights out by 9:30.

On my three days off from my fast food job, I write with Rebecca for roughly three hours, and I must also do all the chores that need to get done and I had no other time to do, such as appointments, laundry, shopping, etc. When in the hell do I have time to sit down and write? Some might say at 4:00 in the morning. Ah, no, my functioning brain is barely active at that time. In the evening? I’ve actually caught myself falling asleep during my TV shows. Again, the brain is not in creative mode. You can see why I’m depressed.

Do my therapy sessions help? Yes they do, for a short time, but then I begin to look at my life in general and I come to the conclusion that I have wasted most of it. Three quarters gone and only a quarter to go. I have three books to my name, which if you put all three together, don’t equal the pages of Darren’s novel adapted from my play. I would have to say, Dear Readers, that my biggest accomplishment has been this blog, and that is primarily thanks to the help of Rebecca’s typing and editing skills.

Now, don’t worry folks, even though this entry is full of red flags, I am a fighter and a survivor and will do whatever I need to do to get this situation under control. Tomorrow, I’ve cleared the docket to read and edit Four’s a Crowd, either in the morning or, if I have Rebecca come in, after she leaves. I always try to leave each entry on a bright note, and here it is. I ordered speech recognition software for the computer. Once it comes in and I master that, I won’t have to type anymore. That could solve many problems quickly. Cross thy fingers.

Until next time, stay warm, have a great day, have a cup of coffee or hot cocoa for me, 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.

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.

Frustrations with health insurance

Greetings, readers. For the past half hour, Rebecca and I have been calling numbers trying to find out information about my soon-to-expire health insurance coverage. The deadline for the marketplace is two days away and I was supposed to get a letter from the state telling me rather I qualify for medical assistance through them or not. I looked in my mailbox today and got all the mail from this last week; no such letter was in the pile.

This brings me to a problem. I cannot proceed on the marketplace website without said information. Sometimes I think the government does this on purpose. Their mission: give Joe grey hair. Just now, Rebecca and I called three separate numbers; two of them were not the department I needed to talk to and one was a non-working number. Thanks Yahoo!, get your information updated please.

With many of my co-workers sick with colds, flu, and such, I feel like I am going to need my health coverage very soon. I’m praying I won’t have a lapse in the coverage, for knowing my luck, that’s when I’ll get double pneumonia.

Yes, it seems the town bug has hit, mainly because of the sudden drop in the temperature. Yesterday morning, I walked from the bus stop into work and said to myself, yep, winter is here alright, even if it isn’t officially here until the 21st of this month. I’ve had to forgo my comfortable hoodie for the bulkier down coat. The pockets are not as deep so I have to my cell phone and keys in my backpack.

On Monday, we’re having a code inspection in the apartment building, starting on my floor around 9am, and the notice said I need to contain any pets. I’ve asked the restaurant manager who hired me if I can work a later shift on that day. I’m hoping she says yes. If not, poor Keekee will either be locked in the bathroom or crated up until I get home. She will not be a happy kitty cat. I used to work the 3pm to 8pm shift, and that wouldn’t be bad. If I was put on the 5pm to 11pm shift … well, let’s just say I’m used to going to sleep at 9:00. My fuel tanks would be running on fumes. I hope to get a response from my manager by this afternoon.

Rebecca is not certain quite yet if she is coming down with something or not. I’m sure she hopes to make it tomorrow but her body might rebel and say no, you need to sleep today. If that is the case, either I will put a blog entry up or Rebecca will from home.

Speaking of the blog, I’ve made an executive decision. Beginning in Feb 2018, I am going to begin to compile blog entries from years two, three, and four for my second blog book. I’ve been meaning to do this for quite a while, and I was going to call it Greetings, Readers 2, but I think I will use my creativity and come up with a different name. My target date to have that out is mid-April. Between the novel and my new blog book, there are many positive achievements for our creative endeavors coming out before I go to camp in August.

Well, that just about does it for today. I’m going to call it an early session and let Rebecca go home and recoup, if she is indeed catching something. I am going to rest my feet most of the time today and tomorrow before I go back to my fast food job for the Friday and Saturday shifts.

So, until next time, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Editing Four’s a Crowd from proofs

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Joe, my husband Darren, and I are doing the unusual practice of doing heavy edits in the proof copies of Four’s a Crowd. Usually this would be done before the proofreading work, but we got blocked and needed a way to push forward. As regular readers know, Joe wrote a play, Kimberly, which four years ago Darren began adapting into the novel Four’s a Crowd. Darren and Joe would get together every few months and touch base with what Darren was doing with Joe’s characters and plotlines to expand them, and make notes on moving forward.

Darren finished writing the first couple of drafts, then we printed off copies so that the three of us could do edits. We did a couple of rounds of that, in starts and stops, and then sometime in the last year the progress just got stuck. As the three of us worked at different stages, we would think that one of us was doing something with the book, only to find out that the person thought that someone else was doing something, so all three of us would be in waiting patterns. And then nothing moved forward on the project for many months and Darren gave up.

Someone, I think it was me, suggested we just jump to the next step, which was getting proofs, and edit from there. Which we did, and the project is moving rapidly now. We are using the print-on-demand publisher CreateSpace for the novel. Joe had a good experience with them when he published his three books, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, Beyond North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger. I downloaded the CreateSpace formatted templet, and started plugging in the content. We had to wait a couple of days for the review, but then we were ready to order proof copies.

For Darren, this was the first time he held a bound book with his name on it as author, and he was pleased. The book is thicker than we imagined, and has a heft to it. We are all really proud of it. We will be changing the front cover photo, we still need to put in author photos, and make a few more cosmetic changes, but it is already an impressive achievement.

We got four of copies for editing, one for Darren, one for Joe, one for me, and one for Darren’s mother who agreed to read it and give us feedback. Darren’s mom read the book in two days and loved it. She pointed out a few things to change that helped a lot. I was going to say that Darren finished his editing yesterday, except he is sitting on the sofa right now with a pencil in his teeth and the book in his hands making more changes. Joe plans to do some editing with his copy today, while he also rests from a very busy week. I am on page number 232 out of 300 in my copy, so I don’t have much left.

Except for Joe who is using a sheet of paper, we are making our changes and suggestions right in the book with pencils. I am not sure why, but it is so satisfying to write directly in the book. The novel feels so much different in bound form than in loose sheets of typing paper, and editing in that form feels different too. Darren has already put his mother’s changes in his copy, then when I am done he will put my edits in his book too. In early January, Darren and Joe will have a meeting to go over Joe’s changes and put those in Darren’s copy too.

Then we put the edits in the manuscript computer file, upload the book to CreateSpace again, get another proof (which should read a lot smoother and faster), edit and change and upload again, and when we are ready, we will hit the publish button. And then Darren and Joe’s book will be out in the world ready to buy, hopefully by the end of March 2018. We will keep you posted.

Joe will be back next week with a new blog entry. Until then, as he would write, take care, have a great week, and happy reading

Things in my world today, November 30, 2017

Greetings, readers. A bizarre thing happened last afternoon and evening that I wish to share with you in case any of you know what it might be and can give me advice in the comment section. I woke up from a nap to find both my hips and lower back stiff as a board. Occasionally I would have a sharp pain on one or both sides. It did not keep me from walking down to my appointment, though I was uncomfortable. Later, when I was watching television, I got a knife jab in my right side that made me consider going to the E.R.

I woke up in the middle of the night to find that the pain was almost gone, much to my relief. I don’t remember making a false move or lifting anything heavy, but obviously I strained something. Thank goodness this morning the pain is gone. I still wish I knew what it was and will it come back. Now on to other news.

Rebecca, Darren, and I are proofreading our copies of Four’s a Crowd. I’ve already found one scene that there is going to be head-butting about. It involves the female lead character saying a word I’m not comfortable with. The question is, with Darren the author of the novel, and me the author of the play it is based on, who should get the final say? Hopefully we can compromise.

More news. My Beatles sing along show is tomorrow, but at 3:30pm, not 1:00. There was a slight mix-up in the entertainment schedule and my show will start after the country line dancers are finished. It should make for a wonderful day’s entertainment. I will be singing along to the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl CD, and my friend Mike Weaver will be singing a few Christmas carols while I take a break between my two sets. I’m a tad worried that Mike and I have not had a practice session yet, but we’re not professions and if a clunker is made, it is okay. I’m sure folks will love the show.

It will be very odd not to go to my other job tomorrow and I do thank my manager Savannah for giving me the day off to do the show. I will work at my fast food job on Saturday, probably have off Sunday, and return to my regular schedule next week.

After Rebecca and I are finished with this blog entry, I am going to go on the Zipcar website and reserve a vehicle for the my Christmas Eve Light Ride. This year I want to book early to make sure I get a vehicle. I believe my other job will be closed that evening, so a work shift should not get in the way.

On a sadder note, I was in a bit of a funk yesterday when I learned about NBC’s Matt Lauer being fired for sexual misconduct. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade has lost its shine for me now. He was the co-host of it for many years and that team was part of my special day. I watched part of it at David’s this year and have it set in my YouTube queue to watch anytime, but will probably not watch it after this. Next year it will be Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie and ?. If the allegations are true, Matt Lauer deserves to be locked up. I guess you never know about people. It is getting harder and harder to trust anyone in this world, but with my jolly personality, I shall try.

Lastly, I’ll be doing my show tomorrow and most likely be doing my own write-up about it for a blog post. Rebecca is unable to attend and if memory serves this will be the first show she has missed since we began working together. I just know that I am going to criticize my every mistake as most artists do. I promise I won’t be too hard on myself and cut myself some slack.

Until next week, which should be a two-day work week for us, have a wonderful weekend, take care, wish me luck on my show, and, as always, 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: Joe is relaxing and resting today

Joe has worked a lot at his other job this last month and he will work from tomorrow through next Tuesday, before working with me again next Wednesday and Thursday, so he took today for a personal downtime day. And I have to confess, I worked an extra shift for my other job last Saturday, and at the time it didn’t seem to tire me out, but now I am enjoying having an unexpected extra day at home. So far, it has been nice.

After I publish this blog post, my husband Darren and I are going to play a section of a board game called Descent. It is a game he had for a while and we started playing it off and on a few months ago. Darren likes strategy games that are complicated and take many hours to play all the way through, like Axis & Allies, while I like simple games that can be played in less than two hours. It is therefore difficult for us to find games that work for both of us. Descent seems to be a good in-between game. It has sections that can be played in a few hours, and while there is a whole booklet of rules and takes a bit of strategy, playing it was easy for me to learn and is as simple as I need it to be. I play the easier side, the overlord, which helps. Darren plays the two hero adventurers who use weapons and powers to fight my monsters and gather loot. Enough complication for him, while I have enough simplicity with my monsters and their spelled out powers. A nice way to spend the afternoon.

Four’s a Crowd, the novel that Darren adapted from Joe’s play Kimberly, is one step closer to being published. Yesterday I uploaded the file to the CreateSpace site, and later today Joe will look at the interior review page, then click save and continue. He will fill out a few more boxes, then send it to be reviewed by the site, then we can order proofs. We will edit the proofs, make corrections, then do the process again. We expect to have the finished book ready to sell early next year, hopefully by the first of March.

Well, that is my day. I hope you are all having a good time, and that soon you have a chance to step out of routine and refresh too.

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