Tag Archives: friend

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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This heat wave is enough to make me hate hot weather, and that is saying something

Greetings, readers. A very happy, hot Wednesday to you from here in Central Pennsylvania. We are in the grips of a late summer heat wave with temperatures approaching 90 degrees with very high humidity. My air conditioner up on this top floor doesn’t like it. I’m not expecting it to be an icebox in here, but according to my little thermometer, it is 81 degrees F in our office. I have even tried using my fan to blow the cold air. It works a little bit, but not much.

For those of you who know me, you know that I am a hot weather person. I’m starting to change my mind. Do I want sub-zero and ten inches of snow and ice? No. But 70s during the day and upper 40s at night would be lovely right now.

Knowing me, I’ll be bitching come winter, wanting the heat of summer time back. It is human nature to want what we don’t have. I’ve noticed that in other people and especially in me. This weather pattern is an excellent example of this.

This heat wave, I think, has affected the health of my good friend and payee. Today was what we call pay everything day, which happens on the last Wednesday of every month. Today, he stopped by briefly, handed me the checks, and was on his way to the ER. I wish him well. I would not be surprised if this heat wave has something to do with him feeling poorly. When I see him next week, I will ask him how is feeling.

While Rebecca and I swelter here in the heat of the office, today is the day I have to make my decision of which entertainment service I am dropping. I picked up Hulu and Sirius XM music on their free month trials at the beginning of August, but quickly came to the conclusion that I cannot afford Spotify, Netflix, Sirius XM, and Hulu. One has to go, at least temporarily. It was a difficult choice, but I’ve decided to drop Hulu. Hopefully at some point when I have more money saved up I can pick it up again. It is well worth it.

Lastly, Rebecca and I will be working tomorrow, albeit an abbreviated day, for I have an appointment later in the morning. I must apologize for not clicking that Facebook button under last week’s post for a few days. I’m still getting used to that. The beauty of having Rebecca here is that we can publish and click the button at the same time. No fuss, no muss, no forgetting.

So until tomorrow, take care, stay cool in the heat, have a good day, and happy reading.

I reconnected with a special friend recently

Greetings, readers. For a couple of years now, on and off, I have been trying to reconnect with someone I met in junior college. Her name is Tess (last name withheld for privacy reasons). I last saw her in 2003 when she and her husband Chris came to my mother’s viewing; I don’t remember whether their two young children came with them or not. It is amazing that 14 years had passed since I had heard her bubbly cheerful voice. She is such an upbeat person and it is quite easy to make her laugh.

Over the past few years I had left messages on their answering machine with no reply. I figured either they have moved, switched numbers, or she had forgotten about me. The other day I called the number that I had in my cell phone and it was going to be for the final time. I was planning to erase the number if she didn’t call back within a couple of days.

My heart sank when the answering machine activated and I began to leave my message. To my happy surprise, Tess picked up and we couldn’t believe that we were speaking to one another once again. She had a couple of errands to run but definitely wanted me to call back later that evening. I, of course, cleared my evening calendar. I made sure my cell phone was charged, for Tess and I had a lot of catching up to do.

About 9:00 I called and she was there. Tess explained that she had to be in bed by 10:00 and I was thrilled that we would have a whole hour together. We reminisced, told jokes and stories, and did all the things that people do in the let’s-get-caught-up process. She told me that she never got my other messages, that her machine sometimes eats them. I told her that I wanted to see her and the family before winter time. She agreed, but no firm plans have been set yet. They live about 3 hours away from me and I will suggest that we meet about half-way. I am already eagerly anticipating that day.

To show you haw time flies, I asked her how old her children were. She said 21 and 24. I immediately went into my old man voice, and asked her if she had seen my dentures. She laughed hysterically. I will admit back in junior college I had a crush on Tess but she was taken and I respected that. I consider her one of my closest friends. She knows secrets about me that not many people know.

There are a few other people in my life that I would like to reconnect with and I hope to fulfill that dream one day. I’ll take those dreams one day at a time and finding Tess is one dream fulfilled.

That’s my big news and I will leave you with this. Major prayers go out to the flood victims and their families in the states of Texas and Louisiana. The pictures from the news are horrific and I plan to donate what I can to the appropriate Salvation Army. I am also inspired by the pictures of people who have helped other people, whether it be by using their boats to help rescue or by going out into the water to rescue people and animals themselves. I am glad to see that there is so much goodness and charity left in the world.

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

From Rebecca: Happy Birthday, Joe

Today is Joe’s birthday, and if you read his post yesterday, you know that he is spending it with his good friend and brother David Trost, who is visiting for a couple of days. I’m sure they are having a great time together. Hi, guys! Happy Birthday, Joe!

I have known Joe since we went to high school together. I was a bit in my own world back then, but Joe easily befriended me anyway. He has always been interested in other people, in seeing the good in them, and being a good friend to them. These are traits he still has. Once in a while someone will take advantage of his niceness, of his easy trust, and it will make him feel stupid for a bit of time. But he is still willing to help the next person he sees that needs assistance and offer a shoulder to cry on. I admire that. It is my natural inclination to pull away from people I don’t know, and Joe’s natural inclination to move closer in order to say hi. He is a special person.

As I’ve said before on this blog, it has been an experience to watch Joe in his fast food job. He has approached it with so much excitement and joy, even though lately he has also experienced some of the disappointments and mishaps that can occur at any job. He will be taking a couple of weeks off in August when he goes to Bear Spring Camps in Maine, and no doubt when he comes back he will start a new work schedule as the town gets ready for the Penn State fall semester.

Joe wrote yesterday that he will be back next Wednesday with a review of his laptop, but he has an appointment that morning, so he will probably do that on Thursday instead. I might be writing the blog entry again next Wednesday, unless Joe gets back in time to do it.

As Joe would tell you, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Facebook link on this blog

Greetings, readers. This is a short note about how my blog site works. I know many of you, my regular readers, are also friends with me on Facebook, and some of you are not. I have a link to my Facebook page on this blog site, but I know it won’t work for anyone who I am not already friends with there. I often invite people to leave comments on the blog topic of the day, either here or on Facebook. I want to acknowledge that I know the link only works for some of you. I welcome comments on either site with great appreciation.

If you are not my friend on Facebook, and you want to be, you can give me a request on Facebook and mention you know me from here, or leave me a comment below. I will be honored to accept. My Facebook name is Joseph Kockelmans.

On a different topic, this blog entry has to be short for Rebecca and I must get right to work on a pressing insurance issue. So until next week, I bid all of you a great few days, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Whoo hoot! I passed my apartment inspection

Greetings, readers. With the help of a good friend, I was able to pass my apartment re-inspection this past Monday. It was a trying and bittersweet day. Was I happy that I had passed? Absolutely. But a lot of stuff from my life had to be thrown away. As I have mentioned before, I’m a junior hoarder and we found bags of garbage inside bags of garbage and old papers. Not fun.

To be truthful, 75% of it was old clothes that either needed to be washed or were thrown away because they dry rotted. Family mementos were carefully placed in closets or drawers, and although I never would have thought it possible, the place looked great when we were finished. I actually have a bedroom again, not a storage unit.

I was proud of myself that I had kept my apartment in the half-decent shape that it was in from the first inspection the previous week. But if I had failed this inspection, I don’t know what would have happened. I enjoy living here and do not wish to have to move. Now I can relax, sign my lease in July, and it will kick in on October 1st.

On another note, since the inspection, I found myself retreating from real life by watching videos on YouTube of crickets, ocean waves, forests sounds, rain, and other such peaceful things. I searched for meditation videos, mainly from Japan and China. As I’ve said before, you can find almost anything on YouTube. Somehow I can’t help but wonder if this sudden desire to not live in my real world has a connection to having to lose so many of my things while cleaning out my apartment. My answer would be yes. Oh, my therapist will have a field day tomorrow. My favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes dealt with the holodecks, where people lose themselves in a creative fantasy land. I have the feeling that that was what I was doing when I would listen to these 8 to 10 hour videos.

Next, here in central Pennsylvania, we have gone from mid-spring to what feels like early July in two days. Today is sunny, hazy, and a luscious 85 degrees F. No coat, jacket, or even sweater is required. I didn’t look at the long-range forecast, but hopefully this wonderfully warm weather will last a while.

Lastly, I would like to thank Rebecca for the wonderful review and write-up of my Beatles show. Everyone seemed to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed performing it.

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

Who knew that flowers were so difficult?

Greetings, readers. The roses I bought for my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day did not last. I thought we did everything right, I cut off the tips of the stems and put the powder in the water, but the roses began to droop after only one day, and by the third morning Traci had to throw them away. To put it mildly, I was not a happy camper. I stopped at the florist today to find out what we had done wrong. After talking to the manager, I discovered that it was my fault.

The scissors that Traci had for me to use were not exactly the sharpest. In the process of snipping the ends of the stems, I must have pinched too hard and closed off the capillaries. Hence, no water could get to the poor flowers. I feel like such a murderer! Just kidding. Truthfully though, I do feel bad. I won’t say how much I paid for them, that is not really the point. I was upset because Traci’s flowers, which she loved, didn’t last. She told me that she had never had flowers given to her and that she was thrilled.

What to do, what to do? Traci was sad about the short-lived flowers. Rebecca and I went to the florist today to find out what had gone wrong. After some conversation with the manager, we determined that the stems were squashed and that in the future I should use a sharp knife to cut the ends. Unexpectedly, the manager replaced the flowers free of charge to make up for it, and said that new roses would be delivered to her this afternoon. That is definitely the way to keep my business. I found this extremely satisfying. By the time I come to visit her this afternoon, the new roses should already be there. A big thank you to Woodring’s Floral Gardens in State College.

One thing I must do before I go off to therapy is to arrange for someone to let the florist in the building at the right time. I just called a friend of mine and he will buzz open the security door, so thanks to Scott.

Well, that is the Thursday news going on with me. Rebecca will have a blog entry tomorrow, and I’m sure you will all enjoy that. Until then, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

I brought my girlfriend into the 21 century

Greetings, readers. My girlfriend, Traci, and I are getting along splendidly. I’m enjoying every minute of it. When she told me last week that she didn’t have a computer, I realized that, unless she visited the library often, she probably wasn’t on social media. I was correct. I asked her if she would like some help getting an email account started and getting on Facebook. She thought that would be a good idea but wondered how she would check Facebook every day. I told her that we would check it together from my computer. I got a big smile.

The first thing I had to do was take the information she had written down and create an email account for her. Once that was completed, I had to log out of my Facebook account and create one for her. I had completely forgotten how strange Facebook’s opening page is when someone is just starting out. No news feeds, just a lot of questions and friend suggestions.

I invited her sister Roni to be her Facebook friend and she accepted within five seconds. Either Roni was on the computer at that moment or she had it set up to automatically accept anyone. Then, from her account, I sent myself a friend request, popped over to my account, and accepted it. She now has two friends and a whole bunch of David’s family waiting for requests.

I must admit I feel strange doing too much with her account without her being in the room. So I think tomorrow, when my schedule is less hectic, we will sit down in the community room and work on it. I will show her the ins and outs of Facebook and Mail.com.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to purchase Traci a computer of her own, so for her own privacy sake and mine, I will probably have to teach her how to explore email and Facebook on one of the library’s computers.

Traci is a lot like I am, she knows what she knows but neither of us knows everything. Since I’ve been working with a computer with Rebecca for five years, it won’t be that much of a difficulty to get Traci up to speed, at least on the basics. In no time, I’m sure I’ll have her checking her email, seeing everything Facebook has to offer, and maybe later I’ll get her involved on Twitter. Traci, welcome to the internet.

Until Friday, when I’ll have a top ten list for you, have a great couple of days, take care, and happy reading. P.S. Thoughts and prayers go out to the people in the Carolinas and surrounding areas that were so badly flooded.

Friendships deserve a little extra effort

Greetings, readers. The last few days I have been quite worried about a dear friend of mine whom I have known since seventh grade. I won’t mention her last name but Lisa and I have been very good friends from tenth grade on. The last few days she has been in the hospital with what sounds like a rather serious condition. I have found myself thinking about her almost constantly.

It is true that we are not as young as we used to be, but even as I approach fifty years old, I still think of myself sometimes as a big kid. So when a friend around my age has a possible life-threatening condition, it frightens me to the core. It makes me realize we are finite. Folks my age have more years behind us than ahead of us, barring some medical breakthrough.

After work hours today, and after a quick bank run, I am off to see dear Lisa at the hospital. In my hallway closet, I have several small stuffed animals which I won at a carnival a number of years back. I think one of them will cheer her up. Occasionally friends do have to go that extra step to make others feel appreciated and loved. I’ve learned first hand not to take anything for granted. Friendships, relationships, and sometimes even life itself, can be over in a split second.

Sorry if this blog entry today sounds a bit morbid. I’m not depressed, just a bit worried. That is how I get.

On Friday, I’ll have a top ten list for you, topic still unknown.

Prayers and good thoughts out to the folks suffering from the floods in Texas.

Until Friday, take care, enjoy spring, and happy reading.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Greetings, readers. An interesting thing happened to me last evening at the weekly church dinner. I don’t go to it very often, but I really enjoy the spaghetti dinner with all the fixings. I met someone there who I can honestly say gave me such an emotional high that I had to come home and analyze what happened. Let me explain.

While trying to find a table to sit at, I happened to come upon a very sweet lady. Her name is Rose. Now, I don’t talk to people confidently the first time I meet them. I’m either nervous or flustered. But with Rose, it felt like all the shields came down and I could talk to her as though I had known her for years. She went to sit at her table and I sat at my table. I conversed with my friend Terry, my good friend from my apartment building, while we ate. I finished before he did and I took my plates up to the dirty dishes bin. I just happened to see this dazzling young lady again. As chance would have it, with my memory issue that I call oatmeal brain, I was fully ready to admit that I had forgotten her name. To my surprise, and I must admit to my delight, she told me that she had forgotten mine. This gave me an opportunity to ask for hers again. After she told me – I was in the process of shaking her hand and was gently holding it – I said, “I know how I am going to remember your name. You are as pretty as a rose.” Unless I totally misread her facial expression, I think she was impressed. Again, I’m not dashing or debonair with strangers of the opposite gender, but every once in a while I can be.

On my walk home, I knew I wasn’t in love, but for the first time I understood the feeling that people have when they do experience love at first sight. I was on an emotional high. I could not stop thinking about this absolutely gorgeous woman. Am I going to the church dinner next week? You better believe it. In my current situation, I think the best thing I can hope for is a very good friend. For one thing, I’m not going to take for granted that she would be interested in me, although there is only one way to find out. For another thing, with my financial situation the way it is, I just don’t see marriage in my future.

Now I know what you are thinking. I just met her and I’m mentioning marriage in my blog the next day. Readers, you have to understand. I have very vivid imaginative daydreams. Whatever this friendship develops into, if anything, is going to be a very slow process. Over the years, I’ve scared women by going too quickly and lost others by not going fast enough. As I told Rebecca earlier today, even if I get a good friend out of this, as a social media companion or a Panera coffee buddy, that’s okay by me. There is always room for one more friend.

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