Tag Archives: Greetings Readers

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.

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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

Rebecca and I have been working together for 7 years tomorrow

Greetings, readers. I can’t believe it has been seven years already since Rebecca agreed to be my typist and editor. That job quickly morphed into personal assistant, but that is okay. The main job is writing. After almost seven years together, we have put out over 600 blog entries, three books, and part of a book (written by Rebecca’s husband Darren) based on a play I wrote before we started working together. Oh, and by the way, that book is coming soon.

Yes, we’re very excited about Four’s a Crowd. Although we still have one or two edits to go, I’ve read the project and it is awesome. You’ll love it. Very soon Rebecca is going to begin putting it into the CreateSpace formatted templet, cutting and pasting each chapter in place, and we need to write a book description, before uploading the file to the publisher. Then it will be time to order proofs and we are going to do our final edit right on the pages. Proofs are never for sale, so what the heck, let’s mark them up.

When the book comes out, I’m going to go to Webster’s bookstore across the street and ask the owner, a personal friend of mine, if she would take several copies on consignment and push them. The worst thing she could say is no. I already have a few people from Facebook who I will go out on a limb and say will be guaranteed buyers. I have one phrase for you folks: Spread the word … please.

I’m extremely excited about this project, and Darren, who had lost all hope when things were moving slowly, has renewed enthusiasm as well. I’m not going to set an exact release date, but let’s just put it in the ballpark of January or February of 2018. I think we can do it. Updates as they happen.

Finally, prayers and good wishes go out to those families affected by the California wild fires, and by Hurricane Nate. I don’t know how long those fires will burn, but from what I saw on TV, they have already ruined several wine vineyards. Expect the price of wine from California to skyrocket. Also, an R.I.P and condolences to Tom Petty, a great singer, and his grieving family and friends.

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

Sharing another story from my second book with you

Greetings, readers. I am sharing a story, “Going Down the Runway,” from my second camp book, published in 2012 from CreateSpace.com. I have written three books that I published using CreateSpace, a publish-on-demand site which I have had good experiences using. I am proud of all of them and the hard work I put into them. All three books are available through CreateSpace, or through Amazon. The first two, about Bear Spring Camps, are also available on Kindle (I haven’t put the third one on that platform yet.) In case you are interested in looking them up, here is the information to find them. You can find most of same information on the Books for Sale page.

My first book, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3625476, Amazon.com, and Amazon Kindle. I have shared two stories from this book in the blog before, about a tribute to my mother the year she passed away, and about when I fell asleep fishing.

My second book, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, is the one I am sharing a story from today. It is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3674407, and Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle. I shared one story from this book already, about a run-away boat.

My third book, Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, has entries from my first year of doing this blog. It is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3678800, and Amazon.com.

Without further ado, here is the story. I certainly hope you enjoy it.

Going Down the Runway – The worst mishap the Galileo ever
endured was due to lack of planning. It was a hot breezy afternoon.
David, Pop, and I decided to cool ourselves down with a long boat
ride. Mom decided to stay behind on the porch with a cool drink. We
were going to go to the other side of Great Pond where any breeze
might be stronger. It was an area that none of us went to very often.
After we got back, I wished that I had, the night before, asked Mr.
Mosher for a lake map that I could study before we left. But I didn’t.

The ride started out in North Bay as usual. We then started
making our way through Chutes Channel to the other side. We were
enjoying our ride with the Galileo’s throttle open to full. She was
getting a good workout. On this rare occasion, I was not at the helm.
Dave had taken a turn driving and then Pop took his turn; a rarity for
Dad. I should have been paying attention to his driving so that I
could assist him as needed, but I didn’t think of it.

It was during Pop’s turn at the wheel when the minor tragedy
occurred. We were on our way back to North Bay (where we knew
what the markers meant) but we were unsure of the markers on the
other side. He had to navigate the Galileo in an area where rocks
were abundant. On one side was a row of green markers and on the
other side, approximately ten yards away on the left, was a row of
red markers. Pop must have thought that in between the rows of
markers was the danger zone. As it turns out, it was the safe passage.
Just like landing an aircraft, we should have aimed right down the
middle of the runway. Pop veered to the right toward the rocks.

By this point in the ride, I was sitting in the front passenger area
half asleep. I got a rude awakening. As the propeller smacked
against a boulder just underneath the water surface, the Galileo came
out of the water for a fraction of a second. Pop immediately brought
the boat to a halt. As he lifted the engine up with the automatic
lifting device, he asked, “Davey, do you see any damage?”

Dave, though not really wanting to be the bearer of bad news,
replied, “Um, yes, sir, there is.”

I quickly walked back to where the engine was. Luckily the boat
itself was undamaged. To this day, I don’t know how the propeller
was the only thing that hit the rock, but it happened. With the
propeller in the mangled shape it was in, we weren’t getting out of
that spot on our own. I reached into the glove box, got the air horn, and blew it to call for help. After several minutes, someone came to
our aid and carefully got us out of the rocky situation we were in.

Once back in deep water, the ride home was slow but
uneventful. The propeller was just useable enough for us to drive our
boat back to our dock at the slowest possible speed, although the
engine put out a rough quiver. I kept thinking to myself, now how
am I going to explain this to Mother? Pop assured me that he would
take full responsibility. I felt guilty, yet relieved.

That evening, Mother went up to supper early to place a call to
the marina right before it closed. A mechanic was up the next
morning to not only install the new propeller but to inspect the
engine for any other damage. To my relief, when the new propeller
was put on, everything else checked out ok. Mom told all of us that
she would greatly appreciate it if we would stay on our side of the
lake.

The next morning, Uncle Cy, David, and I planned and partook
of a fishing trip. The engine started up as usual and ran smoothly. I
purposely opened her up to full throttle to check for any vibration.
Thankfully, it was as though the entire incident never happened.

A month or so later, when the marina bill was sent to our home
in Pennsylvania, Mom showed me how much the new propeller cost.
I felt like crawling under the rock that we had hit.

A major writing idea has finally hit me

Greetings, readers. After pondering for many weeks about what personal writing project I will do, I came to a conclusion.  I was looking at an old proof copy of Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, the book with blog entries from my first of being a blogger. I realized one big mistake I made. I was charging people money to read what they could read on my site for free, with very little new content.

Last night the idea hit me: Since I love blogging, and I dare say I am fairly good at it, why not write blog entries exclusively for the new book? Does this mean I will give up writing in this space? Absolutely not. Rebecca and I will continue to blog here on WordPress on Wednesdays and Thursdays. And I/we will also create blog entries for the new book, tentatively titled Greetings, Readers 2 (subtitle to come later.)

This is the first that Rebecca has heard of the idea and I don’t know what she thinks of it. I have been told by a number of people to go with my strengths. We have been blogging for 5 years come December and we now have 550 entries. If I could create between 60 and 80 extra entries, exclusively for the book, that might be the ticket.

On a short side note, I already know what topic I will blog about tomorrow. I’ve been watching very bad B movies on YouTube recently and I will share my experiences about some of them with you tomorrow.

Please, readers, if you wish to leave a comment, suggestion, or a thumbs up or down, about my writing project idea, please do so in the comment section or on Facebook. If there is a topic you want to see me cover, here or in a new book, let me know.

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

Taking stock of my life

Greetings, readers. Over the last few days, I have experienced something which I must admit is worrying me. I was going to call this blog stop the world, I want to get off, but realized we already have two entries by that title. Here is what is going on.

I’m depressed and I shouldn’t be. I have everything I need, minus a car. My financial situation, though not ideal, is doable. I have plenty of free time, and good friends in the building who care about me. I also have a therapist who I see once a week. Couple that with me being on anti-depressants and I should be as happy as a clam and bouncing off the walls. I am not.

I feel like time is slipping away from me. I’ll be 51 years old in a little over a month, and the realization has hit me that more years are behind me than are in front. The three books that I have written weren’t big sellers at all and new material is once again stuck behind a brick wall. I vividly remember when I was in my 20s sitting down and cranking out 10 pages a day sometimes. I fear the well has dried up. If my seizure problems have truly affected my creativity, I’m in trouble.

Recently, I’ve found things I like to watch on YouTube and they consist of full flight real-life airplane videos. You read correctly. A man gets on an airplane, straps the camera to the armrest of his seat, aims it out the window towards the wing of the plane, and you get to experience the entire flight gate to gate. It is actually quite beneficial as background sleeping noise. The other night I watched one of his longer videos, a nine and a half hour journey from Helsinki, Finland to Tokyo, Japan, via Russia. It was an overnight flight, which afforded viewers a new perspective. Once the airplane was airborne, he aimed the camera towards the ceiling and you got to experience the flight attendants walking by, serving drinks and dinner. Ultra realistic. I also continue to watch and listen to nature sounds and other white noise.

I keep thinking of my parents and my old home. I ask myself what they might be doing at this time of the day or evening. Though reminiscing is fun, I’ve been doing a lot more looking backwards than forwards. I feel like I am going into a shell, not wanting to experience life anymore. I see my psychologist tomorrow and this blog entry will be the first thing we discuss.

Lastly, I’ve begun to make short YouTube videos, a vlog if you will, but no format or schedule has been set up. I enjoy making those videos, but fear not, I will continue writing this blog.

Rebecca and I may put a blog up tomorrow, because I have a doctor’s appointment on Friday during work hours. So until then, enjoy your day, take care, and happy reading.

It is a lazy day Wednesday

Greetings, readers. Have you ever had one of those days, when you feel completely unmotivated to do anything? Well, today is one of those days for me. It is a gorgeous day outside, not a cloud in the sky. We had our meeting with the accountant, and once we got up to the office, the engine went into neutral.

Rebecca and I started talking about politics, for our primary is this coming Tuesday. Who will I vote for? Gee that is a toss up. Quite frankly I don’t think any candidate is a great choice, but probably Hillary Clinton is the most qualified. With Mr. Trump also winning New York, that edges him closer to however many delegates he needs for the GOP nomination. If he gets elected, and has four miserable years, I just know that the rest of the world will say that we got trumped. Or if he does something right, they will say the president is playing his trump card. Can you see all the one-liners, folks?

Every day before writing the blog entry, Rebecca and I go over our blog statistics. Numbers have been good recently, such as visits to the About page and to the Home Page/Archives. We have been excited to also have some views on the page of My Books for Sale. Allow me to take this opportunity right here to tell you, my readers, that on my CreateSpace.com page, I have lowered the price on my three books. It will probably be a permanent drop. As far as I can see, the prices on the Amazon site have not dropped for they control those prices; I am not sure if I have any say on how much they charge for my books. They are available from certain book outlets, but I’m not sure how much it would cost to request it from your local book store.

Lastly, there is a brand new building going up near my apartment complex which is starting to take shape now, but the construction is causing major headaches for mid-day to rush hour traffic. When finished, one of the stores it will have that I can’t wait to check out is a new Target, the second for the State College area. There are a few movies I wish to look for and if I can get them for a good price, I’ll snatch them up. One of the films that is on my to-get list is the 1963 version of Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor. If I can get it for under $30, it is mine.

For a blog entry that wasn’t thought out too much, I hope this turned out well. Until Friday, take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

Thank you readers for staying with us. Here is #500.

Greetings, readers. When Rebecca and I began this blog in late 2011, I never dreamed that we would still be going now. Not only are we still going, but numbers and popularity seem to be on the rise. I know quite a few regular readers personally. I love it. Today’s entry is going to be a thank you and a quick recap of some of our most popular blog posts.

It is with my deepest gratitude and my appreciation that I say a heartfelt thank you to all the people who have read this blog over the years. Some of my regular readers leave comments, and I take the time to read and respond to each and every one of them. It helps me to have that feedback and connection when it happens. I am grateful to the readers who have reached out to me.

The most read blog entry, by far, is still Top ten list of Air Crash Investigation stories, from September 2013. This probably is caused by the continued search for the downed Air Malaysia 370 flight. But I also know from the search terms used that I can see in the stats, that a lot of the views for this entry are from fans of the show. I also am a fan, which why I wrote it in the first place. It still intrigues me that so many look at this entry each and every day. It is always at the top of the stats or near it. Many people have also looked at my follow up about the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team crash, though not as many have looked at that as have looked at my post In memory of Air Florida Flight 90. Suffice it to say, that the blog entries about airliners and airline disasters seem to be my most popular.

Another entry that comes up a lot in the stats every month is the one I wrote in 2012, Remembering my father, Professor Joseph J. Kockelmans, and that truly warms my heart. The majority of comments I have received have been from former students of his, and their kind words about my father are special to me. To think that Pop is still enriching people’s lives years after his passing is truly amazing.

The entry that Rebecca and I still get a chuckle about is the Top ten list of modern conveniences, from February 2013. Rebecca and I both think that it’s being used as a teaching aid, perhaps in a college or university. If any of our regular readers know what this entry is actually used for so often, please do tell. We would love to know.

The From Rebecca series is also quite popular I’ve noticed, and they do get many reads, which I’m sure puts a smile on Rebecca’s face. I think it is cool too. The one that keeps coming up so much is From Rebecca: A little bit in a hurry. We don’t know why. It was written in August of 2012 while I was on the road to Maine a few years ago.

We have a direct link to Facebook and Twitter. My friends on both social medias learn about the new blog entry almost immediately after it is published. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that more and more of my friends are coming over from there to read my blog. I am extremely happy about this. I have 250 some odd friends on Facebook, and it is exciting to see the numbers that are generated from there. They seem to especially respond when I write about something extremely personal, which I will admit I don’t do all the time. I’ve known some of them for many years, and I care about them as much as they seem to care about me.

As I’ve said before, I have no immediate plans to end the blog. I am seriously considering self-publishing a second blog book. Most of my 500 entries were written after the first book, Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, was published in 2013. Rebecca and I will work on that quite soon.

It is with my utmost joy and appreciation that I close this entry by once again saying thank you to you my readers who have kept this blog such a joy for me to write. Until Friday, have a great couple of days, take care, and, as always, happy reading.

Top ten list of the best things I’ve ever done

Greetings, readers. Here is a top ten list of highlights from my life, plus one honorable mention. They are eleven things or events which I’ve done, that every time I look back on them they bring a smile to my face. Only #1 and #2 are in definitive order. So I hope you enjoy.

#10. Taking a cross-country trip from Pennsylvania to California with my Aunt Marilyn. [Circa the late 70s or early 80s.]

#9. My transatlantic crossing on the Queen Elizabeth 2. [1973. Mom, Dad, Grandma, and I sat at the captain’s table. I have a photo of Dad and me in white hats, on board the ship, most likely on the way to dinner.]

#8. While married to Georgia Barnhart, we took a cross-country trip, via the southern states, to visit my mother-in-law in California, and the subsequent trip to Disneyland.

#7. As a child, learning to play Christmas Carols on my organ. [Ordinarily I’m not good with instruments, but the chords were one finger touch for my weak left hand, so I was able to learn some songs to play for my parents.]

#6. Becoming the Godfather to David and Geri’s older daughter Ashley. I also treasure becoming part of my best friend’s wife’s family as their uncle figure. [Extremely rewarding.]

#5. Meeting and remaining good friends over many years with David Trost, Rebecca Taylor, Georgia Barnhart & Jim Sneeringer.

#4. Wrote my three books and had them published through CreateSpace.com. [I am also proud of my play which got a staged reading at a nearby playhouse, and is currently being turned into a novel by Darren. I also wrote a screenplay for a Charlie’s Angels TV movie back in the day.]

#3. Started my blog in December 2011.

#2. My various trips to Europe with my parents. [Especially Rome, Italy and Amsterdam, Holland.]

#1. Going to Bear Spring Camps in central Maine.

Honorable Mention: Giving several performances of my lip-sync air-guitar show in my apartment building, including a tribute concert to a late friend, Erin Beish.

Well, there you have it. As most of my steady readers will note, Bear Spring Camps is #1. No big shock there folks. Until next week, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.