Tag Archives: holidays

A hectic week is almost finished

Greetings, readers. With a combination of three hours of calls to representatives from healthcare.gov, along with working on the website, I was finally able to procure my health coverage for 2016. The second hour and a half call was necessitated by the fact that for a while it looked like I was going to pay much more for my seizure drugs. It turned out that in actuality, they are much cheaper. After I hung up the phone, I did my happy dance.

As this title implies, lots went on this week. Not necessarily a whole lot of writing other than the blog, but important things none the less. One of the things that took place was a walk downtown to purchase a Christmas gift for my girlfriend. In case she reads this blog entry before Christmas, obviously I can’t spoil her surprise by going into detail at this time. After Christmas, all details will be shared.

On Wednesday, I finished my Christmas decorating, and have burnt lots of scented candles this week for the holiday. I’ve enjoyed such aromas as pumpkin pie, eggnog, and mistletoe and pine tree. When the holidays are over, I’m going to purchase candles with scents such as clean linen or ocean sea breeze. I prefer the light scent of a candle as opposed to the heavy spray of an air freshener.

When the holidays are over and all the decorations come down, I’m going to find a permanent home for a number of things in order to clean out dead furniture. There are several stores in town that sell used furniture and I will try there before I go to the more expensive shops. After all, Keekee with her claws will leave her mark on the first day.

Today the new Star Wars movie officially came out. I do plan to see The Force Awakens, but not on opening weekend. I’m not the kind of person who likes to wait in line for three hours or more. Don’t worry, no spoilers. Feedback from my Facebook friends so far has been rather positive. The three prequel Star Wars movies did not impress me at all. Give me the old cast and the Millennium Falcon any day.

On the subject of movies, I have been looking for the remake of Poltergeist and have not seen it on Netflix yet. I’m not expecting it to be better than the original, but I do enjoy movies dealing with ghosts, poltergeists, and the paranormal.

As far as next week goes, we will have one blog on Wednesday, possibly another one on Thursday, and have Christmas day off. I can’t believe the holiday is almost here. Time marches on. Before I know it, I will be making my new year’s resolutions, saying happy St. Patrick’s Day, and packing up to go to Maine. There went half a year in one sentence. Lol.

Until next week, have a great weekend, continue to enjoy your holiday season, take care, and happy reading.

Whoo-hoot we got a book sale

Greetings, readers. I stopped over at Webster’s Bookstore and Cafe and talked to the owner about any recent sales of my books. I was happily surprised to learn that we did indeed have one sale of Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, my first blog book. I say first blog book, because a second one is in the planning stages. This news has my weekend off to a great start.

After ten straight days of cloudy weather, we are finally seeing slits of blue sky and the reflection of sunshine off some buildings. I was beginning to forget what that big, orange, glowing ball looked like. And yes, my depression was taking a hit. On the way up to work from Webster’s, I chatted with a lady in the building, and at the end of the conversation she told me what a wonderful attitude I had. So, I suppose, even if I’m a bit depressed on the outside, I must be projecting being happy on the outside.

As far as today and the weekend plans go, after our blog entry is posted, I’m going to try to dictate to Rebecca a short story for the final camp book. Either from scratch, or we will work from one that is already in a folder. Tomorrow is our usual Dungeons and Dragons day, and on Sunday I have been invited to a pre-holiday dinner. How wonderful it will be to get a complete and delicious meal. Being a depressed bachelor, my diet is not what it should be.

The holidays are coming up, as we all know, and my place is as decorated as it is going to be. I will be taking my Christmas Eve light ride, watching parades, ball games, and the Christmas Mass from Rome, and doing other traditional holiday things that I have done since childhood. For the past year or so, I’ve felt an overwhelming urge to get back to my roots and be who I was, not who I am now. I almost feel like I want to start over again – now there’s something to talk to my psychologist about.

Here’s wishing everybody a good last week of holiday preparations and shopping. I don’t bake cookies but I’m sure that there will be some delicious dessert at the holiday meal. I am getting my fill of eggnog; I love it but sometimes the spices in it don’t like me too much. Thank goodness for Prilosec.

Until Wednesday, have a great weekend, stay warm, and happy reading.

Top ten list of favorite holidays

Greetings, readers. Today’s top ten list, as you can see by the title, is my favorite holidays. So here they are and one through five are in order.

#10. Valentine’s Day [I used to love this holiday, but with my luck with the opposite gender not being so good, this holiday has slipped way down on my list.]

#9. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day [When Mom and Dad were alive, I would get them nice gifts and sometimes I would buy Mom flowers. Now that they are both gone, I visit their gravesites on those days.]

#8. Memorial Day [As a kid I loved Memorial Day for on that weekend the Indianapolis 500 race would be on TV. It is one of my favorite sporting events. Also this holiday meant the end of the school year was soon approaching and summer time would soon begin.]

#7. Labor Day [This is the day where the workers of the United States are honored, and when I was a kid it meant the end of summer and school would begin the next day.]

#6. St. Patrick’s Day [It is an Irish holiday and the tradition is that everyone should dress up with some green in their outfit. I always enjoyed doing this. A couple of years ago I plumb forgot and was teased, though in fun, by my friends at Panera Cafe. I also enjoy the holiday because green just happens to be one of my favorite colors.]

#5. 4th of July [When I was living at home, I would always watch the New York Macy’s 4th of July fireworks, which was shown on a New York TV station that our cable company picked up. I watched it for at least a decade before they went with alternate programing. Now, kitty cat Keekee and I watch our local fireworks from the living room window on the top floor of my apartment building. The window faces Beaver Stadium where the fireworks are shown.]

#4. Easter [In my youth I enjoyed getting all dressed up in my Sunday best for church. Later when I officially became Catholic, I enjoyed getting palms on Palm Sunday and attending midnight Mass on Easter Eve. Many good memories with Mom and Dad over those years.]

#3. Thanksgiving [Another one of my biggies. As a family oriented person, I always enjoyed holidays such as Thanksgiving where the family got together, watched parades, football, and eat that delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. This year I am going to watch my parade as usual and partake of the Thanksgiving meal served at one of the local diners. I did that last year and found the day quite satisfying.]

#2. New Year’s Day [New Year’s Eve and Day go together for me. I would always watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, drink some champagne with Mom and Dad on the stroke of midnight. On the day itself, one of my favorite things to do was watch the Cotton bowl game on New Year’s morning. After a day of football and making New Year’s resolutions, the holiday season draws to a close.]

#1. Christmas [My all time favorite holiday. Even as a small child, I knew Mom and Dad bought the presents but I still believed in Santa Claus. I always enjoyed watching Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a wonderful story told be Burl Ives in that version. In recent years, I concentrate more on the meaning of Christmas, buying myself only a small present perhaps, but I do decorate my tiny apartment. Watching such classics as A Christmas Carol, and TV channel 11’s Yule Log, are must dos, along with plenty of egg nog in between Christmas and New Year’s Day.]

Well, there they are. Most of them are in order. As always please feel free to chime in with your list. Add it on Facebook if you wish. I know that people of other faiths and in other countries celebrate different holidays, and feel free to share about those too.

As always, have a good day and weekend, take care, and happy reading.

A year in my early life

Greetings, readers. I’m glad to see that WordPress is back up and running at full force. And I have a blog topic to share with you that I was thinking about last night. So here goes.

Usually my year begins in September. Now I know that sounds odd and is completely incorrect. However, let me explain. You see, as some of you might know, I have vacationed in the state of Maine since I was five years old – that was 1970. My two weeks at camp to me felt more like Christmas. It had that special feeling to it. Like when little children come downstairs and see that lit up Christmas tree.

Anyway. Come September the new school year would begin. New classmates, new friends, new teachers and books. And for the first couple of days everything would be wonderful. Then, of course, came the homework assignments and that first dreaded test. September still had that new feeling to it. But by the third week, friendships had been formed, cliques had been made and you were either accepted or you weren’t.

October. Leaves began changing colors. The temperature began to get a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter. Looking back on it now, October was one of my favorite months. I love Halloween. The last time I went trick or treating, I was fairly old for such an event and no costume you could buy from a store fit me. So I took my dad’s old grey raincoat, an old hat, and a toy machine gun that clearly did not look real, and I went as Al Capone. I still remember scaring the poor old lady in the house up the street. She screamed, slammed the door, and turned off the porch light. When I told my mother what had happened, she made me go apologize the next morning, which of course I did.

November. The trees are now either bare, or the few leaves that are still on the trees are mostly brown. It is cold, dreary, and the whole landscape begins to appear dead. Though football season was still in full swing, the first two weeks of November for me were usually depressing, because I enjoy warm weather, green grass, and trees in full foliage. I could not wait for Thanksgiving. Every year, my parents and I would sit in front of the television and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Having Cerebral Palsy, I had a devilishly hard time controlling my emotions, and even into my early teens, when Santa Claus passed by the Macy’s store on 34th street, signifying the beginning of the Christmas season, I got emotional. Am I embarrassed to say that now? No, because now I know what it was; it was simply what I mentioned – a weakness caused by a brain injury. Thanksgiving would be topped off with two great football games and a scrumptious dinner with turkey and all the trimmings made at home. Nothing like the holiday meals. : )

December brings Christmas. Yes, snow and cold is now fully entrenched and there shall be many months of it to come. More times than not I would stay inside warm and snug. Can you all say, “Joe is not a cold weather person.”? To get ready for my favorite holiday of the year, my folks and I would always choose one day to drive to K-Mart and allow me to push my own cart while they walked behind me, pretending not to see what I was buying them. Most years I actually saved up enough allowance money to get everybody something half-decent. One year I remember buying Pop a lighted replica of the Old Main building. I don’t think he know that it lit up. When I showed him, he smiled and kept it lit in his office for weeks – I guess until the bulb burned out.

Christmas music is especially important to me. When I would go to Christmas Eve service with Mom and Dad as a child, I would always delight in singing “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “Hark! The Harold Angels Sing,” and “Silent Night.” When the Christmas service was almost over the very last hymn was “Silent Night, Holy Night.” One of my most cherished childhood memories was of the lights dimming in the church, everyone taking their candles and lighting them and singing that beautiful song. I was always afraid that I was going to drip wax on myself, scream, drop the candle, and set the church on fire. Luckily that never happened. When the song was over and the lights would come up again, it would be midnight and Christmas morning. *

December 31st going into New Year’s morning is truly my favorite time of year, folks. I remember sitting in the living room watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s show, sipping either Champagne or sparkling grape juice, while ringing in the new year with hugs, kisses, and my mother’s un-patented, traditional, Happy New Year’s shout on the front porch, followed by a whooping yell.

Then came the down time. After all the college bowl games were over in January came the long winter. Complete with cold, snow, and ice. Today it doesn’t seem to snow as much here in central Pennsylvania as it did in the 70s and 80s. Throughout the rest of the winter my friend David and I would either listen to records or play a short game of Nerf football outside. I certainly didn’t like being cold and I don’t think he did either. Now let’s jump to early Spring.

April. Hooray, hooray. It’s the beginning of baseball season. That truly is my favorite sport. With the boys of summer back, this time of year also brings the Crocuses, the fresh green buds on the trees, and the smell of spring. To me winter has no smell. It smells dead. Also the Easter holiday rolls around. All the men, women, and children would arrive at the church that we would go to in their Easter best. Little boys in suits and ties, looking miserable, and little girls in dresses, white stockings, black shoes, and ribbons in their hair. I must admit somehow I think the little girls liked to dress up for Easter.

May and June. The last couple months of school had finally arrived. Projects were beginning to wind down and everyone was excited about the summer to come. Kids started talking about where they would go on vacation. Some teachers eased up on homework just a bit and during my elementary years, we could all finally go back outside for recess. My favorite game was kickball. I was fairly good at it and only once did I hit someone with the ball so hard that it hurt him. I felt terrible. I remember he said something like, “Am I bleeding?” I answered, “No.” And he told me to forget it; no harm, no foul. The last day of school was always more or less of a joke. A formality. There was not going to be any homework, there would be no tests. In my early years of schooling, we actually had parties. In junior high and high school, we might watch a film or all hang out in the auditorium and reminisce about the year that was.

July brought my birthday. Some years, Mom would take me swimming to the local pool. If there was a carnival in town, we might attend that. But most years it was steaks on the grill, Hires root beer, and lots of happy memories with the neighborhood kids, playing Wiffle ball, lawn darts, and Nerf football.

And then, lo and behold, August would roll around once more. It would be my second New Year, as it would be time to go back to camp and recharge my batteries for another year. I would count down the days until we packed up the car and left for Maine.

Hopefully this longer than usual post has made up for a few days that I did not post anything. If any of you want to share your memories of childhood, religious celebrations, school, or anything else, please feel free to do so in the comments. As always, take care and happy reading.

*The paragraph on Christmas music came from the earlier blog post The importance of music in my life, from May 10, 2012. It said what I wanted to say for this piece so well that I copied and pasted it.