Tag Archives: Joe

From Rebecca: Darren and I went on a date today

Joe said yesterday that he was taking today off for personal business and dictating the blog entry, but he is feeling under the weather and he asked me to put an entry up. Feel better soon, Joe!

My husband Darren and I decided to go on a date today and get out of the apartment together for a while. We ate at Olive Garden and it was a good experience. We had plenty of bread sticks, salad, and pasta, and it was all delicious; we ate just enough to be full without being uncomfortable. We get take out fast food a lot, but we don’t often go to a restaurant to sit and eat there together. It was nice and we had a good time.

While we were out, we did a few errands, like getting gas for the car. It rained off and on, which was irritating, but we didn’t get too wet by the end. All in all, we had about four hours out and about, and came home satisfied.

I hope you all are having a really good day. Joe will be back next Wednesday. As he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

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From Rebecca: I made a change to the blog page

Hi, Joe’s readers. When we look at the number of views for the blog, Joe and I notice that each post day a lot of his views come from Facebook. The statistics page breaks down the number of views from Twitter, Facebook, and the WordPress reader. So I was a bit bummed to see a notice from WordPress that they will no longer automatically send each blog entry to post on Joe’s Facebook profile page. We both like sharing with our friends and family on Facebook, and also it cuts down on the number of views. Double bummer.

I was looking at the blog site settings to see if there was a toggle to switch back on (there isn’t) when I noticed a feature I had forgotten about. Under each individual entry is a section of sharing buttons, and Facebook is one of them. From now on, we will just use that button to share on Facebook. While I was in settings, I also saw a place to click so that these share buttons show up on the home page, under each entry. Cool! I called Joe to ask if he minded if I make this change, and he gave the okay. So I added some buttons for other places to share, and clicked the box to have the buttons on the front page, too. Please let us know how you like it, or if you don’t.

While I had Joe on the phone, he said it was hot in Maine this year and that he was having fun. He had me put the phone on speaker so he could say a few words to Princess Josie. When she heard his voice, she tilted her head and sniffed the phone. So cute.

Well, next week Joe will back here and blogging. Until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I AM writing this blog entry from Joe’s old laptop

Hello, Joe’s readers. Joe’s old laptop is slower than I am used to writing on anymore, but it seems to be working just fine now that the security update is finished. It started last Thursday, and finished today when I turned the computer on again. I didn’t use the laptop in between because I wasn’t writing a blog entry until today.

Joe is having a good time in Maine and even did some swimming in the lake as it is hotter than usual up there this year. I have talked to him a couple of times while he has been gone.

Princess Josie, his cat, has been a handful today. I have been checking up on her since last Thursday, but haven’t stayed very long on those visits. Today and tomorrow I have hours to spend with her, and she is using that time. She is demanding many head rubs and a lot of attention. It made it difficult for me to do some of the file sorting I am doing with the extra hours without Joe here. I have half a trash bag of paper and envelopes to throw out and a huge envelope of paper to be shredded. Quite an achievement with Josie needing attention in the middle of the sorting.

Those of you who are regular readers know that in the past I have taken care of Joe’s late cat Keekee on this long vacation week. I will say this about Josie, she doesn’t shed as much as Keekee did. Keekee was a lot calmer and less exasperating, but I would take handfuls of fur off when petting her. (I really miss Keekee right now.) Josie is a one-year-old ball of energy who keeps jumping on the table and trying to get into my papers. She is sweet though, when she is playing hockey with a bottle lid or when she takes a rest. I’m glad I have the chance to know her.

On another topic, it stopped raining around here for a couple of days, but we got hot muggy weather instead. I felt like I was going to melt by the time I got to work today. It is forecast to rain today and tonight. I don’t know if the humidity will get better or not. On the plus side, humid and hot is normal for August in Pennsylvania. When was the last time we had a normal weather month? Maybe I should be celebrating as I slog through the seasonal heavy air.

I will have another blog entry tomorrow. Until then, as Joe writes, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Four’s a Crowd is published!

Joe hit the button at CreateSpace.com at noon today and published Four’s a Crowd! The novel that Darren adapted from Joe’s play Kimberly will be on sale on Amazon in 3-5 business days. Joe was a little disappointed that Four’s a Crowd wasn’t available right away, but I guess Amazon needs a few days to get the product page set up.

If you are interested in what the book is about, here is the description we have on the back cover:

Lyle and Kimberly Detmore are a young married couple who have settled into a quiet life together. Henry and Alice Detmore are an older married couple who were having a good life before their health issues forced them to sell their home. They moved in with their son, Lyle, and the daughter-in-law that Alice has never liked.

It doesn’t take long after they move in for the two women to begin exchanging sharp words and the men to take cover. Battle lines are drawn. The house is filled with yelling, tears, slamming doors, misunderstandings, fears, secrets, and unexpected news.

Underlying it all is the love between husband and wife, child and parent. Can these four people figure out how to solve their problems and live in peace as a family before it is too late?

It took us all more than four years to get to this point, and here it is, even if there is another slight delay. Thanks for joining in our celebration. I am so proud of Darren and Joe for writings these characters and their stories. Hooray!

Joe will be back on Wednesday. Have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Getting Four’s a Crowd ready for publication

As Joe wrote yesterday, he is using a personal day today, and I am doing the blog post. Regular readers know that my husband Darren adapted Joe’s play Kimberly into a novel, Four’s a Crowd. They have been working on it for over four years now, and it is finally close to being published.

Darren and Joe are going through the second proof now, making the final changes. When they are done, probably in the next week or two, we will submit the updated file to CreateSpace and then the book will be available to the public. It is so exciting to be this close.

We have all three put so much work into this book. Joe created four unique characters in his play, and with his feedback Darren expanded them and their world in a novel. I gave advice and edited as best I could, and, plugged everything into CreateSpace’s formatted template. My main correction for the second proof has been to fix indent markers on two chapters that didn’t get done the first time I tackled that problem. Technology grrr. It looks like I got that problem fixed now.

CreateSpace will automatically put the published book on Amazon for us, and we have high hopes for selling it, but we aren’t sure yet how to reach people other than our friends and family to see and buy the novel. Joe and Darren have worked so hard on it, and written a great story of a family overcoming personality conflicts and challenges from aging to find unity. It would be so disappointing if it didn’t sell. I guess the only way to find out is to go forward, do our best, and hope.

Watch this space for updates, and our big announcement once we do publish Four’s a Crowd. I can hardly wait.

From Rebecca: Time alone in the apartment

Joe is writing alone today while I write this post from home, and my husband Darren had an appointment this morning, so I had a few hours by myself in the apartment. Because of our schedules, this is an unusual luxury for me. The whole place is mine!

I got up, took a shower, made coffee, and ate cereal as normal. Then I spent the rest of the time watching shows that Darren doesn’t like. First I enjoyed Father Brown on Netflix streaming and then I watched The View on ABC. I haven’t been able to watch The View much in a decade or so, though I have watched it off and on since it began in 1997. Where we live, it is broadcast opposite The Price is Right, which both Daren and I love, so that is what we usually watch together – with the exception of a segment or so when he is in the shower.

It is a little embarrassing that my ideal plan for time alone is watching television, but there you go. Darren and I have shows that we both like and watch together, but we also have shows that one of us likes and the other one doesn’t. I go to bed a couple of hours after Darren, and that is when I usually watch stuff that he absolutely doesn’t like. Darren gets up a couple of hours before me and he can watch stuff I really don’t like, though he has time alone in the apartment when I am at work or on Sunday afternoons. It is a system that works for us, for the most part.

On another subject, I met Joe’s new cat Princess Josie yesterday. She is bigger than I thought she’d be for some reason, though obviously still a kitten. She took a great interest in my shoes, and in my armpit – in a way that reminded me of Keekee because she did the same thing. PJ also tried to get on the work table we set up with the laptop on it, but we had to stop her; that is a habit we don’t want her to get into, in case she accidently erases a day’s work with one paw on the keyboard.

Joe left me a voicemail message earlier, saying that he has written a lot today with the voice recognition program. He also remembered that he might have promised a short story for his blog readers as yesterday’s entry, did I remember that too? I looked up last Thursday’s post, and sure enough he did promise that. Joe does like to finish a post with a promise for next week’s content, and then by the time the next week is here he has another topic in mind. Oh, well. The short story, based on a dream Joe once had, is written and might need one edit, so it will be posted here one day soon. Stay tuned.

Next Wednesday Joe will be back with a blog post. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Hi, having a quiet day

Greetings, Joe’s readers. I am having a low-key day, hanging around with my husband Darren, doing some apartment cleaning later, some book work, an hour or so of playing a board game later with Darren, and waiting to hear an update from Joe. He has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon about his heart, and hopefully he will find out what is going on with it soon, without needing more tests first. If I may speak on his behalf, knowing Joe, he will probably let you know any definite news the week after he gets it. Good luck, Joe.

Darren, Joe, and I have been working on Darren’s novel Four’s a Crowd based on Joe’s play Kimberly for the last half decade. We’ll make progress on it for a while, then it will stall, then we will pick it up again, and so on. Right now I am doing work on it before we send it for the second proof. We all wanted the book to be ready to publish by now, but it stalled on my watch. I picked it up again, then ran into problems that took a bit to figure out. The other day, I was sitting here frustrated because the formatted software I was working with did something that I needed to undo and didn’t know how yet. UGH! Darren listened to me groan and moan for a while and then said it wasn’t worth it, maybe bag the whole thing. No, I can get this, don’t give up on it when we are so close. I think I have everything figured out for the moment. I need to change a bunch of tabs by moving the margin line, update the chapter page number index, and add the front cover attribution, then it should be ready for the second and hopefully last proof. So close to publishing it!

In other news, I need a new coffee maker. My late mother gave me the one I have now, almost fourteen years ago when Darren and I moved into our apartment. I use it once a day, don’t let it stay on past half an hour, and vinegar is regularly, so it has held up a long time. But it needs to be cleaned with vinegar every month now instead of every six months, steams a lot more when brewing, and it takes twenty minutes to make four cups. I don’t like change and I don’t want to lose something my mother gave me, but every time it makes a series of loud hissing sounds like it is demonic or a giant angry cat, I know the coffee maker is on its last legs and I need to replace it. I’m bummed, but I know that I will get used to the new coffee maker. I usually come around in the end when things change.

Not much else to say today. I had a few topics I thought about writing about, but I couldn’t get any to gel and develop enough for a blog entry. I will say I was really impressed by last Saturday’s (3/24/18) March for Our Lives, the rally in Washington D.C. for gun reform laws, and the other rallies across the country that joined in. There is a lot to despair in the world these days, but seeing the youngest generation be so strong, focused, and vocal about a shared goal gave me a lot of hope for the future.

Joe will be back next Wednesday, and probably Thursday as well. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: The luxury of a good sleep-in

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Joe took a personal day today, so I am writing today’s post from the comfort of my own home, which makes me lucky because it is raining outside right now. Since I didn’t have to get up at my usual time when working with Joe, I was able to sleep in late. I have a habit of going to bed about seven, sometimes six and a half, hours before I get up, so I rarely get a full eight hours of sleep. This morning I decided to get all eight hours in bed, and though I did spend the last hour drifting in and out of light sleep and checking the clock a bit, it was good. It was relaxing, almost decadent, and nice. Hours later, I am still feeling rested and satisfied.

Ordinarily, I trade a full night’s sleep for other pleasures. It will be eight hours before I need to get up, but instead of going to bed then, I’ll want to watch one more TV show, or to look at just a few more websites, or to read one more page/section/chapter in my book. The next hour slips away and then it is really time for me to get ready for bed if I want at least seven hours of sleep. I take my blood pressure medication and my multi-vitamin, brush and floss my teeth, use the bathroom, turn out the living room lights, and go join my husband in bed.

Like Joe, who gets up early in the morning and goes to bed before midnight, my husband Darren gets up a few hours before I do, and goes to bed a few hours before I do, too. This arrangement gives us each time to ourselves when the other is sleeping, and I think we each enjoy the chance to do private things, like watching shows the other spouse doesn’t like, or having our own thoughts without interruption. He enjoys the early morning time, and I enjoy the late night hours.

This is a bit off topic, but since I have mentioned bed a few times, and when is the next time that happens in this blog, there is one thing I will add. Darren and I have said for years that there is one bit of advice that we would give to couples if we had the chance: Have separate blankets. We have never shared a blanket and it has worked wonders for us. I run cooler than Darren, so I use a sheet and two comforters in the winter, a sheet and light blanket in the summer. Darren uses one comforter in the winter and often a light blanket in the summer. Except on very hot nights when my bedding gets on his side too much, this arrangement works year in and year out. We are not fighting over them. I slip into bed, and I am moving just my covers and not his. He gets out of bed, and he is shoving his covers off to the floor and not mine. Paradise. We highly recommend separate blankets.

Back to the main topic. I hope you all have a chance for a well-rested day, or even more than one! I like my other pleasures too much to start getting to bed earlier on a regular basis, but I will remember this feeling and choose eight hours in bed more often. It is nice.

Joe will be back on Wednesday. Until then, I hope you end each day dry and comfortable and safe, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Our Souls at Night

There is a new film on Netflix streaming that I have been watching in parts for the last week and finished today, called Our Souls at Night. It stars Jane Fonda as Addie Moore and Robert Redford as Louis Waters. It is a gentle slow-moving story of two people connecting to one another after decades of living in the same town. It is based on a book by Kent Haruf, which I see our local library has in its collection.

Our Souls at Night starts with two lonely people who have trouble sleeping at night, until Addie knocks on Louis’s door and asks him over to sleep in her bed. She isn’t proposing sex, just that they talk and keep each other company in order to fall asleep. He needs some time to think about it, but then agrees. It is awkward at first, but as they eat dinner together and lie down in the same bed, they begin to talk about the events of their lives and the choices they made. They become friends and companions. The town starts to gossip about them, and they brave it out. Partway through the film Addie’s grandson Jamie arrives to stay with her, played by Iain Armitage (the actor who now plays Sheldon Cooper in Young Sheldon on CBS). Having Jamie living there changes and adds to the relationship developing between Louis and Addie.

There is not much action in this movie, just the two main characters interacting with each other and other people. The big actions in the story come from decisions contemplated and emotional risks taken. There are no shouting matches, smashed dishes, or dramatic reveals. Just mature adults in relationships with the various people in their lives doing the best they can. By the end of the film, they have both faced mistakes from their pasts, and worked to make the damage better. The performances by Robert Redford and Jane Fonda are strong, understated, and good, from the first awkward pauses to the last comfortable conversation.

I plan to recommend this film for Joe, given his love of On Golden Pond. The films are very different, but they do both have as a plot point an older couple taking care of a boy for a while. In On Golden Pond, Jane Fonda played a character leaving the boy with her parents, and in Our Souls at Night, she plays the mother agreeing to take care of the child. I think Joe would appreciate having the same actress portray two sides of the same event.

I know not everyone has subscribed to Netflix’s streaming service. My thoughts on the various streaming services and the shows that some people have access to but not others might be a good blog topic for another day. But for now, if you do happen to have access to this film, I do recommend it for anyone who enjoys a gentle film about a developing relationship between two mature adults.

Until next Wednesday and a blog entry from Joe, I hope you are comfortable in whatever weather you have, 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.┬áThe 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