Tag Archives: Macy’s

A year to appreciate State College, and what’s up with the Pittsburgh Steelers?

Greetings, readers. I am going to thoroughly enjoy this coming ‘year’ – from August until late July – in the local area I’ve known since I was a child, paying special attention to each and every holiday. I didn’t do much for Labor Day, though obviously I was aware of it. The next holiday I will take part in is Halloween. I always loved it as a child and fully intend to watch the State College Halloween parade. I missed it last year, darn it.

Before I make it sound like I am going to die next year, I’ll share with you my tentative plan. There is a possibility, which has grown stronger with each passing year, that I may move to New Jersey, close to where David and family are. Another option would be to move to California and keep my Aunt Marilyn company. Although I have many friends here in State College, PA. my desire to live out the remainder of my days in this area is waning. I just feel like I am in a rut. Every time I try to get out of it I slide right back into it. So …

I will take extra pleasure on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. The holidays have always been my favorite time of the year. I will make certain to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and I will find a Christmas Yule Log presentation somewhere (we don’t get the TV station WPIX New York anymore, darn it.) And, of course, I will find some way to obtain a vehicle to partake of my Christmas Light Ride.

Something to share with you now folks, I asked Rebecca if I was having trouble focusing on today’s blog, and she said yes, so I slapped myself; literally. It was a wee bit harder than I wanted it to be. I’ll mark that down in my book of things to tell my therapist next time.

On to something else now, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in deep trouble. With Ben Roethlisberger out for the season it is up to Mason Rudolph to step in and carry the load. He looked good in Sunday’s game, though it was a losing effort. The Seattle Seahawks were just a little bit better. Our biggest problem is our defense. It needs to firm up. Right now, it can’t stop a toy John Deere tractor. Perhaps a new defensive coordinator is in order.

Yes, folks, I’ve been watching a lot of football the first two weeks of the NFL season, and I’m shocked that the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets are each 0-2. Am I going to abandon my Pittsburgh Steelers team? Heck no. The way things are now I only see us winning 6 games or so. The upside of that is they might get better draft choices for next season. I hate to see anyone’s career end, but Ben … it might be time to pass the torch to the youngster.

Prayers go out to EVERYBODY who is facing a natural disaster or a personal challenge.

Until next Wednesday, have a great week, take care of each other, and happy reading.

It’s holiday time again :-)

Greetings, readers. In just a few hours one of my favorite days will begin. I love Thanksgiving because it has a number of traditions I took part in as a kid and I continue to do to this day.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day. I’ll get up fairly early, have my morning coffee and take my meds, and get ready to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Then, a relatively new tradition, if I’m at home, I’m invited out to dinner with Traci and her family. Some years I’m invited to my best friend, David’s, house to take part in their celebration. That is always enjoyable, because I either go by Zipcar or Megabus and make a weekend of it.

After I get back from Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, I will watch what is left of any football games, and take a nap. After I wake up, I will turn on Spotify music and play my hand-selected Christmas Trax. I’d have to say of all the songs I have on that playlist, Earth Kitt’s Santa Baby is my favorite. I performed that at my last show; it was a hit. Please, if you have Spotify, find me, follow me, and subscribe to that playlist, or any playlists of mine you wish.

To me, the Christmas season, even though it might start earlier or later for other people, was always from Thanksgiving morning until the day after New Year’s. At home as a child, I would watch my parents put up the tree, most years a live tree, decorate it and plug the lights in; it was so much fun to watch it come alive, as I used to say. There are holiday parades and bowl games during this part of the year, the town is decorated with pretty lights and lit wreaths and a big Christmas tree, and yes, even those first snow storms are pretty. Once the car tires get into it and turn the snow black, well you can have it. Black snow might be the ugliest sight in the world.

I always get a tiny bit depressed on January 2nd. Some people in my building will already be taking down their holiday decorations and the season will be over. What’s left is three months of trees with no leaves, grass that does not look green, snow, cold, and wind. Oh joy, oh bliss. And yes, readers, I am being sarcastic.

With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, I will let you know what I am thankful for. I am thankful to have a roof over my head and that it is downtown close to many places I need to go, such as shopping and bus stops. I’m also thankful for my many friends and people I call family. I am especially thankful for Rebecca who has been my trusted friend, typist and editor for all these years. In the last year or two she has actually graduated to a title of personal assistant.

I am most thankful for Tasha, my former co-worker at my fast-food job, and her mother for providing me with a wonderful kitty cat. Princess Josie has become most affectionate and loving. We are really getting to know each other’s habits, and believe me she knows that when I wake up, it is time for her breakfast. She’ll make a mad dash for the kitchen. So again, thank you Tasha and mom.

If anyone would like to, please leave in the comments below or on Facebook what you are thankful for. I would love to compare notes. As always, I wish everyone a safe holiday if traveling, give your family members plenty of hugs, and as always, happy reading.

I am way behind in my yuletide preparations

Greetings, readers. It is quite bizarre how fast this Christmas season has flown by. I could swear I just woke up on Thanksgiving morning and watched the Macy’s parade with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. I blinked my eyes twice and it is December 20th. I’ve only listened to a hand-full of Christmas carols, and my apartment is not decorated at all. Bah humbug to me.

There have been a number of things that I believe has caused this delay in decorating. First of all is my job. I come home from it tired and needing to sleep. I don’t seem to get much done on the days I have a shift; it is work, eat, and sleep. On the days I don’t have a shift, I have work with Rebecca and errands to do that can’t be done on job days. Second is the time I have spent proof-reading and editing Four’s a Crowd. Apparently I am the last of the readers to finish my editing. Shame on me. Luckily I know the material like the back of my hand, especially my part of it. Once I get rolling, it won’t take me long. Lastly, when I could be reading at 4:00am, I am playing Out of the Park Baseball 18. Today was game 5 of the completely fictitious Canadian Baseball League World Series. Somehow my brain isn’t engaged for activities like reading and editing at 4:00 in the morning. Fear not, Darren and Rebecca, it will be done.

After the holidays, I plan to revamp my schedule. Whether that means taking some time off from work, or changing my job schedule, has yet to be determined. I’m certain that everything will fall into place. It always seems to.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected in the Amtrak train disaster, as well as in the tour bus accident in Mexico. So sad. The California wild fires, although I’ve heard they have been partially contained, will probably burn for another several days. I’ve been calling my aunt, who lives near one of the fire areas, and she is uncomfortable from the smoke but holding her own.

Finally, very soon two of our long-time establishments will be going out of business. Not because of the economy, but rather the sale of the building in which they are housed. Spats Café and Speakeasy has been around for 30 years and the Rathskeller Bar has been underneath the cafe in the same spot for many decades. I always hate it when establishments go bye-bye, especially the ones I remember as a youth or a teenager. The State College area is not really effected that much from the recession because there are a lot of college kids who attend school every year and need books, Penn State clothing, souvenirs and anything else Penn State they can get their hands on.

I wish everyone good luck with their holiday shopping. Enjoy your plans with family. And until tomorrow, take care and happy reading.

Things in my world today, November 30, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week, which should be a two-day work week for us, have a wonderful weekend, take care, wish me luck on my show, and, as always, happy reading.

Fourth of July fireworks and the weather

Greetings, readers. For the better part of a month State College, PA. has been in the throes of a dry spell. When does it choose to rain? That’s right, the night of my fireworks. Kitty cat Keekee and I wait all year for it, and that evening all we really saw were colored clouds. To be honest, they were pretty but it really wasn’t the spectacular show I was hoping for.

The 4th of July afternoon got off to a lovely start when Traci’s friends invited us for a picnic dinner. They really went all out. Everything was exceptional from the steaks right down to the coffee ice cream. Towards the end of dinner, around 3:00 in the afternoon, I was noticing the cloud getting darker. That was my first hint of a possible rain snafu.

I was home for a number of hours before it actually started to rain. I heard it pounding off my window, checked my clock, which read 7:00 pm. My heart sank. You see readers, as I might have mentioned before, there are certain days and holidays that I really look forward to. The 4th of July is one of those days. It ranks right up there with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and Christmas morning. I usually have a clear view of the fireworks from my window, so I can sit in my own comfy chair and enjoy the display. Not this year.

Could I change the weather? That answer is a big no. The machine to do that has not been invented yet. Humans have to take the weather as it comes.

After the fireworks were over, I made myself a cup of coffee, got on the computer and chatted with friends on Facebook. By 11:30, my finger was hitting the back space key so often that I said to myself, sorry friends, it is time to go to bed. That was my 4th of July.

An upcoming event which I am really looking forward to is the wedding of my Goddaughter, Ashley Trost. I’m a proud Godpoppa. Traci and I will leave via Zipcar on July 16th and get back on the 18th. Then next month is the Maine excursion. I always look forward to that and I hope to bring back new stories for a possible third camp book. I’m going to take a small tape recorder with me and turn it on when I talk to David. Together I am sure we will come up with lots of good ideas. Gee, there went the whole summer.

We will see if I can put another blog entry up tomorrow. I am taking a personal day on Friday for a doctor’s appointment.

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

Traci was a big hit with the family

Greetings, readers. Here is a follow-up to the blog that posted on Thanksgiving day; successfully, I might add. I will admit I was a little bit worried having Traci meet all 50-plus members of Dave and Geri’s extended family at once. But she fit right in. She decided that she wasn’t going to be nervous, and everyone loved her. It made me so happy to see her talking to people and getting to know them.

A week ago today, Wednesday, Traci and I left for New Jersey and enjoyed a gorgeous drive down to our destination, 30 minutes past Philadelphia. I couldn’t believe that for the full three days of the visit it was sunny and warmer. We actually had cool air on in the car.

I’m not going to say it is scary, but I found out that my night vision isn’t quite what it used to be. Driving on the roads at night in an area I’m not familiar with, was a wee bit stressful even with the GPS. Once we found Dave and Geri’s house, all was right with the world.

Thanksgiving morning was wonderful. I slept in a little bit but came down for morning coffee and quiche before the parade started. We watched most of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but had to leave for the church hall before Santa Claus rolled around. First time I’ve missed him in I can’t tell you how long.

The holiday dinner itself was exquisite. I’m not going to call it a delay, but most of the folks wanted to see the Philadelphia Eagles football game before they ate dinner, so serving was put off for three hours. I had asked Geri if I could say Grace, because I also wanted to make a little speech as I do at gatherings from time to time. She happily agreed. Once everyone was seated, and my Grace and speech had been said, we partook of a wonderful soup made by Shannon Merkhofer, followed by turkey, ham and every trimming you could think of. What an amazing meal. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the delectable desserts were placed in the serving area. I had the pumpkin pie because I am a traditionalist. The sun had already gone down when the party began to wind down, and it did take a while to put all the folding chairs away and clean up all the pots and pans. When we arrived back at Dave and Geri’s house, Traci immediately went to bed. Geri decided to take the dogs for a walk, and Dave and I collapsed on the couch with the Green Bay Packers game on in the background.

On Friday morning, I was up early to have coffee with my brother and buddy before he left for work. Later on, Traci came downstairs, followed by Geri. We had breakfast and then we packed up, because Traci wanted to go to a hobby store nearby to get a stuffed animal as a souvenir. We had seen The Happy Hippo Toys store while we were parking the car the day before.

As we got on the highway to head home, I was happy and proud that everything had gone so well. I was driving in the big city, or at least on the interstate nearby, and Traci was enjoying all the sights. She loved the skyline of Philadelphia, just coming off of the Ben Franklin bridge.

We got home about 3:30 Friday afternoon, and I will admit to you I was exhausted. It’s always strange but true, no matter how much you look forward to going somewhere and how much fun you’ve had, it is a nice feeling to come home to familiar surroundings. I was happy to see my kitty cat Keekee and she was happy to see me.

If I had to rate this trip, I would give it A+, 10 out of 10.

Until Friday, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, do take care, and as always, happy reading.

Thanksgiving plans coming together nicely

Greetings, readers. I’m very happy to say that my Thanksgiving holiday travel plans are falling in to place. I’ll be taking my girlfriend Traci to New Jersey to meet Dave and his family. They are all very eager to meet her and I am very pleased about that.

We had two options to get there. A three-day rental car or the Megabus. Both Traci and I preferred the car, that would allow us to stop for bathroom and stretch breaks when we need to. About an hour ago I called Enterprise Rent-a-Car and in no time at all I had a vehicle reserved, for way less money than I thought it would be. It made this option possible. I know I will be driving on the busiest day of the year, but I’m not too worried about it. We’ll just take our time and get there when we get there.

The journey is rather simple. Down to Philly, cross over into New Jersey, and we’re almost there. In case the vehicle does not have a GPS, I will print out directions from a map website. Both Traci and I are really looking forward to this trip.

For a brief time, I was thinking of leaving early Thursday morning. But I’ve almost never missed the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade and if I can be there late Wednesday afternoon, that’s what I’d like to do.

The family will be gathering at a church hall nearby for the dinner. I’m going to bring a hoodie or a jacket in case it is cool in there. I can always take off layers that I don’t need. I hate to be cold. After dinner, there will probably be an evening football game to watch as well as many sleepy people. I expect bedtime will be early and Traci and I should be back on the road heading home by 11:00 Friday morning.

I’m very thankful for my friend and accountant, Mr. Updegraff for helping me procure the car. It’s really going to make things a lot easier, and give Traci and me a sense of independence. I don’t mind the bus, but you’re always traveling on their schedule.

I’m going to end this blog entry here, because I’m working on maybe three hours of sleep, due to a night of insomnia. We’ll have another entry on Friday, so until then, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

Happy day after Thanksgiving

Greetings, readers. Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and I am happy to say that I did my new routine. That consisted of sleeping in just a little, making coffee at home, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and then I walked down to a local diner and had a wonderful turkey dinner. The meal came complete with all the trimmings, several kinds of pie to choose from, and delicious coffee. All the proceeds went to a charity so I tipped well. The servers and other staff were mostly volunteers; I’m sure it felt good to give of themselves.

After dinner I was planning to watch the afternoon football games. Well, whatever it is that is in turkey that makes you tired said, “Joe it is time for a nap.” I didn’t fight it and dosed off from 3:00 to 6:00. I am happy to report that it did not infer with my sleep cycle as I was fearing it would. When I woke up from my nap, I had some eggnog, broke out the Christmas lights, and decorated the apartment. I plan to put some pictures of the decorations in the picture gallery soon.

Keekee was treated to extra treats throughout the day and I did my best to let her know that it was a special occasion.

Another thing I did yesterday was make and receive phone calls to friends and family. I heard from my Aunt Marilyn, friend David, and a great friend Sue whom I know from Bear Spring Camps.

As I always do when I have a day off, I thought today was Wednesday. No, it is only Friday. That’s okay though because I am planning a restful evening and a leisurely weekend which will include D&D gaming.

On a personal opinion note, something I’ve never really done before, boo hiss and bah humbug to K-Mart; as I understand it they forced all their employees to work on Thanksgiving day and threatened to fire them if they did not comply. To me, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Easter should be days set aside to be with family and loved ones.

Until Wednesday, take care, 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.

The day after Thanksgiving

Greetings, readers. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and got home safe. I had a perfectly lovely day and I will now share some of the highlights of my Thanksgiving.

As I’ve always done since childhood, I got up early and watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. There was some concern about the level of wind in New York City and it would be a game-time decision on whether the balloons would be allowed to fly. They were allowed to fly but they had to have extra people with extra ropes to keep them from flying too high. I was very happy to see all the nice balloons because the parade wouldn’t be the same without them. As the parade started almost three miles away from Macy’s front door, the first hour of the broadcast was the performances from all the Broadway plays, performed right in front of Macy’s. The second hour was when the marching bands and some of the floats began to roll by. Everyone did such a magnificent job. Marching bands from many different states partook. Musical performances were sung, dancers danced, and the Radio City Rockettes danced to a medley of Christmas tunes.  And of course, at noon Santa Claus came by with his mechanical reindeer lifting up from the float. I was a little bit perturbed when NBC switched to the dog show directly at noon, cutting off the end of the parade by a minute or so. I guess the parade ran long.

After the parade, I went to a local diner which was serving a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. It was most delicious. School children were donating their time on Thanksgiving day to be servers and greeters. I thought that was wonderful; that they would give back to their community before spending time with their families.

After a couple of games of football on the tube, I was so exhausted I went to bed at 9:15. Hellishly early for me. All in all a great day.

I decided to split an entry on Thanksgiving day and on Zipcar into two posts so that each topic could stand on its own.

Take care, and happy reading.