Tag Archives: Meals on Wheels

Top ten list of blessings in my life

Greetings, readers. Today I thought I would go upbeat with the blog entry. Recently I’ve been telling you about all the things that have been bothering me in my life, and today I thought I would go cheery. I am grateful for many, many things, even though sometimes I don’t always show it. So here is my top ten list of things for which I am grateful.

#10. My late kitty cat Keekee. [Not too long after I moved into Addison Court, I’d say less than a year, a friend of mine was moving out. She could not take the two cats she had with her and asked me if I wanted one for free. I’m glad I decided to try it, allergies notwithstanding. She was my buddy for one week short of 12 years.]

#9. Princess Josie. [This cat is completely different in demeanor than Keekee. I love her to pieces, but she is a little more rambunctious than my former furry feline.]

#8. Meals on Wheels. [Although they are not always dishes which I would consider my favorites, I do eat most of them and feel blessed to have them at such an economical price.]

#7. A place over my head. [No, it’s not the family house that we used to own, but it is two nice-sized rooms with fully functional kitchen and I enjoyed the great view from the top floor for 13 years. With the new building going up next door though, I’m going to lose most of that view.]

#6. Sentimental items from my parent’s home. [When I moved to this apartment 13 years ago or so, I vowed to take as many paintings as I could get. It gives the apartment a hint of my former home. For that I am extremely grateful. I also have my mom’s desk and a bookcase of which we make good use.]

#5. Good neighbors and friends in the building. [As in any community, there are good neighbors and neighbors you’d like to run over with your car. I’m very happy to say that I have most pleasant neighbors, with only a few exceptions. I’m a very easygoing man and can usually work around any people who cause conflict. I’m glad that so many of my neighbors are folks I am happy to call friends.]

#4. Rebecca. [Every book I’ve ever done would not be published without Rebecca. Not only is she a good friend, she is a fantastic typist and an awesome editor. In her role as personal assistant, she has kept me from missing numerous appointment. Kudos to Rebecca.]

#3. Working technology. [Yes, I do like my Steam games, and to watch movies on Netflix. Sometimes I lose myself in a fantasy world of baseball, or I’ll spend and entire evening watching James Bond pictures. I’m happy for the technology to do so, i.e. my computer and gaming system to watch Netflix and YouTube on my TV.]

#2. A great bus system. [As chance would have it, my apartment is steps away from a bus stop, where many of the buses I take stop at. Though, during the summer time, when the buses run on reduced service, I find myself having to walk downtown a few blocks to catch buses at the main stop, called the College Ave, and Allen St stop. Sure, I’d love to have my own vehicle, but this is the next best thing.]

#1. And yes, it is in order, is that at least for now, I can still go to Bear Spring Camps. [I might have to stop after this year or perhaps after next, but I am going to milk it for all it is worth. Bear Spring Camps, and those people I have known all my life, are my truest blessings.]

There is today’s top ten list, on this cheery topic. I hope everyone enjoys it. Please pray for everyone who needs it, and if you are inclined to and can, please consider donating to a fund to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. Such a tragic loss. I plan to donate some money myself.

Until this weekend, have a fantastic few days, take care of your family, enjoy good weather if you have it, and as always, happy reading.

Advertisements

Snow Day – part two

Greetings, readers. What a miserable weather day we had yesterday. The snow began approximately 7:30 in the morning, just as our entourage was leaving for morning coffee. I told Smith and Traci, “It hasn’t started yet, let’s try to go over.” We were just getting out the front door of the apartment building when we saw the first flakes. The sidewalk that we use to get to Panera is always salted well, so I knew we weren’t going to have a problem there. But after an hour of coffee and conversation, I saw that the snow had already began to lay thick on the ground. The three of us made a quick but safe retreat to home. There I remained for the rest of the day.

It is supposed to get to 41 degrees F today. If it does I might slide down the hill to the corner store and pick up some extra cereal and milk. Meals on Wheels did not deliver yesterday, and I don’t blame them. In the afternoon the roads went from crunchy snow and, “Oh, we can manage,” to freezing rain and the entire town shutting down. Even Penn State called off classes. When this town shuts down, it shuts down. I had time to get caught up with the new season of One Day at a Time.

This blog entry today almost did not happen. I was doing my morning routine of Facebook, etc, when some kind of error message popped up on the screen, wanting my phone number or some personal information to verify something about Microsoft. I’m not that naïve. I restarted the computer and so far that message has not popped up again. Later on I am going to run a full virus scan. Oh, yes, with modern technology comes these vicious problems. I doubt that error message was actually from Microsoft. I’m older and wiser now and don’t believe everything I see … just most things.

Before I close, I wish to share that I have narrowed my choice of churches to two. The church to which Smith belongs, the State College Presbyterian Church, or the church my parents and I used to attend when I was a child, Grace Lutheran Church. Both are on Beaver Avenue, within easy walking distance. Since I don’t have my own car I can’t take myself where I really want to go, Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church. The bus I would need does not run on Sundays, and a cab or Zipcar would take a bite out of the wallet. Walking is free. I am leaning towards joining the Presbyterian Church. Sorry Mom and Dad, I hope you won’t be too disappointed. Yes, even though they are both in heaven, it is still very important to me what they think and that they are not disappointed in me.

There’s part two of the blog entry. I’m going to have a brand new one up on Sunday and weather permitting Rebecca will be back on Wednesday of next week instead of Thursday. We have an errand to run that morning so I am probably going to dictate Wednesday’s blog so we can quickly edit it and post it when we get back.

I wish all of you a great day, go somewhere warm if you can, and bundle up if you can’t. As always, enjoy and happy reading.

Arg! Oh what a terrible morning I had #2

Greetings, readers. For the last few months I’ve enjoyed a set morning routine. It involves going to Panera with my friends Smith and Traci for coffee, breakfast, and conversation. It is a wonderful way to start the day and I now look forward to it every morning that it’s possible to do. I had plans to go this morning but a back spasm said no. My back going out is one of the most frustrating health issues that I have to deal with, because I literally have to turn out all the lights, take two Aleve, and go back to bed. I let my body reset.

To my happy surprise, when I laid down, the back spasm almost instantly ceased. Friend Smith had already gone back to her apartment and I didn’t feel like knocking on her door and saying what the heck, let’s try it. I took a nap for about an hour, setting my alarm for 9:15, just enough time to get dressed again before Rebecca came. I didn’t have any breakfast food in the house and the only regular coffee I have is instant. So I had to pretend that my new box of K-Cups was not decaf. I also missed out on my delicious papaya green tea which I get every morning along with my coffee to hydrate myself. Yes, readers, I am trying to take better care of myself.

Some of the other things I do to help my diet is eat more oatmeal. Also at the McLanahan’s corner store pre-packaged cups of fresh fruit on one side of the display with sandwiches and salads on the other side are for offer. I helped myself to a few containers of delicious watermelon. Also to aid in my efforts to eat better I am definitely considering getting Meals on Wheels again. They are not the greatest, but most of them have some veggies in them. I am not a big believer in these protein shakes that supplement your diet, for I have no idea how many chemicals they have in them.

Smith is trying to get me to drink more water, which I must admit I am not a big fan of. She is impressed that I am drinking Panera’s cold papaya green tea. Occasionally I’ll mix it up and have their lemonade. Both are healthy and good hydrating beverages. Now readers, get ready for the shocker. I’m seriously contemplating giving up coffee completely. I think I am starting to lose the taste for it. I never thought I’d say that, but I fear it’s true. Perhaps I’ll just cut way back.

When spring rolls around the last thing I will add to my new health regimen is walk, walk, walk. Because of my lack of exercise, and because of standing in one place at my fast food job for a year, I have a little arthritis in my hips, making that morning trek to Panera a bit stiff. If I do a lot of walking in the warmer months, I’m hoping that some of that stiffness can be alleviated. If it is tight muscles, that’s fine. If arthritis has come to stay, that is a completely different story. I have to use a walker for our morning coffee excursion. Later in the day, everything loosens up and I am back to my own self. For all my younger readers out there, I’m just kidding, but don’t get old. It’s no fun.

There is today’s blog entry. I will put up another blog entry mid-day on Sunday. I apologize that last Sunday’s was put up so late in the day, but it was a very hectic Sunday. I’m sure you can all relate. I’ve heard that snow storms are coming across the country, so please stay safe, don’t drive in it if you don’t have to, and until Sunday, take care, have a great few days, and happy reading.

It is a backwards day

Greetings, readers. This morning I got up at 5:00 wanting to use my new toy, AKA the new laptop I got last week, but my morning allergies said no. I had to go back to my recliner chair until Rebecca arrived at 9:45 this morning. Instead of getting right to the blog as usual, we made phone calls for doctor’s appointments and re-entered my website passwords. Oh, what fun. It didn’t help matters that Meals on Wheels was almost an hour later than usual, getting here a couple of minutes before my accountant. We had our meeting, and after that was left an hour and four minutes to do everything else we have to do, including this blog entry.

While we were waiting for my accountant, Rebecca and I looked at my blog numbers for the last week and I found them quite encouraging. Especially the number of views for the entry about my mom. Many folks from my Facebook page as well as the Bear Spring Camps Facebook page had a read and it is quite touching to me that my mother was loved by so many.

After a quick snack at Panera, I will have to dart to the bus to make it on time for my work shift, which starts at 3:00. Due to road construction, which made yesterday’s buses run behind schedule, I will need to get as early a bus as I can. If the same thing happens today, I’d rather be early than late.

Last night was super crazy at work. Three people called off, leaving me to be the only register person. I didn’t mind that, I can do that job, but when the fans of the local baseball team, the State College Spikes, brought in their coupons from promotion night, all hell broke loose because of my short-term memory issues. Two sandwiches per ticket with purchase, tap the promo button twice. Once I fully comprehended the concept on attempt number 10, things went more smoothly. We were so short-staffed that I was asked to work past my shift ending time, which I did not mind. I simply told my friend Jim, who had come to meet me, that I would be with him ASAP.

Although all the business made yesterday seem to go fast, I’m hoping for a nice slow day today at work. It would mean less stress on register and would give me more time to do my side work. I’m scheduled to work from 3pm to 8pm. Time will tell. After that, I’ll be off for two days. In essence, I get my weekend on Thursday and Friday.

Tomorrow we will have another blog entry for you to enjoy and next week I already have planned a top ten list. Those always seem to do well. So until tomorrow, I bid you a good day, take care, and happy reading.

I am set to enjoy a productive and restful summer

Greetings, readers. Some of you might be thinking that my title sounds like a contradiction, but that actually is what I am planning to do. I have several changes in my daily routine already in place, including meditation three times a week. It is very cleansing. I’m also going to leave time in my daily schedule to write, write, write. Rebecca and I have been talking about that magic formula for me and we may have found it. Short stories in 15 to 30 minute play or script form which then can be turned into prose. I’ve only been good in long projects twice in my life, so perhaps that 500 page doorstop novel is just not in the cards for me. I don’t think I have the patience for it.

So what is in the cards for this summer? I have many things on tap. Task #1 is a complete overhaul of this apartment. By September 1st I want to turn the living room into the bedroom and visa versa. I also want to completely rid this place of clutter.

Task #2 is to improve my health through meditation and yoga. I’ve never done yoga before and to be honest I’m not exactly sure what all it entails, but if it can improve my health I will at least check it out. My diet is going to get an overhaul as well. With spring time here, fresh fruits and vegetables are in the grocery stores. Two of my favorite summertime treats are blueberries and watermelon. There is a bus that stops right at our local Giant supermarket.

Before I can go to the supermarket, however, a complete clean out of my refrigerator will have to be done. I get Meals on Wheels and eat them most of the time, but occasionally I don’t like what is offered, and on those dark cloudy days that I am depressed, it is ice cream dinner to the rescue. So I will admit that my refrigerator does get cluttered with some of their trays.

My final big project for the summer is to grab a friend, pay him or her a few bucks, and clean up my walk-in closet. I have a gazillion VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs, and cassettes. Every item will have to be carefully gone through to see if it makes the cut. If it doesn’t, out it goes. I need to be able to walk in my walk-in closet.

I must remember that even though I have set a target date of September 1st, I won’t beat myself over the head if I don’t get it done until October 1st. Let’s not forget that I will be away for 10 days in August for my yearly trek to Maine. I’m starting to feel better about myself and my apartment. I just have to tell myself that these changes will be done and the key is to do a little each day.

Tomorrow I’m going to be talking about an issue that took place here at Penn State in February. I was going to blog about it today, but after discussing it with Rebecca I was so upset about what happened that I need a day to cool down, so that I can calmly explain what happened and my feelings about it.

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

Why I go out to eat so much

Greetings, readers. People have often asked me, including my accountant, why I go out to eat so much. Well, here are the answers. With my physical challenges, I don’t feel comfortable cooking. I have a weak left hand, and I cannot trust it to hold up a hot pan or sheet while I move it from the oven or stove to the countertop. While I can put a pot pie or Stouffer’s dinner in the microwave, there is also something enjoyable about leaving the apartment and getting out for an hour.

The pros are that I get fresh air, good food, and pleasant conversation. The cons are that it is expensive, sometimes very noisy, and, on rare occasions, the coffee is not as fresh as it could be. To me the pros outweigh the cons, except for one: the expense.

All my friends, including Rebecca and my accountant, have warned me that Panera, my favorite hangout, is one of the most expensive places I can get to in town, other than fancy restaurants. I used to go to Panera two or three times a day. Now I’ve cut it down to just once.

The true worry I have, and it already has happened, is that I will cook something and drop it on the kitchen floor because of my weak hand. A few months ago a delicious pot pie, which was all set to be put on the plate, slide onto the floor, and had to be thrown in the garbage. That was most frustrating. I also receive Meals on Wheels three times a week, which does help. They have excellent hot dinners, as well as delicious sandwiches and salads. However, if I don’t eat the hot meal right away, that becomes something I have to transfer to a plate and put in the microwave. With my strong right hand, I can handle that most of the time.

I always look for eating options, especially when I go out with Traci. Not having a car of my own, Traci and I are limited to where we can go and eat. With our health issues, we like to be close to home. A walk to McDonald’s is several blocks away and that trek would be very hard on both of us. Of course, we would use the Dollar Value menu. Across the street from Panera there is a small Chinese food restaurant which we are going to try, and I’ll scout around town for other options. Point blank, as much as I love Panera, I’m going broke each month when we just go there.

I love being out of the apartment building, especially since my work hours are here too, but here is the weird part. After an hour or so of sitting and talking, both Traci and I look at our time pieces (her watch and my computer) and we can’t wait to get back to our apartments. I guess a little coffee-hour time goes a long way.

My friend Dave is set to come for a visit in early December and he’s promised to teach me to cook light, quick, and easy meals. I think I’ll take him up on it because my nutrition could be better.

On a slight side note, it is unusually warm today in central PA. Although I don’t mind it, it is a little unusual and when the mercury rises after it has been cold, I get lethargic. I shall battle through it.

A special shout-out to the Chicago Cubs and their fans. The first World Series victory since 1908.

So sorry about yesterday’s blog post, but time really did get away from us. I bid you a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

I am learning to make budget

Greetings, readers. For the past six months I have endeavored to finish the month on or under budget. So far I have failed miserably. Last month was the closest I have come, only needing $50 extra. Here is why I do not make budget.

Reason #1: Although my medications are not full-price because of my insurance, they do average out to about $75 a month. There is a big ka-ching out of the $600 right there. Meals on Wheels is helping me on food, but …

Reason #2: I like to enjoy my TV time munchies. The closest place to get them, plus cat food and paper products, is next door at the local pharmacy. I do look for the specials, which helps, but that particular store usually wants top dollar. Things like ice cream, chips and popcorn are quite expensive.

Reason #3: Occasionally I need to rent a Zipcar, such as for this Sunday to visit Mom at the cemetery. I am budgeting $20 – $30 for that. As you can see, blink and the money slips away quickly.

Lastly, I am still an impulse shopper. I am not nearly as bad as I used to be. At the beginning of each month when I have money, if I see that thing I really want, I usually break down and get it. I am pleased to say that in the last two months, I have not made any impulse purchases. I have told both Rebecca and Mr. Updegraff, the accountant, that we are going to use this computer until it dies. I am also still using my old PS3, and although it is not on life-support, it won’t last forever. I would like to get a PS4 before those go obsolete.

I feel bad when I make myself sound like a poor person. With a trust fund, I’m really not; though it comes to me in monthly installments. I’m still trying to learn to come in on or under budget each month. If I can learn to do this, I’ll feel better about myself and make that lump sum of money last longer.

When I was younger, my family made sure that I wanted for nothing. My folks did not teach me, however, how to save money or make a budget and stick to it. If I needed a little extra spending money, I got it. Now, I’m trying to work with a half-empty tool belt of life skills. Being aware of these issues, I will get better each day and each month. But it is a slow process. I’ll need some good wishes and prayers.

If you would like to leave a comment, or share your story, please do feel free. Until next Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

My life without a car

Greetings, readers. I have been without a car since 2008. I enjoyed the years I drove very much, but an accident totaled my vehicle. With the money situation the way it is, I’ve been told by my accountant that even a used car is not in the current spending plans. For now the occasional Zipcar will have to suffice.

In the early years of my driving career, I would drive past our local airport and head for the back country roads. They would twist and turn and that drive really kept my skills and reflexes up. The only time I really drive distances now is in August when I go to Maine in a rental car.

Even though I have Meals on Wheels, a lot of times I like to have an evening snack when I watch TV. Luckily there is a store nearby, but it is a drug store with a small selection of food in it and their prices are not cheap. For me to go to an actual supermarket I would have to either rent a Zipcar or take the bus. The bus poses two problems. First, I’m going by someone else’s time schedule. And second, depending where I get dropped off, I would have to lug my bags back home. It is not the worst thing in the world, but when you have a convenience store right in walking distance, that choice is more expensive but quicker.

The only doctors in walking distance are my psychologist and the dentist. My general practitioner and, most importantly, my neurologist, have to be reached either by bus, cab, or Zipcar. This can get a bit expensive and inconvenient. For my next doctor’s appointment, I will need to get a bus an hour and fifteen minutes early, because the next scheduled bus would make me late to my doctor’s appointment. And as much as an hour could be between the end of an appointment and the next bus.

I don’t mind taking alternate transportation when it is needed, but I’ve cut my Zipcar usage way down. Basic insurance is covered by the company, but yearly dues and full insurance are two yearly major expenses for me.

If I had my own car, I could hop in it tomorrow and go visit Walnut Grove, Minnesota, if I wanted to. To accomplish this in my current situation, would require a check of the Amtrak train schedule, one of the many long distance bus charter companies, or an airplane. With money tight, I think I’ll just stay home. My point is, that if I just want to get up and go, I can’t. About 75% of my life must be planned out.

Zipcars do help. But that sense of freedom, of hopping in my vehicle and going anywhere anytime is gone for good. From now on, I will have to walk, take a bus or a cab, or some other means of transportation, to get where I’m going. This coming Sunday for Easter, as happened this past Christmas, my girlfriend’s friends have invited us to have dinner, but they have to come pick us up in their car. Although this is not the most terrible thing in the world, I do feel a little bit like a burden to them. Perhaps next holiday, we’ll rent a Zipcar and pick them up.

If I have to take my girlfriend somewhere, like to her doctor or to the hospital, the Zipcars are $9 an hour, and we would book it for at least 3 hours to be sure we have enough time. My lowest tally with her has been $27. That is not exactly the same as her chipping in $5 for gas if I took her in my car. Plus, if all the Zipcars are rented and she needs to get there in a hurry, we are calling a taxi cab. And once again, we wait for them. If we want to take a drive to see the scenery, or go for a special lunch someplace that is a few towns over, I would want to rent that Zipcar for at least 3 to 4 hours, and we are talking about $36. Sometimes we just don’t have that to pay, so we don’t go.

Do I miss my car? Absolutely. With all the expenses, such as gas, upkeep and insurance, I’m probably lucky that I don’t have one. Knowing my luck, I would crack a cylinder head and it would be a $3,000 repair. Do I miss my freedom? Absolutely. But in 8 years I’ve learned to adjust. Things are more difficult without a car, but I am making it work.

Until Friday, when we will have another interesting blog post for you, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

I’m way behind in my Christmas preparations

Greetings, readers. By this time last year, I had my lights and other Christmas trinkets up and on display. This year, so far, on December 4th, I only have one Christmas poinsettia which I didn’t even purchase; it was given to me by Meals on Wheels. Thank you to them. Either today or tomorrow, I’m going to get out the manger set that I got from Mom – I do know where it is – and set it up either on the credenza or on the window sill by the heater with something under it. In my small apartment I don’t have a whole lot of room to spread things out or have displays.

I was going to hang lights, and still might, but visiting my girlfriend everyday as I do, I can enjoy her light display and that just might be enough. I do have little things, such as miniature Christmas houses, and snow globes that light up. Those will be put up soon. I say soon, because if I don’t do it in a timely fashion, the season will be over. I wait all year for the holiday season and it seems to go quicker and quicker as the years go by.

I do have a couple of holiday traditions lined up, such as my Christmas Eve light ride, which will take place unless bad weather hits. I’ve invited Traci to go with me and she happily agreed.

Getting back to decorating the place, I long for the space to have a full-sized Christmas tree. It just isn’t gonna happen. The small quarters and a kitty cat that would climb on it makes having that full size tree not even an option. So I improvise. I hang light strands on picture frames, and one year I cleared off my coat rack to turn it into an impromptu Christmas tree. I will find ways to get ‘er done, as Larry the Cable Guy would say. Pictures of the lights and coat rack will be up in the picture gallery later today. It was easier for us to simply add a link to a previous blog entry from November of 2012 that has the pictures in it.

Before I forget, I can tell you I have plans for Christmas day. Traci and I are going to see her friends and family, and I’m definitely looking forward to that.

I’m going to save my New Year’s resolutions for a blog entry closer to that day.

Next week should be a normal week as far as I know with at least two blog entries. Please continue to enjoy your holiday season, have some eggnog from me, take care, and happy reading.

The last month and a half of Mr. Gotrocks

Greetings, readers. I was telling my accountant today how sick and tired I am of constantly being low on cash and stressed about my monthly finances. I told him I was going to come up with a plan by January 1st to rectify this problem. He told me that he has heard this story many, many times. Well, I have said it before. Times have changed, however, and it is a whole new ballgame.

I’m constantly talking to my therapist about how stressed out and depressed I am about my monthly budget. She and I talked about the idea of getting through the rest of this year and having a brand new self-imposed budget ready for the new year. I thought that was an excellent idea. I didn’t tell her, but I was already thinking about that idea myself.

After I get back from my mini-Thanksgiving trip with my girlfriend, Traci, Mr. Updagraff has given me the okay to have Meals on Wheels delivered 5 days a week instead of 3 days. This will take care of my weekday needs. Traci and I are going to have to just realize that any eating out we do will have to be done on the weekends and as cheaply as possible.

If I can get this plan to work, I think my stress level will be significantly lower and I will be much more of a happy camper.

Along with my new budget, I hope to have in place, by the New Year or soon thereafter, a new daily schedule to keep to. It will incorporate the early get-up time, which quite frankly I have become accustomed to. It is having the hours to write part and the going to bed earlier part that will need the most work. I’ve noticed one thing about myself over the years and it is this: I might take longer to get things done, but once I’ve ‘had it’ I do whatever I need to do and I don’t look back.

I asked my accountant to bear with me until the end of December, in case I need extra cash for the upcoming trip, Christmas presents for friends, and maybe a little something for me. Then Mr. Gotrocks dies. I will no longer be able to live outside my means and I no longer wish to. I think it would help my self-esteem if I got on a serious budget and stuck to it. I shall let you know the outcome. 🙂

Until Friday, when I’ll have a top ten list for you, take care, have a good couple of days, and happy reading.

P.S. Prayers go out to the families of the victims from the horrible terrorist attack in France. My heart goes out to you.