Tag Archives: Panera

My new year’s resolutions 2019

Greetings, readers. I’ve thought long and hard about what I want to change in my life in 2019. The first thing that came to mind was to better my diet. That will be a slow process, but one of the things I can easily do is drink a cup of green tea at Panera every time I go. I shall get the benefits of its antioxidants and, according to WebMD, the benefits from lowing cholesterol levels and improving blood flow.

Resolution number two. I’m going to try to be kinder to strangers. New Year’s Eve day I was at Panera having a cup of coffee, trying to collect my thoughts, when I spotted a mother and three little girls. The children were all so well-behaved, I thought wouldn’t it be nice if I bought them a cookie to share? Hoping I wouldn’t come across as the older creep, I cautiously approached the mother. After the mother gratefully accepted my offer, I went to purchase the large M&M candy cookie. When I presented it to them, the children were all smiles. It felt so good to give rather than to receive. I watched the kids occasionally as they ate their lunch and sure enough they finished every bite. Then they shared their cookie.

I’m going to try to be more positive this year. I tend to be a pessimist at times and lose my cool way too easily. I shall work on that every day with meditation and therapy for anger management. It is nice that I have a therapy session this afternoon and I can start this resolution right away. Therapy really is helping so much. I am sure my doctor can continue to help me with my negativity and occasional short fuse.

I’m going to try to repay kindness to people who have shown kindness to me. Again, giving is better than receiving. I understand that when you are a little child, you love to get presents. Try giving, young children, you’ll be amazed by how good you feel.

This year, I’m planning to write at least one to two pages a day on a work project so that this time next year I’ll have a book of between 365-730 pages. Yes it is going to go very slowly. If I really get on a roll, I might even type more than that per day. I need to get that great American novel out if I have it in me.

Now for my biggest resolution. Thanks to a point-out from Rebecca, I’m going to stop bad mouthing people. Sometimes when I talk about my friends, I tend to harp on their bad points and how they irritate me on a particular day, without saying anything about their good points. I’m going to learn how to be thankful for all my friends, knowing that no one is perfect, and I sure as hell am not. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that if you were to ask any of my friends about my bad points, the list would be about two pages long. That is why I need to change things.

What are some of your new year’s resolutions? Leave them on my Facebook page or here on this page’s comments section.

Rebecca and I are down to working one day a week now. I’m going to try to dictate a blog entry on Saturday when the work crews are not working and it is quiet, then post it for you late Saturday or Sunday.

Until then, take care, have a great day, have a blessed 2019, and happy reading.

Thinking of Bear Spring Camps on a cold day

Greetings, readers. This morning, I got up about quarter to 7:00 which is about the time I would rise at camp to get ready for breakfast. Time did not permit me this morning to go to Panera for breakfast because Rebecca was coming and I had things to do before she arrived. Even now, as I sit here looking out the window, gazing at the grey sky and knowing the temperatures are in the low 30s F, I’m thinking how nice it would be to be back in camp in August, swimming in the lake. It is a nice dream, isn’t it?

Yes, folks, I’ve always had an over active imagination. I can daydream and think about almost anything. When it is cold or snowy, my thoughts will generally turn to summer and Bear Spring Camps. Heck, it’s only a few weeks before next year’s vacation turns into this year’s vacation.

Over the years, I shot lots of video tape footage of the camp, the lake, and the people. A number of years ago I edited all that onto a tape which I called Bear Spring Camps: The Day. It was amazing how well it worked. From early with the sun coming up to going to bed at night, with all the typical activities in between, it came out perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a video you have to sit down and watch for eight hours straight. The concept was devised to cover key points in the day. The early morning lake, the going to and from meals, riding down to Belgrade Lake store, boating and fishing, the evening bonfire, etc. Unfortunately I misplaced it somewhere in the apartment, and it has been a while since I watched it.

Boy am I getting nostalgic today. It is Wednesday which I remember as turkey or ham for dinner at camp. Isn’t that embarrassing, I know that Sunday is roast chicken and always will be, but I am blanking on what Wednesday’s dinner meal really is. I really love the food there.

I can see all the wonderful pies and cakes and smell the aroma of freshly made coffee. During the afternoon and evening meals, more people are there early and the sounds of conversations blend together with everyone talking in unison, making it difficult to understand what anyone is saying. Sometimes it is even difficult to hear what the family is saying at our own table. The noise level can fluctuate that much. On Thursday evenings a singer with an acoustic guitar comes to entertain at the evening meal it is quite pleasant and folks tend to sing along.

I know I am not living in a dream land, dear readers, from my apartment window I am staring at the local Days Inn hotel and it is the middle of December. But how nice to have that five-minute vacation. Now it is time to go back to reality. I think people tend to be nicer when they are on vacation. When you have had a hard day at work, try my method, pop in a vacation video or find a loved one and go through a photo album or two. A small little respite from real life never hurt anybody.

Continued good thoughts and prayers go out to those who need it. Rebecca and I will be back tomorrow with another blog entry so stay tuned for that. I bid you a wonderful day, take care, brighten someone’s day, and happy reading.

We’ve got some local help for book promotion

Greetings, readers. A major step forward was taken yesterday in the attempt to get Four’s a Crowd selling like hotcakes. I talked to my friend from the building, Joel Solkoff, who is also a blogger here on WordPress, and he has agreed to help us out by promoting it on his blog and website. Joel gets tons more hits per day than I do. I have a very good feeling about this work relationship.

Speaking of Four’s a Crowd, the two copies I ordered for local sales to people in this building should be arriving any day. Both sales will be priced for friends and family. Darren and I will each receive $5 from each sale. Also, the money from the one Amazon.com sale last month arrived in my bank account the other day. Each of us are now $2.25 richer … I’m not joking. When I say that Amazon sales won’t pay the rent, you can see what I mean. With Joel’s help, however, this is likely to change in the near future.

We had to let kitty cat Josie out of her time-out cage so she could use the litter box. Now she is exploring and saying hi to Rebecca. She can stay out as long as she doesn’t get near the computer. That is a no-no. I hear her, as we are typing, using her cat box. Rebecca’s assumption was indeed correct.

On a side note, I was very happy that a heavy rain came through last night with a lot of lightning with a little thunder. Even though I sat in the dark with lights and modem off, the hard rain and heavy wind broke the humidity this morning. I actually needed my hoodie for my walk to Panera. It was quite refreshing.

At the restaurant, I saw my friend Ron, who had been visiting home in Vermont, and is now back. Apparently, to stay. He had previously visited Massachusetts, but that visit was cut short. When I asked him how long he was staying here this time, he used the word indefinitely. I am very happy to see him. We always swap tales and jokes. He is a very kind fellow.

Okay, there is today’s blog. I’m taking tomorrow off for personal reasons, but I am going to dictate a blog entry for Rebecca to edit and post. A: Because I need practice doing that and B: Because the more I use my voice recognition program the better it gets.

So until soonest, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

I’ve been keeping to a Bear Spring Camps schedule

Greetings, readers. As I tend to do every late August, I desire to still be at Bear Spring Camps, my favorite place in the whole world. Although we got no relief from the heat this year, seeing all my family and friends made the temperature a moot point. Camp is centered around the three meals served in the dining room at specific times. When I come home, I like to keep that routine going as long as I can.

I’ll have my morning coffee and muffin either at home or at Panera at 7:30. During the lunch meal I am usually busy but if I can I’ll grab a quick something at 12:30. Camp’s evening meal has always been at 6:00 and at the very least I’ll grab a cup of coffee or a soda at that time. That might sound silly to some of you, but I love to reminisce about the wonderful times I have at camp and the wonderful food they serve.

Last year I got up at 3:45 in the morning … every morning. This year so far I have been averaging 5:00 or 6:00. Why the change you might ask? The truthful answer is I don’t know. Before, I would go to bed very early, get up early and play video games or write, until Rebecca would come at 9:30. Now I am a little bit more squeezed for time, but it is not bad.

I am getting into one very bad habit that I used to have, which is watching re-runs on TV in the evening. Last night, before I knew it, it was ten minutes until 11:00. I quickly stopped the episode of The X-Files I was watching (that show can be addicting) and hurried off to sleep. No 3:35am for me this morning. By wintertime I will have thrown away all the desires to keep a camp schedule and do what my Aunt Marilyn does; she eats her meals when she is hungry, and she told me that could be any time of day. One time I visited her in California and she mentioned that I was too tied down to a clock.

This morning I am feeling sorry for myself as I dictate this blog and here’s the reason why: If I was to put all my energy that I use in creating these fantasy worlds that I sometimes use to escape my real life and put them towards creative writing, imagine the stories I could come up with. I have a writing project idea for a man and woman to be the main characters set in a camp-like atmosphere, but every time I try to start it, I hit a brick wall with concrete behind it. It is extremely frustrating.

Sometimes my brain works overtime when I am trying to get to sleep at night. Perhaps I should invest in a digital recorder. I would have it by my bed and if my creative brain starts working overtime, I would begin dictating notes, character names, etc. I wonder if anyone knows how much a good digital recorder costs? Hint, hint.

There’s today’s blog. I know I rambled a little bit but I tend to do that from time to time. Next Wednesday I plan on dictating the blog via the soon-to-be-out-of-date voice recognition program, and Thursday is still up in the air. I think we will be here in the office but I’m not certain. Until then, have a wonderful weekend, please stay cool if you are in the heat wave, take care and happy reading.

A short blog entry today before I call bingo

Greetings, readers. I am still under the weather, but feeling well enough to call bingo tonight until our regular bingo caller gets back from work. Around 5pm, I’m going to Panera and get some turkey chili and coffee. That will not only clear my sinuses, but it should give me all the energy I need to get me through until 9:00.

It’s been a long time since I’ve called bingo and I hope it goes okay. Every once in a great while there is drama in the community room. When I call though, it’s my game and I let people know that I won’t take any shenanigans. As Katharine Hepburn said in On Golden Pond, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just get along?”

I canceled my afternoon appointment because I wanted to sleep. I need to kick this cold in the butt and be ready to go to work tomorrow morning. Unless I am hacking up a storm, I’m going. I love my customers and I can’t miss any more money. I wonder if any of my customers asked where I was on Tuesday? It’s not like me not to be there. Because I handle money though, I decided it was best not to go to work.

This blog entry is being created with me using my speech recognition program and I must say, it’s amazing. So far, I’ve ‘typed’ 239 words. For me and my writing career, this is the best thing since ice cream … and we all know how much I love ice cream. After my cold goes away and I’ve read and edited Four’s a Crowd, it will be time for me to begin the first of two projects I have in mind. Oh boy, I can’t wait.

Well, that’s it for this short blog entry. Very soon I am going to go outside and breathe some good air. Dinner should perk me up as well. When I get back from bingo calling, it will be lights out.

Until next Wednesday, I bid you a great weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

A brand new year with the same old clunky technology

Greetings, readers. Hello from head cold land. Don’t worry, I’m probably not contagious anymore and we are taking precautions on the laptop with disinfectant wipes. I am staying in my corner and Rebecca is staying in hers. I had thoughts of calling her off today, but we have a lot to get done, my accountant is coming, and I actually sound 100 times worse than I feel. I feel dandy, but I sound like I am breathing through mud.

I have an app on my computer desktop that I really like, that lets me see new emails and reply to them without going to my email site and logging in. I like it a lot, but it has one bad drawback. I found out from an email I sent to Darren using said app that the name Lisa shows up instead of Joseph in the sender line. It doesn’t happen when I compose an email in the site itself, just from the desktop app I like so much. I believe I have found a way to fix it, but both times I’ve tried, just when I go to hit the save button, it starts to do something and then freezes. And alas, I am still Lisa. A big technology grrr. I am also having massive computer problems today with the laptop running slow and freezing. That may be the problem with changing Lisa today, I will continue to work on this issue to get it solved.

Darren and I are doing a contract for Four’s a Crowd, with a lawyer drawing it up for us to sign. We both think it makes a lot of sense to have our agreement in writing. The lawyer’s appointment that we had scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed. It gives me a week to kick this cold and us more time to flesh out the points we want the lawyer to put in the contract.

As soon as I’m feeling better, I want to take my proof copy of the book and plow through it in a week. That is my goal. Everyone else already has their edits in. As usual, I’m the one lagging behind. More than likely, I will go to Panera, find a big table where I can spread out, listen to my music under earphones, and lose myself in a good novel … and it is a good novel.

After work hours today, I have a couple of errands to do, one of which is to stop at the market and pick up items such as cold tablets, O.J., and tissues. Alka-Seltzer Cold and Flu works wonders. If I’m still stuffed up on Friday, I’ll take a couple of packets to work. At 3:30 I have to go to therapy, and then I’ll be back for the day. I have another day off from the job tomorrow to rest and recoup and be ready for Friday. Some people can do this, I cannot; I cannot be cheerful and smiley when feeling sick. I would probably turn to a grumpy customer and say, “What the heck do you want? And here’s your darn food.”

Lastly, on a weather note, our cold snap has finally broken and we have more seasonable temperatures. The week-long single-digit temperatures were actually beginning to affect my nervous system. Yes, cerebral palsy reared its ugly head yet again. Now that the temperatures are in the 20 and 30s F, I am feeling much better. I do expect more frigid temperatures, but heck, it is only January and spring time is quite a ways away.

Please send good thoughts to me for a speedy recovery. Take care, have a good day, 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.

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’m making plans for my Maine vacation and beyond

Greetings, readers. I’ve been pondering life lately. I think my Goddaughter’s wedding has something to do with this. Now, for Ashley’s family, I promise you I am not envious, but I have been thinking recently about all the things that I won’t be able to do in my life.

Since I have no daughter, I won’t be able to walk her down the aisle. I won’t be able to toss a ball with my son or teach him to drive. Granted, I am missing out on college tuition payments and that is a plus. But there are moments when my delightful cat Keekee and wonderful girlfriend Traci don’t seem to be enough; that there is still something missing in my life. I don’t know, maybe I’m selfish.

For a short while there I thought about going back to college. The price tag pretty much ended that dream. I might take some free courses when I get back from Maine. It will be something to do, something to engage my brain and it would give me the feeling that I am bettering myself. Obviously, I can’t step into a time machine and go back. As I wrote once before in another blog entry, Life doesn’t have a reset button. We must go on from here, learn from our mistakes, and do the best we can.

Last night I started thinking a lot about David’s family, about all the nieces and nephews and their children. I hope in some small way I have been able to enrich their lives. I was fortunate enough to have an uncle figure while I was growing up, Cy Greco. I would see him at camp every year growing up and we would talk on the phone every Saturday for years. I miss him dearly.

Here are some of my plans for the upcoming camp to camp year, August 2016 to August 2017. I want to have a new book ready to publish or have it well on the way to being published. A whole year of just doing the blog entries, though enjoyable, was not profitable. Rebecca and I must start churning out books again, for monetary gain and for my feelings of self-worth. Other things I have been thinking about are how I will peak and tweak my morning and evening routines. I’m pleased that I have kept to getting up early and going to bed relatively early, but there is always room for improvement. Also, I will have to get a grasp on my spending. Something is going to have to go. It isn’t going to be Rebecca, so it might Panera completely or, worst case scenario, I might have to give up Bear Spring Camps in a couple of years.

I feel like my life is starting to come together now. I have a girlfriend, I hope to get a job in August, and I have several good ideas for writing projects to begin when I get home. I even toyed with the popular drink 5 Hour Energy. Although it did make me a little more alert, it also made my left arm twitch. I don’t think I’ll be having any more of those.

That’s it for now. Again, if you are in the middle of the heat wave, please stay cool and drink lots of water. Take care, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe’s birthday today and he is sick

Happy birthday, Joe! He is in the room with me but resting. And coughing. Not the best birthday! His cold is getting better, and in fact when he was out and about earlier in the day he was feeling good. He is focused on being over this illness by Saturday, when he will drive to New Jersey with Traci to attend an important wedding; regular readers of this blog will know that the wedding is that of his Goddaughter Ashley. He is so excited. He wouldn’t miss it for anything, so it is a good thing he is over the worst of the cold.

Today is Children’s Day at the Central Pennsylvania’s Festival of the Arts. Children’s booths, entertainment geared toward children, and lots of children everywhere. I met Joe and Traci in Panera at noon, as usual on a Wednesday, and the place was wild. A loud din, full tables, long lines, a couple of children running around, many children yelling, and the grown-ups shouting over the noise to be heard. At one point there was a boy in a stroller making a droning noise for a long time. He would occasionally raise the noise to a screech, then go back to droning, as his parents continued to make their selections and ignore him. Finally the three of us at our table started talking to him to stop the sound. He would not answer or stop droning, but his dad did notice us and picked the child up. That stopped it. Our experience in the restaurant was loud, chaotic, and we couldn’t talk to each other. I was relieved when we left. I usually love kids, but maybe not that many in one room.

The Arts Fest (as us locals call it) will continue in downtown State College and on the Penn State campus until Sunday. Tomorrow in Boalsburg (about a ten minute drive from downtown) will start the People’s Choice Festival, also running until Sunday. Every year these festivals bring a lot of people into our area, and the place gets a feeling of an outdoor party. It is a big event for the folks who live here, and most of us set our summer schedules by it (though some of that is because of changed traffic patterns).

Time seems to go so quickly sometimes. Just next month will be Joe’s trip to Maine, Ag Progress Days, and the Grange Fair and Encampment. I don’t attend any of these events myself, but I know people who do, and it marks the end of summer for me. I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, though, it is still the middle of July. Loads of summer left.

The weather is hot and humid now. Maybe I’m thinking of the end of summer because I am tired of the heat. I know Joe loves hot weather, but I do not. Oh, well. In the winter I will be complaining about the cold, so I should enjoy summer while it is here.

I will close with Joe’s usual ending. We are not sure if we are meeting on Friday, as Joe will be packing that day and getting ready for the trip. We might do the blog as usual, or he might put a quick entry up himself, or I might do another one. Until next time, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.