Tag Archives: Penn State University

I thought spring had sprung… and more

Greetings, readers. Here I thought spring had sprung, but Mother Nature had other plans. Today it was rainy, damp, and the high temperature was only 46°F. That’s not very warm for April 28th. I know that many years ago, we had snow in May. Yes, that can happen here in central Pennsylvania. In this college town however, when all the co-eds see the tree’s leaves turn green, they all run around half-naked. This is why half of them are sick during finals week.

That’s right, it’s finals week here at Penn State University. This Saturday and Sunday, the seniors will be graduating and moving on to their next phase of life. The undergrads get to go home for three months, before returning in late August to do it all over again. I can only imagine how loud Friday’s and Saturday’s parties are going to be.

From late morning until close, Panera Café is swarming with college kids either studying or hanging out sipping coffee. Between early May and mid-June, there is a wonderful lull in between the college students leaving, and public school children still having classes. After approximately June 10th, all hell breaks loose when the little ones are also set free for the summer.

Speaking of summer, the mid-July Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will be here before we know it. When I was younger, that was always the midpoint of summer. Yes I know that technically the summer season does not begin until June 21st, but it just seemed as though the second half of the summer went much faster than the first. Now that I’m older, I feel that way all the more. I love summer and hate winter, and my summer goes way too quickly for my liking.

Briefly, a spring cleaning update. My kitchen remains clean. Yay! I have begun work on the bathroom, which is the least dirtiest room in the apartment. All the towels were recently washed and put away, the shampoo bottle was placed on the rickety stand by the toilet, and such things as nail clippers and my comb were neatly placed at the back of the sink. Next up on the spring cleaning list of tasks is the dining room table/writing area. I am hoping that Rebecca does not think I want her to choose one phrase or the other here, because my computer lives on the dining room table. No, folks… I do not put my cereal bowl on top of my computer. That would just be asking for trouble.

Finally… and yet again… prayers go out to the families and victims of yet another senseless shooting, this time in a synagogue in San Diego, California. It’s time that state and national leaders step up to the plate and tried to put an end to this senseless violence. Maybe one day, my plea will be heard by someone who can do something about it. Before my malfunctioning computer goofs up again I’m going to close this entry, spell check it, and post it before my technology, and my patience, go splat!

Until Wednesday, have a great rest of your weekend, take care, love one another, and as always, happy reading.

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.

New kitten finally came out to play

Greetings, readers. Last Friday my new kitten arrived and for the first three days and nights all I did was hear her. She would come out in the cover of darkness, use her cat box, and eat a little something. This is the only way I knew she was okay and hadn’t died of shock from moving into her new home. On Monday, my friend Tasha from work, who gave me the kitten, came over to my place and bridged the gap between scared kitten and new owner. Once Princess Josie was placed on me, and I pet her and gave her the first little kiss on the head, all has been right with the world since.

Princess Josie has been very active, exploring her new world. Yes, she gets into a little mischief now and then, but the pink crate, which was also given to me by Tasha and her mother, is a perfect time-out penalty box. It has been most effective. (While I was taking a phone call just now, Rebecca was wrestling with P.J., trying to keep her off the work table and computer. P.J. in now sitting in said penalty box. Don’t worry, readers, I will not give the cat a complex.)

Here is a picture that Tasha took on her phone of me and the new kitten. I must say, she is very photogenic.

Joe and his new cat Princess Josie

Notice her pretty brown eyes. I believe she is Bengal or a Bengal mix. At only nine months old, I’m sure to have many great years with her, filled with love, affection, and cuteness.

On to other topics, I’ll be taking a personal day tomorrow, to try out my new summer writing schedule which goes into effect in about two weeks. I’ll be working my fast food job through the Penn State graduation weekend and I will go back right before the students return in mid to late August. Also … finally the warmer weather has arrived. Though not hot by any means, it is at least warm. I can dig it. When I can go to work in my hoodie and leave the down coat behind, I’m a happy camper.

Lastly, this is my therapy week, I’ll see my therapist later today as a matter of fact. I’m going to make certain to bring my computer with me to show off the picture of her royal highness, Princess Josie.

Before closing, I just have to end with a funny for the day. I was watching YouTube videos of funny fails and I saw a little two-year-old girl happy and smiling while her daddy was flipping the channels behind her. All of the sudden he stopped on the news channel with President Trump talking. The little girl turns around, looks at the President, starts to cry and says, “No, no, no.” I laughed so much.

Tomorrow Rebecca will either have a new entry or a re-post for you, and we will be back together next Wednesday. I hope you all have a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.

A small apology and top ten list of my summer plans

Greetings, readers. Before we begin the top ten list for today, I must apologize for not having the short story ready that I mentioned in yesterday’s entry. I wanted to use my voice recognition program while I sat at the computer with my coffee and breakfast. Wouldn’t you know, my back decided to choose this morning to go out. Back to bed I had to go with all lights off. What a pain in the grass. I’ll definitely try to post the short story either over the weekend or next Wednesday.

Now for the top ten list of things I’m going to do this summer. As I mentioned before, I have been granted the three months off from my fast food job beginning right after the Penn State graduation weekend. These are the things I am going to try very hard to accomplish before the end of August. Here we go.

#10. Take walks and get in better shape. [Even though I am not overweight, I have been having heart problems, and more exercise in the fresh air is always good for everybody. I think I can handle two loops around the block.]

#9. Not watch as much TV or YouTube videos. [When I’m in Maine, I do not have a TV. I’m very limited to my entertainment and I actually like it that way. I think for the summer, I’m going to imagine that I am in a woodland cabin by the lake. I think that will reduce stress and allow me to do a lot of writing.]

#8. Clean out my walk-in hall closet. [I’m going to need some help for this one, but I know where I can get it. This poor walk-in closet is my third, fourth, and fifth room. I’ll leave how much stuff is in it to your imagination. Lots of stuff I have in there I wish to keep, unfortunately not all of it is going to make the cut. I must trim it down by half.]

#7. Take back my bedroom. [Oh, dear readers, I’ve been trying to do this one for years. I take three steps forward, and slide five steps back. Keeping it nice is a never-ending process. With time off from my fast food job though, and with family coming in June, I should have plenty of time and motivation to get it at least company acceptable.]

#6. Eat better. [I found a couple of places within walking distance that serves healthy food. There is a Chinese restaurant close to where I live, and I think that all those vegetables can give me all the vitamins and minerals I am lacking. Also, The Corner Room at the bottom of the hill serves complete dinners. Man cannot live by ice cream and blueberry muffins alone. Lol.]

#5. Write short stories. [As mentioned yesterday, I have several story ideas on all four burners. I just need to turn up the heat and get them cooking. Again, the proper amount of uninterrupted time and relaxed atmosphere should do the trick in providing a writing frame of mind. The voice recognition program will help a lot too.]

#4. Train the new kitty. [This one goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. Tomorrow a new chapter of my life begins as kitty cat Princess Josie comes home. Of course KeeKee will always be remembered and loved, but I need a new support animal, and I think P.J. will fit the bill just fine. Of course, I’ll have to show her where the litter box is and teach her what she can and cannot scratch. Everything I don’t want chewed my first day out of the apartment will have to be put in the bedroom with the door closed.]

#3. Rest my feet and knees. [As I’ve told my co-workers, I’m not trying to be a wimp here, but I think these three months off will do wonders for my feet and knees. I’ll gladly trade-off a sore behind if it means plenty of pages written.]

#2. Get Four’s a Crowd published and selling. [This is a project that has been going on for several years and we are one proof away, I think, from having it ready to click for sale on CreateSpace.com. We have to find a way to publicize it though, I don’t want this new book to falter and drown like my books have.]

#1. Go to Maine. [I am reserved my cabin and am obviously planning to go to Bear Spring Camps again this summer. My week away from central Pennsylvania will recharge my batteries and get me ready for another year. It always seems to do that.]

Well there you have it, the top ten list of things I will do this summer. I’d like to thank everybody for the 21 views of yesterday’s post. Very encouraging. I hope you all continue to enjoy the blog. Until next week, I bid you a wonderful weekend, take care, and happy reading.

UPDATE: September 5, 2018: To my surprise I actually accomplished eight out of ten. That is a happy surprise to me. It also gives an idea for a blog entry for today. 🙂

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.

Re-post of an entry about my Cerebral Palsy

Greetings, readers. As I wrote yesterday, I have a shift at my job today and left the blog to Rebecca. She said she would either write a new post or re-post a little-read-but-worthy one just like she did last week, and it turns out she chose to re-post. She picked one from the end of my second full year of blogging, where I wrote about my Cerebral Palsy and how it worked in my life. Thank you for reading. I’ll be back next week.

CP and me

November 15, 2013

Greetings, readers. This is my one and perhaps only blog entry dealing completely with my affliction from cerebral palsy. I have been looking at blogs and websites about CP for a project, and have connected with a couple of people in the same boat, and I now have my own case on my mind. I have mentioned my CP in this blog here and there, but I have not done a post about it and how it effected my life.

I have had it since birth and will die with it. However, thanks to my well-meaning but over-protective parents, I didn’t know I had it until around the age of 16. Up until that point, I was simply told that I had a weak left side and the whole topic of being different from other people really didn’t come up at the dinner table.

Let’s start from childhood. Vivid memories of Tuesday evening swimming lessons at the Bellefonte, Pennsylvania YMCA conjure up images of cold swimming pools and a little boy trying not to drown. I remember thinking to myself that I should be able to do what all the other kids were doing – swimming. I could just barely tread water. I knew it was time to quit when my favorite part of the evening was when it was time to leave, and I could put my quarter into the vending machine and get my plastic NFL helmet for my collection.

Around the age of 10 or so, I suffered what I still call to this day my klutz year. I was a normal active boy enjoying Nerf football and Whiffle ball, but in the span of twenty-one weeks I suffered three broken fingers, one smashed elbow, and a broken wrist … all on the same arm. The arm that I tended to fall to – the left. I was cast-free for one week before I smashed my elbow, then for one day before I clobbered my wrist. Not deterred from wishing to feel normal, I continued to play outdoor sports.

In my 20s, I remember playing racquet ball, with my friend from high school, which can be a brutal sport. We created our own game and called it Tenaquet. We served overhand and we gave each other two ball bounces rather than one. That aided my bad balance and Jim’s bad knee. What fun we had. When my knees and my back started to go haywire, I had to officially ‘retire’ from sports.

Around this time, it was becoming painfully obvious that attending Penn State University day classes was not for me. I was having a very hard time with taking notes and I was a horrible test taker. Later I figured out why. Even though I can read, my retention isn’t quite up to par. I had to withdraw and never did finish. I think Mom understood, but was in denial that her son couldn’t finish college. Just a couple of years ago, I found out from my Godmother that Mom had the measles when she was pregnant with me. This could explain why my brain didn’t develop correctly. Perhaps in some strange way she felt responsible. Which of course was ridiculous. Things happen.

As I briefly mentioned in other blog posts, things like my balance and fine motor skills are effected; not to mention the fact that I have seizures. But every day I do the best that I can do. I can just give people 100% of all I’ve got on any particular day.

On the positive side of my mild CP: I can walk, I can jog, I can drive a car. I can write. And I can give a fairly proficient air guitar show. Also, with the help of Flight Simulator X, I can even be, in a way, what I always wanted to be growing up as a kid, which was an airline pilot.

Overall I would have to say that my life has been good and I have learned to live with my mild disability as best I can. Having the knowledge as a child that I have CP may or may not have made a difference. Who knows, I might have been worse off. Unless someone invents a reliable time machine, I will never know.

Until next week, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Top something list of businesses no longer in State College

This is not the typical top ten list that you are used to reading here. I had the idea of a list of businesses that used to be in State College, but aren’t any more, but when I talked it over with Joe and my husband Darren the three of us came up with more than ten. I tried to write the post in prose form instead of a list, but that version was soooo dry and boring. So I went back to list form, but the list is not an even ten, and is in categories, so it is a top something list. They are in no particular order and I will start with #1 and go down to #6, the number of categories I reached.

State College is a busy, thriving place. It is the main campus for the Pennsylvania State University, it has a steady local community, and is surrounded by a lot of small towns with people who drive in for various reasons. We have had a lot of businesses come and stand for decades, some have come and lasted for many years, and some have come and gone so fast that they barely made a ripple. The reasons these businesses left State College are many, from the owner(s) retiring, to the money running out, to the rents rising too high, to the lease not being renewed, to society moving on to another form of entertainment, etc. All three of us grew up in this area and remember a lot of changes over the years.

#1. Businesses in downtown State College a long time ago, that left a long time ago: Danks department store; a five and dime store that I think was G. C. Murphy; four or five movie theaters, including The Garden and The Movies; Svoboda’s Books; and video game arcades, including Playland and Campus Casino.

#2. Businesses outside downtown a long time ago that left a long time ago: A&P grocery store; Riverside grocery store; A&W Root Beer stand; Hills (the Hills Plaza is still there with other businesses in it, but the main building is sadly sitting empty after all these years); K-Mart (I sometimes give directions to people using the phrase, “Past where K-Mart used to be, even though it left State College a few decades ago;) and Hardee’s.

#3. Businesses in the Nittany Mall (I haven’t been there for a while, alas, so this is an old list): Sun Coast Video; Gee Bee department store; KB Toys; and B-Dalton.

#4. Businesses that Darren, Joe, or I have worked that are no longer here: CiCi’s Pizza; Kentucky Fried Chicken; BiLo Foods and then Jubilee grocery stores; Ponderosa Steakhouse (I still miss their food so much); Shoney’s restaurant; and (I worked at B-Dalton too, but I decided to put that in the Nittany Mall entry.)

#5. Businesses we lost in the last 1 or 2 years (many of these were sudden and unexpected): Denny’s; Eat’n Park; Don Patron (our favorite Mexican restaurant;) Mario & Luigi’s; and Chili’s Grill & Bar.

#6. Businesses we lost in the last 15 to 20 years (assuming my memory for time is correct): Arby’s; Nittany Line Hobbies & Toys; Starlite Drive-In theater;O.W. Houts & Sons; Blockbuster Video; and Hollywood Video.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Most of these places are on my list because they meant something to me, I used to go there a lot, or they were part of the landscape of State College. Are there businesses you can think of that I didn’t mention, from State College or from where you live, that you would like to share with us? Please feel free to share in our comments. We love hearing from you.

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

From Rebecca: Happy Birthday, Joe

Today is Joe’s birthday, and if you read his post yesterday, you know that he is spending it with his good friend and brother David Trost, who is visiting for a couple of days. I’m sure they are having a great time together. Hi, guys! Happy Birthday, Joe!

I have known Joe since we went to high school together. I was a bit in my own world back then, but Joe easily befriended me anyway. He has always been interested in other people, in seeing the good in them, and being a good friend to them. These are traits he still has. Once in a while someone will take advantage of his niceness, of his easy trust, and it will make him feel stupid for a bit of time. But he is still willing to help the next person he sees that needs assistance and offer a shoulder to cry on. I admire that. It is my natural inclination to pull away from people I don’t know, and Joe’s natural inclination to move closer in order to say hi. He is a special person.

As I’ve said before on this blog, it has been an experience to watch Joe in his fast food job. He has approached it with so much excitement and joy, even though lately he has also experienced some of the disappointments and mishaps that can occur at any job. He will be taking a couple of weeks off in August when he goes to Bear Spring Camps in Maine, and no doubt when he comes back he will start a new work schedule as the town gets ready for the Penn State fall semester.

Joe wrote yesterday that he will be back next Wednesday with a review of his laptop, but he has an appointment that morning, so he will probably do that on Thursday instead. I might be writing the blog entry again next Wednesday, unless Joe gets back in time to do it.

As Joe would tell you, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Penn State did not cover up fraternity crimes

Greetings, readers. As I dictate this entry today, I’m trying to hold on to my sanity. Last night was not a good night. My neuralgia head pain would not let me alone. I finally got to sleep around 1am. With knitting needles poking me in the head every half-minute, sleep, concentration, and work is difficult. But Rebecca and I press on.

I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to blog about the charges against the Pennsylvania State University students at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity concerning the death of one of their pledges, Timothy Piazza. I was shocked to hear that after the young man fell down steps the rest of the fraternity members, except one, did nothing. They wanted to sober up first before they called 911. As I understand it, one young man wanted to get help immediately but was overruled by his fraternity brothers. He is not being charged. Eighteen frat brothers are facing many charges related to his death, including reckless endangerment and involuntary manslaughter. I applaud Penn State and the authorities for throwing the book at these young men. They were old enough to know better.

The two things that really angered me were how long they waited to call authorities and the lack of urgency in the caller’s voice (the 911 call was released the other day). As I was listening to this 911 tape on an Inside Edition YouTube blurb, it was evident that the caller was desperately trying not to get into trouble but knew the situation was much more serious than he was letting on. He made no mention of the young man’s head injury. The only thing he did right was he said yes when the 911 operator asked him if alcohol was involved.

If I had my way, all fraternities and sororities would be shut down for five years. But, as Rebecca pointed out, most of them do a lot of good for charities, especially in regards to our annual dance marathon for children’s cancer research every February. The fraternity in question has been closed permanently. I applaud this move. My heart goes out to the parents of this young man who wanted to be a brother so badly that he agreed to be hazed, and lord knows what else, and consumed enough alcohol to not to be able to navigate steps. I hope underage drinking was not part of this but I believe it was. To all those young men in the fraternity who endangered someone who trusted you and then did nothing to help him, I have news for you. You’re lives are fucked. Enjoy it.

I know I am not usually this upset when I dictate a blog entry but I hate senseless deaths and this was certainly one of them. This was absolutely avoidable.

Next week we will have two more blog entries for you, on a much cheerier topic I’m sure. I bid all the moms a happy Mother’s Day and I bid my readers a good weekend, and as always, happy reading.

When I’m writing I hate the red squiggles

Greetings, readers. Yesterday was a slower day on my writing project than I hoped for but I was working on my character sheets. Two days ago when I was typing I made a number of typos and as usual the spell checker put red squiggles under them. Some people can ignore that; I am not one of those people.

Every time a word is misspelled I must go back and correct it. It’s just a thing with me. What I should do is press on, ignore it, and fix the mistake later. In time when my writing flow is better I am sure I will do this. To aid me as I am trying to get into my flow, I’m going to look for the option to turn the spell checker completely off. I know that option exists. Even though I am only on page 11, I still feel like I am in second gear, where I write everyday, I can see the action in my head, and the words come easily. With yesterday being a not so great writing day, today must be better. I cannot lose my momentum.

Here’s how today is going to go. Rebecca and I will work until 12:45, then it is off to the pharmacy to get a few items, after that I will meet Traci for a quick snack, and then I will begin my work. I’ll need to stop around 6pm, because I am calling bingo tonight at 7:00. I’ll probably get back from bingo about 9:00 and then I’ll read and watch TV to relax and wind down. I find that if I’ve worked hard on my book I enjoy my off time that much more.

Our area is once again in the national news. Though I will not go into that much detail, I was very angry to see that the son of Jerry Sandusky was charged with a sex crime similar to what the Penn State’s former defensive coordinator was convicted of. Here we go again. More accusations, more trials, and another black eye for Penn State. I’m just tired of it now.

Finally, as I approach my 600th blog entry, which will be posted sometime in mid-March, I wish to ask if you, my readers, have any topic you would like me to cover. If I get a good list from folks, I will choose one and blog about it for the 600th entry.

That’s all the news for today. Until next Wednesday, have a fantastic weekend, take care, and, as always, happy reading.