Tag Archives: Princess Josie

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 [Every book I’ve ever done would not be published without Rebecca.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.

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A late Christmas present for a dear friend

Greetings, readers. A very dear friend of mine whom I’ve known since junior high school has had a very rough couple of years. Me, being the kind of guy I am, wish I could wave my magic wand and make it all better. I don’t have one of those, so I thought to myself what is the next best way to pull off a Christmas miracle? Then the answer hit me.

My friend has always wanted to take a cruise to the Bahamas. I’m going to do my best to be Captain Santa’s elf. I’m going to start a GoFundMe page for her and her fiancé in order to raise money to send them on that dream vacation.

Her health is not what it used to be and I really want her to be able to enjoy the cruise that she’s always wanted to go on. Rebecca and I were crunching numbers on the Royal Caribbean website, and we will continue to do so on other cruise sites. The amount we came up with is $4,000, which is $2,000 per person for the cruise tickets and travel expenses. I’m thinking about a cruise in April 2019. That will give us plenty of time to raise the money and find the perfect cruise for them.

I’m going to construct the first draft of the GoFundMe page contents. I told my friend I would let her see it, in case there were any changes she wanted to make. Once she gives me the thumbs up, I will complete the GoFundMe page and make it live. I am so excited to make this happen for her.

Finally, on a Christmas topic, I did manage to string two strands of lights around a picture frame and my bookcase. They look extremely pretty. My kitty cat, Josie, to my happy surprise has only pawed at them one time. I’m shocked beyond belief. I fully expected her to pull the strand down minutes after I plugged it in and all the lights lit up. I also hung up a couple of stockings. I drank plenty of eggnog, went on my traditional Christmas Eve light ride, went to two Christmas dinners, and passed out at 8:30 Christmas night with a full belly.

Rebecca and I will be here tomorrow, for our last Thursday, as we go down to one working day a week … at least for a while.

Until tomorrow, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, love one another, take care, and happy reading.

I won’t be decorating for Christmas this year

Greetings, readers. This is not Ebenezer Kockelmans talking, but any Christmas lights I hang anywhere will be played with and ripped down by the young rambunctious kitten, so what’s the point? A month full of, “You stop that kitty,” is not going to keep me in the holiday spirit. So unless I can find an area where said kitten can’t get to, this will not be a decorated home this year.

In the past, I have been creative and strung Christmas lights around my coat rack, various hung paintings, and even the big book case. As you can see, I’m still pondering in my mind any place I can hang lights that can be a safe bet, not to be played with. To me it would not be the Christmas season without the color of lights. On the other hand, I don’t want to keep poor Josie in the penalty box 24/7. Not only would that give her early arthritis, but it would be punishing her for something that really isn’t her fault. Kittens love to play with things. It is in their nature.

Even though my former cat Keekee and Princess Josie are both listed as short-haired domestics, Keekee was not a mouser, she was a jumper. P.J., as I call her sometimes, is the opposite. Perhaps if I hang some lights in the kitchen in an area where she can’t jump, I can at least enjoy some color as I make coffee or food. If worse comes to worst, there are YouTube videos of a crackling fire in a room full of decorations and a Christmas tree while playing Christmas music. That is always enjoyable for me and I enjoy ambiance videos anyway.

On to another topic. Speaking of YouTube, I saw George W. Bush’s eulogy for his father in a video on YouTube. The service was in the beautiful National Cathedral in Washington D.C. It was probably George W. Bush’s best speech ever. He only stumbled on his words once towards the end when he was getting emotional. And yes folks, presidents are human, he did break down and cry a little when he thanked his father for being the best dad in the world. Former presidents Jimmy Carter with Rosalynn, Bill Clinton with Hillary, Barack Obama with Michelle, and current president Donald Trump with Melania were in attendance in the front row.

Many videos of the entire day’s coverage are on YouTube for anyone to view. I highly recommend it if you are a Republican or a Bush family fan. Continued prayers go out to the Bush family. This must be a terrible time for them and I am sure they can benefit from people’s prayers.

Next week, we will be back for another Wednesday blog on an as of yet unknown topic. At the current moment I have a machine gun called a jack hammer right outside my window driving me absolutely chocolate bon-bons. Hopefully by next Wednesday that phase of the construction will be over and the jack hammer will be gone. I am having a lot of trouble concentrating and dictating. But we push through. I bid all of you a wonderful weekend, love your neighbor and your families, take care 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.

The verdict is still out on Nuance Dragon voice recognition program

Greetings, readers. I have tried the brand-newest version of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition program, which the creators call a solution. So far I like it. It’s obviously the same product only better. A couple of months ago, The Nuance company sent me a notice that they are discontinuing my version of the solution, and gave me a choice about what I wanted to do. I could continue to use my current version, number 13, without tech support and updates or I could actually purchase the newest version, number 15, at a big discount. I chose the latter. For a hundred six dollars and some cents I could own a three hundred-dollar product. I said yes, please.

I’ve tried it out a few times already and there are a few improvements I’ve noticed right off the bat. For starters, it did not have to relearn my voice. I believe when I was installing 15, it learned from the previous version before replacing it. That is awesome. I just wish when I am creating a new blog entry in the new post screen on my WordPress dashboard, that I could dictate with the voice recognition program. I still have to dictate in a word program then cut and paste it if Rebecca is not here. That is not that hard to do, but it is an extra step.

The one thing that I did that I actually regret – and it goes to show how impatient I can be – I downloaded the digital copy instead of ordering a disk through the mail. Somewhere in the downloaded content, I’m sure, is the instruction booklet with all the commands and other information about what’s new in the product. I’m quite certain I’ll find it somewhere.

The following paragraph has spoilers for the novel Four’s a Crowd, the book Darren Taylor wrote based on my play Kimberly. If you haven’t read the book yet but want to, you can skip the next paragraph. It is a fantastic novel.

Yesterday Rebecca and I were doing some research on a major health issue for the elderly. My new writing project very well could be either a brand new play or TV pilot script, Five’s a Family, based on Four’s a Crowd. The timeline would be approximately five to eight years from the end of the novel where Kimberly gave birth to Emily Alice. I would want the child to be old enough to interact and be an integral part of the family instead of just sitting there and being cute. The issue is can Alice still have the health to be living in the house as one of the main characters, or would she have to be in a nursing home, only seen once in a while. After a little more research, I will know what I can and cannot do plausibly.

And welcome back to anyone who didn’t read the previous paragraph. Both Rebecca and I seem to be unusually distracted today. Distraction number one is the multitude of construction noises from next door. Number two is my rather naughty kitty cat, Princess Josie. And number three is stopping to find the right words for the blog entry, which are not coming as easily as usual, so we have to keep stopping to find the right words and phrases for a clear meaning. But, we trudge through. Yes, we did have a moment there where we had to re-word almost the whole previous paragraph. We were almost finished with it, when Rebecca pointed out what a major spoiler it was. Oops, can’t do that. That is why she makes the big bucks. She catches things way before I do. Could I edit my own blog? Sure. Would it be edited as well? I don’t think so.

As I begin to wind this blog post down, Josie has finally located a comfy spot. Now she settles down. Haha. I guess it is a comedy of errors today. As I’m trying to dictate the next sentence, the jack hammer outside is wreaking havoc with my concentration. The construction progress of said seven-story building will take at least a year or more. When it is completed, I fear I will have no pretty view left. I took this eighth story apartment for the view. Dang it.

There is today’s entry. We’ll be back next Wednesday with more written goodies. Take care, have a wonderful weekend, give someone you love a hug, and happy reading.

Tis a strange day, it is

Greetings, readers. It seems as though, recently, when Rebecca and I start our work day, it is taking longer for us to get down to brass tacks. I’m not exactly sure why that is, but I have a feeling. With my low motivation factor for work right now, I think I am just putting it off as long as possible. We’ll talk about politics, the weather, or last week’s blog numbers, but both of us have come to the conclusion that it is taking longer to get down to something called work.

Last Thursday, near the end of the work session, Rebecca and I tried a dictation test on a possible work project to see if Rebecca could keep up with me as I acted out my script. To my delight, she could. Yay, Rebecca. 🙂 There is some talk on the grapevine that we will have to close down operations at the end of the year or thereabouts, but if I can get this new work project going, working together will still be a viable option. The pressure is still on me to work on something that will quickly sell. Therein lies the problem. Any TV script or play that I write will require several drafts, an agent or a publisher, and will probably take years. I’m not sure if we have the finances for years worth of paying Rebecca.

Ta da! It is now after Bill’s meeting and we have to reinitialize our thought processes. Princess Josie has been sprung from her time-out box and is proudly prancing about the apartment. It is true; this is really her place and she allows me to live here. Haha. Princess Josie has calmed herself down over the last couple of months, and is beginning to learn right from wrong. Her only big issue left is not jumping up on my computer table when I am working. That is a big no-no. I’m sure in another year or so she’ll have all the ins and out of a being “good kitty cat” under her belt.

On a very serious final note, prayers go out to the victims and their families of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue massacre. Why can’t we have more love shown in this world of ours? It seems to me that we are surrounded by more death and destruction than joy and unity.

Well, there is today’s blog entry. I’m planning some major changes in the apartment and those plans will be revealed to you tomorrow as part of the blog. So until then, have a great day, say a kind word to someone, take care, and as always, 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.

Top ten list of things I hope to accomplish this autumn

Greetings, readers. I asked Rebecca to check when the last top ten list was and on what topic, it was back in April with a list of things I wanted to do this summer. Eight out of ten isn’t bad folks. So here is a list of things I want to do or continue doing in the autumn of 2018.

#10. To get it out of the way, To continue selling copies of Four’s a Crowd. [I sold seven out of eight copies while up in Maine, which was wonderful, but sales on Amazon are as of yet sporadic at best. If you purchase my book, tyvm. If you like it, pass the word on to your friends.]

#9. Find a place for everything and put everything in its place. [In an apartment slightly bigger than ten shoeboxes, to do that is difficult. But I am proud that I am trying  and that I am making progress.]

#8. Find gainful employment somewhere here downtown. [Unfortunately, I burned all my bridges at my former fast food job and I do not think they would take me back.]

#7. Continue working on a TV series pilot script. [I have two ideas in mind, both of which have hit early road blocks, but it is nothing I cannot overcome.]

#6. Find a new way to take care of my nails. [The salon I used to go to across the street is closed, and between the cost of the service and the added price of a Zipcar, the road trip to the other location in East Freedom, Pennsylvania is an unfortunate impossibility.]

#5. Try my hand at either Match.com or eHarmony.com. [I think it is time I try my hand at a relationship one last time. I’m 0-8 but I feel it’s time to give love one last shot. You never know.]

#4. Either get back to my religion, Roman Catholicism, or join another church closer to my apartment. [Long story short folks, I need more religion in my life. I am searching for some big mid-life crisis answers right now.]

#3. Continue working with my cat, Princess Josie. [I am making progress at teaching her certain things, but she still does things I don’t want her to do, like nipping. She is so different from Keekee, and I am still adjusting to the changes. I need to get some things she needs, like chew toys, while still training her away from bad behavior. I love her so much, and it is a completely blessing to have her here at home.]

#2. With the help of my therapist, learn to become stronger at setting personal boundaries. [I’ve always had a problem saying no to people, and it has bitten me more than once. I must learn to say no, and no means no.]

#1. Upgrade to a refurbished PS4 so I can get back to watching my Netflix and YouTube on my big screen TV. [Again, this will take money and money is tight right now. I might put this on my Christmas list as a gift to myself.]

There you have the list, in no particular order. Tomorrow we’ll be back with another stimulating blog entry. So take care, stay cool, thank God this heat wave is almost over, and as always, happy reading.

Princess Josie was very happy to see Daddy

Greetings, readers. When I arrived home this past Sunday afternoon, I could hear her royal highness, Princess Josie, meowing even before I got to my door. Somehow she knew Daddy was home. When I got all my stuff inside and sat down on my recliner, I was greeted most affectionately. It is wonderful how pets give unconditional love. I missed her terribly and was just as glad to see her.

First thing I did was give her moist food, a few treats, and later, a nice long ball toss session up and down the hallway. She loves to chase her little rubber ball and try to stop it like a hockey goalie.

After that, I put my stuff away and began laundry detail. Josie did not want to leave my side, so I allowed her to come out into the hallway with me and walk down to the laundry room. She was sniffing my shoes quite heavily, probably because she smelled the camp cat, who came up to my cabin door a few times and hung out with me while I was at Bear Spring Camps. As a matter of fact, Kimba woke me up one morning at 4:00 am with a loud chorus of meows at my front door. Normally I wouldn’t have minded or even heard her, but it was so hot up there this year that I slept with camp windows and the inside wooden door open, locking just the screen door. Oh, yes, I heard every insect, loon, wave, and happy group of people at every campfire. But I would much rather have that than try to sleep in a sweltering hot cabin without any air flow at all.

On the topic of camp, the Canada Geese family has grown to over thirty. They are beautiful birds, but all they do is eat, poop and breed. Next year I expect to see at least forty of them up there. Something has to be done. I am not trying to be cruel, but Dave the bird expert says that they will come back to the same spot to lay their eggs, so unless they are deterred, the gaggle will certainly have an increase in population. And then the lake front attendants will have more waste to pick up off the grass.

Back to Josie, this blog entry’s original topic, she did not do what Keekee used to do, which was ignore me for a day when I got home. She would actually be glad to see me for 10 or 15 minutes then show her displeasure of being abandoned by Daddy by giving me the cold shoulder. I fully expected to have this happen with Josie, and I am extremely happy that it didn’t. BTW, many thanks to Rebecca for stopping in, checking on her, and keeping her company. Thumbs up.

Well, there’s today’s blog entry. We’ll be back on Wednesday with another exciting topic to blog about. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I made a change to the blog page

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

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

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

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