Sunday, November 29, 2015

Philadelphia, Here We Come!

The Philly skyline view from Don's rooftop deck (Don's head is bottom right)

Only one day to go until my trip to Philadelphia!

Just to refresh your memories, I will be visiting my friend Don McK. in Philadelphia for five days next week, starting Monday.  Pat is flying down from Toronto on Tuesday to also spend time with me and visit Philly, which we both love.

My Travel Buddy, Pat

The original purpose of my trip was to spend time with Don to show him how to use his new iMac computer.  Last month I took a day trip (with the Old People's Express bus) to Philly to visit Don.  At that time I guided him in his purchase of his first Apple computer and getting hooked up to FIOS through Verizon. However, I didn't have enough time to show him how to use his new computer.  In fact I almost missed my bus coming back home here in Delaware.

Don at the Apple store in Philadelphia (Don on the right with the scarf looking overwhelmed)

Since I returned home I've talked to Don several times on FaceTime, giving him some basic instructions but nothing beats one on one instruction.  Plus I wanted to spend time in Philly, my home and workplace for many (over thirty) years.  During my conversations with Don I found that his co-op has a suite available to rent for guests.  I was gong to do one of those Air BnB things but staying in the same building with Don is better yet.  And to have Pat join me, for More Adventures of Pat and Ron.

So, next week will be one of personalized instruction from me to my longtime friend Don.  Ironically, Don is the person who introduced me to computers back in 1986.  I headed up a research project at my new job at the new bank where I got a job after being job eliminated at Mellon Bank.  My friend Don was job eliminated a few weeks after I was canned.  Don was an accountant and I certainly could use his expertise.  I hired him to work on the project with me.  When he came aboard he was appalled to see that I was keeping records with those green columnar pads.  He suggested using a computer, and the spread sheet software Lotus.  And folks, the rest is history.  

The way I WAS keeping the books at my new job before Don showed me a better way

However, since then Don never got much past the stupid and user Unfriendly Windows based computers.  It is now my turn to return the great favor my friend Don did for me.  It's all good folks. 

Life is good.

Me yesterday after doing a little yard work (very little) on a beautiful late November day in southern Delaware

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday and Hotel Thanksgiving Memories

Ah ha!  Today is Black Friday. And as you can see (or read), I am sitting at my iMac blogging about it.  And that is the way I plan to spend this day.

Last night, as I left work at 11:30 PM I saw the steady stream of headlights streaming down Route One to the Rehoboth outlet malls.  Oh yes!  No way Jose Joseph (we are nothing if not politically correct here).  

Actually, I don't do any Christmas shopping. I gave up on that tradition years ago when my nieces and nephew grew up.  I used to shop for my Mom, who birthday was on Christmas Eve, but since she died (2010), I no longer had a need to shop.  

Bill and I have everything we need.  We have each other.  We have a beautiful home in a wonderful neighborhood with fabulous neighbors.  What more could we ask Santa for?  Oh well, maybe to get rid of our arthritis and (wishful thinking) to get back my youthful looks.  But folks, those days of a limber body and fresh faced innocent looks are just fond memories now in the (very) distant past.

I had a very quiet Thanksgiving yesterday at the hotel, even though the place was full.  One thing about Thanksgiving Day hotel guests, they are invariably nice and very low maintenance.  The only glitch I had was a call to clear a clogged toilet.  Oh yes, the worst call a hotel front desk agent could receive.  I . HATE . TO . PLUNGE . CLOGGED . TOILETS. 

And wouldn't you know it, I couldn't accomplish that nasty task.  Plunge as I might . . . . nada.  I had to call Mike, my manager.  Thank goodness he had just finished his Thanksgiving family dinner.  Thank goodness he is good natured.  

I asked him where was the snake.  Oh yes, this toilet required "the snake."  After some difficulty I found "the snake" in the maintenance office.  

Back to the hotel room, where the guests (an older couple) were waiting.  Oh how I love to plunge a toilet while the guests are in the room.  And I know you want to know if there was any shit fecal matter. There wasn't (thank goodness).  Just some toilet paper (thank goodness).

Mike came, saw and did some MAJOR plunging.  Turned off the water and then flushed the toilet while we held our breath.  This HAD TO WORK because we had no other rooms to house the guests. 

Well, I know you hanging on with baited breath.  IT worked!  And that folks is why Mike gets paid the Big Bucks.  Thus another Working at the Hotel on Thanksgiving Day is a memory.  

Folks, I DO live a very interesting life.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Day - 2015

Mom preparing dinner for the family 1975

Well, here we are, another Thanksgiving Day.

Today I go to work at the hotel at 2:30 PM.  The hotel is full today unlike previous years when we only had a few grandparent types staying at the hotel.  They're in town to visit their kids and grandkids but stay at the hotel because as they all tell me "We love our grandkids but we can't take them 24/7."  Oh how well I understand.  The older I get the more all that noise and jumping up and down like Mexican jumping beans just rattles my nerves.  I like Thanksgiving just the way it is here today . . . . quiet.  Ah, peace and tranquility.  

Bill (far left) with my nieces and nephew and brother) 1975

However, I do get nostalgic on Thanksgiving.  Back when both of my parents were alive, Mom would bake up a big Thanksgiving dinner of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy (my Mom made the BEST homemade gravy - SLURP!), corn, string beans, cranberry sauce and stuffing (of course).  My Mom also made the best celery stuffing.  Dessert was on of her homemade pies.  Oddly enough, my Mom never mastered the art of making a good pie crust.  Her pie crusts always tasted like cardboard with Crisco.  But the filling (cherry, apple or pumpkin) was always good.

Mom getting her hair style by her niece Vickie with my sisters-in-law looking on - 1975

The family would gather around the small table she had in the dining room.  The dining room table was only used about two times a year.  Once for Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas dinner.  

Grandpa (my father) with his nieces Vickie and Nancy - 1975

My brothers and their wives would be at the table and me and Mom and Pop of course.  The kids were at the Kid's Table.  

Pop getting "antlered" by his niece Vickie - 1975 

Sadly, those days are gone.  But you know what folks, those memories will live forever.  Including my Mom's cardboard pie crusts. 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Much To Be Thankful For

Here we go folks, another Thanksgiving Day is almost here.  

As my previous seventy-fours years of life, I have much to be thankful for.  As I enter my seventy-fifth year here is a spontaneous list of just some of the reasons I have to be thankful for.  Be warned my list is not politically correct nor in any particular order:

I am thankful:

That I am an American. While we have many problems in our country, I still would rather be an American than any other nationality. 

That I am gay.  I never once in my life regretted being born gay.  I have always felt that I was given a "gift" to live my life as a gay man.

My husband, Bill.  For the past fifty-one years I have led a charmed life with a man who has loved me without qualification. 

My home.  All my life I dreamed of having exactly the home I have now.  And I am so thankful that it is paid for. NO MORTGAGE!

That I can walk.  After my fall last winter which severed my quadricep muscle, I feared that I would never walk normal again.  Walking has always been one of my treasures and I have it back again.  I am SO THANKFUL.

My jobs.  All my jobs.  I've been working since I was ten years old when my Mother told me (when I was in third grade) "You're going to work."  She got me a paper boy job (which I loved, probably the best job I've ever had in my life).  I have worked non-stop since and will continue to work until I can no longer walk and my brain no longer functions.  My goal is to never completely retire.

My friends. Both long-time and new friends and especially my Special Friend Pat. All my life I was on a search for "someone like me" and two years ago I found him, or he found me.  Someday I will tell that whole story of our meeting but for now I have someone who is totally unselfish, caring and fun to be with.  All my life I knew I would meet him.  The wait was long but worth it.  I will not end my days alone.

My health.  Although I live with arthritis, that gradually grows worse, I can still manage.  My prostate cancer and kidneys stone days are behind me (I hope). I look forward to living many more days active and healthy.

The Republican Clown Show presidential candidates.  Oh yes, the current crop of Republican presidential candidates virtually assure that another Democrat will be elected president and thus assure that no more Republican conservatives will be appointed to the Supreme Court during my lifetime.  

And lastly, I am thankful that I live in a country that not only has freedom of religion but freedom FROM religion.  We live in a world today where may religious extremists foment against anyone who doesn't adhere to their religious views. 

The first Thanksgiving was held by Pilgrims who came to this country for religious freedom.  Ironically they didn't tolerate anyone in their community who didn't adhere to their strict religious views. And today, we have those in this world (Muslim religious extremists) who seek to destroy us because we're the infidels. 

My wish to everyone who reads this blog is a very safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pat Plays With His Band in Toronto

Regular readers of this blog know that one of my very good friends is Pat. I have several very good longtime friends who (Larry, Bill B., Stuart, Angie, Bill P.) who I am very thankful for in this Thanksgiving week.  I am so fortunate to have my old friend as well as my new friends, including some really fabulous friends I have met through blogging (you all know who you are). 

So here I go again with another "Pat" posting.  I find it interesting that every time I post about Pat I get the fewest comments.  Wonder why?  But you know me, I put no pressure on my readers to comment. I write for my pleasure and yours, no need to comment but all comments are appreciated!

I don't remember if I told you all that Pat has a "hobby".  He plays in a 60's themed band called "The 45's".  I've never seen him perform in person (with his band that is) so I asked him to have someone take a video of him and his band playing during their gig this weekend at the Green Dragon restaurant in Toronto, Canada.  As it happens, his dentist and his wife were attending and they graciously agreed to take a video of Pat's band "The 45's" with Pat's iPhone.  

The Green Dragon Restaurant in Toronto, Canada

In January Pat and I will be returning to Los Angeles.  Last year when we visited we stopped by the Whiskey A Go Go.  We saw two pitiful interesting performances. This year I'm going to talk Pat into performing.  Hey, he's as good as anything we saw at the Whiskey A Go Go during our visit last year.  And folks, I can promise you that if Pat gets up on the stage at the Whiskey A Go Go, I will videotape it with my iPhone. Promise!

So here is The Video of Pat and his band "The 45's playing "Don't Throw Your Love Away" performing this past Saturday night in Toronto. Pat is the bass guitar player in the center of the video. 

Pretty darn good huh?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why I Can't Get Good Photos Of Me Anymore

Me with my Heavy Metal Detox juice drink at the Nectar Cafe in Lewes, DE

Regular readers of this blog know that I like to take photos.  I like to take a LOT of photos. 

I have over 84,000 photos on my computer and more to scan. 

I started taking photos Christmas Day 1954 when I was twelve years old.  My Mother had given me a Kodak Brownie camera for Christmas.  
My younger brothers John and Isaac with their 1954 Christmas presents, matching bikes! They were the willing subjects of my first picture taking session, eight images on a black and white Kodak roll of film

Back in those black and white days, I rarely had photos taken of myself.  I remember a trip I won to New York City as a paperboy, I don't have one picture of me.  I just have pictures of the New York skyline. 

My photo of the New York City skyline 1955 - I wish now that I would have asked one of my fellow paper boy contest winners to take a picture of me with the skyline behind me - too late now

Back in those days there was no such thing as a selfie.  And if I did ask someone to "take a picture of me please?", that would be considered a social faux pas, one must be modest.

The General Motors building in New York City 1955 - is it still there?

However, in this day and age, selfies are the norm, and one isn't considered a narcissist if one asks someone else to take a picture of him or her.

Lady Liberty, New York City 1955 - she didn't mind me taking her picture

Oh how often I wish I had taken more pictures back in those pre-terrorism days when the only thing we had to worry about was the Soviet Union dropping an A-bomb on us.

"What? We have to hid under our desks when The Bomb drops?"
(me in the back of my father's pickup truck - not at all happy about this embarrassing mode of transportation during my sensitive teenage years - my Father loved humiliating and degrading me - and one of my brothers caught me on camera during my funk

Well, these days I have plenty of opportunity to have my picture taken as well as taking selfies.  However, there is one thing I've noticed.  It's getting harder and harder to get a good picture of me.  Then I remember something my Mother told me a long time ago.  She said "Ronnie, as you get older you'll find you'll have a harder time getting that 'good picture' of yourself."  Of course I didn't pay much attention to her wise advice (was was young and full of myself back then) but you know what?  She was right!

Yesterday I wanted to put a new profile picture on my Facebook account.  Usually there is no difficulty selecting a picture of myself from the many that I have had taken. That has changed.  Now most of my pictures are of an old, wrinkled, grizzled man.  Wow.  "Is that me?" I ask myself.  And no, I'm not going to post even one of those pictures now.  Use your imagination but trust me, I'm starting to deteriorate.  I'm going downhill . . . FAST. 

Gone are those days of the past when every picture showed a young, fresh faced and wimpy kid with a FULL head of hair.

Yep!  That's me.  Was I EVER that young and innocent?  Well, I was believe it or not. 
One consolation I have is that my friends and peers (the ones still alive anyway) are aging has well and keeping pace with me.  Some solace (I guess).

Bill and Pat during Pat's annual visit to Delaware this past spring

But all is not lost.  I have found that when I'm happy, my smile still shines through and you can still see a hint of my youth.  

Me and Pat on the Rehoboth Boardwalk this past spring (and me with my Spo Shirt)
So the trick is to keep smiling.  I'm working on it folks!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving dinner - Ron Style (hummus and pita chips)

Here we are, another Thanksgiving!

Wow, where does the time go?  Weren't we just suffering through the oppressive heat and humidity of summer?  One thing I have noticed the older I get is how fast the years fly by.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Bob's 2002 - sadly several of these men have since passed away.  I am at the head of the table (as usual). 

It just does not seem that long ago that my longtime friend Bob Mc. had an annual Thanksgiving dinner at his home outside Georgetown of all of us single gay guys who didn't have a traditional family Thanksgiving.  Anywhere form sixteen to twenty-four guys (all gay, but not a requirement) attended Bob's Thanksgiving foray. Bob died last year and his partner Jim is in an assisted living facility.  No more Thanksgiving dinner for the single Gay Guys.

Old Gay Guys at the Kiddie's table at Bob's Thanksgiving

I used to do Thanksgiving dinner many years ago but Bill doesn't like turkey.  And we just don't eat that much. To us Thanksgiving is just another day. In fact, Since 2005 I've worked every Thanksgiving Day.  I'm not complaining, just stating a fact.  In fact, I don't mind working Thanksgiving Day.  I work at a hotel and the guests on Thanksgiving are invariably pleasant and kind.  However, one thing I do miss is a slice of turkey and some stuffing.  And oh, some real cranberry sauce and maybe mince meat pie.  

The last Thanksgiving dinner I did was at my longtime friend Bill B's home in 2005.

Thanksgiving at my friend Bill B's house - he took pity on me and invited me to dinner at his home - it was delicious! And oh, that is me in the yellow shirt (which I still have)

I am thankful for much.  I like Thanksgiving dinners. I like the family atmosphere, be it straight or gay.  This year again, I will miss having an invite to a Thanksgiving dinner. But do not Cry For Me Argentina feel sorry for me.  I will enjoy this Thanksgiving wherever I may be and that is because I have much to be thankful for.  

Me with my friend's cousin Ruth (who I suspect he was trying to fix me up with - we were the only singles at his dinner)