Saturday, September 22, 2018

Last Day In Canada

Me and Pat at a new restaurant discovery, Sagarmatha Curry Palace in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Today is my last day in Canada. 

This is always the bad part of my holidays with Pat, they end too quickly.

Tomorrow I will arise early for my two hour ride to Buffalo, New York for my 10:36 am flight to Philadelphia. 

As you can see from the paucity of my blog postings since I've been in Canada, I've been very busy. We have been very busy. 

Always something to do on our holidays together. 

We don't plan anything special, just let the days flow but they're always full.

I think yesterday (the days run together) we took the bus to Toronto and explored the massive underground shopping area.  I've never seen anything like that in my life. Sure does beat Philly's homeless sleeping, urine stink Concourse.  Philly has come a long way since I've worked there in the 80's but they have a long way to go. 

The weather has been perfect during my whole stay.  Yesterday was a near tornado but even that was fun. No one got hurt.

As we are wont to do, we discovered a few new vegan restaurants.  One we especially like is an Indian/Nepalese restaurant called Sagarmatha, which is understand is Nepalese for Mt. Everest.  Vegan food was very tasty, inexpensive and we had a cozy corner table. Sevice was a little slow but I'll give them a pass on that.

Well, I hear Pat rousing in the bedroom.  Soon we will be off on another day of adventure. 

Rest assured I will catch up on all the doings here this past week, photos and videos included.  And by the way, a good blogger friend of mine who also visited Canada this week posted that we wouldn't "bore" his readers with photos and videos of his trip.  Wow, that's not me folks. Be prepared to be bored. I don't consider a trip worthwhile unless I take a ton of photos and videos. And if anyone is bored, which I am sure there are a few who have short attention spans or have other interests, they don't have to stop by here for a visit. I for one like to create permanent memories. Can you imagine life without photos or videos to relieve old memories?  I can't but then that's old boring me.

Poster from Steel City bar and restaurant, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada - how did I ever miss this movie?

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Arrived in Canada!

Day three of my week long stay in Canada visiting my friend Pat.

Pat picked me up at the Buffalo airport Sunday. My flight was delayed for almost an hour out of Philadelphia because of "mechanical problems."  Not a good sign.  But once we were in the air, there was no problem. A beautiful day for a flight.

I arrived in Hamilton with Pat to catch the tail end of the annual Crawl.  Pat said the streets weren't as jammed as they were earlier in the week but it was still pretty crowded.  A special treat was witnessing a live performance of "Some Kind of Wonderful" by the man who wrote that song, John Ellison.  I videotaped that performance and will post it in a future post. I hope I don't have copyright issues with You Tube.

I'm typing this blog post from my Macbook which isn't quite as flexible as when I type my blog from my iMac at home. I won't be able to post as many photos and videos from this source. Rest assured I will catch up when I get home.  You know me and my photos and videos.

Yesterday Pat took me on a tour of Hamilton. So many changes in this former steel town of five hundred thousand so so souls that is undergoing a renovation to a millennial destination. Pat moved here from overcrowded Toronto as many others have done. He loves Hamilton!

I brought along the first season of "Game of Thrones", which Pat can't get on his Canadian version of Netflix. We watched the first show last night. We're not binge watching yet but I think once I get Pat hooked, we probably will. I know I am enjoying watching the show again, now I understand a lot more that passed by me when I first watched this show.

Pat is at yoga now.  I'm catching up on my e-mail, blog posting and the latest news on the Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court. You didn't think I would miss the news did you?  

The weather has been almost a perfect low 70's an sun since I've arrived in Canada. 

Life is good folks.

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Ready For Takeoff

Me ready to board the plane

This time tomorrow I'll be in line to board my flight from Philadelphia International airport to Buffalo, New York.  My Canadian Travel Buddy will be waiting for me in Buffalo to complete the final leg of my trip to his luxury condo in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  This is fifth annual trip to Canada to visit Pat.  

Packing for my trips are always a challenge for me. I'm one of those people who packs for "all occasions" and I always end up not wearing most of the shirts I've packed. Every trip, looking at my packed to the gills carry-on luggage I vow to pack less. Usually I take way too many shirts and pullovers.

This is what I'm packing this trip:

  • 5 sets of underwear (T-shirts, underwear)
  • 5 sets of socks
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 light windbreaker/rain jacket
  • 3 pullovers/colored T-shirts
  • 3 plastic see-thru plastic packets of toiletries  including prescriptions pills 
  • chargers for my iPhone, Macbook and Bose speaker

This is what I'm packing in my overhead bin carryon luggage.

In my personal shoulder briefcase:

DVD's (first season Game of Thrones)
TD Bank checkbook

There, I think I've covered everything. I'll take a last check before my neighbor picks me up tomorrow morning at 7:30 am for the two hour trip to Philly International for my hour flight to Buffalo.  

Oh, I forgot!  Plane tickets!  I'll download those later today from my computer.  I print the tickets and I also have the tickets on my iPhone. This is the first time I'm using my TSA pre-check app that I got last year.  Let's see if that works.  Sure would be nice to breeze through TSA security.  

I'll try to keep you all updated during mystery stay in Canada.  Won't have as many photos to post though, I can only do that from my iMac here.  

No matter how many trips I take, I always get nervous.  I got that from my Mother.  Not nervous because of being afraid of flying, I've never had that fear.  My nervousness comes from all the connections I have to make to finally arrive at my destination. Once I arrive in Canada, I actually feel at home.  How about that?  I feel the same way when we visit California and Philadelhia. I'm finally living the life I always looked forward to all those years I used to schlepp to work at my banking job in Philly.  Like another blogger friend of mine I often thought "Can't wait until I retire so I can do what I want to do."  I'm very lucky folks because I am retired now (my part-time job at the hotel funds these trips) and am doing what I want to do.  And how lucky I am to do it with such a great guy like Pat? 

Pat and me in Canada

Friday, September 14, 2018

Memories - The Night I Was Humbled in Philadelphia

Me (left) and Bobby Scott - Pennsuaken New Jersey 1965

These days, in my declining years, when I know I have less years to live than I have lived, I often think of scenes from my past. 

Last year I took the plunge and had all my VHS videos put in a digitized format. Several of these VHS videos were originally 8 mm films. The photos in this blog are from those old 8 mm films. That is the reason for the poor quality of the photos. But even with the poor quality you can still see and feel the youthful enthusiasm of me and others in this old photos that I have captured from those digitized VHS videos.

This images were taken of me forty-seven years ago, a few months after I moved in with Bill where he rented a two bedroom apartment at Penn Manor Apartments in Pennsauken, New Jersey. 

I shouldn't need to identify myself but I will, I am (of course) the tall guy on the left (I was 6'4" at that time). The other guy in this photo was my former co-worker Bobby Scott.  

We both worked at Lipsett Steel Products in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. I was living and working in Coatesville, Pennsylvania when I met Bill in a Philadelphia gay bar called the Westbury. 

Coatesville was fifty-four miles away from Pennsuaken, New Jersey. An hour and a half drive each way.  Bill used to pick me up every Friday and take me back to his apartment. On Sunday he would make the round trip to take me back to my Coatesville apartment. 

We did this routine almost every weekend for about six months until we decided that I would move in with Bill.  But first I had to get a job nearer to where Bill lived.

My friend Ron Hampton worked at Girard Bank in Philadelphia. He secured a job interview for me at Girard. I got the job. More about that turning point in my life in a future blog post.

Long story short, I moved in with Bill.  

A few months after I moved in with Bill, my former co-worker Bobby Scott drove from his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania to visit me and Bill.  This is us clowning around on that hot August day.  

Bobby was married with a young son. He knew I was gay (I had come out to everybody).  I think he was interested in a relationship but I wasn't interested in him that way. I liked him as a friend but not in a sexual way.  He asked me to take him to one of the gay bars I used to frequent in Philadelphia.  I took him to the 247 Bar in center city Philly.  This was Bobby's first ever visit to a gay bar.  He was bedazzled to say the least.  Then what happened next completely floored me. 

A guy named "Jim", who I had lusted after many a times that I had seen him in the 247 Bar and other bars, came over to us.  Jim was my type to the hilt but I could never get anywhere with him.  Every line I tried with him, nothing. But here he was, walking over to where Bobby and I were standing and posing.  He started to talk to Bobby!  He was interested in Bobby!  Talk about having my ego deflated, I left them.  A couple of weeks later I called Bobby and asked him what happened.  Yep, he went home with Jim.  Wow, Jim picked him up.  That humbled me folks.  I'll never forget it.  

I lost contact with Bobby after that.  I've always wondered what happened to him.  Did he continue in his marriage? Or did he live a double life?  Or did he go back to being straight?  Just another one of life's mysteries that I will probably never know the answer. But I will never forget that humbling experience.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A Few of My Favorite Things

A fun post this morning folks! 

I haven't done one of these "lists" posts for a while. This is my own list.  

I've had this blog since 2005.  Where does the time go?  I've covered a lot of subjects. I try to keep things positive on this blog. But I have to admit that negative impulses keep creeping in my head demanding to be posted.  Especially now when the very fundamentals of our democracy are being threatened by the Orange Menace in the White House. But I'm not going to go THERE in this post.  Instead I'm going to post about some of my favorite things.  Yes, just like the "Sound of Music" song says.  

Here is my list in no particular order:

  1. Reading a good book
  2. Early morning walk through my development
  3. Blogging
  4. Taking videos and photos and organizing them
  5. Creating movies from my photos and videos
  6. Gardening, landscaping, flower and herb plantings
  7. Hummus
  8. Judge Judy
  9. Quarterly trips with Pat, my Canadian Travel Buddy
  10. MSNBC
  11. Afternoon naps
  12. Key lime pie
  13. Apple computer products
  14. Schadenfreude (waiting for Trump to be frog marched out of the White House in handcuffs)
  15. Cats
  16. Pomeranian dogs
  17. Family genealogy 
  18. Philadelphia
  19. Canada
  20. West Hollywood California
  21. Palm Springs California
  22. Corn chips, jalapeno and lime flavored
  23. Pico de gallo
  24. Restaurant dining with good friends and without whiny kids
  25. Class reunions
  26. Watching Netflix DVD movies in my bedroom
  27. Bill Kelly
  28. Pension payments
  29. Good and respectful customer service
  30. Seeing corrupt politicians jailed
  31. Rainy days
  32. Sunny days
  33. Cloudy days
  34. Part-time hotel front-desk job
  35. Longtime blogger friends
  36. "Morning Joe"
  37. Rachel Maddow
  38. "Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell"
  39. Chris Hayes
  40. Chris Matthews
  41. Nicolle Wallace
  42. Chuck Todd
  43. Lemon sponge pie
  44. Twice backed stuffed potatoes
  45. Almond milk
  46. Daily journal entries
  47. Money in the bank for emergencies
  48. Good health
  49. Comfortable and mortgage free home
  50. Music 

Just a partial list folks. I have many favorite things. I have a list of things I don't like too. I'm debating whether or not to post that list. I try to keep my blog positive but sometimes I give in to that devil on the left side of my shoulder.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hurricane Florence - "Storm of a Lifetime"

Another hurricane season is here!

Living on the East Coast as I do, I dread hurricane season.  

I live in southern Delaware, on the East coast, two miles from the Atlantic Ocean.

A few years ago we just missed Hurricane Sandy by fifty miles.  Sandy took an unexpected turn just as she was bearing down on Sussex County, where I live.  Phew! Missed that one. 

It is known here that we are due for the Big One.  Thank God that hasn't happened yet.  We are very vulnerable though, all flat coastal land here.  

I feel guilty when I admit I was somewhat relieved when I saw that Hurricane Florence was veering away from traveling up the East Coast and slamming the Delaware coast. 

Hurricane Florence is predicted to hit the Carolina coast Saturday morning. I hope (I don't pray) that the damage is minimal and there is no loss of life for those in Florence's path.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Stressful Morning

One of the biggest problems I've encountered in my old age is handling stressful situations. I don't know if it is because this is the digital age, but times just seem more stressful now.

A prime example: I spent several hours this morning on the phone with Comcast again trying to straighten out a billing problem. Over a year ago I turned in my Comcast modem rental because I got tired of the ever increasing monthly cost. When I started the modem used to rent for seven dollars a month. Gradually the monthly rental went up from eight, to nine to ten then eleven. That's when I decided to buy my own modem.  I turned in my Comcast modem and my bill was reduced accordingly. Then in March I returned home to find an envelope from Comcast with URGENT! printed in red on the envelope. They needed my modem serial number.  I called and got someone with a heavy foreign accent who recorded my model and serial number after I had to crawl around on the floor the try to read black on black serial number on my dusty modem/router.  Then he tried to convince me to rent a Comcast modem.  I told him I didn't want to rent a Comcast modem, I had bought my own modem/router.  He put the hard sell on me.  I couldn't convince him that I did not want to rent a Comcast modem.  I finally had to hang up on him because he wouldn't take "NO!" for an answer.  His supervisor called me back.  He did the hard sell again to rent a Comcast modem. Had to hang up on him too. 

I thought that was the end of it. Oh how wrong I was. A couple of months later I noticed on my paperless bill (which I did not give them permission to stop my paper billing), I was being billed $11.00 a month for a modem rental!

I called Comcast and went through all the menu items and identifying myself.  I explained my situation.  The Comcast customer service person on the other end of the line understood my situation but said they were having a problem stopping the billing. She said she would "turn it over to her supervisor."  I thought the problem was solved, foolish me.  

This morning, while I was talking to my friend Lar and lamenting at how the past few weeks have been relatively stress free, I mentioned my problem with Comcast billing.  I told him how Comcast was billing me for a modem that wasn't theirs.  I thought I would check my bill.  What I discovered got me hot.  They were still billing me!

I called them this morning, went through the menu choices and identifying myself.  I finally get a live person.  He wants my modem's serial number.  I tell him "I've already given that to you several times. Don't you record this information?"  He found the information.  He listened to me and understood my billing problem.  He tried to correct it but after about twenty minutes of trying, he couldn't.  He put me on hold.  I waited another fifteen minutes.  Nothing.  I call back.  I go through the menu items again, identify myself and then get a live person.  I explain my situation all over again to "Sharon."  She understands my billing problem. She tries to correct it.  She can't.  She said she will have to "write a ticket to her supervisor".  I tell her I've been told this before.  What makes this time different?  She gives me a ticket number.

I marked my calendar for this time next month. What are the odds this problem will be corrected? I have to tell you folks, I don't have a lot of faith. Comcast is the only game in town down here in Sussex County, Delaware.  

If this isn't corrected by next month I call the fraud unit of the Delaware State government.  This is ridiculous.