Thursday, January 11, 2018

Oil Change

Me with "Elle" yesterday at the garage to get my oil change

Still recovering from snowmageddon from over a week ago. The roads are mostly clear but we still have four feet high snow banks along the sides of our roads.

Yesterday we went to Kenny's Garage in Milton to get my oil changed in my Subaru Forester.  I also wanted to get my battery checked. Lately I've been having a slow start to my beloved Subaru Forester. God, I don't want to be stuck someplace with a dead battery.

I had called "Kenny" of Kenny's Garage a couple of days ago.  Kenny told me I could stop by at 8:30 in the morning. That I did. As I drove into their sooty snow banked narrow driveway a young man who was rounding the corner of the building looked at me and said "Can I help you?"  I said "I'm here to get my oil changed and have my battery checked. I made arrangements with Kenny to stop by this morning."  He said "Come on in, I'll take care of you."

When I went inside the building I noticed the furniture was arranged differently and a different dog. Kenny had a very friendly yellow lab. This time I was greeted by a Winston Churchill looking English bulldog.  She was also very friendly, liked to be petted just like Kenny's yellow lab.

I asked "Herb" (the young man's name) what happened to Kenny.  He said "Kenny sold his business to me."  Well, that was interesting. That explained the different furniture arrangement (not as comfortable as Kenny's) and the different dog.

I turned the keys over to my car and Bill and I sat down on the uncomfortable, hard, plastic chairs in the cold room to wait.  Herb checked my batter and told me I did indeed need a new battery.  Thank goodness I had this checked.  One of my fears is my car conking out in the BJ's parking lot. I am a member of AAA (sine 1982) but I've never used their services. Not that I don't want to, but I would prefer to be prepared rather than depend on a rescue.  

Herb said he was out of Subaru batteries because he had replaced so many during this cold snap but if I could wait he could have one delivered from Georgetown, some twenty miles away.  Bill and I settled in to wait.

About an hour later we were out of there.  Dental appointment was next. That went well.

Later in the afternoon I get a call from Kenny.  He said "Are you coming down?"  I replied "I stopped by this morning and had my oil changed and battery replaced."  Kenny told me "Oh, didn't you know?  I'm operating out of my home now."  Well, no I didn't know.  I am reminded of the quote from "Cool Hand Luke."  "What we have here is a failure to communicate."  

Just another day in the life folks. Never a dull moment, or day, or week. Who said retirement was boring?

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Trapped By The Cold and Snow and Ice

Our sun drenched living room yesterday - nice passive solar heat and with help from our gas propane fireplace which we leave on most of the day during cold snaps like we're having now

Yes, we're still trapped by the cold (five degrees this morning), snow and ice. 

We haven't been out in our car since I returned Wednesday night after 10 o'clock, just as this winter snowstorm (snowmageddon) was dropping a foot of snow on our bucolic home.

Bill was out yesterday chipping away at the ice near our garage. I have to get out tomorrow to work at the hotel.

The temperatures are forecast to rise later this week, all the way up to 61 degrees on Thursday. We can only hope! I've had enough of the snow and ice and cold. 

This kind of weather is unusual for us here on the coastal shore of the southern Delmarva peninsula. Usually, if we get snow it's just a dusting that goes away the next day.  But ever few years we get a dumping of snow like we had this past week. I hope this is the last of the snow for the winter.

Rain is also forecast for Thursday when the temperatures are rising to 61 degrees. Wash that snow away and back to normal.

California is a few days closer to my arrival.

Housebound Ron - relaxing for a few minutes yesterday in my wing chair

Friday, January 05, 2018

Snowed In - Cabin Fever

Here we are at the aftermath of our first major winter storm. Bill is outside shoveling the driveway.  The temperature is a frigid 14 degrees.

Yesterday I spent most of the day in our fireplace and gas propane warmed house at my computer. I reviewed all 846 photos from my Tipton family reunion of 2011. Now to take the next step and upload those photos to Shutterfly and share with relatives who attended that reunion.  I meant to share these photos sooner but you know how time gets away from you.  Wow.  That seven years went by fast.

I haven't been out of the house since I returned from work at the hotel Wednesday night, just as the snow was starting to fall, sideways.  No need to go out, I have enough pita chips and hummus to last me for at least a week.

Tomorrow the temperature is forecast to drop to ONE DEGREE.  Hey folks, no fan of winter Arctic temperatures here.  My two week winter escape to California can't come soon enough. I just hope that when my flight takes off Sunday February 11th that the roads are clear to Philly International airport.  I don't want any delay to my annual Winter Escape. 


I heard a motor so I looked out the window. There it was! A very generous neighbor is using his snowblower to clear out our driveway. Bill was out there earlier shoveling. I don't shovel. My lame excuse is that I fear falling but really I just don't like the cold. I would just as well prefer to wait for the snow to melt.  Yep, I'm lazy and a wuss. Now that I have made my mea culpa, I am so thankful to that neighbor who just cleared out our driveway with his snowblower.  

Thank you!

Now for lunch and a afternoon nap in my solar heated bedroom.

Thursday, January 04, 2018


A storm coming and I'm right in the track!

The snow is here!  

When I was a kid, I looked forward to snow storms because he got off from school. Well, those days are LONG gone folks. These days, I DO NOT look forward to snow storms.  In fact, I hate snow.  Not only for the inconvenience but because to me, at my advanced age (76) and advancing arthritis, I am in great danger of falling and seriously injuring myself. Three years ago I did just that, I fell leaving work at the hotel and tore my quadricep muscle in my left leg. To fix that fall, I had to have major surgery to tie that quadricep muscle back and twelve weeks for recuperation to grow the muscle tissue back.  My left still isn't right but at least I can use my leg. Folks, I don't want a repeat of that accident.

I was scheduled to work today at the hotel.  I called my boss at the hotel and offered to stay overnight last night at the hotel so I wouldn't have to drive in the snow today. One of my co-workers offered to work for me today if I would take her shift last night.  How generous of her!  Thank you!

I went in last night with the understanding that I would leave at the sight of the first snow flakes which were scheduled to start fluttering around ten o'clock.  My normal shift end is eleven o'clock. I didn't want a repeat of a few years ago when I left too late and almost got caught in the blinding snow.  I'm not religious and I don't pray but I was praying that night traveling down that snow covered road in the sideways snow. Praying that I would get home safe.  I did.  I vowed that I would never put myself in that situation again. And I haven't.  

Last night the snow started to fall about 9:40 pm.  I quickly did the night audit, locked up the hotel, called my boss to inform him I was leaving and I took off on the lightly covered snow covered roads.  I made it home just in time.  Even though the hotel where I work is quite comfortable, there is no place like home.  This was the scene outside my bedroom window before I went to bed last night. This major winter snow storm was just getting started. And I was out of it. Relief!

Very pretty for sure. But I was so glad I was home in my warm and comfortable bedroom.

I had a good night's sleep. This was the scene outside my bedroom window when I woke up this morning.

The storm tracker this morning. East coast covered!

 Just as I expected folks. Total white out. 

I'm not going anywhere today. Or tomorrow or maybe even the day after. I don't have to go back to work until Monday. Hopefully by then all this paralyzing white stuff will have been neutralized.

I love my river birch trees. Winter, spring, summer and fall. Always beautiful. Check them out this morning swaying in the snow storm gusts of wind. Beautiful! Glad I'm not out in it though.

I ventured out on our back deck this morning in the sideways snow to experience this rare snow storm (for southern Delaware) first hand. Bit cold folks. And again, I am SO GLAD I don't have to go to work or go out in this dangerous time. I can't afford another fall. 

It's days like this folks when I really appreciate my good fortune and circumstance in life. I have a secure and comfortable home. Secure that is as long as some idiot driver doesn't crash into one of those electrical poles along our roads down here. Seems as if every snow storm someone is out driving about and ends up sliding and crashing into one of those electric power posts knocking out power for hundreds. The question I always ask "What is SO important that ANYONE has to be driving around in weather like this?" Probably someone who ran out of cigarettes and out to buy some more. I doubt if doctors are crashing into utility poles.  

So here I stay today folks. I hope all of you, are also in a good place today.  And for those of you who aren't experiencing this snow, I'll be with you next month.  Yes, Pat and I will be in sunny California for two whole weeks!  Yipee! Can't wait to experience that dry heat of Palm Springs.

Stay safe and warm everyone!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Back To Normal

This photo has nothing to do with this post. I found it this morning while going through my thousands of photos. It was taken at the Tipton Family Reunion October 9, 2011. Again, I am always surprised at how fast time goes by. This was SEVEN years ago! Where will I be seven years from now?

\Well, we got through another holiday season. Now life can go back to normal. 

I'm not a total bah humbug for Christmas and "the holidays", which actually starts with Halloween.  But I'm always glad when life can go back to the normal routine. Well, as normal as one can expect in today's world with the Orange Monster In The White House sending reckless Tweets out putting the world on edge for a nuclear war. Yes, I said it.  Are you as embarrassed as I am that Trump represents us in the world?  I'm not only embarrassed but I lose sleep at night wondering what the next outrage will come from the adult day care center that is now the White House. But enough of this worry, I'm going to try and live my life as normal as I can.

Today that will be a challenge.  We're expecting a nor'easter snowstorm to hit the eastern coast here later tonight. I'm scheduled to work at the hotel tomorrow afternoon. Do I go in now and stay overnight or do I take a chance that the major portion of this winter snowstorm/cyclone will bypass us here on the eastern coast of southern Delaware. I'll make that decision later today. 

As some of you probably know that county is in the grip of Artic temperatures. We have the fireplace going here at Casa Tipton-Kelly. On sunny days like this my bedroom has a delicious comforting solar heat that I luxuriate in. In fact right after this blog posting I'm going to indulge in that satisfying warmth.

Next up on my agenda is preparing for my annual trip to sunny California next month. That's right folks, this year we're (my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat) spending two weeks in California, one week in Los Angeles (West Hollywood) and a week in Palm Springs.  And as luck would have it my good blogger friend Dr. Spo and his entourage will be in Palm Springs the same time Pat and I are there.  Spo and his buddies will be staying at Indulge. Pat and I will be staying at an Airbnb with a pool!  Yes folks, I will take my bathing suit with me.  This should be interesting since I haven't worn since I developed a pot belly. Where did that pot belly come from?  Comes with age folks. Old guys get it.  

Now to get through this snow storm.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018

Me at Mummers' Parade in Philadelphia, PA - 1965

Happy New Year folks!

This photo (can you spot me?) was taken at the Mummers' Day parade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1965.  

That is me in the overcoat with the goofy smile. The Philadelphia Academy of Music is in the background. This was the first time I attended the Mummers' Day parade in person. Cold, cold, cold!

For many years thereafter I eagerly looked forward to attending the Mummers' Day parade in person and enjoying all its attendant festivities, especially the "festivities" in the bar (won't go into detail, use your vivid imagination).  

These days my New Year's Day activity is working the front desk at the local hotel where I work part-time. In fact this week I'm working four days in a row.  I don't mind. Keeps me out of trouble and I get to enjoy interaction with the guests who are invariably nice on holidays like Christmas and New Years.

While I vastly enjoyed my New Year's celebrations of the past, especially being in jammed gay bar as the new year was rung in, this year I'll get home just in time to see Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen ring in the New Year on TV in Times Square, New York City. 

One thing I remember about my New Year's of the past was how COLD it was, cold until I had a few drinks (well, maybe a "few" more than a few).  This year, no drinks and I will be in my warm home when the ball drops in Times Square.  By the way, is that a brilliant move on the part of CNN to have Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen co-host the New Year's Eve celebration?  Just look at how far we have come when two gay men can host a national TV show.  Must drive those Roy Moore die hard supporters in Alabama crazy. Back in my day about the only time you saw anything gay in public was when the drag queens (we called them female impersonators back in the day)

Female impersonator in the Mummers' Day Parade in Philadelphia 1965 (my photo)

 would march (more like sashay) down Broad Street in the New Year's Day parade. That was the one time during the year when the straights didn't get all bent out of shape because gays dared to come out in the open. Ah, those were the days. Now drag is just a, well drag.

Happy New Year!!!!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"The Emperor Has No Clothes!"

Here we are folks, almost the end of another year. This week after Christmas and before the New Year is when we review the past year and plan for the new year.

This is what I call the "dead week."  Most of the regular folks I see on TV are off to warmer climes like Aruba or some other exotic warm breeze palm tree swaying location like Hawaii or the Caribbean. 

This is the week that commentators on TV review the past year with lists like "the ten best of . . ." or the "ten worst of . . ."

I usually hate those lists because I don't want to relive some of the "ten worst" or the "ten best".  And also I know these lists are just time fillers until the regular TV folk come back.  They pre tape all those shows you know.

But the more I got to thinking about these year end lists I thought of my own year end list.

Here goes:

The worst thing to happen this past year:

This one is easy:  Donald Trump

This disaster, this danger to our democratic norms, this purveyor of the diminution of our sense of self worth and pride as a nation easily is the worst scourge ever to infect this wonderful country of ours.  All my life I have been proud to be an American and our American ideals. 

Are we perfect? Of course not but look around us at the rest of the world. Our country, with its diversity of cultures and people who make up this country has always been a beacon of goodwill and hope for a better life in this world and our lives. This country, which is the one country in the world where one has the freedom to say what you think and to be as successful in your life as you're willing to work hard. This country which has so many natural resources from people to mineral resources. For the first time in my lifetime our exceptionalism is now being questioned and challenged worldwide as a result of the (stolen) election of this cretin called Donald Trump.

Perhaps the most telling revelation that has been exposed since the election of Trump is the craven opportunism and total lack of character and honesty of those elected officials and others in public who have and continue to enable Trump and his family run criminal enterprise that is now seated in the White House. They remind me of the "good Germans" who supported Hitler during his rise to power. They were either too cowardly or too craven to voice opposition to what they clearly saw was wrong for their country.  

I know of sound very dystopian in my views but I cannot express my concern enough over what a danger Trump and his enablers are to our country and our way of life. Already they have passed this scam of a tax bill which gives even more money to the rich and super rich and puts our country deeper into debt for generations to come. This development from the "fiscal responsibility party" the Republicans. Their craven mendacity can no better be illustrated by the actions of Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. This is the senator who said he would not vote for a tax bill that "added one penny to the deficit". 

Then, of course, when some anonymous lawmakers in a backroom put a provision in the so called "tax reform" bill that enriches real estate millionaire like Corker,

he inexplicably changes his vote, claiming he didn't know about this provision because he "hadn't read the bill."  Think about it, this so called Conscience of the Senate is voting for a tax bill that he hasn't even read and yet he changes his mind and votes for the bill. 

Then you have the other so called "moderate Senators" like Jeff Flake of Arizona

and Susan Collins of Maine, who criticize Trump but vote for his bills.  At least I thought we had some home with the sweet and angelic Senator Collins of Maine who has (now had) a reputation as a moderate, reasonable Republican.

Even in the end she caved, thus throwing away her years long reputation in one single vote just to appease Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who made a promise to her for funding of a future health care provision (which was not kept - of course).  

I could go on and on folks and I apologize for my rant in this, what was supposed to be a light hearted year end "countdown" review but once I got started and revved up these embers of my huge disappointment in the direction this country is going, it's hard for me to stop.  But you know what folks?  I also think the best thing to happen to our country is, wait for it:  

Donald Trump

Why? Trump is a stress test for our country and democracy.  I do think (I hope) that right will win out in the end. Our democratic (and "democratic" not "democrat" as the Republicans love to spew out, thus changing the meaning of that word because it sounds more harsh to say "democrat") will prevail. 

Trump is entertaining, I'll give him that. And he is a master manipulator.  He is good. But like a con man, he is only in this for himself and his own selfish need for self aggrandizement and narcissistic feeding of his never enough ego. 

I'll end this screed with two quotes that I have known and often referred to in my long life. Those quotes were applicable to the world at the time they were made and they are applicable today.  

"You Can Fool All the People" (usually attributed to Abraham Lincoln:

“You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

There are too many people that Trump is fooling now (scary actually how many people he is fooling) but thank God there are even more people who see right through his falseness and for the small minded selfish bigot that Trump really is. 

Another quote that often comes to my mind when I see Trump's enablers

make excuses and justify Trump's lies and harmful decisions which is a great danger to our country. These enablers know that they only have to praise "Dear Leader" and they can get Trump to sign any bill or executive order they put in front of Trump because they know Trump doesn't read what he signs but is only interested in being in front of the cameras and the center of attention.  They have figured out Trump and they're playing him just like Vladimir Putin and other foreign leaders have figured out Trump, praise him and put a big military parade on for him and Trump is putty in their hands. Criticize him and he'll Tweet you.

This quote is a poem written b the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984). It is about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis' rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Folks, I know to some I may sound alarmist but consider this:

We have a vice president who considers homosexuality an abomination, Chief Toady Mike Pence. Even Trump said:

Donald Trump 'joked Mike Pence wanted to hang all gay people'

Pence and his so called "Christian values" is perhaps even a greater danger to this country than Trump's craven stupidity. But that's a subject for another whole long blog posting and I've gone on enough with this blog posting.

I'll leave you, my faithful blog followers and even you those of you who are visiting my blog for the first time.  This is a quote that I first heard when I was a very young man. At first I didn't understand what it meant but as I progressed in my life I came to understand exactly what it means.  This quote is a perfect summation of the man who now occupies the White House and all his enablers and supporters. And I friends am that little boy who cries out "The emperor has no clothes!"