Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Smile From God

Do you see what I see in this picture? Look closely and you'll see a smiley face in the sky.

This is a good omen for the week coming up. Tomorrow I start back at my regular work schedule at the hotel. I'm looking forward to going back to work. There just so much sorting of digital pictures and naps that one can take.

Tuesday a friend and I are taking a Senior Citizen Bus to Philadelphia to see their annual flower show. I take this opportunity to have a reunion with an old friend and co-worker. It is also nice to go back to Philadelphia for a visit and see how things are now. From 1969 to 1981 I lived and worked in center city Philadelphia. Those were the Golden Years. When I moved in 1981 it was time.

Next week is also the beginning of March. Spring is definitely on its way. The two "lost months" of the year are always January and February. These are months I just get through each year. This year was particularly rough with two back to back blizzards and a few other "regular" snow storms.

The snow is almost all gone now. I can see the green of my lawn. The green shoots of daffodil bulbs have burst through the cold earth. In a few more weeks the gay colors of the crocus will make their first appearance. It's not long now until I start visiting the local greenhouses to buy my spring pansies to brighten up the walkway in front of our house.

Springtime…….. a smile from God.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Morning Coffee

Some may wonder how I come up with the subject matter for my almost daily blog. I say to them, EVERY DAY LIVING!

For instance, today's blog features me (who else?) at Zorba's Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Once a week Bill and I go out for breakfast at Zorba's, a hole in the wall restaurant just outside of downtown Rehoboth Beach. This morning, while waiting for our friend Bob, I asked Bill to take a video of me (who else?) having a cup of coffee. I don't know about you, but I find this video fascinating. Perhaps because it is ABOUT ME!

I’ve often thought if I had a digital camera and this cool little Flip video camcorder, how many pictures and videos would I have of my everyday living? Perhaps it is just as well I discovered these wonderful technological marvels late in my life. I doubt if I would have a computer hard drive big enough to hold all of those files.

One thing that does give me comfort though is the fact that perhaps, sometime in the future our descendants will look at these picture and videos and wonder how we could live in such “primitive” conditions.

These moments of life that I have recorded are a small legacy I’m leaving behind before I blast off into the Great Void of the universe. If nothing else, short videos like this offer a clue to my personality more than any picture could. This is a lot more than I have of my ancestors.

I’ve often wished I could go back in time and visit my ancestors and to know what they were like. All I have are frozen images in photographs and names and dates. Occasionally there is something in writing about the person in our past. But unless we have known them personally, all we’re left with is that stoic, two dimensional pictures.

This morning, with this short video, I have left a three dimensional portrait of myself. My legacy.

ALERT!  I tried to upload the video to my blog posting but, unfortunately, with the latest so call upgrade to my Blogger I can no longer upload videos OR spell check.  You tell me, where's the upgrade? 

So, if anyone wants to see my video, you will have to go to my Facebook account.  I'll post some still shots from the video to this posting.  Frustrating to say the least.

Friday, February 26, 2010

More Snow!

More Snow!

Yes, more snow. Can you believe it? Can I believe it? I am so over all this snow.

The good news is that even though the winds are blowing like a blizzard (up to 50 mph), the snow is light. Unlike the back to back blizzards we had a couple of weeks ago, this snow is more like our usual snow down here on the southern Delmarva peninsula which just a dusting. At the most an inch or two that is gone the next day.

I’ve already made my “milk and bread” run earlier this week so I have nowhere to go today. No need to panic. I do have a slight concern about the power going out because of the high winds but so far I’ve been lucky this winter and having lost power once. Now that I said that watch me lose power.

Next week I began working my regular schedule at the hotel in Lewes. I’ll work Mondays and Thursdays, the 2nd shift (3 pm to 11 pm.) I’m refreshed and ready to go back to work after two months off from work. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends at work and meeting old and new guests to the hotel. I am so ready for winter to end and the new season to begin.

Next Tuesday a friend and I are taking a senior citizen (that’s right, I am a senior citizen now, no getting around that) bus to the Philadelphia Flower Show. I’m looking forward to that trip. We go up on a big, comfortable bus with huge windows. I used to live and work in center city Philadelphia many years. I have many fond memories of my years in Philadelphia. I like to go back occasionally and renew those old memories. The flower show is secondary to the visit to Philadelphia. I’m also going to have lunch with a longtime friend and former co-worker at one of our old gay hangouts, Woody’s. I am very much looking forward to that reunion.

But for today, I’m just hanging out here at the home base. I’ll do some more organizing of my digital photos. Maybe I’ll catch up on my e-mail, which I seem to be perpetually behind. Of course, after lunch I’ll take my daily nap. Then it will be time for my afternoon shows and another Netflix movie tonight. Last night I saw “Michael Clayton.” Oh how I like a good movie and “Michael Clayton” was good. On tap tonight is “The Brave One” with Jodie Foster.

I’ve got my milk and I’ve got my bread. I’m ready to hunker out yet another snowstorm. Bring it on!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Little Night Snow

I awoke this morning to a light covering of snow on the ground.

Usually the first thing in the morning when I wake up I pull the sheer curtain back from one of my bedroom windows and see what the weather is like outside. This morning it was all white again.

Late yesterday afternoon we had a light rain which melted enough of the snow that was left over from our previous two back to back blizzards to show some of the green grass of my back yard.

We still have snow banks lining the driveways in of my development and the roads outside my development. Those snow banks will be around until March, just like they used to at my home in Pennsylvania. When I moved to Delaware I thought I moved away from all that. The blizzards of the past two weeks were a rude reminder that I didn't move far enough south. Still, I love living in southern Delaware.

Next week I'm going to the Philadelphia Flower Show with a friend. We're taking a senior citizen sponsored trip called Adult Plus+. That's it, I'm officially an Oldie.

I remember all those years that I used to live and work in Philadelphia and all the excitement about the flower show. The flower show was a wonderful reminder that spring was on its way. Ironically, I never attended the Philadelphia Flower Show when I lived in Philadelphia.

This is my second visit to the flower show since I moved to Delaware in November 2006. I also take the opportunity to visit a longtime friend who still lives in Philadelphia. We'll have lunch again at Woody's, a longtime gay bar and restaurant on 12th Street in center city Philadelphia.

I love this time of my life. I treasure each day that I have good health and good friends. I love living in southern Delaware but I do like to visit old friends from my Previous Life.

I am very fortunate and I know it. My life could go away tomorrow in a flash.  I know that too.  That is why I treasure and appreciate each day of my life.  I take nothing for granted.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan - Ron Style

Eggplant Parmesan is just about my favorite dish of all time.  Here is my version (after many tries) that I find suites my taste of crispy eggplant that is not grease soaked and the tomatoey taste of fresh tomatoes.

In the past I've hesitated making Eggplant Parmesan because of all the preparation involved.  Salting the eggplant slices to draw out the so called "bitter" taste of the eggplant.  I don't know about you, but I like that "edgy" or "sharp" taste of eggplant.  To me that's what makes it eggplant.  Plus, when you salted the eggplant, you had to use paper towels to draw the excess water out.  That was just too much trouble for me to achieve what results?  Because the cookbook said it or some other cook didn't like the taste of eggplant? 

My recipe is much easier than the standard preparation of eggplant.  I just wash the eggplant, slice off the top, and then slice the eggplant into about 16 pieces. 

I prepare two bowls (or pie plates if you prefer) for dipping the eggplant slices into:

First - the egg mixture
Second - the Panko breaded mixture

Place all the breaded slices in a 21 x 13 x 1 1/2 tin foil pan which has been sprayed with olive oil and place in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake about 45 minutes, or until eggplants slices are browned and tender.  You can turn over the eggplants slices once during the baking cycle if you prefer to achieve browning of both sides of the eggplant. 

Take out of the oven and top with the crushed tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and return to the oven and bak another 10 minutes until the cheese begins to brown on top.

Ron’s Eggplant Parmesan

1 ½ cups Panko Crispy Bread Crumbs-Italian Style (Progresso brand)
½ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
5 eggs
2 28 oz cans Chunky Crushed tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano (Furmano’s brand)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 large eggplant, about 1 ½ lbs cut into ½ inch slices (about 16 slices)

1) Heat oven to 400 degrees
2) Spray 21 X 13 X 1 1/12 aluminum pan with olive oil
3) In a large bowl, mix together Panko, Parmesan cheese, oregano, salt and pepper.
4) In another bowl beat the 5 eggs
5) Dip each slice of eggplant into egg mixture, then into Panko mixture, coating both sides
6) Place eggplant in prepared baking pan
7) Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, turning once, until brown and tender

After baking, take out of oven and spoon crush tomatoes over slices and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes until mozzarella cheese is browned.

Note: Do not cover pan or else the eggplant slices will get soggy. The individual eggplant patties freeze well. Place in separate Zip-Loc bags. Leftover eggplant patties that are not frozen also reheat well in the microwave. Enjoy!

Note:  when reheating in microwave, can top with a tomato sauce.  This will not make the eggplant patty soggy reheated this way.

Serve with oven baked potatoe slices (recipe below)

5 large baking potatoes
olive oil to coat baking pan
garlic sea salt (fresh ground)
garlic pepper (fresh ground)

1) Scrub the potatoes with a potato scrub brush
2) Dry with paper towels
3) Slice potatoes on cutting board in broad slices to suite your taste
4) Place sliced potatoes in a large bowl (the larger the better)
5) Drizzle the olive oil over all and mix with spoon
6) Dump the potatoes into a 21 x 13 x 1 1/2 pan
7) Arrange the potatoes flesh side up
8) Grind the garlic salt and garlic pepper evenly over all
9) Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the flesh of the potatoes is browned
10) Take out of the oven and eat immediately.  Delicious!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dining In

These days I'm dining in.

I have three good reasons for dining in:

1) No one is available (or can afford) to dine out with me (I don't like to dine alone)

2) The food at the restaurants that I've dined at, isn't as good as my own cooking

3) It is too expensive to dine out

I've always like cooking. I'm not a gourmet cook. I don't cook fish, most meats or any exotic food. I'm a comfort food cook.

At one time of my life I used to like cooking for company but I have lost interest in that over the years. Occasionally I'll have a friend over for a meal, but nothing like pot luck for multiple folks. That's not my style.

One of my all time favorite dishes is Eggplant Parmesan. I always ordered this out because I didn't think I could cook it. Another favorite of mine is French fried potatoes. I don't deep fat fry food in my house because I don't want that greasy smell permeating my curtains and the upholstery of my living room furniture.

Because of the difficulty of finding a friend to dine out with me, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Guess what? I can do it! I now have a recipe for Eggplant Parmesan that is better than any I've ever had at a restaurant. I also have a wonderfully delicious recipe for oven baked potatoes that is so much tastier and healthier than anything that I can buy at a restaurant.

Tomorrow I'll post the recipes of my Eggplant Parmesan and Oven Baked Potatoes.

Now my only goal is to master preparing Chicken Quesadillas as good as the one I have at the Brickside Grill in Eagleview, PA. I've had Chicken Quesadillas at other restaurants but they've all been cheesy messes. Only the Brickside Grill prepares this dish with pumpkin seed and fresh salsa. Other restaurants say they have "fresh salsa" but it's not the truly fresh salsa which is fresh tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno peppers and NO tomato sauce.

Another problem I have in dining out in this poor economy is that the restaurants I've been too have had a noticeable drop in quality of food. I think it's because they're cutting back on their supplies and don't the customers will notice. I've noticed and won't be back anytime soon.

Except for my weekly breakfast outing, I'll be dining in.....alone.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tiger Woods - Just Another Hypocrite

Tiger Woods finally came out hiding yesterday and made a statement about the ongoing scandal that now defines him.

Tiger Woods, the ultimate control freak, made his statement with invitation only “guests” of friends and family, much like those screened audiences for those George W. Bush “town hall” meetings.

He robotically read his statement (obviously written by his highly paid public relations people) with cued pauses on certain passages for dramatic effect in which he would look at the camera and attempt to well up tears and generate sympathy for himself.

Personally, I don’t care what this man does in his private life. That is his business. That he is a serial adulterer wasn’t fair to his wife or his children but that is something for them to work out in private.

Where I have the problem is his hypocrisy. I’m not a golf fan and I’ve never watched Tiger Woods play golf. I couldn’t care less about golf or Tiger Woods. But where Tiger Woods does affect me is that I have been continually assaulted by his big teethed smile for the past 15 years as the “perfect man” that I should aspire to by ads on television and magazines. Unless you have lived on another planet for the past 15 years, there was no escaping the Tiger Woods ads.

Like most people, I don’t like ads. Sure, some of them are cute and even funny but generally ads are a price one has to pay in today’s society for the privilege of being entertained.

There are actors and actresses I don’t like. I have the option to not pay my money to see their films. There are politicians I don’t like (most of them actually.) I don’t vote for them. But with someone as ubiquitous as Tiger Woods has been for the past fifteen years, I didn’t have a choice. I have lost count of the many times I’ve flipped through pages of magazines and come across his odd looking features (he is odd looking isn’t he?) with that big toothy smile and ever present Nike baseball cap featuring him in some ad for which I would never buy that product.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen him in television commercials like the one for Oldsmobile autos (I know, I know, Oldsmobile autos have been discontinued.) How many other ads have I been subjected to by this odd looking man that I am supposed to use as a role model?

Now it turns out he’s a fraud. Gee, what a surprise. Tiger Woods is right up there with the Balloon Boy, John Edwards, Mark Sanford, Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, Sara Palin, and all those Republican politicians who voted against the stimulus package but who eagerly pose for pictures in their home districts next to giant checks from the government that benefit their home communities. These people are called hypocrites.

These people have no core values. These people are liars. These people are opportunists. These people are selfish. These people have no creditability. These people are frauds.

I may not have achieved what is defined as “success” in today’s rat race world. I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer. I may not have been born with a natural talent. But one thing I am not is a hypocrite.

Tiger Woods doesn’t have a problem because he was a serial adulterer. Tiger Woods has a problem because he allowed himself to be promoted as a paragon of virtue and to be very handsomely paid to present that fraudulent picture of himself.

To me Tiger Woods is no different than Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus, the two “singers” who were the Grammy award group Milli Vanilli. Fab and Rob were quite happy to accept the “Best New Artist of 1990.” That is until they were exposed as total frauds.

Like the curtain that was drawn back on the Wizard of Oz, Tiger Woods has been exposed as a total fraud that he is in reality.

Tiger Woods is a golfer. That’s what he should go back to. He can kiss “goodbye” those ads that have him walking on water because surely now it has been proven that Tiger Woods does not walk on water.

Goodbye Tiger. This grain of sand on the beach of life will not miss you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Getting the Balance Back

Yesterday I returned to work to my job as a front desk clerk at the hotel.

Driving down New Road into downtown Lewes I was reminded of the back to back blizzards of last week by the six foot high piles of snow along the road.

After parking in the hotel parking lot and walking around the side of the building I hear someone yell “Ron!” from behind me. I turned around and it was the hotel maintenance man. With a big smile he said “Hey! We missed you!” Well, THAT was good to hear. I was glad to be back to work.  I missed them too.

Walking through the front lobby I was again reminded of how much I like working at this hotel. It has a “homey” feel to it. But then I’ve almost always felt that way about any place where I have worked. I always try to make my workplace personal and not just someplace where I work. I believe this attitude is essential for a successful performance of a job, especially in the hospitality industry. Of course it also helps that I work in the top boutique hotel in Sussex County.

As I walked to the front desk my manager said “How you?” The daytime front desk clerk greeted me and the sales director came out and said “Ron, I really missed you!” and gave me a big hug. Hey, it’s nice to be missed. I smile as I write this.

I clocked in and went out to the front desk to get caught up on the latest developments.

The sales director told me that she gave her notice and will be leaving her employment at hotel on March 5th. I felt bad about that because I’ve always enjoyed working with her. We’re around the same age and from the same general area of Pennsylvania so we had a lot in common. She has a naturally happy, upbeat personality which made the workplace a fun place to be. I like working with people who make work an adventure rather than a tedious task to be performed just to collect a paycheck. They bring out the best in me.

Because she is leaving and finding her replacement and training them will take about a month, I was asked if I could work my regular schedule in March (two nights a week.) I answered in the affirmative. It will be good to get back on my “regular schedule” and get the balance back in my life.

I’ve enjoyed the past two months off but I find that I need to have a reason to get out and interact with the public on a professional basis. I still have a need to contribute my personal skills to validate my worth as a constructive member of society. I know it sounds corny but this is the way I was raised. Like my good friends Larry and Bill from my school days, we all work and will continue to work until we no longer have the physical or mental capacity to do so. We are true Children of the Fifties. Our Moms didn’t raise us to be couch potatoes. Whether it is volunteering our time to a worthy cause like the ASPCA or using our skills on a Home Owners Association board, most of the members of my generation (the one right before the Baby Boom Generation) are still working even in our late 60's.

Looking outside the sun seems to shine a little brighter today. As Mr. Rogers (one of our favorites) always used to say: “It’s a good day in the neighborhood.”

Which reminds me, here is one of the many reasons I liked Mr. Rogers:

Mister Rogers seems to have been almost exactly the same off-screen as he was onscreen. As an ordained Presbyterian minister, and a man of tremendous faith, Mister Rogers preached tolerance first. Whenever he was asked to castigate non-Christians or gays for their differing beliefs, he would instead face them and say, with sincerity, “God loves you just the way you are.” Often this provoked ire from fundamentalists.

Well said Mr. Rogers, well said.

I remember seven years ago (March 2003) when I was working in the bond unit at a bank in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. I received a notice of a bond redemption request from the executors of the estate of a "Fred M. Rogers." The address on the bond was a Pittsburgh address. Could it be? I check and yes, it was the same "Mr. Rogers" of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood." Sadness immediately washed over my heart like a cloud passing across the face of the sun. Yet another chapter of my life had come to an end. I felt a connection, however small, to this special man by putting through the computer entries that redeemed his municipal bond.

Although I am not religious in the man made definition of religion I do agree with Mr. Rogers in his statement: "God loves you just the way you are."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Long Road Back

Today I got a call from my manager at the hotel. He asked if I could work tomorrow night. Could I? Of course!

Yesterday he called and asked if I could work for a few nights in April. Absolutely!

I hope the economy has begun to recover enough that we can all begin the long road back (pictured is Oyster Rocks Road leading to the Broadkill River – I took it this morning.) I have never experienced in my lifetime such a bad economy that affected so many people.

I have lived through recessions before but they never affected me. I always had a good paying job at the bank. But, I like many others of my generation were “outsourced”, “right-sized”, and “job eliminated” before we could reach our normal retirement. I was one of the fortunate few because I was able to make lateral moves throughout the rest of my career. Others, of course, were not so fortunate.

I don’t know of one person in my peer group who was able to reach normal retirement age at their long term job. Not one person. That’s saying something.

I thought I had dodge a bullet but the massive transfer of wealth that the crooks on Wall Street have been perpetuating on the American public since Reagan fired all those air traffic controllers finally caught me in their snare. I couldn’t sell my house after I had already contracted to buy another house here in Delaware. I finally did manage to sell my house but at a price much lower (28%) than I had asked. Because I didn’t sell my house for near what I had planned, I was forced to take on a mortgage on my present house. That wasn’t in my retirement plans.

Again, I am fortunate that I am able to pay for this mortgage unlike many others who were literally left out in the cold. I could pay the mortgage but didn’t leave much wiggle room in my retirement income for anything else. In fact, some months I come up short like the time I had to have car repairs.

Understandably I was quite concerned when our former president began a push to privatize Social Security, thus completing the Right Wing’s agenda of totally wiping out the middle class for their rich benefactors. The Bush Regime almost got my veteran’s benefits cut off. Little wonder that I changed my registration from being a lifetime Republican to a newly radicalized Democrat.

I have to stop myself because I feel myself going into a political rant. But I do want to say that I hope to God (and I’m not religious) that the Democrats get a pair and stand up to the Party of No who are trying to destroy Obama and the country by not supporting ANYTHING Obama proposes, including job creation.

This country needs jobs. The useless Republicans (most of whom are unpatriotic in my view because of their obstructionist policies) and the spineless Democrats need to stop their games and work together to create jobs for the great middle class of this country. I know my pleas are like pissing in the wind but there, I’ve said it.

Mark Twain was right when he said:

 “Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

I’m glad I’m going back to work.

Ten Bad Things About Being Laid Off

As promised in my previous blog, listed below are the ten bad things about not working (in no particular order):

1) Decreased cash flow, i.e.; less money

2) No money

3) No pay

4) No income

5) No cash

Okay, the first five are the same. I made my point. Talk about beating a dead horse…………

6) No mental stimulation

7) No reason to get up in the morning

8) No one to bore with my stories (something us old folk tend to do)

9) Fall behind on workplace gossip

10) Gain weight because now food is my only solace, company and friend

Ironically, shortly after I posted my blog about ten good reasons for not working, manager called and asked if I would be able to work in April.

Would I? YES!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ten Good Things About Being Laid Off

It is now almost two months since I’ve been laid off my job at the hotel. So how is retirement?

Well, it’s been good and bad.

First with the good:

1) I’m getting a lot more sleep. I never miss my afternoon nap. And it shows. I look rested and refreshed. My eyes have that youthful sparkle again. No more the haggard look. I am looking good if I do say so myself.

2) I’m saving money on gas. When I was working I would have to fill my tank at least once at week at $15 to $17 a pop. I don’t remember the last time I filled my tank. Maybe about 2 ½ weeks ago. Could be longer.

3) I get to see all my Netflix movies on a timely basis. I’ve upped my subscription to four movies out at a time. That provides a nice turn around. I always seem to have a movie or two waiting for my viewing pleasure.

4) I’m almost caught up on my backlog of e-mails. At one time I had over 400 messages (not all personal) in my Inbox. I’ve since whittled that down to just a little over hundred (mostly having to do with genealogy. Those e-mails require more attention.)

5) I’ve made a serious dent (not completed yet) of unpacking the boxes from my move to Delaware three years ago and sorting through those items and making decisions of what stays and what goes.

6) I sleep late EVERYDAY. I get up when I want to. I go to bed when I want to. The importance of that freedom cannot be stressed enough. For over fifty years I got up out of bed on someone else’s schedule. I looked forward to the day when I could get up when I wanted to, take a nap when I wanted to, and go to bed when I wanted to. I LOVE IT!

7) I don’t have anyone complaining to me. Again, a seemingly small thing but very important on lowering and eliminating stress in my life.

8) I get to enjoy my wonderful new home that I worked for all my life. I had this home built to accommodate me in the final phase of my life. I treasure every day in my nest, no matter what the weather is outside. I LOVE IT!

9) Speaking of the weather – I don’t have to go out in the bad weather. Rain, lightening, and blizzards. I don’t have to go anywhere. I can stay inside snug as a bug in a rug. I do not take that small luxury for granted. I LOVE IT!

10) I now have the time to cook my favorite dishes. Apple pie, eggplant Parmesan, spinach lasagna. Who needs restaurants? I cook better than any restaurant and I don’t have to tip myself. I LOVE IT!

Tomorrow I’ll list the ten bad things about not working.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010 - Lessons Learned

A week after the Blizzard of 2010 here are the lessons learned:

1) Always have a supply of fresh water on hand in case of emergencies.

2) Always have an alternative heating source available in case your lose power.

3) Always have an alternative light source (flashlight, candles) in case you lose power.

4) Always have non-perishable food on hand for extended power outages.

5) Always have a cell phone to contact the outside world for help

6) Always have a backup plan (or two) for evacuation for prolonged power outages

7) Do not depend on friends or neighbors to rescue you. They may be in the same or worse situation than you are in.

8) Be patient with those responsible for snow removal. Blizzards are not the norm and it will take longer for snow removal.

9) Don’t go out in a blizzard. Something that seems obvious but some people do stupid things thus putting their own lives and those that rescue them in danger.

10) Don’t vent your anger on others because someone isn’t immediately taking care of your needs. Remember, an emergency situation like a blizzard, it’s not just about you. We’re all in this together. Get over yourself.

These are just a few thoughts that came into my mind after witnessing the good and the bad that this blizzard brought out in people.

In my neighborhood we had one neighbor who complained that the guy scooping out the wall of frozen snow blocking his driveway wasn’t putting the scoops were he wanted them placed. Was the scooped snow blocking the road? No. Was it blocking his driveway? No. What was this neighbor’s problem? Maybe it was because he works for the lawn and landscaping company who offered to clear the roadways in our development for $5,000. We already had someone doing it for $1,000. They also offered to remove the snow from the roadways after the second storm for $4,000. Maybe he was pissed because he wasn’t successful in ripping us off at our moment of need. Remember, it’s not about you. We’re all in this together. Get over yourself.

We had another neighbor who called the HOA board member who was coordinating the snow removal. He was another one of these self important people. He threatened to sue the HOA board members personally unless the roads in the development, especially his path out to make more money (he’s an insurance salesman) was cleared immediately. Remember, it’s not about you. We’re all in this together. Get over yourself.

I have a friend who lives on 22 acres of wooded land. This past summer he took out his fireplace and put in a wood burning stove. I asked him why and he said “to save on my heating bills.” That made sense because he has tons of wood just lying around on his 22 acres wooded parcel. When he called (after his power came back on) he said he was afraid he was “going to freeze to death.” I asked him about his stove. He said he had no wood. He didn’t prepare any for the stove. Friend, take responsibility for your own action (or lack thereof) and be better prepared for the next emergency. 

In Lewes they found an 80 year old man buried in the snow. His body temperature was 27 degrees. He died a few hours later at the hospital. What was he doing outside during the blizzard? Where was he going?

This blog posting isn’t intended to dump on those who found themselves in a life threatening situation. It is only to bring to their attention that they should take responsibility for their own actions. Some decide to tough it out in their abode without power because they want to save money by not going to a hotel or save their dignity by not going to a shelter. These are choices that these people make. They need to accept responsibility for the position that their choices have put them. Anger doesn’t solve anything. Remember, it’s not about you. We’re all in this together. Get over yourself.

The good thing that came out of this blizzard is how unselfishly so many helped others. Much credit has to go to the Sussex Emergency Operations Center and to the National Guard. Their performance was outstanding. A friend of mine thought he was having a heart attack. His partner called 911 and the National Guard was at their snowbound doublewide (the same friend on 22 acres of wooded land without any wood for their stove) and the National Guard was there in less than 15 minutes and transported him to the Beebe Emergency Center. Thank goodness he didn’t have a heart attack but it was heartening to know that help was that close.

In my neighborhood, my neighbor who works as a physician’s assistant at the Beebe Emergency Center had just gotten off working 23 hours straight, parked at the entrance to our development (he couldn’t get in because there road was blocked and his SUV was stuck in the snow) and walked to the far end of the development where we live and immediately started to help my 81 year old partner shovel snow from our driveway. The next day I helped him to shovel out his driveway because now he couldn’t get out of the development because our development was still blocked at the entrance. My partner and I also help both of our other neighbors on the other side of our house to shovel out their driveways. While I was shoveling out my driveway, the young man driving the Bobcat front loader came by and scooped out the three foot wall high of frozen snow that was blocking my driveway. Seeing neighbors helping neighbors, that was the good part about this blizzard. No one was complaining about the “community” not helping them. We were helping each other.

When you’re not so focused on yourself but get out there and help others, you will find that “community” does help you. Leave the anger. It doesn’t help.  These people need to get over themselves.  What I find so interesting is those who demand the most help are those who are the least likely to help others.  These are people who feel entitled.  These are the people who are so blinded by their own selfishness that that are incapable of seeing the need to work together for the betterment of the whole community.  In their world view, it's all about them.  That insurance salesman neighbor of mine who was threatening to sue our HOA board members?  All he's interested in is getting out of here to make some more money because "he needs it."  Well, who doesn't need it?  Does anything think that for one moment he thought about his neighbors on either side of him and helping to shovel them out?  I had a friend call up seeking help.  Did he once ask how I was doing?  Of course not.  It was all about him. 

Yes, an emergency brings into focus what some people are really like.  I suppose that is one good thing that came out of this blizzard.  I'm glad I have good neighbors.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Another Day of Recovery

This morning I woke up to the bright light of a new day. The snow is still here but I feel the worst is over.

More snow is forecast for Sunday but it doesn't appear that is another Major Winter Snowstorm.

On the news last night I saw a statistic where only once in every 100 years does Philadelphia have 25 inches or more of snow. The last two weeks Philadelphia has had 25 or more inches of snow.

I don't know what the average is here where I live on the coastal plain of southern Delaware. I do know it is very unusual. All this snow and digging out brings back the bad old memories of my winters in Pennsylvania. I never thought I would experience those days again.

I was very angry at the Other Half yesterday for his constant mocking of me shoveling snow and then making blasting me at the end of the day as to why I was out driving around in our development when I was only helping our HOA person in charge of the snow removal. I blasted back. I've had it with the snow and the inconvenience that it causes.

I hit another snag this morning. I took a picture of the area at my front door to show what it looked like before I start shoveling the snow. I put the camera card in my computer and it doesn't work. Just another frustration. The drive is shot. Oh well, I has the USB cable. I'll use that and try not to let this latest snag ruin my day.

I would love to go out to the store and get a fresh supply of bananas but I'm not sure if I want to chance it on the still ice and treacherous roads.

My friends Bob and Jim are going to be rescued from their snowbound doublewide on their 22 acres of wooded seclusion. Bob's nephew is driving from Maryland to dig them out.

I heard from my friends Paul and Jack last night. They made the move before the second storm from Jack's place on Rt. 24, where they were without power and heat during the first snowstorm, to Paul's place in Ocean City, MD. They are in a safe place.

My brother John called from his home in sunny and snow free Greenville, SC yesterday. He told me our brother Isaac, who lives in the family home in PA, is still snowed in but does have power now. John told me that the snow has collapsed all the metal awnings on the house and the big metal awning next to the detached garage. Isaac is facing some substantial repair bills.

Most of my holly trees are gone. There were just sticks when we moved in here in November 2006. Over the past three years I have lovingly fed and trimmed them to a healthy, bushy green delight. I look out back now and I do not see them. They are gone, under the snow. I'll probably replace them with Leland Cypress trees this spring.

I am so tired of this snow and its aftermath. I'm looking forward to life going back to normal. I keep telling myself, each day will get better. And it will. Now to get that USB drive fixed. It's always something isn't it?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Most of the day I shoveled snow. I shoveled my driveway as well as shoveling the driveways of my neighbors on both sides of my house.

As usual, my Other Half (my partner of 45 years) mocked me while I shoveled the driveways. He loves the snow. Ever since we moved down here he has whined about how he missed the snow. Now we have it and he is a happy man. That's wonderful.

I take the mocking in stride. That is his style. He loved the snow so much that I left snow removal job to him in PA. However, he is 81 years old now and not capable of such strenuous activity. So I go out this morning to shovel snow. I see the shovel is missing. I go out the garage door and there is Other Half helping my neighbor shovel his driveway. I go over to them and ask to take over. Later, after I finished, the Other Half tells me the only reason I help was because I wanted to work with my cute neighbor. No, not really. I wanted to help. Is that so hard to understand? But, as usual, I let this insult go.

Next, I shovel my driveway. The Other Half takes a video of me shoveling the driveway and says "I have to record this. I can't believe you're shoveling snow." Okay. He mocks my actions again. I let it go.

Then he urges me to shovel our other neighbor's driveway. I do and again I am mocked. Again, I let it go. It is his style not to give me credit for anything. I'm used to it. Usually it doesn't bother me.

But today was different. Today an incident happened that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Ever have one of those days when enough is enough? That happened today.

This is what happened. Later in the day, after I had taken my nap, I thought I would check to see if the road outside my driveway was plowed. It was. There was small amount of snow in my driveway. I decided to clear it out before dark and the temperatures dropped.

Almost as soon as I'm at the end of my driveway I see Alan, our HOA representative in charge of snow removal approach me. He asked me if I saw the guy with the plow. I told him he just went by. Alan asked me if I could get my car out of my garage. I told him I could. Alan lives at the end of our drive in a cul de sac and his area was hardly touched. He wanted to catch up with the driver of the plow truck so he could clean out the road in front of his house. There was too much distance to cover by walking to catch up with the driver of the plow.

Even though I didn't want to take my car out of the garage for fear of getting stuck I told him I would. Believe me, this is the last thing I wanted to do. I've already had several friends call with broad hints of coming to rescue them which was impossible for me to do because I couldn't even get out of my own development. And if I could, I did not want to risk getting stuck and stranded in the snow trying to rescue friends who wanted to get to work rather than call in like I did Sunday when I couldn't get out.

I back my car out of my garage. With Alan directing, we make the Grand Tour of the development. I went down every road. Of course we didn't find the snow plow truck until the end of the tour. We stop, Alan gets out, gives the snow plow driver directions to get to his place to plow the road. Alan gets back in the car and we head back to my place. On the way back, he wants to stop at another neighbor's place to tell him the snow plow truck is coming back for another swipe of the snow. I suggested to Alan to call that neighbor. I didn't want to push my luck in getting caught in the snow.

We arrive at my driveway and Alan gets out of my car, thanking me profusely for helping him. He said he could never have caught up with the snowplow driver if he had to walk. Good deed accomplished.

Now comes time for my punishment. First thing I hear when I walk into my house, even before I could get the words out of my mouth was "Well that was about the stupidest thing I've ever seen!" Note: my Other Half has a habit of calling me stupid. It's just his thing. I usually ignore it. I try to explain what happened. Another note: when you live with someone you have to explain every action. At least I do. The Other Half resents any questions and rarely answers my inquiries. I usually let it go.

The Other Half stops talking long enough to get the gist of what I was saying. Then he interrupts and says "Well, at least you did something right! But why did you turn down Robinson Drive?" Here we go again; he's looking for something to justify his first reaction. I try to explain that Alan asked me to drive down Robinson Drive because he was looking for the snow plow truck. The Other Half now realizes that all his assumptions are wrong and rather than hear anymore, because he may have to face the fact that he was wrong, he cuts me off with an "I don't want to hear anymore! Enough!" That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I responded by finishing what I was saying. The Other Half gets up and storms out spewing a string of obscenities at me (again, his usual practice when he is angry.) I never quite understood the spewing of obscenities because he is so straight laced about anyone else, including me, using an obscene word in conversation. But when he is mad, the obscene words pour out of his mouth like Niagara Falls.

As he makes his retreat to his bedroom with the requisite slamming of the door, I shout after him "The next time get your facts straight before making all your accusations!" This is a big No-No for me because the unwritten law around here is that the Other Half is always right and I'm the stupid one. But, every now and then the worm turns. Today was such a day.

There are some days when I just have had enough. Today was one of those days also.

Unfortunately my Partner-In-Life has that malady in which he is incapable of every acknowledging or admitting he is ever wrong. I know other people like this. The first time I was confronted with this cognitive disability in a person, I was unbelieving. But now I realize it is fairly common. Even one of our former presidents, George W. Bush, has this character disorder. That simply cannot ever admit that they make a mistake. Whatever happens is always someone else’s fault. They never accept responsibility.

There is a lot that I cannot do but one thing I can do is admit a mistake. I can take a lot of crap too. But sometimes, I have just had enough. Then I blast back.

Thinking about it, the last time I had enough was a similar situation. It was with a friend of mine who made the mistake of thinking I was impatient because my restaurant meal wasn’t delivered on time. The meal wasn’t delivered on time but I wasn’t upset about it. I already had to martinis and thus I wasn’t concerned whether I got my hamburger or not. However, my dining partner and friend made the assumption that I wasn’t being supportive enough to the waiter who screwed up and shot me a “Get over it Mary!” remark. I responded back “Bullshit!” That exchange went back and forth a few times until I finally made my point but not without causing a great deal of discomfort for our other dining partners. I find it very interesting that my friend has the same cognitive problem as my Other Half. He can never admit error. Everything and anything that happens to him is always someone else’s fault. He never accepts responsibility for his actions. Like my Other Half, he is incapable of accepting that responsibility.

Usually I let this character deficiency go over my head but sometimes I have just had enough. Of course, both of them will say it’s my fault. Some things never change.

I’m sick of this snow and I’m sick of fighting with people just because I’m trying to do the right thing. I have to remind myself that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. Maybe someday I’ll figure that one out. Right now I just want to take some time off for myself.

Now if we can get the mail running again I can catch up on my Netflix movies. Watching a good movie always relaxes me. Maybe then Mr. Hyde will go away.

Another Day After

This morning Whitehall Drive is living up to its name again…’s white.

Yesterday we had our fifth snow storm of the season. The last two snowstorms were blizzards. Snowstorms like this are very unusual for this area of southern Delaware.

Bill loves the snow. In the three years since we moved to southern Delaware that has been his number one complain. He missed the snow. Well, he got his wish. I have to admit it is beautiful.

This morning he was watching the loose snow blowing over the snowdrifts that formed overnight. A smile crossed his face. I’m glad he’s happy. He may never see snow like this again during his lifetime.

Now we wait to get plowed out again. I think we had about 2 inches of snow last night. There was a lot of furious wind but not that much snow which is fine with me. Again, I am so thankful our power did not go out.

I am looking forward to life getting back to normal. Enough with the snow storms already.

Underneath all that snow are spring time bulbs eager to burst through the cold earth and display their brilliant colors. Can’t come soon enough.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Here We Go Again

It's not over. While still recovering from the Blizzard of 2010, more snow is expected today. I awoke this morning to the rain softly pelting my bedroom window.

I look outside and see the kind of gray sky that precedes a snowstorm.

After my morning bowl of Corn Chex and banana, I go out to my driveway to shovel off the slight coating of slushy snow. Two minutes later the rain starts fall heavily. Out of the corner of my eye I see a gray figure. It is my neighbor walking his miniature Yorky. He's cursing under his breath and urging his dog to do her business they he hurries inside to the warmth and comfort of his house.

I was getting soaked so I returned to the warmth and comfort of my house. I hang up my wet jacket and change out of my wet jeans. Bill asks me "What are you doing outside?" Good question, just what am I doing outside?

While at my computer checking my e-mails, I get a phone call from my brother John in Greenville, South Carolina. He called to tell me how blinding the morning sun was at his house this morning. Some good brotherly love teasing to start the day. He tells me he called our other brother (Isaac) who lives in Pennsylvania. They're expecting another nine inches of the white stuff today. He says they're near to setting a new record for the total snowfall of the season. Oh how glad I am I don't live in Pennsylvania. I can't tell you.

John assures me that snow is headed my way too, even though I have rain now. And I fear he is correct. As I type this blog posting, the winds are kicking up outside the dual windows of my bedroom converted to a home office. I peer out the door and it looks like the dreaded "wintery mix." Some snow, some rain and some sleet. This is the kind of condition that brings down the power lines.

We dodged a power outage the last time. For that I am very thankful. Many of my friends and acquaintances were not so lucky. In fact, many of them are still without power. Some left for Florida (yesterday) and others are staying with people who have power and took them in.

Outside it is snowing again. Pretty snow. I hope our luck continues and we don't lose power.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Day Three After the Blizzard of 2010

This morning when I woke up I was aching all over. The cause of my aching body was all the shoveling of snow I did yesterday.

After shoveling out our driveway, Bill and I noticed our new neighbor two houses up shoveling his driveway. What better time to meet the new neighbor than help him shovel his driveway?

We trudged up through the frozen snow on the road that sill had not been cleared and introduced ourselves to our new neighbor.

He is a 64 year old retiree who formerly lived in Rhode Island and moved to Delaware for the same basic reasons we moved – to escape our ever escalating local school property taxes and the milder weather of southern Delaware.

Our new neighbor has only been in his house for two weeks and he is greeted with this major dump of snow. We assured him this was VERY UNUSUAL. I’m not sure he believed us.

After shoveling snow like madmen (I really pushed myself), I retreated to the warmth and comfort of my house (which didn’t lose power during the Blizzard) and had lunch. Then it was time for a well deserved nap.

When I awoke later I heard the roar of what was unmistakable a Bobcat font loader. Sure enough, I look out my bedroom window and I see that Whitehall drive has been plowed! Big whoop!

I open the garage door to check this wonderful development and the first thing I see is a three foot high wall of frozen snow blocking my driveway. Oh no, more shoveling. Well, I got too it. Only a few minutes later the young man saw me attacking my blocked driveway with my shovel which was the equivalent of shoveling with a tablespoon.

He motioned to me and I nodded my head in affirmation. He scooted his Bobcat front loader and proceeded to clear my driveway in three scoops. WOW! Now that impressed me. Unfortunately, when he backed out he knocked over my neighbor’s mailbox (which I have on my FLIP video.) The poor guy, he probably thought I was videoing him for proof. I assured him not to worry that I would take care of the mailbox. Bill fixed it this morning.

So here we are on Day Two of the Aftermath of the Blizzard of 2010. This morning Bill and I made a run to Home Depot (we needed batteries for our garage door opener) and then I stopped at Super Fresh to get some milk and other vitals. This is in preparation for the next snow storm which is predicted for tonight and tomorrow. They say 10 to 20 inches of snow and a “wintery mix.” Don’t you just love that term “wintery mix?”

We were damn lucky the last time that our power didn’t go out. I know people whose power is till out. My friend “The Cajun” who only lives a short way from me is still without power. Bart, an 86 year old man who lives by himself (and his dog) still doesn’t have power. My other friend Big Bob tells me that Bart has been going out to his car to warm up. I know other people who are taking off to Florida today to get away from this mess. They’re getting out of Dodge. I wish it was me. This isn’t fun at all.

To all those who love the snow and like to play in it, have at it. As for me, all this snow is just a major inconvenience and sometimes a danger. I am so glad my brothers decided to get our Mom out of this and mover her to South Carolina for the winter. Maybe that’s where I’ll go next winter. Hear that John?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Day Two After the Blizzard of 2010

Here we are, Day Two after the Blizzard of 2010. Like yesterday, this is another sunny day. However, still very, very cold.

Early this morning Bill and I took a walk to the end of Whitehall Drive, our exit out of our development. Up to Robinson Drive (halfway up) the only disturbance in the snow are footprints. We walked in those frozen footprints.

Up at Robinson Drive there were deep ruts in the frozen snow caused by SUV’s. While we were walking another SUV drove out.

I took as many pictures as I could before my fingers got so numb from the 19 degree temperatures that I couldn’t operate the camera.

At the end of the driveway we encountered a Verizon truck. The driver told us he was picking up his boss who lives in our development. We took not that he didn’t enter the development lest he also got stuck in the snow. A short while later his boss (and our neighbor) trudged out of his house and up Whitehall drive to meet his driver.

It was too cold to linger outside so I headed back. That’s when I discovered a near catastrophe. I couldn’t get the cover up on the garage door opener. It was frozen!

What was I going to do? I didn’t have a key to the house. I never carry one. I always go through the garage door. Bill was talking to our neighbor. I motioned to him to stopped talking and let me in the house so I could warm up my hands before I got frost bite.

He came and pried open the garage door cover. He entered the code. The battery was dead! Now I’m staring to panic. I had to get out of the cold. If I couldn’t into my house I would have to go to my neighbor’s house. That is an option I did not want to exercise. I like my neighbor and I’m sure they like me but I don’t want to impose upon them.

Thank goodness Bill had a key! He went in through the front door and opened the garage door from inside the house.

Once I got into the warmth of the house I called my friend Big Bob who lives in a doublewide on 22 wooded acres outside of Georgetown. I haven’t been able to contact him since Saturday.

He answered the phone! He told me his power came back on last night at 9 o’clock. Up until that time he and his partner Jim had no power, phone service or heat. His main concern when the snowstorm was forecast was that he would lose power and thus heat.

He said he thought they were going to die. They had a ton of blankets on them while they were without heat but the cold was slowly and relentlessly creeping into their bodies. He said he couldn’t fire up the furnace because the vent was blocked by the snow.

This past summer he replaced his gas fireplace with a wood burning stove at some expense. I asked him at that time why he put in a wood burnings stove. He said “to save on heating costs.” I mentioned to him before the snowstorm that he was lucky he put in the wood burning stove. He said it wouldn’t do him any good during this snow storm. I asked why. She said “Because I never got any wood ready for it.” I couldn’t believe my ears. He lives on 22 acres of wooded land and he has no wood ready for the fireplace?

I think after his experience this weekend he will be better prepared the next time.

I also learned a lesson. We have a back up generator. Luckily for us our power didn’t go out but if it did we would have had a problem. The generator is in the shed at the end of our property. There is a lot of snow on the ground between us and that generator in our shed. This summer we will hookup the generator in the garage. Lesson learned.

Now we’re waiting for the Big Event. We’re waiting for a snow plow.

Bulletin! I just had a call from my neighbor asking when we’re going to be plowed out. Apparently we are leaderless. We both sent an e-mail to the homeowner’s association board member responsible. Now we wait.

The development behind us is plowed out. Oyster Rocks Road is clear. Route 1 is clear. We’re stuck.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Blue Bubble

See this Accuweather map? See the blue bubble? See what it says to the left?

“Anyone living under this bubble is totally screwed.”

Do you know where I live? I live in Delaware, Sussex County. Sussex County is the southern most county in Delaware. It is on the Delmarva Peninsula right before the border to Maryland.

Yep. That’s where we live and we are totally screwed.

The snow started Friday night about nine o’clock. When I woke up in the morning and looked out the window all I saw was a total whiteout. White, white, white…..everything was white.

Estimated snowfall is 30 inches. I can’t even open my front door.

Bill got up early to shovel the driveway at 3 a.m. He got up again at 8 a.m. He went out to shovel the driveway again in the horizontal snow. There was no trace of what he had shoveled out earlier.

At 4 p.m. he went out to shovel the driveway again. No trace of the earlier shoveling. The wind had blown all the snow back into the opening he had created in the driveway. We decided to take our homeowner’s association offer of paying $25 to have our driveway plowed out after the snow stops (which it has now.)

There is now a snow emergency on Delaware highways. It is strange to look out my back wall of windows and not see even one set of headlights traveling down Route 1. I don’t think I shall ever experience this situation again. I hope I don’t ever experience this situation again.

It’s not all bad though. At least we have electricity. Thank God for that.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Every Day is an Adventure

What I woke up to this morning was no phone service. That meant no Internet service. Here we go again with Verizon.

I have lost track of the times I have had difficulty with my phone service, Internet service and cable TV since I move to good old Lower Slower. First it was with Comcast. Thank God I got rid of them. Comcast was ridiculously expensive and had a bad “We’re the only game in town” complex to boot.

So I went with Verizon. I won’t bore you with the difficulties I have had with Verizon but at least one thing I haven’t had to put up with is the arrogant attitude that I always got from the Comcast representatives.

I make the call to Verizon. I go through all the automated prompts and the warning (over and over again) that if the problem is in my house I will have to take out a second mortgage to pay for the repairs. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The problem ALWAYS is outside of my house. At least I got them to stop coming in my house and traipsing through my house with their dirty construction boots. It always seems to be raining or snowing outside when the repair people stop by the humble abode.

Since we couldn’t get on the Internet I decided to do my chores early in the morning, ending with a visit our old friend Big Bob to see how he was coping being alone.  His partner Jim is still in the hospital, being fitted with a pacemaker. His partner just had a hernia operation last week. Poor Jim, all the pills he ingests; all the egg beaters and vegetarian diet and he’s falling apart. Maybe he should take up the Mayonnaise Diet (a big dollop of mayonnaise in EVERYTHING) that my 81 year old partner Bill uses. Or, perhaps he could take up my Doritos Diet (two bowls a day) that I use. Jim is only six months older than I am but apparently something isn’t working. One would think Jim would have the answer since he is a nurse but then one would be wrong.

So we make the stop at Food Lion. I get some food (milk and bread!) before the next Winter Storm Watch hits us this Saturday. I bought my Powerball tickets. Then I stopped at the Post Office to mail more DVD’s that I made from VHS tapes of a family reunion back in 1997. Then we were off to Big Bob’s, riding through the white landscape that is now Sussex County, Delaware after successive snow storms (more on the way. Oh, I already said that.)

Entering Big Bob’s double wide the ammonia smell of a kitty litter box that is long overdue to be cleaned out assaulted my nostrils and brought tears to my eyes.

We visited awhile. Our friend is in the early stages of dementia and is getting increasingly more confused each day. He was in a quandary because he couldn’t figure out how to activate his security system in his double wide. Apparently his partner has been taking care of that ever since they got the security system this past summer.

While we were there his partner called from the hospital and asked him to look up a phone number on an old insurance bill. Bob couldn’t find it. I help him. I showed him the number. He couldn’t read it. I read it for him.

We left shortly after that. I’m in a quandary myself here. I don’t know what to do or if I can do anything to help my friend and I see him slip into the fog of dementia. My Mother is now living with my brother and his wife in South Carolina. She is also in the early stages of dementia. Both of her older sisters had dementia. One is still living. My Mother is becoming increasingly difficult to deal with. I don’t know what to do to help my brother and his wife. They tell me not to worry. They said they will always take care of Mom.

Yesterday I received and e-mail from my former boss and friend concerning another former co-worker and friend of ours from our banking days in Philadelphia. The e-mail contained an attachment which was an obituary. The obituary was of our former friend and co-worker, Anne Marie.

Last year Anne Marie sent me an e-mail telling me she had terminal breast cancer and was “overwhelmed.” Anne Marie was a very successful real estate agent (having won many awards which I could understand because she was a vibrant, intelligent and hard working woman.) She was happily married with two teenaged sons. We exchanged a few e-mails subsequent e-mails that summer. Then in the fall the e-mails stopped. Last week I thought of her and had a funny feeling. Her obituary said she died January 29, 2010. Anne Marie was only 58 years old. I do believe in ESP.  This is not the first time I've had this experience.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I know this blog posting isn’t focused but all I’m doing is posting some of what happened the last two days of my life. Life is definitely an adventure. Always something.

What is the picture on this blog posting? That is what is left of the telephone connector box on Cave Neck Road after someone plowed into it early this morning. That’s what happened to my phone connection.

The phones are back up now. I’m on the Internet. Life goes on……until something else happens.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Gay Movies

Now that I have a lot of time off from work, I’m taking good advantage of my Netflix DVD movie rentals.

Lately I’ve been renting quite a few gay themed movies. One would think this would be a genre rich for exploitation into many fine dramas. However, one would be wrong.

I don’t know why, but almost all of the gay themed films I’ve rented are lousy films. The actors are almost always unattractive actors with stereotypical gay mannerisms. The stories are two dimensional and predictable. The production values are little more than home movies. The movies are an insult to the intelligence of the audience.

However, every now and then I discover a little gem. I found one last night. It is called “Shelter.”

The two main actors are men who just happen to be gay, not the other way around. The child actor isn’t the usually annoying child actor who dominates the movie with their cutsie poo, smart alecky antics. I’ve seen that so often that I’m sick of it. It was very refreshing to have a child actor actually play a real child.

The supporting actors in this movie are all very good. Even the scenes, for a low budget movie (still can’t get away from those low budget gay themed movies) are haunting and beautiful.

For most of my adult life I have subjected myself to watching heterosexual films (many of them excellent of course) that I could not identify with because of my homosexuality. What a pleasure it was to watch a nice little love story drama that just happened to have the main actors gay. It was also nice that the gay characters didn’t kill themselves at the end of them movie, which is usually how Hollywood has handled gay themed movies.

Now the challenge is to find another movie like this.

Monday, February 01, 2010

A Night Out on the Town

We braved the after effects of the Saturday night winter snow storm and ventured into downtown Rehoboth Beach for a festive night on the town.

My friend Bob C. and I were going to see the first performance of the Camp Rehoboth Chorus. But first we met our friends Jack and Paul for dinner at The Feathered One, also known as The Purple Parrot.

For several months last year we had a semi-routine of meeting friends on Sunday night at the Parrot for dinner. This was before the Tourist Hordes descending on Rehoboth during the summer. We locals don't even attempt to go into town during the season. But the off season? It's wonderful.

We missed our friends Wayne and Harvey last night. Wayne was working and Harvey moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. No more cold weather for Harvey.

After a delightful and festive dinner (and after Paul had to have the waiter back out his $9.00 Happy Hour price for a table wine) we were off to the Rehoboth Theater of the Arts for the inaugural performance of the Camp Rehoboth Chorus.

We carefully made our way down Rehoboth Avenue and over to Baltimore Avenue on the mostly snow covered sidewalks to the former church that is now the Rehoboth Beach Theater of the Arts.

Upon entering the building we could see that the Camp Rehoboth Chorus would he well attended. Our friends Big Bob and Jim were in the chorus. I came to see them and take a video with my Flip video (my newest toy.)

The concert was a grand success! Smiles abounded in the audience. Much credit goes to the organizer Fay Jacobs. It was so good to see a broad smile on her face during the whole performance.

If I had any complaint at all, it was that the seats (folding chairs) were very uncomfortable. The chairs were placed too close together. Many of the folks in the audience are large which isn't conducive to this airline type of seating. My back was killing me after the second song.

During intermission I moved the seats to the right and left of me but it was noticed immediately by my friend Bob C. when he returned. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

I'm looking forward to the next concert but I hope they do something about the seating arrangement. At least the seats were padded.

Random Observations on a December Morning

Late yesterday afternoon sun on our cozy home (in the background).    What? Yet another selfie of yours truly in a hoodie on his property in...