Monday, July 30, 2012


Marlene Alwood-Ristine
1941 - 2012

Once upon a time, fifty-four years ago actually, I was serving on my high school yearbook staff.  Ever since I was in high school, I looked forward to working on my yearbook.  When the opportunity came, I volunteered for the yearbook staff.  One of the main reasons I volunteered was even back in those prehistoric times I loved to take pictures have pictures taken.  I wanted to be involved in any pictures taken for our class yearbook.

Downingtown High School Yearbook Staff - 1959
That's me in the back on the left in the white shirt
Marlene is two down in the front

One of our assignments was to have a random set of photos taken for the yearbook showing different classes.  On the particular day I was given this long sought after assignment, I was pared with probably the most beautiful girl in our class, Marlene Alwood.  Gay, straight or in between, I don't know of anyone who would NOT be intimidated working with The Most Beautiful Girl In The Class.  And of course I was.

Me and Marlene in the Driver's Ed car - and me out!

During my high school days I wasn't the outgoing, gregarious, back slapping personality that I am today.(which I am aren't I?)   Actually, during my high school days I was quite the dork, which I'm not ashamed to admit.  Besides being gay in the Fifties (and I was the Only One back then don't you know), I had almost zero social skills.  I think the only thing that saved me from turning into a juvenile delinquent was that I was so eager to please and most of my classmates took pity on me.  Plus I did have a few friends.  I wasn't totally friendless.

Me and Marlene posing for the band picture - I didn't actually play the drums nor did Marlene - fake picture!

On the day we were to go out and take the "typical class day photos", I was nervous. How would Marlene, The Most Beautiful Girl In The Class, treat me?  Would she be condescending?  Would she say "Eeww! when she found out she would be taking these pictures with me?  Would she even notice me?  Much to my surprise she was warm and friendly and not at all condescending.  In fact she was BEAUTIFUL, inside and out.  I was so thrilled.

All I can say is it was a good thing I wasn't straight because I would have fallen totally and irrevocably in love that day.  But God had other plans for me, Gay Plans.

That spring day in 1958 was the only close encounter I had with Marlene.  I saw her at our Senior Prom, looking outrageously beautiful of course and so gracious to me.  But other than that photo shoot for the our yearbook that day I didn't have any more interactions with Marlene. We had different classes and a different circle of friends.

Fast forward to our 50th class reunion on October 17th, 2009.  I have attended most of my class reunions.  Marlene had attended none.  I knew she was a nurse and a real estate agent who lived in Miami, Florida.  I knew this because I was still involved with the "yearbook" process of our class, I prepare the reunion booklet.  Imagine how thrilled I was when I heard Marlene would be making the trip from her home in Florida to attend our 50th class reunion at the Whitford Country Club in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

I finally get my hug fifty years later!

This is why I go to the reunions folks.  I wanted to meet her again and tell her that I had a "crush" (as much as a gay guy can) on her.  At the reunion I did see her and I told her.  She was very amused and said she "never knew I felt that way."  I told her that I always thought she was the most beautiful girl in our class and I was literally tongue tied when we went out on that photo shoot all those years ago.  We both had a good natured laugh about this.  I asked if I could have my picture taken with her and of course she agreed.  Wouldn't you know it, the first picture turned out so blurred, probably because I was nervous all over again which she found very amusing.  I did too.  We took another shot and got a good one.

Me and Marlene, October 17th, 2009 - 50th DHS Class Reunion

This morning I received an e-mail from a classmate that Marlene had died.  Since our 50th class reunion several of my classmates have died, including my first real date.  All were healthy at the reunion but have now passed on.  I will write a blog post about them in the future.  But this morning, reading about Marlene's death hit me particularly hard.  Not that I fear death, I don't but  I fear losing all my friends and being left in this world as a lonely old man no one wants.

I remember again what my grandfather said to me when he was 87 years old.  He said "Ronnie, the hardest part about getting old is that you lose all your friends."  Today I found out I lost another friend and I am profoundly sad.

Rest in peace Marlene and thank you for your kindness to me and everyone else you touched during your life.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Potato Salad Recipe

The Beginning of a great potato salad recipe - red potatoes and hard boiled eggs

If it's summertime it's potato salad time!

I never used to like potato salad.  That's because the only potato salad I had growing up was my Mother's potato salad.  It was God awful.  Hey, I loved my Mother and she took good care of me and my two younger brothers but I didn't like most of her cooking.  My father and brothers liked it good enough.  They always cleaned up their plates and it showed.  Both my brothers hover around three hundred pounds today.  I weigh half that.

It wasn't until I joined the Army (at 18 years of age) and had meals away from home that I realized that food could taste good.  I realized there were culinary possibilities.  Then when I got out of the Army and met Bill and set up house, I began experimenting with cooking myself.

Over the years I have developed recipes that I love.  Now granted, I understand some others may not love them as much as I do (which I have also found out over the years witnessing many screwed up faces of guests when they ate some of my concoctions) but be that as it may.  I cook for myself and Bill.

Here is one of my several recipes for potato salad that gets me through the dog days of summer.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


  • 4 cups cubed red potatoes (with skins on)
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonaise 
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender; drain. 
  • Chop the potatoes and place in a large bowl.  Sprinkle white wine vinegar over the still warm potatoes.  Sprinkle with freshly ground salt and pepper.
  • Add eggs, chives, dill and celery.  Mix.
  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour over the potato mixture and toss to coat. 
  • Place in a container and put in refrigerator overnight to chill.

Fresh chives from my garden

Chop those chives

Fresh dill from my garden

Cut the cooked red potatoes with skins on

Cut those potatoes while they're hot

Sprinkle still warm potatoes with white wine vinegar

Mix all together

Finely chop one stalk celery

Mix mayonnaise, sour cream and mustard with veggies

Put in container and place in refrigerator overnight to properly chill
The next day take out that potato salad and enjoy!  This is the best accompaniment for grilled chicken or hamburger.  Although it is not low calorie, I only eat a table spoon or two at a meal.  That is enough to satisfy my appetite for summer food.  Delicious!

Ooops!  I forgot a small detail.  While this potato salad is good making it does generate a LOT OF DIRTY utensils, pans and dishes.  It is well worth the trouble though.

Friday, July 27, 2012

"Mitt the Twitt"

"Mitt the Twitt" Romney outside No. 10 Downing Street

Oh folks, where do I start?  Our presumptive Republican presidential candidate is in London now on the first stop of his first trip to show America he is competent in foreign policy.  So what does he do his first day in London, he insults the British.

To my friends, co-workers, relatives and blog followers who hate President Obama so much that you are actually going to vote for "Mitt the Twitt" (not my quote),


Mittsy's trip to London was supposed to be a "slam dunk" (not my quote).  We American have a special relationship with the British.  Romney has familiarity with the Olympics, he saved the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City from scandal and financial ruin.  So what does Mr. Expert do when question by Brian Williams of NBC News about the London Olympics?  Romney says he is "uncertain if they are ready."  Well, that may be so Mittsy but you don't go to a host country and insult them.  What is it that Romney doesn't know about people skills?

Romney wasn't done with that gaffe.  He meets the leader of the opposition party and DOESN'T EVEN KNOW HIS NAME!  He calls him "Mr. Leader."

Here are some Tweets in response to Mitt the Twitt's London trip:

Okay, I'll say it folks.  Is Mitt competent to be president?

Are you serious folks?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"The Older Gentleman"

Me with an "Older Gentleman" in a Toccoa, Georgia antique store last summer

Yesterday my boss called me with a question about a guest's reservation.  He said the guest said she made her reservation with "the older gentleman."  Um.....I think that would be be since the other front desk clerks are two women (Lisa and Monica) and Robert, who is 28 years old.  I...AM...THE...OLDER...GENTLEMAN.

Me (on the right in the green) with the other "Older Gentleman" who used to work at the hotel

Well folks, this is still taking some getting used to.  It wasn't so bad when Lisa's predecessor worked at the hotel.  His name was "Bob" also but he was actually a few years (four) younger than me but because he had the white hair, when a guest referred to "the older gentleman", we all knew they were probably referring to Bob.

However, Bob left the hotel a few years go so now I have assumed the mantle of "the older gentleman."  How do I feel about it.  Bemused actually.  At one time, when I was  younger, I guess I would have been put off by being referred to as "the older gentleman."

Right now I'm reading a book about a gay couple in Provincetown, Mass in the 1990's.  I was interested in this book because I vacationed often in Provincetown in the 70's and early 80's.  The time period of this book takes place in the early 90's, past my prime time.  For you see folks when you're gay like me, your expiration date runs out pretty fast.  Mine ran out when I was 37 years old.  That was in 1978.

I remember exactly when it ran out too.  I was standing in the 247 Bar in Philly one summer Saturday night.  Two a.m. rolled around and the bartender flashed the lights on and off three times and yelled out "last call!"  And as any self-respecting gay man knows, if you're still in a gay bar when they flash those lights and yell "last call!", you know your time is up.  As they say, stick a fork in him, he's done.

I remember clearly what I thought.  "What am I doing here?"  I thrill of meeting someone new had long since gone.  I was going to the bars on the weekend out of habit,  a habit of fifteen or so years.  I just remember I was so tired that night and all I wanted to do was go to bed....alone.  I couldn't be bothered with the whole rigmorale of taking someone home, going through the motions and getting them out.  Oh no, I was done with that.   Besides, I was never the one for the whole acrobatics of sex anyway.  I'm a romantic.  I always enjoyed just being with someone than I did hopping in the sack.  If I was a woman I guess I would be called frigid.  Whatever.

Anyway, I gave IT up that Saturday night on that hot summer night in July of 1978.  I stopped going to the bars.  Oh sure, over the years I've been to a few bars since then but only as an observer.  Sure, I still attracted some attention but as I said before (and B.B. King also said) "The thrill was gone."  

I find this book I'm reading about the trio of gay protagonists in Provincetown so fascinating.  The narrator is thirty years old.  He is bemoaning the fact that he is "so old."  He feels he cannot attract the younger guys any more.  He's afraid he will be like his first boyfriend who is "really old" at 37 years old!  Thirty-seven?  My God, that's a mere child.  Are you kidding me?

Oh how I remember when I was that age.  I thought the same thing too.  In fact, the first man I was intimate with was 29 years old to my 21 years.  I thought he was SO OLD.  Oh sure, I was terribly attracted to him but I did think HE WAS OLD.  Oh the folly of youth.  What was it that Noel Coward said?  "Youth is wasted on the young?"  So true, so true.

I remember when I was in my early twenties and I would see these OLD gay guys hanging out at the bar.  In fact some of them had their own bars which we (my young friends and I) called "wrinkle bars."  Ah ha. Guess what?  I'm there!  And another "guess what?"  I don't care.

I often wondered how those old gay guys could live with themselves, being SO OLD.  Now I know, IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER.  It really doesn't.

I've given a lot of thought to why I feel this way.  Maybe it is because of a loss of testosterone as I got older.  Maybe it is a realization there is more to life than jumping in the sack and doing the sexual acrobatics (which I rarely got full satisfaction from by the way).  Oh, don't misunderstand me.  Every now and then a really good-looking guy will check into the hotel and I have to catch my breath before I can speak to him.  All my bodily functions still work.  I still get stimulated.  A friendly smile and some attention from a handsome man still gets my blood rushing.  But as far as doing anything about it, well, that probably isn't going to happen.  But no great regrets though.  I had my time and I do enjoy looking.  I'm just glad I'm not like a longtime acquaintance of mine who still haunts the beach in Rehoboth for the anonymous  sex. God am I glad I'm not a pitiful figure like him.

So when I get these reference "I was talking to the older gentleman last night", I am always bemused.  Hey, I'm glad I made it this far.  I love life and appreciate every day I am on this earth.  In fact, I appreciate and get more out of life at now than I ever did when I was just another pretty face in the bar.

Back when I was another pretty face in the bars - 1967

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Smacked Ass

Oh how I do like to see a smacked ass make a fool out of himself.  Maybe it's the mean streak in me (and I do have one folks, no apologies).

Here is a short video of a smacked ass who thought he would power glide OVER a heard of cows.  Instead he power glided INTO the herd of cows and THEY took him for a ride.

You Laugh For The Day folks!

If this was an American who did this in America, he would probably sue the farmer for having the cows in the field and tempting him.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Back to Normal?

Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess in "Downton Abbey."  

Can we get back to normal again?  Okay, we had another mass shooting and the subsequent wall to wall coverage.  Yet again another renewal of the gun control policy which will go nowhere because none of our politicians have the courage to outlaw automatic weapons.  This discussion is going nowhere folks except now that movie goers will probably have increased security for the midnight showings of violent movies like Batman.  That's our culture folks, learn to accept it.

For me, last night I watched the eight episodes of "Downton Abbey."  OMG!  Is that ever a great show!  No gratuitous violence or sex.  Yet still very interesting story lines that keep me glued to my 60 inch Sharp flat screen surround sound TV system in my personal theater bedroom.  And by the way, I don't have to worry about some nutcase bursting into my bedroom spraying me with automatic weapons just because he got rejected by his friends, school and/or lover.  Just this morning I was talking to my friend Bill P. and we can't figure out why someone would want to take out innocent people just because he has problems.  What is with that?

By the way, can we dispense with the following every time we have one of these shootings?

Saying "Our thought and prayers are with you."  That doesn't do any good, their loved one are still dead.  Just say you're very sorry.  Prayers aren't going to help now folks.

Stop with the self congratulations of the police department on the scene.  Everyone one of these scenes, almost the first thing out of the police spokesperson's mouth is "What a wonderful job our police department did."  This isn't the Academy Awards folks.  This is a tragedy.  Stop with the self congratulations.  If the police department did a good job (which many times they do and sometimes they don't) THAT IS THEIR JOB!  That's like me congratulating myself on what a wonderful front desk clerk I am because I check in guest to their right room and get them that extra towel when they ask for it.  IT'S MY JOB FOLKS!  I turn of the sound every time one of these police chiefs of spokesmen begins a press conference thanking his fellow policemen for an "outstanding job."  Enough already.

Forget about even discussing gun control.  It's a waste of time and going nowhere because gun control isn't going to happen because the NRA OWNS our legislators.  Most of them anyway, there are a few exceptions.

And again, stop with the PRAYERS.  Too late.  So empty.

And oh, one more thing,  this to the TV people, when you interview any of the on the scene witnesses try to avoid the ones who can't complete a sentence (every second or third word punctuated by an "um" or an "ah" or and this is the worst - "like").  Our education system today is a failure because so many young people CANNOT TALK.

Now I'm not being totally heartless.  Here is what I say when someone loses a loved one.  "I am sorry for your loss.  If I can do anything to help you, let me know."  There, I've said it.  Sure, if someone gets comfort from praying, let them make that decision.  Why are you going to pray for them?  Pray that it didn't happen?  Pray that they handle their loss?  Tell them that you care and offer your help.

So now we'll get back to normal or what passes for normal anyway.  Life goes on.  The Human Drama continues.  We'll have another tragedy like this in the future.  It is a shame but it will happen.  Evil exists in the world.

Be careful and don't be hating.  Hate is what caused this tragedy.  Enjoy life.  Make every day count.

Watch "Downton Abbey."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Something Good

This is in memory of those who died this weekend in Aurora, Colorado.  There is evil in this world but there is also goodness.  With so much sadness and anger over the senseless tragedy this weekend, this should help to show that goodness will always be there in the end.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Peace and Love

Me with my glads taken this morning on our back deck

"Peace and love, peace and love"...... isn't that what Ringo Starr always says when someone asks him for an autograph?

Well folks, that what I say this morning.  With the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado in which yet another whack job gunned down innocent people at a movie theater showing of Batman (of all movies),  my first response (other than the report that someone had a six month baby at the movie) was "Why is violence so celebrated as a form of entertainment?" 

Is it because most of the movie going public are adolescent boys who thrive on violent video games and want to see blood and gore in the movies?  I think so.

Is it our gun culture which gets hysterical every time someone dares to even suggest that automatic rifles are not needed for deer hunting?  I think so.

You know folks I'm about the most liberal person you'll ever know.  I have a natural aversion to censorship.  But there is a limit.

I've lost track of the number of movies I've rented from Netflix that I've ejected straight out of my DVD player when I realize that the movie is all about gratuitous violence.  One movie I saw started with a driver of a car who picks up a hitchhiker.  The driver fakes a flat tire.  He has the hitchhiker help him remove the flat tire.  While he's doing this, the driver of the car brains the hitchhiker with the car jack then drags his body out on the highway in front of a ten wheeler.  The ten wheeler rides over and crushes the head of the hapless hitchhiker like a squashed melon.  And they show the whole thing!  This is "character development"?

I had rented this movie because it had two actors that I liked.  But man oh man, this is how the movie STARTS?  Sorry folks, this to me isn't entertainment.

Now don't misunderstand me.  I'm not totally against realism or violence when it is part of the story but not violence, blood and gore just for the sake of it.

I'm not a hunter.  I don't like killing living things.  I don't even like killing bugs (except for mosquitoes maybe).  But I would rather watch a good story about interrelationships between humans like the TV series "Madmen".  And yes, I would rather watch Dame Edna and all her silliness any day than I would watch something like "Batman".

Dame Edna with gladious

I've watched some of the interviews on TV with some of the teenage boys who were at the Aurora shooting.  Maybe it's me but they seemed excited by the whole event.  Real stuff!  I could see them smiling and full of excitement that the real thing happened just like Jack Nicholson did as the Joker in a previous Batman movie.

One thing about these adolescent boys, they can't talk.  They can't string three words together in a sentence without saying "umm" or "like."  Maybe they should spend less time going to Batman movies that extoll violence, gore and mayhem and more time in the  classroom learning how to speak English.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Precious Life

Again today we are reminded of how fragile life is.  One evening we're going to the movies with our friends for an evening of fun and camaraderie then, without warning Death appears and snatches away life.

I have never forgotten how I felt on the morning on September 11, 2001 when I left work at my hotel job in Lionville, Pennsylvania.  I was thinking about the families of those who died in the destruction of the World Trade Center.  Earlier that day I saw images of people who had gone to work earlier that day just like me.  The images that stuck in my mind was of those distant figures who jumped from the upper floors, bicycling their way to a certain death rather than be burned alive.  These people who had to make the horrific decision of how they would die, burned to death or jump to their death.

I was angry.  Who would do such a thing to people who they didn't even know?

Then I thought of how fragile life is.  How in an instant our live could be ended on a random act of violence.

A few weeks ago a man I knew slightly was hit and killed by a drunk driver.  Even though I onlymet this man once I knew he was a happy man in the prime of his life and enjoying every day.  Then, on that fateful night that a drunk bartender decided to get behind the wheel of his car he snuffed this man's life out by running into this man who was riding his bicycle home.  Gone like that, one more life.

I consider myself very, very fortunate.  At the grand old age of seventy years I am still in good health.  My mind works and my body, except for a few aches, is also relatively good.

I have everything materially I want (except maybe a swimming pool).

I am in a solid, loving relationship.

I have interests that give me a great deal of pleasure that I never tire of.

I am not haunted by the loss of my youth which I had feared when I was younger but has turned out to be a false fear.

I embrace my senior years.

I have a good life.

If tomorrow a random act of nature or man should end out my life, I would have no regrets.  I have lived a long and good life.

Having said all of the above, I do want to make the point that I appreciate more today every day that I am on this earth.

When I was younger I never gave much thought to the appreciation of life.  I actually feared getting older.

What a blessing that now that I am older I no longer have that fear.  Instead I have an appreciation of life and that appreciation is reinforced every time I hear of a tragic event like last night.

At times like these we usually hear the standard "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones."  I always thought that comment was somewhat vacuous and didn't really convey sincere feelings.

I guess it's all right if someone else wants to say that but for me I say to the family members and loved ones:

"I am so sorry that you had to lose your loved one in such a senseless act of evil.  The pain of your loss will never completely go away but in time it will lessen.  Take this time to appreciate your life and all the good things and people in it.  Never, but never take anything for granted. Make every day count."

Yet Another Shooting

Yet another senseless tragedy committed last night in a movie theater in Aurora Colorado by a crazy assed loner who possessed a gun.

I agree with New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, stronger gun laws will result in less deaths.  However, not in the opinion of Representative Louis Gomert who wondered why someone in the audience in that movie theater last night who could have shot the shooter.

We have a problem in this country folks.  The problem isn't going away and members of both political parties have got to get some balls and push for stronger gun laws.

My heart goes out to those families of the injured and dead in Aurora, Colorado.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"You People?"

Oh no she didn't!  Ann Romney, the likable half of the Mitt Romney presidential aspiration team appeared on CBS News this morning and was asked why her husband won't release more than one year of his tax returns.  In giving her answer she said "We've given all YOU PEOPLE need to understand and know aout our life" people?



Talk about a condescending attitude.

Talk about arrogance.

Talk about an entitled attitude.

What's next Ann?  "Let them eat cake"?

Really Ann.


"I Don't Cook Anymore"

My typical lunch - alone

Actually, a more accurate statement is "I don't cook sit down dinners anymore."  

I have always liked to cook.  While never a gourmet cook (one has to like fish, veal and lamb to qualify for that vaulted title), I consider myself a pretty good cook.  In fact I am an excellent cook.

When I moved in with Bill once of the first things I bought was the New York Times cookbook.  I prepared and cooked many a meal from that cookbook.

Over the years that Bill and I have been together I have cooked many meals for company.  The gay gene really came out in me.  I may have missed the "Broadway Showtune" gay gene but I definitely had the "Let's have company over for dinner" gay gene.

Early on in our domesticity I used to cook a full breakfast and a full dinner EVERY day for Bill and myself.  Almost every weekend I would have friends over for dinner.  I so enjoyed trying out new recipes (a "no-no" actually) on my company.  Oh how I loved the wave of accolades when I hit a home run with a meal.

Me at our dining room table at our house in Philadelphia, PA - 1969

That formula worked out well when we lived in center city Philadelphia when I was able to walk to work.  We lived in center city Philadelphia for eleven years.

In 1980 we moved out of the city to Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  I was now a commuter.  No more the big breakfasts and certainly no more sit down dinners during the week, I got home just too late.

Bill and I began eating our meals on different schedules.  During the weekends I still had friends over for dinner, usually Saturday night.  The list of friends dwindled but I still enjoyed cooking my favorite recipes and serving them to Bill and our friends.  We lived in "the country" outside Downingtown for twenty-five years.

Then 2006 happened.  I sold our house in Pennsylvania and moved to Casa Tipton-Kelly here on the beautiful coastal shores of southern Delaware.  I no longer commute.  I work part-time, usually 3 pm to 11 pm two days a week.  I'm on call.  I often work during the days and weekends.

Once in a great while Bill and I would go out for breakfast but I never cook breakfast at home for the both of us.  Bill doesn't eat lunch.  I do.

One of my favorite lunches - grilled chicken and soup - Rehoboth Beach, DE - 2012

Bill has his "dinner" around 4 in the afternoon.  I have my dinner, when I'm not working at the hotel, anywhere from 6 pm to 11 pm.  Yes, sometimes I have dinner right before I go to bed and don't tell me it's bad for my weight.  I still weigh the same as I did the day I graduated from high school in 1959 (160 lbs.)

Me - dinner at Cracker Barrel somewhere in Virginia - 2012

The first couple of years at Casa Tipton-Kelly we invited friends over for dinner.  I still liked putting on a big dinner but maybe not so much now.  I think some of the fun went out of it was when I was told what my guests liked and didn't like.  One guest I couldn't cook any chicken dishes because she had visited a chicken processing factor and couldn't bear the thought of ingesting one of those feathered fowl, even though there were plucked by the time they reached my dinner table.  She likes fish and steak.  I don't cook fish and steak.  We haven't had steak in over forty years.  We also don't eat veal (another fav of hers) or lamb.  A habit I got from my father, who once worked in a slaughter house, I don't eat baby animals.

Me - dinner at Panera Bread Johnson City, Tennessee - 2012

Shortly after we moved in I met another long term gay couple who I invited over for dinner.  I had them over a few times but ended that relationship when I discovered that just because two couples are gay doesn't mean they are compatible.  We weren't compatible at all.  They were like Martha and George in "Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolff!"  Plus, "Martha" complained about everything I put before him from the size of the fork to my choice of beverages to be served with the meal.  I soon ended that friendship without regrets.

For a while we had another "friend" over occasionally for a Saturday night get together.  That worked well for a while because I could again put on a nice dinner without fear of not serving the right food or having utensils large enough to shovel the food down one's gullet.  Occasionally our "friend" would invited us over to his house for dinner.  While I never particularly cared for what he served (unlike my former guests I was never rude and complained), both Bill and I did enjoy the camaraderie of a gathering of friends.

But alas, all good things must end.  This former friend took offense to something I wrote about in my blog (actually several things) in which he thought I was referring to him.  He sent me a terse e-mail saying "Sorry I wasted your time. Bye!"  Just like that, an end of what I thought was a solid friendship.

Me - breakfast at Hampton Inn Virginia - 2012

These days I cook for myself.  I eat by myself.  Bill cooks for himself and also eats by himself.  At this time of our life this works fine for us.  And to be quite frank, I have no desire to do the formal company sit down dinners.  The magic has gone folks.

Me cooking breakfast in our Philadelphia kitchen 1969

Yesterday I met a friend for lunch.  We met at Panera Bread. The food was good (I had creamy tomato soup and half Cuban panini sandwich.  Excellent lunch, good company and I didn't have the stress of cooking on a hot day.  And you know what folks?  I like it.

Tonight I'll have a grilled hamburger (on my George Foreman grill), a big tablespoon of my homemade potato salad (I make the BEST potato salad) and maybe some homemade salsa and a fresh corn on the cob ear of corn.  That's all I need for dinner these days.

For breakfast I have a bowl of cereal (usually Corn Chex) and a banana or strawberries.  Lunch is a bowl of soup from Panera (I buy a quart at a time), a hummus wrap sprinkled with Feta cheese and Doritos chips on the side.  Don't tell me about the calories.  As I said before, I still weigh the same (160 lbs) that I did when I graduated from high school fifty-three years ago (1959).

Will I ever cook a sit down dinner again?  Maybe but I don't plan on setting a spread out anytime in the near future and that is just fine with me.

Me - lunch in Toccoa Georgia - 2012

Bill Mahrer's New Rules on Mitt Romney

Okay folks, here I go off on my political tangent.  I am so infuriated that Romney won't release his tax returns.  Know why?  Because he probably paid NO TAXES for one or more years.  Oh yes, that's why he is not flip flopping on releasing his tax returns.  I just hope that the Democrats (and responsible Republicans) keep the pressure on Romney to release his tax returns.  We need to know why this man who wants to be president of the United States so bad he will say whatever lies he has to be elected, won't release more than one year of his tax return.  There is something definitely there folks.

I'm thoroughly enjoying seething this phony fall apart.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fay Jacobs

Fay Jacobs

One of the great aspects of living in southern Delaware is living near all the talent and knowing them personally.  I just got back from lunch with Doug Yetter.  He is the artistic director of Clear Space Theater Company.  More about him in a future blog posting but I do want to say Doug is one of the most talented and down to earth men I've ever met.

Another is a lady (I hope she doesn't mind me calling her a "lady" because I mean it in the nicest way) called Fay Jacobs.  Fay is a local who writes a very funny column in the CAMP Out journal in Rehoboth Beach as well as writes books and occasional humorous magazine articles.  Think of Dave Barry but much funnier and not living in Florida.  Fay is fabulous!

Buy any of her books:


The following is her latest column which I read last night while I was working at the Inn.  I read this during a slow period and at one point literally laughed out loud.  There were guests in the lobby.  I half expected one of them to come to the front desk and say "I'll have what you're having."

Here is her column:

July 13, 2012 - CAMP Out by Fay Jacobs

Out! Out! Damned…

They say that good fences make good neighbors. Not on my street. We love our neighbors. Although in this case, a big bottle of Febreze might make better neighbors.
One day during July 4th week I saw several cars on my neighbors’ driveway, figured they were in town and walked across the street to find them. There, in the garage, stood Neighbor One and a pal, each holding a black and white furry baby in their arms. The women wore sly smiles.
“Want a kitten?” asked Neighbor One.
I eyed the long bushy tails on the fur babies suspiciously. “What are they, baby skunks?” I asked, warily.
“Yes,” said the pal, who was volunteering for some kind of wildlife rehab organization. “Aren’t they cute?”
“Yes, but aren’t they going to spray you? How can you just hold them like that?”
“Oh, they’re too young to spray yet,” said the volunteer. “We’ve been holding them for a half hour and they’re fine. Want to hold one?”
I held out my hands, and cradled one of the pointy-nosed, bright-eyed cuties in my arms. The little bastard looked up at me, and, apparently struck by sudden puberty, let loose with some sort of aerosol from his butt and EWWWWWW.
I tossed junior back to the volunteer, just as the girls started wrinkling their noses and backing away from me. Step away from the Fay.
I’ve been skunked before, by a contractor who failed to finish a job, or, my sister who usually sticks me with the check, but this was getting skunked in the stinkily literal sense.
PEE-EW. I stood there, reeking. “Why me?“ I looked at the two women still holding black and white fur balls.” You’ve been cuddling these skunklets for a half hour and nothing. He takes one look at me and hurls a stink bomb. So much for them being too young to vote. Shit.”
“It’s not so bad,” said the volunteer, “it will go away in a minute. He’s just a baby.” I bent down and wiped my hands on a towel on the garage floor and then sniffed my palms. AUUGGGHHHH!!!!!
At which point Neighbor Number Two entered the garage saying, “Omigod. I’d know that smell anywhere!” Getting the gist of what happened, she said, “You have to get those clothes off, and not over your head or your hair will stink. And don’t even put them in the trash, you have to find a dumpster, or burn them, omigod.”
And with that, she grabbed a scissors, saying, “I’m going to help you,” and cut my new golf shirt down the back and started to peel it off me.
“Wait, I have to get across the street first,“ I hollered, understanding that our road is a busy cut-through for traffic and not wanting to be in the newspaper as the Seaside Drive Lady Godiva. That could have caused a pile up or two.
So I started hauling butt across the street, my shirt flapping open in the back like a hospital gown. Neighbor Two caught up with me, walking behind me to keep me decent. When I hit my driveway, she retreated, I opened the garage door, closed it (this is important) and stripped. It’s a very odd feeling standing buck naked in your own garage, stuffing your clothes in a plastic bag and sealing the bag like it contains Anthrax.
So I went inside, showered twice, lathered, rinsed and repeated ad nauseum, and finally emerged in clean clothes. Most of me was okay, but my right palm still had an eau d’skunklet aroma.
Recalling the old wives’ advice to wash in tomato juice when you are skunk sprayed, I grabbed a bottle from the cabinet, put some ice, vodka and the tomato juice in a glass and had a few sips. Then, I stood over the sink and poured the remaining tomato juice over my hands. Handwringing ensued. Perhaps over how many Bloody Marys died in this process.
During the next several hours I crossed my palm with Febreze, Glade solid, Ban deodorant, and a variety of hand creams. Honestly, there is just a hint of skunk aroma left. I imagine it will dissipate before we next have to shake hands.
I suspect that “They’re too young to spray” now belongs in the hall of fame with “You can’t get pregnant the first time,” and “The check’s in the mail.”
When Bonnie came home and heard the story, she banished me to the porch until she was sure there was an all-clear. Out there, I paced like Lady Macbeth, rubbing my hands together, channeling some crazed Shakespearian, staring at my palm and yelling, “Out! Out! Damned Skunk.” Just to be safe, I had another Bloody Mary for internal protection and soaked my palm in some more tomato juice. Perhaps Clamato would have been better. Darn, I could have had a V8.
When Bonnie and Moxie agreed that I passed the sniff test, I was allowed back in the house. In the ensuing days I discovered that half the lesbians in Rehoboth had been playing with those skunk babies, and nobody but me got spritzed. A personal July 4th detonation. Lucky me.
No harm, no foul, except for the loss of a great golf shirt, a ridiculously expensive brassiere, and my pride. It’s tough knowing you’re the only one who got skunked. But hell, I choose to think of it as a gift from that stinky little fellow. He made this Letters deadline a no brainer.
Thanks, little buddy. Sing with me. “Arrivederci, aroma….”
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach, and For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why I Don't Care About the Olympics

Michael Phelps - so over

I lost my interest in the Olympics about twenty years ago when I realized that the TV coverage in America was mostly of the American atheletes.  That and the endless commercials killed my interest in watching "the games."

The Olympics is supposed to be about international coverage but watching the TV coverage from the U.S., one would think the only participants were Americans.  Where is the interest when there is no coverage of the participants from other countries? 

And of course there are the commercials.  Oh my God, the commercials.  I stay up to watch these stupid commercials? 

Another annoying bit of the U.S. TV coverage is the "special" backstories of all the U.S. athletes.  Really?  Is everyone a  hard luck story that has overcome tremendous odds to participate in the Olympics?  Pardon me but this is all so boring to me.

It's a shame really becuase I used to love watching the Olympics. The "live" Olympics, not the playbacks which is another annoyance.  I think the last time I really enjoyed the Olympics was when Mary Lou Retton, the gymnast won her competition.  My God, how long ago was that?

Well, for all of you "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" fanatics, enjoy.  I'll be reading a good book.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Best Ad This Year - "It Be Weird"

Bill always gets on my case because I watch ads.  Well, I don't watch all the ads.  I watch the good ones.

Here is the Nissan Altima "Breakup" ad.  In thirty seconds, this ad conveys more of a story than most two hour movies do.  Check it out.  It has everything.


The greasy gas station attendant.  The goofy cute possum eyed customer (my type by the way).  The undercurrent homoerotic suggestion.  Even the pause by "possum" and the final look he gives "Eddie" before he gets into his car THAT HAS HIS WIFE IN IT (or girlfriend):


Whenever I hear this ad come one (I rarely sit in front of a TV and watch it, I'm usually working on my computer or reading a magazine or newspaper and using my TV as background wallpaper), I stop everything and watch it.  I NEVER TIRE OF IT.


I just finished watching Season 4 of "Madmen" last night.  I love this show.  Maybe it's because I'm a frustrated ad man myself.  In college I majored in advertising.  Why didn't I take up a career in advertising? Probably because I had a secure (at that time anyway) job at a bank.  Of course that "secure" job became a thing of history during the era of takeovers in the Eighties.

I think why I identify with Peggy Olsen in "Madmen" so much because I think THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME.  I know what ads work and what ones don't.

Actually, the ad I featured in this blog isn't a good ad because it was so good I couldn't remember what company the ad was advertising.  That was one thing I learned in advertising, don't make an ad that is so good that you don't know what is being advertised.  I had to go on the Internet to find out this was an ad for Nissan Altima and the fact that you don't have to spend as much time at a gas station and thus form a relationship with "Eddie."

By the way, "Eddie" is my type too.  I know, I know.

It be weird.

Mitt Romney - Outsourcer in Chief

Okay folks, I can't resist any longer.  Mitt ("The Liar") Romney now claims he retired "retroactively" from Bain Capital.  Give me a break.

By the way, why won't Romney release more tax returns?  I think I know why, because there are a few years where he probably paid NOTHING.  Yep folks, Mr. "America the Beautiful" won't release his tax returns because he IS HIDING SOMETHING.

No excuses for this blatantly political posting folks.  Had to be done.  Now listen to the best political ad yet this year.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rolling Thunder

The Dairy Queen in Lewes

We just had a thunder storm roll through here. We needed the rain.  How many times have you heard that phrase this summer?  "We needed the rain"?  Well, we did and the cornfields got a good soak.  The cornfields around here were beginning to dry up.  Stalks of corn, crinkled up, begging for water.

So here we are smack dab in the middle off summer.  I'm having my one fresh corn on the cob for dinner.  Now that we have a Panera Bread Company nearby, I also have a sour dough baguette with my grilled hamburger.  I used one of those George Foreman grills for one (Bill eats at a different time) to grill my hamburger.  Tastes the same as what I used to cook on the big grill on the back deck a few years ago.  I gave that grill away to some of the Guatemalan landscapers who are always mowing some of my neighbors' lawns here in this development where Bill and I live.  Their families are much larger than mine.  It seemed silly for me to cook one hamburger (Bill doesn't like grilled foods and eats at a different time) on a big Char-Broil grill.

This week I work tomorrow and Tuesday instead of Wednesday and Thursday at the hotel.  That should totally screw my week up but hey, Lisa asked me to "switch things up for a change" and why not?

Bill and I don't have anything planned for the rest of the summer.  To be quite frank about it, we're ready for fall and the cool weather.  We both like to get outside in the warm weather and work on our various projects but there does come a time when the novelty wears off.  I'm glad we live in a part of the county (coastal Delaware) where there is a change of seasons.  I'm ready to hunker down for a cold winter and catch up on all my inside stuff.  I still have thousands of old photos to scan in my computer and bore all my blog readers by posting them to my blog.

This fall I've planned another family reunion.  I'm looking forward to that.  My cousins and I aren't getting any younger so as many family reunions that I can organize and pull off is all for the better.  In fact this year our most senior cousin, Charles Tipton, won't make it.  He died a few months ago.  Here I go with the deaths again.

For tonight, I'm going to do some more updates to my Find a account.  Always a relaxing pastime for me (death again?)  Then I'll finished watching season four of "Mad Men."  Oh how I love that show!  I love stories about the human condition and all the strengths and weaknesses we humans have.

Me and my friend Ed in Rehoboth Beach, DE
I still can't get used to all the smoking and sex that takes place in this TV series but I think back to my own times in the Sixties and think "Yes, this really did happen."  I smoked a lot and got "around" a lot to, but maybe not as much as some of my friends.  But I didn't miss much (wink, wink).  These days?  It's all memories and probably for the best.  I did have some fabulous times though. And I can prove it by some of those pictures I have yet to scan.

Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

Horace - 1982-1999

Yes, I believe they do.

Do I believe in Heaven?  I don't know.  My common sense says there is no such thing as Heaven.  I tend to believe that when you die there is nothing.  A great void.  Black, dark.  Total unawareness.

However, and a big HOWEVER....some years ago I saw a Robin Williams movie called "What Dreams May Come."  The Robin Williams character died in an auto crash in the Holland Tunnel (what a way to go).  He died but he didn't know he died until he "woke up" in a colorful field of flowers in an oil painting.  At first he didn't know where he was.  As he slowly came to consciousness, he heard a dog barking in the distance.  He recognized the bark.  The dog barking was his long deceased dog "Katy".  "I must be in dog Heaven!" says the Robin Williams character.

Katy rushes to him in the field where Robin Williams is lying among the colorful flowers.  Very emotional scene and I get choked up every time I see it.

They embrace one another.  Katy licks his face.  They both walk off towards the beautiful waterfalls in the distance.  That's when Robin Williams realizes that he is in the REAL HEAVEN, not just "doggie Heaven."

Folks, Bill and I have had five dogs (all Pomeranians) during our time together.  Our last dog died in 1998. His name was Horace.  His death was so devastating to us, we haven't had a dog since.  I would get one but Bill couldn't take another loss of one of our pets.

Horace was special to me.  Horace was my "buddy."  Growing up our family had dogs.  Sure they liked me but they were always my father's dogs.  Of the five dogs we've had, four of them took up with Bill.  Sure, they liked me but when push came to shove, Bill was the one they went too.  Horace was the only dog in my life that CHOSE ME.

I don't know exactly why.  Maybe because I rescued him from a pet shop window during my lunch hour one day when he was being overwhelmed by the bigger dogs in the window.  I had no intention of buying a $300 dog from a pet shop in center city Philadelphia on that August day in 1982, believe you me.

The mistake I made was going in the store to inquire about the price of "that doggie in the window."  Of course you know what the pet shop owner did (the sly salesman he was).  He said "Here, I'll get him for you and you can hold him."  Oh oh!  What was I going to say?  What could it harm?

I swathe salesman pick up the little orange fluff that was Horace as a puppy and hold Horace away from him while he sprayed him with something (which I later found out to be a deodorant because Horace stunk when I got him home - puppy mill and all that which I didn't know at the time, naive me).

He hands Horace to me and I hold him to my chest.  He didn't stink when I held him (or at least I didn't smell the stink, that came later when I took him home).

As I cradled Horace to my chest (he fit real good by the way), Horace looks up at me as if to say "Please take me away from here."  Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what happened next.  I bought him on the spot!  Oh yeah, I BOUGHT HIM.

Now here was a problem. I had to go back to work and now I have this stinking, three pound orange fur ball in a cardboard box with handles to take back to work with me for the afternoon.  What was I going to do with him?  Good thing my bank operations manager position provided me with a desk back in the corner of the third floor of the Morris Building on Chestnut Street.

I returned to work and put the Box With A Dog In It behind my desk.  Of course several people in my unit asked "What's in the box?"  I forget exactly what I said but I don't remember telling them it was a dog.  I didn't want everyone back there "oohing" and "aching" and creating a distraction.  Just get through the afternoon Ron.

Horace was quiet.  Them there was a whimper.  I put my hand in the box on top of his greasy orange fur.  He stopped whimpering.  I did that every time that afternoon when he whimpered.

Next stop, the commuter train home.  I didn't know if they had a rule about pets on a train but I wasn't going to take any chances.  I wasn't going to go to the train with a dog on a leash.  Horace stays in the box.  So there I go to the train station with my briefcase (the Big Deal Businessman from the Big City) and a cardboard box with handles and three pounds of stink in a box.

I get on the train amongst my fellow commuters.  I find a seat in the back away from most of the other commuters.  An occasional whimper emits from The Box.  My hand automatically goes in the box and the whimpers stop.

After we're on our way for the seventy minute commute to my home in Downingtown, the train conductor ambles by to punch my commuter ticket.  He pauses and looks at me and casts a casual glance at The Box. I'm holding my breath praying that Horace doesn't whimper because I don't want to HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHY I BROUGHT A DOG ON THE TRAIN.  In retrospect me having a dog on the train probably wouldn't have been a problem but I just didn't want to GO THERE.  I had visions of being thrown off the train somewhere near Paoli and having to call Bill to pick me up and then explain to Bill why I was thrown off the train.  Oh no, I still had to think of what I was going to tell Bill when he picked me up at the train station in Downingtown.  He didn't know I BOUGHT A DOG.

The crises pasts with the train conductor and me moves on.  Another thirty minutes or so left on my commute.  I kept my hand in the box the whole time remaining.

Horace a few days after his arrival at our home
We arrive in Downingtown.  I disembark from the train, looking to see where Bill parked his Jeep Wrangler.  I see him.  He sees me.  He sees I have a package.  I knows I'm a shopaholic.  With some bemusement he asks "Well, what did you buy this time?" 

As I'm placing the Box With a Dog in the back seat I nonchalantly tell him "A puppy."  Hey, I'm not one for beating around the bush.  Just get out the news and deal with it.

Bill says "What did you say?"  I said "A puppy."  He turns around and looks at me to see if I'm serious and says "You have GOT TO BE KIDDING?"  That's when I turned around and took the Box With a Dog off the back seat and put it on my lap.  I pull out the Stinkball that is Horace.

Bill's eye just about popped out like the Roadrunner's when he sees the "BEEP-BEEP" bird.  Bill couldn't believe it.

The rest of the ride home Bill bemoaned and groaned and said "You'll have to take him back!" I knew that wasn't going to happen once I let Bill hold him.

Bill was a goner.  We had a new dog in the house.

Now as I said before, we've had dogs before.  In fact, we had just lost another dog (also orange like Horace) a few months before.  Bill at that time said "Never again!"  As I said before, Bill just can't take the loss.

Well, once he held Baby Horace (which is what he called him at that time - the name "Horace" is a subject for another whole blog posting), he (Bill that is) was a goner.  Horace now had a new home.  '

Horace - at home

Bill with one of our other dogs - Sparky - they always choose him
Now here is the interesting part.  Horace had "picked me."  Horace had bonded with me.  All dogs we had before always bonded with Bill.  We got two dogs since Horace and they also bonded with Bill.  But Horace "picked me."  I was Horace's sun, moon and reason for being.  I think what did it was me putting my hand in the box that afternoon and on the train.

From that first day in the house Horace wouldn't let me out of his sight.  When I went to work Horace had stay in my bedroom (Bill and I sleep in different bedrooms) and spent the day lying on the clothes I wore when I was home.  He wanted to be near my scent.

For the next sixteen years (which is a long life for a Pomeranian toy dog), Horace was my "buddy."  He loved to go for rides with me.
You never saw a more pitiful expression on a dog's face if I left for someplace in a car and didn't take Horace with me.  He LOVED riding with me.  I would often visit my Mom.  Horace would have to go.  At my Mom's I would open the car door and Horace would jump out.  I never had to use a leash with Horace, he always kept me in his sight.  Here is Horace with my brother Isaac and my Mother.  Notice how he is keeping me in his line of vision.

From 1982 to 1998, friends and family rarely saw me without Horace.  It was always "Ron and Horace."  We were inseparable.

Me and the older Horace during one of his last rides

Then Horace got hold. He muzzle turned white.  He started to lose his mental facilities.  He started to wet the floor overnight.  He always acted so ashamed when I came down in the morning and saw the wet floor.  I didn't mind, I cleaned it up.
Horace's favorite spot - my lap

Even though his bodily functions both mental and physical were beginning to fail him he still knew who I was.  He still looked to the door in anticipation of "a ride" whenever I headed towards the door.  He knew.

Then came the day (and it's hard to write about this even now, so many years later) that he couldn't get up. I came down to take him out.  He was still in his basket.  His eyes were open and he was breathing.  I waited for him to get out of his basket.  He couldn't move.  He had a blank star in his eyes.

I lifted him up. He was as limp as a rag doll. His head dangled down from my arms instead of resting in them like they had for the last sixteen years.  It was Time.
Me and Horace, Christmas 1984 - totally bonded - inseparable we two

I made the hard decision then and there that I had to end his suffering.  The last few months I noticed that he was rapidly going downhill but that morning his body finally gave out.  Horace had spent the last sixteen years as my devoted friend.  Now was the time for me to do the right thing.

Old Horace - closer to the End
I called my vet and told him what happened.  He told me to come down right away.  I took Horace for his last ride.  He rode in my lap instead of having his front paws on the driver's window like he always did.  He seemed to know that this ride was different (so hard for me to write this now).

Horace about a year before he died - 1997 - old but still with it
I took him into the vet's office and was ushered in right away to a side room.  Dr. Pollack (the vet) came out of a side room with his equipment.  He asked me "Do you want to be with him?"  Of course I said "Yes."  I got Horace when he was just a young pup and I would be with him now, at the end of his life.  That was the least I could do.  I would not leave him now. (So hard folks, these memories, tears in my eyes).

The end was quick and painless.  I left with Horace's limp now dead body wrapped in his afghan blanket that he always slept on.  Bill was waiting for me in the car.  He was crying (Bill can't handle these situations).

Bill drove home, I had Horace in my lap.  At home we placed Horace's body in a freezer chest (we bury all out dogs in an air tight freezer chest).  Bill dug a hole out in the flower garden where our other two dogs were buried.  Horace had outlived them all.  One was "T" who was a blonde Pom and Bill's devoted dog.  The other was their puppy "Babydoll", the offspring of "T" and "Horace".  Horace and T only had two pups.  One we sold (which we always regretted, that's why we never raised any more Pom pups).

All right, I've been through five tissues so far in writing this blog.  I don't know what's the matter with me but I get more emotional over a loss of a pet than I do people.

The pain of the loss of Horace, the only animal friend who "chose" me, was almost unbearable.  When I went to work the next week every time I would think about Horace I would choke up and the tears would flow.  Thank goodness I wasn't crying out loud.  I don't think I've ever had a loud cry in my life, I usually just tear up real bad and choke up.  I'm telling you folks, it took me MONTHS to get to the point where I could even think about Horace without choking up.

These days when I'm looking at The End for myself I often think, will I wake up in a field of flowers (I love fields of flowers) in Heaven one day and hear Horace barking and running towards me?  Now folks, that truly would be Heaven.

Me and my Buddy for Life (and in the Hereafter) - Horace

Caregiver Update

  Bill with his hospice nurse last week Regular followers of this blog have no doubt noticed that I haven't been posting on a regular ba...