Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year End Ruminations

Me at my friend Ed's place on Laurel Street in Rehoboth Beach, DE - Master of my Universe

Well, here we are at the end of another year. Don't they seem to go by with ever increasing speed as we get older?  Remember those calendar page flipping scenes in those old 40's movies that show the passage of time?  That's the way I feel my life is going now.  




I was going to do a list recapping my past year, which has been some year.  Perhaps the most life changing year I've ever had in my life.  But I know  I'm bored to death when they do those year end lists on TV so I'll try and make this as painless as possible. Thus is my list of the pluses and minuses for Ron this year.

January - I had a prostate cancer biopsy. The procedure was painful and humiliating (stirrups with women walking around).  The outcome was that I was diagnosed with cancer in six of the twelve samples taken.  I guess this was a Plus, because I found the cancer and a Minus, because of the torture like procedure (they should use this on Al Qaida suspects) I had to undergo.  No anesthetic. MINUS.

Urology Associates - interrogation treatment center


If this "hobby horse" could talk - censored!


April - we had our first ever Bloggerpalooza.  This was where I actually got to meet face to face fellow bloggers.  The event was held at my workplace in Lewes and it was a great success.  So successful that we're having another one this year and will continue to do so as long as there is interest.  This one was a Plus.

Blogger pals Jay, Anne Marie, Java and me

Jay, Nate, Ciubby, Superman, Java, Doug, Michael, Ron and David at Stripper Bites

April - Bill and I made our annual trip South to visit his hometown in Toccoa Georgia.  We also visited my father's birthplace in the mountains of western North Carolina.  For the first time I wanted to visit my great-great grandfather John Tipton's grave (I just discovered its location this year).  I also wanted to introduce my cousin Bob Tipton and his wife to a distant relative of ours (our grandfather and her grandmother were brother and sister).  This was a plus and minus trip.  The plus was visiting the grave.  The minus was being threatened by her son because I was gay.  He told me not to step foot on their property or else I "would have to deal with him."  Why was I threatened you ask?  Because he asked if I practiced "the homosexual lifestyle."  After I told him I was gay he banned me from his parents' property.  Homophobia is alive and well in the western North Carolina mountains.

Upper Pigeon Roost Road, North Carolina




No longer welcomed because I "practice the homosexual lifestyle" guess who issued this proclamation?  Yep, "Bubba" on the right


April - I was asked to and did testify before both houses of the Delaware State legislature for marriage equality (same sex marriage).  Something I have never done before in my life and was nervous as Hell doing but I did it.  I don't know how much my testimony had to do with the passage of marriage equality for Delaware but I'm glad I had a part in it.

The press ready for the testimonies for Marriage Equality at the Delaware State Legistlature


Me in the gallery waiting for my turn to testify

Me out on the plaza being OUT again - much to Bill's chagrin


May -  I underwent brachytherapy seed implant for my prostate cancer.  Again, a plus because my cancer is being treated and a minus, because of the side effects which I am still suffering to this day and will for the next twelve months.  


The Tunnell Cancer Center - where my torture procedures were done

Checking in


No caption needed

July - after 49 years of living together, Bill and I got married.  Now I can die without having to worry that Bill will be homeless because he doesn't have the money to pay the death taxes on our home (which is in my name, which we did years to protect our assets).  

Me and Bill the day we got our marriage license - unbelievable 

Bill and I taking our marriage vows (Bill is hard of hearing)

Finally!  After 49 years….married!  

August - I met Pat, my alter ego.  After 71 years I met someone who is so much like me that he could be my brother.  More than my brothers because I don't always get along with them but I do Pat.  For those of you who can't quite figure out my relationship with Pat; let me assure you I am still with Bill and will stay married to Bill.  However, Pat is the friend I have been looking for all these years.  He is nonjudgmental, he has similar interests that I have, he has a wonderful sense of humor, he's not after me for my money (which I don't have anyway, I'm "house rich") and he's cute.  I enjoy being with Pat and he likes me.  What more can one ask for in a friend?  I have other friends but they are either straight and their wives are their first priority (which I understand) or they have other things going on in their lives and no time for me (telling it like it is folks).  Pat likes me and I like him and we can do things together that Bill and I don't do.  It is a simple as that.  It's not complicated.  


"Pat"


Me and Pat at Cafe Azafran in Rehoboth enjoying a vegan meal (Pat's a vegan)


Pat and me in my driveway with his little tan Fiat that he drove all the way down from Toronto, Canada

Pat on the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach - Pat is a lot of fun - no strings, bad vibes or judgements with Pat - just a good time


September - My kidney stones returned.  First on the left side resulting in a visit to the ER.  Then a week later on the right side….another visit to the ER.  This kidney stone didn't pass like the previous one.  My doctor advised "five days for it to pass."  This was over the Labor Day Weekend.  Eight days passed before I had to go to the ER again, this time resulting in a two night stay in the hospital and an operation to "blast" the stuck kidney stone which had not moved after eight days.  On the third ER visit I was sure I was "checking out" of this world.  I surprised myself because I got all teary eyed thinking of everything I had not had time to do.  But I survived.  However, my operation to blast the stuck kidney stone resulted in having a stent placed in my ureter canal (urinary canal) for two weeks then another operation for a "water bath" to remove the three remaining kidney stones stuck at the top of my ureter canal.  I had more surgical operations this year folks (three) that I've had in my entire life.  I survived.  Oh, did I mention the excruciating pain during this whole kidney stone drama?  All I can say is imagine the worst and then go ten times.  That's how it felt at times but I'm here now to write about it for which I am thankful. Minuses and pluses here folks.  Choose your favorite.


First kidney stone passed - the others didn't

Infused with pain killers waiting for the other kidney stone that was stuck to pass - EIGHT DAYS - it didn't pass

One of three Emergency Room visits to pass kidney stones on both sides - when it rains it pours

Bill waiting in the ER for me 
Out of the ER and into a hospital bed on my 3rd ER visit - pain was unbearable - jammed full of pain killers in this photo
Then I had my last surgery to blast the three remaining kidney stones - surgery performed at the Milford Hospital thus completing the trifecta of operations for me this year: 

Tunnel Cancer Center
Beebe Hospital
Milford Hospital - do I win a prize?


"I don't remember a thing, that sure was some good anesthesia!"  

October - I had my bi-annual Tipton Family Reunion.  It was a bust.  I don't know why, but most of my family just isn't interested in attending the family reunion including my two brothers and their family.  I was disappointed and hurt and will never have another family reunion.  A definite Minus. 

Basically, this was the reunion - a few hardy folks who were interested 


Plenty of room at the pavilion

I don't know who brought the cake but I thank them

Me discussing something with my cousin Richard Tipton who catered the reunion - we had plenty of food leftover


November - I realized a dream of many years to revisit my former hometown and place of employment of Philadelphia.  For years I wanted a "last blast" of walking those city streets that I walked from 1965 to 1997 but I didn't want to do it by myself.  Bill doesn't like to travel.  For years I vacationed alone in Provincetown.  I did not want to visit Philadelphia alone.  Fortunately for me my alter ego, Pat, graciously consented to go with me.  Oh sure, at time I came close to boring him to death walking him to many of my old haunts and relating my memories of those places and people to him, but, bless his heart, he never complained once.  See why I like Pat?  Anyway, my "last blast" trip was everything I had hoped it would be.  A definite PLUS.  


View of Walnut Street from our room at the Latham Hotel

Me and Pat in center city Philadelphia - walking those mean streets


December - and here we are at the end of the year. I'm still working (two nights a week) at a job that I like with folks that I like.  My job gives me the opportunity to meet people and be in situations that I still matter.  I need to be "professional" at least a couple of times a week.  This works for me.  Also, my job enables me to make some extra money which I can do "last blasts" and pay $300 a year for my Ancestry.com membership, which I rarely use.  Little extravagances like this matter to me, especially at this time of my life.  Another definite PLUS.

A rough year folks but I survived and am ready for next year

A few weeks ago, checking names for my Christmas card list, I discovered two more friends and co-worker from my former life had passed on.  Both were younger than me.  I know that now I'm operating on Gravy Time.  Each day is a gift.  And that definitely is a PLUS.

Happy New Year everyone!  See you next year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bloggerpalooza Coming Up!




Folks, it seems just like yesterday that we had our first annual Bloggerpalooza.  



Actually it was last April but what's a few months?  This year the second annual Bloggerpalooza will again take place at the Inn at Canal Square in Lewes, Delaware. 
 
Mark, Anne Marie, Cubby, Nate, Jay and Superman (Clint)


This year the Bloggerpalooza will take place over three days; March 13th, 14th and 15th (Thursday, Friday and Saturday).  The date are earlier this year to take advantage of the lower winter rates and 20% discount on the rack rates of the hotel rooms for those of you who choose to stay at the Inn.

The Inn at Canal Square, Lewes, Delaware


Again this year we will have a buffet dinner on Saturday night ($25 per person) followed by "prizes".  

Please feel free to bring your own prizes for presentation at this time, however it is not necessary to join the fun as witness below. Last year Dr. Spo was the beneficiary of most of the "prizes" but this year we're going to expand our prize beneficiaries.



The hospitality suite will again be open. This year Dr. Spo and Someone will share the suite with myself and Toronto Pat, my friend from Canada. Here are some random videos from last year's hospitality suite:



I believe this was from the first night judging by the darkness outside. Even though most of us never met one another in person before, there were no awkward silent moments. We were all like old friends. Wonderful!


Bloggerpalooza 2013

Then there was the fun time at the prize presentations. Dr. Spo trying on his new "Cha Cha Shoes." Jolly good time!



Then there was the Old Time Photo Shoot the next day. More than a few of our Bloggerpalooza attendees were skeptical about this but were quickly won over by Anne of Old Time Photo. I'm not sure if we can do this again at our next Bloggerpalooza because of the early date. I'll try and get Anne to open her shop special for us. Stay 
tuned!








After our old time photo shoot we walked up Rehoboth Avenue to the Dos Locos restaurant to surprise Wayne ("The Cajun"). And oh yes, we did surprise him.




The Cajun quickly recovered and sat us at our tables. A bit later Mark, another fellow blogger showed up with his spouse Joe.



My spouse Bill didn't attend the Bloggerpalooza (Bill is a very private man) but Dr. Spo, Someone and Doug went to Casa Tipton-Kelly to visit Bill personally and to see the manse. 


All too soon the Bloggerpalooza was over. Last year's event was only two days long, that's why we extended this year to three days. Some of us met for the final time at the hospitality suite.



The following are a few videos of those get togethers, sans booze this time. You'll notice the talk isn't as loud as the previous get togethers in the hospitality 
suite.



Then there was the last breakfast at the Inn. 


This is the video of The Cajun giving his final goodbye. An interesting aside.  The Cajun is indirectly responsible for the Bloggerpalooza.  I found Dr. Spo's blog through the Cajun's blog.  I became friendly with Dr. Spo who suggested traveling to the East Coast to meet his blogger followers who couldn't travel to his home in Phoenix, Arizona.



Thank you The Cajun.  Of course I was the one who suggested to The Cajun to even start blogging.  So, what goes round, comes round so to speak.  Anyway, it's all good.  With so much negativity in this world today isn't it wonderful just to have a group of friends together for a good time.  Peace and love my friends, peace and love.



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Pat on the Kalmar Nyckel this past August

I know somebody who has a birthday today.  Happy birthday Pat!

Pat on FaceTime this morning receiving my "Happy Birthday!" greeting - 65 years young today!

Pat is my Canadian friend who happened to stumble across my blog last summer.  He saw a photo on the Internet testifying before the Delaware State legislature for Marriage Equality. 

The photo of me that was splashed on the Internets that caught Pat's eye - I think it was the sport jacket - I never wear a jacket unless I'm testifying before a government committee (which is to say never)

Intrigued, Pat did a little research and found my blog "Retired in Delaware"(the same one you're reading now) and discovered that we had a lot in common. 
 


Pat and I at the Brickside Grill in Downingtown, Pennsylvania - Trivia Night!

I invited him down for next year's Bloggerpalooza (as I do all my blog readers - hear that?).  I also invited him down for an Old Time photo which he took me up on. He came down this past August and we took that photo!

 

We discovered immediately that we have a lot in common.  In fact I think I found my alter ego.  All the grains of sand that are people in the world and I found someone who is so like me and Pat found someone who is so like him.  Imagine that?  So there you go all you naysayers who say we spend too much time on the Internet and not enough time getting to know folks around us.
Pat in the lobby of Hotel Blue where he stayed during his visit to Dela-Where?
Just a few minutes ago I read a blog posting by another friend of mine who I met through the Internets, Dr. Spo.  The subject of his posting was "why is it so hard to make friends in the neighborhood where you live?"  You know folks, that my question too.  I've lived in southern Delaware now since 2006 and have only made a few friends, even though this is one of the heaviest gay couple (4th) populated areas in the country.  I don't have an answer, wish I did.  However, this I do know, I (and Bill) have made a good friend with Pat and it wouldn't have been possible if not for the Internet.  In fact, I've made more friends through my blog and the Internet than I have made here in little ole Gayberry.  Go figure.  

So anyway, happy birthday Pat!  

Pat and me at the Love sign during our visit to Philadelphia in November for MY birthday