Friday, February 28, 2014

Random Thoughts

What goes through this man's head?

Time for a gathering of random thought wafting through my brain.

Last night I finished training my fifth person for the part-time front desk job.  Like my previous hotel front desk position at the Hampton Inn, I seem to be the designated trainer for the revolving door of front desk clerks.  I hope this guy lasts more than a year.  I've been at the hotel seven years this April.  I've never been one of those "turnover" guys who gets a job and leaves after six months.  There, I got that off my chest.

Where does one get a good falafel in Rehoboth Beach?  One doesn't.  My friend Pat is a vegan.  He's gotten me on the vegan bandwagon.  I have a taste for falafels but there is none to be had in Gayberry.  More's the loss.  We have the seafood (oh do we have the seafood) restaurants but nary a vegan restaurant with a good falafel.  


I gave my useless Dell computer away.  It was perfectly good but I'm done with Windows based computers.  Mr. Softee will have to get his millions elsewhere, he's not getting any more money from me and his virus protection hindered operating systems.

Mr. Softee, major fugly - why is this old man still wearing bangs?  College is over Bill.

 However, on my Dell computer were videos I took of my Mom shortly before she died in 2010.  I had forgotten about them.  Here is one clip.  She was living with my younger brother John at his home in Greenville, South Carolina.  She always had this nervous tick with her foot.  It was good to see it again.

 I changed my Facebook profile picture. A former friend and co-worker of mine sent me this message. Seems we're a match! Ah Renee, I do miss those good times I had with my friends and co-workers in Pennsylvania. We used to do trivia night every Wednesday at the Brickside Grille. No such activity down here in Gayberry. More's the loss.

This relentless cold winter is finally starting to get to me. Spring, where dost thou art?  Whoops!  Did I inadvertently begin talking "holy" language?  Not really, it's just Elizabethan English which was used by the King James version of the Bible.  Lot of folks think that's "holy" language.  Not so folks. 

Well, I hear dinner calling folks.  That would be me.  I always make my own dinner unless I'm dining out.  Tonight tis an Andoullie sausage on potato hot dog rolls with plenty of mustard. I love me some French's yellow mustard. 

My favorite sausage, the only one that goes down gently

You know who else likes French's Classic Yellow?  Yep, my buddy Pat. Here is is talking to Bill on FaceTime.  And thus folks you have another "classic" all over the place blog posting from your favorite Delaware guy, Ron!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Please Read Me a Story!

Time for a meme folks.  It's been too long.  I was wondering what to do for my post this morning.  Then while I was doing my morning perusal of my favorite bloggers I came across this one from Dr. Spo.  It's all about reading which is me.

Fasten your seat belts folks, here goes:

1. Describe your favorite place to cozy-up with a good book.

That would be my bed folks. I always read before I go to bed.  If  I'm into a really good book, I'll take the opportunity during the day to lie in my bed and read a few pages.

2. What do you read when you're on the toilet?

Usually a paperback.  I rarely read a hard cover book when I'm on the hopper.  Don't want to take the chance it's going to do in the "drink" when I flush the toilet.

3. Do you ready when taking a bath?

Hardly, I don't take baths.  I take showers.

4. If you can, do you read when at the gym?

Gym?  What's a gym?

5. Do you still read newspaper and or magazines?

I glance at the newspapers at work for the headlines and if I'm interested in reading the full story, I'll bring it up on the computer.  The only magazines I read are the trashy gossip rags like the National Enquirer ("inquiring minds wants to know") and the Globe.  I need to read the latest about President Obama's homosexual encounters and which straight women he's having affairs with.  When are the gossip rags going to understand Obama can't be a womanizer and gay at the same time?  Just asking.

6. What are your favorite genres to read?

Biographies, preferably celebrity biographies.  Holocaust memoirs and most other non-fiction.  I do not like fiction.  Real life is always more interesting than made up stories from self-important authors.

7. If you start a book, do you finish it no matter what?

Almost always unless it is really God awful which is rare for the books I choose to read.

8. Did your parents read to you when you were growing up?

Never.  NEVER.  I wish they had.  But I have a friend who has volunteered to read to me now in my old age dotage.  I'll take it.  Better late than never.

9. Have you read to your kid/nephew/nieces?

Never and I don't want to.  Are you kidding? Why would I do that? They're afraid of me.

10. How do you feel about reading books versus using electronic devices?  Have you feelings evolved from one or two years ago?

No, I like reading a book, not a tablet.  Call me old fashion but I like the feel of a book.  I have read on electronic devices in a pinch but I prefer a hardcover or large paperback book.


When was the last time you looked at or read an adult magazine to satisfy yourself?  When was the last time you even saw one?

NEVER.  Reading magazines or pulp sex books doesn't "do it" for me.  I prefer to download videos from the Internet.  That "works" for me.  Pictures or lurid descriptions don't.  Again, color me old fashion.  Of course the "real deal" is even better my options for that scenario is very limited to almost nil at my advanced years.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Welcome to Ron's World

 Remember that old Saturday Night Live skit "Wayne's World?" Well folks, welcome to "Ron's World"!

Yesterday morning, I began my usual routine after breakfast of taking the few steps to my home office.  As I was rounding the corner I noticed a snow falling lightly outside (as it is today too).  

I turned on my 27 inch iMac to check my e-mails and update my blog.  As I was doing so I noticed again the beauty of the gently falling snow outside.  At the same time I had my Pandora radio station on and it was playing a selection from the Bhudda Chill Out Lounge.  Who hasn't been to the Bhudda Chill Out Lounge?

So I decided an impromptu movie moment was in order via my iPhone.  So here it is folks, enjoy!

I love my home folks…..LOVE IT!  I grew up in apartments, our family never had our own home until I was a senior in high school.

2nd floor apartment front in the center of Downingtown, where I grew up - rent was $22.00 a month - the apartment building looks as dumpy today as it was when we moved there in 1948
My Mother and father and that's me with the big ass running up the steps to the apartment - funny, those steps seemed so much bigger when I was six years old

Then it was a 1,100 square foot ranch with three small bedrooms and one bathroom,  this for the five of us in the Tipton family. Me and my two younger (and much bigger brothers - we're all over 6'3") and my father (also over 6'3") and Mom (5'1").  It was a tight fit folks but is was our home.

Ariel view of the family home - first time we didn't live in an apartment
Front view of the 1,100 one bathroom family home - a tight squeeze for the five of us - my brother Isaac live there alone now - my bedroom was to the left with the awning - Isaac took the awning down

Then all too soon I was graduated from high school and joined the Army after a brief sojourn in the hospital (actually six months).  After the Army it was apartments again for Ron until I met Bill (my spouse).  After living in two apartments I urged him to buy a house.  Since then we've lived in three houses.  This one is the best although Bill would dispute that.  

Me and Bill's first house - a 16 ft by 50 ft town house in center city Philadelphia
Ariel view of our second house in the country on 6.875 wooded acres - Bill loved this house - I felt too isolated
Front view of our second house - the new owners have taken out most of the trees thus ruining the coziness of this location

These days folks, every day is a treat.  This is my final house.  I always say when I move again, they're going to take me out feet first.  And I wouldn't mind this musical accompaniment. 

Where we live now - can you tell a couple of gay guys live here?  Sure you can!  Check the flowers. We have the best floral display in the neighborhood.  Of course we do.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Facebook Friends

Some of my wonderful Facebook friends
In order from top, left to right:
Former school classmate
Blogger friend
Former co-worker
Rehoboth gay friend
Blogger friend
Genealogy (and gay) friend
Blogger friend
Family friends (cousin and wife) who aren't freaked out because I'm gay - they've met Bill

How many of you are on Facebook?  Oh I know it's au courant by some to denigrate Facebook and the whole "Friends" phenomena.  I'm not one of those folks. 

I originally joined Facebook to keep in touch with relatives, the children and grandchildren, of my cousins.  They don't know me but they know OF me.  I'm the family historian.  By having them as "Friends" on Facebook I had access to the latest photos of their families.  Many of these 2nd and 3rd generation cousins I've never met in person nor would I likely too in my lifetime.  Especially now that I came out publicly as a gay man.  I really sealed my social coffin with most of the members of my extended politically conservative family when I posted photos of my marriage to my Bill on my Facebook account.  Some unfriended me immediately lest I contaminate their Facebook page.  Some of the others who remain Facebook friends never deign to comment of Like any comments I make.  Maybe they're just too lazy to unfriend me.  

Several times I have considered closing my Facebook account entirely but I always came back to the thought "Why?"  So I continue to have my Facebook account.

Of course I have unfriended a few former friends, including family.  I will unfriend anyone who posts crazy Republican Right Wing racist rants against our president.  I don't need to read that trash.  I hear enough of it on TV as it is.  I've also unfriended more than a few of my fellow gay inhabitants of this so called "all inclusive" Camp Rehoboth.  I joined Camp Rehoboth but they studiously ignore my existence.  Never comments, never liking or even unliking (is that a word?) I comment on my Facebook page.  Camp Rehoboth is an all inclusive club all right, all inclusive for a privileged few.  

The Facebook friends that I do have are an eclectic  group of folks.  Some I've never met but know through my family genealogy research.  Some are former co-workers.  Others are a few genuine friends that I have made since moving to Delaware.  And one is a longtime friend from my grade school days. And last, but not least, more than a few are friends I've met through blogging.  

So while I may not post everyday to Facebook I am glad that I have another outlet for staying in contact with friends.  And I am appreciative.

I especially like the photos.  You know me and my photos.  I want a legacy after I'm long gone.  I never did get around to writing my autobiography.  Besides, if I did, who would read it?  So my autobiography is my blog and my Facebook page. When I'm long gone my orneriness will live on through my blog postings and Facebook photos.  

Isn't this new Digital Age wonderful?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cutting Back

When you live on a fixed income (Social Security and small pension) such as I do, the steady rise of monthly bill is very noticeable and painful.  Thus recently I have been reviewing my bills and deciding what to cut back on.  

Our biggest expense is technology.  I have a very expensive Internet connection with Comcast. I can't cut back on that, I need my Internet connection.  Just this month they raised their modem rental fee from $7.00 to $8.00.  So far in the few years I've been with Comcast (reluctantly because I can't get FIOS where I live), their modem fee has risen from $6.00 to $8.00.  Same modem mind you.  

Now for Verizon.  I'm embarrassed to tell you what my total Verizon bill is so I shan't.  But we do have three iPads, two iPhones and DirecTV with four TV's.  How in the world my grandfather

Fieldon Jacob Tipton - my grandfather - farmer - uncomplicated life

survived without all this digital age stuff boggles my mind.  My Verizon account is ready for a cut back.  I've already disconnected the Internet connection from my iPad, Bill's iPad and I will disconnect his Internet connection from his iPhone.  We don't use any of those.  We use our house WiFi connection.  This alone is a $90 a month savings.  Just about enough to cover my every increasing supplemental insurance charge, that automatically goes up every six months.

Perhaps the main reason I moved to Delaware was to escape the ever increasing school taxes in my former home state of Pennsylvania.  Plus their township tax, the state income tax, the county tax, the per capita tax and the sales tax.  Here in Delaware I have the school tax that doesn't go up 16% to 22% a year like mine did in Pennsylvania. 

So I'll end this boring post about this retiree trying to make my limited income stretch.  I'm telling you folks, just surviving in this day and age is a challenge. I don't know what people do who are in a worse situation than me.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Buttermilk Biscuits

Ron's Buttermilk Biscuits

My Mother married a hillbilly.  Yep, dad was a hillbilly.  Straight from the mountains or western North Carolina.  His parents moved him and his eight brothers to Pennsylvania when Pop (that's we always called him) was ten years old.  That was in 1930.  Two more brothers were born in Pennsylvania bringing the total Tipton Boys to eleven.  

My Mom (pregnant with me), my grandmother Mrs. Tipton (sitting) and my Uncle Dude at the family mansion (not the washing machine on the porch - a hillbilly home decorating requirement) - 1941

My father met my Mother in 1940 on a double date (he was the other date, not hers) when she was 16 years old.  Several months later they eloped to Elkton Maryland on a Saturday, November 2nd.  That Monday my Mom went back to school. It didn't take too long before my granddad found out my Mom got married over the weekend.  He beat her and threw her out of the house.  Mom was the "Cinderella" of her home.  Her mother had died from complications of childbirth before my Mom was two years old.  Mom was the youngest of her two brothers and sisters. They had all left home and only Mom was left with her (wicked) step-mother and her two children.  Mom did all the cooking, cleaning and what not.  Pop told her "I'm going to get you out of this mess."  And he did.  

My grandfather with his third wife Margaret (oh, I remember her well, Gravel Gertie, she always scared me to death) and his stepson Bobby - 1934

My Mom with her two older brothers - she told me they tore the head off of her doll - an appropriate metaphor for her childhood -1928

So what does all this have to do with biscuits you ask?  Well, when Mom and Pop rented a house in a small house out in the country without running water or indoor plumbing, one of the first things her widowed mother-in-law told her was she was going to have to learn how to make biscuits.  My grandmother said all "her boys need their biscuits" and if she wanted to have a successful marriage she would have to learn how to make authentic southern biscuits.  

Mrs. Tipton with ten of her eleven boys after the burial of Mr. Tipton, my grandfather - 1939

My Mom would watch Mrs. Tipton (my grandmother) make biscuits and wonder "How would I ever make those crusty and cloud filled biscuits as effortlessly as Mrs. Tipton?"  My Mom said Mrs. Tipton would fill a bowl with self rising flour, make a well in the center or the flour, then cup her hand and get a scoop of shortening (lard is the best) and drop it in that well.  Then she would pour some buttermilk in the well and start to swirl the mixture around all the while squeezing the flour and shortening (lard) until a ball formed, all the while being careful to maintain a flour well.  

My grandmother - Hester Lewis Tipton - 1943 - she died in 1944 - I don't remember her

My Mother told me it wasn't easy to "get the feel" of the flour and shortening mixture at first.  There were many times when the dough mixture was too sticky or too dry.  And when she baked the biscuits they came out as hardtacks.  Good perhaps for a trans-Atlantic voyage on the Mayflower but not for Pop.  

Finally, after months of trying my Mother "got it."  She made perfect biscuits with effortlessly ease.  For the next sixty years of her marriage, almost every day she made biscuits for Pop (and her boys) for breakfast and dinner.  

Of course, being the proper Mama's Boy

Me, "Mama's Boy" - gay from birth - 1942

that I was, I wanted to learn how to make biscuits too!  Well folks, let me tell you it wasn't easy.  I have to be truthful and tell you I've never quite made them exactly the same quality as Mom's but I've come pretty close.  

Here's my recipe for buttermilk biscuits:

2 cups sifted enriched self-rising flour
4 tablespoons shortening (lard the best but use Crisco - don't go there)
1/2 to 2/3 cup sweet milk or buttermilk

Unbaked buttermilk biscuits

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (very hot)
Cut shortening into flour until consistency of coarse meal.  Add milk to make a soft dough, stirring with a fork until dough draws away from the sides of the bowl. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board or on wax paper and knead gently 8 to 10 strokes (don't go there). Flatten until desired thickness.  Pull off dough into size of biscuits you desire and shape by hand into a ball.  Place on non-stick cookie baking sheet.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 450 degrees F until brown.  Serve hot with butter.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Barber is Back and Bloggerpalooza Updates

"Give me a No. 2 please!"

My barber is back!  Oh happy day.  She's been out sick for over a month with pneumonia.  When I called yesterday morning I was so happy when she answered the phone.  She was in!

Of such little things that make my life happy these days.  Gail (my barber) knows how to cut my hair.  You ladies out there, you think you're fussy about your hair?  I think we guys are worse.  If I have a bad haircut, I'm not happy.  And believe me if Ron isn't happy, those around Ron aren't going to be happy either.  I don't know what it is with some barbers, cutting my hair lopsided.  Too long on one side and short on the other.  Sometimes I feel I should go the way of some of my bald friends and just get my whole head shaved.  But then I'm not bald.  So why should I do that?

Cubby at last year's Bloggerpalooza with his round the world Spo shirt

Well folks, I'm finalizing the arrangements for the Bloggerpalooza that is less than a month away.  I have bad news and good news.  Which do you want first?  Okay, the bad news:

No Sassy Bear fun this year

Sassy Bear and Jeffrey will not be attending.  Sassy has two surgeries and recovery coming up.  

Someone will not be accompanying Dr. Spo.  

No Someone Magic  either this year 

However, Doug T.  will accompany Dr. Spo.  Good news! 

Two Hot Hunks on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk

I was very disappointed these three musketeers will not be attending our festivities.  And I had some really super prizes for them too.  Drat.  But we wish Sassy success with his operations and a speedy recovery and as always our best wishes to Someone.  We will miss all of them.

A sad Anne Marie missing three of her boyfriends

Oh, and the GOOD NEWS?  Ann of Old Time Photo is sending her assistant up to take our group picture.  Now Anne Marie, you're taking Sassy's place as the Saloon Girl.  No if's, and's or but's.

What is going on here?

Don't forget, for those of you who imbibe there is a liquor store only a block from the hotel.  I'm bringing some wine for the open bar but for those special mixed drinks, all are welcomed at R & L Liquors.  Also, smoothies will be made at the hospitality suite.

R & L Liqours has a wide selection available, keeping the business local!
Just a few weeks to go folks before the daffodil bloom and Bloggerpalooza II is here.

Superman, Nate and Dr. Spo engage in light banter at Striper Bites 
Anne Marie ascends those steep stairs to the hospitality suite which will again be open this year
"I'm watching you"

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fort Bragg Wedding Ceremony

Ever notice how unbelievably happy same sex couples are when they finally get married?  Ever notice how somber and serious many of the straight couples are when they get married?

Bill sent me this link about two soldiers getting married at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. See here. This one has special significance for me because just last summer I was threatened with physical violence by a distant cousin of mine when he asked me if I was gay (actually he said "There is a rumor that you practice the gay lifestyle?  Is that true?"  When I answered "If you're asking me if I'm gay, I am."  Then he said to me "If you step foot on my parent's property (I was visiting with Bill and my cousin Bob T. and his wife researching our family history) you have me to deal with!  You got that bud?"  

My cousin Jerry R. (the big guy in green) with his parents (his mother is my cousin) during a more friend visit two years ago before he heard the rumors I was "Quare"

Well, I'm not ashamed to admit that I was intimidated because I was in those western North Carolina mountains near the Tennesse border where my father grew up and where homophobia is alive and well and abysmal ignorance like my cousin's flourishes.  They have guns up there.

Bill with my cousin's husband - this shortly after he complained to Bill about President Obama putting "all those quares" in office.  We got a laugh out of his pronunciation at the time.  I didn't realize the seething hate underneath until last year when we tried to visit again.  Must be terrible to live in a pit of hate like this.  I wonder how people like this feel when they see the world closing in around them and they realize there are more people in life and not just straight, white people? And the ironic thing about this man is he is God fearing.  See why I'm not a fan of organized religion?  For someone so "God fearing" to harbor so much hate in their heart and to be so judgmental.  It is a shame.

I was in a section of the country where gay men like me are referred to as "Quares".  This is the same North Carolina that has outlawed marriage equality.  The same North Carolina that has the most restrictive voting in the country.  

I also have a tenuous link to Fort Bragg.  When I was in the Army, I attended Army Security Agency training at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts.  
Goofy me at Ft. Devens (give me a break, I was only 18 years old)
After schooling we were given a choice of our next assignment (which was to last the remainder of our tour of duty, 2 1/2 years for me) based on our standing in class.  I was seventh in my class.  My good friend (who I later found out to be gay) was eight.  I wanted to stay with him.  When it came down to choosing I said "We're going to Ft. Bragg together, right?"  

Me (left) with my buddies Bill A. and Dick E. at Ft. Devens, a break between the classes)

He wanted to be closer to his home in Norwood, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Philadelphia) and said he was going to choose Ft. Meade, Maryland, home of the National Security Agency.  There was only one allocation left for Ft. Meade.  I wanted to be with him because he was my good friend (no romantic interest, never was even after I found out he was gay) but I did have a great friendship with him.  So when it came time to choose I chose Ft. Meade instead and thus had probably the best 2 1/2 years of my life. 
Me (fourth from the right in the back) with my buddies/classmates at Ft. Devens April 1960

Even though the NSA and Ft. Meade was notorious for gay witch hunts I survived and made two good gay friends (both gone now).  But every time I see a reference to Ft. Bragg I think of what could have been and how much my life would have changed.  

Sal and Ron H., my gay (and best) friends at Ft. Meade standing before the poster of the Broadway type show they put on at the Service Club at Ft. Mead (I made the poster, they did the show, I missed that "Broadway Show" gene) 

But here I am rambling when I just want to show you this heartwarming video of a wedding in Ft. Bragg.  My, my how times have changed.

Me (second from left) with my Army buddies at Ft. Devens, spring of 1960

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...