Sunday, November 29, 2015

Philadelphia, Here We Come!

The Philly skyline view from Don's rooftop deck (Don's head is bottom right)

Only one day to go until my trip to Philadelphia!

Just to refresh your memories, I will be visiting my friend Don McK. in Philadelphia for five days next week, starting Monday.  Pat is flying down from Toronto on Tuesday to also spend time with me and visit Philly, which we both love.

My Travel Buddy, Pat

The original purpose of my trip was to spend time with Don to show him how to use his new iMac computer.  Last month I took a day trip (with the Old People's Express bus) to Philly to visit Don.  At that time I guided him in his purchase of his first Apple computer and getting hooked up to FIOS through Verizon. However, I didn't have enough time to show him how to use his new computer.  In fact I almost missed my bus coming back home here in Delaware.

Don at the Apple store in Philadelphia (Don on the right with the scarf looking overwhelmed)

Since I returned home I've talked to Don several times on FaceTime, giving him some basic instructions but nothing beats one on one instruction.  Plus I wanted to spend time in Philly, my home and workplace for many (over thirty) years.  During my conversations with Don I found that his co-op has a suite available to rent for guests.  I was gong to do one of those Air BnB things but staying in the same building with Don is better yet.  And to have Pat join me, for More Adventures of Pat and Ron.

So, next week will be one of personalized instruction from me to my longtime friend Don.  Ironically, Don is the person who introduced me to computers back in 1986.  I headed up a research project at my new job at the new bank where I got a job after being job eliminated at Mellon Bank.  My friend Don was job eliminated a few weeks after I was canned.  Don was an accountant and I certainly could use his expertise.  I hired him to work on the project with me.  When he came aboard he was appalled to see that I was keeping records with those green columnar pads.  He suggested using a computer, and the spread sheet software Lotus.  And folks, the rest is history.  

The way I WAS keeping the books at my new job before Don showed me a better way

However, since then Don never got much past the stupid and user Unfriendly Windows based computers.  It is now my turn to return the great favor my friend Don did for me.  It's all good folks. 

Life is good.

Me yesterday after doing a little yard work (very little) on a beautiful late November day in southern Delaware

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday and Hotel Thanksgiving Memories

Ah ha!  Today is Black Friday. And as you can see (or read), I am sitting at my iMac blogging about it.  And that is the way I plan to spend this day.

Last night, as I left work at 11:30 PM I saw the steady stream of headlights streaming down Route One to the Rehoboth outlet malls.  Oh yes!  No way Jose Joseph (we are nothing if not politically correct here).  

Actually, I don't do any Christmas shopping. I gave up on that tradition years ago when my nieces and nephew grew up.  I used to shop for my Mom, who birthday was on Christmas Eve, but since she died (2010), I no longer had a need to shop.  

Bill and I have everything we need.  We have each other.  We have a beautiful home in a wonderful neighborhood with fabulous neighbors.  What more could we ask Santa for?  Oh well, maybe to get rid of our arthritis and (wishful thinking) to get back my youthful looks.  But folks, those days of a limber body and fresh faced innocent looks are just fond memories now in the (very) distant past.

I had a very quiet Thanksgiving yesterday at the hotel, even though the place was full.  One thing about Thanksgiving Day hotel guests, they are invariably nice and very low maintenance.  The only glitch I had was a call to clear a clogged toilet.  Oh yes, the worst call a hotel front desk agent could receive.  I . HATE . TO . PLUNGE . CLOGGED . TOILETS. 

And wouldn't you know it, I couldn't accomplish that nasty task.  Plunge as I might . . . . nada.  I had to call Mike, my manager.  Thank goodness he had just finished his Thanksgiving family dinner.  Thank goodness he is good natured.  

I asked him where was the snake.  Oh yes, this toilet required "the snake."  After some difficulty I found "the snake" in the maintenance office.  

Back to the hotel room, where the guests (an older couple) were waiting.  Oh how I love to plunge a toilet while the guests are in the room.  And I know you want to know if there was any shit fecal matter. There wasn't (thank goodness).  Just some toilet paper (thank goodness).

Mike came, saw and did some MAJOR plunging.  Turned off the water and then flushed the toilet while we held our breath.  This HAD TO WORK because we had no other rooms to house the guests. 

Well, I know you hanging on with baited breath.  IT worked!  And that folks is why Mike gets paid the Big Bucks.  Thus another Working at the Hotel on Thanksgiving Day is a memory.  

Folks, I DO live a very interesting life.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Day - 2015

Mom preparing dinner for the family 1975

Well, here we are, another Thanksgiving Day.

Today I go to work at the hotel at 2:30 PM.  The hotel is full today unlike previous years when we only had a few grandparent types staying at the hotel.  They're in town to visit their kids and grandkids but stay at the hotel because as they all tell me "We love our grandkids but we can't take them 24/7."  Oh how well I understand.  The older I get the more all that noise and jumping up and down like Mexican jumping beans just rattles my nerves.  I like Thanksgiving just the way it is here today . . . . quiet.  Ah, peace and tranquility.  

Bill (far left) with my nieces and nephew and brother) 1975

However, I do get nostalgic on Thanksgiving.  Back when both of my parents were alive, Mom would bake up a big Thanksgiving dinner of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy (my Mom made the BEST homemade gravy - SLURP!), corn, string beans, cranberry sauce and stuffing (of course).  My Mom also made the best celery stuffing.  Dessert was on of her homemade pies.  Oddly enough, my Mom never mastered the art of making a good pie crust.  Her pie crusts always tasted like cardboard with Crisco.  But the filling (cherry, apple or pumpkin) was always good.

Mom getting her hair style by her niece Vickie with my sisters-in-law looking on - 1975

The family would gather around the small table she had in the dining room.  The dining room table was only used about two times a year.  Once for Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas dinner.  

Grandpa (my father) with his nieces Vickie and Nancy - 1975

My brothers and their wives would be at the table and me and Mom and Pop of course.  The kids were at the Kid's Table.  

Pop getting "antlered" by his niece Vickie - 1975 

Sadly, those days are gone.  But you know what folks, those memories will live forever.  Including my Mom's cardboard pie crusts. 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Much To Be Thankful For

Here we go folks, another Thanksgiving Day is almost here.  

As my previous seventy-fours years of life, I have much to be thankful for.  As I enter my seventy-fifth year here is a spontaneous list of just some of the reasons I have to be thankful for.  Be warned my list is not politically correct nor in any particular order:

I am thankful:

That I am an American. While we have many problems in our country, I still would rather be an American than any other nationality. 

That I am gay.  I never once in my life regretted being born gay.  I have always felt that I was given a "gift" to live my life as a gay man.

My husband, Bill.  For the past fifty-one years I have led a charmed life with a man who has loved me without qualification. 

My home.  All my life I dreamed of having exactly the home I have now.  And I am so thankful that it is paid for. NO MORTGAGE!

That I can walk.  After my fall last winter which severed my quadricep muscle, I feared that I would never walk normal again.  Walking has always been one of my treasures and I have it back again.  I am SO THANKFUL.

My jobs.  All my jobs.  I've been working since I was ten years old when my Mother told me (when I was in third grade) "You're going to work."  She got me a paper boy job (which I loved, probably the best job I've ever had in my life).  I have worked non-stop since and will continue to work until I can no longer walk and my brain no longer functions.  My goal is to never completely retire.

My friends. Both long-time and new friends and especially my Special Friend Pat. All my life I was on a search for "someone like me" and two years ago I found him, or he found me.  Someday I will tell that whole story of our meeting but for now I have someone who is totally unselfish, caring and fun to be with.  All my life I knew I would meet him.  The wait was long but worth it.  I will not end my days alone.

My health.  Although I live with arthritis, that gradually grows worse, I can still manage.  My prostate cancer and kidneys stone days are behind me (I hope). I look forward to living many more days active and healthy.

The Republican Clown Show presidential candidates.  Oh yes, the current crop of Republican presidential candidates virtually assure that another Democrat will be elected president and thus assure that no more Republican conservatives will be appointed to the Supreme Court during my lifetime.  

And lastly, I am thankful that I live in a country that not only has freedom of religion but freedom FROM religion.  We live in a world today where may religious extremists foment against anyone who doesn't adhere to their religious views. 

The first Thanksgiving was held by Pilgrims who came to this country for religious freedom.  Ironically they didn't tolerate anyone in their community who didn't adhere to their strict religious views. And today, we have those in this world (Muslim religious extremists) who seek to destroy us because we're the infidels. 

My wish to everyone who reads this blog is a very safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pat Plays With His Band in Toronto

Regular readers of this blog know that one of my very good friends is Pat. I have several very good longtime friends who (Larry, Bill B., Stuart, Angie, Bill P.) who I am very thankful for in this Thanksgiving week.  I am so fortunate to have my old friend as well as my new friends, including some really fabulous friends I have met through blogging (you all know who you are). 

So here I go again with another "Pat" posting.  I find it interesting that every time I post about Pat I get the fewest comments.  Wonder why?  But you know me, I put no pressure on my readers to comment. I write for my pleasure and yours, no need to comment but all comments are appreciated!

I don't remember if I told you all that Pat has a "hobby".  He plays in a 60's themed band called "The 45's".  I've never seen him perform in person (with his band that is) so I asked him to have someone take a video of him and his band playing during their gig this weekend at the Green Dragon restaurant in Toronto, Canada.  As it happens, his dentist and his wife were attending and they graciously agreed to take a video of Pat's band "The 45's" with Pat's iPhone.  

The Green Dragon Restaurant in Toronto, Canada

In January Pat and I will be returning to Los Angeles.  Last year when we visited we stopped by the Whiskey A Go Go.  We saw two pitiful interesting performances. This year I'm going to talk Pat into performing.  Hey, he's as good as anything we saw at the Whiskey A Go Go during our visit last year.  And folks, I can promise you that if Pat gets up on the stage at the Whiskey A Go Go, I will videotape it with my iPhone. Promise!

So here is The Video of Pat and his band "The 45's playing "Don't Throw Your Love Away" performing this past Saturday night in Toronto. Pat is the bass guitar player in the center of the video. 

Pretty darn good huh?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why I Can't Get Good Photos Of Me Anymore

Me with my Heavy Metal Detox juice drink at the Nectar Cafe in Lewes, DE

Regular readers of this blog know that I like to take photos.  I like to take a LOT of photos. 

I have over 84,000 photos on my computer and more to scan. 

I started taking photos Christmas Day 1954 when I was twelve years old.  My Mother had given me a Kodak Brownie camera for Christmas.  
My younger brothers John and Isaac with their 1954 Christmas presents, matching bikes! They were the willing subjects of my first picture taking session, eight images on a black and white Kodak roll of film

Back in those black and white days, I rarely had photos taken of myself.  I remember a trip I won to New York City as a paperboy, I don't have one picture of me.  I just have pictures of the New York skyline. 

My photo of the New York City skyline 1955 - I wish now that I would have asked one of my fellow paper boy contest winners to take a picture of me with the skyline behind me - too late now

Back in those days there was no such thing as a selfie.  And if I did ask someone to "take a picture of me please?", that would be considered a social faux pas, one must be modest.

The General Motors building in New York City 1955 - is it still there?

However, in this day and age, selfies are the norm, and one isn't considered a narcissist if one asks someone else to take a picture of him or her.

Lady Liberty, New York City 1955 - she didn't mind me taking her picture

Oh how often I wish I had taken more pictures back in those pre-terrorism days when the only thing we had to worry about was the Soviet Union dropping an A-bomb on us.

"What? We have to hid under our desks when The Bomb drops?"
(me in the back of my father's pickup truck - not at all happy about this embarrassing mode of transportation during my sensitive teenage years - my Father loved humiliating and degrading me - and one of my brothers caught me on camera during my funk

Well, these days I have plenty of opportunity to have my picture taken as well as taking selfies.  However, there is one thing I've noticed.  It's getting harder and harder to get a good picture of me.  Then I remember something my Mother told me a long time ago.  She said "Ronnie, as you get older you'll find you'll have a harder time getting that 'good picture' of yourself."  Of course I didn't pay much attention to her wise advice (was was young and full of myself back then) but you know what?  She was right!

Yesterday I wanted to put a new profile picture on my Facebook account.  Usually there is no difficulty selecting a picture of myself from the many that I have had taken. That has changed.  Now most of my pictures are of an old, wrinkled, grizzled man.  Wow.  "Is that me?" I ask myself.  And no, I'm not going to post even one of those pictures now.  Use your imagination but trust me, I'm starting to deteriorate.  I'm going downhill . . . FAST. 

Gone are those days of the past when every picture showed a young, fresh faced and wimpy kid with a FULL head of hair.

Yep!  That's me.  Was I EVER that young and innocent?  Well, I was believe it or not. 
One consolation I have is that my friends and peers (the ones still alive anyway) are aging has well and keeping pace with me.  Some solace (I guess).

Bill and Pat during Pat's annual visit to Delaware this past spring

But all is not lost.  I have found that when I'm happy, my smile still shines through and you can still see a hint of my youth.  

Me and Pat on the Rehoboth Boardwalk this past spring (and me with my Spo Shirt)
So the trick is to keep smiling.  I'm working on it folks!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving dinner - Ron Style (hummus and pita chips)

Here we are, another Thanksgiving!

Wow, where does the time go?  Weren't we just suffering through the oppressive heat and humidity of summer?  One thing I have noticed the older I get is how fast the years fly by.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Bob's 2002 - sadly several of these men have since passed away.  I am at the head of the table (as usual). 

It just does not seem that long ago that my longtime friend Bob Mc. had an annual Thanksgiving dinner at his home outside Georgetown of all of us single gay guys who didn't have a traditional family Thanksgiving.  Anywhere form sixteen to twenty-four guys (all gay, but not a requirement) attended Bob's Thanksgiving foray. Bob died last year and his partner Jim is in an assisted living facility.  No more Thanksgiving dinner for the single Gay Guys.

Old Gay Guys at the Kiddie's table at Bob's Thanksgiving

I used to do Thanksgiving dinner many years ago but Bill doesn't like turkey.  And we just don't eat that much. To us Thanksgiving is just another day. In fact, Since 2005 I've worked every Thanksgiving Day.  I'm not complaining, just stating a fact.  In fact, I don't mind working Thanksgiving Day.  I work at a hotel and the guests on Thanksgiving are invariably pleasant and kind.  However, one thing I do miss is a slice of turkey and some stuffing.  And oh, some real cranberry sauce and maybe mince meat pie.  

The last Thanksgiving dinner I did was at my longtime friend Bill B's home in 2005.

Thanksgiving at my friend Bill B's house - he took pity on me and invited me to dinner at his home - it was delicious! And oh, that is me in the yellow shirt (which I still have)

I am thankful for much.  I like Thanksgiving dinners. I like the family atmosphere, be it straight or gay.  This year again, I will miss having an invite to a Thanksgiving dinner. But do not Cry For Me Argentina feel sorry for me.  I will enjoy this Thanksgiving wherever I may be and that is because I have much to be thankful for.  

Me with my friend's cousin Ruth (who I suspect he was trying to fix me up with - we were the only singles at his dinner)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Where Will I End Up?

My friend Don and I on the roof deck of his co-op in Philadelphia, PA last month with a new co-op building in the background

Oh, I know where I eventually will end up.  On a hillside cemetery overlooking Downingtown, Pennsylvania. I purchased two lots (one for me and one for Bill) after my father died in 2000.  Both Bill and I wanted a "good view" for our eventual resting place. We got that settled. 

But what I'm talking about when I say "Where will I end up?" is where will I play out my Last Act.

My original intent was to spend my final days here at Casa Tipton-Kelly, Sussex County Delaware. 

Case Tipton-Kelly - Rehoboth Beach, DE

I am very comfortable here on our almost an acre of Eden-like bliss. But folks, it does take some upkeep.  In fact, on this very mild day I should be outside right now (instead of writing this blog) doing some fall maintenance yard work.  But alas, I opted to write this blog instead.  

As much as I like yard work (and I do), I find that as each year passes I call on our local landscaper Miguel and his crew to give me a helping hand.  

Bill mows the grass, which is quite a job.  Even so, I still put out a couple thou a year for lawn maintenance (irrigation, feeding and weed control). 

We live in a BIG house (5242 hundred square feet).  I could take in one of those Syrian families and still have space to spare.  Do I need all this space?  Actually I do.

But, last month when I visited my longtime friend Don McK. in Philadelphia, I was intrigued by his two bedroom apartment in the heart of Philadelphia.  I love Philadelphia. Back in the late 60's and 70's (when I was young and very desirable) I lived in Center City Philly.  I LOVED IT!  But then came a time I grew weary of hearing the police sirens constantly and I yearned for wide open spaces. So I moved to the country. 

The view of the neighborhood in Philadelphia where Bill and I lived in the 70's from my friend Don's rooftop deck

We lived in the country (Downingtown) for twenty-five years.  Then the taxes got too much for me so I moved us (Bill goes where I go, even though he doesn't want to - he still misses our Pennsylvania home) to the flat, open coastal plain of southern Delaware where taxes are low and folks are gay friendly (mostly anyway). 

Now comes a time when I have to seriously consider how I would manage if I lived by myself.  Bill is 87 years old now and was a great help when I fell and tore my quadricep leg muscle and was incapacitated for a long twelve weeks.  I was helpless.  If it were not for Bill I would have been warehoused in a rehab center.  

I have arthritis throughout my body, especially in my upper legs and lower back.  I am so careful not to fall again and put myself in a similar situation of being totally dependent on someone. So I have to think about that possibility.

There is no way I would put myself in on of those assisted living facilities.  That to me is like a gilded prison.  No way will I go out like that.  

So, at the end of this month when I visit my friend Don in Philly, where I will be staying in a rented suite in his co-op building. I will seriously consider eventually moving to Philadelphia in the future if I'm around for a few more years.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. It's all a matter of survival folks. 

Our two plots at the Northwood Cemetery in Downingtown, PA
A lovely setting for our final resting place

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How To Defeat Isis

"Anonymous" - ISIS new enemy

This afternoon I heard on the news that "Anonymous", the infamous (and very effective) hackers are targeting ISIS.  Now this is the answer in defeating ISIS.

Who am I to know this answer, defeating ISIS, that has baffled the most powerful governments on this planet?  

For sometime now I have realized that the power of ISIS is the Internet.  The ability to communicate with each other and to influence new recruits through the social media.  Why has our government and other government been so slow to realize this is the real power of ISIS?

Wasn't the outcome of World War II greatly affected by the Allies' ability to break the German code?  Remember the movie about it?  

Cut off the ability of ISIS to communicate and that will do more damage to their organization than all the bombs of all the nations dropped on their dusty dessert strongholds in Syria and Afghanistan.

Of course a big part of the problem is the primitive computer skills of our government.  I hear that the FBI still uses computer with the black background and green text and scroll screens from the 80's computers.  

Our government is run by old men who are stuck in the past and proud of their lack of computer skills. Hey guys, get a clue!

Thus it was with great relief when I heard that "Anonymous", the infamous hackers have targeted ISIS as their enemy.  Now this is going to be interesting.

Sending in our troops is exactly what ISIA wants.  They want a land war.  They're trying to draw us in  If any troops are to be sent it, send in the Saudi Sunni troops.  DON'T send in our treasure.

Time to think out of the box folks.  Thus hearing that Anonymous is going to take on ISIS was indeed welcome news.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Better Days Ahead - Christmas in Philly

Center City Philadelphia - our destination at the end of this month

While I process the latest atrocity perpetuated on innocent people by the Muslim religious extremists, I am heartened by the good in the overwhelming majority of people on this planet.

I will never understand why some people want to kill and destroy and justify their actions by some twisted religious belief.  Of course the whole history of humankind on this earth has had this scourge.  

All my life there has been this threat of destruction hanging over our heads.  I remember clearly when I was in grade school, we were told to huddle under our desks if and when the atomic bomb fell. 

Our nation has been at war with some country for the whole seventy-four years of my life.  However, with age comes maturity.  I realize that as long as I am on this earth there will be somebody who will want to destroy me and my way of life. That is a fact.  So what do I do?  What do we do?  We live.
I live.

Thus, I will share this news with you.  At the end of this month I will visit my former home in Philadelphia.  From 1969 to 1980 Bill and I lived in Philadelphia.  In many ways they were the best years of my life.  Those years were the formative years of my life.  But then came a time to move. 

As I have moved to different phases of my life I've often thought how I would like to have my friends from those phases of my life to meet each other.  Well folks, that dream will come true this November 30th.

My longtime good friend Larry M. (friend since 3rd grade!) will pick me up at my home here in southern Delaware.  After a walk on the trail at the Primehook National Wildlife Refuge, Lar will take me to Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia Larry will drop me off at my longtime good friend Don McK.  I've known Don since the early 70's, when we worked together at several banks (Girard, Mellon, and First Fidelity) in center city Philly.  Coincidentally Larry also had a career as a banker, Wilmington Trust. I will be staying the week at a suite at Don's co-operative. Thus Larry, a friend from a Previous Life, will meet my friend Don from another Previous Life.

Me and my longtime friend Don last month during my one day visit to Philadelphia

The next day my new friend, Pat F. from Toronto, will arrive at Philadelphia International Airport.  Pat will join me at the suite at Don's co-op.  

Pat, Larry and I at our annual Old Time Photo session

Pat, Don and I will have a festive week in Philly. At the end of the week Larry will pick up me and Pat and take us to a Christmas celebration near his hometown of Claymont Delaware.  Then Larry will drop Pat off at Philly International Airport.

Life goes on folks.  While threats about all around us, we're living life and demonstrating to the world goodwill and peace. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Liberté survit!

Another barbaric act of violence was perpetuated by Muslim religious zealots.  This time the innocent victims were the citizens of Paris, France.

To my dying day I will never understand the need and willingness of some members of our common human race to destroy others simply because they do not believe as they do.  

What goes through the minds of these people who commit such acts of atrocity?  Oh sure, it is easy to blame the Muslim religion, which actually teaches to "destroy the infidel".  In other words if you don't believe as they do, they feel it is their duty to destroy you.  At least that's the way I understand their religion.

But folks, let's admit that all cultures have their barbarians who seek pleasure in causing death in destruction.  Be it some Lewes teenagers (almost always male) who have an overload of hormones and burn down a vacant bard or a young Muslim who thinks he'll be a martyr by killing as many "infidels" as possible and be rewarded in Heaven with 72 virgins.  Which, brings to mind how are the gay martyr's rewarded?  But I digress.

My apologies folks for my rambling.  I thought long and hard about what I would post in response to the horrific tragedy in France where people were going about their everyday lives only to have terror rain down upon them.  The obvious question is "Why does God permit this?"  And don't give me the old "mystery" thing.  I'm not buying it.  

All I know is each day most of us go through lives just trying to survive. Most of us aren't trying to make others live the way we do, or lie cheat and steal.  But there is that element that seeks to destroy.  If there is a God, I thank God I'm not one of that human species.  

So today I will think about those in France who have lost their loved ones.  I will also think about those who are grievously injured and for no better reason than they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

I often wondered if our planet is observed from other life form in outer space.  What do they think of us constantly causing harm and causing death and destruction to each other?  

Rodney King said it best (which, I doubt he really said it but I'll use the quote anyway):

"Can't we all just get along?"

I fear not.  

The terrorists have achieved their goal.  Look at how we live now. That's their point, to create terror.

But it is only temporary folks.  In the end the terrorists will lose.  Then what new evil awaits us?

For now though, my thoughts go out to those who have lost so much in this latest act of barbarism by Muslim religious extremists. May they find peace and solace soon. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Birthday Surprise

Co-workers from First Financial Bank who took me out to lunch for my birthday in 2001 - oh where does the time go?

Well folks, my birthday has come and gone. 

First, I want to thank all my friends who commented on my previous "birthday" blog wishing me well.  It is always heartening to know that so many really nice people read and appreciate my blog.  You know that kind of response just encourages me to blog more. (smile)

At this time of my life I prefer quiet birthdays.  No fuss and definitely no surprise parties.  Absolutely not.  So I was just a little bit annoyed and perturbed when I arrived at work yesterday and even before I got my coat off, my co-worker Monica told me "You have to go to Nectar.  There is something there for you."

Oh no.  Give me a break.  "Something there for me."  Uh huh, an obvious device to deliver me to a surprise birthday party.  Folks, I really wasn't in the mood for a SURPRISE birthday party.

My last surprise birthday party - 1979 at "The Ranch"

Besides, this wouldn't be much of a surprise since my sharp brain already figured out that was going to happen.

So I keep my coat on and walk the two blocks to the Nectar restaurant.  One if not my favorite restaurant in Lewes and in this area for that matter.  It is the restaurant where Pat and I have breakfast when he visits me in Delaware in the spring and summer.  It's "our" restaurant.

I arrive at the restaurant and as soon as I walk into the door, a woman approaches me and asks "What kind of juice do you want?" I'm a little befuddled (not all that unusual for me), but I respond "heavy metal detox."

The woman behind the counter reaches under the counter and brings up a plastic container with the unmistakable green color of my favorite juice drink, Heavy Metal Detox.

Now I'm thoroughly confused.  Who arranged these elaborate plans?  Who knows that Heavy Metal Detox is my favorite drink (other than Pat - by the way do you see where this is going?  I didn't).

I look around and the restaurant is fairly full but I don't see anyone from work.  What kind of surprise birthday party is this anyway?

The woman behind the counter recaches under the counter again and brings up a bag containing a plastic box with a veggie "Powerhouse" sandwich in it.  No folks, I still don't get it but I am pleased because that would be my dinner for that night's shift.  Not my usual pack of Lance peanut butter cookies.

She then asks me to sign a charge slip. What is going on here?  I hesitate then when I realize I'm not paying the $18.95 total bill (costly yes? But this IS downtown Lewes DE - high rent district.  Those prices certainly don't reflect what they pay the service help, that's for sure). 

I leave the restaurant with my drink and sandwich bag in had and a smile on my face.  I take advantage of the straw protruding from the plastic drink container and take a sip.  Ah, springtime!

Hey folks, I'm still thinking where I work, they surprised me with my favorite meal from my favorite restaurant. I still didn't get it! Oh yes, I will be the first to admit sometimes I am really thick. Slow on the upbeat.  But I'm sure the more perceptive of my readers have already figured out what's going on.

I arrive back at my place of part-time employment as a hotel front desk agent (forget that "clerk" stuff), happy faced with my birthday surprise 


 When I arrived back at work, Monica told me what happened.  My friend Pat from Toronto had called Nectar and arranged for my birthday surprise. 

Wow!  I just had to laugh out loud.  And here I thought the folks where I worked had arranged for my Birthday Surprise. I did laugh out loud.  I am SOOO naive.  Sometimes my naiveté knows no bounds.  Now I know why Nectar knew to make a Heavy Metal Detox juice.  I should've known that my pal Pat was involved.  

 Thus this series of short videos that I made as this drama unfolded. Short videos like this are my usual method of daily communication with my friend Pat. By the way, the previous video was sort of jumbled up. That was because another co-worker of mine happened to walk by. This particular co-worker doesn't want me to take any videos of pictures of him and he thought I was doing that when I recording. I had to hastily tell him that I had the camera reversed while taking the video. Ah, the perils of memorializing my daily life on video.

What a nice birthday surprise.  As I said before, I'm not big on surprise birthday parties but I liked this.  Thanks Pat!

Monday, November 09, 2015

Happy Birthday Ron!

Me with Mom November 1941

Today, seventy-four years ago, I was born at 9:30 AM, Sunday morning at the Chester Country Hospital in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

What a fabulous life I've had.  Thanks Mom and Pop for bringing me into this world.  

I never thought I would live this long.  

I always thought I would be die in my early sixties.  Most of my friends have already died but I'm still here!  Every day is gravy folks.

I still have a lot of living to do.  I'm glad you're all aboard to share this Journey with me.  

Birthday photo November 9, 1941

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson - "Liar, liar, pants on fire!"

Yeah, you're "trustworthy" alright Dr. Carson

There is one presidential candidate who truly terrifies me.  

No, it's not Donald Trump.  As a matter of fact, I like Donald.  Of course he is out of his mind if he thinks he is going to deport eleven million immigrants and build a wall along our southern border and make Mexico pay for it.  But Mr. Trump speaks about veterans (non of the other candidates do, neither Republican or Democratic).  He also dismisses any plans to do away with Medicare, unlike all the rest of the Republican candidates.

I'm not terrifying by any of the other Republican candidates except one.  And that one is Dr. Ben Carson.  What terrifies me even farther is the fact that he has so much support, even leading in some polls!

The reason often given for his support is that Dr. Carson is an "outsider" and he speaks the truth.

Well folks, Dr. Carson has just been outed with his first blatant lie.

In his autobiography, which he took a break from his presidential campaigning and was on a book tour the past week, he states that he was "Offered a scholarship to West Point" but he turned it down to go to medical school.

Well folks, West Point doesn't offer "scholarships."  One is appointed to go to West Point.  One is generally recommend to go to West Point by his senator or representative, after going through a rigorous process.

Dr. Carson states that when he was the senior ROTC officer when he was a young man, he attended a dinner with General Westmoreland (the commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam).  He insinuates that "they" were so impressed with the young ROTC officer that was Ben Carson, that they offered him a "scholarship."  

Not true.  

What was the name of the person who offered you the "scholarship" Dr. Carson?  Ben says he doesn't remember.  Then he blames the media for going after him in a "witch hunt."  Then he tries to deflect attention from his embellished account in his autobiography and ask why the media didn't give Barack Obama the same scrutiny.  Uh, well they did Dr. Carson but I digress.  

Dr. Carson had an hissy fit press conference yesterday.  His fabled calmness was absent.  He was pissed.  His feathers were ruffled.  

Apparently Dr. Carson doesn't like scrutiny.  Ever since his beatification by the Christian evangelicals in this country, he hasn't been challenged on his Horatio Alger rise from property to fame and fortune and respectability as a pediatric neurosurgeon. 

I'll repeat a statement that a commenter left on my previous blog:

"Just because someone is a doctor doesn't mean they're smart."  

Indeed.  Doesn't mean they're qualified to be president either.  Maybe a political because Dr. Carson has proved that he can lie with the best of the politicians.  

Who would've thunk that Dr. Carson would turn out to be just another liar?  

You can come down from your holy self-righteousness cloud now Dr. Carson. 

Welcome to reality. 

God did not appoint you to become president.

Go back to your book tour.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015


My neighbor "Rich" and "Miguel", early this morning (whom I encountered on my daily early morning walk)
Well folks, another autumn is upon us.  

I took the new header picture last night at work just as the sun was setting.  It is of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.  That canal leads out to the Broadkill River which in turns leads out to the Atlantic Ocean.  

One of my dreams was to retire "near the water."  That folks I have done.  Mission accomplished!

I don't think I could ever live in a place like Iowa, the middle of America.  Of course one very obvious reason I wouldn't live in a place like Iowa, they have folks there who think Ben Carson would be a good president.  Those people are crazy.  They'll elect any Bible quoting homophobe who is "nice."  Don't get me started.

Ben Carson and his Iowa evangelical base - they all believe that if you go to prison straight you com out gay- Oh God save us from these people - so hopped up in their self-righteous they can't even think straight

If I ever moved, and this is a distinct possibility as I get older and more limited in my ability to keep up Casa Tipton-Kelly, I would move to California.  Of course I would move with my Canadian soul-mate, and my regular readers know who that is.

A few years ago, for the first time, I needed help on the "grounds" of Casa Tipton-Kelly.  That help came in the form of Miguel S., a Mexican immigrant who formed his own landscaping business called "Nice Work Landscaping."  Miguel used to work for a HUGE local landscaper who is very expensive.  VERY EXPENSIVE.  

That landscaper does excellent work but man oh man, are they ever expensive. I said that before didn't I?  Well for one thing they have a massive overhead.  A friend of mine (a fellow gay immigrant to moved to Delaware to escape the high personal property taxes of his state, New Jersey in his case; mine was Pennsylvania)works for them.  I'm pretty sure he gets paid in the upper 60's.  A far cry from my meager $11.75 an hour at the hotel.  

Wow, I'm really going on long here. Stream of conscious writing folks.  Well . . . . anyway, I noticed a few years ago my backyard maintenance was getting away from me.  I saw Miguel working across the street for another neighbor.  I've seen him around in the neighborhood. He must be pretty good because my neighbors are very fussy but yet at the same time we do look for reasonable rates.  

I needed my arborvitae tree, which was near death from an attack from bag worms, out.  I asked Miguel how much it would cost.  He gave me a very reasonable price.  I asked him to take it out.  He did without fuss or attitude.  Attitude is usually what I get from the "white boys" who do landscaping.  I don't know what it is with those guys, are they all on drugs or do they just have a shitty attitude like they're doing you a favor?  

Miguel did such a good job I asked him for an estimate to edge all my flower beds.  Last year I had asked for a similar estimate from one of the local "white boys."  After plowing through this guy's attitude (I think he name was "Jason"), he quoted me a price of $1,200 and said it "could be more."  Uh huh.  That's what you call an open ended commitment.  Goodby Jason.  Take your high prices and lousy, disrespectful "'I'm Doing You a Favor Old Man Attitude" somewhere else.  

I asked Miguel for an estimate.  He quoted me $600.  I hired him and his crew of two.  They did an excellent job and guess what?  NO ATTITUDE! In fact, Miguel and his crew were nothing but polite and respectful, something I have difficulty in finding with the local labor force, such as it exists.  A few months ago I called for a plumber.  He put me off for several weeks.  Never called back.  I called him again, he told me "I'll call you!"  A few more weeks rolled by. I gave up and took the water recirculator back to Lowe's.  When the plumber finally called back and left a message, I didn't return his call.  Would that I could get decent service from that guy like I get from Miguel.  

In the current political campaign the most of the Republican candidates demonize immigrants, appealing to their Iowa base of (so called) "good Christians" (those full of charity and goodwill don't you know for those less fortunate than them).  All I can say is that in my experience I am thankful there are people like Miguel who are willing to do these hard jobs at a reasonable price. After all, I too was one time a lowly laborer just trying to get ahead in the world.  I'm glad some people gave me a chance instead of demonizing me. 

Donald J. Trump, leading Republican candidate for president who is more concerned with the questions being asked him at the Republican debates than he is with treating all people equally - time to get over yourself Donald

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...