Thursday, April 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Birthday Boy 2005

Me and my friend Sheila at my 64th birthday party at the Brickside Grill, Exton, PA - 2005

Oh where does the time go?  It seems like only a few years ago when my friend Sheila helped me celebrate my 64th birthday.  Actually, this picture was taken November 9, 2015; ten years ago.  Ten years?  What happened to the last ten years?

This photo was taken at the Brickside Grill in Eagleview, Pennsylvania.  I used to the Brickside Grill every Wednesday night for Trivia Night.  Loads of fun with my friends Carole, Sheila and a changing cast of friends, whoever was available on a particular Wednesday night.  I miss those times.



I wonder where I'll be ten years from now?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Open House - Los Angeles California

Pat and I in front of a very large succulent in Los Angeles

During my recent vacation this past January in Los Angeles California with my Canadian friend Pat, we had the good luck to come upon an open house.  Both Pat and I love open houses!

We were just taking a walk in a residential section of Los Angeles, enjoying the mild weather (70 degrees) and palm trees when we came across an open house.  "Say Pat, want to check it out?"  Pat:  "Yes!"

So here  you go folks, a pictorial display of our tour of this open house:


"Open House!" downtown Los Angeles

Pat discusses the details with the realtor

Now this is a shower! - "His and His"

The Master Bedroom - I like!

Private balcony and corner window - I love it!

From second floor - view of neighborhood

The guest bedroom - love the private balcony

Another bedroom with private balcony

Fireplace and couch on yet another private balcony

Pat asks "What kind of wood?" 
The first floor main living area - living room, dining room, kitchen and view of backyard pool

The obligatory Los Angeles California homeowner's pool 

The dining room

View from front of house

Side street view of this new, modern house

Real oranges!

Wouldn't this "modest" house in the heart of a residential section of Los Angeles make a nice getaway?  Both Pat and I thought so.  

One of my dreams (as yet unrealized) was to win a lottery of several million dollars so I could buy some of these getaways.  I would certainly buy this lovely, perfect home in Los Angeles.  Brand new, modern, clean lines, low maintenance and ideally located. If I had this home I wouldn't risk falling on ice and snow and being put out of commission for months like I am now. 

But alas, I stopped playing Powerball years ago.  Pat buys an occasionally lottery ticket with a maximum payout of $10,000.  Hardly enough to buy this beauty.  But you know folks, one can dream and I thank that realtor that Sunday in January who permitted me and Pat to wander through this dream house.



 So what do you think folks? Like it?

So how much do you think it cost?  Well, here you go:  the asking price was:

 $3,200,000.  


Yeah, that knocked Pat's hat askew.  Oh well, we can dream can't we?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Yard Work!




One of my favorite activities is yard work.  I find working in the quiet and peace of my back yard not only good physical exercise for my body but good mental exercise. 

It's interesting but both of my brothers hate yard work.  My brother Isaac, the brother who inherited the family home, has been busy cutting down as many trees and shrubs that my father planted over the fifty some years he lived there.  

My brother John, who lives in South Carolina, has just about finished taking out anything that grows on his ranch house property and paved over his back yard.  He now has the biggest parking lot in his neighborhood.  But both of my brothers can build.  They are both good carpenters.  I am not.  I am not mechanically declined at all (and "declined" is not a typo).  

I like my backyard.  Next to walking, working in my back yard, especially raking cut grass, is one of my personal, guilty pleasures. 

One of my big frustrations with my leg injury is that it prevented me from working in my backyard.  When I got the news from my doctor after my leg surgery that my recovery would be "eight to twelve weeks", I immediately thought "there goes the spring."

Well, I'm glad to say that yesterday, after my physical therapy session, I felt confident enough to do a little bit of yard work.  

Raking grass is one of my favorite activities. I like the feel of the gentle wind on my face. Listening to the birds' chirping, getting things sorted out in their little world. The quiet, peace and tranquility of being by myself in my own backyard.

I think a lot of my pleasure of working in my own backyard comes from my youth of growing up in a second floor apartment.  Our family didn't have a "backyard" until 1958, when my parents built a small 1,100 square foot, one bathroom (five in our family) ranch house in East Brandywine Township, Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  I was 16 years old at the time and only had a year to "enjoy" my own land.  But it wasn't actually "my" land, it was my father's and he was very possessive.


120 Washington Avenue, Downingtown, PA - 2nd floor apartment front - where I spent the formative years of my youth and missed having a backyard unlike most of my classmates whom I envied who lived in "normal" homes with backyards


After graduating from high school, joining the Army, getting out of the Army, I was back to apartment living again.  


Our family's Boot Road, Downingtown PA second floor apartment - house not there now - no back yard (of course) again - 1954

I lived in three different apartments until Bill and I bought a small townhouse in center city Philadelphia with a very small back yard.  Actually not a "backyard" like I wanted, it was a paved (flagstone) backyard with small raised beds.  To satisfy my green thumb Bill built a roof deck with flower boxes.


Our Philly townhouse back yard (still no grass) - 1969

A view of our roughneck at our Philadelphia townhouse which I expanded my "backyard" with flower boxes - my green thumb needed this

The view from our roughneck of our Philadelphia backyard - 1969

It wasn't until 1980, when we moved to our 6.875 acres in East Brandywine Township, that I finally had my own backyard.  Of course I had to share it with the deer (oh did I ever) but at least I had one.  But I still didn't have what I really wanted.  What I really wanted was a neighborhood back yard.
When we moved to Delaware I finally had my neighborhood backyard.  The year was 2006, a long wait for a back yard.


Our East Brandywine Township home - my first "backyard"- 1980

This is a long post but I had to tell you this aspect of my personality.  After all, that's what this blog is all about . . . . me.


My backyard now - finally - my dream come true - where I go for peace and tranquility - 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Physical Therapy - Week Two

Me with "The Ball" exercise at Tidewater Physical Therapy in Milton, DE

Today at nine o'clock this morning I began Week Two of my physical therapy.  

I have to admit, that something I was dreading (physical therapy) is turning out to be the high point of my day.  

Three days a week I go to physical therapy for an hour session.  

The modern and up to date facility is nearby. The folks who work there are always upbeat and happy. They're happy to see me (which I always like - I hate it when I'm "greeted" with a frown - "oh YOU again.") 

The exercises are not painful and very beneficial.  Today I was able to bend my leg sixty degrees!  Last week I was only able to bend my leg thirty degrees.  Progress!!

I get individualized attention.  The staff is kind and patient with me.  Even the other patients are fun.  

This morning on the table next to me was a young guy with an injured foot.  He does contracting work and had jammed his foot while coming down a ladder on a construction job. His accident happened March 10th, which coincidentally was the day of my surgery.  He said he's been in constant pain just about every day since.  I've been lucky because I haven't had that much pain, only the swelling which I have to admit was pretty brutal at times.  

This young guy was very talkative but I didn't mind because he was a happy, upbeat young man (single dad).  Cute too but that's beside the point (I guess).  

There were other people there today from all age groups and of both sexes.  We're all trying to get back to our normal lives.

I only have one picture on this blog because I get the feeling they frown on taking too many pictures at the facility.  But you know me, I put the charm on and push my luck.  So far I've gotten away with taking one short video and this one picture.  I plan to ask more once they get used to me and see what a wonderful guy I am.

This particular picture is of me and "The Ball".  This is an exercise where I do three sets of ten seconds each and pull my knee back to bend it.  I just pull it back until it hurts then I stop.  But a little bit each time I can pull my knee back further.  All the while while Mariah Carey is screeching on the radio (they have musical accompaniment at the facility).  

So I had another good day at physical therapy.  Of course I do some physical therapy at home too.  Pat is coming down at the end of next month for his annual visit to Lower Slower and I want to be up and running.  Well, not actually "running" but walking around normal like I used to before I did that stupid fall last February 18th, which now seems like so long ago. 

Things are looking up folks.  I can now sit at my computer desk and type away on my iMac keyboard.  My leg is still a little stiff but I can take the brace off.  I'm glad I can use my remaining time of forced idleness from my part-time job at the hotel to do something productive at my computer.  One can only lay in bed so long watching TV or sleeping.


A couch potato I am not.









Saturday, April 25, 2015

Vegan Glory

Vegan Soup

Since I met my Canadian friend Pat in August of 2013, I've been gradually transitioning to vegetarianism. For some years now I have been migrating away from a meat only diet. 

Pat standing in front of another vegan restaurant we found during our stay in Los Angeles

Never a big steak eater, I did like pork chops, sausage and chicken.  Mostly chicken.  But one can have too much chicken too.  I think the last time I had an actual steak was when we lived in Philly in 1976.  I have cooked beef in stews and had hamburgers, but one of those big, juicy, bloody steaks that so many crave?  Not me, and besides I like my meat well done much to the consternation of some of my fellow diners who like to see a pink center to their prime rib and a slight pulse. When I eat meat, I want it dead.  Of course this rules out sushi. But I digress.

Me trying out this vegan soup at the Vegan Glory restaurant - I forget what was in it now but it was good

Meeting Pat and being exposed to his vegan only diet I have been experimenting with a vegan/vegetarian diet.  And I have to say I like it.  I don't think I'll ever go totally vegan (no dairy products) like Pat but I seem to be morphing into being a vegetarian although still like white meat chicken, but only small pieces and mixed with vegetables.

"Yum! This is alright!"

I listen to my body/stomach these days.  I know if I stuff the usual artificial trans fat foodstuff down my pie hole my stomach rebels. "What are you doing to me?" it asks.  We in our culture have been brainwashed for so long that food that is jacked up with preservatives (to extend the shelf life and thus the profits of the big food companies) and artificial ingredients (to fool us into thinking we tasting real food) and colors (to look pretty to entice us to buy their damn junk food), that we don't think we have a choice.  Well, we do folks.  I see the cultural shift in our society by the ever increasing demands for natural, real "natural" foods.  They taste better and they sure are a lot healthier for your body.

My stomach sending me a message "Thank you!" - happens every time I eat food that is fresh, natural and wholesome

Well, I'm starting to sound preachy now and I promised myself I would refrain from proselytizing and complaining in my blog posts so I won't belabor this subject.  But I do want to say that I feel a lot better, a way lot better when I eat food that is freshly prepared and not loaded down with sugar and salt and fat.

My delicious entree at the Vegan Glory restaurant - fabulous!

When Pat and I travel together on one our our adventures, we seek out the vegan and vegetarian restaurants. This isn't too hard of a task in big cities like Toronto and Los Angeles.  Of course in a small, backwater, pseudo cool place like Rehoboth Beach, it's almost impossible unless you consider a wedge of iceberg lettuce a sufficient vegan meal.  That's about all you're going to get where I reside now.  

Pat's entree - also delicious!

Oh I know what you're thinking you Rehoboth readers "There goes Ron again, bashing Rehoboth Beach and the surrounding communities Lewes and Milton, Delaware."  Yep, that's what I'm doing folks.  Seriously my Rehoboth Beach friends, how many more restaurants do we need bragging about their crab bombs and restaurants with "Fish" in their names?  I get it, I get it . . . . seafood all the time.  That's all fine and well if you love seafood.  Me personally (and Pat), we hate seafood.  It's very simple with me, I just don't like the fishy smell.  And the residual mercury? Don't need it.

Seafood - this makes me queasy just looking at it

Now to be fair I hear there is a vegan restaurant in Rehoboth beach, who name I will not mention because any names I mention in my blog in a negative light I usually get a blowback on, but this particular vegan restaurant is expensive. Apparently they view a vegan menu in the caviar category.  I just cannot find a restaurant in the area where I live that offers a vegetarian meal with reasonable prices.  Although I do hear a falafel hut is going to open on the boardwalk.  I'll believe it when I see it.

To some this looks delicious and they could eat it all, to me it looks pre-barf

The only problem I find with a vegan or vegetarian diet is that preparing the dishes take a lot longer than throwing a slab of meat on the grill or in the frying pan. 

So there you go folks, that my little screed for the day. Hope I haven't offended all you seafood lovers but you really should consider taking a break from your mercury intake.


Friday, April 24, 2015

West Hollywood Traffic Jam




During our January vacation in Los Angeles we did indeed encounter the famous Los Angeles traffic. We tried to stay off the Freeway as much as possible but we couldn't this traffic jam we encountered in West Hollywood.

We were returning from our day's outing in the Hollywood Hills sign sighting. We were headed back to our comfortable niche at the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast when we encountered this traffic delay. Not to worry, we were not in a hurry and this was just another chance for us to absorbed the flavor and ambiance of Los Angeles and West Hollywood in particular.  

We wanted to freshen up and go out for dinner.  Dinner again was at the Veggie Grill, our casual, cheap, good restaurant of choice during our wonderful stay in West Hollywood.

We decided to walk to the restaurant on this particular night. Here is Pat walking down the darkened street.


That's Pat in the lime green jacket
You know it's funny but we didn't see any cruising activity while we were in West Hollywood.  Not that either one of us was looking for THAT kind of activity mind you.  But I was a bit surprised.  But then again, we were too old men and Hollywood after all is age obsessed and both of us are way past our expiration date.

We arrived at the Veggie Grill uncruised (I just made up that word) and placed our orders.  I ordered fake chicken with fries.


A vegan (fake) chicken sandwich with fries - very tasty
This is Pat awaiting his order.  At the Veggie Grill you place your order and then they bring it to you . . . . pronto.


I do like the bright colors of this place and the spaciousness and the informality and the price and the food - I liked the Veggie Grill!
Afterward we took a walk down the darkened Hollywood Boulevard back to our bed and breakfast, passing this comic book store. I know someone who would be very interested in exploring this store . . . . Sassy Bear.


A monster comic book store on Hollywood Boulevard

And that folks is my abbreviated posting today.  I've had a busy morning and I'm tired now but I do want to keep my followers informed, interested and happy with current postings of my blog.  


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Hogs and Pigs



My grandfather Fieldon Tipton with his favorite hog (the one his has his right hand on)

My father grew up in the mountains of western North Carolina.  His family left their hillbilly haven in 1930 or thereabouts when my father was a mere ten years old.  One thing my father said he always remembered from his childhood was the annual slaughter of a hog in the fall to store that meat for the winter.  Since there was no refrigeration (or electricity or indoor plumbing) this was the main source of their family's protein during the cold winter months.

My father finished his childhood on his Uncle Don Byrd's farm in southern Chester County (Pennsylvania), along with his ten brothers, picking fruit and vegetables. Yep, he and his brothers were cheap farm labor.  That was the way of the world back in the Depression of the Thirties. 

In 1940 he got a job at the local steel mill.  Met my Mom and then I happened (born in 1941). But all during those years my father had a yearning to have his own pig or pigs. Brought back the childhood memories I guess.

In the late Sixties he realized his dream and built a pig pen on his three acres of land in East Brandywine Township, Pennsylvania. He bought a half a dozen piglets and raised them.  His favorite was one he called "Rosebud."  He is pictured below with Rosebud.


"Pop" (my father) with "Rosebud."
Well, we never had to worry about where to put our garbage, the pigs loved it.  

We all enjoyed raising the pigs.  And you may not know this but pigs have personalities, similar to other domestic pets like cats and dogs. And pigs are actually smart, really.


Miss Piggy - a very famous smart pig
Then came the fall day of reckoning.  Time to take the pigs to market ("this little piggy, that little piggy, etc".)  

The ramp was attached to the pig pen. Rosebud and the other pigs were ushered up the ramp into the back of the truck to their fate. Reality strikes.

About ten days later Rosebud return.  Actually, part of Rosebud return in the form o frozen pork chops, bacon, and scrapple.  Later the ham would return after it was cured.

Now the next question is "Did we eat Rosebud?" 

Answer: "Yes."  

I remember specifically asking as my Mom set a plate of fried pork chops down in front of me "Is this Rosebud?"  My father said "Yep!"  

Reluctantly I took my knife and fork and cut into the "Rosebud" pork chop.  Well, I have to tell you it was the tastiest pork chop I ever ate.  But I also have to tell you, I didn't feel good about this.  I felt like a cannibal. 

So the moral of this tale is, if you raise pigs don't eat them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Second Day of Physical Therapy and Other Thoughts



Just returned from my second day of physical therapy for my injured leg. 

I am so happy because with one day of PT under my belt, they have noticed I can bend my leg more. Exhilarating! Improvement!

Each day, progress!




I am still being transported in the back seat of my car.  I still cannot sit in the passenger seat of my car because I have to continue to wear my leg brace. That will be the next big step, bending my leg enough that I can sit in the passenger seat of my car.  Bill still would have to chauffeur me but at least I can drive up front with the big people.

I am so impressed with the physical therapy that I am now receiving.  These people know what they are doing and they are so nice.  As I mentioned in earlier posts, the last time I had physical therapy on my leg (the other one) was when I was in the Army.  I had dislocated my right knee.  The physical therapy at that time was Army conducted.  Maybe not so nice but they got the job done because I've been walking, running, and jumping on that dislocated knee leg since 1962.

This is my goal with my current return to physical therapy for an injured limb. You know, every now and then when I feel myself starting to feel sorry for my self with a "woe is me", I think of those folks who lost limbs at the Boston Marathon. All those soldiers who have lost limbs in that War of Choice in Iraq.  Then I think of my situation and think "How lucky I am."  

Actually, my fall on the ice and subsequent change of life is turning out to be a great learning experience for me.  Not only am I grateful that I wasn't injured more seriously, I realize that again, I have dodged a bullet by being more seriously injured.  And I am getting well.  I am not permanently injured.

And something else has significantly changed in my life.  I realize how vulnerable I am, how we all are, to just one misstep.  Again I thank my lucky stars that I have Bill in my life.  Who else, I ask you who else would do for me what Bill has?  Who has devoted the past fifty years of his life to caring for me? 

Sure, Bill and I have had our differences over these past half century but Bill is the one person I know who makes me the number one priority in his life. This isn't to criticize others in my life who are my friends but they have other priorities and I understand that. 

Thank you Bill for being the chauffeur in my life. 


"Your ride awaits sir!"





Tuesday, April 21, 2015

First Day of Physical Therapy



What a glorious day! I just finished my first session of physical therapy on my injured leg. I am one happy guy!

The session lasted an hour. Everyone who attended, instructed and helped me was professional, kind and knowledgeable. There were just nice.  The facility is nice. The weather was nice.  What a great day!

I wanted to take more pictures but of course, since I was prone, and there were other people in the center, I couldn't very well without causing disruption.  But I did ask on of my physical therapists to take this short video of me.  I was embarrassed to do so but I did want to get my first visit on record.  

As I said before, they were very gentle with me, taking one step at a time.  They showed me a series of exercises to take with the instruction to stop when it started to hurt.  No one was to repeat that to me, I always stop when it hurts, whatever the scenario.

They also showed me exercises I could do at home, which I am doing right now as I type this quickie blog entry.  All the exercises have the goal to get me to bend my knee more until I have full use of my leg.  Right now I can bend my knee about 30% which is a lot more than I could bend it last week.

There was one other picture I wanted to take, me with both legs on this giant blue beach ball.  I didn't want to push my luck today with too many special requests.  I laid the groundwork through that I do keep a blog and want to keep my followers informed of my latest "adventure".  Maybe next time (which is tomorrow at 3 PM) I'll ask one of the therapists (not a shrink but an actual physical therapist) to take THAT picture.


Oh, by the way, right off the bat "Rich" told me "I know you're going to do well because you have a positive attitude."  Wow.  That made me feel so good.  I do have a positive attitude.  To me there is no other choice.  You give up and you might as well die.  And folks, I'm not ready to die yet.  Oh no, not by a long shot.

\



Monday, April 20, 2015

The Next Step: Physical Therapy



Me in front of the physical therapy location in Milton DE where I will begin my month long regimen to complete the healing of my leg injury

Just got back from my doctor's.  He said I'm ready to begin physical therapy.  The tissue has healed enough in my leg for me to begin a routine of physical exercises to I can bend my knee and build up my quadricep muscles.  I'm ready!  Oh am I ever ready.


I got lucky by having an up to date, modern physical therapy center right in Milton, just up the road from where I live. I knew I moved to Slower Lower for a reason. I was given a choice of multiple physical therapy centers but chose the one closest to me because I just don't want to fight that Route One traffic. Especially now with the tourist season coming up and all those crazy assed drivers coming down here from the north.  You just have to stay out of their way because they are always in a HURRY.  I don't need to have another accident.

The physical therapy center has to verify my insurance and then they will call me to arrange my three times a week visit for physical therapy.  Now for the hard part.  When I dislocated my knee way back in 1962, I also had to undergo a month long physical therapy routine three times a week.  What I remember most about that time was how hard it was at first to get that weakened and stiff leg of mine (it was the other one that time - I'm an equal leg injury kind of guy) to MOVE.  Then, after the initial pain and frustration, the PT just got boring.  One memory I will always have, was that while I was doing PT with weights on my leg, the news came over the radio that John Glenn had just circled the earth in a satellite, thus becoming the first American spaceman (the Russians had already beat us to that title but hey, just a footnote to our history books, right)?  

Eventually my leg got back to normal and I was off and running. Which is what I hope happens this time around.  It better because Pat is coming down on the 23rd of April for his annual visit to Lower Slower.  We have big plans for that week.  I want to be able to move around like a normal person.  I am so tired of being loaded into the back seat of the car with my stiff leg.

By the way folks, those of you who thought I should have had physical therapy sooner - my doctor told me that the tissue had to heal sufficiently on my leg first before I could begin physical therapy.  And oh, by the way, I still have to keep my leg brace on which I thought I would.  I don't feel safe without it.  And my doctor said he didn't want to take a chance of me falling again and undoing all the healing that's taken place over the past six weeks.  I don't either!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Last Day?

Last day on this earth?


Me yesterday in front of my neighbor Barbara's weeping cherry tree - correction - me and my leg brace

Last day of the sale?

Armageddon just around the corner?

Oh what could Ron be referring to?  

Well folks, I think today, is the last day I'll be wearing this damn brace on my leg.  

I've been wearing this brace since I fell way back on that dark zero degree night of February 18th while leaving work.  And I'm here to tell I am TIRED of wearing this brace.
The novelty has definitely worn off.  And I have extracted every bit of pity possible from friends, co-workers, neighbors and strangers as I've been hobbling around these parts with this hideous brace for the last two months.  

The leg brace was put on to keep my leg straight while the tissues of my quadricep muscles that I ruptured when I fell in the ice.





Quadricep Femoris Muscle
For those of you who don't know what a quadricep muscle does here is a description:

All four quadriceps are powerful extensors of the knee joint. They are crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. Because rectus femurs attaches to the ilium, it is also a flexor of the hip. This action is also crucial to walking or running as it swings the leg forward into the ensuing step. The quadriceps, specifically the vastus medialis, play the import role in stabilizing the patella and the knee joint during gait.



What I ruptured was the part of the leg at very top of this illustration, quadriceps femoris. After I fell, I couldn't swing my leg forward.  My left leg was useless, dangling like a piece of dead meat. 

Now I can swing my leg forward. I can now bend my leg about 20%.  If I bend it back any further it locks and I don't want to force anything. I believe the muscle tissue is still healing.  But every morning I get up and use my leg, I feel I can bend it even a bit more. I hope that's not just my imagination or wishful thinking.

This has been some ordeal folks. I think this is the worst health situation I've ever had because it has made me realize how vulnerable I am to being totally helpless with one fall.  Thank God I had Bill here or else I would still be in a rehab center.  

I still can't drive or even sit in the passenger seat.  I need to have the ability to bend my leg more in order to do that.  But at least I can walk unaided with a cane and I can swing my leg forward, which is crucial to walking.  I'm still a little unsteady on my feed without the cane but I'm way better than a month ago when I was totally dependent on a walker in getting around.

Guess what I did yesterday?  I planted plants.  Of course I couldn't get on my knees and plant those alyssum plants but I managed.  And I could only plant one flat, because I was exhausted.  I don't want to push my luck.  But I do want to get back to my regular routine.

This morning, for the first time since my accident I vacuumed cleaned.  Hooray!  Now to clean my wood floors, although this time I will do it with a dust mop instead of on my hands and knees like I usually do.

Yesterday, when I laid down to take my nap the realization came to me that I have a little more than a month to go until I'm back to normal.  And I'm here to tell you folks, I actually got a little excited.  This ordeal has been a long row to hoe folks.  I would love to have a few months or even years of just good health so I can enjoy like before the Grim Reaper comes to collect his due.  

So get out there folks and enjoy this wonderful spring day.  That's what I'm going to do now because I have that other flat of alyssum plants to plant.


Smiling more these days folks!