Thursday, May 24, 2018

Pat's Almost Here and Other Thoughts on a Beautiful Spring Day

Selfie I asked Pat to take of himself this morning at the New York Port Authority while he was looking for his bus to Philadelphia 

A few minutes ago I heard from Pat. He's in New York City changing to a bus to Philadelphia. This is the next to the last leg of his twenty-four hour journey that began 3 o'clock yesterday when he boarded a bus from his home in Hamilton, Ontario to Toronto to catch a bus from Toronto to Buffalo, New York City. When Pat texted me this morning he was looking for the bus to catch to Philadelphia.

After he arrives in Philadelphia then he has to take a train from Suburban Station to Narberth, Pennsylvania, ten miles west of Philadelphia.    He's rented a car from Enterprise Car Rental. He said he got a good deal in Narberth on a car rental. Then he begins the last leg of his annual trip to my home in southern Delaware. He should arrive here about 3 o'clock this afternoon. Thus ending his 24 hour journey that he began yesterday from his home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  Me?  I would take the plane but he, that's me.

Pat will be very tired when he arrives here later this afternoon. He doesn't get much sleep if any, on the overnight bus.  A couple years ago we decided to take the Red-eye plane flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, our annual trip to the Hollywood and Palm Springs. I can tell you from experience one doesn't get much if any sleep on these overnight trips.

Pat will be here for a few days then we depart from here to visit our friend Larry in Claymont, Delaware located a few miles outside of Philadelphia. This year instead of taking our annual old time photo shoot in Rehoboth Beach, Pat and I will be taking Larry and his wife Lois out to lunch. Several years ago I started the annual tradition of taking Larry out to lunch after an old time photo session.  However, this year the trip down here to Delaware is too onerous for Larry who has ALS. Also, this is Memorial Day weekend which is the beginning the nightmare of tourists and traffic descending on our fragile shores. Not that we don't appreciate all that business but it's just as well we don't get into that mix. This is the time of year we locals stay close to home.  However, Pat and I may try to get into Rehoboth this weekend for a visit.  At least a lunch at Lori's Cafe and maybe a walk on the boardwalk. Hopefully this time we won't have a repeat of what happened last time we took a walk in Rehoboth - a car load of guys (I assume straight), rode by and shouted "Hey fag!"  One year when Larry and I were walking on the boardwalk and my friend Larry, who is straight, was ogling the girls in their skimpy two piece bathing suits,

Larry ogling the scenery on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk

one young guy who was sitting on one of a park bench with his friends loudly whispered to his friends "There's two!" I was tempted to stop and confront him and correct him that there was only ONE gay, but then I thought better of it. 

Rehoboth Beach boardwalk 

Maybe I should have stopped. You know folks, for all the so called progress claimed by the local gay organization Camp Rehoboth that Rehoboth is a more "inclusive place", is just so much blather. Camp Rehoboth is a self-promoting, money raising, never miss a chance to get guys in drag organization, exclusive cliquey gay club. When two non effeminate men walk together in Rehoboth Beach and are still subject to epitaphs by young straight me who are seeking to impress their friends by gay bashing, nothing has changed from the day in the late 70's when I was subjected to the same taunts while sitting by myself on the boardwalk near Poodle Beach. Lots of money raised, self-congratulations, dances and men in drag but not much has changed in being subjected to homophobic taunts.  Wow, did I ever veer from my original subject of this blog. But that's me folks, when I begin a blog post I go wherever my thoughts take me. That's why you read this, right? Except of course for the ever increasing number of spammers I receive in comments on this blog.  

Larry continues to ogle
But back to the original subject of this morning's blog. Pat's on his way and we're going to have a good time, both here in Delaware (in spite of the homophobes) and Philadelphia.  I'll try to keep you up to date with regular blog postings but no promises. 

Have a great day!

We'll miss you on the boardwalk this year Lar!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


My Canadian travel buddy Pat will arrive here at Casa Tipton-Kelly tomorrow afternoon. I'm just about ready for him. Of course I had a wrench thrown into my plans (again) by having to work again today. As I have posted many times before I work part-time at the hotel but I really work as a substitute worker. Enough said.

Pat visiting reminds me of the many excuses I've received for not being welcomed when I visit.

A couple years ago when I visited Pat in Toronto, I thought I would contact a former classmate of mine who I haven't seen since we graduated from high school in 1959.  He moved to Canada during the Viet Nam war.  I'm assuming that's why he moved but I don't know for sure. All I do know is that he never came back.  He's some big deal professor in college now in Guelph, Canada, not far from where Pat lived in Toronto. Since I am the class historian cum record keeper I thought it would be cool if I could visit Glenn (no last name out of respect for his privacy which I'm sure he wants).  I wasn't expecting to stay at his place nor for him to take me out to dinner, just a drive by visit. After several  attempts at trying to contact him I finally heard from him.  He told me he wouldn't be able to see me because (are you sitting? This is very original) his nephew was visiting from Scotland and this was the only time he could see him.  Uh, okay. No visit, no loss. 

Another brush off happen two years ago also. A friend of a friend of mine (Don McK of Philly, who Pat and I are visiting next week) lives in Palm Springs. I suggested a visit while Pat and I were in Palm Springs. Now understand, we had our own place to stay and we weren't expecting to go out to lunch or dinner, just another drive by visit because of the gregarious person that I am.  I suggested to Don to contact his friend. Don did and got back to me. His friend told him that he had the flu (as well as his partner) and wouldn't be able to see me.  Uh, okay.  No visit, no loss. Got the message.

Now the last excuse really takes the cake.  Last year during our visit to Philadelphia, I was invited to a Christmas dinner by my high school class. I could bring a guest. I brought Pat. While in the Downingtown area I thought I would drop by my old and long time friend Bill B. and visit, and introduce them to Pat.  My friend, said he would get back to me.  When he got back to me he told me the family cat had died and his daughter was distraught and it wouldn't be a "good time" for a visit by me and MY FRIEND PAT (we're gay).  

Now this is a friend whose home I have visited many times, by myself. Never with a friend, gay or straight. I know his wife strongly disapproves of my "lifestyle".  One time years ago, after receiving many invites to visit them at their cottage the Chesapeak Bay I opted for a visit. I said I would bring my friend Pat. I was told I could check into a hotel. In years past I have visited the family cottage and the understanding was I could (and did) stay overnight. He has another couple who stays (straight) overnight at the cottage. But me and my same sex friend?  We could go to a hotel.  I opted to pass on the "visit."  Of course my feeling were hurt.  I have invited this couple to stay at my place here many times but they have never taken me up on my offer. I would not discriminate against them because they are straight and would sleep in the same bed. I don't feel my home would be despoiled by WHATEVER they do in bed (God, I can just imagine).  But this story has a funny end. At the Christmas dinner my friend attended with his wife. Someone asked if I had visited them at their home and my friend stumbled out an answer "Uh, no. Our cat died".  As he said this I detected him roll his eyes.  I just smiled to myself. 

You know folks, after all these years when I think I've steeled myself against discriminated, I'm always surprised to discover it still hurts. 

Isn't it ironic that the business I'm in is hospitality?  And I will be working tonight filling in for my co-worker who has another emergency. 

That's me, Mr. Hospitality.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Finally, the Rains End!

After a week of sometimes torrential downpours, the rains ended this afternoon. 

Our lawn is in a dire need of a haircut. 

Mushrooms are growing and much of our grass has gone to seed.

I am eager to resume my exercise of raking the cut grass.  Not only does this exercise make me feel good, it helps reduce that extra five to ten pounds of fat I've been lugging around my waistline all winter.

Only problem right now is that the temperature is a suffocating 87 humid degrees. Feels like a sauna out there. Tomorrow the forecast is for cooler temps.  However, I will go out after this blog post and try and get a little bit of good time exercise in today.

I could never live in Seattle or the Northwest where rain like last week is the norm. I slowly slip into lethargy and depression.  I need sun.  Lots of sun to keep my disposition happy and contented. That's why a place like Palm Springs is so attractive to me. However, I don't think I will ever permanently move there, I'm just too comfortable here at Casa Tipton-Kelly. I have too many "things" that I love and bring me comfort. Things I couldn't move to Palm Springs.  But I will visit Palm Springs, that's for sure. Especially in the Wintertime!

I'm looking forward to Pat's visit this week.  He arrives in Delaware on Wednesday. He will stay here for a few days and then we leave for Philadelphia this time next week for a week's stay in that comfortable city. 

Now to see if I can rake some grass without getting soaked in sweat. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Royal Wedding

"I do"

Yes! I watched The Wedding.

This morning I awoke early. Not necessarily to watch live coverage of the royal wedding of Prince Harry to his American princess Megan Markel. But I thought, "Why not?"  Folks, I was enraptured. Oh yes, I am a hopeless romantic.

The Look of Love

For one thing I am an Anglophile, through and through. My ancestry on both sides of my family is from England. 

My paternal ancestry of Tipton's is from the Black County of the midlands. 

My maternal ancestry of the Hadfield is also from Glossop, England, not far from where my paternal ancestors lived in the Midlands.

My paternal ancestor emigrated to this county in 1692 from Jamaica. His name was Jonathan Tipton and he was probably born in Jamaica after his father Edward Tipton was one of the colonist of Jamaica after England took over that colony from the Spanish. He left Jamaica after the Great Earthquake of 16-2 destroyed his barrel stave (for rum) making business. He emigrated to Baltimore County Maryland and produce many progeny of which I am the ninth generation American.

My maternal ancestor was Thomas Hadfield who emigrated to this country in 1854 via New York City with his wife Sarah and two young children William and Mary.  

Although I am an unabashed Anglophile (I can name all the kings from before the Norman Invasion until today), I am a thorough American. But I do enjoy and derive a great deal of pleasure following the goings on of English royalty.  

Prince Harry and his best man, his brother Prince William arrive - lookin very spiffy guys!

Today was special.  Rarely have I seen two people more in love than Prince Harry and Megan.  You can just tell by the expressions on their faces when they look at each other. I choked up more than once watching the wedding ceremony today.  

Megan and her mother arrive

And what a perfect day for a wedding!  The weather was ideal at Windsor Town in England where the wedding took place.  

A sermon by the head of the Episcopal Church to beat all sermons!

With all the nastiness and bad news in the world today, what a pleasure it was to see something so perfect today. 

Join me in wishing them much happiness.

Add caption

Friday, May 18, 2018

Eye Exam and Other Rants

Waiting room at the Delaware Eye Institute this morning - my surreptitious photo

Another day, another doctor's appointment. This one my annual eye examination.  

Good news!  I have no significant changes in my prescription. My eyes are basically good, for an old geezer of 76 years old.  My cataracts are "mild" according to my eye doctor. He said I don't need to take action now but that gradually my cataracts will grow and there is nothing I can do about it.  He told me that seeing colors will gradually become dimmer and dimmer and glare will continue to be a greater problem.

Selfie taken of me by me i the holding room of my eye doctor - my eyes were real little this morning as they  that early in the morning - Possum Eyes

Already I don't drive at night except when I return from work at the hotel two nights a week.  And then it's late at night and there is little traffic on the road. My days of driving the ten miles down Route One to Rehoboth Beach for a get together with my gay friends at the Purple Parrot are long gone. Just a fond memory.

Bill waiting for me as I checked out this morning after my eye examination

It's been raining almost nonstop here for the past three days. The forecast is for two more days of rain then the sun will break out.  Just in time for Pat's visit to Deal-where? next Wednesday and our week long visit in Philly.  At least we're not going to have a repeat of a few years ago when two consecutive visits to Philly were rain every day.  

Pat and "Patrick" on one of our many rainy days in Philly

Hopefully sunny days will prevail during our semi-annual visit to the City of Brotherly Love. You know what they always say, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia!"  Oh wait, thats a TV program isn't it?  Of course it isn't filmed in Philadelphia which is why I never watched it. Just for your information it is taped primarily in Los Angeles with a few exterior scenes in Philly. What a pity, Philly is such an interesting city with many interesting venues.  But you know how those lazy TV producers are.  Why go on location when you can tape your show in LA and go home at night?  Of course.  Not that I don't like Los Angeles  but come on folks. Get off your ass and go to Philly if you're going to have a show about Philly. 

That said, have a great day everyone!

Pat and me on one of those rare "Sunny Days In Philadelphia" (Rittenhouse Square area)  (I don't know how these TV producers think they can capture the unique character of Philadelphia on an LA soundstage when Philadelphia has so much to offer)(

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Juggling, Trying To Keep Up and Falling Behind

There was a time when I juggled many balls at once. This was years ago when I worked at a bank in Philadelphia. For many years I commuted daily to my job early in morning and arrived home early evening, sometimes later. I thought nothing of that routine.These days I work part-time at a local hotel two nights a week.

I had no problem spending up to two hours a day on that commuter train and working eight or more hours a day. After returning home I took care of running our household and in the longer days of spring and summer, also did all the yard work. 

I managed all this and didn't give it much thought. It was just my daily routine. 

I looked forward to retirement when I could catch up on all the fun stuff like organizing my photos. Reading, yard work and traveling.

So here I am folks, in retirement. I've never been busier in my life. I feel like I don't have enough time to juggle all these new balls in my life.

What are they?  One big thing is all our doctors' appointments. I think I finally got Bill's cardiovascular appointment straightened out. HealthNet, the outside agency that handles the Choice program for the VA told me they made a mistake and duplicated a procedure.  I now await a call for the new appointment. My paper folder grows on this issue.

This week I have another doctor's appointment. This time my annual eye examination on Friday.  

Last week was my dental appointment.  

Last night I attended my HOA board members' meeting. I am the acting secretary.  I just finished recording the minutes of that meeting and sent them out to the vice president for review.

Here I am whining/complaining again. 

After I'm finished with the blog post I have to vacuum our house. A chore that I should have done last week but I was just too tired. Today I go to work at 2:30 pm.

Thank goodness I have something to look forward to.  My Canadian Travel Buddy (Pat) arrives next Wednesday for his annual  visit to "Dela-where?". Pat will spend three days here then we travel to center city Philly for a week long visit to my longtime friend Don McK.  

I may complain about how I sometimes feel overwhelmed by every day responsibilities folks but know this, I am so appreciative for the life I have now. Better this than the alternative. Lonely and depressed. Still, I sometimes feel as if I'm a hamster in a wheel and I'm losing ground. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Back on the Medical Treadmill

Bill graduates from wound care

Bill graduated from the wound care unit. Now he has to have a cardiovascular test. Of course this will require a new authorization number from HealthNet, which is the outside agency of the VA providing services for veterans using private doctors and medical facilities. 

This morning I hit a Catch-22. I need the authorization number.  They called last week and gave me a phone number to call. I called this morning and I received this message "We're having technical difficulties, please call back later."  Of course they're having "technical difficulties."  

Folks, I am just exhausted jumping over all these hurdles just to get Bill his medical care that he is entitled too. I thought I had the authorization number (wound care) that would apply for this cardiovascular test. But HealthNet called me last week and said he needed a new authorization number. So I call and I encounter "technical difficulties."  I called the cardiovascular unit this morning and they told he "We're ready to go." I asked them if they had his authorization number and they said they did and read it to me.  It's the same number as for his wound care.  So now my question is do I keep this appointment tomorrow?  If we don't have a proper authorization number then we have to pay the bill ourselves.  We've already been stuck once with a bill. This for Bill's eye examination. There was an authorization number but I didn't have it and paid the bill.  Then I got the authorization number and called HealthNet.  But they wouldn't pay the bill because they didn't "back date" bills.  

I know this isn't one of my more interesting posts. In fact it is very boring but I just had to vent. My question is how would Bill handle this if I wasn't his caregiver?  Answer is he wouldn't. Wonder how many vets are in that situation?  

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day 2018

The last time my Mother and "her goys" were together, September 4 2005 for a photo shoot at J. C. Pennys at the Exton Mall, Pennsylvania - our Mother was our best friend - we were so lucky!

My Mother died September 16, 2010. I was privileged to have her in my life for eight-six years. 

Today on Mothers' Day I again remember how much I miss her. I remember how lucky I was to have her for my Mother.

Growing up I thought all children had mothers like my mother. A Mother who loved us (me and my two younger brothers) unconditionally. 

A mother who devoted her whole existence to our well being.  

Oh sure, my Mother wasn't perfect but where she was perfect was in her total love and caring for "her boys."  

Me with Mom December 2007

As I became older I was surprised to discover that not all my friends had mothers like mine. I even encountered friends who didn't like their mothers. Mothers who didn't care for them.  I have to admit at first this totally confused me, just didn't compute. How could anyone grow up with a mother who didn't care?

My Mother loved received her annual Mothers' Day card from "her boys."  Thus this time of year I feel a sense of emptiness that I didn't shop for that special, big, sparkly Mothers' Day card for my Mom.  

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

(left to right) Me, my brother John and Mom 1962

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Visitor From Nebraska

"Randy" from Nebraska (at the Purple Parrot in Rehoboth Beach)

This past week Randy from Nebraska stopped by our small town here in Delaware for a visit. 

The last time I saw Randy was at the Bloogerpalooza in 2015.  

Randy at Yesteryear's Photos 2015

Nice of him to stop by for a visit during his road trip to the East. 

As is my wont, I took this opportunity to contact some friends and arrange for an old time photo shoot. This photo shoot almost didn't come off because after arranging to meet everyone in Rehoboth Beach, the place I go for old time photo shoots was closed!  I had to do some quick thinking.  I crossed the street to check to see if the other old time photo place was open. It wasn't!  But there was a phone number to call.  I called and the owner said she would be down in about twenty minutes.  

Howard as Dance Hall Girl
She arrived on time and we had our memorable photo shoot. Many thanks to my longtime friend Howard for posing as the Dance Hall Girl. Howard was perfect although he did express regret I didn't remind him to bring his wig. Howard dresses up nice. 

A motley crew for sure!
After the photo shoot we had lunch at the Purple Parrot, one of my favorite restaurants in Rehoboth Beach. I used to go there all the time with friends about five years ago.  Unfortunately, I don't go there now because many of those friends have died and others have moved on. It was nice to go back to my old haunt.

I asked a nice stranger to take this photo of us before we had lunch at the Purple Parrot - great photo!

Friends are so important in everyday quality in our lives. I always try to memorialize these gatherings by taking photos or have photos taken.

Ready to order lunch - a cute Russian waiter took this picture - see how happy we were?
Randy spent two days visiting. We went out to dinner a few times. My friends Mike and Bob took him for a visit to Cape Henlopen State Park. 

Randy left Thursday morning to continue his road trip on the East Coast. His next destination was Connecticut. Safe driving Randy and thanks for stopping by for a visit. A grand time was had by all and we have the photos to prove it!

Randy's day of departure in Lewes - pictured from left to right Bob, Mike, Randy and ME!

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Farmer's Market

Ah, the season of the local farmer's markets are upon us here in southern Delaware.

I LOVE fresh veggies and fruit. That is one of the glorious benefits of living here. 

My favorite local fruit and veggie stand is in Milton. However, it doesn't open Memorial Day.  

We have three local farmer's markets here in Sussex County. One a week on different days there is one in Rehoboth Beach, Lewes and Milton. I've attended two of them but didn't go back. The parking was very difficult if not impossible. Those farmer's markets are good for folks who live in those towns but not someone like me who lives outside those towns.  We live in a development off of Route One (Coastal Highway), not in one of those towns where the farmer's markets are held.

Friday afternoon one of our neighbors stopped by and gave us a jar of fresh honey from the Milton Farmer's Market.  I told him I would like to go to that farmer's market but don't want to content with the parking hassles.  He told me the farmer's market is now at a new location, the Dogfish Brewery campus. Lots of free parking!  

I told Bill "Let's go!"  What a pleasant surprise, finally a farmer's market outliers like me can go too. What a delightful experience!  I bought a couple quart containers of strawberries that actually taste like strawberries.  Of course they were from North Carolina (the seller said "Straight up this morning from North Carolina") but till, real strawberries. Not those giant hard strawberries from California or Mexico that have no strawberry taste.  And that reminds me, fresh tomatoes. Can't wait. I already have my plants in the ground. Hey, maybe I can set up a stand at the farmer's market! 

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Medical Update

My VA doctor, best doctor I ever had

Good news folks! Bill's legs are getting better. What a relief!  

Tomorrow he has a followup with his doctor at the wound care center. Yes, we have another doctors' appointment. 

Yesterday I had my appointment with my doctor at the VA. Every six months I take lab tests.  My main concern is checking my PSA level.  Good news, my PSA score is still down (.14).  

Remember I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 203 when my PSA score was 8.4.  After much consideration as to what kind of treatment I would choose, I opted for seed implants. So far that appears to be the right decision, for me.  I didn't want to choose removal of my prostate because of the chance of developing some serious side effects. I also choose not to get exterior radiation of estrogen treatments. I don't think I would do well with hot flashes.  Of course I have some side effects from the seed implants, the details of which I won't go into here, but most of my "functions" are sill in place and, this is important, I new "pee like a teenager."

Net week I have an appointment with my urologist to go over the results of my CRT scan.  Kidney stones. Hopefully if I have any more kidney stones, I'll get a warning and take action to prevent ever going through another painful kidney stone episode.

These days folks I can feel my age. Every morning I get up my body is stiff with arthritis. 

Every day, about this time of day, I wind down like an old clock. No more party time for this boy.

And, very important, every day I have to have a nap of at least one hour, or more.  

But I am thankful that my health is basically good and I don't have any serious issues like so many others my age.  And how lucky is Bill to be approaching age 90 and still in basically good health?  

Have a great day folks!

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...