Thursday, July 26, 2018

Medical Update

Bill being examined by his doctor yesterday at the VA

Yesterday both Bill and I had follow-up doctors' appointments.

Bill's appointment was first at 8:30 am in the morning. I drove him down to the local outpatient VA clinic. This was Bill's six month "labs" follow-up. Also, we reviewed the results of his lower leg pressure test back in May. Bill's blood flow back up his lags is lagging, thus creating "stale blood" and a discoloration of his lower legs. Also, when Bill bumps his legs, like when he's getting off a ladder, his wounds are slow to heal. This condition is called edema. Another "gift" of old age.  

Well, the results of Bill's labs good. Also, his edema is under control. As long as he continues wearing his pressure socks and elevates his legs he can manage this condition. Bill also has to be careful not to bang his legs creating wounds that are slow to heal.  Good news folks!  We got another six months.

Me filling out yet another information form at the doctor's office yesterday

Next up was my appointment with my cardiologist at 11 am.  This appointment was a yearly followup for me and my aging heart. My condition is an extra heartbeat and normal wear and tear on a heart that has been beating non stop for seventy-six years. 

My cardiologist

My condition remains unchanged. Not a need for catheterization or open heart surgery . . . . yet. I did tell him that twice during the last year I had chest pains. Once when I was in Philadelphia and trying to cover a lot of area in a short period of time. This was during one of me and Pat's visits in Philly. I had to stop and catch my breath and to slow my heart down because of the pain in my chest. The other time was when Pat and I were in West Hollywood and we were climbing one of those steep Hollywood hills on the way to Veggie Grill. My chest was hurting so bad I had to stop and rest again, until the pain went away. 

I told him the other time I had chest pains was when I was in West Hollywood walking up one of those steep Hollywood hills.  I asked him if he knew how steep those hills were.  He said "Yes!  I was just there visiting my brother and his wife who live in West Hollywood."  What a small world!  He said his brother and his wife live near the CBS TV studio across from The Grove. Wow! That CBS TV studio is where Pat and I make our annual trek to "The Price is Right" TV show.  He said his brother and his wife appear in TV commercials and movies.  What a small world!  

My cardiologist's brother who is in the movies and lives in West Hollywood - definitely not a character actor

Now my cardiologist is a very good-looking man. I told him he could be in movies too.  He said "No, I'm happy with what I'm doing now."  When I got home I looked up his younger brother on IMDB.  After looking at his profile picture, I can see why he's in the movies.  By the way, I'm very happy also that my cardiologist is staying with his present occupation. 

A good day yesterday folks!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Curious Things Around The House #2

Me with some of my favorite "things"

Thing #1:

Back with more "Curious Things Around the House".

Actually, in this post I will tell abut several things about the house here which gives me great pleasure during my Life Journey.

The first is that wonderful ship oil painting hanging on the wall behind my bed.  

I received that painting as a Christmas present from my longtime love Bill during our first Christmas together 1964. I had admired that painting earlier during one of our walks around center city Philadelphia. Thus it was with great surprise that Bill gave me that painting for Christmas. I think that was the best Christmas present I've ever received, EVER.  I never tire of looking at that beautiful tall ship with billowing white sails on the ocean blue. My world would not be the same without this painting. If I ever have to move to a smaller facility in my old age, and I have to downsize, that painting is the one I will keep in my little room where I am left to die.

Thing(s) #2:

The two clown bookends. I LOVE clowns. I can never have too many. I purchased those clowns (the total grouping is six, three of which are not pictured) in 1980 after we sold our Philadelphia townhouse and moved to the Pennsylvania countryside. They cost too much but I had made a small profit from the sale of our house and I splurged. During our move to Delaware, the clown sitting on the box broke his leg. I glued him back together and he's good a new now. In that box I keep my tips I receive from my hotel front desk job. Why?  I don't know except that I feel a compunction to separate that money from the house general funds, because those tips are so few and far in between.  Biggest tip? $40.00 once for supplying information for a very nice looking man. Never saw him again.  Hmmm.

Thing #3:

The porcelain face mask. I LOVE porcelain face masks. During the Seventies whenI used to vacation in Provincetown, Mass there was a nice shop on Commercial Street that had all kinds of delightful porcelain face masks. I usually bought one during each of my visits. The two I have hanging on the wall behind my bed are my favorites. They, along with my ship picture and clowns, give me peace and tranquility.

Thing #4:

The Four Goddesses lamp. I purchased that lamp when we lived in Philadelphia at an out of the way funky store down in Olde City. This isn't the type of lamp you will find in Walmart. I don't know what four Greek goddesses they represent but I do know this lamp also provides me with peace and tranquility. 

Thing #5:

Quilted cover bed pillow. I also have a bedspread to match. I bought that set in the 80's for my Mother. When my Mother moved to South Carolina in 2008 to live with my brother and his wife, I discovered the set in her storage room. She had never opened nor used the set. I confiscated the set and have used it on my bed ever since. It is one of the many items in our home that bring back pleasant memories of my wonderful Mother.

There you go folks. Another installment of "Curios Things Around the House."  Thank Dr. Spo for the idea.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Downingtown High School Class of 1959 35th Class Reunion

November 26th, 1994 I drug my huge VHS, shoulder balanced tape recorder to my 35th class reunion and recorded this hour and a half (approximate) tape. 

Now here is a test for my longtime blog followers, are you willing to sit through an hour and a half of a video watching people you don't know? Unfortunately, you don't see much of me because I'm the one video taping the festivities.  You do see me long distance for the Chicken Dance and the skit with the monster masks sitting on the balloons (yes, we really did do something that silly).  I'm the one in the silver sequined top hat.
(from left to right) Patty Daller Beaton, Ron Beaton (decd), Jane More Hersehy (decd), Bob Hershey
(back row left to right) Jean Timmerman Swisher, me (Ron Tipton in top hat), Pat West Ensor
November 26, 1994

Which by the way I'm trying to get one for our 60th class reunion which will be held next year at St. Anthony's Italian Social Club in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. the site of our original graduation party in June of 1959.  Back in those pre digital times all I took was a roll of black and white film of which I am in none of the pictures.  I didn't think to ask anyone to take pictures of me back then, I was Humble Ron back then. It was all I could do in my shyness to take pictures of my fellow classmates. 

Me with my custom made class reunion tie - very cool!

Watching this video of my 35th class reunion brings back many fond memories because at least a third of my former classmates in this video have passed on.  But, I'm still here and ready and raring to take another video of my 60th class reunion next June.  Pat will be with me and I'll ask him to take video with me in them. Now to get that fabulous sequined top hat, which I'm having trouble finding even on  All they have are the cheap Made in China hats.  

Me, the video photographer November 26, 1994

Enjoy the video folks!

Friday, July 20, 2018

I Can't Do That!

Changing a flat tire on our Chevy Corvair st Skyline Drive, Virginia 0966 (posed picture - Fake News!)

This is a post a long time coming. 

A fellow blogger (Dr. Spo) recently posted a list of thing he can't do. That gave me an idea to do my own post of things I can't do. Or more appropriately I can't do well or I won't do.

Fasten your seatbelts, here goes:

  1. Changing a flat tire. Yes, I admit somewhat shamefully, I've never in my life changed a flat tire. I joined AAA in 1982 specifically so if I ever had a flat tire, I would have to change it. Of course I've never used AAA to change flat tire (I had one once but I drove home on the flat and had Bill change it).  The annual dues I've spent the past thirty-six years to AAA would have made a nice down payment on a new car but hey, I won't have to worry about breaking my fingernails changing a flat. The picture at the beginning of this blog, it was posed. Fake.
  2. Running. I can't run. I can sort of gallop like a drunken ostrich but I can't run. My junior year in high school I was on the track team. I "ran" the mile and high hurdles. I always came in last. A few years ago when I tore my quadricep muscle on my left leg as a result of slipping on the ice and dislocating my knee, my orthopedic surgeon showed me X-Rays of my legs. He informed me that my knee sockets are off kilter. He expressed amazement that I haven' dislocated my knees more often. The last time I dislocated my knee was when I was in the Army on the early Sixties, I dislocated my knee in the other leg. 
  3. Jumping. Every year Pat and I attend a "Price is Right" TV show taping. I worry about not being able to jump up and down in excitement if and when I'm called to "Come on down!" Now I know why I can't jump, my ill fitting knee joints. No way I'm jumping if I'm called to "Come on down!"  I can see it now, I'm standing next to Drew Carey and I win a car and I jump and down and promptly dislocate my knee.  That would be a tape they would put on the loop and show to future attendees.
  4. Screaming. I never could scream. I try and I just can't do it. I notice little girls can emit ear piercing screams with ease. I try but all that comes out of my throat is like I'm gagging. One time I did scream though, or something like it. I was stepping out of our car at our new wooded property in Chester County, Pennsylvania. When I saw my foot almost step on a coiled up snack I screamed like a little girl. So that scream is within me, I just have a psychological barrier to screaming. . . . like a little girl.
  5. Heterosexual sex. Can't do "it" folks. Oh sure I tried, way back in the Sixties when I was stationed at Ft. Meade, Maryland. Her name was Judy. Very nice woman. I won't go into details for obvious good taste reasons (in fact I feel a little uncomfortable even discussing this "I can't" here), but a certain body part didn't work. And you men know, THAT part has to work. Haven't tried since. I didn't want a repeat of that embarrassing incident. Thank goodness "Judy" didn't spread the word about my failure to "show up".  I probably would have lost my security clearance at NSA where I worked at that time.  Thank you Judy
  6. Algebra. Never got it. My brain doesn't work that way. I managed to pass an algebra course in college to get my degree but I've forgotten all that logic.  Besides, why would I ever need algebra anyway? To measure a room?  Maybe, occasionally I'm asked how big our hotels rooms are.  Now that's when I could use algebra to figure that out.
  7. Anything mechanical. Thank goodness Bill is mechanically inclined. I'm useless in that area. However, I put a nail in the wall to hang a picture.
  8. Sky diving. My first boyfriend surprised me one Saturday morning visit with a sky diving adventure. My response was "Are you crazy?  I'm not jumping out of any plane? Why would I do that?"
  9. Sing. Oh how I wish I could sing. I was in men's and mixed chorus in high school but my tone deaf voice was drowned out by those who could sing.
  10. Dance. I love to dance. But I have to admit I do the "Elaine Dance."  I dance anyway.
  11. Hunt.  Like in killing animals. When I was ten years old I killed a robin that was innocently sitting on a telephone line with my new bee bee gun. As I watched that robin fall silently off that telephone line to the macadam road, a feeling of nausea swept over me. "What did I just do?"  Why did I think I had the right to kill this living thing that was just enjoying a sunny summer day of rest on that telephone line?  I decided then and there I wasn't cut out to be a macho hunter. I was a sissy. At least I thought so (that I was a sissy) at that time. Later on in my life I found out that I wasn't the only person who felt like this about killing.  I can kill a mosquito and a fly but that's about it. I even give snakes a pass. The real snakes that is, not the human ones.
  12. Speak a foreign language. One of the great regrets of my life is that I didn't learn to speak a foreign language. I've always been interested in languages and I think I would have been a good student. My fantasy was to live in a foreign culture a year or two to learn the language from the roots. Alas, this was a fantasy of mine that has never been realized. Spanish would be my first choice of course. 
  13. Play the piano. I think I would have been a good piano player. I have long fingers, I love music and I an an excellent typist.  I used to envy some of my classmates in elementary school who complained about going to their piano lessons. I wish my Mother had sent me for piano lessons. That was not to be. However, I did learn to play the Sousaphone in senior high school.  I got to go to all the football games and play in concerts. Loved it! 
  14. Eat seafood. Seafood literally gags me. Even thinking about that fishy smell causes the bile in my stomach to rise to my throat. In the past I could manage a tuna fish sandwich but as I've gotten older, I can't even stomach tuna fish.
  15. Vote Republican. I started out my adult life as a Republican. My first vote for president was for Barry Goldwater. I believed Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Needless to say, it was an eye opener when I found out Nixon was a crook. I continued to vote predominately Republican most of my adult life because I believe in Republican principals. I changed my registration in 2001 when president George W. Bush and his administration tried to take away my promised veterans' benefits. Benefits that were promised me when I signed up for a three year enlistment with the Army in 1960. However, since I change my registration, I still occasionally voted Republican. No more, the Republican party as I knew it no longer exists. It is now the Trump party. The Republican/Trump is the party of cowards and traitors. I'm an American. I am proud of our American ideals. This president and those cowardly elected Republicans who mindlessly still support Trump in spite of all his outrages are not patriotic Americans. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan? Cowards. Traitors. Self serving. Out to destroy my life by destroying the social safety net (Social Security and Medicare) and reverse rights like Choice and LGBT marriage equality. This period of time will go down in history in as much infamy as those politicians who approved the internment of Japanese American citizens during World War II. Cowards and traitors is NOT too strong a word.
Now, I didn't mean to end this list on such a negative tone but I am very concerned for the safety and welfare of our country. And right now folks we are at a very dangerous time for our country, the most dangerous in my lifetime and that is no exaggeration.

My next list will be things I CAN do. Positive!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Best Commercial Yet!

You all know how I study commercials. Marketing is what I majored in college. I missed my opportunity to have a career in marketing, to my ever lasting life long regret.  However, I do study commercials. 

Yes, I'm one of those weird people who actually look at commercials. Most commercial are stupid and childish and insulting to our intelligence. But, every now and then one comes along that is truly brilliant. Here is one such commercial.  


Why? Because it doesn't have all the usual cliches. The Stupid Dad. The Smart Mouth Kid. The lies. This commercial is excellent. Know why?  Because I will always remember it is a Progressive Insurance company commercial. And it IS FUNNY!  

Thank you Progressive Insurance! Actually a commercial without Flo. Good for you!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Thoughts On Death

Now that is a depressing title for a blog entry isn't it?  But that's what I've been thinking about lately.

At seventy-six years of age, I know My Time is closer now that my retirement age was when I started my adult work life. 

Who knows? Maybe I have another good twenty-five years left. God, think about that. I would be a grizzled, old, shrunken up prune of a man not that I'm not almost there now.

Every morning when I roll out of bed my body is stiff with dull arthritic pain. I almost always wake up with cramps in my lower legs. 

My throat is full of phlegm from my overnight post nasal drip down the back of my throat.

For the past past this phlegm problem has progressively gotten worse, so much so that I spend much of the day just trying to clear this phlegm out of my throat. I'm hesitant to go to the doctor because I fear he/she will make it worse by giving me some prescription which has horrific side effects. I remember last year when my friend Lar mentioned he had a slight cold to his doctor and the doctor prescribed a medication that sent Lar to the hospital with uncontrollable diarrhea. Lar trailed poop on the floor like a snail while he was in the emergency room. Once in the hospital he spent a goodly amount of time propped on a bedpan. Oh yes, that's where I want to go.  I have enough doctor's appointments coming up anyway.

These past two weeks were like a vacation. Neither Bill or I had doctors' appointments. However, we do next week.  Bill at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Georgetown for blood work and my annual visit to my cardiologist to check the progress (or regress) of my defective heart valve. Back to our "normal" routine for two old guys, checking the chassis to keep the Old Car running a little longer.

This past week I just finished reading a book "How We Die." A very informative and enlightening book. 

I highly recommend this book. Easy to read and answers a lot of questions I had. Questions I wanted to know before My Turn comes, and we all do get our turn folks. No one gets out of this life alive.

One myth it dispels right off the bat is that most of us will not die an easy death. 

Sure, we all would like to die a nice dignified and comfortable death, preferably in our sleep. Dr. Nuland, the writer of this book says that isn't the way most of us will die. He says we will die in distress, discomfort and without dignity. Not something we prefer to hear but this is the reality that awaits us. 

I test this theory I think of the deaths of my family members, friends and former co-workers. I cannot think of one right now who died an "easy death."  My former co-workers (both younger than me) Penny an Anne Marie, died of breast cancer, after horrifying round of chemo.

My Army buddy Sal died of lung cancer. The last time I talked to him he was in excruciating pain. My father died of lung cancer, his pain lessened by a morphine drip.

My friends Ed and Al both died of liver cancer. Both in a great deal of stress and discomfort but both at their homes, which they insisted on. My friend Wayne "The Cajun" died from a rare blood disease. He wanted to go to a home to die but no one would take him. He died among strangers in a hospice.  Wayne, who loved to hug everyone, died alone.

My very good friend Bob McC. died of Parkinson's disease, locked up in a "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" facility nearby which he frequently tried to break out of. We often talked when we were younger, that we would never let something like "that" happened to us. It happened to Bob. He couldn't even talk in the end. He just grunted. I always wondered if his mind was working, trapped in a body that he could not use his vocal chords.

I know how all of my ten Tipton uncles died, not one of them died peacefully. One burned to death in an accident (after surviving World War II as a prisoner of war, escaped twice and recaptured), two died of brain cancer, another of colon cancer, Uncle Dude died of neck cancer, and another of stomach cancer, yet another two died of heart failure, and Uncle Ray fell off a roof, causing permanent brain damage and ended his days in a nursing care facility. Not one of my ten Tipton uncles died an easy death. 

Now just to balance all those depressing statistics; two cousins of mine; one on each side of my family tree; died in their sleep. Cousin Randy died unexpectedly in his sleep as did cousin Hester. Both were not ill and both relatively young (50's ad 60's).  But I remember what Randy's wife said to me after he died: "Ronnie, Randy always wanted to die in his sleep. He didn't want to go like his mom (who was in a dementia unit facility for seven years), but it's still too soon."  

And that reminds me, my and cousin Randy's uncle George (my Mother's brother) died one day after he retired. He was mowing his lawn and a bee stung him in his throat causing an allergic reaction. George had the misfortune to get stung on a July Fourth weekend when the regular doctors were away on holiday. He died two days later in the hospital, swollen up like a balloon an unable to talk. Poor uncle George, a bachelor all his life who lived with Grandpop (who was not an easy man to live with and who only died the previous year), only had part of one day's retirement to enjoy.

Now understand, I don't fear death. What does concern me though is how I get there.  And the closer I get to My Time, the more concerned with how I get there.

I don't want to be hooked up to a lot of machines in the hospital to buy a few more weeks of life. At seventy-seven years on this planet I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm living on Gravy Time now. Every day I have is a bonus, the way I look at it even though my body is carries the daily pain of arthritis and I sometimes feel like I'm choking on my own phlegm.  

Eventually this old body is going to give out despite how well I've taken care of it over the past seventy-seven years.  I've often used the analogy of comparing a car to a human body. No mater how good you take care of your car it's going to wear out eventually,  Unless of course you have it in museum and never drive it. I drive my body every day. 

Delaware doesn't have a right to die law, yet. I doubt if it will in my lifetime. We're a pretty progressive state but we still have a goodly of lawmakers who are very reticent to change the status quo.  We put animals out of their misery but we don't people. If I get some God awful disease like brain cancer I'll just sell everything and move to one of those states that permit a person to choose when to leave this life. As I said before, I'm living on Gravy Time now. I've had a good life.  Sure, a few bumps along the way but really a fabulous life. And right now in my life have two wonderful men who bring me much happiness and contentment. I hope I do the same for them.

There were a few things I wanted to accomplish before I make my final curtain bow. I wanted to upload all my old videos (VHS and 8mm film transferred to VHS) to You Tube. I completed that task this week.  What a relief.

I still have hundreds perhaps thousands of photos and videos I have to upload of my iMac. However, I doubt if anyone would want to see those photos and videos after I'm gone. Why would they? They are only of interest to me. No one in my family is interested in them. Except for some family reunion photos that some members of my family would like to see, all of the rest of my images will probably be discarded after I'm put in the ground.

I remember a box of old photos that was sitting on the floor in the vault of one of the banks I worked for. I asked the trust administrator whose photos they were.  He said "They belonged to Miss So and So's estate. No one wanted them. Throw them out."   I looked at the photos, of which there were about sixty.  All in good condition and interesting images of people I did not know. People whose image was captured forever now to be discarded  because the only thing this maiden aunt's family wanted was the modest amount of money she had saved over her lifetime. Of course I didn't throw them out. I researched and found a distant cousin who was "somewhat" interested in the photos and I gave them to her. She's also a maiden aunt so who knows?  When she dies maybe those photos will eventually end up in the trash but I at least secured a reprieve for a few more years of those precious old memories that would be lost forever.

I have man old original photos which I am certain will be trashed when I'm gone. Some are my Mothers which I rescued before she burned them. Towards the end of her life she was burning a lot of memories including her high school autograph book and letters. I managed to rescue one letter before she tossed it into the burn barrel flames. I wasn't so fortunate in saving her high school autograph book.  I asked her why she was destroying those things.  She said" "No one wants them after I'm dead. They were only for me.  And I guess she's right folks, my photos and videos and yes, letters are only for me.  And I have journals too. I would like to be around when someone starts reading THEM.  Maybe I'll have the administrator of my estate destroy them. I doubt if my journals would be of interest to anyone else like Samuel Pepys diaries. Only of interest to me folks. And I have to admit when I read some of my journals that I wrote in the 70's, they sound like another Ron wrote them. Not this Ron. Who was that guy?

There is a date out there that is my date of death. I do not know what it is (of course) but it's there. Someone will go into my family tree in the future and record my date of death as I do for family members now. Someone someday in the future will look at that date of death and have no idea of how I died. Was I a blubbering, senile, demented old man soiling myself in a nursing care facility when my lights went out? Or did I die a sudden, quick violent death like an auto accident or other accident?

Several times in my life I have dodged death. The first being when I contacted a staph infection from a botched and unnecessary hernia operation when I was seventeen years old. I got the infection which my doctor failed to diagnose (he said my pain was "all in his head") and ended up in the quarantined contagion unit of the hospital. I was in and out of that hospital for six months and three operations. It was just by luck I didn't die of sepsis like my cousin Charlene who also contacted a staph infection from a hospital visit.

I've survived several automobile accidents, the first being when I was eight years old when our 35 Packard was hit broadside and our care did a 180.  Just shook up. I was again hit broadside when I was 21 years old and had just picked up my newly purchased used car that stalled on me as I was making a U-turn. Again, no injuries. And the nearest miss was when I was traveling back to Ft. Devens after a weekend pass and everybody, including the driver of the car, was sleeping when we almost rammed into a bridge abutment. I happened to wake up just in time to scream "WATCH OUT!  Apparently it wasn't My Time yet.

Then in later years I have survived a bout with prostate cancer.  Also kidney stones which has resulted in seven visits to the emergency room and three operations to remove kidneys stones. I have to tell you folks, on one of those "visits" I wish I had died, I was in that much pain. I wanted to go. But here I am, blathering away about this depressing subject, death.

I don't know when I will die or how I will die. But one thing is for certain, I will die. I'm just hoping it's not to ugly or painful and I can depart with a measure of dignity. 

That's not asking for much is it? 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Summer Day Musings

After a few perfect weather days, the muggy weather is back.

Ah, for two days the temperatures hovered around 72 breezy, low humidity days. Would that all summer would be like that. Not to be though. 

The heat and stifling humidity is back.  I'm glad our air conditioning is working perfectly.

Today I accomplished a major goal that I've had for years. I finally uploaded the last of my digitized old VHS videos to You Tube.  Now I can die without the concern that all that visual history of my life would be lost. All I need to do now is go through and edit those videos. 

Forty-six of the videos are two hours long. Another sixty-seven are thirty minutes long. One of the two hour videos are of a compilation of old 8 mm films, lots of history there folks.

I hope to go through and take out little snippets of those videos and package them up in cool little presentations which I will post to social media and here, your favorite blog.

Now all I have left to do is write my autobiography. 

Screen shot capture from one of my old VHS videos that I have digitized and uploaded to You Tube

Monday, July 09, 2018

Trip to Cape May, New Jersey

The Mall in downtown Cape May, New Jersey. Just a perfect idyllic setting, lovely!

Yesterday was one of those rare days, perfect summertime weather. 

If we're lucky we only get two or three of those days during the summer. 

The temperature hovered around seventy-two breezy degrees and not a cloud in the sky. 

A few weeks ago I was invited by my new friends Mike and Bob to take a day trip with them to Cape May New Jersey. Mike's twin sister from San Francisco was visiting for a family reunion in West Virginia.  I accepted the invitation immediately.

I live and work here in southern Delaware which is only a short (forty-five minutes) away from Cape May, New Jersey via the Cape May-Lewes ferry.  

I've only taken the ferry trip to Cape May once. That was with my friends Jack and Judy D. That trip was during a cold winter month.  It was a cold trip and when we got to Cape May, almost everything was closed. Yesterday totally different, height of the summer season.

This post is only a short version of that trip. I took one hundred and forty-four videos and photos which I will put together in a fabulous musical video.  But for now, these two photos will have to suffice. 

I do live an interesting life!

Thanks Bob and Mike for inviting me.

Mike and his twin sister Pat; Bob and me prior to our departure on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry yesterday from Lewes, Delaware - the beginning of a fabulous day

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Happy Birthday Dr. Spo!

Today is my dear friend Dr. Spo's 56th birthday.  

This is my personalized "card" that I made for him from his annual birthday video that he posted today.  Dr. Spo is very animated when he talks. This video is of his many faces. If you want to see his video and hear his soothing voice, click on the link to his blog here.

I started blogging in 2005 as therapy.  I write as self therapy.  

When I started to blog I also hoped that I would meet new friends. I didn't put a lot of hope in that because of my past experience "looking" for friends and not just letting "it happen."

Well folks, I have made several very good friends through my blogging. 

I know some disparage and discount making friends through the Internet. But folks, here we are in the digital age. It's time to expand our horizons from meeting and making new friends from our workplace, neighborhood, schools and church. 

Yes. these are stressful times we live in but also wonderful times. I just cannot imagine my life without friends like Dr. Spo.

Happy birthday dear friend, I wish you many more birthdays of happiness.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Curious Things Around The House #1

"Curious Things ......" is an idea for a blog posting that I am unashamedly stealing from my dear friend Dr. Spo.  

I have a LOT of "Curious Things" around our house.  And when I say a LOT I mean a LOT. Fodder for many blog posts when I don't have time for one of my long, rambling, where is he going with this one? blog posts. Today is such a day.

My Curious Thing today is a small paper weight type sculpture. I believe I purchased this from the Modern Museum of Art about thirty years ago.  I didn't purchase this object d'art from their magazine. 

Both Bill and I love this small sculpture. It's nice and heavy and thought provoking. 

I think the sculpture represents the Easter Island head sculptures. Whatever the source, looking at this small object d'art always gives both Bill and I a sense of peace and tranquility. Makes us feel good and isn't that after all what our "things" are supposed to bring to our life?

Easter Island sculptures

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Fourth of July 2018

Our American flag display 1990 on our Pennsylvania property, back at a time when we had a decent president and Congress - oh how we took our indecencies for granted then 

Today, the Fourth of July, we here in America celebrate our freedom from oppression and rule by a despot.

Today, this Fourth is especially important because for the first time our history our freedoms are being seriously threatened by the would be despot who occupies the White House and his Republican enablers in Congress. 

Folks, I cannot stress this point enough, at this time of our two-hundred and forty-two year history as a free country, our freedom is in serious danger of being undermined. As Edmund Burke said:

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

I am saddened today and very worried that our American ideals are being tossed aside to please our Russian adversary, Vladimir Putin. 

Every day, Trump crosses a new boundary of norms.  He bullies and insults our allies. He admires and praises dictators. And now he is getting ready to give Putin the ultimate prize when he meets with Putin in Finland next week, unilaterally lifting the sanctions against Russia.

I think it is time to face the fact that our president, the former reality star, con man and world class lair is in the pocket of Vladmir Putin. 

Today I fear for our democracy folks. And my main fear is that our system of government, three branches that provide a check on one another, has failed. And the elected Republicans do nothing. 

There was the Vichy government in France during World War II.  There was Quisling in Norway during World War II. The Republican leaders McConnell and Ryan will go down in history as cowardly traitors to failed in their basic responsibility of providing a check on our criminal president. 

I just hope our country can survive.

I don't believe in prayers but I do believe that good will eventually prevail.  I just hope it is in my lifetime.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Happy Wedding Anniversary!

Five years ago today folks I married Bill, on the 49th anniversary of our meeting.

On that rainy, summer night in Philadelphia I was standing alone by the bartender Jerry Hawes at the Westbury Bar in Philly.  Jerry pushed a gin and tonic in front of me.  I looked up and he turned his head and nodded in the direction of a man standing on the other side of the bar, in front of the juke box and skeet ball game machine.  

The Westbury Bar was my regular hangout on Saturday night when I went trolling the gay bars looking for my Prince Charming. I usually went with my friends Ed Cage and Ron Hampton but this night, for some reason I was alone.  I don't remember why.

This wasn't the first night that man had sent a drink over my way. In fact he had done it many times before over the past three months. I always acknowledge the gesture with a nod of my head but I never went over to actually talk to him.  You see, he wasn't my "type."  He was very popular in the bar, usually playing skeet ball with his many friends. While I considered him attractive, he really wasn't my type physically and besides, I wasn't about to be another notch on his gun of conquest. During my brief year or so of coming out to gay bars, I had been approached more than  few times by over confident older gay men who were just out for a one night stand. I was looking for more.  I was looking to fall in love and spend my life with the Man of My Dreams.  My Prince Charming. Mr. Right.  And that man wasn't it.  Besides, he was SOO old (35 years to my 22 years).  

But on this muggy, quiet night in the Westbury, attendance probably down because of the intermittent rain outside, I decided the least I could do was go over and thank him for all the drinks. At that time I was just beginning my adult working career and living on limited funds. I usually only took three dollars with me to the bar to buy a seventy-five cent gin and tonic. Of course I would tell the bartender to "keep the change".  Once I spent my three dollars I was out of the bar. My search for my prince done for the night. But being the nice guy that I am (tongue in cheek folks, don't take me seriously and leave a nasty comment) I decided to walk around the bar and thank this man.

As I rounded the bar and approached him, he looked up in bemusement and surprise. After all those drinks he had sent to me over the last three months, he probably never expected to reel me in.  

I said to him "Thank you for the drink."  He replied "You're welcome."  

I was pleasantly surprised by the tone of his voice. It was deep and masculine. Unlike my voice which has a higher, adolescent tone and definitely not "gay sounding" (please don't take offense my "gay sounding" friends but you know what I'm talking about).  What my friend (who eventually was a witness at our wedding) called "talking gay."  She asked me once, "Why don't you and Bill talk gay?"  I assured her that not all men "talk gay."  She was somewhat surprised by this revelation but I digress.

When I decided to go over and thank Bill for the drinks, I didn't intend to stay but I found his personality so appealing, that I stayed.  He was (and is) nice. He wasn't an ogre like some of the older gay men I had the misfortune to meet in the past. He wasn't out to just "notch another one up." He was different.  Thus began our friendship.

Over the next six months Bill saw each other every weekend. He lived in Pennsuaken, New Jersey and I lives in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, fifty-one miles away or about an hour's drive one-way.  After his workday on Friday Bill would drive the one hour drive to pick me up at my furnished, efficiency apartment in Coatesville and drive me back to his garden apartment in Pennsauken, New Jersey. He did this almost every weekend from July to February.  I think he only missed three weekends and that was because he had to work. Now who else would do that for me?

Bill and me at his apartment in Pennsauken, New Jersey - 1964
Then came a time when Bill wanted me to move in with him.  I was reluctant because, even though I liked Bill, he still wasn't "my type" physically. Oh yes, the Folly of Youth being sho shallow-minded. I didn't want to be restricted. But Bill didn't give up.  He said "I would never restrict you. You can have all the freedom you want, all I ask is that you be discreet."  And that folks is the secret of our relationship over the past fifty-four years. 

I got a job with a major bank in Philly and moved in with Bill at the end of February 1965.  

Bill and I on the rooftop at our townhouse in center city Philadelphia 1976

Over the next fifteen years we settled down into the normal routine of a gay couple, or as "normal" as a gay couple could be in those pre-Stonewall days. Then came a time in 1980 I met Somebody.  I thought I finally met my Prince Charming.  Handsome, talented, kind, and sexy.  Oh yes.  I was going to leave Bill.  I told Bill I had finally met Mr. Right.  As I prepared to leave, and I remember clearly where I told Bill, it was outside near the row of day lilies that lined our driveway to our dream house in the Pennsylvania countryside.

Bill turned away from me after I gave him the news but then turned back and said "Please don't leave me."  I was prepared for this but much to my surprise I realized I couldn't leave him.  I mean, I COULDN'T LEAVE HIM.  Why, because I loved him.  Yes, I had grown to love him over the years and could not imagine my life without him in it.  I tried to picture me with Prince Charming (who, by the way turned out not to be the Prince Charming after all but that's another whole story), and I couldn't fathom the thought of thinking about where Bill would be.  I just could not imagine my life without Bill in it.  

Bill gets emotional on our wedding day in July 3, 2013 - aren't I the one who is supposed to get emotional?

And now we are here today, fifty-four years after I met Bill.  Bill will be ninety years old this year.  I'll be seventy-seven.  I would never have imagined that back on that rainy July night in Philly fifty-four years ago that I would love this man all these years later. But I do.

Now that we both are in our declining years, health issues sometimes that threaten to overtake us at times, I still would never leave Bill.  He needs me and I live him.  

I met my Prince Charming all those years ago, I just didn't know it.

Happy anniversary Bill!

Me and Bill outside the courthouse in Georgetown, Delaware where we got married.  Now we start a whole new chapter in our lives.
Me and Bill together today - together forever

Note: Portulaca, Bill's favorite flower of all time!

Caregiver Update

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