Friday, November 30, 2018

Week In Philly Coming To An End

As usual, when Pat and I get together for one of our quarterly holidays, the time goes by too fast. This particular holiday in Philadelhia will end this Sunday. Pat will catch his overnight Greyhound bus to Toronto early Sunday morning. At noon my ride will pick me up here at the guest suite where we always stay during our semi-annual visits to Philadelphia. Then this fall/winter holiday will be over, all too soon. Next time we get together will be next February in California.

My visit to Philly this year was severely curtailed because of my injured toe. Each day it's a little better but still not good enough to give me free range of walking that I've been used to all my life. That is one thing I've always had, I had the freedom to walk and walk, and walk.  Not so this time folks. Very frustrating. However, I have learned the bus route which I am taking plenty advantage of. I have a senior citizen pass which enables me to ride for free.  

I managed to go out for breakfast again this morning at a newly discovered restaurant called "Green Eggs."  Our past several visits to Philly Pat and I tended to patronize the same two restaurants.  While they were fine, Philly has so many restaurants so we decided to branch out and explore. The Green Eggs Cafe was fabulous!  Not only good food at a reasonable price, they service scrapple!  Where else can you get scrapple in a restaurant?  And it was prepared properly too, not greasy and soggy.  Which reminds me, it's time for dinner. Nearby where we're staying  is a Guatemalan restaurant which serves Guatemalan "street food."  Sounds gritty and it is but delicious.

Last night we went to another movie at a small nearby theater. That's what is nice about living in center city Philly, everything is nearby.  The movie we say last night was "Bohemian Rhapsody", the story of Freddy Mercury and the rock group Queen. Interesting movie. We liked it but I was thrown/annoyed with Freddy's overbite. Little too much emphasis on it in the move I thought. The previous even we say the "Green Book."  An excellent movie! I predict this movie will win the Academy award for not only best movie but best actor and supporting actor.  Now the question is which actor gets the nod for best actor and supporting actor.

I've rambled on enough here folks.  In spite of my injured foot/big toe, this past has been fabulous.  Always a great time when my Canadian Travel Buddy is with me. Maybe not as many photos and videos as I usually take, limited somewhat because of the necessity of me using a cane but still some interesting photographic and video memories of this great city, Philadelhia PA, my former home and workplace for many years. 

Ah, I remember the times in the past when I used to weave my way down Philly's narrow streets with ease.  Now I am stooped over with arthritis and a slower gait because of my injured foot. I am no longer that young man of the 70's and 80's during my heyday. Now I am one of those old, enfeebled persons struggling to get on and off the bus.   I have a new appreciation for those people folks because I am now one of them.

I hope I have many years left to visit this wondrous, historic and beautiful city that to now so diverse. Much more diverse than when I lived and worked here. I'm glad I've lived long enough to see our society become more inclusive. 

Pat should be walking in the door soon. We'll be spending the evening "home" watching a old film on Turner Classic Movies, the only channel on our suite TV that isn't buried in commercials.

Hope to post one more time before I leave Sunday. Have a great day and evening folks!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Big Toe Stub in Philly!

Yesterday, on a beautiful Sunday, I arrived in Philly.  I was to meet up with Pat who arrived, exhausted, by an overnight Greyhound bus from Toronto. 

I texted Pat when my ride dropped me off at my friend Don's co-op building where we are renting a suite for a week. We come here twice a year, once in the spring and now, late fall.

Pat texted me back that he was attending a service at St. Patrick's Cathedral. He wouldn't be able to meet me for about a half an hour.  I took that opportunity to visit my old home on Naudain Street. I always like to visit our row house on Naudain Street.  Brings back many pleasant memories.

Pat texted me after his church service to meet him on 18th Street.  I left my former home at 24th and Naudain Streets to meet Pat. I'm a little unsteady on my feet these days folks. I don't want to fall.  This is one of my major fears these days folks, falling. A couple of years ago I did a face plant at 21st and Chestnut Streets just as I was returning to our suite her at Don's co-op.  Since that accident I'm very careful not to fall again, face-plant style. So what do I do this time? Just as I was approaching Pat, me taking a video of him, I stub my big toe on the curb. And I mean I stubbed it.  Big time.  It only took a few minutes to realize I did major damage. I was in excruciating pain.

I tried to ignore it but the more I walked to our way to the Marathon restaurant for our lunch, I frequently had to yelp in pain. Yep, like a little baby.  Wow.  

After lunch I told Pat I couldn't wear my shoes because of the pressure on my toe. I had to get another pair of shoes. Just think of it, I'm beginning a week of holiday in Philadelphia which is a major walking city and I can't walk.  

After stopping in a few pricey shoes store, I settled on getting a pair of slip on shoes at Macy's. that provided some relief but I was still in a great deal of pain.

After we checked in to our suite, my friend Don suggested I go to the walk in clinic.  I took his advice. I was quite impressed with the walk in clinic, a much better alternative to a visit to the emergency room, Their diagnosis was a foot contusion.  They tied my big toe together with my second toe with paper tape.  They advised me to do little walking and keep my foot elevated.  Also to put a cold compress on my foot and take an ibuprofen for the pain.  

I hobbled back to our suite and rested and elevated my foot. 

When I awoke this morning my foot was much better. Still tender and painful if I hit it the wrong way.  I borrowed Don's cane this morning to walk to breakfast at the Marathon Grill at 16th and Sansom Streets.  

I'm hoping tomorrow when I awake my foot is back to normal, or not as painful to walk.  And I can dispatch with Don's cane. Old man here.

Man oh man, I can remember those days when I used to live and work in Philly and I walk everywhere. Those days are long gone folks. Old man here.

Well, I'm here in Philly now and I hope I don't have any more accidents. 

I love Philly and intend to get walking again pain free. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Off To Philly!

Pat took this selfie on his overnight bus trip last year of his seat mate (who he didn't know) falling asleep on his shoulder. The risks you encounter when you embark on an overnight bus trip!

Tomorrow I leave for my autumn visit to Philadelphia. I began this tradition five years ago to celebrate my birthday in early November. 

My Canadian Travel Buddy Pat F. takes an overnight bus from Hamilton, Ontario to meet me in Philly.  In Philly we stay in the guest suite at my friend Don McK.'s co-op for a week. We stay there twice a year, once in the spring and now in the fall. 

Both Pat and I love Philadelphia, my former home and workplace of many years.  I always enjoy getting together with my old friend Don and rehashing war stories from our times at Mellon Bank and Fidelity Bank. Oh those were the days.

During our time in Philly this year Pat and I will catch a couple of the current movies playing.  Usually when we're in Philly the movies playing aren't the ones we want to see.  This time we're in luck though, "The Green Room" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" is playing at the Roxy movie theater only a few short blocks from where we're staying. The Roxy is a very small theater (really small) but comfortable. I was surprised when I returned to Philly after many years of living and working there to find that all the big movie theaters were gone.  Center city Philly with NO movie theaters? The Boyd, the Goldman, the Midtown?  All empty shells or discount drugstores. What a shame! They were such magnificent and opulent movie theaters. 

Pat and I will also venture out to explore some new restaurants. We tend to stay with the same two restaurants, Hip Veg City and the Marathon Grill. We're going to be brave this visit and try some new restaurant, as long as they're not too pricey, which most restaurants are now days. At least for our fixed income retirement budgets. 

I don't know how often I can update my blog but I'll try to keep you all updated. If not in real time then when I get back next week.  Plenty of photos and videos for sure, you know me.

Now to face that hard decision I always have when I take a trip, what do I wear? I always leave that to the last minute. 

A few days ago the weather was unusually cold.  Tonight the temperature is milder (55 degrees) but pouring rain. Dodged a bullet on this one, that could have been snow!  

My ride comes by to pick me up at 10 am tomorrow morning.  That's when I'll make the decision what to wear.  

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Musings 2018

Some random thoughts and observations on this Thanksgiving Day.  Very random.

I am at work at the hotel now. The hotel is totally book sans except for one suite. I always work at the hotel during Thanksgiving. This is my twentieth year working at a hotel. Interesting how time slips by.  I've always considered my main adult job working at the bank. This hotel job was part-time to keep me amused and supplement my income.  

I don't mind working Thanksgiving Day at the hotel. I meet the nicest people.  Almost all of them are return guests from previous years.  Old people like me. We identify.

When I arrived at work today I got a little reminder that brought me down to earth. One of the guests stopped at the front desk and asked me to send up a housekeeper to plunge his toilet, that was clogged.  There goes my appetite for some turkey. I told him I was the only hotel employee here and it would be me.  He said he was leaving and for me to go at it.  I did and thankfully, I was able to get his toilet working again.  I always dread not getting the toilet working again because I would have anywhere else to put him, except maybe the suite and at $625 a night my boss wouldn't like that. This isn't the first time I've plunged a toilet. Lovely, just lovely. 

Back to my front desk. Earlier I made the mistake of watching our Commander in Chief make phone calls to "the troops."  Since Cadet Bonspurs (Trump) is too cowardly to actually visit the troops in person (like Iraq and Afghanistan), he calls them on a phone which he has the new media televising. Shortly into the conversations with "the troops" he begins his immigration rant about our southern border. He also rants about "Obama judges".  OMG.  Someone asked him what he was thankful for today and he said . . . . himself for making America much safer. Honest to God, is there anybody is who more narcissist than this self-absorbed would be tyrant?  Talk about cringeworthy. Never in my life would I ever have believed I would be so embarrassed for our country to have this orange buffoon speaking for us. God, how did we ever get here?  I had to turn off the TV, I couldn't take any more. Come one Mueller, get those indictments out.

Just did another faux pas, I walked in on a guy using the urinal in the bathroom here at the hotel.  Geez guy, can't you lock the door when you go in to take a whiz?  Wow.  No, I didn't see anything. He wasn't embarrassed either. I was more embarrassed.

I had my Thanksgiving turkey dinner about a half an hour ago.  A Stouffer's frozen turkey dinner. Not bad.  No cranberry sauce though. I missed that.

I work again tomorrow day shift and the next day. Normally I would go in about 6:30 but my boss said I could go in later.  I have bathroom issues in the morning. It's difficult to use the bathroom at work with guests waiting at the front desk.  I'll probably go in about 8 or so tomorrow.  That's a relief.

Sunday I leave for my annual trip for a week's stay in Philadelphia.  Pat is taking an overnight bus from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada to Philly to meet me on Sunday.  I have a personal ride. My usual driver, a neighbor who hates Trump even more than me, has other obligations.  I'll miss riding up with him and back.  He always have a good conversation for the two and a half hour drive to Philly. The man who is taking me up had done it before.  I don't know what his political affiliation is and I'm not asking. He could be one of those brain dead Trump supporters and that would just spoil the whole trip.  Last year another driver picked me up at the airport.  He had his friend with him.  I sat in the back.  All the way back I had to listen to him and his friend spout Hillary Hate.  I never got the Hillary Hate thing.  I was tempted to tell him to pull over to the side of the road and let me out.  

This morning I got up and put on my Apple watch. The band broke.  The EXPENSIVE band broke. This is the second time my Apple watch band has broke.  They replaced the first one after I jumped through several hoops.  I don't think they'll replace this one since I've had it over a year. This is their replacement band. I'll just buy another one when I'm in Philly next week and visit the Apple store and pay the 8% city sales tax!

That's about it now folks. It's 7 pm now here at the hotel.  All continues to be quiet. I have another five hours to go until I get off at 11 pm. Then I can do this all over again. tomorrow during the day. Probably not update my blog like I'm doing now though. No personal computing during the day. I can get away with it at night though.

Hope you're all having a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018 Message

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Just a few things I'm thankful for:

My friends
My home
My family (Bill and Pat)
My health

At this time in our country in which our freedoms are threatened by Trump, I am thankful that, apparently, our system of government is holding up to this assault on our freedoms. 

All my life I had assumed that as Americans we were different than the rest of the world.  Not just in our unique place in the world but in our moral values.  Of course we all know there was always that undercurrent of hate in racism in our country but our better angels always prevailed.  Now for the first time in our history those better angels are being threatened not only in the person of Donald Trump but by those Republicans in Congress who either refuse or to afraid to fulfill their Constitutional duties to provide a check on the abuse of power by the Executive Branch of our government in the person of Donald J. Trump. 

At a time like this I am reminded of the quote:

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

I am also reminded of the movie "High Noon" in which Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly starred. Gary Cooper was the new sheriff in a town that was taken over by outlaws. No one in town was willing to confront the outlaws, they were too afraid. Just as Republican members of Congress are afraid of Trump, a Trump tweet to be exact and Trump's base of deplorables, and yes, I said deplorables because that is what they are.  Out from under their rocks.  

Gary Cooper's character in the movie was just an average man but he decided to take on the evil that controlled the town and had everyone intimidated. My question now is, where is our Gary Cooper?  The only man who came close was the late John McCain. While I disagreed with McCain on many issues one thing I never disagreed with him on was his courage.  Would that we had someone what just an ounce of his courage today.  Weak press statements by Senators Flake and Corker don't do it, we need someone to take on this monster who is actively destroying our values.  

So while I am thankful for much this Thanksgiving, my heart is heavy and I am mightily worried as to what lies in store for us as a country as long as this evil is at the top of our government.  Sycophants like Vice President Mike Pence won't save us, only Gary Cooper will and he's dead.  

I hope this time next year I have a better Thanksgiving message.  I hope this time next year, I'm alive. An I hope with all my heart that this time next year we have a president who is leading our country that brings us together instead of dividing us.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Visit To My Urologist

Wall chart in my urologist's office this morning which I was viewing while waiting for him to see me

This morning I had my semi annual visit to my urologist. 

For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I have had my issues with kidney stones in the past. Have I ever. 

During my last visit to my urologist, he was monitoring a small kidney stone that was at the top of my urethra, ready to drop. After viewing my latest CAT scan, that kidney stone is no longer visible. He asked me if I passed the kidney stone.  I told him I may have but I didn't know it.  Sometimes the kidney stones are so small we don't realize when we pass them.  All the kidney stones I remember "passing" were the one who got stuck in my urethra. Oh do I ever remember them. I've lost track of the number of times I've had those kidney stone attacks. I think I've had six of them, all requiring emergency room visits, two over night stays and three operations to remove them. So this was a bit of good news today.

I also took a urinalysis today.  My doctor told me he found a "trace" of blood in urine.  It said it could be nothing but just to be on the safe side he's sending it in for further testing.  He said it may be necessary to have that procedure to check my bladder for bladder cancer. This is where the doctor (or one of his helpers) sticks an instrument with a small camera on the end up my penis to check my bladder.  I've avoided this invasive procedure twice in the past ten years but it looks like my time of reckoning has come.  I hate these invasive procedure, especially in THAT area.  I've already had a stent inserted in my penis for three weeks and folks I'm here to tell you, that is no picnic.  Very uncomfortable wearing it (you feel like you have to pee all the time) but the worst part was taking it out.  So I await my doctor's verdict if I have to undergo this procedure.  

At time like this I remember back to those halcyon days which I went years without visiting a doctor. Years in which I didn't have this constant mucous buildup in my throat which makes me feel like I'm suffocating.  Years in which I was limber enough that I didn't ache in pain with arthritis when I wake up. Years in which I didn't require an afternoon nap of at least an hour's duration.  But you know folks, I'm thankful for the good health I do have.  Could be worse, a LOT worse. 

Tomorrow I have off then on Thursday I work at the hotel Thanksgiving Day. I work the following two days for a co-worker who is filling in for me next week, when I'll be in Philadelphia with my Canadian Travel Buddy, Pat.  Every day folks, I treasure and appreciate my ability to work and to enjoy my quarterly get-togethers Pat.  

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Holidays

My last Thanksgiving Dinner - 2003 at a friend's house in Downingtown, PA - the lady in the salmon colored top cook the meal which was DELICIOUS!  

Here we go again, "The Holidays".  I have to be careful here not to appear or sound like an old grump but I'm not a big fan of "The Holidays."  But there is no avoiding it, one does get swept up in "The Holidays."

Bill put up the Christmas lights outside on our porch. I helped him today. We'll turn them on after Thanksgiving Day this Thursday.  

I still haven't ordered my Christmas cards. I've been sending Christmas cards since I was a teenager. Mainly I like keeping in touch with former co-workers, relatives and friends who are a distance away.  I have to admit that I like to keep them informed that I am still alive and I am checking to make are they're still alive. I may not do personalized Christmas cards this year with pictures of me and Bill. We're just too old and ugly. Time to send the sparkly cards and let our card recipients remember us how we used to look before old age melted our looks.

This week I work again Thanksgiving Day.  I do not complain. I never have any special plans for Thanksgiving Day although I do like a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner. I'll take in a frozen turkey dinner.  I'm also working day shift Friday and Saturday for one of my co-workers. Looks like I'm putting up the hotel Christmas tree. No problems, I don't mind. Bill and I don't put up a Christmas tree here in the house, the one at work will have to do the Christmas magic for moi. 

Again this year I don't do Christmas gifts. We have everything we want.  Since my Mother died, I have no desire to give anyone else gifts. I gift friends during the year when I see something they like. Years ago I opted out of the annual pressure of Christmas Shopping Mania.  I used to do that when my nephew and nieces were young. Some of them have grandchildren now who I only see on Facebook. I'm too far removed to gift. They will receive a Final Gift from me when I die, they're in my will.

The last two weeks I had a spate of doctors's visits. My semi-annual checkup at my VA doctor. A dental appointment, at which they noticed my blood pressure was high. I NEVER have high blood pressure so I don't know what that's all about. This week I see my urologist to check up on that kidney stone I still have that hasn't dropped. I'll have him check my blood pressure. Hopefully it is an aberration.  However, I have been taking prescription nasal spray for my mucous problem (constantly clearing throat).  Maybe high blood pressure is a side effect.

This time next week I'll be in Philadelphia for a week's stay at my friend Don MacKenzie's co-op guest suite. I'll meet Pat there. Always a good time when Pat and I get together for our quarterly rendezvous.  We'll do some Christmasy things while we're in Philly.  Five years ago I started this Philly visit to celebrate my birthday earlier this month. I couldn't get off earlier this year. This time is just as well, we'll do the Christmas Thing, which I have to admit I do enjoy. I like all the color and sounds. Just not the pressure to Christmas shop, which I don't do anyway.

When I was a young boy, I used to feel sad for old folks who didn't do much in the Christmas way at their homes. Now I understand.  

I plan to blog at least one more time before Thanksgiving but if I don't, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Subaru Recall

Waiting in line (me in my red Subaru) for service this morning at the dealership

Just got back from Dover. I took my car to my Subaru dealer for a recall.  Brake linings and passenger side airbags.  

I didn't want to go.  I received the recall notices the past year and ignored them. I purchased my Subaru Forester from this Dover dealer back in 2010. At that time I had excellent service. However, a few years ago, when the dealership changed ownership, the service I received was terrible. I vowed never to go back.  I've been in the service industry all my adult life and I know bad service when I see and experience it. When I receive bad service, I don't go back.

However, last week I received a second notice from the Subaru headquarters about the air bag recall.  The recall correspondence mentioned the deadly danger of the passenger side air bag going off, injuring and killing passengers with shrapnel. WTF?  Unbelievable!  

I considered ignoring this notice too but upon second (and third) thought I decided to just get it over with.  I called and made an appointment.  The service desk had a problem finding my name until I gave them my Subaru VIN number. They found my records. She said "You haven't been here for awhile."  Uh, yes.  I decided not to dump on her why I had not returned.  She was an innocent party.  She wasn't there when I received the terrible service the last time I was at their facility.

I made an appointment for today at 8:30 am.  That meant I had to get up early, which I did.  How's 5:07 am sound?  Yep, I didn't sleep all that well knowing I had to make the thirty-nine mile trip to Dover this morning.  

It rained last night. This morning when I got up the rain continued. I debated with myself whether of not to go up.  I hate driving in the rain. But it wasn't raining real hard but enough to make me uncomfortable driving that distance. I decided to go. 

Ten miles up the road (Route One, the main artery to southern Delaware), the rain increased followed by fog.  Great, my worst driving conditions. I pulled off on a side road and told Bill "I'm not going. I'm calling and cancelling."  He said "Why? You halfway there."  Well, actually I wasn't "halfway" there but well on my way.  I pulled in a private driveway and backed out onto the road and resumed my journey in the rain and fog to Dover.

Another eight miles up the road I encounter road construction. When don't I encounter road construction when traveling? I briefly considered turning around again but decided just to barrel through and get this over with.

Twenty minutes later I arrive in downtown Dover. I approach the dealership.  I am immediately impressed with the new service area.  Instead of going inside and seeing a couple of guys behind the service desk, instead I see a young lady with an iPad outside checking the car in front of me with the car's owner. Another service rep comes out (Carol) and says "You are Mr. Tipton?"  Hey!  I'm impressed already.  She's expecting me.  

Carol checking out my Subaru

She tells me to accompany her while she walks around my car for an examination.  She explains to me I am there for a recall on two items.  Gee, I don't have to explain to The Guy Behind The Service Desk why I am there.  She notes the split rubber on my rear windshield wiper but otherwise, everything on my Subaru looks good.  It should, my 2010 Subaru only has just over 61,000 miles on it and has a comfy home in my garage.  I sign off with my finger on her iPad.

Carol directs me inside to another service rep who gives me the key to my loaner car.  It's another Subaru!  And here I thought they were going to give me some chintzy car.  But ah, there is a method behind their actions.  When I got into my Subaru I felt at home immediately!  Aren't they clever?  

Me signing off on the loaner car

I LOVED the updated dashboard!
I LOVED the comfort of the new higher seating!
I LOVED the color display on the radio!
I LOVED the backup screen!
I LOVED the feel of more power of the engine!

Of course when I returned home I checked the Kelley Blue Book value of my present Subaru (between $8,000 an $11,000) and the price of this new Subaru ($25,000).   I really don't need a new car but I do like new and shiny objects. My care now is a 2010. Next year's Subaru would be a 2020.  Sounds nice and neat. 

My loaner Subaru is now safely ensconced in my garage now, waiting for the return trip to the Dover dealership tomorrow. I'm so glad today turned out on a positive note. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veterans' Day 2018

My Uncle John Tipton (on the right)

Today is Veterans' Day. I would like to honor two of my uncles who served in World War II. 

John Hannum Tipton was my father's younger brother. He was a paratrooper during World War II. He was captured by the Germans shortly after he parachuted into Belgium during World War II in 1943.  He was a prisoner of war for two years. He escaped twice and was recaptured twice. He was liberated in April of 1945, two months after his mother died.  His mother (my paternal grandmother) died think Uncle John died in the war. My younger brother John, who was born in 1944 was named after my Uncle John, in his memory, my father also thinking his brother had died in the war. Uncle John was held as a prisoner of war by the Germans in an Austrian castle. I wish I could have talked to him about that but his widow, my Aunt Peggy, said John would never talk about his experience except to say that they ate potato soup made of potato skins, which at that time was considered garbage. Little did the Germans know that their prisoners were eating the mot beneficial part of the potato.  I love potato skins and twice baked stuffed potatoes. In fact I had one tonight. In a cruel twist of fate, my Uncle John died in an industrial accident at thirty-nine years of age. He was a painter.  His overalls turpentine coated overalls caught on fire from a discarded cigarette.  He died three days later of burns over eighty-percent of his body. The last time I saw him he was swathed in bandages and looked like a mummy. He was my favorite uncle. He was the only uncle I had who would give me an occasional friendly wink. He never treated me like a child. He was also my cousins favorite uncle. I was a pallbearer at his funeral. I cried uncontrollably when I helped to carry his casket (along with my two younger brothers, all of us in our Army uniforms - we were all in the Army at that time) when we entered the Catholic church to the choir singing.  I will never forget that beautiful moment. Thank you Uncle John for your service to our country.

George Lincoln Hadfield, Jr. 

My other uncle who served in the Army during the war was my Mother's older brother, George Lincoln Hadfield. He served in Germany in the Engineer Corps. Uncle George survived the war. Never married.  I always suspected he was gay but I have no proof of that.  He also did not treat me like a child. He didn't wink at me but always was kind and warm to me.  I looked forward to seeing him every Christmas when he would come around with a cash gift for me and my brothers. Uncle George lived with his father all his life. A year after his father (my grandfather) died, Uncle George also died in a freak accident. He retired from Lukens Steel on Friday, July 1, 1983. He was mowing his grass that Saturday July 2nd. A bee stung him in his throat. He went into shock and died Sunday July 3rd, 1983.  The irony is that he lived his whole live with his father, who died the year before. Uncle George only got to live a year by himself before he died.  I will always regret that I didn't have a chance to talk to him about why he never married. I was too caught up in my life at that time. But I do remember at my grandfather's funeral  the year before when Uncle George saw me, he gave me a "knowing look."  I had not seen him for some years (since I was a kind of ten or so) and he seem to "understand" that we were kindred spirits. Was Uncle George gay? I'll never know.  He was hunter and very masculine. Uncle George private life will remain a family mystery. 

Today I honor both of these men, uncles on both sides of my family for their service to our country and for being uncles who were to me more loving than my father was not. I often tried to imagine a life where either one of these men was my father instead of the father I had, who incidentally did not service in the service. He was medically exempt. Believe it or not my father was hit in the head with a hatchet when he was ten years old (I'm not kidding) and had a brain concussion and thus exempt from the service during World War II.  Also the fact that he had three children under the age of five years. During the war my father was a long distance truck driver so he did his part for the War effort too, not to diminish him. But my father was distant and not loving or accepting. I've often wondered would I be gay if I had a father who was loving and accepting like my Uncle John or Uncle George?  Well, I've went long enough on this tangent which was supposed to be a tribute to two of my uncles who service this country during time of war. 

Thank you Uncle John and Uncle George. You will always live forever in my memory as loving and kind men.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Reflections on Marching to 78 Years Old

77 year old Ron -fading away but still look better than Mitch McConnell who I am older than!

The birthday celebrations are over folks! Well, actually there were no birthday celebrations. But that is just fine, I prefer quiet birthdays.  I'm not one for surprise birthday parties or any birthday parties.  I've had a few in my lifetime.  While I appreciate the effort my friends put into the parties, I'm just as happy to have a quiet passage of yet another year. 

Now this may surprise you but I'm not sad at growing older.  I know my years left are a lot less than I have to live.  Doesn't make me sad. When I was young I was concerned that when I became an old man no one would want me.  No one would like me.  You know what?  Your view of the world changes when you become old.  At least my view has changed.  

I still find it hard to believe that I am this age.  That I have outlived so many of my friends, former co-workers and family.  When I was younger, I never expected to make it past sixty years of age.  In fact, would consider myself very lucky if I reached that grand old age of sixty.  

I remember when I first started going to gay bars when I was twenty-one years old.  I was warned by friends "Don't go into THAT bar, that's a "wrinkle bar."  I asked "What's a wrinkle bar?"  I was told that was a bar "where all the old queens gathered."  I thought, "Would I be one of those old queens gathering with other old queens lamenting about our lost youth?"  Of course I avoided those Wrinkle Bars like a plague.  I certainly didn't want to be associated with one of THOSE bars.  

The first person I was intimate with was twenty-nine years to my twenty-one years old.  I remember at the time thinking I was doing him "a favor" because he was "so old."  Can you believe it!?  Of course I like the guy and thought he was hot but still, to my youthful foolishness at that time I thought he was an old man.  Then I met Bill, the man I've been living with the past fifty-four years. He was their-five to my twenty-two years old.  Man oh man, he was OLD.  Almost old enough to be my father.  Now Bill is ninety to my seventy-seven, we're both old men. Doesn't make a difference. 

Now here's something that I thought would never happen in my life. I'm not actually attracted to young men.  Oh sure, I find them attractive but for me to hunger after one of them?  Not in my DNA now, for which I am so thankful for.  I am way more attracted to my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat, who I think is incredibly hot.  Even after five years of knowing him, he is one sexy guy!  Nice guy too.  Maybe that's why I find him so attractive.  Young guys like a forty-five or fifty year old?  Nothing. And even younger?  That's laughable for which I an SO THANKFUL.  I remember seeing this one old guy in the bars when I was young lusting after the young guys.  I was concerned tat that time that I would be that old man.  Thank you God for not letting that happen to me.

Today is the first day of my 78th year.  I'm not as limber as I was sixty years ago.  I need a nap every day.  My stomach is more sensitive.  My body aches every day from the onset of arthritis. I have a respiratory condition which is very bothersome.  I have an extra heartbeat for which I take medication.  I take a daily pill for my prostate, for which I an now a five year survivor of prostate cancer. I've suffered more bouts of kidney stones than I can remember and have an appointment next week with my urologist who is monitoring a kidney stone that is ready to fall.  I only have half my teeth.  My eye doctor told me my cataracts are coming.  You get the idea, I'm slowly falling apart.  But I'm still here folks and living a comfortable life.  

No complaints here folks. Any regrets?  Oh sure but I chalk them all up to a learning experience.  

That's life folks!  

Friday, November 09, 2018

Happy Birthday Ron!

"Ronnie" Tipton - 1952

Today I cross the threshold of seventy-seven years. Yes folks, I am THAT old. Wow, how did I ever get here?  

At one time, when I was a young man I feared getting old. Now that I am here, I don't mind. Oh sure, I would like to go back to that young body. Not to wake up in the morning with the pain of arthritis. To have all my teeth. To not have a sagging face. To have my crystal clear memory. But  you know what folks?  Being seventy-seven years old isn't all that bad.  

I know I have less years left on this earth than I have lived but I don't feel bad about that either. I have lived a good life.  Sure, I've had my share of downs but not too many considering others.  Actually I've had a really good life.  And at this time of my life I'm in a pretty good place. A nice, comfortable home. Enough income of pay my bills. A long term loving relationship with Bill, my life partner of fifty-four years.  A wonderful friendship with my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat. A good part-time job. My blogger friends. 

The photo on this post is of me taken in 1952 when I was a fifth grader. I was full of anticipation and hope for the future. That future has been realized. 

Happy birthday to me!

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Another Shooting

I woke up this morning to the news of yet another random shooting.  This one happened overnight at a western bar/nightclub in Thousand Oaks California. Twelve innocent people were killed pus the gunman.  

This was a club frequented by college kids.  The motive is still unknown but what is known is the killer was yet another angry white man.  

It is clear now that the greatest danger to people like you and me ate domestic terrorists. Usually angry white men with easy access to automatic weapons.  

Last night I had trouble sleeping knowing that Trump put a political hack as Attorney General of the United States. This person Trump saw on CNN saying that the Mueller investigation needed to be "reigned in."  Yes, Trump hired someone he saw on television that he thinks will help him end the Mueller investigation. This information was enough to keep me from having a good sleep last night.  Then I awake this morning to yet another shooting.  

I thought I would be relieved after the mid-term elections especially since the Democrats took over the House of Representatives. But I'm not relieved, especially after that bizarre press conference that Trump had yesterday in which he deliberately baited a CNN reporter (Jim Acosta).  

I've lived a long time friends but never in my life did I think I would be witnessing what is happening in our country now.  This is nothing less than a cold civil war.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Constitutional Crises

Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions today.

Trump replaced Sessions with a Trump loyalist who has publicly criticized the Special Counsel Mueller investigation. It's obvious what is going on, Trump is going to try and stop the Special Counsel's investigation into his collusion with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election and Trump's subsequent obstruction of justice.  This is no secret, Trump has done all of this out in the open.

Trump is afraid. He showed it during his press conference today in which he attacked the media again for what he calls "fake news" or news that he doesn't like.  Trump claimed a "great victory" in yesterday's mid-term elections, thus creating his own reality again.  When questioned by the media he strikes out and calls them "the enemy of the people."  Watching Trump's behavior at that press conference today was embarrassing.  This was the president of the United States acting like a petulant bully who has been caught lying.

I remember the whole Nixon criminality and the Saturday Night Massacre.  What Trump has been doing is much worse.  Much worse is his criminality and now his attempt to stop the investigation into his criminality.  

These are perilous times for our country today folks. Things are about to get worse, much worse. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Mid-Term Election Results

As the hour approaches midnight, I'm sitting here at my computer listening to MSNBC's coverage of the mid-term election results. 

There is good news and bad news.  The bad news first is that the Democrats didn't gain control of the Senate.  That means the google-eyed Turtle Man (Mitch McConnell) is still the Senate Majority leader.  By the way, did you know that I am older than Mitch?  GAWD!  Mitch, what happened?  But I digress.  

More bad news is that Andrew Gilliam lost the governor's race in Florida.  It also appears that Stacy Abrams lost her race to be governor in Georgia.  Her Republican opponent apparently successfully suppressed the vote in Georgia.  And the really hurtful loss was Beto O'Rourke to Ted Cruz (the senator from Canada) in Texas.  Thus the repulsive Cruz will be in our faces for another six years. 

Now the good news:  The Democrats have gained control of the House of Representatives.  As I type this Nancy Pelosi is addressing her supporters in, yes, San Francisco.  Oh my, Republicans and Trump supporters - Nancy Pelosi is now THIRD IN LINE FOR THE PRESIDENCY.  Chew on that.  Even more important, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) will not be repealed.  That means people with pre-existing conditions will not be denied insurance.  THANK GOD!  

Another important factor is that now there will be an oversight of the Administrative branch, the president, of government.  Something that's been missing for the last four years, four LONG YEARS.  Finally, our government is going to be operated the way our Constitution intended, something the Republicans who were in control conveniently ignored while they handed over their balls to Trump.

I'm going to stay up a bit later just to confirm the fact that the Democrats are truly in the majority in the House of Representatives.  And also to savor those Republican incumbents who have lost their House seats.  

By the way, don't feel sorry for the storm that will be coming at Trump.  He loves the fight.  He won't take any responsibility for the Republicans losing the house and he'll claim credit for the Republican control of the Senate.  That because that's who he is.  

As Bette Davis said in "All About Eve" ....fasten your seat belts...."

I Voted!

Me, in line this morning at Cape Henlopen High School to vote - third in line!!

Last night was like Christmas Eve when I was a little kid. Anticipation of wonderful things to happen.  Yes, the mid-term elections to finally right this ship that is the United States of America.  For almost two years now, our country has been humiliated and put in great danger by Donald Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress. All his life Trump has gotten away with breaking the law, bullying and not respecting people. That is about to end today.  Of that I feel confident. His day of reckoning has come.

Like the little kid on Christmas Eve, I woke up very early this morning. My eyes popped open at 4:30 am.  After my usual nocturnal visit to the bathroom I tried to go back to sleep. Wasn't happening.  I got up at 5:00 o'clock.

I did my daily bathroom routine, had breakfast then told Bill to get in the car, I was going to be first in line to vote when the polls opened at 7:00 am.

Traffic was light on Route One on my way to Cape Henlopen High School.  Already a line was forming.  I was third in line.  That was fine with me.  

Ever since I first voted in 1964 (for Barry Goldwater of all people! Yes, I used to be a Republican), I've always voted in person.  I value and appreciate this special privilege of voting in person.  I have never taken for granted being an American and our unique place in the world. A place that has been threatened in the past two years by Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress.

How I voted this morning

This morning I voted straight Democrat except for my local state representative who had the grace and kindness to stop by our house and leave this note after Bill and I got married in 2013:

If you haven't voted today, get out and vote. And yes, whatever your party affiliation, VOTE!

Monday, November 05, 2018

One Day To Go!

Tomorrow is the day folks!  The mid-term elections have finally arrived.

Here where I live in southern Delaware, we're solidly Democratic (thank goodness) but I'm still voting anyway. I always vote. 

I don't vote early, I like the experience of going to the polls and voting in person. To me voting is a privilege afforded to too few in this world. Free elections, sort of (increasing Republican suppression of the vote), in this country. 

This election is truly the most important of my 77 years on this planet. Nothing less than our free democracy is at stake. I do not exaggerate. Trump and his enablers have done so much damage since the Russians put Trump into the presidency. 

Today I feel like the little kid on Christmas Eve. I an excited with anticipate of good things to happen.  But I have to be honest with you folks, after the results of the 2016 presidential election, I am nervous about the outcome of this election. 

Last year I was in Philadelphia with my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat for our annual celebration of my birthday (November 9th).  I had intended to celebrate Hillary Clinton being elected president. Obviously that didn't happen. That birthday was the worst birthday of my life folks. 

The Democrats are favored to take over the House in this election. The Senate is another story, they may lose one or two seats. I'm hoping they take control of the Senate too. But I have to admit that I am nervous about this election. That's why I posted this Saturday Night Live video at the beginning of this post. It's not over until it's over folks. 

Friday, November 02, 2018

Bill's New Seater

Bill's new sweater

Bill lives in his cardigan sweater. He doesn't wear long sleeve shirt nor does he wear a T-shirt. But during these colder months he needs more than a short sleeve shirt to keep him comfortable.

Many years ago I bought Bill a cashmere multi-colored cardigan sweater.  He wore that sweater for years.  He gave it up to wrap up my Mom's cat Smokey in a burial shroud. Smokey was sick for a few days and in a great deal of discomfort so we took him to the vet who advised us to put him to sleep.
Smokey, my Mom's cat 

However, when we left, we had nothing to put Smokey in before we buried him.  Bill took off his sweater and wrapped up my Mother's beloved Smokey in it before we buried him.

I thought there would be no problem getting another sweater like that. How little did I know. Did you know that the only color selection of men's cardigan sweaters is gray, brown or black?  What's up with that?  Bill hates dark colors. 

I finally found Bill a sweater, a dark maroon.  He's been wearing it for years.  Last week while we were at Food Lion I noticed how ragged his sweater was.  Bill looked like a bum.  

Bill isn't a clothes horse like me.  I have sweater, shirts, pullover, pants, and coats - more than I will ever wear in a life time.  Or what I have left of my lifetime.  Most of the clothes Bill wears are my left overs.  Bill isn't a shopper, thank goodness. We can only tolerate one shopper in this family.  

Whenever I offer to buy him some new clothes he vehemently says he doesn't want any new clothes. I decided to get him a new sweater anyway.  

I went on a search for a bright red sweater.  Viola! I found one, on sale yet, and Land's End.  

Yesterday United Parcel delivered Bill's sweater after I went to work. Bill doesn't open any packages delivered in the mail. I open the Land's End box when I got home from work at the hotel last night.  I laid the sweater out on Bill's Archie Bunker chair in the sunroom, where he spends most of his time.  Bill gets up before I do in the morning.  When I got up Bill was wearing his proudly wearing his new bright red sweater.  As I left for my morning walk, I took a photo of him with his new sweater. Looks good doesn't he? 

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Happy Autumn!

Halloween is over. Now we begin the long slide into "The Holidays".  Next up Thanksgiving then Christmas.  "The Holidays seem to come around very fast doesn't it?

This morning I received the results of my labs that I took last week at the VA Outpatient Clinic. Everything is within the range. Of some concern is my PSA score, it's doubled. Still below the range but doubled. My VA doctor suggested that I discuss this with my urologist who I see next week.  It's been five years since my seed implant for prostate cancer.  I still have my prostate (I need it) but I'm not going to do anything drastic. I would like to say I'm not concerned but I am, a bit. Hopefully I can put some distance between this discouraging news and other events, like the election next week.  Oh man, I hope I live long enough to see Trump removed from office.

The falls colors finally put in an appearance this morning. Nice!

Random Observations on a December Morning

Late yesterday afternoon sun on our cozy home (in the background).    What? Yet another selfie of yours truly in a hoodie on his property in...