Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year 2019!

Good evening folks! I'm at work now. I just produced this short video wishing every one a happy new year. I think I'll start this as a new tradition, doing a personal video each year. This way you can watch me age.

Happy new year to every one!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Eve of New Year's Eve

Here we are folks, at the end of yet another year. Tomorrow I will be working at the hotel on New Year's Eve.  I don't mind. During the holidays like Christmas and New Year's Eve, nice folks. It's the weddings that are a trial that make me wonder why I chose hotel work as a second occupation.  

Today was a quiet day. I accomplished a bit more on cleaning out my life long accumulation of things in the basement.  Now that we have emptied the media room of all my stuff, I have no excuse not to go through and make hard choices.  
Today I choose several pictures that I like but have no space to hang.  I hope they find a happy home and are on loving display for many more years. More years than I will be alive.  I also dispensed with my Sirius satellite radio and components, all gone.  I listen to Pandora satellite radio on my Bose Wave radio.  Much less expensive and I can program my own songs and not listen to inane chatter that is now the norm on Sirius radio stations. I also got rid of all my reunion material.  Paper plates, table clothes, utensils, etc.  I won't be holding any more family reunions after my last reunion was so poorly attended.  A lot of expense for those reunions which few appreciated. Let someone else hold the reunions. I've done with them. 

We still have a slight leak in the basement wall. Bill finally acquiesced and consented that I can call in the professionals to fix it. We can't have a leak in the basement wall.  Once we get that fixed then I'll have a new wall to wall carpet installed in the media room and get that 75" TV with Bose surround sound.  After thirteen years we'll have a real media room.  Our very own movie theater.

I usually don't do New Year's Eve resolutions but I will this year, to finally get rid of a lot of my storage things.  Some I will keep, just for sentimental reasons. But others, I will send to the thrift shop. Hopefully they will find new happy homes and live on long after we're gone.

Note: the video at the beginning of this post is of Bill at BJ's yesterday. We were checking out the big flat screen TV's.  It's amazing how much the prices have dropped on those TV's. Our first "big" (40 inch) TV was an RCA which we purchased in 2007 for (are you sitting down?) $4,000!  We don't even use it now.  Sits in the basement unused. Someday I'll put it in the guest room.  We're going big time for the next TV. By the way, you can view the video I posted full screen.  Just click on the icon at the bottom of the video for full screen. I've decided to post some of my videos directly to Blogger instead of going through YouTube with all those ads. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Thoughts Approaching the End of Another Year

A fish eye view of where this blog emanates from - fish eye lens a Christmas gift from Pat to me for my iPhone

Another year is almost gone. Is it me or do the years seem to fly by like those calendar pages from old Forties movies that show the passage of time? 

Each year that passes I am reminded that I am still here.  Back in 1965 when I moved in with Bill and began my new career at Girard Bank in Philadelphia, I looked at my retirement date of 2006 and thought that was so far in the future. I remember seeing "2001 - A Space Odyssey" with my friend Rich Ware and thinking "that's so far in the future."  It was almost impossible for me to imagine that far in the future.  Well folks, here I am in the future.  In fact I am way past the future as 2019 approaches.  

I continue to be surprised that I have survived this long. I have surpassed so many of my friends, family, former co-workers and former classmates. Just this week I got news that the husband of another former classmate has passed on.  Next year in June I will attend my 60th high school class reunion. Our class reunions have always been joyous occasions but this year so many will no longer be attending. Just last night I was wondering who will be the last classmate standing. Would it be me?  Do I want it to be me?

I realize I am more fortunate than most of my peers that Bill and I are still together. But I have to face the fact that Bill is ninety years old and he probably won't be around for another twenty years. But then again, he just might.  

I am doubly fortunate that I met Pat and we are so close. In many ways Pat was always that person I was looking for all those years when I was trolling the gay bars in my prime. How ironic that I met him when I was seventy-two years old. Talk about a long wait.  But folks, it was worth it. I couldn't have meet a better person than that delightful Canadian. 

Presently I am reading a biography of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the 80's rock group. Freddie, like so many celebrities who seem to have it all, struggled to have and maintain a long term, loving relationship with someone who they cared for and who cared for them. Even the ultimate sex symbol Marilyn Monroe struggled to have such a relationship. And here I am, a cipher in the billions of people in this world and I have the best of both worlds.  I have both Bill and Pat in my life. 

For so many years I thought I wasn't good enough. If only I could look like that guy.  If only I could have that kind of life. If only I could have a lot of money. Then I would be truly happy.  Turns our all along I had the best life. 

Now as I approach the end of another year I thank my lucky stars for this wonderful life that I have had and continue to have. Even in spite of my failing body and my failing looks, I am one happy bear.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

DNA Test In!

Pat's DNA test results

This year I gave Pat a DNA test for a Christmas present. Pat claims he is a "mutt."  Well, who isn't?  
The results of his DNA test came in on Christmas Eve. Good timing!

What we knew about Pat's ancestry (Flynn) before the DNA test was that his father was of Irish ancestry. His maternal ancestry is French. In fact his maternal ancestors (Nicolas Pelletier) colonized Quebec in the middle 1600's!  Thus it came somewhat as a surprise that Pat's DNA test results show his ancestry is 60% Ireland & Scotland. The balance of his ancestry is 33% England, Wales and Northwestern Europe.  His French ancestry is only 4%. Another surprise is that he has 3% Norwegian ancestry. Pat says his Scandinavian ancestry accounts for his love of the clean lines of Scandinavian furniture. Every one of our quarterly vacations includes visits to furniture stores checking out the latest clean Scandinavian furniture. IKEA is Pat's absolute favorite destination.

What I find very interesting with these DNA tests is the accuracy of the migration information. Pat's is absolutely accurate in that his ancestral migration was the Saint Lawrence River French Settlers.

Ron's DNA test results

My ancestry was no surprise for me. I knew from my family research history that my paternal line came from England via Jamaica.  My nine times grandfather Jonathan Tipton emigrated to Baltimore County Maryland in 1692 after the Great Earthquake of Port Royale in Jamaica. What was he doing in Jamaica?  He was one of the English colonists, probably by way of indentured servant, of Jamaica.  He was originally from Shropshire, England.

On my maternal side of my family my great-great grandfather Thomas Hadfield emigrated to America via way of New York with his young wife and two young children.  They had lived in Glossop, England. I have the ship manifest to prove that fact. I also have the record of the Baltimore Gazette that proves Jonathan Tipton emigrated to Baltimore County Maryland, his obituary. 

One of the great joys in my life was discovering my family roots. If a genie in a bottle popped up one day and gave me a wish, I would wish that I could visit back in time my ancestors. Wouldn't that be fascinating?  

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Day 2018

Merry Christmas to everyone! 

This Christmas Day is a different one for me. I can't remember the last time I didn't work Christmas Day. I have to tell you, this is a special treat for me, not working this Christmas Day.

Bill and I don't have anything special planned for today. Just another quiet day at home. Which at our age is what we like and prefer.  

There was a time many years ago when I was all into Christmas with the presents and visits. That drifted off years ago.  No hard feelings for "Bah humbug!" to anyone, just that we didn't need to guy anything for each other.  My nieces and nephew grew up and had children of their own. Some of those children even have children of their own now, which makes me really old. Those grand nephews and nieces will receive a final gift from me when I depart this earthly life.  

One of the special things I really like about the Christmas season is Christmas Eve.  This year I spent it at work, which was really quiet.  And I mean QUIET.  I spoke to one ninety-one year old lady guest for a brief time but other than that, my eight hour shift last night was very quiet.  I like to watch the old TV movie "A Christmas Carol", the 1951 version with Alastair Sim.  I checked last night on Turner Classics and they were only showing the 1938 Christmas Carol with Reginald Owen. I had never seen this version of this movie before.  Not as good as the 1951 version but interesting, mainly for the 1938 production values which were, uh, "quaint."  Still, I liked it. This is my Christmas tradition, alone, peaceful and enjoying he silent night. 

I'm not particularly religious.  In fact I'm not religious at all but I do believe in goodwill towards all and that to me is what Christmas represents.  

Merry Christmas to all and a happy and healthy new year to all!!!!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve 2018

Christmas 1984 with the pups - Horace (far right, the father,) "T" (middle, the Mother) and their puppy Babydoll

Here we are folks, another Christmas Eve.

For the first time in more years that I can remember I will not be working Christmas Day. I have to tell you I was a bit at loose ends not having to work Christmas Day because I am so used to working Christmas Day. 

Bill and I don't do anything different on Christmas Day than we do other days. We stopped exchanging gifts years ago. We do exchange Christmas cards in person. 

Working at the hotel on Christmas is actually very nice. The guests all are in good spirits. I can never remember a time when I had any difficulty with guests during Christmas Day. Getting paid double time is also helpful.  I need that extra money to help fund my quarterly trips with Pat. 

I have to tell you folks, I am now looking forward to spending a relaxing day at home with Bill this Christmas. I think it will be nice.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Eve of Christmas Eve Musings

Here we are folks! Another Christmas is almost upon us.  Have you all done your Christmas shopping?  I haven't.  I don't Christmas shop anymore. Gave that up years ago when I became a distant Uncle Ronnie to my nephew and nieces.  Now I have a passel of grand nieces and nephews and even two grand grand nieces!  Imagine, if I was straight and had children I would be a great grandfather now.  

This year for the first time in more years than I can remember I won't be working Christmas Day. I'm sort of at loose ends with this quirk of the calendar.  I'm so used to working Christmas Day I'm at a loss.  I'll probably spend Christmas Day the way I spend most of my days.  Take Bill for a ride, update my eight Scrabble games I play online with Pat, and update my blog.  Maybe I'll take a walk outside through out development if the weather isn't too cold or windy.

Our government continues to be shut down, compliments of Donald Trump and the Republican controlled Congress.  The clock is ticking on the criminal Trump.  The Democrats will be in power in a little over a week and then all Hell will break loose on Trump and his lifetime of criminal activity. The revelation of Trump's criminality makes Hillary's e-mail fake controversy look quaint by comparison doesn't it? No more ranting about this subject in this posting folks.

Last night while I was in the Tipton Cinema, I experienced something very unusual, I taught out loud at a scene in a movie. I rarely laugh out loud while watching a movie. I enjoy many comedies but usually just smile contentedly, never a LOL (Laugh Out Loud).  But I did last night while watching "Game Night" with Jason Bateman.  Man did that feel good, especially in light of all the recent depressing activity.  My E*Trade account has taken a major hit because of the cratering stock market, thanks to Trump (yes, I BLAME him).  I continue to have my creeping physical ailments, arthritis being the main one. I frequently lose my balance and almost fall. I have trouble lifting my feet.  I drop things. These days what I really appreciate to alleviate these problems are my trips with Pat, playing on-line Scrabble, blogging, and watching a good movie or TV series. Thus that out loud laugh last night was the best medicine I could have asked for. Thank you Jason Bateman. Who would have ever thought you would cause me to give such a hearty laugh and give me a temporary reprieve from all my worries. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Silly Season

Do you feel like we're in the silly season now? We have a president of the United States that is clearly off the rails.  Even the most die hard, knuckle dragging Trump supporter will admit that Trump lies as easily as most of us breath. They will admit that Trump is the greatest danger to our country and world, even more than the dreaded Muslim terrorist. By the way, more Americans have been murdered by American Angry White Men.  

My previous post was about the looming disaster that our country is facing with the department of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the "last adult in the room".  The last adult in the Donald Trump Temper Tantrum Playroom that is the West Wing of the White House. 

Every day I wake up with this dread hanging over my head, that follows me all day, wondering what is going to happen next.  Nothing less than our democracy is at stake. Who would have ever believed that a branch of our government, the legislative branch who main responsibility is keeping a check on the administrative (President) branch of our government would be fail in their main responsibility because of their cowardice and avarice?

These days I try to put life into perspective and to think too much about our current state of affairs. I look at pictures like this of Princes Kate and Megan and those silly hats and think "they look like fools."  I like the British Royals but sometimes they do go a bit far with those hats.  They look like they're about to take flight.

Tonight I made my first batch of Christmas cookies. I used to make Christmas cookies every Christmas and distribute them to friends and neighbors. I feel out of that habit years ago for no discernible reason other that I'm just too lazy for the effort.  Tonight I made chocolate chip mint cookies. Now I remember why I don't make them.  I ate too many.  I'm not going to tell you how many I ate but let's put it this way, I have fulfilled my calorie intake for the next week.  But while I was making my cookies I took my mind off of our current deplorable state of affairs in our country, even as I was watching the feckless U. S. Senate trying to find a solution to avoid closing down our government a week before Christmas.  Trump is shutting down the government because he can't get his money for his Wall. I don't understand why Trump is having trouble getting money for his wall because he always claimed that Mexico would pay for the wall.  Oh wait, that was a bait and switch from the Master Con Man.

Here I go again folks, venting. 

I have nothing planned for the weekend other than a quiet weekend. The good news is I think we got the leak fixed in our basement. Thank goodness.  We'll wait until spring until we install a new wall to wall carpet in our media room. Then I'll buy a new 75" TV and a couple of easy chairs and transform that room into a fantastic man cave.  

Going to bed now folks, with a stomach full of chocolate chip mint cookies!

Fresh chocolate chip cookies tonight - dangerous!

Trump Government Shutdown Looms

Today is also a countdown to another government shutdown, compliments of Donald J. Trump.

Folks, I cannot remember a time in my long life that I have been so concerned about our country. 

Trump is threatening a shutdown of government because he's not getting his "wall."  This is the wall that he said Mexico was going to pay for. As usual with a con man like Trump, a bait and switch. And of course his knuckle dragging base (yes, I said it) buys anything he says. 

Yesterday Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned because he could no longer be a part or support Trump's chaotic foreign policy objectives. Trump ordered the pullout of two thousand of our troops in Syria. These troops are supporting our allies, the Syrian Kurds in fighting ISIS.  Mattis was widely recognized by both political parties as one of the last adults in the room in the White House. Trump has succeeded in staffing the White House with sycophants and fools.  I fear for our country. I am not exaggerating, I truly fear for our country. I am convinced that Trump is a Russian tool.  

I'm trying to think good thoughts as Christmas approaches but I'm having trouble with the clear and present danger that our country is in because of Trump's reckless actions.  

Who is going to save us?  Certainly not the Republicans in Congress who are afraid of a Trump tweet.  What a sad, sad and dangerous place our country is in now.  

Our Constitution has a remedy for a president who is incompetent and dangerous, impeachment.  But who would have thought that the Republican members of Congress would be such cowards?  

As I type this Trump is having another of his many temper tantrums in the White House. He has summoned the Senate Republicans to the White House to try and intimidate and bully them break the law and go nuclear and only require fifty Senate votes to pass his wall bill.  And why does he want the wall bill?  Because, and this is hard to believe, Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh want it.  Yes folks, this is where we are in our country now.  Those two bimbos are dictating presidential policy. And of course Trump is absolutely terrified that he will lose his base.  Trump needs adulation from his base the way a vampire needs blood.  

There, I got that off my chest. I was going to write a nice, warm and fuzzy Christmas post but I didn't did I? I wrote another Trump rant.  But folks, I am so concerned about where our country is now and where we're going.  

Dangerous times folks. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas Memories

My best Christmas memories are of my childhood in the Fifties. Our family lived in a second floor apartment building on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Our rent was $22.50 a month, a fact my Mother often repeated.

I had (have) two younger brothers. Our apartment had a "front" room (living room) where my Mother and father would place our always scrawny Christmas tree.  Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of that tree.  My Mother never thought to take pictures of her boys with the Christmas tree. It wasn't until I got a camera for Christmas when I was eleven years old that I started to take pictures. By then we had moved to a different second floor apartment on Boot Road in Downingtown.

The "front" room was literally in the front of our apartment. Moving towards the back of our apartment was a bathroom, then a kitchen, then two adjoining bedrooms in the back of the apartment.  Most if not all of the family activity was conducted around the kitchen table.  This was the Fifties. Think Ralph Kramden and Alice in "The Honeymooners."

One indelible and warm memory I will always remember are the colorful bubble lights on our Christmas tree. Also the silver tinsel, which gave a shimmering effect on the tree.  We finished the decorations with unadorned color bulbs, one of which was always guaranteed to fall and shatter in many pieces. And of course there was the delightful evergreen smell. Oh the magic of Christmas!

I don't remember too much about gifts other than being disappointed when we received clothes, which I didn't consider a real Christmas present. But what I do remember was the year I asked for a train set. Santa brought me a train set but my Mother told me that the train set was for "all you boys."  What?  Share?  How can you share a train set?

Well, we tried.  I took over the engine (of course since I was the oldest).  My next younger brother Isaac took the three middle cars. My youngest brother John took the caboose. I don't need to tell you this arrangement didn't work.  We tried, we really tried but what Mom created with this "share" direction was three very disappointed young boys.  

I don't know what happened to that train set. It was a Lionel train set. Smoke blew out the smoke stack of the engine. It worked but my brothers and I didn't work well together.  Mom had good intentions but her solution to having little money for Christmas gifts for three young boys didn't work out.  

The next year we moved to Boot Road, into another second floor apartment. This time I asked for a camera.  I got one! The rest is history. Yesterday I backed up my 94,385 photos to an external hard drive, finally!   

My brothers John and Isaac with their new bikes - 1953 - I got my Kodak camera - no charing this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Do You Like Yourself?

Me with my parents - 1976 - body language says it all

This post is inspired by a recent post of a fellow blogger, the Travel Penguin.

The question "do you like yourself" is a question most of us have faced at one time in our life. Now I'm not a psychologist or a learned scholar but I do know who I am.  

Early in my life I was brought up with little sense of self worth.  I didn't know the difference because that was the only reality I only knew.

Later on in life I realized that my father didn't want children. We were a bother to him. He left the rearing of me and my two younger brothers to my Mother. Thankfully my Mother cared for us but she was not a demonstrative Mother who hugged us or told us she loved us. But she did. I attribute that to her awful childhood where she lost her Mother before she was two years old.  But she did take care of us.

I've written about this subject before so pardon me regular followers of my blog if I repeat myself.  

About ten years ago I came across some of my grade school report cards. My grades were mostly B's with a scattering of A's and an occasional C. On the back, where my characteristics were listed as either Acceptable or Unacceptable, I noted with some surprise the one area which was always Unacceptable - Self Confidence. Gee, no wonder. After being constantly mocked by my father as having a big nose, being stupid, and an embarrassment to him, no wonder I lacked self-confidence. But understand I didn't know the difference at that time, I thought all that was true. It was the only reality I knew. Thank goodness he didn't physically or sexually abuse me but mentally? Big time. Being constantly put down from my earliest memory how could I not have a low self-esteem? But at least I had a father. Bill lost his father to a drunk driving accident when he was ten years old. Pat's father died (alcoholic) when Pat was ten years old. I had a father, even if he was indifferent at best to me and psychologically abusive to me at worst. 

Not until I left home when I joined the Army at eighteen years old did I begin to realize that I wasn't a total loser. This realization didn't happen overnight but eventually I came to realize I had some worth, something to offer to our communal society. Of course there were times during my journey into adulthood and self awareness that some people tried to belittle me and put me down. The reasons varied from jealousy to just plain ignorance, cruelty and bullying. Who of us hasn't been subjected to the same?

A few years ago I was watching one of those old VHS videos of me having dinner with a friend of mine.  I was secretly videotaping him as a joke to be shown to him later.  We were both very relaxed and just being ourselves.  Watching that video I discovered a few things that surprised me. One sort of shocked me.  That was the realization that I had many of my father's physical mannerisms. Oh God!  That was a surprise. I was turning into my father. The other thing that I noticed while looking at myself interacting with my friend Ed, was that I seemed like a nice guy. Someone I would want to know and feel comfortable with if I was someone else. That was also a surprise.  Then I thought back of all those years which I hated the body I was in.  I hated the sound of my voice. I hated my big nose and small chin. I hated being tall.  I hated that I wasn't an athlete. There was so much I hated about myself.  I felt sad thinking about this because I couldn't think of anything I liked about my self. That is what happens when a constant mental abuse is heaped on a child.  What a shame, all those years wasted. I've often wondered what my life would have been liked if I grew up with a sense of self-worth. And I can't blame my Mother because she didn't have a sense of self-worth either so that's why she couldn't pass it on to her sons. But she did protect us and made sure we were cared for.

These days, now that I am older and wiser, I like who I am.  In fact, I wouldn't trade myself for anyone else on this planet. I like myself just the way I am. Imperfections and all.

Oh sure, I still encounter people who don't like me. I know it is a cliche to say this but that is their problem because I'm a pretty nice guy. I don't waste my precious time concerning myself about why those people don't like me. 

One of the many benefits of old age, things I used to think were important I find aren't important. What is important is that I like myself and that I have true friends and they like me. 

That's my sermon for the day folks!

Monday, December 17, 2018


Keep it simple stupid, that's been my motto all my life. I'm not stupid but I'm not one of your smart, clever people either. Oh I know how to survive but as for having any special talents, especially technology wise, my brain isn't user friendly to today's technology. I work at it though with plenty of help. 

This morning I returned my Seagate 8 TB hard drive to Staples for a full refund which they gave me. Thank you Staples. 

When I got home I called my Apple computer guru friend Mike and asked his advice. He told me he uses a G-Technology portable hard drive which he purchased from the Apple store. This is what I should have done at first instead of rushing off to Staples yesterday and buying that Seagate hard drive.  That's another problem I've had all my life, impulse buying without doing all my proper research. I've gotten better over the years but I am still susceptible to my first impulse, which is to run out and buy what I need only to find I have bought the wrong thing or duplicated what I've already bought. Oh the woe for not being one of the smartest people on this planet.

Delivery of my new G-Technology portable hard drive from the Apple store is scheduled for tomorrow.  Now if I can grab that off my front porch before a porch pirate does.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Another Frustrating Day

This morning I purchased a Seagate Backup Plush Hub hard drive. I am always worried about losing my 96,000 plus photos and videos. 

I talked to my friend Lar yesterday and he says he always backs up his photos. I have my photos and videos on iCloud but I don't trust it. I'm waiting for the day, which will come, when the news goes out "Whoops!  iCloud has been hacked by ransom ware and you'll have to pay $$$$$ to get your photo and video files back!"  Why not, just about everything you have on the Internet has been hacked at one time or another. Why even my photo has been hacked and is now being used by some Middle Easterner on a dating web site. I suppose I should be flattered but I'm not, I feel violated. 

I spent hours today trying to configure the new software to my computer. I even inveigled by friend Mike to make the trip to Casa Tipton-Kelly to help me. Now mind you, Mike is much more knowledgeable about this computer workings than I am. After a couple of hours of trying to get it to work, I suggested we call it quits. It was dark outside and I didn't want to keep Mike from dinner with his husband.  

After Mike left I went on You Tube to try and see if there was an instructional video where the instructor wasn't such a ham to see if I could figure out to get this software on my computer so I could back up my photos and videos. No luck with not getting a ham (what is it with some of these guys on You Tube? Do they all think they're going viral? Not everyone is a Justin Bieber). What I did find out though was I got the wrong software. I got the "PC" instead of the software for my iMac computer. Slap on my head. 

I take it back to Staples tomorrow for a full refund. Wish me luck. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Comments Working Again!


Hey folks! My comment section is finally working again.  Thanks to help from my long time friend Lar who sent me a copy of his settings so I could duplicate them on my settings. I love Blogger but Google doesn't make it easy.  I was seriously considering going to Word Press but I've tried them before and either I'm too stupid to learn or they're just too complicated for my old brain.  I like the clean format of Word Press but trying to figure it out to do all the things I can do with Blogger, is beyond my limited comprehensive skills.

What a relief to be back on my old blog. A blog which I began in 2005.  I've spilled a lot of my guts in this blog over the past thirteen years. I've made friends and lost friends who either died or became bored with my posts and moved on to greener pastures. I know one "problem" I have is that I don't post nude photos of men on my blog.  That limits my blog followers I'm sure but for those of you who are interested in the day to day musings of a seventy-seven year old gay man who is in a long term relationship (54 years) and who also has a buddy (five years) who I travel with four times a year, then this is your place to be. 

I'm not the cleverest person in the world, nor the handsomest but I do have my moments. 

I appreciate all of you who follow my blog and leave comments which is why I am so glad I got this comment section of my blog straightened out. I do like that interaction with my readers. My blog wouldn't be the same without that interaction. Just like writing into the great Unknown. Endless space. I need that contact. Thank you Lar!

Lar told me the video I posted on my last blog was jerky.  If any of you had the same problem and would like to see a non-jerky video, let me know and I'll send you a direct link because it really is a good video compilation of our (me and Pat) recent stay in Philly visiting our friend Don.

Remember always, I am here to inform and entertain and perhaps bring a smile to your day. 

By the way, that is Lar in the video. The guy with the cane and white beard. The other two suspects are me and my Travel Buddy, Pat. We were in Rehoboth Beach two years ago having an old time photo taken with Anne. 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Philadelphia December 2018

Twice a year Pat (my Canadian Travel Buddy) and I meet in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.  We stay for a week at the guest suite at our friend Don McK's co-op which is located in center city Philly. We meet once in the spring and the other time in the fall after Thanksgiving but before Christmas.

Pat and I never have specific plans a la "If this is Tuesday this must Belgium" but we always have a great time. This visit was no exception.  

Usually we eat at the same restaurants but this time we took a gamble and ventured out to try something new.  One fabulous place for breakfast or brunch is called Green Eggs; good food, great service and not expensive. They even had scrapple, a southeastern Pennsylvania "delicacy" (scrapple is made up of pork leavings and cornmeal, yes, the snout and ears and whatever else of the pig that doesn't end up in the meat section of the supermarket). They did the scrapple right too, crispy on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside. Green Eggs could even accommodate Pat and his vegan requirements.  We're finding more and more restaurants are vegan friendly. Of course we returned to our favorite restaurants like Hip Veg City and Marathon Grill and even Mama's Place.

This year we were able to see two good movies.  "Green Book" (notice a green theme here?) and "Bohemian Rhapsody".  Both excellent movies!  We give "Green Book" at ten. That movie is going to produce some Oscars for sure.

Pat bought a large painting which he took back on the bus with him.  Yes, Pat takes the bus from Toronto to Philly, a twelve hour trip.  You won't catch me taking a bus.  I'm spoiled.  I take the plane and he meets me in Buffalo.  I have bathroom needs.

At the end of the video you'll see I'm locked out of our suite. Another fun challenge, our lock only worked half the time. Always an adventure when we venture from our comfy nests. At least Pat wasn't locked out this time.  He was comfortably ensconced on his bus headed back to Toronto, Canada. 

By the way, I'm having trouble responding to comments on this blog. If I don't respond to your comment, it's not because I don't want to.  Blogger has done something and I haven't figured it out yet. All comments are still welcomed!

More videos of our trip to Philly in future blogs. I am so glad the mice are out of our house!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mouse No Longer In The House

That's right folks, no more mouse in the house. As a matter of fact, there are no more MICE in the house. As several commenters commented, "if there is one mouse there are probably more."  And that folks is what I discovered this morning.

When I got in from work last night (about 11:30 pm) I was hoping to see a dead mouse in one of the traps we set.  Didn't happen. The mouse was still in the house.  I went to bed feeling dirty, again.

This morning when I rounded the corner from my bedroom which is right next to our kitchen, I asked Bill (who always gets up before I do) "Any luck?"  He said "We got him!"  I looked down at the trap by our refrigerator door and there was the evidence, a squashed mouse. This one was bloody.  The trap caught him right above his yes and squashed his brains.  His blood was on our tiled floor. This is the first time I've seen a caught mouse in a trap with blood.  Usually their neck or back is broke.  This little guy didn't know what hit him. I was dreading finding a mouse in a trap that was still alive.  I've had that happen in the past.

We also had a Have-a-Heart trap set. Bill asked if there was one in there.  Bill's eyesight is failing. He held the trap up to me to see and lo and behold, there was a live mouse in there!  Now I wish I had not set the old fashion trap but let the dead mouse instead be captured in the Have-a-Heart trap.

We took the live mouse out for a long ride to the end of Oyster Rocks Road, about four miles from our house.  That area is wetlands.  When I opened up the trap, the terrified mouse tried to hide in one of the slots, like an ostrich hiding its head in the sand. It soon realized that wasn't going to work so he/she jump out of the trap to the ground below and took off.  I took a video of it which I will post.

I'm at work now and I don't have access that video.  When I go home tonight I hope I don't see any more tell tale signs of mouse droppings. I don't want to share my house with mouse/mice.

Always an adventure folks, always an adventure.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Mouse Still in the House

Yes, a mouse is still in our house. Bill refused to believe that a field mouse had come in from the cold to take up residence in our humble abode. An uninvited guest.

Last night, before I went to bed, I checked the pantry and surprise, was eye to eye with The Intruder. The Mouse was startled and quickly raced down the pantry door and hid among the soup cans.  I stood there, stunned, wondering what to do now.  The Mouse took a peek around the corner then retreated among the soup cans again. I still stood there like a stup, wondering what to do. The mouse decided to make a run for it, and raced out of the pantry closet door, around the corner and to the back of our nearby refrigerator.  So that's where is he hiding!  Now I knew what to do, set mouse traps along his path line.  So far, no sighting of The Mouse. I was hoping he would trip up on one of those traps and have his neck broken.

This morning I informed Bill of my confrontation with the mouse.  I think he now believes me. He got our mini Have-a-Heart-trap, put some peanut butter in it and set the trap out.  So far no sighting of The Mouse.  Hopefully when I go home tonight The Mouse will have gone to his heavenly home.  

Monday, December 10, 2018

Who Are All Those Women?

My high school class of 1959 annual Christmas dinner - I missed attending because they changed the date at the last minute and Pat and I had already coordinated our travel plans which we couldn't change at the last minute - nice composition on this picture though, it is the way I would have staged it - some sitting and others standing. Only thing I would have made sure more were smiling!

A little explanation is needed for my header photo on this blog. I know some of you are wondering "Why is Ron posting a picture of all those women?", Ron being gay and all.  Well, for your information I have many women friends. I like women. As friends only of course. 

I took this photo of my co-workers when I worked at First Financial Bank in Downingtown, Pennsylvania way back in 2005.  Wow, I am always amazed at how fast time goes by.  

This past Saturday my high school class had it's annual Christmas dinner in Pennsylvania. Pat and I had planned to attend but they changed the date at the last minute and we couldn't make it. I always take group photos at my class reunions. But I have to admit, whoever took this photo staged it the same way I staged my photo of my former co-workers at our Christmas party in 2006.  One difference, if I had taken the photo of my former high school class members there would have been a lot more smiles. When I take the photos my subjects smile.  They can't help it!

Sunday, December 09, 2018

A Mouse in the House

Last week was the first time I noticed.  The telltale little black dropping. "Oh no" I thought.  That can't be a mouse dropping. 

I quickly put it out of my mind. Rationalization is a great thing isn't it, until it isn't.

Then last night as I was preparing dinner for myself, I saw the signs again.  Now I was sure.  Yep, a mouse was in the house. Must have gotten in through the garage and rushed up the two steps to the kitchen when we were bringing in groceries. Or else Bill left the door open while he was on one of his projects.

This is the first time we've had a mouse in the house. They're field mice, coming in from the cold. When we lived in the woods in Pennsylvania we had that problem. We would live catch them and take them way out in the woods only to have them beat us back to the house. Those little feet can travel fast. I actually caught one running up the cellar steps to our kitchen. They could easily get under the front door because the space was big enough.  Here, there is no space, the mouse (and I am assuming it is only ONE mouse) slipped in when either one of us was going in from the garage which adjoins the kitchen.

In past years these field mice have gotten into our garden shed, only to leave us with many, many droppings and the stale smell of mouse piss.  

Of course I cleaned out our pantry and sealed up any food that was open, as Bill has a tendency to do.  He likes cheese twists and leaves the bag open for easy access. I had to throw out the peppermint patties and candy kisses. The mouse already nibbled on those.  

I don't know where the mouse is now.  I assumed it would come rushing out one of our pantries (we have two) while I was cleaning them out.  The only place I haven't cleaned out was the soup cans on the bottom floor. I'll do that tomorrow morning in daylight when I can see better.  

How are we going to take care of our uninvited guest?  Mousetraps.  Yep, the old fashion kind.  No Have-a-Heart traps here because the mouse will just come back in after we release him/her. I have to be cruel like this but I don't want any stinking mouse in our house. 

We brought eight mousetraps this morning at Lowe's.  Bill put some cheese on them (expensive cheese by the way) and we set the traps along the usual routes. I expect to see results when I get up tomorrow morning. I'm not looking forward to seeing a squished mouse with eyes bulging out but what has to be done, has to be done. I just hope the poor creature isn't still alive when I find it.  

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Twenty Questions

1. What is your favorite animal?

Cats. Unfortunately I haven't had a cat as a pet since I was 12 years old. Bill (my husband) doesn't like cats. We compromised and got Pomeranian dogs. We've had five of them. No more though, too painful when they die.

2. Your dream vacation?

Very simple, a six month trip around the world, visiting every continent. Ship, plane and camel.

3. Last person's house you were in?

My neighbor Barbara, this morning.

4. Worst injury you've ever had?

Tore the quadriceps muscle in my left leg when I slipped and fell on the ice leaving work three years ago. I did not have the use of my left leg for twelve weeks. Took almost a year to get my leg back to normal. Still not totally normal but at least I can use it. Learned a new appreciation for handicapped people. 

5. Last play you saw?

The only play I ever saw, "Over There" in Philadelphia tryout. Patti Andrews was the star. John Travolta was one of the dancers in the cast. I attended the play with a friend of mine who was a critic for a local people. He often asked me to attend movies with him to get my opinion.

6. Ever go to camp?

No. I wanted to when I was a kid but my Mother informed me the family couldn't afford the cost. Nor the cost to be a Boy Scout which I also wanted to be. We couldn't afford anything when I was a kid. Don't cry for me (Argentina), I've since learned I didn't miss much.

7. Were you an honor roll student in high school?

No. I was your average "B" student. An occasional "A". A lot of "B's", some "C's" and one "F" when I defied my Art teacher on an assignment and pissed him off. He paid me back with an "F", otherwise I always got an "A" in Art class, which I loved.

8. What do you want to know about the future?

Nothing.  I don't want to know in advance which will happen.  Would ruin today. Oh maybe, stock prices then I could cheat and make a killing in the stock market. But that wouldn't be right would it?

9. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?

No, I do not use perfume or cologne. I used to when I was young and foolish. English Leather, Jade East, Canoe and my favorite which I still have, Bermuda Lime.  I use Witch Hazel as after shave. The only thing smelly that I use is Mennen underarm deodorant. 

10. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's appointment?

I have doctor's appointments all year.  Just had a visit to the ENT doctor this week for my  mucous problem. Week before I saw my urologist for my kidney stones. I see my primary doctor at the VA twice a year.  I also see a dermatologist and cardiologist once a year. I'm due for a colonoscopy next year. Oh joy.

11. Where is your best friend?

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. That would be my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat. (I haven't forgotten you Lar but Pat is Numero Uno in my life now).

12. Do you have a tan?

No.  I get color in the summer from working in our back yard oasis, but I don't lay out and bake for a tan like I used to in my Foolish Youth.

13. What are you listening to right now?

Rachel Maddow, MSNBC

14. Do you collect anything?

Lots of things. My main collection now is taking photographs. At my age I can't collect things that take up space.

15. Who is the biggest gossiper you know?

This one stumps me. I don't know any. 

16. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?

About six years ago when I left my shift at work.  I leave work about 11:10 pm. Innocently leaving work one night driving on my usual back route, under the speed limit of 25 mph, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the flashing red, white and blue lights of a police car.  I pulled over and was approached by a young woman police officer.  She asked for my license and car registration and insurance. I provided same. Then she asked me where I was going. I told her "home". She asked me where was I.  I told her "work".  She asked me if I was tired.  I said I was. She said I was "hugging the center line" that's why she pulled me over.  I told her I was careful not do drive too close to the curb because at that time of night possums and or deer often come out of those woods.  I've had several near misses in the past, especially with the possums who move slow. She let me go. I passed. I've since had more close calls with deer and possums and I still tend to hug the center line of the road and I'm still tired when I leave work.

17. What does your last text message say?

"Little defensive there aren't you Jimmy?"
(of course context would help but I'm not going to go into that now)

18. Do you like hot sauce?

Not really. Occasionally but rarely.

19. Do you need to do the laundry?

No. I'm good with keeping up on my laundry. 

20. What is your heritage?

My DNA test shows 97% English (not Irish or Welsh). The rest is Switzerland. Switzerland?  Yes, I found that one person in my family tree. But both sides of my parents are from the middle of England called (are you ready?) The Midlands.

Still No Internet But Coming Soon

Yesterday a Comcast technician came out to check why I wasn't getting an Internet connection. He discovered that my line wasn't working. That line is buried in the ground. He hooked up a temporary line until another service technician can come out and install a new buried line. 

I still don't have an Internet connection though. That's because I have a complicated WIFI connection through my Apple external hard drives.  The computer guy who installed them is incommunicado. Even though he's a neighbor, he isn't responding to my phone calls or text messages.  I called another local company who specializes in whole house WIFI. This will probably cost more (the other guy was actually pretty expensive) but I want to finally get my whole house WIFI working throughout our whole house.  Right now I have the modem router located in a cabinet at the farthest room in the house. Wasn't planned that way, just happened. I'll have these new guys (or gals) to sort through that Medusa jumble of wires to enable me to get maximum use of WIFI in our humble abode. I miss my Bose radio speakers which depend on WIFI.  

One step at a time folks. Bill's continuing to work on our basement media room, taking up the rug and painting the floor.  I think he has the water seepage leak from the outside fixed. 

One step at a time folks. What's next?  I would love to have a month or two of smooth sailing. 

Life goes on.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Getting Back on Track

A very productive day folks! 

I still don't have an Internet connection (I'm using my neighbor Barbara's WIFI to post this blog) but I talked Comcast into sending over a service technician tomorrow morning to check why I don't have an Internet connect.  I am mightily curious as to why I don't have one. I haven't don't anything weird. This is what frustrates me, I color between the lines and yet all too often something goes awry and I have to waste a lot of time figuring out why. I guess this is the price we have to pay for living in this all too convenient digital age.  That and having to deal with all those passwords.

I also called my insurance agent this morning and was relived to have him tell me I am covered for water damage inside our house. I read the letter I received yesterday from my claims adjuster which said basically I wasn't covered for ANY water damage, inside or out.  I can understand not being covered by floods or "ground water", as was the source of my basement media room damage, but ANY water damage?  This after my neighbor having her WHOLE floor replaced on the first floor of her house and her whole basement carpet. And I remember housesitting in 2005 for two women who vacation in Florida whose house was flooded the year before because of a malfunctioned hose to their washing machine.  My insurance agent assured me I was covered, less a $1,000 deductible.

Got that problem solved.  Then the next problem was I didn't received my personalized Christmas card envelopes for my expensive Christmas cards from Shutterfly.  I called Shutterfly and they couldn't figure out why UPS didn't deliver those envelopes to me even though they said they did. Maybe somebody stole the box of envelopes off my front porch.  Fortunately for me "Josh" who I was talking too at Shutterfly said they would send me another fifty personalized envelopes at no cost to me.  So to those of you who are on my Christmas card mailing list and wondering why you haven't received a Christmas card from me and Bill, there's my excuse.  Hold on, I'll get those cards out as soon as I receive the envelope.

There is some good news that is coming out of my damaged media room.  Bill is removing the wall to wall carpet and painting the floor.  It looks like he has the leak plugged up.  Cleaning out my media/storage room has forced me to go through everything. And guess what?  I found those two years books I misplaced eight years ago and my friend Lar's yearbook which I promised him.  His was damaged by water from a previous house he and his wife lived in.  I am so glad I found his yearbook and my missing two yearbooks!  I also found my "yearbook" from my Army basic training. Maybe some of this good luck will rub off on my blogger friend Jon and some of his missing items from his move from Texas to Tennessee shows up, especially his diaries that he's kept since he was ten years old.

I'm in such a good mood now I think I'll make a carrot cake tomorrow!  I had a piece of carrot cake when we were in Philly.  I paid $7.95 for that single piece from the bakery right around the corner from where we were staying in Philly. It was worth it because it was delicious!  

My big toe is a lot better now but still looking ugly (I'll lose that toenail) but I can walk again.  Tomorrow I'll resume my early morning walk through our development here where we live.  

I am looking forward to getting back into my regular routine. I don't need any more drama for the rest of the year, at least.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Welcome Home Ron!

This afternoon I returned to my home in Delaware from a very interesting week-long stay in Philadelphia. 

My ride arrived on time which was a big plus. The two hour and fifteen minute ride was pleasant, even though we traveled most of the way in a light rain and fog. The traffic wasn't heavy, big plus.

Shortly after I arrived home I discovered that Bill had cut away about half of the expensive (Berber) was to wall rug in our media/storage room.  I always treasured the quiet luxury of that room. But because of the water leaking into the room from the outside basement wall because of a defective seal on the sewer pipe, we have a major clean-up here in Casa Tipton-Kelly.  My insurance company informed me that my policy does not cover "ground water" which was the cause of the damage to our media room. Big expense here. At least I'm now forced to review and cleanup a lot of that "stuff" I stored in that room.

Later on in the day, just as I was about to take my daily nap, I noticed the WIFI signal blinking on my Bose radio.  I did some checking and lo and behold, I DON'T have WIFI.  Can you believe it?  I can't.  No nap today  I called Comcast with my "I have no WIFI".  They reset my modem-router several time to no avail.  They scheduled a technician to come out here Tuesday to check in person.  Yes, I can't use my modem-router at least until Tuesday. How and I posting this blog you might ask?  I'm using my neighbor Barbara's WIFI. 

I just had another call from Comcast. The tech representative walked me through several fixes but nothing worked.  I suspect the failed Internet connection had to do with Comcast further "adjusting" my bill for the modem that they were charging me for.

Folks, I am so tired. It seems there is always some kind of problem. I try my damnedest to do things normally and not do strange things but even so, things still seem to go awry. 

But like Pat always says, "These are First World problems."  I could have some really serious problems, this issues are annoying but hardly equals REAL problems.

Got to go folks.  Hope I get back on track this week.

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...