Friday, January 31, 2020

Ron Dances!

I've always liked to dance. Slow dance, fast dance. I've never considered myself a particularly good dancer but I do enjoy dancing. This folks is my "Elaine" (see Seinfeld episode) dance.

This week has been particularly trying, especially after loosing my neighbor and good friend Barbara. Now who am I going to gossip about the neighbors with?  Another chunk of my life gone. But of course my loss is nothing compared to her husband's loss. I see he still has company over there. I've told him that Bill and I will help him out whenever he needs us. 

Tuesday the rug cleaners are coming by. I want to have the rug in our basement also cleaned. But first I had to finish gong through my accumulation of things I don't need over the past fifty-five years. Things that I find very hard to get rid of but I am making progress folks. Today I made a lot of progress. Thus a little dance show for you all.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Dog Poop On The Stairs

The last week has been somewhat hectic. On Sunday my dear (next door) neighbor Barbara died. 

Monday my boss asked I could work two extra nights this week at work to fill in for my co-worker who has the flu. 

Also on Monday my HVAC service company did its annual inspection. And of course, just like a car dealership they found a potential, expensive problem that should be addressed. I addressed it $.

Yesterday my Computer Guy (expensive) came in to try and solve my Time Machine backup problem on my iMac. After many hours on the phone with Apple Support I still can't get my Time Machine to work (I suspect the new Apple operating system Catalina is the culprit.)  He could fix it either.

This morning I took Bill down to the Georgetown VA for the results of his labs.  The labs were good but Bill is still upset about losing his sight to macular degeneration. He wants it fixed. I don't think it can be fixed but I agreed to make an appointment for him at the Wilmington VA (89 miles away, requires a ride up in the American Legion van - shoots the morning). I don't think their eye clinic will make a difference but if this puts Bill's mind at ease, it's worth the trip.

When we returned today I noticed brown smudge marks on the carpeted stairs to the second floor bathroom that Bill prefers to use. Upon closer examination I determined this was dog poop. Probably my neighbor's (our neighbor on the other side) dog. I checked Bill's moccasin and sure enough, there was the same mocha colored dog poop embedded in the front sole of his right shoe. Poor Bill, he just can't see. 

We take our shoes off when we enter our house. But Bill doesn't always take his shoes (moccasins) off when he goes outside to check the mail. He knows I want him to take his moccasins off and put on his outside shoes but he often doesn't do this when I'm not looking. 

I hate berating him when he does this because it upsets him so much but folks, I have to tell you, I am exhausted.

I called my carpet cleaning company an arranged for them to come out next week to clean the stairs and where ever else I think Bill tracked this dog poop through our carpeted house. 

After I did that I had lunch and tried to take a nap but to no avail. I knew I was going to an afternoon viewing of my neighbor on the way to work.  

I took a shower, dressed and left early for work, stopping by the funeral home first to pay my respects. I hate these viewings because I always get so emotional. I try very hard not to be a blubbering fool.

Of course the service was beautiful. My neighbor Barbara would approve. I paid my respects to some of her friends and her husband, barely able not to breakdown in sobs. 

As I opened the front door of the funeral home to return to my car, the January sun washed over me. Barb would be so pleased that the day her family and friends paid their respects, the weather was perfect. Barb so loved this coastal area. Not for her a gray, cold, rainy day for her service. 

Now for tomorrow. One more day of work then I can start preparing for my trip a week from this Sunday to sunny Palm Springs. Of course this weekend I have to live through knowing dog poop is on our beautifully carpeted steps upstairs. I've already covered each "smudge" with a Bounty paper towel. It helps but I know they'll be there until next Tuesday when, hopefully, they'll get steamed out. 

I'm ready to coast for a while. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Sixty Year Anniversary Joining Army

Private Ronald Tipton - 1960

Yesterday I posted that I was taking a hiatus from blogging. I changed my mind. Writing is my therapy so I have to continue to write. 

My neighbor Barbara's death, even though it was expected, hit me harder than I thought it would. No longer can I stop over and visit with her, talking about whatever, usually about neighborhood gossip, which was always in a good natured way and fun and we both knew it. She was curious about "the gay lifestyle". We had many interesting conversations about that subject of which I may write about later. But today's date, January 27th, is a date that is embedded in my mind forever. January 27th was the day I joined the Army. One of the most momentous dates in my life.

Sixty years ago I was a scared eighteen year old taking a train to Philadelphia to catch a bus to Ft. Dix New Jersey for eight weeks of Army Basic Training. I was leaving my old, sheltered word behind and entering the Unknown.  

I won't go into all the details of those eight weeks (which I still remember vividly) at this time but I did want to mark this date. 

Wow, the past sixty years have been quite a life experience for this dumb ass kid from a small town in Pennsylvania. And I have to tell you folks, I couldn't have taken a better path. 

That chance choice to join the Army (I was originally going to join the Navy) charted the course for the rest of my life, including where I live now.  

I don't know how many years I have left but what I do know is that I have been blessed with good fortune and a good life beyond my wildest dreams when I was that naive eighteen year old boarding that train from Downingtown Pennsylvania to Philadelphia this date sixty years ago.  

My neighbor's death this past weekend reminded me of how fragile life is and how quickly it can end. In two weeks I depart on a big plane from Philadelphia for the sunny, warm Palm Springs with my good friend Pat. 

I live for the day folks and appreciate every day that I am in good health body and mind. 

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Passing of a Friend

My beautiful neighbor Barbara who passed away last night. I presented her with these beautiful gladiolus that I grew a few years ago. I told her "You're Miss America!" She accepted! Barb, thank you for being such a fabulous neighbor.

I'm taking a brief hiatus friends from my blog postings. The last week or two has been very hectic and I just haven't been in the mood for a bright and cheery blog posting. Then today, just a few minutes ago my neighbor informed me that his wife died last night. This was not unexpected but still it is a shock to the system when someone you know and like so well, is no longer with us. A piece of my life is gone.

These people (no names out of respect for their privacy) are the best neighbors Bill and I have ever had in our fifty-five years of living together. And the irony is that we are of totally differing political views. They hated Obama and Hillary and love Trump. And of course you know where I stand on Trump (Criminal in the White House that is destroying our democracy).  But even with our differences we loved and respected one another. More times than I can count my neighbor accompanied either Bill or me to the emergency room during our numerous visits, offering support to both of us.  One time she came down at 2:30 AM to pick me up at the emergency room when Bill had to stay in the hospital even though she was groggy on sleeping pills which she had taken earlier. 

So often I've told friends and co-workers how lucky I was to have them for our neighbors. Bill and I have had some doozy neighbors too but all was right in Heaven when we lucked out with these fine people for our neighbors.  Hardly a day went by that I didn't appreciate having them for neighbors. And she made the best beef stew too, which I could never quite get right when I tried to make her recipe.  She loved my crescent cookies. I made her some for her birthday in December and was going to make her some more. But last week when I stopped over to give her some of my old People magazines, her good friend and another neighbor was with her and gave me That Look. I knew immediately it wasn't a good time to visit. She was suffering from COPD (for several years) and that day was particularly bad. And as I said previously in this post, I expected the worst. But you know folks, when it actually happens, it's like a punch in the gut. I had the same feeling when I was informed of my father's death. I was never close with him but he was my father. When it sunk into me that I would never see him again, that he would never be part of my life again, I felt like someone just took all the air out of me. This is the way I felt when my neighbor told me his wife died last night.  She was such a part of my life, now no more.  

I have to be honest with you folks, the last several weeks I've been down (melancholy) because of the realization that Bill, at ninety-one years of age, is failing. Not in a drastically way but gradually his age is catching up with him. His eyesight is failing (macular degeneration) and I see a change in cognitive abilities. He's hard of hearing and easily confused. I've been thinking about the quandary I'm in. I'll be lost without him in my life but I don't want to die before him and leave him to face the world alone. He couldn't do it.  That's what has been on my mind a lot lately folks. That and the fact that my youngest brother is also in failing health, so much so that he can't even receive a visit from me and Bill.  I doubt if I'll ever see him alive again.  

I've been having weird dreams. I've been reliving memorable vignettes of my life, which sometimes sadden me. This past two weeks I've been sorting through some of my thousands of pictures and videos (over 100,000) on my computer. They're bringing back memories of happier and healthier times with friends, family and former co-workers who are now gone. I have to catch myself sometimes from slipping into a mild depression and lift myself up to look at all the good I have left in my life.  And I do have a lot left.

I will end this diatribe now. Writing is my therapy. Perhaps this wasn't the best time to write about the passing of my beloved neighbor but I had to do something before I lose it. 

Have a great day everyone!

Two good friends now gone, Barb with Wayne "The Cajun" Juneau. They are both at peace now and no longer suffering. I hope they are able to meet up wherever one goes when one passes from this life. I just know they will have a fabulous time.

Friday, January 17, 2020

January Musings

Modernism Week Palm Springs during our visit 2018 - perfect weather, paradise on earth!

Another week has flown by already. I remember those days when I used to post a blog daily, sometimes twice a day. Apparently those days are over. Just too much to do these days.

Like today, I'm working at the hotel filling in for my co-worker who is visiting his family in his home country of Turkey. At one time I was working five days in a row until my other co-worker noticed and offered to fill in for me Sunday. Thanks Don!

What's keeping me busy these days is just running our household. I am Bill's caregiver but he's sweet and doesn't take up a lot of my time. Thank goodness. My Mother, who was a saint, wasn't so pleasant during her later years which my brother and his wife had to deal with. Bill is just sweet and cooperative. I make him his pudding, provide him with his favorite candy (peppermint bark) and favorite soup (carrot ginger soup).

In a few weeks I'll be headed off for our (me and Pat) annual Palm Springs Winter Adventure. We'll be in Palm Springs for two weeks.  In the past during our annual California trip, we spent a week in Los Angeles and a week in Palm Springs. Last year we were so comfortable in Palm Springs during Modernism Week, I decided that we should just stay in Palm Springs for the whole two weeks. Now I'm regretting it because I will miss our usual West Hollywood hangouts (Veggie Grill, Shag, Alfred's and The Price Is Right tv show).  Next year we'll do the week in Hollywood and a week in Palm Springs. 

Last week we had Palm Springs temperatures here (68 degrees) which was lovely.  Now we're back to the freezing temperatures (35 degrees).  Some snow is forecast for this Saturday. I'm hoping that there is no snow when I leave for my flight on February 9th.  I had to make a hotel reservation the night before my flight because American Airlines changed by flight departure from 10:11 AM Sunday to 7:09 AM Sunday morning. It takes me at least two and a half hours to get to the airport. That means my ride Clarence would have to get up at 3:30 AM to take me to the airport. I can't put him through that.  So I'll leave the day before, Saturday and luxuriate the airport Marriott.

I'm ready folks for balmy Palm Springs. Now to decide what to wear.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Tipton Family Reunion October 9, 2011 And A Family Secret Revealed

My apologies folks, I've been absent here for about a week. I have recovered fully from my bouts of vertigo. I'm back to my normal dizziness. 

This past week has been wonderful with the mild temperatures. Today the high was 68 degrees! I'll take it. I actually could go through the whole winter with these mild degrees. I've seen enough snow in my life, don't have to experience it in person any more. Having said that, I do appreciate the change of weather. I like the four seasons.

During my recovery this week I got back to making for Memory videos of my thousands of photos and videos. This one I'm posting now is  video compilation of photos taken by my friend Mark Himes of my family reunion at the East Brandywine Community Park on a sunny, brisk fall day October 9, 2011.  I understand that most people who read my blog have no idea who these people are in this video. Most of them are my first cousins and their families. The initial opening of this video is of my cousin Tom Tipton with his young step son and my other cousin Ed "Bud" Tipton. We were visiting Bud and his mother (my aunt) Mabel, for whom Bud was the caretaker. 

The second part of the video with the big guy in the orange pullover is my younger brother Isaac. He helped me set up the tables at the reunion but once the folks started to arrive, he took off. Isaac is shy.  

I think I had one more family reunion which I will post in the future. That was the last one though. My family is getting too dispersed.  We originally started these reunions with my father and his ten brothers. 

The first Tipton Family Reunion with all eleven Tipton brothers, my father is the tallest in the back on the right. Picture taken 1960 Kerr Park, Downingtown, PA. I wasn't at this reunion, I was in the Army when this reunion took place

They're all gone now and about a third of their thirty-six legitimate children are also gone.
There are a few illegitimate children including the one memorial market "David Tkachick" featured at the beginning of the video. That was an interesting story.  He was the adopted son of my parents neighbors Joy and Chick Tkchak.  He was brain damaged at birth and lived most of his short life in their garden house next door to my parents' three acre property.  He couldn't stand, nor talk because he was damaged at birth by his mother who tried to self abort herself but wasn't successful.  One summer day in 2001 I was in the garden with my Mother and I heard "David" cry from the pond/garden house where he lived. My Mother said "You know that's Tip's (one of my uncles) son?"  I said, "No, I didn't."  "You mean he's my cousin?"  She said "I guess he is."  Small world.  She told me Tip had gotten this lady from the church next to where he lived in his rental cabin pregnant. He didn't want to take responsibility and she didn't either. She tried to abort her baby but wasn't successful.  David was born with brain damage. He lived only into his twenties. Makes you wonder how many stories like this are buried in history with time. I only knew about it by chance when my Mother mentioned it because we could hear David moaning from his pool house.

My Mother talking to her neighbor "Chick" Tkachick at the mutual border of their property Augst 2002.  David lived in a pool house back to the left of Chick. I eventually told Chick and his wife Joy who David was after my Mother died. I don't think it ever registered with them. They didn't say too much about it. By the way, the flowers that Chick has are ones I picked for him from my garden.  My father used to have a garden on the property adding the Tkachick's.  He grew corn. After he died, I were flowers and herbs. Everyone is gone now including my Mother and Chick. My brother Isaac lives on the property now. Lost of information here, maybe not of interest to the casual reader of this blog but perhaps someone researching me in the future after I'm long gone but my blog will lived forever.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Emergency Room Visit

Entrance to Beebe Emergency Room - I know how to get here

Yes, it happened again. I had to call 911 for an ambulance to take me to the Emergency Room.

I've lost count how many times I've taken that ambulance ride to the Emergency Room at Beebe Hospital. Several times for my kidney stones (lost count) and once when I slipped and fell on the ice and torn my quadricep leg muscle.

This time the cause of my emergency room visit was vertigo. 

I woke up yesterday morning on my back. Normally I sleep on my side. As I opened my eyes I saw my overhead bedroom fan, which was not on. But it was moving left to right. And moving, fast.  Uh oh.  I had this happen before a couple of years ago.  It's a feeling of dizziness and nausea.  The nausea is the worst.  The dizziness is exactly like when you're drunk, not a good feeling.

I thought if I lied down and closed my eyes, eventually the dizziness would go away like it did the last time I had this happen. However, this time it didn't go away.  In fact it got worst, if you can imagine that.  

At 8:45 PM I decided to call 911 for an ambulance to take me to the emergency room.  

I had no appetite at all during the day. The nausea was only getting worse and the dizziness, unbelievable. 

I called my neighbor Bob M. to take Bill and follow the ambulance down to Beebe.

The EMT's were wonderful, as usual, during the ride to the emergency room.  At Beebe I was wheeled right into a room for tests, right past a hallway filled with sad looking people on gurneys. I wondered why they didn't put me aside a wall like that. Oh well, I was feeling too miserable to ponder further.  

While I was in no extreme physical pain like I was with my kidney stones, I was feeling awful with the nausea and dizziness.  I had to keep my eyes closed.

Sick Ron in Emergency Room

They performed a series of tests on me including a brain scan (to check if there was any damage from that fall to my head I had on the SEPTA bus in Philadelphia six months ago).  Everything checked out, thank goodness. No brain concussion. 

What they determined was that I have a severe attack of vertigo, which is an inner ear infection.  I thought that was the problem but I wanted to make sure it wasn't any worse because of that fall I took to the back of my head in Philadelphia.  

The hospital released me to go back home (yay!) with a prescription for medication to combat the dizziness and nausea.  

I slept good last night and woke up this morning to a stationery fan above my head.  

I have to tell you folks, I'm sort of getting tired of these health issues. But I have to put things in perspective, so far my health issues are nothing compared to friends of mine and my brother John who has serious problems (lymphoma).  

I'm still a little loopy today but a LOT better.

Just another day in the life folks.  

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Week In Philadelphia

Here is a short video compilation of our week in Philadelphia. We always have a grand time.

"Clarence" drives me up from my home in southern Delaware, over two hours away.  I meet Pat at the Barnes and Nobel book store after he has taken an overnight bus trip from his home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Thus we began another wonderful week in Philly, staying in the guest suite of our friend Don McK's cooperative at 21st and Chestnut Streets, right in the heart of the vibrant center city Philadelphia life.

For this trip Pat rented a car and we took a drive out to visit my brother in Downingtown which included a visit to my old (tiny) bedroom at the family home where my brother now lives. Then we got on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and drove out to Hershey Pennsylvania to visit the antique car museum.  

The rest of our all too short week in Philly, we patronized some of our favorite restaurants like the Marathon Grill (both of them), Hip Veg City, Green Eggs Cafe (Pat loves their scrambled tofu) and the Cheesecake Factory.  On every trip we visit a new restaurant (or two). This time we went to an authentic South Philadelphia Italian restaurant called Ralph's Italian Restaurant. When we were there we discovered Ralph's is the oldest Italian restaurant in the United States. This restaurant has been patronized by such celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and yes, even Taylor Swift. By the way, we had a fabulous Italian meal.  

I also took time to help our friend buy a new iPhone and help him with any questions he had about his iMac. 

Pat and I visit Philly twice a year, once in the spring and another time in the winter. We love Philly. I'm going to try and talk Pat into visiting more often next year. Time is getting short. 

On my ride back I had a new driver, "Maria" with her girlfriend "Sunshine."  My regular driver was with his family for Christmas in Virginia. 

Nest trip, sunny Palm Springs in February. We're living the dreams folks. I'm so glad I can relieve these memories via these video compilations. I love taking the videos and pictures and creating them.  Enjoy!


Caregiver Update

  Bill with his hospice nurse last week Regular followers of this blog have no doubt noticed that I haven't been posting on a regular ba...