Entries Tagged as 'General'

My Marvin Wristwatches

I’ve started a small collection of vintage wristwatches. I actually stopped wearing wristwatches about 10 or 15 years ago when I started carrying a cell phone because it seemed redundant to have a phone on me all the time where I could see what time it was. But recently, for some unknown reason, I’ve become interested in these small mechanical marvels. It’s become a small obsession really. There is something about all of the tiny gears, pinions, jewels and springs of a fine Swiss timepiece that when put into motion, plays the smooth song of time with the precision of a professional orchestra playing a classical classic. No one can make a watch like the Swiss.

The Marvin watch company can be dated back to 1850. Rather than re-write an article on their rich history, I’ll defer to two resources that have already done a great job of it. One is at Matt Baily’s blog and the other is on the Marvin watch company’s website.

Debbie’s watch (pictured above) is the first Marvin that I purchased. It is in mint condition and It came from a watch maker’s personal collection in Hungary. It was manufactured in the early 1970’s and has obviously been treasured and meticulously cared for for the past 40+ years. I have no idea what this watch would have cost back in the 70’s, but I paid $116.48 for it. It had already been recently serviced. It looks and runs like a brand new watch.

The next Marvin I purchased was a 1960’s something model for myself. It has a beautiful silver colored dial and the quick set date, with second hand, 17 jewels, crown and dial signed by Marvin, and it has the original plastic sticker affixed at the back to protect the watch case. The hands and hours glow in the dark. This was a New Old Stock piece that a collector bought from a watchmaker’s estate in the UK. I don’t believe that this watch had ever been worn until I bought it. I’ve worn it about 5 times so far. I paid $223 for it. While it is in new condition, I’ll need to send it to my watch maker to have it serviced since it’s been sitting dormant for so long and I don’t want to run it too much without a fresh oiling.

And last but not least, I’ve just received my white faced 17 jewel Marvin dress watch. I don’t know much about this one. Judging from the style, size, and signing of this watch, I think it’s from late 50’s to the early 60’s. It has a textured dial around the outside where the position markers are and the inside circle of the dial is smooth. The dial is bright white and the hour and minute hands glow in the dark. It is in excellent condition with a brand new leather band. While it runs perfectly, I will have to send this one off to my watchmaker to have it serviced as well because I do not know it’s history. I paid $51.25 for this one and will pay another $60 to to have it cleaned and serviced.

RIP Sky Blue 2/14/2000 – 8/8/2013

I’m not sure how to write this. I don’t think my heart has ever been so heavy with grief and my soul feels empty. There is an undeniable emotional connection between a man and his dog that can’t be matched in any other kind of relationship. There’s an unspoken mutual understanding that if shit really hit the fan, he’d die for me and I’d die for him. He’d kill for me and I’d kill for him. Dogs are pack animals and deep down I think that men are too. When we establish this relationship with our dog it’s our chance to be the leader of our pack. Our dog will spend his life with his main goals of pleasing us, being loyal and faithful to us, and doing whatever is in his power to protect us and make us happy, from the moment they wake up to the moment the drift off to sleep. You will not find a more pure example of unconditional love between any two living beings on this earth. It’s the way a dog loves his man and the man loves his dog.

I’m an emotional basket case right now, but I’ll give this my best try. In the winter of 2002 I had to put my 17 year old Siberian Husky to sleep. It was one of the lowest periods of time in my life. I grieved heavily for months and without that dog, my life was empty. My house was empty. I was empty. Towards the back end of my grieving process I realized that those 17 years of joy that Crystal Dawg brought me was well worth the few months of emotional torture that came along with her death, and it was time to get another companion. The online search of perfinder.org began with a 30 mile radius, then 60, then 120, then 180 and there he was. Sky Blue was in a rescue shelter in Queens New York. One look at his picture and I knew he was the one. I felt a connection with him as soon as I looked at his picture. For all the paperwork involved, you’d think I was adopting a child, but before long, I was driving to New York to pick him up.

Without going into a biography of Sky’s life, I’ll just tell you that his previous owners abandoned him at the groomer. He went to a kill shelter and was on death row and was rescued by Bobbi and the Strays, a no-kill shelter in Queens NY. He spent nine months there in a cage waiting. He had several people that wanted him in that time, but thankfully, no one passed the test. I adopted him in the early spring of 2003. I taught him to swim and he loved the river. He loved the boats. He loved my friends and they loved him. He’d swim up to the pontoon boats and stand on his hind legs like a bear and beg for ring bologna. He was with me though thick and thin and I love him dearly. He protected me when I needed protecting and even when I didn’t. He loved me every day of his life and I loved him the same. Ten years goes by so fast.

He went downhill pretty quickly in the last six months. First there were seizures, then his belly got big and he had trouble walking. He got tumors in his lungs and a big one on his liver that was pushing his stomach tight against his spine. I took him to the vet yesterday and they said they couldn’t fix him. They said if I brought him back home that he’d basically suffocate from the pressure of the tumors, so I really had no choice. I put him to rest and eased his pain. I loved him. I petted his head and told him “thanks” and that I loved him as he took his last breaths.

I’m the one in pain now. It feels like someone ripped a huge hole right through the middle of my soul. My throat feels like it has a grapefruit in it and tears flow freely out of my eyes. I can’t speak. My spine is vibrating and there is a pain in myself that originates from my brain that I just can’t describe. it permeates every sense of my being. It is uncontrollable. I wish right now that I went with him. But I know that my pain too will pass as I remember every scratch of his head and every wag of his tail. Every moment that he snuggled up to me is now a precious memory and every time I hugged him I wish I’d have hugged him longer. We had a great life together. He rescued me as much or more than I rescued him. I’ll love and miss him deeply as long as I live and I hope he’s waiting for me for when I go. RIP Sky. I will love you always.

To be thankful…..

A deer was grazing outside my window yesterday morning when I woke up and was getting ready for work. I feed the wild birds in my back yard every day, and every evening they perform a playful dance for me that no human being could ever choreograph. There is a creek that rolls along behind my house with waves of tiger lillys and a plethora of other wild flowers and natural flora that sway in the breeze along it’s banks. I am thankful for the natural beauty that surrounds me every day of my life.

I am married. I was fortunate enough to find the soul that loves me unconditionally and fills my heart with love. I am fortunate enough to love her just the same, perhaps even more deeply. I am fortunate that the time in our short lives was right to share that love with one another for the rest of our lives, and to take it to eternity with one another. Not everyone gets that chance. I am thankful for that.

I have friends and family that go way above and beyond to show their kindness and caring for me. There are no dollars to pay for that. The only way to pay for that is to return the respect, loyalty and friendship that I am shown but it never feels like I’ve paid enough. I always feel like I come up short. It’s overwhelming sometimes. I am truly blessed to have such warmth surrounding my soul. I am thankful for that.

It makes me realize how much I’ve taken for granted over the years. While technology seems so cold and heartless, the reality of it is, is that when someone sends us a text, it’s not just a text. They are sending us a message because we are a part of their lives. We are in their thoughts and in their hearts. When some one posts on our wall or sends us an email out of the blue, they are doing it because we are in their hearts and they are thinking of us. It is the equivalent of years gone by when someone would walk a mile to your house to bring you a fresh baked apple pie. As I grow older and wiser I am learning to appreciate with profound gratitude the importance of the little things in life that I had often overlooked in my younger days. I am thankful for the wisdom that God has given me to see this and I wonder in amazement what tomorrow will bring.

A new paint job

The website was due for a makeover. I wanted to clean everything up a bit and make some changes and I really like the new look. As is my style, I’ve kept it simple. There are a few new pages at ronmeinsler.com outside of this blog. Some are for you and some are for me. All in all I like the new look and I hope you do too.

Hello Everyone!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. So much to do and so little time. Now that winter is here, I hope to be able to write a little more. I was busy over the summer with vacations and floods. It seems I moved my boat away from flooding rivers more this year than I actually sailed it. My house got flooded in September too. It ruined almost all of my computers and basically everything that was in my great room, which is about 2 1/2 feet lower than all the rest of my house. My garage had 3 feet of water in it so my motorcycle, tractors, tools, welders, air compressors etc.. were all under water. I’ve been pretty busy fixing things and fixing my house. It’s nice living by the creek until it gets angry and ruins everything you’ve worked for over the last 15 years.

Debbie and I are looking forward to our first Christmas season together. We still haven’t picked a date for the wedding yet but hopefully it will be this summer. We want to get married on the sailboat. As soon as we hash all of that out I’ll post it here. Well, I have a fresh batch of Boilo cooking so I have to go for now but I’ll get back into writing mode soon.

Ciao for now!

How the Zimmermans became my heros

It was all planned. She was supposed to land at Harrisburg International Airport at 9:19PM. I was going to be there waiting at the bottom of the escalator to watch her come down and propose to her right then and there. My friend Charlie Zimmerman and his lovely wife Shelly are awesome photographers. The best I’ve ever seen. They were going to meet me there and capture the entire event on film. I didn’t want video. I wanted it in still photography in Charlie’s unique creative style. But Mother Nature had different plans.

I had a lot to do that day to prepare for her visit. There was house cleaning, laundry, and a million other things to do. I’d been in touch with Charlie several times during the day via email going over different parts of the plan. I would meet him there about 45 minutes early to scope out the angles and so forth. That was the plan.

I didn’t have the tv or radio on all day. I was too busy. I had no idea there were severe storm warnings or anything. About 6:30 I started hearing some thunder but nothing to be alarmed about. I got a shower and got dressed and was on the road by 7:30 which would have put me at the airport by 8:30. Here’s where the plan changed. I made it about half way there and on a section of highway with a concrete wall on one side and a guardrail on the other, all traffic came to a complete stop. Parking lot stop. The kind of traffic jam where everyone puts it in park and turns off the engine.

So it’s 7:50 and I’m sitting there. 8:00 rolls by. Then 8:30. I still hadn’t moved. 9:00 comes and goes. I’m freaking out. Still no movement. Unbelievable! I didn’t have Charlie’s cell phone number. He’d heard about the impending doom and sent it to me late in the afternoon, but I hadn’t checked my email before I left. Charlie and Shelly left early because of the forecast and they were at the airport plenty early.

So there they are at the airport. Debbie’s plane lands. Everything is in place except that I’m in this God awful traffic jam with trees blown over the highway and nothing is moving. Debbie calls me to tell me she’s landed. Time for plan B. Gonna have to make this one up on the fly. I described Charlie and told her to look for him. I told her I wanted to have pictures of us meeting at the airport and that’s why they were there. So she finds Charlie and Shelly and introduces herself.

The way it works out is that Charlie and Shelly offer to take Debbie to a local lounge and wait for me. Traffic finally starts to creep. All the while, they’ve been hearing about the destruction of the storm and it’s hitting close to their house. They have no idea if they even still have a house, yet they are doing all this for me. Rescuing my girl from the airport and bringing her to meet me so I can propose to her, and they will photograph it, and that’s what we did.

This is a once in a lifetime shot for me. I am in awe and deeply in debt to Charlie and Shelly for doing all of this for me, all the while knowing that they might be incurring damage to their home while they are doing it. It was a great show of friendship and one that I will certainly never forget.

Also, I can’t say enough about the high quality and unique artistic aspect of their work. Go check them out at http://www.charliezimmerman.com and you’ll be glad you did.

To Charlie and Shelly. Thank you so much for everything you did for me. You were my heroes and I will never forget what you did for me.

Speechless and excited

Soon I will ask a question, and if I get a three letter answer my life will change forever.

Tic Toc The clock Is Running

I’m going out to see Debbie tomorrow for one last time before she goes back to Florida. I can’t wait to see her but I know how hard it will be to say goodbye again until May. It makes the whole thing a bit bittersweet. Tomorrow will be pure joy just to be in her company. Sunday will be cold, desolate, empty and lonely as I drive home alone, and those feelings will continue until we see each other again. It will only be 53 days until I get to see her again, but 53 days seems like an eternity when you are separated from someone you love. I’m growing a profound respect for our men and women in uniform who dissect their families to go off and defend our country for months and years at a time. I imagine that that is harder than the service itself.

We talk about closing the gap somehow and being together forever. We’re not exactly sure how we’re going to accomplish this yet but our hearts are one and I’m sure we will find a way. My good friend Jon McDougal offered some advice but I’m having trouble subscribing to it.

He says “Take it slow. You’ve got plenty of time. Sounds like you both have the same goals and ideas, so it isn’t a race”.

I’m about a decade older than Jon and I don’t see it that way. We’re a bit past mid-life. We don’t have as much time as the younger people do. We’re not on the uphill climb anymore where you deal with the daily grind of upward mobility, raising a family and stressing out over all of life’s small stuff where every day is just another grinding day. We don’t take tomorrow for granted. We’re thankful for today and hope and pray that tomorrow comes and provides us with another day to share together. We’re at that plateau in life where you level out and enjoy each others company and every minute counts. We take the time to share a sunset and revel in the moment. We enjoy every moment that we have together. We take the extra time in the morning to let each other know we care and we never pass up an opportunity to hold each other because tomorrow may never come. I’ve endured 33 years of my adult life without her company and now that I know what I’ve missed, I have a new perspective on the time that we have left. Every day that we’re not together is another day of our lives that is wasted and gone. It’s another day that gets chalked up and added to that 33 year sentence. It’s another day lost that we’ll never get back.

The power of love

Debbie came all the way from south Florida to visit me this weekend. What strength and courage that must have taken. She is as brave as she is beautiful and I am a lucky man to know her and to be in her heart.

Thirty three years had passed since we last saw each other in person. Thirty three years since we had even spoken until January of this year, 2011. We had both taken radically different paths through life’s journey that led us to the same spiritual and emotional place all these years later. It is such a crazy story that it is almost unbelievable.

We re-connected through Facebook and then immediately began texting and instant messaging online. It wasn’t long until we fired up the web cams and since then we’ve been face to face enjoying each other’s company for hours on end every single night, but a thousand miles away from each other. There was much to teach and learn about each other’s past and life’s experiences. There still is much for us to learn.

We were in love with each other when we were sixteen years old, but what do sixteen year olds really know about love? At 49 years old now, I have a new deep respect for the answer to that question.

I thought I had been in love before. I even got married in my early twenties. That didn’t work out. I had several long term relationships throughout my life. I thought they were love too. Each and every time I had my heart handed back to me, quartered and diced, and a few ounces shy of when I gave it away. I built walls after a while. I didn’t let anyone in. For the last decade I’ve lived alone, keeping any relationships at arms length. I had some soul searching to do and I did it. I know who I am now. Wisdom has taught me many lessons and I know what is important and what is not. I know what is shallow and what is deep. I’ve spent a lot of time here alone. I learned to like being alone and I never felt lonely. And then Debbie came back to me after all these years and everything changed in a flash.

Debbie arrived Friday morning and it was although time had stood still for all those years. The chemistry is amazing. The romance is strong. The passion is deep. The love that we felt for each other way back then never died and it wasn’t just laying dormant somewhere. It was growing, unseen and undetected. It seems to have grown exponentially over the years as if someone or some thing much greater than ourselves was nurturing and feeding it as if it were some kind of prized botanical treasure.

I have just spent three of the best days of my life with her. Every embrace felt like we were sculpted by the world’s greatest artist to fit perfectly with each other. We are like two pieces of a valuable rare puzzle that can’t and shouldn’t fit with anything or anyone anywhere else in the universe except for with each other. There is not a doubt in my mind that she was meant for me and that I was meant for her.

I have never felt this depth of love, this level of trust or this magnitude of caring before. I just spent three days of total, undiminished, unabridged happiness with her and never in my life have I felt so complete. The piece of me that was missing all of these years is no longer missing. She makes me feel whole.

Our visit is over. I drove her out to drop her off at her mother’s house in Pittsburgh today where she’ll spend the rest of her vacation. Every mile I drove home I felt just a little less complete and a lot more empty. I’ve lived alone for a very long time but I’ve never felt as alone as I do at this very moment. But while my house is empty and my soul is lonely, my heart is full of love for her and hers is full with me. I’ll drive out to see her next week before she goes back to Florida and we’ll embrace each other again with the strength and passion that it will take until we see each other again this summer.

We are one.

Home made beef jerky in the oven

I love beef jerky but it’s so expensive to buy, so I used my black belt in Google Fu to research how to make beef jerky. I came across many recipes and I combined a few and came up with a pretty good one. Here’s what I do.

The store where I shop sells thinly sliced top round steak. It usually comes with 2 slices in a pack, about 12 inches long, 5 inches wide and 1/4 of an inch thick. It usually weighs in between a pound or a pound and a half. I take that and cut it down into about 1 inch wide strips and if they are real long I cut them down to maybe 6 inches in length. Once the meat is cut it’s time to make the marinade. In a big ziplock bag add

1/4 cup liquid smoke (Hickory)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
15 drops of Tabasco sauce

mix it up real good and put the meat in the bag and squish and mix it all around. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours. I let the last batch marinate for 24. It’s up to you, but I’d go at least 12.

When your ready to finish it, take it out and put it into a colander to drain it. Put a sheet or two of tin foil on the bottom of your oven and put the oven rack in the top position as high as you can get it. Then take a tooth pick and poke one through the end of one of the beef strips and put it up through the bottom of the rack and turn it sideways so that it hangs. Hang them all like that.

Turn the oven to 180 degrees and let it go for anywhere between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours depending on the thickness of the meat and how you like it. Remember, it’s not about cooking the meat so much as it is drying it out.

That’s it. Let it cool, remove the tooth picks and enjoy!