Is my book what you came for?  Then link to my free book: A Gift from the Heart


With AOL Hometown being discontinued (sad day) I am forced to find a new “web home” and WordPress seems to offer the resources and flexibility that my fit my style and thus, here I am!  So, with intent to both Blog and host web pages here, we are off and running.

Jim & Pam, and life is very good!

Jim & Pam, and life is very good!

Check out my background in the Pages to the right, beginning with ABOUT and continuing with a little background in the pages below that.

Also, check out the link to my free book, A Gift from the Heart, offered in memory of my heart donor, Roberto Cuebas, who back in October of 1994, lost his life in Brooklyn, NY, but in doing so, saved mine when his heart was donated and transplanted to replace my failing heart over in Philadelphia.  But wait, that’s what the book is all about, so go there to read the full story of the many years he and I have shared since that gift of life was donated.

Jim Gleason

A few months ago we made our first visit to the famed Herr’s potato chip factory down in Chester, PA – loved the event and highly recommend the free factory tour and sample of chips hot off the assembly line!  There we saw uniquely flavored chips and have since found ourselves looking in local stores for whatever special flavor might appear.  Yesterday at Walmart two such items fell off the shelf into the shopping cart: “Fire Roasted Sweet Corn” chips and “Sloppy Joe” chips.  Who could resist trying those two, certainly not me (although it was Pam who was doing the shopping).sweetcornchips-01-446x494

Once in the car we immediately opened both bags to sample their taste.  “Sweet Corn”?  As one who loves sweet Jersey corn and can eat through half dozen ears at a sitting, I was BLOWN AWAY (as was Pam) at the amazing similarity to eating corn on the cob captured in those chips – most complain they are too salty, and even though I have to have salt both in the cooking water and on the melted butter dripping cob – yes, these are salty (300mg/13 chips), but “WOW!”  Herr’s has done magic in capturing that unique taste.  I will admit to not being able to eat too many, maybe four chips at one sitting, to maintain the enjoyment, drawn back hours later for another.

2015-08-09_134052As for the “Sloppy Joe” flavored chips, I confess I had to stop and think back on what I thought Sloppy Joe sandwiches tasted like, having not had any for some time.  Those tasty chips helped recall my long time favorite ketchup/tangy sauce meals of memory.  Another hit by Herr’s – yes, it was the taste of Sloppy Joe’s and while not as awesome a surprise reaction as I (and in reading on-line reviews, so many others agree) found in that ‘Sweet Corn’ variety, still a fun event ‘discovering’ these two special treats.

Actually, in researching on-line, it turns out neither are new, rather special flavors that come out for just a short time each year, available mainly at Walmart, always on sale for $2.58 for the “Value Size” bag.  Check them out if you’re looking for some very different taste experiences – certainly less messy than eating real corn on the cob, but then again that is its own very unique food experience, especially if its ‘Jersey corn’ and there is no other quite like that, at least not to this Jersey corn fan ‘born & bred’.

Win10To provide a balanced and fair report, after that long story of my own technology challenging upgrade with a brand new PC to Win10 – that should have been an easy one, no? – my wife, Pam, experienced what I’m sure the Microsoft designers were aiming for. On her Windows 7 laptop when she recently received the invitation from MS for the Win10 free upgrade, she just followed the directions, backed up her files and took one step at a time without any issues, crocheting as she monitored its progress, responding to prompts as they were offered. Now I need to add she is very talented, technology savvy as a self-taught, read all the manuals (car, smart phone, etc.) regular user, so has all that going for her. A few hours later she was up on Win10 and exploring its new features, quickly surpassing my own understanding of anything beyond the obvious differences since, once upgraded, I went directly into production mode and still haven’t taken the time to really explore as she is now doing.

I mean, really, who reads manuals anyway? Pam does, and joins my son, Mike, in seamlessly upgrading his family’s three laptops without issue, while more tech savvy users like myself and some similar friends, find ourselves treading water, running uphill to accomplish the same success. Maybe that’s because we ‘mess’ with our systems to make them faster, different or whatever. Maybe there’s something to be said for just using the tool as provided and not creating work?  But like I said before, for me its more than a tool, its a hobby, one that keeps my mind young with those challenging puzzle solving issues.

To Pam, Mike and all those hundreds of millions of users out there who enjoyed similar successful Win10 installation without the tears, “Congratulations!

Along with some 65 million others who also recently received the long anticipated Windows version 10 software upgrade notice July 29th (can’t imagine the technology behind downloading 5 gigabytes of Win10 file to that many users in the opening hours alone!) I was eager to see the new features but scared of anything so untried on my brand new PC system. This recently purchased computer came with Windows 8.1 installed and an anticipated free Windows 10 upgrade available just one week later. My son, Mike, had called to excitedly share the event as seen on his system, tackling the download & install on each of the family’s laptops without incident. Mike reported the family users being very favorable to the new user interface and perceived speed of the new OS. And so I went to see what was happening under “Update” on my PC here.HPEnvy

As it was, my experience was not to be a smooth one with Microsoft leaving messages of trying to download and install that new release only to find it “failed to install” many times on day one of the launch. Their error code of ‘80240020’ was the only clue but with no explanation. Better to wait and see what fixes might come from so many users’ opening day experiences on a variety of home environments.

Of course I spent hours of error code research but wasn’t able to find any meaningful solutions. My computer is both a production system and a technology hobby, so while the average consumer might get very frustrated with the situation, for me it was a hobby like challenge of solving the puzzle with much on-line research and trying various suggested solutions, thus not a real frustration. In the next few days I would spend hours testing various posted solutions, all to no avail. With over forty years in a technical career and now another ten years as a retired hobby, I was able to tackle some pretty deep technical procedures.  These included deleting internal Windows folders/files, using the internal Command Prompt in Administration mode to do things that were behind the user interface of the Windows OS. That even included ‘cardiac surgery’ editing and creating new entries in the internal heart of the system, the Registry where you read “WARNING: Any mistake in this could cause your whole system to fail!” When a Win10 automated user friendly download/install process failed, I took the suggested manual option, downloaded the file and created a DVD install/boot disc. Finally getting the DVD device to boot, itself yet another challenge, the process called for entering the Windows ‘product key.’  

Finding a key used to be easy to just read a label attached to the computer. With aged knees, I crawled under the desk, searched every side including top and bottom of that computer case, even inside the case, by flashlight trying to find any label with a product key. Nothing!!! Found free downloadable software that would reveal the key.  When used, this 25 digit/alpha key was entered and rejected multiple times as not being valid. “Damn!”  Called HP tech support, manufacturer of my new PC, who explained they didn’t use external labels anymore.  The missing key was encoded on the firmware so it would be checked by the MS software install without user intervention.  I was directed to call Microsoft for support in getting that ‘hidden key’ to move forward. Didn’t make sense to me that you had to enter an ‘invisible key’ to accomplish this manual install, but I did as directed and called Microsoft. Well, with this new world-wide release just a few days old you can only imagine the length of time you would be in their queue as the voice advised: “Due to the large volume of callers, there might (really? …‘MIGHT?’) be a delay in getting an agent on the line”. Needless to say I didn’t stay long on hold before going back to the self-directed ‘journey’ again.

Finally I moved past the original error code using the internal ‘tricks’ mentioned above and was able to download a 5GB Win10 file directly onto the system hard drive only to end up with yet another equally meaningless error code (‘80200056’) when trying to install from the file. This too led to a merry chase and eventually a Registry edit to allow it to run the install. Actually that vendor posted reply claimed the error code was just to alert the user that a user intervention was needed in the install process.  That edited Registry entry somehow circumvented the issue and so, late last night – finally!! It’s not a short install (took about three hours), but I was watching it progress slowly while I ran back and forth changing water in three fish tanks, also watching favorite TV shows as the install reported its progress as 1% in slow increments til 100% complete.

And there it was, that ‘high tech’ advice message quoted in the title to this blog: “Windows 10 install in process, ‘sit back and just relax’ – this will require some time and several restarts” – I had to smile. This was the most non-technical direction I had ever seen, in truth exactly what the user was required to do, sit back and just relax, watching the progress til about midnight when it did its last reboot.   Sure enough, (finally) Windows 10 was up and running. Despite wanting to experience the new interface and apps, instead I choose to ‘relax’ even further and went to bed, tired and happy after a week of puzzle solving as my hobby of technology.

First thing this morning, I was up trying things out. Norton Security immediately announced it was not Win10 compliant and would download and automatically install a compliant new version.  This worked seamlessly as everything has throughout this work day so I’m a happy camper. Given the experience, and remembering son Mike’s where it worked without errors, I can’t imagine the non-techie user who might have to face those challenges unless they engaged lots of technical support, either free or paid!

I close with my admiration for whoever came up with that ‘technical advice’ offered during the process: ‘Sit back and just relax’ – good advice for life, huh? I can only imagine the push back in a brainstorming design room when it was suggested, but it carried the day.  Later, in one final install screen, a blank black background with a simple and short white message: “Hi!” welcomes the user to the new environment.  Yup, that’s all it said while you watched and waited for the final install steps to complete – some back room design techie was really having fun. I turned into bed, tired but feeling very accomplished, with a big grin as I reflected on both of those simple messages from a technology giant as they faced the huge task of populating hundreds of millions (maybe even billions?) PC’s with this Win10 OS, billed as the last version. No more new versions (IE., DOS, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1, etc.). In its place, just a lifetime of updates to this final one, Windows 10, offered free to users until later this year when if you haven’t installed it, you will have to buy it for $119.

So I’m just sitting back now and relaxing as I learn all the new stuff – a process that keeps the mind young and challenged. I do hope that if you are in a similar upgrade environment, your experience is easy, like Mike’s, and not worthy of writing a story like I just did.Win10

So each Summer we take a ‘seashore vacation’ to the Jersey shore, usually that means a trip to Seaside Heights, a throwback to my childhood week-long stays at grandma Ella Mae Crouse’s shore home on M-Street there.  These days, that vacation is very short, like an hour’s late afternoon drive of 60 miles from home to the shore where we walk the boardwalk, stop for dinner on the boards and turn around for that drive back arriving home by 9pm.

Recent years with my knees getting worse and worse with age, that walk on the boards would be limited to about two blocks, then sitting down to dinner, followed by one block back, sitting on a bench and a request for Pam to go get the car rather than my walking that final distance.  Monday this week was a perfect day for our annual ‘vacation’ trip and so we left home about 3, arriving at the boardwalk in Seaside about 4, very curious to see how they had recovered from Sandy and the later boardwalk fire.  This time we parked at the southern end of the amusement area and found that handicapped parking was free, a nice surprise.  (prior years we parked on the street midway along the long boardwalk ride/games areas, minimizing the walking)

Seaside banner

Must admit we hardly recognized the area that I had been so familiar with these past 50+ years.  Gone were the pier and log flume rides, etc.  Instead there were brand new wooden walkways, sandy picnic table eating area with a dozen or so palm trees followed by a beach buggy ride attraction ($10 for one seat, four laps around the hilly sculptured beach area, a 5 minute ride – very tempting, but no, we didn’t do it…).  We walked without pain the long boardwalk chatting about how things were so different and what a great job they had done in rebuilding what had been showing its decades long age before the storm & fire refresh these last couple of years.


One of Pam’s aunts actually owned the famous carousel ride and she recalled riding it free for too many rotations while mom talked with that aunt, she and her sister getting dizzy  from that too long repeated (free) riding.

Seaside carousel






We stopped 3/4’s of the way to enjoy a nice seaside dinner, then continued the walk to the northern end before turning around to start back.  seaside boardwalk scene 2015

Ok, I confess that we stopped on a bench to watch the surfers as the bright sun began to set, resting both the pain-free replaced left knee and the as yet undone right knee (which was showing some signs of complaint, but nothing like prior years).  What a difference from last few years of feeling like an invalid!  This was a very pleasant new adventure again, pain-free walking together, enjoying the beach and crowded boardwalk scenes of such an entertaining variety of people.  Can those girls wear any less, showing off both pretty and odd body scenes without shame or concern, constantly pulling what little they had on to cover back up what they were showing off?

Walking back to the (free) parked car, we drove down Ella Mae’s M-Street home as part of the annual tradition, honestly not being sure with all the renovations which house was hers, but we took pictures anyway (smile).  Ah, such wonderful memories of childhood days that each of us grandchildren got to spend with her!

An hour or so later we were back home, ready for a good night’s sleep in our own bed after enjoying that fresh sea breeze of the Jersey shore.

Seaside amusement machines


Total spent on 2015 Summer vacation: $25 (which includes $2 on the impossible to win
crane amusement machines and a turn of the wheel of chance or two,
also impossible to win) and not counting gas for that 120 mile round trip.

No sunburn and not a bad way to celebrate life and that new knee!

Yesterday on a minor food shopping trip, I found something very unique on their clearance rack: very small (lest I say ‘tiny’?) vials of a milk flavoring liquid (‘MILK MAGICMilk Magic: Liquid Infusions for Milk” it said on the label…) that were reduced from $3.99 to just $0.99. Looking closer at such a deep discount there were four flavors: Orange Cream, Cookies & Cream, Cotton Candy and (just plain) Chocolate, each vial good for 24 milk infusions (I love that product description).  Now I ask you, wouldn’t you have wanted to try at least one of those, especially for just 99 cents? Hey, I’m just a kid at heart (no pun intended with that ‘heart’ reference – smile!) and can’t pass up a bargain, even more so when it involves unique and sweet flavors like that. So I bought one of each.

At supper last night I ‘infused’ my low fat milk (healthy at least before I doctored it up, right?) with that Orange Cream flavor, just one squirt and I had a light orange looking glass of milk to try. Nice and cold, delicious and so I had to add some vanilla ice cream to keep it that cold and add that layer of white cream on top. Talk about ORANGE CREAM! “Wow!” What a delight! Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you – it was delicious – definitely “Orange Cream” as in those kids’ favorite Orange Creamsicles we so enjoyed as creamsicle


Each day we need to find some delight and it really is all around us, just waiting to be celebrated like this. You too will have some delight in your own life today and I do so hope you recognize it and reach out to grab and celebrate that with both yourself and friends like like I am here. What delightful life infusion will you discover out there today?

PS: As I was sharing this just out of curiosity, I went on-line to search the product and turns out there are two more really interesting flavors: Blue Raspberry and Strawberry Cream. milk magic 6pkAlso discovered there are no sugars (or calories) added with its use. Neat! Definitely going back to Acme today to buy more at that price. Amazon had the six-pack price at $32 (plus $4.99 shipping) and were out of stock, so that 99 cents is definitely a bargain.
PPS: Speaking of bargains, did I mention that Acme had a sale on their Nabisco cookies, $2.49/each, but get this, if you bought three of them, you got two half-gallons of Turkey Hill ice cream for free (usually selling for $4.99 each)! (FREE: My favorite price!)  So, of course, now we have cookies to go with that infused milk and ice cream to add to the glass to keep it cold and make it a ‘ice cream float” – Ah, life is so good!!

Now go get yours . . .

With my left knee replacement surgery now out two months+, I was looking forward to a recent air traveling to Atlanta for a UNOS board meeting as a final test of this new painus-airways-express-erj-195_4562_t-free functionality. In prior trips with both knees aging and no cartilage left, travel was painful with a typical assigned airport gate being as far from the main terminal as you can get – i.e. a distant Gate F79, meaning a very long walk with several stops to rest both arthritic knees along the way.
Of course now with that test underway, my assigned gate was B2, the very first gate past security! On the return flight, it was gate D21 in Atlanta, so I felt at least this would be a good test. Wouldn’t you know it? Gate D21 was the first gate of the spoke off the central hub, so again just like B2, the closest one! Where were they when I couldn’t walk?
Upon returning to Philadelphia after three long days of meetings and this late night return we arrived at the furthest B gate and even with the up hill ramp midway in that long walk I’m pleased to report a ‘no-pain’ experience with no need to stop and rest. I can’t tell you how much younger I felt with that, and yes, even the right knee that has had nothing done to it, was pain-free. Doctor upon my release confirmed that when one knee gets fixed, often the other previously pained knee improves and that has been my case, so very thankful for that.

He assures me that when its time to do the second knee, “You will know it!” and for now, despite my willingness to do it when needed, that right knee is doing just fine.

. . . plain pink and “Mystery Chicks” flavored marshmallow Peeps!

We were talking about the newly released special flavored Peeps this weekend and how we wouldn’t buy them at the current asking prices of $1.99 (and more), waiting until they go on sale.

Well, Pam found them at Walmart for $1 each and so we have tasted just one of each flavor (all too sweet) and guessing the mystery flavor challenge as being (according to Pam’s tasting): Kiwi flavored – imagine that.  My favorite as of now is “Party Cake” – smells like cake, tastes creamy like cake, perfect. But my other favorite just for its great smell is their “Bubble Gum Peeps” – smells exactly like my childhood Fleer’s pink bubble gum – they did a great job with it.  Of course these get so much better when aged and hardened, if we let them age instead of going back for ‘just one more.’

Try them out and let us know your personal favorite, or your own guess as to the Mystery Chicks flavor as you see it.  And, fact of the day: 5,500,000 peeps are ‘born’each day!  We have 60 of them here now (well 60 minus 6 we’ve tasted).

Life is just a bowl of . . . (not cherries but…) Peeps:



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