smallerpers                     It won’t make a beans difference but at least I feel better telling our retirement/senior story. We are not a group of greedy entitlement old buzzards! We have just been busy like everyone else making a living and killing ourselves on the job “The American Way.” It’s just our turn to retire! Excuse us for living!

My short form bio is that of a retired social studies teacher & principal with a career in the public schools of New Jersey.  –Graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, BA in History,  Drew University,  Madison, NJ, MA in Political Science.  Husband of Geri for 45 years.  Proud father of three sons &  grandpa to two grandsons. Grew up in Paramus, NJ.  Resident of Montville, NJ, for 42 years, in an 1885 Dutch Colonial.  If you know anything about old houses, you know I am never at a loss for something to do!  So, between “fixing paint chips,” we are fitting in some travel.  Phil Fontana, update February 11, 2017.


  1. Thanks for finding me on here! I am also new and looking forward to reading more posts. Katie

    • Katie, Not as exciting as your topic re America in decline!
      First post: Baby Boomers are not greedy old buzzards looking for their entitlements
      Second Post: New Jersey in the News
      But having fun writing.
      How do we build viewers, our base readership?
      I’m looking into Facebook, Twitter, & trying to respond to blogs. I also e-mail my entire address book for each post so far.
      But your article/post was really the kind of subject I like!
      Good luck & keep it up!

  2. I have nominated you for The Imagine Award!
    Of course you don’t have to accept, just know you’re appreciated!

    • Patty, Thank you for the honor of nomination for “The Imagine Award.” I have looked at the distinguished list of recipients including you. I regret that I will decline the award. This is not for lack of appreciation to you. But due to the time necessary to meet the award requirements & carry on this fine tradition, I will just say, “Thanks, Patty!” You have awarded me enough in the nomination! Phil

      • You are never have to accept an award, but I did have to name you my friend! Just know that you’re appreciated! Lots of love

  3. Patty, Thanks so much. You are the experienced hand at such things! I need your advice. And you HAVE made me feel much appreciated. But all as a result of your fine writing & website! Phil

  4. I have nominated you for an award!
    Please, check out: http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/award-time-2/
    Of course you don’t have to accept, just know you’re appreciated!
    I know you don’t take awards, but I would like to name you and your blog on my posts every once in a while as your blog is a very good read and you are such a lovely person! Hugz

  5. Patty, Thank you so much for the honor of being nominated for this award. You have shown your appreciation in so many ways for “Excuse Us…” & I cannot say “thanks’ enough! May I someday feel equal to deserving the award & feel up to taking the steps required to accept such an award! You make me feel so good! Phil

  6. I have nominated you for the Parliament Award!
    Please, check out: http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/the-parliament-award/
    I know you don’t take awards but I had to nominate you for this one, just know you’re appreciated!

    • Patty,
      EVERYONE, please check out http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/author/petitemagique/

      Kudos to you on receiving Eddie’s Parliament Award. You & Eddie have now taught me that a family of owls is called a Parliament! And Owls being the symbols of wisdom and love, you certainly deserve this honor for the deep thoughts you convey & the spirit of kindness you spread. In addition, I am humbled that in the process of nominating others, you have included me for my modest efforts on excuseusforliving.com —Thanks so very much. I am honored & appreciate this compliment. Phil

  7. love the title – that’s what made me come visit. Working hard for a living is pretty much a world-wide approach to life – retiring sadly is becoming something that not everyone will be able to do comfortably, specially in view of the last 5 years.. So good for you that you have health and enough of everything to retire on. And may I say, you don’t look old enough to retire yet 🙂

    • So kind of you to comment & I’m 67! It’s true all you say about these economic times. And I DO feel fortunate to be able to retire & travel & enjoy some things in life. I took a look at your website of holiday decor & crafts & will explore more! Many thanks! Phil

  8. Nominated you for The Love and Kindness Award
    Check out: http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/sunny-with-a-chance-of-raining-awards/
    Of course you don’t have to accept an award, just know you’re appreciated!
    Lots of love,

    • Patty, Yes, thank you so much once again. Your Bouquet of Awards is most impressive & well deserved. The Love & Kindness Award sounds so wonderful. Don’t know if I deserve it but many thanks for the nomination. You know I never follow through & thanks for leaving room for that & understanding. Phil

  9. Phil great stuff. His last day is soon its hard for him to own up .That in its self tells you the coward of a man he is. Keep up the great work I love it. Peter.

    • Peter, Hope you are right about it being sooner rather than later!!! I think you are right that he cannot accept “going’! Nixonian! Thanks for the nice comment! Phil

  10. Nominated you for the Being a Light in the World Award!
    Check out: http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/awesome-awards/
    Of course you don’t have to accept an award, just know you’re appreciated!
    Lots of love,

    • Patty, You know I never take the time to followup on such nominations. That’s part of your world. But you also know by now how sincerely I appreciate the honor of being singled out by you for my modest, infrequent little website efforts. Thank you. Phil

  11. go for it, we are planning an Australia, New Zealand, Fiji trip next year, should take three or so months.

    • Bill, Three months! Quite a trip! Like your website & thanks for all on mine!!! Phil

      • we are looking forward to it

  12. I would be delighted if you accept the “I am part of the Word Press Family Award”
    This is a VERY EASY Award, just pick 10 people. I ask you keep the quote in.
    Should you not accept could you PLEASE pass it onto a friend who will…

    More love, less hate

  13. Mavadelo, I am so honored by your nomination of me for the “I am part of the Word Press Family Award”!!! Thanks for finding me since I have adopted a lower profile. As Patty knows I humbly decline awards & admire all of you for all the time you give to these awards & so much more following each other, etc. You have a great website & put out so much effort to make it so. Thanks. Phil

  14. Hi!

    We have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award!


    Accepting/participating is optional, but we hope you do take part in it! 🙂

    Best regards

    Jeppe&Katja from TravellersPlanetBlog.com

  15. jeppe&katja, WOW!!! Many thanks for the great honor of nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award!!! Due to the time involved in meeting the requirements & nominating others, I always decline these award honors with gratitude & humility for being nominated by YOU who I admire & respect! Love to you both! Phil

  16. Looking forward to seeing more of your blog…thanks for stopping over on mne. I know all about, the work, work, work in the US having lived there quite a substantial amount of time myself…people don’t really retire over there do they? 😉

  17. Kev, Thanks so much for your time & comment. I’ve been exploring your website (s) & all you are about including your music & book sites. Read all about you on your site & FB page & see Kentucky & Arizona but sounds like you live out of the USA from all I gather. You have it right re work, work, work in the USA. It’s so bad & competitive, people are afraid to take all their vacation time. But people do retire, especially if they have a sate or federal pension on top of social security. Very pleased to meet you & many thanks! Phil

  18. Now I know why you are such a Christie expert. I just wanted to tell you that I taught enrichment literacy for third graders in AZ . I have taught every grade from K- 6 except first grade. After living in Rome and traveling quite a bit to ancient places, I incorporated ancient civilizations and the kids ate it up. Of course Egypt was a fave. . . . with mummification etc. The last year 2011-2012 was the best ever. . . .ELP teacher and I team-taught and we did Socratic seminars and even a debate! This is all before the Common Core foolishness was in full steam. . . .it was time for me to retire and go to India.

    Professor was horrified that I had reduced Socratic seminars to third grade! Silly man….preparing them for “college and career!” So that was the impetus of the Egyptian posts. I never really taught India. . . but of course, now wish I had ! We are thrilled that the dean has asked husband to lead group to India for spring semester in 2014. . .and there are 22 who want to join us . There is a limit, sadly, of 15. Oh my gosh. . . .I am talking too much !

  19. Annet, Enjoyed TOTALLY your every detail of your career & teaching! Sounds like you were innovative as I was from debates to trials & even executions!!! Today I would get fired!!! I did the same, adapting graduate school material for middle school!!! Wonderful about your India trip led by your husband. And nice to be retired I am sure! GOOD TALKING! Phil

  20. We will stay in touch !

  21. Anne, Many thanks! Phil

  22. It’s nice to get to know you, Philip. You’re near my old romping grounds (NJ). I grew up in the Philly area and have family in MD and VA. Like you, we’re retired, too, and making our way through the joy of life in our golden years.

    • Pat, Wonderful to meet you! Just got back from your website….a lovely place you have created & I just made a start looking around! PA, MD, VA….all part of our New Jersey experiences over the years! So we are in the same boat making our way through our retirement years!!! God bless you both! Thanks for getting to know each other! Phil

  23. I have nominated you for The Community Heart Award!
    Please check out: http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/lovely-nominations/
    You don’t have to accept this award, just know that you are appreciated!
    Lots of Love

  24. Patty, Congratulations on your three new awards from Kev!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO DESERVED!!!!!!!!!!!!! And to include me for The Community Heart Award is a humbling honor & experience!!! And you are so gracious permitting me to decline the honor. Phil

  25. Congratulations! I have nominated you for this award. Please go to the page below for the details.


    • Anne, Such an honor & humbling experience to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by you!!!!!!!!!!!! To be thought of in that way by you & considered among the fine others has very special meaning to me. As you may know, some of us respectfully & gratefully decline such awards due to the time/activity they require. My thanks & appreciation! Phil

  26. Hi Philip – just wanted you to know I nominated you for the Butterfly Light Award at http://plaintalkandordinarywisdom.com/thank-you-my-last-butterfly-light-award/. Thank you for sharing and making this a better world. 🙂

    • Pat, Congratulations upon receiving the Butterfly Light Award from Sherri. From what I read here & on your website, you are a beautiful person who DOES make this a better world. I am honored by the nomination & feel humbled to be cited for making the world a little bit better. As I always do on such occasions, I ask that you accept my declining the honor due to the time which such awards demand. My thanks to you & I feel so honored that you chose me among the fine other blogs & writers. Phil from excuseusforliving.com

      • You’re truly welcome, Philip, and I completely understand your sentiments on the demands of awards. I’m just happy to spread the love and share you with my readers. 🙂

  27. Great to meet you…

  28. Jixi!!!!!!!! Thanks for the like here on my “About” & I see other activity by you I will check out now! Many thanks for the interest! Phil

  29. Dear Phil:

    I don’t where to start to thank you – “A sincere attitude of gratitude is a beatitude for secured altitudes. Appreciate what you have been given and you will be promoted higher.” When I wake up each morning, I praise the Lord for the gift of being alive. Your “Gratitude is the key to opening all doors.” “My heart is filled with great joy. I am so thankful to God for miraculously saving my life.” You are right my memoire and a surprise next coming, You will be the first to know. My deepest Gratitude. Thank you – Mino!

    • Mihrank, Mino, I so appreciate your beatitude of gratitude for what we are blessed with & moving higher. I understand the power that gratitude can open new doors. May God bless you in this next surprise step of which you speak. I am honored you take time to talk to me. Phil

  30. Have a blessed and safe 2015.

    • Carl, Many thanks & best to you! Phil

  31. Amazing blog!))

  32. Vlad! So kind of you to Follow & comment! I’ll have to Follow you!!! Thanks for the nice comment on what is here. Look in the right margin at the bottom for the list of topics & you will find great stuff including PASTA RECIPES under Friday Night/Pasta Posts!!!! Thanks! Phil

  33. Lovely blog 🙂 By the way, I nominated your blog for the One Lovely Blog Award. If you accept, click the link below for details on what to do next.


    • Euphonos…Euphie, How wonderful & humbling to be nominated by you for the One Lovely Blog Award! I have had to reluctantly decline a number of nominations over these past 3 years due to the time required to do so & the other commitments in my life. I wish to sincerely thank you for the honor in declining. I have never accepted anyone’s award nomination… terrible me! Patty a Dutch poet has nominated me MANY times & I have declined & she understands as you do. Patty is quite popular & has written/published two poetry books & has published a youth fantasy novel, her first of a trilogy. She is a very good writer of Dark poetry. Explore her on her website Petite Magique https://petitemagique.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/poetry-for-today-whats-love/#like-5656 Thanks again Euphie for the honor you give me! Phil

      • That I can understand Phil 🙂 You are not at all terrible.. I never accepted anyone’s awards too earlier.. This time I was tempted to do so just to know whats in it 🙂 and I find it exciting… And I am always looking forward to meeting other poets too.. This is fantastic.. I will explore her blog today and stop by to say hello 🙂
        Wish you a wonderful day ahead😐


  34. Euphonos…Euphie, Thanks so much…Your words mean a lot of reassurance to me! Yes, check out Patty’s poetry & all about her! Phil

  35. Hi Phil. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen you. It’s great to see that you have continued your blogging. It has been nearly 13 years since Will left the Childrens Corner. He has grown into a wonderful young man. He is an AP scholar (Physics, Chemistry, Calculus). He is the captain of his track and cross-country teams. His relay team recently finished third in a “national” meet with the 8th best time in all of NJ (big schools and preps included). He is a fine and handsome young man. We remember where he got his start and all the effort that you put in to enhance his pre-school experience. We are eternally grateful.

    • Tim & Kathy too! Receiving your comment is VERY special for me!!! Oh the memories at that TCC Office doorway talking & talking to you & Kathy! The political discussions! My letter to the editor on your behalf…that was a hoot! Our session exploring teaching for you! (Still hoping you do some adjunct law instruction at a small local college!) Then our new wills you did for us. Several dinners together!!! And the legal travails of Paul Thomas that you both have helped him with & have now switched from DWIs to a divorce & house closing! We were more concerned over the last DWI than the divorce!!! HA! And for all that, WE are eternally grateful!!! While Ashley’s days at TCC preceded my tenure there, I know what a lovey young woman she is. And as for Will, we always knew that quiet pre-schooler would someday emerge into all you say he is as a young man today! AP scholar in the sciences….wonderful & good for him. And to think Will is CC & Track Captains lights my fire as the same in my hs years, except I was CC Cpt & not Track. And weren’t you the runner as well? Well, Ashley must be close to graduating from college or already a grad. And Will must be looking or applying to colleges! Love your Christmas cards & your place down the shore. This relationship cannot end….too good not to say, “To be continued.” My best to you & Kathy. Wife Geri, who just got a new knee Jan19, is following this exchange here. She sends her love & thanks. Ask Will, “Do you remember at TCC gliders, puppets, marbles, stamps, & kazoos? That guy, Mr. Phil, says hi & says you should be proud of your accomplishments!” Thanks, Tim! Phil

  36. Easter blessings. Regards…

    • Carl, So nice to hear from you again. Thank you. And may your Easter be spiritually rich as well. –That also means a big Italian dinner!!! Phil

  37. Thank you have been following my blog

  38. Perce, Thank you too! Wish I could read your language to click “Follow” on your blog! Phil

  39. “It Is What It Is” has been nominated for an award. We are paying it forward. You don’t have to accept. Just know that your work is valued and admired!


    • Horty, So nice of you & to be nominated once again! Patty keeps trying too! I so appreciate the honor. It is humbling. I decline as usual reluctantly due to the requirements & time. Many thanks! Phil

      • I know it takes lot of work. The intent is there ….. know that you are valued and appreciated!! It’s ok … hugs!!

  40. Philip – there are no words would express your presence and magical writing like a magical shinning star…well deserved always…

    • Mihran!!!!!! So nice of you!!!!!!!!! I was recently thinking of you & how I am long overdue to visit your website! It has been too long. May all things be well for you & family! Glad you liked my post!!!!!!!!! Gracious comment! Many thanks!!! Phil

  41. 😃 Thank you to follow me 😊

    • Tienney, And thank YOU for the “Likes” on this “About” & one of my Vietnam posts!!! Phil

  42. Thanks for following The Immortal Jukebox Phil I hope you will enjoy plenty of entertaining writing and a wide variety of music. I usually post each week. If it has been a while since you last visited come on over! I welcome your views and comments. Good luck with your blog. Regards Thom

  43. Thom, Ah, The Immortal Jukebox!!! I’ll be right over! Isn’t it terrible when we don’t give enough time that which we love most, MUSIC! I would give up my sight before my ability to hear music!!! Still writing here, just less! I am determined to give myself more time for music, reading, & fishing!!! Many thanks for your comment with the feel of a personal connection! Phil

  44. You and Geri are such a lovely couple! I also love your blog! It makes me feel like traveling to America now… Someday, for sure!

    • Ano in Tokyo!!! Many thanks for the nice comment about Geri & me & my website!!! And thank you for the like on “Repair & Replace, Part 2.” YOU MUST SEE THE HOUSE PHOTOS on “Repair & Replace, Part 3”!!!!! Yes, you must see the USA!!!! Thanks, Ano! Phil

  45. I see you dropped by my blog to visit a few cartoons today. My church called 2 weeks ago (Faith Presbyterian, Greensboro, NC) and asked if I would take a 2 year term as a ruling elder starting in January. I’ll do it. First time ever held an office. Am facing some very very challenging and worrisome issues now. But with this opportunity I choose to take it as a sign that things will be alright.

    • Carl D’Agostino, Carl! How nice of you to comment here. I was enjoying your Halloween humor!!! How nice to be asked to be an elder in your Church….always a sign of respect & regard for the person asked, you, & of course, need for a thankless task of hours of dedicated meetings. You should be proud to have been asked. –First office for you!!! I am sorry to hear you are facing such challenging issues. As you allude to in being an elder, God is showing you the way forward. For us, we moved to our new townhouse in April, only to be faced with wife Geri’s THREE MONTHS of agony & pain with diverticulosis of the intestine. The surgeon finally operated August 12. After two months of recovery, Geri is fine!!! Now we must face reconnective surgery early next year due to her colostomy “bag.” But we thank the Lord that she has come through so well!!! At the end of your Halloween cartoons, I enjoyed your post with a picture of you & your Dad in his 90’s!!! May your future challenges turn your way. Phil

      • I have had several diverticulosis attacks over the years. Never needed surgery as week of antibiotics cleared it up. I have saved pain pills from dental work in the past in case it comes back. Pain was so bad I had to walk around at a bent over right angle. Colonoscopy bag will definitely take getting used to. Main problem in our church is we are dying off and down to just two or three dozen , all very old and no newcomers or replacements in sight. and minister moved so need replacement there too. We can afford only part time salary and the ministers certainly need to make a living and have family to support. Good luck in new home.

  46. Carl D’Agostino, Carl, Yes, I think we have spoken before about Geri’s illness & your diverticulosis!!! Geri is doing well with the bag but can’t wait to get rid of it. And we DID previously discuss your Church losing your pastor. It sounds like your Church should merge with another. Phil

    • Yes, that’s a probable course.

      • Carl D’Agostino, Carl, May God guide you & your Church to a bright future. Phil

  47. Wishing you and yours good health in these troubling times Phil.

    Regards Thom

    • Thom, How nice of you to “Follow” & “Like” my post “On Language” from 2018. I stopped posting on my website at the end of 2019 after a seven year run! Once we moved from our old home to a nearbye townhouse in New Jersey, April 2019, I was too busy to continue. You know the time it takes!!! THANK YOU FOR THE GOOD WISHES OF HEALTH AT THIS TIME!!! Likewise, may you & your family & friends stay safe & healthy!!! May the Lord shine his mercy upon this sinful world. And may The Immortal Jukebox continue to play its songs!!! Sending love to you across the waves! Phil

      • Thanks Phil.

        Stay tuned.

        Regards Thom

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