Friday, November 14, 2014

New art

Last year my colleague and friend Garrett went to visit his father who lives/works in Cuba.  Garrett noticed that most Cubans drive old American cars from the 1950s, and knowing how much I love 1950s cars, Garrett brought me back some beautiful matted, signed photos.  What a thoughtful gift!!

I'm embarrassed to say that those photos have been sitting in my house unframed for nearly a year now.  I anticipated that getting them custom-framed would be really expensive so I put it off.  But yesterday (my day off work) I came across the photos again and decided I would check my local HomeGoods store to see if they had any standard frames that would work.  So I measured the matted photos and headed over to HomeGoods.  Sure enough, I found terrific black frames for only $16.99 each!  

Two have black mats and one has a white mat.  At first this distressed me, but as I looked at my photos I noticed that two were portrait style and one was landscape style, so I decided that if I put the one landscape style photo into the white matted frame it might look intentional.  So I trimmed the mats slightly to fit, secured them in the frames, and here are the results:
#1
#2
#3
All 3 together
First off, I think the photos are amazing.  They are partially black-and-white and partially color.  I don't know they do that but its cool.  Obviously the cars are super cool as well.  But I think the photos look so terrific in these frames, all 3 of which only cost me $50. 

I haven't decided yet where to hang them so for the time being they are on our living room sofa.  Maybe this weekend Spouse & I will agree on a place to showcase our new art.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Friends

As a realtor I am invited to lots of local fundraisers and charitable events.  I could be out at one of these nearly every night of the week if I wanted, but I try to pick just a few to attend.  Recently I attended a fundraiser sponsored by our local realtor association, the proceeds of which will be used to provide toys, clothing, and home goods for needy families in our area this Christmas.  This event provides the funds for the shopping event I participated in 2 years ago.

Each year this fundraiser has a different theme, and this year's theme was Mardi Gras.

I took this selfie of me (wearing Mardi Gras beads) and my friend Joey (wearing a Mardi Gras mask).  I've been friends with Joey for nearly 20 years.  We met doing volunteer work.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Film Festival - day 3

Here are the films I saw on Sat:
Life Partners
Sasha is a single lesbian and Paige is her straight best friend.  They do everything together, including binge-watching reality TV shows.  However, Sasha feels left out when Paige has less time for her when her relationship with Tim gets serious.  This film explores friendships, codependency, introspection, and loyalty in an honest and comedic way.  3 out of 5 stars.


10% Shorts
This was a collection of these short films:
Alone With People - A teenage lesbian comes out to her family.  5 out of 5 stars.  (No trailer found.)
Cruisin' Electric (1980) - A spoof commercial for a children's toy based on the iconic 1980 film "Cruisin'".  4 out of 5 stars.

Dinner at 40 - A gay man's insecurities peak at his birthday 40th dinner.  3 out of 5 stars.  (No trailer found.)
Jellyfish - A transvestite is befriended and then abandoned by a local fisherwoman.  3 out of 5 stars.  (No trailer found.)
Safe Word - A comical look at a couple's experiment with BDSM.  4 out of 5 stars.
See trailer here.
Secrets & Toys - Tension fills the studio apartment of a lesbian couple when one woman's mother comes to visit.  3 out of 5 stars.  (No trailer found.)
Tom in America - While rummaging for items to sell at a flea market, an older man finds a Tom of Finland doll takes him on a strange journey.  4 out of 5 stars.


Friday, November 07, 2014

Film Festival - day 2

Here are the films I saw today:
Lilting
This film artfully shows the struggle and lengths an English man is willing to go in order to care for his deceased boyfriend's Chinese mother who doesn't doesn't like him and doesn't speak English.  The details of the story are cleverly told via real-time interactions and flashbacks.  There are enough comedic elements to keep it from being too sad, but if you're like me you will need a tissue or two.  5 out of 5 stars.


Gerontophilia
20-something Lake gets a job at a nursing home and becomes aware that he is less interested in his young girlfriend than he is in the senior citizen men at the home.  When he perceives that a favorite male patient with whom he's become involved is being mistreated by the apathetic workers, he takes matters into his own hands.  While I found this film's subject to be interesting, I felt the main character Lake seemed detached and not at all passionate as most 20-somethings would be.  3 out of 5 stars.

Love Is Strange
When George is fired from his job at a Catholic school for getting married to his partner of many years, the couple has to sell their Manhattan apartment.  They are unable to find a new place to live before they must move out, so each man must stay with a relative or friend.  Not having a true home, disrupting their routines, and getting in the way of their graceous hosts causes a lot of stress for everyone.  Alfred Molina and John Lithgow offer stellar performances.  4 out of 5 stars.

I encourage you to look for these 3 films on Netflix, watch them in their entirety online, and/or find them at your local art house theatre.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Film Festival - day 1

I'm excited because today is the 1st day of the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival!  If you've read my blog for awhile you'll know this is an annual favorite event in which I've participated for 15 years.  I take off work in order to fit in as many films as possible into the 4-day festival.

What exactly is an independent film?  Why do I like them so much?  While Hollywood films are created to make money, indie films are created to tell stories. While Hollywood films typically have big budgets and must fit into the MPAA's rating system (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, X), indie films usually have little-to-no budget and are unrated. While Hollywood films usually fit into comedy, drama, or action categories, indie films are typically difficult to fit into a specific genre because their stories often tackle unusual and taboo subjects.  While Hollywood film endings are almost always predictable, indie films often have unexpected endings or leave the ending up to the viewer.  I just love them!

So here are the films I saw today:
52 Tuesdays 
16 year old Billie learns that her mother is transitioning to become a male and that she must live with her father for a year in order to give her mother space to reinvent herself.  Mother and daughter agree to spend time together every Tuesday. Billie undergoes a bit of transformation herself as she explores her independence and sexuality.  The film consists of slices of life that were actually filmed on each Tuesday of the year, so physical appearances and emotional developments are authentic.  4 out of 5 stars.

Appropriate Behavior
Shirin is a bisexual Iranian-American who is not 'out' to her family.  Her recent break-up from her girlfriend Maxine throws Shirin into a series of wild but comical escapades.  Living up to her families expectations and her own desire for acceptance are not easily joined, but I laughed along with Shirin through her ups and downs.  4 out of 5 stars.

The Way He Looks
Giovana has a crush on her best friend Leonardo who is blind, but he doesn't seem to notice so she helps him navigate in order to spend time with him.  Then Gabriel enters the picture, and an awakening takes place between the 2 young men. While Leonardo struggles for some independence from his overly-protective parents, he feels no struggle regarding his feelings for Gabriel.  This was a beautifully acted and well-paced film.  5 out of 5 stars.

I recommend adding all 3 of these films to your Netflix queue and/or seeing them at your local art house cinema.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Beardy boy

This super-sexy stud comes to you courtesy of MAC at Yummy of the Day.  'Yummy' is just the beginning of the adjectives I that apply to this guy...

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

I voted


Although this is not a presidential election year,  I believe that all elections are important so I made sure I voted this morning before work.  All day long I saw facebook posts that read "If you don't vote you can't complain" and the like.  If facebook is any indication, it seemed there was better turn out than expected for this election.

Back when I lived in the very densely populated area of Northern VA we would often have to stand in line for an hour or more to vote.  Life is different here in my little beach town.  I walked into the voting place at 8:30 am and found NO line.  I checked in with the ancient woman at the desk, voted on the electronic voting machine, and was done in less than 2 minutes.

When I was finished, the poll volunteer gestured toward the exit.  I stepped over toward it and stopped to wait for Spouse.  The volunteer looked at me for a few seconds and said "I think your wife already left" to which I replied without missing a beat "Nope, my husband is still in the voting booth."  The volunteer raised his eyebrows, smiled, and said "Oh, okay then" and we both chuckled.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Appreciation

Last night I went to a realtor appreciation party hosted by a local real estate attorney that I sometimes refer my clients to.  She used to have this realtor appreciation party in Dec but found that it was harder and harder to schedule without overlapping some other party/event, so she decided to move it to late Oct and make it a costume party.  (Spouses were invited but mine declined.)

The party was a lot of fun!  Nearly everyone was dressed in costumes.  I resurrected an old favorite of mine: Boy George.  Here is a photo of me from 2006 in the same costume.
Richard Simmons, Boy George, Bride of Frankenstein
There was live music, costume prizes, door prizes, food and drinks - what more could you ask of a week night Halloween party?

Spouse & I are going to a friend's Halloween party on Fri night and I'll probably be wearing this costume again.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween comes early here

Since Halloween is this coming Fri, I would think that most bars and clubs would have their big Halloween parties on Fri or Sat night.  Glad I did a little research and found the contrary: this past Sat was the big night.  Maybe this was done to coincide with the increasingly popular Sea Witch Festival which took place this past weekend.

Spouse & I went to dinner Sat evening with Steven & Thad and Joe P, and then we headed over to the Blue Moon.  They "go all out" every year for Halloween, including a big costume party.  None of us were in costume but we figured we'd go anyway to see the clever, creative, and funny costumes of those who were (obviously) more into it than we were.  It was fun and we stayed for about an hour.

On Sun we met Steven & Thad, Robin, and Joe P for breakfast at the Crystal, and then tried on the costumes Spouse had purchased for Marvin & Walter.  I was a little surprised they kept them on, as I remember last year Marvin repeatedly pulled off the Santa hat we'd put on him.
Trying on their costumes at home
Once we had both of our hot dogs in their carriers we headed to the Sea Witch Festival's Costume Dog Parade where we met up with Steven & Thad, Robin, and Joe P.  It had probably been 10 or more years since we'd been to this, and I can't imagine why.  It was a blast!!  There were likely over 100 dogs in costumes, many of which were being walked or pushed in baby carriages or pulled in wagons or floats by their owners.  We didn't enter our guys in the parade as we didn't know how they'd react to being around so many dogs, but we stood along the parade route and enjoyed the show.  Of course Walter drew a lot of attention both before and after the parade as everyone commented on his size (3.5 lbs) and his overwhelming adorableness.  Being there took a lot out of both dogs (sensory overload anyone?) and both fell asleep in their carriers on the 15 minute drive back home. 
Joe P gets lots of puppy kisses from Walter

Friday, October 24, 2014

Vet visit

Yesterday was Walter's 2nd of 3 vet visits.  The 1st visit was for his new puppy check up and 1st round of shots.  Yesterday he got his 2nd shot, and in a month he'll get his 3rd of 3 shots.

Walter did so well!  He didn't seem to even notice that he got a shot.  The vet looked at me and said "I've had 60 lb German Shepherds wince from a shot like this.  This little guy is brave!"

The vet and the techs love Walter because he doesn't mind being handled.  Many dogs and cats don't like being held or touched by strangers but Walter has never met a stranger.  He even gave the vet some puppy kisses!

Once finished at the vet Walter and I stepped around the corner to my friend's office so he and his colleagues could see Walter.  It turned into a huge love fest with ooos and ahs galore and more puppy kisses.  Then on the way home we stopped at my office so my colleagues could see how much Walter has grown since they saw him a month ago.  At that time he weighed 2.4 lbs, and yesterday he weighed 3.8 lbs.  All that activity left his exhausted so he was happy to take a nap when we got home.

Lots of friends (and even strangers who encounter us on our walks) ask how Marvin & Walter get along.  I wrote earlier that it is a slow but steady progression for Marvin to accept Walter as part of the family.  Initially Marvin would growl if Walter got too close to him, but this happens less and less now.  Marvin now allows Walter to be close to him, as can be seen in this photo of both boys napping on my lap and legs:
Walter is relentless in trying to get big brother to play with him, and on a couple occasions Marvin has acquiesced and chased Walter around the house or played tug-of-war with a toy.  There's more room for progress there, but we are confident it will happen in time.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend recap

As usual, I worked on Sat.  That evening for dinner Spouse & I went to a new place called the Crab House with Steven & Thad and Joe P.  I had a combo dinner of fried shrimp and fried chicken.  Very tasty but not so good for my figure.  

Afterward we went over to Joe P's house to watch a movie that had been recommended to him called Cloudburst.  I recognized the title as having been a part of the Rehoboth Beach Indedpendent Film Festival last year, but it was sold out before I could get a ticket.  It is the sweet and funny story of a senior citizen female couple who struggles to remain together when one of the woman's granddaughter steps in to try to "help" her blind grandmother.  The women pick up a male hitchhiker on their way to Canada which adds another level of humor and drama to their trip.  
Olympia Dukakis plays the fiesty, foul-mouthed older woman who cares for her blind spouse.  The film takes place in Maine and Nova Scotia so the beautiful scenery is like another character in the film.  Click here for film details and a trailer.

Sun morning the 5 of us met for breakfast at Crystal restaurant, one of my favorite Sun activities.  Spouse & I just relaxed the rest of the day with Marvin & Walter, watching TV, playing, and going for walks.  We met Steven & Thad a the Ocean Diner for an easy Sun dinner.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Spirit day

Today is Spirit Day where everyone is encouraged to wear purple to show we are against teen bullying.
Not that familiar with Spirit Day??  Find out more about it on GLAAD's website HERE.

Because I'm always down for a good cause, I snapped this selfie at my office for use both here and on my facebook page.
I need to go on a diet.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekend highlights

Our longtime friends Ron & James and Mike & Clark came this past weekend for their annual visit.  We used to hang out a lot when we lived in VA, and they would come visit our beach house with us every year beginning in 2003.  So this weekend was our 12th annual weekend together.

They arrived on Sat and we immediately met them over at our mutual friends Karen & Marty's home for lunch and a visit with Karen & Marty.  The weather was cool and rainy so we didn't spend any time on the porch.  That evening we had cocktails at home and then went to dinner at 1776 Steakhouse.  Our steaks were fantastic (even coming from me who really isn't a steak fan) and so was the banana coconut cream cake we had for dessert.  Afterward we returned home for more conversations and catching up.

Sun morning we had coffee and talked while some also perused the newspaper.  Eventually we dressed and walked over to JD's Cafe for breakfast.  It was cool but sunny so after breakfast we went for a nice walk through town, ducked into a few stores, and walked through Canalfront Park before returning home.  We talked and laughed some more until it was time for Spouse & me to get ready to go to a wedding.  Our dear friends Deb & Greer invited us to their wedding and reception nearby so we went to it while Ron & James and Mike & Clark went shopping at our wonderful, tax-free outlet centers.  The wedding was a lovely event and we had a terrific time.  
The brides
We met the guys back at the house, walked the dogs, changed our clothes, and headed out again, this time for dinner at Cafe Azafran.  Spouse & I ate rather lightly since we'd nibbled on goodies at the wedding reception earlier, but everyone enjoyed their meals. 
Can my face possibly look any fatter??  I don't think so.
After dinner we went for a walk on the boardwalk along the ocean before returning home for more talking and relaxing.

This morning Spouse went to work as usual and I stayed with the guys until they packed up and left at about 9:45.  

We were really happy that our friends who don't have dogs were so comfortable interacting with Marvin and Walter and vice versa.  We certainly wouldn't expect those who don't have dogs to play or hold our pets, but they did and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  We had a great weekend, as always, with our great, longtime friends.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Progress

Marriage equality made great progress this week!

On Mon the Supreme Court (yes, I typed it out... I have the acronym SCOTUS) decided not to take up any of the pending cases in 5 states, which meant the lower court rulings declaring anti-gay marriage laws to be unconstitutional were upheld.  This meant marriage equality became a reality in Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, and Virginia.

Yes, Virginia!

I am the most surprised about Virginia because when Spouse & I lived there a terribly-written law went into effect that not only blocked same-sex marriage, but basically also said 2 people of the same sex couldn't do anything that might try to imply the same rights and benefits as marriage!  In other words, a guy couldn't leave his cabin in the woods to his male childhood friend in his will because this might be seen as trying to imply a right or benefit of marriage.  Both the content and the wording of the law were so reprehensible and offensive it was actually 1 of the main reasons Spouse & I decided to move out of Virginia.  Thankfully that is all behind us now and we look forward to receiving wedding invitations from many of our friends still living there.

With days, more states like Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, Kansas, and West Virginia joined the bandwagon, and its not over.  Keep your ears open for announcements in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

My blogger buddy Bob & his fiance Carlos are getting married soon in Washington (near Bob's dad) and hope that their marriage will be recognized in their home state of South Carolina by the time they return home!  How great would that be?!?!  For continuing, up-to-date info on Bob & Carlos' wedding AND states joining the equality march, be sure to visit Bob's blog HERE

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Perspective

So the other day I got a little annoyed because I was trying to get into a parking lot and the drivers in front of me were unable to get in due to the car exiting the lot that was in the middle of the roadway, rather than on 1 side.  The cars were backed up trying to get in until the clueless driver exited.  I was in a bit of a hurry.

I finally got into the parking lot and of course there were no empty spaces close to the store so I parked at the far end of the lot and grabbed a cart as I entered the store.  I'm looking for a specific gift, but unable to find it, I begin thinking of a back-up gift.

These days they really seem to pack the stores.  The isles are more narrow than ever, and passing someone with a shopping cart is next to impossible.  I see these 2 'mature' women with carts who are stopped and talking, totally blocking the isle.  They're old, they don't work, they're not on a timeline like I am, yet there they are, blocking the isle with their empty carts while they chat.  I can feel my patience running thin and my blood pressure spiking.  One of them finally notices me and moves her cart so I can pass.

I round the corner and head down another isle and see a woman heading toward me with another woman clutching the 1st woman's arm.  Then I notice the 2nd woman is wearing dark glasses.  She's blind.  I pull my cart over as far as possible so the 2 women can pass by me, and I count my blessings.

I think about my recent silent complaints about the traffic congestion, the far away parking place, and the shoppers blocking the isle.  Suddenly these things seemed insignificant compared to being blind.  At least I have my sight.  I can drive.  I can shop alone.  I can do all kinds of things that blind woman couldn't do.  I just needed to see her to put my 'problems' into perspective.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Lovely lyrics

Its been quite a while since I've done 1 of these, so allow me to share with you a song I like a lot that contains lovely lyrics.

Day By Day
performed by The Four Freshmen


Day by day, I'm falling more in love with you
And day by day my love seems to grow
There isn't any end to my devotion
It's deeper dear by far than any ocean
I find that day by day you're making all my dreams come true
So come what may I want you to know
I'm yours alone and I'm in love to stay
As we go through the years day by day

Day by day I'm falling more in love with you
And day by day my love seems to grow
There isn't any end to my devotion
It's deeper dear by far than any ocean
I find that day by day you're making all my dreams come true
So come what may I want you to know
I'm yours alone and I'm in love to stay
As we go through the years day by day

I find that day by day you're making all my dreams come true
So come what may I want you to know
I'm yours alone and I'm in love to stay
As we go through the years day by day
I'm yours alone and I'm in love to stay
As we go through the years day by day
Day by day, day by day, day by day