Friday, October 12, 2018

Getting ready

Tonight Spouse & I are leaving to drive to his sister's house in northern VA.  We'll have a brief visit, go to bed, and then our nephew will take us to the airport tomorrow morning.  We have a plane change in Chicago, then will arrive in Palm Springs about 2:30 local time.  We're very excited!

But there's still lots to do.  Spouse & I both have to pack, but fortunately we don't need any fancy clothes or shoes since Palm Springs is a warm, casual environment. I'm taking even less clothes than last time.

I have to make sure I have the dog sitter's money and instructions ready.

I need to check-in for the flights.

I need to make sure the guest bedroom and bathroom are tidied up since we had guests last weekend.

I need to empty the recycling into the bin in the garage so it can be picked up while we're away.

I need to strip our bed so clean sheets can be put on when the housekeepers come next week.

Yikes! 

A joke among realtors is if you want to increase your business, plan a vacation.  This is always true for me.  Clients and prospects seem to crawl out of the woodwork the week before I go on vacation, so this week has been busy doing as much as I can to tie up loose ends AND get assistance from my colleagues in covering appointments for me this weekend.

Fortunately it will all be worth it to spend a fun week in Palm Springs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Super lazy


I saw this on Facebook and it made me laugh out loud AND think of Sean who loves super heroes.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Bugsy & Roger's visit

Bugsy & Roger arrived Fri around 10pm, and kindly brought us some goodies from Trader Joe's: traditional Jo-Jo's, maple leaf cookies, mixed nuts, and a beautiful mum.  So thoughtful of them!  We visited for about an hour then went to bed.

Sat morning we had bagels and coffee for breakfast and enjoyed some nice conversations on the porch.  We had lunch at a local diner, then Spouse went to get his hair cut while Roger and I checked out an arts & crafts show.  Bugsy's stomach was bothering him so he stayed home and took a nap. Later that afternoon we had cocktails on the porch before heading to dinner with Steven & Thad at Michy's. Then I headed to the Blue Moon to paint my face for my Legends performance as Boy George.  Since Bugsy's stomach still wasn't quite right they stayed home and watched TV with Spouse.  Too bad they missed the debut of a new Legend: Elvis!

Sun morning the 4 of us met Steven & Thad at the Crystal for a late breakfast, then went for a little drive.  There was more talking, catching up, playing with dogs, and listening to music on the porch.

That evening the 6 of us went to dinner at Iron Hill Brewery before Bugs & Roger headed home.

As always, we had a great time with Bugs & Roger and look forward to seeing them again.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Friday fragments

On Tues evening Spouse & I met Steven & Thad for flu shots.  The local LGBT community center hosts a free flue shot clinic in conjunction with the local hospital, so we go there together for flu shots and then have dinner afterward.  For many years I didn't get flu shots.  Then about 8 years ago my doctor told me that thousands of people die every year from the flu, so why not get the flu shot and reduce the chances that I'd be 1 of them.  Since then I've gotten a flu shot every year, and thanks to the hospital/LGBT community center its free.

Bugs & Roger are coming this weekend!  Well, technically they're coming tonight, and will be spending the weekend with us. They usually come at least once each year but last year they didn't, so it will be about 2 years since they're last visit.  Fortunately I was able to take off work Sat & Sun to be with them.  We'll probably visit the local arts and crafts festival tomorrow, go out to dinner with Steven & Thad, and then see the Legends show at the Blue Moon.  I'll be performing as Boy George. The weather forecast for the weekend lots great so we'll likely spend a fair amount of time talking and sitting on the screened porch.

We're going back to Palm Springs!  Yes, we were just there in Feb but we had such a good time we decided to go back Oct 13-20.  In Feb it was about 80 degrees during the daytime, a bit cooler than we expected, so this time it should be closer to 90 degrees during the daytime.  We've rented a chic mid-century modern home with a pool and hot tub.  We should get more use out of the pool this time.  Also, our friend Carl is coming with us.  I went to school with him but we lost touch after graduation.  Then we reconnected about 5 years ago, thanks to Facebook.  He's never been to Palm Springs.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Weekend recap

The weather was so beautiful on Sat that after work Spouse and Steven & Thad and I went for a drive. We ended up in Ocean City, MD and had dinner.

Sunday's weather was more of the same mild temperatures, low humidity, and lots of sunshine.  Spouse & I had coffee and talked on the back porch for about an hour, then decided to get busy.  We donned our gardening gloves and trimmed some scrub trees that had grown out from our big holly and from the lace hydrangea that cover the back fence.  Then we trimmed the 'crazy' roses and sprinkled a bunch of Preen on the beds which had just been weeded by a school kid I hired.  The yard looks really good!

We both showered and dressed, then went out for a little lunch.  Spouse's idea was to get food from Taco Bell and take it to the beach parking lot and eat it in the car, overlooking the beach.  (He's a little weird about some things like this.)  Then we went for a little drive near the beach, got air in 1 of the tires on Spouse's car, and then got his car washed.  He never gets his car cleaned so I was happy to do it for him.

We relaxed with the dogs and watched a little TV, then met Steven & Thad for dinner. The weather was still so nice out that we opted for an outdoor table at dinner.  I love to eat outdoors, as long as its not really hot or super humid or buggy.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Weekend update

On Sat I was due to work, and although I had no appointments for the day, I was expected in the office to help with phone coverage.  Fortunately it was slow and we had more than enough people to handle the office so I ducked out for about 1.5 hours so Spouse & I could go to the gay car club's annual car show.  The weather was perfect for it. 

Many of the vehicles we'd seen before at past car shows, but I did note 3 beautiful additions to share:
This is a gorgeous 1955 (I think) Chevrolet Bel Air station wagon, in sea foam green with an ivory roof.  Such a beautiful car!
This is a mid-to-late 50s DeSoto Firedome convertible.  Love the powder pink and ivory color combo!  Its difficult to read in this photo but the license plate reads BEBUTCH.
This is a 1959 Pontiac Bonneville.  Notice how the up-sweeping rear fins are similar to those on my 1959 Cadillac.  Same goes for the wrap around windshield.

That evening we met Steven & Thad, Bob, and Joe P for dinner at 1776 Steakhouse, a high-end steak restaurant, to celebrate Steven's birthday and Steven & Thad's anniversary.  I had the same thing I've had several other times, the filet mignon trio. I absolutely love it! After dinner we had celebratory cake.

Then I went to the Blue Moon to perform in the Legends shows.  I was Neil Diamond and sang "Cracklin' Rosie", "I Am I Said", "Sweet Caroline", and "Brother Love's Travelin' Salvation Show". Our part-time neighbors Mark & Norman were there for the show, and Steven & Thad and Spouse showed up just before the finale song.  After I changed into my civilian clothes we walked over to Cooter Brown's where a big group of guys from the Bear Weekend had congregated.  We had a drink, chatted with friends and met some new friends.  The weather was dreamy outside so it was a great night to be "out on the town".

Sun was the complete opposite of Sat.  The weather was rainy/stormy and Spouse didn't feel like going to breakfast, which we do nearly every Sun.  So we stayed home, had coffee and left over cake, and watched several episodes of "Shameless".  We literally didn't do a single constructive thing all day.  Then about 5:30 we met Steven & Thad at a diner for an easy/cheap dinner, then back home for more "Shameless".

Friday, September 21, 2018

Homecoming

Happy Homecoming Day, Walter!

On this date 4 years ago we brought Walter home to join our family.  While some refer to this as an adoption day or 'gotcha' day, I prefer the term homecoming day.  Indeed, Walter is home forever.
Walter's 1st day at home, age 2 months. Shortly after this photo was taken he peed on my shirt.
Walter learns where to go pee pee from his big brother Marvin.


Walter giving Joe P some kisses, Halloween 2014, 3 months old.







Sleeping on Daddy's shoulder.
Enjoying the back porch, about 1 year old.
One ear up, one ear down, waiting for a treat.


Sleeping in the crook of my leg.
Selfie with Daddy.
Bath time.
Nap time.
Walter & Marvin on Papa's lap.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Binge-worthy

While flipping around looking for something to watch recently, I stumbled upon an episode of 'Shameless'.  Two guys were passionately hugging and kissing each other, so I was like "Whoa... what's THIS show about?"  

I kept watching for a few minutes and in the next scene I recognized actor William H Macy.  I seemed to remember him being nominated (and possibly winning) some award for his role in 'Shameless'.  Since there's very little to watch these days I decided I'd watch the show starting from the beginning.  I figured I'd binge-watch a handful of episodes, little did I know the show has 8 seasons, starting back in 2011.  We didn't have Showtime until a little over a year ago so I had no knowledge of it back when it started.

In a nutshell William H Macy plays a raging alcoholic and drug user whose life consists of drinking himself unconcious and scheming to get money.  He has 6 children ranging in age from 21 years to 21 months old, who basically take care of paying the bills, feeding each other, and keeping the home together with lots of odd jobs, some legal, some not-so-much.  Their mother ran away shortly after the 21 month old was born.  Having little-to-no parental direction or discipline, the 6 kids are no strangers to drinking beer and smoking cigarettes and joints.  But despite their unconventional childhood, their family bond is strong.

While my synopsis may sound depressing, the show is full of twists and turns and unexpected intersections.  Not the least of which is a neighbor named Sheila, played by the genius actress Joan Cusack, who has agoraphobia and hasn't left the house in 5 years.  Also, in the 1st episode 17 year old Lip (short for Philip) discovers his 15 year old brother Ian is gay and has been having sex with his married boss who owns/runs the convenience store where Ian works.

The 1st night I binge-watched 4 episodes.  The 2nd night I binge-watched 6 episodes.  The 3rd night I gave Spouse a quick review of the characters and he watched the last 2 episodes of season 1 with me. We're currently nearing the end of season 2.

Its a really interesting show, and I enjoy how the writers make the characters good enough that you route for them and want them to succeed, but keep them 'human' by also showing their faults and mistakes.  And as a bonus, there's a fair amount of shirtless, good-looking men in the series, including a couple full-frontal nudity scenes.

If you're looking for a long, enduring series to watch, I recommend 'Shameless'.  If you don't have Showtime, at least some (maybe all) of it is available on Netflix too.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Remembering

Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a day that changed America and the world forever.  Since that time we've come to learn that terrorists can strike from outside the country as they did in 2001, but also from inside the country.  Native-born Americans have terrorized our country too many times to count.  Sadly its something we're becoming used to hearing in the news.

Since Spouse & I lived 6 miles from the Pentagon, our experiences on 9/11/01 are etched in our brains.  We'll never forget what happened nor those who assisted others that day.  Below is a re-posting of that day from my perspective.

Spouse & I lived in Arlington VA, the same town where the Pentagon is located.  Our home was exactly 6 miles from it, and we passed it every time we got on the highway.  I had been laid off for about 2 weeks and Spouse decided to take the day off "because it was so pretty outside" and spend a few hours with this sister.  Indeed, it was a beautiful September day: sunny, warm but not hot, and low humidity.  Spouse left in my BMW 325i convertible with the top down and I sat down in front of the computer to do my daily job search.

Probably a 1/2 hour later Spouse returned and yelled up the stairs to me "A plane crashed into the World Trade Center and another one crashed into the Pentagon!"  Of course I thought this was some incredible story he'd concocted to explain why he'd returned to the house, when in reality he'd probably just forgotten his wallet or something.

"What did you forget - your wallet?" I replied, sarcastically.

"No, I'm serious!  Come here!" he said with real urgency.  I immediately came downstairs and joined him in the TV room where he'd turned on the local news.  It wasn't some fantastical story he'd fabricated.  It was real.  We sat on the sofa for what seemed like days, trying to figure out what had happened.  It didn't take that long before it was clear the plane crashes weren't "accidents".  By then news of the 2nd tower being hit and the plane crash in PA was filtering in.

"I can't believe this is happening" I said, truly frightened for the 1st time in my life.  "What's next?  How will we know when its over?  Maybe we should get in the car and drive as far away (to the West) as we can" I offered.  But it was too late for that.  News reports were already showing road closures and gridlocked traffic.

Many people who work in the metro DC area ride the metro system to and from work, like my Aunt Mary, Spouse's brother, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law.  But while the metro system was still operational, most people were afraid to use it, wondering if it might be the next target.  No one liked the idea of possibly being trapped or crushed in one of the many underground tunnels.

Cell phone service was spotty with the cell towers being overloaded with attempted calls.  But we eventually received calls from my Aunt Mary, Spouse's brother and sister-in-law.  They were going to walk from their offices to a landmark in Arlington where I would pick them up.  We were unable to coordinate this with Spouse's brother-in-law who'd already begun walking.

As I drove out of our neighborhood I began hearing sirens and seeing the flashing lights of police cars.  Officers were setting up roadblocks on the main roads that would take me to the agreed upon pick-up location.  Several times I had to make an unscheduled turn, drive through a residential neighborhood, cut through a business parking lot, and even drive across a lawn and off a curb when I got trapped.  I was literally trying to beat the officers from closing me out of the area I needed to get to.  A trip that would normally take 10 minutes took me nearly an hour, but I eventually got to the rendezvous point and picked up our family.  Spouse's brother-n-law actually walked all the way to our house (more than 6 miles) where his wife (Spouse's sister) was waiting for him.

We remained glued to the TV for several days, hoping to hear answers.  All commercial air traffic was suspended for 5 days (I believe) so it was rather eerie for us to hear fighter jets occasionally pass over our home.  Spouse's mother was in Italy and due to return home that day.  Her vacation was extended not by desire, but by necessity.

In the days and weeks following the horrible tragedy there was a strengthening of America.  For a while there were no Democrats or Republicans; just Americans.  There were no rich or poor; just people grieving losses.

Each year on this date I'm always a little worried another terror attack will occur on the anniversary.  Fortunately its not happened, although many other terror attacks have occurred since then on other, seemingly unrelated dates.  Its become clear to me that terror will never end unless there's a worldwide commitment to peace and understanding.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Tour

Yesterday I had the pleasure of touring a new animal rescue/rehab center in our county.  It was open to the public.

The facility used to be a no-kill shelter that went bankrupt nearly 5 years ago and was abandoned since then.  The Brandywine Valley SPCA which operates our local animal shelter purchased the facility at auction a few months ago and plans to open it as a rescue/rehab facility.

Dogs and cats picked up as strays, surrendered by owners, or rescued from natural disasters and hoarding environments usually end up at shelters for adoption. But some of these animals need medical attention, nutrition therapy, and behavioral modification to become adoptable.  This process can takes several weeks to several months.  So that's what this new rescue/rehab center will be used for; to bring these animals back to healthy, adoptable pets which will then be adopted from the regular shelter.  It will not be an adoption center nor will it be open to the public, so this was pretty much the only opportunity to get a look at it in person.

Here's a photo of the facility as well as an aerial shot.
Its quite a distinctive-looking building.  But since it was designed to be a shelter, the tour guide said they really don't need to do any retrofitting of the building to accommodate their use of it.

There's even a central courtyard which will likely become a play or training area.

The interior is kind of industrial looking, with exposed HVAC ducts and concrete floors.

These siblings were present for the tour, although the facility is not yet operating.  They were so cute and friendly I wanted to take all 3 home with me.

Then there was this adorable Chihuahua mix named Johnny Pickles.  He'd recently been adopted from the main shelter.  I wanted to take him home too.

This rescue/rehab facility plans to partner with other shelters to accept animals from outside the local area (other states, etc) when there is a special need like hurricanes, floods, and extreme hoarding environments to help get them healthy and adoptable.  This facility should be able to do what many regular shelters can't, so I am really excited its located near me, and plan to donate to its success.

The Brandywine Valley SPCA still needs to raise more funds to bring the formerly abandoned building back to operational condition and support their other activities related to this, so if you feel inclined to donate CLICK HERE.  For larger donations you can even name areas of the facility after a beloved pet or person!