Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Eve

Today is New Years Eve and I'm off work. Its not a company holiday, but since I had vacation time to use in Dec I decided to use a day today in order to have a 4 day weekend. Spouse couldn't take off today because he had a review panel to participate in.

After showering this morning I read my email, caught up on a few blogs I read regularly, then fed Jordan and took her for a walk. Unable to tolerate the cluttered and dirty kitchen any longer, I made myself some french toast flavored coffee and spent an hour unloading the clean dishes from the dishwasher, putting dirty dishes into it, washing 3 large mixing bowls and 3 large cookie baking sheets, wiping down the counters and stove top, washing out the coffee maker, putting away the electric skillet, and putting all the gift wrap and supplies back into their plastic storage containers. Now it once again looks like sane people live here.

I don't have a long 'to do' list today as I did on some previous days off this month. While I may do a few more household chores, I also intend to finish catching up on my favorite blogs and enjoying my day off. I may even watch a movie from Netflix today.

Tonight we're picking up Rick & Nick and going to Randy & Dean's house in Salisbury for dinner. I'm assuming their intent was to have us stay until midnight, although they didn't specifically invite us for a New Years Eve celebration, just dinner. But who would invite someone for dinner on New Years Eve and not expect them to stay until midnight? I guess we should be prepared, just in case. If we're not dead tired when we get back to Lewes, we may stop in at our neighbors Jim & Barb's for a quick minute. They're having a New Years Even party tonight and told us to stop in when we get home from our dinner.

I have less than 11 hours until New Years, so I'd better start thinking about my resolutions for 2008. What are your New Years Eve resolutions?

Drag Queen name of the day: Tara Misu

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Holiday highlights

Sun evening we loaded the car with gifts during the short intervals in which the pouring rain stopped. However, when it was time to put Jordan and ourselves in the car to leave, we all got wet. It was a nasty, cold, rainy night but we were excited by the approach of the holiday.

Mon morning the sun shined brightly as Evelyn, Spouse & I met up with Kerry, Hugh, George, and Kelly for breakfast at IHOP. I gave them each a bag of home baked cookies and Kerry gave us home made ornaments with our names on them. We had a great time catching up on each others lives and talking about our plans for the holidays and the new year.

After dropping Evelyn off at her house, Spouse & I went to Borders bookstore to meet up with my old friend Lisa, who was back in the DC area for Christmas with her family. Lisa & I lived in the same neighborhood and went all the way through school together, from elementary to high school. We were very good friends and shared an appreciation for the offbeat and unusual. While in high school we co-wrote and performed a song entitled "The Sleazy Barroom Blues" in the variety show. After college she taught high school English and drama for 15 years, then quit her job and moved to NY where she became a text book editor for a large publishing house. She and Spouse got along swimmingly right away, which I knew would happen. We had a lovely visit and promised to come visit her in NY in 2008.

Later that evening the family convened at Spouse's sister Mary's house for Evelyn's birthday. After dinner we all sang 'Happy Birthday' and Ev blew out the '7' and the '8' candles on her cake. I was too full from all the baked goodies I'd been eating to eat birthday cake. Then Ev opened her birthday gifts. Spouse & I gave her a handmade glass pendant we'd bought months ago from a local jewelry artist. Then we exchanged gifts with those who would not be present with us on Christmas day.

Tues morning after coffee and conversations in our pajamas, Evelyn and Spouse's brother Frank and the 2 of us went to the Hilton for Christmas brunch. Literally it was the only place open on Christmas day. The food was good and they had a guy playing a keyboard and singing a mixture of Christmas songs and hits from the 80s like 'Lady in Red'. We had a nice time.

At 2:30 Spouse & I picked up my aunt Mary and brought her back to Evelyn's house. We had a little gift exchange with Mary, and then went over to Spouse's sister Mary's house at 4:00.

We had gnocchi and stuffed shells with home made meatballs and Italian sausage for dinner. It was dee-lish! We nibbled on more home baked goodies, which seemed to keep multiplying, and then exchanged gifts. We had a really nice Christmas. Since Mary's kids are older now and less rambunctious and loud, I am really enjoying being around them more. Their individual personalities and senses of humor are developing, albeit prematurely, and they are much more fun to be around.

Thank god, we didn't receive any sheets, shirts, or sweaters this year! Instead we received gift cards, which are always handy.

Wed morning we left shortly before 10:00 and got home shortly after noon. Spouse took a nap and I curled up on the sofa and watch HGTV for a couple hours, then checked my email. At 4:30 Spouse & I went to the gym for our personal trainer appointments. Rather than have them back to back as scheduled, our trainer Rick had us work out at the same time, having us alternate on the same equipment. It went by quickly.

Spouse & I both went back to work on Thurs, then decided to catch some of the after Christmas sales Thurs night. Using our gift cards we bought a Wolfgang Puck counter top Convection Oven Spouse had been eyeing for months. Happily it was $30. less expensive after Christmas. We also got a stainless steel trashcan with a foot pedal that opens the lid, and 10 boxes of Christmas cards that were 1/2 off.

We both worked on Fri and then met up with 'the usual suspects' for dinner. But rather than eating at the Miltonian as we usually do on Fri evening, we decided to try the new Shanghai Buffet that just opened. The food was pretty good and everyone agreed that it was a nice change from our regular Fri night fare.

Sat morning we drove back to VA. We had a sandwich with Evelyn, talked, watched a little TV, then got ready for the 1st of 2 parties that day.

On the way to Marty & John's, we drove through the neighborhood where I grew up. I showed Spouse my elementary and middle schools, the house I lived in from age 18 months to 22 years, and noted all the changes that had taken place in the 20 years since I'd lived there.

We didn't know anyone but Marty & John at their party, but the guys were all friendly and we had nice conversations with several of them. It was really nice to see Marty & John again and show Spouse their unusual contemporary home. We stayed from 5:00-7:45.

Then we slipped up the highway to Ron & James' party where we knew everyone except 1 couple. It was really nice to see these old friends again, and many wanted to know how we liked our 'new life' in Lewes. We stayed from 8:30-11:00, then snuggled into bed shortly before midnight at Evelyn's.

This morning Spouse's sister Mary came over and we sat in the kitchen and talked over coffee for a while, then decided to have breakfast at the Silver Diner. Mary told us about her anniversary 'night out' in DC with her husband, where they celebrated 16 years of marriage. Then we returned to Evelyn's, packed our things and headed home.

Its been a busy but terrific holiday so far. Its not quite over yet though; tonight we're having dinner and celebrating New Years Eve with some friends.

Drag Queen name of the day: Brianna Cracker

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Short break from blogging for Christmas

Yesterday's cookie baking with Rich & Aaron was a lot of fun! While they made muffins and peanut butter blossoms, Spouse & I made a batch of chocolate chip pecan cookies and a batch of oatmeal cranberry walnut cookies. Then we walked 2 blocks into town and had lunch. Rich & Aaron went home, Spouse took a nap, and I made 2 more batches of oatmeal cranberry walnut cookies and 2 more batch of chocolate chip pecan.

After cleaning up the mess I packaged up the cookies into decorated bags and placed them in Christmas baskets with ornaments, candy canes and decorations for the neighbors.

Then we went to Rick & Nick's to watch "Transformers" on their huge screen home theatre. It was kind of cool.

This morning our friends Stephan & Wayne and Rick & Nick came over for Christmas brunch. We had cheesy eggs with sausage, apple cinnamon pan cakes, bacon, fruit salad, juice, and coffee. It was nice to share some time with them over breakfast.

After cleaning up Spouse helped be bring the gift wrap down the from attic so I could wrap the gifts. Spouse is terrible at gift wrapping, while I am great at it and enjoy doing it, so every year I wrap all the gifts for our friends and family. It took me almost 5 hours, which is less time than usual because I used 6 gift bags, instead of wrapping every gift, and did not use any ribbon or bows.

The gift bags were a necessity because several of the nieces and nephews got parka-style coats which would never fit into a box. I decided against the ribbon and bows this year for practical purposes, since all the gifts have to be stacked in the car.

We got Spouse's mom a new bed-in-a-bag set for her king size bed. I was wondering how we could possibly wrap such a large gift. Then the proverbial light bulb went off inside my head! Step 1: slide the king size bed-in-a-bag set into a large black trash bag and tie it up. This completely hides the gift. Step 2: tape all of my left-over scraps of gift wrap onto the bag. It almost looks like a patch work quilt, which is kind of funny since there is a comforter set inside.
After finishing the gift wrapping I delivered the cookie baskets and holiday cards to my neighbors, while Spouse loaded all the wrapped presents into the car.

We just finished packing our bag so we're heading back to VA now. We're meeting Kerry & Hugh and Kerry's father George tomorrow for brunch. We'll celebrate Spouse's mom's birthday that night, as well as open gifts with the family members we won't see on Christmas day. On Christmas we'll have time during the day to relax and perhaps catch up with a friend or 2, then get back together with the family for Christmas dinner and opening gifts. We'll return home on Wed, probably by noon. I'll be without computer access during that time, hence the break from blogging.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!

Drag Queen name of the day: Ella Mentry

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another day off, and free shoes

Spouse & I both took the day off today. Unlike last Mon when I had a list of things to do, today we didn't have anything particular planned. Surprisingly our day filled up quickly.

We started off with a trip to the discount family dept store that's always sending us coupons and such, and where we finished our holiday shopping last Sun. When we checked out last Sun we were given two $20. gift cards that were only good from Dec 20-24. So we decided to look for something for ourselves, since our gift shopping is done.

I got a great pair of Sketchers shoes completely free! That's right, free. The shoes were $39.99 and the gift cards totalled $40. and since there's no sales tax in DE, I got the shoes completely free. They're great looking; brown leather with tan suede and dark brown trim. What a treat!

Then we decided to have lunch at our favorite lunch spot in Rehoboth: Cafe Sole. We both had a great soup and 1/2 sandwich lunch special, then took a short walk on the boardwalk. The weather was grey and overcast today but the ocean was still beautiful. We ducked into a few stores and I bought a sand dollar to hang on our Christmas tree. In the Christmases to come I will hang the sand dollar again and again and remember it to be the sand dollar from our 1st Christmas in Lewes.

Then we decided to take a little road trip to Salisbury. We'd heard that lots of the 'big box' stores were located there, which we do not have close by us. Not that we had any great desire to hang out in those stores with all the last minute shoppers, but Spouse thought he might like a new 'party shirt' to wear next Sat when we're going to 2 holiday parties. He didn't find anything he loved, but we also found a vitamin store, which thrilled Spouse greatly. Its difficult to find some of the herbal supplements he likes near where we live except at the expensive GNC store. So he stocked up on some items he felt were better priced than at GNC. We also ducked into a few other stores like Old Navy and Ross since they were in the same parking lot. Old Navy looked like a bomb had gone off inside. Guess those TV commercials playing every 7 minutes really did the trick.

We're back home now, but only for about an hour. I'm going to feed the dog and take her for a short walk (with my keys in my pocket!) and then we're meeting 'the usual suspects' for our weekly Fri night dinner at the Miltonian restaurant at 7:00.

After dinner we need to stop at the grocery store to pick up some fresh flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and walnuts for tomorrow's baking. Our friends Rich & Aaron are coming from Smyrna to bake cookies with us. They're making 2 types of cookies and we're making 2 types of cookies, and then we'll split what we've made so we both have 4 types of cookies. It should be really fun!

Drag Queen name of the day: Jenny Tailya

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Locked out

Last evening as I was putting on my coat and leashing Jordan for her evening walk, Spouse called out from the TV room "Take your keys."

"I'm just taking her for a short walk. Don't lock the door." I replied.

"I might lock it out of habit. Better take your keys." he urged.

"Spouse, you're walking out the door 3 minutes after I do. How could you 'forget' and lock the door out of habit? Don't lock the door!" I repeated.

Then I suddenly remembered having spoken with our neighbor Claudia earlier in the day, and began telling Spouse about her son's house burning down and his family losing all their possessions, just a week before Christmas. Spouse recalled reading something about a similar incident and we tried to piece together whether or not the two incidents were actually one in the same. Meanwhile, Jordan was barking and pacing, eager to go for her walk.

"Alright girl, let's go" I said as I walked out the door, forgetting to pull my keys off the key holder. A minute or two later Spouse left the house for his personal trainer appointment. He should have seen my keys hanging on the key holder when he picked his keys off of it. There are 4 hooks and 4 sets of keys. He should have easily seen that all keys were present and realized I did not have mine with me.

But, presumably "out of habit", Spouse locked the door when he left the house. I couldn't believe it. Had the weather been moderate, I'd have simply stayed outdoors with Jordan until he returned an hour and 1/2 later. But it was barely 30 degrees and I didn't want to presume that my neighbors would let us "crash" for a while until Spouse got back.

So I tethered Jordan to one of the rocking chairs on the porch and went to our neighbor Brenda's to use the phone. I called the gym where we both go for personal training and Spouse had just walked in the door. (All those years working at the phone company left me with an uncanny ability to remember phone numbers, even ones I don't use often.) We spoke briefly and he agreed to return to the house to let me and Jordan in, forfeiting his personal training appointment.

He was a little angry about having to miss his appointment, especially after having already driven 20 minutes to get there. But his anger was tempered by the knowledge that I had told him - not once, but - twice not to lock the door, so he was civil the rest of the night. Later Rick called and offered Spouse a vacant slot this evening. He'd just had a cancellation due to illness. Spouse gratefully accepted.

We've agreed to do the same thing here that we did when we lived in VA: hide a spare key outside, and give another spare to a neighbor.

Drag Queen name of the day: Cheyenne D'Mure

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday cards

I finished writing and addressing my holiday cards last night and placed them in the mailbox this morning.

I didn't write as many personal notes inside them this year, as I was feeling the pressure to get them into the mail so they'd be delivered before Christmas. For some reason I got a later start this year than most. But I did write a little note on some, and I always write their names above the printed sentiment and sign our names below it. Sometimes I'll underline a word in the printed sentiment so they think of it as coming directly from my mouth.

"Thinking of you and wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a happy and prosperous new year!" seems much more heartfelt when you underline the word 'wonderful', don't you think?

Ironically, this year my company shipped me and the other remote employees a box of holiday cards with our company name printed on the inside and asked us to address and send them out to our clients. Normally I'd find this a highly enjoyable activity and a nice brake from my typical day. Only this year I was kind of struggling to get my personal holiday cards out on time so I did not have the same 'joy' about addressing and sending out a dozen or two more for the company. But I took some time today and did it anyway. The clients should enjoy the holiday greetings.

I hope all you dear readers are enjoying the holiday season.

Drag Queen name of the day: Bea Kind

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cover clutcher

Spouse is a cover clutcher. He clutches the covers when he turns over in bed at night, pulling them off (or nearly off) of me. I wake up cold and have to tug at the covers, disturbing his sleep, to get the covers back on me.

While awake I asked him why he clutches the covers when he turns over. After all, nobody appreciates a cover clutcher. He said he wasn't aware of it, since he's asleep when he does it. Initially I accepted this response under the same logic that people who snore often aren't aware they are doing it.

But then I began to think of my own turning over in bed. Although asleep, I do not clutch the covers when turning over. Quite the contrary, I lift the covers slightly, turn over, and let the covers back down. These two disparate nocturnal behaviors really have me puzzled.

And have you ever noticed how the top sheet will drift to one side of the bed while the blanket always drifts to the other side? Its almost like two positive magnets opposing each other. I'm always waking up with just the sheet over me, and some on the floor beside me, while Spouse will be covered with the blanket but no sheet.

Drag Queen name of the day: Penny Kostal

Monday, December 17, 2007

Day off

I took today off work because I have 4 days of "use it or lose it" leave I can not carry over to next year. In anticipation of being off today I made a list of things to do:
  • take recycling to drop off center
  • prepare and mail bank deposit
  • unload clean dished/load dirty dished in dishwasher
  • buy stamps and drop off cards at post office
  • get haircut
  • go to Marshalls
  • get baskets, trash bags, batteries at Dollar store
  • personal trainer appt
  • work on holiday cards

I'm happy to say I accomplished everything on the list except the last item, work on holiday cards, so I felt the day was rather productive. Although the tasks weren’t the type I’d normally take a day off work for, they needed to be done and I needed to use the time.

Its been very cold and extremely windy the last few days, similar to the mini-tornado-like weather that removed my hanging exterior holiday decor. We had a wind gust advisory on Fri night, Sat & Sun. Although there was no advisory today, it was still rather windy. The wind made the 36 degree temperature feel much colder than 36 degrees when I walked Jordan.

Despite the wind and 36 degrees, yesterday I saw - not one, but - 2 people wearing flip flops. Is that not insane? I was wondering what might cause someone to select open footwear in any obviously inappropriate season, and only came up with these:

  • Feverish-foot Disorder (FFD). This is a disorder whereby the sufferer's feet are always feverishly hot. They can only find relief by going barefoot or wearing open footwear.
  • Incredibly late. A person who is incredibly late may simply opt for the closest footwear in an attempt to save time, regardless of its perceived or unperceived inappropriateness.
  • Too damn lazy. A person who is too damn lazy will simply step into the first footwear they encounter, despite its known inappropriateness, because they are too damn lazy to look in their closet.

That’s it. I couldn’t think of any other reasons.

Work out update: week 15
Last evening's work out was good. I did a new exercise where you hold dumb bells above your shoulders (near your ears) and alternate raising and lowering each dumb bell. After the 1st set he switched out the dumb bells to heavier ones and I did a 2nd set. Then for the 3rd set he had me raise and lower both dumb bells simultaneously. That was harder.

I love that Rick changes up my exercises all the time. It keeps the work outs interesting and it gives you a more well-rounded work out.

Drag Queen name of the day: Ann Tagonist

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday stuff

Yesterday Spouse & I went to a tree trimming party at George & Steve's. We also went last year, when we met many folks who are now our friends. We talked, joked, and laughed as we helped them decorate their 12' fresh tree, which reaches up into the vaulted ceiling of their family room, and their 6' artificial tree in their living room, with ornaments old and new. Then we recuperated with food. It was a lot of fun.

Once we returned home, Spouse "rested" in front of the TV while I unpacked the last box of Christmas decor. It contained the mantle decorations and Spouse's holiday cookie jars. I replaced the photos and candles on the mantle with holiday garlands, frosted fruit and flowers, deep rich burgundy candles and a wreath. Next I carefully unwrapped the 4 holiday cookie jars that Spouse received from members of his former staff and arranged them on the kitchen counter.

One year for Christmas one of his staff gave him a cookie jar that looked like a gingerbread house. Since this gift appealed to the nostalgic child in him who wishes nobody had "theme" Christmas trees, he must have really expressed a great interest in the cookie jar. This gave the other staff members the notion that he loved or collected cookie jars, which he does not, and the following year he received 2 more holiday cookie jars: Santa sleeping on a crescent moon, and Frosty the Snowman, and the year after that another one: multiple gift wrapped boxes. Isn't it funny how things can snowball like that? Thank god he doesn't work there anymore or we'd be up to our eyebrows in holiday cookie jars!

Content with the placement of all the holiday decor it was time to put away all the boxes, bags, and containers from which I'd extracted everything. Fortunately Spouse was talked into helping me transport them up 2 flights of stairs to the attic. The house now has a warm, festive, holiday feeling.

This morning when we awoke Spouse asked me what we were doing today, alluding to my tendency to schedule the weekends full of activities. I shot him a knowing glance and smugly replied that we had absolutely on the calendar. After a few more minutes of luxuriating in the knowledge that we didn't have to get up or be anywhere at any particular time, I made a suggestion.

"Although there's one more weekend before Christmas, I'd rather not be trying to finish our Christmas shopping then, with all the other last-minute freaks. If you'd like, maybe we should go to Dover and try to finish our shopping today. That would leave us both days of next weekend to wrap everything and do our holiday baking."

Spouse agreed, so after a light breakfast of bagels and coffee we hit the road. Honestly, I doubted we'd actually finish our shopping today, but figured we'd get at least a few things, and would be more than 1/2 way done. But to my delight and amazement, we actually finished our shopping! This has got to be some kind of record for us. Perhaps it is a testament to the slightly slower pace of life here which results in our not feeling much stress. Stress often breads stress, so if you can find a way to reduce it a little, you'll actually reduce it a lot. This seems to be true for us at least.

After hauling our booty in from the car, Spouse took a nap and I got out my holiday cards and address list, put on some Christmas music, poured myself a glass of eggnog, and settled in for a few hours. As mentioned in a previous post, I enjoy writing out holiday cards. Rather than looking at it as a chore or doing it out of some sense of duty, I enjoy thinking of each friend and remembering something funny or important about my time with them as I write a little note inside or simply sign our names. Its a joyful tradition I look forward to every Christmas.

Tonight I got 65 cards written, addressed, sealed, stamped, and ready to go into the mail. That's slightly less than 1/2 of the list. But I'm off work tomorrow and Fri next week, plus there's the evenings when there's nothing on TV but reruns, so there will be plenty of time to finish them this week. As I indicated, for me its not a chore, its a pleasure.

Drag Queen name of the day: Kim Chee

Friday, December 14, 2007


The other night I had a sexy dream.

The dream started with me inside Sean's house. (Sean is a guy I met about a year ago while singing karaoke at Freddie's.) I know Sean lives in a condo in real life, but not in my dream. I'd written him a 'love note' and walked outside to put it on his pick-up truck. I don't know if he have a pick-up truck or not, but once again, in my dream he does. Once the note was attached, I was coming back into the house and when I opened the door he were standing there.

We just stood there for a minute looking into each other's eyes. He was wearing jeans, a T-shirt, and cowboy boots. Again, not sure if he even owns cowboy boots or not, but in my dream he does. Eventually he just smiled at me and extended his hand as if to say 'follow me', although no words were spoken.

So I took his hand and followed him into the house and down a lit hallway to his bedroom. There were no lights on in the bedroom and he did not turn any on when we entered the room.

Without speaking Sean began undressing, so I did the same. He laid down on the bed, in the dark, and I did the same. Then I broke the silence and whispered "Is it okay? I know you have to get up for work in the..." at which point he interrupted me and said "Yes, its okay."

Although it was dark and I couldn't see his face, I could feel him smiling at me. I leaned over and kissed him, softly at first, and then the fireworks started. There was some serious suck-face and hand-roaming going on. It was really getting good! And then...

I woke up.

My heart was beating rapidly and my dick was hard as a rock. I told myself "It was just a dream. Relax, calm down, and go back to sleep."

But I didn't fall back asleep for a while. I laid there wondering why I'd have such a dream, and why I sort of felt disappointed when I realized it was only a dream. Then I told myself to stop being silly, because dreams don't mean anything. They are NOT expressions of our subconscious desires, as some used to think. I mean, I remember reading about this in psychology. But I kept thinking about it, and wondering. Eventually I fell back asleep.

Although I believe that dreams are not the direct expression of our subconscious desires, I do believe that dreams allow us to explore hidden thoughts in a safe way.

For example, I am not in love with Sean. I've never spent any time with him anywhere but at karaoke. From what I know of him he's a nice guy, and he's attractive. But I do not believe my dream was indicating a desire to have an affair with him.

More likely, the dream was a safe exploration of a desire for a hot, passionate encounter, not specifically with Sean. I think this is quite normal for couples like Spouse & me, who have been together so many years. Sometimes the hot passion is replaced over the course of years by the comfort of love and dependability. Perhaps my subconscious simply inserted Sean into this fun, passionate, sexy dream since he is attractive and I know very little about him. Could have just as likely been Pete Kuzak or Nick Beyeler.

For a quick moment I felt a little guilty for having this sexy dream that did not even include the idea of Spouse. But the more I thought about it, the more I figured this was no different than the time I dreamt I had moved into Mary Tyler Moore's apartment (the one with the sunken living room) and Spouse was no where in the dream. Perfectly harmless, perfectly fun.

Happy Friday!

Drag Queen name of the day: Blanche Dividian

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Starbucks Prayer

I pilfered this from a fellow blogger's post because I thought it was pretty clever.

The Starbucks Prayer

Caffeine is my shepherd; I shall not doze.
It maketh me to wake in green pastures:
It leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses.
It restoreth my buzz:
It leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for its name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of addiction,
I will fear no Equal™: For thou art with me;
Thy cream and thy sugar they comfort me.
Thou preparest a carafe before me in the presence of mine barista;
Thou anointest my brain with pep; my mug runneth over.
Surely richness and taste shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the House of Starbucks forever.


Pretty good, huh?

Those of you who know me already know that I love coffee, but do not care for Starbucks coffee. I have no qualms with their frappacinos, which may or may not even contain coffee. They're yummy. But to me Starbucks coffee tastes like the beans have been over-roasted or scorched. But that's just me. Obviously lots of other folks love it and are willing to pay a premium to get it.

In addition to good old fashion regular coffee, I also enjoy flavored coffee. Since I work at home and make coffee in the mornings purely for my own enjoyment, not needing to worry about co-workers' tastes, I've been experimenting with some new flavored coffees of late.

A few weeks ago I tried for the 1st time and LOVED some blueberry flavored coffee. I know, I know, it sounds weird. I thought so too, but since I like unusual things I thought I'd give it a try, and am glad I did. Me likey!

Another recent discovery was Fudge Brownie flavored coffee. Dee-lish! And last week I returned to a tried and true favorite: French Toast flavored coffee. That one can only be enjoyed when the weather is cold. No French Toast coffee in the summer, kids. My rule. And this week I am enjoying some medium roast Kona coffee, all the way from Hawaii. Earthy, slightly nutty, and sensuous.

If you ever feel a little 'stuck in a rut' (as my aunt used to say), why not try a new or unusual flavored coffee? It might just be the nectar of the gods.

Drag Queen name of the day: Anna Waywego

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Fellow blogger Doug from "I Get That A Lot" (find his blog on the left) 'tagged' me with the challenge to complete this meme. For the record, a meme is a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation). You could say that memes are the cultural counterpart of genes. Okay, I looked it up in the dictionary; I'm not really that smart.

So, here we go...

The 10 Things Meme
1. When you were born, how much did you weigh?

9 pounds 8 ounces. Yeah, you read it right, I was quite a bruiser; a Fatty Boombalatty if you will. I imagine my mother screamed like crazy trying to push me out. She'd never say that though, as she's much too proper.

2. What's your sugar poison?
I'd like to submit two answers, Alex. During my youth and early 20s Twinkies were my sugar poison. I ate one nearly every day, and occasionally had more than one in a day. But as I got older and my tastes refined, I came to appreciate the spongy sweetness of Circus Peanuts. (Be sure to squeeze them in the package to make sure they're fresh before you buy them.) Sugar? Oh you betcha! Poison? Um, probably. What ARE those things made of, anyway?

3. If you had to choose between meat and cheese for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Then be specific.
This is easy. Cheese. I love cheese. I also enjoy meat, but not to the extent that I enjoy cheese. If asked to give up meat for some medical reason, I could do so it rather painlessly. Not so with cheese. I have tried many, many different types and have loved them all. Pepper jack, muenster, sharp cheddar, goat, asiago... you get the picture.

4. What, in your opinion, is the worst song ever?
Ah, this is a hard one, as there are so many horrible songs out there. But here's one that puzzles me: "Don't Know Why I Didn't Come". Although the musical accompaniment isn't that bad, the lyrics of this song make absolutely no sense whatsoever. "I waited by the house of fun. Don't know why I didn't come." Huh? Perhaps the real quandary is 'don't know why I wrote this song'. Idiotic!

5. Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why?
Miss Cunningham. She was my 4th grade English teacher. She had great hair, in a sort of Jacklyn Smith of 'Charlie's Angels' kind of way. She wore skirts that went all the way down to the floor. I once thought it might be because she had a wooden leg and didn't want anyone to see it. She liked me, I could tell, and she knew that I could tell. I excelled in English. My class was right before lunch, so she would give me 50 cents and send me to the teacher's lounge to get her a Coke from the Coke machine while the other students finished their assignments, because I was always done before them.

6. What personal activity, when performed in public, bothers you the most?
Cleaning one's nose without the benefit of a tissue. I mean, come on! If you want to pick your nose, do it in private. Trust me - nobody else wants to see that out in public! What, were you raised by wolves?

7. Ok, there's a $50 bill lying on the ground. You pick it up. Dumbfounded by your incredible luck, what do you selfishly purchase?
I'd probably buy CDs. I'm such a bargain hunter that I don't normally buy things that aren't at least on sale, if not on clearance. But with this $50. windfall I might just rush into Best Buy and pay full price for a few treasured CDs I've had my eye on.

8. Do you have a recurring nightmare? If so, explain.
Yes. I'll try to explain without writing a book. I grew up in the Jehovah's Witness religion, which requires its member to "spread the good news" by visiting people at their homes (ie: knocking on people's doors and waking them up on a Saturday morning). I left that religion almost 15 years ago. My recurring nightmare is that I find myself standing on someone's front porch, having just rung their doorbell, and I have little memory of what I'm supposed to say. Its current day, so I have not been in this position for almost 15 years. I assume there are Watchtower and Awake magazines in my bag to show them, but I have no clue what the topics of the magazines are. I'm usually able to force myself awake before the home owner comes to the door.

9. Name one place on Earth you've never been, but vow to visit at least once.
Greece. Photos and TV specials show it to be a spectacularly beautiful place. I simply must go there before I die.

10. You notice that question #9 wasn't really a question. You feel smart for catching such a small detail. What else can you do really well that reminds you how smart you are?
Actually, I did not catch that #9 wasn't a question. I simply assumed it to be a statement equivalent to a question. But something I do that makes me feel (somewhat) smart is that I arrange songs to be sung by a cappella jazz singers. I perceive this to require more than the average smarts because jazz chords often have dissonant, tight harmonies, and the bass singer often does not have the root of the chord, as in traditional choral music. But I don't have a clue about my IQ. How does one find out their IQ, Doug?

So there you have it! Now, I'm tagging Tornwordo and Catty Bitch. Are they up for the challenge? I hope so.

Drag Queen name of the day: Connie Sewer

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Work and work out

Last week and this week so far work has been super-busy, to the point that I have needed to work past 5:00 and I even worked for 2 1/2 hours on Sat. This is very unusual for me.

I don't believe in working overtime or on weekends unless there is a specific, limited reason. A special project with a short due date or something similar might cause me to make an exception, but I do not want to be known as a person who checks their work email after hours or does any work on weekends. Once you become known for either of those two things people will expect you to do it all the time, and I'm not trying to open that can of worms.

But one of my existing clients has this huge project on Wed & Thurs this week, for which much work and preparation was required by not only me, but several other people in my company. Thank god that'll all be over by Fri.

Recently I've also had 2 brand new clients who've required more than the usual amount of training and hand-holding. I don't mind doing it at all, in fact I enjoy the feeling I get from being so helpful and useful to my clients. Its just that the timing has been such that the huge project for the existing client AND the 2 new clients' extra work have all been happening at the same time.

I've really felt the stress in my body. A few times I've gotten up from my desk to go to the bathroom or get a cup of coffee and I feel all the tension in my neck and shoulders. I try to 'shake it out' with limited success. I actually took an anti-inflammatory one night to help relieve my knotted muscles.

But by far the worst has been that I've had almost no time to keep up with my favorite blogs! Fortunately things should be calming down soon and I can resume my usual, relaxed pace of work.

Work out update: week 14
I got to my work out 15 minutes late yesterday, thanks to 1 of my new, needy clients. Rick had me do a nice combo (upper and lower body) work out which included a new exercise where I sat on a bench and raised dumb bells from under my knees out and up as high as my ears. This was harder than it sounds, and got harder each time I did it. But because I complained, he switched the dumb bells for heavier ones for the 2nd set! I told Rick "You're killing me!!!", at which he simply laughed. No 'elbows and knees' this week. I think Rick has figured out that these are not challenging enough for me, so instead he's making do floor exercises that require me to keep both feet up in the air and do sit ups. Dear god! My hamstrings are too tight to hold my legs up in the air like that. (That sounds like the trigger for some off-color sex jokes.) But as Rick tells me, you have to vary your work out to be effective.

Drag Queen name of the day: Carrie Onbag

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Highlights from the weekend

After returning from our failed curtain shopping we decided to put on Christmas music and put up our Christmas tree. Spouse's attitude had improved, and there's not a whole lot that can go wrong with putting up the tree.

It actually went faster than I expected. Spouse pulled all the branches out of the big box and placed them into piles according to the labels while I put the stand and 'trunk' together and began attaching the branches. We were done in just a few minutes. Then we strung the 6' tree with 4 strings of white lights, plugging in each string first to be sure they worked.

Later that evening we went over to our friend Ray's house for our monthly movie night. Once a month we gather at a different friend's house and watch a movie chosen by the host. They usually have snacks and drinks too. We watched "Postcards from the Edge", starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep. It was written by Carrie Fisher and basically leaves the viewer to conclude that its the somewhat unflattering story of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. I'd seen it when it came out in 1991, which is fine because I often appreciate things during the 2nd viewing I didn't notice or appreciate during the 1st. Scott had made homemade baked goods and sent everyone home with a loaf.

On Sun Spouse & I went to an art show and sale. A local glass artist named Deb Appleby hosted about a dozen Delaware artists at her glass blowing studio. There were so many beautiful and interesting things to see it was almost a bit of sensory overload for me. Spouse & I decided to buy a large blown glass bowl as our Christmas present to each other.
It was marked down because it was imperfect. There is a small flaw and a tiny hole that was sealed; both of which are unnoticeable unless you're looking for them. When the artist soothed her conscience by repeating twice that the piece was imperfect, I replied "That's okay. People are imperfect too, but they can be beautiful anyway, and we still love them. That's how I feel about this piece. It may be imperfect, but its still beautiful and I love it anyway." She smiled and said "I'll have to remember that."

Our friends Rick & Nick met us at the art show and sale, and the 4 of us decided to have lunch together when we were finished. I picked Ruby Tuesday's because I really enjoy their 'Garden Bar'. Spouse & I made a stop at the greatest dollar store in the world before heading home.

When we got home Spouse & I unpacked all the boxes and bags of ornaments and decorated the tree. Somehow I seemed to remember each ornament that had been a gift from a friend, and I thought of each person as I hung them on our tree. I called a few of these to Spouse's attention so he could remember them with me.

After an hour or so I guess Spouse started losing interest and began making comments like "I think it looks great. You know, we don't have to put all the ornaments on the tree." I sensed he was done, even though there were more ornaments on the coffee table. Rather than have a disagreement over it, I simply said "Yeah, it does look great. But I'm just going to add a few more toward the bottom where its a little bare. You don't have to stay here with me if you don't want." Grateful for the respite, Spouse watched TV in the TV room while I continued in the living room until I had indeed put up every single ornament.

The tree looks wonderful, almost magical. We both like glittery, sparkly, mirror-finished ornaments so you can imagine 400 white lights and over 200 reflective ornaments. I turned the overhead light off, leaving just the lit tree and the fireplace burning. I felt a sense of completion, calm, and warmth. I closed my eyes and made a Christmas wish.

Drag Queen name of the day: Sarah Nade

Saturday, December 08, 2007


This morning the sun shined so brightly through our thin bedroom curtains that Spouse was disappointed he couldn't sleep in longer. I fail to see the logic in this. "Since your eyes are closed when you're sleeping, what difference does it make if its sunny or cloudy?" I asked him, but he dismissed it under the guise that I simply didn't want to buy new, heavier curtains.

He's right. I find our curtains perfect. They provide privacy for undressing and other bedroom activities (ahem) but aren't so heavy that they block out all the light. I find these qualities render the curtains "perfect" while Spouse finds this to be a constant weekend morning irritation.

So we went curtain shopping. One of the stores was having a 'going out of business' sale and everything was 50% off. Unfortunately Spouse & I could not agree on what to buy. He thought chocolate brown panels would be fab. I reminded him our bedroom color scheme is dark purple and sand. He said that chocolate would be great with dark purple and sand. I asked him to picture our bedroom in our last house, since we have the exact same furniture, area rug, and bed linens. The only difference is that in the last house I'd painted the wall behind the bed dark purple and the other walls sand. I'm going to do the same in this house, too. "Picture the dark purple wall with chocolate brown curtains. Not good."

I don't know if there is an actual color/art theory behind this or not, but I do not like 2 dark colors together. Dark purple and chocolate brown together? No. Navy and black? Uh-uh. Hunter green and charcoal? Please! A dark, strong color needs to be balanced with a lighter color or a neutral. Hence dark purple and sand. Navy and khaki. Hunter green and tan. Burgundy and grey.

He inhaled deeply and told me to buy whatever I wanted and that he didn't care. I knew better than to fall into that trap, so we left the store with the fabulous 50% off sale empty-handed. Fortunately his tiff didn't last all day.

Drag Queen name of the day: Ida Claire

Friday, December 07, 2007

Note from an old friend

I received the following from a guy I worked with nearly 10 years ago. The story he related left me in tears with laughter! Enjoy.

"Happy b'day, Mark! This year, I've got a gift for you: a story from our Winstar days...

MaryLou and I were in cubes next to each other; you were on the other side of the file cabinet row from us. All within easy earshot--just turn around and chat. You surely remember the layout of that office on Spring Hill Rd. Anyway, MaryLou was yapping away one day about Shania Twain's records. She said she thought a particular album that hit the charts in '98 might have been her first big hit.

But I knew better (out-of-the-closet Country/Pop fan that I am, despite all the Guns 'n' Roses and Rolling Stones albums I have), so I chimed in, "Actually, MaryLou, 'The Woman In Me' came out in 1995..." to which YOU replied, "Gary, that's big news, and I am very proud of you!"

Makes me smile every time I think of it, and girlfriend-then-and-now-wife Connie gets a kick out of it also.

Cheeers! Make it a great year!



Today is my birthday. Yup, December 7th; the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day. Today I am 44 years old, which is rather astounding to me, since I feel perpetually 27.

I'm not sure how I got 'stuck' at 27, but I've always felt younger than I am. Maybe its because I look younger than am? A few months ago I was singing karaoke at Freddie's and a guy told me he thought I was 33. Okay, it was a bar, lighting was dim, and there's lots of alcohol, but it was nice to hear.

Actually I don't mind being 44. What I do mind is that I've only celebrated 15 birthdays. I was raised in the Jehovah's Witnesses religion, so I didn't celebrate birthdays until I left them in 1993. My 1st ever birthday celebration was my 30th birthday. It was terrific.

Last night Spouse made 3 pans of homemade lasagna. This evening they'll be eaten by the guys we usually have dinner with on Fri nights at the Miltonian restaurant because they're coming here for my birthday dinner. Spouse is a great cook, and Italian food is his specialty. People would walk miles in 6-foot snow drifts without shoes backwards for his lasagna. It will be great.

And then we get to eat cake!

Drag Queen name of the day: Freida Go

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Snow and work

When the snow stopped falling around 5pm yesterday I thought we were done. I had an appointment at 7:00 and upon exiting the building at 8:45 I found it snowing again. I was a bit surprised.

It was still snowing when Spouse & I went to bed at 11. This morning the sun was shining brightly and my little town was cloaked in sparkling whiteness. The reflection made me squint, but it was truly a beautiful sight.

I bundled up tightly to walk Jordan, as it was only 23 degrees. And since its always breezy here at the beach, it always feels colder than it actually is. Isn't it weird to think of snow at the beach? Its weird so see it, too.

Though very cold it was a beautiful morning walk. It really made me appreciate even more my hot morning coffee. This week's flavor, you ask? Why, delicious French Toast. Mmmmmm.

Jordan seemed mildly perturbed that the snow made it slightly harder for her beagle-senses to pick up exciting smells. Without thinking I tried to avoid walking in the snow and instead walked on the 'wet' street, which wasn't wet at all, it was icy. I slipped and nearly fell down, had it not been for my cat-like reflexes. Then I felt grateful that I didn't have to drive to work; that my 'commute' is just down the hallway.

Work has been super-busy this week. I've actually had so much to do that I've not had time to catch up on my favorite blogs. I've barely had time to sneak over and read my personal email. I had end-of-the-billing-period stuff to do, plus 2 of my biggest clients had special things going on this week, requiring more from me than usual. One of the client's projects will be done tomorrow, and the other one done next Thurs. Then things should really slow down in preparation for the holidays. Good thing, too, because I have 4 days of leave I must use before the end of the month or I'll loose them. So I'm taking off Mon the 17th, Fri the 21st, Wed the 26th (day after Christmas), and Mon the 31st.

Our company has decided to send holiday gift baskets to the top 20 clients. (That is, the 20 clients who've spent the most money with us this year.) I was quite proud to find that 13 of the 20 clients were mine. I must be doing something right!

Drag Queen name of the day: Tiffany Lamp

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Little things that don't deserve their very own post, II

It started snowing this morning at around 10am. Nothing like what you guys up north have gotten! This is a slow, light snowfall that is only expected to 'dust' the streets and grass. The streets are simply wet, but the grass, cars, houses, and trees have a beautiful white cloak that just makes you want to curl up under a blanket. What is it about a snowfall that makes one feel so 'cozy'?

Work out update: week 13
I had a really good work out with Rick on Mon evening. He upped the weights on me a bit which really made me struggle a few times. I'm feeling the after-effects still. But it felt good to work my chest, arms, and back along with a little legwork and floor exercises. No work out would be complete with 'elbows and knees'!

A cyber friend sent me this funny photo and I just HAD to share it. Enjoy!

Here's another 'pet peeve' of mine: people who live with you who will make the effort to bring their dishes from the kitchen table to the sink, but who leave them in sink. First off, leaving dishes in the sink is dumb because then the sink is full so when you need to rinse your hands or get some water, the dishes are in your way. And hello! The dishwasher has not been moved to a new and undisclosed location in the house. It is still under the counter, right next to the damn sink, for your convenience.

Spouse still has laryngitis and some occasional 'cold' symptoms. One more day and it will be 4 weeks. I asked him today if he was going to finally go to the doctor and he said no. He likes to attribute most everything to "allergies", even though he's never been diagnosed with any, and figures he'll get over it when the offending allergen goes away. Whatever.

Jordan is still having "allergies" too. We're keeping her doped up on Benadryl to help with the itching, but I don't think it is doing anything for what's causing the itching. She has another hot spot, this time on her tale. We tried wrapping it in gauze, then in an ace bandage in an attempt to keep her from biting/licking it but she just kept pulling the protectors off. Spouse is reluctant to take her to the vet again because the last time it cost $250. and the medicine gave Jordan diarrhea and made her thirsty all the time, resulting in middle-of-the-night trips outside to pee. Seems like if its not one thing, its another.

Last night I highlighted my hair. Instead of buying a highlighting kit, I bought regular hair color because it was on sale, figuring it will do the same thing as long as I just 'paint' it on where I want it. It came out okay, but I was a little disappointed that its more gold, with a slight red hue, than yellow blond - even though it was the lightest blond Garnier makes, and I left it on longer than they recommended. It'll be fine. In months I will have had 2 haircuts and it will all be gone. Next time I'll just pay full price for the highlighting kit I know works the way I want it to.

Drag Queen name of the day: Kay Sedea

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Not sure about this

A trusted friend and major Queen Latifah fan sent me this, and although I've not been able to verify or refute it, I'm going to share it anyway. Can't say that I'm surprised about this, and I do hope its true.

November 30, 2007. It's happened. has EXCLUSIVELY learned that Queen Latifah and her longtime girlfriend Jeanette are OFFICIALLY ENGAGED!!! The two women have been in a relationship for more than 4 years - and they've finally decided to make it official.
And there's more. can confirm that the two are planning on PUBLICLY coming out to the world about their engagement. Word is that once Queen Latifah's finished promoting her current movie, The Perfect Holiday an announcement will be made. can't reveal our source to this story, but we can tell you that we're 100% sure on this one. And we can also tell you that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE in the media (no magazines, no bloggers, no TV stations, no radio personalities - NO ONE) else is reporting this story right now. We figured we'd share this info with you guys first - our nearly 2 million closest friends...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Weekend update

As planned, Fri evening we drove back to DC. I dropped the dog and Spouse off at his mom's, then went to Freddie's to sing karaoke. My friend from high school Chris was there, and so was my old karaoke buddy Sean, whom I'd not seen in several months. I had a great time catching up with the two of them, as well as singing. I sang "Merry Christmas, Darling" by the Carpenters and "Mambo Italiano" originally by Rosemary Clooney, but more recently by Bette Midler.

Sat morning Spouse & I took his mom and my aunt Mary with us to see the Olde Towne Manassas Christmas parade. The parade marches down the street where Kerry & Hugh live so they always invite a mess o' folks over to watch the parade and snack on goodies and hot beverages. As always, the parade was fun to watch and we had a really good time talking with the other folks there. After the parade about 20 of us hung out inside Kerry & Hugh's for an hour or so, then went to Anthony's restaurant for a late lunch. We got back to Ev's house at 4:30. Later that night Spouse's sister came over with her 3 kids and hung out with us for a while and watched TV.

As is always the case, staying at Ev's is a challenge. Many times our dog is responsible for extra stress or work for us when staying there, but this time it was Ev. She had the thermostat up so high that the heat was running like crazy and we were roasting. Spouse suggested she turn it down a little, since the house was warmer than it needed to be. She seemed to get a little miffed at his suggestion and declared to us that she is "an old lady" and doesn't like "being cold inside my own house". So while she was still awake we had to endure the oppressive heat. When she went to bed Spouse turned the thermostat down so we wouldn't be sweating in bed. Note to self: this is another reason NOT to spend 5 days at Ev's house over Christmas!

Sun morning we left just before 9am and got home shortly after 11am. We both showered and changed clothes, then headed out the door to a 'Thank you' luncheon held by our realtor for all her clients who bought or sold in 2007. The food was good but we felt a little 'out of place'. We were definitely the youngest clients in the room by a long shot, which meant our conversations with the others were a little strained. On our way home we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things.

I had planned to re-attach the exterior Christmas decorations that had blown down during last Tuesday's tornado-like winds, but it was very grey and cold, and it seemed as if it was about to rain or snow at any minute. So I decided to leave them to another day when the weather seemed more amicable.

We were scheduled to meet up with John & David for dinner at 6:15, but Spouse's laryngitis was worse than ever and he was feeling tired and achy. He's had laryngitis for over 3 weeks now. Its really a misnomer to say he has a cold, because he doesn't have any cold symptoms most of the time. Most of the time he doesn't even feel bad. But occasionally, like Sun, he does, so he swallows a handful of vitamins and herbal supplements and goes to bed early. The next day he feels fine again. So I called John & David and suggested we postpone to another time when Spouse was feeling better.

While Spouse took a late afternoon nap, I watched a Netflix DVD "A Chorus Line". I saw the musical in one of the Washington DC theatres many years ago and enjoyed it, but had never seen the 1985 adaptation. Unfortunately I wasn't impressed with it. Spouse woke up, we heated up some left-overs for dinner, then we both watched another Netflix DVD "The Last Year". Its about 3 young men in their last/senior year at a bible college who are suspected of being gay. The story line had some real potential, but it just wasn't executed. Some important points regarding the interpretation of certain bible texts could have been incorporated, but it wound up being somewhat melodramatic and empty.

Today is like a repeat of last Tuesday's tornado-like winds! I sure am glad I didn't spend any time re-attaching those decorations! I'd be super-pissed if I had done so and they'd all blown down again today. Although I was extremely happy with the look of my original design, I am seriously considering the feasibility of it. It just seems like living near the beach its always a little too windy for all those garlands hanging from the windows. So now I'm brainstorming ways of re-purposing the garlands, bows, and lights into a different, more secure type of decoration. Unfortunately the new design will have to be limited to the 1st story of the house. The 2nd story gets too much wind, and any decorations that get blown off would have to be re-attached by borrowing our neighbor's ladder again and climbing around on the 1st story porch roof again. Not practical.

This evening I go for my weekly work out.

And a little historical fact: 39 years ago on this day, December 3, 1968 MCC founder Reverand Troy Perry officiated the church's very first same-sex holy union.

Drag Queen name of the day: Selma Belongings

Friday, November 30, 2007

Little things that don't deserve their very own post

I finally updated the links on the left. I'd been meaning to do it for a few weeks but forgot how to. I finally figured it out. So if you enjoy what you read here and want to read other blogs that may be similar, feel free to visit those that I read. And if you're a fellow blogger and wish to link to me, please do.

Here's a pet peeve of mine: I hate doors and drawers that are left open about an inch. Spouse does this all the time. He leaves most, if not all, of his dresser drawers open about an inch and it drives me crazy. Just push a teeny-tiny bit harder and you'll close the drawers completely! He also leaves the coat closet door ajar about an inch. To me it just looks sloppy so I push it shut at least 100 times a day.

Since I work at home I usually don't wear shoes during the day. Instead, during cold weather I wear socks and/or socks with slippers. Spouse gave me a great pair of suede slippers with fleece lining for Christmas several years ago and I've been wearing them ever since. I love them! My problem? These favorite slippers have become stinky. Sometimes I'll take the slippers off and smell really offensive foot odor. I remember as a teenager having particularly odoriferous feet, to the point that my mother made me start drinking Acidophilus milk. Apparently some culture, bacteria or something in the Acidophilus milk was supposed to help. As I recall, with puberty I simply grew out of it and haven't had a problem with it since. But what do I do with my favorite slippers? Does sprinkling foot powder inside shoes and slippers work?

In a quandary over what to get for those on your gift list who have everything? Get them an "I Support Gay Rites" T-shirt! Its the perfect gift. What could make this gift even better? Order it online!
And while you're at it, pick one up for yourself to wear proudly... and one for me! Just doing my little part to "make the yuletide gay"!

This evening we're going back to DC. I'm going to sing karaoke at Freddie's tonight, and Sat morning we're going to Kerry & Hugh's house in Manassas to watch the Olde Towne Manassas Christmas parade. The parade passes right in front of their house so the view couldn't be better. They always invite a boatload of people over and have coffee, tea, hot chocolate and enough sugary goodies to put you into a glucose coma. Its great fun and we go to it every year. We'll be back home Sun around noon in order to attend a 'Thank you' luncheon given by our realtor to her clients that have bought or sold during 2007. Hey, who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?

Drag Queen name of the day: Leah Tard

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas cards

I'm not sure, maybe its because I didn't start celebrating Christmas until I was 30. Maybe its just part of my personality, and has no bearing on how long I've been celebrating Christmas. Maybe its because I used to write and send postcards from our annual Outer Banks of NC vacation every summer.

I love sending holiday cards. I love the whole process, from picking out boxed cards I think are pretty, to creating my card list, to writing short notes inside each card, to hand-writing the recipient's name and address on the envelope. I just love it!

I've created a bit of a ritual for card writing. I like to put on Christmas music, pour myself a glass of eggnog, arrange my cards on the kitchen table so I can see all the different types, put my card list on my right and my address print-out sheets on my left, sit down and get to it. I pick from my card selection to go with the recipient's personality, favorite color, or some memory of them I've saved. I usually sing a long with my favorite Christmas CDs, which are by The Manhattan Transfer, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Carpenters. It takes several hours so I never finish all the cards in one setting. Two years in a row I had to be out of town two nights in Dec for work, so I took my card writing supplies with me and wrote out a bunch of cards in my hotel room.

I think its important to hand-write the names and addresses on the envelope. To me that says 'I took the time and made the effort for this to be personal for you.' Those computer printed stick-on labels people create from their address books just lack the personal touch, in my opinion. They say 'I like you enough to send you a card, but not enough to physically write your name and address on the envelope'. However, I do use pre-printed return address labels. Nobody cares whether or not I hand-write my own address!

When preparing my card list every year I will invariably add new people we've met and be-friended during the year. So in order not to go bankrupt purchasing cards and stamps, and to prevent needing to start addressing cards in July, each year I also drop a few names off the list. Although I don't like doing this, it is a necessity. If I've sent them cards for the last 3 years and have not received a card, call, email, or smoke signal in return, then I have to edit them off the list in order to make room for the new folks.

Now, I understand that not everyone enjoys Christmas card writing like I do, so I don't remove people from the list simply for not sending me a card. I just expect some kind of acknowledgement. "Hey, got the holiday card. Thanks!" in an email is fine. "Oh, by the way, thanks for that beautiful Christmas card. It arrived yesterday." at the close of a phone call is fine too. Its not that I want to be recognized for sending them. Its just the only way I can think of to edit the card list, since I add new people every year.

I know that some begin their cards on the Thanksgiving weekend. I started that early one year, but held onto the cards until sometime in Dec to mail them. I've not started my cards yet this year, but I have created my list and counted my cards. I've only got 85 left over from last year so I will need to buy about 50 more. I told you I love it!

Drag Queen name of the day: Ida Slapter

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This I believe

A friend sent me this link to this short article, which also aired on NPR recently. My friend sent it to me because the author acknowledges having been raised in the Jehovah's Witness religion as well as being gay, and my friend knows that I was also raised in that religion and am gay.

Upon finishing the article I felt a sense of kinship with the author, not so much because of our obvious similarities, but because I agree 100% with his summation that our capacity to tolerate difference is what will ultimately bring us true liberty. Tolerating doesn't have to mean accepting, although in the best cases that is the end result. Enjoy the article.

Learning True Tolerance
by Joel Engardio

I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. If I ever knocked on your door when you were mowing the lawn or taking a nap, please excuse me. I understand: A kid with a Watchtower magazine on your front porch isn't a Girl Scout with cookies, but, hey, you didn't have to sic your dog on me.

I believe how we treat the people we dislike the most and understand the least — Jehovah's Witnesses, for example — says a lot about the freedoms we value in America: religion, speech and personal liberty. And all of these freedoms rely on one thing: tolerance.

I learned this as a kid when I went door-knocking with my mom. We were preaching that Jehovah's kingdom was coming soon to solve the world's problems. I prayed no one from school was behind those doors. Dogs I could run from. It was hard enough being singled out as the kid who didn't celebrate Christmas or didn't say the Pledge of Allegiance. There was little tolerance for my explanation that we only worshipped God, and that God wasn't American. There was no tolerance when I told my third-grade class that Santa Claus was pagan and a lie.

Still, I didn't have a bad childhood. Our Saturday morning ministry meant sacrificing my Saturday morning cartoons, but our 10 o'clock coffee break was a blessing. That's when we would gather at Dunkin' Donuts, trying not to get powdered sugar on our suits and dresses, while we told stories and laughed. We always knew when you were "home but hiding."

As a teenager, I decided fitting in at school and in life was worth sacrificing some principles. So I never became a Jehovah's Witness. That was the first time I broke my mom's heart. The second time was when I told her I am gay.

Obviously, I don't agree with my mom's belief that same-sex relationships are wrong. But I tolerate her religion because she has a right to her beliefs. And I like it that my mom doesn't politicize her beliefs. She has never voted for a law that discriminates against gay people, or anyone who isn't a Jehovah's Witness. Her Bible tells her to love, above all.

My belief in tolerance led to a documentary film I made about Jehovah's Witnesses, and my mom actually likes it. The message is about being open to letting people have views we don't like, so in that sense, it could also be about Muslims, gay people or NASCAR race fans. The point is the people we don't understand become less scary when we get to know them as real people. We don't have to be each other's cup of tea, but tolerance lets a variety of kettles peacefully share the stove.

I believe our capacity to tolerate both religious and personal difference is what will ultimately give us true liberty — even if it means putting up with an occasional knock on the door.

Drag Queen name of the day: Ann Thrax

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tornado Tuesday

Okay, so it wasn't a bonafied tornado, but it did almost as much damage to my exterior holiday decorations! After spending about 5 hours this past weekend decorating the outside of the house for Christmas, a cold front blew in last night. Today we had hour after hour of unbelievable gale force winds that destroyed all my hard work.

As I looked out my office window I could see the wind howling and the trees bending mercilessly. I could also see the pine garlands dashing back and forth, hanging on for dear life.

By dinner time things seemed to calm down, and as I walked back to toward the house from getting the mail, I saw the garlands had been blown off of 9 of the 12 windows. They're strewn throughout the yard and wrap around porch. Also, 2/3 of the lights lining the porch roof were blown off and lay on the ground.

Damn. Sh*t. F*ck! All that work to put them up, now down the drain. Wasted time. There are few things that affect me like knowing I've wasted my time. I hate that!

Spouse asked me if I was going to pull down the rest of the lights and garlands or if I was going to put it all back up. "I don't know yet" I lied. I knew I was going to put it all back up again but I didn't want him to know proud I was of the 'finished product'. "I'm too mad right now to decide."
Guess I'd better take a look at the weather forecast to see if we have anymore tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, or tsunamis on the horizon.

Drag Queen name of the day: Carmen Dioxide

Monday, November 26, 2007

Good for NH!

New Hampshire Prepares For Civil Unions
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 25, 2007 - 4:00 pm ET

(Concord, New Hampshire) Same-sex couples in New Hampshire will be able to apply for civil union licenses in about a week the state agency that oversees marriage licenses has announced.

Civil Unions will be come legal in the state January. The Secretary of State's office said that if couples want to have a civil union on New Year's Day they will be able to do so.

A new license has been created for civil unions and will be available at local clerk's offices in towns and cities across the state.

Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said that the state is still fine tuning the software that will allow town clerks to access the state's computer system.

But Scanlan said the system will be fully operational by the first week of December.

New Hampshire is the fourth state to grant civil unions after New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont. Neighboring Massachusetts in 2004 became the only state to allow gay marriage.
The law was passed earlier this year and signed into law in May by Gov. John Lynch.

Couples entering civil unions will have the same rights, responsibilities and obligations as married couples. Same-sex unions from other states also would be recognized if they were legal in the state where they were performed.

At Senate hearings into the bill the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, said that the state should embrace couples seeking civil unions because they value monogamy and commitment.

''Would that we could get all heterosexual couples to take these commitments and responsibilities so seriously,'' he said.

Robinson who is at the center of an Anglican feud over the role of gays in the denomination told senators that he deserves equality for himself and his partner of nearly 20 years.

A bill that would allow same-sex marriage is currently before the New York State legislature but Senate Republicans have vowed to defeat the measure.

In California the state Supreme Court is to hear arguments in a gay marriage case early next year.

© 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday decorating

As soon as I returned from the stores Sat afternoon we got to work on the exterior decorating.

I bought 15 foot variegated pine garlands to drape/swag across the windows and deep red velvet bows to anchor the corners. With a step ladder and Spouse as my tools, I attached the bows to the garland and hung the garland from the crown molding above the windows. Since our house sits on a corner we decided to decorate both the front and the side of the house, both of which face the street. We decorated the 6 windows on the 1st floor of the house.

Next we opened the box of lights and stretched them out before winding them around the columns that frame the porch entrance to the front and side doors, as well as lining the entire length of the wrap around porch railing. I connected the end of the light string to an extension cord and plugged it into the exterior electric socket to make sure everything was lit. Success!

On Sun we did some house cleaning, then borrowed our neighbor's ladder to I could get onto the porch roof. I am not afraid of heights, but I am very uncomfortable about being near the edge of high places. I can look out the window of the 3rd floor with no ill feelings, but scooting myself along the edge of the 1st floor porch roof made my heart race.

I leaned over to attach plastic clips to the edge of the shingles, then clipped the light strings into the plastic clips. I repeated this every 3-4 feet along the length of the front and side of the wrap around porch roof; 100 feet in total. It was not difficult work, but it was difficult because of my discomfort being near the edge of the roof. I connected the end of the light string to the same extension cord, and added a timer so the lights would turn themselves on and off.

When the porch roof lights were finished I brought the rest of the pine garlands and velvet bows onto the porch roof and decorated the 6 windows on the 2nd story of the house. Adding together the time spent on Sat & Sun I estimate it took about 5 hours to complete this.

It was almost dark and I was tired so I decided to call it a day. I have yet to fish the wreaths out of the attic and hang them on the front and side doors, and attach the removable hook to the house (inside the porch) for the largest wreath. That will complete the exterior decoration of the 1st and 2nd stories. I'll take and post photos soon.

I'm toying with the idea of placing electric candles in the 2 dormer windows of the 3rd story. I think they look really charming and would definitely match the Victorian style of our house, but I'm a little hesitant because those candles seem to be so 'overdone' here in DE. It is very common to see electric candles in the windows of homes all year round here. 'Candles in the windows aren't just for Christmas anymore' seems to be the motto of my fellow Delawareans. So I will probably leave them out.

I hate to decorate in ways that are too common. Remember when everyone and their brother decided to paint their dining room deep red or burgundy? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. I tend to shy away from expected things like that.

Spouse suggested that perhaps we might pull out the artificial Christmas tree this week and start putting it together a few evenings after dinner. That way when we return from VA on Sun afternoon the tree will be set up and we can put the lights on and decorate it. Decorating our tree is quite a project, as we usually have well over 200 ornaments to hang, but I really enjoy it. I like to put on Christmas music and sing along as we open box after box of ornaments and distribute them as equally as possible around the tree. As cliche as it might sound, to me there is something magical about a lit Christmas tree.

This is our 1st Christmas in this house and I believe its going to be a beautiful one.

Drag Queen name of the day: Barb Dwyer

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Peace and quiet return

Fri morning the whole gang had breakfast at the Blue Plate Diner, then we said goodbye to Louis, Karen, and Evelyn. Now, what to do with the remaining 5 family members?

I went to the salon and got a haircut while Mary, Eric, and the 3 teens wanted to go shopping at the outlets malls. As you'd imagine, they were packed. 'Black Friday' they call it; the day when most of the world goes shopping. Fortunately our group tired of the crowds quickly so when I finished at the salon and called Spouse I met up with him and them in Rehoboth. We had pizza at Grottos, walked along the boardwalk, then returned home.

Spouse & I took Jordan for a walk and the kids watched TV and played their Wii. We warmed up the Thanksgiving left-overs for dinner and enjoyed it all over again.

Spouse played Monopoly with Eric and the kids. The boys got so worked up they were literally screaming! I don't understand this. Why don't parents recognize constant screaming as unacceptable behavior and request their children stop it? I retreated to the 3rd floor to watch HGTV and could still hear them 2 levels up. Later we all watched the family favorite 'Jaws' and the kids giggled over the 1970s clothing and hairstyles, as they do every year.

This morning after breakfast the 5 of them packed up their stuff and headed back to VA. It was so nice to welcome peace and quiet back to our house! I can hear myself think again. I just stripped the beds and collected all the towels. The 1st load of sheets is churning in the washer. There will be many more loads to follow.

After watching those HGTV holiday decorating specials last night I'm really in the mood to begin decorating the house for Christmas. For a few weeks I've been mentally sketching my holiday plan for the outside of our house. Being a Victorian it really lends itself well to Christmas decorating. I printed a digital photo of our house and then drew on it with red and green felt tip markers to simulate the decorations that existed only in my head until that time. Of course, Spouse's initial reaction was that it seemed "too busy", which really means he thinks it looks like too much work, so he tried to get me to scale it back. Rather than compromise my 'vision' or get into an argument over it, I simply agreed that if, while putting it together, it seemed like "too busy" (aka: too much work), we'd scale it back. This makes it look as if I am willing to compromise, when in reality I know it will not be 'too much' so it will all get done.

So, as soon as the sheets are ready to go into the dryer and I fill the washer again with more, I'm off to the Dollar Store and Wal-Mart to pick up the tools for my holiday extravaganza. I'll post photos when its done.

Drag Queen name of the day: Anita Cocktail