Sunday, November 30, 2008
I'd wanted to get the white lights put on the wrap around porch today, but since it was raining, Spouse said he didn't want to do it. I reminded him that we could wrap the lights around the porch railing while standing on the porch, and therefore not get wet, but he didn't want to. Then I remembered he'd had back pain all week, and standing outside in the dampness for an hour might not have been a good idea.
So I vacuumed the main floor of the house, unloaded the dishwasher for the dozenth time in less than a week, and tossed several sets of sheets in the washer. I finally got Spouse to help me carry the Christmas tree down from the attic to the living room, and we assembled it together. That was as much as he wanted to do on this lazy Sunday, and although I could easily have strung the lights on the tree (and the porch, for that matter), I reminded myself that there is a kind of beauty in just taking it easy on a rainy Sunday.
Then Spouse used left over turkey meat to make a turkey/vegetable/rice soup that smells awesome, while I ate left over dressing and watched him. Then I took the last of the turkey left overs and made turkey salad.
We've both read our emails, and I just updated my 2007 Christmas card list and now have my 2008 Christmas card list! I love writing, addressing, and sending Christmas cards. I have a ritual that I love to follow every year. I probably won't start the cards this week though, because Mon after work is my work out, Tues after work we'll put up the lights on the porch and/or tree, Wed night is my mens discussion group, Thurs night is the Lewes Hospitality Night, and Fri after work we're leaving for a weekend in VA. So I may start the cards next Sun evening, or the following week.
Its hard to believe my 5-day holiday weekend is nearing its end. But December will feel like a short month because I have 4 days of leave to use before the end of the month, so I will probably take a day off every week. Plus, I'll be off 2 days for Christmas in addition to the 4 days of leave. I have a feeling December will fly by.
Crush du Jour: Erik Eidem
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Typically I am mostly involved with the pre-Thanksgiving preparations (ie: house cleaning, setting the table, etc.) but Spouse had been having back pain for several days, so I took a much more active role in the preparation of the meal this year, and I liked it!
We prepared the turkey together on Wed evening. Spouse makes an herb butter and slides it and lemon slices between the skin and turkey so they flavor the meat as it cooks. He also puts celery, onion, lemon and granny smith apples inside the turkey for flavor. When it finished cooking we let it come up to room temperature, then covered it in foil and put it in the fridge overnight. The family arrived, we talked until 1:00 am, then finally went to bed.
On Thurs Spouse & I made our famous dressing. Its made with bread cubes, chicken stock, onions, lots of fresh herbs, granny smith apples, golden raisins, pecans and dried cranberries. It is to die for!
I made a corn casserole and sweet potato shuffle (without the crushed corn flakes), then placed the mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and green bean casserole in the oven to warm that Spouse's sister Mary had brought. Meanwhile, the turkey was warming up in the roaster. Spouse used the turkey drippings to make dynamite gravy and I baked the biscuits and cooked the peas. We had a ton of food! But everything was ready at nearly the same time, which is a feat unto itself.
We sat down for our 1st Thanksgiving dinner at 3:00, and it was dee-lish! Then we hung out for a few hours, then ate our 2nd Thanksgiving dinner at 6:00, then had pumpkin and apple pies at 8:00. I was still too full to eat pie.
On Fri we pulled all the left overs out and ate Thanksgiving dinner for lunch. We had pizza for dinner.
The family left at noon today. I made some more biscuits and Spouse & I had Thanksgiving left overs again for dinner tonight. We're now out corn casserole, sweet potato shuffle, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and green bean casserole. I think we'll eat left over turkey and dressing once more, tomorrow, and then the rest will go into the freezer for another day.
We had a really nice time together. Its kind of amazing how much 'better' the boys (Spouse's 11 and 13 year old nephews) were this year over last year. They're not bad boys at all, but they tend to get excited and very loud. Last year I had to retreat from the hysteria at one point, but this year I didn't. The 8 of us spent 3 whole days together and really enjoyed it.
But I must admit that it is nice to have our quiet house back to ourselves again. Over the last 4 days I must have filled, run, and emptied the dishwasher at least 5 times, and wiped up the counters at least a dozen times. The kitchen is clean, the house is quiet, and I'm returning to my natural state.
Tomorrow Spouse & I are going to put up white lights on our wrap around porch and assemble our artificial (but very life-like) Christmas tree. Spouse will likely lose interest about 1/2 way through the tree assembly, leaving me to complete it and string it with lights, but I don't care. I love doing it so I don't mind if he doesn't stick with me until its done. Then each night next we'll add decorations until we've gotten all 300+ ornaments on the tree and it looks as if it couldn't hold 1 more.
Here's a tip: plug your lights into a timer. The timer will turn your lights on and off for you every night, whether you're at home or not! This goes for your Christmas tree and your outside lights.
Crush du Jour: Chris Russell
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Enjoy the laughs and have a wonderfully happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I've made a list of things to do today, nearly all of which revolve around getting ready for our family's visit for Thanksgiving. More cleaning, making beds, checking the guest baths for supplies, laundry, and general straightening up. Thank god we did the bulk of the house cleaning and all of the grocery shopping last Sun. We'll probably have to go to the store again though, since they're coming tonight and staying through Sat. Those rug rats eat like its their last meal.
If you're like me, you look forward to Thanksgiving and the other holidays. However, if you happen to be in a bit of a funk or are having trouble getting into the Thanksgiving mood, I urge you to read this, for it will surely make you do a 180. When you really stop (the madness) and think about it, we all have much for which to be thankful.
Have a happy Thanksgiving!
Crush du Jour: Jed Hill
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
"It is too damn cold in this house!"
Perhaps I should start at the beginning.
When we moved to his house in Jan 07 it was the 1st time we had a house with a buried tank of (propane) gas to fuel the furnace. Our previous homes had metered gas, for which you'd pay monthly according to your usage. With a buried tank, the gas company fills the tank (which should last the entire winter) and sends you a bill for your entire winter's heating cost at once.
In our case, the 1st bill was $860. WTF??? Apparently, the builder of our home had only put enough gas in the tank to minimally run the heat, so it was near empty when the gas company came to fill it.
Of course, we'd just bought the house and had paid $4,000. to have all our stuff moved here, and really hadn't planned on a bill of $860. It couldn't have come at a worse time, financially.
Then 6 weeks later the gas company returned to refill the tank, and sent us a bill for $580. WTF??? I believe this is the root cause of the situation in which I find myself now.
So, Spouse remembers those 2 ferocious gas bills, only 6 weeks apart, at a time when we could afford them the least, and has decided that this year we should not run the furnace. Instead, he wants us to run electric space heaters.
He's like one of those people who grew up during the Depression who now saves every little scrap of aluminum foil.
Now, I'm not opposed to using an electric space heater for supplemental heat. After all, during the day I am working in just one room, my office, for 8 hours. Why heat the entire house to a comfortable temperature when I'm only going to be in that one room? So I have been using an electric space heater in my office during the day, and its been fine.
But Spouse keeps turning the thermostat on the furnace down to 60 degrees - 60 degrees! - and turning on electric space heaters in the TV room and living room. The electric space heaters generate enough heat and are close enough to the thermostat to 'trick it' and keep it from turning on the furnace. In other words, he wants to use the electric space heaters - not as supplementary heat, but - to heat the entire house!
This wouldn't seem so astonishing if we lived in a 1,700 or even 2,000 square foot house, all on 1 level. But we live in a 3,770 square foot house on 3 levels.
I'm relatively comfortable in my office with the electric space heater on high, but when I walk out of the room to use the bathroom, eat lunch, get the mail, etc. its like I just walked into a meat locker. Its too damn cold in here! He's driving me crazy!
He claims its "more efficient" to heat with electricity than with gas. I countered that its also more efficient to wash the dishes by hand than use the dishwasher, or to light the house with candles than with electricity, but I didn't seem him doing any of that! And ironically, after the sale of our previous house in Sept. we are more able to afford the gas bill now than we were before.
Currently I have on jeans, shoes and socks, a thermal pull-over, and a flannel button-up shirt and my nose and hands are still cold. Remember, I'm wearing all this indoors!
At night when we're watching TV we both have on flannel pajama pants, t-shirts, and socks and then we both cover ourselves from head to toe with blankets. It just gotten ridiculous.
This morning after he left for work I turned the thermostat back up to a reasonable temperature. But I'll have to make sure I remember to turn it back down before he comes home in order to avoid an altercation.
See what my life has been reduced to? Reminding myself to turn the thermostat back down before 'Frosty' gets home from work. Sigh.
Oh, and to add insult to injury? Our fireplace is gas, too.Crush du Jour: Lee Pappas
Monday, November 24, 2008
Spouse's sister Mary, their mother, Spouse and I all agreed we were not putting up with Liz again this holiday season. I recommended that Spouse or his sister have a frank conversation with Frank, letting him know that Liz was not invited or welcomed to Thanksgiving at our house or Christmas at Mary's. This happened, and Frank told Mary he thought Liz was "spending Thanksgiving with friends", which sounded suspicious. To our knowledge Liz doesn't have any friends.
Mary didn't trust that Frank would actually tell Liz that she wasn't spending the holidays with us and was afraid the two of them would simply show up here for Thanksgiving, so Mary called and left a message on Liz's answering machine. Mary's message indicated that Frank had told her that Liz was spending Thanksgiving with some friends, which she thought was a great idea, since it was obvious that she and Frank weren't getting married, it was probably for the best that she not spend the holidays with us anymore.
Mary got a call back from Liz sometime later, and it wasn't pretty. Liz said she had no plans to spend Thanksgiving with friends, that she was planning to come with Frank to our house! She went on to say that she and Frank would eventually get married, but that she wasn't the kind of person to pressure Frank into it. She could wait until he was ready. Meanwhile, they haven't dated each other in 20 years, and Frank dates other women! Liz must be very patient.
Liz said she was very offended and didn't want to see Mary ever again! I'm sure Liz meant this as an insult, but it was actually music to Mary's ears!
Of course the person whom Liz should have been mad at was Frank! He's the one who made up the lie to Mary about Liz telling him she had plans with friends for Thanksgiving. Liz should have given Frank an earful, but instead she called Mary.
Mary called us and explained what had transpired, and said she felt guilty about offending Liz. Although she didn't want Liz to come, she had been careful in her answering machine message to be very nice and polite, and had not meant to hurt Liz's feelings.
So then for a few days we didn't know what was going to happen on Thanksgiving. We certainly wouldn't put it past Liz to show up with Frank, unannounced and uninvited. After all, she's done that in the past, too.
One Thanksgiving when we had the tables set for the 19 people we were expecting, Liz showed up on our doorstep with Frank and some woman Liz worked with! Suddenly we had two more people to seat and no more chairs. Spouse & I pretended to be busy with the food so that everyone would sit down and begin eating. When all the chairs were filled by our expected guests and the 2 unexpected ones, we got out 2 extra dishes and flat wear, fixed ourselves plates of food, and ate our Thanksgiving dinner standing up in the kitchen. Of course we wouldn't have minded if we had expected them, or if we even liked them.
Fortunately, yesterday Mary called us back to say that Liz and Frank had decided to host Thanksgiving at Liz's place. Frank told Spouse's mother he and Liz had invited some people over, so it appeared we are 'out of the woods'. Hopefully, this will mean the end of the Thanksgiving drama for this year.
What a relief! Now we can have a nice Thanksgiving without the nonsense and drama of Liz and Frank. Honestly, I am so sick of them I don't even want to waste any more energy thinking about them.
All I want is to have a fantastic dinner on Thurs, spend a few days with some family, and then send them on their way back home so I can relax, fart at will, and read some blogs. To me, that is the definition of a great Thanksgiving.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Today we slept in late again, but eventually got down to business. But just as I was starting the vacuuming, I noticed the vacuum wasn't picking up very well. The dirt canister was empty so I cleaned out the filter and checked for clogs. I couldn't find anything, but the vacuum just wasn't sucking. And really, if it doesn't suck, what's the point?
So Spouse & I headed out to K-Mart to buy a new vacuum. We figured the previous one was about 7-8 years old, and had only cost $79. so we felt we'd certainly gotten our money's worth out of it. We bought the same vacuum (Bissell Clearview) again, only its the 2008 model (Clearview II) and came with an extra upholstery brush attachment that will be very handy getting dog and cat hair off the furniture. It was $89. but was on sale for $79. We were rather happy we replaced our vacuum with the same one 8 years later for the same price.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Work has been super-busy this week. One of my colleagues is "no longer with the company", and when our manager and other colleagues tried to transition her work, they found all kinds of 1/2 done stuff and stuff that should have been done but wasn't. They found all kinds of hand written notes on her desk with various bits of client information. Yeah, a real mess. So I have been trying best I can to help out with the clean-up.
Since work has kept me busy non-stop during work hours, I've not been able to visit and comment on many blogs. I was going to do it last night, but Spouse got a little irritated so I didn't. "You're on the computer all day long. How can you be on there at night too?" I'm sure this seems like a logical argument to him, but not to me. Using a computer for work and using a computer to visit and comment on blogs are 2 entirely different things to me. Anybody else's spouse give them a hard time about evening/night computing?
This weekend weekend we'll be preparing for having company over the Thanksgiving weekend. We need to do a super duper housecleaning, go grocery shopping, make the guest room beds up, and be sure that guest baths have towels, TP, soap, etc. Real exciting stuff!
On Sat we're going to glass art show and sale. Our friend and glass artist Deb Appleby is having her annual holiday open house. Last year be bought this as our Christmas gift to each other.
I doubt we'll buy anything this year, but it is always great to look at all her beautiful glass work.
The garage called today regarding my baby's check-up. I gave them the go-ahead to proceed with the work. It'll be at least a week before she's ready, because the new exhaust has to be special ordered and then shipped to the garage. But I can be patient because I know when she comes home she'll be purrin' like a kitten.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
By 365gay Newscenter Staff
(Washington) President-elect Barack Obama has laid out his commitment to LGBT civil rights in an eight-point plan posted on his transition Web site.
It calls for passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act; a gender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act; repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act; opposition to any attempt to reintroduce an amendment to the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, support for inclusive adoption rights; and an expanded war on HIV/AIDS.
The program is identical to Obama’s positions during the campaign and LGBT rights groups said it shows that the president-elect is committed to keeping his word.
The Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Act would add sexual orientation to the list of categories covered under federal hate crime law. It passed the House in 2007 and the White House threatened to veto it. In an effort to get around a veto, the Senate version was tied to the 2008 defense authorization bill. It passed but then went to conference, where it was stripped out.
Obama was a co-sponsor of the bill. On his transition Web site, Obama notes that in 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported, making up more than 15 percent. As a state senator in Illinois, Obama helped pass tough legislation that made hate crimes - and the conspiracy to commit them - against the law.
Obama, in his eight-point plan, also supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and says it must include gender identity.
ENDA passed the US House in 2007 without protections for the transgendered, but was not taken up by the Senate.
The legislation would make it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in hiring, firing, promoting or paying an employee.
ENDA as originally introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) included transpeople, but Frank removed those protections in committee, saying it would be impossible to pass the bill if it included gender identity.
More than a dozen LGBT groups immediately distanced themselves from the legislation. Frank has since said he would fight to ensure an inclusive ENDA is passed.
Obama’s support for an inclusive ENDA virtually assures it will include gender identity when it is reintroduced in the next session of Congress.
“While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees’ domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy,” Obama says on the transition site.
Legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the ban on gays serving openly in the military, was taken up in committee this year for the first time, but did not make it to a vote.
DADT was enacted in 1993. Since then more than 12,000 servicemembers have been dismissed when it was learned they are gay. According to statistics from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which advocates for gays in the military, an average of two service members each day are dismissed under the law.
“The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited,” the Obama transition site says.
“Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.”
The Web site also touts Obama’s commitment to same-sex families, but he remains reluctant to support gay marriage.
“Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples.” the transition site says.
“Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights,” the Web site says.
He also supports adoption rights for all couples “regardless of their sexual orientation.”
Obama’s plan also offers a comprehensive plan for combating HIV/AIDS.
“In the first year of his presidency, Barack Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities,” the Web site says.
Part of that plan would see a diminished role for the Bush administration’s dependence on abstinence education, as well as distributing contraceptives in prisons and lifting the federal ban on needle exchanges.
Crush du Jour: Ryan McPartlin
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
When we moved to DE we hoped our family would still come to Thanksgiving at our house, and last year many of them did. We had a lovely holiday, but it was not lacking the family drama. Here's a quick reminder. And if you find that entertaining, you'll love this.
It appears this year may be more of the same, but I'll write more about that in a separate post.
With Thanksgiving just a week away, I got to thinking about things heard around the table, and realized there are some phrases that are only appropriate at the Thanksgiving dinner table. If you're not sure what I mean, read the following out loud but pretend like there's no holiday:
- Talk about a huge breast!
- Tying the legs together keeps the inside moist.
- It's Cool Whip time!
- If I don't undo my pants, I'll burst!
- That's one terrific spread!
- I'm in the mood for a little dark meat.
- Are you ready for seconds yet?
- It's a little dry, do you still want to eat it?
- Just wait your turn, you'll get some!
- Don't play with your meat.
- Just spread the legs open and stuff it in.
- Do you think you'll be able to handle all these people at once?
- I didn't expect everyone to come at once!
- You still have a little bit on your chin.
- How long will it take after you stick it in?
- You'll know it's ready when it pops up.
- Wow, I didn't think I could handle all of that!
- That's the biggest one I've ever seen!
Crush du Jour: Mauricio Camacho
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Then I remember hearing Wanda do those prank phone calls where she called a prison to ask about conjugal visits. When they asked which prisoner she wanted to visit she replied "Any that are willing. Basically I want to volunteer for conjugal visits." Too funny!
She's had 2 successful stand-up shows "Tongue Untied" and "Sick and Tired", both of which were fantastic.
Then Wanda started getting parts in films and TV shows like "Wanda at Large", "Monster in Law", and "The New Adventures of Old Christine".
But most recently Wanda has made me smile by coming out at a Join the Impact rally. Thank you, Wanda!
Crush du Jour: Marcel Schlutt
Monday, November 17, 2008
Fortunately, the rain did not arrive until well after the protest had ended! In fact, as you will see from the photos below, it was bright and sunny most of the day.
There were approximately 35 who participated in the Dover, DE protest in front of City Hall, which is not a lot when you factor it was the sole location for the entire state. But I think it may have had to do with the relatively short time people had to prepare (requesting leave from work, etc.). Had everyone been given a week or more notice, we may have had a better turn out. Also the prediction of rain and wind likely kept some at home.
But those of us who made it had a GREAT TIME! There was a nice mixture of young, old, in between, white, black, other, straight, and gay. I was able to meet fellow Dust Bunny Howard, who brought a great sign!
Below (from left to right) are Nick, Rick, Spouse & me.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
That's right. Olbermann spent 6 and a half minutes of this TV show talking about how horrible it is that Prop 8 passed in CA, and he's not gay.
"This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives. And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it."
For a transcript click here. His statements are logical and powerful. And he spent 6 and a half minutes to share them with his audience. I'm impressed with his commentary and with him as a decent and caring human being.
Thank you, Keith!
Crush du Jour: Brian Atwood
Friday, November 14, 2008
The state of California also made history that same day by voting to amend its state constitution to REMOVE rights from a minority. Proposition 8 was passed, which removed the right to marry from GLBT citizens.
A dangerous precedent was set: the ruling majority can vote to remove rights from a minority. This begs the question: Which minority will be the next victim of the majority?
I urge everyone to familiarize themselves and participate in Join The Impact, a group that organizes believers in equal rights and encourages peaceful demonstrations.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Yesterday morning, shortly after posting my "Expectant father" entry, I got the call from the 'stork' letting me know he was nearby. He confirmed the delivery location with me and said he'd call me back after he'd unstrapped my baby and unloaded her from the trailer.
A few minutes later he let me know she was ready to go home with her proud Papa, so I walked the 3 blocks and saw her sitting peacefully in the parking lot. I smiled immediately, and I think I saw her 'wink' at me!
How did this all come about, you may be wondering. I'm glad you asked!
Ever since I was a boy I have loved cars. Not from the performance standpoint. I could care less what size engine its got. To me its always been all about the aesthetics.
Every since I can remember I have loved Cadillacs. They were always my favorite at the car shows. They always seemed more luxurious than 'regular cars'. Without argument, the most iconic Cadillac ever is the 1959. That year the tail fins reached their highest, and were adorned with dual 'torpedo' tail lights. Later models also had tail fins, but each year the tail fins got shorter, and Cadillac never repeated the 'torpedo' tail lights.
So when I got serious about looking for a vintage car, there really was only 1 choice for me: a 1959 Cadillac.
This car has a bit of an interesting story. It was purchased on 12/19/59 by a 41 year old man. I know his age because the title gave me his name and address, which I looked up on Zabasearch, and got his date of birth. If he were alive today he'd be 90 years old. So now I'm becoming obsessed with finding info about the one and only previous owner of my baby.
I've decided to call her Big Ella. My family has always named their cars (Bessie, The Big Blue Beast, The Tank, etc.) and I have named a few of my cars. Years ago I had a 1982 Accord which I named VaRhonda the Honda. Later I had a 1978 VW Super Beetle convertible I named Jazzy Bug. Spouse came up with the name Big Ella in tribute to the large size of the car and my absolute favorite female vocalist of all time, Ella Fitzgerald. So this may have a bearing on the license plate I choose, but don't let that stop you from voting in the poll.
After bringing Big Ella home I called and purchased a special 'antique/collector car' insurance policy, which was much less expensive than I would have thought. Then I made an appointment for her at the 'doctor' for an overall check-up. Since she was only driven occasionally and retains all her original parts, I'm sure she'll need a little freshening up. Then she'll be ready for inspection and registration.
Already the neighbors and passersby have commented on the new addition to our happy family. Spouse was a great sport to agree to this, but I think he really sees how happy this has made me. The realization of a childhood dream tends to do that to a person.
Crush du Jour: Chris Kramer
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Only, instead of anticipating a baby (god forbid!), I am expecting my "baby" today:
It has been my dream since I-don't-know-when to own at 1959 Cadillac, so to say "I'm excited" is really an understatement.
Crush du Jour: Tyler Davin