Sunday, May 31, 2009
In the meantime, here's a little teaser for you. Fri night several bloggers (aka Dust Bunnies) from CA, TX, OH, PA and DE (and some spouses) got together for a little hotel room cocktail party. Sorry the lighting and focus aren't the greatest. This could be due to lots of exhuberant laughter, the consumption of alcohol, or a combination of the aforementioned, but I won't say for sure.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
We are taking the BoltBus again, since it is so economical and we had such a good experience with it last time. We are staying with our friend Lisa again in Sunnyside, since she's one of our favorite people in the world, let alone NYC.
We're not planning to see any Broadway shows this time. The tickets are all pretty expensive, and Spouse is practically tortured by the tiny, narrow seats and lack of legroom. He's not a twink, afterall. But we are planning to spend time in Central Park, which should be gorgeous at this time of year, as well as do a lot of socializing.
David Dust is planning an 'Old School' West Village bar tour (crawl?) on Saturday night. We will be meeting up at a 'historic' gay bar called Pieces at 9:00. We'll have a drink and then move onto the next bar. (The idea is to have just one drink in each bar and keep moving.) Some of the tentative bars may include Stonewall, Monster, and Marie's Crisis, but who knows for sure! Several other bloggers from out of state will be there, along with partners/dates/friends, so if you live or are going to be in NYC this Sat night, consider joining us at Pieces around 9:00.
Its going to be legendary!
Crush du Jour: Sean Lamont
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Today at 4:00 I heard a knock on the door. It was one of the engineers from the street reconstruction, letting me know I should move my car out of the driveway if I needed to go anywhere in the next 2 hours, since they would be laying the base coat for the street in about a 1/2 hour.
Sure enough, around 4:30 the asphalt truck and roller arrived, and this is the beautiful site they left behind:
1. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal*Mart every hour of every day.
2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!
3. Wal*Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.
4. Wal*Mart is bigger than Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Sears, Costco, K-Mart combined.
5. Wal*Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private employer. It "hasn’t needed” a union.
6. Wal*Mart is the largest company in the history of the World.
7. Wal*Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only 15 years.
8. During this same period, 31 Supermarket chains sought bankruptcy (including Winn-Dixie).
9. Wal*Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.
10. Wal*Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are Super Centers; this is 1,000 more than it had 5 years ago.
11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at a Wal*Mart store. (Earth's population is approximately 6.5 billion.)
12. 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal*Mart.
Conclusion: Let Wal*Mart bail out Wall Street. Better yet, let them run the damn Government!
And speaking of Wal*Mart, here is a hilarious video about Betty Butterfield's "episode" at Wal*Mart, which she calls Wal*Mark. Enjoy!!
Crush du Jour: Carlos Guillermo Haydon
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
1. According to the engineering firm hired by the city, our street is scheduled to be paved today! After nearly 3 months of having no street - only dirt, sand, dust, gravel, and mud - we should get our street back today. However, it rained last night and this morning, and so far there are no paving vehicles or people on site.
2. The CA Supreme Court will announce its decision on Prop 8 appeal today.
We'll find out if those same-sex couples in CA will have their marriages reinstated or not. I have a very bad feeling about this one. I have a feeling today will be a day of great disappointment and anger. But here's a site to give you ideas for how to react constructively.
Update: The court decided to uphold Prop 8.
3. Today is mine & Spouse's 13th anniversary.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sat morning after having our coffee and walking the dog, Spouse & I pulled all of the porch furniture (4 rockers, 2 love seats, 2 side tables, and a bistro table and chairs) into the yard and scrubbed them all down. Then we used the leaf blower to blow all the dust, dirt, leaves, cobwebs, and other assorted bug stuff off the porch. We discovered an easy way to clean dusty cushions: with a scrub brush.
Ours came from the Dollar store. It worked great and brought those cushions back to life. The weather was absolutely spectacular (warm but not hot, clear skies, no humidity, nice breeze) so it was a good day for doing this. When the furniture was dry, we put it all back on the porch and sat and rested for a few minutes.
Then it was on to the back/screened porch. We removed the furniture, used the leaf blower to blow the debris out, scrubbed the cushions, and wiped down the posts. Its a much smaller porch with less furniture so it went much quicker. It felt really good to get our porches and porch furniture cleaned up and ready for the summer season.
Then we put together our new convertible bench/picnic table. We saw it on one of those home shopping channels and couldn't resist it. Its a bench that converts into a picnic table in seconds! Here's an unflattering photo of me sitting on the bench:
Then, in mere seconds, with a simple lift, I convert it...
Later that evening we took the convertible car to an indoor/outdoor dinner party at our new friends' Kathy & Jill's. It was a gorgeous evening so we enjoyed assorted olives, cheese and crackers, and cocktails (Cosmos for me) outside on their deck and screened porch. Kathy & Jill are terrific hostesses and served a fabulous dinner of flank steak, salmon, grilled veggies, bow tie pasta with gorgonzola, and green salad with goat cheese. Everything was so tasty! We met lots of great/fun people too.
Sun morning after breakfast and walking the dog, I made 2 pans of Paula Deen's corn casserole to take to George & Steve's cook-out.
Today the weather was quite changeable. We had sunshine, humidity, sprinkles, clouds, rain, thunder and lightening, all within the last 8 hours. Spouse & I decided to do some much needed housecleaning before showering and heading out the door. We made a stop at Home Depot to look at some tile samples, then tried out a new place for lunch we heard about yesterday at the cook-out. Over lunch we discussed some of the details of our upcoming trip to NYC. It seems as if just overnight our roses started blooming, so before it started raining today I took these photos. (Click to enlarge.)
Friday, May 22, 2009
Recently I ran into one of my "mature" (read: retired) friends who appeared to be attempting to bring back a 'club look' from the 90s: denim shorts, yellow construction worker boots, and white socks. Remember this retro drag?
The site of him in this get-up made me involuntarily snicker, so to avoid hurting my friend's feelings, I covered my smiling face with my hand and pretended to cough. It really was amusing!
There was more street work on Tues & Wed. Several dump trucks of gravel were delivered, spread, and smoothed. Wed afternoon my neighbor told us he had it on good authority that our street would be paved on Thurs! But Thurs came and no one showed up. Apparently there was some sort of 'paving emergency' and the crew was reassigned. (WTF?) This morning we received word that the paving of our street has been scheduled for next Tues, the 26th. I am keeping all appendages crossed for luck!
A friend sent me this which resulted in an involuntary eruption of laughter. One of these is Susan Boyle and the other is Matt Lucas (of Little Britain) imitating Susan Boyle. Can you figure out which is which?
This week as I glanced out the window at the street reconstruction I saw a construction worker unbuckle his belt, unzip his pants, slip them down an inch or two, reach in and rearrange his 'junk', then pull his pants back up, zip up, and rebuckle his belt, on a public street. Unfortunately he was NOT hot. He looked like a retired member of ZZ Top.
Our neighbor on Oprah
A friend sent me this, which also resulted in an eruption of laughter! (Click to enlarge.)
Memorial Day weekend
This weekend will be our 1st Memorial Day weekend in years where we will not have company. But we aren't too broken up about it, as this will allow us to attend several local events that we would normally miss if we had company. Fri evening we have dinner with 'the usual suspects' and will celebrate Scott's birthday, Sat evening we're going to a potluck, Sun afternoon we're going to a barbecue, and Sun evening we're going to a cocktail party. These are all things we'd miss if we had company this weekend. We're expecting fairly decent weather so Spouse & I are planning to go to the beach on Sat & Mon.
My company has announced early dismissal today in honor of the impending holiday weekend, so I scheduled myself a hair cut appointment at 4:00. Gotta get my hair did before our trip to NYC next week!
Here's wishing everyone a FUN and SAFE Memorial Day weekend!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Study: Gay marriage cash cow for Mass.
A study by a noted university think tank has found that same-sex marriage in Massachusetts has resulted in a $111 million windfall for the state’s economy.
The study was one of two by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law showing the state has significantly gained as a result of the legalization five years ago of gay marriage.
The state’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2003 that banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and gay and lesbian couples began marrying the following year.
That made Massachusetts the state with the longest record of same-sex marriage and research over the past five years has provided an insight into what other states could expect as a result of marriage equality.
To read the entire article, click here.
Since the small state of DE where I live is one of many states suffering from a crushing budget deficit, I sent our newly elected Governor, Jack Markell, the following email:
"As a resident of DE and a supporter of your campaign for Governor, I am writing to encourage you to recommend the legalization of same sex marriage. Marriage and its rights and responsibilities should be granted to ALL citizens, regardless of whether their loved one is opposite sex or same sex. Marriage equality is a civil rights issue, not a special rights issue. Its the right thing to do.
Further, I wish to call your attention to a recent study which shows that $111 million has been spent on same-sex weddings/marriages in Massachusetts in the last 5 years. http://www.365gay.com/news/study-gay-marriage-cash-cow-for-mass/ With Delaware's significant gay and lesbian population, legislating marriage equality in Delaware cost help reduce its $800 million deficit and attract more full time residents to our state.
There are many other benefits to legislating marriage equality and I would welcome an opportunity to share more of them with you or your appointed representatives."
I'll post more on this if/when I get a response.
Crush du Jour: Alex Pirolozzi
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
So basically from the beginning we've thought about how we might be able to resolve the 3 missing things. We looked into the construction of a garage and/or carport over our existing driveway, but found we could not do either one because of property line setbacks. We looked into building a shed for storage outside the house (for beach chairs, lawn mower, etc.) but also found we could not do so because of property line setbacks. Since our street is a single, one-way lane there is no room for on-street parking. The only way we could increase our parking would be to add parking spaces in our small yard. It was not looking good.
Then I had a conversation with my neighbor Brenda who is an architect. She offered to look at our plot, consult the city's building code, and offer a recommendation. That's how we discovered we could remove one side of our wrap around porch and have enough room to attach a garage with storage and add 2 additional parking spaces in front of the garage, essentially fixing all 3 of our home's deficits.
Because of the garage's location, we decided to utilize the 'attic space' above the garage to expand our master bathroom and add a walk-in closet. Our existing master bath is adequate with its fiberglass shower/tub combo. But by opening the master bathroom wall into the 'attic space' over the garage, we will create a master bath with a 2-person shower room and a 2-person heated, jetted tub. Our existing master closet is definitely not adequate. Spouse's clothes alone overfill the closet, so my clothes are hanging in guest room closets. The new walk-in closet will be more of a dressing room, with space for our dresser/mirror and 3 walls full of hanging and shelving storage.
Then Big Ella arrived and Spouse decided we should get her repainted before the garage was built in order to prevent further rust damage. So, we contracted Brenda to draw up the official building plans for the addition.
Then the economy went into the toilet and we felt conflicted about whether or not to spend the money and move forward with the addition. My company suffered a layoff, but I was spared. Spouse works for the state and will likely have a 4-8% pay cut sometime this year. We decided to put the project out for bid so we could at least get an idea of the cost.
It took about 8 weeks to get the 4 project bids back from the builders. We were surprised by the significant price differences. We expected the bids to be rather close to each other, but the highest bid was over 40% higher than the lowest bid. To monetize that for you using random, even numbers, that would equate to the highest bid at $100K and the lowest bid at $60K. That's a huge difference!
Lucky for us, the lowest bidder was also the guy I liked the most. I could tell he listened to me, didn't ramble on to me about stuff I don't care about, and offered some creative and cost-effective design enhancements. He also happens to be the guy who built our neighbor's house, so I asked them about their experience working with this builder. They couldn't say enough good things about him, so after negotiating his price down a bit, Spouse & I gave it even more thought and discussion.
I felt confident we had the right guy at the right price, but did not want to move forward until Spouse was completely onboard. He was concerned we may end up with more invested in the house than we could sell it for. I reminded him that the addition would increase the value of the house because it would fix the 3 missing things this otherwise 'perfect' home lacked: a garage, storage outside the house, and parking. In addition to fixing those things, we would also add value by giving the home a "WOW" master bath and closet. I also reminded him that since we had no plans of moving within the next 10 years, there was plenty of time for our home to appreciate. He countered that if we lost our jobs we might be forced to move before 10 years, but I suggested that if so, the house would sell more easily since we'd made it better.
He agreed with me and said "Let's do it. There are few guarantees in life; mostly just degrees of risk. This risk seems rather low and worthwhile, so let's do it."
So I called the builder last Thurs and let him know we'd picked him and were ready to move forward. Updates will follow.
Crush du Jour: Yani Gellman
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
A month or so ago I fired up the dinosaur and pushed the wireless button, just for kicks. To my surprise, there were 2 unsecured wireless signals within reach. I clicked on one and BAM!! I was surfing the internet wirelessly on the dinosaur. Spouse was particularly happy about this, since imagined himself walking around the house with the laptop, able to look up anything he wanted, from any room in the house, or even out on the porch. (FYI - he'll never do this.)
The next day I fired up the dinosaur again and got one of those Microsoft update pages, so I clicked to accept the update. A while later it advised me to reboot the computer for the update to take effect. I'd done this several times before with my home computer so it didn't alarm me.
Unfortunately, after rebooting, the laptop gave me some funky message about not being able to find some necessary driver or some such cryptic information that tells the average person absolutely nothing. Despite rebooting it again, I could not get the darned thing to load.
So last Wed when I spent part of the day in Reston VA for that business meeting, I took the dinosaur with me, in hopes of either getting the IT guy to fix it, or exchanging it for a better one. The cyber gods must have been smiling on me! After explaining to the IT guy that I can't actually use the laptop without the CD drive, and what happened after the Microsoft update, the IT guy suggested trading in the dinosaur for a new (used) laptop, and I didn't even pretend to resist.
So now I have a faster, more modern laptop with a CD drive and a larger screen. Oh, and I even have a laptop case to store it in, unlike the dinosaur which I carried around in an old, sweaty duffel bag. The new laptop has Vista and I am used to XP, so it is taking me a bit to 'find' everything.
A few nights ago I took the laptop upstairs to the TV room and was reading blogs and sort of halfway watching TV when Spouse came upstairs to join me. He said "Well, look at you, thoroughly modern Millie!"
Its true, I do feel so much more modern with this new laptop. I can watch TV and read blogs at the same time. I can carry it around the house if I want to, like a thoroughly modern person!