Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I can hardly stand to watch politics anymore because of the hypocritical behavior of so many Republicans in office. They're always calling for smaller government, tax breaks, and cutting spending. Yet when a natural disaster strikes they expect to have the full support of the government to aid their recovery.
How do they think the government can provide aid to towns, cities, and states affected by natural disasters if the government is smaller and all budgets have been reduced? Taxes, budgets and government employees are there for a reason!
I can't think about it anymore or I'll vomit.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Vacationers were told NOT to come or try to check into their hotels or homes on Sat, and residents who live within .75 miles from water (ocean, bays, tidal lagoons, etc.) were told to evacuate further inland. We checked with our neighbors and found that none of them were evacuating because "we live .8 miles from the beach".
Spouse & I didn't want to evacuate anyway. Although it might have been fun to hang out with friends at their house, no one knew how long it might be before we could return to our house. Would it be a day? A couple days? A week? Remembering what it was like after hurricane Katrina, we just didn't want to impose on friends for an unknown amount of time. Plus we have Jordan the dog. It might have been easier to stay with friends if it were just the 2 of us, but bringing a dog along seems like a much bigger favor to ask. But mostly I didn't want to evacuate because I wanted to be here to try and fix something relatively small so it didn't turn into something huge. For instance, if a tree limb crashed through a 2nd or 3rd story window, I could throw the limb outside and cover the window up, preventing hours and hours of rain from coming in the window, ruining the wood floor and drywall on that level and the one below it.
So we made the decision to stay. Spouse went to the grocery store several times and purchased food that didn't require refrigeration or cooking, like Poptarts, pretzels, apples, and cookies. He also bought 24 bottles of water, a box of 16 candles, and 2 lighters. Seeing the box of 16 candles I asked him "Instead of 16 small candles, why didn't you just buy 1 of those large jar candles?" to which he responded enthusiastically "Oh, I did!"
My husband, the drama queen.
So while it rained and the wind began to pick up we watched TV and ate. Then at 6:15pm on Sat the electricity went out. Shortly thereafter Steven called us to say that a tornado had touched down about 2 miles from our house, destroying 1 home and damaging several others. Ironically, after having an earthquake on Tues. and the the hurricane on Sat. folks had joked "What next - locusts?" No, a tornado!!
The news of the tornado nearby amped up Spouse's anxiety level and he declared that we needed to prepare a "safe room". He informed me that we should find a place nearest the center of the house on the 1st floor with no windows and be prepared to seek refuge there if we heard or suspected a tornado. I usually accuse him of over-reacting and he usually accused me of under-reacting so this time I just decided to 'go with it'. I told him the closet in the TV room was the best place. Using a flashlight he removed the vacuum cleaner and carpet cleaner stored in the closet and placed bottled water, candles, and a knife in the closet.
"Ummm, exactly what is the knife for?" I asked him, picturing the 2 of us trapped in the closet for weeks and weeks after a devastating tornado, him being forced to stab me to death and eat me to save his own life.
"Oh, that's just in case... the door got jammed and we needed to cut the drywall to get out" he replied. Thank goodness it was dark and he didn't see me giving him a suspicious eye.
Once the "safe room" was prepared we returned to the living room and sat in silence. Just the sound of the relentless pouring rain and the leaves being raped by the wind. It was only 9pm or so but I started getting sleepy so I laid on the couch and dozed off a few times. Spouse got his mp3 player and listened to news reports on the radio. I was awakened over and over again by text messages from friends who'd seen the news report of the tornado or were simply concerned about us being so close to the coast with Irene. I assured them we were fine and were prepared. At 11:30 I suggested we go upstairs to bed but Spouse said we should remain on the main floor, near the "safe room", until the eye of the storm had passed us at 1am. Apparently he'd heard this on the radio. So I dozed off again, still on the sofa, until I was awakened again by a friend checking on us. At 1am we went upstairs and climbed into bed with our flashlight and cellphones on the night stand.
Sun morning the electricity came back on at 8:30am. It was still raining a little but you could tell the worst had passed and the clouds wanted to break up. Eventually they did. We went outside to assess the situation and were a bit surprised but happy to find our house and our neighbors' houses intact. We had definitely been spared. We learned that the hurricane had shifted a bit to the east so the more destructive winds were over the water instead of over the coastline.
The driving ban was lifted at 10am but the decision had been made to keep the office closed on Sun so we met up with Steven & Thad and drove to the beach. Again I was surprised that the water wasn't more wild and that the waves weren't as high, but it was low tide. It could have been a very different scenario if Irene hadn't shifted to the east or if Irene had arrived during high tide.
So, within 1 week we had an earthquake, a hurricane, and a tornado! Shouldn't we get some sort of award for that?
Friday, August 26, 2011
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has been in my area this week. I happen to know the recipient of the home makeover and I can't think of anyone more deserving. Mrs. Dale Dunning began her 'Jusst Sooup Ministry' several years ago using funds from her part-time job and her husband's full-time job. She made a brief appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show a couple years ago. Over the years they have gotten donations and grants and despite her ministry's name, her services have expanded to more than just soup. She also provides groceries and toiletries to those in need, and occasionally arranges for temporary housing for some who become homeless. If anyone is truly doing 'God's work', its her! Check out this great article.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Tuesday's earthquake has already turned into a joke:
As if Tuesday's earthquake wasn't enough, we are now bracing for a full-on hit from hurricane Irene. We don't normally get hurricanes here; usually nor'easters. But according to the projected hurricane path we are in for heavy rain, flooding, and damaging winds up to 130 mph late Sat night into Sun. When I got home from work yesterday Spouse & I brought in all of our porch furniture (from both porches), then joined Steven & Thad to take in the yard furniture at 1 of the Bobs'. He fell and broke his wrist earlier this week so we gave him a hand. At the office our broker said we'll close early tomorrow when the rain and wind start up and we'll be closed all day on Sun when the worst is upon us. The Governor declared a state of emergency and ordered mandatory evacuation of the areas within 3/4 mile of the coast. I think we are staying put.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
New Numbers, and Geography, for Gay Couples
So much for San Francisco.
The list of top cities for same-sex couples as a portion of the population does not include that traditional gay mecca, according to new census data. In fact, the city, which ranked third in 1990 and 11th in 2000, plummeted to No. 28 in 2010. And West Hollywood, once No. 1, has dropped out of the top five.
The Census Bureau data, finalized this week and analyzed by Gary Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, gives the clearest picture to date of same-sex couples in America. In absolute numbers, they jumped by half in the past decade, to 901,997.
Most surprising is how far same-sex couples have dispersed, moving from traditional enclaves and safe havens into farther-flung areas of the country.
Consider, for example, the upstarts on the list: Pleasant Ridge, Mich., a suburb of Detroit; New Hope, Pa.; and Rehoboth Beach in southern Delaware. All three have been popular destinations for gay people locally but had never ranked in the top 10.
The No. 1-ranked town is Provincetown, Mass., at the tip of Cape Cod.
Read the full article here.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Reports indicate that the center of the earthquake was in Mineral, VA which is northwest of Richmond and about 200 miles from here. The quake was felt as far away as NYC, Boston, and Ohio.
I was sitting at my desk at work while my colleagues were having lunch in the conference room when I began to feel the 2-story office building sway. At 1st I thought a large truck had driven past and caused the motion, but it continued for several seconds. Then I thought it was me; that I was having an episode of over-stimulated vagus nerve, which results in dizziness and nausea, so I sat back in my chair and took a slow deep breathe. As I looked up at the ceiling I saw the hanging light fixtures swaying back and forth, and at that point I realized it wasn't me. We were having an earthquake. Next I heard my colleagues reacting.
"Do you feel that? Its an earthquake!"
"But we don't get earthquakes here."
"Well, we're getting one now, and I'm getting outta here!" she said as she rushed out the door.
"I wonder if we should get underneath the (conference) table?"
Before anyone had a chance to answer that last question, the swaying stopped. It took a few more seconds for the light fixtures to stop swaying.
I immediately went to Google and typed in "earthquake Aug 23" but found no relevent entries. So I went to my next trusted source, Facebook. Sure enough I began seeing update after update from local friends, friends in DC, Richmond, and Baltimore regarding the earthquake. Its amazing how technology can unite and inform us within seconds!
Fortunately there appears to be no serious damage from the earthquake. Spouse's mother just called to say that some photos in frames on top of her entertainment center fell over, but that's it.
It was a creepy feeling, for sure, and 1 I hope not to feel again.
Monday, August 22, 2011
On Sun Spouse & I picked up our friend Michael of the Newlyweds at his hotel in DC. We hadn't seen him in nearly 2 years. We drove to the Dupont Circle neighborhood (a favorite amongst the gays) and had breakfast at Trios, a place Spouse and his friend/former roommate Justine used to frequent. We all had ommelettes. Then we walked around the neighborhood and remembered the exciting days of our singleness when we would hang out there to see and be seen. Not much had changed there despite the fact that we hadn't been to that area in several years. Next we drove around the neighborhoods in VA where Spouse & I had lived, where our investment condos are, and where Michael had lived. More change and gentrification there, as we had expected. Next we took advantage of being 'in the neighborhood' and had lunch at the beloved Taco House. Its current name is Cantina Mexicana but it will always be Taco House to us. As always the food was delicious and it was very nice to see our friends and restaurant owners Juan & Gloria.
We had a great time visiting and catching up with Michael. He seemed well; happy and content. After returning to Spouse's mom's house to pick up our overnight bag and Jordan the dog, we headed for home at 4:30.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Spouse took off work Mon & Tues and spent those days with his sister in VA. Tues was her birthday and Spouse always tries to spend the day with her on her birthday. He has tons of vacation time to use so I'm glad he took those days to do something nice with his sister. I worked both days and spent Mon night catching up on my DVR'd shows.
My friend Jared sent me this and I couldn't agree more!
I updated this post with photos, so if you wanna see me & Spouse and our friends drinking and eating and having fun, check it out.
Tomorrow after work Spouse & I are going back to VA. We'll visit with the family that night, then meet up with Michael from the Newlyweds on Sun. He's in the area on business so we're getting together to visit and catch up.
My friend Terry sent me this funny video about a grocery store food tasting. Enjoy!
Here's wishing everyone a terrific weekend!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
When Anne Marie came to visit it was her request to join us at Saketumi for dinner so she could echo our accolades. You can read about that great evening here.
A few days after Anne Marie returned home Spouse & I received a lovely 'Thank You' card from Anne Marie, expressing her appreciation for our hospitality during her visit. Included with the 'Thank You' card was a Visa gift card and Anne Marie's request that we use it at Saketumi with "the guys" (Steven & Thad and Joe P). She asked that we take pictures so she could see us enjoying ourselves. So after ordering our cocktails we had a toast to Anne Marie, our hostess in absentia! Pictured above are Thad, Steven, me, Spouse, and Joe P. Next came the appetizer platter with coconut shrimp, chicken satay, crab rangoons, pork dumplings, and spring rolls. I could make a meal of these appetizers, but we had to save room for dinner. I had chicken panang curry, Spouse & Thad had the chicken hibachi, Steven had filet mignon, and Joe P had sushi rolls. Everyone was too full to order dessert but I told the guys that we had to order at least 1 to share because "Anne Marie would have wanted that". So we ordered the chocolate pyramid which is so good and chocolatey I hardly wanted to share it. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner thanks to our new, lovely friend Anne Marie.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Sat morning I headed into the office, then met some new clients at 11:30. Showed them 4 very different places but all in the same price range. They're looking for a beach getaway and are from the same area where Spouse & I used to live. That evening Spouse & I met up with Kerry & Hugh, Hugh's parents, and Kerry & Hugh's friends Harriet & Bob for dinner. They came to town to see me perform in the Legends show! After a delicious dinner I went to the Blue Moon and they got a little dessert before heading over for the show. Steven & Thad, Joe P, and Jason & Kevin also showed up. I had my own cheering section in the audience! Joe P took the video below. Notice the enthusiastic "audience participation" as 1 guy shouts the months of the year. (Sorry the volume is low.)
The club was packed and the audience really seemed to enjoy the performances of Patti LaBelle, Donna Summer, and Neil Sedaka. I'm really going to miss this in a few weeks when the shows stop.
Sun was overcast and it even sprinkled/rained a few times. It was my turn to have phone duty at work so I went to work. It was VERY quiet and slow. Normally that's good for getting organized and doing my regular follow up, but I'd done that earlier in the week so it was rather boring in the office. So I decided it would be a good evening to get together with some of the guys after work for dinner. I rounded the guys up and we had dinner at Saketumi. More about that (including photos) in tomorrow's post. So even though I worked both days of the weekend, I still managed to inject some fun.
Friday, August 12, 2011
This made me laugh:
I'm performing again this Sat in the Legends show, this week as Neil Sedaka. I really like doing Neil Sedaka because the song set is so fun, and its in my comfortable voice range. This is my last time doing Neil Sedaka. I have 2 Saturdays off, and then I end the series of shows on Labor Day weekend doing Neil Diamond.
Our great friends Kerry & Hugh will be in the area this weekend visiting Hugh's parents. They called to say they want to come to the Legends show tonight! We're going to have dinner together Sat evening before the show.
I have to work both Sat & Sun this weekend since I had last Sun off when Mike & Clark and Ron & James were here. Fortunately I am showing property to a new couple on Sat. so I won't be in the office the entire day. I hope the couple is in the position to buy!
I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
To my delight, he explained why he was named Telly. His Chinese parents watched a lot of TV to help them learn conversational English. Kojak starring Telly Savalas was 1 of their favorite shows so they named their son Telly after the show's star. When Telly began working on 1 of several Broadway shows he met a production assistant named Telly. The PA explained that he was named after his grandfather... Telly Savalas!
Telly will be back again next Tues to perform at a pep rally for Extreme Makeover Home Edition, which will be filming in this area shortly.
Rather than just being a concert, Telly's performance was more like a conversation with songs. He talked about getting his start on Broadway, going to college to study music and drama, and his parents' eventual acceptance of his career choice which wasn't their 1st choice for him. He weaved songs into the stories for a very enjoyable night.
After the show Telly was available to talk to audience members and pose for photos. When he saw me his eyes opened wide, he threw his arms open in preparation for a hug, and he said "Mark!!" I was surprised that he remembered me by name. After all, the day he coached us Rehoboth Idol contestants was in early June, and with all the people he likely comes into contact with, I didn't expect him to remember my name.
After the hug and 'how are you', he said "You know I've been so busy I never found out who won the Rehoboth Idol contest. Who won?" I smiled timidly and said "I did". That response garnered me another hug from Telly along with a very generous compliment: "That's fantastic! I was really hoping you would win. Your voice is amazing and you really deserved to win. Congratulations!" Of course he might have said that to me even if he didn't think I deserved to win, but it sounded genuine and he really seems to be a nice guy so I thanked him sincerely for the kind words.
Keep up with Telly via his website and on Twitter.