Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Eve

Spouse was scheduled to work until 4:30; I was scheduled to work until 1:00 so the plan was for me to go to the grocery store and purchase the ingredients to make potato salad for Steven & Thad's New Years Eve party, then make the potato salad before Spouse got home.  That way we could both relax before going to the party at 7:30.  What is that saying, "The best laid schemes of mice and men"??

Although my office closed at 1:00 as scheduled, I had an unexpected visit from an out-of-state client and her friend who wanted to take a look at some homes.  (Luckily for them I did not have any other appointments AND the homes they wanted to see were all vacant/available.)  Of course I agreed to show them the homes, so I didn't get back to the office until 3:00.

After grabbing what I needed at the grocery store and taking Marvin Parker outside to do his business, I finally got started on the potato salad at 3:45.  Spouse texted me at 3:30 saying he was leaving work early.  I had washed and cubed the potatoes and poured them into the pot on the stove when he got home to 'take over'.  He had to put the finished potato salad into the freezer to get it chilled in time to take to the party.


Steven & Thad are hosting a potluck style dinner and I'm sure many of our mutual friends like The Bobs, Joe P, Jason, and Thatcher will be there.  I'm not going to wait until midnight to drink the bubbly.  I'm bringing a bottle of champagne and St Germain to drink throughout the night.  Yes, I do love a good Cosmo but in the spirit of New Years Eve I'm drinking bubbly instead.

Here's hoping you have a fun and festive New Years Eve!

However you choose to celebrate, please do not drink and drive. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Blogiversary

Today is my 8th blogiversary!
Its hard for me to believe I've been writing this thing for 8 years now.  When I started this blog 8 years ago I really had no idea I would continue it this long. 

There have been times when I've been really proud of my posts and other times when I've been super busy and my posts have suffered.  But such is life, and even during the super busy times I've never considered calling it quits.  Not because I think I'm such a great writer, or because I believe I have important nuggets of wisdom to share, but because I really enjoy blogging as an outlet and as a way of interacting with others. 

If you're reading this then I thank you for visiting me here and hope you'll continue to return and leave a comment now and again.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Home sweet home

Today was our travel and recovery day.

After 3 very full days of eating, drinking, talking, laughing, and driving to visit multiple friends and family members, we packed our stuff and hit the road about 11:30.  It had snowed earlier this morning, covering everything with a thin blanket of white, but turned to rain by the time we left.  The roads were a little dicey so I drove a little slower than usual and stayed alert to the varying road conditions.  The cold temperature and the rain, sometimes hard, made for a lousy drive home.

Once we got home we unloaded the car (in the rain), changed into warm,comfy flannel pajama pants and just chilled.  Poor little Marvin Parker was exhausted.  He had so much fun playing with everyone and getting lots and lots of attention, plus he didn't get his usual nap each day, so he was tuckered out.  Spouse & I watched TV and Marvin snuggled up to us and practically fell into a coma.  It was nice to just hang out and relax until bedtime.

Regardless of how wonderful the visit and how much fun we have, its always nice to return home.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Funny/creepy Christmas

You've probably seen the Christmas edition of the Awkward Family Photos website.  If not, be sure to visit it for a barrel of laughs!

Someone posted this photo on facebook which I found simultaneously funny AND disturbing.
You too?

There are so many funny/scary things about this photo.  

First off, where do they even sell Christmas turtlenecks and sweater vests for men???  

Second, the 2 guys who are standing up seem to be holding the seated guy down, like he probably tried to escape a few times before the photographer was able to get this photo.  

Also, the guy in the red turtleneck's mouth is open.  He's either telling the seated guy "Sit down, dammit!" or he's a mouth-breather.  Either way its creepy!  And look closely at his pants... they're Nike track pants!  Who wears Nike track pants with a Christmas turtleneck and sweater vest???  

And what's with the guy in the white turtleneck with the pipe in his mouth?  Aren't you supposed to be at least 60 years old to smoke a pipe?  

And finally, look at the expressions (or lack thereof) on the faces of all 3 men.  Completely blank!  Vacant!!  Nobody home!!!  Maybe Slim's barbershop performs lobotomies too.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday this & that

Wed night the owners of the Blue Moon had their employee/performer holiday party and gift exchange.  (The Blue Moon is where I perform in the Legends shows.  Yes, that's me in the Elton John costume.)  The food was terrific and the bar was complimentary.  After everyone had eaten the gift exchange began.  Everyone brought a gift valued about $20 and folks could either 'steal' a gift that was already opened by someone before them or pick something from under the tree.  I picked from under the tree and got a bucket of loose change!!  Needless to say no one tried to 'steal' my gift.  But it all worked out, as I took the change to a CoinStar machine the next day and converted it into a gift card.

Although I don't take many photos, Marvin is just the cutest and friendliest little guy I could hope for.  He has really brought joy to our lives, and in general is easy to live with.  However, he is not fond of cold weather and wind.  When we take him outside to do his business he wants to run back inside as soon as possible.  We've gotten him a sweater and a jacket but they are kind of awkward to put on so we don't use them unless we're going for a walk.  But even when he has an accident I can't get mad at him.  Who haven thought that I'd be the one to be smitten by him?

About a week ago Spouse started to get a cold.  Not wanting to be sick at Christmas, he immediately began taking Zicam and other remedies to try and prevent the cold from knocking him out. Unfortunately he's still got the cold, but fortunately he doesn't really feel badly.  I hope he'll be okay with our full holiday schedule.

Speaking of the holidays, on Mon all 130 cards went into the mail, and yesterday I wrapped all the gifts, so our countdown to Christmas has started.  Unfortunately I did not have time to do any holiday baking this year.  I usually like to make cookies to give to neighbors/friends and to enjoy ourselves but I just didn't have time for it this year.  

Spouse is off work all of next week off and my office is closed Sun-Wed.  Since I work tomorrow and perform tomorrow night, we can't leave for VA until Sun morning.  Once we arrive we'll pick up Spouse's mom and take her with us to meet Kerry & Hugh, Kelly, George, and Lisa for our annual lunch of pizza and hippie rolls.  That night we're having dinner with our buddies Mike & Clark and Ron & James, followed by coffee and Christmas cookies at R&J's house.  Then on Mon morning we're heading to my cousin's house (about an hour away) for a visit and lunch.  That evening we'll join the rest of the family at Spouse's sister's house to celebrate Spouse's mother's birthday.  Yes, her birthday is Christmas Eve!  My old friend Kathryn will stop by for a visit that night too.  Tues morning we'll have a leisurely, relaxing breakfast and hang out with Spouse's mom for a few hours, then have Christmas dinner around 2 or 3pm at his sister's house, followed by opening gifts.  We're coming back home on Wed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas spirit


Although I've had no trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year, I did get started late with my Christmas traditions.  I wrote, addressed, sealed, return address labeled, and stamped 130 cards just this past Sun & Mon.  Spouse & I just started our gift shopping on Mon and although we're not done yet, I've started the wrapping today.  I definitely feel more pressure when I get started late!
 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter getaway

For many years Spouse & I have dreamed of taking a winter vacation someplace where its warm and tropical to escape the long, dreary, cold winter days we experience here, but for various reasons we have yet to do so.  Many of our friends share their photos of their winter getaways on facebook, making us jealous.

Finally this year we're going to do it!  Our longtime friends the Newlyweds are going to join us for a week in Puerto Vallarta Mexico in February.

Our friend Bob recommended staying at a men's B&B where he's stayed several times, and there are plenty of beachfront hotels too.  But in the end we opted for a private, hillside home a little farther from the beach in order to get more space, more privacy, our very own pool, awesome views, and a kitchen so we can have some meals at home.

We are super-excited to finally realize our dream of a tropical vacation in the winter, and to spend a week with our great buddies The Newlyweds.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Small town living

On my day off today I needed to go to the DMV to renew my drivers license AND to get Big Ella inspected and her registration renewed.

When we lived in northern VA the thought of needing to accomplish both these tasks on the same day would have been terror-inducing.  Because northern VA is so densely populated, the DMV lines are long and I would expect to spend at least 1/2 a day trying to accomplish 2 things. 

The unpleasantness of the northern VA DMV was compounded by the fact that it must be a requirement to be completedly devoid of personality and compassion in order to work there.  When trying to register a car I'd purchased, the zombie DMV employee told me I could not get my registration and plates without the bill of sale.  I explained that I had given the bill of sale to the credit union when I'd obtained the loan, but the employee simply repeated with that vacant look on her face that I had to have the bill of sale.  Desperately trying to remain calm I told her I was not leaving without a registration and plates for my new car and asked her for a recommendation.  Only then did she suggest I call the credit union and have them fax copy of the bill of sale to the DMV.

In stark contrast, one of the many benefits of living in a small town here in DE that is not densely populated is the ease and pleasantness of visiting the DMV.  Today I was able to get Big Ella inspected, renew her registration, take an eye test, and renew my drivers license all within 40 minutes.  All of these actions were performed by living, breathing people who seemed to have an actual desire to help!

Although living in a small town sometimes means fewer choices, it also means a significantly easier, faster time at the DMV.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tree trimming/birthday party

Yesterday Spouse & I hosted our tree trimming/birthday party.  It was a lot of fun!

We had set up and lit the tree in advance, and had all the boxes of ornaments out and ready.  20 of our friends came over about 4pm and some of us began hanging the ornaments.  (Several just came for the food and social aspect.)  About an hour later the tree was done and it looked beautiful.
We used to trim the tree ourselves until just a few years ago.  With all those ornaments it took a long time with just the 2 of us, especially since Spouse would always lose interest after 15 minutes, leaving me to finish the tree.  After the 1st time we had a tree trimming party I realized that in addition to the tree getting decorated quicker, it also looks different each year.  With other people hanging the ornaments in different places, different ornaments are 'highlighted' each year due to their location.  I love it!

Once the tree was done we ate dinner.  Spouse made ziti with Italian sausage and homemade meatballs, salad, and garlic bread.  Along with it we had wine, soda, tea, and Prosecco with St Germain.  We served this at our wedding reception and it was a big hit again last night.  I have a feeling this will become our signature celebration drink.  Since my birthday was on Fri, we celebrated it on Sun along with the tree trimming. 

After dinner our friend Tim brought a homemade version of Jeopardy, with categories like "Honey Boo Boo" and "Holiday Movies".  At 1st I thought it was going to be lame, but it was actually quite fun.  Tim did a terrific job writing the questions/answers and creating the Jeopardy board.

Afterward we had birthday cake and cupcakes.
It was a great party and everyone had fun!

Friday, December 07, 2012

Happy birthday to...





ME!!


Yep, today is my birthday.  I don't usually take the day off work so today will be a 'regular' day for me.  However, Spouse & I are hosting a combination tree trimming party and birthday dinner at our home on Sunday evening where our friends will help us decorate our tree and then we'll have a delicious homemade Italian dinner.  It should be a good time!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Its a wrap

This morning I joined many of the folks from the realtor association to wrap the Christmas gifts for needy families that were purchased last week.

I must say that it was very organized.  We were given bags with the gifts in them and a chart showing the names, ages, and genders of the gift recipients.  With as many people and gifts as there were, it could have easily gone very wrong very quickly, but not with this bunch.

I worked in a team with Gail, Monica, and Joe and we did 'assembly line' wrapping.  Monica and Joe removed price tags and handed the gifts to Gail while I used the chart to write the names on the adhesive labels.  Gail cut the wrapping paper to fit the gift, then Joe, Monica and I wrapped them.  We started with gifts for 3 kids but finished so quickly we asked for another family that had 4 kids.  Ironically, we happened to get the same family that Joe and I had picked gifts for last week!  It took us just a little over an hour to get all the gifts wrapped for all 7 kids.

Several times in the past I have picked up extra non-perishable foods and dropped them off at food drive centers, or picked up toys for the Toys for Tots drive, but for some reason those weren't as fun as shopping for actual people with names and then wrapping for them too.  I guess its because the profile charts told us about the family members (names, ages, genders, sizes, and interests) so I felt like I was helping real people, not abstract people.

Of course every little bit one can do or donate helps, so if you are able, please consider dropping off some non-perishable food or unwrapped toys at a local site near you, and give locally.

Beardy boy


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Holiday re-post

If this sounds familiar, its because I originally posted this story a few years ago.  I think this story will give you a chuckle or two even if you remember it, so I'm re-posting it.  Hope you enjoy!!

It was Dec 1993 and I had just come out 5 months earlier, met the man of my dreams (or so I'd thought), and was really looking forward to our 1st Christmas together. My man (we'll call him Bob) had introduced me to a some of his friends over that summer and now we were going to a Christmas party at Gerry & Mike's house.

Bob, Gerry & Mike were all several years older than me, had solid educations and established careers, and made lots more money than me. They were always gracious so I had no real reason to feel nervous or intimidated around them, but I did. Still I wanted to go with Bob to Gerry & Mike's party so we did.

They had a large, lovely, ornament-laden tree in the living room that would put most department stores to shame. The food was catered by Dean & DeLuca's, a fancy and expensive DC gourmet food store, and there was a full bar with a bartender. Yes, a bartender. In 1993. Now, I know its been all the rage in recent years to have a hired bartender at Christmas parties hosted by gay couples, but this was 1993! I felt intimidated already.

So everything is going nicely, Bob & I are chatting with people we've met before, etc when I realize that I need to use the bathroom. Unfortunately it wasn't just #1. I try to avoid going #2 at other people's houses, especially people's houses who intimidate me, but this just wasn't to be ignored, so I excused myself under the guise of getting another drink and found my way to the bathroom.

Once inside I lowered my pants and underwear, sat, and began doing my business. I noticed that these fancy men even had small, tasteful Christmas decorations in their bathroom! Next thing I knew, I felt something warm and wet against my ankle. I looked down and saw that the back of my khaki pants was all wet, and the wetness from the fabric had spread over to my ankle. WTF??? Is the toilet leaking?

No, unfortunately, the toilet was not leaking. That explanation would have been preferable to the truth, which I had to tell Bob in order to gain his assistance when I finally returned to the party.

No, the truth was far more humiliating. As I was relieving myself my penis was not pointing down into the toilet far enough, so my pee was coming out in that space under the toilet seat but above the toilet rim. It had run down the base of the toilet and soaked into the back of my khaki pants, turning them about 14 shades darker.

Oh. My. God. I was mortified! What the hell am I gonna do? I'm here in these fancy people's bathroom, peeing all over my pants.

After the realization of what had actually happened came the truly horrifying questions. How long can I stay in here before someone knocks? How am I going to be able to leave this bathroom? How can I return to the party with the back of my pants all wet? What will all these fancy people think of me? Will this be the thing that finally reveals to Bob, once and for all, that I am not in the same league?

After several minutes of concentrated thought I cleaned myself, the base of the toilet, and then patted my wet pants with tissue to absorb as much moisture as possible. Understanding I couldn't leave the bathroom without wearing my pants, I pulled them up and fastened my belt. Then I looked into the mirror and tried to make an honest assessment of the damage.

"Hmmm... from the front there's no indication of anything unusual" I thought to myself. Then I turned around and looked over my shoulder into the mirror at the back of my pants. Not so lucky there. My mind continued racing as I considered my options, of which there was really only one. Eventually I had to walk out of that bathroom.

I turned back around to face the mirror and repeated my 1st assessment: "From the front there's no indication of anything unusual." That was the answer! Only let people see me from the front!

To bolster my confidence I began justifying my decision. "These khakis are 100% cotton. They'll dry in no time. And until they do, I'll just stand against the wall." Really, it was the only thing I could come up with.

You might be thinking 'Why didn't he pull out his cell phone, call Bob, and tell him to grab both their coats and meet him at the car?' Yeah, I'd have probably thought of that too, only it was 1993 and no one had a portable cell phone back then. The closest thing was a 'car phone' that had to be plugged into a cigarette lighter of a car with its engine running in order to work.

I took a deep breath, walked out of the bathroom, and smiled politely at the person standing in the hallway waiting to use the bathroom. I returned to the party, found Bob, and quickly motioned him to 'come over here' as I stood against the wall and tried to look 'casual'. When he came over I quickly explained what had happened and Bob tried to stifle his laughter. I gave him a look that told him it wasn't even close to being funny so shut the f*ck up.

Then he 'wanted to see'. I figured he might be more willing to help me conceal my horrible mishap if I let him see, so I stepped away from the wall slightly and did a quarter turn so my back was toward him for a second, then returned to having my back against the wall.

Needless to say, this incident did not help me feel less nervous or intimidated by our hosts. But my khakis did dry eventually and I was able to move about the party rather than try to look 'casual' by standing against the wall.

To this day, if I ever have to sit down in someone else's bathroom, you can be sure I always check to be sure I'm pointing south, if you know what I mean.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Christmas parade season

Christmas parade season is here.  All the towns nearby hold their Christmas parades during the 1st week of Dec, on different nights to allow participants the opportunity to be in multiple parades.  Depending on my schedule, I often enter Big Ella in the some of the parades.

The 1st parade occurred this past Sat, Dec 1, and although I had registered to be in the parade, I wasn't able to do so.  See, Big Ella was giving me trouble recently so I had her taken to the garage 2 weeks ago.  They determined she needed a new fuel pump and battery.  Since most parts shops don't have parts for a 50+ year old car sitting on their shelves, the fuel pump had to be ordered and shipped to the garage.  Unfortunately they did not get the fuel pump in time to install it before last Sat so Big Ella remained at the garage.  So Spouse & I were joined by Steve & Thad and we watched the parade together.  It was a very mild evening so it was very comfortable to be outside watching the 90-minute parade.

I picked up Big Ella this evening so I will be able to drive her in the next parade tomorrow night.  Its a lot of fun since people always have a strong, positive reaction to her.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shopping

This morning I went Christmas shopping for needy family at 7am!!

Our local realtors association had a benefit dinner to raise funds for needy families in the county.  The funds were divided up and paired with profile sheets for needy family members so we'd know what age, height, weight, and sex each child is when we were shopping.  The local KMart opened at 7am for us so we could shop for our families before going to work.

My friend Joey & I got a family with 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls, ages 6, 10, 13, and 15 and a budget of $435.  Between shopping the sales plus the extra 10% off non-sale items, Joe & I made a huge impact for our family!

Each of the 4 kids got:
  • a winter coat
  • a pair of shoes or boots
  • a set of sheets
  • a fleece throw/blanket
Then based on their sex, age, and 'wish list' we also got:
  • Barbie dolls
  • football and basketball
  • skateboard
  • jewelry
  • perfume
  • cosmetics
  • board games
  • remote controlled car
  • clothing
We tried really hard to get things we really thought they would like and be able to use while maximizing our budget.  It took us nearly 2 hours, but the satisfaction we received from this event was well worth the time spent.

Next week I will try and join the volunteers who will be wrapping all the gifts too.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving mini-drama


We'd heard from Spouse's sister that his 2 brothers who are 'flakes' were bringing Spouse's mom with them and had planned to leave DC Wed at 3pm.  This means they should arrive by 6pm so we waited for them to eat dinner.  

At 7pm they still had not arrived so Spouse called his sister to get a cell phone number for 1 of the flakes, knowing his mom would not have her cell turned on.  His sister didn't have a cell number for either of them, and neither of them had ever called us to tell us when they would arrive, nor did they ask for directions, so we had no idea where they were, when they'd actually left, or when they'd arrive.  Unfortunately this is typical behavior for these two.  They are so dysfunctional and self-consumed they have little to no regard for others.  

Since Spouse & I expected them around dinne time we'd postponed eating, thinking we'd eat with them when they arrived with his mom.  But by 8pm they still hadn't arrived and we'd heard nothing from them, so Spouse & I left to get a quick bite to eat and pick up a few last minute items from the grocery store.  We later learned that they arrived at our house just minutes after we'd left, finding the house locked.  They went to a bar/restaurant and had a bite to eat while we were doing the same thing somewhere else.  As they came in the door they asked where they could smoke so Spouse told them either out front (in the yard) or out back on the screened porch.  One of the flakes said he'd use the empty beer can in his hand as an ashtray.  How charming!

Later that night Spouse's sister and her 3 kids (ages 15,  17, and 20) arrived.

Thanksgiving day went rather smoothly, with everyone getting along and enjoying a delicious dinner.  That evening the 2 flakes were preparing to leave, as both of them had to work on Fri and were not staying overnight again.  We sent them on their way with a silent sigh of relief.  A little later our stomachs finally had enough room for dessert so I went out onto the rear screened porch to get the pumpkin pies off the porch table.

That's when I discovered that the flakes had dropped their cigarette butts on the porch floor!

I was stunned at their inconsideration.  I just couldn't believe that 2 people could show such disregard for someone's property to throw dozens of cigarette butts on the floor.  How did they think these would get cleaned up?  The truth is they didn't care.

When I came back inside I told the others what the flakes had done.  Although everyone thought it was absolutely terrible, in reality no one was truly surprised by their selfish, inconsiderate behavior.  They've all become used to it.  Had the flakes still been present when I discovered the butts, I would have handed them a broom and dustpan.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday


Many retailers opened on Thanksgiving night to lure in even more Black Friday shoppers.  I am NOT one of them.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Family arrival

Mon I cleaned the house and made sure there were clean sheets on the beds and clean towels in the bathrooms.

Last evening Spouse & I bought all our Thanksgiving ingredients at the grocery store.

After work today he'll prepare and cook the turkeys which when done he'll allow to come up to room temperature and will then sit in the fridge overnight.  Then tomorrow he'll put them in the Nesco roaster oven on a very low temperature and bring them back to hot for dinner.  This allows us to have the oven free all day on Thurs for baking the dressing, sweet potatoes, casseroles, and biscuits.

Tonight the family arrives.  Unfortunately Spouse's brother-in-law Eric is away on business travel so he won't be here, but Spouse's sister Mary and her 3 teenagers and Spouse's mom will definitely arrive tonight.  

There is also a possibility that 2 of Spouse's brothers might show up tonight, but we don't really know for sure.  I find this uncertainty to be very frustrating and kind of rude.  Having 2 extra people (who don't share a bed) stay overnight will change the sleeping arrangements for the others who managed to confirm that they'd be staying with us.  But these 2 brothers are flakes so this behavior is, unfortunately, par for the course. The 2 flakes have to work on Fri so (if they come at all) they will leave Thurs night after dinner.  Spouse's sister, the kids, and his mom will stay with us until Sat. 

But we will not let this possibility of family drama diminish our enjoyment of some family time together and of course a delicious meal!  Here's what we're having:
  • Spouse's famous citrus herb roasted turkey
  • dressing with granny smith apples, pecans, and cranberries
  • mashed potatoes and homemade gravy
  • green bean casserole
  • macaroni and cheese
  • corn casserole
  • sweet potato shuffle
  • pineapple dressing (side dish)
  • biscuits
  • homemade cranberry sauce
Here's hoping that that there's no family drama in YOUR Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Film Festival: day 4

Shuffle
Synopsis: What would you do if each time you woke up you were at a different age in your life? For Lovell Milo this is not a theoretical question, but an every day part of life. Since the age of 26, although he’s never quite sure when that was, his world has been this way, a literal card shuffle, never knowing what he’s going to get dealt. The more his life jumps from year to year, the more restless he becomes, and ultimately he begins searching for clues to find a way out. Finally he notices a pattern to what he is experiencing and discovers there may be a reason for and a solution to this madness. A mesmerizing puzzle of a film, Shuffle is a blackand-white portrait of a disheartened young man’s second chance at life, a chance he may miss out on if he doesn’t play his c ards right.

My thoughts:  This was my favorite film of the festival.  Each day Lovell wakes up at a different time in his life, and struggles to figure out why and how to stop it.  Watch a trailer here.

Starbuck
Synopsis:  David Wozniak, who has worked his way down to being the delivery guy for his family’s butcher business, is 42 with not much going for him. For pocket change, he routinely donates sperm to a Montreal artificial insemination clinic, but a processing error has led to his sperm being used over and over, to successfully father 533 children!  Now, a group of those kids is suing the clinic to learn David’s true identity, as David hides behind his legal rights to anonymity, while a media circus ensues. The media dub the mysterious donor “Starbuck,” in honor of a true-life Holstein bull famed for his stud services.  Never one to accept a responsibility that he couldn’t better shirk, David sneaks through a variety of impersonations to peek into the lives of his young progeny, and discovers a talent for parental nurturing he never knew he had. Ken Scott’s uproarious high-concept comedy was the number one box office hit in Quebec last year, and it’s not just because audiences were in tears with laughter. They were in tears from the wellspring of joy that comes with the rediscovering of unconditional love.

My thoughts:  This was my 2nd favorite film of the festival.  It was very funny, very sweet, and very tender.  Watch a trailer here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Film Festival: day 3

Margarita
Synopsis:  When Margarita, an illegal Mexican nanny, is fired by her cash-strapped yuppie employers, it sets in motion a chain of events that leaves her torn between loyalties and the law. Desperately in love, but feeling rejected by her shy, commitment-phobic girlfriend, Margarita becomes resigned to starting a new life back home in Mexico. The family quickly discovers that Margarita’s modest salary is the only good investment they’ve ever made and hatches a series of ill-conceived schemes to keep her in the country.  Suddenly, it seems like everyone wants to save Margarita; everyone that is, except the one person she actually wants to be saved by. In the guise of a family drama, Margarita looks, through the eyes of a hard-working illegal, at social injustice as it relates to class, race and immigration policy. With warmth, humor, and candor, Margarita also tells the story of the disillusionment, resentment, and alienation that inhabit the margins of our closest relationships.

My thoughts:  If you're like many you believe all illegal aliens should be deported, this film will cause you to think twice about such a blanket policy.  Beautifully acted, this story helps illustrate the very real human side of the immigration issue.  I liked this film a lot.

Time to Spare
Synopsis:  Maarten, a gay, 40-something music teacher, goes through empty nest syndrome when his savvy younger sister Molly decides to leave the home the two have long shared, to move in with her boyfriend. Her departure does open up new opportunities to him, however, when he meets Arthur, a closeted but very attractive man, and the two hit it off despite their differences. All does not go smoothly in either couple’s relationship, and soon Molly is moving back home and reconsidering her options even as Maarten’s mate Arthur reconsiders his own. Can true love ever be found in a world where all truth is relative?  First time feature film writer/director Job Gosschalk evokes terrific performances from his gifted cast in this vividly rendered seriocomic melodrama. The complexity of characters and storyline combine to create a richly moving tale that evokes both laughter and tears.

My thoughts: This film was great.  It expands one's definition of family and how far family members will go for each other.  Watch a trailer here.

Out in the Dark
Synopsis:  Nimer, a Palestinian student, is dreaming of a better life abroad. One fateful night he meets Roy, an Israeli lawyer, and the two fall in love. As their relationship deepens, Nimer is confronted with the harsh realities of a Palestinian society that refuses to accept him for his sexual identity, and an Israeli society that rejects him for his nationality. When his close friend is caught hiding illegally in Tel Aviv and sent back to the West Bank, where he is brutally murdered, Nimer must choose between the life he thought he wanted and his love for Roy. First time director Michael Mayer crafts a romantic drama that refuses to play it safe and in doing so captures the intensity of a relationship that is put under immense pressure every single day. Love between barriers leads to a life in the shadows and being left out in the dark.

My thoughts: I thought this film was great.  The story was solid, the acting was superb, the dilemma was very real and timely.  Also, it didn't hurt that both lead actors were hot.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Film Festival: day 2

Let My People Go!
Synopsis:  A Nordic gay couple seeks reconciliation after their fantasia existence implodes in Let My People Go! a kitschy romantic comedy fusing Jewish and gay cultures. Nebbishy Ruben lives with his pretty, blond boyfriend while delivering mail in small-town Finland. A money parcel mix-up ends in a lover’s quarrel, sending a tearful Ruben back to Paris and his devout but dysfunctional Jewish family. With Passover approaching, much melodrama ensues involving the ditzy matriarch, philandering father, ill-tempered brother and unhappily married sister. Making matters worse, Ruben must repel the advances of a closeted family friend and Jewish community elder, Maurice Goldberg. Lavish to behold, this absurdist comedy offers an inspired marriage of camp and farce that both celebrates and sends up gay and Jewish stereotypes in a deliciously perverse fairytale that milks laughter from every madcap situation.

My thoughts:  The terms "absurdist", "camp", "farce" and "madcap" in the synopsis above were all accurate, but the film was entertaining and I did chuckle several times.  Watch a trailer here

10% Shorts
1. Coffee & Pie:  In this self-proclaimed anti-romantic comedy, yet offbeat love story of sorts, a couple is breaking up. Manipulative June feels her moral superiority justifies the breakup.  October learns from seasoned waitress Billy-Jean, that revenge is a dish best served with pie. This sweet as pie short will be enjoyed by all.
2. Couples Therapy:  Each week, Vince and Daniel attend couples therapy, and each week they have something to talk about, and thus, each week Vince and Daniel attend couples therapy.
3. Fallen Comrade:  Two soldiers form an indelible bond in training camp, but when shipped to the Afghan front, one is forced to deal with the specter of his partner’s death when their unit is caught in an ambush.
4.  Flyer:  A street flyer leads to a surprising discovery in this black and white award-winning film from one of Canada’s favorite filmmakers.
5. Fresh Air Therapy:  Petra and Kerstin, a German couple, are spending another unpleasant session with their counselor when a power failure and natural body functions bring them closer together. Will they still need therapy?
6. Its a Boy:  It has been said that out of the mouth of babes can come some sage advice.  This short proves the adage correct, as three babies discuss their sexuality and debate if being gay, bi, or straight is a choice.
7. Its Not a Cowboy Movie:  Brokeback Mountain was aired on TV last night. Vincent watched it and has been completely shattered. He takes advantage of the recess to describe the film in a touching and naïve way to his classmate, Moussa. In the girls’ bathroom, Jessica, also deeply moved by the film, bombards her best friend Nadia with awkward questions about her gay father.
8. Silver Stiletto:  Two men are found dead in a dumpster outside of well-known gay bar and their wounds suggest a trained killer. Detective Alexis Morgan has a crazy theory. Could the disheveled Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz impersonator sitting in his interrogation room really be the murderer?
9. Tsuyako:  In postwar Japan, Tsuyako, a factory worker and mother, must decide between duty and love, her family and her freedom. A winner of over 50 top honors at international film festivals, Tsuyako is powerful, beautiful, and elegant. 

My thoughts:  I could have done without #4 and #6.  I liked all the others, and some were absolutely amazing, like #3 and #9!  All in all a very good collection of GLBT shorts.

In the Family
Synopsis:  In the town of Martin, Tennessee, Chip Hines, a precocious six year-old, has only known life with his two dads, Cody and Joey. And a good life it is. When Cody dies suddenly in a car accident, Joey and Chip struggle to find their footing again. Just as they begin to, Cody’s will reveals that he named his sister as Chip’s guardian. The years of Joey’s acceptance into the family unravel as Chip is taken away from him. In his now-solitary home life, Joey searches for a solution. The law is not on his side, but friends are. Armed with their comfort and inspired by memories of Cody, Joey finds a path to peace with the family and becomes closer to his son. The director, Patrick Wang, allows the film’s ambitious length to patiently interweave flashback sequences that reveal the complex nature of Cody’s relationship with Joey, their relationship with Cody’s family, and Joey’s relationship to his orphaned past. Rarely has the nature of what it means to be in a family been examined with such rewarding nuance.

My thoughts:  This film's story couldn't have been more relevant after the recent marriage equality victories in several states earlier this week.  The film was very, very good but could have benefited from some editting since it was nearly 3 hours long.  But the film did a great job at showing what sometimes happens when emotions run high.  Sage advice can sometimes come from the most unlikely source.  Watch a trailer here.

Kiss Me
Synopsis:  Romance can unfold at the most inopportune moments, and that’s precisely what happens to hetero-inclined Mia and self-aware lesbian Frida, two 30-something career women who meet at a party celebrating the engagement of Frida’s mother and Mia’s father. While the two women’s status as future stepsisters is a formidable obstacle, not to mention Mia’s own engagement to a man, the two begin a passionate, emotional and erotic dialogue that leads to significant conflict between their loved ones and families. Their parents, in particular, must wrestle with the collision of the personal and political that their daughters’ evolving relationship creates. From the beginning, director
Alexandra-Therese Keining fashions an organic, nuanced viewpoint of Mia and Frida’s unfolding romance. Thanks to the intricacies that drive the plot, the resulting story arc wisely sidesteps clichéd melodrama and gains significant momentum via the actresses’ obvious chemistry and genuinely empathetic performances.


My thoughts:  I was slightly annoyed by the premise of this film.  A woman is engaged to marry a man she's lived with for 7 years then suddenly falls in love with another woman who is already in a relationship with a woman.  For some reason we are supposed to be sympathetic to these women who have just found 'new love' with each other, even though they both wind up destroying the relationships and lives of the others they're with.  I suppose its 'romantic' that their new love is so strong and engrossing that it makes them end their current relationships in order to be with their new love, but I guess I'm a little more old fashioned.  I think you should end a relationship before starting another one.  Watch a trailer here.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Film Festival: day 1

Today I saw 5 films.  I'll share the film catalog synopsis and my thoughts on the films too.

Keep the Lights On
Synopsis:  Keep The Lights On chronicles the emotionally and sexually charged journey through the love, addiction, and friendship of two men. Documentary filmmaker Erik and closeted lawyer Paul meet through a casual encounter, but they find a deeper connection and become a couple. In an almost decade-long relationship defined by highs, lows, and dysfunctional patterns, Erik struggles to negotiate his own boundaries and dignity and to be true to himself.  Danish actor Thure Lindhardt, who embodies Erik’s isolation and vulnerability with a gentle presence, anchors director Ira Sachs’s fearlessly personal screenplay. Harrowing and romantic, visceral and intellectual, Keep The Lights On is a moving film that looks at love and all of its manifestations, taking it to dark depths and bringing it back to a place of grace.

My thoughts:  I liked this film's portrayal of what it can be like to be in love with a substance abuser without being preachy.  The pain of missed important appointments, the fear of not knowing where they are, the vanishing ability to trust.  It was sexy, dark, and sad.  Watch a trailer here.

For 80 Days
Synopsis:  Abandoned by her daughter and ignored by her husband, 70-year-old Axun, is living out a traditional life in a Basque farmhouse with little in the way of happiness or fun. Out of a sense of duty, she begins visiting her comatose ex-son-in-law in the hospital. Axun soon realizes that the high-spirited woman visiting the patient in the next bed is in fact her childhood friend Maite from 50 years ago. The two women revive their friendship, but hit a brick wall when Maite reveals her lesbianism to the unworldly Axun. When the memory of a childhood kiss between the women resurfaces, Axun finds herself caught between a late-blooming but all-consuming passion, and her sense of obligation. Maite, on the other hand, has been out for 50 years and finds Axun’s conservatism grating. Will Axun take her chance at love and follow her heart, or succumb to the call of duty? For 80 Days is an utterly engrossing and charming film which is made all the better for outstanding performances.

My thoughts:  I found this film delightful!  Sprinkles of comedy and beautiful scenery lightened this story of marriage, friendship, duty, and passion.  Watch a trailer here.

Gayby
Synopsis:  Gayby, written and directed by Jonathan Lisecki, is a feature film based on an award-winning short film. Jenn and Matt are best friends from college who are now in their 30s. Single by choice, Jenn spends her days teaching hot yoga and running errands for her boss. Matt suffers from comicbook writer’s block and can’t get over his ex-boyfriend.  They decide to fulfill a youthful promise to have a child together… the old-fashioned way. Can they navigate the serious and unexpected snags they hit as they attempt to get their careers and dating lives back on track in preparation for parenthood? Gayby is an irreverent comedy about friendship, growing older, sex, loneliness, and the family you choose.

My thoughts:  Although the story of gays and lesbians assisting each other to have a child is not a new one, Gayby tells the story in a hilarious, fresh way.  It didn't hurt that the male lead was super cute!  Watch a trailer here.

Yossi
Ten years after Yossi and Jagger, the tragic love story of two IDF officers serving in Lebanon, director Eytan Fox returns to find out what has happened with Yossi.  Dr. Yossi Hoffman has become a valued and dedicated cardiologist, often using his work as a way to escape his anguished life. He lives alone, still closeted, unable to break through the walls and defenses built around him since the death of his lover. Even his co-workers find it almost impossible to get close to him. His daily routine at the hospital is shaken up by the arrival of a mysterious woman. He follows her, and through the surprising connection they make, receives a rare opportunity to deal with his trauma. Yossi then travels to the southern city of Eilat. Surrounded by sea and sand dunes, he meets a group of young Israeli IDF officers, among them Tom, a handsome and self-confident openly gay man, who represents a new world, different from the one that shaped Yossi.

My thoughts:  Although I enjoyed this film, I felt it was slow and lacked focus until about 1/2 way through when Yossi confronts the woman from the hospital and then goes to Eilat.  Despite the need for editting it was an enjoyable film.  Watch a trailer here.

Escort in Love
Synopsis:   A spoiled rich bitch left in dire circumstances by her husband’s death turns to the world’s oldest profession to earn some necessary dough in this cheerfully non-PC sex comedy brimming with witty dialogue, funny sight gags and savvy comic performances. Tart-tongued Alice is forced to sell her luxurious villa and move with her adorable 9 year-old, Filippo, to a rooftop in Rome’s multi-ethnic, working-class neighborhood. Facing debtor’s prison and the loss of Filippo to social services if she can’t come up with a large sum of money fast, Alice enlists the help of Eva, a high-priced escort. The scenes in which Eva tries to mold her protégé’s fashion sense, personal grooming habits and seduction skills are hysterical. Meanwhile, the friendly locals embrace the lonely Filippo, who starts to blossom. It takes Alice longer to warm to her new wonderland, but the sparks she strikes with sexy Internet cafe owner Giulio move the process along.

My thoughts:  This campy comedy was very cute and fun to watch.  In a not-so-subtle way the story reminds us not to judge a book by its cover.  Watch a trailer here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Getting excited

Although I've not mentioned it here on my blog yet this month, I'm really getting excited about the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival which begins tomorrow!  I have been attending for several years and always enjoy the wonderful selection of films.

This year I have arranged my work schedule to be off work for all 4 days of the festival and am planning to see 14 films.  Many people say they couldn't possibly see that many films but I don't find it to be hard at all, as long as the films are good.  Despite Rehoboth Beach being a relatively small town, I feel the RB Independent Film Festival's quality rivals that of much larger city's film festivals.

Today I picked up my tickets for all 4 days' films and am eager to get started tomorrow!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Vote

Tomorrow is election day.  I hope all of you are planning to vote!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!


Although today is Halloween, we celebrated last Sat night by going to a costume party at a friend's house, followed by going to the Blue Moon to check out other people's costumes.

Spouse went as Fred Flintstone

and I went as Boy George

Tonight we actually got a couple trick-or-treaters for the 1st time.  Since last year we got 2 new neighbors who have children, so those kids came.  In past years we've had no kids.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is over.

Yesterday we lost power at 4:15.  Spouse & I lit some candles and sat around and talked for a while.  A couple times we dozed off.  Finally at 8:30 we were both bored and a little tired so we decided to go to bed.  This morning the power came back on at 7:45.  The driving ban was lifted at 10am so   Spouse & I took Marvin for a good, long walk and then went for a drive to see how the area fared.  We were pleased to see less damage that we expected.  We had lunch at one of the places that had re-opened and then came back home.  

We were SOOOO fortunate compared to the NJ shore & NYC.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Mine & Spouse's offices are both closed today today due to Hurricane Sandy.

We are not in the mandatory evacuation zone (just 3 blocks away) so we are not required to evacuate.  Since don't feel we are in danger of flooding, we are hunkered down and riding out the storm.  There is a ban on non-essential driving in place, which is further reason to stay home.

Yesterday Spouse brought the porch furniture into the garage, made sure all the windows were closed tightly and locked, and went to grocery store.  We have enough food that doesn't require refrigeration or cooking to survive at least a week with no power, including Fritos, cookies, Pop-Tarts, and candy.

So far we've had lots of rain and a lot of gusty wind.  We've been told to expect power outages but so far so good today.  We're just relaxing and watching TV.

Marvin does not like going out in the wind and rain to pee and poop.  But since he's a small dog it will be much easier to clean up any accidents he may have in the house.

Every once in a while the wind whistles like a horror movie and it gives me the chills!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Make it sexy!

This year Halloween is on a Wed, so all the costume parties seem to be happening this coming Sat.  Spouse & I are going to a costume party/potluck, and will then go to the Blue Moon to see lots of other folks in costumes.  We're recycling costumes from previous years since we aren't likely to run into the same people at this party. 

Fellow blogger BosGuy included this article about 10 Rules for Sexy Gay Homosexual Halloween Costumes.  (I'm not sure why the need to include 'Gay' and 'Homosexual', but whatever.)  There are several examples of regular costumes made sexy by The Gays.  I thought the article was cute and encourage you to take a look at it.

Its not that hard - you can make almost any Halloween costume sexy simply by removing all non-essential pieces of clothing.

Regular Indian:

Sexy Indian:

Regular Firefighter:

Sexy Firefighter:

Honestly, which would YOU rather run into at a party??

Whatever costume you choose this year, please be SAFE and have FUN!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Holiday return address labels

This year I'm well ahead of schedule by ordering my holiday return address labels today.

Yep, that's right - its not even Halloween yet and I ordered my Christmas card labels today.  I love to write and send Christmas/Holiday cards to friends near and far and although I hand-write their names and mailing address for that personal touch, I do use return address labels.

But not just any old return address labels.  I order special ones for the holidays.  This year I ordered them from Personalization Mall.  Its a great resource for all things personalized, not just holiday stuff.  Here are my holiday 2012 selections:



They come in quantities of 64 so I ordered 1 quantity of each design above.  I think they're super cute!!  You may notice there aren't any Santa Claus or reindeer.  I tend not to favor those 'folksy' images of Christmas.  Instead I prefer themes that center more on ornaments, snowflakes and such.

Click here to read about my Christmas card writing/addressing ritual.