Monday, August 07, 2017

Hello Fresh

For a couple of months now I've been seriously considering signing up for one of those meal kit delivery programs.  I asked my Facebook friends which they preferred, Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, and why.  I got some great feedback which helped me make a decision.

I chose Hello Fresh because most people felt there was more variety in the meals.  They've got a handy app that lets you look ahead at what's coming and allows you to swap out meals that contain something you don't like.  They work with farms to provide food just for them, so its not like those frozen microwave dinners that were never ever fresh.

I also liked that Hello Fresh gives you the ability to choose any day of the week for your meal kits to arrive.  That was important to me because we eat out on Fri, Sat, and Sun so I didn't want the 3 meals for 2 people to show up on Wed or Thurs.  I selected Mon delivery so I'd have fresh food on the nights we eat at home.

I like that the meals are thought out for me.  The main reason I hate going to the grocery store is because I get there and can't think what to buy for dinners for the week.  This takes care of it for me.  It also ensures that everything I need for the recipe is there, so no forgetting a key ingredient while at the grocery store.  The kit includes the correct amount of everything so there's no left-over ingredients and no waste.  

I also like that this is a set portion size which will prevent overeating.  Sometimes I catch myself eating more than I should because I don't want to save/put away a small amount of left-over food.  These are normal size portions and most are under 550 calories.

The only downside I can see is that it will likely require the use of more pots and pans than I'm used to using (I'm the king of 1-pot meals) so that means more hand washing since pots and pans never seem to get completely clean in the dishwasher.  But I think it will be worthwhile for all the convenience and healthy, fresh food.

I think this is going to be so good for me!  My 1st order arrives next Mon so I'll post again after I've made a few meals.

Monday, July 31, 2017


Mondays... nobody really likes them.  But after working both Sat & Sun and being incredibly busy will all manner of annoying situations, I am exhausted today and do NOT feel like working.

My next day off is Thurs, which means I will have worked 6 days in a row.  Not that this is 'incredible', but being the time of year that it is (summer) and the location (beach resort), I will have been super busy for 6 straight days.

And I'm already exhausted.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Birthday, part 2

On his birthday I told Spouse that the 2nd part of his gift was a surprise and would take place on Sat and that we'd be away for the day.  He asked if we needed someone to let the dogs out and feed them, but I told him we'd be back in time.

So Sat morning we got into the car and drove north with him still unable to figure out where we were going or what we were doing.  About 2 hours later we arrived at QVC studios in West Chester PA and I told him we were going on a studio tour.  I'm sure I've written before about how much Spouse loves to watch home shopping on TV.  He watches all of them too:  QVC, HSN, HSN2, and evine Live.  He was excited about the tour.

Unfortunately I left my phone at home so I couldn't take any photos, but we did get to watch as the live broadcast was going on with David Venable.  Although known for his "In the Kitchen with David" segment, he was actually selling a collapsable rolling cart while we were there.  It was neat to see all the sets, lighting, cameras, and control booth used for the 100% live broadcasts.  I was surprised that most of the camera work is done by robots being maneuvered by the director with a joy stick in the control room.  We learned about how the volume of calls is tracked and matched with what the hosts and guests are saying in order to improve future selling.  We also learned that QVC has live broadcasts in China, Japan, Germany, UK, France, and Australia too.

After the tour we drove into the little historic town of West Chester and walked down the main street until we found a good looking place to eat lunch.  We had a delicious meal at Landmark Americana.  On our way south we stopped at Trader Joe's.  I'd managed to sneak a cooler with freezer blocks into the back of the car without Spouse knowing, so we were able to buy frozen food on this trip.  Typically we stock up at Trader Joe's near Spouse's family's house but can't get frozen foods because we never have a cooler.

Once back home we made plans to have dinner with Steven & Thad, which is typical for a Sat night.  But then 7 more of our friends walked in and we had a surprise birthday dinner for 11 at El Azteca Mexican restaurant.
Rick & Nick.  Spouse trains with Rick twice a week.

Joe & Glenn

Thad & Steven

Joe P and Harvey

Jim and me
Unfortunately I don't have a pic of Spouse!  I took one but he protested because he was chewing and thought the pic would look bad, so I deleted it.  I was going to take another pic later but, um... well, there were margaritas.  Delicious margaritas, and I got distracted.  But we had a great time and he was totally surprised.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Double birthday!

Today is a double birthday in our household.  Its Spouse's birthday and Walter's birthday!!

These flowers arrived at Spouse's office today
Everyone with whom Spouse works always comment how nice it is that he receives flowers at work on his birthday, Valentines Day, and our anniversary.  I think its important that they see that gay couples are perhaps more apt to publicly celebrate their relationships/marriages because we've had to fight for their recognition.

When Spouse got home from work I gave him a gift I knew he'd like:  12 pairs of colorful socks.
I realize this might seem like an odd gift, but he LOVES colorful socks.  I knew he'd love these.  Besides, he already bought himself an Amazon Fire tablet and an Amazon Fire Stick a few days ago so he really left me very few options.

I also got him 5 of his favorite candies:

On Sat I have more plans to celebrate his birthday!

Unfortunately for Walter, his 2nd birthday was overshadowed by Spouse's birthday.  But I did give him extra head scratches and playtime.

Monday, July 17, 2017


I'm back on my healthy eating plan and yet again attempting to lose weight. 

Pray for me.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Boy, Interrupted

I was raised not to interrupt when people were talking.  I thought everyone was raised this way, but apparently they weren't.  Or maybe they've just abandoned good manners.

It seems more and more (especially at work) I've been surprised at how inconsiderate people can be.  As a real estate agent I get calls from potential buyers with questions about properties they've seen online or while out driving.  They'll ask me a question and before I can finish an answer they will interrupt with another question or statement.  Real estate can have complicated components and contingencies requiring more than a 1 or 2 word answer. 

Recently Spouse & I were out to dinner with friends and the well-meaning waitress kept walking up to the table and interrupting our conversation to ask if we needed anything.  I understand that it may require 2 extra seconds, but can't servers approach the table and allow the person speaking to pause before saying something like "Excuse me, but may I get anything else for you?"  Honestly, I find it rude.

Where is the consideration?  

Where is the politeness?  

Where are the manners we learned as kids?

Monday, July 10, 2017


A little while back I posted photos and wrote about how well our 'comical roses' were doing.

Now that more time has passed, our other roses are doing very well too!  While Spouse is the real rose lover, probably MY favorite of our roses are the orange ones.  The color is so amazing they almost look artificial!

I mean, aren't these incredible?!?!

Fortunately these are shrub roses so we don't have to deadhead them.  

The yellow roses are not doing very well at all.  I'm not sure if its because we've only had them a year or if the soil is too sandy, but both of the bushes have only bloomed once so far.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Beardy boy

I find the combination of a beard and a fade haircut to be particularly sexy.

Add a handsome face and chest hair?  I'm done!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Independence Day

Ever since moving to our fair little hamlet I have enjoyed Independence Day/July 4th, mostly because of the Doo Dah Parade.  Click on the Doo Dah Parade tag below this post for more info and posts.  Last year's July 4th was disappointing as the weather threatened rain all day.  I made the executive decision not to drive Big Ella in the parade due to the weather, and sure enough it began to rain as the parade started.  

This year the weather was nearly the same. Steven & Thad had invited a bunch of friends to their house for a cookout which overlapped the timing of the Doo Dah parade so I decided not to drive Big Ella again and we forewent the parade to be at our friends' cookout.  Within minutes of everyone's arrival at the cookout it began to rain so we all went inside.  Poor Steven stood outside with an umbrella to finish cooking the hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken.  But despite having to move the party inside, we all had a good time and the food was delicious.  Spouse made his signature potato salad which everyone loves.

Side note:  for the 2 weeks or so leading up to the cookout I kept referring to it as a "good old fashioned 4th of July BBQ".  In conversation, in texts, in emails, I kept repeating the same exact phrase "good old fashioned 4th of July BBQ".  I felt like a Republican, repeating something over and over again until it becomes recognized! 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Family visit

This weekend we're happy to have Spouse's sister, brother-in-law, and their 2 sons visiting us.  We expect them to arrive later tonight.

They used to come every summer and stay for a week.  Spouse would take off work and go with them to the beach and hang out.  But as they've gotten older its harder for them to be away for so long.  This summer 1 of the boys has a Mon-Fri job so they can only come for a weekend.

But it will be fun to have them around, and the weather looks good for hanging out at the beach, so it should be a great weekend!
Spouse & our 2 nephews, taken last year

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 6

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my blog.  My coming out story is easily accessible here on my blog using the 'coming out' tag.  But I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part 6:

I think it was 1992, only about a year before I left the JWs to be an out gay man, and I was working in the customer service department for the local phone company.  I received a call from a man (we'll call him John because I don't remember his actual name) who requested we change the name on the phone bill.  John said the service/bill was in the name of Roger (not his real name either) but that Roger had passed away.  He said he lived with Roger and wanted to keep the same phone number and service as is, but change the name on the account.

Not because I'm nosey but because it was a requirement of the job, I asked John if he and Roger were roommates or related in some way.  There was an elongated pause and then John said something like "Well, we weren't related legally."  There was another long pause and then he said "We were a couple."

Keep in mind that in 1992 people were just starting to hear the term "partner" used to describe a gay person's spouse, and recognized domestic partnerships and marriage equality were still a distant fantasy.  Same sex couples had little-to-no legal connection or rights.

"I'm very sorry for your loss" I said sincerely.  Then I explained the phone company's policy and what I would do for him.  I bent the rules a bit to allow him to assume the account despite John an Roger not being related, since it wasn't his fault they were unable to be legally married.  He was very appreciative and thanked me for my kindness and sensitivity.

Coincidentally I saw that the address was very close to where I lived, so I wrote down the address on a Post-it note and slid it into my pocket.  After work I stopped and purchased a sympathy card, wrote a short note inside, and delivered it to John's house.  I didn't ring the doorbell or attempt to meet him in person, but wanted to show my support for his relationship and my sympathy over his loss.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 5

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my blog.  My coming out story is easily accessible here on my blog using the 'coming out' tag.  But I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part5:

In the spring of either 1990 or 1991 I planned a week's vacation in CA where I'd drive the scenic Pacific Coast Hwy.  I had several family friends and relatives who lived in different places so I'd contacted them and set up a schedule to meet up with them during my visit.  I flew into San Francisco and rented a red convertible to take advantage of the beautiful weather as I drove south along the scenic Pacific Coast Hwy, stopping for my family and friends visits along the way.

At one point stopped in some southern CA town to eat and saw a 1950s diner with cool, vintage cars parked in front.  This seemed like a fun place, so I parked the red LeBaron convertible, looked at the beautiful vintage cars, then went inside to eat.

Not long after being seated I became aware of a large, crescent-shaped banquet where 8 men were eating.  They weren't making a scene or anything but I noticed they were laughing and talking and seemed to know each other well.  Then it dawned on me:  they were 4 gay couples.  I watched them as I waited for and then ate my dinner.  Aside from this glimpse into their shared meal, I wondered what their lives were like.  

I imagined that they lived in cute CA ranch-style homes with red Spanish tile roofs, and that they hosted dinner parties where they served cocktails and played Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday music.  I pictured them going grocery shopping together, one of them searching for a coupon and the other rolling his eyes. I pictured them cuddled up on their sofa at night watching TV together. 

Those thoughts comforted me and made me feel sad at the same time.  I imagined a life for them that I wanted for myself.  Little did I know then that I would create such a life for myself, minus the CA ranch-style homes with red Spanish tile roof.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 4

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my blog.  My coming out story is easily accessible here on my blog using the 'coming out' tag.  But I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part 4:

Between 1986 - 1989 (I was 22-25 years old) I lived in a terrific 2-bedroom apartment.  It had big rooms, lots of closet space, a shaded terrace, and a convenient location.  I had 3 different roommates during those 3 years but I can easily say that my favorite was David.  I met David through a mutual acquaintance and immediately thought he was very handsome.  He had broad shoulders, nicely muscular arms, and later I would find he had a hairy chest.  

But what made David even more irresistible was that he was so incredibly nice!  He had a brother about 2 years younger, and a 1/2 sister from his mom's 2nd marriage who was considerably younger.  He was kind and respectful to his brother and sweet and helpful to his little sister.  David's mother had a chronic health condition and he was always mindful to try to ease her daily chores if possible.  Understandably, I fell in love with him. While I wondered if David might possibly be gay, I knew it was ridiculous to speculate about it.  He and I were both Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), and as such you are not allowed to be gay.  

We got along well and shared many interests.  I assisted him when he'd agreed to help a friend move to a different home, and he'd come with me for dinner at my folks' house.  I tried to think of as many things as possible I could do to spend time with him.  

I eventually invited him to move into my apartment.  The only problem was that it was a 2-bedroom place and I already had a roommate, at least on paper.  My current roommate was rarely there.  Sometimes weeks would go by without me seeing him.  He was behind on his rent so sometimes he would come and get clothes etc when he knew I was at work so he wouldn't have to face me.  I knew it was just a matter of time before he would have to give up his room, so I convinced David to move into my room until that happened.  My room was huge so there was plenty of room for both our beds and I cleared some space for his stuff in my walk-in closet.  

I remember a night that seemed magical.  He liked to read in bed before going to sleep, and one night he asked if I'd like him to read out loud.  I said sure, so he quickly told me the jist of the story so far, then read aloud to me.  I'll never forget that.

Another memory that is clear in my mind after all these years is when we had a crazy heat wave.  In the DC metro area where we lived our hot summers were often accompanied by extreme humidity.  At that time I worked in a non-air conditioned warehouse and David did construction work.  One day we both came home from work hot and exhausted and joked that we should hang our clothes up to dry before tossing them into the clothes hamper.  As we both stripped down to our underwear David suggested we have a cold beer.  He left the bedroom in his underwear so I followed suit.  We sat on the dining room chairs (not fabric) in our underwear, drank our beers, and talked.

In hindsight, I'm surprised no one ever questioned our friendship.  I was so in love with David I'm surprised it wasn't noticeable to others.  Or, maybe it was noticeable but since JWs can't be gay they simply didn't understand.  I eventually moved out when I bought my 1-bedroom condo and David kept the apartment for awhile.  Years later I heard he was married, and just recently I heard he was divorced; his wife left him for another guy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 3

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my blog.  My coming out story is easily accessible here on my blog using the 'coming out' tag.  But I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part 3:

It was the fall of 1980 (I think).  I was almost 17, a junior in high school, and had gotten a part in the community theatre's production of Li'l Abner.  (My part had just a couple lines but I sang in all the chorus scenes).  Because I didn't have a driver's license yet, my mother or sister would drop me off for evening rehearsals and then I'd bum a ride home with some other cast member.  

One night I'd secured a ride home with 2 guys, one of whom had the lead and the other a supporting role, whom I knew lived near me.  I assume they were at least 5 years older than me based on their facial hair and maturity.  It was probably close to 10pm and it was dark out.  As we left the rehearsal location the 1st guy asked me if I had a girlfriend, to which I replied no.  He said that they didn't have girlfriends either, and the 2nd guy snickered.  The 2nd guy asked if I had a boyfriend, to which I also replied no.  The 1st guy asked if I'd ever smoked pot, to which I replied no again.  Then he said that with no girlfriend, no boyfriend, and no pot, what did I do for fun?  I told them that I played the piano and tried out for community theatre parts like this.  The 2nd guy asked if this was my 1st production and I replied yes.  He said congratulations and said I must be excited.

As we neared my neighborhood the 1st guy said that they were going to smoke some pot and that I could join them instead of going directly home.  I told them no, and that my parents would be expecting me.  They asked if I was sure, that it would be fun, and that they'd make sure I was OK since I'd never had pot before.  I said I was sure, so they dropped me off at my house.

Oddly enough, I do not remember being scared or feeling unsafe by this questioning or the offer to smoke pot with them.  I kind of figured out they were gay, but that didn't make me uncomfortable either.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 2

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my blog.  My coming out story is easily accessible here on my blog using the 'coming out' tag.  But I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part 2:

It was July 3rd (I'm sure) of 1988 (I think).  I was 24 and lived in a 2-bedroom apartment with a roommate.  I was grocery shopping and noticed an attractive young man (probably a little older than me) reaching for something off the shelf.  He looked at me as I was looking at him.  I smiled innocently and wondered if he was gay.  I pushed my cart down the isle, around the corner, and up the next isle.  I stopped and picked an item off the shelf, pretending to examine its ingredients while I waited to see if the guy would follow me.  Sure enough he stopped near me and also pretended to look at products.  From my peripheral vision I saw that he looked over at me, but I didn't look back at him.  Instead I placed the item back on the shelf and pushed my cart away.

A few isles over I stopped to look for laundry detergent which I actually needed.  I was not brand loyal so I looked to see what was least expensive and/or on sale.  I momentarily forgot about the guy as I narrowed down my detergent choices.  As I reached for my final selection, out of my peripheral vision again I saw the guy approaching me.  This time I couldn't help but to look at him and he smiled and said hi.  I said hi back and left the isle with my heart beating at least in double-time.

Later as I got into the check-out line I quickly scanned the other registers to see if the guy was in line.  I didn't see him, so my heart rate returned to normal as I loaded my groceries into my car and drove home to my apartment.  I took the 1st armload inside and as I returned to the car for the remaining bags, the guy from the grocery store walked over to my car!

He said he didn't mean to scare me, but that I'd left the store before he'd had a chance to introduce himself, so he followed me home.  Looking back on this now a big red "STALKER" flag goes up, but at the time his explanation sounded reasonable.  Or maybe I was just flattered.  

He offerred to help me carry the remaining bags inside and I allowed him to do so.  We talked for a couple minutes (where do you work, where do you live, etc) and then he invited me to go see the July 4th fireworks with him the next day.  I thanked him for the invitation but told him I'd be out of town.  (I really was going to spend the entire July 4th at my relatives' home in MD.)  He asked if we could exchange numbers and perhaps get together another time.  I said OK even though I knew full well it would never happen.  As he was leaving my roommate was coming in the door.  My roommate was a Jehovah's Witness too so we knew each others' friends.  He asked me who that guy was.  I casually brushed it off by saying it was an old acquaintance from high school I'd run into at the grocery store.

The guy did call me a couple times and left messages on my answering machine (remember those?), but I never returned his calls.  I wasn't ready yet.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 1

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my
blog.  In years past I have posted links to my coming out story.  I really don't want to do that again, as the story is easily accessible using the 'coming out' tag.  I also thought about posting Pride photos found on the web, but this seemed a little lame.  Then I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part 1:

It was late afternoon in the spring of 1983.  I was 19 years old and working part-time in a men's clothing store.  I was offered a temporary full-time position shuttling specific merchandise between store locations while the usual driver was out with back surgery.

One day as I was driving on a multi-lane highway I looked over to my left and noticed an attractive man driving the car next to me.  He looked over and caught me looking at him.  Embarrassed, I pressed a little harder on the gas pedal to move away from his car.  He excellerated too and caught up with me.  I quickly glanced over at him again and saw him looking at me.  I may have smiled or just waved in that friendly kind of 'I acknowledge you' kind of way; I'm not sure.  But as I could feel my heart beating faster I decided to lift my foot off the gas pedal a little so the guy in the other car would pass me.  Sure enough, he slowed down too and once again we were window to window.

It was now obvious to me that my initial looking at him had started some sort of flirtation.  He was intentionally reacting to my changes in speed and trying to respond.  I started to freak out a little because I didn't know what I was doing!  But since we were both rolling down the highway at 55mpg or so, I was more excited than scared.

Until he began gesturing to me to pull over.

Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygood - what am I going to do?!?!?!  Nothing like this had ever happened to me before.  I literally didn't know what to expect.  Should I stop?  Should I just keep driving?  I felt like my heart was going to beat right out of my chest.

I decided to pull over onto the shoulder and so did he.  We both got out of our vehicles and introduced ourselves.  He then asked if I would join him for a drink somewhere closeby.  Rather than tell him the truth (that I was a Jehovah's Witness who could NOT be gay) I told him I was working and still had several stops to make.  He seemed a little disappointed, and asked when I'd be in the area again.  I didn't really know how to respond since telling him the truth (that I'd be back there in 2 days) would likely lead to some kind of planned meeting, so I just said I didn't know when my deliveries would bring me back to this area.  

Perhaps he understood this was all very new to me, and maybe he decided it would be too much 'work' to try and be with someone like me.  Fortunately he was very gracious and smiled as he shook my hand and we said goodbye.  More than 30 years later I still remember the excitement mixed with fear I felt that day.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Weekend recap

As usual, I worked on Sat and Spouse did some spot cleaning on a couple of our area rugs.  Once home from work, we met up with Steven & Thad and Joe P for dinner, and then I went to the Blue Moon to perform in the Legends show.  The owners decided to bring back some of my past Legends this year so I was Neil Diamond on Sat night.  Neil has a new costume this year which I like a lot, and a new wig this year which looks horrible.  We did the best we could with it, but...

After the show we walk around to meet and greet the patrons, and I had a nice conversation with a nice couple.  As I usually do, I asked them where they lived.  They said "In Virginia" so I asked where about, and they responded with the name of the tiny, obscure town where I lived about 7 years!  I mean, to illustrate how small this town is, when I asked where in the town they lived, they said "You know where the stop sign is?  We're in that neighborhood on the left" and I knew exactly where they were talking about.  Small world!!!

Then Sun Spouse & I met Steven for a late breakfast.  Thad was at a yoga class.  Afterward Spouse & I took the dogs for a walk around the block, deadheaded the Comical Roses and the orange roses, dusted all the roses to prevent bugs from eating the leaves, pulled some weeds, and just did a bit of yard clean up.  We both hate it but its amazing what 2 people can accomplish in just under an hour.

Next we grabbed our sunscreen and met Steven & Thad a the beach!  It was our 1st beach visit of the season.  It was an usually hot day for mid-June (91 degrees) but it always feels cooler at the beach with the breezes coming off the water.  We had a great afternoon there and it really felt like summer.  After returning to our respective homes for showers, we met back up for dinner, then we stopped by the new house to see how the renovations were going, then settled in at home for a bit of TV watching.

It was a nice weekend.