Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend highlights

Sat morning I went to real estate school, somewhat nervous because I knew that I would be taking my math final that day. We covered the last short chapters in the math text book, then the instructor gave us a short review. We took a 15-minute break, then took the final. Fortunately it was only 20 problems, but they were all word problems. I completed the final and left the school by noon, feeling relieved but unsure.

When I got home Spouse & I went to Rehoboth Beach for a late lunch at the Green Turtle on the boardwalk. Its a 2nd floor restaurant with killer views of the ocean. We sat in the bar area at a table with an unobstructed view. This is the actual view from the restaurant's balcony:
I think the spectacular ocean view made the food taste better! Afterward it was a bit too chilly and windy to walk on the boardwalk as we usually do, so we walked the streets of town, peeking into some of the stores we'd not been into in a long time. Although cool and windy, it was sunny so it was nice to be outside. After returning home Spouse took a nap and I watched some shows on the DVR.

Later that evening we met up with Steven & Thad and Thad's friends Matt & Stacy for drinks. Thad, Matt and Stacy have known each other since high school. Since it was Matt's birthday weekend, they came to Rehoboth Beach for a birthday getaway. We enjoyed meeting them and had a nice time chatting over drinks. Then the 2 of them went to dinner for Matt's birthday, and Steven & Thad and Spouse & I went to dinner at Dos Locos. I ordered the Mexican Plate which I knew was too much food, but I wound up taking home a 1/3 of it for later. We had a good time.

Sun morning I went to real estate school to take my law final. I'd done a good bit of studying on Thurs and took a couple sample tests online on Fri so I felt pretty confident I would do well. Our instructor gave us a review for about an hour, we took a short break, then sat down to take the final. It contained 100 questions, of which there were only 3 or 4 I wasn't too sure about. Again I was done and out of class by noon. After arriving home, I ate the leftovers from the previous night's dinner from Dos Locos. Then I got an email from the math instructor advising me that I had passed yesterday's math final. Whew!! That was a huge relief, as the math final was the one with which I had the most concern.

That evening we went to Steven & Thad's for an Oscar party. Our friends Chris & Jason, Rusty, 1 of the Bobs, and Rick & Candy came as well. It was a potluck and everyone brought great food! Spouse brought cheese tortellini with panchetta and peas in a blush sauce, a special request from Thad. We ate and drank and socialized, then sat down to watch the last of the red carpet coverage and critique the celeb's gowns. We all agreed that the Oscars show itself was rather boring. I thought Anne Hathaway did a perfectly fine job keeping her energy level up, but James Franco seemed like he'd been awake for at least 72 straight. And the writing (the banter between celebs presenting) was just awful. None of it was funny and the celebs were crashing and burning. It was most likely the least interesting Oscars I've watched. Thank god we had good food and friends to make the night fun!

Today I heard from the law instructor: I passed the law final. This means that next Sat I will make my final 160 mile round trip drive to real estate school to pick up my certificate showing I passed the real estate course. That certificate will allow me to then sit for the state and national boards exams. I can't believe the 8 weeks of school have passed so quickly! It seems like yesterday that I started school, yet I'm done now. But I'm looking forward to taking (and passing) the state and national boards soon so I can start working as a licensed real estate agent.

A new chapter in my life is beginning.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too important to forget, yet too small to be their own post.

Here's a funny rendition of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, courtesty of my friend Alan.

Did you hear about the woman who attacked her roomate over a box of Thin Mints Girl Scout cookies? Now, I could see it if they were Do Si Dos, but Thin Mints?? Really???

My friend and frequent funny foto contributor Jared sent me this.
Its really heartwarming, isn't it? The knowledge that chili cheese fries are always there for you...

Now, for the opposite of heartwarming, here's something REALLY depressing: I was 11 years old when Justin Bieber's FATHER was born. Sweet baby Jesus...

Jared also sent me this crazy 'ad'. Click to enlarge it and read the text.
Oddly enough, I've owned 4 Hondas in the last 25 years.

Watch this hilarious video and then do your part!! I did, and it felt great!

This coming weekend is my last weekend of real estate classes! I'll take my math and law finals this weekend, and then provided I pass them both, I'll get my certificate on the following Sat, March 5. (I present the certificate when I sit for the state and national board exam.) But I'm nervous about the math and law finals. There's so much info that could be on them; its hard to know what to study.

One of my facebook friends posted this and I just had to swipe it. Love that hair!!
Spouse had a slight set back at his Weight Watchers weigh-in last night. He gained a 1/2 pound. I suggested he not worry over it since he already knew the reasons for the gain. He spent a day and a 1/2 with his family last weekend and didn't stick to his program, and he only worked out once that week. I'm sure he'll lose that 1/2 pound plus some next week.

Sun evening we're going to an Oscars party at Steven & Thad's. Spouse & I never used to watch awards shows, but now we attend or host awards parties for nearly all of them. Its fun! I don't know why we didn't do it before.

Here's wishing everyone a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Second look

I should be better at checking restaurant bills and store receipts.

Often I just whip out my debit card and slip it into the folder holding the restaurant bill, or I hand my debit card to the cashier without looking at the receipt. My guess is that a lot of us do this, which doesn't make it any better. Technology is great but its not infallible. Furthermore, error-prone humans usually administer the technology so we shouldn't take for granted that its always correct.

While dining out with friends recently 1 of the friends reviewed the restaurant bill and found 2 mistakes. An entree costing nearly $20. was listed twice, and a $2.59 beverage was not listed at all. Upon bringing these to the attention of our server the bill was corrected and each couple paid half.

With this experience fresh in my mind, once I'd returned home from the grocery store I took a look at the receipt instead of immediately throwing it in the trash. I discovered that none of the sales prices had been recognized! Everything I'd purchased was either on sale, was 'buy 1 get 1 free', or was 'buy 5 for $5.' yet none of the adjusted prices were reflected. I took the receipt back to the store and explained that, although the cashier had swiped my discount card, none of the discounts appeared on the receipt. They agreed to give me the savings which amounted to $8. If I would have immediately thrown the receipt away without looking at it I wouldn't have known.

So I've made a new commitment to review restaurant bills and store receipts more often. If I find a mistake - even one that doesn't benefit me - I'm going to advise the server regardless. I believe that if you find a mistake, you find a mistake. Its hypocritical to only request a correction to a mistake that benefits me. If the server neglects to add the dessert onto the check, I'm going to tell them that too.
You don't want to mess with Karma!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


This morning after my shower I looked into the mirror and suddenly saw the signs of aging. Wrinkles around my eyes; puffiness underneath my eyes. Was that really ME in that mirror?

I'm sure they didn't just appear overnight; they'd been creeping up on me slowly and steadily for years, but I never saw them. Or, I chose not to see them.

All my life I've enjoyed being mistaken for being younger than I am. Yeah, it was a little annoying to get carded for alcohol when I was 29 but I knew it was a small price to pay for not looking my age or older than my age. I remember being in a bar when I was 43 and the guy I was talking to suggested we were the same age. I asked how hold he was and he replied 33. That kind of thing used to happen to me all the time.

Poor Spouse has had the opposite experience. Everyone has always thought he was older than he is, not because he has wrinkles, but because he has a mature look about him. Everyone thinks Spouse is older than me, when in reality I am 8 months older than him.

I've never taken any credit for my youthful looks. I don't use any anti-aging creams or turn-back-the-hands-of-time lotions to achieve them. I've always joked that it was the result of good genes and clean living. (I've never smoked cigarettes or taken recreational drugs, ever.)

Spouse, on the other hand, has an entire drug store full of anti-aging products in our bathroom. To his credit he really works hard to keep from getting wrinkles and other signs of aging. His favorite skin care line is Serious Skin Care which he purchases from HSN. Each time a new product is demonstrated on TV he orders it. He feels like Jennifer Flavin-Stalone and Shannon Smith are his friends.

He's never looked 'old', just older than me. But now that I am seeing signs of aging and am not doing anything to combat them, he and I may finally begin to look closer in age.

So now I'm toying with the idea of perhaps doing a little something to minimize the appearance of wrinkles around and puffiness under my eyes. I guess I'll consult my very own in-house skin care professional (Spouse) for the best product to try. It may not work, but it can't hurt to try, right?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crazy weather

Remember me going on and on about how beautiful it was on Fri? 73 degrees and sunny.

Well, last night it snowed. 3 inches.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend highlights

Fri night I had dinner with 'the usual suspects' (Spouse stayed home), and then Steven & I went to the Blue Moon for their Fri night Divas (drag) Show starring my friend and local drag legend Mona Lotts. We met a very nice female couple, Roxanne and Lisa, who were in town for the long weekend. We had a lot of fun hanging out with them and watching the show.

Sat I went to real estate school and Spouse went to VA to visit with his family. After school I had a snack then went to theatre to see "Violet Tendencies". My friend Jesse Archer wrote the screenplay and also played the character Luke. The film was funny, campy and an enjoyable time. Mindy Cohn, who played Natalie in TV's 'Facts of Life', did a brilliant job playing Violet. Also noteworthy was Samuel Whitten who played Reilly. His acting was great and he's absolutely gorgeous.
Above from left to right: Casper Andreas (director and character Marcus), Samuel Whitten (Reilly), Mindy Cohn (Violet), and Jesse Archer (writer and character Luke). After the film I was starving so I went to Dos Locos and grabbed a table in the bar area. I had a pomegranate martini and a 7-layer Mexican dip with chips. Dee-lish! Seated at the table next to mine were 3 young people who were enjoying margaritas and singing along with the karaoke singers. We began to chat and I learned that the young man and 1 of the women were married on the beach last Oct, and the other young woman was her maid of honor. They live in the DC area but frequent the beach since 1 of the women's parents own a beach house. I decided to sing a few songs since the karaoke selection book was so comprehensive. It was fun!

I decided to skip real estate school on Sun. It was math day and the instructor is so bad at teaching that I felt I could learn just as much by reading the chapters in the book and skipping the class. So I had breakfast with Steven at the Long Neck Diner, then returned home watched a little TV. Then I went back to the theatre to see "You Should Meet My Son" with Steven and 1 of the Bobs. It was very funny. I highly recommend it if you can see it locally or get it from Netflix. After the film Steven, Bob and I decided to have a drink and hang out at the bar at 1 of our fave places: Saketumi. Our friend Kim is the manager there and he and his staff always take expert care of us. I had delicious Cosmos and we shared some fried wontons and coconut shrimp. While hanging out at the bar I discovered the woman seated near us was the pet psychic who'd given psychic readings at our neighborhood block party a few years ago. I introduced myself and reminded her where we'd met. Spouse returned from VA and joined us at a table for dinner. I had 2 sushi rolls and Spouse had Generals Tso's chicken. We had lots of fun eating and spending time with our friends!

Spouse & I returned home and watched more episodes of 'United States of Tara' and then went to bed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post. Let's get started!

Spouse & I have begun watching the series "United States of Tara" on DVD from Netflix. It stars Toni Collette as a woman with multiple personalities and John Corbett as her husband. Its a really interesting series!

Construction continues on the new home being built in the empty lot across the street. It appears that my letter to the builder (along with the copy sent to the City) resulted in some improved behavior. The workers are no longer parking their vehicles on our street (where no parking is allowed) and the delivery vehicles have greatly reduced their blocking of our driveway and the street. However, they have continued to use our little 1-way street for deliveries rather than the 'regular' street.

I got a call early this week with some very sad news: a friend of mine passed away. He was the same age as me, but from the pieced together details I got, it sounds like he died from diabetes complications. Folks, 47 is too young to die so PLEASE have an annual physical and take any medications regularly which are prescribed to you.

I gave up on the ghetto gym. I disliked it so much there that I decided I'd rather not work out than to have to go to the ghetto gym. Spouse renewed for another month though. Oddly the ghetto gym bothers him a lot less than me. I checked on the status of the brand new gym and found they are planning to open in mid-March. I hope to get a membership there.

Today I did a little experimental baking and made gingerbread chocolate brownies. It was very simple and the brownies were ah-MAY-zing! I started with a Trader Joe's gingerbread mix and mixed up the batter according to the instructions, but then added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a handful of milk chocolate chips. After pouring the mixture into a greased 8x8 baking dish, I sprinkled another handful of chocolate chips on top and baked. I ate 2 of the 9 brownies, saved 1 for Spouse, and gave the other 6 away to neighbors so as not to tempt us into over-indulging. The combination of ginger, molasses and chocolate was to die for.

Today I had lunch with my new friend Lou. We met last Sept at the car club dinner and awards banquet, and then I ran into him again in Dec at a local bar. We met for lunch and had a great time getting to know each other more. He works from home 3 days per week so he enjoys an opportunity to get out of the house like I did when I worked from home. I brought him a gingerbread chocolate brownie to eat at home later.

Today the weather was just amazing: sunny and 73 degrees, and its the middle of February! I really wanted to be outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather but I knew I had some reading to do for real estate school. So, I grabbed by bookbag and a beach chair and sat on the beach and read.

It was really great to feel the warmth of the sun, the breeze, and hear the waves crashing while I studied. Seeing the lighthouse in the distance was really cool, too. (The photo above was taken using a zoom lens.) Later when Spouse got home, we went for a drive in the Mercedes with the top down, and went for a walk on the beach. Sometimes I miss the access to great restaurants and culture we had when we lived in the DC area, and when I do, I remind myself that by living here I have access to the beach whenever I want it.

This weekend the Rehoboth Beach Film Society (RBFS) is screening 2 gay-themed independent films I've not seen yet. "Violet Tendencies" was written by my friend Jesse Archer and stars Mindy Cohn who played Natalie in the TV series 'Facts of Life', and "You Should Meet My Son" will be shown Sat night and Sun afternoon respectively. (Click on the titles to watch trailers.) I'm excited about seeing both films and will report on them on Mon.

Here's wishing everyone a great weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Signs of spring

On Groundhog Day Punxsutawney Phil indicated we'll have an early spring. That was good news to me!

Yesterday evening Spouse & I decided to go for a walk on the boardwalk. It was probably about 50 degrees, so it wasn't quite balmy but it was nice to be able to go for a walk without freezing our @sses off. The boardwalk is a mile long so walking the full distance and back is a healthy walk. When I start to miss the great ethnic food restaurants we had in DC, I remind myself that if we still lived in DC we wouldn't be able to go for a walk on the boardwalk on a Wednesday evening.

Today it was sunny and in the lows 60s. In addition to taking Jordan for a longer than usual walk, I also went for a walk by myself just to enjoy the sunshine and warmth. After doing some reading for school, I decided to pull out the hedge clippers and trim some of the low evergreen bushes that needed shaping. It felt amazing to be doing yard work in 60 degree weather in the middle of February!

Tomorrow its supposed to be near 70 degrees so I'm sure I'll find other ways to be outside. I am SOOO ready for spring.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Advances in marriage equality

Civil Unions in HI
The HI senate took its final step in clearing the way to grant same-sex couples virtually the same rights and priveledges of traditional marriage, giving approval to a bill legalizing civil unions. It now goes to Gov. Ambercrombie who supports civil unions and has promised to sign the bill into law. Read the full article here.

Marriage Equality moves forward in MD
The MD judicial proceedings committee voted 7 to 4 to legalize marriage equality, advancing the proposed bill to the full senate next week. Read the full article here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines Day

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I decided to do something a little different this time.

I usually send flowers to Spouse's office for Valentine's Day, but since I'm not working and we're trying to be careful about spending money, I decided to save the $50. I'd normally spend on the flowers. Instead, I got several helium-filled mylar balloons with various Valentine's Day messages on them and delivered them to Spouse's office myself.
The balloons cost under $10. and made a big visual impact. My guess is that the balloons will also last longer than flowers. Spouse was genuinely surprised. Delivering the balloons myself also gave me the opportunity to see his new office. His entire department moved to a new building last month and I had not yet been there to see his new space.

After a brief tour we decided to duck out for a coffee and then go for a walk. It was 68 degrees and sunny so we enjoyed a very nice walk around town without jackets. A river runs through the town so our walk was partially along the river. We talked and enjoyed the walk very much.

When he got home from work, Spouse found a Valentine's Day card from me on the dresser, and he presented me with a beautiful Tommy Hilfiger shirt. (Recently we'd been talking about how my work-from-home wardrobe would not be appropriate for my new career in real estate.)

Later that night we joined Steven & Thad and one of The Bobs for dinner at Saketumi. Spouse & I shared a delicious cocktail called a Valentini, made with muddled strawberries, rum, and champagne. Deelish! We had a wonderful meal and a very nice time with our friends.
I hope you all had a sweet Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post.

My friend (and frequent comedic contributor) Jared sent me this wacky photo!

This coming weekend at real estate school I'll take the 1st of 3 finals. This 1st one is on real estate sales principles, which will be the easiest of the 3 finals for me. The real estate law and real estate math finals will require a LOT more studying.

Here's another gem from Jared:

After a not-so-good weigh in last week, Spouse got back on the loosing track this week at Weight Watchers. I think this is the longest he's ever stuck with a diet/exercise plan.

My friend Bob sent me this, ummm... exciting photo.
Well, don't mind if I do!!
The Grammies are on this Sunday night. Will YOU be watching?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Not-so-smart phones

Ah, technology. Today's 'smartphones' are jam-packed with features and can do more than ever. Auto-correct is a feature that recognizes and corrects misspelled words automatically when one is texting. However, aut-correct may not always be thinking what you're thinking. It appears that auto-correct may turn 'smartphones' into 'not-so-smart phones'. Check out these hilarious examples!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


OMG - I accidentally downloaded a virus!

I was working on something on my laptop when all the sudden a pop-up window notified me that my computer had been infected with a virus and several trojans. I was instructed to 'click here' to scan my system and remove the virus and trojans, so I did. As soon as I did it I knew it was a mistake. But I'd been working on something and didn't really pay full attention to the notification.

Next thing I knew my system was overtaken by the "Security Guard" virus. Every time I clicked on anything I got a pop-up window telling me that a particular file was infected and I was prompted to scan my system, only the scan costs $79.95 or something. I couldn't open any photos or documents stored on my hard drive, and the pop-up notification windows wouldn't stop.

I tried my best to locate the Security Guard file on my computer so I could uninstall it, but of course as with most viruses, the files can not be found, uninstalled or deleted. So I put out an S.O.S. on facebook and Googled "Security Guard virus" to try and get some help. Unfortunately none of the advice worked.

My friend Steven offered to take a look at my laptop so I met him at a local lunch spot. He also tried several things, but each one was blocked or aborted by the virus. I felt an equal amount of frustration at myself for falling for that fake virus scam and frustration that my laptop appeared to be unfixable.

So I took my laptop to a local computer place where a friend of mine works. I explained to her what had happened and the name of the virus. Fortunately she was well aware of it and said she knew how to remove the virus so I left my laptop in her care.

She'll call me tomorrow when the virus has been eradicated.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Home from the hospital

My friend Jason told me yesterday that he would be released from the hospital today.
He will be staying with our friend Thatcher for the rest of the week since he'll have a follow-up appointment with the doctor on Fri. Jason and Thatcher are good friends and Thatcher is a nurse so its logical that Jason would stay with him through Fri. However, Thatcher had an appointment around the time Jason was due to be released so we planned for me to pick him up from the hospital and take him to Thatcher's house.
Jason was still rather weak and sore from the surgery so he was moving slowly and carefully. Once I got him into the car I said "You're free!!!" He laughed and said he wanted to go somewhere and get something to eat. He had only been given solid food since yesterday (9 days with only IV nutrition) so we dropped off his perscriptions at the pharmacy and met Thatcher and another friend Charles for lunch. He didn't eat much, but said it was great to put something in his stomach.

After lunch I went over to Thatcher's house with them to be sure Jason got settled in, then I came home. Jason seemed really glad to be out of the hospital. Now he's looking forward to his follow-up doctor's appointment on Fri, after which he expects he'll be allowed to take a shower!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Weekend highlights

Sat morning I went to real estate school and Spouse went to the gym. When I returned home shortly before 5pm I was greeted by the smiles of our dear friends Kerry & Hugh, Kerry's father (and our dear friend) George, Kerry & Hugh's neighbors Harriet & Bob, and Kerry's friend Allison and her 15-year old son Antonio and 13-year old son Gabe. They had arrived around 2:30.

We sat and talked for about an hour until everyone was ready for dinner. The 10 of us made our way to Casa diLeo where we all enjoyed pizza, strombolis, calzones, salads, and pasta. Afterward we returned home and talked until midnight. It was really great to spend time with our friends whom we don't see as often as we'd like.

Sun morning I went to real estate school again and left Spouse in charge of the gang. Hugh had run to Surf Bagel and brought everyone bagels and cream cheese and scones. Spouse said they had 3 or 4 pots of coffee with breakfast and afterward as they hung out together. Finally they got prepared for and participated in the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge. Here's a video of what it looks like. The air temperature was 42 degrees and the water temperature was 36 degrees. This year there were almost 3,100 registered who raised over $550K for Special Olympics. After showering they had lunch together at Irish Eyes and a few of them were treated to a ride in Big Ella. They packed up and left for home at about 3pm. I got home from school at 4:30.

Steven & Thad invited us to join them for dinner and to watch the beginning of the Super Bowl so we did. Spouse & I got home as the halftime show was going on. I thought the visuals were interesting, especially the people in the white body suits that lit up, but there seemed to be something wrong with the sound. None of the singers sounded good and the volume seemed to fade in and out. Then Spouse & I watched the 2nd 1/2 of the Super Bowl, which neither of us has done in years. It was an interesting game to watch and I actually enjoyed it even though I'd not been following the season. Then we watched the special Super Bowl-inspired episode of Glee.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post.

My friend Jared sent me this hilarious photo:

My friend Wendy sent me
this amazing video. Try to watch this and not grin!

My friend Bob sent me this video with a rather unexpected ending.

I was encouraged to hear that Illinois Governor Quinn signed legislation allowing civil unions. Although I would prefer marriage equality, many feel that civil unions is a stepping stone to marriage equality. Rumor has it that a similar bill will be introduced here in DE.

Tomorrow our friends Kerry & Hugh and a handful of others are coming to visit and participate in the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge. It will be great to spend some time with our friends Sat night, since I'll be in school both days.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, February 03, 2011


My good friend Jason is in the hospital. He's been there since Sat night. They discovered he had a ruptured polyp on his bowel and is having surgery today.

I've been to visit him every day since Mon. The hospital is literally walking distance from our house and I haven't had much on my 'to do' list this week so its been easy for me to spend a few hours with him each day.

Its weird because I absolutely hate going to the hospital. I hate how hospitals smell like antiseptic, and I really don't like being around all those sick and injured people. Fortunately Jason has a private room so its not been that bad hanging out with my buddy Jason.

He'll probably be in the hospital another 5 days, then need several days of bed rest at home. I'll continue to visit and support my friend as long as he needs it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


I've always been attracted to men with facial hair. Goatees, beards, even facial scruff or a heavy 5:00 shadow.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


This is what I'd look like if I wore ties.

I hate this time of year because its so boring. Aside from a couple of fun things now and then, its mostly just the same ol' same ol', which has me feeling like I'm drowning in a sea of beige.

Its too cold to do anything outside.

We don't want to spend the money to go away somewhere.

I have real estate school on the weekends and reading to do during the week, but that's not very 'fun' or 'exciting'.

I can't wait until spring.