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


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...


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.