Thursday, May 30, 2013

First beach day of the season

Thursdays are my regularly scheduled off day.  Often I have a sizable to-do list I try to accomplish on that day, which frequently leaves me with little time to play.  But not today.

Today my to-do list was limited to a few errands so I had time to go to the beach!  Yes, today was my 1st beach day of the season!!

Typically Memorial Day weekend is most people's 1st beach day of the season, but this year our Memorial Day weekend here was too cool for being on the beach.  So after getting my chores done and errands run, I picked up a sandwich and met up with Steven (on vacation this week) and Joe P (retired) at the beach.

It was 90 degrees on the main road, but 80 degrees at the beach, with a steady breeze off the water.  It was beautiful!!  I alternated between sitting under the shade of my umbrella and being in the direct sun.  Even with sunscreen on, I didn't want to take the chance of getting sunburned.  It was great to feel the sun on my skin, the breeze on my face, and smell the wonderful familiar scent of Coppertone.

Days like today make me feel so lucky to live where I live.  On any sunny, warm day off of work I can go to the beach.  On any pleasant evening after dinner I can go for a walk on the boardwalk or go for a convertible ride to see the ocean.  Some people wait all year long for a week's vacation at the beach.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blood orange cosmo recipe

In Monday's post I told you I'd post the recipe for the blood orange cosmos that Sean made:

Blood Orange Cosmo

1 1/2 oz orange flavored vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
1/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz orange juice
1 splash cranberry juice
(We didn't have regular orange juice so we substituted orange/mango/pineapple juice)

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of orange or lime.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Holiday weekend highlights

Wow, what a weekend!  I'm not sure if I can fit everything into 1 post, or if I should even try to recap this weekend or not... it might take too long!  So maybe I'll just give you the highlights.

The Breens arrived in the early afternoon and the 3 of us had lunch at the Ocean Diner.  Afterward we came back to the house and talked and played with Marvin until Spouse came home.  Sean made us cosmos from his fabulously tasty recipe which should probably be patented.  For dinner we tried a new spot in town call the Rose & Crown which we all liked.  (Side note: a restaurant by the same name used to be down the block before Spouse & I moved here.  Not sure if its the same owners or not but the new space is much better.)  

On Sat I had to work, so Spouse took Marvin for a nice long walk while the Breens met up with Ron for lunch and a visit.  That evening we had blood orange cosmos which became a hit with everyone as Sean tweaked the recipe.  (Look for the recipe in a later post.)  That night we opted for a 'simple' dinner at Ruby Tuesday, then squeezed into the Blue Moon for the 1st Legends show of the
2013 season.  It was absolutely packed and we all felt like sardines in a can.  After the show we went for a short walk on the boardwalk before heading home to chat before going to bed.

Sun morning we took the Breens to our favorite weekend breakfast spot, the Crystal Restaurant.  Then I met a client and showed a house while Spouse & the Breens went for a walk to the canalfront park.  When I finished with my client I picked them up and we went to Dairy Queen!  We had some great coupons that will expire in a week, so we all got delicious frozen treats.  Since the temperature was warmer and the sun was out we talked and laughed on the screened porch for hours (literally).  Sean mixed up another batch of blood orange cosmos and we listened to the the 
music from mine & Spouse's reception while we visited.  After all, Sun was our 17th anniversary!  For dinner we decided to order Mexican food and eat on the porch, so we switched to margaritas to compliment our chicken enchiladas and bleu cheese quesadillas from Agave

Reading over this, it sounds like all we did was drink the entire weekend, which is... umm... well... never mind. 

The Breens left very early Mon morning to avoid the mass exodus of holiday weekend visitors.  I had to work until 1, then Spouse & I had lunch, went to the grocery store, took Marvin for a walk, and then had Steven & Thad and Joe P over for a simple Memorial Day cook-out.  We had hamburgers, hotdogs, BBQ baked beans, chips & salsa, potato chips and French onion dip, and Steven brought summer slaw.  A tasty meal on the screened porch was the perfect way to cap off a terrific holiday weekend.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Breen with envy

Don't be jealous, but the Breens of Idle Eyes and a Dormy fame are en-route to our house!

During Sean & Jeffrey's visit to our fair hamlet for the Blogger Meet-Up in Feb, we had the opportunity to have dinner with them - not once, but - twice and got along like old friends.  They expressed an interest in coming back so we invited them for the long, Memorial Day holiday weekend.

It appears the weather won't be conducive to lying on the beach, but I'm sure we'll find plenty to drink, do.  We don't really have a 'plan' for the weekend, but we've got several options to go over with the Breens and I'm confident the weekend will pass much too quickly.

Happy Memorial Day weekend everybody!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


No, not the state, but rather the effort.  IDAHO stands for Internation Day Against HOmophobia, and includes Transphobia.

Spouse's brother-in-law sent me the following article.  It was pasted into an email so I don't know the source, but thought I'd share it anyway.  I was a bit surprised I'd not seen anything about this on the blogs I read, but then again, my blog reading has been very light recently.  Enjoy!

On May 17, human rights activists and concerned individuals from around the world will once again mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. However, as awareness of and support for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people expands globally, advocacy groups and individuals have faced pushback in the form of increased violence and stigmatization in many areas—often with dire consequences. Last Friday in the Russian city of Volgograd, 23-year-old Vladislav Tornovoi was tortured and killed, with initial reports indicating that he was attacked after coming out as gay to several companions.

Discrimination and violence against LGBTI people is a worldwide phenomenon. The Trans Murder Monitoring Project’s 2012 global figures show that 265 transgender people were victims of violent killings in the previous 12 months, an increase of almost 20 percent from the preceding year. The intensity and brutality of the violence inflicted on gay men in Iraq is arguably the worst in the world, and the Kuwaiti authorities recently trumpeted the arrest of 215 gay men and lesbians, following a similar operation last year that affected 149 people identified by police as gay or transgender. But these problems are not limited to authoritarian states in Eurasia and the Middle East. Democratic Brazil, home to very public annual gay pride parades, has the highest rate of LGBTI murders in the world. And in the United States, federal government statistics show that the share of hate crimes targeting LGBTI people ranks second only to those motivated by race.

In many countries these sorts of crimes regularly go unpunished or unrecorded, and are rarely classified as hate crimes. Some governments, like Russia’s, not only callously disregard such abuses, but actively encourage prejudice, stigmatization, and adverse stereotyping of LGBTI people.

The old “deviance” arguments still cited by many states to justify the criminalization and persecution of LGBTI individuals or their behavior have been thoroughly discredited in light of scientific information about the nature of sexual orientation and gender identity. Many in the international community have responded accordingly, invoking universal principles of human rights to check ongoing discrimination and violence against LGBTI people around the world. In June 2011, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution sponsored by South Africa, along with 38 other countries, that condemned human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Nevertheless, criminalization and attempts at criminalization have continued, and new homophobic and transphobic tactics have emerged. Some government leaders join intolerant nonstate actors—including certain religious figures—in advancing absurd claims that their young people are being “recruited” into homosexual or transgender “lifestyles.” In Russia, at least 10 regional legislatures have already imposed fines for promoting homosexuality among minors, and a federal bill that would ban “homosexual propaganda” has easily passed its first reading in the lower house of parliament. Uganda’s notorious Bahati Bill, which has teetered on the verge of passage in Uganda’s parliament since 2009, has now been reframed to outlaw the “promotion” of homosexuality and the “inducement of children.” Such efforts should be seen for what they are—brazen attempts to stigmatize and fuel fear and hatred against LGBTI people, often for political reasons.

LGBTI individuals do not seek special rights or privileges. They are simply entitled to the same freedoms and protections that everyone should enjoy under international human rights norms and laws. The most prevalent demands are the rights to free association, free expression, privacy, and authenticity (in other words, the right to be oneself).

A robust concept of human rights extends beyond legal systems to encompass the social practices by which these rights are realized on a daily basis. There is an important distinction between possession of a right, the legal enforceability of that right, and the respect a right receives in practice. Many governments have accepted their obligation to uphold human rights for LGBTI people in law and policy, only to struggle with implementation due to a lack of political will or capacity, or in the face of ongoing societal discrimination. Far worse are the states that have not only denied LGBTI people their basic human rights, but also legitimized and encouraged societal hostility through their laws, policies, and actions.

Freedom House works closely with human rights defenders in a range of political environments around the world to raise awareness, improve recognition of and respect for the human rights of LGBTI people, and address any lack of political will when it comes to enforcement. On May 17 we stand in solidarity with all human rights defenders, including those who identify as LGBTI, as we commit ourselves to the pursuit of a world in which human diversity is honored and valued, and human rights are enjoyed equally by everyone.

gainst Homophobia and Transphobia. However, as awareness of and support for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people expands globally, advocacy groups and individuals have faced pushback in the form of increased violence and stigmatization in many areas—often with dire consequences. Last Friday in the Russian city of Volgograd, 23-year-old Vladislav Tornovoi was tortured and killed, with initial reports indicating that he was attacked after coming out as gay to several companions.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy birthday Marvin!

It hardly seems possible, but a year ago this week we brought Marvin Parker home to join our family.  The time has passed so quickly!  Since we don't know Marvin's birthday, we are celebrating his adoption day as his birthday.

It has been a wonderful year.  Marvin quickly adjusted to us, and we to him.  He goes right into his "house" (crate) without coaxing when both Spouse & I are going to be out of the house.  He's very smart and knows the difference between his toys.  If I ask him "Where's your rope?" he will bring me the rope, NOT a different toy.

He loves it when we play 'tug of war' with his knotted rope.  If I stop tugging, he will drop the rope in my lap.  When I go to pick it up, he quickly grabs it and playfully growls at me.

He also loves playing fetch.  I will throw his knotted rope from the sofa in the TV room into the foyer and Marvin tears off like a bolt of lightening to retrieve it.  We could repeat this 100 times before he'd tire of it.  

If I pretend to ignore him, Marvin will poke me with a paw as if to say "Hey Dad, I'm here - ready to play!"

He has brought immeasurable love and laughter to our lives and I look forward to many more years to come.

Monday, May 20, 2013


The best part of my job is accompanying happy clients to the settlement table.

This is not always the case.  I've had 1 or 2 settlements where the buyers and sellers were not exactly happy with each other, which makes for a tense settlement.  But most of the time my clients are happy and excited.

Today my clients Rich & Danielle were buying their 1st home.  The home was well-cared for by its former owner, an older woman who passed away.  Her son kept the lawn mowed and even mulched the beds for the new owners.

I took Rich & Dani to their new home for the pre-settlement walk-thru and their excitement about the potential of their new home made me smile.  I was truly happy for them.  As we walked from room to room they pointed out where they'd place furniture and what colors they had in mind.

Then we went to the attorney's office for the settlement and as we walked in I joked with them about how I hoped they had been doing their hand exercises in preparation for all the signing and initialling they were about to do.  The settlement was over in record time and with much happiness I handed them the keys to their new home.

As we walked out to our cars Rich said "We're gonna have some dinner and a drink to celebrate.  Wanna come with us?"  I happily accepted and we enjoyed a cheerful, hopeful evening together.  Days like this make all the work and stress to get there worth it.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Small world

Last night I went to sing karaoke at the Blue Moon, as I often due on Thurs nights.

The mistress of karaoke, Mona Lotts, introduced me to a guy named Scott who was visiting from Phoenix.  Just to kind of 'make conversation' with this visitor who didn't know anyone, I casually said that I went to high school with a guy who now lives in Phoenix and works as a bartender at a gay bar.  I knew this from his facebook posts.

Scott asked the name of the bar and I said it had the work "pump" in it.  Scott immediately said "Oh, the Pumphouse", to which I said "Yes, that's it."

Scott explained that the Pumphouse had closed down a little while back but said he knew many of the guys who worked there.  He asked my old high school friend's name so I told him.  Lo and behold, he said he was very good friends with my old high school friend!  Today I sent my friend a message through facebook and told him about meeting Scott the night before.  

Small world...

Later that same night, a very nice 'mature' gentleman and his boyfriend/spouse/husband complimented me on my singing, so we got into a brief conversation.  I asked them where they were from and the 'mature' gentleman said they lived in DC, but that he was originally from Cumberland.  I asked if he meant Cumberland, MD and he said yes.  
I told him that my grandparents lived in Cumberland their entire lives (they lived to be 77 and 81) and that I spent many a summer there.  My parents would spend a weekend with my grandparents and leave me there for a week or 2, then come spend another weekend with my grandparents and take me home.  It was great because I was raised in the suburbs but my grandparents lived in the country.  They had a huge vegetable garden and a creek in their back yard that my cousins and I would swim in.  I told him my grandfather sold insurance until he retired, and then worked part-time at an orchard.

The 'mature' man asked my last name and when I told him, he said "Oh, that sounds very familiar.  I'm sure our families know each other somewhere along the line."  What a funny coincidence to run into someone who knew Cumberland so well, visiting Rehoboth Beach!  

Small world...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Follow up

You may recall that about a month ago I had a physical, my 1st in about 4-5 years.  The results were not what I was expecting.

So after a month of modifying my diet somewhat and increasing my exercise a bit, I went for a follow up visit and to talk with my doctor more about what I need/should do going forward.

The good news is that my blood pressure was lower than last time, although still higher than it should be.  He said that if I continued watching my diet and exercising, it may be in the normal range in 6 months, so I will go for another follow up visit then.

We also reviewed my blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight again.  He said my blood sugar level was 'borderline', and that if I continued to watch my diet, it would likely stay in that safe range.  My cholesterol number was also just slightly above normal, so he will check that again in 6 months when I return.  Again, better dietary choices will likely keep that in check.  

Then there's my weight.  While not "obese" in most people's eyes, according to that ridiculous chart I am technically 30 lbs overweight.  I told the doctor I have not been that target weight in 20 years!  He suggested that make a real effort to incorporate cardio exercise into my life routine.  Walking or running 3 times a week is my goal.  So far I am lucky to get 1 brisk walk in each week, but now that the weather is more pleasant I should be able to increase that.

So the good news is that my levels have improved since my last visit, and should improve even more if I don't get lazy.  The bad news is that every time I think about exercise it is followed by the thought of walking to Dairy Queen.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day weekend

Since I make up the schedule at work, I scheduled myself off this past weekend so Spouse & I could spend the weekend in VA with our family.

We arrived at Spouse's mom's house shortly after noon on Sat to find Spouse's sister and 2 of her kids there.  We sat and visited for a little while before heading out to have lunch together.  We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with them and even took Marvin for a nice long walk.

That evening Spouse, his mother, and I picked up my Aunt Mary and the 4 of us went to dinner.  Since Sun was Mother's Day we mistakenly thought the restaurants that are normally crowded on a Sat night might not be so crowded, as folks would be taking their moms out on Sun instead.  Boy were we WRONG.  There was a 75 minute wait to get a table, and since the parking had been so tricky we decided not to leave and look for another place with a possibly shorter wait.  But we had a wonderful dinner at Coastal Flats, and our waiter was really cute too.  He was slightly flirty but then mentioned his girlfriend later on.  But we had a great meal and plenty of time to visit with my aunt and my mother-in-law.

Cantina Mexicana owners Gloria & Juan
Sun morning Spouse & I had coffee and toast with his mom and relaxed while she got ready and went to church.  While she was gone we showered, got dressed, and walked Marvin.  After church Spouse's sister and her family came over for a quick visit, and then we all went for an early Mother's Day dinner at Cantina Mexicana (aka Taco House).  This has been a Mother's Day tradition for us for many years.  We had terrific food in a fun, lively atmosphere.  Just as we were about to leave, our good friend and part owner Gloria walked in and we received sincere hugs and kisses from her.  We were afraid we were going to miss seeing her.

Afterward we packed up our gear and put Marvin in the car and headed back to DE.  It was a great weekend that passed all too quickly.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

We did it!!

Just after 5pm today, the Senate PASSED HB75 granting marriage equality to same-sex couples in Delaware!  Gov Jack Markell wasted no time and signed the legislation immediately.

Delaware is now the 11th state (plus the District of Columbia) to offer marriage equality.  Let's hope there are even more to come!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Cinco de Mayo

Last evening we celebrated Cinco de Mayo with Steven & Thad and Joe P at Dos Locos.

Their large margaritas were only $3.50 so of course I had to have 2.  The food was terrific as usual and we had a lot of fun.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013