Tuesday, September 29, 2015

National Coffee Day

Spouse & I love coffee.  We literally drink it every day.  I've written about it on my blog, and even have a 'coffee' tag for posts.

I know we're not alone; lots of folks love coffee.  There's even song about it!

Well, today is National Coffee Day!
We will be 'celebrating' by doing what we do every day, which is enjoy coffee.  But several national retailers are getting into the spirit by offering FREE cups of coffee today. Dunkin Donuts, Wawa, Krispy Kreme, and McDonalds just to name a few.

So get out there today and get your free cup o' joe and think of me!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Road trip

We're going to Montreal!

Since I'm a real estate agent in a beach resort area, I typically do not take vacations during the busy summertime.  For a couple months now Spouse & I have been talking about taking a fall trip or getaway, and we've decided we're going to Montreal in late October. 

Neither of us has been to Montreal before so we are excited to explore some place new and different.  But fortunately for us, we won't need to explore the city entirely on our own.  Our friend and fellow blogger Tornwordo of Sticky Crows and his husband will play 'tour guide' for us some of the days.

We booked a studio apartment in Le Village (the gay village) with a balcony, so we'll have the convenience of being able to walk to restaurants, shopping, and metro, and have a view of the city.  

We're going to drive there.  Its been several years since we've taken a 'road trip' so I'm kind of looking forward to listening to lots of music and talking with Spouse.  The foliage should be pretty all along the way north.  We could have flown, but when you add the time it takes us to get to an airport, the waiting after check-in, the flight, and the travel from the airport to Montreal, it would take the same amount of time as driving.  So we're saving the airfare in favor of driving.

Does anyone have any recommendations for fun or unusual places to see/visit/eat?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Birthday brunch buffet

Yesterday was our good friend Steven's 50th birthday.  His partner Thad planned a surprise birthday brunch at a local restaurant.  Steven was told that he was meeting Spouse & me and his old friends Jon & Carol Ann for brunch, but in reality there were more than 20 other friends and family members there.

Thad created 'loot bags' for all the guests to take home, seen on the table in the photo below. 
Loot bags on the table
They contained snacks and candies that are favorites of Steven, like Rolos, Twizzlers, Swedish Fish, Slim Jims, and more.

A magenta and black zebra print birthday hat was waiting for Steven, and I was glad he wore the hat for almost the entire party.
Steven with his daughters at his side
Since the brunch buffet included a variety of desserts, there was no obligatory birthday cake.  Instead Thad selected a piece of cake from the buffet and added the 5 and 0 candles to it.  We all sang "Happy birthday".

After we'd all stuffed ourselves from the amazing brunch buffet, Steven posed for some photos with his friends and family.  Below on the left is his longtime friend John, and Spouse and Joe P on the right.  I referred to them as the Four Paisanos!
Four Paisanos
Below are Steven with 2 of his sisters and 1 sister's husband as well as Thad and his sister Robin.
Brothers and Sisters
Steven & Thad with their daughters.

The food was amazing (much better than I expected from a buffet) and everyone had a great time.

Happy 50th birthday to my good friend!!

Friday, September 18, 2015

An old friend

Yesterday I went to happy hour at Saketumi with my old friend Dave Holler.

Dave's family lived near my family when we were young boys, but moved away before we became teenagers.  Coincidentally his family moved close to where my grandparents lived in the mountains of Western MD.  My parents would sometimes leave me at my grandparents' house for a week or 2 in the summer so I could experience a different way of life.  My grandparents lived on several acres in the country, with a huge garden covering much of the land, and a creek that ran behind their property, and lots of woods to roam and explore.  I would stay in the tiny bunk room where my father had grown up and help my grandparents with their huge garden, and go swimming and play in the woods.  It was a welcome diversion from my suburban childhood.

A couple times my parents coordinated with Dave's parents for him to join me at my grandparents' house for a few days.  Since we were teenagers by this time and the bunk room was so tiny, we slept in my grandparents' camper in the back yard.  It was fun to have a friend there during some of my stay.

But eventually I stopped spending summer weeks at my grandparents' and lost touch with Dave.  We ran into each other a couple times at the Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) conventions years later, but due to redistricting those encounters ended as well.

Fast forward 25 years or so to 2010.  Spouse & I were having dinner with our friend Bryan and his friend Dan when somehow the conversation caused me to mention that I had been raised as a JW.  Dan said that he had a friend who had also been raised in the JW religion but was no longer part of it.  Quite literally as a joke I asked the name of Dan's friend, kind of like the way when you're on a cruise ship and meet someone from Canada you can't help but ask if they know your friend who lives in Canada.  But quite to my surprise, Dan said his friend's name was Dave Holler.  My jaw dropped and I said "Oh my god - I know him!".  Dan called Dave right there in the restaurant and I got to talk to him.  We exchanged emails and became friends on facebook.

So a few days ago I got a message from Dave saying he was going to be in my area for a few days and wanted to get together.  I meant to take a photo of us but forgot to do so.  We had cocktails and sushi rolls and talked for over 2 hours.  It was really fun to reconnect with my old friend, catch up on his siblings, and hear about his parents.  They are still JWs (like mine) but have found a way to maintain a relationship with him, which is nice for him.  Dave is doing great and has 'adjusted' well to life outside the JWs.  We plan to get together again the next time he's in town.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Just because

Thanks for MAC at Yummy of the Day for this photo.  While this guy is not my usual 'type', I do think he's quite sexy.  Maybe its the eyes...

Patrick's visit

My old friend Patrick came to visit!  He arrived yesterday afternoon and will stay until mid-day tomorrow.  He visited back in early May and we had a great time!  However, the ocean water was too cold to go swimming so I suggested he come back in Sept when its more comfortable, and he did.

Yesterday we sat on the porch with Spouse and the dogs and talked until it was time for dinner.  The 3 of us met up with Steven & Thad at Purple Parrot.  Patrick had the prime rib special and I had 1/2 price buffalo wings and 1/2 price nachos which I shared with the table.  This is not on my Fit for Life plan, but I enjoyed it anyway.  It was a beautiful evening so there were lots of folks out and about, and we saw several friends.  It was a fun evening.

Today Spouse went to work and Patrick and I sat on the screened porch with Marvin & Walter for hours, drinking coffee and talking about politics, equality, the glory days when we were in the Concert Choir and Dominants vocal jazz and show choir group, family dynamics, work, and all sorts of other stuff.  We never run out of interesting things to discuss.  Finally we got our beach stuff together and had lunch at Panera before going to the beach.  
Beach selfie
It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the sun and went swimming in the ocean.  It was great!

Once back home and showered, I picked up some subs, drinks, chips, and cookies for our dinner on board the water taxi.  The 3 of us met up with Steven & Thad and Joe P and took the same sunset cruise that I went on last week with my colleagues.  
Photo credit: Joe P
It was fun and we all enjoyed it very much!

Unfortunately tomorrow he'll head back home around noon.  But I know he'll be back again before too long.  That's how old friends are.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Today is the 14th anniversary of 9-11-01, the day that changed America.  I still get chills when I recall the events of that day and my personal experience.

Many innocent people were killed in the World Trade Center attack, the Pentagon attack, and the hijacked airplane that crashed in PA.  Many more were killed trying to help them.  

On that day and the week following it, there were no Democrats or Republicans, no upper-middle class or lower class, no haves or have-nots.  There were just Americans.

Rather than focusing on the terror of that day, today we pause to remember those people: mothers, fathers, children, husbands, wives, partners, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors.  


Wednesday, September 09, 2015


Last evening I went on a charter cruise with my colleagues.  Our broker chartered a water taxi and provided food and drinks for us as a 'thank you' for meeting our goals and working hard this summer. 

The water taxi picked us up at the canal wharf and slowly glided up the canal to the inlet and then up a river.  It was a warm evening but not hot, and there was a nice breeze so the trip was not only beautiful but enjoyable.

There were enough seats for everyone to sit but I found myself standing most the time, which afforded me the ability to talk with different colleagues and take in the views from both sides and the rear of the water taxi.
 Photos just can't capture the natural beauty of the river, marsh, and tributaries we saw on our 2 hour cruise.
They don't call it the 'Sunset Cruise' for nothing...

I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would and will definitely do it again before they discontinue service in the fall.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Labor Day weekend recap

We had an absolutely wonderful weekend!  The weather was beautiful, I was off work, and our dear friends Bugsy & Roger visited us.  There was a lot of time spent on the screened porch, but here's what else we did, in words and photos.
Fri evening Bugsy & Roger, Spouse & I, and Steven & Thad met for dinner at Honey's Farm Fresh.  We had a great meal, then sat on the screened porch and talked until bedtime.

Sat morning we had coffee on the porch and Marvin & Walter shared a chair in the sun.

Once we got dressed we walked over to the farmer's market where Roger bought some fruit and veggies.  I ran into some clients of mine and had a nice chat with them.  Then we went back to Honey's Farm Fresh to eat breakfast.  We even had the same waitress from the night before!  I had yummy chocolate chip pancakes.  Then we went to an 'attic treasures' sale where Roger bought a Thai cookbook for 50 cents.  Then Bugsy and I sat on the porch with the dogs while Spouse and Roger went to pick up some things at the grocery store.  

When they returned Spouse made a 4-layer lemon cake with cream cheese icing for Thad's birthday, and a peach pie for those of us who don't like lemon cake.

After cocktails on the screened porch, Spouse & I and Bugsy & Roger went to dinner at Dos Locos where we met up with Steven & Thad, Joe P, and Carolyn & Derwin.  As usual our food was great and Bugs & Rog enjoyed it.

Since Thad's birthday was the next day, the restaurant staff placed a large sombrero on his head and lead the other patrons in singing 'happy birthday'.
The group went for a walk on the boardwalk while I checked in and got ready to perform as Elton John in the LEGENDS show for my last time this season.  Bugs & Rog had not seen the show before, nor had my longtime friend Kathryn who drove from VA to be there.  It was nice to have my friends there.

Sun morning we had coffee on the porch and then Spouse & Roger made us breakfast.  Then we went for a walk into town, then over to the Canalfront Park.

Then it was time to get ready for Thad's birthday dinner.  Spouse made steaks, macaroni & cheese, and ginger sesame broccoli salad.  Our friends Rick & Nick and Steven & Thad came and we all ate on the screened porch.  When it got dark we lit candles and mercury glass luminaries and stayed on the porch until bedtime.  Thad loved the homemade lemon cake (he'd specifically requested it) as well as time with friends.

Mon we had breakfast at the Crystal restaurant with Steven & Thad and Joe P.  When we returned home unfortunately Bugs & Rog packed up their stuff and headed back home.  Spouse took a nap and I relaxed and watched TV with Marvin & Walter asleep on my lap.  It was the perfect close to a wonderful, fun and festive weekend.

Friday, September 04, 2015

I'm so excited!

Our good friends Bugsy & Roger arrive this evening to spend the Labor Day weekend with us AND I have all 3 days off work!  The weather forecast is for moderate temperatures and low humidity so it should be a great weekend!

I hope your holiday weekend is fun and safe.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Simply Barbra

Last night my friend Joe P and I went to see "Simply Barbra" at the Blue Moon.

Steve Brinberg is the man behind the one woman show which incorporates remarkably recognizable vocal inflections as well as signature body language.  Its not easy for a man to sing in a woman's register for 90 minutes, but to do so AND sound so much like Babs was really commendable.  Included in the favorites performed were "Papa Can You Hear Me?", "The Way We Were", "Evergreen", "Send In The Clowns", "Happy Days Are Here Again", "Tomorrow", "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", and of course "Rain On My Parade".

'Barbra' introduced each song with a little background story, most of which were likely clever fabrications but humorous none-the-less, and also lovingly poked fun at some of her own personality traits.  

It is easy to over-do it when impersonating celebrities but "Simply Barbra" was simply divine!

Check out the "Simply Barbra" tour schedule and YouTube videos!