Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter recap

This is probably not going to be the bright and sunny Easter recap full of rainbows and unicorns you were expecting.  In fact, it was rather bittersweet.

About 2 weeks ago Spouse's mom had emergency surgery to fix a kink in her intestine, and while they were 'in there' they also removed a tumor.  Although they called it a lymphoma, fortunately it appears to have been self-contained and there were no other signs of trouble.  She remained in the hospital for a week.  A few days later she had a terrible cough and trouble breathing, so she returned to the hospital where they suspected an infection.  Apparently sometimes patients with breathing tubes during surgery develop infections.  But keep in mind she also has a degenerative heart condition that is slowing her down.  Even at 86 year old she's been very active with multiple social activities/outings each week.  But the surgery apparently put even more stress on her heart which lead to the infection and severe weakness.

So when we arrived Sat night we had a late dinner, watched a little TV and went to bed.  I didn't sleep well, having several odd dreams, and Marvin & Walter seemed restless.  Sun morning we had a bite to eat at Spouse's sister's house, and then she & her husband and me & Spouse went to the hospital to see his mom.  Spouse's older brother was there, and a conversation took place in the waiting area that got rather tense and emotional.  I'm not going to air the family secrets, but suffice to say it left me feeling uncomfortable.  But we were able to go in and she Spouse's mom.  She was alert and talkative, but very weak.  After about an hour she said she'd like to take a nap so we left.  

Just hangin' with mah peeps!
A little while later we picked up my aunt Mary and we headed over to Spouse's brother's house for Easter dinner.  Everyone was there except Spouse's mom and our nephew David who couldn't come home from college.  We had a nice time and the food was great.  Later we packed up some things at Spouse's mom's house, collected Marvin & Walter, took aunt Mary home, and then drove back to DE.  I was tired.

This morning I got an email from my aunt Mary, telling me that her cousin Helen passed away.

Friday, March 25, 2016


Yesterday was my 1st visit to my new doctor (general practitioner).  I didn't care for my previous doctor so when I heard this new doctor was coming, I got on the wait list and yesterday was my appointment.

As is typical, I filled out the new patient forms in the comfort of my home and just handed them to the receptionist along with my insurance card and co-pay.

Prior to the doctor coming in to see me, a nurse came in to weigh me, take my blood pressure, and go over some info.  She was very impressed that age 52 I have no illness or condition which requires medication.  I believe Spouse & I are the only 2 among our friends who can say that.

Then came the part where she asked about my family medical history.  I knew this was going to happen, and I prepared a brief, non-judgmental, non-emotional comment to explain my lack of information.  I basically said I've had no substantive communication with my parents or siblings in 23 years so I really don't have any information as to their health.  I suspect that since both of my parents are in their early 80s now, they probably have typical age-related conditions, but that I was not aware of anything like cancer or asthma that might be hereditary.

The nurse tried to hide her surprise at first, and then said "Well, you must not like them."

I kindly replied that it was not my choice, and explained that they belonged to a very conservative religion that teaches if someone leaves the religion, members must treat them as if they didn't exist. 

There were a few seconds of silence as she brought her hand up to cover her mouth, then blinked away a small tear.

"Wow... that is really a shame" she offered.  Not knowing quite how to respond, I said "Yes... it is."

She asked if they were Amish, which kind of makes sense since Amish practise ex-communication too.  I said "No, they're Jehovah's Witnesses."  She said that they must be pretty strict, because she knew of a JW family whose daughter stopped being a JW, got involved with drugs, had a child out of wedlock, and her parents continued to talk to her and even helped support her.  I agreed with her that my family was strict about it, feeling they were modeling the behavior that "good JWs" should have toward those who leave the religion.  Then we moved on.

I was a little surprised and actually touched that the nurse was so gracious.  This was the 1st time we'd met, yet she had a genuine emotional reaction to my estrangement from my family.  Somehow it seemed very kind of her to care.

After 23 years I've gotten pretty used to "my situation".  I grieved the loss of my parents and siblings all at once, the way one would do if their family had all been killed in a plane crash.  But that was years ago, I've gotten used to the scar since there is very little pain left from that wound.

I've also been very fortunate that Spouse's family has always been not just accepting, but welcoming to us both.  I also have some extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) with whom I still have contract, since they were never JWs, so its not like I'm an orphan.

But that nurse's kindness was really appreciated today.  She probably doesn't know just how much.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


I felt like Beavis and Butthead when I began giggling over a trade magazine with this ad on the back.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Continuing Ed

Yesterday I spent my day off in continuing education classes.  As a Realtor I am required by the State of DE to complete 21 hours of approved continuing education every 2 years.  I have the flexibility to choose when and where to take the classes but I went ahead and scheduled 6 hours (2 classes) on my day off because they were free and they provided lunch.

These 2 classes were taught by an attorney.  She's probably about my age and has a great sense of humor.  I've taken classes from her in past years and she does a great job of keeping the content relavent to real-life situations.  I mean, how boring would it be to sit through 3 hours of "Understanding the Agreement of Sale", since its the primary document used by Realtors?  Instead, we spent the time discussing how the Agreement of Sale could be used to work through several sticky hypothetical situations that could easily be real.

The classes were held at a local community center, where I took the following photo:
Several of us laughed at this, as it loosely reminded us of conflicting information we often find in different real estate documents describing the same home.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I love this because its true and makes so much sense!  Many of us have spent a lot of time and energy arguing that being gay isn't a choice.  

This expresses my feelings perfectly.

Friday, March 11, 2016

In like a lion

There's an idiom about the month of March that couldn't be more true here recently:  

This refers to the fact that March often starts out cold and unpleasant (like a lion), but later becomes warm and mild (like a lamb).  While this actually refers to the month as a whole, we recently experienced both the lion and the lamb in less than a week.

Last Fri we had several inches of snow accumulation, and 4 days later it was 80 degrees!  It was nearly a 50-degree temperature change within 4 days.

Our forecast for the next 10 days or so is for temps in the 60s which is warmer than typical for this area, but I'm not complaining.  I'm oh-so-ready to drop my top!  My convertible top, that is.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Let sleeping dogs lie

Today I took the boys to the vet for their annual wellness check-up.  In addition, Walter was due for 2 shots that will keep him safe for 3 years.

We typically transport them in their carriers but today I decided to 'streamline' the process a bit leaving the carriers at home.  I say 'streamline' because its gets to be a lot to put them into their carriers, put the carriers into the car, remember to bring their leashes, take them out of their carrier and put them on their leashes in the vet's parking lot, and then repeat that whole process again to take them home.  

So today was a trial of letting them ride in the car without being in carriers.  They did pretty well.  Both of them crawled into my lap at one point, but I easily got them back over onto the passenger seat.  I took them in the 2-seater car so there wasn't a lot of room for them to get into trouble.  For short rides going forward I think I'll continue to leave the carriers at home, but for longer rides in the SUV I will use the carriers.

Both boys got a clean bill of health and were reported to be in "excellent health".  Marvin weighs 11 lbs and Walter weighs 13 lbs.  Both behaved very well during the physical exam, although Walter was extremely excited before and after.  He could barely hold still, and his tale was wagging to beat the band.

When we came home I put them in their "houses" (ie: crates) so they could nap while I ran some errands.  Its a little after 9pm right now and both of them fallen asleep.  All of that excitement today tuckered them out.
Marvin, perched on my shoulder and the arm of the sofa

Walter on the ottoman

Monday, March 07, 2016


I recently watched the film "Grandma", starring Lily Tomlin.  I hadn't heard of it, but Spouse did while listening to a Lily Tomlin interview on NPR.  He asked our friends Rick & Nick (who have a super duper home theatre) to get it so we can watch it together.

It was delightful.  Tomlin plays an aging, salty, feminist, lesbian, poet and academic who suddenly finds herself unemployed near the end of her career.  Her granddaughter shows up on her doorstep asking to borrow $630 so she can get an abortion.  Tomlin finds herself short on cash, but since the doctor's appointment is scheduled for that evening, she takes her granddaughter on a bit of a road trip to try and call in a few favors.  Watch the trailer.

There are several lessons learned in this film (I'll leave you to find them) in addition to it being a well-acted, sometimes funny, very timely film about relationships with our biological families and our chosen families.  Do yourself a favor and see this film. 

Friday, March 04, 2016

Seen on Facebook

A friend of a friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and I can't adequately communicate just how much I love it.  It really expresses how I feel, although I am not clever enough to have written it.  Enjoy!!

We don't need to take America back. No one stole it. It's right're sitting in it. Chillax.
Mexico isn't going to pay for the wall and we're not going to deport millions of people and break up families. If you think either one is a good idea, you're not smart and probably not a person I want to hang out with.
We don't live in a democracy. Technically we are a Federal Republic. But in reality we are ruled by an oligarchy. If you don't know what that is, look it up. Reading will do you good. You probably need to do more of it.
FoxNews, CNN, and MSNBC have an agenda and are not "fair and balanced" or in any way unbiased. I'll more. Read newspapers (even online ones). Read lots of opinions and sources and then (stay with me here), THINK! Form your own opinion based on as many facts as your can brain can tolerate.
Speaking of facts...there actually is a difference between facts, opinions, and propaganda. You should learn the difference. (Another opportunity to show off your mad reading skills.)
Science is real. We know things because of science. Don't be afraid of it. You have an iPhone and Facebook because of science. It's your friend.
Global warming or "climate change" as the cool kids call it IS REAL. Anyone who tells you it's not real is not a smart person and probably should not be dressing themselves or caring for children.
Racism exists. And you are probably a little racist and should work on that. Seriously.
American Christians are not under attack. We are not being persecuted. We wield so much power in this country that politicians pretend to be Christian just so we will vote for them. No one is trying to take your bible away from you. The gay people are not destroying our families—we don't need any help from them, thank you. We do a fine job of that by ourselves. So stop saying we are persecuted. You sound stupid.
Poor people need help. If you're not helping them but complaining about how the government helps them with your money you are not a nice person.
Be nice to the people who teach your children. Don't send them nasty emails or yell at them. Their job is 10,000 times harder than your stupid job. You are not a professional educator so just shut your mouth and be thankful someone is willing to teach your offspring.
You don't know what Common Core is. You think you do, but you don't unless you're a teacher. So stop complaining about math problem memes on Facebook. You can't do the math anyway.
ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States. We do not need to rebuild our military. Our military is the strongest, scariest, most badass killing machine the world has ever seen. So stop being afraid and stop letting politicians and pundits scare you.
Guns do in fact kill people. That's what they are designed to do. If you feel you need a gun to protect yourself in America, you are probably living in the wrong neighborhood and should move before you go out and buy a gun. There are like a billion places to live where you won't need a gun, or even need to lock your front door.
If you do own a gun, then make sure you know how to use it really, really, really well. Seriously...get some training because you still don't know how to record stuff with your DVR. Go to the gun range and shoot the thing a lot. Learn how to clean it properly and be able to disassemble it and reassemble it with your eyes closed. It's a freaking gun and it deserves that level of care, proficiency and respect. And for God's sake, keep it locked up and away from your kids.
If you are even a little bit crazy, sad, or pissed shouldn't have a gun. And the Founding Fathers would totally agree with me.
Stop being suspicious of American Muslims. I guarantee the guy sitting next to you in the cubicle at work is probably more of a threat to you than any Muslim. He has to listen to your uninformed ranting day after day and has probably already imagined very colorful and creative ways to end you.
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and all the rest are ENTERTAINERS! Stop getting your opinions from them. (Here's where that reading thing can really be an advantage.)
Stop sharing Facebook memes that tell me to share or else Jesus won't bless me with a laundry basket full of cash. That's not how prayer works. And I don't want money delivered (even from God) in a laundry basket. Nobody ever washes those things out and they just keep putting nasty dirty clothes in them. Yuck!
We are the United States of America and we can afford to house every homeless veteran, feed every child, and take in every refugee and still have money left over for Starbucks and a bucket of KFC.
Unless you can trace your family line back to someone who made deerskin pants look stylish and could field dress a buffalo, you are a descendent of an immigrant. Please stop saying that immigrants are ruining our country. Such comments are like a giant verbal burrito stuffed with historical ignorance, latent racism, and xenophobia all wrapped in a fascist tortilla.
That's all for now. I feel better.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


When I got home from work today and checked the mail I was surprised by a padded envelope addressed to me.  This was inside:
The return address was the manufacturer but I knew who'd sent it to me.

You see, I'm friends on Facebook with several blogger friends and 1 of those friends saw my posting of this T-shirt, along with some silly comment like "I'd love this for my birthday, Christmas, Easter, whatever!"  Well, Sean (who has a Chihuahua name Harvey Milk) commented on the post asking me what size.  I responded "Large" but honestly thought he was just joking.  I didn't expect him to actually send me this shirt, but I'm happy he did!

For most of us our pets are family, and to me Chihuahuas just seem to be a little extra special.  I love my boys Marvin and Walter for their unique personalities and their adorableness.  So I will proudly wear this T-shirt to share my love with the world.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Sean for your thoughtfulness.  Chihuahuas AND YOU make me happy!