Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Yesterday was DE's primary so I voted, of course.  It's a privilege!
I absolutely love that they give out these stickers to wear around!  Its the small things, people.

I've written before about how much I love being able to vote here.  Its the complete embodiment of small town America.  We vote in an old school (all schools are closed on voting days for this reason) and there are no lines.  I literally walked in, showed my drivers license, signed my name, and voted, all within about 2 minutes.
When we used to live in Northern VA we'd wait in line for an hour sometimes to vote, because that area is so much more densely populated than where we live now.  I like it better this way.

Regardless of who you vote for (Hillary or Bernie, the only 2 choices), get out there and vote!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sunday drive

Yesterday it was bright and sunny and in the low 60s.  I was off work and it seemed like the perfect day to take Big Ella out for some exercise.  A 'Sunday drive', if you will.

My buddies Steven & Thad had nothing to do so they came along for the ride, figuratively and literally.

We drove out to a spot where the road dead ends at a small river.  Most people would call it a creek or stream, but I'm calling it a river because its name has 'river' at the end of it.  When we got there we saw a single car parked and a man standing near it, talking on a cell phone, with a banjo strapped to his torso.  

I said "Now, THERE'S something you don't see everyday:  a man with a banjo talking on a cell phone down by the river!"  They both laughed.  

When the man finished his phone call and began playing his banjo, I snapped this picture.

My inquisitive mind wouldn't let it go, so I had to ponder this situation out loud.

"Do you think he just woke up this morning, looked out the window, and said to himself 'this is a great day to play the banjo outdoors by the river'?" I asked my friends.

"His wife probably won't let him play it at home" answered Steven.  "We've only been listening to him for 30 seconds and I'm already tempted to smash that banjo over his head."

Alrighty then. 

So before roaring up the engine to leave (preventing Steven from violently destroying the man's banjo), I took 1 more picture of 'the river' from the drivers seat of Big Ella. 
Drives like this are a good reminder of the abundant natural beauty that exists so close to home for us.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Unexpected Sunday

Spouse & I had a really good day off together on Sun.  I try to take Sundays off so we have it as a day off together, but they aren't always such good days.

Sometimes I try to get him to go on a little road trip to some nearby town we've never explored before, which is usually met with such resistance that we've never done it.  "What will we do THERE?" he asks.

Sometimes I suggest we accomplish some needed project together, such as sorting through his clothes and bagging up those he wants to donate, providing clothing for the needy AND space in our closet.  This is always met with resistance too.  One of these days I'm simply going to do it without him, which will be easier for me but gives him no input.

But this past Sun HE uncharacteristically suggested we do a few things together.  The weather was nice, so after having breakfast with Steven & Thad we took Marvin & Walter for a nice long walk around the pond in the park near our house.  They really love it and its a pretty walk for us too.

Then we re-arranged the furniture in the family room, and swapped the TVs in the family room and TV room.  (Neither of us are thrilled with the new arrangement so we'll probably move it back.)  

Then we gave the dogs a bath, afterward I washed and dried the towels from said baths.  
Marvin in a towel

Walter trying to 'escape' the laundry sink during his bath
Then we picked up a few things at the drug store before meeting Steven & Thad for dinner.

It was completely unplanned but it was a really good day!

Monday, April 18, 2016


We're fortunate to live in an area that is rather progressive, open, and accepting.  For many years our little beach area has been the place where GLBT folks have spent their beach vacations and invested in 2nd homes.  While there are still conservative, narrow-minded people in the state, DE was ahead of the curve in implementing domestic partnerships which mirrored the benefits and rights of marriage (not every state's DP laws are that thorough), and in granting full marriage equality.  This is not something to take for granted, given the recent hateful legislation passed in NC under the guise of "religious freedom".

In addition to my appreciation for living in a state that treats me and Spouse as equal citizens, I also have appreciation for working for a company that treats me the same way.  Many of my colleagues within the company and a few on my team are GLBT.  Our franchise has made the decision to show all kinds of people in their national ads.

In "The Call" a gay male couple is among those who receive the happy news that their home has sold:

In "Moving" a lesbian couple shares a bite of their wedding cake:

While not the focus of the ads, I think its important to acknowledge the intentional presence of GLBT folks in advertising.  I really think it helps 'normalize' us to the general public, showing the milestones in life shared by everyone.  

I don't take for granted that my community and employer contribute to the sense of safety and peace of mind I experience.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Early this week the local news reported that over 300 dogs were removed from a puppy mill in Eden, MD approximately an hour from where we live.  Many were sick, filthy, and neglected.  Obviously the collection of over 300 puppies at 1 time caused an immediate need for food and other supplies.

Such heart-breaking news stirred many dog/animal lovers to action, even as far away as my area.  Many businesses began setting up drop-off locations for those who wished to donate.  Realtors in my area immediately got the word out via social media and email blasts.

I immediately went to the store and bought food, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and treats to drop off at a local drop-off location.  I was also able to solicit donations (both food/supplies and cash) from my colleagues here at the office.  I'll be using the cash to purchase more food and supplies within the next few days.

As horrible as it is that people would hoard and neglect these little puppies, I was heartened by the response from my colleagues and the community at large.  Its really making a difference!

Friday, April 08, 2016

Least satisfying

As you know from my many posts about Big Ella and alternative fuel vehicles, I like to keep up with car stuff.  I recently read a blog which reported Consumer Reports' Least Satisfying New Cars.

Consumer Reports magazine asked "Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.) would you buy this car if you had it to do over again?"

So which 7 vehicles had the lowest scores?
  • Kia Rio - only 40% would purchase it again
  • Jeep Patriot - 46% would purchase it again
  • Hyundia Veloster - 50% would purchase it again
  • Nissan Quest - 54% would purchase it again
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA - 55% would purchase it again
  • Nissan Ultima - 58% would purchase it again
  • Nissan Frontier Pick-up - 60% would purchase it again
I was surprised that 3 of the 7 vehicles had scores showing less than 1/2 would purchase the vehicle again!  I was also surprised that the new Mercedes-Benz made this list, which is definitely NOT a good thing.

You can check out Consumer Reports' full article here.

Monday, April 04, 2016

High hopes

The other day as I was walking the dogs I noticed a startling transformation in one of the homes we always pass.  It used to look like this:
This small, 900 square foot colonial dates back to 1820, but looks more recent on the outside since it was covered at some point in vinyl siding which is no longer allowed in our city's historic district.

The owners of the home decided to renovate it, and after meeting with an architect and builder discovered the old foundation was crumbling beyond repair and the home's wood support structure was completely rotted from years of moisture penetration.  In most cases the home would simply be demolished and a new home built in its place.

Except, this is a historic home in the historic district.  It can not be demolished.  Its the law.  So what were the owners to do, with a crumbling foundation and rotten framing?

That's right, ladies and gentlemen.  The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) required the original house remain where it is, so the salvagable portion (the 2nd story) was lifted so the foundation and unsalvagable 1st floor could be rebuilt in exactly the same spot.

Notice now that the siding is removed you can see that there once were 3 windows on the front of the 2nd story.

I'm sure the renovation plan includes an addition onto the back of the home since nobody wants a 900 square foot house anymore.  It will be very interesting to watch this project progress.  I'll be sure to reference this post later once the renovation is complete.