Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Vacation: Fri

Fri morning the 4 of us had coffee and talked for a while.  One of the Newlyweds went for a run while Spouse & I ran to Walmart.  Since we don't check our bags we couldn't bring any shampoo, moisturizer, shaving cream or deodorant, so we picked up those things and some miscellaneous snack foods.  Interestingly we noticed several people brought their dogs into the store, on leashes of course.  These weren't service dogs with their marked harnesses; they were just pets.  Being a dog lover I   didn't mind this, but I can imagine it might be an issue to people who are afraid or allergic to dogs.  Coincidentally we ran into a friend from DE in the Walmart in Palm Springs!

Upon returning to the house we slipped into our trunks and enjoyed some time in the pool.  

Then the 4 of us drove into town and had a late lunch at the popular Sherman's Deli.  
A friend had recommended it to me and we found the food to be really good.  Every restaurant has outdoor seating so we made a point to request it whenever possible.  I took this photo of my handsome husband using the portrait mode on my iPhone while waiting for our lunches.
We were too full to order any of the AMAZING looking desserts in the dessert case so we made a mental note to come back specifically for that. 

Palm Springs used to be called Hollywood's Playground since many celebrities owned homes here to get away from the hubbub and paparazzi of Hollywood.  We pulled up a list of celebrity's homes on our phone, most of which were in an enclave called Movie Colony, and drove by them.  Many were barely visible due to the high fences and tall hedges, but it was fun to think of Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Dean Martin, Liberace, Barry Manilow and others having spent 'down time' here. 

Later that evening we went to happy hour at Wang's.  We were surprised how full it was for 6:00 but as we soon learned, the nightlife happens much earlier in Palm Springs than in most areas.  Next we walked over to Hunters nightclub for another drink and a little dancing. This guy was selling shots and I couldn't resist snapping a photo of his curvy booty.
Then we had a seat on their patio and talked while enjoying the mild night air.  

Across the street there was a stretch of small stores that looked interesting.  This one immediately made me think of Sean.
Next door at Rough Trade Gear I saw this t-shirt which really made me laugh!
While I don't support anyone calling anyone a faggot (including gays), I do think its funny that this shirt attempts to reclaim the inflammatory word, associating it with power.  I was tempted to buy it, but really couldn't imagine myself wearing it at home.

Then around 8:30 we walked over to Maracas Cantina for a late Mexican dinner.  Although the sun was down and it was cooler, all the restaurants have overhead heaters to warm up the outdoor dining areas so it was very pleasant.

It was a full, fun day!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Vacation: Wed & Thurs

Wed evening after dinner Spouse went upstairs to begin selecting the clothes he wanted to take on our trip, although we thought we had another full day before we'd be leaving.  I was cleaning up from dinner and loading the dishwasher when I got a text from The Newlyweds: "Can't wait to see you guys tomorrow!"  I began typing my response: "You mean Fri", but before tapping 'send', I thought I'd better double-check our itinerary.

When I did, my heart sank.  I thought we were staying overnight at a hotel near the airport on Thurs night and flying out Fri morning, but my itinerary showed we were scheduled to stay at the hotel THAT NIGHT and fly out THE NEXT MORNING!

It was 6:30pm and we hadn't packed anything, plus we had a 2+ hour drive to the hotel near the airport.  I walked up the stairs and said to Spouse "Don't kill me, don't kill me, don't kill me" and then explained my mistake.  He was not pleased but what were we going to do?

I started by logging onto the airline's website to check in for our flight.  Then I called the dog sitter/house sitter, explained my mistake and asked if she could come a day earlier.  Fortunately she could.  Then I joined Spouse upstairs to pack.  Miraculously we were loaded into the car by 8:00pm.

We arrived at the hotel and I showed my confirmation (on my phone) to the front desk clerk but it didn't come up in her computer.  After searching by the confirmation number, my name, and who knows what else, she finally called someone for help.  After about 20 minutes she finally gave us a key to a room.  When we walked in there were no sheets, pillows, blankets or pillows so we went back down to see the clerk.  She sent us to another room and as we walked in I saw luggage on the floor and heard someone inside yell "Wait!!"  We went back to the clerk who apologized, offered us an upgraded room, and sent us to a 3rd room.  The 3rd time was the charm.

The next day our flight was completely full. 
Plane selfie
Spouse had the isle seat, I was in the middle, and a man who must have been 7' tall had the window seat.  Needless to say we had no extra room to spread out, but then again, its what we expected.  We're aware that flying is typically uncomfortable but necessary if you want to get somewhere far away and/or quickly.  We arrived at LAX, caught a shuttle to the car rental lot, and shortly thereafter drove off in this:

Spouse was happy that the front seat had lots of room for his 'ample' body.  I was happy that it was red.  Finally we were off to Palm Springs!

The Newlyweds had already checked into our MisterB&B rental when we arrived around 4:00.  We hung out by the pool and talked for a while, then went for drinks at Chill Bar.  In the back bar area a charity event was going on that was hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence so we decided to check it out.  A date with this bootilicous beau was being auctioned:
He had a very muscular upper body too, but my photo didn't really capture it.  But that butt!!!  Afterward we went to an arts and crafts street fair, then had a late dinner at Bongo Johnny's.  Once back at the house we enjoyed soaking in the hot tub before going to bed.  

I was happy we weren't yawning while out on the town, since CA is 3 hours behind DE.  We managed to stay up until almost midnight local time, and wake up at a reasonable local time too.

Friday, February 23, 2018


For the 1st time ever, we took a "red eye" home from CA.  Our plane left CA at 9:00pm PT on Wed and we arrived in Baltimore at 5:00am ET on Thurs.  We hoped to be able to sleep on the plane, but let's be honest - the seats really aren't made for sleeping and neither of us could get into a position comfortable enough to doze off for more than a couple minutes.

So after a shuttle ride from the airport back to the hotel where our car was parked, and the drive back to DE, we arrived home at 8:00am ET, having been awake for nearly 24 hours.  We both felt like zombies but were warmly greeted by Marvin & Walter who then followed us upstairs and joined us in bed.  We slept until 12:30, and although we could have slept longer, I didn't want to sleep so much during the day that we wouldn't be able to sleep that night.  

We ate lunch, watched some TV, and generally relaxed.  Spouse did go for his personal trainer appointment last night - such dedication!

We had a great trip and I will share photos and stories in the days to come.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Palm Springs, here we come!

Today we arrive in Palm Springs!
I likely won't post until we return due to all the fun we'll be having!

Thanks for checking in here, and I'll share some photos once we're home.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentines Day

Today is Valentines Day.  The day for lovers.  The day couples celebrate their coupleness.

Sorry single people.  Its not you... its us.

While some people view Valentines Day cynically, as a day for restaurants and florists to jack up their prices and for stores to overflow their isles with boxes of chocolates and stuffed animals, I still look at Valentines Day as a purist would.  I like to reflect on the night Spouse & I met, our first few dates, and our bond which has grown stronger during our 21+ years together.

I usually like to send beautiful cut flowers to Spouse's office, have boxed chocolates waiting for him at home, and eat a nice meal together at home.  

But this year will be a little different.  Spouse took off work today in order to pick out and pack his clothes and other stuff for our trip, so he won't be at work to get the flowers.  And even if he were there, he'd only get to enjoy seeing them for 1 day before we leave on a week's vacation, so it would be almost a total waste. So no flowers today.

We don't typically go out to dinner on Valentines Day because restaurants are crowded and prices are high.  We won't go tonight either, as I will be packing and getting ready to be away.  Instead, we'll make a HelloFresh meal and spend an evening at home together.

But we'll still confess our love and undying affection to one another, without balloons or flowers or fancy restaurant dinners.  Because at the end of the day, its just us.

Monday, February 12, 2018


If you're a realtor and you want to boost your business, plan a vacation.

It never fails.  Whenever I'm planning to be away for a while, my clients come crawling out of the woodwork.  Its like I've put out some invisible sonar signal that says "Call Mark now".  

This week is no exception.  The fact that this coming weekend is a 3-day weekend (Presidents Day) may be a factor.

2 clients with whom I've been working want to come this weekend to look at homes.  I've had to get assistance from colleagues so these clients can tour the homes they've been reviewing online, and hopefully 1 or both of them will want to buy.

Today I got a call from a new client who wants to look at a specific property on Sun.  I've had to get a 3rd colleague to help this person.  But since I've never met or really worked with this person, I decided to simply 'give' this potential buyer to my colleague.

And its not like I won't be working at all while I'm gone.  My personal and work emails come on my iPhone and I'll have to check them and respond to time-sensitive things a couple times each day to keep things moving.

So the next time my business is a little slow, I'm going to plan a quick trip and then just wait for the phone to start ringing.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Monday, February 05, 2018

He told me so

Spouse has a new kitchen gadget:
This is a countertop convection oven that came with 2 racks, 2 cookie sheets, a roasting pan, and a cookbook.  And the most important feature according to Spouse is that it will accommodate a 9" X 13" baking dish, something most countertop ovens can't do.

But the real reason for sharing this is to come full circle with what happened back in early December when our regular kitchen oven wouldn't heat up the day before our tree trimming party.

You see, Spouse had seen this very oven on a shopping TV channel in November and wanted it right then.  I vetoed the purchase, telling him it was an unnecessary duplication of what we already have.  He argued that it would be a nice back up, just in case.  I rolled my eyes and said "If the our regular oven stops working, we'll just call a repairman and get it fixed."

So, of course, when the regular oven broke right when we needed it the most, as we were preparing food for 20+ people, Spouse did NOT overlook the opportunity to say "I told you so".

So then, a couple weeks ago when this oven was being featured again on the shopping TV channel, before Spouse could open his mouth I told him "Order the damn oven already!"

It arrived while I was home and he was not, so I removed it from the box and set it up on the counter for him to 'discover' when he got home.  He was unusually excited about it which gave me a kick.

Friday, February 02, 2018


Last Dec while performing as Elton John in the Holiday Legends show, I received a very different tip.  It was 20 British pounds.
 I don't know if the generous patron gave it to me by mistake or if he was looking for a way to dispose of the foreign currency, because I didn't know what I'd been given until after the show.

A quick Google search told me it was worth about $26 US dollars, which is a very generous tip!

I tried to convert it to US dollars at a local bank.  They asked if I had an account there, to which I answered no.  I was told they could only exchange the currency if I was an account holder, and that my bank would do it for me.

The only problem is that I don't have a local bank.  The nearest branch of my bank (excluding ATMs) is an hour away in a different state.  I do all my banking online; bill paying, check depositing, balance transferring - all online.

You see, I've had the same checking account since I was in high school more than 35 years ago.  My bank has merged with others and changed names several times over the years, but the thing that hasn't changed is my wonderful account number, which has repetitive digits that are very easy to remember, and my account origination date in 1981.  In addition to the convenience of my easily memorable account number, on many occasions I've thought that if I ever got into a pinch and needed something from my bank, they might look at my account origination date in 1981 and say to themselves "Hey, this guy's loyalty deserves a break".  I have yet to ever need that break, but I feel prepared to ask for it should that change.

But I sure as hell wasn't going to drive 2 hours round trip to exchange the currency!  

So I got my friend Steven to do it for me.  I knew he had a local bank and, sure enough, they exchanged the 20 British Pounds for $25.98 with no question.