Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Anniversary

Today is mine & Spouse's 19th anniversary!

We count the day we met as our anniversary because our lives literally began together that day.  We met on a Mon, went on dates on Wed and Fri, and then spent the weekend together.  From that point on we basically lived with each other until we both made arrangements to vacate our separate homes.  Since we were already 30+ years old, we pretty much knew what we were looking for and knew when we had found it.

So today I had roses delivered to Spouse at his office, which we both like because he gets attention from his female colleagues, and I like that they see that gay people share many of the same romantic customs and traditions as straight people.

19 years and counting!!
1997
2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Holiday weekend recap

I was scheduled to work on Sat until 5p, so after changing clothes and a quick veggie pizza dinner with Spouse and Steven & Thad, I left for the Blue Moon to prepare for the opening night of the LEGENDS show.  Since it was the 1st night we had to try on our costumes, confirm our performance order, and go over the finale number.  The show went off without a hitch and the crowd was very responsive.  It was probably 1 of our best shows ever!  Afterward we mixed and mingled with the audience for a while and I got a few requests for photos.  It was a lot of fun.
Elton John in the finale costume with friends
I worked again on Sun, and then Spouse & I went to Steven & Thad's for an informal cook-out.  It was fun.

Today my company was closed for the holiday so we met Steven & Thad for breakfast at the Crystal, then spent a few hours at the beach.  It was warm and sunny and wonderful.  After returning home Spouse made an easy dinner and Steven & Thad joined us for dinner on the screened porch.  Marvin & Walter enjoyed the extra attention of having known friends there too.

And lest we forget the real reason for the Memorial Day holiday, we did observe a moment of silence in honor of those who have died in service to our country.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Harvey Milk Day


Today is Harvey Milk Day!  In my opinion Harvey Milk was a brave and intelligent man who used logic and humor to further equality for the GLBT community.  Many of this words are just as true and inspirational now as they were when he uttered them nearly 40 years ago.

12 memorable Harvey Milk quotes:
  1. "Gay brothers and sisters, you must come out!  Destroy the lies and distortions.  For your sake; for their sake."
  2. "I have never considered myself a candidate.  I have always considered myself part of a movement."
  3. "I would like to see every gay doctor come out, every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out.  Stand up and let the world know!  That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anyone could imagine."
  4. "You have to give them hope."
  5. "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door in the country."
  6. "Without hope, not only gays but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es - the us'es will give up... Because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone."
  7. "Hope will never be silent."
  8. "My name is Harvey Milk and I'm here to recruit you."
  9. "Coming out is the most political thing you can do."
  10. "Burst down those closet doors once and for all and stand up and start to fight."
  11. "All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential."
  12. "All men are created equal.  No matter how hard they try they can never erase those words.  That is what America is about."
Source

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It ain't fittin'

Believe it or not, my intentional weight loss does have a negative side effect:  my clothes don't fit anymore.  Poor me!  I know.


But seriously, having lost more than 30 lbs means that none of my jeans fit anymore.  I finally broke down a few weeks ago and bought a new pair of jeans so I could stop wearing the big ones with 2-3 inches of the waist cinched up with a belt.

All the pants I wear to work are also too big.  I typically wear khaki-style pants, and have them in light and dark khaki, navy, olive and grey.  Fortunately I saved the ones that were a size smaller in the guest room closet.  I was elated to try them on and find that they fit me just fine.  I would have hated to go out and spend money to replace the pants with a smaller size.

But when I got my shorts out I wasn't so lucky.  I tried on all 17 pairs of shorts I wore last summer and only 7 of them are okay.  Even those 7 are a little too big and will have to be cinched with a belt, but they weren't as large on me as the other 10 pairs.  My test was this:  if I buttoned them and could slide them over my hips, they were out.  Sadly, 3 of the 10 pairs were brand new last summer, and all of my plaid shorts are too big to wear.  Now I have no more plaid shorts. 

So last night Spouse & I stopped in at the Old Navy Outlet Store and I was able to replace 2 colors I'd bought brand new last summer with my current size, plus found a pair of navy shorts with pale pink flamingos embroidered on them to replace 1 of the plaid.  Oddly I found no plaid shorts.

My friend Thad will disapprove.  He believes that Old Navy is for "young people" and says that I am NOT young.  Sometimes he sees me and jokingly says I'm wearing "age-inappropiate apparel".  But Old Navy clothes appeal to me, and they're very reasonably priced (especially with all the crazy sales our Outlet Store is always running), and I don't like the stuffy-looking clothes intended for men my age.  So I often buy things at Old Navy and its companion stores The Gap and Banana Republic, all of which have Outlet Stores here.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Legends 2015

Last Thurs I received the schedule for the 2015 Legends series which begins this coming Sat 5/23.  (Not a moment too soon, right?)  For those of you who are new here since last summer, Legends is the name of a celebrity tribute show in which I perform.  We wear professional costumes and wigs, and even have back-up dancers as we alter our voices and body language to impersonate musical legends of the 20th century.

Last fall we were told that Tim & Randy were going to overhaul the show we've been doing for the last 4 summers, so I was really hopeful that I'd get some new Legends to impersonate.  I'd hinted that I would love to Billy Joel and George Michael.

But I believe several unexpected things happened that diverted their attention from Legends, and when the schedule finally came out last week, I am doing 2 of the 3 Legends I've done in years past.  This year I will be Elton John and Neil Sedaka (again).  
As Elton John, with dancers

As Neil Sedaka

I really like doing both of them.  The musical medleys are great and the costumes are sequined and fun (but hot), but figured many of our returning guests might be wanting something new.  Also, I'd like the opportunity to branch out to new Legends and different music.

But as I explained to Spouse, Steven & Thad on Fri, this gig takes up about 90 minutes of time every other Sat night, I enjoy doing it, and they pay me really well, so I really have no reason to complain.

One thing that is different this season is that, while the performers and Legends they impersonate rotate, I am scheduled to perform on all 3 holiday weekends (Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day) this year.  That gives my Legends maximum exposure!

So here's to another successful season of Legends!  If you're going to be in Rehoboth Beach this summer, let me know!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Weight loss update

Its been a while since I've mentioned my continued efforts toward weight loss using the Fit for Life eating plan.  Despite going off the plan twice last week (Tim & Randy's wedding and Mother's Day) I did not gain any weight.  I didn't lose any last week, but I didn't gain any either which I feel to be a victory.  My total weight loss to date is 32 lbs in a little over 4 months.  I have 8 lbs to lose to reach my goal weight.

My Fit for Life eating plan involves eating vegetables with either a carb or a protein (but not both) at lunch and at dinner everyday.  If you grab a calculator and do the math, that means I eat a LOT of vegetables.  So I'm always looking for ways to season and flavor them so they don't taste the same.

Recently I made myself a Green Pizza.  Using a pre-made personal size pizza crust, I spread on some Trader Joe's green curry sauce, steamed broccoli florets, salt and pepper, and topped it with some low-fat mozzarella and stuck it in the convection oven for about 5 minutes.  Here's what it looked like:
Green Pizza
Oh my god was it good!!!  Kudos to Trader Joe's for all their delicious jarred sauces.

I've also made a different version of pizza using buffalo wing sauce, steamed carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli and mozzarella.  That was good too.  And of course I've made the traditional veggie pizza with marinara sauce, Italian herbs, steamed carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, kalamata olives and mozzarella - also very good.

Eating lots of vegetables doesn't have to be boring!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wonderful weekend recap

Me & Spouse at cocktail hour
Sat evening Spouse & I went to the wedding and reception of Tim & Randy, 2 of the owners of the
Blue Moon where I perform in the Legends show.  After 36 years together they got married, and it was top shelf the whole way.

The ceremony was presided over by the Bishop Gene Robinson, the 1st openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church.  Tim & Randy's longtime friend and recording artist Pamala Stanley sang during the ceremony, and Tim's brother shared a poem. After the ceremony the couple received their guests and everyone enjoyed an open bar, passed hors d'ouerves, and a fruit and cheese table while a jazz trio played.  
Huge floral arrangements abound!

An hour or so later everyone was asked to enter the dining room and find their seats.  Spouse & I were seated at a table with several of my fellow Legends and Rehoboth Idol performers and a few others. Again there was an open bar, and servers offered everyone red or white wine at the table.  A longtime friend of the couple spoke, followed by Miss Richfield 1981 who left everyone in stitches!  Then came the spinach salads, followed by the entre: surf and turf with risoto.  Amazing!  The balance of the night was filled with conversations, laughter, wedding cake, and dancing to the 10-piece band.  It was quite a lovely and fun event.
The wedding cake

Me with my good friends Rick & Lisa




My handsome Spouse
The next morning we showered, filled travel mugs with coffee, grabbed the dogs, and headed to VA to spend Mothers Day with Spouse's mom.  We arrived shortly before noon and since it was a nice day, the 3 of us sat outside in her back yard while the dogs ran around off-leash.  

Spouse's sister and her margarita
Then at 2:30 we met up with Spouse's brothers and sister and their spouses and children for an early dinner at Cantina Mexicana (aka: The Taco House).  It was wonderful to see the owners (and our friends) Juan & Gloria again, and they treated our group of 12 like royalty.  From appetizers to entres to drinks and dessert, we were there for 3 hours!  But the time seemed to fly by.


Back and Spouse's mom's house we gave her a gift:  a neckless, earlings, and matching bracelet.  She loves costume jewelry and wears it every time she leaves the house, so we knew she'd enjoy it.  We left at 6:45 and got home at 9:15.  It was a long but fun day.

Friday, May 08, 2015

The affect of your words

Many fellow bloggers will relate when I say that sometimes it is difficult to know what to write.  From time to time I 2nd guess myself and my topics.  Many times I write about the goings on in my life (visitors, weekend plans, haircuts, home projects, etc) and later wonder if it is interesting at all to anyone.  Sometimes people leave comments on those posts which is a bit of an indicator, but my blog stats always show that there are far more visitors than commentors, so again I sometimes wonder about the level of interest.  When one is unsure of this, it makes one wonder if they should continue blogging.

Two things happened recently that really made me re-examine my blog motivation and re-affirmed my desire to continue:


  1. While looking for something within my blog I reread a post where I described a time in my life before I was 'out' or really knew gay people.  I witnessed what I believed to be 4 gay couples having Sun brunch at a diner.  Although I didn't speak to them and they likely never saw me, their very presence there eating, talking, laughing, and just living their (gay) lives had an affect on me.  It made me happy and a little excited.  This was several years before the internet, but I now think that blogging can have a similar affect.  A closeted person might stumble upon my blog and read about me, Spouse, and our friends eating, talking, laughing, and just living our (gay) lives and that may have a positive affect on them.  They may read this and think "I want to have that some day."  Not that my life is enviable by any means - but a life lived openly and authentically.
  2. I recently received an email from a reader I'll refer to as "B".  His email in part said "I wanted to thank you for mentioning you were planning to get an undercut hairstyle. I asked my hairstylist if an undercut would work for me. Personally, I think of if as a kind of modified "high and tight" like Marines get. It was a success! My partner loves it, got lots of compliments on it when I visited my family for Mothers' Day and went to church with them (ugh), compliments at the doctors' offices, and compliments at the pharmacy! Thanks again for talking about your life on your blog, because otherwise it would never have occurred to me to try something new."  As you can imagine, this email made my day!  But more than that, it made me see the affect that my blogging can have on others.  The world is a prettier place thanks to my blog!  Kidding aside, B read/implemented an idea found on my blog and has had great results.
Literally as I was typing this post, I remembered another occasion where my blog resulted in good for someone else.  The editor of a small/local newspaper printed one of my blog posts word-for-word in the paper to drum up business for the restaurant I wrote about.  The owners were so happy they framed the article and it hangs on the wall to this day.

So the point of this entire post is:  blog about your life!  Be it glamorous or mundane, you just never know the affect your words might have on others.


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Cinco de Mayo!

So yesterday was Cinco de Mayo and we celebrated as we have for the last couple years by having margaritas and Mexican food with Steven & Thad and Joe P at Dos Locos!  I was happy that Patrick was still here so he could join us too.
Me with my Blood Orange margarita

Patrick and his traditional margarita


 



















We are friends with the owners who always go out of there way to make everyone feel welcome and appreciated.  The past 2 years Spouse & I have gotten free Dos Locos/Cinco de Mayo T-shirts so we wore them to dinner last night.  This year in addition to new T-shirts we also received crazy shades.
dos locos wearing locos shades 
Everyone's fabric napkins were wrapped in red Mardi Gras beads with red chili peppers on them. Since no one at our table wanted to keep theirs but me, I took them all.
As we were leaving the restaurant several patrons looked at all my peppers and asked what I had to do to get so many, to which I responded "I'm ashamed to say!"  This produced surprised looks and laughter.  Even folks sitting on benches as we walked toward the boardwalk made comments about all my peppers.  They were quite the conversation piece!

Once on the boardwalk Patrick & I took a selfie with the ocean behind us, which you can't see because it was night.
We had an awesome Cinco de Mayo celebration and hope you all did too.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Patrick

Yesterday my old friend Patrick arrived!

We met when I was a junior and he was a senior in high school, and both of us were in the concert choir and Dominants! vocal jazz and show choir.  We became close friends during that year and one night he 'came out' to me.  At first I thought he was joking because he didn't fit any of the gay stereotypes with which I was familiar.  Later on I nervously came out to him, to which he responded "I know.  I knew you were gay before you did."  Patrick was instrumental in my physical and mental transformation which prepared me to to come out to my family and leave them and my former religion behind.  I could never repay him for this gift!

The weather was pleasant so Spouse, Patrick and I sat outside on the porch (with Marvin & Walter) and began getting caught up.  
Patrick and me - friends for over 35 years!
When it got to be dinner time, Steven & Thad texted and invited us to dinner so we joined them and I introduced them to Patrick.  Before Patrick arrived I'd told Steven & Thad about him coming and described him as my "gay mentor" since he explained so much to me about being gay back in the day.  As a joke Thad said to Patrick "As I understand it, you are responsible for his gayness", pointing at me.  Not missing a beat Patrick replied "Yep, and I think I did a pretty good job too!"  We all laughed, of course.

Today I took Patrick to Crystal for breakfast, where he got to meet our friend and waitress Pau Pau.  Afterward we went for a 2-mile walk on the boardwalk, and then drove around the area a bit before heading home.  This evening while Spouse is at his personal trainer appointment, Patrick and I will go for Thai food and then go listen to my friend John play the keyboard and sing at a restaurant.  I think Patrick will enjoy that.

He'll be here through Wed morning.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Happy May day



May Day is typically a celebration of spring, but also celebrates workers' rights and social justice.  It has slightly different meanings and customs in different cultures.  Whatever your reason for celebrating, I hope your May Day is grand!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

3 years ago on this date

...Spouse & I had our civil union ceremony and reception!  Our civil union was converted into a marriage 18 months later when marriage equality came to DE.

However, we do not consider either of those dates as our anniversary.  We consider they day we met (May 26) as our anniversary.  But I did want to recognize the 3rd year of our legally-recognized union in the eyes of the State.

If you've been reading this for less than 3 years and want to read and see more about our ceremony and reception, please click on the following links to previous posts:
It was a wonderfully memorable evening!



Friday, April 24, 2015

High pay & low stress

I saw an article on the AOL homepage that I thought was interesting.  (Yes, I still have an @aol.com email address which I access from their homepage.  It was my very first email address, and I love it.  Plus, I believe that keeping a consistent email address helps people with whom you've been out of touch for years reach you, like keeping the same phone number.)

I thought this article was interesting because most of the time we equate a high-paying job/career with high stress.  Typically lower stress jobs are usually accompanied by lower salaries or hourly wages.  But this article offers suggestions for high paying low stress jobs and tells you the education or experience needed.

Check it out!

One of the surprises to me was Economist, which studies the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services.  The average annual salary is just over $100K and requires only a Bachelor's degree.

Share this article with your children, nieces, and nephews in high school.  It just may help them select a college major and future career.  It may also be useful to those who may be considering for a career change.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New Girls


I started watching a new show on the Discovery Life network called "New Girls on the Block".  It focuses on 6 transgender women who live in Kansas City.  Let's meet the cast:

Jaime and AiYana both used to be straight men, but are now lesbians in a relationship with each other. 

Chloe and Kassidy are best friends and used to be roommates until Kassidy moved to TX for a new job. Kassidy returns to Kansas City frequently to hang with her friends.

Robyn is in a hetero relationship with Andrew, who was Robyn's best friend when she used to be male.  "We went from best friends to boyfriend and girlfriend" she says in the opening.

Macy used to be Ken, and is still married to and living with her wife of several years, Sharon.

While I guess this show is technically a reality show, it is not at all like the other reality shows that are far from reality.  (Read: The Real Housewives, The Shahs of Sunset, etc.)  This show has more of a documentary feeling, and I'm enjoying learning more about the challenges and rewards of transitioning.  I have no interest in changing genders but I have a lot of respect for those brave enough to undertake it.  I've seen several shows over the years that have focused on the preparation to transition and the beginnings of it.  This is the first show I've seen that is entirely focused on life after transitioning.

I encourage you to give this show a try!  "New Girls on the Block" airs on Sat nights.  Find your channel and show time here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

4/20

Today's date is 4/20, the unofficial 'holiday' of those who enjoy smoking weed (pot).

Click here for the origin of this 'holiday'.

I've never tried pot.  It was against the code of behavior when I was growing up in the Jehovah's Witness faith, and when I left the faith at 29 years old my new non-JW friends did not happen to be partakers of the reefer, so I didn't partake either.  Over the years it seems the vast majority of my friends don't toke so I've not really had many opportunities or any pressure to do so.  Now that I'm over 50, I kind of see it as a record that I'm keeping.   

"51 and never taken a puff". 

My friends The Newlyweds think its hilarious that I'm keeping a record like that.  They teased me by adding other records to my resume:  "51 and never robbed a bank", "51 and never shot a gun", etc.

Now that mary jane is legal in several states I imagine it won't be too long before it loses its taboo and eventually becomes legal everywhere.  Perhaps many are anticipating this and celebrating today's date with a puff on the magic dragon, but not me.  I will be maintaining all of my records today by not smoking pot, robbing a bank, or firing a gun.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Joy ride


Yesterday was my day off.  Since I worked at home painting all last week, I decided not to make myself a long 'to do' list as I often do.  

But 1 thing I definitely DID want to do was to take Big Ella out for a drive.  It seems like months since I'd been able to do that, since I try not to drive her in the rain.  Yesterday was a mostly sunny day so it was perfect for an afternoon drive.
Click photo to enlarge

While I was out I stopped at Subway to have a sandwich.  A man came into Subway and asked if he could show my car to his grandson who has a passion for classics.  "Of course" I said, not surprised at all that Big Ella drew their attention.  While I ate I saw the man and his grandson walking around the car, pointing, and talking.  It was cute.

Afterward I made another stop, this time at a store to pick something up.  As I returned to Big Ella, a man sitting in the car next to Big Ella began asking me friendly questions about what year she was, how long I'd had her, did I restore her myself, etc.  As we wished each other a nice day and I opened the door, another man came up to me and said "I just have to talk to you about your
Click photo to enlarge
car."  He went on to tell me this story about how many years ago he bought a car 'just like this', only it wasn't turquoise and might have been a different year, but to him it was 'just like it'. 

So many people have a connection to this iconic car.  An uncle had one, a neighbor had one, they used to have one, they learned to drive in one, they went to 3rd base in one - it never ceases to amaze me.  (Seriously, a man once told me his child was conceived in the back seat of a car like mine.)

It makes me feel really fortunate that I get to tool around town in Big Ella, my stunningly beautiful piece of drivable art.
Click photo to enlarge

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tax day

So today is the deadline to file your federal tax return.  For whatever reason, many states' deadline is the end of the month.  I don't know why they don't just make them both due the same day, but whatever.

Our taxes are pretty complicated so we don't prepare them ourselves.  We own 2 rental properties, we own a 3rd property with another couple, and I'm self-employed so there are WAY too many deductions, prorations, etc for our comfort range.  But we have a good accountant we've worked with for years so I summarize our income, expenses, deductions and such on spreadsheets and email them to him.  I scan and email our W2 forms, 1099 forms, etc too so I've not actually seen our accountant in probably 15 years.

So our returns are filed and the checks are in the mail - literally.  Since no tax is taken out of my real estate commission checks I pay estimated quarterly tax and then always end up paying more by tax day. While its the same amount of tax either way, it always hurts to write out those checks to the IRS and state for thousands of dollars.