Monday, March 23, 2015

Walk, walk, fashion baby

The perfect accessory is one that will compliment the outfit, not distract from it.

Apparently a handbag designer at a Madrid fashion show didn't want to risk that their models' outfits might distract from their handbags, so they had the models wear nothing at all.

And the models carrying the handbags were male.

That's right... nude male models carrying handbags down the runway.  CLICK HERE for the NSFW video.
CLICK HERE to view the NSFW video
Don't you think Project Runway should have an accessory challenge where the designers' handbags, scarves, or jewelry is modeled with no distracting clothing??

Friday, March 20, 2015

Strange encounter

In appreciation for everyone's contribution to the team's success, my boss gave everyone a $50 gift card to a local spa/salon.  Yesterday I decided to use mine and get a pedicure.

I've never had a pedicure before, but my toe nails were due for a trim and I decided why not have someone else trim them, and get a nice foot massage afterward?  

It was fine, but I probably won't pay my own money for future pedicures as I didn't find the treatment to be particularly enjoyable.  My feet are very ticklish, and I'd much rather have a massage.

After putting my socks and shoes back on, I was walking past some other customers when this unaturually redheaded customer looked at me and said "You look very familiar."  She did not look at all familiar to me.  

"Do you own a business around here?" she asked.

"No, but I live and work here" I offered.  Since this is a touristy area there are lots of visitors here.  I could see the wheels turning inside her head.

"What do you do?" she asked.

"I'm a real estate agent." I answered.

"Hmmm... so I am" she volunteered.

"Maybe I look familiar to you because you've seen my group's photo on a billboard, or on a shopping cart, or at the movie theatre." I suggested.  She didn't acknowledge this possibility at all, but abruptly changed the subject.

"I have to tell you, you're really... beautiful... you know, just your whole... being... the way you are.  And I mean this sincerely, with all due respect of course." she confessed.

Huh???  I mean, how is one supposed to react to such a statement from a stranger???

"Oh, uh, thank you very much!" I said.

"You're very welcome" she said.  "It was very nice to meet you."

"And you as well" I said, as I turned to leave.

I don't know if she was drunk, or high, or maybe an angel from heaven.  But it certainly was a strange encounter.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

St Patrick's Day

Last night Spouse & I met Steven for St Patrick's Day dinner.  (Thad was busy and Joe P already had plans with other friends.)  Steven & I had the traditional corned beef and cabbage, while Spouse had pot roast.  I'm not a huge fan of corned beef and cabbage but I like it enough to eat it once a year on St Patrick's Day.
Me & Spouse wearing green for St Patrick's Day


Monday, March 16, 2015

Weekend redux

Fri evening after work we had dinner at home, packed our overnight bag, and loaded the dogs into the car.  We arrived at Spouse's mom's house at 9:30pm.  Unfortunately Walter got car sick (likely from his travel bag being too small and restricting his movement) and he puked inside his travel bag.  Rather than try to clean it up, I decided to just throw the travel bag away when we arrived at Spouse's mom's house.

It was about 97 degrees in her house.  Not literally, but it felt like that.  She's 85 years old and you know how most "mature" people are - they're always cold.  Spouse sneaked over to the thermostat and lowered it several degrees to help make the house more tolerable to us.

Sat morning Spouse, his mom and I went to our dear friends Kerry & Hugh's house for breakfast and the St Patrick's Day parade.  
Spouse's mom.  Not her real hair.
It rained off and on, but fortunately stopped raining for the duration of the parade.  There were several other friends of Kerry & Hugh there that we knew, so it was fun to see them and catch up before and after the parade.

Later that afternoon Spouse & I stocked up on our favorite items at Trader Joe's.  When we lived in VA we shopped there all the time, and really miss it, so we try and stock up when we are visiting.  Spouse's sister and her 3 kids came over and visited with us for a couple hours.  
Walter gives our nephew Eric some puppy kisses.
That night Spouse, his mom and I went out for Chinese food for dinner.  Spouse's mom leaves off the 's' in the word Chinese so it comes out as 'Chinee', which always gives me a secret grin.  But that night she also made me chuckle audibly when she ordered 'Compound chicken' rather than Kung Poa chicken.

Spouse's sister invited us for breakfast Sun morning so we joined her family for a frittata, bacon, and orange rolls.  Spouse's nephew was home from college for spring break so we got to visit with him too.  Afterward we packed up our stuff, loaded up the dogs, and hit the road.  We got home at 2:00.

An hour later, a couple arrived at our house to pay for and pick up the desk I'd listed for sale.  
I used to work from home and write my blog from this desk.
I'm so happy to get this behemoth out of the guest bedroom so I can paint and redecorate that room. The new scheme?  Hollywood Regency!!

That evening we had dinner with Joe P and Steven & Thad at their house.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Red letter day

So yesterday was a pretty terrific day.

I went shopping for some new jeans.  I can't remember how long its been since I bought new jeans, and with my recent weight loss (21 lbs so far thanks to Fit for Life) all my old jeans are just too big.  Add to that the fact that several pairs were ill-fitting to begin with.  It was definitely time for a new pair of jeans that fit.

I stopped in at the Old Navy outlet store and went to the jeans wall.  I was confronted with 5 different fits:  slim, straight, boot cut, regular, and loose.  
I don't wear boots and I don't want loose fitting jeans, so just for the hell of it I grabbed a pair of jeans in slim, straight, and regular cuts in my regular/most recent size and headed to the dressing room.

To my surprise, all 3 were too big - even the slim cut!  So I tried all 3 cuts in the next size down and to my utter shock - the slim cut fit the best!!

This was so shocking to me because I don't think anyone's referred to me using the word "slim" EVER!  Even as a kid I was chubby.  My mom used to special order my pants and jeans from Sears in order to get the 'chubby kid' ones.  I doubt anyone would look at me today and think "slim" either, but the proof is sewn right into the waistband.

Mind you, these are 'slim' cut jeans - NOT skinny jeans.  I am a 51 year old man with enough sense to know that 51 year old men should not be wearing skinny jeans. 

I washed my new 'slim' jeans yesterday afternoon and decided to wear them to work today.  As I was getting dressed this morning and feeling good about my 'slim' fit jeans, I decided to try on a belt I bought last summer on sale that just barely closed then.  I put it on today and it fit terrifically!

Its the little things in life, people.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Walter update

Calvin, one of my faithful readers, asked for a Walter update.  This caused me to realize that I hadn't posted any recent photos of him or written much about him lately.  So here we go!

This photo taken in late Dec actually shows both Marvin (white) and Walter (tan) sleeping on my lap.  I sitting on a chaise with my legs straight out in front of me, providing them with a nice, level 'bed'.  Moments like this make me wish I could stop time.


I love the way 1 of Walter's ears stands up and the other 1 flops over in this photo.  Unlike Marvin whose ears are always standing up, Walter's ears can be up or down at any given time.  Maybe this is because of his age, I don't know, nor do I care.


In this photo Walter is sleeping in the 'crook' of my leg, which is bent at the knee.  Such peacefulness and trust make my heart melt.

But its not always so light-hearted around our house.  This winter has been colder than usual and we've had snow accumulate on the ground 3 times in the last month, so we haven't been walking him. Without walks he doesn't get as much opportunity to expend pent up energy, so sometimes he playfully bites me, which hurts even though he doesn't mean it.  His house training has been challenging too, but I'm hopeful that he will get back into the groove now that milder weather is here.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Weekend recap


Last Thursday's snow resulted in my office opening 2 hours late on Fri.  This was good as it gave me extra time Fri morning to clear off the cars and shovel a path from the door to the driver's side.  I decided not to shovel the entirety of the driveways since the forecast was for much higher temps which would melt the remaining snow.  That night we went to dinner with Steven& Thad and Joe P.

Sat I worked, and then we met up with our friends Vic & Mike for dinner.  We had a good meal and a fun time together.  After dinner we went to their house to see how they've furnished and decorated it.  The last time we saw it was just a few weeks after they'd moved in.  Their primary home is in VA and this is their beach home which I sold them.

Sun we had breakfast with friends, and then took Marvin & Walter for a nice long walk.  The weather was sunny and the temperature was in the 50s so the majority of the snow had melted.  The boys absolutely loved the long walk!  It has been too cold/windy/snowy to walk them in quite a while.  Afterward we decided to take advantage of the nice weather by cutting back our rose bushes, which then lead to a major pruning of our crepe myrtle trees.  We spent almost 3 hours outside doing yard work, but I didn't mind since it was so mild out.  I had on jeans with a t-shirt and a light hoodie - that's it.  We ended the day by meeting Steven & Thad at the diner and then watching our Sun night TV shows:  Girls, Togetherness, and Looking.

It was a nice weekend!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Friday fragments

In preparation for painting and redecorating 1 of our guest rooms, yesterday I (mostly) cleared off my big desk and listed it for sale online.  

I sat at this desk 5 days a week for several years when I used to work from home full-time.  But now the large desk is just in the way.  I bought a small mirrored chest to store the items from the desk that I will still need, like envelopes, stamps, tape, paper clips, sharpies, checkbook, and return address labels.  You get the point.  While sorting the stuff in the desk I took the opportunity to throw away a bunch of old papers and a few computer CDs.  I'm really trying to pair down and hide the office stuff so this room can just be a guest room.

There was a forecast for several inches of snow yesterday and in anticipation of that, the schools and even the state government was closed.  First it rained, then we had about 30 minutes of sleet, and then the temperature went down and it finally started snowing around 2:30.  It was my scheduled day off so the weather had no real impact on my plans for the day.  Spouse & I met our friend Steven for lunch, since Spouse was off and Steven works nearby.  We ended up getting about 6 inches of snow.


Yesterday I made some delicious homemade soup.  Here are the ingredients:
  • 1 can Great Northern beans
  • 1 can navy beans
  • 1 can garbanzo bean (or chick peas)
  • 1 large container of chicken stock
  • 1 bag of frozen "soup vegetables"
  • 1 container of cubed ham
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
I combine all the ingredients into a stock pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and after about 10 minutes I remove the rosemary and turn off the heat.  It is so easy and so delicious!


Earlier I wrote about Blogger's announcement that it would begin censoring blogs for nudity.  Fortunately, enough blog writers complained that Blogger has decided not to implement their new policy. The banner message read "This week, we announced a change to Blogger’s porn policy stating that blogs that distributed sexually explicit images or graphic nudity would be made private.
We’ve received lots of feedback about making a policy change that impacts longstanding blogs, and about the negative impact this could have on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities.  We appreciate the feedback. Instead of making this change, we will be maintaining our existing policies."  Needless to say I am very happy about this, not because I depend on Blogger for porn, but because Blogger began as an uncensored platform and I believe it should remain so.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Weight loss

While its certainly no secret that I do enjoy my cocktails, unfortunately I have not had any since Jan 4. 

You see, I started my Fit for Life eating plan on Jan 4, and while the plan doesn't specifically prohibit alcohol, I know that it contains a lot of calories.  So I have voluntarily given up cocktails since the beginning of the year.

How's the slimming regimen going, you ask?  Well, I've lost 18 lbs so far.  I lost 5 lbs the 1st week and 5 lbs the 2nd week, so that was great!  The other 8 lbs have come off very slowly, but I knew that was to be expected.  Doctors actually say that 2 lbs per week weight loss is safe and sustainable.

Spouse and Steven & Thad are also on various weight loss plans.  We have all experienced weeks when we've only lost 1 or 2 lbs.  This can be very frustrating, especially if you've been "good" and not cheated on your plan.  But I try to remain positive.  I tell myself that if I consistently lose 2 lbs per week, in a year's time I will have lost 104 lbs!!  That knowledge really does help me.

I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to avoid alcohol.  Maybe I will allow myself just 1 Cosmo per week (on karaoke night) and see if that actually affects my weight loss at all.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Color my world

A couple months ago I saw a facebook post from an artist named Brenden Sanborn, along with a sample of his work.  I followed the link to his website and started falling in love.

To me, there is something so soothing and relaxing about watercolors.  But then to find that this gay artist creates watercolors of men and male couples just pushed me over the edge.  The signed prints were so reasonably priced I had to order a few!

They arrived before Christmas (with a hand-written note from the artist, thanking me for supporting his art) so I thought I might frame them and give them to Spouse as a Christmas gift, even though we don't really exchange gifts with each other anymore.  This would have been more of a gift for both of us.  But I wasn't able to decide what kind of frame I wanted, nor had I settled on exactly where these were going to hang, so I postponed the frame purchase.  Every week or so I would check the frame selection at HomeGoods but nothing really made me pull the trigger until this week.

I found these weathered-looking painted wood frames at HomeGoods for $9.99 each and I knew right then and there that they were what I wanted.  I brought them home and yesterday I inserted my signed prints and hung them in our bathroom.  

These are hung above our bath towel bars.  (Click the photo to enlarge.)
Left: "Timeless Love"  Right: "One Last Summer Swim"
I especially love the one of the guys on the beach since going to the beach is a big element of mine and Spouse's life.

These are also hung in our bathroom but these are in the water closet.  (Click the photo to enlarge.)
Left: "Let Me Be Your Shelter"  Right: "A Night In Paris"

The one on the right is especially apropos since Spouse took me to Paris for my 50th birthday.  

I really like all of his watercolors, and it makes me feel good to support an artist who makes a living from creating art.  When Spouse came home from work and saw them on the wall he was very pleasantly surprised.  He confessed that he wasn't as fond of them the 1st time he saw them (unframed, in plastic), but he said he really thought they looked great in the frames I selected.  

Check out his work and see if you don't find yourself ordering some!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Censorship

So I log into Blogger yesterday or today (I forget which) and happen to see this notice at the top of the dashboard about a change to blog content beginning in late March.  I clicked on the link and read the notice.  Blogs that contain nudity that isn't considered 'artistic' or 'educational' will have to either remove that content or Blogger will make the blog private.  

I guess it remains to be seen how 'artistic' is defined.  I mean, I find almost all nudity to be artistic.

The interesting thing is that some blog writers received the notice via email, indicating their blog would likely be affected.  I did not get the email, so I'm assuming mine is not affected, but I'm really not sure.  My blog does not contain nude genitalia so I do not have content advisory that other blogs do.  Maybe that has something to do with it.  But my blog definitely does have nudity, so I'm not sure if nudity without showing genitalia is 'artistic' or not.

But I must say that I find all of this disappointing and bothersome.  YouTube and Facebook have always censored content and prohibited nudity.  I believe a big part of Blogger's popularity has been the fact that it did NOT censor content.  Blogger writers have been able to say and post whatever they want, be it 'artistic', 'educational', titillating, or smutty.  Its the very reason why we're HERE and not on Facebook and YouTube.

If blogs are forced to go 'private', how does a blog writer invite readers to the newly private blog?  How does a reader ask to be invited to a private blog?

I guess the other option is for blog writers to change platforms.  But whose to say that WordPress and other blog platforms won't follow suit?

I'm really not sure what to think about this whole situation, but I definitely feel disappointed that Blogger has decided to censor blog content.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Talent

Just about any pop singer (Katy Perry, Mariah Carey, Cher, etc) can make a great song in a studio full of sound engineers who can auto-tune and digitally correct their sound.  This is called technology.

But THIS, ladies and gentlemen, isn't technology.  Its called talent:

Technically correct LIVE singing filled with dynamics, emotion, control, and restraint.  These are attributes of talent that can't be duplicated with technology during a live performance.

Kudos to Lady Gaga for a beautiful tribute to these classic American songs, while simultaneously showing the world she's much more than just a pop singer.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Share/Cher Sunday

So this was happened in our house:

Me:  Was that your mom on the phone?  What's she up to?
Spouse:  Yeah.  Not much; she's going to the movies tomorrow.
Me:  What's she going to see, Fifty Shades of Grey?

This made us both laugh because Spouse's mother is an 85 year old Italian Catholic woman who calls any movie with an 'R' rating a "dirty movie".  Even if she wanted to see it, she'd be too afraid someone from church would see her there.

Spouse:  No, she's going to see The Theory of Everything with her new friend Beverly.  They met a church on Share Sunday.
Me:  Cher Sunday???  Is that when everyone wears feather headresses and sequined Bob Mackie knock-offs to church???

We both cracked up laughing, picturing THIS woman...
 dressed like THIS woman...
...at church.

Spouse:  You are insane, you know that??  (Still laughing)

Oh, but I wasn't finished.  In my very best Jack McFarland imitating Cher voice I began singing: "Praise Christ from whom all blessings flow..." complete with Cher's signature 'fall off' treatment on the word 'flow'.  I could barely finish this before collapsing into complete hysterics!

When I managed to pull myself together I continued imitating Cher's speech: 
 "Come on Chaz, let's go to church!  Its mother f*ckin' Cher Sunday for Chrissake!!"

More uncontrollable laughter!!

Spouse:  You need professional psychological help.
Me:  Laughter's the best medicine!



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Goodbye

If you've commented on my blog posts in the past you may have seen comments from Wayne Da'Cajun.  He and I have read and commented on each other's blogs for a couple years now.  I learned that he passed away very early yesterday morning, after a long and valiant fight with cancer.  How fitting that Da'Cajun (originally from New Orleans) would choose Fat Tuesday to depart this world.

I'm not going to pretend that we were close friends.  In reality, we 'knew' each other mostly from reading each others blogs.  He worked at a restaurant I frequent, so we've met in person several times but had no time for substantive conversation there.  We also met at the blogger meet-up here in DE back in 2013, where we had more opportunity to spend time together.

I can say with confidence that Wayne was a lovely person.  His thoughtful and intelligent blog posts were very different from my style of writing, but they were completely him.

He was known for his smile, which everyone who knew him will sorely miss.
Photo lifted from Wayne's facebook page


Monday, February 16, 2015

Keeping it local

Spouse & I decided we wanted an electric space heater.  

This was last Fri, Feb 13, still very much wintertime, even here at the beach.  So we went to Lowe's, where we'd seen heaters before, but they had none on this visit.  Next we went to Home Depot, but they had none either.  Finally we went to Walmart only to find they had none as well.

As I mentioned, its mid-February and still very much wintertime, yet no space heaters were available for purchase.

But do you know what they had in the store where the space heaters had been??

Grass seed.  Fertilizer.  Patio furniture. 

Remember that its winter and the temperatures have been below freezing at least at night.  There is no point in spreading grass seed on frozen ground, and it will be at least 2-3 months before anyone around here will be able to use outdoor furniture.

The same thing happens in other stores.  A few years ago I tried to find a pair of navy shorts in early July.  Nearly all the clothing stores had their winter coats and sweaters out.  Not a single pair of navy shorts in any size to be found.

Last Sept I went to the Dollar Tree and they had Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas merchandise in the store all at the same time.  In Sept.  This rushing of the seasons is equally annoying to me.  Who wants to buy Christmas cookie tins and have them sit around for 3 months?

This begs the questions:  Why do stores insist on selling out and not replenishing seasonal items when they are still in season?  Why do stores insist on filling up the shelves and isles with merchandise people can't use for 2-3 months?  Whose interests does this serve?  Certainly not the public's.

So Fri night Spouse & I returned home and I ordered an electric space heater from Amazon.com.  There were multiple brands and models to choose from, and with our Prime membership the shipping was free and they promised delivery by Sun.  It arrived on Sun as promised.

I normally try to shop locally because it invests in retailers who provide local jobs for people in my local community.  But I couldn't help but think about the fact that my local retailers don't seem nearly as concerned with providing me with seasonal merchandise as I am to support their stores and employees.  

Maybe this is the new reality.  Maybe brick-n-mortar stores will just provide next season's merchandise for those who really want to plan ahead, and those of us who want in-season merchandise will just obtain it from afar.  I hadn't been thinking that way, but I am now.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's day myths debunked

Valentine's day is tomorrow.  This week several of my favorite shows (The Middle, Modern Family, Blackish, etc) aired their Valentine's day episodes which I enjoyed.

While Valentine's day is supposed to be the holiday celebrating love, I'm disturbed by the increasing amount of people who hate it.  When I hear the reasons why some people hate this holiday it sounds like a bunch of sour grapes to me.

So that is why I've decided to debunk several Valentine's day myths for you.  You're welcome.

Myth:  Valentine's day reminds single people that they are alone.
Reality:  Christmas reminds Jews, Atheists, and Jehovah's Witnesses that they aren't getting any gifts that day.  Big deal!  Its not their holiday!  Its 1 day out of 365 so don't be a hater.  You wouldn't despise someone with a cupcake because you're on a diet!

Myth:  You can't get a restaurant reservation.
Reality:  You can if you don't wait until the last minute.  Put it on your calendar on Jan 14th to make a dinner reservation for Valentine's day.  A month ahead you'll have your choice of where to dine.

Myth:  If you do get a reservation, the restaurant will be crowded and over-priced.
Reality:  Again, if you aren't Last Minute Larry you can make a reservation for a place with modest prices.  Or, you can just enjoy spending the evening with your loved one and not worry about the cost.  Or, you can cook a lovely and romantic dinner for your sweetie at home and avoid the restaurants entirely.

Myth:  I'll have to buy expensive roses and chocolates.
Reality:  No you don't.  While those things are common on Valentine's day, there's no law that says you can't get an arrangement of beautiful cut flowers instead of roses, or your sweetie's favorite candy bar instead of a box of chocolates.  Be creative! 

Myth:  I'll have to get a stupid, mushy card that's not my style.
Reality:  What could be more romantic than making your own Valentine's card?  Pick up some inexpensive supplies at the dollar store and make your own card - romantic or funny - that IS your style.  It can say whatever you want it to say!

Myth:  There's so much pressure to find a nice gift.
Reality:   While there is a limit to how many stuffed animals or pieces of jewelry one should give, in reality Valentine's day gifts are no different that birthday or Christmas gifts.  Don't wait until the last minutes.  Use your imagination and take some time to think of what you're sweetie may have hinted recently.  Or, think of the his/her hobbies and get something related to one of them.  It doesn't have to be expensive to be meaningful.

Myth:  If you're single there's nothing for you to do on Valentine's day.
Reality:  Wrong!  Plan to get together with some of your single friends, dress up nice and cute and go to happy hour at your favorite bar/pub.  It will be less crowded than usual since the couples won't be there.  Plus, you may meet someone else single there.  Or, invite a few friends over, order Chinese delivery, and watch a movie or a scripted series marathon.

In a perfect world everyone would have a special someone, would tell them often that they love them, and would bring them gifts and cards and flowers for no reason.  But most of us do not live in such a perfect world so Valentine's day is the day we are reminded to express our feelings.  This is not a bad thing!