Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We're expecting...

For several months Spouse & I have been checking the local SPCA website for a playmate/sibling for Marvin.  We think he'd really enjoy a playmate, and we'd like another Chihuahua, but have had no luck finding another rescue.

One of Spouse's colleagues also has a Chihuahua and volunteered to help us find another.  Yesterday she texted Spouse a photo of 3 available Chihuhua puppies that were available from friends of friends, and he forwarded it to me.

What???  A puppy???

Initially I'm very apprehensive since I've never had a puppy before.  How would we manage until the puppy was old enough to house train?

We talked through some of the details and I agreed to go see the pups this evening after work.  The dark male and the light female were already spoken for, so just the light male was available.  All 3 pups and their mom and dad were playing in the backyard when we arrived, and we were pleased that none of them barked or growled at us.  To the contrary, mom and dad greeted us and welcomed our petting and scratching them.  This is a very good indicator that the pups' personalities will be friendly and laid back, similar to Marvin's.

We each held the light male pup who snuggled right up to my chest.  
I could tell Spouse really, really wanted the light pup so we agreed to claim him.  He's scheduled for shots on Sun, and we have house guests this weekend, so we agreed to pick up the new little guy on Sun afternoon.

Unless something changes, his name will be Walter Nelson.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Funeral

Spouse & I arrived at the hotel in PA at 5:30 and greeted his mom, sister, and 2 brothers who had arrived a little earlier.  After a brief visit with them, we changed clothes and went to funeral home.  Only this one isn't called a funeral home, its called a Life Celebration Center.  Isn't that sweet?  Its almost cheery enough to make you forget that someone died, only that's the reason you're there.

The viewing was from 6-9pm, and we arrived about 6:15.  There was already a line to view the body (which is always creepy in my opinion) and greet Aunt Antoinette and Uncle Domenic's 2 sons, Anthony and Fiorenzo.  Spouse & I were happy that so many of his cousins came from both near and far.  Several of us visited in the anteroom while those in line paid their respects.  There were several photo collages assembled to showcase Uncle Domenic and those he loved.  A TV in the anteroom ran a slide show of even more photos.

We were impressed with the number of people who came, but I guess we shouldn't have been surprised since Uncle Domenic & Aunt Antoinette went to the same church for many years, had the same neighbors for many years, belonged to the same social groups (including the Sons of Italy) for many years, and were active in their community.  Spouse whispered that some of those who came to the viewing looked as if they could be extras from "The Sopranos".  I whispered back that we were on the set of "My Big Fat Catholic Italian Funeral".  When the line finally subsided at nearly 8:30, we paid our respects and and offered kind words to Aunt Antoinette, Anthony, and Fiory.

Since none of us had eaten dinner, Spouse's mom, sister, and 2 brothers went with us to a Mexican restaurant near our hotel.

The next morning we arrived at the church at 9:45 for the funeral which was supposed to start at 10am.  Spouse's sister sat with us in the back rather than in the front pews reserved for family because Spouse did not want to be 'obvious' about not going up to partake in communion.  We whispered to each other as we saw cousins and their spouses and children arrive, but there was no sign of Aunt Antoinette or Uncle Domenic's coffin.  Spouse asked "What time is it?"  I looked at my silenced phone and responded "10:04."  Without missing a beat Spouse said "Uncle Domenic is going to be late for his own funeral."

This struck me as absolutely hilariously funny and I struggled like Mary Tyler Moore at Chuckles the Clown's funeral to restrain my laughter.  

I usually don't have much in common with Catholic theology but I must say that the Priest's funeral sermon was probably one of the most practical, uplifting, yet sensitive I've ever heard.  He spoke of having talked with Domenic days prior to his death and shared that Domenic was not sad or scared of his imminent death.  According to the Priest Domenic said he'd lived a long and good life, had a wonderful family, and knew that what was waiting for him on the other side was even better.  He was ready to go.  I thought this was likely comforting to those who share his belief in Heaven, and was certainly more personal than just reading archaic Bible verses.  There were likely 150 people there.

After the funeral mass the family and some others went to the cemetery (next to a freeway) for a short reading.  Everyone was handed flowers to place on the coffin.  Fortunately they did not lower the coffin into the grave until everyone had left.  (I remember that horrible detail when my grandmother died many years ago, which I find to be unnecessarily brutal.)  Then we all went to a local restaurant for a luncheon.

A woman named Nancy and her husband were seated at the table with Spouse's mom, sister, cousin, brother, and the 2 of us.  Nancy had met Spouse's mom before, but asked how each of us was related to her.  When it came to me, I said I was her son-in-law.  However, later in the conversation Spouse's sister mentioned that her husband was not here.  Nancy looked back at me and asked "How are you related again?"  My blue eyes and pale complexion made it obvious that I wasn't a blood relative.  I repeated "I'm Evelyn's son-in-law."  Nancy said pointing at Spouse's sister "But her husband isn't here and she's the only daughter, right?"  There was a brief pause and then I said calmly "That's right.  I'm married to him" and pointed to Spouse.  Nancy looked confused.  "You're married?" she asked, to which I responded "Yes..." and smiled.  "Where did you get married?" she asked.  "In our living room" I answered.  "Did you have a Justice of the Peace?" she inquired.  "No, our very good friend was a pastor so he married us." I answered.  Additional questions followed and I began to wonder if the others at the table were getting uncomfortable with this extended inquisition, but I decided to capitalize on the opportunity to share with this 70-something year old Catholic woman how 2 gay men live, love, and marry.

While I'd prefer to never attend another funeral, I can see why many cultures still perpetuate the practice.  To some it provides closure.  It offers family, friends, and neighbors an opportunity to provide comfort.  In our case, it created a non-negotiable date for far-flung family member to return home and share remembrances, commune, laugh, cry.  As I age, I suppose I will have to attend funerals with greater frequency than I have in the past.  Hopefully I'll be seated with more Nancys.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Road trip

Today I am working a 1/2 day (I have a final walk-thru followed by a settlement) and am then coming home to prepare for our road trip.  Spouse has taken the full day off.

We are leaving this afternoon for PA to attend the viewing and funeral of Spouse's uncle Domenic.  He had been in poor health for many years.  The viewing is tonight from 6-9pm and the funeral is tomorrow at 9am.  Uncle Domenic was Spouse's father's brother.  Since he and his wife, Aunt Antoinette, lived in PA we did not see them very often.  Neither of them should be making interstate car trips, and we only made it up to PA a couple times to see them in the last several years.  Fortunately we did attend their big 50th anniversary party a few years back.

Uncle Domenic made a wonderful impression on me the very 1st time I met him and Aunt Antoinette when they were visiting Spouse's parents.  The house was full of relatives and when I referred to him as Domenic he stopped me mid-sentence.  Pointing to the family members in the room he said to me "Hey, all these people call me Uncle Domenic.  In my eyes you are just as much family as they are, so you call me Uncle Domenic too."

Obviously with my family situation (Jehovah's Witnesses who shunned me when I came out), this warm acknowledgement of my place in his family was certainly appreciated.

Spouses's mother, sister, and 2 of his brothers will also be arriving this afternoon for the viewing and tomorrow's funeral.  According to facebook, several of Spouse's cousins have flown in.  Hopefully it will be an occasion to pay our respects but also reconnect and share some happy, upbeat moments too.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering

Today is the 13th anniversary of 9-11-01, the day that changed America.  I still get chills when I recall the events of that day and my personal experience.
  Many innocent people were killed in the World Trade Center attack, the Pentagon attack, and the hijacked airplane that crashed in PA.  Many more were killed trying to help them.  

On that day and the week following it, there were no Democrats or Republicans, no upper-middle class or lower class, no haves or have-nots.  There were just Americans.

Today we pause to remember those people: mothers, fathers, children, husbands, wives, partners, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors.  

Americans. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Showcase

The Blue Moon began hosting a weekly show this summer called Showcase, which gives an opportunity for local talent (singers, dancers, magicians, etc) to be showcased and talk about their musical inspirations, appearance venues, etc.

Knowing that I won the 2011 Rehoboth Idol contest and that I've been a performer in the LEGENDS shows for the last 4 summers, the emcee invited me to be a part of the Showcase.  I asked if there was a theme I should keep in mind when selecting songs, but I was told no.  This was my opportunity to sing what I wanted.  While this may not sound like a big deal, keep in mind that the LEGENDS show is a celebrity tribute show, so I am not performing as myself; I'm impersonating iconic musical legends.  

In costumes.  And sometimes in wigs, hats, and wacky rhinestone glasses.

So I was really excited for this opportunity to pick 3 songs that I love, that mean something to me, and that a part of my musical development over the years.  And sing in my own clothes.  So this is what I sang:
Why do these songs mean something to me?

I've always loved Linda Ronstadt's music, and I have a childhood memory of writing her a letter when I was like 10 or 11, informing her that I had learned all the harmony parts to all the songs on her recent album, and that if 1 of her background singers were to get sick or leave, I would be fully prepared to step in.  Yeah, I was a confident kid.  Linda's technical talent, song choices, and abundant harmonies have always been favorites of mine.

Again, the harmonies sung by the Fifth Dimension attracted me.  I have a childhood memory of playing with Matchbox cars while my mom ironed clothes in the laundry room with the Fifth Dimension playing in the background.  I'm a sucker for torch songs and One Less Bell is about as torchy as they get.  When Spouse & I were removing the wallpaper from the dining room in our 1st house together in 1996 I remember the Fifth Dimension CD playing over and over again while we worked.

I was 14 when I Love the Nightlife hit the disco charts and I especially liked the stylized way Alicia emphasized the word 'action' which sounded like 'ack-Shawn'.  It was a part of the film and soundtrack for "Priscilla: Queen of the Dessert" in 1994.  I picked it because its fun and upbeat, and everyone knows it so they will often sing along. 

It was a great night!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Splash

I've written many times about how I sing in the LEGENDS show, sing karaoke, and see national talent like Coco Peru, Miss Richfield 1981, Kimberley Locke, and others at the Blue Moon.  Over the last 4+ years I have become friends with the owners and have enjoyed their generosity on several occasions.

The latest occasion for enjoying their generosity was yesterday.  It was the Blue Moon employee appreciation day at Jungle Jims, our local waterpark.  While the entertainers like me are not technically employees, we were all invited.  The Blue Moon owners rented out the water park for the day and had food and beverages brought in for us.  It was very, very nice!

Despite my living here for over 7 years and having visited here for more than 20 years, I'd never been to Jungle Jims before.  I guess I'd assumed that water parks were for kids.  Well I was wrong.  It was a lot of fun to zip down the multiple water slides and drift down the lazy river in a tube.

It is a pleasure to work with people who appreciate those who work for/with them!  If you are ever in the Rehoboth Beach area, be sure to patronize the Blue Moon restaurant and bar.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Long weekend recap

Spouse & I had a nice holiday weekend - 3 days off together, which is unusual for us.

We did some yard work, we watched some TV, we had a few meals with friends, did some laundry,  visited with some friends from a nearby town, and we went to the beach.

The weather was beautiful on Sat: about 75 degrees and very low humidity.  I'm sure glad we did our yard work that day!  Sun & Mon were very hot (90+ degrees) and very humid.  All in all we had a low-key and enjoyable holiday weekend.  How about you?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Holiday weekend

The Labor Day holiday weekend is upon us!

Very often we have company for the Labor Day weekend, so I scheduled myself off work.  But this year we do not have any weekend guests so I'm not sure what Spouse & I will end up doing.  Surely we will go to the beach at some point.

The traffic will no doubt be hellacious as it always is on Labor Day weekend, so maybe we'll stay close to home.

I hope everyone has a great, safe, and fun holiday weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Underwear shopping

As long as I can remember I have only worn white briefs.  I have dabbled once or twice into the colorful bikinis, boxers, and boxer-briefs, have always come back to plain white briefs (PWB).  While I know they aren't stylish like Andrew Christian, NastyPig, or the like, I enjoy the simplicity and stark white cleanliness of PWB.  I'm not dating or hooking up so I don't need to impress anyone with my stylish underwear.  Besides, are 50-year olds even allowed to wear Andrew Christian or Nasty Pig??

Recently I determined I was in need of some new underwear, and since I had a $20 rewards certificate for Marshalls/TJ Maxx/HomeGoods, I decided I would get my new underwear at Marshalls.  While I found a multitude of white undershirts, v-necks, and tanks, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me that there were no PWB.  Oh sure, there were the individual Calvin Klein white briefs, 1 per box for $12 each.  But I was looking for a 4-pack or 5-pack for no more than $20.

It just wasn't going to happen, at least not that day, and not in that Marshalls.  So I contemplated coming back another day in hopes the inventory would be different, or breaking out of my PWB routine.  I decided there was no real 'reason' I needed to stick with PWB since they were getting so hard to find, and ended up with a 5-pack of Reebok cotton briefs for $9.99.  Make that two 5-packs, since I had $20 to spend.
So now I have 10 new pairs of comfortable, cotton briefs in an array of colors.  Not that anyone sees them but me and occasionally Spouse.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A hot mesh

Over the weekend we stopped at the grocery store for a single item, so I dropped Spouse off at the front door and then turned around and waited for him to come back out.

While I waited, I happened to see this man coming toward the store entrance.  He looked to be in his 70s, had silver/white hair, glasses, and was wearing cut-off jeans shorts and a mesh t-shirt.

Yep, you read that right.  Mesh t-shirt.  I couldn't believe my eyes!

Now, if you're like 22 years old, work out like a fiend and have a rockin' body, then you are entitled to flaunt your fabulousness in a mesh t-shirt.

But if you're an old geezer wearing cut-offs and a mesh t-shirt, then you are simply a hot mesh!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Make my day

About a year and a 1/2 ago I wrote about how some stranger made my day by paying for my lunch when I'd forgotten my wallet.  The experience made me feel terrific all day long, and I told myself I would 'pay it forward' whenever I could and hopefully make someone else's day.

A few month's later I overheard the secretary from another office in my same building talking to a colleague about having a hard week.  A sick dog, unexpected and expensive vet bills, etc.  She was just not having a good week.

So I got a yellow post-it note and wrote "Smile!  Someone thinks you're terrific" on it, and stuck it to a $20 bill and slipped them into a plain white envelope.  When I saw the secretary leave the office, I slipped the envelope under her closed door.  I felt jazzed, as I imagined my little random act of kindness putting a smile on her face.

Just the other day I was treating myself to some delicious frozen yogurt at SnoYo when a young Latino couple came in with their 2 adorable kids.  The little boy was probably 3 years old and the little girl was younger.  They both squealed with excited as their parents topped their frozen yogurt with all kinds of things.  When the 3 year old was handed his cup by his mother, he said "Thank you".

The lighbulb went off in my head.  When I finished my cup of frozen deliciousness, I went to the register and asked to buy a gift card.  After paying for it, I asked the girl behind the register to do me a favor by waiting until I left and then giving the gift card to the young family.  Again, I think my little random act of kindness gave me as much joy as it gave the recipients, although I didn't see them receive it.

So, if you're feeling down or are having a bad day, perform a random act of kindness for someone else.  You'll make their day and yours at the same time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cousins

I watch all kinds of real estate, home renovation/improvement, and decorating/design shows on TV.  I love them all!

I especially enjoyed "Kitchen Cousins" and "Cousin on Call", featuring real-life cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri.  They manage to be energetic without looking crazy.  And speaking of looking, these handsome guys are certainly easy on the eyes!
John on the left; Anthony on the right
From watching the show you can tell they are both in nice shape.  A couple times I'd Googled their names with the word 'shirtless' afterward to no avail.  So you can imagine how excited I was to see a video on facebook with glimpses of both guys shirtless!  Apparently they are doing some summer barbequing videos where they grill food and make new cocktails.  

This one shows both guys, with Anthony shirtless. This one shows both guys, with John shirtlessTo see all the guys' grilling and cocktail mixing videos and the recipes they make, check out this site.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mild weather

This week has been uncharacteriscally mild here in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Typically at this time of year (mid-August) the daytime temperatures would be in the upper-80s to mid-90s and the humidity level would be very high, producing a 'sauna' effect.  We also refer to this time as the 'dog days of summer'.

But every day this week the temperatures have been in the upper-70s to low-80s and the humidity has been almost non-existent.  Spouse and Marvin and I have had dinner out on the screened porch several times and even slept with the bedroom windows partially opened.  

Not that I'm complaining - its been fantastic - but it does make you a little leery.  Does this mean we're going to be blasted by a heat wave at the end of the month??  Or does this mean we're going to have another colder-than-usual winter??

I'm going to try and not over-think it, but instead, just enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fart Car

I've written many times on this blog about alternative energies like electricity, wind, and solar.  I'm a big proponent of 100% electric cars like the Nissan Leaf which use no fossil fuels and emit no pollution.

But I just became aware of a new car that is powered by a 'natural' gas that is renewable.  Check this out:
I can't wait to order my new Flatula Backfire!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Sweet dreams are made of this

So here's my recent dream:

I'm showing a house to a client (I'm a realtor) and I notice this really fabulous a cappella vocal jazz playing.  I wonder over to this old-school console stereo/record player and see an album is playing.  The music is really good, I'm totally getting into it, and absolutely forget about my client.  Then I see on the other side of the console a folder with sheet music sticking out of it.  As I look at the sheet music I see that its for the same songs that are playing.  This totally excites me!

Next I hear someone enter the room and turn around to find a chunky, ethnic-looking man probably in his mid-60s.  (Note that this is not the client to whom I'm supposed to be showing the house.)  The man walks over to me and says "I'm ready to do your manicure now" and smiles at me.  I think for a second that this is weird, since I've never had a manicure before, and that this man who looks like a character from "The Sapranos" is the manicurist, and that I'm about to get a manicure in a house that I'm supposed to be showing to a client.  Not withstanding all this, I pause for a moment and reply to the man "OK".

The man points to a small stool in front of the old-school console stereo so I sit on it while he walks behind the console and gestures for me to put my hand up on the console.  I do that, and he begins touching and examining my hands.

"Your name is Mark" he begins.  

"That's right!" I reply, more than a little surprised, since neither of us had exchanged names and I certainly don't remember having made an appointment with him.  He looks at my other hand and feels the length of my index finger. 

"You have a long-term boyfriend, like 25 years, who is in the construction industry..." he continues.

"Um, no..." I reply.  I'm a little disappointed at this 'miss'.  Then I wonder silently "Is this a manicure or a psychic reading?"  The man looks up from my hands and smiles at me again.  My heart is racing because I anticipate that he is somehow reading my energy through my hands, or something similar.  I can hardly wait for what he'll say next.

And then I woke up. I tried to go back to sleep to continue the dream but it didn't work. 

I don't believe dreams 'mean' anything.  My dreams are often a mixture of real life people and events jumbled up with TV show characters and plots.  I really hoped I'd get to continue this one though.