Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Resolution

Last night Spouse spoke with his sister Mary again.  As it turns out, she had not effectively communicated some important details last week regarding the flea issue at Spouse's mom's house.

From last week's conversation we understood the flea problem to be very recent, but upon further conversation it appears the initial infestation occurred a month ago.  

Kind of an important piece of information to omit!!  The house and yard were treated back then, and again 2 weeks later as a precaution.  No fleas have been observed since then.

So all of the talking, investigating of alternatives, and negotiating with Spouse I went through for the last several days was all for nothing!

Spouse is making the stuffing and I'm making corn casserole tonight, then we'll head out tomorrow morning with Marvin & Walter, arriving at Spouse's mom's house before noon.  I'll pick up my aunt Mary at 1:30 and we are scheduled to have Thanksgiving dinner at Mary & Eric's house at 2:00.  We'll likely leave the boys at Spouse's mom's house while we eat since that will be their usual nap time.  After dinner we'll probably bring the boys to Mary's house so the family can meet Walter.

We'll stay overnight at Spouse's mom's house as usual, and probably head home around noon or possibly after lunch on Fri.  I'm sure we'll have a nice time but I am also sure it will not be without drama.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pre-Thanksgiving drama

We're still a week from Thanksgiving but the drama has already begun.

Ever since Spouse & I got together in 1996, the holidays have always been set:  Louis & Karen host Easter, Spouse & I host Thanksgiving, and Mary & Eric host Christmas.  Even when we moved to DE we made it clear that we would continue to host "our" holiday Thanksgiving, which we have... until this year.

Mary & Eric's oldest son David went away to college in northwestern PA back in Aug and has not been home since then.  He will be coming home for Thanksgiving and said he didn't want to go to DE because then he wouldn't be able to see his girlfriend and buddies during his school break.  So Mary asked if she could host Thanksgiving this year.  Spouse & I were initially a little disappointed that we were 'losing' our holiday, but then I looked on the bright side and thought about NOT having to prepare for 8 house guests, NOT having to wash countless pots and pans, and NOT having to wash multiple loads of sheets and towels after everyone left.  It was going to be OK.

Then came the call from Mary last night, informing us that Spouse's mom's house (where we always stay when we visit the family) was infested with fleas.  I immediately began to scratch at the imaginary fleas on my head.  Seriously, I am totally creeped out by the notion of fleas.  Then I feared for the safety of our dogs who always travel with us to Spouse's mom's house.

Rather than totally freak out and refuse to go at all (which would have been completely warranted in my opinion), I came up with a 2 workable alternatives:
  • Drive down to Mary's house with our dogs, have Thanksgiving dinner, spend the entire day/evening there, and then drive home late that night
  • Spend the day at Mary's, stay in a pet-friendly hotel overnight, visit again on Fri before going home
Unfortunately Spouse was not very receptive to either idea.  We can't stay at Louis & Karen's because Marvin does not get along with their dog.  So Spouse suggested we stay at Mary & Eric's house.  I really didn't want to do this because Mary is dog-sitting her neighbor's dog and we have no idea if our dogs will get along with that dog.  Plus, our dogs are used to sleeping a lot during the day while we're at work.  Staying at Mary's house would mean there will not be any 'quiet time' for the dogs to nap.  Spouse said we'd put them in their crates in a bedroom and they'd be fine, but I'm afraid there would be too much commotion for them to fall asleep and they'd feel like they were being punished, being kept away from everyone.

So we have decided NOT to make a decision yet, and see how things develop.  

Please pray to whatever Deity you believe in or ask the Universe to send me peace and serenity.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Proof-reading

Its called proof-reading, people.  It doesn't take that long and it can help you NOT look like an idiot.

















Monday, November 17, 2014

Walter update

It was a big weekend for Walter.

We decided to try letting him sleep in the bed with us (and big brother Marvin) Fri night.  Until then he'd been sleeping in his vinyl crate next to our bed, with a wee-wee pad in it.  Since he is young and small, he wasn't able to hold his pee all night.  But we'd noticed for the last 2-3 weeks the wee-wee pad was dry in the mornings, so we decided to give it a try.  He was so happy!  He burrowed under the covers (like big brother Marvin does) and within a few minutes he was sound asleep.  No accidents in the bed the entire weekend.

Yesterday we bought him a metal crate just like the one big brother Marvin sleeps in when we're not home.  We had been containing Walter in the bathroom with his bed, a toy, and wee-wee pads on the floor.  Again, now that he's older and he has better bladder control, the pads have been dry.  So last evening we put him in his new crate, right next to Marvin's crate, when we went out to dinner.  When we returned they both were fine.  We use treats to lure Walter into the crate.  Marvin goes into his regardless of whether a treat is promised or not.

Walter has his 3rd and final puppy visit at the vet this coming week.  I'm curious to see how much he will weigh.

Friday, November 14, 2014

New art

Last year my colleague and friend Garrett went to visit his father who lives/works in Cuba.  Garrett noticed that most Cubans drive old American cars from the 1950s, and knowing how much I love 1950s cars, Garrett brought me back some beautiful matted, signed photos.  What a thoughtful gift!!

I'm embarrassed to say that those photos have been sitting in my house unframed for nearly a year now.  I anticipated that getting them custom-framed would be really expensive so I put it off.  But yesterday (my day off work) I came across the photos again and decided I would check my local HomeGoods store to see if they had any standard frames that would work.  So I measured the matted photos and headed over to HomeGoods.  Sure enough, I found terrific black frames for only $16.99 each!  

Two have black mats and one has a white mat.  At first this distressed me, but as I looked at my photos I noticed that two were portrait style and one was landscape style, so I decided that if I put the one landscape style photo into the white matted frame it might look intentional.  So I trimmed the mats slightly to fit, secured them in the frames, and here are the results:
#1
#2
#3
All 3 together
First off, I think the photos are amazing.  They are partially black-and-white and partially color.  I don't know how they do that but its cool.  Obviously the cars are super cool as well.  But I think the photos look so terrific in these frames, all 3 of which only cost me $50. 

I haven't decided yet where to hang them so for the time being they are on our living room sofa.  Maybe this weekend Spouse & I will agree on a place to showcase our new art.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Friends

As a realtor I am invited to lots of local fundraisers and charitable events.  I could be out at one of these nearly every night of the week if I wanted, but I try to pick just a few to attend.  Recently I attended a fundraiser sponsored by our local realtor association, the proceeds of which will be used to provide toys, clothing, and home goods for needy families in our area this Christmas.  This event provides the funds for the shopping event I participated in 2 years ago.

Each year this fundraiser has a different theme, and this year's theme was Mardi Gras.

I took this selfie of me (wearing Mardi Gras beads) and my friend Joey (wearing a Mardi Gras mask).  I've been friends with Joey for nearly 20 years.  We met doing volunteer work.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Film Festival - day 3

Here are the films I saw on Sat:
Life Partners
Sasha is a single lesbian and Paige is her straight best friend.  They do everything together, including binge-watching reality TV shows.  However, Sasha feels left out when Paige has less time for her when her relationship with Tim gets serious.  This film explores friendships, codependency, introspection, and loyalty in an honest and comedic way.  3 out of 5 stars.


10% Shorts
This was a collection of these short films:
Alone With People - A teenage lesbian comes out to her family.  5 out of 5 stars.  (No trailer found.)
Cruisin' Electric (1980) - A spoof commercial for a children's toy based on the iconic 1980 film "Cruisin'".  4 out of 5 stars.

Dinner at 40 - A gay man's insecurities peak at his birthday 40th dinner.  3 out of 5 stars.  (No trailer found.)
Jellyfish - A transvestite is befriended and then abandoned by a local fisherwoman.  3 out of 5 stars.  (No trailer found.)
Safe Word - A comical look at a couple's experiment with BDSM.  4 out of 5 stars.
See trailer here.
Secrets & Toys - Tension fills the studio apartment of a lesbian couple when one woman's mother comes to visit.  3 out of 5 stars.  (No trailer found.)
Tom in America - While rummaging for items to sell at a flea market, an older man finds a Tom of Finland doll takes him on a strange journey.  4 out of 5 stars.


Friday, November 07, 2014

Film Festival - day 2

Here are the films I saw today:
Lilting
This film artfully shows the struggle and lengths an English man is willing to go in order to care for his deceased boyfriend's Chinese mother who doesn't doesn't like him and doesn't speak English.  The details of the story are cleverly told via real-time interactions and flashbacks.  There are enough comedic elements to keep it from being too sad, but if you're like me you will need a tissue or two.  5 out of 5 stars.


Gerontophilia
20-something Lake gets a job at a nursing home and becomes aware that he is less interested in his young girlfriend than he is in the senior citizen men at the home.  When he perceives that a favorite male patient with whom he's become involved is being mistreated by the apathetic workers, he takes matters into his own hands.  While I found this film's subject to be interesting, I felt the main character Lake seemed detached and not at all passionate as most 20-somethings would be.  3 out of 5 stars.

Love Is Strange
When George is fired from his job at a Catholic school for getting married to his partner of many years, the couple has to sell their Manhattan apartment.  They are unable to find a new place to live before they must move out, so each man must stay with a relative or friend.  Not having a true home, disrupting their routines, and getting in the way of their graceous hosts causes a lot of stress for everyone.  Alfred Molina and John Lithgow offer stellar performances.  4 out of 5 stars.

I encourage you to look for these 3 films on Netflix, watch them in their entirety online, and/or find them at your local art house theatre.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Film Festival - day 1

I'm excited because today is the 1st day of the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival!  If you've read my blog for awhile you'll know this is an annual favorite event in which I've participated for 15 years.  I take off work in order to fit in as many films as possible into the 4-day festival.

What exactly is an independent film?  Why do I like them so much?  While Hollywood films are created to make money, indie films are created to tell stories. While Hollywood films typically have big budgets and must fit into the MPAA's rating system (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, X), indie films usually have little-to-no budget and are unrated. While Hollywood films usually fit into comedy, drama, or action categories, indie films are typically difficult to fit into a specific genre because their stories often tackle unusual and taboo subjects.  While Hollywood film endings are almost always predictable, indie films often have unexpected endings or leave the ending up to the viewer.  I just love them!

So here are the films I saw today:
52 Tuesdays 
16 year old Billie learns that her mother is transitioning to become a male and that she must live with her father for a year in order to give her mother space to reinvent herself.  Mother and daughter agree to spend time together every Tuesday. Billie undergoes a bit of transformation herself as she explores her independence and sexuality.  The film consists of slices of life that were actually filmed on each Tuesday of the year, so physical appearances and emotional developments are authentic.  4 out of 5 stars.

Appropriate Behavior
Shirin is a bisexual Iranian-American who is not 'out' to her family.  Her recent break-up from her girlfriend Maxine throws Shirin into a series of wild but comical escapades.  Living up to her families expectations and her own desire for acceptance are not easily joined, but I laughed along with Shirin through her ups and downs.  4 out of 5 stars.

The Way He Looks
Giovana has a crush on her best friend Leonardo who is blind, but he doesn't seem to notice so she helps him navigate in order to spend time with him.  Then Gabriel enters the picture, and an awakening takes place between the 2 young men. While Leonardo struggles for some independence from his overly-protective parents, he feels no struggle regarding his feelings for Gabriel.  This was a beautifully acted and well-paced film.  5 out of 5 stars.

I recommend adding all 3 of these films to your Netflix queue and/or seeing them at your local art house cinema.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Beardy boy

This super-sexy stud comes to you courtesy of MAC at Yummy of the Day.  'Yummy' is just the beginning of the adjectives I that apply to this guy...

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

I voted


Although this is not a presidential election year,  I believe that all elections are important so I made sure I voted this morning before work.  All day long I saw facebook posts that read "If you don't vote you can't complain" and the like.  If facebook is any indication, it seemed there was better turn out than expected for this election.

Back when I lived in the very densely populated area of Northern VA we would often have to stand in line for an hour or more to vote.  Life is different here in my little beach town.  I walked into the voting place at 8:30 am and found NO line.  I checked in with the ancient woman at the desk, voted on the electronic voting machine, and was done in less than 2 minutes.

When I was finished, the poll volunteer gestured toward the exit.  I stepped over toward it and stopped to wait for Spouse.  The volunteer looked at me for a few seconds and said "I think your wife already left" to which I replied without missing a beat "Nope, my husband is still in the voting booth."  The volunteer raised his eyebrows, smiled, and said "Oh, okay then" and we both chuckled.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Appreciation

Last night I went to a realtor appreciation party hosted by a local real estate attorney that I sometimes refer my clients to.  She used to have this realtor appreciation party in Dec but found that it was harder and harder to schedule without overlapping some other party/event, so she decided to move it to late Oct and make it a costume party.  (Spouses were invited but mine declined.)

The party was a lot of fun!  Nearly everyone was dressed in costumes.  I resurrected an old favorite of mine: Boy George.  Here is a photo of me from 2006 in the same costume.
Richard Simmons, Boy George, Bride of Frankenstein
There was live music, costume prizes, door prizes, food and drinks - what more could you ask of a week night Halloween party?

Spouse & I are going to a friend's Halloween party on Fri night and I'll probably be wearing this costume again.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween comes early here

Since Halloween is this coming Fri, I would think that most bars and clubs would have their big Halloween parties on Fri or Sat night.  Glad I did a little research and found the contrary: this past Sat was the big night.  Maybe this was done to coincide with the increasingly popular Sea Witch Festival which took place this past weekend.

Spouse & I went to dinner Sat evening with Steven & Thad and Joe P, and then we headed over to the Blue Moon.  They "go all out" every year for Halloween, including a big costume party.  None of us were in costume but we figured we'd go anyway to see the clever, creative, and funny costumes of those who were (obviously) more into it than we were.  It was fun and we stayed for about an hour.

On Sun we met Steven & Thad, Robin, and Joe P for breakfast at the Crystal, and then tried on the costumes Spouse had purchased for Marvin & Walter.  I was a little surprised they kept them on, as I remember last year Marvin repeatedly pulled off the Santa hat we'd put on him.
Trying on their costumes at home
Once we had both of our hot dogs in their carriers we headed to the Sea Witch Festival's Costume Dog Parade where we met up with Steven & Thad, Robin, and Joe P.  It had probably been 10 or more years since we'd been to this, and I can't imagine why.  It was a blast!!  There were likely over 100 dogs in costumes, many of which were being walked or pushed in baby carriages or pulled in wagons or floats by their owners.  We didn't enter our guys in the parade as we didn't know how they'd react to being around so many dogs, but we stood along the parade route and enjoyed the show.  Of course Walter drew a lot of attention both before and after the parade as everyone commented on his size (3.5 lbs) and his overwhelming adorableness.  Being there took a lot out of both dogs (sensory overload anyone?) and both fell asleep in their carriers on the 15 minute drive back home. 
Joe P gets lots of puppy kisses from Walter

Friday, October 24, 2014

Vet visit

Yesterday was Walter's 2nd of 3 vet visits.  The 1st visit was for his new puppy check up and 1st round of shots.  Yesterday he got his 2nd shot, and in a month he'll get his 3rd of 3 shots.

Walter did so well!  He didn't seem to even notice that he got a shot.  The vet looked at me and said "I've had 60 lb German Shepherds wince from a shot like this.  This little guy is brave!"

The vet and the techs love Walter because he doesn't mind being handled.  Many dogs and cats don't like being held or touched by strangers but Walter has never met a stranger.  He even gave the vet some puppy kisses!

Once finished at the vet Walter and I stepped around the corner to my friend's office so he and his colleagues could see Walter.  It turned into a huge love fest with ooos and ahs galore and more puppy kisses.  Then on the way home we stopped at my office so my colleagues could see how much Walter has grown since they saw him a month ago.  At that time he weighed 2.4 lbs, and yesterday he weighed 3.8 lbs.  All that activity left his exhausted so he was happy to take a nap when we got home.

Lots of friends (and even strangers who encounter us on our walks) ask how Marvin & Walter get along.  I wrote earlier that it is a slow but steady progression for Marvin to accept Walter as part of the family.  Initially Marvin would growl if Walter got too close to him, but this happens less and less now.  Marvin now allows Walter to be close to him, as can be seen in this photo of both boys napping on my lap and legs:
Walter is relentless in trying to get big brother to play with him, and on a couple occasions Marvin has acquiesced and chased Walter around the house or played tug-of-war with a toy.  There's more room for progress there, but we are confident it will happen in time.

Thursday, October 23, 2014