Friday, May 20, 2016


Today is the 4th anniversary of Marvin Parker's adoption, or as I call it, his Homecoming.

This was the photo of Marvin on the shelter's website.  They said his eyes were a little groggy because he was just coming off of the anesthesia from his neutering
 We adopted Marvin from our local shelter so we don't know his actual birthday.  Instead, we celebrate the day he joined our family and found his forever home; thus his Homecoming day.

Me & Spouse with Marvin on the back porch
One of my favorite photos; Marvin sleeping on my shoulder
Marvin is typically social.  He's not afraid of strangers and will let nearly anyone pet him and hold him.
Marvin 'took' to Sean immediately when he & Jeffrey visited
 Marvin loves to be petted and will sit on your lap for hours as long as he's getting good scratches.
His Regalness
 Marvin has always loved Spouse's mom.  When we visit he will hop up into her lap for some love.
Sleeping on Grandma's lap on Mother's Day

Bath time
For the most part Marvin gets along well with other dogs.  Sometimes when we're in the yard and someone approaches 'his territory' he will get protective.  He gets along great with Walter.
Marvin, Papa, and younger brother Walter
Marvin is very smart and responds to many verbal commands.
Sleeping while Daddy watches TV
It is rare for Marvin to relax or sleep on his own.  He always wants to be on me or at least touching me.
Marvin just can't tolerate yet another episode of House Hunters

Chillin' on Daddy's shoulder
So today its all about Marvin!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Sometimes I see friends from high school on facebook and can't believe we're the same age.  Maybe I should thank my parents for 'good' genes, or maybe its years of clean living (no drug use), but I definitely look younger than my peers.  

Just sayin'.

Monday, May 16, 2016


We bought a sofa off of Amazon!!

It was becoming more and more apparent that we needed to replace the sofa in our TV room.  I convinced Spouse to join me and look at some styles/fabrics at a local furniture store.  After about 10 minutes he declared that "everything is ugly".

In reality he just didn't want to continue looking at furniture.  He said "shopping in brick and mortar stores is passe" and that it takes so much less time to shop online.  I think this is true in some cases, but not for everything.  I'd really like to sit/lounge on a sofa in person before buying one.

But we didn't.  We were looking for something pretty specific so we checked a couple of furniture store websites and then ended up looking on Amazon and found this:
This is not a photo from the website - this is our sofa in our TV room.

It is "bonded leather", which I'm still not quite sure exactly what that is, but Spouse was keen on it because of the ease of removing dog fur with a quick swipe.  Its a deep red, which looks ok with the rug but I don't like the curtains with it.  No worries though - the curtains were super cheap and almost 10 years old so I'm happy to replace the curtains with new panels.

The best thing about this new sofa is that we don't have to fight over a chaise or ottoman because both sides are recliners!
This is a stock photo from the website, showing one side in the process of reclining.
Some might think its odd or risky to make a 'major purchase' like a sofa online, without having touched or seen it in person.  But this sofa was the same price as the sofa it replaced, which we purchased almost 12 years ago, and came with free shipping, so we decided to take a chance on it.  At least so far we've not been disappointed.  Its quite comfortable and reclines to almost a lying down position if you want.  I normally just put the leg part up.

When Steven & Thad learned that we'd bought a sofa off of Amazon they were barely surprised.  When I questioned them about it they said "You bought a 1959 Cadillac off of eBay sight unseen, so why would we be surprised at this?"

I guess they had a good point.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Mother's Day recap

Yesterday morning Spouse & I packed up the dogs and drove the 2 1/2 hours to DC to spend Mother's Day with his mom and family.  

Our nephew David (aka: Baby David) finished his semester at college last week so he was there when we arrived.  We hadn't seen him since Christmas.  Our niece Anna also arrived shortly after us, with her daughter and boyfriend in tow.  We visited with them and Spouse's mom for a while, and then I picked up my aunt Mary so she could join the fun.  Then Spouse's sister's mother-in-law and brother-in-law arrived.

We brought Marvin & Walter with us.  Typically we'd bring them to Spouse's mom's house and leave them there to sleep while we go to Spouse's sister's house for the meal and visiting.  But since Spouse's mom's house is undergoing renovations in preparation to go on the market, the boys were with us and the family, including Spouse's mom's dog Romeo.  All 3 dogs get along well together, and Walter especially loves chasing Romeo or being chased by Romeo.  It was a pretty day (no rain) so we were outside on the deck and in the fenced yard with the boys a good bit of the time.  We were really pleased with the boys' behavior. With all that activity during the day, Marvin was ready for a nap on Grandma's lap by late afternoon.

We had a delicious early dinner together; a combination of home-made and purchased items, and then Spouse's mom opened her cards and gifts.  Since she loves costume jewelry I picked out this seashell-themed necklace, earrings, and bracelet which I knew she'd love.

We left shortly after 7pm and got home about 9:30.  It was a long but very enjoyable day.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Real estate humor

There is an ongoing joke among my colleagues and me that its only after a home goes under contract that your client says they would have bought it.  This play on the popular Beyonce song made me laugh.

Especially is this true here where many home sales are 2nd homes/vacation homes.  Since people don't need these homes, they can be slow to pull the trigger.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo!

I've decided that Cinco de Mayo is my new favorite holiday.  There are no gifts to buy or wrap, no cards to send, and no travel required.  We just eat Mexican food and drink margaritas.  What could be easier and more fun?!?!

As usual, Spouse & I went to Dos Locos with Steven, Joe P, and Bob.  (Thad was at a spinning class.)  The food is always terrific and the atmosphere is lively and fun.  Spouse & I wore our Dos Locos Cinco de Mayo t-shirts, given to us by the owners (who are also our friends) on previous Cinco de Mayo visits.

Notice my T-shirt from Cinco de Mayo 2015.  I'm uncharacterically wearing my glasses; giving my eyes a break from long-term contact lens use.  I don't know why I posed for this photo sipping on a straw.  I never drink margaritas from a straw, since the rim of the glass is salted.

As usual, we had a great time.  Fortunately we arrived just before the crowd.  We were seated right away, but there were lots of folks waiting for tables when we were leaving.

For posts with photos of previous Cinco de Mayos, click the Cinco de Mayo label at the bottom of this post.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Nielsen family

Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be Nielsen family.  If you're of 'a certain age' you'll remember how prestigious it was to be a family that had your TV viewing counted.  Now in my early 50s I still got excited when this arrived in the mail:

I haven't opened it yet to see what is involved but I will.  

I can only hope that an actual person is looking at the shows we watch, rather than a computer analyzing our TV viewing habits.  "The Real O'Neals", "HSN", "Blackish", "evine Live", "Game of Thrones", "The Rachel Maddow Show", "Girls", "QVC", "Beachfront Bargain Hunt", "Hardball", "Flip or Flop", "The Middle", "Bill Mahr" - what does this crazy combination of programs say about us???

Perhaps that there are 2 different people watching 2 different TVs at least some of the time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Yesterday was DE's primary so I voted, of course.  It's a privilege!
I absolutely love that they give out these stickers to wear around!  Its the small things, people.

I've written before about how much I love being able to vote here.  Its the complete embodiment of small town America.  We vote in an old school (all schools are closed on voting days for this reason) and there are no lines.  I literally walked in, showed my drivers license, signed my name, and voted, all within about 2 minutes.
When we used to live in Northern VA we'd wait in line for an hour sometimes to vote, because that area is so much more densely populated than where we live now.  I like it better this way.

Regardless of who you vote for (Hillary or Bernie, the only 2 choices), get out there and vote!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sunday drive

Yesterday it was bright and sunny and in the low 60s.  I was off work and it seemed like the perfect day to take Big Ella out for some exercise.  A 'Sunday drive', if you will.

My buddies Steven & Thad had nothing to do so they came along for the ride, figuratively and literally.

We drove out to a spot where the road dead ends at a small river.  Most people would call it a creek or stream, but I'm calling it a river because its name has 'river' at the end of it.  When we got there we saw a single car parked and a man standing near it, talking on a cell phone, with a banjo strapped to his torso.  

I said "Now, THERE'S something you don't see everyday:  a man with a banjo talking on a cell phone down by the river!"  They both laughed.  

When the man finished his phone call and began playing his banjo, I snapped this picture.

My inquisitive mind wouldn't let it go, so I had to ponder this situation out loud.

"Do you think he just woke up this morning, looked out the window, and said to himself 'this is a great day to play the banjo outdoors by the river'?" I asked my friends.

"His wife probably won't let him play it at home" answered Steven.  "We've only been listening to him for 30 seconds and I'm already tempted to smash that banjo over his head."

Alrighty then. 

So before roaring up the engine to leave (preventing Steven from violently destroying the man's banjo), I took 1 more picture of 'the river' from the drivers seat of Big Ella. 
Drives like this are a good reminder of the abundant natural beauty that exists so close to home for us.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Unexpected Sunday

Spouse & I had a really good day off together on Sun.  I try to take Sundays off so we have it as a day off together, but they aren't always such good days.

Sometimes I try to get him to go on a little road trip to some nearby town we've never explored before, which is usually met with such resistance that we've never done it.  "What will we do THERE?" he asks.

Sometimes I suggest we accomplish some needed project together, such as sorting through his clothes and bagging up those he wants to donate, providing clothing for the needy AND space in our closet.  This is always met with resistance too.  One of these days I'm simply going to do it without him, which will be easier for me but gives him no input.

But this past Sun HE uncharacteristically suggested we do a few things together.  The weather was nice, so after having breakfast with Steven & Thad we took Marvin & Walter for a nice long walk around the pond in the park near our house.  They really love it and its a pretty walk for us too.

Then we re-arranged the furniture in the family room, and swapped the TVs in the family room and TV room.  (Neither of us are thrilled with the new arrangement so we'll probably move it back.)  

Then we gave the dogs a bath, afterward I washed and dried the towels from said baths.  
Marvin in a towel

Walter trying to 'escape' the laundry sink during his bath
Then we picked up a few things at the drug store before meeting Steven & Thad for dinner.

It was completely unplanned but it was a really good day!

Monday, April 18, 2016


We're fortunate to live in an area that is rather progressive, open, and accepting.  For many years our little beach area has been the place where GLBT folks have spent their beach vacations and invested in 2nd homes.  While there are still conservative, narrow-minded people in the state, DE was ahead of the curve in implementing domestic partnerships which mirrored the benefits and rights of marriage (not every state's DP laws are that thorough), and in granting full marriage equality.  This is not something to take for granted, given the recent hateful legislation passed in NC under the guise of "religious freedom".

In addition to my appreciation for living in a state that treats me and Spouse as equal citizens, I also have appreciation for working for a company that treats me the same way.  Many of my colleagues within the company and a few on my team are GLBT.  Our franchise has made the decision to show all kinds of people in their national ads.

In "The Call" a gay male couple is among those who receive the happy news that their home has sold:

In "Moving" a lesbian couple shares a bite of their wedding cake:

While not the focus of the ads, I think its important to acknowledge the intentional presence of GLBT folks in advertising.  I really think it helps 'normalize' us to the general public, showing the milestones in life shared by everyone.  

I don't take for granted that my community and employer contribute to the sense of safety and peace of mind I experience.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Early this week the local news reported that over 300 dogs were removed from a puppy mill in Eden, MD approximately an hour from where we live.  Many were sick, filthy, and neglected.  Obviously the collection of over 300 puppies at 1 time caused an immediate need for food and other supplies.

Such heart-breaking news stirred many dog/animal lovers to action, even as far away as my area.  Many businesses began setting up drop-off locations for those who wished to donate.  Realtors in my area immediately got the word out via social media and email blasts.

I immediately went to the store and bought food, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and treats to drop off at a local drop-off location.  I was also able to solicit donations (both food/supplies and cash) from my colleagues here at the office.  I'll be using the cash to purchase more food and supplies within the next few days.

As horrible as it is that people would hoard and neglect these little puppies, I was heartened by the response from my colleagues and the community at large.  Its really making a difference!