Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Spouse & I left this morning for VA to have Thanksgiving dinner with our family at Spouse's sister's home.  We used to host Thanksgiving at our home for the first 18 years we were together.  But with our nephew wanting to see his friends over his break from college and our niece who had a baby less than 2 weeks ago, we have resigned ourselves to no longer hosting Thanksgiving in order to accommodate our family.  Things can't always stay the way we like them so this is our new reality.  We will certainly have a great time together, eating a delicious meal and spending time together.  We'll stay overnight at Spouse's mom's house tonight, make a trip to Trader Joe's tomorrow, and then head home sometime tomorrow afternoon.

Whether you spend Thanksgiving with your family, your spouse's family, with your 'chosen family', or quietly at home, I hope you reserve some time to be mindful of the many things for which you are thankful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


I've been intentionally absent in discussing the recent terrorist attack in Paris and the Syrian refugee crisis here on my blog.  As is usually the case with everything political, its exhausting to me to see on Facebook and hear on the news the unfair generalizations, misinformation, and mischaracterizations.  So if you're looking for information on these things I suggest you look elsewhere.  Lord knows everyone's talking about them.

I can't. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my recap of topics too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post.

Today is Fri the 13th.

The Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival is going on now.  Unlike previous years where the festival showed a variety of films simultaneously at a time at the local cineplex, this year the Festival had to find alternative venues and could only show 3 simultaneous films, 1 at each venue.  The drastically reduced number of films offered resulted in me only finding 3 films I wanted to see, compared to the 12-15 films I used to see during the festival.  Mon night I saw Those People which I liked a lot.  Its about a young gay art student named Charlie who is secretly in love with his well-to-do but co-dependent best friend Sebastian, and the concert pianist Tim who offers Charlie the possibility of a healthy relationship.  Set in contemporary NYC, the film explores the delicacies of a love triangle, co-dependency, and unrequited love.  Highly recommended.  Watch the trailer:

Wed night I saw Fourth Man Out which I also liked a lot.  Its about Adam, a 20-something auto mechanic and his 3 sports-loving, beer-drinking, women-chasing buddies.  When Adam confesses that he's gay, his 3 pals are thrown for a loop.  He's not like the gay stereotypes with which they're familiar.  To show Adam they are supportive, the 3 friends try to help him find a boyfriend, but this does not happen without some false steps and misunderstandings.  The film comedically delves into stereotypes, acceptance, and friendship with enough laughs to keep it from being too heavy.  Highly recommended.  Watch the trailer:

I hope to see a documentary tomorrow on Tab Hunter.

I realize its not even Thanksgiving yet, but I'm already getting in the mood for Christmas.  Typically I try not to think about it until we get through Thanksgiving, but I began shopping online earlier than usual and have about 1/2 of our gifts purchased.  I also purchased our Christmas/holiday cards on Wed at HomeGoods, and Spouse & I have set a date for our tree trimming party.  All of this is highly unusual for me at this point, but I'm kind of happy about it.

I just received my assignment for the Christmas Legends show series, starting just 2 weeks from now, taking place every Sat night between Nov 28 and Dec 26.  I will be Elton John and will sing "Candle in the Wind" and "Step into Christmas".  While I'm not unhappy about this, I was hoping for a little more variety.  I did these same 2 songs the last time we did a Christmas Legends series.  Oh well; I'll sing them again and collect my paycheck.

I saw this sign at a local independent coffee shop and it gave me a chuckle:

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Say 'Yes' night

The apartment in which we stayed in Montreal had Netflix.  Each night before going to bed we wanted to watch a little TV and ended up watching episodes of "Grace & Frankie" on Netflix.  It wasn't great but it was cute and often funny.

In an episode Lily Tomlin's character Frankie suggests to Jane Fonda's character Grace that they have a "say 'yes' night".  On such night the answers to all questions is 'yes', regardless of who is asking and what they're asking.  Frankie thinks this is the cure to Grace's boredom in her newly single life.  As you can imagine, Grace is simultaneously frightened and excited by the idea of going out in public and having to answer 'yes' to every question.  Imagine the possibilities!

This got me thinking about the feasibility of a "say 'yes' night".  After 19+ years together, mine & Spouse's life is rather predictable.  Most days are pretty much the same.  We go to work, come home and take the dogs out, eat dinner, watch TV, and go to bed.  On Fri & Sat nights we eat out with our friends.  But imagine what could happen if we committed to a "say 'yes' night"!

We might start by going to dinner where the server would ask "Would you like to start with a cocktail or glass of wine?"  We'd have to answer 'yes'.  After dinner he might ask "Did you save room for dessert?"  Whether we did or not would be irrelevant - we'd have to answer 'yes'. 

While Spouse would likely be ready to go home after dinner and watch TV until bedtime, I would instead ask him "Would you like to go for a ride and look at Christmas lights and decorations?"  He'd be obliged to say 'yes'.  But after being 'tricked' like that, he may realize that 2 can play that game, and ask me "When we get home would you like to watch the home shopping channels with me?" to which I'd regrettably have to answer 'yes'.

I think for it to REALLY get exciting you have to agree to stay out of the house and around other people for several hours who would potentially ask you questions.

"Do you want another cocktail sir?"

"Would you like to dance?"

"Let's go skinny dipping!"

"How about some shots?"

"Wanna touch my monkey?"

Imagine the possibilities!

Monday, November 09, 2015

Fun, food and friends

So, the weekend before last our good friends Ron & James and Mike & Clark came for their annual visit.  They arrived midday on Fri and took advantage of our tax-free factory outlet store shopping, then met up with some mutual friends of ours for a visit before arriving at our house around 6pm.

Although our friends come just once per year, I was surprised they noticed we'd replaced the area rug in our living room.  The previous area rug was off white and although it was wool and supposedly easy to clean, it unfortunately did not fair well with our pets.  It seems they've all puked, peed or pooped on that darn rug for 1 reason or another at some point in time.  So we recently replaced it with an area rug that will be more 'forgiving' and also feels more modern that the previous one.
After a little chit-chat we headed out to dinner at Beachside Bar & Grill.  Though the weather was mild enough we could have eaten outside on their huge patio, we opted to eat indoors.  The food was very good and our server was cute and attentive.  Afterward we walked down the street to the boardwalk and treated ourselves to ice cream.  Back at home we visited until everyone's eyelids became heavy.

Sat morning we had coffee, juice, croissants, and scones and just enjoyed a lazy morning of conversations and laughs.  Later we got dressed and walked downtown where we stopped into a few shops and the antique emporium.  Then we met up with our mutual friends Marty & Karen for lunch at the new Crooked Hammock Brewery.

Afterward a few of us went home and a few of us made a stop at the Dollar Tree.  Ron loves to stock up nice, well-priced greeting cards there.  That afternoon some of us napped while others talked until it was time to have dinner.  We went to Pig + Fish, and everyone started off with cocktails before deciding on our apps and entrees.  As the 1st of the entrees was arriving at the table, James said "Here comes your chicken, Ron" and several of us burst into laughter because the runner delivering the chicken dinner looked like he was 14 years old.  (Gay men of a certain age will make the connection between chicken and 14 year olds.)  Everyone enjoyed their meals and there were many more laughs that night.
After dinner we walked over to the Blue Moon to check out all the creative costumes, since it was Halloween.  Also there were Steven & Thad and Rick & Nick.  We hung out for a while until it got too crowded.

Sun morning after conversations and coffee we walked over to Honey's Farm Fresh for breakfast which was delicious and filling.  Afterwards the guys packed up their gear and bid us goodbye before heading back to DC.  It was a fun weekend, complete with lots of laughs and friendship.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Montreal road trip: part III

Sun morning Serge had school again so Tornwordo Spouse & I met for breakfast at Les Belles Soeurs (Pretty Sisters) because Tornwordo likes the bagels there.  I was amazed by the restroom which was cylindrical in shape and had an 'under the sea' theme.
Then the 3 of us hopped in the car and headed out of the city.  We drove about 1 1/2 hours to Mont Tremblant, an attractive ski resort.
Mont Tremblant

Just over Spouse's shoulder you can see the ski lift which we planned to ride to the top of the mountain.  Unfortunately it was not operating that day.
The ground floor is retail and commercial space and the upper floors are hotel rooms and timeshares
The ski resort kinda has a Disney World look to it, but I liked it anyway.  At least its better than big boxy hotels.

One of the vendors sold a delicious confection called a Beavertail.  Its a light crust with any variety of toppings to choose from.  We decided to share one.

Ours had Nutella, peanut butter sauce, and Reese's pieces - so good!
We continued exploring the area and saw these adorable ski chalets nestled into the side of the mountain...
and stopped briefly at a casino to use the restroom.  While inside I saw this cool glass-enclosed fireplace and made Spouse pose next to it.

Once back in Montreal we met up with Serge for happy hour at Le Stud and then had dinner at La Baracke where we had the cutest waiter, Kevin!
Group shot with Kevin

Spouse & Tornwordo

Serge & me
After dinner we returned to Tornwordo & Serge's house to visit for a while before returning to our little studio.

Mon morning Spouse & I visited the famous Tim Horton's, which reminded us of Dunkin Donuts.  The coffee was good and the maple-glazed donut was delicious!
Spouse & I set off on foot again to continue exploring.
Notice the rainbow flag and same-sex ads on this TD bank
One of the places I wish we had more time to explore was Parc La Fontaine.  Its large and beautiful with ponds and benches and trees.  It was designed by the same architect that designed Central Park in NYC.  Spouse & I enjoyed relaxing there and watching the people and wildlife.
Spouse in Parc La Fontaine

Selfie at Parc La Fontaine
After Tornwordo finished his class he met us for lunch at L'Oeufrier and then we went to the underground city.  Many of the government offices and hotels in the downtown area are connected by a network of underground shops, eateries and businesses.  Even the metro and train are connected there.
Underground city train station
Tornwordo returned home and Spouse & I returned to our little studio to rest up a bit and change clothes.  Then the 4 of us went to dinner at Pintxo for tapas.  Tornwordo had previewed the menu and noted several items we should try, so Spouse & I decided to let him order for the 4 of us.  We started with cocktails of course.

The food was unusual but really good.  I'd never tried liver patte, foie gras, carpaccio or black pudding before and asked them not to tell me what they were until after I'd sampled them!  It was a great meal and we had a really fun time.
Serge & Spouse at Pintxo

Tornwordo & me

Spouse & me take a selfie at Pintxo
And because it was our last night in Montreal, we went back to 1000 Grammes for the 3rd time to have cake!  Tornwordo & Serge came with us this time to experience what we'd been raving about.

Tornwordo & Serge were so generous with their time during our visit!  They gave us a map to help us navigate the city, accompanied us on most of our explorations, and shared their knowledge of Montreal.  We ate dinner together every night and had breakfast or lunch together nearly every day.  What great tour guides and wonderful friends they've become!

The next morning we packed up the car, set the GPS for home, and hit the road at 9am.  With a 15-minute wait to cross the border and 3 brief stops for food, gas, and bathroom, we got home at 7pm.  It was a really fun trip but we were happy to see Marvin & Walter when we got home.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Montreal road trip: part II

Sat morning we met up with Tornwordo (Serge had school) and walked to the Old Port.  It is easily recognizable as the oldest part of the city and distinctively different with its beautiful old architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and romantic feeling.

We had a late breakfast/early lunch at olive + gourmando, a cute and popular spot.  The menu is creative and I couldn't resist the Viva Las Vegan.
I normally don't eat tofu because of its texture, but this combination of ingredients made me go for it.  It was delicious!  Next we walked around Old Port and took in the sites, including the Notre-Dame basilica, St Lawrence riverfront, and the Jacque-Cartier bridge.
Notre-Dame basilica

Spouse in the Old Port

Time for a selfie!

St Lawrence riverfront with Jacque-Cartier bridge in the distance
I managed to pick up an adorable Chihuahua Christmas tree ornament as a souvenir of our trip.  I can't wait to hang it on our tree this year.

Next week took the transit bus to Marche Jean-Talon, a large indoor/outdoor farmers market.
Spouse at Marche Jean-Talon
Beautifully colored cauliflower
Then we took the subway to the Olympic Village, home of the 1976 Olympic games where Bruce Jenner and Greg Louganis both won gold medals.  We visited the stadium/pool, planetarium, and Biodome.
Olympic stadium

Another view of the stadium

Enormous pool
Then the 3 of us met Serge at Tornwordo & Serge's house to relax and visit a bit.  Then we went for happy hour at Le Lab, a 1920s-looking speakeasy.
Enjoying unusual cocktails at Le Lab

Next we were off to experience the best poutine in Montreal at La Banquise.  Traditional poutine is french fries with soft white cheddar cheese curd and gravy which I ordered.
Delicious traditional poutine

Spouse's poutine with a sliced corn dog on top!
There are many, many possible toppings for poutine and La Banquise had a dizzying menu of options.  I can understand why its so popular - its delicious!  Then we headed back to the gay village for a drink at Stock Bar and at L'Aigle Noir (Black Eagle).
Me & Spouse at the Black Eagle
One of the bartenders checking his phone on his break
We said goodnight to Tornwordo & Serge who headed home, but Spouse & I were in the mood for some delicious cake from 1000 Grammes so we picked up a slice to go.  We  walked back to our little studio and ate the cake while watching 'Grace & Frankie'.