Monday, March 31, 2008

When is a Weekend Not a Weekend?

ANSWER: When you work around the house like crazy both weekend days.
That's what we've been doing the last couple of weekends in the house we live in in Bowie. Last weekend we tore out carpet, padding and old tiles (underneath the carpet) from the living room, carted it all off to the dump, prepped the floor and then installed new Vinyl Tile (that looks like beige stone). It took all weekend.
This past weekend, we put the same vinyl tile in the kitchen, after ripping out a pergo floor (that resembled wood) but showed every smudge, water drop (not a good thing in a kitchen). It took 2 days to get it all in, and we were totally exhausted Sunday night.
We still have a hallway to do, and quater round to install in both rooms, too. We're sure that our dogs, Dolly and Franklin, just keep wondering what mischief we're going to get in next.
Meanwhile, SELLING THE TOWNHOUSE UPDATE: The townhouse in Elkridge has been on the mkt since Feb. 20th. So far about 31 different people have gone through it, about 4 different groups twice each. We're hoping someone will put an offer on it so we don't have to keep paying two mortgages.
OUTSIDE WORK: It was too darn cold to do outside work, so that's pending. Lots of mulching and planting on the list. Thaaat's great. Maybe we'll finally get a "weekend" in May. :)
Anyway, as Dolly Parton's new song "Better Get to Livin'" goes, "better stop whinin', pining, get your dreams in line and then just shine, design, refine 'til they come true, and you better get to livin'!" So, we're thankful for the weekends, because at least it's time together.

Never Stop Hoping

Do sports teams ever decide to quit if they're behind during a game? Do they just decide to stop playing the rest of the season because there's only a slim chance they'll make the superbowl? No.
So, neither should Hillary Clinton should stop campaigning. How stupid is that to simply give up because SOME people think that one person is better than the other?
If your boss thinks that you aren't as good as your co-worker, do you quit? No. We all need to do our best and try to be the best we can.
In the words of Dolly Parton, "A Winner Never Quits, and a Quitter Never Wins."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Franklin's Weight Keeps Coming Down!

Dogs need dieting, too. Our 4 year old dachshund, Franklin is on a diet. A year ago he was over 26 pounds. That's a lot for a little guy. Now, thanks to dieting, lots of walks, and doggy day care three days a week, he's at 21.8 pounds this week!

Dolly Parton on American Idol - April 1st and 2nd!

Dolly To Be Mentor On American Idol April 1st and 2nd!
Dolly Parton is confirmed to be a mentor on this season of
American Idol, America’s top-rated network television show, on April 1st and 2nd. The shows will feature the Idol contestants performing many of Dolly’s classic songs on April 1st followed by the results show on April 2nd.
The April 2nd show will also include Dolly herself taking the stage to perform at least one song (likely "Jesus and Gravity") from her new hit album, Backwoods Barbie, currently at #9 on the Billboard country albums chart!
BTW- Her first single from the CD called "Better Get To Livin'" is the best song I've heard in decades! It's a positive-attitude, get off your behind and stop whinin', keep your chin up, smile, forgive, love and cherish every day, kind of song. Very motivational! I play it about 5 times a day!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ghostly Encounters and a Great New Book!

Because I've been able to sense ghosts since I was a teen (especially in the last couple of years), I found (and am reading) a new book called "When Ghosts Speak" by Mary Ann Winkowski. I found it this weekend at Barnes and Noble. The author has been able to see and communicate with ghosts since she was a young child - (she has a website: http://www.maryannwinkowski.com/)
The first time I saw a ghost was in 1976: I was 16 and I saw my grandfather materialize in my parent's house about 6 months after he passed away. Since then, I've seen more ghosts, heard them, and felt their cold touch. I'm not crazy, just sensitive to the energies they give off. The spirit that has visited me most is that of my puppy, Buzz Wyatt, who was killed in Feb. 2005, when his leash opened next to a street. He's moved things, appeared to me, and I felt a deep coldness on one part of my body in the summertime, but knew it was him.
During Dec. 2007, Tom, his folks and I went on Christmas tours of local historic mansions. The Marietta House at 5626 Bell Station Road, Glenn Dale, Md. (PHOTO LEFT) was the plantation home of Gabriel Duvall, an associate justice on the Supreme Court in 1811. We walked in and I developed a headache immediately, and sensed something upstairs.
(NOTE: In this BOOK- the author noted that one of her daughters, who also has the ability to sense/see ghosts, always gets a HEADACHE when she's around them... JUST LIKE ME. It's comforting to hear that - as it's easy for others to tell me that I'm making it up.)
Anyway, when we reached the "Guest" bedroom upstairs, I told Tom I felt anxious and uncomfortable. I asked the tour guide stationed in the room if someone died in there from a heart problem, as when I walked in the room, I got pains in the center of my chest. Someone did. She also said she felt anxious and uneasy. I felt it was an adult male ghost haunting the room. Turns out that Tom's stepdad felt it, too. When we went into the next room, I spoke to a woman who knew the history of the mansion, and confirmed that there was a man that died in that room where I got the chest pains.
Marietta, the Federal style brick home of Gabriel Duvall, an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built ca. 1813, Marietta remained under ownership of the Duvall family until 1902. Justice Duvall's law office and root cellar still remain today. Marietta is situated on 25 acres of lawn and wooded areas and the grounds boast two County Champion trees and lovely old boxwood. Their website: http://www.pgparks.com/places/eleganthistoric/marietta_intro.html

IF YOU HAVE A GHOST STORY- PLEASE SHARE IT WITH ME!

FYI - A Plan on the Housing Crisis

FYI- We've noticed there's not a lot of news coverage on this, and we haven't seen a plan from any other candidate- so we thought we'd put it up to let you see there is ONE plan out there:
Mar 24 - Hillary Clinton proposed steps on Monday to boost the ailing U.S. economy and ease the housing crisis. She said former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin should determine whether the U.S. government needs to buy up homes to stem the country's housing crisis. (1 min. 54 second video from Wash Post): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2008/03/24/VI2008032401256.html?sid=ST2008032403267
We're still trying to sell our townhouse after 1 1/2 months and have noticed how much people are in trouble.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Into the Oven - Out of the Fire

Tom and I bought a brand new Frigidaire Oven on February 9th from Lowes's and this past Tuesday while it was baking french fries, the digital display went out. It never came back on... which is a problem because that Operates the Oven!!
So, 2 days later a repairman came out and said the "motherboard is blown" and "I've never seen that happen on a brand new oven" the part has been ordered and will arrive April 2nd...
However, we're having Tom's folks and friends Hil and Richard over for Easter dinner- so I'm going to have to use the stove top burners (which still work) to make dinner. Should be interesting. Hard boiled eggs for Easter dinner! Happy Easter!

(CARTOON RIGHT: Just like us - Rob doing something
different from what he's supposed to do!)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Anne Murray Puts on a Great Concert!

Tom and I saw Anne Murray in concert this week, and she was fantastic! She sang lots of her hits from the 1980s and 90s, and was really funny and personable. Just a great entertainer! You may remember "Shadows in the Moonlight," "Danny's Song," "You Needed Me," and "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do," among many.
She also has a new CD filled with duet partners that you may be interested in: Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends is a collection of Anne's most classic songs re-recorded as duets with some of the finest women of song including: Shania Twain, Martina McBride, Nelly Furtado, Isabelle Boulay, k.d. lang, Celtic Woman, Carole King, Olivia Newton-John, Emmylou Harris, Jann Arden, Shelby Lynne, Sarah Brightman, Celine Dion, Amy Grant, Indigo Girls, Dusty Springfield and Anne's daughter, Dawn Langstroth.

Great Money Saving Gasoline Tips!

* FILL UP YOUR VEHICLE IN THE EARLY MORNING WHEN GROUND TEMP IS COOLER
Service stations' storage tanks are buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening when its warmer your gallon is less than a gallon.

* FILL UP AT SLOW SPEED TO MINIMIZE VAPORS CREATED BY PUMPING
The trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some other liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less gasoline for your money.

* FILL UP WHEN YOUR GAS TANK IS HALF FULL


The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine.

LARGE COMPANIES THAT DON'T IMPORT MIDDLE EASTERN OIL:
Sunoco, Conoco, Sinclair, BP/Phillips, Hess, ARCO


(Thanks to Mom Feldhaus in Maine for passing these along- they're legit!)


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday Franklin!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANKLIN!

Today, March 18th is our dachshund, Franklin's 4th birthday! That's 24 years in people years (5 years for the first 2 years, then 7 years each year after). ( RIGHT: Dolly and Franklin in party mode).

Born in South Carolina, he was adopted by Tom four years ago. He was at the back of the cage with his littermates, and keeping to himself. Tom knew he was the one immediately, and named him Franklin.

Franklin has a strong personality. He's full of love, and loves to kiss and be held, whether Tom is sitting in a chair or laying on the floor watching TV. He also loves to sit on the arm rest in our pickup truck when we're driving anywhere. (LEFT: Franklin and Dolly hugging this morning on his birthday!)

He's a food hound, which explains why he still has 4 pounds to lose (from eating Dolly's food). Watching Squirrels as the run around in the backyard from his bed in the kitchen behind the sliding glass doors, is one of his favorite activities. He and Dolly go to doggy daycare and play with dogs their own size about three days a week. He loves his walks with Dolly and daddies, and playing tug of war with Dolly, as the pull the stuffing out of the toy of the week!

We'll make a special trip to PETCO today for treats! We love you, Frank-a-lino!


Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day... and other things

It's March 17th - St. Patrick's Day!
WHO WAS ST. PATRICK? He founded schools and churches in Ireland. He performed baptisms; within 200 years Ireland was a Christian country. The shamrock, a trifoliate clover, became his cleverest teaching tool, which he used to explain the Trinity — three elements forming one entity. Saint Patrick died on March 17 in the year 461, and this date was declared a religious feast day.


BIRTHDAYS -My friends Pat B. in Baltimore and Gail W. in Hull, Mass are also celebrating today.


MY FAVORITE GREEN THING - in addition to our dog, Dolly's eyes, it's one of my favorite Superheroes - the Green Lantern (Right).

WHEN DOES SPRING ARRIVE? Officially on Thursday, March 20th at
1:48 a.m. EDT. Yay! (BELOW: Our friend Ed from Nashville (far right) sporting a green wig with 2 of his female co-workers on St. Patrick's Day. They know how to celebrate!)


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rob's movie review of "The Other Boleyn Girl"

Tom and I saw this movie last week- here's my review:
"The Other Boleyn Girl" is a fascinating and eye-opening look into the history behind King Henry VIII's wife Ann Boleyn, and her sister Mary. Mary played a big and surprising role that was largely forgotten by history, especially her affections for King Henry VIII. Starring Eric Bana, Scarlett Johanssen and Natalie Portman, this film with lush and historic settings is a captivating story of two sisters and their affections for history's most famous king. It's not just for people who are interested in history, its full of intrigue, complications and fascinating relationships.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dolly Parton scores highest debut For New Album!


Everyone that knows me, knows Dolly Parton is my favorite singer/performer/actress, etc. - So, here's a story about her new CD "Backwoods Barbie" that just came out. It's got a great "get-off-your-butt-and-stop-whining, start living" song called "Better Get to Livin'!" - Buy it! Rob

SEE THE GREAT MUSIC VIDEO HERE!!!:

http://www.dollypartonmusic.net/site.php?em3152=1004_-1__0_~0_-1_11_2007_0_0&content=videos&em3215=&em3228=&em3229=&em3214

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 – Dolly Parton scored the highest debuting CD of her career with the release of "Backwoods Barbie," her first country CD in 17 years. She sold about 27,000 units, good for second on the country charts and 17th overall.
Parton's sales were not enough to take number one on the country chart - once again, that rests with Taylor Swift's self-titled debut. "Backwoods Barbie," which Parton released on her own label, was her fourth highest charting album overall. Three of her previous sets started lower, but eventually peaked higher: 1993's "Slow Dancing With the Moon" reached 16; her "Trio" effort with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris hit 6 in 1987 and "9 to 5 and Odd Jobs" ultimately peaked at 11 in 1981.
"Barbie's" start of 27,000 is Parton's best sales week since her collaborations album "Honky Tonk Angels" (with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette) did 40,000 during the traditionally busy Christmas week of 1993.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Vacation


What is it about vacations? You plan. You save. You anticipate. And, in some cases (as Rob & I most recently have done), make payments for a year on a trip that will take you away from the normal routine, and in some cases help you escape from what is the reality of our lives. Why is it that you find yourself counting down the days until you go away only to find yourself, while you're away, counting down the days until you can return to the same old routine? One of life's paradoxes, I guess.

Rob & I have just returned from an 8-day all-Gay chartered cruise to the southern Caribbean. The weather was warm. The beaches were beautiful. The water was its characteristic turquoise blue. But, aside from all of the picturesque imagery above, this vacation turned out to be an eye opening experience for the two of us; one that neither of us wishes to repeat.

I "came out of the closet" at the tail end of the Gay liberation movement in the late 80s. At that time, it was still not acceptable to be out and we, the Gay community, were still fighting for acceptance and protections that are now taken for granted. So many achievements have been attained, but there is still so much farther to go to achieving full equality for Gays in our country. Although I don't dress in drag and have no plans to have a sex change operation, I was always tolerant others in our community that do and always felt that we (collective "we") should defend their right to free expression and defend their right to find happiness in this life. But there are times when I have to draw the line – especially when I feel that acceptance and tolerance should give way to appropriateness and decency.

Now, I don't know when it happened, and I certainly don't consider myself to be ready to be sent out to pasture just yet, but somewhere along the line, the switch has turned for me – I went from being a young adult to old geezer.

Rob & I witnessed sights on this cruise that make us want to divorce ourselves and put as much distance between us and the Gay community as possible. I don't know when this happened, but it has. Rob & I have settled down into a "normal" lifestyle – we have good-paying stable careers, we have the proverbial house in the suburbs with the picket fence, we have two dogs that we love for all the world, we have loving families that care about us, and we live in a diverse middle class community where I guess you would say we "blend in" with our neighbors. We mow the grass on Saturday afternoons, we keep our front sidewalk swept, we wash the windows when they're dirty, and our house looks just like any other house on the block. My parents raised me to be an adult; this is what responsible adults do.

What we don't find acceptable is parading through the dining room on a cruise ship in leather chaps with one's bare ass cheeks hanging out. We don't find it acceptable for men in their 60s with pierced nipples and beer guts parading around in red mesh tank tops. We don't find it acceptable for a grown man to parade around in red hot go-go boots up to his thighs while sporting a square cut bathing suit too small to cover his privates. We don't find it acceptable for men in their 40s to behave as if they're still in their 20s, staying up until 5 a.m., and drinking themselves into oblivion. It's time to grow up. It's time to be an adult. We don't believe in defending this type of behavior; we find it embarrassing. This type of free expression is not what we believe the Gay community has been fighting for for nearly 20 years. And we don't believe it is what mainstream America will be willing to tolerate.

While walking the hallways of the cruise ship, Rob & I were snubbed by many including the very same people described wearing the apparel above. We experienced enough "attitude" on this cruise to last me the next 20 years. It became such a joke to Rob and me that we have dubbed it "the Gay." When someone walks past and ignores your greeting by throwing their heads up and glancing purposely in the opposite direction to ignore you, you have experienced "the Gay." Totally ridiculous behavior.

Rob & I do try to stick to our normal routine even while on vacation. For us this means attempting to get a good night's sleep by turning in between 9:30 and 10 p.m – our usual bed time when we're at home. This was a mistake while on the cruise. Other cruisers, returning to their cabins at 4 and 5 a.m., did not find it necessary to be respectful of others – slamming their stateroom doors, whooping it up in the hallways, yelling for the next hour while they unwind to finally go to bed. I've come to expect this kind of boorish behavior while away from home because it has become so prevalent throughout American culture – even when I'm on travel for work and stay in expensive hotels in other parts of the country, this type of behavior is commonplace. It probably wouldn't have been so bad on this vacation if we didn't have to move to two other cabins on the ship before we were finally able to get a good night's sleep. Again, totally ridiculous behavior.

Two things saved our vacation. First of all, the staff at RSVP (who chartered the cruise ship) was very understanding of our plight: they listened to our complaint, they were prompt in addressing our concern, and they immediately resolved the problem. Secondly, around mid-week, Rob & I met a man from Tennessee named Ed. He renewed our belief that not everyone in the Gay community is a totally whacked out freak attempting to vainly hang on to their fast-fleeing youth. Ed was great fun and we enjoyed hanging out with him for the remainder of the week.

I think, for next year's winter vacation, Rob & I will be going it on our own. There comes a time when something becomes "too Gay." This vacation experience was one of those times.
Tom

Jack Nicholson Films Ad For Hillary Clinton

The Hillary Clinton Campaign released a video starring Jack Nicholson today. The spot consists of a statement from Nicholson along with him in character as The Joker, Col. Jessup (A Few Good Men), and Jake Gittes (Chinatown). Watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mOa3sXjqE4
The Nationally syndicated Rick Dees morning show featured both Jack Nicholson and Hillary Clinton on it this week after Jack's ad ran on television. You can hear it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgjUn9iEyNc

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Jeff!


One of the best friends I'll ever have is Jeff Feldhaus, and this week while we were away, he celebrated his birthday. Of course, he's slightly over 40, but looks great. In fact, when we were at Panera Bread for lunch 2 weeks ago, he turned to the complete strangers in line behind us and said to them proudly "Yesterday, someone told me I look 30!" They were quietly scared! :)
BTW- He loves Loretta Lynn more than I do (is that possible?) and I missed my annual playing of Loretta's song "Happy Birthday" to him over this phone this year, as Tom and I were on the Caribbean cruise.
Happy Birthday, Jeff!

Back in Town!

It's Saturday night, March 1st, and we just returned from our first cruise together. It was my first cruise and Tom's 4th. We went to the Caribbean on a "gay cruise" and it didn't start out well- but was fortunately saved through meeting and making a new friend named Ed, who lives in Nashville (my favorite city, coincidentally!). Anyway, Tom will have more on it soon...

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

Great Books by our friends

Great Books by our friends
Check out these great books (yeah, Rob's are in there, too)

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next

Podcast of Rob's 50 min. interview on Paranormal Filler Radio 7/13/14