Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Birthday Celebration

Saturday, February 27 was our friend Jeff's birthday. Jeff and Rob have known each other for a decade, and Jeff was our best man at our wedding in Connecticut. First thing in the morning, as we've done for years is call Jeff and play Loretta Lynn's "Happy Birthday" song to Jeff over the phone (he does the same on our birthdays, as Loretta is his favorite singer).
In the afternoon, Jim and Terry hosted a BBQ birthday lunch for Jeff and we enjoyed seeing our friend Darold (who has now moved into his apt. in no. Virginia-and out of our guest room), and meeting Jim and Terry, Danny, and others. It was a lot of fun, and we all laughed a lot. In the photos: 1) Jeff, Tom and Rob; 2) Terry and Jim; 3) Danny, Jeff and Darold; 4 & 5) Opening presents 6&7) Group shots - in one we think Jeff was wearing his sunglasses to hide wrinkles. :) Happy Birthday, Jeff!






Melting Snow: Like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Poo


Now that a good part of our our 2-3 feet of snow from the 2 February blizzards is melting, walking in the backyard with a plastic bag is a necessity. When you have two dogs, and a heavy blanket of snow melts -you're bound to find "surprises." Because I'm currently reading a paperback adventure of Indiana Jones, I've dubbed this "treasure-finding" experience "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Poo." :) Always good to be "armed" with plastic bags in case you run into any hostile "poo-people!" :)

FINALLY! Our Bathroom Renovation is Done -4 Months!

Our first floor bathroom renovation is finally finished. It was started November 28, and today is February 25. Almost FOUR MONTHS to do a small bathroom.
IN THE BEGINNING - BATHROOM TORN UP THEN NOTHING - Long story short- we hired a contractor (the same one that did a great job on our upstairs 3-window dormer) in November and the first week he brought people in and tore out the bathtub, drywall, sink and toilet, and ripped up the tile floor. After the first week, he was scarce. He never brought samples over for tile, shower door, cabinets, shower handles, or anything. We picked out a door and he was supposed to order it. Three weeks later he said the guy he ordered it from retired and the order was lost, so Tom ordered it personally and we picked it up ourselves. We also went to a cabinet maker and ordered that ourselves. Of course, the cabinet was delivered 2 weeks ago, and the top half arrived DAMAGED. So I was home to receive it, and returned it... Good thing I was home and opened it up! Now we have another 4 weeks to wait for a replacement. Sigh.
FIRING THE ORIGINAL CONTRACTOR - By mid-January, our contractor never returned our calls after taking 80% of the money for the job. He finally left a message telling us that his elderly mother fell ill and had to move in with his family- so he has to convert his garage to an apartment for her. We know where our money went. He won't return calls, and we emailed him a request for some of the money back. No response. So, we left him a voicemail and fired him.
HIRED A NEW, GREAT CONTRACTOR - We hired the new subcontractor, Pete Dow of Bowie, Maryland- and he's FANTASTIC! He finished the job today, and did an incredible job. If you want a GREAT contractor, let us know, and we'll give you Pete's contact info. He's wonderful. Pictured here is the completed bathroom (all designed by Tom). Our dogs, Dolly and Franklin were so excited they had to pose in it!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Hateful GOPer in Md. Wants to Impeach the Md. Atty General about Gay Rights

Did you hear what this ASS of a republican here in Maryland is trying to do ?
Donald Dwyer threatens impeachment after attorney general's opinion = A state attorney general's opinion allowing the recognition of gay marriages performed in other states has sparked cheers from supporters and outrage from opponents, with one Anne Arundel County delegate vowing to impeach Attorney General Douglas Gansler.
DONALD DWYER -R (Maryland) Needs to GO! He's a hateful nasty, Republican. I just called his office and the boy that answered his phone said "I'm a Christian like Mr. Dwyer". WELL, idiot- This is not a religious issue- It's a CIVIL ISSUE!!! I really hate ignorant, hateful, self-proclaimed "religious" whack jobs like Dwyer. He needs to focus on UNEMPLOYMENT, not gay bashing.
http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news/top/2010/02/25-34/Maryland-recognizes-out-of-state-gay-marriages.html
EMAIL THIS IDIOT and tell him to focus on real issues and stop his hateful stupidity! DON H. DWYER, JR., Republican, District 31, Anne Arundel County (410) 841-3047, (301) 858-3047 e-mail: don.dwyer@house.state.md.us

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cruise to the E. Caribbean - Day #6-St. Thomas



Okay- so it is taking me a long time to describe the cruise vacation to the Eastern Caribbean... there's a lot of other things going on right now, so excuse the delay. Here we go... DAY #6 (day 5 of the cruise) IN THE PORT OF ST. THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS - On Wednesday, Feb. 10th the ship was docked at St. Thomas. We finished our breakfast by 7am and disembarked, walking around the pier for one hour. It was a new dock, recently built, and one Tom was unfamiliar with. We later learned that it was built purposely for cruise ships, because like Grand Turk, you walk into new shops, filled with expensive baubles, jewelry, etc.
It was 83F and sunny. We met with the group of "mature" gay men on the dock, that we were going on the land excursion with. The bus tour was scheduled for 9:30am, but the tour guide never showed. After 30 minutes of calling the tour bus company, a guide finally showed up. It was an older African-American man with graying Rastafarian hair. He was really friendly, and knowledgeable of the island. He drove an open-air tour bus that sat 12 and had no seatbelts, just side railings that came up about 10" from the seat. We all hung onto them because he drove up VERY STEEP hills like a bat out of hell! His driving was like a teenager on the highway, text messaging and talking to a passenger at the same time. We were nervous! We noticed that unlike Puerto Rico, folks drive on the LEFT side of the road there.

When we first started out, we passed a second shuttle with another group of older gay guys, and someone in our tour bus, who was from England, said "Give them all the queen's wave, it's appropriate to all parties." :)
The tourguide took us to three mountaintops where everyone took photos. We also stopped at a "Botanical Garden museum." It wasn't much of a botanical garden, but it once belonged to a wealthy plantation owner and was built on a steep hillside overlooking the "famous Megan's Bay." That was a beautiful view. The home was later purchased from Johnson and Johnson Co. It was destroyed in 1989 by Hurricane Hugo and rebuilt to include lavish furnishings. It was once a 16,000 acre plantation.
We returned to the ship for lunch at noon, wrote postcards and took a nap before getting a massage! Rob talked to Laura, the girl doing the treatment, the entire time, and she wound up requesting a copy of his book.
I don't remember the rest of the day other than sunning, reading, eating, and watching TV. We did enjoy seeing the towel animal "dog" when we returned to our cabin, and we did continue to leave notes with Alain and Alain between our cabins!

Maryland Now Recognizes Our Marriage (from Connecticut)!

WOW- We didn't know this would happen so quickly, and we're both so very, very excited and grateful. Maryland now recognizes out of state gay marriages, so our marriage in CT last June is now recognized here at home. This is amazing. Here are some
Gansler: Effective immediately Md. recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere

UPDATE 2:50 P.M.: Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) says effective immediately the state recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and state agencies should begin giving gay couples the rights they were awarded elsewhere.

UPDATE 10:25 a.m.: Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery), who requested the opinion from Gansler, said in a brief interview that he was unsure whether there would be any immediate ramifications.

"It's reaffirmation of what we thought, that Maryland can recognize gay marriage," Madaleno said.

He said that changes in state policy could result from a court ruling, legislation or administrative action. But none of those appear imminent, Madaleno said.

Original Post: A long-awaited opinion by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) out Wednesday morning concludes that the state's highest court is likely to rule at some point that same-sex marriages performed in other states are valid in Maryland.

The policy implications of the opinion are not immediately clear, and Gansler says in a one-page summary that his conclusion "is not free from doubt."
FULL STORY: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/annapolis/2010/02/gansler_marylands_high_court_l.html

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Root Canals and Health

Our friend Sarah sent me the link to this website today. I have 3 root canals, and after reading this, I will NOT get another one. It makes sense that the body tries to rid dead things (like root-canaled teeth). I'm going to look into implants. Rob
Root canals are a part of dentistry called endodontics, which is concerned with the pathology of dental pulp and the area surrounding the root. A root canal is a procedure to allow a tooth that is painful or no longer viable because of nerve damage or death to remain in the mouth. Most dentists consider root canals an advance in dentistry--superior alternative to removal of a seriously compromised tooth. However a growing number of physicians, including dentists, believe that root canals can be the cause of, or at least contribute to, a long list of illnesses and degenerative diseases.
A "root canal" allows a patient to keep a dead tooth in his or her mouth. The fallacy with this concept is that the body doesn't like dead things in it and will try, sometimes desperately, to get rid of the dead thing. Notwithstanding, the fact that it may be "handy" to save a tooth for "dental convenience", it does not change the fact that root canal treatments can devastate the human immune system. Twenty million root canals are performed in the U.S. annually, and this number is estimated to double within the next few years.
THIS IS VERY INTERESTING... READ MORE AT:http://www.tuberose.com/Root_Canals.html

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cruise to the E. Caribbean - Day #5-Puerto Rico (& Video!)

video
This is a 31 second video that Rob took from the Holland America "Eurodam" cruise ship of the approach to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, February 9.

ARRIVAL IN PUERTO RICO! - Puerto Rico was truly the best place we visited during the cruise. We loved what little we saw, and we want to go back. We arrived at 1 p.m. Atlantic Time.
In the morning, while we were still at sea, we had breakfast as usual at 6:30 a.m., Tom did his daily Sudoku and crossword puzzle while Rob read his book and checked the internet briefly (I learned a Prince George's County Gazette reporter wanted to interview me when we got home!). We also watched the satellite news and saw Washington, DC was under a 2nd blizzard warning! 10-20" more snow on top of the 20" already. The Federal Gov't was closed on Monday and Tuesday, and most likely Wed. and Thursday.
Rob got T-mobile coverage so he called his mom, Tom's folks and Cozy Canine Camp to check on the dogs. Everyone was okay. By 1pm we disembarked in Puerto Rico. We met Carlos, the friendly tour guide who took us by a short bus to the El Yunque' rainforest.
We got to know our new friends Alain and his partner Alain on the bus, as they sat next to us. It made for a fun bus ride to the rainforest. They have a dog named "Micky" so we shared dog stories, too.
The rainforest was beautiful. The views and the foliage were amazing. We even climbed a tower that overlooked the forest and took a couple of photos (shown here). There were also a number of beautiful waterfalls in the National Park, too.





By the time the bus returned us to the pier, it was 5pm, and we had just enough time to walk into Old San Juan and see Columbus Square (the monument pictured here), and grab a nice dinner in a mexican restaurant called "La Madre's." After dinner we walked around the streets a short while, but almost all shops had closed (they closed at 6 p.m.). We were disappointed that we didn't get to explore this beautiful old town and the 2 forts that surround it.

We returned to the ship for dessert. While walking through the hallway, we bumped into the magician's assistant (from the show the night before) and Tom said to her, "tell us how you got out of that box!" (she was in a box on stage one minute and gone from it the next moment). She laughed and said she couldn't say. Then her two poodles came out of their cabin (they were in the show) so we got to play with them briefly.
Afterward, we got a ribbon for our next door neighbors (Merle and Lyle) so they could tie their balloons on their cabin's mailbox (in the hallway) and left a postcard in Alain and Alain's mailbox. We would do that the rest of the trip with each other, back and forth. We came back to the cabin to find a peacock towel animal!

More Photos from My 1st Book Signing!

Sunday, February 21 marked the day of my first book signing for the book "Ghosts and Spirits: Insights from a Medium." The turnout was great, and I had a wonderful time.
My thanks to Darleen, the manager of the Barnes and Noble in Annapolis, Md. for making it happen. Photographer Robert Carter captured these great photos- Thanks, Robert! (to see more of Robert's photography visit: http://rearlcarter.zenfolio.com
Here are some more photos from the event:
(Photo: my partner Tom and I)










(Photo: Jeff poses with me for a picture)










(Photo: I was talking with another local author who was also participating in the event. She wrote a book about the Murder of Mozart. She was also sensitive to energies and spirits, so we had a lot to talk about).









(Photo: My friend Diane came to the book signing, and I gave her a hug- her spaniel, Tegan came to me, and her story is included in the book!)

An Anniversary

(Photo: Buzz the puppy in 2004)
We all acknowledge anniversaries in different ways, and sometimes with flowers. Today, February 22, five years ago Rob's first Weimaraner puppy Buzz-Wyatt lost his life from a reckless driver when his leash opened. It's always been a somber day, but Buzz has come back to me (Rob) about 13 different times, including audible signs a visible appearance and various other ways. I know Buzz is at peace, so I'm content with that. Besides, if that tragic event didn't happen, we wouldn't have adopted our Weimaraner Dolly, who brings so much joy to our lives today. Buzz had deep green eyes, and everyone that saw them said "that puppy had an old soul." I totally agree. He was here for many reasons, and he taught me so much in a short time. I could go on, but I won't.
As I do on this day every year, I drop a single red rose on the spot where the accident occurred to let him know I shall never forget him (he knows that anyway, as do all spirits of loved ones who have passed on). So on the way home from a doctor's appointment today, I paid a quick visit to the site, told him I love him and brought him his rose (see photo).
It's so important to know that when someone passes away, they're only gone from the physical plane. They're still around whenever we call them, talk to them out loud (although you should limit those conversations to a private place so people don't think you've got issues), or think of them. Energy (the human spirit) can never be destroyed, only converted to a different form.
Here's to you, Buzz, I will always love you, and thank you for letting me know you're still checking in from time to time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Some Ghost Stories at the Book Signing!

At the book signing I met a woman and her 6 year old daughter who told me of a female presence in their home.The woman apparently died there. I had the little girl draw a pic of the woman she saw, and it was a woman in a long brown dress holding a flower basket. The mother mentioned that a Menonite family lived in the old house, and I believe that this woman was the mother of that family. The little girl said that she hid her head in her hands after seeing the woman, who then appeared to vanish through a wall. I told her that the woman probably lived there before but wouldn't harm her. I instructed the little girl's mom to tell the ghost aloud that she doesn't live there any more- that their family now lives there and there's no place for the ghost. The ghost needs to go to the light. She agreed that the ghost was nothing to be afraid of, but it was a little unnerving to see things moved (apported).
Another fellow author told me that she's had quite a number of experiences, including feeling some oppressive force. I told her that it was likely not an entity but a bad energy, likely from people who are projecting bad feelings against her. The same woman also mentioned that she's been sensitive to ghosts, and had some encounters in New Orleans. She was fascinating to sit next to while I was signing books!

Book Signing Success!


SUCCESSFUL FIRST BOOK SIGNING!
Wow. Today I learned what it was like to have a book signing. I signed books in Barnes and Noble in Annapolis, Md. from 2-4 p.m., along with 11 other local authors. My thanks to Darleen at the store for arranging it and sending out postcards and advertisements.
To my friends who came and showed support, thank you all so very, very much for coming out to the book signing today. I was totally overwhelmed. I can't thank you all enough for the support, love and friendship. Most of all, thank you for believing in me, and for helping make this such an exciting first book signing event for me. I'll always remember it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cruise to the E. Caribbean - Day #4-Grand Turk


Our fourth day away marked our third day on the Holland America cruiseline, and in the morning of Monday, February 8, we docked at the island of Grand Turk (of Turks and Caicos). It was 83F and sunny with a stiff morning breeze that abated in the afternoon.
After trouble sleeping, we had breakfast at 6:30am when the dining room opened and disembarked into Grand Turk, which led us right into a gift shop! It was like getting off a ride a Disney.

(PHOTO: Tom on the hurricane-ravaged beach)
We took a 2 hour bus tour of the island and it had 4 stops. At each stop, we got out for about 10 minutes to look around and take photos. The effects of Hurricane Ike from September 2008 were still evident.
(PHOTO: A house ravaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008)
There were a number of buildings that were destroyed, although all the debris in the streets were cleared. Here's a video of Grand Turk taken soon after Hurricane Ike. We saw buildings like the "Scotia Bank" that pretty much still looked that same way today. (VIDEO taken in September 2008 showing the damages after Hurricane Ike slammed Grand Turk)

There are 6,000 residents of Grand Turk island and the only industry is tourism (so we were told). Wild horses (that were once raised there) and sea salt mining used to be other industries.
We stopped at St. Mary's church and looked inside. It was obviously rebuilt and one of the nicest buildings on the island. We also had a tour in the National Museum, where we learned about the 3rd largest coral reef in the world that surrounds the Turks and Caicos island chain. A young docent from the University of Vermont explained about a 1500s shipwreck found in the 1970s, the British History of the island, and how Queen Elizabeth visited in 1966. We later stopped for shopping and Tom and I gravitated to a dog wandering around the shops (we missed Dolly and Franklin).
We then stopped at what appeared to the the main street of the island, and saw various bed and breakfasts. One old ruined house had a plaque on the wall surrounding it, that said it's haunted by a one-armed ghost. It was the house of Alfred and Millicent Coverely, built in the 1830s and moved across the street (it was originally on the beach and would've been washed out to sea from hurricanes).
(PHOTOS: The haunted house on Grand Turk and Rob next to the plaque outside the house)


The plaque says, "Legend has it that an American couple who lived there following the Coverelys were greatly disturbed at night by the sound of footsteps dashing up an down the staircase, and they saw a small, plump white man with one arm. The former owner, Alfred Coverley perfectly fit that description, as he only had one arm!
Ironically, I got my tell-tale headache when we walked by the side of the house, so that was my confirmation that there is, indeed a ghost in the house. We stopped and took a picture of me next to the plaque.
When we were dropped off back at the dock, we walked around brand new shops that sold expensive tee-shirts ($28!). We returned to the ship for lunch.

(PHOTO: Tom standing in Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville store, where tee shirts cost $28 each!)
During lunch, that's when a spirit named "John" came to me and gave me his name, just as a woman walked past me. He showed me ivy growing on the side of a house, and indicated he went to an Ivy league school. He later revealed that he wanted that woman to look for a dark covered, bound book, and look where the bookmark was located in the book. Tom encouraged me to tell the woman, so I got up and told her. She said it was her uncle "Jack" who was a lawyer who graduated from Georgetown University. She would think about the book. Later, she told me Jack was gay and closeted. Interesting.
After lunch, Tom sat in the sun again and Rob went to the library. We went to the gym and then a gay group's "newlywed game." It was funny and outrageous. It was there that we saw (and would later befriend) Alain of Montreal. He was playing the game with a friend of his.
Later, Tom noticed Alain on deck and commented about his participation in the game. We would later befriend him and his partner - and they really made our cruise a lot of fun.
At night, we enjoyed the show by magician James Cielen and his wife who did incredible Cirque de Solel-like acrobatics. When James brought out his 2 trained poodles, we really missed our doggies. We found a towel elephant when we returned to our cabin that night!

Cruise to the E. Caribbean - Day #3

(PHOTO: being goofy in the cabin with our "towel animal of the day")
Our third day, Sunday, February 7, which was our second day on the cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, was entirely at sea as we sailed from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Turk. There were a lot of activities on the ship to keep people busy.
We awoke at 5:30am and had breakfast at 6:30am when the dining hall opened. We noticed on satellite TV that the ship had, that Washington, DC received 2 feet of snow Saturday. Rob was really missing Dolly and Franklin and fretting over how the doggy daycare was handling the blizzard - which turned out fine.
After breakfast, we walked about 4 miles around the upper deck (in circles), under cloudy skies and it was 67F and breezy. The winds were kicking up the seas with 8-foot high waves, so it was a rocky ride. By 9 a.m. we decided to sit on deck (in sweatshirts) and have coffee. It was so nice to be with friendly people! They were mostly between 60-80 and were really nice!
At 10am we took a "stomach flattening class" which turned out to be a sales pitch for measuring body mass for $50. We walked away. Later, Tom got sunburned on the deck (the sun came out) while Rob sat reading his great book "The Art of Racing in the Rain" while sitting in the shade. After a nice light lunch, we listened to the ship's "purchaser" talk about diamond shopping excursions in Grand Turk (our first port of call the next day). He was very flamboyant and irritating, so we left. It was all a pitch to get people to buy jewelry (which we don't care for-aside from our wedding bands). After a gym workout, dinner, and walking around the ship, we sat through the first 10 minutes of an atrocious movie with Matt Damon called "the Informant," we returned to the cabin and enjoyed "Sister Act" on satellite TV.
(PHOTO: This is a old photo that hung in the hallway near our cabin. We really liked it, so we took a picture of it. Holland America cruises have lots of old photos in black and white hanging throughout the hallways).

Two Drive Thru Adventures


I decided to write about "Drive Thru" service today because of what I experienced this morning. I have TWO stories. One about laziness the other so stupid it's funny.
LAZINESS - This morning a woman driving a Mercedes Benz was ahead of me in the Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru. There was no one else ahead of her. After I ordered I sat in line behind her for about 5-7 minutes. She ordered about 4 DOZEN donuts, and several drinks! The Dunkin' employee barely managed to get all of those boxes through the drive thru window. Why in the world didn't the woman in the Mercedes go INSIDE and order all that instead of holding up the drive thru? JEEZ.
COMICAL - My favorite drive thru story happened in the summer of 2008. I was in the parking lot of a CVS store and I saw a car pull up to the drive-thru Pharmacy. The Pharmacist said "can I help you?" and the woman responded, "Yeah. I want some tampons, some Dentyne chewing gum, razors..."
The Pharmacist said "M'am, this is the PHARMACY for medications only." The woman in the car was so stupid she said "Okay, I'll wait." The pharmacist said "You have to go inside to get anything other than medications." What's scary? That woman drives a car!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Mother's Spirit Comes to Me on Vacation

The third spirit encountered while on a cruise ship last week was a very emotional one. Tom and I watched a "mind games" show on the cruise, and afterward our new friends that we call "A2" because their names both begin with A, introduced us to the mentalist and his partner. The mentalist, Bob Lawson, was amazing. When he joined us at our table, he offered to do a handwriting analysis for us, and it was pretty spot on.
When his partner came over, I sensed a lot of emotion. We all started talking about ghosts and spirits, and then the conversation topic changed. While I was sitting next to his partner, I got a couple of names, that sounded like "Adelaide" but I couldn't be sure. It was the spirit of a woman trying to communicate with me, that I knew. She showed me a cat, a color like "green," (I'm color blind, so what I see as green may be blue) a white "house" or building, and poured me full of so much love and emotion for Bob's partner that I was physically shaking. I couldn't stop either.
Bob's partner told me that he had a very strong bond with his mother who passed, but her name was Margaret. (Hmmm... so perhaps Margaret was trying to tell me about someone else in the family who had previously passed, and that she was with? I don't know). Regardless, Bob and his partner told us that when she passed, she refused to be waked in a church. Instead she wanted to be waked in a white house- a funeral home, and she was. Apparently, she was very happy that they honored her wishes.
The cat belonged to the woman's daughter (Bob's partner's sister). It was a cat she got before her mother passed. I assume that the mother loved the cat, too.

The final point was about the "color" that she showed me. Turned out to be more "aqua" or blue-green, and it was about a pen at the funeral home that mysteriously appeared. Bob said that when he and his partner went to the funeral home for his mother's services, there was no pen to sign the guest book. When they went looking for one and came back minutes later there was a pen in the holder. The pen wrote in aqua colored ink, unlike the black ink used on all the other entries in the book. They said that no one else came behind them, so they didn't know where the pen came from. They thought it very strange that the pen appeared from nowhere.
The spirit of Bob's partner's mom was there to convey that she's around him, watching over him all the time, and was so full of love that it made me shake.

Computer Woes- BAD Geek Squad

On Sunday, when we returned from vacation we spent most of the day getting the computer to run again, after buying Windows 7. Vista destroyed all the files in it for the 2nd time in 2 months, so we've had enough of that operating system to last me a lifetime. We brought the computer to Best Buy to have their Geek Squad wipe Vista off, and they gave it back to me with nothing done. They said they "did a diagnostic that costs $70 and found that the hard-drive on the 2 year old computer was fine." But didn't do what I asked them to do (wipe off Vista) so, when I got it home, the computer went haywire on me again. I somehow managed to get it to boot Windows 7 and override Vista. I will never use "Geek Squad" at Best Buy again. If you DO have a Vista operating system, BUY the Windows 7, and over-ride it. You won't regret it.

We Interrupt this Cruise Blog for Good News from NH

We were SO glad to see that NH has common sense.
NH House Rejects Gay Marriage Ban, Repeal Bills by Wide Margin
The New Hampshire House has rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage in the state: Nh "CACR 28 defined marriage in this state by saying it can only be between a man and a woman. It was rejected by a wide margin, 201-135, short of a simple majority and far below the three-fifths majority -- 238 votes -- it needed to advance to the Senate. Sponsors tried to delay a vote on the bill until March 17, so local voters could weigh in on petitions at town meeting that ask for a popular vote on the amendment. "All we're trying to do here is put this on the ballot," Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, arguing voters should have their say. His effort to delay a vote fell short on a 191-148 vote." The House also rejected another bill, HB 1590, by a vote of 210-109. It would have repealed the state's marriage equality law.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cruise to the E. Caribbean-Days #1 & 2


Just before record snowfall started on Friday, February 5, Tom and I flew to Florida. Being a meteorologist, if I didn't foresee the potential for this storm I would've never heard the end of it from friends, so on Monday we changed our flight to leave on Friday instead of Saturday. While on the runway in Baltimore, we watched the first snowflakes fly as we waited to take off.
We arrived in Fort Lauderdale, FL the day before our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean was to begin. We stayed at the Red Carpet Inn, west of the city off State Road 84. There's nothing around it. We wound up walking on an overpass (that goes over Interstate 95!), to get to a small shopping center. Being afraid of heights it was scary...although the pay off was to find a Dunkin' Donuts about a mile down the road!!
The Red Carpet Inn had a great restaurant, "Diane's Restaurant" but at night you could hear lots of noise. We took the motel shuttle to the port and waited from 11:30am until 12:30pm when we boarded the Holland America "Eurodam" ship. It's a beautiful ship, and only TWO years old. We were off to a good start.

This wasn't a gay cruise. This was a regular cruise with a certain small number of cabins rented out to gay people. I loved it. The average age was between 50-80 of the passengers. People went to bed by 10pm like we do!! They were happy, conversational, friendly, and smiled at each other. WOW, what a difference from the last cruise!
It was 74F that day, and we sat on the deck getting sun for an hour (until Rob was sunburned). We took the lifeboat drill, we ate dinner in the open cafeteria and ended the evening watching a song and dance performance on one of the stages. It was a great first day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spirit Encounters on Vacation

Last week I took a cruise in the Eastern Caribbean (and perfectly timed it to avoid record snowfall in the Mid-Atlantic). We've been saving for a year for this cruise, and it was on a ship that was only two years old, so I was pretty sure there wouldn't be any ghosts on it. There weren't any ghosts, but there were spirits that tapped into me to give messages.
SPIRIT IN THE THEATER - During one of the evening song and dance shows, a gentleman came to me and gave me his first and last name and told me that he needed to tell Marjorie in the audience that he was around her, and he was safe. Of course, sitting in a crowded theater as one of the audience made it impossible for me to identify who Marjorie was, so I regretfully couldn't pass along the message. I assume that it was likely the spirit of a husband who was married to a woman in the audience. Most of the people on the ship averaged in age between 60-80, which is fine by me, because they all went to bed by 10pm as I do!
(PHOTO: Georgetown University)
SPIRIT IN THE OPEN CAFETERIA - A second spirit came to me while Tom and I were having lunch one day. A man called to me several times. In fact, each time a woman walked by our table (which was about 3 times as she kept getting up to get food and drink from the buffet) a man said "my name is John." He told me he was connected to that woman. He then showed me ivy, like the vine that grows up the sides of buildings, and I heard "Ivy league school." He said that the woman has a book of his that she inherited, that has a dark cover, and to look where the bookmark was in it. After finishing lunch, Tom convinced me to walk over and talk with her about it. I did. It turns out that John was her late uncle. He used to go by "Jack" and he was an attorney that graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. An "Ivy league" school. She wasn't sure about the book, but made a note of it. The following day, the woman stopped me and told me that her uncle Jack was gay, but never came out of the closet (she apparently felt comfortable telling me that after seeing me with my partner). She said she thought that's why he felt comfortable coming through me to give her the message. I agree.
I'll put the next spirit encounter on a later blog this week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cruising into Drama...

We took our annual vacation and took a 7 day cruise in the Eastern Caribbean. We've been saving up a year for it.
The cruise was fun. We visited Puerto Rico, which was nice (even though we were only there 6 hours). The islands of Grand Turk, and St. Thomas, however were poor and hurricane ravaged- so not worth it. The food on the cruise was great, and the people (mostly between 60-80) were friendly.
Weather was rough coming back last night/this morning... and there was DRAMA the last night. A VERY unusual technical incident led to a nightmare of stress. Because of operator error, the ANCHOR wouldn't come up all the way on the last night near Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, so we trolled around the Bahamas deep water for 7 hours until they finally decided to cut it off. We heard that never happens (except for when we are on the ship, apparently). The storm that brought all the snow to Atlanta slammed FL with severe weather, and churned up the waters... all that in the last 18 hours of the cruise!
So, tonight we had to get a hotel room in Ft. Lauderdale because we missed our flight out, and there were no others until tomorrow.
Once we get home tomorrow, then we can dig our pick-up truck out of 3 feet of snow in the parking lot. Thaaat's great.
I'll have photos and updates about the cruise in the coming days.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Found a Church I Want to Visit!

I found a church I want to visit. It has been a while since I've been to a church, because my faith really let me down and used millions to fight gay marriage and promote intolerance. However, the New York Times recently reported on a "chapel" in Vermont that I would LOVE to visit. Here's the story from the Times:



Stephen Huneck, an internationally known artist, woodcarver and furniture maker whose most famous work was the Dog Chapel, a hand-built church in Vermont to which dogs and their owners can go for quiet reflection and spiritual renewal, died on Jan. 7 in Littleton, N.H.
The Dog Chapel, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, is a place for “people of any faith” to celebrate the spiritual connection they have with their dogs. The Greek Revival building is reminiscent of the area’s 1820s country churches. The Dog Chapel started construction in 1997, and has been a popular tourist attraction since it opened in 2000. It sits on Dog Mountain, a vast park-like space Huneck and his wife owned near St. Johnsbury. Dog Mountain, which is open to the public at no charge, includes a gallery, hiking trails and an agility course for dogs.
Small, modest and white, the chapel resembles a 19th-century New England church from the outside, apart from the steeple topped by a winged Labrador. A sign proclaims: “Welcome: All Creeds, All Breeds. No Dogmas Allowed.”
Inside, the four pews, handmade by Mr. Huneck, are supported by carved wooden dogs. Stained-glass windows depict dogs in various poses. The walls are almost entirely covered with handwritten notes to departed pets, placed there by grieving visitors.
Much of Mr. Huneck’s artwork centered on dogs, from life-size sculptures and woodcut prints to inexpensive items like clothing and mouse pads. (His remaining work continues to be sold through his Web site, dogmt.com.). Tragically, Mr. Huneck shot himself, his wife, Gwen, said. She said he had been despondent over having had to lay off most of the employees of his art business that week.

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