Monday, April 23, 2018


Even before I was a realtor I watched all the HGTV and DIY network shows involving buying, selling, flipping, renovating, restoring, or otherwise improving real estate.  I just love them!  Spouse has gotten tired of them so now I DVR the new episodes and watch them when he's not around.

Something that I hear both home buyers and realtors saying incorrectly is the word area.  Not incorrectly pronouncing it, but incorrectly using it at the end of every phrase or sentence.

"And over here you have the formal dining room area."

An area is a section within a larger space.  If you have an open concept space with an area for dining, you can call it the dining area.  But if you have a formal dining ROOM, that's a room not an area.

"Wow, this patio area will be great for entertaining!"

Again, a patio is a defined space and should not have the word area after it.  Now, if someone said "this yard's patio area is great for entertaining" that would be correct.  The yard is the larger space and the patio is the area.  But a patio is not an area unless its being described within a larger space.

I don't know why this irks me so much but it does.  Kind of like when people say "navy blue" or "kelly green".  Blue is the only color with a shade called navy, and green is the only color with a shade called kelly, so its redundant to say "navy blue" or "kelly green".  Its just navy or kelly.

What are you language indiosyncrasies?

Friday, April 20, 2018


This week our local cable provider has opened up access to some of the premium channel content and Netflix content for free, calling it a 'Watchathon'.  They typically do this once a year. Last year we binged-watched 2 full seasons of Sense8 which we absolutely loved!

The Watchathon used to be a bigger deal to us when we didn't already subscribe to all the premium channels.  But a year ago the cable provider gave us 2 years of free HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax for switching to their new platform.

However, we don't currently have Netflix so the free week of a limited selection of Netflix series is nice.  Note, it isn't a free week of Netflix.  The movie library was not included, and not even all of the Netflix series was included.  I was hoping to watch the new 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy' but it was not among the select series included.

But we did enjoy some free stuff.  We started with watching the entire season of 'Lost in Space'.
Our friends Rick & Nick told us about it, and while it was a little on the juvenile side, we both like it. We also liked the actor playing Don West!  Then we watched the entire 4th season of 'Grace & Frankie'. 
We'd seen the 1st 3 seasons already, while on vacation and during previous Watchathons.  Season 4 was fun and we both enjoyed it.

Then Spouse wanted to watch 'The Crown' but I couldn't take it.  
Those horrible accents, the Royals with literally nothing to do but worry about protocols... so annoying and boring.  So Spouse & I split up so he could watch 'The Crown' and I could watch 'Altered Carbon'.  
I really liked it!  And it didn't hurt that the lead actor was shirtless like 30% of the time.

We'll probably break down and subscribe to Netflix again one of these days.  But its hard to justify it when we have all 4 premium channels and Amazon Prime.  Maybe when the 2 year freebie from the cable company is over we'll get rid of the premium channels (except HBO) and sign up for Netflix.

What other series should we check out when we get Netflix?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

See the light

I've noticed recently that when I go to turn on the lamp on my nightstand, I always look over the shade at the light bulb when turning on the light.  Then I'm nearly blinded by brightness.

Why do I have to look at the light bulb?  To make sure its on?  Even if I look the opposite direction while turning on the lamp I'll know its on by the light it produces!

I find this a little unsettling, and am now trying to stop this useless habit.

I'm curious to hear if anyone else has noticed any odd/useless habits?

Have you ever been alone and sneezed and then said out loud "Excuse me"?  When no one else is in the room?

I have.  Its a useless habit.

Have you ever stubbed your toe and immediately exclaimed "Ouch!" even if it didn't hurt?

I have.  Its a useless habit.

Just like looking at a light bulb when you turn on a lamp.

Monday, April 16, 2018


Yesterday our electricity went out so Spouse asked me if I wanted to go to the movies.

I knew what he'd want to see if I said yes.  He likes all those action/disaster films like "Independence Day", "Jurrasic Park/World", "The Day After Tomorrow", "San Andreas", and of course the classic "Poesidon Adventure".

The weather was cold, windy, and rainy so I said yes and we went to see "Rampage".  Fortunately it was playing at our new Cube theatre which has a super big screen and like 150 Dolby speakers which cause the seats to vibrate.  Watch the HD trailer for "Rampage" below.
It was exactly what I expected.  Lots of cool special effects, implausible story lines, and unbelievable feats of human strength.  I mean, The Rock gets shot in the gut but since the bullet "missed all the vital organs", he goes on to fight in hand-to-hand combat, jump/fall from 30+ feet in the air, and survives what would have killed at least a dozen normal men. 

The synopsis is that 3 animals are accidentally exposed to a pathogen that causes rapid genetic modification.  The animals quickly quadruple in size and become aggressive and violent.  But The Rock is not trying to kill them all because one of the animals, George the gorilla, is his friend whom he's raised and taught sign language.

It was a fun movie and I must admit that I enjoyed it.  Its entertainment without the need to think deeply; pure and simple escapism from reality.  In this political climate I think we can all use a little escapism.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Baby its cold outside

It seems like spring just won't arrive!  Typically at this time of year all the trees and flowers are budding and blooming, and our temps would be in the upper 50s to mid 60s.

Not this year.

The last 2 days the high temp has only climbed into the low 40s, and to make it feel even colder, the wind has been blustering.  It literally feels like late Jan or early Feb.

This unseasonably cold weather seems to have taken a toll on everyone's psyche too.  Everyone is visibly annoyed with the delayed arrival of spring, and I've lost count of how many people I've heard say "I'm OVER this weather!"

The forecast calls for 2 days of unseasonably warm weather on Fri & Sat, but then a quick return to the 'big chill'.

It looks like this may be one of those years when we have no spring; when we'll go directly from chilly wintry weather to summer heat.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Weekend fun

This past weekend our good friends Kerry & Hugh came for a visit.  They arrived late Fri night so we only talked for a while before we were all ready for bed.

Sat morning we had bagels and coffee for breakfast and talked and caught up on the goings on in each others' lives.  I guess we hadn't seen them since Christmas.  Eventually we got ourselves cleaned up and went to the theatre to see "Ready Player One".  While its a movie about virtual reality video game players in the future, I really liked it.  The story was compelling enough to keep me interested despite me not being a 'gamer' at all.

After the movie we were all hungry (not having eaten lunch) but it was too late for lunch and too early for dinner.  So we went to Grottos Pizza and ordered a pizza to share, as a 'snack' to tied us over until dinner.  Next we stopped at Beach Time Distilling tasting room and sampled some flavored rums, gins, and such.  
We hung out at home some more and talked and laughed until we were ready for dinner.  We decided to go to Arenas for soups and sandwiches.  We watched a little TV before going to bed.

Sun morning we had coffee at home, then went to Bethany Blues for their awesome Sun Brunch Buffet.  We had talked about this before so Kerry & Hugh were eager to experience it.  On the way home we stopped in to tour a historic home my team has for sale.  Kerry & Hugh love old homes and this one is really interesting.  Shortly after returning home they packed their things and headed back to VA.  It was a fun visit!

Friday, April 06, 2018

Coo coo Cunanan

I just finished watching "American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace".  Please assume this post will contain "spoilers".

Overall I liked it very much.  Episode 4 or 5 (I forget which) got very dark when the sailor was being beaten on the submarine, but I forged my way through it.  I didn't really care for the way the events were told in reverse order.  I would have preferred if they were in chronological order which would have helped build up to Versace's murder.  I think its interesting that Versace's name is in the title when the series was really more about his killer, Andrew Cunanan, who is believed to have murdered at least 5 men, all documented in this series.  Maybe they should have called it "American Crime Story: The Andrew Cunanan Story".

There's a disclaimer that says the series is based on facts and evidence but that details and conversations are imagined to be consistent with what may have happened.  In reality there's no way to know for sure about the "conversation" between Cunanan and his victims because all parties are dead. But the dialog seemed realistic to me and the acting wasn't over the top. Darren Criss showed a great range of emotions.

Cunanan is portrayed as a young man groomed by his con-artist father to be "someone special".  He graduates from a prestigious private school but doesn't want to "work".  He is obssessed with the trappings of success, so he tries being an escort and then targets older, wealthy men as possible sugar daddies.  Aside from all that, there was something terribly wrong with Cunanan who allegedly killed his boyfriend for breaking up with him after killing the boyfriend's new boyfriend in front of him.  Most of the killings weren't as "nice" as Versace's being shot.  One was blugeoned with a hammer, and another was stabbed multiple times before having bags of cement dropped on his chest.  Cunanan was coo coo!

The series indicates that information about Cunanan and the killings was culled from police records, news reports, interviews with family and friends, and a book called "Vulgar Favors: The Hunt for Andrew Cunanan, the man who killed Gianni Versace". The series was intriguing enough that I ordered the book on Amazon and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.

The series shed light on another sad reality related to these events.  Versace's partner of 13+ years (played by Ricky Martin) was not liked by Versace's family and just before the funeral he was told that all of Versace's homes were owned by the business, not by him personally, thus leaving the partner homeless.  Obviously they weren't married so the partner had absolutely no rights.  I believe I read that Versace left him money in his will but that was not shown in the series.  The partner's grief was completely disregarded by the family and the public, and he was treated rudely by the priest at the funeral.

If you haven't watched it, you can find the 8 part series on demand.  I recommend it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Black & white

In Feb when we toured a mid-century modern home in Palm Springs I was intrigued by this framed photograph on a wall:
Of course there's the obvious reason I was intrigued: a naked man.

But I found it unusual that a black & white photo would be in a home simply bursting with color.  Typically I'm not a fan of black & white photography because I always think "Wouldn't this look even better if it were in color?"  But this photograph may have been taken before color film was invented - who knows?  There's nothing in the composition or background that dates it.

Another thing I liked about this photograph was that, although the man is completely nude, the photo doesn't come across as being sexually suggestive.  He doesn't appear to be posing.  In fact it looks to me like the subject may have been unaware the photo was being taken.  I imagine he and his boyfriend just finished a light breakfast (1/2 a grapefruit and a cup of coffee) and were just about to go for a swim when the boyfriend picked up a camera and snapped this photo.  It seems completely natural.

I liked the photo enough to take this photo of it and share it with you all.

Monday, April 02, 2018


Spouse & I brought Marvin & Walter with us to spend Easter with the family.  On our way we picked up my aunt Mary, then went over to Spouse's sister's house.  We hung out and talked and snacked for a while since our family Easter meal wasn't until 3pm.  

Then we went outside for an Easter egg hunt which was so cute!

Then we went over to Spouse's brother's house for our Easter meal which consisted of ham, turkey breast, green bean casserole, beans, potato salad, sweet potato shuffle, fruit, and assorted desserts.

Randy & Anna just got a new puppy so they brought him for the family to meet.  Eric took a special fondness to him and they shared a nap in the yard after dinner.

It was a really nice day.  Unfortunately my sinuses had just started acting up and the sinus medicine I took made me feel less than 100% but I enjoyed the day anyway.

We got home at 9:30.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday and our State government is closed, so Spouse is off today.  I'm working today but have no appointments.  I had 2 settlements scheduled for today, but since the courts are closed, the attorney's offices are closed, and since the attorney's offices are closed, the settlements were moved up to yesterday.

My mind is on Sun when we'll be in VA spending Easter with the family.  There will be good food, lots of candy, and an Easter egg hunt.  For many years we didn't have an Easter egg hunt because our nieces and nephews were too old for it.  But now 3 of our nieces/nephews have little kids so we can restart this old tradition which should be fun.

Easter egg hunts remind me of an Easter about 15 years ago or so when our nieces and nephews were still little and we had our beloved beagle, Jordan.  Spouse's sister made the mistake of hiding real hard boiled eggs for the Easter egg hunt.  Being a hound with a keen sense of smell, Jordan sniffed out all the eggs and ate them before the children had a chance!  The kids all cried and said "That's not fair!  Jordan ruined Easter!"  It was like a scene from a National Lampoon movie!  And naturally, Jordan had THE WORST GAS that night.

Lesson learned.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sensible gun control

The well-spoken, concise students have been doing a great job articulating the need for sensible gun control both at the March for our Lives events last Sat and on TV since.  There were 2 local marches in my area on Sat but I was unable to attend due to work.

Of course Fox News and the NRA are trying to discredit these students (many from the school in Parkland FL) and have gone as far as calling them "crisis actors".  I just hope that these students and their many supporters don't tire out.  We need to keep up the pressure until change occurs.

If this were adopted hunting rifles and simple hand guns would still be legal.  And really, there's no reason for any civilian (non-military) to possess any other kind of gun.

It amazes me that the NRA, most Republicans, and many gun owners get so crazy at the thought of sensible gun control.  They leap from 'ban assault-style rifles' to 'take away all our guns'.

It also amazes me that the majority of the NRA, Republicans, and gun owners claim to be Christians yet reject many principles Jesus taught.  In the Bible at Matthew 25:35-36 New International Version (NIV) it reads:
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. But Republicans are against most programs that aid people in need.  This is likely a more accurate description of the Republicans' actions:

While I sometimes feel fatigued over all the politics of the day, I believe sensible gun control is important enough that we must continue to stand up and advocate, contract our representatives, and not let gun violence become normal.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Love, Simon

Yesterday Spouse & I went to see "Love, Simon".  In case you're not familiar with the film, you can watch the trailer here:

Simon is a closeted, gay 17-year old who begins an online conversation with another closeted young man from his school.  Neither knows each others' identities until Simon gets outed by another student at school.  In an email Simon tries to convince his friend to meet in person and reveal his identity but his friend is unwilling to do so.  As Simon suspects different students as his possible online crush, the film has those students narrate the emails written to Simon.  It was a clever way to keep the audience guessing.

While the story may not be 'new', it was delightfully told with the perfect blend of drama and comedy.  We both really liked it.

I also liked the giant stand-up poster in the lobby of our theatre:

Friday, March 23, 2018

What's in your cup?

This post is dedicated to Fearsome Beard, the 1st person I thought of when I read this.

So, what's in YOUR cup?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Off season

We recently bought some new outdoor furniture, and it snowed.

Typically you wouldn't think of buying outdoor furniture in the winter or when there's even a possibility of snow, but that's what we're forced to do now by retailers.  If you wait until the weather starts to turn warm and you can actually use your new outdoor furniture, there will only be scraps and pieces left over.  To get what you want you have to shop 'off season'.

So we went ahead and got the new outdoor furniture for our screened porch (which is currently being stored in our dining room) and within a couple days it snowed.

This irks me.  I hate that retailers of many seasonal goods force you to shop 'off season'.  Go into a department store in January and you're hard-pressed to find winter clothes.  Instead you'll find swim suits and cruise wear.

One time I went into a Dollar Tree store in Aug and saw stuff for Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  In August!!

FYI - the reason our new outdoor furniture is being stored in our dining room is because we are replacing some of our old outdoor furniture.  There isn't room on the screened porch for the new stuff until we get rid of the old stuff, which I'm going to sell, but I don't want to try and sell the old stuff while the weather is still cold enough to snow.

So, for at least a few more weeks our dining room will be packed with our dining room furniture and our outdoor furniture as well as a bunch of new pillows.

Monday, March 19, 2018


The house we rented in Palm Springs had the cutest piece of art hanging in the dining room:
Even if we didn't have 2 Chihuahuas I would still like this very much.  I like that its very colorful, textural, and a bit abstract.

Its not signed so we wondered if it might have come from HomeGoods, TJMaxx or the like.  We weren't able to easily remove it from the wall to check the back, so its origin remains a mystery.

It produced a smile each time we walked into the room and saw it.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Fri funny

When in Palm Springs I saw these tea towels which made me laugh out loud.

I thought about buying them as gag gifts but ultimately decided they were too expensive to risk they'd lay in a drawer all the time.  So I took photos of them instead of buying them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


I'd seen on Facebook a sponsored ad for Tags for Hope and really liked the concept. They make hard plastic ID tags for your pets that look like your state's drivers license.  Some proceeds from each tag is donated to no-kill shelters.  How can you NOT love that??

So I had to order them for our boys.
The interface made them super easy to upload your photos and enter your phone number, address, and idenitifying info for your dog. There's even a spot under their photos for extra info so Walter's says "My nickname is Little One" and Marvin's says "My dad calls me Pee Wee".

They arrived while we were away so the boys have been wearing them for almost a month now with no issues.  Previously Walter has chewed other tags but not this one.  They're heavy-duty plastic so I think they'll be really durable.  

I think they're super cute!!