Another (Spo) Hallowe’en Meme


Our kitchen is 2 weeks into renovation and it is much harder living with it than I thought it would be. Rather than complain about something I entered into willingly (although woefully ignorantly,) I’ll swipe a meme from Spo’s Blog, which I think will be more enjoyable to read.

1 – What is your favorite movie to see at Halloween?

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and/or “Practical Magic.”

2- What was your favorite Hallowe’en costume as a child?

Never liked dressing up in costume, but super-hero costumes were always my favorite.

3- Given enough money what would be your fantasy Hallowe’en costume?
Alan Scott,  the original Green Lantern; by “enough money,” that includes not just being able to have the costume made professionally, but also being able to hire a physical trainer and nutritionist to get me in shape so I’d look good in it.

4 – What is your favorite Hallowe’en candy?

Peanut Butter Cups or Caramels

5 – What is your supernatural fear?  
I don’t believe in the supernatural, but I find the thought of demons the most unsavory.

6 – Your ‘creepy-crawlie’ fear?  
Spiders – then snakes.

7 – Your ‘that’s gross” fear?  
Any kind of mutilation

8 – Have you ever heard a ghost or heard something go bump in the night?
I have heard noises I could not find causes for. Have never believed them to be ghosts or anything supernatural.

9 -Are you a traditionalist or a creative carver of you Jack-o-Lantern?

If I carve one (which is rare), I’m a traditionalist. Can’t imagine wasting my time carving art into a pumpkin that’s going to rot and not last.

10 – Do you know/have a favorite ghost story?
Despite my lack of belief, I do enjoy most ghost stories if told well and in the right atmosphere. I enjoy getting “spooked,” just not late at night or when I’m alone. Lack of belief does not mean lack of vivid imagination.

11 – Do you know someone who is “Anti-Halloween”?
I’m often considered “anti-halloween.” I’m not. I neither love it nor hate it, or care about it much at all. I give out candy (if I’m home), I have gone to Halloween parties in costume, and I like some of the Halloween specials. I could take it or leave it. It all depends on my mood. And I looooove candy.

12- Do you decorate the house at Hallowe’en?
My husband is not a fan of decorating for Halloween.  I could go either way. When we bought our house and started handing out candy 5 years ago (to foster good relations with our neighborhood) we put a green light bulb in our front porch light. Then we got a little light up pumpkin we put in the window. This year, I will put out a light up green monster (given to me, as a gift, as a pseudo flying spaghetti monster) on our front porch. We also dress the dogs in outfits (now, tell me that’s not evil.)

13- What do you want on your Tombstone?    
No tombstone. I’ll be cremated.  But if someone were to put up a plaque in my honor for some reason, I’d like it to say “He lived as honestly as possible and loved dogs.”

Finally, to take a queue from Spo, I’ll post my favorite Hallowe’en song:

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Huddling at Home

We are home. Actually we’re at my moms, about 10 minutes away, because we got in early and they’re working on a kitchen today at the house, so we’re hanging out here with the dogs until after dinner.

After exuberant greetings of licks and tailwagging’s, the pups are finally settled down and trying to catch up on cuddling time with dad.

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Manniversary # 17

October 2, 1999

October 2, 2016:

Today we celebrate being married for 17 years. 
Few things bring me as much pride and joy as my life and partnership with this guy. We have, literally, survived it all – debt, illness, prejudice, family drama, changes in ourselves and changes in our relationship. Everything that might have (should have?) broken or destroyed us, just made us stronger. Through it all, he has been my rock, my compass, and my cheerleader. First, he took my heart; next, he took my name; then, he took my hand in marriage; finally, he took me on a great adventure that still hasn’t ended!

Happy 17th Anniversary to my husband, Jeffrey. 

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Celebrations and Renovations

We’re back on the tip of the cape at our home away from home, Provincetown.  October 2nd (tomorrow) is our 17th wedding anniversary, and we decided a few months ago to celebrate it here in one of our favorite places, having dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Ross’s Grill, a fabulous 2nd floor restaurant with a waterfront view.   Of course, this was all planned  before we decided to go full steam ahead with a kitchen renovation a month ago.  We struggled with whether to cancel this trip or not, as finances are going to be tight for awhile, but we figured we’d do one last hurrah before we tighten the belts and stay home eating Ramen noodles for the next five years while we pay off the kitchen facelift.  (For those who have asked: yes, I am taking copious amounts of pictures before, during and after and will share them here when the project is complete.)

Here’s a sneak peak of what it looked like before the renovation started…


…and what it looks like now



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I like multi-tasking!

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Demolition, Debt, and Doggies … Oh, My!

When we purchased our house, we got it for less than market value because the kitchen was extremely small, outdated and, to be completely honest, ugly. Despite doing our best to paint it, decorate it and make it more charming, we always expected to do some kind of update or face-lift; however, "When?", "What?" and "How much should we spend?" were questions we struggled to answer for the five years we’ve lived there.

After a lot of discussion, (during which we debated remodeling the kitchen and doing a few other repairs vs.. sell and buy a new home elsewhere) number crunching, agonizing and one false start with a very unprofessional, dishonest scam artist, we finally hired a reputable contractor to remodel our kitchen. It will be an expensive endeavor, and very stressful on our home life for both us and our dogs, but we have at least 10 years left in this house, and a kitchen re-do will increase the usability & enjoyment of the kitchen, a swell as the value and saleability of our home when we retire and are ready to sell and move.

Design has been finalized, funding has been secured, contracts have been signed, deposits have been paid, Cabinets have been ordered, colors and materials have been selected, kitchen has been cleared out and house has been shuffled to accommodate a microwave, keurig and other kitchen essentials, where they don’t belong and we are all braced for at least 4 weeks of renovation hell. (Although our contractor feels strongly, and keeps reiterating that, he can and probably will have this job done in 3 weeks, he continues to stick to a 4 week time frame to allow for unexpected delays should anything arise. And we know it could be longer, although we hope not.)

Today is the first day of demolition, so there is no turning back now.

As the dogs would go crazy with people in the house, loud noises and all kinds of activity going on for hours at a time, weeks at a time, Puppy Daycare has been set up at my Mom’s (aka "Grandma" to Harvey and Rita Mae.) Every weekday morning, we will crate the dogs up and haul them to Mom’s ( about 10 minutes away ) before work, then pick them up on the way home. We’ve made the trip 3 times so far (Monday night to set up the house with dog bed, toys, food, treats, necessary barriers and gates and install a dog leash corkscrew in the backyard to try to make the stay as pleasant for them and as small an inconvenience for Mom as possible; then yesterday before and after work.) Up until now, the dogs have mostly only ridden in the car to and from the vets, pet store or grooming place. Harvey has always ridden on my lap in the front seat, Rita has ridden in the back seat. However, as we will be dressed for work, we can’t be covered in hair each morning, and we really needed a safer and easier way to transport the dogs in the car since we will be doing it daily for the next month or so. We discovered their crates fit perfectly in the back of the Forester, so we can easily transport them in their crates, which is what we’re doing. Rita barks a little bit, but has pretty much acclimated to the short trips in her crate in the car. Harvey, however, having been spoiled for 5 years riding on my lap in the front seat, is not a happy camper, and has developed a new sound to punish and torture us for this new indignity: a caterwauling that sounds like the cross between a baby lamb bleating slowly and sadly, and the guttural sob of a small child learning that Santa will not be bringing him/her any presents this year. He does this non stop, from the moment we close the hatch on the car to the moment we open it up again at Mom’s. We hope, over the course of the next couple of weeks, as this becomes routine, he, too, will acclimate and stop this heart wrenching noise. Of all the inconvenience , cost, stress, and mess this kitchen renovation is causing, this will be thing that I struggle with the most: the guilt of torturing my poor little Harvey with a ten minute car ride in his crate each morning and afternoon.

I just hope we can keep the ASPCA off our backs for the next month.

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Palling around in Pittsburgh

So, I’m finally doing my follow-up post about our trip to Pittsburgh to meet (ex?) blogger Dave and his awesome pup-son, Cooper (aka “The Coop.”) I wanted to wait to post about it because, the day we left, David got sick (Boo! Hiss!) and I didn’t feel like posting about the great trip we had until he was out of the woods and back on his feet, which he is (Hooray!)

To elaborate on what I shared before,  we left on Thursday, September 1, around 12:30 pm, and arrived about 8:30 pm.  Dave met us the first night and took us to the Shiloh Grille on Shiloh Street, on Mount Washington, a cool little bar and grill with an outdoor deck that  looks out over Shiloh Street, perfect for people watching or checking out a great view of the city.  We had a bite to eat and a cocktail (of course), then walked to a nearby “pod” (a round cement overlook) with an amazing view of downtown Pittsburgh.

The Amazing view of downtown Pittsburgh

img_8687Dave dropped us off at the hotel and headed home, and we stopped off in the hotel lounge for a nightcap before heading to bed.

The next day, (Friday) Dave and his friend (now our friend, too) Robin met us at the hotel and took us to the out to the West End Overlook for another (albeit daytime) breathtaking view of Pittsburgh.

See? Breath gone.


Pittsburgh Pals: Dave, me and Jeffrey


After that, we headed out to breakfast (Dave’s treat) in the Strip, a cool indoor/outdoor market place & shopping district, at a fun little 50’s era style diner called Pamela’s Diner:


Breakfast Buddies: Me and Dave


Robin (a constant source of smiles and perk) and my hubby, Jeffrey


After breakfast, we did a little stroll and some light shopping on the Strip, before heading to our next destination: Station Square, a 52-acre indoor and outdoor shopping and entertainment complex located in the South Shore neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Bet you didn’t realize I know how to fence.

Robin treated us all to a Duck Tour of the city. Our tour guide was very animated and charming and put on quite a show. We all had a great time.

This was our Duck-Mobile


This was our view from the river


This was Dave looking at porn on the Duck Boat and missing the view (*kidding*)


This was Robin driving the Duck-Mobile. She only got lost 4 times. (*Again – Kidding*)


After the tour, we took the Duquesne Incline up the mountainside, where we did some more sight seeing and I marveled at the cool and unique house facades.

Looking up the Incline from the station at the base of the mountain.


View from the top of the Lift


View Heading down


Dave and I Rocking our Cool Sneaks on our walking tour


After the walking tour, we were all pretty pooped (cuz we’re all old) so Dave dropped us off at the hotel for some R&R before heading out that night. While back in our room, I was looking around for nearby comic shops (of course) and discovered one less than a mile away from our hotel, so of COURSE we had to run and check it out. I MAY have found and purchased a few items while there.

This not-so-bad-to-look-at shop staff person (owner?) ringing up my purchases


This is a $200.00 statue I got for $50.00 because of the crack in Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan’s wrist. What a deal/steal.


After that, we returned to the room to nap a bit before freshening up and heading out to dinner with Dave at a nearby P.F.  Chang’s in Settlers Ridge Mall. Then Dave took us to the Blue Moon Bar  in Lawrenceville, a bar at which he used to Bar-tend, for karaoke and cocktails. When we got there, Dave introduced me to his super-cool bartender friend, “Wolf” who collects super hero and sci fi statues and toys.

Super cool (and cute) Wolf doing his thing. In between slinging drinks, he showed me pieces from his awesome collection.  Color me jealous (and a bit smitten).


Apparently, Dave got a chuckle at the fact that, while I did not dare take the stage, I was having my only little dance and sing-along in the corner while others performed.

Look at us, out past 7:30 pm, at a Bar no less.


We closed the bar down and didn’t get home until about 1:30 am.

Sunday, Dave scooped us up and showed us literally every other corner of Pittsburgh we had not yet explored. First stop on our tour, was the  Toonseum! (I know, you’re all shocked I wanted to go there.)

Entrance to the Toonseum!


Me, doing ma thang, sketching a picture of the Human Torch to add to the wall of sketches by other visitors.


Not my best work, but it was a quick sketch with markers, so cut me some slack!


Dave standing, perilously, under a giant Anvil, purchased at Acme, no doubt.


As we walked by, I grabbed this shot of the August Wilson Center / African American Cultural Center. Love this skin tone display on the front.

Then we checked out the Andy Warhol Museum. No surprise that this was one of my favorite collections there:


Then we walked down to the North Shore Riverfront Park, where we were once again in awe of the fantastic views. I really loved this water feature, despite my finger photo-bombing this shot:


I also loved this view:


We wandered around a bit more before jumping back in the car. Then Dave surprised me by taking me to the biggest comic book store I’ve ever been to in my life:


img_9830 img_9835

I refuse to admit how much I spent there, but I basically got half the books I found for free, thanks to a kick-ass sale for bulk shoppers, so I left in euphoric comic haze (that still hasn’t completely worn off, to be honest.)

But, perhaps the most exciting moment of the weekend, next to meeting Dave (and Robin), happened right after this comic excursion…..

…I got to finally meet the one and only Cooper!

img_9848  img_9852 img_9855 img_9869 img_9880 img_9881 img_9899 img_9904 img_9908 img_9913 img_9916 img_9919 img_9948

Sorry most of these are blurry, but The Coop was a little ball of adorable non-stop energy and it was hard to get a good shot of him standing still. Needless to say, I fell in love with him instantly and it broke my heart to say good-bye to him.

We ended the day with dinner at a near-by Bar-B-Q place before saying our good-byes and heading back to the hotel for an early bedtime so we could depart for home in the wee hours of the next morning. It was an awesome trip, and so incredible to finally meet David and Cooper. I really hope it’s not the last time we see Dave, the Coop, Robin or Pittsburgh.


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Idle Eyes but not Idle Hands

I am not great at sitting around doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong – I have my moments when I become sloth-like, lounging for hours watching bad TV or cruising the web for any little tidbit that catches my interest – but these moments are rare; usually, I need to be doing something productive.

This holds especially true at work. I cannot stand to sit around doing nothing. I certainly am responsible for enough work to keep me busy 8 hours a day, and for longer than I plan on working (9.62 years and counting) but we are a technology reliant office, and when our Drives disappear, or our Computers act up, we are stuck with little to do. Well, MOST people feel that way, but not me. I instantly begin hunting around for something productive to do. There is always some morass of files, paperwork or some such that is sitting around gathering dust that needs to be reviewed and either filed correctly or purged.

Unfortunately, it does not enhance your popularity at work when most of your co-workers would love an excuse to slack for the day, and you keep pointing out all these projects you can work on with this extra time on your hands.

Guess I won’t be winning the “cool office worker of the year” award this year.

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Birthday Bears

The husbear’s birthday is tomorrow, so we met up with the bff Jim in NYC this morning, then spent the day walking about, shopping, seeing a matinee performance of “Cats” , napping, then dinner, cocktails, and a nightcap or two at Posh (a favorite NYC gay bar).

We’re back in the room for the evening, but we couldn’t crash before taking a bunch of selfies in our matching Superman shirts:





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