LAWNDALE – The 312 Magee Avenue Playlist

The Lawndale book is just one week away from being published!

While writing the Lawndale book I started to think about all of the music we listened to growing up in the house on 312 Magee.

There was always some sort of music playing somewhere in the house at any given time. Whether it was my mom listening to Andy Williams on the record player in the dining room while she did her housework, or us kids listening to our records.

My father always loved music and would listen to classical and operas in the basement while he worked or read his books.

We had the jukebox on the porch that had been loaned to us by a couple that my dad was friends with and we loved that thing!

There was the the 8-track player in the 1969 VW minibus that we all rocked out to on trips on the road with dad.

We listened to the radio in the kitchen and would hear all the new popular songs of the day.

I would sometimes bring a little record player to the dinner table and sit it on the seat next to me. My dad wasn’t home, and it would be just my mom and my sisters. I would put little 45 rpm records on and we would all sing to them. It was a riot!

I got into listening to some of my favorite songs and bands recently on Spotify and thought about creating a playlist of all the music we heard in our house growing up as kids. Not just the music we owned, but all the theme songs from our favorite shows that were on TV in the 60s and 70s.

At first I thought it would be cool to share it with my sisters for nostalgic reasons. But then I thought, wouldn’t it be great to share it with all of the people who might remember some of these songs from their past as well.

So I’ve decided to add to the anticipation of the Lawndale book coming out next week and share it with everybody as a soundtrack to the book.

Some of the songs you may not recognize but some will make you smile and take you back to a simpler time. This is an eclectic mix of music and themes from the 60s and 70s that were alive in our house at 312 Magee growing up.

I hope you enjoy it, and maybe you’ll listen to it in the background while reading my book! (Don’t worry if you don’t have a Spotify account. It’s free and you can just go on and check it out!)

Here it is! The 312 Magee soundtrack!

https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/5nQ0QYz4dBIphiU7hiIZR4?utm_source=generator

I hope you all enjoy listening to this as much as I enjoyed putting it together. I’d also be happy to add any songs I may have forgotten!

Enjoy!

LAWNDALE the book will be available on Amazon next Tuesday on August 9th!

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Wildwood Daze – Botto’s and the Office

North Wildwood, New Jersey – Late 1970s

Botto’s

One of our favorite hangouts growing up at the shore was the beloved Botto’s Arcade at 10th and Surf Avenue. It was 2 blocks from our house and was a meeting place for the local kids.

In the first half of the decade, it was a small market full of food staples, sundries, and beach stuff. It’s where we used to go to buy our kites and string. But because Russo’s Market at 9th and Ocean was such a juggernaut and go-to spot they sort of ran Joe Botto out of business. Just geographic competition. Botto, a retired Philly cop, was never happy about that, but shifted gears and turned it into an arcade much to the joy of the neighborhood youth.

Botto’s had everything we needed for an enjoyable afternoon or evening as an alternative to the beach and boardwalk. A phonebooth outside in case you had to drop a dime and make a call, and a soda machine full of ice-cold beverages stood out front. Joe’s wife normally worked during the day, giving out change for the machines inside and operating the bike rental part of the business.

The place was small, but just the right size for us kids. A regulation-sized, slate pool table in the center of the room, and a thunderous jukebox packed with 45’s of all the hits of the day parked against the front wall near the entrance. (It played A and B sides! This way, I could listen to Walk this Way and Uncle Salty!)

All around the perimeter of the room were pinball machines and video games. My favorite pinball machine, Flash was where I spent most of my time and quarters. They had some of the greats… Eight Ball Deluxe, Gorgar, Wizard, Playboy, El Dorado, and Joker Poker, to name a few.

But, they had all the classic video games of the day in there too. Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Super Breakout, and Asteroids.

Botto’s was a place where teenagers could hang out, play games, chat, flirt, shoot pool, drink soda and smoke cigarettes. The owners were cool, and there was never any trouble there. I’ve spent many a rainy day or health night in that arcade. The phrase “health night” came from my mother. She used to say to me, “You’re out every night! Take a health night!”

You never knew who you might run into while you were there, but it was always a solid meeting spot to hang and make plans for where you may be heading afterward. It was surrounded by motels so even though its core audience was kids from the neighborhood, they always got a few tourists in there as well.

Across the street was a place called Golf City. It was pretty much a waste of valuable real estate that was home to a miniature gold course. Fun for the little kids and they had a small arcade as well, but overall it was lame.

Botto’s was the cool kid’s place. I spent many wonderful times in Botto’s in my youth, but sadly it’s now long gone. What stands in its place now is an ice cream stand.

All that’s left to remind me of the original Botto’s in the brick face and the door and windows. So picture this place without the A-roof, the awning, the sign, the benches, the lights, and the rest of anything pink.

What’s left would be a pretty boring-looking spot. But, none of that was important. Botto’s was about what was inside. The people, the music, the games, and the laughter.

The Office

That’s not what it was called. It was a little game room on the third floor of The Flying Dutchman Motel.

Right there on the southwest corner of the 3rd floor!

The photo I used at the beginning of this post is the motel before they added the 3rd floor. But that’s what The Flying Dutchman looked like in the 70s.

We knew the owners and they were cool with us going up there to smoke cigarettes and spend our quarters on their vending machines in their game room.

The reason we called this little spot The Office, is because we used it not only as a place to hang out and play but to have meetings. If there was some local drama going down or some stories to be told, this was the place it all took place.

I remember trying to tell my older sister some convoluted story about some things that had gone down on Morey’s Pier or some other crazy news from the neighborhood one day. She was trying to understand what we planned to do about this matter and I simply said: “Office…now.”

We liked it because it was high up off the street. We had a view and also liked the games they had in there. Just two pinball machines and an old 1972 Pong machine. There’s a link I provided, but it was so basic it may have been the first video game ever invented. But a fun game! Pinball was still king, but video games were getting better with every coming season.

The biggest difference between this place and Botto’s was, this spot was quieter and more private. You could hang up there, sit at the card table they had set up in there, and just chat. It didn’t have the number of games and music that Botto’s had, but this was our spot. Most of all, it was unsupervised.

This is probably one of the most important aspects of this little game room.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Pinball machines are designed so that you can’t rock them around too much or they’ll “Tilt.” What that means is, if you shake the machine too much or lift it up to slow the ball down or anything else to upset the machine while the ball is in play, it’ll light up, TILT, and the unit goes off and your ball drains down the hole. You’re done for being too rough with the unit and most of all trying to cheat.

But kids are creative, cunning, learning machines. You know that if the adults come up with some solution to thwart our fun or sustained play, we’ll probably work to come up with a solution to beat it.

So while the machine was on, we’d have one kid gently lift the lower front up off its legs and stack quarters under the legs, one or two at a time. This would flatten the play area on the board but not enough to TILT the machine. We’d get that baby up as high as possible. This would slow down the gameplay and go virtually unnoticed if someone walked in.

By applying this simple remedy, the game would be easier, you’d get a higher score and rack up more free games. That was the main goal. Free games! 

This also assisted with the legendary, “Back from the Dead.” What this meant was if you were in the middle of a game and the ball somehow got past your flippers, and towards the hole… if it was moving fast enough to bounce back out of the hole and back into play, it was always deemed a miracle, which was met with cheers from any onlookers. The ball literally came back from th dead!

So, we did that all the time up there.

Sometimes I would just go up there on my own and play pinball. I just wanted a little time alone to think and reflect on my life living at the seashore all summer. It was a brilliant and unforgettable few chapters from my young life.

Braces off, skin clear, and finally emerging from puberty!

Here’s a pic of me in 1978 on the 3rd-floor sun deck of The Flying Dutchman. The Office wasn’t just for pinball. It was also a great opportunity for me to meet the vacationing talent.

Pictured: Me with Ann and Gina Dougherty on the roof deck of the Flying Dutchman Motel -1978

Yea… tough times for Chaz in Wildwood!

If you liked this story, you’ll love my next book, Down The Shore, coming to a bookstore near you Memorial Day, 2023!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly.

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5 Signs Your Innocent Friendship Has Turned Into a Full-Blown Emotional Affair

Emotional affairs often begin as non-sexual friendships.

What is an emotional affair? How did your innocent flirting with someone you claim to be just good friends with turn into emotional cheating and infidelity?

I cannot count how many couples have come into my office with their relationships in shambles — with one spouse saying that their partner had an affair, with the other denying an affair occurred often proclaiming that they are “just really good friends” and that they “never had sex”.

So…was it an emotional affair?

In a monogamous relationship, people share both emotional and sexual information that is exclusive to their partners. They expose their weaknesses, mistakes, and innermost feelings.

We build trust with the other person because we make ourselves vulnerable. These conversations are valued and treasured by us because we know this information is reserved for us and only we have access to these aspects of our partner.

Emotional affairs often begin as non-sexual friendships. We confide in our friends perhaps because we feel our partner lacks understanding or they are unavailable.

This is particularly common with couples where one or both partners is a busy executive. When we lack access to our mate and need an outlet to talk to, we turn to our friends. And there is the always available social media, where platonic relationships can easily take root as deep and emotional friendships.

One important point here is that a majority of the emotional affairs begin as harmless friendships without any intention or plan to develop the relationship beyond that of a platonic friendship.

Unfortunately, we all have limited time, energy, and emotional resources available — and when these finite commodities are expended on the “friendship” rather than your partner relationship, there is a disconnection where the partner has cheated, emotionally.

The emotional affair is one where a person falls in love with another person but the relationship is not sealed with a sexual act. Over time, if the emotional affair continues (perhaps you flirt without realizing), it often leads to a sexual affair.

Emotional affairs can be devastating and destructive to your current relationship and family. In fact, emotional affairs can cause as much (or more) damage as physical affairs, but be more devious since they are less obvious.

Why? Because it leads to secrecy, deception, and is established primarily to gain an emotional high or to run away from negative experiences within the actual marriage itself.

One of my clients recounts, “I was so much more shattered by my husband finding solace and love with her. I could have more easily forgiven a one night stand because she wouldn’t have meant anything to him but as an object for sex.”

When someone falls in love and seeks such intimacy with that other person, when the time spent with the partner is superficial because their heart longs to be with someone else, the underlying trust is shaken.

Casual flirting or a crush don’t even begin to cover the irreparable damage such kind of “affairs” cause.

So, are you having an emotional affair or are you just friends? Are you on the path to an affair, even though nothing has physically escalated…yet?

Here are 5 signs you’re having an emotional affair (and you need to stop).

1. You have conversations you’re not too comfortable with your spouse knowing about

Do you find yourself hiding your phone (or getting a separate one), making sure your email and phone passwords are secret? Maybe you’re thinking “I’m glad my partner isn’t (reading, watching, finding) this (call, text, picture).”

These are signals the “friendship” boundaries have already been crossed.

2. You find yourself daydreaming or making plans with this person

Examine your mindshare. Does this person occupy your thoughts unceasingly? Are they on your mind when you go to sleep, when you awake in the morning and during most of the day? Whenever you are alone, do you think about them and seek opportunities to speak with them?

In a way, you begin to idealize this person. You may become more discontent with your partner and share concerns and problems with your friend while becoming more distant with your spouse. At times, you may even have disappointment that your spouse doesn’t do things like your friend does.

You, then, begin to find faults in your spouse for habits, beliefs, or approaches to situations that were never an issue and have always been present in the relationship.

Your tolerance for your mate is then less and they begin to irritate you leading to the belief that this person understands much better you’re your spouse ever did or could.

If you find yourself feeling more connected to your friend rather than your own spouse, then clearly some changes need to be made.

3. You’ve lost interest in being intimate with your spouse

It is a fallacy you think that affairs begin in the bedroom. Affairs actually begin in the mind.

First, emotional involvement often leads to our seeing our friend as having few, if any, flaws. This leads to our partner’s flaws becoming considerably more obvious leading to our being critical of our spouse and their habits and mentally comparing them to our friend.

While looking your best for work or going out is not an issue, the action of doing so for a specific person is entirely different. The action of being visually attractive to another person begins in the mind.

Expending considerable emotional energy and thought into dressing up for a friend is a signal that the relationship has a deeper meaning than that of traditional friendship.

Once you dress the part do you let your imagination play out romantic fantasies about your friend? Daydreaming and planning a new life with our friend is often a next step in the progression of an emotional affair.

This mental scenario with our friend is beginning to evolve into a relationship that we feel would be far superior to that of our partner. Directing your energy into cultivating a fantasy is not far from the fantasy transforming into a reality.

4. You’re spending less time with your spouse

Are you spending less time with your mate since the relationship with your friend has become a more significant part of your life? Are you are sharing personal problems, feelings, and thoughts with your friend instead of your partner?

Do you create ways to talk with or be alone with your friend? Do you stage opportunities where it is probable you will run into your friend and then the opportunity to speak with them appears organic? Do you find excuses to talk with them?

Whenever you have something exciting in your life or anything good or bad happens, do you rush to this person to share?

Whether it is communication, your daily life stuff, affection, thoughts, time or focus, does your spouse get less of your mind share while your friend gets more?

While there is nothing wrong with having a good friend, the problem comes when you begin to share less with your mate.

If everything that you used to give to your partner has become considerably less or completely transferred to this new person these are warning signs that an emotional affair is in the works.

5. You keep secrets and lie

Are you keeping the friendship with the other person a secret? Do you minimize the amount of time you spend with your friend to others? Do you omit details about meetings, private lunches or phone calls?

Do you guard passwords, access to your phone and social media accounts from being seen by your partner? Do you delete evidence from your phone, lie about your whereabouts or deny having communication with your friend?

These are also hallmarks of an emotional affair.

Now that you’ve realized that you’re on the brink of an affair without meaning to, what should you do next?

It is important to remember that even when such affairs do not cross the line and reach the physical stage, the impact is equally damaging and could put your marriage in a danger zone.

The intimacy and chemistry that is the core of an emotional affair have a deeper emotional intensity because you happen to be emotionally invested in it.

An emotional affair is bad, it can slowly disconnect you from your partner and you won’t even realize it. If you have such kind of friendship with the opposite sex, cut the relationship ASAP. Otherwise, it will take you down the road of a physical affair very soon.

 

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This July 4th, Americans will spend more on beer, wine than fireworks

Americans will spend $1.6 billion on Fourth of July beer and wine, surpassing the amount they are expected to spend on fireworks, according to a new report from WalletHub.

And AAA found that a record 48.9 million Americans plan to travel over the holiday, a 4.1 percent increase from last year.

“This holiday builds on the strong travel demand seen for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session across the country, families coast to coast are eager to travel,” Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel, said in a news release.
For those living in Philadelphia or spending their holiday in the city, Visit Philadelphia compiled an Independence Day guide describing the annual Wawa Welcome America festival, which includes the Party on the Parkway, free or pay-as-you-wish entrance to 22 museums and attractions, and a birthday party at the Independence Visitor Center with Betsy Ross.
AAA warned travelers of delays near major cities, and the mix of commuters and holiday travelers on Wednesday was expected to make it the worst day for traffic. Delays nationwide are expected to increase about 9 percent, but around major cities, commutes could take up to four times as long.
“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX Inc., a Washington-based transportation analytics company.
The Fourth of July celebrations include an expected $1 billion being spent on fireworks, $6.8 billion on food, and $5.4 million worth of imported American flags, according to the WalletHub report. And 150 million hot dogs are eaten each year.
Although more Americans (61 percent) plan to have a cookout than celebrate with fireworks (40 percent), Philadelphia city leaders still encourage residents to leave the fireworks to those trained to set them off.
Last year, five people died from fireworks-related injuries nationwide, according to a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“While it can be tempting to get in on the action on July Fourth and other holidays, we always encourage Philadelphians to leave fireworks to the experts,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement.
Most Americans do celebrate the nation’s Independence Day, but the National Retail Federation found in a separate report that total spending on food items is down about 5.5 percent from a high of $7.15 billion in 2017.
Still, Americans seem to be getting into the patriotic spirit. Two-thirds of Northeast Americans own an American flag and say they have themed-apparel, according to the report from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
Americans seem to be spending more on Independence Day in the Northeast, too. The retailers group found that this region will spend an average of $78.40 on food, anywhere from about $7 to $12 more per person than the Midwest, West, and South.

 

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My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

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Rebecca – Chapter 16 – The Return – Part 1

“I look down into my vermilion Manhattan and contemplate my life. The brandied berry offers no quarter.”

I texted Rebecca back with a warm response. Not too much exuberance. Let her know I’ve been busy and that it was great to hear from her.

I had to be cautious. I’ve cut all of the crazy people that caused me pain out of my life.

Not that Rebecca had done that, but at this point I had to be careful.

I just have to be cautious now because I don’t want any drama in my life anymore. I only surround myself with good people.

Period.

“I know you’re busy, and I know I’ve been absent, but I would really like to catch up with you and see you even if it’s only for one drink.”

No matter what’s going on with Rebecca or any of the other women friends in my life, I can’t refuse if they reach out to me.

I’m overjoyed at my age that I get to spend time with these lovely ladies, and they trust and respect me enough to want to hang with me.

I’m honored.

“Where shall we meet?”

A day passes.

“Ranstead Room, Thursday night after 8pm.”

“Perfect. I’ll see you then. Looking forward to catching up.”

I have to keep it light.

Quite frankly, I’m counting the days. We have history. Our previous dates. Unrequited love. Lust. I don’t know. I don’t know what this is, or what she wants. But somehow I’m driven to meet her. For god’s sake… this girl’s been gone for two years!

I’m a beauty addict and I can’t resist the draw of a lovely girl. I could be in the worst mood, and if a pretty girl comes in the salon and chats with me, it all falls away.

I understand the drop of dopamine, and live for it to extinguish my ever-present anxiety and depression. No one knows what it’s like except those that have it, but it’s a real thing. Some of us have risen above it without medicine, because there wasn’t any when we were growing up in the 60’s and 70’s.

 

I’m sitting in the Ranstead Room. It’s a back alley bar that’s sort of a speakeasy in the city. I know Rebecca knows about it, or I would have guided her properly, but she’ll be here soon.

I’m at a booth.

Alone.

I have a very expensive, toxic cocktail before me. The room is always dark. Dark blues, and R&B fill the room. Tasteful paintings of nude women adorn the walls. The bar is illuminated by candles. The men’s room is adorned with a photo of a young, handsome Ron Jeremy. The music that plays is some sweet R&B from the 70’s. This place is Disney perfect for a cool retro speakeasy in 2020.

What am I doing here?

I just want to have a drink with my friend, I assure my lying self.

I miss Rebecca. I’ve been struggling with Cherie and her schedule. I’m not justifying, we’re fine, but it would be nice to meet with Rebecca for a minute and catch up.

What if she doesn’t show up?

I look down into my vermilion Manhattan and contemplate my life.

The brandied berry offers no quarter.

 

The air in the bar moves…

The door opens, and everything changes.

A young woman enters the bar. She’s 24. Her hair is brown and flows about her face like ribbons of dark chocolate. She’s wearing a one piece dark blue dress. It clings to her every curve. It ends at the beginning of her caramel thighs. She’s wearing heels that have ribbon straps that are tied around her ankles.

Her legs are spectacular.

I’m stunned.

She runs her fingers through her hair and throws it off to the side in a wave, as she strides toward me. Her skin is darker from the South American sun.

I’m speechless.

“Is this seat taken, sir?”

I’m losing my mind even after a potent cocktail at the sight of this exquisite beauty.

“Umm… It’s yours… Rebecca.”

Why does she always have this power over me?

Don’t question it, Be cool.

“Can I get a Cosmo?” she says as she eases into the booth like a cat. (Totally wrong drink to order in a place like this)

Rebecca looks so beautiful I want to bash by head on the table. But I must remain cool so I don’t lose my 50 years of experience.

God… She’s breathtaking.

She places her order and the drink arrives. “Did you bring me here to hide me, Chaz?”

I like that she called me Chaz.

“No. I just like this bar for its discretion.”

Rebecca takes my hands in hers. (dainty fingers tipped with manicured white polished nails)

“It’s good to see you again, Rebecca. You look amazing. It’s been so long. What’ve you been up to? I thought you were going away for three to six months, but you’ve been away for two years.”

“I know… I thought maybe you forgot about me.”

“Well, yea, I kinda did.”

“What?”

“I’m kidding! Come on… what was it like? I’m just happy you’re okay and you’re sitting right here now.”

“You look good too. Maybe a little older…”

“Stop. I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that,”

“No… I’m sorry. I just meant you looked good. Distinguished.”

“Alright. Decent save. So… what was it like down there?”

“It was amazing working with all of those people in South America. An eye opening experience. I’m sorry I was out of touch, but once I got down there I sort of lost touch with everything but the work.”

“Really? It was that immersive?”

“Yea. Like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”

“Well, I’d love to hear all about it!”

“Can we wait to get to all of that until next time?”

“Umm.. yea. No problem.” (odd)

“To be honest, I’ve been a bit lost, Charles.”

I like that she’s using the real name, too.

“That’s okay, I’ve been there too.”

Rebecca squeezed my hands, “I’m tired of that.”

“Yea, I mean… me too.”

“I’m really happy to see you. You’ve always been amazing to me.”

“Rebecca, I’m just happy to see you.”

“Yea, but you’ve always been different to me. You’re not like anybody I know.”

“I get that a lot. Because I don’t want anything. I just like being alone.”

“Me too, but I’m happy you agreed to meet me tonight.”

“How’s Lorelei?”

She’s great. Went from hostess, to food runner to server at Bar Bom Bon and is killing it. Still vegan and in a relationship with Kyle for the past 5 years. So, solid kid.” (While describing her my signature move is to whip out my phone and show the person I’m talking to a recent photo of her.)

‘That’s great. I’m glad she’s doing well. Wow, she’s so beautiful.”

Everybody says that about my daughter. It’s like they’re amazed that came through me.

“It’s great to see you after all of this time, Rebecca. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever see you again.”

“Why?”

I don’t know. I just felt that we were in two different worlds, and you’d moved on like so many others. We’ve lost a lot of the old crew.”

“Oh, thanks a lot, so I’m like ‘so many others’...”

“No. I just thought that young people get busy and they move on to career, relationships and family.”

Rebecca took a long pull on her drink. “Not all of us, Chaz. What are you up to?”

“I’m doing everything I can to never go back to the rat race. I work at the salon and will be managing a restaurant in Rittenhouse next month, so I think I may finally be able to escape corporate America’s prison. I just like to work, And there’s a way to do it if you’re just willing to work hard. Most people are too lazy for that. I think I’ve finally found a happy balance to my life.”

“How’s your social life?”

“It’s good. Monday after work I went home and watched Netflix, Tuesday met with my friend and closed my favorite bar, Wednesday, had dinner with Church, and last night I took my employee out for gelato at one the best restaurants in the city. So, rockin’ while I keep all wheels on the ground. How’s your life been?”

 

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion!

 

 

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Romantic Thanksgiving date ideas

A lot of people believe that Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving unless you spend it stuffing yourself silly with food, surrounded by annoying uncles and aunts. But for couples without children or whose families are far away, Thanksgiving can be a wonderful opportunity to spend some romantic time together without distractions. So skip all of the stress this Thanksgiving and plan a special day for just the two of you with one of the ideas below.

Cook a meal together for two

While playing hostess to your in-laws and simultaneously cooking a Thanksgiving meal for 10 may seem like a recipe for panic attack, cooking a turkey together with your best guy is filled with sexy opportunities. Envision sipping wine together as you stir the cranberry sauce and let your imagination run wild!

Have someone cook a meal for you

For those of you who think cooking is a chore rather than a delight, there’s nothing like enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner out on the town. Simply make a reservation, show-up and voila! While other women are spending the day slaving over a stove, you and your man can enjoy all of the pleasures of eating a five-course, candle-lit meal with none of the work.

Stay at a B&B

Holidays are so few and far between, why not extend your Thanksgiving into a Thanks-weekend and spend four days being thankful you’re not at home?

Go somewhere warm

Or even better, chuck the idea of a traditionally chilly Thanksgiving and relax the weekend away, basking in the sun at a tropical resort. The trees may not change color in Florida or the Bahamas, but there is still a lot of holiday cheer to be found there.

Watch a parade

You don’t even need to go anywhere to enjoy a romantic Thanksgiving. Sipping hot chocolate and holding hands together while watching a local parade can be just as lovely.

Or snuggle on the couch

Don’t even get dressed! Thanksgiving is one holiday that’s made for sleeping in, so don’t hesitate to ignore that alarm for once. You can always TiVo the parade and watch it later.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen

For couples in pursuit of the true meaning of Thanksgiving, soup kitchens and charity organizations are always in need of volunteers on the holiday when attendance is even higher than usual.

Go see a movie

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is going out to the movies with my boyfriend, just the two of us.

 

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Another Life – Chapter 32

https://lapetitemort17.wordpress.com/?p=445

 

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Another Life – Chapter 25

It’s not easy, trying to find someone to share an apartment with three other people, at short notice – especially over the Christmas holidays. But word of mouth travelled fast, and within a month of Ronnie leaving us in the lurch, we got a nibble.

Rina was a slim brunette with a very pretty face. She wore headbands and fitness gear, or workout clothes. I didn’t know if she was an exercise nut, or if she was just trying to imitate Olivia Newton John.

She was also Barbara’s best friend.

Rina had been over a couple of times, but only when we’d been having a party, or a large group. She took a tour of the apartment, and then asked most of the same shrewd questions that Laurie had asked the landlord before we signed the lease. Rina was especially pleased when she heard what her share of the rent would be.

– “I can move in February 1st.” she said.

– “Super!” said Laurie.

I have to admit that I was a little worried about Rina. It’s true that I barely knew Rose before we became roomies – but Rose was a sweetheart. And I hadn’t been dating her best friend.

It was a relief, then, when Rina set me straight right away.

– “We’re gonna be good friends, Joe. Barbara said you were a really nice guy. She still considers you a friend, too.”

That was nice to hear. We all quickly discovered that Rina was remarkably frank and open. She might not be in Eli’s class, when it came to telling the truth, but she was very, very close. We found that out even before she officially moved in.

Rina brought over a few boxes, and a few of her clothes.

– “I’ll need some help moving in, though.” she said.

– “I can help.” I told her that I could borrow Uncle Ray’s truck, and find a friend to help me carry her furniture.

– “That’s fantastic!” she said. “Oh, Joe, if you could do that, I’d really make it worth your while.” She batted her eyes at me.

I’m sure my mouth fell open. Rose spit a mouthful of soup across the table, spraying Laurie’s arm.

– “Geez!” snapped Laurie.

Rina though that Laurie was reacting to what she just said. Who knows? Maybe she was.

– “I didn’t mean that I’d fuck him.” said Rina. She smiled at me. “I just meant that I’d buy him a case of beer. That would be alright, wouldn’t it?”

– “You don’t have to buy me beer.” I said.

– “Then I’ll buy it for all of my roommates, and we can share.”

I got Eli to help me. I figured that a beer or two and an introduction to Rina would be well worth the price of admission.

We carried her bed and dresser up the stairs, and then load after load of clothes. I swear, this girl had 29 pairs of shoes – at the age of 21. Even Imelda Marcos took a few years to amass her collection.

– “You’re beautiful.” Eli told her. “I’d love to go out with you.”

– “Probably not going to happen.” said Rina. “Nice of you to say, though.”

We had ourselves a new roommate. Once again, we would be splitting the rent four ways, instead of three. Of course, Rina was not an unmitigated blessing.

The night after she moved in, she had her boyfriend over.

She must have bought her bed at the same store where Ronnie and Laurie got theirs. It was the serenade of the springs all over again.

The next morning, Rose couldn’t meet my eye. It was probably worse for Laurie, though; she was in the room next to Rina, trying to sleep through it.

– “Rose, you wouldn’t have any earplugs, would you?” she asked.

***

Tanya was a bit cold with me, over the phone, for a week or so. Then we just had trouble connecting. I did ask her out, but when Tanya found out that coming back to my apartment afterwards wasn’t on the agenda, she lost interest.

It was almost two weeks later when she called me, and invited me over.

– “My parents are going away for the weekend – and they’re taking my sisters.” she said.

– “You’re not going?”

– “Unfortunately, I’m going to be terribly sick.” she said. “Too sick to go with them. I’ll need my boyfriend to come over and make me chicken soup. And maybe rub my tummy …”

I did end up rubbing her tummy. She also fucked me on their couch, in her bed, and blew me against the wall in the hallway.

She also wanted me to fuck her in her sister’s room. I could just picture her gleefully telling Sam all about it afterwards. I drew the line there.

– “Why not?” she said. “I never say ‘no’ to you!”

– “Tanya, I’m not about to be some kind of weapon for you to one-up your sister. Don’t drag me into your … battles.” I had been about to say ‘squabbles’. I don’t think she would have appreciated that much.

She was angry enough as it was. I ended up leaving hours before I had to.

 

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Another Life – Chapter 24

https://lapetitemort17.wordpress.com/?p=432

 

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Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 25

– “What? Is that allowed?” I asked.

– “They’re pirates, Colin. And so are you. Stay here.” With that, Teresa left the room. She returned a few minutes later to tell me that I was off the hook. “For now.” she added.

It was time to start preparing dinner. Since the threat of rain seemed to have receded, we decided to fire up the barbecue. Steaks were on the menu tonight, with corn on the cob, baked potatoes and all the fixings.

I made sure to stay in a group at all times. Safety in numbers, and all that. While I did, I noticed much more. Craig and Claire seemed to be looking each other’s way quite a bit. Sometimes, one of them would catch the other looking, and then both of them would blush. It was really cute. Ben and Barb were exchanging lingering looks as well. But in their case, I couldn’t tell if it was game-related, or more private dealings.

Leo also noticed the target of his sister’s attention. “Good for her.” he said.

– “Amen.” I said.

– “Really?” asked Leo. “I always thought that you and Claire might hit it off some day.”

Luckily, I didn’t have anything in my mouth, so there was nothing to choke on. “Me? No. Not likely. It wouldn’t work.”

– “If you say so.” said Leo.

I left it that. I didn’t want to be He Who Doth Protest Too Much.

After dinner, I drew dish duty. Then Teresa called us all together again.

“Tonight, you have only two duty stations, at 2 bells and 4 bells. At 6 bells, you are free to go where you want, and associate with whoever you like. There is also a new clue for you.” She passed papers around again. I glanced at mine.

2 BELLS – HOLD

4 BELLS- CROW’S NEST

CLUE: Lena is not a pirate

Well, it wasn’t an earth-shattering clue, but better than nothing. Why just two more duty stations, rather than three, like last night? A certain possibility struck me, so I snuck back into the den, and retrieved my pistol. I put it in my pocket, but left the Bible under the rug.

I went downstairs, and found Eliza waiting for me. I was going to make a crack about ‘tempting trollops’, but the expression on her face killed that idea.

“What’s up?” I asked her. “Did I do something?”

– “Did you do something? Jesus, Colin! How could you not notice that Claire was interested in Craig? What were you thinking?”

– “Oh. I forgot – she told you.”

Eliza rolled her eyes. “Of course she told me – she tells me everything. Sometimes I wish she wouldn’t. But she does …”

– “Ee, I didn’t know about Craig until this morning. I swear to you: I would never do anything to screw up her chances with him. I like Craig – a lot. And you know I love Claire.”

– “Obviously.” she said.

– “No – not like that. I mean … last night just … happened.”

– “Why last night? Why Claire?” said Eliza.

– “What?” I was a bit confused. “I’m sorry – I don’t understand.”

– “Why her? Why not me?” said Eliza.

Oh, shit.

My life had just gotten significantly more complicated. “Here – let’s sit down.” I suggested. I desperately needed a few seconds to collect my thoughts. I had known for a long time that Claire was interested in me; but this was the very first time that Eliza had let anything like this slip.

– “I’m sorry.” she said. “I shouldn’t have said that. That was stupid.”

But she had said it. The cat was out of the bag, and sitting right between us. I had to address it. “Ee. Listen to me.” I said. “When I first met you and Claire, you were dating that guy Andrew, remember?”

She nodded. I went on. “I don’t hit on other guy’s girlfriends. By the time you broke up with him, things had changed. We did a few things as a foursome, you, Leo and Claire, and me.”

– “I know.” she said.

– “OK. I’m going to let you in on a closely held secret: how my mind works. I’m not sure if every male thinks this way, but I do. When I first meet a female, I decide right away if I want to have sex with her.”

Eliza couldn’t help it: she giggled.

– “I’m being serious here, Eliza.”

– “You sound like … you sound so arrogant.” she said.

– “It doesn’t mean that I will have sex with her. Just whether or not I want to. Some girls are too plain, or – let’s face it, too ugly. Some girls give off a vibe. You can tell right away: this one’s a bitch, that one’s high maintenance, and so on. I could be completely wrong, of course, but that’s the way it works. Those two categories are a simple ‘no’ in my book.”

“There’s a third type of girl that’s also a ‘no’. If she has a boyfriend, or a husband, she’s off-limits. If she’s really lovely, or has an appealing personality, she goes into a file labelled ‘Do Not Open’. And she stays there.”

 

 

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