Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Wholesome Family Fun

Recently while watching a scuba diver in a tank at the Virginia Marine Science Museum:

Speaker: "Okay, kids -- next, the scuba diver is going to show us his equipment."

Mr. Brutalism (quietly, to me): "I didn't realize it was that kind of show."

I'm a Simple Gal(lagher)

I wrote something recently and as always, ran it by my editor (Mr. Brutalism) for his assessment. 

He was fine with it except for the last line, which he felt was veering into the "cheap laugh" category by using profanity.

When I responded that I thought it was not too far over the line and effectively got the laugh, he replied, "What's next? Smashing watermelons?"

Peepsles are Back!

The Washington City Paper rocks! In the three years they've been running the Peeps Diorama contest (having taken it over from the Washington Post, a publication that has no appreciation for talent), I've placed three times - most recently, with the 2019 creation, 'Peepsles are Back!' featuring a clinic offering measles immunizations. The healthy, pink Peeps with their tiny Peeps band-aids covering their inoculation sites are leaving the clinic, while the sickly, pale pink, measles-infected anti-vaxxer Peeps are protesting.





The concept was 100% my daughter's - she was inspired the moment she saw new cotton-candy-flavored Peeps that were pale pink with blue speckles. And from there, complete monopolization of the kitchen table, micro management, and sleep deprivation began. 

As a bonus, we had to schlep the diorama into the District to the City Paper office - and while en route, I ran into a friend I have not seen in years:
When you deliver a Peeps diorama to the Washington City Paper
and randomly run into an old friend on the street who is now some kind
of big-deal lobbyist and realize just how much your paths have diverged...
Now, we wait and see where we placed. And if we don't - I know who to hire to lobby on my behalf next year.

Previous wins are listed below:

·        2018 – 6th place in the Washington City Paper contest with “Peeper Curry is Awed by Marshmallow Obama at the National Peeptrait Gallery”
·        2017 – 3rd place in the Washington City Paper contest with “Peep Haring as Photographed by Annie Peepovitz”

The Butt of the Joke

Because we live in close proximity to Washington, DC, we make an effort to go into the city every year to see the cherry blossoms when they're in bloom.

Taken by the kid after two donuts. 
Because we also live in close proximity to a 13-year-old, we need to come up with bribes to get her out of bed and into the city early to beat the inevitable cherry blossom crowds. This year, we went with Duck Donuts - delicious made-for-you-and-served-warm donuts to encourage her to get in the car at 6:45am.

Our plan worked, so after a quick donut stop, we headed into the District. And even though we've lived in this area for a million years, we completely forgot to check and see if any events might affect parking or access.

Although, to be fair, there is not usually much happening in this sleepy little burg.

As soon as we got close, we noticed many of the streets we wanted to drive down were blocked, and then we saw the hordes of runners because of course the annual Cherry Blossom 10-mile run was underway. After much searching, we finally found a parking spot about a mile away and trekked toward the tidal basin. As we got close, we realized there was no way we were getting to the tidal basin, unless we wanted to cross the runners' route and risk being stampeded by and creating obstacles for the runners. We did not - so we stood in place and cheered, screaming things like "Good job, unicorn pants" to a couple wearing pants with a unicorn print, and "I ate two donuts this morning and you're running 10 miles - you are so much better than me!" We had fun, although not as much fun as this guy:
Negative motivation is still motivation.
When there was a break in runners, we crossed and took our obligatory cherry blossom photos, then headed back to the car. During the drive home, I happened to glance at my daughter in the back seat who, at the moment I looked back, was opening the donut box and licking the donut icing that had dripped into the box, getting icing on her nose, chin, and hair in the process. I commented, "Well, those cotillion classes have certainly paid off...this is a delightful display, lid-licker..."

Because she's 13 and likes to correct every single thing I ever say, she snarkily retorted while rolling her eyes, "It's not the lid, Mom, it's the bottom of the box."

To which I snarkily retorted, "Fine, bottom-licker."

...and sometimes these posts just write themselves.

Other pics from our excursion with the bottom-licker:





Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Whatcha Got Under There?

During the daily check-in call with my daughter when she gets home from school:

(Me): "Hey, Toots! How was your day?"

(Her): "Great! And I've been so productive since I got home. I just cleaned out my backpack and found a fork, a bunch of lunch bags, and some underpants" >pauses< "they were mine, don't worry."

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Seeing Red

A couple of nights ago, my husband and I attended our town's holiday stroll - an adorably festive event the community hosts every year where merchants stay open late, carolers warble, and the crisp air is filled with the delightful aroma of marshmallows roasting over fire pits. Or if you're downwind from the petting zoo...alpaca dung. 

We window-shopped and chatted as we walked down main street, enjoying some downtime together. 

[Now: a bit of context for what is to follow:A few months back, I had a less-than-pleasant interaction with a local merchant. As we walked by and noticed very few customers in that merchant's shop compared to the hordes of people in others, I maturely remarked to my husband, "Good! That place is the worst and I hope it fails miserably." The second this bit of holiday cheer popped out of my mouth, I remembered we were enjoying a festive stroll! During the holidays! so I followed up the statement by singing, "fa la la la la la la la la."]

A few moments later, a gentleman promoting a new yoga studio inquired, "Would you like a free aura reading? I immediately replied, "Absolutely!" and with some prodding, my husband reluctantly agreed and we followed the gentleman into the new yoga studio.

We learned the aura is the energy field around the body. It represents a current state of mind, which means that agreeing to do this during the Trump administration was obviously a terrible idea. 

Because I was excited to do this, I had my aura read first. I sat down and placed my hands on the reader which was attached to some kind of aura-reading app. (Ed. There really is an app for everything.) The way this works it a biofeedback unit measures electromagnetic energy from the acupressure points at the ends of your fingers. This measures aura and chakras as lines of energy (meridians) from your hands lead to all parts of your organs and body. 

And in mere seconds, everything I fear about my being was displayed in vibrant color on a screen large enough for everyone in the studio to enjoy. Although we were hoping for a fairly equal balance among all the different chakras, the screen popped up bright red with a few spots of red-orange. 

Depending on your read, this could mean many things. The more generous interpretations describe red auras as passionate, driven, social, and successful - someone who is full of energy and needs to find ways to unleash physical and emotional energy without hurting themselves or others. The less kind explanations indicate that a red aura is somewhat of a "red flag" as it means a focus on materialistic thoughts, stress, and a deep-seated anger.  

When it was Canetto's turn I asked the reader, "Is there an aura that indicates a love of spreadsheets?" She replied, "That's exactly the type of sarcastic comment a 'red' would make." (Note: this didn't really happen. Out loud. I saw it in her eyes.) 

Mr. Reluctant put his hands on the reader and guess what the results were? Pretty much the ideal balance (displayed in pie-chart format for maximum in-your-facedness) of blue, yellow, and green. Meaning: he is highly developed spiritually, intuitive, has a generous and giving spirit, is open to new possibilities, calm, easy-going, relaxed, playful, and optimistic. To recap: he is perfect. And to the surprise of absolutely nobody, my husband is completely balanced, and I am completely not.
 
Because he's also competitive (which by the way, seems pretty 'red' to me), my husband asked the aura reader, "So what you're saying is this is the best aura reading you've ever seen?" The woman played along and assured him that his was what most people strive for. She also tried to mollify me by focusing on the more positive interpretation of my reading... 


...likely a survival technique she employs when dealing with those who have severe anger issues.


I wonder if the aura reader can also detect my tiny, black heart?

Friday, October 05, 2018

A Beacon of Hope

I started a new job recently that requires a considerable amount of time and focus, which means, of course, it became a priority to write a letter to the editor of The Beacon in Virginia Beach about nonsense.

The Beacon is a very thin tabloid insert in my hometown's newspaper. There is nothing prestigious or worthwhile about being named here, which is why I want to be...badly. (For further insight, see: done, everything I’ve ever.)

It has been three days since I emailed the following. Response thus far? Crickets. Score? Brutalism - 1; Fun - 0

Dear Mr. BEACON EDITOR'S NAME REDACTED,

While out to dinner recently with a group that included my mother (a long time Virginia Beach resident) and a friend I met while attending Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, our conversation turned to The Beacon (as it will).

We discussed how being mentioned in The Beacon was a rite of passage of sorts, and just about everyone we knew had been featured in its pages at some point in their lives. (For example, my mother has been named in The Beacon at least three times she can remember, and my friend at least twice.)

I live in Northern Virginia, which has been my home since graduating from college. It’s a lovely area, and since moving here, I’ve had my share of successes recognized by Washington-area publications. My annual Oktoberfest party was written up in The Washington Post; my finalist Peeps dioramas were featured in The Washington City Paper; and the Dilettante Club I founded was interviewed by Washingtonian magazine. While this is nice and obviously career-boosting, I’ve never experienced the joy and validation of being recognized by my hometown paper.

When I shared this fact at the above-mentioned dinner, everyone at our table began teasing me mercilessly. To defend myself, I noted to the high school friend’s husband, “Hey! I was even in the Guinness Book of World Records." To which he inquired, “For what? Most consecutive years of not being in The Beacon?”

I lived in Virginia Beach from the impressionable, formative ages of seven to 23, during which time I watched my mother, sister, and all my friends mentioned by name and sometimes, with accompanying photo, in your publication. Were my foreign language day at Pembroke Mall, participation in the Latin convention, and 3-8 record on the Bayside field hockey team all for naught? My perfect attendance in elementary school, 2nd place win in both the third grade spelling bee and community pumpkin-carving contest achievements not worthy of a mention? I even placed second in jump rope during Field Day one year. Was none of this good enough to warrant a few words in print?

While this (I’m sure, inadvertent) snub has likely motivated me to work harder through the years, it has also left a void in an otherwise fulfilling life. However, I believe it is not too late to right this wrong. I have a beacon (heh) of hope that one day I will be featured in your esteemed periodical. What do you say, Mr. BEACON EDITOR? Can you make a hometown girl’s dream come true?

Humbly,
Kathleen

UPDATE: While at the grocery store last night, I learned of this Northern Virginia periodical, so perhaps there is still hope of my Beacon dreams coming true one day, albeit in a different Beacon.

I mean, sure, it's targeted at those over 50 - but it's probably "the new 50" -  I mean,
they're celebrating area artists - this must be the publication for young, hip, 50+ers...

...or not...















UPDATE #2: My friend, Bonnie, crafted the following to help me feel better. She perfectly married my need to be in The Beacon with my utter distaste for the word "unguent" and capped it off nicely with an actual photo from my youth that showcases my Mother's lack of bang-cutting skills. I'm verklempt.


UPDATE #3: An email I received from the Beacon editor this weekend:

Ms. Canedo,

What a wonderful email, the best I've received in years! It's so true, being mentioned in the Beacon is a rite of passage. And it's so sad that your family and friends have subjected you to teasing due my publication's snub of your many achievements.

Let me try to right this wrong. I'd like to write my upcoming Beacon column about you. OK?

To do so, I need more information. First, I already tried to do a quick search of your name, including a simple search of "Canedo," and found nothing in our digital archives. But they can't be trusted. We've lost a lot of archive material as we've shifted software over the years.

I must confirm that you indeed were snubbed, so let's clarify - would you be named "Kathleen Canedo" if you were ever in the Beacon? Also, I'd like to search for the stories your mom and your friend were included in. Would you please provide their names and a general timeframe of when their "mentions" appeared (even guessing the decade would help)? And, when did you graduate from Bayside? What college(s) did you go to and when did you graduate from them?

By the way, I found the Washington Post story about your party. And by Googling your name I found this link: https://patch.com/virginia/oakton/ev--meet-oakton-humorist-kathleen-canedo

How wold you describe your current career, including any side jobs? Do you still have a humor column?

My Beacon column is short (example of a recent one:https://pilotonline.com/news/local/columnist/from-beacon-editor/article_02e82d1e-c5a6-11e8-b7e9-f72cdb8bc7fb.html) , so much of this won't be included in what I intend to write. But the "rite of passage" theme is important, so I hope you'll cooperate with this endeavor. 

I'll be writing this up today and tomorrow. Feel free to call me at the number below, if you'd like.

Currently loving the Beacon, 
Brutalism

FOURTH AND FINAL UPDATE: A dream, realized. Getting Your Name in the Beacon is a Rite of Passage for Virginia Beach Natives. 
Kathleen Canedo today, holding a scrapbook that includes her first-place ribbon for the
Pembroke Meadows Elementary School science fair. And many, many participation certificates.
Now what?
Brutalism

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Holding Out On Me

I feel this recent text exchange rather perfectly illustrates what it is like to be my friend (who hails from Trumbull, Connecticut):



Thursday, June 14, 2018

You'll Never Walk Alone

Friends of ours live in a fairly rural area near Annapolis. And it is lovely - they have a beautiful home on the water, own kayaks and a power boat, and when we visit, it feels like we're staying at a luxury resort.

One of the friends loves to walk, and there are many miles of private road near their house where she can do this. In fact, she was taking advantage of a secluded saunter one recent morning when an unmarked white van passed her, slowed down, turned around, and pulled up right beside her.

(This is where I would totally pull a "Blazing Saddles" and sprint away from what is surely the neighborhood serial killer.)

But she is made from hardier stuff than I, and simply stood there patiently while the gentleman rolled down his window and introduced himself as a member of a local walking club. He invited her to join their group and handed her a business card with the organization's information and his email address.

An Erol's email address.

He is definitely the neighborhood serial killer,
Brutalism

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

(Punctuation) Mark My Words

Over the weekend, my daughter invited a friend to spend the night. We did not have any plans, so I suggested the girls come with me to Safeway to redeem all of the instant winner pieces we had won playing the store's Monopoly game.

(See: Boring, Oh My God You Are So).

Whatever, I bet you don't have store brand tomato sauce and two free donuts to show for your Friday night.

Anyway, because they are good sports, they agreed to come along. When we reached the shopping center, they noticed the TJ Maxx store nearby and asked if we could go there first. I figured I owed them at least that, so we went in to explore - and we had a blast. We checked out clothes, tried on shoes, looked through all of the organizational containers, and finally landed in housewares, where I came across this throw pillow:

I picked it up and showed it to the girls, while proclaiming, "I LOVE THIS PILLOW!!!" They were both a little confused by my level of enthusiasm until I followed it up by grabbing and showing them this other throw pillow while inquiring, "What do you guys think about this one?"



At which point they gave me appreciative groans...and a promise to return the corny joke favor in the near future.

Comma's a bitch,
Brutalism

Friday, February 02, 2018

The Gift of the Pants

I received two fantastic gifts this Christmas (and one that was not-so-terrific: a dead mouse under the tree courtesy of my cat, Dexter. One one hand - gross, on the other hand - he's an indoor cat and still managed to find something we did not already have). But I digress.

My kiddo, who we affectionately call 'the Pants', presented me with these:


The 11 best memories was actually for both my husband and me (the 'you crazy people' referenced in the photo above) and included the following (with my comments in parentheses):
  • When we were dressed as Santas and ran a 5k to be in the 2018 Guinness World Record book [Your grandmother suggested this nonsense - and also suggested that had we planned ahead, we could have committed a crime during this event as any eye witness would only be able to describe the perp as "dressed in a Santa suit" (along with 5,000 others).]
  • When we had to wait in line forever at the Four Corners Monument (It was a billion degrees and we had to wait about 90 minutes just to stand on some cement and take a photo - and yet, we really did have fun waiting, didn't we? And not only because one of the artisans with a stall there had the last name 'Dukeypoo'.) 
  • When we saw the bats in Texas and when we were waiting to see them (it's weird that waiting times are some of our most fun...Tom Petty was so, so wrong)
  • When Mom and me were laughing in the car about the Toffifay commercial and then went the wrong way because we were distracted (all fun and games until Mom crashes the car because of a Toffifay commercial) 
  • When we saw the Avett Brothers in concert (and I was worried you'd get high because we were at Red Rocks in Colorado - state motto: you don't need to ask what time it is, because it's always 4:20)
  • When we played chess and Dad beat me but it was a really fun game 
  • Every time we've been in the car together 
The 52 reasons she loves me (each reason on its own playing card in a deck), included these (with my commentary in parentheses):
  • You like to watch me play volleyball (I really like to watch you have fun and work together with your teammates - and to get so tense during some points I cannot watch the game)
  • You always make me smile (back at ya)
  • You tell me you love me about 15 million times a day (bonus for the hyperbole - you are my kid)
  • You are one of the funniest people I know (and you are one of the funniest I know - and I'm old so I know a lot of people)
  • You always smell good
  • You always support me with everything I do 
  • You let me into our family decisions (well, we DO need a voice of reason...)
  • You keep me and Timmy safe
  • You tell me what is going on in the world (even when it pains me)
  • You like my friends enough to make a color-coordinated gift for them (you have great friends)
  • You respect me like you would another adult (more, actually)
  • You keep our family in order
  • You listen to my opinions and ideas (because they are original and creative and so YOU)
  • You don't treat me like a child
  • You buy stupid things like "roll the Christmas pudding" (I always will)
  • You come to all of my events (I always will)
  • You do a great Ethel Merman impression (this has been career-boosting)
  • You can't sleep if there are less than 4 rolls of TP in the downstairs bathroom (OCD is real)
  • You love our kitties enough to put things in their stockings (and they love me enough to leave dead rodents around the house - I think they win this one)
  • You don't let me do stupid and crazy things (not as much as dad, which is why all of the head injuries have happened on his watch)
  • You always make time for me (you are my favorite person)
  • You laugh at my jokes and impressions (they're hysterical)
  • You love me no matter what (I always will)
  • You make me delisious [sic] lunches for school (I do this to free up your time so you can study spelling - ooh...BURN!)
  • You call me very sweet names like dolly, sweetie, etc. (because you are my dolly and sweetie)
  • You like to cook and bake with me (I love it)
  • You like to do analogies with me (analogies : fun ::  I'm terrible at analogies...)
  • You can laugh at yourself a lot, by a lot I mean a lot (there is a lot of material with which to work)
  • You take me to very exotic places (so we can wait in line forever, apparently...)
  • You let me be myself (because yourself is pretty wonderful)
I didn't get her anything as thoughtful as this. Maybe I'll make it up to her by letting her stand in line for several hours...

Friday, January 26, 2018

You and Me Both, Sister...


Yesterday morning, a friend posted the following snippet from life with his young son...


I found this so funny, I shared it with both my husband and daughter.

Later in the day, my daughter and I went to a yoga class at our gym. On the way into the yoga studio, we passed a gentleman bending over an elliptical machine. His shorts must have been a little large, because they were sliding down his posterior.

I was wondering if my daughter noticed this when she commented dryly, while staring straight ahead:

"I'd like to see a 62% reduction in butt crack."

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Home Alone


...and this is why I now work from home two days a week...


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Learn Your Lessons Well

A Short Play:

Cast: Me, 11-year-old daughter

Scene: Leaving a community theater production of 'Godspell' - a favorite musical that I was excited to experience with my daughter

Me: (to kiddo, wondering if she understood any of the religious themes and/or enjoyed the play): "Well? What did you think?"

Kid: "I loved it. What's adultery?"

-fin-

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Pulling No Punches

In honor of the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight last night, my friend and I tried a boxing workout for the first time yesterday morning. (Incidentally, I watched the weigh-in for this much-hyped match up with my husband. It was amusing to see McGregor get all up in Mayweather's grill and talk trash - particularly since he was wearing only underpants and appeared to be sporting a somewhat sizable erection. I leaned toward my husband and casually remarked, "He seems pretty excited about this boxing match.")
See? Also, a favor: if I pass away unexpectedly, can someone
please explain to my husband why there is a .gif file named "Erection"
on the computer desktop? (it's for my ART, for chrissakes)
The friend who suggested the boxing workout is one of my friends to whom many random and hilarious things happen...so when she asked if I wanted to try this class with her, I figured at worst, it would be a great workout and at best, we would get hit on by swingers, have someone expose themselves to us on the highway, be awakened by a drunk driver careening through the yard of a mountain cabin, or appear in court for a lawsuit brought against a wedding dress shop on the same date and time as Lorena Bobbitt's hearing.

NOTE: All of this has happened to her.

Getting ready to not be able to pick up water bottles.
As if following the script, our workout got off to a rather inauspicious start when we showed up at the gym, the gentleman checking us in asked for our IDs, and I handed him my Cigna insurance card in error.

The first class at this gym is complimentary (they tell you how great you look the entire duration). Just kidding -- I mean it's free, except for the $10 hand wraps you have to purchase. Somehow, we ended up in a 75 minute class, even though most of the classes offered at this gym are 60. After the guy checking us in wrapped our hands, we began the class - and ended any ability to move sweaty bangs out of our faces, drink from our water bottles, or have any sort of manual dexterity.

This only worsened when they added the boxing gloves to the mix. Not that we had time to drink water. After a rigorous 15 minute cardio warm up and some skills sessions, we did TEN three-minute rounds of boxing the bags using different punches, then 15 minutes of the most killer ab workout we've ever done. (The math here does not add up -- there were 15 additional minutes spent between rounds making sure our heart rates never went lower than say, an Olympic sprinter on meth, so during our "down" time between rounds, we were lunging or doing burpees.)


Right after a jab, hook, uppercut combo.
Really, really tough workout. And also somehow really fun. We liked it.

...I mean, we didn't "McGregor LIKE it", but we did like it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Supremely Confusing

A nationally-known white supremacist lives about a mile from my house.

This is surprising to me because we live in northern Virginia – the small part of Virginia that is densely populated (and reasonable) enough for Virginia to vote blue. It just doesn’t seem like a place where a white supremacist might feel welcome or want to settle, especially considering places like…I don’t know…THE REST OF VIRGINIA exist.

For the record, said supremacist lives in a much swankier section of our area than I do – apparently spewing hatred is rather lucrative.

I was sharing the knowledge of this person living nearby with a neighbor friend, who blurted out, “I know! And before I knew who he was, my daughter went to his daughter’s birthday party at their house.”

This neighbor happens to be Jewish with a traditionally Jewish last name, and her daughter was adopted from Central America. And while admittedly I am not completely familiar with the levels of hatred in the white supremacy lifestyle, I am rather surprised that a Central American Jew scored a birthday invite.

Maybe it’s like those vegetarians who still eat fish?

Friday, June 23, 2017

I Yam What I Yam

If I could say something to my 20-year-old self, it would be this: enjoy not being gross.

(I'd probably also tell her to buy stock in Apple, Uber, and anything else Warren Buffett and Ashton Kutcher deem good investments. Then I'd probably have to assure her that yes, that Ashton Kutcher...seriously..."Kelso"...)

But I digress.

I'm actually in better shape than I was when I was younger, but only because I've had to stop ingesting anything that gives me pleasure. The growing list of things I've had to eliminate for the sake of my health include gluten...and alcohol...and being Facebook friends with people who voted incorrectly in the last election.

But even though I'm in better condition overall, I'm finding that with age, gross things like this happen with increasing frequency:


What is this you ask? Well, other than sexy, it's what is known as a ganglion cyst. These show up around joints - usually wrists and elbows - and can be dealt with by getting them lopped off, getting them aspirated, or whacking them with a bible. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

Of course this emerged just as we moved into summer and sleeveless shirts, so I'm completely embarrassed and self-conscious about this recent development.

And the ever-supportive Brutalism family has been so sweet - they alternate between referring to this as my "bulbous elbow" or "Popeye arm."

I was sharing this with one of my best friends (as one does), and sent her the above pic so she could see for herself that I was morphing into the Elephant Man. She was very kind and told me that she would not even notice anything if I hadn't told her...and that it definitely did not look like a Popeye arm.

So I followed up with a second photo and asked her, "Do you see it now?"


Those are water droplets...not other weird growths. Although,
I'm sure that will happen soon enough.

If only I'd had a can of spinach on hand,
Brutalism

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Frowny Face Emoji

A few weeks ago, I toured a local fire station with my daughter's girl scout troop. The girls were working toward their first aid badge, so the firefighters and paramedics talked to them, gave them some hands-on demonstrations and were generally fantastic. They are all obviously passionate about what they do, they all had great senses of humor, and they handled inquiries from our group such as, "What was the grossest call you ever went on?" delicately and expertly enough so that the girls would not have nightmares for weeks. (NOTE: they also fielded the question of "what does that mean?" asked by one of the girl scouts who was pointing at a sign above a firefighter's bunk that read, "Fartaholic sleeps here.")

The girls learned a lot - and so did I. For instance, did you know that you can now text 9-1-1 instead of calling? 

When I mentioned I had read this bit of information on a fire engine, one of the other women in our group asked, "Why would someone text rather than call?" And the Lieutenant explained, "Well, they may be in a situation where they don't want someone to hear them calling 9-1-1, or they may not speak English..."

And then I helpfully chimed in, "Also, they may prefer to illustrate their emergency using only emojis."

Which is why I spent a considerable part of the next couple of hours figuring out different emergencies I could illustrate using emojis and then texting them to my buddy (and one of the firefighters who gave us the first aid instruction), Jeff.

While I think it can occasionally be fun to be my friend, I also believe it can be fairly exhausting...and require a lot of data usage.

Some emergencies I feel are rather self-explanatory:






































And some that may require a bit more explanation:


= I'm being fatal attractioned

= I have become a cartoon character

= I am possessed by the devil

= I have been single white femaled

= the market and I are having bad days

= I am being forced to watch "Fifty Shades of Gray"

= I ate some bad sushi

= again, self-explanatory


= I've "Richard Gere'd" myself


= It's a "Seven" situation...

= you're too late


= my head is stuck in a vice grip







First responders love me,
Brutalism

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Something Doesn't Feel Right

In the past few weeks, I've mistakenly worn my underwear inside out two times. I feel like I should be embarrassed about this, yet I've simply accepted it as the next phase of my life.

Both times, I realized this at the end of the day while getting ready for bed. And both times I shared this fact with my daughter...who mocked me, both relentlessly and justifiably.

Yesterday was a first, however, when I realized at the end of the day that my underwear was not inside out (yay, me!) Rather, I had put it on backwards and worn it that way for the entire day.

A simple mistake, right?

Except that it was a thong.


I Need A Stiff One

In my daughter's 11 years, she has (unfortunately) learned to cope with death.

We've lost beloved family members, friends, neighbors, and pets.

And it breaks my heart.

For the loss of life, of course, and also because she loses a little more of her innocence as she realizes that nothing is guaranteed and that life is not always fair.

I was discussing this with a friend, who relayed a story about her pet cat, Alice, who died when her son was young. She learned about the pet's passing when her son came upstairs from the basement with the cat in his arms and said, "Mommy, I think there's something  wrong with Alice."

And in fact, there was -- the cat was in full rigor mortis.

Perhaps they stay innocent a little longer than we realize,
Brutalism

I Also Hear Tito Has A Nice Vodka

Recently, I was editing a document at work.

The writer had described something as "being germaine [sic]" to some of the findings on our program.

I'm still trying to determine how a founding member of the Jackson 5 is relevant to our government contract.

A B C is not as easy as 1, 2, 3,
Brutalism

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Qu'est-ce que c'est?

A while back, I was in my home office watching a TED talk by Sally Kohn where she described herself as a "talking head."

My daughter, who was on the other side of the desk and could not see the screen, ran over to my side of the desk and asked incredulously, "She's a head?"

Knowing my daughter's thought process (and having a sad flashback to the mini/Minnie hot dogs debacle at Disney World when she was younger), I patiently explained that a talking head is someone who expresses their opinion on television, not someone who is actually a disembodied head.

Crestfallen, she shrugged and said, "well, that's a letdown" and returned to her side of the desk.

Although frankly, that's a TED talk I would like to see.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Brutalism's Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Almost too late for the 2016 holiday season -- it's the Brutalism Holiday Gift Guide 2016. (Remember how much more timely and hilarious these were in 2013 and 2015? Whatever, 2016 has been a weird and awful year...it's a Christmas miracle I'm hitting publish on this thing at all, besides...what have you done for me lately?)

And on that merry note, here is the Brutalism Gift Guide 2016:

1. Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like polarizing religious beliefs. And that's why the hipster nativity, featuring mustachioed, fedora-ed Segway-riding wise men carrying Amazon Prime boxes, a solar-powered (natch) manger, a 100% organic beef cow eating gluten-free feed, and man-bun Joseph and Starbucks Mary taking selfies with the baby Jesus has divided the public into those who think this is funny and those who think this is sacrilege, for chrissakes. 

And apparently, the crowd who finds this funny is voting with its wallets - this is selling to the tune of 500 units per day. #blessed 
You know what's sacrilege? Spending $129.99 on this.
Think of all the craft spirits and bow ties you could buy with that.

2. But enough divisiveness -- the next gift is all about unity, in that it brings together (finally!) the natural combination of Jewish holidays and rap music with the Dr. Dreidel! Sadly, this is just an art piece and not available for sale, because apparently, the artist hates money.
I love this idea and believe this line of Jewish holiday/rap artist paraphernalia should be expanded.
 My idea? "50 Gelt" (of course pronounced "Fiddy Gelt") - you're welcome. 

3. You know, anyone can inherit money and real estate, but it takes a special relationship to have the pull my finger farting Santa left to you in a will.

And that's exactly how this favorite Christmas item came to be a special part of the Brutalism Christmas - bequeathed by Mr. Brutalism's grandfather - an impeccably-dressed, charming, Italian-American who installed curb feelers and semi-truck back up beepers on his boat-sized Cadillac.He also told off-color jokes through his electrolarynx and once presented me with a platypus belt he had crafted (clarification: a leather belt with hand-tooled imprints of platypi -- not made of platypus).

I adored him.

Every year, we unpack the Santa and every year we share our favorite stories of Grandpa Carmen while listening to flatulent Santa say, "Now that's a real stocking stuffer."
FART la la la la la la la

4. Bear Spray

There are two separate instances when I've been relieved to have this in my possession -- and neither of those involved bears (#ironic). There was the fear of yurt invaders instance and the drunk-driver-through-the-backyard scenario.

I'm beginning to think that bears are not the real issue here.

This has replaced mace in my purse -- and my purse has been replaced by a small suitcase to accommodate it. (At this rate, I will likely develop a Popeye forearm from carrying this around. Totally worth it.)

5. The gift of fitness. But not some boring old gym membership or exercise equipment -- I'm talking about the gift of fitness that translates into a great story, which is why I suggest the following events:
The Surf 'n Santa 5 miler in Virginia Beach which issues each registrant a full Santa suit so the group can beat the Guinness world record of the most Santas all running together at one time (bonus - it is a twilight run and you get to run through the Boardwalk Holiday Light Show and then go to a party after with 5,000 other Santas).
Spoiler: I just did this with my family and (pending
verification by Guinness) we beat the existing record.
My mom helpfully noted that had we planned better, we could
have committed a crime during this event as the witnesses
would have to describe us as "dressed like Santa" - just like 5,000 others.
There's always next year.
The Great Saunter - a 32-mile walk around Manhattan every spring. You gotta love a physical endeavor that doesn't even pretend to exert you. We're sauntering. I may train for this by ambling...or strolling...possibly even traipsing. It's possible I might even get ready for this by simply watching a marathon. At least I won't be wearing a Santa suit.

6. A What Would Dolly Do tote
They're referring to Dolly, the cloned sheep, right?
If it's the blonde one that hillbillies lust after, it's definitely Dolly the cloned sheep. 
What would Dolly do? Probably not pay $165 for a tote bag, for starters. That aside, I love the sentiment. You may recall my most recent experience with Dolly, which is actually a time that I would have really appreciated her advice. (Or at least her tote bag to help me carry dinner for five.)

Bonus: perfectly sized to hold canisters of bear spray.

7. Emergency shoes - honestly, these might be the best things, ever:

I am old enough to know better, but still insist on wearing shoes like the ones pictured below:
My husband is unsmiling, having been down the impractical shoe road
with me many times before.
The emergency shoes fold up into a pouch that you can carry in your purse to pull out and wear if your feet hurt from the stupid (read: stylish) shoes you chose to wear.

Of course this invites the question of why not wear the emergency shoes in the first place instead of going through this whole "two pairs of shoes" rigamarole.

(Answer: It's because I don't hate capitalism, pinko.)


8. Epsom salts - these are not just for your great grandmother anymore. A fitness professional who tortures me three times a week just recommended soaking in these as the perfect cure for sore muscles. And they are magical.



However, when I first went to the store in search of this product, I was embarrassed to ask where it was -- and rightfully so, it turns out, as the Epsom salts are located near the canes, corn pads and reading glasses.

All I know is that my love for emergency flats, soaking in Epsom salts, and using the word "rigarmarole" seems to indicate that training for something called "the Great Saunter" is very on theme...

9. Prayer candles from etsy:

Our guest bath features Dee Dee and Joey Ramone and GG Allin.
It's one of the many things I have in common with Martha Stewart.
Of course, there are also hundreds of others including David Bowie, Prince, Dolly Parton, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Christopher Walken, Star Wars characters, Billy Joel and (rather inexplicably) the "Pam" character from "The Office."

10. A dumpster fire ornament - because it perfectly sums up 2016.

Please click on the link above to read the instructions for
how to craft this thing. The writer is fantastic.
Fingers crossed for 2017,
Brutalism

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tough As Nails

A short play:

Scene: nail salon

Dramatis personae: Nail technician, me

Nail technician (inquisitively, while massaging my hands): "Do you lift weights a lot?"

Me (somewhat proudly): "Yes, I do. How did you know that? Is it my fierce grip?"

Nail technician: "Actually, you have some pretty tough callouses on your hands."

-- fin --

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Figure It Out

A word problem:
Yesterday, my husband went on an 80 mile bike ride. At the end, he felt great and is excited to plan a 100 mile ride.

While he was doing this, I was working at my sedentary office job. Which was unremarkable, except for an event late in the day... 

During the afternoon, I caught my foot on a cord behind my desk, did an involuntary shuffle-off-to-Buffalo through the doorway of my office, windmilled my arms while trying to prevent the (inevitable) fall, and landed in a rather inelegant heap next to one of my colleagues’ desks in a large, open space in the middle of our suite.

Question: How much longer before my husband realizes he can do better?

(show your work)