Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Romance Isn't Dead

For the first time in eons, Mr. Brutalism and I had a night to ourselves thanks to a sleepover for our kid.

And I'm not embarrassed to admit that the headiness of complete freedom actually made us act a little crazy. If you define crazy as going shopping at Nordstrom Rack then watching a Netflix documentary while enjoying some sparkling water. (I promise we're not as boring as we sound -- the sparkling water was grapefruit flavored...)

Although, to his credit, Mr. Brutalism did try to spice things up while we were shopping. We were browsing in different sections of the store when he had the adorable idea to sneak up and bump into me from behind after texting "bend over, I'll drive" to my phone.

I feel this may require some context.

Those are the lyrics from a Cramps song, it always makes us laugh, it means exactly what you think and it is completely filthy.

(...did I mention it was sparkling water enemas?)

Mr. Funny Pants's prank didn't work as well as he expected, however, because as soon as he pressed "send," on his message, he realized that he sent it to his brother by mistake. So instead of finding him sneaking up behind me, I found him doubled over with laughter and unable to breathe.

As he was explaining this to me, he felt he should probably also explain it to his brother, so he sent a follow up text stating simply, "sorry...wrong person."

His brother replied with a terse, "thought so."

And that was it.

Please, let's take a moment to review:
 1- my husband felt no need to elaborate upon who he was texting this sweet nothing to
 2- his brother felt no need to probe further and ask for whom this poetry was intended
 3- his brother also felt no need to ask what this possibly meant

Which is kind of reassuring, actually. In case we ever mistakenly text him about the enemas...

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Backdoor Guests are Best

It has been a tough year.

We lost my father-in-law, the fathers of three close friends, relatives and friends have been diagnosed with awful diseases, and my favorite pet of all time had to be put to sleep. (Note to self: you write a humor blog, Debbie Downer.)

So even though we have always loved hosting parties, we have really not been in the mood to do anything other than hibernate for most of this year. At least until Halloween rolled around and conveniently scheduled itself on a Saturday. As this was also one of our friend's birthdays, it seemed like a good time for us to re-enter the world and have some people over. So we put a party together a few days before and really got into the theme:

Wow. Our bathroom is even scarier than this one. (And yes,
I realized that the letters should have been backwards after the fact. You
should take solace in the fact that I don't think like a serial killer.)

Theme wines
I was explaining how we hadn't felt up to socializing in a conversation with my mom and said, "it's so good to feel normal again," just as I realized my mother was sporting tattoo sleeves, a nose ring and had a cigarette dangling from her mouth...
My mom is also the queen of Facebook and got something
like four hundred likes when she posted this photo.
Other guests also went above and beyond in the costume department. (Hopefully not just because they were informed in the invitation that, "While not mandatory, costumes are strongly encouraged and your personal fun quotient will be determined thusly."). We had doppelgangers for Katy Perry, Pepper Potts and Tony Stark (he even grew his facial hair to be identical to Iron Man's), a Howard Stern, a couple of pirates, the Unabomber (with manifesto), football players, hippies, movie characters, zombies, historical figures and a traditional (though some may say overplayed) scary banana.
Katy Perry - with autograph pen in hand.
One friend came dressed as Stitch, the furry, lovable character from Lilo & Stitch, in a costume she originally purchased for her 14-year-old daughter. Yet when she was shopping, she allegedly could not find the Stitch costume on any Disney web site (we all know how difficult Disney makes it for people to buy their branded merchandise) and ended up ordering it from a web site overseas...

...that specializes in furry costumes. (Not furry costumes, furry costumes.)

This seemed okay until she turned around and demonstrated the massive zipper running horizontally across the rear of the costume. And until I realized I HAD WITNESSED HER TEEN WALKING HOME FROM THE BUS STOP THE PREVIOUS DAY DRESSED AS A FURRY.

As weird as it may seem, I am actually grateful for this because it means that no matter how much I screw up as a parent, at least I have not bought my daughter a fetish costume.

>sigh<  I suppose next year we'll have to add a trophy for best fetish costume
(My bronys take note.)
Canetto and I dressed as '80s college kids. I warned the guests in advance that since I tend to get very into character, it was probably best to stop by early before I drank my face off and failed chemistry for the third time.
 I was Sigma Psyched - it was so awesome!
(An aside: When I was a single girl, I used to incorporate handcuffs into every Halloween costume I wore. During Halloween parties, I would walk up to cute guys and handcuff myself to them, wordlessly. I still cannot believe how bold this was. And how successful. Just ask "Billy Idol", who I've now been married to for 16 years.)

It was Amy's birthday, so we celebrated
with cake at the party. And by reminding her that she is going to die.
And do you know when you realize you've invited the greatest guests, ever? When you find this in your fridge the next morning:

That's a face in a jar. Next to the greek yogurt.
Furry costumes correlate directly to very high personal fun quotients,

Friday, September 18, 2015

The White Stuff

You know the most interesting thing about Vienna, Virginia’s, first Diner en Blanc?

No matter what color the attendees were wearing, it would still have been the whitest event around.

(Ba dum bum.)

But seriously, folks – there were so many things that made this event celebrating the Town of Vienna’s 125th year so much fun:

  • Our friend who bought tickets for the event was so enthusiastic about getting them when they went on sale that she scored us the #1 table.
SO good for the self esteem.

  • Table #2 (heh) did not show up for the event…so we invoked the law of adverse possession (“squatter’s rights” for a non-fancy event) and made it our buffet table:
Thank you to Affordable Lawn Sprinklers and Lighting - hopefully the exposure you
receive from this insanely popular blog will make up for our trespasses. 

  • We had white feather boas:
Just like on my wedding day - only with fewer strippers.

  • We had a wine tasting at our table and each person brought a different white wine and described their wine's origin and properties. (Knowing nothing about wine, I figured I'd try and fake it and simply characterize mine with words I use to describe myself, which are "amusing, approachable and easy to pick up at your local wine store.")

  • At the end of the evening, we walked around to the other tables and bartered cookies for wine. And Redi-Whip.
This might be why my daughter is looking to emancipate herself. Justifiably.

  • We had two silver candelabras as part of our table decor, though we were told we could not light them due to the Vienna fire code. We chose to abide by this intermittently, lighting the candles for every photo we took – including the one that made it to the front page of the Vienna Patch.  
Is it wrong that our goal was to get our photos in all the local media?
Publicity whores...all of us.
  • (Aside: this may possibly be the most heinous crime that has ever happened in the Town of Vienna, as Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten mocks the town for here.)

  • A live band at the event performed covers of many popular songs. And trust me when I tell you that you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a bunch of white people “doin’ the stanky leg.” ("Pardon me, Bertram, but did that young fellow just say "stanky leg?")

What wine descriptors would you use to characterize yourself?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Little Brony

Several months ago, in our continued quest to ensure that our daughter enjoys 24-hour entertainment throughout her childhood, we purchased tickets to the One Direction concert in Baltimore. We decided to make a weekend of it, as we planned to attend the concert with our friends and their daughters.

And early this spring, we figured we should reserve our hotel rooms for the getaway. While we knew the band was extremely popular, it was still surprising that a quick check of available hotel rooms turned up almost nothing for the weekend of the show. Especially after hearing that a number of organizations had shied away from Baltimore as a conference destination after the rioting and increase in crime that has plagued the city in recent months.

The lack of accommodations remained a mystery until our friend, Emily, happened to discover that BronyCon was being held in Baltimore the exact same weekend as the One Direction show.

For those not in the know (and wow…do I miss those blissful, innocent days of not knowing that such an event existed), BronyCon is an annual gathering of more than EIGHT THOUSAND people who enjoy dressing and mingling as characters from My Little Pony.

Lest you think this is the same (young, female) demographic who might attend a One Direction concert, please know that the bulk of attendees are adults...and that many of them are men...

...who pay as much as $2000 for a weekend registration package at a My Little Pony convention...


This Venn Diagram may illustrate my point more effectively:

If anyone needs me, I'll be bleaching my eyeballs.
(Aside: This blog is nothing if not educational -- this is the second time I have made reference to a Venn Diagram here at Brutalism. Perhaps Brutalism will become part of the Common Core.)  

We eventually found accommodations at the Admiral Fell Inn, a quirky little hotel in the heart of Fells Point. To wit: while waiting to check in, a creepy, gangly guy wearing a captain's hat and carving a piece of wood who looked exactly like the bad guy in every episode of Scooby Doo asked if we wanted to go on a ghost tour of the hotel. He explained, "a lot of people say this hotel is haunted," while not registering the fact that one little girl in our group was terrified that her hotel room might be haunted and her chin began quivering. We moved away from him and did not see him again until we checked out the next morning...while he was inexplicably playing the violin in the lobby (?)

The gentlemen in our group, budget-conscious as they are, felt the concert should be enjoyed by the ladies only, while they took one for the team and hung out at the many establishments in Fells Point during the concert.

We girls took an Uber from the Admiral Fell Inn to the stadium, during which I excitedly informed our Uber driver all about BronyCon and told him he should go after he dropped us off. When we arrived at our destination, he awarded me five stars as a passenger.

I'm pretty sure those two things are related.

(Later that night, my 9-year-old daughter noted, "It was weird that you told someone you just met about BronyCon." And I died a little inside, because it's like she does not even know me. But then I realized "BronyCon" was now part of her lexicon and felt a little better.)

We are actually more Team Niall/Harry. (Now that Zayn is gone, anyway.)
And yes, I am wearing a 1D t-shirt. Unironically.
The show was awesome. Seriously -- one of the best shows I have ever attended. (Apologies to the Ramones. And the Grateful Dead. And Fugazi.)

Finding a cab on the way home proved to be a bit of a challenge, so we walked to the inner harbor and (inadvertently) into the Brony HQ hotel – where we celebrated great moments in parenting by taking pics of our little innocents in front of the BronyCon signage at midnight.

Future Bronys.
The guys got back to the hotel shortly after we did, and we learned over breakfast the next morning that we had identical experiences of the guys being just fortified enough to tell us the same exact story (loudly, and several times in a row) about some band they saw at The Horse You Came In On.

After breakfast, we spent some time walking through a flea market and looking at all kinds of ridiculous flea market finds. Which is when one of the little girls in our group pointed to a crucifix necklace and exclaimed, “Look, Mommy! We can get this for Tricia because it’s a “T”!

We'll say "Hi" to all the Bronys in hell,

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Martle By Any Other Name...

When I first saw this on Saturday Night Live I was amused, but of course understood that it was an obvious exaggeration of reality. You know...to make us laugh:

Until I began receiving photos from my friend, Meredith, who lives in Manhattan and has this identical experience -- often -- at the many Starbucks locations she frequents there.

(Aside: I have actually taken to calling Meredith "Beleth" because it is my personal favorite creative spelling of her name by Starbucks employees. I enjoy this so much that I have changed her contact info in my e-mail address book and on my phone so that her name is always displayed as "Beleth" when we're chatting.)

It's fun to be my friend.

But don't get me wrong...there have been many other strong contenders:

"Maratif" and "Maratith" - at least these were in the same ballpark -- very, very close to "Meredith." Grade: B-

"Medridith"? For inserting a D where it does not belong, I'm inserting a D into your grade - Grade: D
"Martle"? Martle? Seriously....Martle? Not only does this sound nothing like "Meredith" it
also does not even share the same number of syllables. Thanks, Obama! - Grade: F-
While this shows an appalling lack of effort -- it is also deftly avoids an egregious
misspelling - so for that we'll award - Grade: C
Does that say "Malurey"? I don't even care anymore.  Grade: frowny face emoticon
Beleth's Friend,

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Hork If You Love Taxis

Apparently taxis in Chicago are now charging a vomit premium, a fact brought to my attention by an alert friend and former co-worker, who not only shared this bit of information but also a titanic-sized bag of Garrett’scaramel corn as a gift from the windy city.
Garrett's caramel corn would never result in a vomit clean-up fee. The stuff is DELICIOUS.
Make no mistake...I’m 100% in favor of this premium. If I owned or operated a cab, I would go a step further and require the fee cover any bodily secretion cleanup. One can never be too thorough. (Lawyers, you know.)

Because I am also a marketer, however, I would package this increased charge as something “fun” and “whimsical” Perhaps something like "Regurgi-rate" or "Up(chuck)-charge."

My genius is still unrealized,

Monday, June 29, 2015

Party On

Things you don't want to discuss during the family birthday party celebration for your 80-year-old Father-in-Law...what I learned:

1) The SCOTUS ruling for marriage equality.

2) Digestive schedules - including but not limited to challenges and successes.


Currently catatonic,

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Crunch Time

Scene: the gym

My husband, life partner, father of my child, person I love and trust more than any other and who always has my best interests in mind (patiently, to me): "Hold the Kettlebell like this."

Me: "Oh my GOD! Stop being so condescending. I am holding it like that. You told me to put my weight on my left foot and I can't while I'm holding the Kettlebell like that. Also, I don't feel like doing 10 more reps..."


Trainer I met four minutes ago: "Hold the Kettlebell like this." (Exactly the same way my husband showed me.)

Me: "Okay."

Monday, June 15, 2015

Those Awkward Tween Years

Happy 11th anniversary to Brutalism today! ELEVEN YEARS.

In last year's anniversary post, I chronicled all that we'd been through in the past 10 years. And the past year has been just as interesting...what with hosting a dog fashion show, starring in a horror movie, getting some Twitter love from Morgan Spurlock, an homage to GG Allin, some reminiscing about my own awkward teen years, and almost being eaten by bears.

This year, I'm celebrating by starting a new corporate job (in three hours) and learning how to write posts with a nused cat lazing all over the keyboard.

Together so long we can finish each other's sentences,

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Nash Vegas

The Brutalism family spent Memorial Day weekend in Nashville. We had a lot of fun exploring the city...the music is great, taking golf cart cabs is fun, the downtown area should be avoided after a quick walk-through (unless you enjoy being vomited upon - if so, lucky you!), and there are plenty of great outdoor spaces to enjoy.

Some of my favorite pics from the trip:
Keys to our apartment.
Enjoying the sun in Shelby Park.
The I Dream of Weenie Food Truck.
Happy kiddo.
Sheraton in Nashville. We didn't stay here, but loved this lobby.

The Pfunky Griddle - where you make pancakes at your table.
Perfect for the pfamished pfamily.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts. We spent a couple of hours here making art. 
Parthenon selfie in Centennial Park.
Rule follower.
Honky tonkin' it up at The Second Fiddle.
At The Pharmacy. With the phamished phamily. (I know, I know. I'll stop.)
Cover of her first country album.
Fashion show in our rental apartment. With pants as sleeves,
a skirt bodice and a sheet skirt.
We tried to get in the famous Bluebird Cafe. Alas, we did not get in line at 9:00am and
were therefore not getting into either show of the evening.
And it's such a shame, because I spent considerable effort explaining to my child the behavior I expected at this venue. Her interpretation of my pep talk below:


Monday, June 08, 2015

Into The Woods (Subtitle: What About Trish?)

You know what you don't want to hear at 3:30am while sleeping in a remote cabin in the woods? If you said, "a bear," or "dueling banjos," or even "someone blasting Nickelback" you get partial credit.

But I can state with absolute certainty that the scariest thing you can hear is a friend calling your name in a panicked whisper letting you know there's a guy in back of the house with his huge truck headlights shining into your living room. Especially when the back of the house is a heavily treed, sloping yard leading to a stream that should not be accessible by vehicles: 

Not something you ever want to see. 
And yet, that is exactly the situation in which I found myself early Saturday morning. 

You may recall that I'm not a big fan of the pastoral life. Where others see tranquility and relaxation, I see every horror movie ever released. And really, the only reason I even agreed to this setting was as part of a planned girls' weekend that included four women, two of whom I'm pretty sure I can outrun. But at the last minute, two of them had work emergencies and could not leave early Friday as planned. So I and the cabin owner headed there together, with plans for the other ladies to join us later in the weekend. 

When we arrived at the cabin and drove down the long, sloping driveway that led to her house, I realized how utterly peaceful it was. From her property, you cannot see a neighbor, access the Internet or use mobile phones (This is where I hit you over the head with foreshadowing. Thanks, high school English.) It is the perfect place to unwind. 

And unwind we did. We got settled into our rooms -- hers upstairs and mine on the main level. During the settling process, I saw Stephen King's book, "The Stand" on the nightstand (just realized how funny that is -- or would have been if there was a book titled, "The Bed" on the bed, and a book titled, "The Floor" on the floor -- but I digress...) and promptly flipped it over, because even thinking about Stephen King's tales would have guaranteed a sleepless night. I may have also taken my bear spray and placed it on the nightstand. You know, just in case:

This is my new favorite thing.
Then, we headed out and into town to pick up dinner and stop for a drink at a bar overlooking a lake. 

It's really a beautiful area.
When we got back home, we ate and chatted and turned in at about 10:00pm. And got in a solid four hours of sleep before the panicked whisper awakened me. And this is where the weekend truly began to resemble a horror movie.

We tried to assess what this person was doing in the backyard, while keeping all lights off so he would not know we were in the house and/or awake and fumbled for the landline, which exists for the express purpose of calling 911 in the event of an emergency. As my friend called the police, I stood guard with my bear spray, keeping an eye on the mysterious man who kept driving back and forth in the yard.

We knew it would take some time for the police to reach us, so while we waited, my friend suggested retrieving the .22 her family uses for target practice from a locked closet in the basement. I agreed we should get it, so we crept down the stairs into the pitch black basement when she realized she did not have the keys for the lock. We went back upstairs and found the keys, went back down, opened the closet and then she pulled on the light chain and ... nothing. The light was blown. So, using just my phone flashlight, we looked around the storage closet to where the gun was normally stored and again ... nothing. It was gone. She could not find it anywhere. We turned around to walk out of the closet, fully expecting to run into an ax-wielding murderer, seeing how all of this had followed the script to the letter. Fortunately, no one was there, so we slunk back upstairs, crouched in the corner where we could watch the trespasser, bear spray at the ready, and waited for the police.

Just as the police arrived, the guy hopped out of the truck, locked it, and then sat down at a picnic table in the yard. As the cops questioned him, he explained that he'd had "a few drinks" earlier in the evening and was "following "Trish" (no last name)" home from a bar when he took a wrong turn and ended up driving down a long driveway, between a parked car and shed, over a fire pit, between a bunch of trees, then got stuck in the mud behind the cabin. When the police clarified that he was following "Trish", he changed his story to "Trish was driving, then hopped out and walked home." The cop said, "I wouldn't walk alone in these woods in the middle of the night because of the bears and coyotes...I don't think "Trish" did that."
The perp. Getting cuffed.
We were worried there might have been other people with him who were still out in the woods, so while the police were questioning him, my friend and I walked out back with a flashlight to check things out and try to find his keys (which it became apparent he had tossed to avoid a DUI charge). As we opened the back door to walk outside, my friend turned around and screamed as though she had seen someone, because she thought it would be hi-larious to make my heart stop beating. Mission accomplished. Plus, it had the added benefit of causing the cops to leave the perp in the front yard and come running around the back of the house with their hands on their guns, thinking we were in grave danger.


After the perp was taken away and subsequently charged with a DUI and destruction of property, we waited for the tow truck to come and pull his vehicle out of the yard. The whole debacle took many hours and fortunately, the cops and tow truck were still there until the sun came up. We knew we could not go back to sleep, so we decided to spend the morning at a local farmers' market.

Calming our nerves with the Mennonites.
We headed back to the cabin after the farmer's market and started down the driveway when we noticed the truck that had been pulled from the muck just hours earlier was parked in her driveway and the perp and another person were walking around in the woods behind her house (looking for the car keys, we assumed). We pulled back up the driveway, drove a couple of miles until we could get cell reception and called the police again. The police got to the house, told the man he needed to leave the premises and then (kindly) waited while we set a world record for packing up a house and leaving.

The saga ends with tens of thousands of dollars in property damage, a court date, a huge nap Saturday afternoon and the discovery that my friend's husband had taken the .22 home so he could go beaver hunting (!?!)

Now if only we could find Trish...

AND AN IMPORTANT PSA: Don't drink and drive. Jesus Christ. This guy will probably lose his job and now has an arrest record. And I consider that lucky because he did not hurt or kill someone or himself. Just stop it, already. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Strange Bedfellows

Earlier this evening, we had to put our cat, Seamus, to sleep. He was 14 and declined very rapidly in the past week. It was the right thing to do, but I will never get over it. And I will never stop being grateful to the warm and compassionate vet who came to our house and made an awful situation less terrible. When I'm up to it, I will write about the awesomeness that was Seamus. In the meantime, here's one of my favorite photos...

He was a good and tolerant cat. 
...and a column I wrote for the Oakton Patch on July 20, 2011, where he makes an appearance:

Strange Bedfellows

After more than 10 years together, I can’t take it anymore. I toss and turn all night, I wake up cranky and unrested — I’m not sleeping at all and it is because of sharing a bed.

There’s the snoring, the space hogging, the need to be touching me the entire night. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the times he throws up on the duvet cover.

I’m talking, of course, about my cat, Seamus.

I realize this is my fault because I let him sleep in our bed. But to my credit, I assumed the arrangement was going to be temporary, something we allowed while he worked through his grief.

You see, Seamus used to sleep in the laundry room with our other cat, Brooke. They had a fairly elaborate set-up down there, with their food and water, litter boxes, kitty condo and assorted catnip toys. At the end of an arduous day of sleeping, eating and lazing around the house, they’d happily trot down there at bed time when we called them, we’d close the door, head upstairs, and everyone in the entire house would sleep peacefully.

But when Brooke died last year after they lived together for more than eight years, he sank into a depression. Before you roll your eyes and think I am one of those crazy cat people who thinks felines mourn and understand these things, let me just tell you that during my weekly kitty tea party (this week’s theme: Harry Potter!), my four-legged guests Hairy Potter, Purrmione Granger and Alpuss Dumbledore assured me they do.

While he was grieving, Seamus also had no appetite. He was listless (no list at all) and melancholy and he lost so much weight that for the first time since he came to live with us, I could actually pick him up without risking a hernia. It was obvious it was just too painful for Seamus to spend the night in the laundry room alone so I began allowing him to sleep in our bed.

When I realized just how much this was interrupting my sleep, we went so far as to adopt another cat to try and get them back in the laundry room sleeping routine. Alas, our new cat does not like being in a closed room and expresses that very vocally, so we now sometimes share our bed with two cats.

I’m exhausted and I have no idea what to do. Perhaps I’ll ask Paul McCatney at next week’s Beatles-themed tea party.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

For The Dogs

You know how you sometimes find yourself wearing Dalmatian shoes and announcing a dog fashion show in front of several thousand people? 

Don't worry, they're faux. As far as you knaux, anyway.
I had one of those moments on Saturday at the annual Reston Pet Fiesta

On Friday afternoon, a friend of mine who works with the Good Dogz organization e-mailed to say the radio station personality scheduled to announce the dog fashion show at the Fiesta had cancelled, so could I step in and do it? (Apparently, Left Shark was busy.) And if I know anything, it's that when you agree to help out at the last minute when people are desperate and expectations are very low, they are very grateful no matter what your performance.

It is in this type of environment that I really thrive.

Of course I posted this opportunity on social media the nano-second it was finalized and that's when my neighbor, Lisa, and I began texting dog/fashion puns back and forth to use in my schtick. However, when I got to Reston, I learned that my script was already written and I would not be able to use any of this fantastic material. Because I hate for this brilliance to go to waste, please enjoy the following: Devil wears Paw-da, Dolce and Gabone-a, Vera Wag, Fur-sace, Cynthia Growley, Helmutt Lang, Flea St. Laurent, Lily Pul-leasher, Bark Jacobs, Kate Spayed, Ruff Lauren, Jimmy Chew, Cindy Pawford and "please remember to spay and neuter your models." 

Perhaps it is better the script was provided.

I was obviously a very integral part of this event. 
Although, I did ad-lib a little:
  • One of the dogs in the fashion show was named Gisele - so I told the audience that the whole big announcement about her quitting runway modeling was just a rumor
  • I know we've all heard that models can be difficult to work with and that they don't eat, that was not the case with these models - in fact, they were exceptionally friendly and they eat...a LOT
  • In one of the dog's bios it mentioned that he was still working on potty training. And I said, "you and me both, brother"
Representatives from BROOD Basset Rescue
Team Canedo came out to support me and enjoy the event, which boasts several thousand attendees and more than 40 rescue groups. It was a gorgeous day and we loved every minute of it and met a lot of great dogs that need forever homes. 
This is Bear. He is a Golden Retriever/Corgi mix. And I love him.
And an aside: I also have gold shoes, so if there is ever a last-minute need for me to substitute as Oscars host...I'm in. 

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Two Redheads, a Brunette and a Blonde Walk Into a Bar...

I'm back from a great weekend in Richmond with three college friends I met during a semester abroad my junior year. It was not an immediate friendship as we experienced an initial drama kids/sorority girls divide that could have rivaled the Jets and Sharks in its intensity. But then we realized they would totally kick our asses in a choreographed musical rumble and figured it was easier to just be friends.        

And even though we planned this weekend about eight months ago before I knew I would be done with drinking altogether (what? who are you?), I had a fantastic time on our wine weekend touring vineyards and hanging out with these ladies.
Look at me. Pretending to sample wine. Like a big girl.
And of course, as with any new experience, I also learned a few things. So here is....

My Wineless Wine weekend with JMU friends in Richmond/Charlottesville...what I learned:

  • The "Sh-Sh....Shhhhh" move (depicted above) is so unbelievably condescending and stupid, yet it is also never not funny when used during conversation. This became our signature move of the weekend...and subsequently during my annual review at work, at parent/teacher meetings and while receiving communion. 
  • Carrie has never dated a man who uses a nickname. In her long, storied dating and marital history there have been two Jameses, a David, a Patrick, a Rodney and a Michael. Which frankly, is a terrific screening tool when assessing future mates. "Bobby? It's not gonna work. Chuck? Forget about it. Benjamin? How you doin'?"
  • Our hostess, Stacy, and her husband have six large rescue dogs (shout outs to Riley, Carson, Baxter, Harley, Angus and Parker). (Um...and also props to the awesome and tolerant Donnie.) Yet her house is gorgeous and immaculate and does not smell like dog. We have no idea how this is so. She may be a wizard. She welcomed us into her home with this: 
Gold and purple gift bags! With JMU wine glasses!
She's the wizard of hospitality, for sure.
  • When you are the only person not partaking of wine samples during your winery stops, you logically get elected as designated driver. Of a Hummer. When you have never driven anything larger than a Passat. Once I maneuvered out of the small winery parking lot onto the highway and was gently reminded by Joyce I could "loosen my grip on the steering wheel" I actually did okay. (Although in retrospect, I probably should have provided some context when bursting through the door after coming home from the weekend and exclaiming proudly to my husband, "I am the Hummer MASTER!")
  • Of the three wineries visited ( CooperBlenheim, and Trump), Cooper has the most delicious wines and the most pleasant tasting experience overall. (Please click on those links in order...as I am totally proud of what I did there....)
  • Joyce can perfectly sum up her long friendship with Stacy as simply, "I am the yin to fancy-pants's yang" (Although, I think Joyce is pretty fancy, too...or at least her new bra is. The one she showed us. While wearing it. At the dinner table.) 
  • When Joyce informs the group that her husband sent her "kiddie porn" and then wants to show you the photo on her iPhone, you recoil in horror until you realize she is showing you a photo of her cat sprawled out on its back and that she said, "kitty porn." (Unrelated: Joyce can do a spot on imitation of the dog voice in this video.) 
  • During a rousing game of "Boff/Marry/Kill" over breakfast, you all unanimously conclude that of Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man, Hulk should die. (For varying reasons, including 'roid rage, the huge clothing budget and the bulging muscles overcompensating for other areas  - but still...killing Hulk is the great uniter!) 
Still marveling at the fun,