Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Never Mind The Bollocks

A friend at work is headed to London for ten days. I was lucky enough to spend a semester there while I was in college, so she has been asking me what she should do and what were some of my favorite things I did while I was there.

Because I am a good friend, I suggested that she not spend the entire time drunk and sleeping with someone else's boyfriend as I did, because I still regret that. (Well, the drinking part, anyway. The someone else's boyfriend turned into my boyfriend for the next six years, so that was actually a pretty good move.) (Stop judging me.)

I have also been helpfully advising her on some pronunciation issues. (Telling her, for example, that everyone knows the river Thames is pronounced "Temms" and not "Thaymes"...and letting her know that when you ask a distinguished-looking British gentleman how to get to the "Totten-HAM subway station", chances are he will respond with a kindly, "I can direct you to the Tottnum tube.")...hypothetically, of course.

She is also directed to check out the Tate Gallery, Covent Garden, the Old Vic theatre, the Victoria and Albert Museum and St. Paul's Cathedral. (I'm not a totally hedonistic troglodyte, you know.)

Has been way too long since I've been there >sigh<

Canetto's Dirty Little Secret

Avery: Sophie is getting a princess cake for her birthday - a cake with princesses on it.

Me: That sounds nice.

Avery: Maybe daddy would like a princess cake for his birthday?

Me: I bet there are other things that daddy would rather have on his cake. What does he like?

Avery: He likes riding his bike...and beer...and (leaning in and whispering conspiratorially)...recycling

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stumped

Friday night, I met up with the Vegas girls for happy hour. (Note: They are called the Vegas girls because I spent New Year's Eve in Vegas with them in 2007. We also spent New Year's Eve together in 2008 -- but in Atlantic City, which is such a total armpit that we are all denying we were ever there. Also, when I say "Vegas girls" it sounds much more intriguing than if I say, "I met up with two college friends and another woman I met through them.") And no, you'll never get back the two minutes it took to read that dreck. You're welcome.

One of the women mentioned that her husband was at a "garage party". I asked, "What's that?" and she explained, "It's where a bunch of guys sit around in someone's garage and take turns pounding nails into a big tree stump." She said this with total conviction, as if this was something that guys actually got together to do.

I looked skeptical, so she went on to explain that, "No...apparently they use the opposite end of the hammer..." and during her explanation, she burst out laughing. Apparently, until she explained it out loud, she did not realize just how ridiculous this sounded.

Now, I'm not saying this is not entirely possible (for chrissakes, there is an entire cornhole community I'm just finding out about), but I am wondering if this kind of thing actually happens? Has anyone else heard of this? Been to one of these parties? Can assure me that it is a cover story for a bunch of guys hiring strippers so I feel a little less sorry for them?

Never has anything involving pounding, nailing and wood sounded so dull.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'm Sure That's The Only Reason

Today's conversation:

Me (In my car, answering my cell phone): "Sorry I didn't hear the phone ringing at first. I was having a very loud John Denver* sing-a-long."

Canetto (Helpfully): "That's why, when I'm driving, I keep my cell phone between my legs."
---------------------------------------------
*I am an unapologetically huge fan of John Denver. My dad had all of his albums and I know every word to every song he sang. I was a bit disappointed to learn that he once refused an invitation to be the graduation speaker at my friend, Amanda's, high school. (She went to Rocky Mountain High in Colorado.) Seriously, John?

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's About FAQing Time

You may have noticed that Frequently Asked Questions are now written and up on my blog. Annoyingly, on the right hand side of the screen.

Yes, I hate the placement, too, and plan to invest some time very soon looking into a new blog template.

Any other questions you want answered? Let me know.

Asleep at the wheel,
Brutalism

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Got Work To Do

I don't care what they say -- I'm totally going to believe my own press: Ask And Ye Shall Receive.

(Or at least bask in it for an hour or so before I get all neurotic again.)

UPDATE: In his review, Father Gene notes that my blog has been in "full swing" (heh heh) since 2007. He totally gets me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Antisocial Networking

To quote the great Mitch Hedberg: Facebook is like pancakes...all exciting at first...then you're f'ing sick of it.

It was fun to track down (and be tracked down by) old classmates and boyfriends and to try and come up with witty status updates that got reactions. It may be the new layout that is annoying me, because now it takes me forever to scroll through the "Top 5 Albums" and the "This friend sent this friend a Peep" stuff before I get to anything that I want to read. Has my attention span gotten shorter...or is Facebook just now old news? It now seems tedious to check in and wade through all the crap in the hope of reading a few interesting or clever status updates.

I'm going to keep my profile up, but I think I'll be working through e-mail for the forseeable future.

(Of course, I am counting on my old friend, Internet, to come up with the next cool thing, and I'll be happily participating...)

Yours in Christ,
Brutalism

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sucka

As the great Chris Rock said when he had a daughter, "Your job is to keep them off the pole."

Add another bullet to our growing list of parenting failures: video

Unrelateds:
-We are currently watching "Donnie Darko", our latest Netflix choice. I'm wondering if there is another actor more watchable than Jake Gyllenhaal. And this is one cool, weird movie.
-There is nothing less fun to do with a tax return than getting new gutters and new windows. Sometimes, homeownership can just bite me.
-I have been asked to write three letters of recommendation this week. (And not for parole, as those of you who have met my family may have surmised...)
-I think I have the best boss in the world. And the smartest, too. I'm totally serious on both counts. (And no, he doesn't read my blog...cynics.)
-My kid loves V8 juice (which she calls "VeeAy" juice). We like to refer to it as "my first bloody mary." What a cute little vampire.

Rollin' with my homies,
Brutalism

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spoiler Alert! I'm A Freak Show

We had a very nice weekend. It started off a little shaky -- I was feeling very sick all day Friday -- that pre-flu stuff where my throat was scratchy and I could not stop sneezing. I came home from work, drank a bunch of TheraFlu and was asleep by 8:30pm. My collage college self would be bowing her head in shame.

Saturday morning, I was feeling better, so we kept our plans to do a little overnight trip to Lansdowne. As always, Avery completely wore us out during the day while we swam in the pool and wandered around the hotel grounds. (The jury is still out on whether we just get worn out easily or if I gave birth to a human tornado.) Either way...we were ready for the break when Tim took her to her grandparents' house then came back for a couples' massage we had scheduled. (Notable Avery quote from the weekend (while she was laying back on her floaty in the pool): "I need to relax. I'm stressed by the situation."

I went with the hot stone massage, Tim went with Swedish. (This was big for me. I am not a massage person. I've had maybe five of them in my life and enjoyed maybe one of them. I don't know what it is. Maybe I'm just too uptight to relax and let go for the hour. I do know that I am uncomfortable sitting around in a robe in the co-ed lounge with other people. Seriously awkward. About six months ago, Tim gave me a gift certificate for a massage as a surprise -- it has yet to be used. What is wrong with me?) Anyway...as the woman was giving me a massage, she got to my shoulders and said, "Wow. I could work for two straight days on just your shoulders alone." That of course stressed me out and made me all neurotic and I'm sure I tensed up even more. From that point forward, I could not enjoy the massage, because I was sure I was a stressed out freak who could simply not relax. (Why does that all sound so very Richard Lewis?) I'm a mess. (And it's no wonder Avery "gets stressed by the situation...") (I should probably take the hour and the $100 and invest it in therapy instead of a massage. It would probably be more beneficial.)

The rest of our stay was delightful. We had a wonderful brunch (Tim surprised Avery by requesting a Mickey Mouse-shaped pancake and then he made a face on it with assorted fruits, which thrilled her), and then went for a little walk and then just hung out in our room for a while. The tornado fell asleep on the way home, still wearing her Ariel princess dress that she wore the entire weekend. It is so good to be three...and to be the parents of a three year old.

UPDATE: We drove around the housing developments in the Lansdowne area on Sunday because we had not been out there in a while and there are a lot of new homes. We were heading down one main road when we reached a yellow crime scene tape stretched across four lanes of traffic, in front of which was a sheriff standing in front of his car turning people around as they reached that point in the road. We found out later that there had been a MURDER and assualt on a couple that lived in the area that very morning. The husband was killed and the wife remains in critical condition. No suspects. Scary stuff.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Coming To Us From America's Heartland

From today's sitemeter report:

Search Engine google.com
Search Words gay and harlem globetrotters and cupcake and cornhole

I really have nothing to add.

You are the wind beneath my wings,
Brutalism

Trippy

A while back, I bemoaned not having a "next big thing."

Canetto and I have decided to make up for it with a lot of next little things. We have decided that every month this year, we are going to take a family weekend trip somewhere close by to just get a little break from things.

We began in January, with a ski trip to Massanutten, February was a weekend in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, this coming weekend, we're going to stay at Lansdowne Resort (which, if not for my utter disdain of Frankenstein words, I would refer to as a "staycation"). In April, we're heading to Philadelphia, May is my sister-in-law's graduation from her MBA program in Asheville, NC. So far, so good -- it definitely gives us something to look forward to each month, and each trip provides us with time to just hang out and have fun instead of running errands or taking care of maintenance around the house.

At Lansdowne this weekend, we're dropping Avery off with the grandparents for most of the afternoon and evening and getting a couples massage and having dinner. Then, we'll bring her back to spend the night and spend the next day swimming in the pool and whatever else she wants to do. I cannot wait.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cracking Me Up

We went to a birthday party for one of Avery's classmates on Saturday. It was held at The Little Gym in Fairfax, which means that all the kids at the party spent a solid hour running around and climbing on gym equipment and wearing themselves out. (Sheer genius as a party concept and the kids loved it.) Canetto noticed one little girl on the parallel bars who had a pretty obvious case of plumber's butt, so he said (loudly), "Wow. That's some serious plumber's butt." Of course, plumber butt's mom was sitting directly in front of us and turned around and said, "I know...that's my daughter." Of course, my spousal loyalty evaporates in moments of mortification, so I simply rolled my eyes, playfully hit Tim and said, "Oh, that's nice" (with the intent of showing that I was much more evolved and would never, ever make a comment like that about anyone).

And I enjoyed being the evolved half of our marriage until about an hour later, as the party was ending and the parents were helping their kids get their shoes on to go home. I happened to glance over just in time to see that plumber butt's mom had a massive case of the PB, herself. I gleefully elbowed Tim and nodded toward it.

We are so meant for each other.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Guns Are Funny

I found the cartoons below in a box of old stuff recently. I had these displayed on my desk when I worked for the ORGANIZATION THAT DOES NOT HATE FREEDOM. Still just as funny today (you may need to click on the images to be able to read the text):

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Disappointing, Oakton...

Virginia & Maryland In Top 10 Porn-Rich States

I Should Really Teach Parenting Classes

Conversation in my house this morning:

Avery: "Can I watch a Dora? Can I watch a Dora? Can I watch a Dora?"

Me (patiently): "Avery, television is a treat. It is something you can watch once in a while, but not every day. It's like a cookie...a cookie is a treat that you can have once in a while, but you can't have one every day. Think of it like that."

Avery (after pausing, to apparently process my brilliant analogy): "Can I have a cookie?"

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Weekend In The 215

The tone of the weekend was already set when Amy called me from the rental car company begging me to guess what kind of car she had rented for our trip. I could not guess and she said, (much to my delight) "a PT Cruiser". Which we find hilarious because of this:

and which we said in exactly that way as many times as we possibly could. And no, it never got old.

Our room at the Ritz Carlton was not ready when we arrived in Philly, so they upgraded us to a nicer room and suggested we go out for a while as they got the new room ready. We headed toward Rittenhouse Square for brunch and shopping. Thanks to smartypants friend Amanda who spent two years at Wharton and provided lots of great recommendations, we had brunch at The Continental. I'm not saying we're shallow, but it really doesn't take much more than a couple of spicy bloody marys and chairs that are hanging from the ceiling to make us happy. (Ask me how many times we made jokes about being swingers...because it definitely rivaled the "PT Cwuzer" repetition...)
After lunch, we shopped and slowly made our way back to the hotel and checked in. We freshened up and it was (surprisingly!) time for another cocktail. As we were leaving the room, Amy asked, "What room are we in?" and I said, "oh, it's easy to remember -- it's 1001." We went to the bar downstairs at the Ritz and charged the tab to our room. Then, it was off to the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, about six or seven miles away. The cab ride took us past Wharton (shout out to Amanda!) and also past several fraternity houses (shout out to roofies!). We made a mental note to pick up a six pack of Miller Lite and stop back by for the keggers after the show. (True aside: I once tried to convince my friend, Jeff, that the best possible Halloween costume for him was a predator from "To Catch a Predator" and that all he had to do was grow a potbelly and hold a six-pack of Zima. Because he is no fun, he opted not to do that.)

After a couple more cocktails at the theatre (don't judge me) we took our seats for Chelsea Handler (note: tickets and trip to Philly were a birthday gift from Amy -- she rocks). She was hilarious. We really enjoyed ourselves and then naively headed outside to grab a cab back to the hotel. This is where our night got really fun (and by really fun, I mean not at all fun). There were no cabs. None. In a city where there are a zillion people coming out of a sold-out theatre. We waited twenty minutes...still nothing. The crowd from the theatre was thinning out and I had tried to call information for the number of a cab company and was having no luck. So, I decided to call our hotel.

I called the hotel and was directed to the concierge, Dan. I told Dan of our predicament and he assured me that he could help. He also asked how the show was. I said, "Um, fine...but I really want to talk about a cab." About five minutes later, he called back and again asked how the show was then said, "there are no cabs available for two hours." So I said (possibly with a tad bit of sarcasm), "Well, Dan, what do you propose we do?" and Dan said, "I'd propose that you prearrange to have a cab pick you up next time." Thus began our codependent, love-hate relationship with Dan.

We had many back and forth phone calls with Dan, with us suggesting possible alternatives and him telling us why they would not work. Just then, a crowd of about 300 (not even exaggerating) teenagers teemed past us, went up on a train platform, and then, turned around and swarmed by us en masse a second time. It was a tiny bit unnerving, but became VERY MUCH UNNERVING about three seconds later when nine cops with K9 dogs raced up, jumped out of their cars and went into crowd control mode.

I was getting increasingly bitchy frustrated with Dan, so at one point, I just handed the phone to Amy. She was working on some kind of deal with him that involved him sending a limo as I suddenly looked down and saw this:
I, of course, pointed it out to Amy and screamed "I think it's a merkin". Because even when in fear for your life, who doesn't like a good pubic hair joke?

As Amy was explaining to Dan yet again that we were not interested in talking about the show and just NEEDED TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE, Dan casually mentioned, "Hey...Chelsea just walked by." Apparently, she was staying at our hotel, which seemed to capture more of his attention than our obvious riot scene merkin-laden plight. Amy had finally persuaded Dan to send the limo, when a cab magically appeared before us. We hopped in as fast as we could and headed back to the hotel.

Of course, our safe return was followed by a drink in the Ritz lobby (I said stop judging me). As we were enjoying our drinks, we remembered that we had not had dinner and asked the bartender if we could get a cheese plate. He said, "Sorry. The kitchen closed at 11:00" and Amy said, "It's 11:00 now, and you all have 24-hour room service, and P.S., the restaurant right next to us is still serving -- since your kitchen is still open, do you think we might be able to get a cheese plate?"

We finally did get the cheese plate, courtesy of a great couple sitting next to us who lived in the Ritz residences and used that "pull" to get us our damn food. They ended up giving us a lot of great information about the city and ultimately, taking care of our bar tab. During the time we sat there chatting, three different bartenders came by and griped to us about what a tough day they'd had and how they could not wait to get home. At which point I was so tempted to say, "Really? Because I bet it wasn't nearly as tough as mine. I just paid $15 for a glass of wine and have had to listen to three different people whose job is to help me have a pleasant experience, unload on me."

The next morning, we got a phone call in our room. Amy answered and said, "Hi, Dan" and he asked, "How did you know it was me?" and she said, "it always is, Dan...it always is." She asked him to please cancel our breakfast reservation at the Ritz (we had no faith in their "service" at this point) and make a reservation elsewhere. He said he'd handle it. He called back to say the restaurant we wanted was not answering the phone. So, we went downstairs and Amy walked up to him and said, "Are you Dan?" and he said "yes" and she said, "I'm Amy of Amy and Kathleen..." He smiled sheepishly and said he was still unable to get in touch with the restaurant we wanted, but could recommend another one. At that moment, Amy noticed his name tag and said, "Why does your name tag say 'Jonathan'?" He looked down, red faced, and said, "Oops. I must have grabbed the wrong one this morning."

Dan/Jonathan did recommend a fantastic breakfast place, so our morning got considerably better as we sat outside at the Parc Restaurant on Rittenhouse Square and ate some lovely food and decided that Dan/Jonathan had redeemed himself.

We headed back and checked out (of room 1002, it turns out -- oops) and made the trip home in our PT Cruiser. Today, Amy e-mailed me and said, "I was reviewing the bill again and realized that only one drink was charged to our room. Thanks again, room 1001."

Friday, March 06, 2009

I Don't Care How Good He Is, When You Say "Ovechkin", It Sounds Like You're Coughing Up A Hairball...

We used the Monster Truck to haul ourselves down to the Verizon Center last night to see the Caps get beaten by the Toronto Maple Leafs. I cannot emphasize enough how nice and refreshing it was to chat with Canetto en route and actually complete sentences and talk without someone continually piping in, "Momma...can we sing a song, Momma?" The kid now punctuates EVERY SINGLE THING SHE SAYS TO ME with a 'MOMMA' at the beginning and at the end. And then when she knows I'm getting fed up? She'll say, "Momma?" and I'll say "WHAT?!?!" and she'll say, "Momma...I love you, Momma." Sometimes, while she's playing she'll just say to me, "Momma?" and I'll say "what?" and she'll say nothing...only to ask, "Momma?" again about three minutes later. Just checking to see if I'm there? If I'll respond? I don't know. But I'm thinking that perhaps the drug manufacturer who developed Xanax may have had a 3-year-old.

In our suite at the Verizon Center (see how casually I dropped that in there? like it happens all the time? pretty good, huh?) we mingled with Tim's colleagues and some of their clients. I talked to one client for a long time because he was so much fun, and because I could use my favorite "what celebrity do people say you look like?" line on him. He was a dead-ringer for Jon Stewart, so I figured he probably heard that all the time. Apparently, he instead hears all the time that he looks like Eric Stoltz. You can see how I made the mistake -- Jon and Eric could have been separated at birth, really. He took my assessment (as he should have) as a big compliment. (Unlike the bitchy waitress we had once who looked exactly like Tiffani (with an "I") Amber Thiessen. I asked, "who do people tell you that you look like?" and she totally sneered at me and said, "I know, I know...I look like Tiffani Amber Thiessen." Someone remind me when hearing that became tedious?)

Slapshot (the mascot) paid a visit to the suite, so we got some pics with him, and ate and drank and even watched some of the game. (Great view from the SUITE - have I mentioned that?)

A nice little date with my hubby, made possible by grandparents that live in town and cannot seem to get enough of our kiddo as of late. (Well, at least until she starts with the "Grandma...do you want to sing a song, Grandma?" Our dates are numbered...)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Truckin' Awesome

Tim has some kind of monster Infiniti SUV/tank/RV/passenger bus on loan from the Infiniti dealership while some maintenance is being performed on his car.

Since we've never owned anything larger than a sedan, it's a total novelty for us to have this behemoth to play with for a couple of days. Last night, we took Avery for a spin around the neighborhood, with the sole purpose of preparing her for a future appearance on Bret Michaels' Rock of Love Bus showing her that the mammoth vehicle had a DVD player in it and letting her watch a few minutes of "Schoolhouse Rock."

A few minutes ago, Tim called to let me know he was leaving work for the day and asked, half-jokingly, if there was anything large I could think of that I wanted to haul. In about three seconds I thought of two things. I'm not even kidding.

P.S. If someone finds this blog by googling "behemoth to play with" I will lose faith in all that is good and decent...

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Angel

Is there anything better than a snow day? We found out last night that Fairfax County schools were going to be closed today, so we were prepared to have a fun day at home with our babe. Which we did. She woke up early (as she does every day -- even though she is going to bed later and later -- she's a bit of a night owlet).

After bundling up, we headed out and ran around in the snow. And I do mean RAN. We ran laps around the yard, made snow angels, threw snowballs at Canetto as he shoveled the driveway, and set up a fort under the huge pine trees in front, where we also built a "bonfire" and roasted "marshmallows." What a blast. We stayed out until Avery's cheeks got very pink...then came inside for some hot chocolate.

Canetto headed to work, so Avery and I continued the fun by making some snow ice cream. (Every time in my life that I have made this, I have wanted it to taste good. I have finally resigned myself to the fact that it just doesn't. And the texture is bad, too. Why have I felt compelled to make this so many times?)

It was very fun to have an unexpected day off. This is shaping up to be a pretty great week. Thursday, we have skybox seats for the Caps game and then Saturday, my friend, Amy, is taking me to Philadelphia to see Chelsea Handler (this was a birthday gift). We're staying at the Ritz Carlton there and will make a big night of it. I've been looking forward to this for weeks.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Alley Oop

Avery and I met Canetto and our neighbor, Craig, at the Patriot Center last night for Mason's last Men's basketball home game of the season. Tim and Craig went early to get tickets (good thing they did -- the game sold out).

As Avery and I were driving there, she was all laid back in her car seat -- feet stretched out and on the passenger seat in front of her, relaxed. She asked for some music, so I scanned the radio trying to find something she'd like.

I passed a station playing "Don't You Want Me?" by the Human League and asked her, "How's this?" She scrunched up her face and thought for second and said, "I don't like it." I asked why. She said, "Um...it's a little too crazy for me."

The game was great -- Mason beat Towson and set a school record by winning every single home game this season -- also, they are the number two seed going into the CAA tournament -- pretty exciting stuff!

Highlights of the game experience for Avery were (in order): ice cream cone, Cheetos, watching the cheerleaders, and watching the (new) mascot. The mascot really intrigued her. She asked if he talked, and I explained that mascots never talk during the game -- it's part of the whole mascot deal. She asked if the mascot talked at home to his mommy and daddy. Which is really pretty great if you think about it. Can you imagine a whole family of mascots sitting around the dinner table and talking about their workdays?

This morning, we watched "Bottle Rocket" -- one of my additions to our Netflix list. I'd heard great things about this movie. My assessment? Enh.

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
Brutalism