Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bucking Tradition

The Oakton Patch editor e-mailed last night to clarify how I wanted to punctuate "Underpants" (written as a pronouncement, so we decided upon an exclamation point) in my article that was published today.

I love my Oakton Patch editor.

Let me know what you think of my latest: Traditionally Untraditional, and if you think the exclamation point was the way to go.

As the cool kids say, I'm a Herb,
Brutalism

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Christmas Gift

My friend, Lisa, and I were talking about our iPhone auto-correct recently, when a "true, dat" comment I meant for her to receive turned into a head scratching "true far."

I think by now, everyone has seen the list of best-of auto-corrects that was making its way around the Internet -- which is unfortunate, because the one that Lisa shared with me today is better than any of those.

She told me that last week, after her teenage son missed his ride, she texted him and said "walk to your friend's house and I will pik u up later."

Innocuous, right?

Or at least it was until the iPhone auto-correct changed it to:
                                        
                                                 "I will oil u up later."

It's a slippery slope,
Brutalism

Monday, December 20, 2010

Having Some Decor...um...

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season, other than making sure my mimosa-to-relative ratio is mathematically accurate, is pulling out the boxes of Christmas decor.

Opening these boxes is a little trip down memory lane that I enjoy as I gingerly unwrap and carefully hang all of my tree ornaments -- a collection that was comprised of about eleven ornaments before my Christmas-loving friends took pity on me and began presenting me with these every year so that my tree would be somewhat respectable.

With that, and so that you can share with me this special time of year, I thought I'd take you on a little tour of my Christmas tree. Here, dear friends, is a very Brutalism Christmas:

Of course, there are some traditional ornaments such as these:

Didn't realize he was "The King" of Israel...

There are also themed sections on my tree, like the homage to my childhood in Virginia Beach...

Although, if this accurately depicted my childhood, there would be an
ornament representing cripplingly low self esteem.
...and ornaments that capture the fun memories of the Oktoberfest party we've hosted for the past several years:

Just needs an ornament of my mom's husband in his underpants to be complete. 

There are ornaments from a fellow Dilettante commemorating our years in the Dilettante Club...

...or possibly her bra size...

...and an area dedicated to my two orange cats:

The one of me stepping in cat vomit and screaming four-letter words while threatening
to call the pound is just out of the frame.
There is also a special section of the tree for my daughter. Someone suggested that I start a tradition of buying her an ornament every Christmas that reflects something she likes or does that year. Which is generally a great idea, though it was kind of difficult to come up with something the first year, when she was only two months old. Let's face it, at that point, the only real love she had was this:

And she was apparently two months old in 1894.

(I do get concerned that when she reaches sixteen, something that reflects "what she likes and does" will be an ornament of a tattooed alt-rocker named "Damage.")

And of course, there are ornaments from my days working for the gun lobby:

If trees are ornamented then only ornaments will have trees. Or something...

And possibly my most cherished Christmas piece, from a Jewish friend and via the Dollar Store is this:
Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In The Holiday Spirits


This photo makes a lot more sense after you read my weekly Oakton Patch humor column here.

No, it doesn't.



Saturday, December 04, 2010

My Life Now Has Porpoise (Groan)

A highlight of our recent vacation was the "shallow water interaction" with the dolphins my daughter and I did on our second day there. (Another was when Canetto tried to access Brutalism from our hotel's business office and got denied with a message saying the web site included explicit material.)


Our adventure began in an area of the resort called Dolphin Cay. After getting suited up in wet suits, we got briefed on meeting the dolphins so that we'd know how close we could get to them, where we should and should not touch them and what we could expect from the whole experience.

It reminded me a lot of the time I scored a 'meet and greet' with Harry Connick, Jr.
Harry Connick Jr. and Paul Newman
Harry...awed by the silver-tongued devil that is Brutalism.
It was unbelievably cool to be that close to Harry the dolphin the hairy dolphin. (That makes no sense.)
The best part was probably when our hip, young Bahamian trainers prepared our lily-white group to high-five the dolphin. One trainer said, "You need to say, 'Wha-CHA!' and the dolphin will hold his flipper up to give you five.”
Hip, young trainers with the whities. And me with scoliosis. WTF?

We all practiced saying “Wha-CHA!” as a group a few times (and no, I have never felt cooler...thanks for asking), then one woman from the group walked up for her turn and said meekly, "What's up?"

The trainer said, "Come on...you can do better than that...it's more of a Wha-CHA!"

So the woman tried again, and if possible, it came out even more stilted. A barely audible, "What’s up?"

Even the dolphin looked embarrassed for her.

The next person was even more hopeless...he walked up and asked, "What is up with you, Mr. Dolphin?"

I burst out laughing and said loudly what (I thought) everyone else was thinking, which was: "Wow. These are the whitest ‘Wha-CHAs’ I have ever heard."

I will take the complete and utter silence and palpable disdain from both the white group and the black trainers as me single-handedly promoting racial unity in the Dolphin Cay.

Werd,
Brutalism

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Getting Schooled

Do you remember how great preschool was? When you got to spend every day surrounded by friends while wearing comfortable clothes, playing fun games, creating craft projects and enjoying nap time and catered snacks?

It's just like when I worked for an Internet start up company in the late nineties.

It is also the subject of my latest Oakton Patch article, which you can read here.


Off to eat some paste,
Brutalism

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fantasy Island

We were in the Bahamas for Thanksgiving.

I was very excited about the whole trip except for the flights, since all I've been hearing in the news is that Bristol Palin better not win Dancing with the Stars, girlfriend I could probably look forward to getting a full body scan.

Apparently, I am not TSA's type, because there were no experiences with full body scanners, although on the way home, I was selected for a random screening. (Which was presented by the security agent with such enthusiasm, that at first I misunderstood and thought that I had won something.)

And I had...a chance to get felt up by a "woman" in front of every single other passenger in the tiny three-gate airport. I mean, sure. I may have envisioned that my first experience with girl-on-girl action would take place with a woman in uniform somewhere tropical like the Bahamas, and perhaps I even pictured her making me take my shoes off and barking orders at me while my husband watched...maybe I had even spent a few moments over the years thinking about how she would rifle through my purse before I left...and how I would feel a mixture of embarrassment, shame and exhilaration unlike anything else I had ever known...

But what I did not anticipate was the part where an obviously grieving woman shuffled by clutching her rosary beads and mouthing a prayer.

Thus ended my adventure on Paradise Island. So to speak,
Brutalism

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just Like The Pilgrims

I've been on vacation...so be prepared for a recap that involves a gentleman not getting into the hot tub with me after he declared it a "tepid urine pool," swimming with one-eyed dolphins, and losing my engagement ring. Good times, folks...good times...

In the meantime, my latest humor column about my first non-Traditional Thanksgiving is up at the Oakton Patch.

Check it out here.


Can't wait to share the adventures soon. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Brutalism

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What A Trip

UPDATE: Hippest Snippets linked to my post today. Thanks, Hippest Snippets, for now including links to my posts about lap dances -- I'm really classing it up...

In other news...


My latest humor column about a recent trip to New York City is up at the Oakton Patch. Check it out here.

And here's the rest of the (not quite as family-friendly) story that did not make the Patch:

I spent last weekend in New York City with my mom and my five-year-old daughter. And several bottles of wine that our hotel kept giving us in an attempt to keep us in our room so that their complimentary wine hour would remain child-free. Now that I know this, I may reverse my decision to stop at one (child that is...not bottle of wine.)

I organized a get-together Friday night so that we could get a quick visit with friends and family who live in the area, which is how we ended up with a party that included my cousin, a friend who did a semester in London with me during college, one of my husband's friends from high school, and a kid I used to babysit who is now married with children of his own. In retrospect, I probably should have also invited a rabbi and a priest, just to round out the joke in the re-telling of this story.

During dinner, I asked what everyone had planned for the rest of the weekend. My friend, Dori, mentioned that she was taking her seven-year-old daughter and her daughter's friend, Ben to the movies and would therefore be chaperoning their "date." I said, "Oh...that is so cute...or at least it would be if Ben wasn't 42." As I was worrying that I may have crossed a line, my friend, Rob, jumped in and added, "Yeah...but he has great candy." And then we all had a hearty laugh about pedophilia, the way good friends who don't get to see each other often will do.

On Saturday, we met my friend, Meredith, for breakfast. Somehow, this happened as we were waiting in line for the restroom at the restaurant:
which caused the woman standing in line behind us to ask, "you're not from around here, are you?"

Afterwards, we strolled around Rockefeller Center, and the NBC Studio store, where Meredith and I yelled loudly to each other across the store, "Here's that Biggest Loser Team Bob Christmas ornament you've been looking for" and "Here's that Dunder Mifflin snow globe you've had your eye on."

After twenty years of friendship, it really never gets old.

During all of this, my daughter found a combination fan/candy thing (a battery-operated fan that held Skittles in the handle, WTF?) that I promptly named "Fandy!" She asked if she could have it, so I agreed because Hey! We were on vacation. I got into the 40-person line behind people who actually were buying the Team Bob Christmas ornaments, and finally got up to the register where they rung up my purchase, and I realized that Fandy! cost $7.99.

Sheesh. For eight bucks, I could have gone one block over and received a lap dance from an aging Rockette.

It was a non-stop weekend and a truly memorable one.

At least everything that happened before all of the free wine.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Psycho-phant

This past weekend, I got a very small taste of what it must be like to be in the popular clique, to be in with the in crowd, to be too sexy for my shirt, to be down with OPP...

In other words, I totally glommed onto my friends' coolness in a watching-from-the-sidelines-kinda-way. (It's exactly like "dating up" but with friends. And without the romance. That may be the worst analogy I've ever used.)

On Friday night, my friend John Marshall was in DC from NYC to perform at a comedy showcase in Adams Morgan organized and emceed by the hilarious and very good-looking (I'm not just saying that because he handed me a beer from the stage halfway through the show, though that did have something to do with it) Jeff Kreisler, which featured about 10 other comedians including Lizz Winstead (co-creator of a little program called The Daily Show). This event was at a very small and funky arts space. I know John because he is married to Meredith, who has been one of my best friends since we met when our then-boyfriends lived together in a row house in DC in a section of the city where hookers were regularly arrested in their front yard and homeless squatters used their basement as a porta-potty. They also lived with a drug dealer named Winky. But that is a story for another day.

After getting home at 2:00am, I was up at the butt crack of dawn to get ready to go to the Rally to Restore Sanity on the National Mall. Prior to the Rally, I met up with friends at a bar in the District to celebrate my friend, Amy's, birthday. Because nothing says, "I'm celebrating sanity" more than a couple of beers at 10:30am.

God Bless America.

(I have no idea who American-flag-thong-guy is. No matter how many times my husband asks me.)

After several hours spent in the gorgeous weather and enjoying the creative signs of rally-goers (and hearing absolutely nothing), I decided to further restore sanity by dressing like a cartoon character and heading to our friends' party. Everyone at the party really put effort into their costumes (with the exception of one woman who said that she wanted to go as "tic tac toe" and tape a container of Tic Tacs to the toe of her shoe, but sadly "ran out of time" and thus, had no costume). Ponder that for a moment.

As we were driving to the party, our friend, Rob, called. Rob is an actor/musician who lives in NYC who was in the DC area to play a gig for which he had been flown in, and was calling to invite us to it. He was very excited about the party and was telling us how big it was going to be (that's what she said) and that it was going to have great food and an open bar and the live band (obviously). As soon as he described where it was, I grabbed the phone from Tim and said to Rob, "Oh my God. I know the person throwing that party." Because I do. She is the woman who owns the company I work for who was throwing a huge bash to raise money for charity.

From what I hear, he blows a mean horn and was the hit of the party. Which means that I shamelessly informed everyone I work with on Monday that we are friends. (And that we found a lace thong in our guest bed one time after he and his girlfriend spent the weekend with us.)

Also a story for another day,
Brutalism

...Which I Am Now Singing To The Tune Of "Police And Thieves", Incidentally

Today, one of my personal favorite posts is up at Laugh out Loud. It is, of course, about poop.



Yesterday, my weekly humor column ran at the Oakton Patch. This one is about me being a big, fat liar.

We've got it all.

If by "all" you mean "feces and lies,"
Brutalism

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Halloweens

I've got a new column up at the Oakton Patch, swingers.

It's about Halloween turning into a multi-day holiday. Or me turning into an old fart.

You decide -- check it out here.

Look Out, Roger Ebert

I'm disturbed by the movie I saw last weekend:

Jackass 3D.

Not by the sweat-drinking or the upside-down projectile defecation.. No, that's just good, wholesome fun.

I'm disturbed because I found a lot of the movie tedious.

I don't say that lightly. Back in the day when my husband brought the first Jackass movie home on a rented DVD, I might have made a comment about how stupid he was for wasting his time on that kind of nonsense. (I was apparently in a position to judge because I spend all my spare time reading Dostoevsky trying to find the end of the Internet.) At the time, I had not seen the show, but was familiar with the concept after hearing Johnny Knoxville and the rest of his gang interviewed on the Howard Stern show a few times.

Yet, when he put it in, I was immediately in love.

(That's what she said.)

From the moment I heard the opening music, I was glued to the television. I watched that DVD three times in succession and then promptly bought the DVD and the soundtrack -- which I still contend is one of the best movie sound tracks, ever.

I loved the second installment even more. Every stunt had a playfulness and hilarity about it that was ridiculous and funny and charming all at once. Especially if your idea of charming is someone who will put on underpants attached to a bungee cord and jump out of a tree.

I think I have just given you a lot of insight into the types of men I'm attracted to.

But this one? It seemed to be lacking the lighthearted fun that the first two movies had. It seemed more mean-spirited and well...kinda stale. Also? Not nearly enough music.

It definitely had its moments, but overall...just not the fun romp in the crocodile pit of Jackasses past.

Steve-O needs a drink,
Brutalism

Update: Hippest Snippets linked to today's post. Hippest Snippets rocks.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mighty Neighborly

My weekly humor column is up at the Oakton Patch. Check it out here.

(And below is the e-mail I received from my editor letting me know that the column was being posted. This may be the best working relationship, ever):

I just set your column to run for tomorrow morning. In addition to your two swingers references in the text, I added a third in the subhead. That brings the total Oakton Patch swingers references count to ... three.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why Won't He Just Take Me Hunting Like All The Good Husbands Who Want To Be With Their Mistresses?

10/19 UPDATE: This post was featured on DC Blogs and HippestSnippets today. Thanks, guys! 

My husband wants me to keel over and die so he can finally be with the much-younger mistress he has stashed away, like some trapped Chilean miner.

That is the only valid reason I’ve come up with as to why he is making me get up at 5:30am every day to do P90X with him.

For the uninitiated (meaning, the people who can still laugh and cough without severe abdominal pain…>sigh<  I remember those carefree days…) P90X is an extreme workout program that you do in the comfort (heh) of your own home.

This morning (the third morning of the program), I actually pretended I was asleep when he asked if I was ready to get up and do this. Since he knows I am the lightest sleeper, ever, he persisted and I got up and went downstairs for today's exercise session -- something called “plyometrics” (from the Greek "plyo-" meaning "Goddess of Torture" and "metrics" meaning "thank you, sir, may I have another?").

This is a challenging workout. Now, don't get me wrong. We have weathered many challenges in the years we've been together, such as: spending 24 hours a day together during a two-month cross-country road trip, planning a wedding, raising a child, living with my in-laws for six months to afford the aforementioned two-month cross-country road trip, and the current season of "The Office." Interestingly, none of these prepared me for the challenge that is not punching him in the brain when he wakes me up at 5:30 and tells me it is time for an hour-long S&M session...minus the fun part.

His mistress has no idea what she is in for.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Single-Minded

My weekly humor column is up at the Oakton Patch.

This week, it is about my decision to have just one child. (It's not what you may think.)

Also this week, I reference poop for the first time in the column. I love milestones.

Cheers!
Brutalism

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A Simple Solution

My weekly humor column at the Oakton Patch is up on the site.

It is about burglary.

Because crime is a laugh riot.

Check it out.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Not-So-Gifted Athlete

During elementary school in Virginia Beach, I was part of the gifted program. I like mentioning this because it means that at some point in my life, I was actually considered somewhat intelligent. (Granted, in grade school at that time what qualified as “smart” was probably not eating paste and being so painfully shy that the teachers just assumed you were some sort of genius. But whatever.)

The way the gifted program in Virginia Beach was structured was that you went to your regular public school four days a week, and then one day a week you’d go to another elementary school where you’d have your gifted classes with kids from all of the other schools in Virginia Beach.

As part of the curriculum, we took awesome groovy classes like “Values Clarification” and got to sign up for “Special Interest Units” where we’d learn about specific subjects – anything from hieroglyphics to archaeology to oil painting.

We also had to do contracts, which means we’d share a particular interest or talent of ours with the class once a quarter and then receive feedback on our presentation from our peers. I don’t remember many of mine…but I do remember doing one about carob. (Ridiculous aside: One of my mother’s best friends in Virginia Beach owned a spice company, and one of the products they processed and marketed was carob powder. The friend asked my mother to be the spokesperson, so for a brief time in the 70s, my mother starred in some very low-production-value local television commercials hawking carob.) Somehow, I got involved in this pyramid scheme and ended up proselytizing the benefits of carob to my class. I remember there not being much interest in what I had to say until I pulled out a bag of Doritos that listed carob as an ingredient to share with the class. It was on that day that I learned something that has continued to serve me faithfully. And that is “know your audience” “Americans will always give you a better peer review when you ply them with anything ending in –itos.”

I suppose my real gift was being wise enough to realize that based on how freakishly smart a lot of my classmates were, I was probably the cut off kid; you know…the last qualifier who just barely made the program. Let’s face it, while my peers were taking apart and re-assembling computers, I was mimicking acts I saw on Circus of the Stars. We had an understanding, though. I never questioned any of their BASIC programming or said that Princess Leia was not that hot and they would pretend that I deserved to be there as much as they did.

There was one magical time when I did not feel intimidated by the future Bill Gateses, however, and that was when it was announced that we would be having a field day.

We had one of these in regular school, too. This was the day when everyone participated in standardized physical competitions and ribbons were awarded. There was always the one kid who won the blue ribbon in everything (cough cough…Canetto…) and then there were kids like me, who got second place in jump rope one year and rested on that laurel for the duration of her elementary school career. (YOU try jumping 151 times in one minute, haters.)

But the field day in the gifted program was my day to shine! God knows, the pasty kids who played Dungeons and Dragons and spent all day drawing intricate designs on graph paper whose IQs were approaching infinity had nothing on me when it came to physical activity. (Or lactose tolerance, frankly.) In a hilarious twist worth noting, the administration actually dumbed down the physical events for the field day. Instead of the 50-yard-dash and shuttle run, we had events like sack race and egg toss in deference to the gifted spazzes.

I remember distinctly that on the morning of the field day, I was confident that I would own the events. I would finally earn some respect among my gifted peers in what was sure to be a showcase for my athletic prowess. I would find my niche! I would earn those blue ribbons! I would be a winner! And I continued to live that dream until my egg broke in the first round of the egg toss and I came in third in the sack race.

It took a long time for me to re-gain my athletic confidence, especially because there were more humiliating experiences along the way -- like the time I tried out for the track team in junior high and built up too much momentum while winding up to throw the discus. I spun around so many times and so violently, that when I released the discus, I just kept going until I stumbled sideways and fell over. It's pretty much a given that you will not make the team when the coach asks your name while unsuccessfully attempting to stifle her laughter.

At least I have my hieroglyphics expertise to fall back on.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Worth A Thousand Words


So do I, nerdy artchitecture t-shirt site, so do I. (This is listed on the web site under a section entitled "I love Movements." heh)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

At Home With Brutalism

That's the name of my new column that is running for the first time today at Oakton Patch.

(So what if it's not Rolling Stone or Newsweek? That did not prevent me from running around the house doing the Mary Katherine Gallagher "Superstar". Tim is not sick of that. AT ALL.)

Thoughts on the column name? On the column itself? On anything else you care to discuss?

Check it out and let me know.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Conversations With Scott

I was reminded again today that true friends are rare and should be treasured. Friends like Scott, who has helped me through some challenging times in my life and who you may remember from some earlier posts:

The one where he supports me when I need to initiate a difficult conversation

The one where he assists me with a very important work project

The one where he listens to my medical concerns

The one where he aids me during a personal crisis 

The one where he helped me figure out Google ads early in my blogging days

And who sometimes shares words of wisdom:

About the magic of the holidays

About friendship

I've shared heart-warming stories about him before:

About appreciating diversity

And the time he gave me a really sweet nickname

Everyone needs a friend like this.

A friend who posted on Facebook recently: "Heading to the Renaissance Fair with the wife and kids. Because nothing says1500s England like Korean kids eating cheesecake on a stick."(His kids are half Korean.)

Getting misty over here,
Brutalism

Monday, September 20, 2010

What's My Byline?

Gentle Readers:

I need a title for my local column that will begin running later this month.

The column will focus on family and parenting (stop laughing), but will hopefully attract other readers both to the column and the blog who are not parents (at least, that they know of...wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Therefore, I do not want to name it anything too parent-y that may turn someone off.

Ideas that have been suggested (and summarily rejected) are:

Brutalism at home  (Too domestic violence-y.)
Suburban Krackerz (A write-in vote from my oldest friend.)
White rocks by the mailbox. (If you don't get this, I am very disappointed.)
Let me know if you have any ideas. If I use your idea, I will interview you for a future post and send you a fabulous* gift.

*"fabulous" obviously being open to interpretation

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Defining Moment

Listen, I'm no stranger to rejection in many forms: jobs...love interests...mime school...

But my most recent rejection is a real puzzler. It's from Urban Dictionary. You know, the folks who brought you space docking. (You're welcome.)

Their e-mail to me following my submission is below:
----------------------------------------------------

Thanks for your definition of rewhoresful! (Cheerful! You are so welcome, Urban Dictionary! This is starting out well!)

Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to not publish it. (What? The editors of Urban Dictionary have standards? Urban Dictionary has editors? Are you hiring?)

To get a better idea of what editors publish and reject, sign up as an Urban Dictionary Editor here: http://editor.urbandictionary.com/ (Whee! I can be an editor? I'm so drunk with power right now.)

Urban Dictionary
-----
Which...seriously? This gets published and this gets denied?:

rewhoresful


(Adj.) Capable of devising ways and means to get what one wants in a morally questionable way.

(Ex.) Amber did not have a hotel room reserved when she visited New York City, but she was rewhoresful enough to hook up with Joe so she could stay in his apartment.
If only I was rewhorseful enough to research the first amendment,
Brutalism

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Stand Back, I'm A Professional

Yesterday, I met with the editor of a publication that has hired me to write a regular column.

I will not tell you how much I get paid  per column because you will be so insanely jealous that you will never read this blog again -- it's lonely at the top start sending me your gently used clothing and household items in pity.

The column will be featured on an online community site in beautiful Oakton, Virginia, where I live. It launches on or about September 27th and I'll be writing once every two weeks, with a goal of moving toward a weekly column.

While I am a huge fan of nepotism in all of its forms, the thing that excites me most about this opportunity is that it had nothing to do with that. The editor stumbled upon my blog and contacted me without knowing me at all. [And because of that, was worried that I might think she was a stalker. Which I guess to most people is a bad thing (looking at you Leonardo "Mr. Fancy Pants" DiCaprio).]

The editor has assured me that I am allowed to write about swinging and poop (and everything else that happens in the 'burbs). I'm pretty excited about this and hope you'll check it out.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

*Tugs Imaginary Collar*

Last night, I was lying down with my daughter reading her the latest chapter in a book that we are gradually making our way through.

She would look at the words on the page and then turn her head and watch my mouth as I read out loud.

As I always do during these moments, I try to imagine what is going on in her almost five-year-old brain, figuring that she is recording this moment in her memory as I am, so  that she can reflect on it when she's older and remember fondly some of the things we did together, or remember that it was during our nightly "book time" that she developed her lifelong love of reading.

She continued this for a while...she'd look at the book, then at me, then at the book, then back at me...

Then she silently lifted the two ends of the drawstring on the hoodie I was wearing, stuck one in each of my nostrils, and turned back and faced the book, ready for me to continue the story.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Can't Beat It

I always figured that the hardest part about being a parent would be setting a good moral example and providing structure and consistent guidance. But you know what? It's not. The hardest part is paying more per year for preschool than for my entire college education laughing when I am not supposed to.

It has always been this way -- even with other people's children.

Long before I had a child, I went to a birthday party for one of my friend's kids. My friend's enthusiasm about this party was evident -- even after his son came up and announced, "Dad, Kelsey frowed up in the balloon thing."

("Balloon thing" = "moon bounce.")  ("This kid" = "not that bright.")

My friend was also excited as he showed me the pinata he had bought for the party. One he was thrilled with because it was a "safe" pinata designed especially for small children. He actually walked me over to where the pinata was hung and explained in painstaking detail how that instead of clubbing this pinata with a stick, each child got to select and pull a string on the underside. When all of the little fingers pulled simultaneously, the bottom would drop out and it would be candy madness! -- free from errant whacks by sugar-crazed toddlers. He was so obviously delighted with this feat of engineering that he could not stop talking about it.

When it was time for the pinata, all of the kids gathered 'round, selected a string, and pulled the strings as designed. And as if it was choreographed, the force loosed the pinata from the beam on which it was secured and the pinata came crashing down on the head of a small child, knocked his glasses off onto the floor and promptly broke them.Which is when I promptly burst out laughing.

Adios, empathy,
Brutalism

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Revealing



I'm at Laugh out Loud today. Please visit and leave a comment.

And just for the record, my posts featured elsewhere are always about poop...and bikini area hair removal...and butt piracy...

Which I find offensive...because I write about a wide variety of things, suitable for all audiences.

You know. Like swinging and when my parents went through the car wash naked.

Um...nevermind.

(Thanks, LOL.)

UPDATE: This post on LOL also got picked up by Hippest Snippets. Thanks, HS!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Major Impact

I know some people who distinctly remember their loss of innocence as the time when they found out that Santa Claus was not real, or when a beloved pet died, or when they learned that "no new taxes" means "I'm a liar, liar pants on fire." I remember my own loss of innocence like it was yesterday.

Because it was.

It happened when a lovely friend of mine shared some medical information over dinner at a nice little Thai place. (To her credit, she did ask before sharing if it was okay to discuss possibly gross topics while we ate. I said "sure" never imagining that with her words, she would instantly and fundamentally change who I was.) 

You see, according to my friend, there is a medical procedure called a "stool transfer."

You read that right.

There is an actual procedure that takes "good" fecal matter (from a healthy colon) and inserts it into the colon of a patient who is not-so-healthy, and in the magical way that medical science works, the poop recipient lives happily ever after the end (heh). A bit of Internet research shows that not only is this true, but also that there are support groups for the people who undergo this procedure.

The worst part? (Other than realizing that there are people willing to show their faces at support groups and admit that they are walking receptacles for stranger poop) is that I can just picture the type of person who would offer to be a stool donor. I know that if I ever required donor stool (and honestly...if it ever comes to that...please just set me off on an ice floe...) I would hope that it would happen discreetly and that we would never speak of it again.

Much like when I went to see "Gigli" on opening weekend...

But not your stool donor. Oh, no! His name is Larry, he speaks in a monotone, and he wants to be more than just your stool donor...he wants to be your friend. He'd set up some kind of Oprah reunion show where he would get emotional explaining to O-girl how he feels a bond with you that he has never felt with anyone before. He will talk about how he got his stool (never "poop," you Philistine) to a donor grade and how he hopes to take the stigma away from this and make it more acceptable to talk about. He'll start a Facebook group and a blog called "Fecal Matters!," he'll try to recruit other stool donors and educate those not in the know. ...and of course, you'll be on his holiday card list.

Stool pusher, indeed.
Brutalism

UPDATE: HippestSnippets linked to my post today. You know, my poop post. I'm so proud.

Friday, August 13, 2010

BlogHerpalooza, Part Deux

Shockingly, I made it through four days at BlogHer having only one alcoholic drink and no coffee. Those are words I never thought I'd type. And words that probably explain why I felt like I was hit by a Mack truck on Saturday morning after going full-tilt for 18 hours the day before...(Though I did take the edge off by smoking some chalk with Aural Pleasures one night...)

One drink, you ask? What's the freaking point? The freaking point is that until you have a drink YOUR ROOMMATE WILL ASK IF YOU ARE PREGNANT AND WILL CONTINUE TO ASK UNTIL YOU NEED THAT DRINK MORE THAN YOU'VE EVER NEEDED ANYTHING IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE. Amen.                                                             

You see, I'm having some reflux issues which means that for the foreseeable future I must give up all consumables that bring me joy, which are all things acidic: caffeine, alcohol, citrus, chocolate, tomatoes, spicy foods and LSD. It also means that when I meet one of the funniest women on the planet, I do so with Tums in hand. (If I ever get a tattoo, it will state simply, "Born Cool".)

(That's the Bloggess!)

On the second day we were in town, Amanda thought she lost her business card holder (she did...in her purse...) so we visited Jose at the Hilton lost and found. As we were waiting to speak with Jose, we looked around and saw the usual stuff you'd expect to see in a hotel lost and found: about eight zillion power cords, some cell phones, assorted cameras...I also noticed that the office was going through some renovation and there was a huge granite counter top on its side propped against the wall. When Jose introduced himself and asked how he could help us, I told him that I had misplaced my granite counter top and asked if anyone had turned it in. Jose = fun. He appreciated that. And also that we looked on the security cameras in the office to determine where he'd have the best view of us in the common areas of the hotel if we decided to break into a spontaneous dance number. ("Julie, we need you to help us with some choreography.")

As part of our BlogHer experience, we ran a 5K through the streets of NYC at 6:30 in the morning. (The photo of Amanda flipping me off in front of the Empire State building did not make this post. She is not a morning person and did not realize the race was at 6:30 when she agreed to it.) This was part of the Tutus for Tanner initiative and just a very cool idea and a very cool way to see the city.

Also part of our experience was stalking Padma Lakshmi in the exhibit hall. And while we did so, the company she was promoting desperately tried to get us to sample food and Twitter about meat products. (In their defense, we did kind of loiter around the booth for several hours minutes each day so that we could get a photo with Padma.) At one point, one of the people working at the booth asked me to fill out a survey. Because I'd been lingering at their booth, I agreed to do it. One of the questions: "How do you feel about lunch meat?" Honestly. How do I feel about it? In the spirit of full disclosure, dear readers, I have never really delved into my feelings about lunch meat, and I suppose this was as good a time as any to stop repressing my feelings and put some serious thought into it. And now now that I have...it would be "titillated", I suppose. Though also sometimes sanguine, bitter, euphoric, taciturn, woeful, melancholy, hopeful and joyous. (I'll be continuing to explore this with my therapist for months to come...I have a lot of work ahead.)

We hear that there were a lot of great parties at this thing, though we opted out of most of them to explore NYC. A decision we were fine with until we rode the elevators with people whose bags were bursting with goodies from some of the exclusive parties they had been invited to and we were asked which parties we had gone to. We just began answering, "We hosted a rib party at the Brazil Nut Lounge." (A response that came to Amanda after she was fortified by a few cocktails.) And come to think of it...who wouldn't want to go to a rib party?

Only someone not in touch with their feelings about meat, probably.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BlogHerpalooza

Me and my new shoes are back from my first-ever BlogHer. (The shoes were my initial foray into the non-stiletto category, since I knew I'd be doing a lot of walking at the conference. I was so proud of myself for this bit of common sensery, that when I purchased them I sent my friend an e-mail saying, "I just bought sensible shoes. Does this make me a grown up?" And she wrote back, "No. It makes you a lesbian.")

Which makes perfect sense, actually, because I am in love with the awesome women I met there. (Although, not really in that way. Except for Padma Lakshmi, who is very likely describing my physical characteristics to a police sketch artist as I type this.)

It's not my fault she's uptight.

I'll be recapping my experience in a series of posts about meeting blogging idols, running a race through NYC at the crack of dawn, getting in touch with my feelings about lunch meat, hosting a rib party at the Brazil Nut lounge, discussing promotional strategies like the Metamucil-tini (patent pending), hunting down my granite counter top at the hotel lost and found, and sharing with you all of my networking tips because I'm excellent at it. And by "excellent" I mean "god awful."

Also? The New York Hilton completely came through. Our room had a view of the Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall, we were greeted by champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries delivered to the room, and two different Hilton representatives checked in with us throughout the stay to make sure everything was going smoothly and that we were comfortable. It was wonderful. And has made living with me and my renewed set of expectations a real treat in the past two days.

One of the reps, Julie, even said that if there was anything we needed, to please let her know. Which, of course, led to a running joke in our room about us "calling Julie" about everything. Over the four days we were there, we picked up the phone and pretended to share the following needs with Julie:

"Julie, Amanda is hogging the remote"

"Julie, the sirens outside are loud. Make them stop."

"Julie, this CSI is a repeat."

"Julie, I want to hear your Arnold Schwarzenegger impression."

"Julie, tell me I'm pretty."

"Julie, I'm in New York. I suppose I should score some hookers and blow?"

"Julie, should I wear the strappy black sandals or the platforms?"

"Julie, can I borrow fifty bucks?"

Will recap (with photos) soon,
Brutalism

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Really, New York Hilton?

Anyone that knows me knows how excited I've been to attend my first BlogHer conference in two days. I bought my conference pass a year ago and have been excitedly planning for this ever since, including booking a room at the conference hotel (the NY Hilton) so that I would be right where the action was for the duration of the conference and would not have to worry about any logistics once I got to New York City.

And guess what? I found out TODAY that my Hilton reservation (which has been booked since and was prepaid in April) was cancelled. I booked through 1800 Hotels, which just filed for bankruptcy, so even though the Hilton confirmed my reservation (both electronically and verbally) through Thursday of last week, they let me know today that it is now cancelled and that basically, I'm outta luck. (When I say "they let me know", I mean that 1 800 Hotels let me know via an e-mail, and I had to call the Hilton to receive confirmation of this. The Hilton did not contact me.)

I was hoping that at the very minimum they would offer me another room at the BlogHer rate ($229/night), but the best they are offering me is a standard rate of $359/night, which I don't want to shell out after (likely) losing more than $800 in the prepayment of my hotel room initially.* (I am filing a claim to be reimbursed, but knowing how bankruptcies work...I'm not holding my breath.)

I escalated this from reservations to Hilton management who was completely unsympathetic (even though I have been a Hilton Honors member for years and was exceedingly polite). Their response was that "I should have booked at the conference rate through the conference initially." Umm...when I tried to do that in April, I was told that the conference block of rooms was already sold out and the best rate they could offer me was $359 a night. Hence, my Internet sleuthing to find a rate of $229/night through 1800 Hotels.

To say that I am bummed and that this puts a serious damper on my whole BlogHer experience is probably the understatement of the century.

Also...where the hell are we going to stay? Anyone know a better hotel in the area that might be happy to have my business?

*For the record, this is a HUGE amount of money to me, and I was going to split the cost with a friend who is also attending the conference.

UPDATE 8/4: Thanks to the good people of BlogHer who responded to my pleas for help immediately, and to the Hilton, who worked with me to get the conference rate (after likely being terrified by my manifesto-style eight-page fax with supporting documentation) and to the community of bloggers who let me know that I should contact the BlogHer folk right away...it looks like I will not be homeless in New York City after all. I'll update again when I get to NYC tomorrow...and in the meantime, wish me luck on getting reimbursed by 1800Hotels...

UPDATE 2: Thanks to DC Blogs for the link today.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Packing For Camp

A loyal Brutalism reader kindly sent along the following Facebook status update that someone  posted to her wall (in all seriousness) this weekend:
Does anyone have children going to Camp Ramsbottom the next two weeks? Matthew will be there - just wondering if he will know anyone
Which, of course, made me question the following:

a) Was Camp Buttpirate already full when you tried to enroll lil Matthew? Did your vacation schedule conflict with the dates for Camp Assjockey? Was Camp Rumpranger too expensive?

b) Do you really think knowing someone is going to be the biggest cause for concern for young Matthew?

c) Does "choosing the top bunk" mean the same thing at Camp Ramsbottom as it does at other summer camps?

When Matthew comes home and asks for Mexican S'mores "just like they made at camp," you have only yourself to blame.

UPDATE: Thanks, Moooooog, for linking to me in your weekly wrap-up. Makes sense, as you are an authority on Ramsbottom.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Amish In The Haus

Thist past weekend, we went to Lancaster, PA, to take our kid to yet another theme park. In her short life, she has been to Sesame Place and Disney World a couple of times, Busch Gardens, Knoebel's, a few local carnivals, and as of last week...Dutch Wonderland. Canetto and I are fairly confident that we have now met the parental theme park requirement and can thus begin our focus on some real travel in coming years. (Perhaps to Amsterdam -- the real Dutch Wonderland.)

We spent our first day in Lancaster County exploring the area and seeing how the Amish live. And they do live very differently from us...in that they seemingly have a one-to-one person-to-outlet mall ratio and what appears to be an unnatural love of kettle corn.

All I know is that for years I have had some kind of romantic notion about what Amish country is like and not once when I was imagining the simple lives these folk had carved out for themselves (working the land/ forgoing technology and evil indulgences like zippers and not marrying cousins) did I envision that Amish country would look so much less pastoral and so much more like a super Wal-Mart.

I mean, sure, we saw some covered bridges and some horses and buggies, so I did get a chance to gawk at the Amish like I wanted. We also saw a courting buggy (a convertible two-seater) and a homemade rumble seat (a plastic lawn chair secured to the back of a buggy with a thick piece of rope in which a young, blonde child bounced up and down as the horses clopped down the street). It did not look at all secure, but then again, when each Amish family has an AVERAGE of seven children, I suppose losing one or two on the way to a barn raising or a sing is not the end of the world.

And let's just say that for a people who consider the rest of society the "Devil's Playground", they live in a town called Intercourse, they are famous for their whoopie pies, and they decorate folk art with a stylized bird called a distelfink. (My new favorite non-dirty, dirty-sounding word.)

(Amish Aside: In a previous life when I did trade shows for the NRA, I was in the booth one day when an Amish man came up and asked about a Life Membership. At the time it was $400, which I let him know. He proceeded to pull out a huge wad of cash and peel off four $100 bills and hand them to me. I processed his membership application, put the cash in the cash box and sent him on his way. Then I turned to one of my fellow exhibitors and said, "Must've been a good year for butter.")

My whole life has been a rumspringa,
Brutalism

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing

Last night, my husband and I went to see Chris Isaak at Wolf Trap -- a standing date we've had every summer for the past eight or nine years. We now get seats inside the amphitheater instead of picnicking on the lawn as we've done in the past -- a decision necessitated by Boobapalooza 2005.

That year, we had seats on the grassy expanse with hundreds of other people. I was ridiculously pregnant and completely uncomfortable because my maternity bra was stretched to its limits and cutting into my rib cage. After fidgeting and tugging at it and shifting sitting positions several times, I decided that the only way I could get some relief was to do that subtle unhook-your-bra-and-take-it-off-through-your-shirtsleeve maneuver. Forgetting, of course, that the move loses some of its subtlety when your bra is large enough to house a couple of boy scouts and several tins of their overpriced popcorn.

The looks on the faces of the concert-goers on the crowded lawn convinced Tim that it would be in our best interest at future shows to sit inside where I might not be as inclined to disrobe.

He hates freedom.

Last night, however, it was not me who was putting on the show.

Before the show started, a man and woman walked by where we were standing, and as they did, the guy just completely passed out. The EMTs came over to check him out and figured it was probably the heat (and by that, I mean "the alcohol") and let him lay on the ground and recover while they monitored his vitals. When he came to, he stood up and vomited everywhere.

I bet his wife is gonna make him sit in the amphitheater now, too.

Harrumph,
Brutalism

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Don't Mean To Boor You

We've been reviewing homophones with Avery lately. She has a library book that compares all kinds of words that sound the same yet are spelled differently and mean different things. As a result, she's been coming up with homophones as she thinks of them and often blurts them out in her excitement.

Like last night at dinner, when she asked me to pass the butter so she could put some more on her ear of corn.

After I gave it to her, she practically screamed, "More on...that's like the driving more on."

I looked at her quizzically and asked, "What are you talking about?"

She explained, "More on" -- it sounds the same when you are talking about using more of something or when someone won't let you pull in front of them when you're driving."

Moron that later,
Brutalism

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Relative Insanity

A description of my massive extended family once prompted a friend of mine to ask, "Are you from a family of circus people?"

And after attending a reunion in Pennsylvania this past weekend, I would answer that in one word:

"Better."

Better because in our family, we have a little of everything. (Except Mexicans. We have a lot of those.)

Of the 90 or so people who attended this reunion (this is my mom's side of the family and she is one of nine kids), we had the following: an undertaker, an RN, a rocket scientist, Harley guys, a mariachi band member, a Stanford professor, a toilet paper maker, a Google network security expert, an Army Lieutenant Colonel, a lawyer, a farmer, educators, stay at home moms, staunch Republicans, liberal Democrats, non-drinkers, heavy drinkers, one-legged Diabetics, two-legged Diabetics, religious people, atheists, artists, and centaurs (just seeing if you made it all the way through the list).

I should make some sort of profound statement about how our family is a microcosm of the world at large and that if a group this diverse gets along and loves each other then there is hope for all of us as a human race.

Or I could just quote my Aunt Marilyn and say, "we're big and weird."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rated Ex

Every once in a while, an old boyfriend will contact me. Sometimes to comment on something they read on the blog, sometimes when they run into a mutual friend and want to reminisce, and sometimes to remind me that I once invited them over to watch porn in my parents' bedroom.

(Wrong…on…so…many…levels…)

Yesterday was one of those days.

It is my own fault, I suppose. The guys I dated, I dated for years, so I have long and embarrassing histories with all of them.

There was Tim (not Canetto), who I began dating in college and went on to date for six years. I think we knew it was time to end the relationship when things began to get stale. And by that, I mean that I tried to get his attention one morning by tap dancing naked in front of him while he read the paper. He lowered the paper, said, "That's nice, dear," then raised the paper again and continued reading.

Then there was Rob. Rob was younger and shorter than me. We worked together for the same organization, though we were definitely on different paths…I was focused on my career and going back to school and he was focused on Rolling Rock. I don’t really remember why we broke up, so I did what anyone would do. Through the magic of Facebook, I recently asked him to refresh my memory. He provided the following recap. (My comments are in parentheses):

"It might have been the height issue. I mean, I’ve always been attracted to tall, voluptuous women and sadly, you just didn’t fit the bill. Wait, no…that’s not it…"       
"Now I remember -- you were wickedly intimidated by both my ambition and success. Nope, that’s not it, either. Although I think I’m getting closer…" (To be fair, he did a brilliant job as NRA’s Eddie Eagle mascot at trade shows and events.)
"Sadly, I think it came down to my inability to handle your blatant and outlandish immaturity. I wanted you to grow up and really make something of yourself. Instead you lived with dudes, went out all the time and never really acted like you cared about me! I’m think I’m on the right track..."            
"Wait. It just hit me, you were asking why you broke up with me…I’m dumb." (He’s funny.)
"Honestly, we dated what? Three years? I’m sure the end was crummy." (Just the part where he let the air out of my tires, actually. The rest was pretty civil.)
"Now that I think about it, we had a good run. Whatever the reality was, when I think of you I smile. Not a gross “I just took an upper-decker in your guest bathroom” smirk – but a big Cheshire cat toothy grin." (For the record, I’m not entirely sure that he did not take an upper-decker in my guest bathroom.)
P.S. If you do write about me, be sure to mention my circus-like penis. (I have no idea what this means.)
UPDATE: Thanks to DC Blogs for the link today. That reminds me...if you are not yet following Lilu on Twitter -- do so immediately. She is one of the top 20 finalists to be MTV's first TJ (Twitter Jockey) and she is hilarious.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No Nudes Is Good Nudes

In 2003, we remodeled our (gloriously, Brady's-esque '70's) kitchen. (When I say "we" remodeled it, I mean "we" paid a lot of people to do it). These things always take longer and cost much more than you think they will. Also, we were new to having a mortgage and a bit freaked out about the cash outlay. Ergo, we decided that we should get a roommate for a short time during and after this renovation to help defray the costs. (Important aside: Nobody over the age of 25 should have a roommate, and once you are out of the roommate situation for good, you should never, NEVER willingly go back into it). Hindsight is 20/20.

So is heinie sight...but we'll get to that in a minute.

Canetto posted a notice at his office and almost immediately we found someone to rent our room. He lived in the DC area during the week for work, and then went home to the NYC area on weekends, where he owned a home. He worked long hours and essentially just needed a place to sleep during the week. He was also willing to live with us and pay rent during our kitchen renovation. Perfect, right?

He was not a bad roommate, just a little odd. He tended to know everything about everything and Canetto and I just took to not really socializing with him much. One day, he found us in our sun room and told us that he was engaged -- to someone he had met six weeks prior. This woman was from another country, so the whole situation just kinda screamed "green card" to us.

Shortly after his engagement announcement, we were going out of town for Memorial Day weekend -- at least part of it. We probably told our roommate that we'd be back SUNDAY about five times, because he told us his girlfriend would be visiting and we didn't want any surprises.

We came home Sunday evening, as scheduled, and tried to pull into our garage, but both sides were blocked by cars (his and hers, we guessed). I stormed into the house, upset because I wanted to unpack and relax. I called our roommate's name...no answer...looked in his room -- nowhere. So, I went up to our room and looked out the window, onto the patio and swimming pool below, and there our roommate and his girlfriend sat --at our table next to the pool. I remember thinking, "wow...that's an odd bathing suit" and having to do a double-take once I realized that her flesh-colored bathing suit was actually flesh-colored FLESH! Yup. Totally naked -- sitting with feet propped up on the table and smoking a cigarette.

My first reaction was to laugh, and of course to grab Canetto -- which I did. Now, to be fair, this was a very attractive woman (again, lending credence to our green card theory, as our roommate was no prize), so when Tim peeked out the window -- he looked back at me and asked, "is it okay if I look again?".

We decided that the best way to handle this was for Canetto to pretend to be surprised as he walked into the back yard and "caught" them. (How noble of him to volunteer for this duty, eh?) He did this, and she got startled, screamed, and ran inside to get dressed. The more I thought about it, the more grossed out I got. I started thinking about all the other places in my house where she may have had her naked butt (er, "dufty doodle") while we were out of town. Was she having coffee while sitting naked at my kitchen table? Watching TV on my sofa au naturel? ACK!

He moved out shortly thereafter. We spent a lot of time superchlorinating the pool that summer.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A Girl Named Dirty

My dad had a nickname for me growing up -- "Dirty Dancing." This was before the so-horrible-yet-we-all-loved-it movie starring Patrick Swayze, so the name had nothing to do with that.

From what I understand, the origin lies in a commercial that was airing on television when I was little for a doll called "Dancerina." I thought it was "Dancin' Rina" and called the doll that every time I begged to get one for Christmas. My father thought this was adorable and began calling me "Dancin' Rina" or simply "Dancin'"...although, somewhere along the way this morphed into "Dirty Dancin" and sometimes just "Dirty." (Yes, other little girls were their dad's "Princesses" or "Angels" -- it's like mine knew there would be a blog called Brutalism in my future even back then...)

And of course, because he had called me "Dirty" my whole life, I took it as the term of endearment he intended. Although, it was pretty funny when new friends came over to my house and asked me in a concerned manner, "Did your father just call you "Dirty"? (To which I'd reply, "You mean yours doesn't?")

I suppose I should put it in context by letting you know that this is also the dad who re-named our body parts with nonsense names to make drying off after a bath more fun. Arms were "armadillos", legs were "legotomies", feet were "tootsies," your chest was a "chest of drawers" and your butt was a "dufty doodle." (He also called popcorn "tropical popical" and hot dogs "trotty dogs." There was really no rhyme or reason to any of the nonsense language...it was created purely to make us giggle.)

And of course, I have passed this on to my own kid (that we nicknamed "Pants," by the way...Princess really is overdone...), and it warms my heart to hear her calling all of these things by their "correct" names.

What about you guys? Any good nicknames? Or am I the only Dirty out here?

P.S. Spell check just erroneously concluded that dufty, legotomies and trotty were not spelled correctly.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ease My Troubles, That's What You Do

You know how there are times when you hear about something that is so awful you then have to share it with other people because passing along the details somehow eases your burden? I refer to this as the "displacement of horror" -- if you don't spread the heinousness, you're in danger of spending the rest of your days curled up in a fetal position downing Dimetapp highballs and speaking in some crazy moon language.

With that, I share with you a few things that have recently come to my attention:

1) While searching the Meetup site for potential Dilettante activities, I discovered the NoVA polyamory meetup. For those not familiar with "polyamory" (please let that be most of you), it is the new word for swinging. Not only do these folks get together at a dive-y diner in the area, but they also all feel perfectly okay about posting their photos to this site (including one man in nude tights and high heels who appears to be leaping into the air). Although, my corneas began to spontaneously combust after I saw that, so I'm not entirely sure.

One of the many things I question about this group is do they not even have one marketer in the bunch? If you are trying to attract new people to this meetup/lifestyle and someone is on the fence about whether or not they're going to take the plunge, is this the photo you want on your front page to persuade them? I mean, I'm no sexual deviant, so maybe I just don't understand the "Grandma and Grandpa at a church dinner" fetish.


2) A gentleman in Iowa was discovered pleasuring himself outside an Arby's restaurant. Therefore, my new favorite euphemism for masturbation is "doing the jamocha shake."

3) On Memorial Day weekend, we took my mom and her husband with us to meet some friends at a sunset celebration at Mt. Vernon. We figured it would be nice to stroll the grounds with a glass of wine, imagining what it was like to live in Washington's day and think about all of the decisions that had been made there that affected the history of our country. And as we were doing this, we walked by one of the outbuildings on the property that had a sign stating simply, "dung repository."

I may have just found my Brutalism tag line.

Dimetapp cocktail?
Brutalism

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Reply All" And Other Buttons I Should Never Be Allowed To Click

As a somewhat responsible parent who wants her daughter to have friends and be invited to birthday parties, I tend to rein it in a little bit around other parents I do not know that well. (For instance, only a few of them know I write a blog that discusses swinging with alarming regularity.)

Therefore, I habitually remove the Brutalism signature line from my Yahoo e-mails when I am writing to  parents of Avery's friends (or my boss...or my in-laws...or my parole officer...) I'm kidding, of course. My in-laws totally know about Brutalism.

Yesterday, during a RIDICULOUSLY-LIFE-SUCKING-E-MAIL-CHAIN-THAT-INVOLVED-47-E-MAILS-BACK-AND-FORTH-ABOUT-WHICH-TEACHING-ASSISTANTS-SHOULD-BE-INCLUDED-ON-THE-END-OF-YEAR-GIFT-LIST-AND-FOR-WHICH-I-HAD-ALREADY-CONTRIBUTED-AND-THEREFORE-ASSUMED-THIS-WAS-CHECKED-OFF-MY-TO-DO-LIST, I simply hit "reply all" in my haste to add my two cents. (Essentially: I am happy to pay whatever it takes to be removed from this e-mail chain.) So, the Brutalism signature line went out to a bunch of people I know in passing...and whose children go to school with my daughter.

After I realized what I had done, I figured it wasn't so bad...but went to check my most recent post just in case anyone clicked through. And, fortunately, it was only about MULTICULTURAL GAY FOURSOMES.

This is why I am never invited to join any Moms Groups,
Brutalism

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mexican S'mores

This past weekend my friend, Amy, hosted a Dilettante dinner party at her house, and provided a delicious Mexican menu.

And as it often will with the Dilettantes and their spouses, dinner conversation turned to what the middle guy in a gay threesome is called. Friends Leon and Amanda claimed he is a "Quimby" which I deemed ridiculous, as everyone knows he is a "Lucky Pierre." In the midst of this heated discussion, someone asked our hostess what was being served for dessert and she said (during a brief lull in our debate), "Mexican S'mores." Which, obviously, made us continue our discourse about what the two guys in the middle of a multicultural gay foursome (a "Mexican S'more," if you will) are called.

P.S. Urban Dictionary confirmed that "Lucky Pierre" is indeed the preferred term. (So much for all your fancy private school education, Leon and Amanda...)

P.P.S. Urban Dictionary offers t-shirts, mugs and magnets with the Lucky Pierre definition on them. Perfect for when Grandma visits!

P.P.P.S. A dessert Mexican S'more is much like a regular one, but uses cinnamon graham crackers and good dark chocolate. It is quite delicious. I have no first-hand intel on the other type of Mexican S'more.

P.P.P.P.S. Nor do I want any.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gut Reaction

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, I woke up feeling as though I had gone a few rounds in the ultimate fighting octagon. My body ached, my head throbbed, I was nauseated...kind of what I imagine being in a relationship with Chris Brown must feel like. (Still too soon?)

First, I thought this was caused by some yogurt sauce I had eaten after spending all morning at the zoo in the hot sun. Gak. Then, I found out a few others from a dinner party I attended on Friday night had the same symptoms, so we tried to trace it back to anything we could have eaten or drunk that night. We had no luck, though the hostess did promise to never again let her dog lick the cilantro clean. (Not a euphemism.)

We're pretty sure it was just a stomach bug that is going around. I do have to say, that when the mere thought of food was making me sick and I was feeling horrible, my friends were so supportive and caring. Like Lisa...who offered to make me a nice curry and yogurt sauce casserole, topped with warm mayonnaise and a slab of cod.

Still eating bland food because I am a terrible cook just to be safe,
Brutalism

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Looking A Gift Horse In The Underpants

My only child is now 4 ½, and has therefore been sleeping through the night for some time. This does not, however, mean that I have forgotten the years of sleep deprivation. Looking back, it is both funny and terrifying how many things I did with no sleep. Like drive a motor vehicle. And perform brain surgery. And forget that I am not a brain surgeon.

I still remember trying my hardest to focus on something and being so tired that the synapses were just not firing correctly. For instance, once I was reading about developmental milestones in a baby book that noted a baby should be able to flip over “both ways” at a certain age. Rather than reading this in the rational way (stomach-to-back and back-to-stomach), the only scenario I could envision in my exhausted-beyond-comprehension head was stomach-to-back and then head-over-heels (like a somersault). I read that passage again and again trying to make sense of it and wondering why my baby was so developmentally stunted that she had not yet figured out how to do a somersault at two months of age.

Also in the sleep deprivation hall of fame were the incident where Tim told me that he wanted to take care of the business end of the nanny and the time we received a bunch of hand me down clothes and baby gear from some exceptionally generous friends. Among the things they gave us was a portable crib. One day, while our infant was napping, my husband and I set this thing up. As we opened it, a white piece of material with elastic on the sides flew out. Again, since we hadn't slept more than a couple of hours at a stretch, we were absolutely certain that these were some large granny panties. Please realize that NOT FOR ONE SECOND did we question what underpants would be doing in a pack ‘n play that our friends has given us.

But it gets better.

My husband actually went to the garage, got some grill tongs, and picked up the offending panties at arms length, which he promptly flung into the outside garbage can.

We never spoke of it again.

Until, of course, we went on vacation and had to buy a crib sheet for the pack ‘n play...a white crib sheet with elastic on the sides…

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Glamour Don't (Plus Infinity)

When I was a kid, my parents did not spend much money on my clothes. Granted, they did not have much money...but I'll gloss over that fact as it makes it harder to feel put-upon and somehow cheated.

On the rare occasions that I was allowed to buy clothes -- it  was always the cheaper, knockoff version of every popular style. (Go ahead and laugh...I bet you didn't go to school wearing "Ducksiders" at the height of the preppy era.)

For a couple of years, I owned only about five shirts and two pairs of "designer" jeans that I rotated through every week and then finished the outfit with my red, white and blue leather-like "Nykes." In Virginia Beach where I grew up, there was a store called Goofs that sold nothing but irregular Levi's, and that was the only place I was allowed to buy Levi's (the only acceptable pants at the time), as the price was right. Which is why all of my Levi's were rust-colored, lacked pocket stitching and were tremendous bell-bottoms in an era where straight-legged pants ruled. Also, when OP shorts became all the rage, I got two pair -- in the weird sale-rack colors of peach and mint green. And these were but a mere sampling of the fashion missteps I (involuntarily) made. Put another way: 

Young Brutalism :  fashion sense : :  Keith Richards : a glass of wine with dinner        

Because I had so few clothes, I can actually still picture key items from my wardrobe back in those days...items like a light blue Izod polo shirt and a light blue t-shirt with a glittery "Native New Yorker" iron-on decal on the front. I wore both of these until the armpits got discolored (adolescence was not good to me), and then continued to wear them, while making a mental note to keep my arms down at my sides all day long. (On the downside...this kept me from dating. On the upside...it also kept me out of the Hitler youth...)

As with anything I had to suffer through in my childhood, my mother insisted that it "built character."

A character in irregular pants,
Brutalism

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A League To Bemoan

There are many "not so proud' moments in my life.

There was the time when I went into a stall in my college dorm bathroom with an entire sheet cake (an action preceded by one or two thousand cocktails, if memory serves). My college roommate found me the next morning, on the floor half in and half out of the stall, surrounded by a dead-body-type-chalk-outline of chocolate cake crumbs.

I didn't date much.

Then there was the time that I took my Brownie uniform off for Timmy -- a boy who lived across the street from me in Syracuse, New York. I know, I know...a lot of people think this is perfectly normal and that sometimes little kids will do this when they learn that there are differences between boys and girls. I'm sure my parents would have handled it better if Timmy was not 37. Or my uncle.

But maybe my least proud moment of all was the few months I spent as part of the Junior League of Northern Virginia. (Tagline: We're like the Nazis. But less fun.)

As part of an effort to "get involved!" and "make a difference!" and "give back to the community!" a few years back, I signed on to become a member. (Which, not unlike a sorority, gave me a "pledge" status until I had been with the organization for six months and had accumulated a number of points. No...I'm not kidding.)

I joined this organization at the same time as my friend, Amy. Amy, who arrived late to a meeting one evening and was asked for the super-secret password at the secure door. She remembered that the password was the name of the cookbook that the Junior League published as an annual fundraiser, but could not remember the exact name. She said to the person on the other end of the intercom, "I know it is the name of the cookbook -- is it "What's for Dinner"? or "Can I Bring Something"? and guessed a few more titles that she thought might be correct. Instead of getting partial credit for knowing the origin of the password, she got denied entry. TO AN ORGANIZATION FOR WHICH SHE WAS VOLUNTEERING.

The cookbook title, incidentally?  "What Can I Bring?" (Though to be fair,  no members of the Taliban have thus far infiltrated any Junior League of Northern Virginia meetings -- so perhaps I should not poke fun at their security measures.)

The organization was structured in a way that the members were required to attend a large general monthly meeting and also monthly small group meetings. The small groups were configured based on geography, with the hope that you would meet other women who lived close to you. My small group leader suggested that we all meet for coffee to get to know each other. I guess she wanted to let us all know that her husband had just bought her some roses, because she opened the meeting by announcing that. And then by asking each of us what our husbands did for us that was romantic.

I learned that day that not everyone considers a "Tony Danza" a romantic gesture.

As you likely surmised, I never made it past my pledge period. Which is probably just as well. The rumors about showing up at initiation wearing just my underwear were freaking me out anyway.

What Can I Bring? It's Already Broughten,
Brutalism

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yes, "Phuket" Also Makes Me Giggle...

Moooooog's hilarious posts about the notes his wife receives from the parents of her students made me remember a great story of my aunt's from when she worked in the Arlington, Virginia, school system.

For many years, my aunt worked for a high school where there were something like 40 different languages and dialects spoken and many kids and their parents spoke English as a second language. It was a wonderfully diverse school, yet with the diversity came some communication challenges.

Like the one day when a person who spoke English as a second language called the school secretary and said urgently:

"No fuck today."

And of course, because she was the employee at a high school and therefore, no stranger to prank phone calls, she simply hung up the phone and went about her business.

The phone rang again. It was the same voice...yet this time, it had a slightly more urgent tone:

"No fuck today!"

And again, the secretary hung up. This time, grumbling about the prank caller.

The phone rang a third time. This time, the voice screamed,

"No Phuc today. He sick."