Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Feel So Dirty

Like everyone, I remember all of my significant "firsts" -- first love, first time riding a bike, first felony charge (okay, not really, but that makes me seem all exciting and dangerous, doesn't it?), and first time realizing that based on your upbringing, there might not be enough alcohol in the world...

Back Story : One December, my sister and I had come home from college for Christmas break. We rented a movie and went into the family room to play it, when we discovered that the VCR had (mysteriously) been moved into my parents' bedroom while we were away. So we went into their bedroom to watch it. My sister tried to put the video into the player and it wouldn't go she pressed the eject button and out popped Talk Dirty to Me...part 3. While I was trying to shove the movie back in the VCR and get the hell out of there, my sister screamed, "Hey, mom, was this better than Talk Dirty to Me parts 1 and 2?"

In her absolute refusal to take any responsibility for such a thing, my mom blamed it all on my father -- claiming that he was the one who bought the video and wanted to watch it. And to support her assertion that he was the deviant, she also shared with us the story about their naked car wash (which also occurred while we were away at college. My college activities sure seemed tame in comparison).

Family lore has it that one night my dad figured it would be a thrill to drive to the car wash about a mile away from their house and go through it with no clothes on (please do not look to me for explanation) and somehow almost convinced my mom to do the same. At the very last minute, my mother decided that she'd wear her robe, but he was completely naked. They drove to the car wash, put the coin in the slot (not a euphemism) and drove into the car wash booth. The car wash started (with all those sexy lights and sensual streams of water...seriously, dad?)...then abruptly stopped. It simply broke down. And a light came on that said "Wait for Attendant." And an attendant was beginning to walk toward them. And because they were caught in a situation that might not have been that easy to explain to the car wash attendant, my father did the only thing he could do. He stepped on the gas, drove over the metal frame surrounding the car (apparently creating quite a commotion as he did it) and sped out of the car wash as fast as he could.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got my therapist on speed dial...

Commercial Success

Well played, Minute Maid:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why I Distrust Organized Religion

When I was a kid, my parents tried out several different religions. (This is yet another of those things that seemed perfectly normal to me as a kid and when I grew up (ha) I realized it was something that not everyone keeping butter in our cupboard rather than the refrigerator (it's a dairy product!)...and my parents going through a car wash naked.) (NOTE TO SELF: How have I not yet written about my parents going through a car wash naked?)

In our Goldilocks-esque approach to finding the perfect religion, we auditioned the Presbyterians, Protestants, Mormons, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopals ("Catholic Lite" -- same religion...half the guilt), and even went to The Rock Church in Virginia Beach for a few services that involved people speaking in tongues and dancing in the aisles.

At one point we found ourselves attending Sunday services at the chapel on the Norfolk Naval base. Father Rich led the weekly sermon and was extremely dynamic and entertaining. He would incorporate puppets, elaborate costumes and music into his services to capture attention and make his messages relatable. (Apparently, it was a congregation made up exclusively of drag queens, three-year-olds and hallucinogenic drug abusers...)

My parents felt this place was a good fit (of course) and they were all like, "Ooh, Father Rich...he's young and his sermons are contemporary and he really relates to everyone." (Like people who like to go through car washes WITHOUT THEIR CLOTHES ON, for instance?)

Now, at this point in my young life, I was going through the tweener-unbelievably- self-conscious phase and what I wanted more than anything was to go unnoticed and draw as little attention to myself as possible. Having to go out in public traumatized me enough, without the added pressure of having to do the freaking meet-n-greet at the end of whichever church service we were attending. Every Sunday, I'd begin dreading the meet-n-greet about midway through church...enough so that I would almost hyperventilate thinking about it.

And although my goal in life was to blend into the background, I'm not quite sure how I hoped to achieve that in the inspired ensemble I had coordinated one particular Sunday, when I decided to wear hot pink chinos, a Hawaiian print shirt and black Candies heels -- pulled together with my preppy clasp belt (because the accessories make the outfit!). The Candies were new -- and they were my first real high heels. I was feeling about as good as I could about myself at the time and I do remember thinking that the heels made me look pretty hot.

After church, as we were lining up with the rest of the acrobats, meth addicts and bearded ladies to shake hands with Father Rich, I started panicking. I kept thinking about what I was going to say and how stupid I was going to sound and the fact that I probably had to make eye contact. WITH A PERSON. As the midget ahead of me finished shaking hands and it was my turn, I went to shake Father Rich's hand, misstepped in my new Candies, and tumbled down the stairs in front of the chapel. Yes, really. It was only a few steps so I was unhurt physically. But I looked up from my heap of haute couture to see several parishioners AND Father Rich...laughing so hard, I was sure he was going to wet his vestments. Et tu, man of the cloth?

God works in strange and mysterious ways. My early experiences did open my mind and ultimately lead me to my current religion...the one where I worship the Washington Post and a good cup of coffee on Sunday mornings.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Who ARE These People?

Yesterday, Avery and I participated in a one-mile fun run. (It was fun, though not quite as fun as this.)

She was a champ and ran (not jogged) almost the entire one-mile course. (What she did not run, she walked, and what she did not walk, she sat on the curb and played with sticks and bugs...we opted for the scenic route.)

The end of the race was the real puzzler. Just as we reached the finish line, Avery said to me, "I don't want all of these people clapping for me" and walked around the inflatable arch that marked the finish line instead of through it. At that moment, I wondered if perhaps I had taken the wrong child home from the hospital. Have I taught her nothing? Isn't the purpose of doing anything the glory? Whether in the form of applause, a medal, a mention in the paper...isn't some sort of tangible validation for your effort the reason for participating? Didn't the satisfaction of accomplishment or knowing that it was a job well done go the way of personal responsibility and the pet rock?

This morning, as Canetto was getting ready for work, he casually mentioned to me that he needed to get to work early as there was an awards ceremony and that he was receiving an award. He must have known about this for weeks, but just told me in passing as he was headed out the door.

...I guess I took the right child home from the hospital.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cosmetic Stuff

We just spent about a bazillion dollars (give or take) to have our house trim "wrapped" and to get new gutters. This was one of those projects that I probably could have put off forever, while whatever woodland creature it was that was gnawing away our garage door surround chewed into our house, created a loving home for its offspring and I was living like Little Edie at Grey Gardens.

Captain Spreadsheet, on the other hand, seems to possess the pro-active gene that makes us take care of these things before they become major issues and cost us more money in the long run. (I keep trying to convince him that plastic surgery should be regarded in much the same way. No luck. The irony? One little Botox injection and he'd never realize just how disappointed his refusal makes me. Curse you, elusive Stepford countenance...)

I do have to admit...the house looks so much better. The guys working on it were total craftsmen and I will probably see the value of spending our tax return on this in retrospect. Right? RIGHT? (...Little Edie did look like she had some good times...)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh, Great...Now All The Tabloids Will Probably Say I'm Dating John Mayer

Tuesday, I'm going to a screening of the porn industrial video I filmed a couple of weeks ago.

I just spoke to the director, and apparently my being in the studio when they needed an extra Stanislavski training really paid off -- most of my scenes made it to the final cut. And not to sound too arrogant, but I'm fairly certain that history will show my turn as "Person #4 sitting in a meeting" as career-defining one day.

As a firm believer in the "fake it til you make it" philosophy, I did my best movie star know, so they'd take me seriously. I totally berated a lighting guy just like Christian Bale did and I was all, "I'm in character. CHARACTER! Now go get me some peanut M&Ms with the peanuts removed." And then he was like, "I'm the lighting guy." And then I don't really remember what happened because I was busy working on my addiction to Vicodin and spray tanning.

This movie star business is exhausting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Yes, I WAS A Child Bride...Thanks For Asking...

This week marks my tenth year of being married to someone who does not seem to realize that he can do way better wedded bliss.

We thought about going on a romantic trip somewhere but are still not sure how we feel about leaving our daughter with anyone for any length of time. (It's not that we don't trust someone to do's that we'd miss the little piece of work.) We also thought about buying a piece of Chihuly glass to commemorate the milestone (we got married in a Chihuly exhibit), though having a three-year-old in the house has made the decision to hold off on this a fairly easy one.

So, in honor of our "tin" anniversary (tin? seriously? I mean I already have way more "tin" gifts than I know what to do's always tin, tin, tin...), we are redecorating our bedroom. This has nothing at all to do with tin and everything to do with the fact that we bought a great duvet cover and now the rest of the room needs to be renovated to do it justice. (It made a lot more sense before the labor estimates started coming in...) We are having walls and trim painted, re-wiring and installing new lighting, getting new windows and window treatments, having crown molding installed, and re-covering an existing chair. We're using beach colors -- mostly blues and tans -- so when we're in there, it should feel a lot like a tropical vacation.

Were a tropical vacation to include a million contractors traipsing through our bedroom for several weeks.

Boat drinks,

Monday, April 20, 2009

We Saw A Couple Of Raving Meth Addicts, Too

Scene: Sitting outside a lovely little French bistro on Sunday morning, overlooking Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, having a wonderful brunch. Avery has just announced that she needs to use the restroom, so Canetto dutifully gets up from the table and takes her inside to go. Many, many minutes elapse and they finally return.

Canetto (to Avery): "Now, remember...we're going to wait to tell mommy what happened until after breakfast."

Avery (immediately and loudly): "My headband fell in the toilet!"

Toilet accessories aside, we had a fun little getaway that involved seeing Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Reading Terminal Market, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Franklin Square, getting a Pat's cheese steak and spending an afternoon at the Please Touch Museum. (Is anyone else uncomfortable with giving a children's museum that name?)

And as always, every time I spend a few days in a city I want to move to one. I love walking everywhere and being in the midst of all the action. One elusive urban lifestyle, you...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Swankalicious, Daddy-o

Know who I love? The Dilettantes. Know who else I love? Richard Cheese. Know why last night was lounge-tastic? Because The Dilettantes (and their hep cat spouses) went to see Richard Cheese at the 9:30 Club in DC in truly swank-a-rific style.

We met up at the Stucco Mansion (Amanda & Leon's house) in our '50s era garb for some appetizers and cosmos, then headed out in our white limo for some cruising and lounging before the concert. As we drove through the pouring rain, we sipped cocktails and enjoyed the dulcet tones of Dick on CD.
Ozio was our first stop for side cars, Manhattans and bellinis, then it was off to Chi Cha Lounge for a few more drinks and our first collective experience with a hookah. (That's the water pipe with flavored tobacco.) (As opposed to a "hooker," with which we've had many collective experiences...)

By the time we got to the 9:30 Club (where we were carded and where my unlit cigarette was confiscated), there was no more seating available on the floor, so we headed up to the balcony. We had a great view of the stage and then Mr. Cheese worked his way through the audience including the balcony. He made our little group part of the show for a few minutes...he was totally digging our 50s finery.

We cabbed back to the stucco mansion after a long discussion with the cab driver about Eritrea. Just a typical Wednesday night for us, really.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Nose Picker

My old friend, Jim, called this morning. I've known him for 15 years -- we worked together at two different companies -- the ORGANIZATION THAT DOES NOT HATE FREEDOM and an Internet start-up. I always fondly referred to Jim as my "best girlfriend" because that's the kind of relationship we had. (And also because he and his best friend, Keith, used to wear matching outfits to parties...but hey...what guy doesn't from time to time?)

When we worked for the start-up, Jim and I did a lot of presentations together, and it worked well because we had been friends for so long and had a natural rapport. We had one particular presentation in Atlanta that required us to speak in front of a group of about 100 people. We got to the meeting room early and set up and ran through the presentation and were all ready to go...looking professional, feeling prepared, ready to do a great job on this.

We began our presentation that morning, and it was great -- we had really hit our stride and had the natural back and forth that made it all seem so effortless. However, about midway through this presentation, something happened with Jim's computer and he had to re-boot. He was working with the computer and I continued to present, occasionally looking back at the huge screen to see if he had found our place in the presentation yet.

As the computer came back on, he began searching for the file with our presentation, and as he did, a folder came up with two files in it -- one titled "Presentation" and one titled "Nose Picker" -- yes, "Nose Picker."

So, in a room full of a hundred people, with "Nose Picker" in letters three feet tall behind me, I continued with my presentation.

The company ultimately went bankrupt. Surprised?

Sunday, April 12, 2009


The sweet little girl pictured above is the same one who is right now in the room next to mine going through what sounds like drug withdrawal...crying, begging for more candy, working through the sugar crash...all while being coached by her father who is holding her and assuring her that she can make it through.

Hope everyone had a great Easter!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Susan Lucci Of Peeps

>SIGH< We have not heard from the Post (they let you know in advance if you are a winner), so we will have to wait until Sunday to see which dioramas they received that could possibly be better than this: Thanks for ruining Easter, Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Livin' The Dream

Saturday night we were at our friends' Final Four party. They've had this party for four or five years now, so it has become a tradition. These are the same friends who invited us to their son's bris -- which shall henceforth be known as the (wait for it...wait for it...) Final Foreskin party.

Avery found a friend at the party right away. His name was Dominic and he was the same age, so of course they were BFFs. They found a play house and a picnic table and chairs and decided that they were going to play "mommy and daddy" in the yard. Canetto and I took turns supervising, and they totally ignored us as they went on to provide their interpretation of the fun! and exciting! lives that mommies and daddies apparently lead.

First, they'd run into the house. Then, they'd "go to work" (by sitting at the picnic table and pretending to type on a computer), then they'd go back into the house and "go potty" on some plastic chairs they had put inside the house. I kept hearing this conversation:

"Time to go to work" (run to picnic table, pretend to type)
"Time to go home" (run into play house)
"Time to go potty" (sit on plastic chairs, describe bodily evacuation)

And then they'd start the cycle over again. My first thought was, "that is so cute...mimicking what we do during the day." My second thought was to weep into my beer.

Merkin Involved In A Cover-Up

In recent news: "Cuomo Sues Merkin for Shifting $2.4 Billion to Madoff"

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

In Merkin's defense...that's all he knows.

Monday, April 06, 2009

I Bet He Used To Direct Three's Company

Today, on set at the video shoot we're doing for one of our government contracts:

Director: "Okay, that's scene. Now, everyone, put your clothes on and change positions."

Friday, April 03, 2009

Hot Lips Houlihan

Many things about being an adult are not easy: The responsibility. The having to pay for everything. The needing to ask your kid (indignantly) "Where.are.your.parents?" when she misbehaves in public...

The worst, though, is when someone from your (perhaps somewhat colorful) youth materializes in some form in the now quasi-reasonable life you have created for yourself.

Just yesterday, an old friend e-mailed and asked if I knew some guy (Let's call him "Ben"...mainly because that's his name) who went to JMU at the same time I did. Apparently, he and his wife are now neighbors of our old friends and the four of them all went out to dinner recently (well isn't that cozy?).

And of course I knew Ben -- he was totally part of the lucky 50%. (To my credit, the school was a lot smaller then.)

It really is amazing I was able to maintain my 1.4 GPA, what with all the extra-curriculars...