Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spreading the Cheer

In addition to Brutalism, it seems that I am writing everywhere else these days. (What a tramp.)

On the Oakton Patch this week, I write about why Santa hates the poor.

At Dilettante Club, I write about our last two adventures: Power stilts and constructing a holiday-themed Peeps diorama (we did Festivus). You can vote for us to win here. (Not to name drop, but I'm totally name-dropping -- Dale McGowan at Parenting Beyond Belief voted for our diorama. And surprisingly, not the nativity scene...)

Hope everyone has had a great holiday -- based on the fact that I have turned into a tub of goo, I'd say I've enjoyed myself a lot.

Happy 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

All I want for Christmas is...AAAAHhhhh! Not that!

I've been methodically unsubscribing myself from gazillions of e-mail lists this holiday season after receiving a mailbox-clogging amount of offers and specials from every retailer on the planet.

And even though Groupon inundates me, I cannot bring myself to unsubscribe from that site, because I love a good deal.

Especially good deals on completely random products and services. To wit:

And, again, as the naturally inquisitive type  that I am, I have some questions:

1) Colonics? Wasn't this a "thing" for about six minutes in 2001? They still do this?

2) This was promoted as a "holiday deal" and they suggested you could not only buy one for yourself, but several others as gifts. ("Merry Christmas, Honey -- this holiday season you are so full of love and joy -- not to mention a metric ton of digested food -- so I figured this gift would be perfect...")

3) Skateboarding Cheeseburgers? How good is the stuff they're smoking at New Creation Therapy?

4) Does everyone else agree that the folks at New Creation Therapy may be enjoying their colon-flushing job a little too much? This is text from their site: The therapeutic center recommends eating a normal meal three–four hours before the treatment and using the time in between to become fluent in a new language.

5) It is things like this that make me want to actively work on my drug addiction.

Happy Holidays and best wishes for a squeaky clean colon,

UPDATE: Seriously, what the hell is a skateboarding cheeseburger? I figured a quick search of Urban Dictionary would answer that and it did not. (Yet it did lead me to several thousand entries under "skateboarding" -- most of which are angry rants against people who don't get skateboarding. I grew up in a beach town where skateboarding was mandatory...are there really places that give kids a hard time for doing it?)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

TIs the Season to be a Complete Narcissist - fa la la la la la look at me!

If you think this is obnoxious....please note that this is not even actual size.

Forget keeping Christ in Christmas -- I'm campaigning to keep the Christmas letter in Christmas.
And now, apparently, wall mural sized pictures of my family, to boot. Read about it here:

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Ahhh...the magic of the holidays. A time for dinner dates with Herman Cain, sartorial rants and plenty of elf martinis.

And that's just the first party of the season...

With apologies to Counting Crows, it appears that it will be a long December...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Soccer? I Barely Know Her.

Last weekend, I went to my daughter's age 6-and-under soccer game. She had a whole bevy of fans there -- her grandparents, her aunt and uncle, and friends Amanda and Leon.

They play three on three (I'm referring to the girls soccer teams -- not the grandparents, aunt and uncle and Amanda and Leon -- although this really does fall into the "don't ask, don't tell" arena) so all of the girls have the opportunity to play the entire game.

My daughter did pretty well. If they kept score (WHICH THEY DON'T, BECAUSE IF THEY DID IT WOULD CAUSE IRREPARABLE HARM TO THEIR DELICATE PSYCHES), Avery would have scored all three goals on her team. And we would have been proud.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but the game was actually more like three on two, as one of the girls on my daughter's team not only did not seem to understand or be interested in soccer, but I'm not even sure she realized she was standing on a soccer field. She is one of those kids that I totally adore -- in her own world, daydreaming, seeming completely shocked whenever the ball came her way. And the one time she did kick the was into her own team's goal, something that did not not seem to register with her.

Of course, because we are such a supportive group, we spent most of the game heckling the assistant coach (Canetto) from the sidelines and then discussing what award the daydreamer may be presented with at the end-of-season soccer banquet following the game. We suggested the following:

at something else

for the other team

looking father

obstacle to winning


Of course, the coaches had to be all "good sports" and "encouraging" so they ignored our suggestions and presented her with a trophy just like the other girls on the team received.


[P.S. Check out my weekly Patch column (I love how dirty that sounds) here.]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Princess Poopypants

Dramatis personae: Me, Canetto, Avery

Setting: Avery's play room, last night, playing her new "Pretty, Pretty Princess" game

Act I

Me (looking at Canetto and dying as he is decked out in earrings, a bracelet, and a crown): "You are a vision. You make a very lovely princess."

Canetto: "Oh, yeah? Would a lovely princess do this?" (lifts leg, farts)

Avery (screeching and laughing): "You are the worst princess, EVER!"


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

She works with an adequate amount of effort for the adequate amount of effort for it, honey...

The title of this post is of course referencing my day job. The one I'm going to keep until I become a breakout country star. (My friend, Amanda, and I decided this was our true calling after seeing each other with these hairdos recently:

...and coming up with the lyrics to our first hit single "Bernanner Split" over a few hundred Bintangs one evening.)

Until's business as usual, which you can read about in today's Oakton Patch Column.

I gave her a ring and she gave me the finger,

Oh, and here's the front view...conveniently in a sepia tone to further convey how 1953-country-singer this is. (I got a facial the day after this as I believe the 'do made me look about 20 years older. I'm still not over it...)

Sweet Jesus.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Running On Fumes

While driving my friend, Terri, home from a book signing* yesterday, we were chatting about work, people we both know and our families.

I confided in her that someone I knew and did not particularly care for had recently died. I was having mixed feelings about this and did not know if that made me a horrible person.

I could feel her looking over at me, and then she replied, "Sweetie, you're almost empty."

To which I said, resignedly, "God. I know. I have a tiny, black heart and am almost completely soulless."

And she said, "No, I mean your gas tank. Your light just came on."

***SHAMELESS PLUG*** The book signing was for Bye for Now - a Wisher's Story written by my college friend, Kathleen Churchyard. It is a young adult book (written for ages 8-12, enjoyed by people of all ages -- I just finished it and highly recommend it). Makes a great holiday gift!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Terima Kasih for the Memories...

For the last three weeks, I was traveling in Indonesia and China with my husband, now 6-year-old daughter and our friends Amanda and Leon. The trip was fantastic, and although I kept a journal detailing every aspect of the trip, it is impossible for me to translate that into a blog post because I feel like it will cheapen what was a life-changing experience I'm lazy. But because I am a blogger, and therefore, an over sharer, I am compelled to provide information about some of the highlights in list form:

Southeast Asia travels, what I learned:

1) Many of the toilets in Indonesia require you to add scoops of water to make them flush. The literal translation for what type of activity you'll be doing is "throw small water" (number one) and "throw big water" (number two) to explain how much water needs to be used to dispose of your deposit. One public restroom we saw charged people different amounts based on activity, and was apparently (hopefully?) based on the honor system...

Pipis (Number One) - 1000 rupiah
Mandi (Bath) - 3000 rupiah
Buangair Besar (Throwing Big Water) - 2000 rupiah
I have no idea who would be bathing in a public restroom, but let's focus instead on "pipis" (heh).
2) When you freak out a little because the throwaway underpants you are issued at a spa are extremely tight around your waist and you are embarrassed by your girth, it is helpful to remove them, shift them 45 degrees and put the leg hole around your LEG.

3) When you are a bule (honky) at an Indonesian wedding, you get a small taste of what it is like to be Jennifer Aniston, as everyone wants to get a picture with you and the photographers will hide in the potted plants to snap photos. (This is completely true.)

4) When a wild monkey climbs your dress in the monkey forest, then reaches in your bag and grabs the entire bunch of bananas you've brought, it is best to let the monkey have his way so he does not chomp your finger angrily like he did to that poor Russian girl the day before.

5) "Balinese wood" can be dropped into conversation almost constantly when you are in Bali. Sometimes even in relation to the fantastic wood carving that is done there.

6)  When you ask your tour guide how many of the Sultan's five daughters are married, she will reply, "four...and the fifth one probably will not marry because she is "sporty"...

7) In Indonesia, you may be offered many things for sale while you are sitting in a vehicle at a stop light. These things range from food items to rubber gorilla masks to blow guns. Because you never know when you may need a rubber gorilla mask on your way to an important client meeting.

8) You feel a little bit like a rock star withdrawing 1,500,000 from an ATM until you realize that equals about 170 bucks.

9) When your daughter refers to "take off" in the airplane as "blast off" you do not correct her, as you find this adorable.

10) The best part about staying in a villa is being able to toss the fact that you are staying in a villa into every sentence. I'm lying. The best part is the private pool, breakfast being made for you, massages by the pool and outdoor showers amid the scent of fresh jasmine and plumeria.

11) Jet lag can turn your first few nights with your young child into scenes reminiscent of "Weekend at Bernie's" as you cart her comatose body with you to nice restaurants.

12) For some reason, when you are that far from home and someone offers you a cup of poop, you take them up on the offer. (Mandatory joke: that was some good shit.)

13) When you see a perfectly circular rainbow in the sky and comment on how cool it is, your tour guide will become noticeably shaken and claim that the last two times there have been perfectly circular rainbows, there were devastating earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. You will then get a little nervous about getting on a flight that evening.

14) Durian fruit works in a pinch if there is not a nearby dog that you can blame for unseemly odors. (Canetto...)

15) You will make jokes constantly about getting "the 'gue" because Dengue fever is hilarious.
Temples, schmemples,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Makes Sense

Do you ever feel like every single moment of your life somehow paved the way for one day writing a blog titled "Brutalism"?

Me, too.

This week's Oakton Patch column.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This Makes Me Craugh (Combination Cringe/Laugh)

My last post took me down that best-left-repressed memory path of guys with whom I was involved in the past.

(Not that there were lots of them -- I was a champ at dating boyfriends for YEARS beyond our expiration date as a couple.)

However, during a transition time for me, I dated a guy that I had known for years. Because I had known him so long, it was kind of like dating my brother. If my brother was Jewish and I had sex with him, that is.

One night, we went to a Washington Wizards basketball game at the arena in DC, and had several beverages prior to and during the game.

So I was probably way more animated than I should have been when I spotted my friend, Simon, about twelve rows ahead of us. I jumped up and down and screamed his name and waved. I certainly had the attention of the people in the rows between us, and finally got his -- so he turned around and stood up and waved back.

Which is when I took the opportunity to scream to him (and the twelve rows of people between us):

"HEY, SIMON! THIS IS THE JEW I'M {verb for coitus that my husband found offensive}!" while pointing at my date.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Good Times

Anyone else play the Facebook game with their spouse/partner/significant other/grandparents/priest/preschool class where you post a status update and then, when lots of people comment, you ask them, "I slept with one of the commenters...can you guess which one?"

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

I'm guessing the ensemble may take a little attention away from the lunch box...

Because I love to be all subversive and offbeat, I did something completely unique yesterday...

...I posted a photo of my daughter's first day of kindergarten on my Facebook page.

I let her choose her own outfit. That would be tie-dye
leggings, a plaid wool skirt and a beadazzled peace
sign shirt.
A while later, my sister-in-law commented, "Is that a Hello Kitty lunch box? Your first lunch box sets the tone of your school career!"

Egad. Is this true? I mean, I may have noted before that my Type-A, uber-achieving, model student sister had a Jonathan Livingston Seagull lunch box (nerdo.)  And I hate to think that my own Waltons lunch box set the tone for my school career (>sigh< totally did.)

So now I'm worried. What does the Hello Kitty lunch box say about my kid? And what lunch box did you have as a kid?

Goodnight, John Boy,

(Note: Read this week's Oakton Patch column about my half marathon experience. Then mock me.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Full Moon

I'm hoping that by now, you have all seen the infamous YouTube video of the Virginia Beach guy mooning the camera during Hurricane Irene.

As a Virginia Beach native, I have nothing but (heh) respect for this glimpse of my hometown brethren.

Or for the nonchalance the rest of my family showed in the eye of danger.

Read about it in this week's Oakton Patch Column: Crisis Mismanagement.  (Includes a link to the video of the guy mooning the camera. You're welcome.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Old School

I don't talk about college much, because it happened a zillion years ago other than the semester I spent in London, it was not the happiest, most positive time of my life. I'm mortified by the things I do remember and therefore, am thankful that there are so many things I don't (e.g. sophomore year, most of my classes, and every Friday after about 5:00pm).

One bright spot, even though I was large-and-in-charge, continually inebriated and had a GPA hovering around the 1.4 mark (fat, drunk and stupid obviously was a way to go through life), was getting a bid to a pretty fun sorority. I know, I know...people have their opinions about this and trust me, my roommate and I got a lot of mileage out of doing things like mentioning our secret song in public whenever the sorority president was within earshot and threatening to sell our secret handshake to the Zetas. We figured that the silly secrets and rituals were a small price to pay for all of the parties, living in the sorority house (with the constant pillow fights and make out sessions, it was just much more convenient) and making a statement by ordering our sorority sweatshirts in black (rather than the official purple color) to demonstrate what non-conformists we were.

It was also nice to share experiences and responsibilities, like co-editing the sorority newsletter.

One especially humiliating thing required of all sororities (and fraternities) at my school was participation in an annual event called "Greek Sing." Each organization was required to sing a medley of themed songs as their entry into this contest, and would be fined if they did not. Many of the sororities (including mine) really got into it -- we even made matching glitter shirts and choreographed hand motions to go along with our song medley. We rehearsed and got stressed out and really put a lot of effort into it. Unlike the stoner fraternity, who basically gave a middle finger to the Panhellenic council for requiring this by dubbing the theme of their performance, "Songs with Os in them" and then standing there and singing "Good Love" and "Moondance" in their mismatched shirts along with a CD.

My heroes.

Anyway, now that I'm older and can reflect on my past with experience and perspective, I realize that a lot of the angst I had at the time had to do with my lack of confidence, self-esteem and the tremendous amount of self-loathing that defined who I was. In retrospect, I think that perhaps my college experience was actually kind of enjoyable. A photo from one of my sorority formals that I found recently confirmed this:

Me, seemingly happy, with my pledge class at the Sigma Sigma Sigma Violet Formal.  (Click to enlarge.)

And then I flipped the page in my scrapbook:

Me about 43 seconds later. (Click to think long and hard about writing that tuition check...)

Monday, August 22, 2011

CSI: Barcelona with Detectives Membrillo & Manchego

Let me just start out by saying that it pays to enunciate when you tell your husband that you are going to a "tapas" class with your attractive neighbor and that while you are gone, he should watch the episode of  "Pawn Stars" that you saved for him.

I hate to see a grown man cry.

This class was my first solo outing with our new-ish next door neighbor -- all of our other outings have included drinking our faces off at each other's summer barbecues. It was also my first time going to our local cooking school, which is only about ten minutes from home. A couple of months ago, we signed up for the tapas class, which promised three hours of cooking instruction, dinner and wine.

What was not promised, but what we did receive, was being partnered up with Dave (aka "Senor Crankypants"). Dave was humorless, pushy, and took over cooking all of the dishes that we were most interested in making. At first it was totally annoying, then it just got funny. Even our very assertive and straightforward requests to get involved with the more interesting dishes were summarily dismissed by Dave, who would just shove ahead of us and do what he wanted. Making up for Dave was Stephanie, the hilarious instructor and Doug, the 20-something assistant who was adorable and flirted with us good-naturedly tolerated our flirting with him. Liz (my neighbor) mentioned that he would be the perfect kind of guy for her stepdaughter...(she is a planner, as her stepdaughter is eight.) She then asked me, "Do you think I should ask him how he feels about eight year olds?" (Meaning, would he wait several years for the right woman.) Although, that is a pretty good litmus test for any guy you'd want to introduce to your daughter.

Or any guy in your life, really.

My favorite dish we made, Membrillo & Manchego, sounds like the name of a Spanish crime drama, but is really a delicious cheese and quince paste concoction that I will be making the next time I need to bring an appetizer to a gathering. It is gorgeous and delicious and requires two ingredients and about ten minutes to construct, which pretty much meets all the necessary criteria to be included in my repertoire.
Other dishes we made were Tortilla a la Espanola, Meatballs in Almond Sauce, Roasted Red & Yellow Bell Peppers with Capers & Anchovies and Flan.

At the end of the three-hour class, we did get to sit down and have a glass of wine while we enjoyed the meal we (and by "we" I mean "Dave") made. We learned at that point that we could take all leftovers but the meatballs and that we could only have one glass of wine. All because of potential liability.

Damn lawyers. (Except you, of course, Liz...)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I've Never Known Greater Comfort

Check out my other blog, Dilettante Club - We'll Try Anything Once. This month, our activity was a 12-mile run.

(Our very pregnant third Dilettante was excused...)

Also...don't hate me because I'm beautiful red, sweaty and psychotic-looking...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Will Not Be Censored*

A "hard eight" in Oakton is a lot more fun.

There. I said it.

If you want to know what I'm talking about -- read this.

*unless the publication that is paying me asks me to remove something potentially offensive from a column. Then I'm okay with it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We're Number One! (+ 35)...

Lovely Oakton, Virginia was just listed as Number 36 in Money Magazine's Top 100 places to live in the United States.

This is in spite of our poor past showing in terms of use of porn in this oak-filled burg, and in spite of my psychotic neighbors.

Though Oakton did earn some points by having a local Patch site that hired me to write a weekly column and actually pays me to come up with 27 penis euphemisms.

It was nice of Money magazine to acknowledge a city that I have come to love in the past ten years that I've lived here. And we are definitely prepared to take over the duties of "Best Place to Live" if the other 35 are unable to fulfill their duties for any reason.


Friday, August 05, 2011


This week's Oakton Patch column discusses Dolly Parton, the Kentucky Junior Miss pageant and a Magic 8-Ball -- and not one of those things is used euphemistically.

It has been the longest week of my life. A week that has included me napping at lunch time not once but twice. (And I'm only Spanish by association, so the siesta is not ingrained...)

This weekend includes a little local getaway...and a nine mile run. FML.

*Thank Flying Spaghetti Monster It's Friday

Monday, August 01, 2011

...and I, I, I....will always love booze...

This weekend, my mom and her husband, Jack, were in town to celebrate my mom's birthday. (It was two weeks ago, but we invited them this weekend because we wanted to take them to see Dolly Parton in concert as her gift.) During the weekend, we also threw a party for her and hosted a brunch.

Mom and Jack with another birthday gift we gave my mom.
She and Jack call their beach house the Love Shack.
And you wonder why I drink.
Here are the events as they unfolded last night at the concert. If you ever get a chance to see Dolly Parton live (especially if you have a chance to see her with my mom and Jack) I highly recommend it:

Canetto and Jack leave for sold-out concert an hour early, supplied with chips and salsa and a six pack of beer, so they can claim a territory on the lawn for us to picnic and watch the show.

Drive to Wolf Trap with Mom and Avery in tow, park car, struggle with 30-pound cooler in which I have packed dinner for five people. Mom offers no help in lugging heavy cooler or wrangling small child, nor does she express any appreciation for my efforts.

Find Canetto and Jack on the lawn, sit down, mom and Jack dive thirstily into first bottle of wine.

Canetto tries to get comfortable on blanket, which he finds difficult due to the two bee stings he got on his butt the evening before.

Note that our lawn seats are fairly close to the stage, though partially obstructed. Fortunately, Canetto has staked claim on another seating option for us in case anyone wants to move (in a smaller group) to an area of the lawn with a better view. We decide to stick together, so Canetto offers secondary seating option with better view of stage to couple in front of us, one half of which is noticeably pregnant. (The girl half.)

Me (in head): He is so sweet. (And possibly trying to avoid another Boobapalooza.)

Notice that Dolly Parton has a lot of gay male fans. Wonder why I have never known this.

Enjoy the energy, talent and self-deprecation that is Dolly Parton.

Take a tired Avery to get a $6.50 ice cream at the concession stand. Calculate how many more years I must work to keep child supplied with Wolf Trap ice cream.

Watch as mom and Jack crack open second bottle of wine. Realize that I will not be having wine as I am now the only one who can safely drive home. Patiently listen as mom turns around at least 63 times to ask me, "Isn't she amazing? She's amazing. Isn't she amazing?"

Agree that she is amazing.

Me (in head): WTF?

Canetto takes tired kid and bee-stung butt home around 9:30. After a short intermission in which I am asked again how amazing Dolly is, mom and husband finish second bottle of wine, which leads to Jack lying on back on the picnic blanket belting out "9 to 5" and "Here you come again" along with Dolly.

During encore, mom and Jack stand up, put arms around each other and sway while singing loudly along to "I will always love you" and staring at each other.

Pack up to leave and Jack carries empty cooler to car. Mom repeatedly asks, "Isn't he wonderful for carrying that? He is wonderful for carrying that. Can I help carry that?"

Me (in head): WTF?

See couple walk by, one half of which is dressed like Dolly Parton (the boy half) -- (well, one of the boy halves).

Me (out loud): That is fantastic.

Get home at about 11:40pm, which is when mom and Jack crack open a third bottle of wine. I head upstairs and read up on Dolly Parton on the Internet and note that she has come out publicly in support of gay rights. Immediately understand why she has so many gay fans and also forgive her all the God stuff she tossed into her concert commentary.

Note that Dolly herself once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest.

Me (in e-mail to mother): "Dolly Parton lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest. Therefore, you are more awesome than Dolly Parton." (My mother once came in third in a Dolly Parton lookalike contest.)

After a fun and exhausting evening taking care of the kids, head to bed.

This morning, while getting coffee before work, notice empty wine bottle on counter.

Me (in head): My mother makes me feel old.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Think I Deserve Extra Credit

Yesterday, I was hard at work playing games at Sporcle and came upon this quiz:

Can you name the words that end in 'cle'?

That included the following questions:

1) It gets in the way of success - (to which I correctly replied "obstacle")

2) Item in the news, or just 'the' - (to which I correctly replied "article")

3) Mr. Peanut has one - (to which I correctly replied "monocle")

4) Lance Armstrong has one - (to which I INCORRECTLY, according to Sporcle, replied - "testicle")

Sporcle automatically filled in the answer "bicycle" for me.

I liked my answer better,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What A Pain In The Ass

Today's Oakton Patch column is worth reading. And I'm not just saying that because I wrote it.

(Yes I am.)

It is worth reading because I go off on a bit of a tangent, which is really not like me. And also because I discuss the serial butt stabber who is terrorizing teens and twenty-somethings at a local mall here.

Life in the suburbs is fascinating,

Sunday, July 24, 2011

As Far As Atheist, Australian, Ginger-Haired, Musician/Comedians Go -- He's Pretty Good

Last night, we went with our friends, Pete and Amy, to see Tim Minchin at the Warner Theater.

("My favorite atheist, Australian, ginger-haired musician/comedian!" as Amy describes him.)

I'm not so sure...though I have narrowed it down to just a few atheist, Australian, ginger-haired musician/comedians and he is definitely in the top three.

Amy turned me on to Tim Minchin a couple of years ago when she gave me one of his CDs as a Christmas gift. He would appreciate that irony.
Someone who appreciates irony. Just ask his skinny jeans.
The show was fantastic -- hilarious, thought-provoking, inspirational, and a lot of fun. Particularly the parts where Tim talks about adopting children from impoverished countries ("I'm not raising someone else's skanky kids.") and love ("Love without evidence is stalking.)

The show also marked the first time I was recognized in public because of my blog and Oakton Patch column. A fellow humor columnist (of whom I'm a big fan) walked up to our seats at the show (second row -- thanks, Amy) and asked, "Kathleen?" and then introduced herself. I don't know if I was more excited to meet her (she's a great writer) or to be recognized (I'm a great narcissist).

Praying for humility,

Friday, July 22, 2011

Angst. So Much Angst.

I've shared some of my 5-year-old daughter's art pieces and installations before.

So far, I've convinced myself that this is what all 5-year-olds do. (I also assume all 5-year-olds call their moms "Sir" as she has begun doing of late. As in, "How much longer before we get to school, Sir?")

This, following a conversation we had in the car a few weeks ago. After more than a month of not drinking alcohol, I had one beer with dinner -- a 50th anniversary celebration for my in-laws. In the car on the way home, my child said to me, "I thought you weren't drinking beer." I responded, "I just had was a celebration. Is that okay?

And she replied (while looking out the car window, with no small amount of disdain): "Well, I guess if you're okay with it."

But I digress. We recently purchased an iPad, which means that I rock at Fruit Ninja my daughter now has the ability to create and send many more art pieces, which she does...a lot. Every morning when I get to work, I find at least five new creations waiting for me in my in box. Including this one, that I will consider a little testament to the fine job of parenting I am doing:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm A Lucky Pierre

I know I kid a lot about swinging.

I kid because I love.

To swing.

I'm kidding, of course. Although I do share my bed with two men.

Every night.

No wonder I'm exhausted.

Making it all seem so much more exciting than it is,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kickin' It Old School

Check out the latest post on my other blog, Dilettante Club - We'll Try Everything Once.

Last weekend, we learned DJing from a professional hip-hop DJ in Baltimore.

We also thought we were going to die, wore Minotaur heads, and urinated with an audience.

Or as we like to call it, "the usual."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Delusion Is The New Black

Lately, I've had a lot of people not a single person ask me, "Brutalism? How DO you do it all? You maintain two blogs, participate in Dilettante activities, write a weekly column, work full time and have (thus far) raised a non-convict.

And I must say, it is all about balance and doing no actual work at work meth.

Another thing that motivates me and is slightly more legal....medals. Read about it on last week's Oakton Patch column.

Also check out this week's Oakton Patch column. The one that discusses my meth Groupon addiction.

Now, if only there was a meth Groupon,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's The Pits

I've shared before the horror that was bikini area laser hair removal treatments and as a result, swore that I would never again subject myself to something like that. My principles go as far as my pocketbook, however, and I changed my stance when Groupon recently offered 90% off hair removal. My husband saw this deal and forwarded it to me with the following message:
"You should get your pits done. I say this with all my love...."
Pardon me while I swoon.

He was right, though. I had talked about getting laser hair removal so I could eliminate the torturous and time-consuming chore that is shaving my armpits. I'm now about two Groupon deals away from becoming completely useless. I bought the deal, figuring that arm pit laser treatments would be nothing compared to the humiliation and pain of the bikini area.

Spoiler alert: I'm a moron.

This morning was my first treatment. There was no numbing cream (or Saran Wrap undergarments) required for this area (I specifically asked) and I only had to take my shirt off, so I was already feeling way less vulnerable than I had for the bikini area. Until the technician started the procedure and it was all I could do to not jump off the table and slap her in the face. I said, "Wow. That really hurts!" (I delivered this with as much authority as I could, while wearing bright yellow tanning salon goggles to protect my eyes from the laser.)

Lady Gaga cannot relate.
She asked, "Is it the feeling of being poked by needles that bothers you?" and I replied, "Honestly, over the searing heat that feels like Lucifer himself is shoving a branding iron in my arm pit, I cannot even feel any needles."

I begged for a numbing cream prescription as she continued with the treatment. Then, as we were almost done, something happened that obviously startled her. I asked what was wrong and the rest of the exchange went as follows:

Technician (Somewhat confusedly): "There is a window washer just outside the window."
Me (Calmly):  "Surely you have some sort of film on the windows so he can't see in, as this is a medical office."
Technician (Matter of factly): "No."
Me (Helpfully) : "Well, can you just lower the blinds?"
Technician (Matter of factly): "They are broken and don't go down all the way."


Me (Resignedly): "How about I just hide over here in the corner as I put my shirt on?"

And once again, I find myself facing five more of these treatments over the next year.

Thank you, sir, may I have another?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Painfully Obvious

Saturday, our Dilettante Activity was DJing.

The experience was completely random (as in, we each feared for our life and/or hygiene for at least a moment or two during the activity and we ended the session by taking a photo wearing Minotaur heads). 

And I'm not even drinking.

My favorite part of the activity (other than living to see another day and not having to de-louse when I got home) was meeting the cat that lived at the house where we took the lesson. His name was Hubert and he was the biggest, fattest load of a cat I have ever seen. I love fat, orange cats anyway, and he was so completely lovable that I fell instantly in love. (The fact that the bone structure in his face was a little reminiscent of Barbra Streisand is just a tad bit worrisome as to what I am inclined to fall in love with, although millions of gays cannot be wrong...)

Anyway, ol' Hubert and I were fast friends and if I called his name, he would thunder the few feet across the room toward me and then just fall over on his massive rolls of fat, ready to be petted. Once when he did this, I noticed that he was wearing a heart-shaped name tag on his collar, The tag stated simply, "I AM FAT."

So not good for his self-esteem. Though definitely accurate.

I posted this picture on Facebook yesterday because every time I thought about it, it killed me.  And a friend of mine from elementary school then sent a picture of her cat in response...the anti-Hubert:

Hubert's "After" photo, when he finally realizes that food is not love. 

The whole "announcing exactly what you are" was rather appealing to me and I chatted with the other Dilettantes about how we could capitalize on this and start our own t-shirt line. (This began with my friend, Amanda, promising that during my wake, she would put an "I AM DEAD" t-shirt on my lifeless body in the casket.) None of us Dilettantes work in hospice care. I know you may find that shocking.

Anyway, we came up with the following additional slogan ideas for our new OBVIOUSO (patent pending) line of casual wear:
  • SHORT TIMER (for those with dire prognoses or those well along in their years)
Happy to take your suggestions on slogans, too. Although,


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chew On This

I've mentioned before that I'm a good friend.

And it becomes glaringly apparent at certain times.

Like yesterday, when my friend, Amanda, sent this photo from the plane on her way to Chile. It is a picture of the snow-capped Andes:

I replied, "Lovely. Or at least it will be until you crash and have to eat the other passengers to survive."

She volleyed back, "Hey, it's better than airline food."

Speaking of food (awesome segue -- pats own back) please check out this week's humor column at the Oakton Patch, where I discuss why my daughter transitioning to kindergarten has been so difficult for us. (Wow, that does sound humorous.)

Almost as funny as cannibalism.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Said "Klatch"

For the past week, I've been actively involved in my favorite hobby -- denial.

I've avoided my to-do list, my site statistics, and getting organized at work with a vigor I normally reserve for avoiding talking on the telephone.

And now, there is so much on which we need to catch up:

1. This week's column at the Oakton Patch is all about mascots. And once again, I will proclaim my love for Oakton Patch editor, Nicole, for this update e-mail she sent about trying to get the rights to use a photo of a Milwaukee Brewers sausage race from the Milwaukee Brewers organization:
Still no photo. I'm going to take a shower ('cause nope, that still hasn't happened yet ...) and if it doesn't happen by the time I get out ('cause yep, I'm that attached to the idea of running a photo of a sausage race on my home page...) I'll have to just run it without.

2. I have now been dairy-free, processed-food free, and alcohol free for about three weeks. I have also been working out harder than I have in a long time with runs, bike rides and power walks.

In related news, I am also no longer fun.

This is all in preparation for a half marathon on Labor Day weekend. However, after my long run on Saturday morning with my new running group, I sat in my car and cried because I am so far from where I was three years ago when I was really into running and I am completely discouraged. In an effort to snap out of it and lift my spirits (and because my friend Amanda reminded me that "there is no crying in distance running") I went to get evaluated for new running shoes today at a running store. Bonus -- the guy waiting on me was a college student and totally adorable. Non-bonus -- I had to run in front of him on a treadmill to see if I pronated. We then got to watch my backside together on a computer screen so he could show me what my stride looked like. Fortunately, his campus is right down the street, so he can go look at college-aged butts for a while to get that visual out of his head.

3. I was invited to a coffee klatch with the ladies in my neighborhood last night (and by coffee klatch, I mean booze klatch), and one of my neighbors shared a fantastic story. Turns out, she recently read "Still Alice" for a book club - a true story about a woman with early-onset Alzheimer's that is utterly heart-wrenching. She had just finished the book, crying through a lot of it, when she realized she needed to feed her three kids dinner before heading off to the meeting to discuss the book. As she was throwing dinner together, she realized that she needed to provide the kids with some sort of vegetable to balance their dinners. She meant to offer them carrots, but instead asked them, "Do you guys want Good & Plenty with that?" She said they had no idea what to make of her question...either that she was the coolest mom ever, for offering up candy in place of a vegetable, or that she had maybe contracted early-onset Alzheimer's via power of suggestion. She feared the latter. (Ed. - I frankly think feeding a child Good & Plenty is akin to child abuse. That is the worst excuse for a candy ever.)

4. Our daughter recently cut off her bangs and is now sporting a look we like to call "mental patient." She was so proud of herself when she did it, that I managed to stifle my laughter and applaud her efforts. And in true kid form, she managed to do this two weeks before we are scheduled to take a formal family portrait with Canetto's entire family for his parents' 50th wedding anniversary.

My little mental patient totally pulls it off, though, right?
Finally, RIP Ryan Dunn. You made putting a car toy up your ass an art form and the world becomes a place that takes itself a little too seriously without people like you in it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Backhanded Compliments


My Husband

This week's column that explains what all of this means.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jerry Mathers Likes My Beaver Shot!

Last week,  I received the best reply to a tweet, EVER:

Look at me hobnobbing with the A-listers.

Air kisses,

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Smut Peddlers Redux

When will I learn?

At the end of a long day, when all I want to do is snuggle in with my kid and read her a few books before bedtime that are appropriate for a five-year-old, I'm occasionally blindsided by the filth that children's book authors sneak into their tales.* (Pun not intentional here, but I'm kind of loving it.)

Like last night's bedtime story, "Nate the Great." I'm not even sure where we got this book, and last night was the first time we read it. While I can appreciate that Nate has an open relationship with his mother and can share everything with her, the Puritan in me thinks that he is simply too young for this:

A few pages later, we learn that Nate the Great is forward...and also apparently, into role-playing:

But perhaps the most disturbing part of this "children's book" is the final page:

Of course you like happy endings Nate the Great. And apparently "group activities" involving people named "Fang".

No wonder "rubbers" is plural,

*For more about sneaking filth into tales, see Major Impact.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Letter To The Editor

You know, since I'm relatively new to writing a weeky column, I was not aware of how much planning, forethought and carefully drafted idea outlines are required to ensure that submissions are made on schedule and provide plenty of time for editing and rewrites.

Below, I provide a little insight into how I usually implement this process for my column:

(Note: My official deadline for the column that runs Wednesday morning is Monday evening by COB).

Sunday: Begin feeling dread that I have no ideas for the column. Ask my family if anything funny happened over the weekend. My five-year-old is now conditioned to recite all our weekend activities and then ask, rhetorically, "but what's funny about that?"

Monday: Ignore the looming deadline by focusing on reading blogs and playing scramble on Facebook work, then run errands and hope that my Patch editor has forgotten that it is Monday and that I have a deadline.

Monday evening: Feeling sheepish, e-mail the editor telling her that I am working on some ideas, but hey...if she has any great ideas, I'm certainly open to them.

Tuesday: Send editor an e-mail like this one:
I began an article about Rep. Weiner -- it is my plan to write about how immature all of the jokes are surrounding his name considering his offense while also weaving in a bunch of words like "junk" and "nuts" and "staff." -- All in a completely innocuous way, but enough so that anyone reading it will catch on. It will be R-rated-ish, but very covertly so.
Do you think that would be okay to run or do you think it is not appropriate for Patch? I'll come up with something else if you think this is too much.
Let me know. Thanks,
P.S. "Weiner" (hee hee)
Tuesday night: Write like a crazy person, submit final draft to editor and before she has a chance to read the draft, re-submit two additional versions that I have edited slightly.

Late Tuesday night: Editor cracks open the Maker's Mark and begins searching job sites for nice, quiet data entry jobs. Stops responding to my follow-up e-mails.

Wednesday morning: Column runs. Check it out: Pre-packaged Jokes (FYI - my editor wrote the subhead for the column title. She is fantastic.)

Confident this is how the professionals do it,

Monday, June 06, 2011

Fantastic Hunt

(Say the title a few times fast - never gets old.)

How funny is it that Leon's shirt was promoting Polygamy and he
was on a team with two women? Also funny that a random guy
asked us if we were from Utah. (One of my sister wives, pictured here, answered him.)

Yesterday marked the third year that Team Velvet Unitard (polygamists pictured above) attacked the Post Hunt. And yesterday is the closest we have ever come to solving the end game.

Two-thirds of my team live together in DC proper (since they are married, they find this arrangement rather convenient), so they took the bus to Freedom Plaza, slightly cloudy-headed from their experience at Savor the night before. I was coming in from the 'burbs so I took the metro. And upon stepping out of Metro Center Station and rounding the corner onto the street, I texted my team to let them know I was close. (Here is where you will receive a public service announcement about texting and walking: Don't. I managed to miss three steps in front of me and took a pretty spectacular tumble and landed in a painful heap.) A woman walking by (and stifling giggles) asked me if I was okay, and I told her, "No...I really hurt my ankle" and she kept walking quickly toward the Post Hunt stage. (I don't blame her. The Hunt is cut throat.)


So, we had a bit of a rough start which convinced us that it was a good omen for our performance in the Hunt. (If I didn't play little games like this with myself, I'd have no reason to get out of bed in the morning.)

While we were getting our instructions at the Main Stage from Gene Weingarten, Dave Barry and Tom Schroeder, Amanda was following the #posthunt on Twitter. One of the especially prescient tweets she came across stated "dorks #posthunt" - a tweet she read while realizing we were surrounded by at least ten people in t-shirts emblazoned with computer coding jokes. (I know what you're thinking -- that probably every last computer-coding t-shirt wearer made it to the Hunt without falling on his face. And to that, I say, "Touche.")


When the Hunt began, it was apparent that Leon ate his Wheaties (registered trademark) that morning. Within moments, he had figured out the computer keyboard puzzle, then he and Amanda quickly figured out the government agency fill-in-the-blank puzzle. Then we went to the vanity puzzle. We knew that the answer had something to do with the missing mirror, but could not get an answer that we knew was right. (The puzzle at the Post Office seems to be the tough one every year.)

At the Navy Memorial, Amanda took about ten seconds to solve the scratcher puzzle. (And at this point, I was wondering how they were going to gently let me down and tell me they "didn't have a need for my services" next year...).

I somewhat redeemed myself at the Newseum puzzle by understanding that the password we were given to text should be turned upside-down (since an acrobat had provided the puzzle). There were several more steps (literally -- we walked more than a mile to the next clue) in this answer that we solved with a great team effort.

With twenty minutes before we needed to be back at the Freedom Plaza stage to get the final clue, we filled in our grid and came up with a picture outhouse. (We love the Post Hunt creators, even though for the third year in a row we got shy about asking to get a photo taken with Dave Barry.)

We were back at Freedom Plaza for the end game and this year, we split up to follow two different potential thoughts we had on the clue. Mine was a dead end, but Amanda and Leon came up with the next answer on their route, before they eventually hit a dead end (and we found out there were already winners, so they came back to meet me at the main stage).

As the Hunt creators went through the puzzles, it was encouraging to review how well we did this year, and it is always funny to see the winners being presented with a big, ceremonial check. Seeing this reminded Amanda that she owes me money from our last dilettante activity, so she told me that she would pay me with a large, ceremonial check.

Which is fine, really, as my account is at a very large bank.

Still icing and elevating my ankle,

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that Safe House was filming near the site of the Post Hunt. Amanda thought it may be a clue. Or that the Post Hunt staff had ordered craft services for the dedicated Hunters. Alas, neither was true.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jerry Mathers!

In tribute -- my Beaver shot:

Taken long enough ago that the plaid vest was in style.
No, it wasn't.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

At Least I Find A Way To Use My Complaining Creatively

For my latest Oakton Patch column, I've gone completely original and written about something no one else has ever written about before. Something no one ever even talks about -- particularly this time of year.

The heat.

Keeping it fresh and new,

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cannot Get The Christopher Cross Song Out Of My Head

Check out the latest from the Dilettantes on my other blog, the Dilettante Club.

We went sailing. And learned about the Poop Deck. And winches.

Then we had lunch at a place called "Pusser's". I am not making any of this up.

Continuing to make a hobby of innuendo,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Little Local Flavor

Through the years, I've found that when I push myself to do things out of my comfort zone, it usually ends up in an arrest helping me grow as a person.

This weekend's attempt to hang out at a biker bar was an exception.

Read about it in this week's Oakton Patch column.

Totally in a box,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is We All Really?

I went for a run last night. This was my first run of more than a mile since my knee injury three years ago, so it was something of a feat - both physically and psychologically. My former running partner (and fellow Dilettante) Amanda was nice enough to run with me. And we did 6 miles (4 running, 2 walking) at pretty close to my old pace. (Though slower than little miss "My dad owns a running store in Colorado and it's in my blood"'s pace...)

I was scared to attempt this -- and it became even more frightening as we ran along the trail and passed a spray-painted message that read:

     I is lamp.

About 20 feet down the path, we came upon a second spray-painted message. This one read:

     U R lamp.

And a few more feet beyond that, the third message:

     We all is lamp.

That was a bit of a head scratcher. The final message a little further down though, was pretty clear. It stated simply:

      Eff your Mother

Poetry, really.

In preparation for the run on such a humid night, Amanda had drunk a ton of water prior to meeting me at the trail. She really needed to urinate, but there was nowhere to go, so she said to me, "Let's talk about dry things."

So as though she had requested I do this in the form of Jeopardy! answers, I provided the following:

  • What is the Gobi Desert?
  • What is Steven Wright's sense of humor?
  • What is the kind of cake that my mother-in-law does not like (This being an inside joke about me offering to bake my mother-in-law a cake one year on her birthday and asking her what kind of cake she liked, to which she had replied, "moist.")

Amanda said, "Excellent run of the category," and I replied, "Dry things for eight hundred, Alex."

Today...I actually feel okay. I kinda wish I had not worn high heeled sandals to work, but other than that...not in a lot of pain.

In other words:

     I is fine.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Psychotic Acts Make Good Neighbors

Lately, in addition to nine gazillion stink bugs and spiders (and swingers) we've been finding in our house, we have also had a couple of casualties in the yard. This week alone, we found a dead frog and a dead snake (and the dead snake was on the front sidewalk, as if to taunt me).

These gruesome discoveries prompted me to post the following on Facebook:

I received the following comments on that post:

(It also prompted me to re-visit my 6th grade science textbook as I could have sworn that "amphibian" and "reptile" meant the same thing...)

The next day, a neighbor up the street posted the following on Facebook, to which I commented:

And then, just yesterday, as I was retrieving the mail from my mailbox, I opened it and found this:

I love my neighbors.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Even With Two Lives, I Can't Come Up With 100 Things

A lot of us bloggers lead double lives -- our real life and our blog life. My take on this duality (and my own Arnold-like admission) is detailed in this week's At Home with Brutalism column at the Oakton Patch.

Also, here is a link to last week's At Home with Brutalism column, in which I attempt to create a list of "100 things I want to do before I die" (and make it all the way to number 31). I'm an achiever.

Making you feel better by comparison since 2004,

Monday, May 16, 2011

She Loves Me Not

UPDATE: DC Blogs linked to this post today. I'm hoping one of the readers is a family therapist...or a casting director...

My daughter and I had a little disagreement last night. I drew a picture of what her hair looked like when she was a baby (sticking up all over the place) and apparently, it upset her. (Like it's my fault she had crazy hair when she was a baby.) (Actually, since she drew from my gene pool, it actually is my fault she had crazy hair.) (Dammit. This parenting thing is hard.)

I knew this upset her, because after I drew that, she drew a picture of me with crazy hair...

...and a beard.
This is the picture. I had to go over the white crayon with ink so it would show up.
At least she drew me smiling before drawing all over my face and giving me a beard.

I'm guessing that my laughter over the beard picture is not the response she was going for, because she then took another sheet of paper and wrote, I LOVE MOMMY in huge capital letters. Then, she marched over to where I was sitting, and very deliberately drew a circle around the sentiment and then a diagonal line through it:

Which made me think the following:

a) This would be an awesome album name and cover art
b) She is five. I am not kidding you when I say I am alternately terrified and intrigued by how dramatic some of our disagreements may become in about ten years.
c) I am sometimes glad I had a child later in life, as I may be in full dementia by the time that point arrives.
d) That would also be an awesomely disturbing tattoo
e) I love that little piece of work.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Leaving Us Hung Out To Dry

Not mine. And I'm a little sad it means I'm getting older since when I saw
this in the parking lot of my local 7-11 recently, I did not for one minute
worry that it might be.
Although, my dirty laundry is becoming more and more public thanks to my increasingly frequent trips to the local laundromat.

Hey, a girl has to socialize somewhere.

Actually, our horrible, terrible, loud, worthless, ridiculous, awful, almost-brand-new-supposed-to-be-awesome-frontloading washing machine has been an utter piece of crap since we bought it. We have had five (read it: FIVE) service calls (one of which involved the repairman doing something so unseemly in our downstairs bathroom that we have promised, for our own sanity, to never speak of it again) and the effing thing still is not fixed.

Because we don't have a reliable washing machine right now, we just go as long as we can before it gets to the point where we're in danger of having nothing but formal gowns (Canetto) and overalls (me) to wear to work, and then we pack up the car and head to the laundromat. (Which, by the way, my daughter thinks is about the most fun anyone can have and will sit and stare at the washing machines for the duration of the wash cycle.)

Note to self: Put 529 plan contributions toward something that might have a better chance of paying off. Like betamax.

This new washing machine came highly recommended by Consumer Reports and replaced a 35-year-old Kenmore that was still working. But it was old, and our dryer had just died, so we figured it was a good time to replace them both.

I think that just because something is older it does mean that it has lost its value and sometimes the newer version of something, while shiny and pretty on the surface, is not necessarily better. I feel like there is an analogy here, but I'm not quite sure what it is. (Donald Trump...)

The washer repairman and his digestive issues are scheduled to come again this Wednesday to finally resolve the problem. Looks like I'll be wearing my Flashdance sweatshirt and MC Hammer pants to a client meeting tomorrow.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Barn Isn't The Only Thing They're Raising

My friend, Jon, posted a link on Facebook to an Amish online dating service.

As a public service to my Amish brethren, I'm happy to provide the following list of Amish pick-up lines to help them navigate the devil's playground that is online dating:

10. Is that one of Satan's reflective devices in thouest's pocket? Because I can see myself in thouest's lace-up woollen trousers.
9. Got any Pennsylvania Dutch in thou? Want some?
8. My name is Jebediah. Remember that...thou will be screaming it later.
7. What dost thou sayest I plow thou's fields?
6. What's your hex sign?
5. What has 148 teeth and holds back the Incredible Hulk? Not my zipper, as those are the work of the devil.
4. If I told thou that thou had a great body, would thouest bear eleven of my children?
3. Churn here often?
2. Let's take this courtin' buggy straight to Intercourse (Pennsylvania)

and the #1 Amish pick up line:

1. I would love some of thou's whoopie pie, if thou knowest what I mean...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Kathleen 2.0

I saw a few minutes of Tosh.0 the other night, and it featured a clip of a gymnast whose ankle broke and therefore, left his foot at a very unnatural angle from his leg. I cannot get that image out of my head. I will never forgive you, Tosh.0.

Although, the new and improved version of me might find it in her heart to do so. I explain in this week's Oakton Patch column.

Thankful for my intact talus,

Monday, May 02, 2011

I Wore Paunts In Staunton

Note: Staunton, Virginia, is pronounced how a northerner-by-birth (like me) pronounces "aunt" -- as "ant" and not as "awnt" like the Southerners who I grew up with in Virginia Beach pronounced it. As such, I already approved of the place before we got there.

We were in Staunton this weekend for no good reason. Other than the fact that this is the home of the Statler Brothers and we are Statler Brothers groupies. (That is not true. Although, my father did love the Statler Brothers and I could probably name more Statler Brothers songs and albums than I would ever care to admit. Same with my mom and Neil Sedaka. With this kind of musical influence, there was really never any danger of me joining a rock band.)

Staunton is three hours from Northern Virginia on Amtrak and we read that once we got there we would not need a car -- which is something we love. We also love to go away for the weekend often. I do not know we live in a very exciting area. Probably so I can immediately decide that I want to move anywhere we visit and that is not at all annoying for Canetto.

This is us at the Amtrak station in Manassas. Our photo was taken by a man who looked
like a child molester and whose hands were shaking so badly that he immediately dropped the camera after
taking this photo. I have no idea what is going on with my boobs here.

Canetto found a place for us to stay that was a huge loft apartment on top of a couple of shops. It was decorated beautifully and is the type of place I envision myself living. I forget sometimes continually that I am not young, urban and fabulous.

Seriously, check this out:

The owner of the loft left a huge bunch of fresh flowers in the pottery vase on the table and a cake plate in the fridge stocked with fresh baked goods:

Immediately asked if we could come back here. We had been in town about 25 minutes.
We did a bunch of fun stuff in this sleepy little artsy town: walked to a park and fed ducks, watched a glass-blowing demonstration at a glass studio, went to a farmer's market, toured the Mary Baldwin campus, rode the trolley, went to dinner at restaurants that served locally-grown foods, shopped at funky little stores...

Today, I'm back to reality. Living in my decidedly suburban '70s split level house, working at my corporate job and missing Staunton.

Staunton -- I'm entraunced,