Monday, December 30, 2013

Brutalism's Year in Review 2013

This year was marked by sadness, loss and pain. Seriously...a lot of it was a total suckfest.

Yet because it is life, there were a lot of great moments, too. And here in Brutopia, the latter are the things on which we dwell.

So, diving right in, here's the Brutalism Year in Review 2013 (THP*):
  • Ushered in the new year in the great Smokey Mountains (I still don't like nougat.)
  • Skied and snow tubed during a ski weekend with friends
  • Read Dr. Seuss books to students on Read Across America day (In a Turkish bath.)
  • Had an audition in a hotel room at a hotel near the airport. (Well, that sounds perfectly legitimate.)
  • Spent spring break in LA with celebrities and no regrets. (I'm doing it wrong.)
  • Finally got some love from the Washington Post Peeps Diorama contest judges (These dioramas will be worth a fortune when I'm dead.)
  •  Had a girls’ weekend in hip ‘n trendy Brooklyn (And proved my own hipness 'n trendiness by being shat upon immediately upon arrival.)
  • Co-hosted the first annual firefighter auction at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (Where my comedy stylings were compared to comedic genius Waldorf.)
  • Learned to hula, sampled olive oil and visited a gin distillery with the Dilettantes. (We managed just six activities this year...speaking of suckfests...)
  • Had work trips to Charlotte, Orlando and LA
  • Ran a lot of races individually and as a family -- some 5Ks (including one where my kiddo placed 3rd in her age group); a half marathon; and a first marathon for my husband. (This explains why our house smells like Ben Gay...I hope.)
  • Went to my first gay wedding. (Where I hobnobbed with John King and Joe Biden.)
  • Took a memoir writing class and wrote a piece about my sister and I being threatened by a broken bottle-wielding psychopath. (Soon to be a major motion picture.)
  • Stalked met Molly Ringwald
  • Took a trip to Cleveland, OH and Pittsburgh, PA to surprise my Mom on her birthday. (Instead, she surprised us by going commando.)
  • Spent weekends in Cambridge, MD; Richmond, VA; and Williamsburg, VA
  • Went to Bastille Day, Oktoberfest, and Murder Mystery parties (Oui! Ja! I have an alibi!)
  • Prancercized (An exercise that keeps you on your camel toes.)
  • Ziplined:
And looked very fashionable while doing so. 
  • Showed off my stellar parenting skills at back to school night. (Moms groups? Still elusive.) 
  • Watched my kid do gymnastics, a product launch class, a new summer camp where she knew no one going in and made a ton of friends, and make beautiful stuff in her art class. (She won a first place ribbon in her school art show again -- maybe one day she will graduate to the family medium of Peeps.) 
  • Spent Avery’s 8th birthday (and most of our retirement savings) at DisneyWorld
  • Got a little sentimental around the holidays which prompted several schmaltzy posts on FB that most people incorrectly (though understandably) attributed to wine.
Here's to a very bright 2014,

*THP - The Happy Parts

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vowing to Figure this Out

One of my resolutions was to finally print and frame some photos from my wedding...

...that occurred almost 15 years ago.

I'm an overachiever.

And while looking through the almost 500 photos this morning, I came across this:

That is not my husband, it is a good friend of mine. I did not crop this photo...nor were we in a wind tunnel. I have no memory of this and wonder how our wedding photographer found the absinthe we had stashed just for family members.

Then again, here is a photo of me from that same friend's wedding a year before mine:

Also not my husband.
It all comes full circle.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Brutalism's Holiday Gift Guide 2013

During the month of December, my car radio is tuned to the all-Christmas-music station, I love to receive Christmas cards and holidays letters and I adore the gift guides posted by some of my favorite bloggers. Last year, I even swallowed the small bit of pride I still have and drove around with this all season.

So to share this (uncharacteristically cheery) spirit with others, I am, for the first time ever, providing my very own gift suggestions, Brutalism-style:

Brutalism's First Annual Holiday Gift Guide (the 2013 edition):

1. An empty box. Sure, we've all kidded that after spending gobs of money on toys the kids actually prefer the boxes in which they come. What I didn't realize is that these boxes are now a commodity that go for upward of $20. I would suggest that you do not purchase this, but that you instead save any gift boxes from overpriced 18" doll crap your kids receive this year and fund the holidays for your family next year. You're welcome.

2. Pretty much anything from I buy all of my daughter's stocking stuffers from this site because there is nothing more magical than the joy and wonderment on a youngster's face Christmas morning when they realize their stocking is filled with (fake) dog doo. (Why just last night, a fine gift from was presented to me by a fellow Dilettante:)
Lederhosen! For beer! This is the best Christmas, ever!
3. Mensch on a Bench. Sue me, Hanukkah has been over for weeks. This sold out early this year, so this is a reminder to pre-order for 2014. Now Jews can experience the same level of guilt as the Christians when it comes to forgetting to position the mensch in some clever tableau every.single.night. Because let's face it...what do Jews know from guilt? least he spends time with his mother.
4. One Direction perfume. If only this had been around in Marilyn Monroe's time so when a probing reporter asked her what she wore to bed, she could have answered "Our Moment" instead of the (trite), "Chanel No. 5."
I know what you're wondering: a) I'm Team Zayn and b) All I wear to bed is Derek Jeter's Driven cologne.
5. Dorothy Parker cocktail plates and coasters.  You gotta love Dorothy Parker. And eating off plates featuring some of her famous phrases probably makes you feel exactly like you're hanging with her at the Algonquin...
...okay, probably not.
6. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. So we can have a competition over how long we own this and never get past page 15 due to the overwhelming volume of this tome and the footnote-palooza that is his writing. I know, I know... I need to read it.
I also need an attention span. And so you know: it's been three years now...
7. Fancy cigarette holder. I don't smoke. I've never smoked. I don't like smoking. I have, however, had occasion to need a fancy cigarette holder numerous times (see: Brutalism profile picture in blog header). In just the past few months, I attended a Mad Men-themed party and a Roaring 20s murder mystery party, both of which required this accessory:
Guessing Mr. Brutalism is feeling pret-ty silly right now for referring
to the cigarette holder purchase as "frivolous."
8.  Bounty Bars. I ask for these every year, as they are the most delicious candy bar on the planet. (Interesting aside: this was also Saddam Hussein's favorite candy bar - he had stashed several in his hideout that were discovered when he was captured.) Related: I share a favorite joke with Hitler.
Perhaps now is a good time to reconsider this gift guide considering my shared
tastes and preferences.

9.  The funniest blog you're not reading. This is my gift to you and your gift to yourself. These guys are so funny and I would visit their blog more often if I could remember the damn order of the Points and Counterpoints in the blog title. Read this blog. Follow it. Like them on Facebook. You can thank me with Bounty bars.
Seriously, Guys. Ever hear of an acronym?
10.  The Alphabutt CD. This contains lyrics such as "A is for apple, B is for butt, C is for cat butt, D is for doo-doo...." Your small child will memorize these lyrics, write them on her white board, and play the CD (loudly) for every person that steps foot in your house including young, impressionable friends; babysitters; grandparents; and the Derek Jeter Driven cologne delivery guy. The child receiving this will love you. Everyone else will hate you.

Hope you all have a peaceful, healthy, happy, fun and kindness-filled holiday season and new year,

UPDATE: And of course, thank you to DC Blogs for mentioning me in DC Blogs Noted. DC Blogs is the bounty bar in my foxhole. (If you will.)

Friday, December 06, 2013


My neighbor, a fellow cat lover and owner, texted me this photo. (Her cat, Boogie, has a 
habit of finding and napping on the most uncomfortable things he can find in their house. Such as Wii components. And prosthetic legs.) 

So, of course, I had to share a similar story about my own little darling. And then add a suggestion about what the felines could do for their next kitty play date. (KITTY play date, iPhone Auto Correct, you filthy whore):

Some history: Lisa's son, Kai, is the recipient of several disturbing texts from his mom.
The best being when she was texted him "I will pick you up later" and it auto corrected to
"I will oil you up later." Straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, they are.

Soon they'll be hanging out in the Mango Neoprene room,

Friday, November 22, 2013

An Olio

Life lately, in snippets:

Making Beautiful Music

While talking to my friend and her dad recently, he mentioned that an old colleague he ran into at a reunion had married a woman about half his age.

My friend and I made comments about how gross we thought that was and wondered aloud what this couple could possibly have in common. Her father explained, "well, they do have a shared love of harpsichord."

And to be fair, a search of probably doesn't come up with a huge list of results.

One hopes.

Is Laughter Really the Best Medicine?

Recently, I received some not-so-terrific news from a new doctor.

Yet, when she delivered this, I at first thought it was the happiest, most hilarious news, ever. I thought this because the doctor has an unnerving tic that makes her laugh uncomfortably every few sentences.

It does make me wonder what other careers she considered and rejected before deciding that "doctor" would be most appropriate considering this affect? Hospice worker? Funeral director? Army general? Dramatic actor?

And on a more fun note:

It's Her World, We Just Live Here

Yesterday evening, I walked into my daughter's after school program to find her reclining on a sofa while two adorable kindergarten boys fanned her with paper fans they had constructed.

I wanna be her when I grow up.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Not Putting the Best Foot Forward

When this is the first review of a pair of boots you're considering at Zappos, it is time to re-think your fashion sense:

When it is the second time you've posted about bunions, it is time to re-think your life...

Happiest Place on Earth May be Overstating it Slightly. Although it is one of the happier places in central Florida that's sorta mid-way between Tampa and Jacksonville...

Recently, I spent about a week at Disney World with my family. I had two back-to- back work conferences at the same hotel in Orlando so I arranged for my husband and daughter to come down in between. After we got it all planned, my company cancelled our participation in the conferences and as it is easier to swallow the cost of a last minute plane ticket and paying for a hotel room while my husband was on furlough from his government contracting job than tell my 8-year-old that our Disney trip was not going to happen – we found ourselves on vacation.

In addition to seeing some of my favorite things that Disney has to offer including but not limited to adults wearing Crocs adorned with jibbitz!, grown men dressed unironically and soberly as Piglet at the Disney Halloween celebration and the restaurant named Tubby’s Buffeteria, I had forgotten that probably my very favorite thing about Disney World is just how dirty sounding so much of it is. Which is how I came up with my latest Top Ten list. That being: 

My favorite Disney-related words and phrases that sound dirty but aren't:

10.   That's the rear entrance to Fantasyland.
  9.   Take that monorail into the Magic Kingdom.
  8.   That wand sure makes me feel like a princess.
  7.   I love it when you go to Downtown Disney. 
  6.   I know you're excited about Cinderella's ball...but I'm not feeling it.
  5.   Look! He's got his hand in the hunny pot!
  4.   "Now I'm the king of the swingers, boy..."
  3.   You are tall enough to ride.
  2.   You've got a fastpass to the Magical express.
  1.    Fantasmic.

P.S. While doing research for this post, I learned that Disney Cast Members actually use abbreviations and euphemisms so as not to disturb guests with unpleasantness at the happiest place on earth. For instance, "AFR" stands for "accidental fecal release" (as opposed to an intentional, malicious fecal release, one suspects). And a "protein spill"? Vomit-palooza. Apparently, there is also an underground grid of corridors that cast members use to get from one place to another throughout the park. They call this the "utilidor", a word that causes me to have a little protein spill in my mouth, if you know what I mean.

P.P.S. Blogger spell check erroneously concluded that jibbitz, unironically, Buffeteria, Fantasylandhunny, fantasmic and palooza are not words. On the upside, they also concluded that neither are utilidor or imagineer.

P.P.P.S. The powers that be at Disney also summarily rejected my brilliant money-making scheme of brewing and distributing their own beer: Walt Liquor. Imagineers, my ass. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

It's a Maximum Security Sausage, Too

Are you familiar with the game "Sausage"?

The rules are simple. You ask questions and another person HAS to answer them all with the word "sausage" and whoever laughs first loses.

As you may imagine, it is my favorite game and I lose every single time.

I was playing the game with my 8-year-old daughter tonight and she asked, "What does Daddy comb his hair with?" In a strategic move to try and throw her, I did not answer "sausage" and instead asked the clarifying question,"Daddy who lives here or your real, prison Daddy?"

And without missing a beat, she totally deadpanned, "my prison Daddy." 

Well played, grasshopper sausage.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Prancing in the Dark

Recently, I spent a little time with one of my idols. Someone who has gone head to (camel) toe with the other competition in the health and fitness industry and really made a name for herself. I'm talking, of course, about Joanna Rorhback, the founder of Prancercise.

Dear God! I look terrified.
She came through DC to offer classes and prancercise her way through the streets of Chinatown. (Can you imagine looking up from your Scorpion bowl to see that moving down the street?) About one millisecond after the classes were announced, my neighbor e-mailed me telling me to pick a time to go with her. This past Saturday was that day.

As a nod to the prancercise style, I coiffed my hair and wore a statement necklace. Others in the class of eleven people were not quite as subtle. There was a mother-and-daughter team all decked out in nonsense (meaning head to toe leopard gear and skintight gold lame shorts) and another couple of friends who looked as though they had been styled by Richard Simmons.

Which all would have made for an extremely fun class if  only someone had let Joanna in on the joke.

From the moment we met her, we realized that this woman is 100% sincere about her exercise program and does not realize that she is first and foremost a personality, and secondly an exercise guru.

This realization made the mother decked out in a leopard leotard dissolve into giggles, at one point completely turning her back to her gold-lame-shorts-bedecked daughter because looking at her would make her laugh even harder. Joanna's response to this? Asking the mother to come to the front of the class and stand next to her, as though she was a first grader being scolded. (This same woman was scolded again later in class for suggesting that we "dance" some more. Joanna gave her a look of disdain then corrected her, saying, "we can PRANCERCISE" some more.")

(Aside: When I temped during college breaks, I worked in one office where I asked a co-worker where I could find a manila folder. She also corrected me with about the same level of disdain, saying, "the VANILLA folders are in the cabinet over there.) Live and learn, I say.

Perhaps the biggest disappointments were that the 90 minute class lasted just 60, that Joanna had merch on display BUT NOT FOR SALE, and that even though I ran a half marathon a few weeks prior to this and felt great after, I limped away from Prancercise with shin splints and a sore calf. I would be completely humiliated, but thankfully our classmates took the focus completely away from my prancercise injuries:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Very Colorful

Last night was back to school night at my daughter's school. (Tagline: School events: All the uncomfortable mingling of networking events. None of the alcohol.)

In preparation for the parents seeing the new classroom, all the kids in class did construction-paper portraits of themselves to display. And at the bottom of the portraits were identifying facts the children had written about themselves. 

As we walked into the classroom, all the parents were tasked with finding their kid's portrait, then putting a post-it note on the picture telling the child that we had found it. What a cute little icebreaker of a get-to-know-you, right? I'm sure the teacher figured this was a no-brainer, as the portraits resembled our children, the information they provided further identified them, and all good parents recognize their own child's handwriting. Besides, even if all else failed, by simply using a process of elimination a parent could find their child among the 27 portraits. 

(And sure...that may work just fine for children that do not produce this kind of artwork.)

All of these things went through my mind as I went up and down the entire wall four times, finding nothing that resembled my child. I asked for help from other parents, looked on the opposite wall to see if it was there for some reason, and finally -- not wanting to further embarrass myself in front of all the quality parents, convinced myself that she must have missed the activity and simply gave up. 

So when I picked her up from school this afternoon, I explained that I could not find her portrait at back to school night and asked if she would show me where hers was. And she did: 

(scroll down...)

The upside: my child obviously does not see color
The downside: apparently, I do
In my defense: the kid has never once worn a bow in her hair
Not unrelated: she is going to be Gabby Douglas for Halloween. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

Beaches be Loco

Since I last checked in, I have gotten around (insert "just like high school" joke here). In the past few weeks, I shuttled coast to coast -- first out to LA for a work conference, then a quick stop at home to retrieve my family, then to Virginia Beach to run a half marathon. Carefree days of summer, indeed.

The conference was for the travel and tourism industry, which means that many cities and tourist destinations attend to try and lure you with extravagant parties and ridiculous gift bags. The first night I was in town, I attended a cocktail party at the California Science Center that had a Mad Men theme. I mistakenly thought this meant I should wear long gloves and drink martinis. Instead, I spent the evening fetching coffee for men while rebuffing unwanted advances. 
I said, "a new car" and gestured accordingly about 10 times while
trying to get this picture. I love woody wagons.
Another night, a group scheduled a private tour of Universal Studios. While on the tour, the tram ahead of mine spontaneously combusted, causing an emergency evacuation. I'm sorry -- but being involved in a tram emergency is akin to being in rehab for a wine cooler addiction -- you get no street cred for that. Universal is also where I received a very poor excuse for a gift bag, which caused me to throw a bit of a tantrum. I'm not proud of this -- mainly because it made me indistinguishable from about 80% of Hollywood. And let's just say that some people know it's time to leave LA when the acting thing doesn't work out...others pack it in when they can no longer deal with the traffic...I know it's time to head east when I angrily dismiss my nine millionth event gift bag as "sub par."

During the actual conference, a man I do not know walked up to me and asked if I was "drinking tequila with Norm during the Cancun trip because, if so, he has a photo of me." When I responded that I was not there, he looked very confused and stopped scrolling through his iPhone pictures. I need to find my doppelganger and make friends with her because she is way more fun than I. One day, I want to be the woman some random stranger recognizes from her tequila-drinking escapades. With Norm.

With all those hijinks as a lead-in, the half marathon was kind of anticlimactic. Save for the butt chafe and the fact that I prancercised the entire distance. Also, the medal. (For the run, not the chafe...although it was record-breaking...)

Literally a pain in the butt, 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pre-packaged Jokes

This post first ran as a column in the (probably-soon-to-be-erstwhile) Oakton Patch on June 8, 2011. Apparently, it is something that will be relevant every couple of years:
Carlos Danger. In a moment of self-reflection.
Or perhaps just taking a selfie.
Subtitle: Thanks to one swollen ego, humorists get off easy
Unless you have been in a Lunesta coma for the past 48 hours, you know by now that New York Representative Anthony Weiner admitted to tweeting a picture of his nether regions to some women … both before and after his marriage.
Really, the only reason I even care enough to comment on this is that I feel strongly about one aspect of the situation. It’s not that I am worried about whether he is capable of doing his job even though he has some interesting hobbies. It is not that my new reality includes reading phrases such as “bulging underpants” with increasing frequency in headlines. No, the part that bothers me is that the scandal has made it so easy for comedians and humorists to get a ton of great material without putting forth much effort.
Sure, he should have been much more of a standup guy and been honest about the whole thing from the beginning, when suspicions were first aroused. That may have prevented him from plodding head-long into this mess. I know it would have been hard, but doesn’t he have a trusted staff that he could have utilized to run some ideas up the flagpole before going off half-cocked and lying to the American public about his escapades?
And come on, do you really think the media would have gone as nuts if he had just been a straight shooter when this information first emerged? Currently, he claims he is not resigning, and his constituents do not seem as though they want to give him the shaft. Even so, I am confident there will still be some stiff consequences. He should definitely bone up on appropriate apologies for a man in his position.
Now that the ball is in his court, he should follow any good tips he receives about clearing up his reputation. I’m sure that if he makes a firm commitment to being an upright citizen and ethical leader from this point forward, we can all move on, forget about this, and let him go back to being the hot dog member of Congress he is at work – and the family jewel that his wife used to think he was at home, during the private parts of their life together.
All that aside, I’m sorry to get so prickly. I’m just so sick of all this junk and really wish it would all peter out so Congress and the media could get back to work.
And that all the so-called humorists out there could get back to actually earning their jokes.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Flee to the Cleve and Get to the Pitt

Our big family vacation this summer was to Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

No, we weren't being punished.

My mother was born in Cleveland. She was there celebrating her birthday with her husband to show him the hospital where she was born and the house where she lived until she was two and moved to New York.

So we decided to surprise her there. We went to her hotel room on the morning of her birthday and knocked on her door, which is when her husband had to request that she put on underpants. (Something she shared with us repeatedly, while giggling every time.)

>thrusts sharpened pencil in ear in attempt to erase memory area of brain<

After my mom put on her underpants (and the rest of her clothes), we spent the day doing all the great stuff there is to do in Cleveland....

...and when we were done with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we headed to Pittsburgh for the rest of the weekend. (See what I did there? Oooh...gotcha, Cleveland!)
Mom and her underpants celebrating her birthday. 
Also in Cleveland. I think art is a good choice for my kid, as she is not much of en speller.
Then again, neither is the charming person who wants "to do" Hally Berry.
Pittsburgh was great. We went to the Warhol Museum then ended up walking around town until we happened upon an interesting-looking restaurant. While we dined outside, we chatted up a woman (and her dog) who is a blogger (the woman, that is)...and who has realized my dream of appearing on GOMI several times. (She used to be a master in the regurgitation arts and tends to bit a bit judge-y about what others eat and how they look.) Whatever. She was charming in person.
Our picture outside the restaurant. With Gwendolyn.
And recently, we even made a guest appearance in her blog, because I'm all about letting strangers take photos of my family and paste them all over the Innernets.

We also rode the Incline, said "you'ins" a lot, and after being told we needed to eat there, tried a sandwich at Primanti Brothers which may be the most overrated (and under delicious) sandwich I've ever tasted.

Perhaps a nice beach vacation next year?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Things That Are Making Me Laugh

Even at 50% off, I'm not sure this is a deal I'd want...

Yes. A semi was rear-ended near Climax...


And most exciting? My newest Twitter follower. And boyfriend. 

I heart the Internet,

UPDATE: DC Blogs linked to this post today in the blog round up. I love that DC Blogs publicly acknowledges great writing. And the writing on this blog, too.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sellin' It

Two Fridays ago, I sold people.

Apparently this is okay in the name of philanthropy. At least that's what the good folks of the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (VVFD) told me and my co-emcee/auctioneer, Stacey.

That's right...we auctioned off firefighters to raise money for the VVFD.

We even dressed in the official colors of the VVFD. Which hopefully diverted
their attention from the fact that we were gavel-happy and would roast them
mercilessly in them name of sadism raising money.   
Stacey and I go way back to the time we worked for a three-person advertising agency in DC and delivered expensive bottles of wine to clients as holiday gifts. A time during which I brightly said to one client upon presenting him with the bottle, "this is the Cadillac of wines" before remembering he was the General Manager of a Lexus dealership.

With that kind of success under our belts, we were ready to tackle human trafficking. (Note to self: practice the way things sound in head before saying out loud...).

Highlights from our banter included:
    • References to Sharknado, Randy Mantooth from Emergency! and jokes about the French
    • A bit about one firefighter "not being able to be here tonight because he is donating a kidney to an orphan -- and by that, we mean he is attending his future brother-in-law's stag party."
    • Mentioning a fun fact that the Deputy Chief provided about himself, noting that he "enjoys workouts using strange items like sand bags, sledge hammers and kettle bells." (We said, "That doesn't seem so weird. It's the ball gags that are making people talk.")
    • Talking about one firefighter attending University of Pittsburgh where she will pursue her dream of always losing football games to West Virginia becoming an emergency pediatric physician
    • Pronouncing Tobias Funke's name incorrectly and immediately getting corrected by
    • Me (referring to one firefighter up for auction who had a shift that night and could not be there in person):  "You know, it's hard to get people excited about bidding when they cannot see the merch." Stacey: "Did you just refer to people as "merch?"
Jeff went for $250. Which of course made us open bidding for Tina at $251.
She ended up going for $300. Girls rule, boys drool. 
Stacey had the most successful line of the night: (Note: we had noticed earlier that there were about 6 bottles of hand sanitizer on the buffet table. Firefighters = germaphobes.) So, when Jeff Cockey (pictured above) swarthily made his way up to the stage, stopping along the way to wink and flirt with every woman in the venue, Stacey remarked:

"Remember...there is plenty of hand sanitizer available."

I had the least successful line of the night: 

"Jeff joined the VVFD because when he lived in LA he found a man face down in his gym's hot tub and there was nothing he could to until the medic arrived. From that point on, he wanted to make sure that there was always something he could do in that type of situation...He also wanted to make sure the gym bleached the hot tub." 

Too soon?

We were hoping that our shtick would bring some comparisons to the comedy stylings of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey....possibly the name Amy Schumer would be bandied about. Instead? We got a "Hoda and Kathie Lee" and "those two old guy Muppets up on the balcony."

I'm actually understanding this comparison. 
Hundreds of millions of dollars (or something like that -- I'm not great with math) were raised for the VVFD. And really -- all Sharknado and ball gag references aside, isn't that the point?

Settin' it on fire, 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

She Doesn't Have A Prayer

Avery (upon noticing a woman in the car next to us fingering the rosary hanging from the rear view mirror in her car): "What's is she doing?"

Me: "She's probably praying on the rosary. You know how Daddy grew up Catholic? It's part of the Catholic religion. In Catholicism,  people go all the way around the rosary, saying a specific prayer for each bead."

Avery: "Huh. (pondering...)...That sounds like a lot of work."

Amen, Sister,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Le Jour De Gloire Est Arrive? Mais Non!

I celebrated Bastille Day with many traditional and meaningful activities. It began with baguette relay races at PAUL restaurant in DC and ended with a (non-French) friends' Bastille Day party in Bethesda -- all while dressed in the red, white and blue colors of the French flag. (We upped the nerd-o factor even more as we walked to the restaurant through the crowded streets of DC looking like the most rabidly patriotic tourist family to ever visit our Nation's Capital. We definitely had a certain (what do the French say?), "I don't know what.")

Ave playing a fishing game at PAUL.
Excuse me. I mean "poisson-ing" game.
Honoring the day was important for us because we have such a rich French heritage. And by that, I mean I took three years of public school French, during which I spiked my extra-credit buche de noel with some kind of brandy from my parents' liquor cabinet, earning me a solid "A" from Mademoiselle Bennett.

Lest you think I'm some neophyte in the Bastille Day games arena, years ago I handily secured 3rd place at the Les Halles Bastille Day waiters' race. (Insert haughty French laugh here.) A somehow perfect bonding experience with my friend, Kath, who was part of instigated the buche de noel shenanigans.

Me & Kath. With our l'eau and pommes frites. And big winnins'
The race at PAUL had a massive attendance of about 50 people who were willing to sweat like pigs in the blistering heat while waiting for the opportunity to win a $25 gift card. While it sounded quite promising to do a short walking race passing off a baguette in lieu of a baton, you must remember that this is DC. And even though the race sponsor said no fewer than five times that we were to walk -- every other team ran. Worse? No one was disqualified for this infraction.

Me. WALKING with the baguette/baton.
Canetto. Also a rule follower. 
I really don't know what is more "Washington" -- cheating to win a "fun" race or being as incensed as I am about the injustice of it all.

All I know is that some vin and excellent food at the next stop certainly took the edge off.

Real French people!
This is the work of a hostess who loves a theme.

Jour de bastille heureux, les tricheur,

Monday, July 08, 2013

At least we didn't sell her panties to a geek

Here in the DC metro area, we don't have a lot of celebrity sightings. (Sure, sometimes we see people who are on television -- but they are always pundits...or Senators...or the President...) Bor....ring....

So you can imagine how refreshing it is to be included on the guest list for the anniversary party of a PR firm that hires a real celebrity to mingle at its celebration every year, which is how I've had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the following folks:

The "perfect ten," Bo Derek, for the 10th anniversary in 2007:
Look! It's Bo Derek. And my
gigantic melon!
Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut who piloted Apollo 11, for the 11th anniversary in 2008:

I've never been this close to greatness. (Well, except here.)
Boxing legend Joe Frazier, with whom we were invited to "go twelve rounds" for the 12th anniversary in 2009:

Instead, I just made him laugh.
Former New York Jets and Washington Redskins football star, John Riggins, with whom we were invited to "make our own luck" at the 13th anniversary party:
I was not lucky enough to persuade him to say, "Loosen up, Brutalism baby..."
And not for lack of trying.
I missed the party for the 14th and the 15th anniversaries...rather than getting to meet some interesting character, the big draw at the party those years was the lease on some fancy car for a year (Cobra Schmobra) so I opted out.

But for the 16th anniversary this year, the firm came back huge...with none other than #3 on Canetto's "list":

This was a total set-up. On our way to meet Ms. Ringwald, Tim quickly printed this up
and left it on my car seat then pretended it fell out of his wallet inadvertently.
Canetto does look a little like Molly's husband. Which might
explain her nice smile here.
But then Canetto's shiny wife happened along and ruined everything...
My friend, Terri, who you may recognize from her earlier work in "I will talk to absolutely anybody about absolutely anything" and who has also attended all of these parties with me, decided that a photo with Molly was not enough. (Sure, she may have been emboldened by Molly telling her that she "smelled nice," which we all know means, "I will not be satisfied until this results in a restraining order.") So, when Molly finished up her photos with the guests and headed toward the restroom with her handler, Terri strode purposefully after her, and -- wanting to see how this would play out -- so did I. 

I actually used the restroom, while Terri spent many, many minutes positioned at the sinks waiting for Molly to exit her stall so she could ambush talk to her. Once Molly emerged from the stall, she again noted how good Terri smelled, Terri returned the compliment, some mutual smelling of perfumes on each other's necks occurred and yadda...yadda...yadda....Terri is now on the Christmas card list.
The 17th anniversary cannot possibly top this.

Monday, July 01, 2013

A little insight

About three times a year, I decide that I'm boring.

This happens when I don't have the next big thing to which I can look forward. Whether a vacation, a race, an event...I'm convinced that if something interesting is not going on in my life I will stagnate, age about 10 years, and then no one will want to be my friend, my husband will lose interest and I will die penniless and alone.

This is only a slight exaggeration.

So during these times, I overreact. (What? No!) Which would explain why I am taking a writing class, training for a half marathon, serving as an auctioneer for a firefighter auction and going zip lining

All in the next two weeks.

I go from nothing going on to too much going on to the point where I get overwhelmed, am not fun to be around, my friends think I'm a pill, my husband wants to throttle me and after spending all the money for classes and entry fees and training programs...I am penniless and alone.

Shocker that Mensa has not made the to-do list,

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Big Squeeze

Sometimes I forget where I live.

And not just after over-indulging at a party. Like the end-of-first-grade-pizza-lunch rager I attended recently at my daughter’s elementary school.

And also not because I have early-onset Alzheimer’s

I mean it figuratively. But those times I do forget, something inevitably happens that reminds me some parts of the DC metro area  are rather more affluent than I can even comprehend.

This weekend was one of those times. While driving through the area on Saturday, my friend and I happened upon a roadside lemonade stand staffed by two girls who appeared to be about 8 years old. Feeling nostalgic and wanting to reward their entrepreneurial spirit, we pulled over and offered to treat my daughter, who was also in the car with us, to a cup.

I parked and the three of us walked over to the cardboard box cum business counter and ordered one cup of lemonade.

And one of the little pint-sized highway robbers said matter-of-factly, “That will be 50 cents, please.”

FIFTY CENTS! For one six-ounce cup of lemonade! That she first crammed full of 19 ice cubes and then used only enough lemonade to fill the cup halfway, so noticeably trying to increase her profit margin that my friend asked, "Could you please pour a little more in there?" The tiny thief added one teensy splash, thus ensuring that 48.5 of those cents would effectively line her greedy little pockets.

And yet....YET....because I am an avid supporter of small and women-owned-business and wanted to encourage this little felon, I also decided that I would tip her. Then, she would learn the elation and freedom that we all did as kids when the lemonade stands we operated earned us enough to buy our own candy! The power! The independence! The CANDY!!! Helping her experience that feeling (sugar rush?) -- something that is only appreciated after you've worked hard to earn something -- was well worth the extra quarter to me.

When I handed her the additional 25 cent tip, she said to me, "Oh, my sister will be so happy" and then mumbled something else I could not discern. My friend had a funny look on her face and when we got back in the car, asked me, "Do you believe what she said?" When I told her I did not hear it, she explained, "Well, I'm not sure you want to know. She said that her sister would be so happy because she is going to Germany."

Is it wrong to hope that little shyster buys some Kinder surprise eggs with that money?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Going to the Chapel

Last week, I took the day off work to ride around Washington, DC, in a limousine while sipping champagne and hobnobbing with celebrities.

...or as I like to call it..."Thursday."

In the interest of total transparency, the hobnobbing consisted of seeing CNN anchor John King on the sidewalk in front of the Capitol while we stopped there to take photos. And since I'm not entirely sure what the definition of hobnobbing is, we'll assume the sidewalk sighting counts as such.
John King was right here. Hobnobbing. (Sure, he
flubbed it big time with the whole Boston bombing
situation...but hey...great hair!)
And truthfully, this was a very special occasion -- the wedding of two friends who have been committed to each other for 22 years and wed in DC because they are still not permitted to legally marry in Kentucky where they live. (I do know the definition of  "ridiculous.")

After sightseeing in the District from the limo, we went to the DC Courthouse for the ceremony, and I have to was refreshing to finally be there for an occasion that did not require me to "lawyer up." (The same cannot be said for my friend, Amy, whose purse corkscrew contraband was confiscated by the Courthouse guards after it was identified in the metal detector.)

The ceremony itself was so touching and emotional and made more so when Amy's son (the grooms' nephew) proclaimed loudly, "those are happy tears!" when he saw nary a dry eye in the house. Kids rock.

The ringbearer. In his Spider-Man sneaks.

Following the wedding, we did more sightseeing and also experienced some safety checks as our limo was pulled over by DC's finest twice so they could search the trunk and open the door to ensure we were not planning a terror attack. Both times this occurred, the officers opened the back door to see three young children in car seats sipping on their juice boxes. As friend, Pete, noted, "even the terrorists aren't that cruel."

Terrorists also don't usually have disco lights in the ceiling. Losers.
The day ended with a beautiful reception at Amy's house in Arlington. And more celebrity hobnobbing:
It is also where I learned some new math. That being that no matter how many gay men attend a party as guests, their combined total body fat will not equal more than 2%.

Mazel tov to Steven and Michael,

P.S. Thanks to DC Blogs for linking to this post today!