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,