Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I call this post "Too Much Information." Enjoy.

New York.


Still incredible. This past weekend, J and I headed to Manhattan to take in a few shows; namely, The Pirate Queen on Friday night and Jesse Malin on Saturday night at Mercury Lounge. (I assured the boys that I was totally hugging JM this 4th show around. And lo - we held hands! For five seconds! Jesse lurrvvees me.)

Positively delightful and exhausting weekend. Am trying to recover in Boston, whilst reviewing my calendar and wondering how for the love of Pete have I managed to fill our schedules through 2008?

In desperate need of a weekend off. Fingers crossed for June, if I can move some stuff around.

Hey now! The new O Magazine is here!

Skimming through the letters in the May edition, I am reminded about the HORRendous article in last month's issue regarding smarmy dads offering their seemingly sheltered daughters "chastity" rings in a gallant effort to save young women from sex and boys and all the horribleness that follows. (For the record, few things make HV more uncomfortable than dads protecting their little girls' virginity, because: ew. And also: no celibacy for the boys, dads? You don't say.)

Sadly, from the wee bit of the article I managed to read, mothers and fathers and daughters are throwing Hooray for Virginity!(tm HomeValley) balls where girls wear flowing white gowns and proclaim their fathers to be the keepers of their metaphorical chastity belts; until, of course, they marry. Then, and only then, does another man receive The Key.

It's all fun and games, I'm sure, until Virgin Girl hits college.

I should know. Because this Virgin Girl? She was me. Kind of.

Oh relax. I never wore the Big V as a badge of honor in high school (yes, a certain friend and I used to crassly inform the more experienced gals in our circle: "The tighter, the brighter", but we were just being sardonic, and um, really crass); nor did I espouse (a la Jessica Simpson) that I was saving myself for marriage.

Nay - I was more a member of the Cher from Clueless camp: "You see how picky I am about my shoes, and they only go on my feet."

Moreover (J, really, relax), I never went "crazy" in college, as I suspect some kids wearing "chastity" rings are wont to do.

And why? Because I made my own decision. Nothing was shoved down my throat (pun absolutely intended); instead, I received a balanced message. My sexual education consisted of chastity pep talks at my Catholic high school; The Real World, San Francisco (and what was more poignant than Pedro's compelling, cautionary tale); long talks with those girlfriends that had ventured into sexually-active terrain; and a realistic mother, who always reminded me: "Tell me, and we'll get you proper birth control."

Big thanks to all, for that.

So, will the Hooray for Virginity! (tm HomeValley) gals eventually resent their daddies for pushing them to make this "no fornication" vow? Perhaps. Possibly these women will grow into lovely, well-adjusted adults whose early experiences weren't sullied by premature sexual encounters. Surely, we should educate young women on the physical and emotional perils associated with sex, but aren't we sending a dangerous message to young women by, well, forbidding it before marriage? Sex = bad = major issues later in life, no?
This from the girl whose mantra in high school was "the tighter, the brighter". Now there's something to pass on to a future HomeValley Jr.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dear Readers: I Love You.

I am totally filing this under "Press", in my yet-to-be-created "Press" section:


Thank you for the shout-out, igroberts!

And also, a heartfelt thanks to another member of my beloved readership, who bestowed upon me an incredible compliment earlier this week. Dear Reader: You are so pretty. Love, HomeValley

And finally, a shout-out to everyone's favorite commenter, the_real_jc, who had this to say this to say about my official "Press", offline:

SWEET LINCOLN'S MULLET! Did you see this? The word is spreading. Pretty soon you'll be like perezhilton.com, and the_real_jc will be known throughout the internet for posting witty but accurate retorts about your fiance!

Dumb Things I Did Yesterday

Yesterday, I lost my mind.

It all began at 6:25 AM, when I FINALLY heard my alarm buzzing. I never sleep through an alarm, so I was a bit concerned that I had managed to do so for 25 minutes.

Perplexed, I crawled out of bed in West Warwick, RI, to start my day.

But I never really got started, as you do. I just sort of schlepped around all day, in a haze of fog. A foggy haze. A hazy fog.


I found myself searching for words during conversations and yawning continuously. Then my condition worsened:
  • I hopped in my cobalt blue Chevy Aveo around 4:30, silently reminding myself to get gas. I then drove straight to the airport, into the Avis Car Return, and just as I opened my door I commented incredulously: "I forgot to get gas." (Luckily, a kind woman took pity on me and did not charge me the requisite $6.80 per gallon for my error. Nice lady.)
  • I breezed through the security line in my typical self-righteous fashion, putting my laptop in its own bin, thankyouverymuch, tossing my shoes and coat in another bin in record time. When the TSA agent asked me if I had any liquids or gels in my bag, I shook my head and smiled. Like I would be silly enough to have liquids! Man, you must be living under a rock not to know - "Bag check!" Well: fuck. A wonderfully lovely security person removed my giant bottle of lotion and not-cheap perfume from my Coach bag. "I'm so sorry," I muttered, "I am not thinking so well today." She smiled benevolently, found me a plastic bag, and said good-naturedly, "I didn't see this!" Lord have mercy: the kindness of strangers is astounding sometimes.
  • Next, I entered the gate area in search of the Adirondack Pub. I know from my vast travel experience that the Adirondack Pub - the sole restaurant in the airport - closes at 6 PM, so I had just a few more minutes to grab a drink and a snack before boarding my plane. I stumbled upon a Mexican cantina and marveled, Wow! This must be new. I grabbed a burrito and a martini, but it wasn't until I paid my check and headed to my gate that I realized there was no Adirondack Pub, as I was not at Syracuse's Hancock International Airport. And also: I am bat-shit fucking crazy.
  • I actually managed to make it onto my flight and to baggage claim in Philly. While waiting for my bag, a woman made the mistake of asking me from which flight had I just arrived? * Blank stare *

Have either gone mental or am just suffering from exhaustion. No rest for the weary either, friends, as I am on the 6:52 AM to Manhattan, where there is much work to do! J is meeting me in the city this evening to take me to see the new musical The Pirate Queen. See, he is the sweetest fiance one could ask for, as he is deeply frightened by live people spontaneously bursting into song.

Love, Home "Hoping the Mental Retardation Wears Off Before Somebody Gets Hurt" Valley

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Small World, After All

So... freshman year of college.


Remember that?

The highs. The lows. The horrifying goth roommate who listened to the Cure all day. The Janet Jackson-adoring lesbian roommate whose refusal to buy toilet paper led Vanessa and I to passive-aggresively hide the toilet paper, which didn't seem to matter as that bitch still went in and did her business sans TP, inexplicably.

What? That was just me? Oh.

The long walks on the Promenade, gazing at the breathtaking Lower Manhattan skyline from just across the water in Brooklyn Heights. The drunken nights at the Clark Street bar on the corner of Clark and Henry, where the kamikazes and amaretto sours flowed for the underaged. The 2 train, the 5 train, and the 6 train, all to get to class. The $4 movie theater. Montague Street. The Greasy Pickle diner.

And my Kenneth.

I used to call him that. My Kenneth. A kindred spirit among so many foreign souls. My world had been so small growing up, and though I was loving all of the interesting people I was meeting (for instance, the former ladies' man turned gay occasional cross dresser, Paul), I was struggling to forge friendships with men and women I couldn't understand. I longed for the familiar. Before my Kenneth, I promptly located the familiar in smarmy men (for certainly, they exist in towns both small and large). I broke up with a nice boyfriend at home after falling for a smarmer; really, I had fallen only for common ground. In an environment rife with theater majors and transvestites, for a solid week or two, I felt as if Smarmy Man understood me.

Yeah, um, not so much.

Psychoanalysist HomeValley says in hindsight: I was desperate for the comfort of a relationship to fill the void.

When all along, I just needed a Kenneth.

Kenny appeared in my life instantaneously: one minute he was not there; the next, we were BFF. I had seen him at school and marveled that he was cute with his short, curly blonde hair and blue eyes. During the second semester, he moved into my Brooklyn dorm. He was living with his fellow high school alum Paul, and was completely at ease rooming with a gay man. ("I told him he'd be fine, just to sleep with his ass against the wall," Paul later told Vanessa and me.)

A bunch of us went out to the Pickle for breakfast one weekend morning, a smorgasbord of sexual orientations and backgrounds. When Kenny learned I was from Pennsylvania, he noted that his girlfriend was also from the state.

A beautiful, platonic, short-lived relationship ensued. Which, you understand, was precisely what the doctor ordered for Freshman HomeValley, in all of her glorious bobbed hair and naivete.

My Kenneth and I hung out. That's it, really. We spent time together talking and laughing, and he remained happy with his PA girlfriend, who I met a few times. If he was trekking to see her for a weekend, he would give me a ride home.

I have one picture of us together taken during our freshman year. We're sitting on my bed, in front of the wall adorned with Matt Damon clippings from magazines. And we're smiling. I am beaming. I am utterly at ease with Kenny.

The next year, K and I both left Marymount. While I was at Pace University, he was living at home in Long Island. Occasionally, he and his cousin Thomas would come to pick me up and take me there, where we would just hang out. That's it, really. Then, sometime near the end of my sophomore year, our friendship had run its course. Kenny left my life the same way he entered: abruptly. There was no reason for it; we just drifted, until one day I woke up and it was 2002, and I realized I hadn't spoken to Kenny in years.

In true HomeValley style, I called him one night after draining a bottle of vino at my apartment. I learned, via his mother, that he done grew up and got married at 22! And not to his PA lady friend. Another girl. "Wow," I marveled to Mom of Ken. "Well, tell him Melissa says 'hello'!"

Godspeed, Kenneth.

This is the point in the story where I would normally wax poetic about the nature of relationships: how some are fleeting, some are forever, but all leave an indelible mark. Our time as BFF was meaningful albeit brief, and with the clarity of years passed I can understand its significance.

But Christ, y'all, I hadn't even considered its significance until composing this post. Because today? Seven years later? My Kenneth? My goddamned motherfucking Kenneth was in the lobby of a Stamford, CT, hotel, at the same motherfucking time as me.

I was waiting for an appointment, when he breezed past me and sat at the table next to mine. Our eyes locked for a moment, and then I looked away and went back to typing emails. Of course I didn't recognize him. I am hopelessly oblivious to my surroundings most of the time.

But then, I overheard him introduce himself to the man he was meeting in that lobby and my mouth fell open. And lo - that man ran back to his room to change clothes, and I yelled Kenneth's full name and beamed.

He jumped up to give me a giant hug as he said, "I thought that was you! That's why I looked at you!"

For the record, we both look exactly the same (well, no more bob for HV). We are both just oblivious nerds.

We played the catch-up game, which was lovely. Married! Buying a house! Two kids!

He gave me his card, and though I was unable to reciprocate (what - you are surprised to learn I never remember to bring cards anywhere?), I am not sure I will contact him. Our time has passed. Still, how wonderful to see him once more, and to learn that he is happy. He seems truly happy. Go, BFF. Go forth and prosper and be ridiculously contented always.

That is what I wish for you, my semester-long soulmate.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Secret

So last night J arrived home from work and I schlepped downstairs, still feeling sickly (though admirably, I had managed to shower and put on a little make-up). Since J comes from the school of "mind over matter", he decided the sure-fire way to get me out of my funk was to take me to Barnes and Noble, and Lowe's for good measure (since I was the one who broke the toilet handle on Saturday night, it was only fair).

Once secure in that magical happy land of literature, I decided on a book immediately for the first time in history (Stephen King's much-lauded Lisey's Story). And so I plopped my ill frame next to J in the travel section, as he perused books on Peru and Panama, our potential honeymoon destinations... A few moments later he was ready to leave, and as we meandered to the registers, I came upon the ubiquitous self-help phenomenon, The Secret.

"Did you figure out 'The Secret' yet?" J asked.

"Yes." I replied quickly. "Apparently it's the law of attraction."

"How so?"

"Well, whatever you put out there in the universe is what you will attract."

"Oh." Beat. "So what do you think you've been putting out into the universe lately?"


"Um... Depression, bitterness, and, you know, phlegm?"

The Future H and his anvil of clarity have a point. HV has not been all sunshine and flowers lately. Most of it has to do with your run-of-the-mill, professional malaise, as I explained to J on Saturday afternoon.

"Can we PLEASE turn off The Flavor of Love now?" J asked for the fifth time.

"No, J. Am deeply depressed, and this is the only thing that makes me feel better about my life!" HV, in a troubling, melodramatic turn.

You know it's bad when you're relying on New York and Hoopz to throw you a life line.

The truth is, am not "deeply depressed." Have just been in major professional tailspin that has left me feeling overwhelmed. And whenever I feel overwhelmed, I become paralyzed.

This week, the paralysis happens to involves Sex and the City repeats (Third Season Carrie, you selfish, punning whore!), Easter Candy, and some nasty mucus.

Oh, and also some Woe Is Me! Talents Are Underappreciated! Am Doomed! stream-of-consciousness thinking, for good measure.

Please reference yesterday's post title. Did ya get it? Y'all remember the scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when Ferris called sickly, pessimistic Cameron, who promptly told Ferris he was dying? And Ferris, wise sage, replied: "You're not dying; you just can't think of anything good to do."

That about covers it.

Am looking for something good to do and just may find it, if I can clear my sinuses and remember that I am Damn Talented, and that it is up to me to make it right! After all, if there is anything I learned from watching the first eight minutes of the hokey "Secret" video, it's that all of the great men in history operated via the Law of Attraction, and now that Secret has finally been shared with the masses, and that if we all just envision ourselves as millionaires, then we will all be millionaires. That's the gist, right?

Sarcasm aside, HomeValley is now off to her Happy Place, where she thinks only good thoughts and remains consistently assured that if she stays steadfast and positive (and stops referring to herself in the third person), all of her dreams will come true.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

You're not dying; you just can't think of anything good to do.


Am sick.

I woke 85484 million times in the night with the goddamned itchiest throat in history, and then all of this magical phlegm came out of nowhere! I stumbled out of bed with J this morning, crawling towards the bathroom for the Advil Cold and Sinus, and mumbling incoherently about antihistamines.

I have taken 57449 vitamins in an attempt to heal myself holistically. Still, I am cranky, especially since I have been skimming blogs this morning and wondering why all of the other blogs get so much more traffic than mine? Especially since I am so witty when I discuss phlegm? And then I realized that blogs get that much more popular via networking, and am terrible networker in life and in the blogosphere, and will probably die of this wicked cold, never having been published. Then I gaze intently at my copy of Writer's Market and vow to start devouring it this weekend, as my adorable thirteen year old cousin Churd told me on Easter that he wanted to be a writer, and at this rate, he will be acclaimed novelist before me.

Have a great day, Internet. Enjoy your health.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Drunk Girl

Wonderful weekend of wondrous news!

Cuzzy is engaged!

Koos is pregnant!

HomeValley was drrruunnnkkk!

You see, it was an incredibly momentous weekend.

A Martin Sexton show at the TLA on Thursday night plus one martini, two cosmos, and two beers equals The Drunk Girl. She giggles! She dances erratically! She "WOOs!" a lot at the concert and also shouts out inappropriately, like when everyone else is somewhat silent.

An evening out with Cuzzy and now-husband-to-be Dave on Friday night, plus one glass of wine, two beers, and two cosmos equals The Drunk Girl. She screams when Dave confides he will propose this weekend! She giggles! She talks loudly! She insists that her fiance does not realize the true depth of her love for him, so she protests by laying outside on the sidewalk.

"Babe, come in, please."

"I won't! Not until you realize how much I really lurrrvvee you!"

"I know you really love me. Now come inside."

"You don't know it! I shall protest here until morning." Uncontrollable giggling, as I find my protest positively hilarious.

After one minute outside, the cold gets to me and I resolve to move this sit-in inside.

"Oh hey," says J, emerging from the kitchen with a bowl of granola cereal.

I sprawl out on the living room floor.

After J finishes his snack, he lays down next to me.

He's sweet like that.

P.S. Mom of HomeValley is after me for an engagement picture. She cannot get my engagement announcement to the DelcoTimes fast enough, as she likely thought I would never take a husband.

P.P.S. No, really, she told me as much at Koos's wedding in January of 2005, when I was a newly single 24 year old living in Queens. "Oh Melis," she began, teary-eyed, "Did you cry at the first dance? I did! Oh my gosh, I am going to cry so hard when you get married!" Then her tone changed to one of absolute seriousness. "That is - if you ever GET married." She immediately flitted away, leaving also-single Grace and HomeValley slightly amused and bewildered in her wake.

P.P.S. This is my favorite picture of us. It was taken at a bar in Fira, Santorini, last June. Internet, the engagement picture:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I am the ULTIMATE Wedding Planner.

"Did you call the travel agent?" J asked me yesterday, for the 16th time.

As if I had time to call anyone, with all my work-related belly-aching!

To date, I have sent approximately three emails, called one travel agent, and purchased a book entitled Destination Bride.

Internet, my real planning prowess is in the details: jotted down in the moment in the "Wedding Notes" book that Vanessa gave me as an engagement gift. In it, I record what is really important:


Make sure Tom Jones's "She's a Lady" is played at wedding reception.



Play Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'". Cause that will be awesome.

"Dick in a Box"?

Judd just suggested Color Me Badd's "I Wanna Sex You Up". Genius! This is why we are marrying.

Mmm. Wine.

So I may not have an exact date, destination, or dress picked; but by God, I know at least two songs that will be played.

Monday, April 02, 2007


There is an oft-written, age-old blogging rule that states:

Thou shalt not blog about work.

I have lived by this rule of thumb since beginning this venture, though I have certainly discussed my travel schedule, as well as vague company events. And still, I won't really post about my profession. I won't name the industry; nor the company; nor any of my coworkers.

I will, however, tell you that after 2.5 years on the job, I was informed that I am not quite qualified to...

(Drumroll, please!)

Do my own job, in a slightly more senior capacity. That is, not quite learned enough to explain to people what I do and how I do it.

Dejected, I was informed that there was indeed a light at the end of this proverbial tunnel: I am still regarded as a valuable part of the team.

Well, why didn't you say so in the first place? I am bowled over. You actually value my work? Gee, that's incredible, and quite the coup!

(I did try desperately not to let this biting sarcasm seap into the aforementioned conversation. I am sure I failed miserably.)

The truth?

It absolutely pains me to write these words.

I'm used to being good, thank you very much.

On the phone, I could feel my voice quaking in that way I abhor; I was about to burst into tears. Attempting to speak clearly, I bravely muttered that I wanted to "digest" this information and decide how I wanted to proceed.

I hung up and as my eyes welled, I called J.

I forgot he was in a meeting. I emailed Grace.

Then I put on my sneakers, grabbed my keys and my iPod, and headed out for a frappucino.

Jamiroquai buzzed in my ears that there really was nothing left for me to do but dance, all these bad times I'm going through. Canned heat in my heels tonight, y'all.

Despite myself, I smiled in the blinding sunlight. The eternal optimist in me thought, Maybe this is the way it's supposed to be.

Channeling that intriguing Lost episode that featured Desmond (That creepy old lady: "You don't buy the ring! You break Penny's heart and then you enter that boat race and then you end up on that island and then you press that damn button!") Perhaps I am supposed to get angry and frustrated. Perhaps I am supposed to finally move on and do something great.

Delicious caramel drink in hand, I headed back to the house to "digest" (fucking work-speak) my predicament and make some difficult decisions.

I am sure J will shoot this down, but how about "I'm just not gonna go anymore."