Thursday, January 24, 2008


So I never watch Dancing with the Stars, but you'd really have to avoid television, magazines, radio, and the WWW for months on end to tune out the ubiquitous media coverage of the damn show.

The incessant buzz often surrounds the miraculous weight loss of the contestants. Obviously, if you do nothing else but physical activity for 40 plus hours per week, you will drop some LBs, eh? And, I don't know, have loads of fun in the process?

It is in this spirit that I find myself finally at home, downloading the Hairspray soundtrack, and dancing Footloose-style about the house. For, um, an hour only a few minutes. And folks? Fantastic.


Last night, after several drinks, a group of my Southern coworkers and I found ourselves discussing the general (and completely stereotypical) differences between Southern belles and Yankee women.

Ladies, here is one man's take on said differences:

"Well first of all, Southern girls wear much less make-up," my friend drawls.

"Not so! Not even a bit," I retort.

"Second, Southern girls are simpler. They wear jeans and tee-shirts and flip-flops to the club."


"What about the men in the South?" I ask. "What're they like?" I take another sip of wine.

"Nice dressers," he smiles. "Preppy. And laid back."

I nod my assent. "Y'all are laid back," I remark. I pick up my wine glass. "Y'know, I don't think I could have ever dated a Southern man," I say after a few moments.

"Why not?" he asks, as a few more polite Southern gentlemen join the conversation.

You know what not to say in this situation, specifically when conversing with a company vice president?

"I don't know." Beat. "I guess I'm just too intellectual."

Let's just say, it's a good thing our Southern brothers are so good-humored.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Where in the world is HomeValley?

Lo, she is in Columbus, Ohio. And Pittsburgh, PA. And Verona, NY.

Home tomorrow. Home tomorrow.

Most nights I wake in the night and have absolutely no idea where I am. I rise early, try to cram in a workout, shower and dress, wait until the last possible moment to iron my suit, and head to the continental breakfast. During the days, I alternate between sitting in the meeting compulsively looking at my Treo and performing presenting. Typically I am back on the road by lunch, heading to the next location for a partial meeting and dinner. I sneak out early, around nine PM, call J, and fall into bed exhausted. Then the cycle begins again.

One more week, and things will calm down.

In the meantime, Grace is going to murder me as I have not had a moment to discuss my bridal shower details with her. Sitting in this Verona meeting, I am attempting to put together the guest list and my instructions, which I just emailed to her:

1. No bingo.
2. No candy bars that have any ingredients for "love" or "happiness".
3. Games must not be tedious, but awesome.
4. Alcohol must be involved. Preferably that delicious punch stuff. Or Mimosas. And bloody marys.
5. Shower Power Hour?
6. Interesting door prizes. Let's crank it up a notch here. (Cheap, but not standard fare.)
7. Am I a bridezilla?
9. You are the woman for this job.

Yes. Yes, it will be awesome.

Friday, January 18, 2008

For the love of the burrito.

Friends! How are things? What is new?

Fine. I am actually on my way out the door AGAIN, but had to post because I love you. And burritos. So, so much. Though last night as we climbed into bed, J commented:

"Whoa. Look at the arm."

"What? Fat?"

"No," he said. "Muscular."


And then he said, very sweetly: "We're really going to have to get you to that gym."

My man? He is right. I started our whole fitness regimen back in late November, and I haven't been quite disciplined over the last several weeks. It's difficult when the bar is always open and it's always someone else's tab. (I know! Cry me a river right?)

But dudes, I need to be in a BIKINI in seven short months. In my current shape, I can't have my closest friends and family snapping photos of me in Punta Cana and submitting them to the blogosphere! Then you would all turn hypercritical and point out my cellulite and think of catchy comments like "Damn! HV is big as a valley!" Then I would have to go all Tyra in a post, shouting at you to "KISS MY FAT ASS!"

Then we are agreed.

No more burritos. And probably no more bacon. Or too much cheese. Or chocolate. And much, much less alcohol.

Get ready for a very delightful HomeValley, kids!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Matthew Sighting, Courtesy of Allie

Matt, yesterday, on his way to Crate and Barrel…Hmmm…wedding gift perhaps?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I miss you guys too.

So, I have been working nonstop (14 hours a day) and that's really no excuse, but I'll be back, lovelies. I will update on Friday or may I never eat a burrito again.

Hugs and Kisses,


Friday, January 11, 2008

Parlez Vous Francais?

Back in town, after a whirlwind week in Dallas! I'll tell you, we had a pretty exciting night at Texas Stadium. I couldn't quite believe that 400 of us were ushered out through the giant Cowboys helmet (cheerleaders adorning both sides), then provided an open bar right there on the field, a few ex-Cowboys, Rowdy, the mascot, and footballs. Many, many footballs. We kicked field goals, caught balls in the end zone, and finally started a small touch game which was more fun than I've had in a long, long time, save every day with J. And I left unscathed! Some of my coworkers? Not so lucky. Separated shoulders, broken bones.

I still maintain that alcohol plus footballs equals AWESOME.

Do you want to know what else happened this week? Yesterday our plane from Dallas was extremely packed. (For some reason, Dallas to Philly is now a "regional" flight, which equates to a tiny jet with just four seats acrossed. Cramped.) A woman seated across the aisle from me had a large bag that would not fit into any overhead compartment. She also spoke no English. The flight attendant tried speaking louder to get her to understand, which of course did not do the trick. The woman was Spanish-speaking, but inquired of the flight attendant, "French?"

"Does anybody speak French?" She shouted. Feeling empathetic, I stepped up.

"Un peu," I said to the woman. ("A bit.")

"Ask her if she is going anywhere else after Philadelphia! We need to check her bag!" Flight Attendant barked at me.

Please understand, readers, that I took four years of French in high school. I rocked it. I loved the language, and I continued my studies in college, where I read French texts and went to French restaurants. No, I was never a natural, never fluent, but conversational. Passable.

All of the passengers in the immediate vicinity were looking at me expectantly. I began.


I could feel my face burning, but I only sat there dumbly. I was paralyzed by stupidity.

"Vous etes..."

After what felt like an eternity, Flight Attendant finally gave up on me and shouted: "Does any one speak Spanish?!?"

The lesson? No, no I suppose I don't speak French. Not even un peu.

(For the record, it's Allez-vous n'importe où après philadelphie?)

God, I hate myself.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright

Dallas-bound, coming to you live from the Philadelphia airport, where it's a million degrees Celsius and the pinot noir is dreadfully overpriced. I am on my way to a conference, so I am not sure how much I will be able to chat with you this week. In case we don't speak, let me tell you the story of how I nearly killed J yesterday. And not intentionally!

It happened during an innocent shower, one in which J covered himself in soap (eyes shut tight to avoid bubbles in eyes). In order to rinse, J needed me to move out of the way, which I did most unsuccessfully. I slipped, just a bit, and knocked into him.

The rest happened as if in slow motion. J (eyes shut tightly as he is covered in soap), wobbled once to the right. Then, he lurched slightly to the left. Then he completely lost his footing, and fell backwards out of the tub, onto the floor, at which point he landed in a seated position, and then twirled around once for good measure.

I screamed.

J, disoriented: "Whoa. Babe."

"Oh my God! Oh my God! Are you alright? I am so sorry! J, please, are you okay?"

"You tried to kill me."

With this accusation, I exhale. And then I start laughing unroariously, because J is sprawled on the floor, naked as a jaybird, covered in vanilla sugar body wash.

These are the days, folks.

Friday, January 04, 2008


23. Stop DVRing Sex and the City on TBS.


Sorry girls, but your edited for TV antics are no longer clogging up my glorious DVR!

In other resolution updates, I have successful reduced phone screening in the last several days, though this will be a life-long battle. I have also started studying for the GMATs (er, reading the GMAT book). I have been going to the gym (Body Works class today), though I most certainly have not ceased drinking. Can't win 'em all, kids.

Have a lovely weekend. And also, do just one favor for your old pal, HomeValley: navigate away from the Britney/gossip sites, and read something about a potential presidential nominee. I realize, loves, that I'm far from a political expert (just give me time), but I implore you: only we have the power to change our disturbing Britney-obsessed culture, one click at a time.

Oh! That reminds me. I have unwittingly developed a mantra to help me avoid all celeb gossip, inspired by this:

Harvey Levin is rich because you are stupid.

Try it!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

It's A Totally Happening Life

Saddle up, kids! I am about to tell you a very heartfelt and uplifting tale.

Behold, a Very Special 90210 Christmas ep! (Pretend it is still the holiday season, mmmkay?)

Okay, so we open with two motherf-ing stars, y'all. Yes, that's right: Aaron Spelling and creative team sought to destroy Christmas in 1992, based on this craptastic take on It's a Wonderful Life.

The stars/angels are our awful, awful narrators. One meek little star/angel implores her cruel star/angel boss to take her case, for pete's sake! It is Christmas in Beverly Hills, and the gang is in big trouble!

You see, Kelly and Brenda and Dylan are involved in some warped love triangle at this point. (So far this year Bren's broken up with Dylan; had a fling with "Reek"; dumped him because he loved taxation laws and Jerry Lee Lewis; stumbled upon Dylan and Kel out on a date; and agreed to be friends with both of them until Dylan makes his "choice". Eek!)

So everyone is helping Donna with some sort of "toys for tots" program, and Silver is filming the gift-wrapping (because it wouldn't be an actual episode without David desperately trying to do something creative and annoying the hell out of us). The story gradually begins to unfold: Dylan sluts about making out with both Kelly and Brenda! But Brenda catches K and D feeling each other up on Dylan's couch and overacts her way out of their lives and out of the toys for tot program. (For shame, Bren!)

Then, Andrea gets into Yale! Hooray! But oh no, her Republican boyfriend just dumped her. Asexual Andrea feigns heartbreak, then invites Brandon over to help her babysit. Brandon has just been dumped by Nikki, who is moving back to San Francisco. I am sure Brandon is mostly relieved that he won't have to go to dance clubs anymore, but he doesn't mention it and simply pretends to be upset that Nikki's left him high and dry.

Babysitting. Andrea and Brandon watch It's a Wonderful Life together and then share the world's most passionless kiss, until MJ and Lisa Marie Presley upstage them at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards. And then Andrea breaks away because she is asexual accuses him of thinking of Nikki! Then he accuses her of thinking of her ex-Republican beau that no one remembers! Then they quit toys for tots too, because they simply can't be around each other, lest their completely nonsexual energy get really out of hand.

Suddenly, Donna has no volunteers, so of course appeals to Chuck Norris Mrs. Teasley, who forces them all to attend. They get their asses on that bus to deliver those toys, and quick.

Everyone is just miserable on the bus, and they all start bickering about their petty problems.

But wait! Meek Star/Angel tells us that the bus is barrelling towards a drunken trucker in a tractor trailer, and all of the kids are going to DIE unless Cruel Star/Angel boss intervenes!

(That thud you just heard was Jimmy Stewart rolling over in his grave.)

Then, something incredible happens... As the bus and the tractor trailer collide, they, um, go through each other. Like ghosts. A Festivus Miracle! The kids are still alive (bummer) and then they forget about their petty problems for a moment to distribute toys to the kids.

Was it awesome? Not this time, folks. Not even a little bit.

If Assholes Could Fly

Anyone care to take the over/under on number of times coworkers jokingly asked me to leave today's meeting? Anyone?


Number of times I blushed and smiled and chortled and rolled with it, all the time gritting my teeth and sarcastically thinking, "Oh, that's rich!"

8939 (I obsessed just a bit after the fact.)

Number of times I imagined that in a few short years, I will somehow catapult myself via ingenius innovation into corporate stardom and acquire gobs of money, and began this Vanity Fair article in my head: Well, years ago a more senior business associate kicked me out of a meeting. I didn't take it lying down. I used the humilation to fuel my ambition, and look at me now! I own him, And you, contributing reporter. Fetch me my martini!

Gah! Only twice.

Number of times I cruelly mocked J for douche-y blue tooth device? Number of times I pleaded with him not to walk around all damn day with that flashing light contraption hanging from his ear, anticipating his next very important mobile call?

A gajillion.

Number of blue tooths purchased by HomeValley last week?


Number of times I sashayed about Connecticut today, douche-y blue tooth dangling from my delicate earlobe?

Two. (It's just so damn convenient!)

I swear, I look in the mirror, and I don't recognize myself anymore.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

An Inauspicious Start to the New Year

Alternate title: A Really Fucking Demoralizing Start To The New Year.
Or: HomeValley Is Warrior That Will Persevere!
Or Even: Fuck Everyone.

A tale best told in third person.

So, HomeValley's day begins with a slight anxiety attack. Slight, that is, lasting all night resulting in cold sweat and rapid heart beat and waking every hour or so with a start squinting to read the alarm and oh my Lord is it fucking five AM yet?!?!

Obviously, need to work more diligently on becoming ZenMaster.

*Breathes deeply*

So HomeValley treks to 30th Street Station bound for New Haven, Connecticut. Remembers suddenly that knowledge is POWER, y'all, and so eschews tabloids (as has for last six months or so) and selects The New York Times.

HV luuuurrrrrves international news, which today unfortunately consists of murdered American embassy worker in Sudan; continued unrest in Kenya which recently resulted in burning of women and children huddled in church for safety; plus one Saudi blogger detained in Riyadh for "questioning".

Still, HV tries to maintain positive 2008 outlook. Sighs loudly, quells familiar urge to travel to the Middle East and make a difference with charming disposition, then shakes head in attempt to release negative thoughts. How lucky I am, she thinks. Iranian women can be jailed for wearing long boots over pants, for fuck's sake.

Then, HV notices something amiss at station. The Acela is running fifty minutes behind schedule, which means she will miss Christmas present to self in form of Swedish massage at Connecticut spa before meeting, twenty-four hour cancellation policy, blah dee blah spoiled, and out some money blah blah blee.

Train finally arrives, and HV catches up on mounds of work, continues reading The Times (countdown to the Iowa caucuses!), resolves to make scheduled appointment so help her GOD.

Amazingly, makes it to spa. Rips off clothes, envelopes self in soft, white robe, saunters into relaxation room. Considers good fortune, sips chamomile tea, designs own relaxation room in mind for spare third floor bedroom (to do: buy Enya CD, soft lighting, aromatherapy candles).

Massage. Otherworldly. Life good.

Afterwards, returns to women's locker room ready to be deep-fried (that is, covered in oil). Doesn't mind. Pays discounted tab and checks into room. Must shower and dress again today (all before noon), but life is beautiful. Dresses quickly and scurries to afternoon meeting.

Enter freshly scrubbed, ZenMaster HomeValley. Meeting already in progress. (HV not on agenda until much later.)

HV is unceremoniously asked to leave meeting. Face turns crimson, retreats back to room. Quickly dials most trusted coworker for emergency guidance. Still on vacation. Blast!

(Here HV should explain actual circumstances, save the melodrama. Was guest at meeting and team was discussing something team leader believed HV should not be privy too. Yet, with ego the size of Yao Ming, HV was ever so slightly humiliated, as no such event has ever occurred in entire career.)

Sent to room, essentially, HomeValley reaches out to Grace for a consult. Grace urges HV to remain steadfast and not be deterred. HV concurs. After all, it is 2008! Does no one get that?

Returns to meeting when called (well, stalls for many, many minutes, as HV is not your bitch!); provides information in meeting, gets mocked good-naturedly by coworkers who find her dismissal both unbelievable and comical.

Meeting adjourned. Martini. Miller Lite. Hibachi.

[Here is the point in the story in which HV has woken up at 2:52 AM and has wisely decided to censor herself, so as to save career in likely event that in year 2008, blog receives critical acclaim, mass readership, inevitable book deal. HV is sure you understand. She'll discuss it with you offline.]

[Suffice it to say, HV was offended by something, which she transcribed here in her typical eloquent and clever prose.]

[Ultimately, she is fine and has retained general awesomeness and ZenMaster disposition.]

[2008, y'all. ]