Friday, February 29, 2008

Just Fine.

Feeling low?

Case of the mean reds?

I have a cure-all: And it is this: Mary J. Blige, "Just Fine".

See I like what I see when I'm lookin' at me when I'm walkin' past the mirror
Ain't worried bout you and what you gonna do I'm a lady so I must stay classy

It will be impossible for you not hear this song, start bopping your head in your seat, then get the hell up out of your desk chair and dance like a maniac. Seriously. Try it. I dare you.

(Praise Jesus I work from home. No one here to judge.)

Moving on.

Last night the ladies and I met for dinner to celebrate Ol's 28th birthday, with one very special addition to the crew - our old elementary school friend BP, who recently tracked me down on Linked In and got back in touch. (Technology good!)

So BP waltzed in the room, looking gorgeous as ever, and ordered a Dirty. Ketel One. Martini. And then I started shouting at her that OMG that is my drink that is just unbelievable! Thank God you tracked me down because it is quite obvious we are soulmates! BFF! (And also: the service was incredibly slow, and before she even had her first martini in hand, she ordered a second. And it was awesome.)

Yes, it was a very great night indeed.

Oh, it is noteworthy that Koos, being one of the most hilarious women on the planet, signs any card she ever gives you merely: "Love, Koos". This has been a subject of fierce debate for years, as I always demand she write me something meaningful. (One Christmas she presented me with a card that recounted her entire life story, beginning with her birth.)

It was with great fanfare last night that we noticed she had written Ol a birthday note! Which read:

"Have a great day, and a great year. Love, Koos."

K - you are growing. And I love you.

Have a great day, everyone.

And hey - also a great year.

(I really mean that, y'all.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

DOND, as we call it in the biz...

Alright, so if you happened to catch Deal or No Deal (henceforth DOND) last Wednesday night, you should know that J and I were not even remotely in that audience. Stupid channel guide listing! I see DOND is a little Idol-shy, eh??

Our show was actually on this past Monday night, and was, well, anti-climactic. We were in the front row, facing the models, which just might be the worst seat in the house as far as camera-time goes. There was one glorious moment in which my face appeared on screen... And, that was about it. J got no airtime, but twice you could see the tops of our heads as they panned over the crowd into commercials! So there you go.

The experience of it all was still brilliant, as PK is a DOND model and gave me the grand tour of her Culver City studio, which, coincidentally, is where The Wizard of Oz was filmed. It's a rather large studio and set, and all of the models were lovely and gracious, as was Mr. Mandel. (We descended upon Howie in his green room in between tapings. Top-notch, that one.) And also, the craft services? Did not disappoint. J and I were severely jet-lagged, running on only adrenaline, Howie's love, and gummy bears. Lord, the candy!

The ladies hang out in a large room behind the main stage, where they each have a director's chair with their respective numbers on it. On this particular night, they also had a tarot card reader and a masseuse backstage. PK insisted I get my cards read, but there were too many models waiting in line. She also pointed out that a massage seemed nice but it was difficult, as they aren't permitted to lie face down (make-up) or with their heads on a table (hair). I wouldn't want to piss off their hair and make-up people either. They are all business!

More on Cali (and my life in general) to come. I am in Manhattan this eve, holed up in my Times Square hotel, waiting for Vanessa to arrive for cocktails. Talk soon.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Set your DVRs: the HV and J Television Debut!

When J, N, and I were finally escorted into the Deal or No Deal arena two weeks ago, I jokingly told our guide: "Get us on camera, man."

He didn't disappoint. We were seated in the front row, sandwiched in between the contestants and their "supporters", facing the purty models. For a good portion of the show, we had a camera up our noses. And at one point during a break, Howie said to the camera operator: "This next segment, shoot these three. The whole time." Aw, Howie. I told you we were BFF!

It appears that Wednesday evening we will make our national television debut. Our contestants were a charming California couple by way of Tennessee. And I totally know what happens! And I am not telling you anything. You must watch. Look for the cute blonde with the overly enthusiastic facial expressions clapping maniacally. What up!

Two Things That Are Awesome

Yes, I am still working. It is 8:07 PM in Cranberry Township, PA. Yes, I have been up since 5:15 AM, and on the road since 6:45 AM. What of it? I am drinking of glass of pinot noir and working, so that is 50% awesome.

But here are two really awesome things:

On Saturday night as we were getting ready for our evening, I mentioned to J that I intended to start tipping the hotel cleaning ladies and/or gentlemen.

"But you're only there for one night at a time," sayeth J.

"It doesn't matter," I sayeth. "It could be a different person each day. The point is, I have never tipped these people. And I think I should."

So this morning I shelled out three dollars, and laid it carefully on my pillow. It's less than I pay for a stupid decaf skinny grande hazelnut latte at Starbucks, y'all. (And screw you, Skinny: you are no White Chocolate Mocha with whole milk and whip and caffeine!)


When I arrived back at the hotel this evening, there was a note by the bed:

Dear Guest.

Thank you so much for the tip! If there is anything I can get you please let me know. Have a blessed day!

Your housekeeper

:) Irma

To which I reply here:

Dear Irma.

I love you.

Your friend


And... Irma single-handedly ensures that I tip my housekeeper at every hotel I visit for all of eternity. (Sorry J!)

More awesome:

I caught up with my mom last night, who attended our cousin's wedding last Saturday (her first cousin's son, which makes him my "third" cousin? Something "removed"? I don't know.). As it turns out, my beloved cousin Lauren introduced the happy couple, the bride being her BFF and all, so she was a member of the bridal party. (My lord, this simple story just got really complicated.)

So someone on that side of the family really wanted to come to my wedding. In fact, this someone went so far as to assume he/she was coming, with the rest of his/her family, all eight of them for JC's sake! Alas, it was not to be.

So let's just say this someone sauntered up to Dave, Lauren's man, during the course of the festivities on Saturday night.

"So Dave, why do you think I wasn't invited to Melissa's wedding?" Someone asks, a bit obnoxiously, no?

"Hmm. Well, was Melissa invited to your son's [fancy] wedding [taking place here this evening]?"


"Well. I guess that might be why."

Not entirely why. But Dave? Awesome.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

HV Attends Grammys, Ends Writers' Strike

You're welcome.

But seriously, how about how much was happening in Los Angeles when J and I popped out there for a long weekend with friends N and PK?

We had an amazing, amazing time. So brilliant that I spent a lot of energy wondering what the hell I have been doing all my life? Why put up with snow and cold and ice when lo, this mecca exists on the Pacific Ocean?

Sure, there is traffic. And smog. But the Los Angeles that we experienced was remarkably less glamorous then we had always assumed, and actually, um, down to earth. And, wow, like, super-friendly. And self-deprecating. And absolutely aesthetically gorgeous, from West Hollywood to Beverly Hills to Malibu to Santa Monica to Manhattan Beach to the Hollywood Hills, where we sat just below the HOLLYWOOD sign, alternately staring up at it and down at Lake Hollywood.

Gah! I must tell you about it... But I can't tell you about it yet. I am still waiting on a picture. I need to show you the photo first, and then I will recount down to the minute all we saw and did, and then you will all be checking Expedia for flights, because, lord, you should see this.

And you should also meet Flavor Flav, just once in your life. Speaking from experience, you won't be disappointed.

I promise, as soon as I tell you about, my gushing will cease and I will once again be the cynical New Yorker-at-heart that you know and love. Stand by.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Oh. Cali?

J and I are in Los Angeles for a minibreak, and lord, it has been too long since HV has visited this side of the country! Earlier today we completed a rigorous hike through the gorgeous Hollywood Hills (stopping to take in the massive "Hollywood" sign), and I mused that of all the places I have traveled in my life, LA feels the most foreign. In a totally good way.

Much more on this trip later. I may have made good on a few New Years resolutions, y'all.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Hell is... Philadelphia traffic court.

The highlights:
  • Waiting in an unending line outside in the rain and the cold. When a frightened-looking young man approached a police officer and asked what he needed to do, the cop told him to move to the back of the line. As he made his way, another man came out of nowhere, perhaps a court employee, and shouted, "Yeah, move to the back of the line! What the fuck do you think this is?" Giddy with power, these traffic court overlords.

  • When I finally made it through security, past a handwritten sign that read "No food, no drinks, and no weapons allowed inside court" I was shuffled into one of five courtrooms. And then I waited. And waited. Finally an officer arrived and began grabbing files and calling out names, at which point he asked defendants how they wished to plead or offered a plea bargain, which, bless his heart. (No points for HV!) Still, once he barked at a tiny Asian woman: "I don't care how they do it in Singapore!" Oh, Phila "order in English" delphia. Brotherly love, indeed.

  • At the culmination of an amazing morning, the judge appeared. He had only this to say to the moving violators: "Let me tell you that when you have a warrant now, they will come and get you out of your house in your PJs! It ain't sweet here no more!" Um, thank you, your honor.

  • As God as my witness, I will never hit the gas at a yellow light again. You win, Philadelphia Traffic Court. You win.

Friday, February 01, 2008


This morning the alarm went off and played me a very special "Happy Fucking Birthday" tune, courtesy of Dave Matthews:

When you dig my grave
Can you make it shallow?
So that I can feel the rain

Yup. That just about sums up 28, no?

Man, where have the years gone? I have scoured my old diaries this morning to find something birthday-related, but alas, I was not a very consistent journal-keeper and I pretty much gave you everything I had last year.

So, how about pictures from glorious birthdays past?

Take a look at my ninth birthday party y'all, some sort of amazing Pepsi product placement ad. I am somewhat hidden on the left there, but my perm? Nobody puts my perm in the corner. She is truimphant in all of her fluffy glory.

Across the table from me is an adorable Allie, whose skirt was awesome. She also loves Pepsi. Mmm!

Behold also one of my brother Mike's Christmas present, a gigantic pinball machine that my mother thought would be a good idea, despite the fact that it only fit in the kitchen. I resented that damn game for stealing my thunder at my birthday party. This was about me! And my perm! And Pepsi Cola!

And just nine years later, I turned 18. This was my year! I graduated high school. I moved to Brooklyn. I registered as a Democrat. I hung out at Clark Street bar on Henry Avenue, throwing back kamikaze shots for most of freshman year of college.

This was my party in our new home, sans pinball machine. The perm is gone as I sit with cousin Ricky on my lap, and the sneakers are passable. Remember overalls? Yes, I had multiple pairs. I once wore denim overalls to a high school "mixer" with an ivory sweater and combat boots. V. grunge. You can catch D, Koos, and Grace in this picture as well, and I am sure they will be so pleased.

And then three years after I turned eighteen: 21. See the triumphant smile? The slutty red shirt? The drinks?? Is there anything quite like the feeling of confidently showing your actual ID for the first time, knowing you can't possibly be turned away, knowing you don't have to pay a sleazy bouncer at Maui on Delaware Avenue $50 bucks to get into penny drink night? Are you with me?

To be 21 in Manhattan! At least up until September.

Then the years fly by, and I am suddenly 28. I am tempted to snap a photo of myself this morning and post, but I'd frighten you. I'm still in my fleece pajamas, hair pulled into a sloppy bun, wearing my glasses. I haven't brushed my teeth. My coffee is cold. It's raining. I am suddenly tempted to climb back into bed and sleep the anniversary of my birth away.

But you know, this is the year I get married to J, the man who surprised me with a giant bouquet of exotic flowers last night, and is whisking me off to Los Angeles on Thursday. We'll visit Punta Cana in July, surrounded by all of our closest friends and family, and say our vows barefoot on the beach. This is the year we (possibly) visit Africa. It's the year I stop screening so many calls, make an attempt to get my Master's, and quit watching Sex and the City on TBS.

This will be a good year.

Even if I have to start using night cream.