Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cougartown is the New Queens.

Greetings, Earthlings.

Still, nothing good going on over here. Did anyone watch The Biggest Loser last night, by chance? I forced J to sit down next to me on the couch and point out which one of those bitches had The Crazy Eyes. I am consistently amazed by The Crazy Eyes - like, they are an actual phenomenon, y'all! You can honestly look at someone and behold TCE. My husband sat down and pinpointed the Crazy instantaneously. (It was Tracy. Crazy, crazy Tracy.)

I wonder if TCE can be learned? One day, I shall be bat-shit crazy and you will look into my eyes and know. Such a shame, you'll say, as you shake your head solemnly. Such a nice blogger, too. Until she got completely boring and lame and went crazy. Just look at those eyes.

Lord, I have never wanted an anonymous blog so badly. There are things in mah brain, people. Things that need to be discussed but CANNOT. It's distressing.

Instead, let's talk about this past weekend, shall we? J and I headed to Penn State for the PSU v. Iowa game, and to spend some quality time with the baby bro. (Whom I hardly recognize anymore, he is such a man!) We had big plans to tailgate and drink lots of beers and toss the old pigskin around campus. Maybe play a little frisbee and walk around with our backpacks or something? What do college kids do these days anyway?

Alas, it rained - nay, poured - all day. And so mainly, we walked around in ponchos, in the rain, all day. And we hung out in Baby Bro's dorm room. And occasionally, one of his friends would drop by to hang out. Which, involves a lot of sitting. I remember this sitting. You go to others dorm rooms, and you just sit. And visit, you know? And watch TV. But mainly: the sitting. Oh, and the Skittle and cheeseball consumption. You can't get those slices of heaven at the HomeValley Ranch!

We made it through the first quarter of the game. Tired of being wet*, we headed back to the car, changed, and I settled in to keep J company for the 3.5 hour drive home. Unfortunately, I was asleep within seconds. I am an excellent navigator.

Now I am in Midtown for the afternoon, tucked into Starbucks on Park Avenue, waiting to head to a meeting. I am hopeful that the upcoming days and weeks and months will bring topics worth chatting about, but you never can tell. We may change the name of this blog to "Cougartown is the New Queens" and then we can devote every post to Courteney Cox and how we all hope that we can look like her at 45, minus the botched collagen lip injections. Who's with me?

*That's what she said.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Greetings, beautiful babies!

I have not posted in over a week, with good reason! My life has been extremely, extremely boring of late. For instance, last Friday night, I took a nap around 5:30. Then my amazing husband cooked spinach noodles (which are just sinfully good), and then we settled in on the couch for a highly anticipated viewing of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Which, apparently? You can skip. But how would I know? Blart barely made one lap around the mall on his segue before I was sound asleep.

I feel like our life has officially become a single dude who just graduated from college's worst nightmare. Like, sorry ladies, but I am the REASON he won't commit. And the saddest part? I am blissfully happy to do nothing these days. I want to be home and watch the Eagles game on my couch and take a nap, goddamnit!

Alas, even if I do nothing on weekends (beautiful, glorious nothing), this sister is still superfly during the work week. Last week was DC; this week I traveled to the Bronx, where I hosted an event at the new Yankees Stadium. Then I stood in the dugout like a nerd:

Then I went out for Mexican on the Upper East with Vaness. And then I had my requisite why don't I live in New York? Am fool for not living in NY! anxiety attack. Then I watched How I Met Your Mother and was passed out by 8:30. The end.

Oh, in other news? I attended the PA Governor's Conference for Women on Thursday, and Glenda Hatchett may be my new hero. You don't expect to be moved by a TV judge, but guys, she was on point. And also, Suze Orman is slightly more tolerable in person. A tad obnoxious and shrill? Sure, but the schtick works for her. And now I feel compelled to remind you that you need an 8-month emergency fund, and you should probably think about a will if you have not done so already. Thank you, Suz. That's good advice.

So you see, that's what's up in the mystical land of the HomeValleyians. I am sure more exciting topics will be discussed soon, as Cougartown premieres tonight on ABC. I adore Courteney Cox, and I don't care who knows it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Suit Yourself.

Swear to God: there are few pieces of clothing that make me feel LESS sexy than a business suit.

(Now go back and read this post's title. See what I did there? Clever.)

Ladies, I need guidance. I feel like I should be wearing business suits (after all, I am in business); but I also feel - as my H would say - like a giant pudwacker in just about every suit I own.

Today, I am in DC, and for this occasion, I packed a blue pin-striped suit. I paired it with a silk, lime-green sleeveless blouse and deep burgundy pumps. I styled it up with a few strands of pearls. I swept my hair back in an effortless knot.

And still: I felt like a grandmother. Nay, like a douchebag grandmother. Like your giant pudwacker douchebag grandmother.

(No offense, FarMor. You are totally more stylish than moi in my stupid shapeless suits.)


I have tried all kinds: Ann Taylor, Banana, Anne Klein, Jones New York, all to no avail. I have gone to my tailor and had pants taken in to fit my form. And still, I have no ass to speak of in any of these pants. They give me saggy ass! And why - why?!? - are suits still manufactured with shoulder pads? Now I look like a douchebag, a pudwacker, your grandma, and also: a linebacker?

I am willing to pay for a quality suit. But does such a suit exist? Do I have to go with Prada here, and chalk it up to an investment piece?

Kindly post your advice.



Friday, September 11, 2009


On this day, every year, my glorious best friends check in with me. They tell me they are thinking about me, and that they love me. And I love them, so so much. I am not sure I say it enough. Like I told Grace just this morning: I LOVE YOU. IN ALL CAPS. That much, y'all. That much.

And I love you, Internet, and I love you, life. I love my life. I love my husband, and my friends, and my family, and Oprah, and the Black-Eyed Peas, and Oprah's 24th season kick-off, because it made me cry this morning, guys, in that way I do during curtain calls on Broadway. My heart swells and my eyes fill and I am just so happy for us all.

And really, I can't ask for anything more than that.

I've written about it here and here and here and here and here.

But it's not about me today. (Really? the Internet asks, rolling its collective eyes at the drama queen.)

Not about me. It's about all of those who lost their lives; it's about what that day taught us collectively as a nation. It's about how we are still learning. (Because this morning someone posted on their Facebook status that they were so sad, and pissed! They want to kill all Arabs!)

Facebook friend? I think you totally missed the point.

Last night I told J that I'd like to stop in Shanksville on the way home from Penn State in a few weeks. He wasn't too receptive, but I think he'll come around. You go to honor. Those doomed passengers on Flight 93 - those heroes - deserve to be honored and commemorated. So we'll go, and I'll cry, and I'll thank them. We need to make that pilgrimage.

That day - and the post-traumatic stress aftermath - taught me so much. It taught me that despite all of the horror surrounding us, people are good. We're resilient. We're malleable.

I cherish every day, every moment. And when I don't? When I get all petulant and bratty and call J screaming that I am lost in Pittsburgh, holy shit you must help me this is the worst day of my life?

Then, eventually, I am brought back to reality. A reality in which I am lucky, and so so blessed.

I can't believe how far I've come in 8 years. I said as much to Grace this morning, adding "Though I'd like to get rid of my stupid fear of flying, I suppose that's just a scar I wear to keep me humble."

That's the first time I have ever thought of it that way. A scar. It is one that I am proud to bear.

So I hope everyone is great today. I hope we all take the time to remember, but also to be thankful. For whatever reason, we are all still here. And that's reason enough to celebrate.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

You Big Dummy

Last night, J and I didn't sleep.

Well, we did okay until about 3:30, when a spaceship landed in front of our house, crushing whole cars and blaring sirens, warning the Earthlings of imminent doom. (Or maybe it was a really loud truck? Like it matters?)

For the life of me, I couldn't fall back to sleep; so at 5 AM, I crept downstairs and put on a Friends DVD (spoiler alert: Rachel has a baby and names her Emma). Predictably, I went unconscious at 5:50, ten minutes before I had to wake up. I heard J in the shower at 6, and so I struggled to the bathroom to lament our ill fortune. "I feel awwwwhhhhhhhfffulllll," I moaned. "This is just terrible! How can we pooossssiiibblllyyy function?!?"


Function we did, though, and on the drive home from Harrisburg, sipping a sugar-free grande cappuccino, I felt positively productive. Work had gone exceptionally well, and I was cheerfully listening to Good to Great on CD, making mental notes of all the ways I will take the business world by storm, when -


I realized with a start - as you do - that I had forgotten my laptop. In stupid Harrisburg. And tomorrow AM, I am airbound for Pittsburgh. Stupid alien spaceship, ruining my precious beauty sleep!

Plans were rearranged, and now your dummy Blogmistress must drive to Pitt tomorrow AM, stopping in the State Capitol to pick up my cruddy Dell. Boo.

In other news, J and I went to Grandpop's for a family bbq on Sunday. I wanted to write a witty, Sedaris-esque post about it, but lo: it is 6:08 and I have to run 3.5 miles and study for 2 hours if I am ever going to TAKE THE MOTHERHUMPING GMATS ALREADY, God. So here are the Cliff Notes:
  • Have you ever pulled up to your childhood home, basking in that feeling of nostalgia and calm, only to happen upon your nextdoor neighbor snapping pictures of your stepfather - arms raised in triumph, pants around ankles, clad in an American flag speedo, wearing a boat captain's hat? No? So that's just me then.
  • Has your mother ever invited the town miscreants (aka old high school friends) to a family picnic, and by way of defending her decision, she exclaims, "Well, he called me and asked if he could come! What was I supposed to say? Then he called me back and told me he was bipolar and self-medicates with alcohol! What would you have done?" Um, anyone?
  • Has your cousin's new make-up artist boyfriend, upon being asked if you could pull off red hair with your complexion, replied: "Sure, as long as you don't get tan. You've got fair Norweigen skin. And nice-colored lips." Beat. "You're going to have to do something about this though." *draws air circles around your chin, with its expertly-covered batch of fresh hormone pimples*?

Until we meet again, you big dummies.

Friday, September 04, 2009

On Money, and Hair.

Okay, so for starters, my hair? She is fine.

Not like, daaammnnn, that hair is bangin'! Your hair is fiiinnee, girl!

Like, thin. Breakable. Brittle. Fine. So fine I am often irrationally angry at my mother. You're Italian, I scream inwardly. Your hair should be thick and lustrous!

Then I remind myself that I am already a wildly successful general interest blogger, so come on already. You can't have it all, miss.

(Though I would murder for Keri Russell's hair.)
Today I went for a trim with the greatest hair stylist evah. I love her, and the fact that she never makes me feel that my hair is unworthy. After she has artfully sheared my paltry mane, my hair looks strong. Healthy. And shiny! And for just one day - until tomorrow, when it all goes to shit - I think: Fine hair is in. Fine hair is beautiful. You wish you had hair so thin.

That said, today I implored Annette, desperate, an addict in need of a fix. I need hair products! I cried. Please, just a little something for the volume.

"Well the Pureology products are really great. They're expensive, but everybody loves them."

Expensive? Ha. There is no price too great for good hair. *shakes head solemnly*

No price.

(I am reminded of the time I was trying to cut corners at my opthamalogist's office. Well, is there a less expensive contact, maybe? To which he replied: Melissa, you don't want to go cheap with your eyes. Touche, doc. Touche.)

And so, I grabbed the Purelogy products off the shelf, along with a protective styling product guaranteed to give me VOLUME, slapped it all on the counter, and paid, though not before making another appointment for next week. That's when I get the color, babies. You know you have been watching too much America's Next Top Model when you start getting all experimental. (I'm bored, I told my benevolent stylist. Let's shake things up a bit.)

I walked out of there with my head held high, gloriously wispy strands of blonde hair glowing in the afternoon sun.

Then J called, and told me he was going to buy Photoshop. He wanted to make sure I was okay with that.

"Oh yeah? Well, I just spent $54 on shampoo and conditioner, and I hope you're okay with that!" (Which of course actually meant: I dare you to challenge this purchase, dude. Try me.)

He only gave a little sigh, and remarked, "This software will be cheaper than your haircut."

But as we all know, there is no price too great for good hair, y'all.

No price.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Still a Feminist After All These Years!

Yesterday was Grace's birthday - happy birthday, Grace! - and this morning she and DP are seriously hung over. As they should be, bless their hearts.

DP is working long hours today, so he asked your Blogmistress for a story.

Creative beeyotch that I am, I searched my archives. I went all Ted Mosby on his ass and sent him this.

Then this.

Then, I accidentally reread this.

*head explodes*

I hadn't even remembered... when suddenly I had a flashback: sitting on the stool in the kitchen, crumbling over the butcher block.

And then I read the comments section, and I was completely inspired. I had promised to revisit this issue, and I will. I just have to go to a quiet place to gather my thoughts.

Guys! Sometimes we talk about real issues here. Issues that matter to us as women and men and couples and humans. Let's continue the dialogue.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What's New With You Guys?

Honest to God, E. I really want to know why this drivel you masquerade as content sucks me in every ever-lovin' time. (I'm lookin' at you, E! True Hollywood Story.) Tonight it's a bullshit show about Christina Aguilera, which begs the question: exactly how relevant was The Mickey Mouse Club? If you watch enough E, you get the sense that The Mickey Mouse Club was at one time the creme de la creme of all, er, variety shows? SNL for the tween set; a rite of passage for young starlets abuzz with all the talent and promise in the universe. Fine, MMC, I concede Justin, Keri Russell, and Aguilera. But you also gave us JC Chasez. So shut up already.

(No seriously guys: did you watch? I never saw one episode, but I don't think I had the Disney Channel back then. Twas a dark period in the life of HV.)

Other than that, I woke up at 4 AM this morning. I had to drive to Cuse, y'all. I could have gone last night, but I am becoming accustomed to my homebody-ness, and so I opted to wake up at 4. (I would have totally watched Robin Scherbatsky's morning show too; you know, if that were a real thing.)

So I was on the road by 5 and in Cuse by 9. I did mah business; then I learned that there was nothing on my agenda for tomorrow. So I high-tailed it home. Eight hours of driving today, and it wasn't painful at all. I passed the time listening to Sedaris; chatting on the phone; and chugging sugar-free Red Bull.

A rather unremarkable day; but I write because I care about you guys. I know you all need your daily HV fix. So here's a mundane little tidbit from my day:

A funny thing happened when I arrived home at 7:30 PM.

"Babe - you mind if I take a quick run?"

Me. I said those words.

I think I am becoming a runner, friends. Old HV would have plopped down on the couch faster than you could say, "J, fetch Wifey her slippers and fix her a martini while you're at it."

(We do totally talk in the third person a lot at home. You probably don't want to hang with us in real life.)

Instead of the usual, I quickly changed and headed out for a twenty-minute run, in the dark no less.

I have been following a training schedule for 2.5 weeks now, and the amazing this is - I've been following it.

So, we're getting there. We'll see.

So. What's new with you guys?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Part Uno and a Half.

I understand - by the overwhelming response - how thrilling Part Uno was for us all. I mean, the Delta-bashing? The hotel check-in? I know I was on the edge of my seat.

That said, one of our faithful readers - let's call him Drew P., shall we? - wrote Part Dos for me this morning:

As we enter the hotel, we are shocked to find the lobby filled with great white sharks riding vampires. Little did these monstrosities know that I have extensive knowledge on vampire slaying and J has watched JAWS over 1000 times. What I am about to tell you is an epic battle where much blood was spilled and lives were lost....yadda, yadda, service was delish.

Dear Drew P.: Anytime you wish to guest blog, just say the word. Love, HV

As If DP's version wasn't incredible enough, he provided an illustration, y'all, for the visual among you:

And that, kids, is the story of how I fell in love with Drew P. The end. (Sorry, J.)