9/07 - 8/08
August 6, 2008
It's not too often that I break out the crowbar to open my wallet this wide. Today, Steve and I went CRAZY and make two major purchases, both of them at the brand new Ikea Redhook. Here's our new armchair, the Vreta recliner/rocker in black leather. Steve has claimed it as his kingly throne. It will replace a broken-down cat-scratched love seat from Jennifer Convertible, circa 2000. Price: $600. Delivery charge, for this and the couch below? Only $79! Can you believe?
And here is our new couch, replacing a red sofabed that a friend of Arlo and Christa Quint is taking away this afternoon for her own selfish purposes. So here we have the buttery Hamras loveseat/chaise combo. My first sectional. And it's genuine cheap turquios leather! I've always avoided leather furniture because of the cats in the past. But this time, I figured, at these prices ($1400 for the whole thing), I'd rather live the leather dream for a while, even if I live to regret it in the not too distant future. We also picked up some substantial throws for cat protection. My friend Nancy recommended double stick tape to train the little monsters from trying to scratch, but wouldn't that make the leather all gummy? Any suggestions to ward off feline evil-doings would be greatly appreciated!
In other news, we are back from vacation. An excellent time was had by all in Vermont and Maine. We swam, fished, ate lobster. The girls got to spend time with all their various Frankel and Quint cousins. In two weeks, we go on a cruise to Bermuda with their Rosenberg cousins. Until then, we await our furniture delivery (ten days, approx), plot ways to get the old stuff down three flights of stairs and out onto the street (as a donation to the Brooklyn recycling program, aka, leaving your shit on the curb for someone to scavenge and carry home, usually within an hour of putting it out), getting a new KITTEN (number four; yes, we are insane cat people), and writing articles for Self and Good Housekeeping.
The memoir is my best-seller on amazon today, a month before its release. I'm starting to get excited/nervous/pukey about the upcoming pub date. Must think positive thoughts!
July 10, 2008
Exciting news. I have won a Clarion Award for my essay in Self magazine about posing nekkid. Yay! I don't know if this means I'm going to Washington D.C. to pick up my award at the banquet in September. It'd be swell, but I'd be just as happy to let my editors at Self get it. They said "yes" to running nude photos of me in their magazine. They deserve an award for having the cojones to do THAT. I'm pleased, honored, and grateful, of course. From now on, I hereby decree that all book reviewers can stop calling me "prolific," and start calling me "award-winning." So let it be written...
More cultural viewing notices:
1. August: Osage County. We saw this Pulitzer prize winner (yeah, but did it win a CLARION???) on Tuesday night. Great play! Brilliant. I love a show that uses "fuck," "asshole" and "shit" ever other word, as in, "You fucking asshole, piece of shit." I'm paraphrasing. Anyway, Estelle Parsons played the evil mother of three unhappy daughters. It was another bad mother story. After Gyspy, I'm beginning to spot a trend. There are no mothers in The 39 Steps," our next Broadway venture, so that'll be a relief.
2. Hancock. I loved it! Give me a Will Smith movie with action and special effects, and I'm happy for a couple hours. The thing about Hancock that made it so interesting, however, was that, start to finish, it was a character study. No bogus "save the world" plot crap. The dramatic action was only about how Hancock went from point A to point B emotionally. A refreshing slant for an action movie!
3. New Moon. Stephanie Meyer's second in the series of YA vampire/werewolf novels. I liked it fine. Not as much as Twilight, but it was entertaining. I've decided to skip number three, and read the fourth and last. My main crit: too much dithering and whining, no enough Edward Cullen, the hero/blood sucker. He only appears in about 150 of 500 pages. I like my romantic adventure stories to have a dominant, prominant hero, thank you very much.
4. Up Till Now. William Shatner autobiography. Brought to you by the same packager who put together the Joan book I was involved in. Very fun read about the Canadian Jew who grew up to be James T. Kirk. I enjoyed it a lot, and thought the co-author David Fisher did a masterful job of keeping. The book. In Shatner's. Voice.
I just had a 90 minute Qi Gong Tui Na massage. It was heaven! I'm a loose as creamed corn, people!
Only one more week of childlessness, and then Steve and I go to Vermont to get the girls at camp. It's been fun. Lots of restaurant meals, books, shows, movies, nudity, drinking, fun. And I'm sure we'll have even more fun when the girls are back, except less drinking and nudity. Ah, well. A month of it does go a long way.
July 7, 2008
Inspirational women of the week:
1. Dana Torres. She's my new idol. Just look at her (photo below). She's 41 years old, people! And a mother. And she just beat a gang of women half her age to earn a place on the USA swim team for the Bejing Olympics (her fourth? fifth?). God, I hope she wins, representing middle-aged women the world over.
Impressive, for a hag
2. Patti Lupone. Steve and I went to see her as Mama Rose in the latest revival of Gypsy on Broadway. I've seen her perform before (in a revival of Anything Goes about twenty years ago), but I was too young then to appreciate her genius. Or, maybe this role—the ultimate stage mother—was better. Anyway, she's a marvel. You can't take your eyes off her, and when she opens her incredible lips to sing, it's like she's the only person on stage. In fact, for the show-stopper song at the end, Lupone was the only person on stage, for about ten minutes of pure musical heaven that left me cheering and crying, like everyone else in the theater. I think the show is running for another few weeks. If you can, go! Sign up at theatermania.com and get discount tix.
Let me entertain you...
July 1, 2008
Man, do I ever SUCK! I haven't posted in weeks, peops, a matter of some shame and regret, for which I am deeply, irretrievably sorry. My five blog readers can cut me a micron of slack, I hope, since all of them know I've been busy. Not that being busy is an excuse! No, no. It's a lame, pathetic whimper, for which I am equally ashamed.
Now, what the hell have I been doing? What has been occupying the time I might otherwise have spent posting blog entries about Hillary Clinton? I've been . . .
1. Inputting Joan's notes on the manuscript. She had some very good organizational comments, only confirming my previous post that Joan's tenth career could be as a women's magazine editor. The title of the book, I can now divulge (since it's up on amazon already) is, "Men Are Stupid . . . And They Like Big Boobs: A Woman's Guide to Beauty and Plastic Surgery." As of 6:00 PM last night, Larry Thompson, the guy who put the package together, sent the final (as of this point) 80,000 words to Mitch Ivers, our editor at Pocket Books. I fully expect notes from HIM, and then another round of revisions. But, as I've made clear to everyone involved, after working day and night since May, I'm off for the entire month of July. It should be like I'm dead to them. And I mean it! I will NOT check my cell phone. I won't LOOK at email.
Of course, if there's a crisis, and I'm needed before August, I guess I'll just have to do whatever . . . sigh . . . wimpy subservience . . . pathetic lack of testicular fortitude . . . guns? sticking? to them? . . . ah, the life of a freelance writer.
2. The kids were safely delivered to camp. I drove up and back to Vermont, saw some livestock, smelled some flowers. Ate TWO Big Macs (one on the way up; one on the way back), making myself absolutely ill in the gut region. Steve and I will return to Thetford at the end of July to retrieve the girls, frolic for a week at my parents' place, then got to Steve's hometown in Pittsfield, Maine, and fish off his family's lake cabin dock. Fishing is a lot of fun, meanwhile, for all you city slickers who haven't tried it. You skewer a live worm on a hook (yes, I have done this), put it in the water, then sit motionless for hours until the five seconds of glory when you catch a puny fish, only to throw it back in the lake. Kids love the blood sporting! I've never seen Lucy so focused.
3. I did managed to squeeze out some magazine work while Joan-ing. (1) An essay for Prevention about my professional bra fitting, and (2) A Good Housekeeping revise on this insane decorator/lifestyle mouthpiece Alexandra Stoddard's book "Happiness for Two." Both will appear in the respective magazine's October issues.
4. I've been drinking. Heavily. At least, last night, I was hamMERED. Which is a lot drunker than just hammered. Steve finally returned from a gig in Missouri, and we went to Pete's on Altantic Avenue for dinner/drinks. I had THREE vodka tonics, about two more than I should've. Then we came home and smoked on the deck. I actually got the spins (reminded me of college). Since Steve has been reading the William Shatner book (also a Larry Thompson production; Larry actually got "Bill" to autograph a copy for Steve's Father's Day gift), we had to watch Star Trek V, the Shatner-directed much-maligned worst-of-the lot trekkie movie. We didn't make it to the end, since, with the kids gone, we were walking around naked, and were distracted by each other's display to pay attention to the TV. So! I'm very glad Steve is back, and I hope he never has to go to Missouri again!
5. I saw "Wanted" with blog-reader Daryl Chen, and enjoyed it, but forgot about it the second we left the theater. I read Christopher Buckley's new novel, "Supreme Courtship," and enjoyed it, but don't think it's as strong as many of his other satires. I also read "Twilight," by Stephanie Meyer. Liked it enough to buy the sequel "New Moon" (and discovered, while flipping through it on line, that the hero vampire winds up going to . . . Dartmouth??? My alma mater already has vampires, and they all work for the Dartmouth Review). Incidentally, my high school friend/fellow author Dan Zevin's wife Megan Tingley turns out to the editor of the Meyer series! Brava, Megan!
6. I'm supposed to start writing an article for Self now about people who have bedroom alter egos. Libidinous librarians, that kind of thing. Anyone who wishes should please send me dirty morsels about their naughty sexual dark-side personalities ASAP!
June 5, 2008
We salute YOU
I've stood by Hillary's campaign, almost against my better judgment, for all these months. I wish she'd gone out with a bang, and not a sneaky 2 AM email. I'm embarrassed for her. She could have won back the good will of the media, the party, the nation, has she done a major press event with Obama at her side, and urged her supporters to get behind our party's candidate. I'm sure such an event will happen (Saturday?). But it should have happened already. Her supporters, myself included, have admired and been inspired by her determination to fight on. But her prolonging the fight on Tuesday night and Wednesday was pitting herself against herself.
In poker—my new favorite game—part of any player's strategy is making a good fold. A good fold keeps you in the game, instead of losing everything on a bad bet. Hillary has 11 million of her own money in this pot, which is what's called "pot committed." But she stands to lose even more, in terms of her reputation, future role in Obama's administration (Secretary of Health and Human Services??), the devotion of her supporters. I hate to see her implode. Both Hil and Bill have had many lives in politics. She will not disappear, that's for damn sure.
Attn Howie and Judy: I'm officially on board
Anyway, I'm fine about what happened. I thought Barack's speech Tuesday night was electrifying. I watched it at Nancy's house, and we were both moved to mistiness. I hope, two months from now, our party doesn't have buyer's remorse. There are a lot of racist assholes out there who are afraid of him. I had a shocking conversation with a 70-year-old Florida woman—won't name names—who said without hesitation that she thinks Barack is best friends with Louis Farrakhan, hates Jews, and wants to destroy white America. Yes! This is what Barack is up against! And he'll have a hard time convincing people of this mindset otherwise because, generally speaking, they don't read the newspapers, don't follow politics, make snap decisions based on entrenched racism. This woman told me she'll vote Democratic, regardless of her fears, but a lot of her friends are going to vote for McCain, or not vote at all.
In other news, the Joan book is done. Or, more accurately, it's off my desk, and onto hers. We'll be editing for the new few weeks. I've been invited to QVC headquarters in Pennsylvania for day of editing, and hope to walk out of there with a full carload of swag.
Downshifting has been weird. I worked day and night for two months, and now, I have nothing to do. A magazine revise for Good Housekeeping. A story for Self. But working on a couple articles is trifling compared to moving the mountain of the Joan book. This summer, once the decks are clear, I'm returning to fiction after two years off, to finish my novel in progress. I'm looking forward to relaxing into makebelieve during the lazy months.
May 27, 2008
Incredible as it might seem to you, me, and everyone we know, a draft of the Joan Rivers book is nearly complete! 75,000 words in 56 days. My head, hands, stomach hurts. I still have to finish the chapter on VAGINAL REJUVENATION and ASS LIFTS, add some quotes, do some sidebars. By next Monday, the book will be more or less done. At which point, Joan will have to read it. Hope she likes it, since her name will be, by contractual agreement, 50 percent larger than mine on the cover.
Seriously, Joan has given me plenty of time, material and feedback already. She's seen about half the book, and has given me notes that would rival, in tone and complexity, the most ambitious woman's magazine editor. To console me, she wrote, "Birds only pick at the finest fruit." Which makes me a kiwi.
Anyway, the light is beginning to filter into the dark tunnel. I can imagine a day when I'm not researching and thinking about body parts and scalpels. I have to say, at various points, I've wanted to do, or could conceive of one day doing, just about every procedure I've written about, except nose jobs, and the vajayjay retooling. No one is pointing a laser at my privates! Not now, not ever.
Thanks, Daryl Chen, for telling me about this bumper sticker/t-shirt/poster
May 26, 2008
Attn: Laura Lippman, my container garden is kicking ASS. The rhodo finally decided to bloom this week (as Howie predicted). My peonies, nine buds strong, are just starting to unfold and reveal their secrets. I have a robust salvia plant this year, but I'm not sure if it's the same type that club kids are drying and eating for hallucinatory visions. Only one way to find out!
May 20, 2008
In lieu of a nice juicy post, here are some photos. All is well with work. Heather Graham, incredibly, is renewing her option on The Accidental Virgin, despite not getting this movie made for FIVE YEARS running. She's either a glutton for punishment, an eternal optimist, or a stubborn mule. I wish her the BEST of luck, naturally. As always, I am not holding my breath.
May 13, 2008
Sorry I haven't been posting. It's all Joan, all the time lately. The book is due June 1st. Not much time left, but I CAN DO IT!
ATTN: Green Day fans. They have a new album out as Foxboro Hot Tubs. You can download it at FBHT's website. I bought, but haven't listened to yet.
I promise to post more often than I have been. Meanwhile, here's a new youtube vid, made by Maggie and Lucy, starring Ollie.
April 5, 2008
Today, while strolling with the kids on fabulous Smith Street (near dead actor Heath Ledger's former abode), I spotted a writer I greatly admire, for his columns and his taste. Readers of the New York Times and viewers of his video reviews on the Times website know him, for his pithy, witty movie reviews. I'm speaking of A.O. Scott, my favorite film critic. Actually, he shares that distinction with the New Yorker's Anthony Lane. I don't always agree with Lane, but his reviews are so funny and wicked, our opinion clash doesn't matter. A.O. Scott won my eternal loyalty with is comments on my family's fave flick of the year, Sweeney Todd (I heart you, Johnny Depp!), calling it a work of "evil genius." Anyhoo, I went up to Scott, asked if he was who I thought he was. He said, "I am. And you are?" which I liked. The guy could have just took my gushing praise smugly, but he actually wanted my name. I told him that I loved his stuff, and quoted (embarrassingly) from his Sweeney review. He said, "It's my son's favorite movie, too." Said son, already crossing the street impatiently, was a cute kid, looked about Maggie's age. I said, "My kids love it, too." And then he smiled broadly, and off we went in our different directions. I wonder where he lives. Probably in Boerum Hill. Maggie said, "His kid has a St. Ann's look," referring to her rival school in the nabe. So! Not much of a celeb sighting, but, going by Scott's smile, I think I made his day.
In other news, the Joan Rivers book is definitely happening! It'll be published by Pocket Books, my first publisher (full circle, weird), in early 2009. The rub: They want the manuscript in 60 DAYS! Do not expect to hear much from me until mid-June. I will be chained to my desk, frantically researching nose jobs and face lifts. The timing is good, actually. The draft should be largely done by the end of the school year, and then I'll be able to relax a bit during the summer. Yea! When I got the news, I was thrilled, naturally, to be working with Joan. My stomach hasn't stopped churning over the incredibly short deadline, though. My biggest worry: Will I be able to find the time to plant my beloved container garden? I'll make time, dammit.
Otherwise, we are enjoying the first day of decent weather here in Brooklyn. Tomorrow, Lucy and I are going to get our hair done at Salon du Quartier, so Steve can snap a new author photo of me for the memoir. The initial print run, I just learned, is going to be 75,000! My biggest print run yet.
Steve is performing HMS Pinafore in New Haven, CT, tonight. If you like your Gilbert & Sullivan neat, go forth and purchase tix!
On Friday, I'm taking Lucy to Nassau Coliseum to see Avril Lavigne. It'll be Lucy's first concert, and she's v. excited. She's been planning her outfit for a week already. I can't believe I'm going to see Avril for the SECOND time. I mean, I've seen Wilco and Ryan Adams only once. Chalk it up as one of the little things we do for our kids. Honestly, I like Avril's stuff. Great for jogging.
Speaking of jogging, Daryl Chen might be interested to know I ran to the Fairway in Red Hook this morning. Many shoppers were seated outside, enjoying the impressive view of the East River, Statue of Liberty and Verrazano Bridge. It was beautiful out there. Steve was disappointed I didn't jog back with groceries.
March 26, 2008
UPDATE: Val here. Maggie's spring break graph below. My piece on Money and Kids has finally run in Parenting, TWO YEARS after I wrote it. This will probably be my last Parenting story, since my beloved editor Josh Lerman, has moved on. Anyway, it's a nice piece. Link below.
FYI: I've tried to update the magazine article listings on the books page. Sometimes, I forget to include everything. Sorry!
March 25, 2008
Hey its me Valerie Frankel's daughter. Mom wants me to talk about our spring break. So over spring break, the first thing we did was go to Vermont. It had snowed so much there, that I could walk to the yard from the deck!!! So taking the advantage we went skiing. DARTMOUTH SKIWAY ALRIGHT!!! So we skied for two days, one half day and one full day. It was great! I learned a lot as a beginner skier. Today, we went to get a kitty!!! We were really close, but then they told us we couldn't take the lovely cat home because Ollie, Penny, and Tulip weren't up to date on their rabies shots. OUR CATS DON'T HAVE RABIES GODAMMIT!!!!!!!! Well, the cat had a brother and they were best friends, and it is probably destined that they stay together.
March 11, 2008
You read it everywhere first
A few words on the Spitz:
1. So he wanted "unsafe" but "basic" sex. We all know what that means. (ANAL, duh, peops!) A while back, I wrote a book proposal for friend and celeb shrink Jane Greer on the subject of why men cheat. According to her, guys go elsewhere if they're not getting what they fantasize about at home, or they believe that their dirtier desires shouldn't be visited upon their lady-like wives. Some acts are only for mistresses and hookers. So, safe to say, Silda Spritzer's ass was unmolested by her husband. HOWEVER—Silda should feel free to ream his ass but good for what he's done.
2. When is a political wife going to make herself proud, NOT standing by her man? Why can't one of these woman refuse to go to the press conference, and tell reporters on her porch—having thrown her husband's belongings on the front lawn—that she can no longer stand the sight of the stupid, reckless pig she once called husband?
3. Generally speaking, prostitution is a victimless crime, like pot growing and smoking, and it should be regulated, taxed and decriminalized. Instead of chasing madams, hookers, johns and—the most harmless members of our society—potheads, our law offices should spend their time and resources hunting down rapists, murderers, terrorists and child molesters.
4. I love the hypocrisy on display when this kind of thing happens to Republicans. Hate it when a Democrats gets caught, pants down. Makes us all look bad.
5. Eliot, you fucked (up). I thought you might be the first Jewish president. We'll leave that to Mike now. Can't image Bloomberg hiring a hooker, or Chuck Schumer. Too menschy.
March 5, 2008
I'm talking about HILLARY! How about last night, peops? She has done it again. As Tina Fey said, "Bitch is the new black." Well, the BITCH IS BACK!
In case you haven't seen this yet...
February 20, 2008
Oh, GAWD! It's been way too long since I last posted. Much has happened. Some good news. Some bad news. I'm very sorry to report that Marty Quint, Steve's dad, died last week at 84. He had kidney disease for years, and was in some pain. Sad, but perhaps not a tragic death (sorry if that sounds cold; once you've seen tragic death up close, an old man dying painlessly in his sleep seems, to me, a little bit of all right).
Steve is okay. He went to Maine for awhile to be with his Mom and siblings (there are six), but had to get back to Brooklyn mid-week to see the judge on Valentine's Day to finalize the adoption (Steve has been Maggie and Lucy's step-father for years; we don't do things half-assed around here). He drove to Portland in a blizzard. His flight was canceled. His train was delayed in Boston due to flooding. He finally limped home at 3 AM on V-Day, getting about four hours sleep before our court date. Poor bastard! We loved the judge, a generously proportioned woman named Diane Taylor. We got pictures of her in the robe in chambers, but I can't post. We were warned pix were only allowed for personal use (something about reproducing the inside of a federal building). Steve flew to Maine that evening, and back to Brooklyn for good two days later. Whew! He's still smarting. The important day itself will be more meaningful and sweet in our memories than it was while happening—definitely for Steve, who was the star player in his role of adaptor. But it's done. We are now all legal-like.
We met Gus, my parents' new puppy (see photo). He is cute, fluffy and a wee bit bitey. No worries. Howie and Judy know how to train an animal and will start beating him with a strap this week. KIDDING! My parents would never strike a dog! They'd sooner strike each other. Well, maybe that doesn't quite work. As my five blog readers know, H&J are the best pet care givers on Earth. Anyone with sense would be thrilled to die and be reborn as one of their dogs. Gus is sweet—so far—and loving. He'll soon be a greedy begger in no time!
Hillary. Let's just say . . . Regrets, she's had a few. But then again, too few to admit to. She did what she had to do, and saw it through without exemption. She (says she) planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway. But more, much more than this, she (says she) did it her way. God Bless, Hill! We'll always have our dreams about what coulda been, and that'll have to be enough.
McCain on Obama: "Americans won't be fooled by eloquent but empty promises."
Steve on McCain: "Who says they won't?"
Indeed, if ever there were a people more willing fooled by eloquent promises (not saying Obama's rhetoris is empty AT ALL), it's Americans. We ADORE eloquent promises! We eat them for dessert.
What we wore to see da judge
Cover for the memoir. We like?
February 8, 2008
Look at this. Disgusting. BUT—great for Dems. Future headline: "Senator McCain Skeeves Out Nation—and Fellow Republicans—By Manbracing President Bush" I hope they grapple in public every day until November.
February 4, 2008
What is happening out there, NY? At lunches and parties and phone chats with people I consider FRIENDS, I'm hearing a lot of this: "I think I'm going with Obama." According to the Brooklyn Heights Blog, polls of my neighborhood—and all of Kings Country (aka Brooklyn)—are showing an Obama lead. Apparently, Barack's message is being received. He's convincing people that he is a better general election candidate than Hillary. How do I know his strategy is working? Because friends are regurgitating the words to me. They say, "Hillary is polarizing."
She's not a pair of sunglasses, people! She can unite the Dems, and carry the independents. She can even pick up some Republicans. Stay with me! Just a little while longer!
Ah, what's the point? Barack is now, officially, says my blog, the Heart Candidate. Hillary is the unfortunate Head Candidate. Let the record show, that I am committed to my head. If I have only one opportunity in my life to vote for a woman for president, I'm taking it. I'll stick with Hillary until the end, which I hope won't be bitter. If Barrack wins tomorrow, I'll be happy about having a fantastic Dem in November. It's win-win, really.
How 'bout them Giants? I was thinking of taking my kids out of school tomorrow to go the ticker tape parade, which will end at City Hall, just over the Brooklyn Bridge. But then, I realized, that's not setting a very good example. I've decided to jog across the bridge and check out the parade by myself. Why not? I bet HILLARY will be there.
Ebay news: I have an item for sale. Only one day left. It's a JCrew size 10 Sophia dress, spiced wine. BRAND NEW. I ordered it online, against the Stacy London rule of trying everything on. Well, it's too frigging tight in the tits, and I'm selling it. So, click on the link below if you are looking for a very pretty silk formal/event/evening dress for spring.
Dress For Sale—CHEAP!
January 23, 2008
Songs about . . . Grace???
Best. Photographer. Ever.
My darling husband has reached the pivotal age of 54 today. It's incredible, when you think about it, how OLD he is. I mean, 54? That's practically elderly. But Steve is spry and active for a man if his years. Go to his site (link below and right; "Stephen Quint") for a comprehensive listing of all the glowing reviews he received from many credible sources (NYT, Billboard, etc.) on his dazzling performances at City Center G&S Fest earlier this month. Happy Birthday, Honey!
In family news: Steve and I have a court date to finalize his adoption of Maggie and Lucy. It's on Feb. 14th, aka Valentine's Day, at noon. The whole fam's presence has been summoned to Civil Court, right here in sunny Brooklyn Heights, for an audience with a real live Judge. Just like in Law & Order! Said Judge will take one look at our smiley group, and proclaim Steve—after a thousand pages of documents generated and many thousands of dollars in legal fees—a New York State stamped, approved, legal parental unit. He's been the girls' stepfather since we got married 3+ years ago. Their unofficial step for years before that. And now, the final plunge. No going back now, Steve! Friendly warning! Honestly, we're all excited, emotional and eager to see da Judge. I'll get pix if they let me, and post.
Speaking of pix: Above, we have Maggie's BFF Grace with Maroon 5. Grace's mom, Ann Billingsley, one of my BFFs, is a photog-extrordinaire, and she gets regular gigs snapping celebs at charity events. She brought Grace along as her "assistant" this time to meet one of her fave bands. Go go Ann's website (link above), if you have photog needs (portraits, weddings and events).
In other friend news, one of my other BFFs, Judy McGuire, aka the legendary Date Girl, has a book out! How Not to Date, a hilarious romp (true!) through Judy's sad, often tragic, but always upchuckingly funny life as a professional dater (she has a column about it, and does get paid!). Book cover and link to AMAZON below.
Joan Rivers called the house last night for a quick confab about the proposal. Maggie answered the phone, and got all jittery. Too jittery to say what she'd planned on saying ("Loved your work in Shrek 2!"). Next time.
Exciting restaurant meal on the horizon. Our annual feast at the Williamsburg Peter Luger's is on SUNDAY! Only four days until we stuff ourselves with porterhouse, creamed spinach, German style homefries and schlogg on everything. We're taking Howie and Judy this year, to say "Thanks, again" for the Baja trip. Should be a stomach glutting good time.
Some cultural viewings:
1. Juno. Took the girls. We all loved. It certainly opened the door for discussion about what would happen in our family if one of them got preg in high school. Needless to say, I'd push "other options" a little more strenuously than Juno's parents.
2. A Chorus Line. The Broadway revival. I saw the original production when I was Maggie's age, and loved. Maggie and Lucy weren't quite as charmed by the no set, no costumes, no frills story of aspiring dancers. They're used to big show-stopper Broadway musicals like Wicked, Hairspray and The Producers. Oh, well. I got the tix at a steep discount. And I heard Maggie singing, "Oh, God, I need this job. I really need this job," in the shower last night. So, yeah, some of it sank in.
3. Project Runway. Have we discussed yet? Does anyone wish the contestants were more diva-like and bitchy this season? I'm missing a real blood feud like Jeffrey and Angela.
Judy's book! In store now!
January 15, 2008
A quick note: To those readers who revile Hillary (you know who you are), I want to quote Bill Maher, one of my faves, who said on his Friday night show, "If you hate Hillary Clinton, it is so about you." She is not the anti-Christ. She's not anti-feminist. She's a woman who is striving, as we all are, for a better future for our kids.
I have no big plans for the B-day. Finish at article. Work out. Have dinner out with the fam. Come home and watch the Biggest Loser. I told my kids that I don't expect any gift, which is a sure way to get some. I'm 43 today. As mid-life as anyone can reasonably hope for. I'd like to think my best days are still ahead of me. And that my finest work is yet to come, yet to be imagined. That's my birthday wish for myself: That the ideas will continue to flow, that my ear won't fail me, that my fingers will stay lightening fast on the keyboard, and that I keep learning, being curious and adventurous, for whatever amount of life I have left. Happy birthday to me, and many more.
January 9, 2008
They love her in NH!
Hello, friends! I'm back from my month long blog break, feeling refreshed, relaxed, vacationed, and ready to write the pithy commentary and personal whining you (my five readers) have come to expect.
How about that Hillary last night? Was she not damned impressive in her victory speech? Those ten minutes? Her finest hour yet on the stump. She looked and sounded like a Woman President, like Glenn Close would play in the movie. Authoritative, informed, determined, human. Emphasis in the "human." Look, everyone, even Republicans, knows that Hillary is a human being, composed of blood, tissue, muscle and lymph. But last night, after being humbled and redeemed, she was finally able to APPEAR as human as she is. She shed her cyborg outer casing, and showed herself to be a compassionate, intelligent personage. I cried. She's inspiring as heck! I'm thrilled she's going after young voters by saying, "Hey, girls. I'm a woman running for President! Look at me go!"
I like Barack, too. Don't get me wrong. He'll make an excellent vice president.
Speaking of politics, American Fringe is in stores now! A YA novel with a vaguely political theme for the teens of today. Available where books are sold.
We spent our holiday week on Baja, California, on the Sea Bird, a Lindblad/National Geographic ship, to observe the geography, marine mammals, coastline and human habitats along the fabled Sea of Cortez.
Goes without saying, I couldn't have afforded this trip. A hearty THANK YOU, DUDES! goes out to Howie and Judy Frankel, sources of all that is good, our travel sponsors and fellow ship mates on the Sea Bird. My sister and her fam were treated as well. It was a tub-ful of Frankels. We saw dolphins and whales, snorkeled with sea lions, smelled Sally Lightfoot crabs, watched diving pelicans and found a creeping scorpion. We hiked in the dessert, and kayaked in the sea. Maggie, Lily and Steve were all stung by cacti. Lucy snorkeled for the first time, and loved it (who wouldn't?). She was so entranced by the volcanic and sea floor rock formations that her new dream is to become a geologist when she grows up! Howie, our family geologist, is loving that.
For the entire trip, including the flights in and out of Los Cabos, I didn't do a lick of work. It was my first non-working vacation in years. In place of writing, I ate nonstop. The food on the Sea Bird was surprisingly delicious. I didn't work out at all either. Hiking and snorkeling were fun, and nothing close cardio-wise to a sweaty tussle with the treadmill. So now I'm working my way back to pre-vakay shape. I bought a fresh-out-the-box pair of New Balance, got a new workout calendar. I expect 2008 to be as healthy and productive as 2007.
The Joan Rivers book proposal, minus today's tweaks, is DONE! We expect to get it to publishers as early as next week. Things move fast in the celebrity co-authoring business. Next on the docket: A Self article on adult popularity, and a Good Housekeeping essay about happiness for couples. After that, I'm heading back over to fiction, to get my very rough 100 pages of a new novel in decent enough shape to show the lovely-and-talented Dana Isaacson, one of my oldest friend, a book ed at Random House, and an interested party in this project. It was his idea, actually, and I'm fleshing up the bones.
Fringe Benefits, the fourth Fringe Girl novel, is in the can. Accepted by the L-and-T Anne Bohner at NAL, and proceeding along the publishing process. Nothing is quite as satisfying as turning in a clean book, without being asked for major revisions. It's a relief, I tell ya. I never plan for revises, on books or magazine articles, but they always seem to be required and crammed into the schedule. Not this time! Whew!
My husband Steve is singing and dancing all this week at Carnegie Hall's City Center on West 55th Street. Pirates, Princess Ida, Trial By Jury, all your G&S faves! The NY Times review called his King Gama (in Princess Ida) an especial standout. Here's the graph:
"Kimilee Bryant brought a plush soprano voice and lovely presence to the title role, though her diction was too often mushy. Other standouts were Keith Jurosko as the grave King Hildebrand and especially Stephen Quint as the hunchbacked, delightfully sour King Gama (who has the best patter songs)."
That's Steve all over. Delightfully hunchbacked.
Sweeney Todd: GO. Go now. Right now. And take the kids! Well, maybe not. Steve and I took Maggie, 12, and she was okay with the gallons and gallons of splattered blood.
Lay of the Land by Richard Ford: My Sea Bird literary journey was through Ford's New Jersey. A sad, satisfying, ultimately peaceful book, the third in his Frank Bascombe trilogy. I liked it a lot. Love? Can't go that far. His well researched but exhausting detail about NJ real estate slowed down the plot. If you're a fan of his stuff, it's a must read. Otherwise, you can skip.
Compulsion by Jonathan Kellerman: My blog readers know I love his stuff. It's just so reliably great. This one comes out soon (Dana sent me a galley), so do keep an eye out for it. Theme: Alex Delaware searches for an orphaned transvestite LA/NY serial killer.
Project Runway: So far, so good. I'm rooting for Jillian, although she seems to be on Valium, and Rami.
My handsome hunchback husband
December 7, 2007
I really hate to do this, but it simply can't be avoided. After three plus years of blogging, I have to take a break for a month. I'll update after the New Year. I've just got too much to do, work-wise and holiday-wise, between now and January. It's a punk ass decision, to go dark. I suck totally. But, in every person's life, a little suckage much come. Please forgive me, peops! And have an excellent December!
November 26, 2007
Back from Maine. Thanksgiving was excellent. A hearty thanks to Mary and Marty for hosting us, and for Sue and Rich for cooking THE BEST Thanksgiving dinner I have ever overeaten. And when I say "overeat," I mean it took two solid days to feel normal again in the stomach region. I went to be at nine o'clock on Thursday night, dreaming of the future, when my guts weren't crammed tight with stuffing. Some highlight of the trip:
1. Maggie Gambles and Wins. Maggie, who is the ace on our Texas Hold 'Em computer game, wanted to play a game with real stakes and real people. So Maggie and I, and assorted Quint aunts and cousins, played a game, ten dollar buy in (I fronted Mag) of no limit Hold 'Em at Steve's brother Dave's house. Maggie swiftly knocked out three players (including me), and went heads up with Victor, Steve's eighteen year old nephew. He showed Maggie no mercy. Nor did she show him. The pot was $70. First place, $50. Second place, $20. Maggie had Vic on the ropes for AN HOUR. He seemed shocked and amused (sort of) to be losing to a twelve year old girl. Heh. Anyway, he got a lucky draw, and won. Maggie had her first taste of victory, winning the $20. She doubled her (my) money. I let her keep it. When the game was neck and neck, Maggie said she was so nervous and excited, she nearly peed herself on a few close hands. Fortunately, she was able to keep her bladder under control. Now that's something to give thanks for.
2. My quarter marathon. Since the summer, I'd wanted to jog from Steve's parents house to Sue's place. Didn't work out in August (too freaking hot), but I got my chance on Thanksgiving Day. It was misty, around 45 degrees. Hunting season, too, so I wore red track pants, a red t-shirt, a red cap and a red scarf. I looked like Santa, actually. Anyway, the distance was 6.7 miles, a quarter marathon. Along the way, I heard frequent gun shots. I imagined that, despite my attire, someone might mistake me for a deer and shoot me, "Thanksgiving Tragedy" and all that. No one did (whew). I did it in 80 minutes, a time which won't break any records. BUT—it was my longest run in a couple years, and I felt strong even at the end. The gathering Quints cheered me as I ran up the driveway at Sue's. Loved that. I had to wait fifteen sweat-caked, smelly minutes for Steve to arrive with the girls and my clothes. I showered and proceeded to eat with impunity after, having burned all those calories before the feast. I could have run back to New York, though, to make up for what I shoveled into the pie hole. Groan.
3. The Cat Genie. After two weeks of satisfaction with the downstairs unit, I ordered one for the upstairs bathroom. Two Cat Genies, operational. I put out a huge amount of food and gallons of water, and set the Cat Genies to run every twelve hours. The hope? To come home to happy, well nourished cats, and a clean smelling home. I'm thrilled to report: The shit works! At disposing shit! We walked into the apartment and smelled nothing but stuffy air. Three days worth of turds were liquified and, along with cat pee, drained out of the Cat Genie into the human toilet via a hose. No surprise piles or wet spots to report on carpets or in closets, either. Yippee!
November 16, 2007
Whew, it's been a hectic couple of weeks. Sorry for not posting, peops. I just got in a little over my head with deadlines and the constant demands of the children. Always hungry. Always losing things. Always begging to go to Abercrombie. If only Abercrombie didn't make such God damned cute clothes for kids! I can't resist how cool my girls look in those little swing shirts. It's enough to drive someone to the Short Hills Mall for a weekend. I picked up a few things myself: A new pair of J.Crew cords, and a couple cable knit sweaters.
Anyway, I have major news! After a month of talking and meetings, the American Icon and I have come to terms. My wonderful agent Nancy (aka, my people) has been negotiating with the Icon's people. As of last night, we are all in agreement. The book is going to happen. It'll be non-fiction, a "with" cover credit for me. I can't say what the subject matter is yet (sorry), but I can reveal the identity of the Icon, a comedic legend, who will be my new best friend for the next while.
My New Best Friend!
That's right, peops! If you don't recognize JOAN RIVERS, there's obviously something wrong with you. No need to give a bio on Joan. Suffice it to say, she's been a true trail-brazer. There would be no Kathy Griffin or Sarah Silverman if Joan hadn't created the funny, dirty, sexy female comedienne character first. So! All that comic genius will flowing my way for a limited time only, and I'm going to do my best to keep up.
November 4, 2007
While Daryl and I were at the Police concert (more later), Steve, Maggie and Grace were making videos of our cat Ollie on drugs. They gave him catnip and then harrassed him, as you can see for yourself on this vid, downloaded on youtube (tags: cat scratch ollie).
The Police show: Awesome! I loved every second of it. Didn't want it to end. And then it did. I was so sad. Highlights include Message in a Bottle, Everything She Does is Magic (a song I hadn't heard in years, but adore), Can't Stand Losing You, and, of course, Every Breath You Take. They could have played that last song for a half an hour, and I'd been happy. Sting appeared overcome by joy for the duration of the show, smiling big while singing each song, palling around onstage with Andy and Stewart. One wouldnt get the impression at all that these guys despise each other, as I've been told. It was classic r 'n' r for true believers. Daryl and I made a wish list of shows we'd like to see. When the Killers come to New York, we will be there!
Just back from Bee Movie. I took my girls and two of their friends. Very cute. Not quite the same emotional impact at Ratatouille, but it didn't make me want to puke. High praise for a kid movie. One line made me (and only me, in the whole theater) laugh out loud: Barry B.'s parents were discussing their son's secret girlfriend. The mother said, "I just hope she's beeish."
November 2, 2007
This just in: Cover for Fringe Benefits. We like?
November 1, 2007
Mag's first knife job
On the deck: Maggie as a Hershey's Kiss, Lucy as a pink dragon
Trick or treat 'til you drop
Our stoop tableau
I'll see your two Junior Mints, and raise you five Milky Ways
Halloween was excellent as always. As I've mentioned on the blog before, we live on what is known in Brooklyn Heights as "The Halloween Block," for doing the scariest, most elaborate stoop decorations in the nabe. We attract thousands—literally—of kids from all over Brooklyn, and it's a very big deal, and we LOVE it!
This year was particularly fun for the choice CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS. Our local movie star neighbors were out with their kids. I put a Twix into the sack of Paul Giamatti's kid, as well as Jennifer Connelly's. Mr. Giamatti lingered for quite a while at our set up (see photo), admiring our collection of cheesy decorations. When Jennifer Connelly came by, I was (1) amazed by her incredible gorgeosity, and (2) a big dorky drooling fan. I said, "Loved you in Little Children" and she smiled (seemed geniune) and said, "Thanks!" Her hunky Brit husband Paul Bettany was not lost in the crowd. He's neon blond, for one thing, and significantly taller than everyone else.
Mary Alice Stephenson, host of American's Most Smartest Model, an old friend from the magazine world, came by with her husband and son. She wore a magenta pageboy wig, and has now convinced me she can look sophisticated in anything, not that there was much doubt.
A special thanks goes out to Ann and David, the parents of Maggie's BFF Grace, for hanging out as usual. David WAS Elvis, Ann was Super Mom (costume included a whip; would come in very handy during homework hour).
Having made the rounds, the girls and their crew went upstairs to play Texas Hold 'Em with their candy. I wonder about the virtue of teaching Maggie and Lucy how to gamble. At least they don't drink—yet—which is more than I can say for all the adults present. Howie and Judy came out as always. Howie passed out the candy for an hour straight, which is pretty exhausting. Thanks for the pix, Howie!
For the family/friends, I made a paella with shrimp and sausage, based on the recipe of my FAVORITE foodie, Mark Bittman of the New York Times. I made enough for a dozen people. The rice was completely gone by the end of the night, which proves one thing: seventh grade girls sure can eat.
Much fun! Had by all!
In other news, Fringe Benefits is DONE (minus a strenuous edit). I had a second meeting with the American Icon, once again venturing to the Upper East Side to her incredible apartment on Fifth Avenue. Her butler broke out the silver and china to serve coffee and cookies. The Icon amazed me again with her intelligence, graciousness and humor. I'm bursting to reveal her identity, but I don't want to jinx the project. So bear with me. Just a little while longer...
Police concert at MSG tomorrow night with the lovely and talented Daryl Chen. Every breath I take, until then, will be bated.
Some new fun assignments for Self came my way yesterday, too. It was an all around fab day. Therefore, I have been very busy this morning counting my blessings, knocking on wood, spitting at the evil eye and bowing my head in grateful humility.
October 30, 2007
The tender trap?
This was sent to me from Rebecca Johnson, who loves a good mouse fucking dead mouse picture. Thanks, RJ! You know I count on your for all my rodent necrophilia needs!
October 18, 2007
The Secret Is Everywhere
MSN posted my Good Housekeeping article about The Secret yesterday (link above). I got 800 hits on the blog, and 50 emails from readers about it. I'm much obliged for the kind words—and the slams. I love a good slam. A fellow Wilco fan sent in a thumbs up. Several women said, "I googled your name, and it turns out, I've read a few of your books!" LOVED those notes. Even better, the readers who said, "I enjoyed the article so much, I'm going to BUY one of your books!" YES, YEA, and YEAH to that! Thank you all MUCHLY.
I appreciate the prayers on my behalf from a half-dozen devout emailers. Their opinion: They agreed that The Secret doesn't work, but assured me that Jesus does. They also suggested I give Him a try. Sorry, peops, but I'm not going to accept Jesus as my personal lord and savior. Little tip: When you read the name "Frankel," just as you might read the name "Shapiro" or "Silverman," know that it means JEW. People with my last name—here in America, and distant Frankels in foreign lands—are all JEWS. And, sometimes, when we're told to worship Him, we get kinda pissed off. I say this with love—if not Jesus—in my heart. Next time you feel an urge to send out a JCmail, keep it to yourself.
In other news, Steve and I took the kids to the Cat show at Madison Square Garden, where we got to pet and hold many exotic breeds of feline. We were also engulfed in a urine-scented cloud, that clung to our clothing for hours. If I were to purchase any pure-bred (thus far, all my cats have been from shelters), I'd get a Maine coon cat. Gorgeous creatures! Kittens were selling for $1,000. The cheapest kittens at the show—Scottish folds—went for $700. We went to the shelter cat adoption area after, and I nearly weakened to the point of bringing home a black-and-white cutie named Boris. But I stayed strong, despite Maggie's tearful begging. We came home to our three cats, one of whom had pooped on Maggie's shag rug. A nice little reinforcement to my argument: Three cats in one apartment is quite enough.
Last note: I bought a new trench coat this year, and wore it to Nancy's on Sunday night. Filmmaker and pal Bart Everly was there, and he said, "Love the Secret Squirrel look, Val." That pleased me. Check out Bart's music vid direction of Colton Ford, a gay porn star cum torch singer, below.
October 10, 2007
Photo by Howie last week in VT; I loved it so much, I stole it from his blog. THANKS, DAD!
Some excellent meals here in NYC last week:
1. Sushi Zen, on West 44th. Paula Derrow and I had lunch there, and I have never had a finer piece of eel in all my life. The spicy tuna and soft-shell crab rolls were so tastey, I nearly cried when it bit into them. Paula, meanwhile, is looking excellent after her vanderyar in Italy. We talked about a few story ideas for Self, including a promising essay idea about adult friendship.
2. La Mancha, Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights. Steve and I found ourselves childless on Sunday night. Two surprise sleepovers landed in our laps. When this happens, it's like gift from God. We took our freedom to Atlantic Ave, and decided to try a Spanish restaurant I'd walked by approximately five million times. We ordered chorizo (a popular ingredient on Top Chef) and seafood paella with lobster. Moaned and groaned a lot while shoveling the savory goodness into our mouths. I had not one, not two, but THREE vodka tonics, which my five blog readers know, is about two drinks over the line for me. I was hammered and STUFFED, but managed to have a caramel custard for dessert anyway. Oh, sweet pain.
3. Craftbar, Broadway at 21st. I've finally been to one of Tom Colicchio's restaurants (speaking of Top Chef; Laura Lippman, do I have your attention?) for an early dinner with Jen Enderlin and my adorable agent Nancy Yost. I had not one, but TWO ginger martinis, and was drunk enough to be (I hope) charming and outgoing! We ordered off the "snacks" menu. Tapas, but Italianate. My fave was a mozzarella, anchovy crustini. I just love those salty little fishes, especially doused in garlic. Risotto balls, bruscetta with shrimp and a smoked ham called speck. Even more dazzling than the food, the conversation was gossipy and breezy and productive. We have a title for the memoir, peops! "Thin Is The New Happy." Definitely describes my state of mind, having dropped my excess body image baggage and pounds in the writing.
All this eating and drinking have taken a toll on my skin, so I'll be on greener fare for the next week to detox and recover. It was worth it! What's the point of living in NY with the greatest food in the world (and OF the world), if you don't take advantage? For my birthday gift to myself, I'm going to get a reservation at Gordon Ramsey's The London, just awarded a second Michelin star last week.
That's it for food news. Work: Fringe Benefits is on a roll. I can see three scenes ahead, which is how I know it's all coming together. I've secured some fine blurbage for the memoir, too (or, at least, I've gotten some amazing writers to agree to read it, and possibly blurb). Thanks a million, peops! You know who you are! The revise is accepted, and bound manuscripts will go out next week. Still haven't heard from the American Icon about the ghost writing project. Fingers crossed.
The heat is finally over. I'm very happy to get to wear my brand new fall wardrobe. Next big event: Halloween, which is a huge deal on my block. Maggie is going as a Hershey's kiss. Lucy is a Pink Pixie Vampire. Steve will probably trot out his perv doctor costume, or perv rabbi. As long as he gets to be a perv, he's happy. And so am I.
October 2, 2007
Being (near) John Malkovich!
I have been a very bad blogger. So, so, sosososo sorry, peops! Last week was exceedingly hectic. Maggie had pneumonia (only diagnosed after two doctors' visits and a week of fever). She wasn't much extra work, except cooking three different dinners for her, begging her to eat at least one of them. But I worried! Oh, how I worried. Worrying takes a lot of time and energy. She's all better now, thanks to the wonders of the Z pack.
I fell behind in my Fringe Benefits daily page counts, and wasn't able to work on the rough pages of a new adult novel-in-progress. Also, a cool project came up out of nowhere, and I spent three solid work days writing sample pages that might not come to anything.
BUT, the last week wasn't all sickness and toil. I had a few excellent celebrity sightings, and a bona fide encounter with an American icon.
The icon encounter was a lunch at her home on the Upper East Side to talk the above-mentioned book project. Her butler served lunch off a silver platter, using silver tongs to put the little sandwiches on our china plates. Linen napkins, natch. I spooned Spendla into my ice coffee out of a silver dish. It was beyond fun. Stacy London would've been proud as hell about my outfit. A botanical green shirt dress from J.Crew, a hunter green vinyl purse and gold sling-back sandals (both from Nine West), and the gorgeous gold necklace I bought for myself when I finished the memoir. The icon even pointed it out and said it was "very pretty." Anyway, I loved my hour and a half talking to this woman, and not only because of the silver and china. She was smart, funny, a great listener, kind, generous, sweet. Not disappointing AT ALL—a rare occurrence. I'll reveal who the icon is when find out whether I got the job.
After I left her house, I walked down Madison Avenue toward the subway and practically collided on the street with . . . Cynthia Nixon! She looked, as usual with celebs, exactly like herself, only frail and vulnerable. We made eye contact. Immediately, I thought, "She wants me." I was looking good, peops! And I know how she likes the ladies.
Last, as I've mentioned before on the blog, the Coen brothers have taken over Brooklyn Heights, making the Clooney/Pitt movie "Burn After Reading." They've been building sets and filming in my hood for over a week already. Maggie was feeling better, so me and the girls walked over to the Hicks Street set last Friday. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of Clooney or Pitt, but they were filming inside the house. We waited twenty minutes, and then, when we were about to leave, I spotted a man walking around outside the house in a bathrobe. I looked closer and recognized John Malkovich, who I'd read was also starring in the movie. Lucy handed him her autograph book and said, "I loved your work in Eragon," which made me and everyone in earshot laugh. He signed. I got the photos above and below of him with the girls. He was very nice, patient, not annoyed by the excited mother shoving a camera in his face. This week, Clooney is supposed to be at the set on State Street. Me and my camera will be there!
Speaking of Fringe Benefits, I'm finally in the groove of it. Like all novels, it takes me a hundred pages to get over the struggle feeling, and then the rest is usually easier. So, whew. It's a relief to hit that mark. Less worry.
I'm having lunch with the lovely and talented Paula Derrow, my favorite editor at Self, on Wednesday. Love seeing her, and lunching on an expense account some place fabulous that I'd never go to on my own dime. Same for my meeting next week with Jennifer Enderlin, the editor of the memoir, and my agent Nancy, to talk about titles.
So many lunches! And (God bless you, Stacy London!), SO MUCH TO WEAR!!!!
"I loved your work in Eragon"
Clooney is inside that building!
September 19, 2007
Big Brooklyn Heights news! Attn: Coen Bros. fans (Howie, I'm talking to you). Joel and Ethan are currently HERE, around the corner from my house, on State Street, filming a movie with Brad Pitt and GEORGE CLOONEY! I know how I'm spending my afternoon, peops! That's right, stalking Clooney with my camera, trying to get pix for the blog. I thought we had some excitement when scenes from "The Departed" were filmed here. But that pales in comparison to THIS. Howie, seriously, if you want to drive in from Jersey, you'd better hurry up.
As many of my blog readers know, The Big Lebowski is my favorite movie. The Coen Bros. are geniuses! And they're spitting distance from my deck!
In much less exciting news, a crew from Canadian TV came to the apartment on Monday to film me for a movie about chick lit and its toll on the reality of dating. Erin Brown, producer/star/interviewer, was a sweetie, as was the whole crew. They were interviewing me, Marian Keyes, Jane Green and Sean Elder. So, yeah, good company.
Re: the super top secret project, with people who represent people, etc. I will turn in my submission to be judged by said peops, along with a few other writers. If my style strikes the right note, and I get the job (knees crossed!), I'll let yous all know what's what.
Loving the Biggest Loser back on TV. If Project Runway starts again soon (as we're being led to believe), it'll be reality heaven for me. Almost too much TV joy!
I love my husband. Just had to say. He is a romancer. Exactly how he romanced me last night and this morning is NO ONE'S BUSINESS! Suffice it to say, that smile on face? Can't wipe it off.
September 14, 2007
Excellent celeb sighting today, on my walk from school drop-off to the gym. None other than Jerry Seinfeld was with a small group of people outside the NYC Transit Museum on Schermerhorn Street, home of dozens of antique subway cars, Ralph Kramden's bus driver seat, as well as some quality jewelry made from old tokens. I recognized his voice before I saw him. He greeted some friends, warmly and loudly. Hearing the distinctive nasal sounds, I look up, and he was standing right there, not ten feet away. I almost snapped a cell phone photo, but Jerry looked so normal and happy in jeans (31 inch!) and a chambray shirt, chatting with his peops. My intruding would have been totally uncool. When I walked home an hour later, his driver was still parked outside the museum in a silver Mercedes SUV.
Not quite as exciting as Bill Clinton on my block, but funner than following Paul Giamatti pushing a baby stroller down State Street.
In other news, I've been talking to some people who are representing other people, about possibly working on a project with said people. All very hush hush. I'll keep you posted on the vague and mysterious details as they unfold.
Yesterday, as many of you know, was the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. We heard some kid on our block blowing the shofar for, like, a fucking HOUR last night at sundown. A toot every few minutes. It was worse than the barking dog next door who I'd love to strangle with his own leash (no offense, dog lovers!). Correct me if I'm wrong, fellow members of the tribe: On Rosh Hashanah, God decides who will die in the new year, and then proceeds to check them off His big list as the months unfold. Sounds pretty anal to me. God must be very Type A. Anyway, hope no one I know made the list this year! Knocking wood a million times!
Love this vid from 1946. Quote of the day: "No matter how you feel, you have to live with people."
September 11, 2007
It should be rainy today. Every 9/11 should be miserable. I find it particularly sad and irritating that the nation gets General Petraeus's report at the same hour that the 9/11 service is held at Ground Zero. Talk about manipulation! Makes me sick, honestly. One more attempt to connect 9/11 with Iraq.
I had to turn down an assignment from Self yesterday. The piece: first person essay, an hour-by-hour breakdown of body image thought and concern over the course of a day. The ups, the downs, etc. I told my editor that, having spent the last year working on my body image issues, I simply do not have the emotional range to do this piece justice. I'm too damned secure with my body image! I wouldn't be able to muster the necessary angst and anxiety to make the story funny. I've cured this problem—a lifelong problem—and, in doing so, I've closed an avenue of revenue. Oh, well. There's still lots of sex writing to be done!
I am on the myspace. Go to www.myspace.com/valeriefrankel. My friend Melissa Senate (hey, M!) gave me useful advice about how to make friends and get in book groups. Maggie is going to be my webmistress on myspace. I'm paying her by the hour to manage my page, with a bonus payment for every 100 friends she gets me. So please, peops, help keep my daughter in Abercrombie! Go forth, and befriend!
In writing news, I've started Fringe Girl #4, aka Fringe Benefits. I'm also going to start doing my revise on the body image memoir. Thanks, Michele, for sending in title ideas. I'm not sure what we'll go with yet, but I'm still taking ideas, if anyone has any more to offer.
Sorry so short. I'm not in a post mood today. Suffice it to say, school started. All is well. I'll write more in a few days.