8 posts categorized "The 3-H's"

October 24, 2011

Sugar Rush

by Heather, Hank & Harley

Continuing in our 3H tradition of hard news and raw truth, Harley, Hank and Heather tackle a tough topic: candy.

 1. What's your all-time favorite candy?

1348-zHarley: Godiva White Ganache Bliss, with Lindt Truffles a close second.

Heather: Snickers, no contest!

Hank: HANK: Twizzlers. No, Snickers. Frozen Snickers. Nope--Almond Joy. Payday. Oh, wait, once I had a dark-chocolate-covered caramel with sea salt on the top. YUM. And you know what else? There's a thing called Edible Arrangements, that's fruit--but they have chocolate covered apples that are--amazing. Was this supposed to be a one-word answer?

 2. What was your favorite as a kid? Snickers_0

Harley: Tootsie Rolls and Sweet Tarts.

Heather: Snickers, no contest.

Stpez_pack1HANK: Tootsie Roll POPS!  And PEZ. Chuckles! (I used to swipe my sister's black ones.) Did I mention, above, Jelly Bellies?  And that Bonomo taffy that you whapped to break into little pieces.

  Jelly_Belly_University3. Have you matured?

HANK: About candy, you mean? Shrugging. I would not turn down any of the above items. 

Harley: I’d like to think so.

Heather: No comment.

4. Do you pay attention to calories, saturated fat, price, or do you just say, "to heck with it, life's short?"

Harley: I pay attention 80% of the time, and then go completely berserk the other 20%. 

Heather: I'm not a candy fanatic, and I rarely eat it. When I do . . . Snickers! (Sadly, my love affair is with potatoes. Baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, hash browns, twice-baked truffle-mashed, garlic mashed . . . etc.)

HANK: About candy, you mean? I am ruthless about real food. I count everything. With candy, though--I mean, if you're gonna have candy, whatever. Anything goes. Did I mention, above, those little Sarotti Schokolinsen? Agilus-Schoko-LinsenThose pastel things that look like M and M's--Oh, did I mention M and M's? Peanut.

Harley: Oh, my God. Those Germans are serious about their sugar. Our former German au pairs still send us candy at Christmas 1512271884_0db3e1586bbecause they feel so bad for us in America, having to make do with substandard chocolate.

5. Is there a candy you hate?

Harley: Hate is a very strong word when it comes to something sweet.

Heather: Licorice.

HANK: I have never, and will never, eat a chocolate covered cherry. Yuck. Cream anything, no way. No Peeps. Peeps_03(Although they're fun to play with.) Nothing with marshmellow inside. (Is it marshmallow?) I'm not fond of Milky Way, unless they're frozen.  

 6. Is there a candy you just don't get?

Harley: Yeah, I don't really understand Gummi Bears. Or Pop Rocks.

Heather: I have to agree on the Pop Rocks. Can't dislike Gummi Bears--the name is just too sweet!

Gummy_bears1HANK: I LOVE Gummi Bears. You can fit them together, it's fun. I don't get Skittles, or Sour Patch anything. SweetTarts, not a fan. Pop Rocks, yeah, silly. That stuff that's like sugar--what was it called? That came in thin tubes. It's like pouring sugar on your teeth.

Harley: Yeah, that Sugar in a Straw stuff. My son adores it. It stains everything it touches. Blech.  

 6. What do you give to trick-or-treaters?

Heather: Quarters. Around here, if anyone does trick-or-treat, the parents usually throw the candy away, and give kids candy they buy. They like quarters. It was pennies. Then nickels, and then dimes. Halloween does not go untouched by inflation. (Sadly, the throw-the-candy-away thing came from a period in time when very bad people did very bad things and razor blades wound up in apples and toxins in candy.)

Harley: Large quantities of whatever I find at Costco.

HANK: Tootsie Roll Pops and Twizzlers. Sometimes Lindt balls. LINDT_401_milkwhite_truffle-117x150So Harley, come over!

7. Are you dressing up this year?

Harley: I'm wearing it right now! Black t-shirt with skeletons on it. And skull & crossbones hair barrettes.

Heather: Yes, always. I love dress up. I am going out and about as a Renaissance vampire. Or maybe a flapper. And then again, there's always the two eyeholes in a sheet . . . .I do love dress up. I will probably do so a few times. Are there any psychiatrists out there to explain this to me?

 HANK: Sigh. I don't think so...New England Sisters in Crime has a costume thing at Crimebake--this year you have to come as a detective. I think I'll come as Charlotte McNally. That's about the extent of my current imagination. (A couple of years ago, Jonathan and I were the Mr. and Mrs. Ark--Joan and Noah.)


    And you, friends? Any sugar revelations you care to share with us? 

September 26, 2011

12 questions, 36 answers, and no sex

by the 3H's

1. When do you know it's really truly fall, regardless of what the calendar says?

Wool-dress-21 HANK:  There's a thing that happens when you touch a wool dress in the summer--it's unthinkable to put it on. But then, one day, the air is different...and that wool dress seems--just right. Also, flip flops feel inappropriate. Sigh. The dahlias are in their last burst of colors...And you think about sweaters.

HEATHER: I wind up out of town with my usual sandals and knits and realize I'm freezing. What? Summer’s over? Ah, hell! Or, someone says, hey, hurricane season is over. Do you think the hurricanes know that?

HARLEY: When we can all stand to go upstairs at night without air conditioning. Hallelujah!

 2. Any fall rituals?

HANK: We have a couch in our sun room--we change the slipcovers from white duck to taupe suede. It's so funny--instant fall. Big bins of chrysanthemums on the porch. And it's our wedding anniversary! We'll get out the photo album, and look at the pictures, and have champagne.

HARLEY: I can’t believe I’m admitting this here, but I change the dinner plates. From delicate red and white polka dots to heavy brown and red square plates. I sound awfully Martha Stewart, don’t I?

HEATHER: The zoo. There's that little jingle, "all the animals in the zoo are jumping up and down for you!" No, no, not really. Not until the temperature slacks off. Fall arrives--and you can go to the zoo. It's a huge misconception that we don't have seasons. We have hot, hotter, not so hot, and wow, actually almost mild and pleasant! Fall is not so hot, and animals get frisky. 

3. What will you be happy to say goodbye to about summer?

HANK:  Um, I like summer. And it went by too quickly.

HEATHER: Me, too, Hank. I love traveling in summer--it's so easy, carry-on and a computer bag. Fall means more luggage and waiting at MIA to get it back. Oh, wait--I'll be glad to say goodbye to hurricane season, tho it straddles a bit into fall.

HARLEY: Wet beach towels.

4. What will you be sad to say goodbye to? (Heather, dollars to donuts your answer is going to be "Chynna" . . . )

HANK: It's less about the season, and more about how the time is just--GOING BY. So fast! They just discovered that neutrinos can go faster than the speed of light. Well, I think the days go faster than the speed of light.

HARLEY: I’m kind of missing those polka dot dinner plates. 93409

HEATHER: Chynna. 

5. When do you bring out the winter clothes (and where do they live all summer)?

ZA432CasualCanineSnowSuit HANK: Gradually! And they live on the third floor, in a room that I snagged for a big closet. (Don't tell.)

HARLEY: They live in the “guy” closet. This is one of the happy side effects of divorce: closet space.

HEATHER: What are winter clothes?

6. Favorite season?

HARLEY: This one! Fall! Woo-hoo!

HANK: Ah. I have reasons for liking them all. Is that too sappy? Fall is good!

HEATHER: I love them all. Summer has always meant family travel. Spring is Easter and a family and friend get-together known as East-over because close family friends are Jewish. Christmas--more family. And fall gives us Halloween, a favorite holiday, and no matter how old I get, I'll dress up and I love to take out the kids, big or little! And St. Patrick's Day is in spring, which is a big day when we all celebrate in honor of my mom. I love them all.

7. Are you itching to put up your Halloween decorations or are you thinking "what Halloween decorations?"

Septemberatlowes HEATHER: Most people believe that we have our Halloween decorations up all year. Our tastes are a little on the weird side. My sister told me once, "Who ever thought you'd grow up to have the Addams family house?" We are eclectic.

HANK: Too soon, too soon...!

HARLEY: I’m looking at my watch, thinking, “isn’t it time yet?”

8. What is your favorite scent of fall?

HANK: Cinnamon. Burning leaves! Remember when everyone used to burn WHT514 leaves?

HEATHER: Mount Trashmore doesn't smell quite as badly!

HARLEY: Here's my least favorite: brush fires. The curse of California and the smell is one you never forget. You wake up in the morning and say, “Oh, shit” and then you turn on the local news to see how close it is and how much to worry.

9. Are you starting your Christmas shopping, already finished Christmas shopping, or reading this sentence and thinking, "are you people nuts?"

HANK: Are you people.... :-) But I must say, I have thought about it. With much terror.

HEATHER: No. I don't Christmas shop early. I've tried it, and then Christmas rolls around, and I can't find the things that I've bought.

HARLEY: Same here. I forget all the hiding places. Hopeless. 

10. Do you care about the World Series?

RedSox HEATHER: Sure. That's baseball, right?

HARLEY: Yes, I think it is baseball.

HANK: Yes! Yes I do. I do. Go Sox. Sigh. They are absolutely tanking, and my poor husband is distraught. But Boston is really fun when the Sox win--there's a great spirit and sense of community.  Although that hasn't happened recently..sheesh.

11. Do you really change the batteries in your smoke alarm when the time changes?

HEATHER: Um, okay!

HANK: This year we will, yes, good idea.

HARLEY: I can never find the smoke alarm until the batteries die and it starts beeping. 

12. Would you even consider wearing white shoes between now and next Memorial Day?

HARLEY: What, are we savages? Barbarians? Ugly shoes

HANK: You know what? No. That's so sad.

HEATHER: I think I have white sandals.

We regret that we neglected to consider the IOCHFTS crowd. Please feel free to include sex in your comments.

May 02, 2011

Things We Learned By Not Actually Watching the Royal Wedding

by the 3H's

Q: Did you watch the royal wedding?

042911_cake_113269533110429144123 Hank:  Well, no. I did consider it. Briefly. For the feeling that no matter what, live is live and taped is always over. But I opted for sleep. Bad bad reporter.

Heather: No. I was holding out for the sixty second recap.

Harley: Yes, but I didn’t mean to. Friday at 4 a.m. I was at LaGuardia but my flight was cancelled, so I raced to JFK to catch the next one, and ended up at Gate 43, watching as Kate & William said their vows. Fate! I was mesmerized.

Q: Are you a Anglophile?

Hank: In many ways, of course. Anything sounds better with a British accent. And Agatha-christie I'm fascinated by British history. And authors. Morse. Hugh Grant. I'm so tired from Malice that my brain is not working too well . . . but I 'm sitting in the airport right now getting ready to read The Secret Diaries of Agatha Christie. BUT! I did participate in an event of July 4 where I stood on the balcony of the Old State House in Boston, and read a bit of the Declaration of Independence out loud to the crowd below. So--there is that.

Heather: My dad was born in Scotland, my mom in Ireland. I'm not sure what that makes me. I'm from Florida and I married an Italian. Oh! I have taken the Jack-the-ripper Jack the Ripper tour at least ten times and would stood at the Tower of London imagining the past dozens. I'm just not into the hour down the aisle kind of entertainment. Wait! I have Brit friends I adore. And I am a sucker for a great accent. Yeah, yeah, I'm an anglophile!

Harley: You bet I am. Ever since I discovered my mom’s stash of Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart and Agatha Christie as an adolescent, and thought, “I have found my people.”

Q: What do you think about the hats worn by the princesses Beatrix and (what's her name?)

Royal-wedding-hats Harley: Brava! Could we expect anything less from the offspring of Fergie, whose toes were once sucked, and Andrew, who once dated Koo Stark?

Heather: I think that the one princess got stuck in the middle of an Alice in Wonderland set and came away wearing half of a Wonderland royal fence.

Hank : Pitiful. Embarrassing. Rhys Bowen told me--and she should know of course--that they wore the hats and silly dresses on purpose, in protest because their mother was not invited. I can believe it! 

Harley: I love that. You go, girls. Mad hatters!

Q: What about tradition?

Heather: Hey, well watching the sixty second recap thing, I learned that Queen Victoria was the one who made wearing a white gown traditional for weddings. Before that, people, wore colors or black. Black. There you have it. The perfect color. I always liked Queen Victoria. (Didn't know her personally, just the history about her, devotion to Albert, all that.) I really like the color black. What a great color for a wedding dress! You get rid of all that angst about your dressing sweeping the ground before the wedding!

Hank:I read that they were married in the same place William the Conqueror was WilliamtheConqueror crowned 1000 years ago. I mean, that's cool. 

Harley: I think the fact that the brides wear rings and the grooms don’t is a little . . . convenient. 

Q: Will the British Monarchy survive the 21st Century?

Heather: I think that will depend upon the new Royals. Let's face it, the world was in love with Diana, and looking back, she was sweet and adorable and seemed earnest. She was so naive, and young, and like all young people--hey, looking for love. Anyway, she added some nice genetics into the mix. And Kate looks like an all-right girl. I think there's a chance. I mean, Queen_Elizabeth_II_and_Prince_Philip_visiting_NASA_May_8_2007 seriously, the inbreeding thing has to stop. In my sixty-second recap, I learned, too, that they stopped the first cousin marriage thing. (Prince William of Orange/William of Orange and Mary Stuart.) Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are only second cousins once removed. What's "once removed" anyway?

Hank: Yes, someone here can explain the removed thing, I bet. And Kate and William are fifteenth cousins, right? Something like at? And in fact, (leaning in closer) my next door neighbor, a Saltonstall, is related to Kate. Inside Edition called her for an interview! of course she said no. What was the question again? Oh. yes-you know, I did love it when William drove the Aston-Martin. That's a good sign.

Harley: I can explain “once removed” because we use it all the time in my family. Not that we have intermarriage among the cousins. That I know of. Anyhow, “once removed” means that you’re of different generations. If my first cousin Fritzie has a son named Oliver and I have a daughter named Harriet, then Oliver and Harriet are second cousins. However, I am a first cousin once removed from Oliver. And Fritzie is a first cousin once removed from Harriet. And Harriet’s children and Oliver’s children are third cousins, but Harriet is a second cousin once removed from Oliver’s kids, and Oliver is a s.c.o.r. of Harriet’s   kids. Actually, I’m not at all sure that’s accurate, but that’s how Aunt Olga always explained it.

Love them or hate them, everyone gets to have an opinion about the Royals. God only knows what they're saying about us.

March 06, 2011

The ProcrastiSisters

by Harley, Hank & Heather

No-christmas-lights-6 Last week I, Harley, found a postcard in my mailbox from my neighborhood homeowner’s association saying, “you must take down your Christmas lights immediately.”

For Pete’s sake, it’s only March. And it’s not like I plug them in. But anyhow, as I dragged the ladder out to the front lawn, I got to thinking about procrastination, how life provides us with endless opportunities to practice this art. My fellow H. sisters agreed.

Q: How do you procrastinate around the house?

Harley: I hate cleaning the fish tanks. Can’t they develop a species capable of cleaning their own tanks? We could call them Hazelfish.

 Heather: You name it. I procrastinate on everything. Right now, I'm looking at our Christmas tree.

Hank:  Emptying the dishwasher. Why is that such a pain? Sometimes I just put more stuff in and wash it all again. And broken appliances will fix themselves if you just wait long enough. (And Heather, Harley, soon it will be Christmas again, so you are just early.)

Q: How about personal beautification?

Hank:  Oh, dear. As a TV reporter, I’m more likely to overdo in this area than underdo. (More likely to “put on” than “put off.”)

Heather: Skin care products. Was that cream supposed to erase dark circles Tarzan-broadway-review beneath the eyes, or was that the stuff Bryee bought for pedicures?

Harley: Haircuts. I'm with Tarzan. Why bother? It just grows back.

Q: Medical?

Dentist Heather: Everything. Five kids meant a zillion visits to dentists, doctors . . . too tired to go back for myself. And as to dentists . . . well, there was an evil dentist in Little Shop of Horrors for a reason.

Hank:  Ah, the dentist. I had a dentist when I was a little kid, Dr. Roach, really, that was his name. And it was just—awful. I learned, later in life, that the nerves in my mouth are not exactly in the normal places, so Novocain doesn’t work they way a dentist would expect. I almost burst into tears thinking about this. Anyway, as a result, my stomach still gets all twisty when I have to go to the dentist. Even though my dentists now are lovely.

Harley: Teeth cleaning. Loathe it. Root canals, no problem. Teeth cleaning, I need general anesthesia

Q: Social?

Hank: I HATE to talk on the phone. I just don’t answer the phone.     Gaga-telephone                When it rings, I growl. SO, sorry, sorry, sorry, I just don’t want to talk to you. Returning calls, bad. I think it just—takes too long? So I just—out it off.

Harley: I was going to say thank you notes, but now I’m stealing Hank’s. Let’s make a pact never to call each other.

Heather: Any kind of communication that must be carried out by mail. I am afraid of the post office.

 Q: Business?

Heather: Once again, horrible. I try to keep things in a box. Then I forget where I put the box. 

Man-laying-head-on-financial-documents Hank: Tax records. I keep every single little receipt, and I am careful careful careful. But filing-wise, I just stuff them all in a bag. Then, come April, it’s AWFUL. Why do I keep doing it that way? I know I should make a new plan . . . but it just seems complicated.

Harley: Facebook. Twitter. All of it. It makes me feel like I’m having a nervous breakdown.


Hank: Oh, gosh, it’s embarrassing.  My family is lovely, hilarious, quirky, spread out over the country. My mother and I chat from time to time, and my dad. But—we’re not the best communicators. Sigh.  Going to call Mom right now.

Harley: I'm in charge of the next family reunion, to scout out a place, send e-mails, book the lodge/resort/prison, organize meals for 60-100 Kozaks. I've had the assignment for a year. What have I accomplished? Nothing. 


Harley: I feel I must read Jonathan Frantzen and I just haven't. 

Hank: Here’s my secret. If you BUY the book, the book will osmose into your brain and you don’t have to read it. (I’m still waiting for Water for Elephants to sink in on its own. But Lee Child? Oh yeah, read those.)

Heather: I read everything with each child as they went through school. I don't want to read more books about generations of horrible people with the same names doing the same horrible things to their offspring. I've learned what great literary fiction to avoid.


Heather: The Wire. I've only seen one episode, and I know I'd really like it, but I haven't had the chance to catch up on the seasons. I've gotten caught up in Shameless.

Harley: I've never seen Mad Men. But I have it on DVD.

Hank: I’ve never seen Buffy. Does that count? [yes.] Or Two and A Half Men. But we’re symphony season ticket holders. And we rush home afterward to watch American Idol. We go to lots of plays—love that. But I’m afraid I’ve just let everything go in service of writing my next book. Poor Jonathan. Is that procrastination? Or prioritizing? Yes, prioritizing.

  1. Angry-mob Harley: Thank you. Yes. Prioritizing. I’ll tell that to the Homeowner’s Association. I’m sure they’ll thank me for enlightening them.



January 10, 2011

Our Beloved Boob Tube

January is traditionally Pilot Season in Hollywood, where networks and producers turn ideas into scripts and scripts into shows, a small number of which will become next fall’s new lineup. Of course, these days, with cable, every season is pilot season, but in honor of times gone by, let’s wax nostalgic about television . . .

1. What's your favorite all time TV show, the one, if you had to be stuck on a desert island with a DVD player, you'd take with you?

HEATHER: Toss up--Dexter, The Walking Dead. Maybe Criminal Minds. But thanks to TV (Gilligan's Island) I'll know NOT to get stuck on a desert island. 

HANK: West Wing. No question. Every episode was clever, funny, timely, unusual, original, fast and hilarious. Oh! Wait. Rethinking. The Wire. Brilliant brilliant brilliant. Incomparable.  

HARLEY: Star Trek. The original, of course. Star-Trek-tv-p12

 2. What's the earliest show you remember, the one that says "family and childhood" to you?

HARLEY: Bonanza

Twilight2 HEATHER: The Twilight Zone--and I still love the originals! I watched a group of them with Chynna on a day marathon since she's home from CalArts. One was about a little girl who goes into the fifth dimension falling off her bed. The father and mother spend the episode trying to get her back, while the door to that dimension just keeps closing. I snuck in and slept at the foot of my parents' bed that night.

HANK: The Ed Sullivan Show! We all watched it together. I'll never forget my parents’ bafflement when I cried at the Beatles. Remember seeing Barbra? Topo Gigio? And this is where we all learned about "spinning plates," right? And Perry Mason. 6a00d8341c50bf53ef0120a522bda6970b-800wi My step-father, a brilliant lawyer, loved it so much .We were instructed to watch IN SILENCE. If we talked or asked a question we were sent out of the room. We didn't care, we loved it too--so we watched first and asked questions later.  

3. What's the racy, adolescent rebellion show you watched, the one your parents couldn't at all understand? 

HEATHER: The Monkees! Total teenage crush on Mickey. (Davy is really short, but sweet!) Got to The-monkees interview them for a local paper when they came down--after their show, but while they were still working clubs. I was pleased to really like them, and couldn't even flirt--Shayne was due in a month!

HANK: Oh, I'm with you! I'm a Mickey girl, too.

HARLEY: None. I was the youngest of 8, so everyone else hogged the tv and no one had any patience for adolescent bad taste.

 4. What's the show everyone loves/loved that you just couldn't get into, the one that will forever make you feel left out of the zeitgeist? 

HARLEY: Friends. And Seinfeld.

HEATHER: Have to say--the same! Friends, I saw it as repeats, out of order, so I was always frustrated. I did see the cast the chemistry. Seinfeld just didn't do it for me.

Scene_2_Richard_Thomas_Credit HANK: Buffy. (Shrugging. Sorry.) House. (Shrugging. Sorry.) The Waltons. (eeesh.) CSI.

 5. What's the show you meant to watch/love, because you know it would elevated you, but you never did? 

HARLEY: All those Ken Burns documentaries.

HANK: The follow your bliss series on PBS--I know I would have loved it. And the Ken Burns Baseball. (I did watch The Civil War, and cried for the entire time for however many hours it was on). Oh, and Band of Brothers. WAY too sad for me.

HEATHER: Any of the cooking and/or exercise shows.

6. What's the guilty pleasure show you watch now but don't want to admit to? 

HARLEY: America’s Next Top Model.

HEATHER: I admit to everything. I love Bitchin' Kitchen. It's on the cooking channel. Nadia G. is hysterical!

  Project_runway HANK: Project Runway. Love it. But that 's easy to admit ,because it's actually good. If you really want me to admit something, I watched the Real Housewives of DC because I am fascinated by the Salahis.  

7. What's the show that saved your life during a challenging period? 

HARLEY: Happy Days, when I left Nebraska and moved to NYC and was so homesick.

HANK: Murphy Brown. I can't begin to tell you how much it meant to watch a show about a smart, tough reporter, and how it was okay to be devoted to your job. At another age, horrible gawky adolescence, Horsemasters on the Mickey Mouse Club. Anyone? And Twilight Zone, I adored... It made me realize that not everyone had to think the same way.  

HEATHER: Gone With the Wind. I wanted to be Scarlett. I wanted the gowns. It wasn't a TV show, but, hey, it was on TV.

8. What's the show that makes or made you think, "Man, I wish I'd written that"? 

HARLEY: The West Wing.

HEATHER: Dexter--the most unusual-take-a-real-chance show out there,and it touches something in the human core (ie, the need to get even in politically correct times!)

The-wire HANK: Yes, Harley, West Wing. And The Wire. And Modern FamilyThirtysomething was pretty great, too, wasn't it? And I loved LA Law.

HARLEY: Okay, you're right. The Wire might be the best show ever written. (along with Star Trek.)



9. What's the one that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, the equivalent of mac & cheese? 

HANK:  Dallas. Ha! But what can I say, I loved it. And Modern Family.

HEATHER: Hmm . . . I'm just not warm and fuzzy. DexterDallas

HARLEY: Murder, She Wrote, which reminds me of my mom.



November 15, 2010

True Confessions: the holidays

by Harley, Heather and Hank

You may be a Scrooge at Christmas, or consider Thanksgiving a celebration of the white man’s subjugation of Native Americans, but everyone’s got a holiday they roll out the red carpet for. So what’s yours?

Harley: Christmas. Hands down. Even though it’s exhausting and occasionally terrifying.

Heather: The holidays when I get everyone--five kids, nephew, daughter-in-law, niece-in-law, baby nephews, family friends--so Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter and sometimes Christ-Hannukah and East-Over.

Hank: Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. I spend half of it cooking, and the other half crying. It’s my mom and step-father’s wedding anniversary, so we were ALWAYS were together, until everyone had their own families. Wonderful memories. And, no gift-buying. Love that.

What’s non-negotiable? The tradition you can’t live without?

T-day, half the room Heather: A prayer before the meal and when the Amen is sounded, everyone lifts their arms and squeezes hands and all say, "Shake a lot of love!" We lost my sister and my brother-in-law, and I think we all get to remember them especially with "lot of love!"

Hank: Oranges around the turkey. Okay, it’s weird. But my mother always used big Image015
navel oranges, with fronds of parley as garnish. They smell wonderful, and the turkey is so delectable and crispy brown and its all so…well, I like it. Oh, and Alice’s Restaurant on the record player (!) as I’m cooking. (You can get anything you want…)

20080502_vienna-boys-choir Harley: Christmas music. From the Messiah to those chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Bing, Elvis, Frank, Vienna Boys Choir. In fact, I’m going to dig out the CDs now. It’s not too early, right?

What was your worst Favorite Holiday year?

Heather: The year my dad died. I was twenty, and I worshipped the ground he walked on--he'd had me at the tail end in life, almost sixty when I was born, and he seemed all-knowing. And he looked exactly like Mr. Clean. I remember crying through the whole holiday.

Hank: The first Thanksgiving I had to work. I was gosh, 26. It’s the news, you know, Images                             and there are no holidays. So I went to work, cranky, and thought—hey. Wait a minute. I’m healthy and working and loved and lucky and it’s gonna be fine.

Harley: My first Christmas in California. 80 degrees. I had 15 people for dinner, including a guy I’d just begun dating and he showed up in his jogging clothes. After a run. I remember thinking, “It’s Christmas, I’m using the good china, and you’re sweaty. Were you raised by wolves?”

Did you once think, “I can’t live without xx” and one year there was no xx and it wasn’t so bad?

Harley: the year I got sober, I thought, “wrap presents without smoking a joint?” But it was nice to remember what I’d just wrapped and not have to unwrap it 3 minutes later in order to label it.

Hank: Yeah, well, the year I first had to work. It was so eye-opening…covering Thanksgiving means soup kitchens and family tragedies and triumph of the human spirit stories and tales of sorrow and memories and people who are far away. So it began as bleak, alone, I wasn’t going home with my family—and then I had this (duh) dawning that there was more to the world than ME ME ME. And I began to love working Thanksgiving.

Fatherwithgirlfriends Heather: Well, here we go again! I miss the people in my life who have gone, but our holidays twist and grow. My in-law-in-laws, as I call them, are close. My daughter-in-law, Zhenia, comes from the Ukraine, but because of the way the holiday falls for them, I get Christmas while her folks get New Year’s. Maybe I can find more Ukrainians for the rest of my family to marry, and then I'll always get everyone for Christmas!

Any holiday traditions you’ve retired?

Heather: I won't say retired, because one day I may do Thanksgiving at home again rather than going to Disneyland--hey, I've had my complaints against the giant Mouse over the years, but can those "imagineers" do the holidays right!

Harley: A couple of recipes that were too time-intensive or that no one actually ate (fruitcake).

Hank: Oysters Rockefeller. We had them every year, with champagne (you see why I liked going home). I made them for a few years in my house . . . but then yikes. Too complicated. And one year my step-father forced us to eat roasted chestnuts. (Very insistent. Kind of Dickensian. It’s sort of a family joke now.) Yuck.  

Any traditions that shocked you about the families you married into or visited?

Hank:   I probably blocked them out. There are so many weird ex-husbands families to choose from.

18999christmas Harley: The Italians do this major fish thing on Christmas Eve. I kept the Christmas calamari, but after the divorce, I left the fried smelts by the wayside.

Heather: Dennis is Italian, too. Oysters and clams--always funny, I thought. We had our turkey and our pasta!

Holidays you could live without?

Harley: Father’s Day always made me sad because I don’t remember my father. And I don’t actually understand Columbus Day.

Hank:  New Year’s Eve. It seems so—frantic. And although there is the good news, it’s also kind of sad. 

 Heather:  Both. I hated Father's Day for years, but my husband is a dad, and now my nephew is a dad, and I've gotten back into it. . . New Year's Eve? Oh, Hank! “Auld Lang Syne” makes me break down every time.

Holiday you’d invent?

Hank: Non-chronological birthday. You get, like, Nancy Day. It’s about celebrating your existence. Cakes, candles, pals, presents. But no aging.

Harley: National Take Your Dog to Work Day.

Heather: Children Come Home and Pick Up Your Own Pets Day

And now, friend, over to you. The Holiday Trifecta Approacheth. Share, if you dare, the good, the bad, and the ugly. 



October 18, 2010


By Heather, Harley, Hank and the spirit of Arthur Hailey

Harley: I always adored Arthur Hailey novels--Michener Lite with a faster pace-- my favorites being Hotel and AirportHyatt_regency_san_fran_aiport This weekend I thought of Arthur when several Tarts met up at the San Francisco Hyatt, a dramatic place featured in The Towering InfernoHighAnxietyTelefonand Time After Time. We three H’s have done serious hotel time over the years--although not as serious as Elaine, who actually worked in one for research. (Can Arthur Hailey say that?)

What do you most like in a hotel?

Harley: Free stuff, even if it’s a bowl of apples at the registration desk. Cheap chocolates on the pillow.

Heather: A suite that means you actually get an extra room. I wake up before Dennis and I try not to wake him, so I have to find my clothing in the dark. Almost everything I own is black. It's difficult to find the black object you want to wear in the dark.

Hank: Oh, free stuff of course! Yes. Apples, and bottles of water. I was just at a hotel in . . . New York City? Where they had fluffy slippers. And beautiful shower gel. (Oh, room service. A love/hate relationship.)

 What will make you turn around and walk away from a hotel, even if it means sleeping in the car?

Motela Harley: a bad smell. Or thin, pill-laden blankets that look like someone died in them.

Heather: I agree with Harley! A bad smell. And once, driving to Florida from Massachusetts, we stopped at a hotel off the highway, everyone really exhausted, and I saw two roaches crawling up the walls. I didn't say anything because I was afraid we'd get killed trying to drive somewhere else. I never, EVER spent another night in a hotel or motel that was part of the chain. Ugh. I still remember it!

Hank: If it smells bad, I can't even pretend it's okay. In fact, a room that smelled like bleach was the only time I've ever said, "you know, I can't stay here."

Best hotel you’ve ever slept in?

Harley: I can’t remember the name, but it was in Paris, on my honeymoon. The bathtub was indescribably beautiful. I weep just thinking of it.

Heather: I have two: the Danielli in Venice--so beautiful--and the Dolphin at Walt Disney World. My family has gone to the latter for years. I love the people there, and I love the way we do our family holidays, with the main meal planned ahead and served in the room. The little ones can run around, and the adults don't have to pick up. And then, at night, we can slip over to the Swan for sushi and karaoke. The sushi is delicious. The karaoke is funny, drunken businessmen and women woven in with off-duty Disney characters who can sing like blue blazes! What's not to love? 

Fresco-room-hotel-saints-peres-CheckYourRoom-Paris-10 Hank: Mine was in Paris, too. Where we wound up after the bleach episode.  We were on our honeymoon (Harley, we have the same life). It’s called the Hotel de St. Peres. Really--it had an elaborate and enormous frescoed ceiling, with angels and cherubs and clouds. It had pale blue velvet wallpaper and 15 foot high ceiling, the fresco was illuminated by a row of lights all the way around the top of the walls, and it had a marble bathtub sunken into the floor in the center of the room. It was--unbelievable.  (It was room 100, if you go, and it was called Chambre a la fresque. I had made the reservations in my halting French, and afterwards I said to Jonathan, “we either just got a room with a fresco, or a room that's outside.”)

 Worst hotel? Haunted-hotel  Harley: Oceanside, California, where I ended up on a rollaway as comfy as a bag of hair curlers.

HANK: In New Orleans, in 1983. I was covering the super bowl, and my tv station had not made reservations in advance, so we stayed on a riverboat that was being turned into a hotel. It was still under construction, so the floors were yucky linoleum, there were no tvs or clocks or gosh, lights, if I remember. Each room had one think graying towel, that I think was part of a big towel they had cut up into little pieces.


Haunted-hotel-1 Are you a room service person? Mini-bar? Extra Hangers?

Harley: I used to be, as an actress. Now that I’m a civilian and a mom, the mini-bar would bankrupt me and I never wear anything that needs hanging up.

Heather: Room service can be really nice when you're on tour, haven't eaten, and arrive too late to find food anywhere. I agree with Harley on mini-bars, the ten dollar soda and fifteen dollar bag of nuts add up. My life is knit, so I don't need extra hangars, which is good, because my husband--who is indignant when called a metrosexual--needs a lot of them!

Hank: I'll confess to being fond of room service breakfast when I'm by myself. It's lovely, although twenty dollar oatmeal is kind of outrageous. More than kind of.  

Do you tip the maid?

Harley: Yes. Except that sometimes I forget.

Heather: Always! I was a theater major, so that means I was a bartender and waitress. Service is hard! I always tip.

Hank: Absolutely. Thanks to Elaine Viets. Always.

Thoughts on bed bugs?

Bedbug_4 Harley: I can’t think about bed bugs.

Heather: They suck! (Or bite, not sure which.)

Hank: Oh, I can't even allow the thought. I'm already itching at the very question. 

What else bugs you?

Harley: That the price of a hotel room is never really the price of the hotel room. Add parking, state tax, visitor’s fee, Internet fee, and No One Even Knows What This One Is For tariff, and I always faint at check-out time.

Heather: Inconsistency--I book a suite, my friend books a suite. I have a small sofa The-Stanley-Hotel-635x296 and extra floor space--he has a bedroom and a totally separate living room. Hey, what gives? And the frequent-stayer programs. You get an upgrade! Ah, but only if they have it--and they just never seem to have it.

Hank: When you can't control the temperature of the room. Sometimes I walk around with towels draped over my shoulders to keep warm. and no matter what I do, I can't bring myself to trust that the wake up call will really come.

Hotel habits, things you’d never do at home?

Harley: I’m neat at home; I’m a slob in hotels. Also, I feel a compulsion to eat candy. As if it doesn’t count.

Heather: Sadly, I'm a disaster at home. I'm a worse disaster in a hotel room!

Hank:  Harley, it doesn't count.  And oh, in hotels I leave the lights on at night.

Any questions you have for the ghost of Arthur Hailey?

IMG_1884 Harley: Who decreed that all hotel lobbies and ballrooms must have floors and carpet designed by someone who'd just dropped acid?

Heather: Dear Arthur, what was YOUR favorite hotel? And what's with the chocolate? I don't like mint chocolate, could someone throw in those great tiny Dove bites?

Hank: Those little signs that say "You are here"-- How do they know?

Happy Monday -- and by all means, register (so to speak) your hotel thoughts . . . 


August 22, 2010

The Back to School Sex Blog

by the 3Hs

PomPomsClipArt  It’s the third Monday, and you know what that means: the H-tarts chat about life, liberty, and the pursuit. Of whatever. Because it’s back to school time, our thoughts turn from summer trivia (hats! cheerleading!) to education and some serious sociological research. 

The-Loss-of-Virginity-1890-91Namely, Virginity, and where it went.

HANK: Are you kidding me? I thought this was a literary blog. Whoa. Gulp. Checking the clauses in my employment contract. (Kathy! Help!)

Harley: So much for my Loose Lips Sink Ships resolution.

Heather: [typing maniacally; on deadline] Yes, fine. Anything for Science.

First -- and all of these questions are strictly voluntary -- How old were you when you lost (or misplaced) it?

Heather: Seventeen. There's a song about that, you know.

Harley: I was 18. A late bloomer, but I did try to make up for lost time. Until the dawn of AIDS.

Hank:  Waaait a minute.18 is a late bloomer? Eeesh.

2. Do you care to name names? First names will suffice.

Heather: Dennis.

Andy  Harley: I’m far too discreet to tell. But if he were a Shakespeare play, he'd be Richard the Second. Or--Richard the Third? Yes, the Third. The seductive one. With the limp.

Hank: No, Harley, he’d be Richard THE FIRST, right?

3. Give us a sense of setting.

Harley: Kentucky, summer theatre, no air conditioning

Hank:  It was all five senses, if I remember correctly.

Heather: Somewhere in Miami. (I don't remember.)

4. Chemical assistance?

Hank:  I can’t remember. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

Heather: I can't remember. [types furiously.]

Harley: Tequila. It was a dry county, but we had a car.

5. Your first thought, post-virginity. Extra points if you can express it as a song title.

Heather: Dear God--I don't remember!  Images-2  Sadly, but probably, hmm . . . so that's what they're talking about?

Harley: “Is That All There Is?”

Images-1  Hank:  Dvorak’s Symphony #9 (“The New World”)

6. How long did Richard III/ Name Withheld/Dennis last?

Harley: Weeks! After a slow start, it got astonishingly better. The song segued into “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”

Hank:  Wait, someone is gonna put this in the local newspaper, I just know it. ALL I need. I should never have agreed to this.

Heather: Hm. I guess we got it right. We're still married. Wait--we did get divorced, but we got remarried.

Images  Harley: Heather! I never knew that. How cosmopolitan of you.

7. How did it end?

Harley: Badly. I ate, drank and smoked my way into a stupor to recover.

Hank:  Everything always turns out for the best. You know that.

Heather:  Hm. I don't remember. Oh, wait, yes, I guess all right. I got married at eighteen . . . and then at twenty-eight, I think. Oh, Lord, at this point . . . And yes, that's all there is, cause I'm staying right where I am. I can't even imagining wanting anything else. 

8. And finally: your college major?


Hank: My stated major, much to my mother and stepfather's despair, was English Literature. That's what Western College for Women thought I was studying. And, indeed, I was, with much delight. (Though not exactly on their schedule.) But what my professors didn't realize--I was also studying rock and roll music, political activism, Judy Colllins worship, and seeing how many classes I could skip without getting yelled at.  

Harley: Acting, NYU School of the Arts.Virginity  

Heather: Musical Theatre, U. of South Florida [remembers deadline; resumes typing.]

And now friends, commenters, countrymen, over to you. Participate if you dare. It’s all in the name of research.

Happy Monday!