Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Joshua has got his visa for Thailand!  There is actually a possibility that I may be really, really, getting rid of him.  As you can imagine, I am thrilled to pieces.  Of course, this being Joshua, the preparations for this departure will quite probably be dragged on WAY too long, but as long as it all ends with him actually, truly, LEAVING, I can live with that.  I will give him any help he needs...such as shoving him out the door.

Meanwhile, this is the story of my life...I got an envelope in the mail today from the City of New York Department of Finance.  I groaned, logically assuming that it was a fine of some sort.  Joshua, you see, has never mastered the finer points of separating garbage, and I am constantly pawing around in the trash taking the tin foil and plastic bottles out of the trash and putting them in the recycles, while taking the wadded up paper towels out of the recycle bin and...you get the picture.  He is also usually fairly unclear on what day it is, so that I have to make sure he's not taking out the bottles on the wrong day (something he does frequently).  Not to mention the fact that he has to be told EVERY SINGLE WEEK that he cannot put cardboard boxes in with the bottles.  (I love Thailand.)

However, lo and behold, out popped a check for $400!  This, of course, was the property owner's rebate thing - unfortunately (why me, God?), it was made out to my father.  This makes life somewhat difficult, as the gentleman died in 1992.  Admittedly, I have his ashes, but I hardly think I can get those leftovers to sign much of anything - besides which, the notion of reanimating my father is fairly awful.  I wasn't all that fond of him when he was ALIVE, for God's sake.  Lest you accuse me of undaughterly thoughts, I may add that the feeling was entirely mutual.

So I called my trustee (you see, the house is owned under the Philip W. Callard Trust, which is how the confusion arose) and told him to please put $400 in my account and I'll mail him the check.  Let us piously cross our fingers, considering that my finances are in their customary state of extreme desuetude.

Meanwhile, I was reading the big Gourmet cookbook while I ate dinner, and came across something that drives me up a wall (which I know I've mentioned before, but this is a truly egregious example).  They had a recipe for Chicken and Dumplings, and the headnote said something like, "A true classic, never to be equaled" - well, something along those lines - followed immediately by "The shallots and white wine we added merely gave it a gloss."  Well, damn it, if it's a true classic, why the hell are you throwing shallots and white wine at it?  I don't object to the addition  per se, because of course there's a gravy involved, and I've never met a gravy that wasn't improved by shallots and white (or red, depending) wine.  I object to calling it a true classic and then proceeding to mess with it in any way.  Call it "our take on a classic," for heaven's sake.

I was listening to WQXR tonight (Joshua was out and not competing with the radio), and I heard a scrap of opera, and for some reason I began wondering why people tend to assume you don't know your own mind and taste.  I am not an opera fan.  Because I am intelligent and informed, I know music from many operas.  Why on earth do people persist in saying to me (when they find out that I can identify Madame Butterfly or Carmen or something else equally familiar), "Oh, you see.  You really DO like opera!"  No, I don't.  I wouldn't move an inch from my chair to listen to opera.  Just because I can identify some of most well-known music on earth doesn't make me a fan of it.  Really, it's like saying I'm a fan of tripe because I know what it looks like.  Honestly.

I think Joshua wants his computer back.  I will now go to my toasty bed and pray for appearances in my bank account tomorrow - which would certainly end MY year on a high note.  Although I must say, the prospect of losing Joshua has certainly gone a long way in doing that!

Love, Wendy

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Almost New Year!

In case you care, I am typing this on Joshua's Mac, which I just hate, being a PC girl.  However, my house is falling apart around me - my monitor died and so did my clothes dryer, so what the hell...I'll take what I can get.

We had a lovely Christmas, thank you, and I hope yours was the same.  I got, among other wonderful things, an immersion blender, Denis Leary's book, which is hilarious - and wonder of wonders, an electric blanket, which I've been screaming for because my bedroom is so damn cold in winter.  Yay, I'm all cozy!  And Sarah replaced my bathrobe, which had begun to become a hissing and a byword...I loved it, but it was ten years old, falling apart, and covered in the ghosts of a million dinners, due to my happy habit of just wiping my paws on it while I was cooking.  Next year, somebody should buy me an apron.

And I cooked and cleaned and cooked and cleaned, and...Joshua enlivened the scene by deciding, on Christmas morning when I was trying to cook breakfast for five people, to cook his own breakfast at exactly the same moment.  We all felt this was extremely unnecessary.  I felt that it was grounds for murder, but I was stirring some eggs at the time and didn't have time to get around to it.

Anyway, this is a necessarily short post because I want to go downstairs (don't even ask about the router problems that make it impossible to operate Joshua's computer anywhere but my bedroom) and do nothing in particular for a while.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Case of the Giggles

I started to giggle this morning and I haven't stopped yet.

I was sitting at the kitchen table with Joshua, both of us reading the morning papers, when he sneezed and then snuffled. At which he yelled at the top of his lungs, "Stop that, damn it!" And all of a sudden the thought struck me - I am sitting at the kitchen table with a man who is yelling at his own nose. I don't know why this struck me as hilarious, but it did - and still does (if I had sound, you could hear my residual giggles).

I'm in a good mood all around. I got all the in-law and niece and nephew shopping done, wrapped, and in the mail (priority mail, of course, otherwise the poor beasts would be celebrating the arrival of my offerings some time in February). Now all I have left to do is: get three more presents, get them wrapped, buy all the food for Christmas Eve, Christmas breakfast, Christmas dinner, and whatever else we need, and clean the house. By Wednesday morning. Of course. I'll get it done (I always do), but I hate the thought. Next year I'll start in September. (This is another traditional facet of our Christmas celebration - I say it every single year. I don't DO anything about it, you understand, but I certainly SAY it.)

And now for something completely different. The other night I decided to gather up all the recipes I've been yanking out of magazines and put them in my homemade recipe book - the one which has all the recipes I'm certainly going to try one day. (Hey, sometimes I even make some of them.) I made the decision to do this because the house needs cleaning, naturally, and by gathering all these things up and pasting them in the book, I could make believe I was doing something towards cleaning while sitting on my ass - I'm good at this sort of thing. I make detailed lists, too (something else one can do while sitting down, you note) - I mean, if it's written down, it's done, right?

The recipe book (a looseleaf notebook) is fascinating. You can follow it along from when Sarah was little and growing up (there's a recipe for Impossible Cheeseburger Pie - I can't imagine what made me think I'd EVER make it), and lots of recipes for nice (cheap) family meals like Swiss Steak and pasta casseroles. Then suddenly things get more elegant and sophisticated (that would be when Sarah's grandfather died and we bought our house and had some money). It was around that time that I started clipping recipes for Roast Tenderloin with Shitake Mushrooms and whole braised fish. I had some vague notion that we were going to have elegant four course dinner parties, I think - this idea was just as silly as it sounds.

What fascinates me is that I never seem to be able to recognize that I already have about six recipes for something. There's one pasta casserole (I think it's ziti with bacon, tomato and ricotta - very good, too) that I must have six or eight copies of, at least.

And whenever Sarah gets near the recipe book, she laughs at me. This is because I have probably every recipe known to man for fried chicken. You have to understand that I have never in my life made fried chicken. I make sauteed chicken constantly - literally to the point where people politely request some bread and butter, for God's sake, anything but that damn chicken. But I have never fried chicken (unless you count the oven-fried with cornflakes, which I love). And I LOVE fried chicken.

Here are the problems. First of all, just about every recipe I have ever seen for it calls for a well-seasoned cast iron frying pan. I don't own a well-seasoned cast iron frying pan for the very good reason that I can't LIFT a well-seasoned cast iron frying pan. Now if I can't lift a cast iron frying pan up at the store when I'm thinking (as I often do) of buying one, I sure as hell can't lift a cast iron frying pan full of hot grease without causing a disaster of truly epic proportions, quite probably involving the fire department. And secondly, since I am a person who can speckle myself with hot butter while frying an egg, I really don't think I should get anywhere near anything with a recipe that starts out, "Put two inches of shortening in a well-seasoned cast iron frying and let it get almost to smoking point." This way lies madness and probably third degree burns.

And while I'm on that subject, what the hell is with that instruction - "let it get almost to smoking point?" How, exactly, does one figure this out? Can you perhaps just ask the grease to ring a little bell to announce it's almost there, or perhaps tug on your apron? (Oh, all right - I do know about a little bubble around the edge.)

These things are sent to try us. I suppose I will either have to conquer my fear of hot grease and cast iron eventually or just say the hell with it and go to Popeye's when I feel the urge...the latter, I think.

Anyway, I am going to laze around for the rest of the night, go off to my nice job tomorrow (the only one this week, of course), and then seriously consider housecleaning. I'm damned if I'm going to shop on Saturday or Sunday - since I know what my last bits of shopping are I can do them on Monday which will be SLIGHTLY less horrendous than the weekend, then the groceries early on Tuesday. So there.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bizarre Feline

So I took a break between writing the last post and proofreading it to go to the bathroom. While I was thus involved Tarbaby the cat came in and decided to join me by using his litter box. I hate to say this, because Tarbaby is a good, if occasionally over affectionate beast, but my cat is decidedly strange.

My upstairs bathroom is very small. So Tarbaby finished his business in the catbox. What does a normal cat do? A normal cat promptly scratches up litter and covers the evidence, as it were, right? (I may add that the litter box is scrupulously cleaned at least once a day.) Yes, well...I don't have a normal cat. Tarbaby proceeded to scratch: the bathroom door, the wall outside the box, the opposite side of the box, the rim of the box, and finally, reaching out, the floor. None of these locations contained anything remotely resembling what one would have thought would be the object of the scratching. (Although the floor occasionally is, when, as mentioned in an earlier post, I believe, Tarbaby decides to use the litter box backwards...i.e., standing on the rim with his rear pointed in the wrong direction. One would think a cat of his age would have outgrown trying these trick shots.)

Now that I think of it, I have had far too many peculiar cats in my time. There was Clancy. Clancy was an enormous black and white tuxedo cat whom I acquired because a friend had two elderly cats and was given Clancy when he was a kitten, and he terrorized the two seniors. When I had had Clancy for a couple of months, I took him to the vet. I thought he was either blind or had inner ear problems, because I had, up until that time, never met a cat who walked into walls and fell off tables before. The vet kept Clancy overnight and ran all sorts of (very expensive) tests on him, and returned him to me the next day, saying, "Well, what you have here is a very healthy one year male cat who's extremely stupid." At which point Clancy purred, smiled, perambulated to the edge of the examining table and promptly fell off it. He also had a habit of getting into the laundry hamper, pulling out Matthew's underpants, and dragging them around the floor, moaning voluptuosly. That was a little strange.

And Bigfoot. Bigfoot was another enormous cat, gray and white. Bigfoot appeared at our door one rainy night around Christmas, walked in and announced that she lived with us now. We tried to put her out again, and we hung signs all over the neighborhood, and we checked with all the neighborhood vets - and by the time we were finished, we had gotten to know Bigfoot (so named because she had six toes on each front paw), and realized that nobody in their right mind would choose to live with this beast. (I mean, when she ended up at our place, she still had stitches from being spayed...somebody REALLY got exasperated - and was wantonly cruel, I may add.) She had the worst personality of any cat I've ever met in my life. She would jump up in your lap (and you'd sag in your chair because she must have been 20 pounds at least - she was HUGE), you would give her a scratch under the chin, and then she'd bite the hell out of you. Sometimes she'd try to purr, which was disturbing because she had evidently never mastered the trick of it. She sounded precisely like a very old car trying to turn over. Not a nice kitty rumble...more like, UR, UR, UR (gargle), UR.

Then there was the half Siamese whose name I can't remember who had been an abused cat who woke me up every night trying to get at my eyes - poor beast, I had to have her put down after the vet said she couldn't be rehabilitated.

Do you think, somewhere in my future, there's an actual, normal CAT? I dream of kittens...but I really couldn't do that to poor old Tarbaby (after all, he must be nearly 15 now), who's already somewhat traumatized by the lack of his brother Blackfoot and our lovely Gypsy - who actually WAS a normal cat. Maybe there's hope.

Love, Wendy

Deep Sigh of Relief

Aaaaaahhhhh. I managed to get the money for Christmas, through the good offices of my wonderful child. (It has to do with family money and trust funds and stuff and whose fund actually HAS money at the moment...all very dull and legal so I shouldn't bother about it, if I were you.) So as soon as it comes through, I am off to:

The Apple Store (a place which makes me feel about seventeen thousand years old), for iTunes cards for my four adolescent nephews.

A shoe store - my niece Ruby requires dark high top Converse, size 3-1/2.

A store which sells some sort of Magic cards - don't ask, my nephew Alex requires them. (Thank God for sister-in-law Kath, who spelled this esoteric desire out in reply to my desperate email.)

Bath and Body Works, because Alex's sister Maya requires various unguents, as what normal teenage girl does not?

Then there's my mother-in-law, the wonderful Ben, who is getting a surprise (certain people named Ben who read this blog need not think I've giving the secret away that easily...ho, ho, ho). Also her usual present and one more thing that I think she will love.

Joshua will get some damn thing or another, although God knows what - I can say what I like here, because A. he doesn't read the blog, and B. I don't actually think he knows what a blog is. I convinced him to get an ATM card, now that he finally has a bank account. He didn't want to get one because of his overwhelming paranoia. He kept insisting that "they can find him" if he has a card. I had to gently inform him that he happens to be on public assistance, i.e., government disability. How on earth could he possibly be under the impression that no one could find him?

The ATM card came up because yesterday he came upstairs to insist that I had to go to the bank immediately (to put a check in) so that I could pay him back the $20 bucks I'd borrowed from him because he wanted to go to the grocery store. This is extremely wrong on several levels. One, of course, is coming up to bother me to begin with. Two is even asking for the damn twenty in the first place, given his extremely odd attitude toward paying me anything like what I've spent on keeping him for the last few years. Three, he has some thousands of dollars in the bank and is now in possession of said ATM card, so all he had to do was go to the store and pay that way. Four, of course, was his explanation of why he needed the money - it was a long walk to the bank. Have we all noticed that nothing was said about making ME walk to MY bank? Of course not. When I mentioned the ATM card, I got such an uncomprehending look that I gave up on raising the subject just then (because I hate confrontations). Now I have to teach a 61 year old man how to use a bank card. Jeez Louise.

Sorry, I digressed from Christmas in there. Okay. back to a much nicer subject.

Anyway, with my gorgeous child's infusion of cash, coupled with my underemployment payments, all of Christmas will be properly in place (particularly given the low lobster cost this year). So I am happy and Christmassy and altogether thrilled. And we will have our roast beast and flaming plum pudding for Christmas night. And I think I'm going to stop hunting the elusive perfect recipe for Christmas morning breakfast (this happens EVERY year...I am always hunting something that will take 15 minutes for a table full of hungry family that will be absolutely spectacular, and I never find it unless it involves pate de foie gras dusted with beluga caviar or something equally unattainable) and just do my good scrambled eggs with little cubes of cheddar cheese scrambled in with them so it gets all melty and bacon and maybe, if I REALLY feel good will towards men, some nice home fries with onions cooked separately to begin with, so that when you mix it all up you get nice crisp edges.

And (yes, yes, you know how I am about these things), when we come variously down- and upstairs on Christmas morning. Ben will say, "Now we'll open one present each and then have breakfast and THEN we'll open the rest of the presents." I have heard this every Christmas of my life for more than 25 years now. It has NEVER worked. Not ever. And in the same fashion, on December 23rd we will trim the tree, and after our (rather drunken looking these days, poor thing) angel is set on the top, I will go to the top of the kitchen stairs and say, "You know, I think this is the prettiest Christmas tree we ever had." And THAT line is what my grandmother said every year. Without these things, it is NOT Christmas.

And tomorrow I'm going to do the ironing! Well, usually I do manage to get it done piece by piece early in the morning as I'm on my way to somewhere requiring ironed clothing, but that's not really very satisfactory because it's one more step in the morning. So I try to schedule it around something really neat to watch on TV. And since I have no job tomorrow (otherwise known as old news), I was looking through the TV Guide to see what might amuse me in the afternoon, because that's when the light is best for ironing in my bedroom - and lo and behold, my beloved TCM starts with Gigi at 10:45 am, followed by My Fair Lady, followed by the King and I. I am only the greatest musical freak on earth, so I think I'll iron veerrryy sllooowwwwlllllyyyy - because actually what I've got to iron is about five pairs of slacks, which is half an hour tops. Well, I wear the pants with turtlenecks (yeah, yeah, it's a uniform of sorts, and it saves me from thinking, which is a thing - thinking, that is - that doesn't work too well for me early in the morning), which means all I actually have to do is make sure the legs are properly creased and smooth. This is like three minutes per pair of pants. After that I'm just going to sit down in my desk chair, put my feet on the end of my bed, and sing along. Tra la!

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beware of Senior Citizens!

I give up. I just give up. Today's New York Post (always good for a laugh) had a story about an item that had just lost a fight with some government agency involving health to be listed as a medical device.

It was a 9mm handgun designed to be easy to fire for people with arthritis.

I think this is wonderful. What a terrific present for Granny to find under the tree! "Look, Grandma! You know those pesky kids who're always chasing their ball into your yard? Guess what you can do now, even with that terrible arthritis! I knew you'd be thrilled!"

And I would dearly love to know what on earth made the manufacturers of this little gem try to position it as a medical device to begin with. "Well, Pa's psychiatrist says that his depression would be MUCH better if he could just blow away all those people who annoy him, but it's so difficult for him to hold his old 45 with his arthritis..."

Obviously a product whose time has come.

In other news (this in the NY Daily News), officials in Prague are concerned that the economy is just ruining their country's ability to be a sex tour capital. Prague? A sex tour capital? I mean, according to all reports (I've never been there), Prague is a gloriously beautiful historic city, more than well worth a visit. But SEX TOURS? I tend to put Czechs in with Germans as rather proper and somewhat humorless people (yes, yes, I know...don't start screaming at me in comments, we all have our prejudices and anyway I'm partially German so I'm sort of allowed). I just somehow don't connect sex tours with Eastern Europe at all. (Paris, now, and London...oh, I could tell you stories for days.) Anyway, I'm confused by this...but this is hardly new and different - there's a whole LOT of the modern world that confuses me.

That is all my news, since I've been doing absolutely nothing of any interest to anyone, including me. And if I don't get some damn work pretty soon, Christmas this year is going to consist of me handing out sweet smiles and IOU's and asking people to chip in for the cost of the macaroni and cheese while I try to hang Christmas ornaments on some old celery sticks in a vase.

There is one bright spot - my under-employment came through (well, I am sort of employed, so obviously under-, not un-) to the tune of $294 a week, which is very welcome...this means that when, as it looks this this week, my entire take-home is $96, they will make up the difference to $294 (less tax, of course). Maybe this doesn't seem like much to you, but on the other hand, have you ever tried living in Manhattan on $96 a week?

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Oh, I Give Up

I just had an email from WebMD (no, I don't know how I got on their mailing list) which has a list of all the foods you're supposed to avoid during the holidays. As far as I can remember, they are:

Turkey skin
Sweet potato casserole
All hors d'oeuvres
All mixed drinks
Buttery mashed potatoes
Cakes, cookies, and a special mention of pecan pie

I'm fascinated. Are there actually people who follow these rules during the holidays? (Except, obviously, in cases like severe diabetes and things like that.) And if there are, and you inadvertently invite them to a holiday party (well, you wouldn't do it on purpose, would you), what on earth do you DO with them while everyone is eating? Hand them a plate of raw celery and a glass of water?

Love, Wendy

Christmas Is At Our Throats

I have just watched (on TV, of course) the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. I watch it every year, along with Charlie Brown Christmas, the Grinch (the animated one with Boris Karloff, naturally), and when it's on, the only version of Christmas Carol - the 1951 version with Alastair Sim. (This, by the way, should you care to see it - and you should - is actually called Scrooge. Sometimes it turns up in the TV guide like that, but sometimes it turns up as A Christmas Carol, so go by the date. If it says 1951, that's the one you want. Trust me.)

I must, however, complain. I am the worst traditionalist you ever met in your life when it comes to Christmas. If I'm going to watch a Christmas tree being lit, I want it accompanied by massed choirs and people singing actual Christmas carols - sung the way they're supposed to be sung, not jazzed up and tricked out. This year's broadcast featured Miley Cyrus singing Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, which - would you believe - was actually better than Beyonce singing "her version" of Ave Maria, which was a song about something else altogether except that she sang Ave Maria every so often. Just those two words. The song seemed to be about female empowerment or some damn thing. That's not Ave Maria. And Harry Connick, Jr., whom I adore, messed up a Christmas song so horrendously that I can't even remember which one it was now. Don't get me started on the Jonas Brothers. who were singing something about "All I want for Christmas is the girl of my dreams." (Whatever happened to my two front teeth?)

Faith Hill, God bless her, sang an absolutely straight and lovely version of Joy to the World with a real choir! And the one and only Tony Bennett sang Winter Wonderland. By the way, speaking of Mr. Bennett, what ails people? There were all these crowds, they were listening to Tony Bennett live for God's sake, and every time the camera panned behind them, they all turned their backs on him to wave at the camera. Really, people - if Tony Bennett is singing live in front of you, PAY ATTENTION.

However, the Rockettes did do their kicks at least. I was terribly afraid they weren't going to be on this year, but thank God they turned up right at the end after the tree was lit. I always look forward to them - I mean, what's more New York Christmassy than Rockettes?

And now I shall settle down to getting our Christmas put together - and I assure you it will have every single thing we have every year - a huge tree with our old and idiosyncratic collection of ornaments (you have no idea what odd things we put on our tree...there's that thing that Sarah made in kindergarten or first grade or something with popsicle sticks and yarn, which is totally falling apart, and those three short lengths of shedding silvery stuff, and some weirdly shaped clay ornaments that we got somewhere, and the little red apples and cherries that I bought for my first Christmas tree in New York some forty years back...the list goes on), our annual Christmas Eve Lobsterfest, our roast beef and flaming plum pudding Christmas dinner...and it will be just lovely.

And Santa Claus or somebody will bring me the money to do all this, right? Actually, I think I may have a little bit of luck in the lobster department this year. I saw an article the other day saying that the lobstermen were extremely upset because the price of lobster was dropping (I mentioned this a few posts ago in re having found a cooked 1-1/4 pounder for sale for $10), so Chinatown may have good prices this year. I'm sorry for the poor lobstermen, but quite pleased for me if this proves to be the case.

Now I'm going to go eat something and hop into bed with a book. You may all start dreaming of sugarplums now...and if you're going to sing Christmas songs, do it properly, for God's sake.

Love, Wendy

Monday, December 1, 2008

There Were Too Enough Green Beans

Well, we didn't have the crudites, and we didn't get any Brussels sprouts, but Shai and his friend Chris brought cheese and pate...and there were actually fewer people than I expected, so we had plenty of green beans - and for once, no leftover beans, thank heavens. As a matter of fact, there weren't all that many leftovers - just about the perfect amount. You enough, enough for sandwiches the next day and for Mom to nosh on through Sunday.

So everything worked out just fine, and we had a lovely Thanksgiving, thank you. How was yours?

I got paid for my movie gig - and not only did I get the extra $25 for no room on the bus, but we got an extra $42.50 for the lousy food service - you know, the one with no hot food and NO COFFEE. I was talking to my friend Caesar, and he was appalled to find out there was no coffee - he said in all his years of working under SAG, he'd NEVER seen a set without coffee. I may be new at this background actor stuff, but even I knew that was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Meanwhile my cousin gets more damned irritating by the day - in the last two days, he's made me want to kill him twice. On Saturday, he came up to the kitchen just as I was running around the corner for the Sunday Times, and I said, very clearly, leave that Arizona watermelon drink alone, because I just bought it and I want to drink it. So I came back with the paper - and would you believe that the drink had been opened and some poured out? (This is the same sort of thing that was making me crazy last summer - I'd be sitting at the computer and he'd come up to ask me to turn on the air conditioning - when it wasn't needed - and when I said no, he'd turn around and turn it on as he went downstairs.) Then just tonight, I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking some club soda somebody left at Thanksgiving, and he took the bottle, poured all of it into his glass, and THEN said, "You have more of this, don't you?" Um, no, I don't, and normal people say, may I have some club soda - they don't just grab the bottle and ask later. You schmuck.

Well, back to obsessively checking my email for casting notices - I just wanted to check in and say something or other before all my posts turn into hysteria over Christmas and my lack of money for it. Which I assure you they will, any second now.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Eve of Thanksgiving

First things first. I misled you, Jay - it turned out not to be Lisa Kudrow after all in the Natalie Portman film. Sorry about that - but keep reading! Who turns who may turn up next as I navigate the shivering streams of background work? Watch this space!

God, I hate Thanksgiving. There is just way too much food to be cooked. (I know, I say this every year...so sue me.)

Meanwhile of course, my budget constraints are being a real pain in the turkey innards. I got totally screwed up last week when I had to pay a cell phone bill of $56 and change before they'd let me have my new free phone (does that make it still free, I wonder?), and that was an EXTREMELY necessary $56 which meant the difference between what I needed to get and what I could get for Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, I may conceivably be the only person who notices this - I have a tendency, faced with a head count of 11 (which it is this year) to assume that the 11 people are suddenly going to turn into 16 people (admittedly, this has happened). However, I have finally begun noticing that some things are always left over - the green beans, for instance. So for this year, I figured, well, hell, I just don't need four pounds of green beans for 11 people - most people take three or six green beans and concentrate on sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and stuffing - so I bought two pounds. (I really do usually have LOTS of left over green beans.) This, of course, now that I'm out of money, is making me twitch, and I am completely convinced that there are going to be people at my table tomorrow who are shrieking for pounds and pounds of green beans. You do understand that this has never happened in the entire history of my Thanksgivings, and I have ALWAYS had this large container of leftovers...but I remain convinced that I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH GREEN BEANS. This is making me twitch.

Our friend Shai came over last night and brined the turkey for me, bless him, and is also providing one of the stuffings (the one with meat in it - yay) and bread (and he has a friend who's going to deal with the Brussels sprouts), while I make the vegetarian stuffing for our non-red-meat-eating friend. And this year I couldn't afford the damn oysters for it (twitch, twitch, twitch). And unless someone turns up with some, the crudities are out too. I'm not too terribly worried about them (yes I am) because what usually happens by the time the bulk of the guests get here is that those of us who have been peeling potatoes and stringing beans (damn, I need another pound of green beans) have eaten the carrots, cucumber, olives and dip anyway and everything else is ready to go.

I also managed not to be able to afford the big container of heavy cream for the mashed potatoes (calorie? What's a calorie?) and to whip for the pumpkin pie, but I know damn well that the deli across the street will be open, and someone can go and get some half and half for the damn potatoes and some Reddi-whip for the pumpkin pie (my mother-in-law and I, one Thanksgiving, discovered on Thanksgiving Day that the milk was sour and used plain yogurt in the mashed potatoes and they turned out fine, so there). Unless they have proper heavy cream, of course, which seems doubtful. I got the sharp cheddar for the apple pie, anyway, and wrapped so Joshua can't get at it.

But essentially, with the good will of my wonderful friends, the basic menu will be in place with just a few missing bits that really aren't all that important (I NEED ANOTHER POUND OF GREEN BEANS!!!!), it will be a lovely Thanksgiving, thank you.

Meanwhile, my cousin Joshua has been competing for the title of most completely annoying carbon based life form in the universe. You notice I avoid the term "human being" here - this is because I'm seriously beginning to wonder. His antics this past few days have been beyond belief.

He started by deciding to do laundry, which is certainly laudable - one doesn't wish to live with someone who doesn't do his laundry. However, when it came time to DRY his laundry, he simply took my still wet laundry out of the dryer and put his in. And when I came downstairs and told him his laundry was dry, he calmly said, "Oh, I'll put yours back in again."

What? You mean, his t-shirts are so unbelievably important that they have to dry before the clothes that I wear to go to work where I actually earn some money (paltry, 'tis true, but something, anyway) instead of leeching off the government? I simply cannot believe that ANYBODY could think that they are so important in the general scheme of things. Actually, with Joshua, I can believe this - several weeks back the cable and computer went out through lack of payment (well, it was a week when my take-home was $98), and Joshua called me to tell me about this. I said, "Well, there's nothing I can do about it because I need prescriptions." He replied, unforgettably - "Let's deal with first things first." Of COURSE. My health or Joshua watching basketball. First things first.

And today he was at his absolute best. After listening to me freak out about the missing bits of tomorrow's dinner, he grudgingly gave me $21. He waited to do this until it was almost dark outside (when he had heard me moaning since 1 in the afternoon), thereby forcing me to go to the store in the dark (and cold). He also told me he didn't have any money. I am quite curious about what on earth has happened to the $20,000 he got from the government about a month ago. And just to be really charming and adorable, when I got back from the store, he told me he had just come back from spending $50 on gluten free goodies for himself from the health food store.

You know, this is just a bit beyond necessary.

Ah, well. I have got an almost 19 pound turkey. I have got the ingredients for one kind of stuffing in the kitchen. I have got white potatoes to mash and sweet potatoes to bake. I have got green beans and the mushrooms that go into them (ONLY TWO POUNDS OF GREEN BEANS!). I have got an apple pie and a pumpkin pie. The other stuffing and the Brussels sprouts will arrive (and if the Brussels sprouts don't arrive, I will take up a collection and get someone to go to the deli and get several cans of corn, which is the most successful of all canned vegetables.) And I have got lovely friends and a wonderful daughter, and if all else fails, we can cook Joshua. People will bring wine and beer and feed the cat scraps of turkey, and it will be a perfectly lovely day.

It will, please God, not be like a Thanksgiving of many years ago, when Sarah couldn't have been more than 9 or 10. I went to bake the pumpkin pie late in the afternoon of Thanksgiving Eve, and discovered that I had a non-working oven. There were something like 25 people coming the next day. So I called Sears in a panic (it being a Kenmore stove), and they promised to send someone right out. Thursday arrived. No repairman. I served everybody all the hors d'oeuvres I had made. Friday arrived. All my guests, trusting in me and Sears Roebuck, turned up again. I made pasta. In the middle of the pasta, the repairman arrived! It was, however, 9 at night. I had two fifteen pound turkeys...there was no way, unless we wanted to have a lovely breakfast. By God, don't you know, everybody came BACK on Saturday? And we finally had Thanksgiving.

Maybe the green beans aren't that important.

However, if anyone would like to drop by with a pound of them tomorrow, you'd be more than welcome....

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Love, Wendy

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Little Sondheim Music

In Stephen Sondheim's wonderful show, A Little Night Music, the lead (Desiree, an aging actress) sings about her career, to wit:

Pack up the luggage, la la la,
Unpack the luggage, la la la,
Which town is this town? La, la, la
Heigh ho, the glamorous life.

(The la, la, la bit is Sondheim's, not mine. I know the words, he just wrote those la's in there. Listen to the album.)

Which is, of course, what our lives are like - those of us who have chosen acting as a life.

And this leads me directly to the madly glamorous world of movie making. So, yesterday:

Arrive nicely on time for 10 am call at a temple on the upper East Side (75th and Lexington). Collect papers - the all-important pay slip (wherein you give your SAG number and call time and all that stuff which allows them to pay you - VERY important), and the I-9 form, which announces that you are, in fact, a citizen or resident alien of the United States of America and can prove same.

Hang out in temple for an hour or so, get checked by wardrobe (suitably dull colored? Good to go. No red scarves or hats.).

There is NO COFFEE. Never work indie films. There was NO COFFEE. There was water and there was one lonely half bagel, which I scarfed up, along with some cold water. There was (yes, I know I'm repeating myself) NO COFFEE.

Walk down the block and get on background bus to get to site - which is Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. Get on set. There is NO COFFEE. There is, thank God, hot water and packets of hot chocolate mix. 'Tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as an ocean, but 'twill serve, 'twill serve.* However, there is still NO COFFEE.

Go be a background person. Walk here. Leave your mark at twenty beats. Okay, terrific. Now for this shot, leave your mark at 17 beats. (This means that when Action is called, you count to twenty or seventeen, as the case may be, and then move to where you're moving. Okay? Are we clear on this?)

This goes on for two and a half hours. Kindly remember that it is 38 degrees out.

Okay! Print that shot!

Back to bus, which doesn't have enough seats for everybody and is a climb up those stairs and a bit of a hike to get to from set. Get on bus and begin to thaw...then, as soon as thawing begins, get told to get out to craft services truck for food. Food is all cold, as far as I can tell. Have ham sandwich and some popcorn. There is NO COFFEE. What is WITH these people?

This takes rather less than an hour...not like anyone wants to hang out in a bus eating their lunch in the aisle.

Back to fountain. New scene. Yay! It now being three in the afternoon, begin to see light at the end of the increasingly cold tunnel (on account of there's this thing called, you know, um, sunset). Listen to Lisa Kudrow making small speech about our commitment to dead babies and their memorial service. (The scene is supposed to be one of those walks where you remember dead children who died of crib death or something and you have a badge with the name of a dead child on it...first scene was us all lining up to get said badges.) Gawk in a mild manner at Natalie Portman standing about four feet away. (But not while cameras are rolling. Anyway, I once saw Zero Mostel in his underpants a million years back when I was an apprentice...Natalie Portman is NOTHING. Lots smaller, to begin with.)

4:30 pm and completely congealed, many layers of clothing notwithstanding. Get wrapped (i.e., our day is over). Get told that we're being bumped (being bumped, in union language, means an extra payment) $25.00 bucks for not enough seats on the background bus. Cheer, shiveringly. Go back to temple. Get signed off. Go home and uncongeal. Not sure whether cold beer was exactly the proper thing for uncongealing, but it tasted wonderful.

Heigh ho, the glamorous life.

And you know what? I loved every second of it. There were lots of neat people to talk to, lots of industry chat, one lady who took my name and number for a new play she's doing, and a general feeling of bonhomie and we're all in this together. Freezing to damn death and (I think I'm beginning to belabor this point, but we were all yelping) WITHOUT COFFEE, but absolutely united...in our deep desire to get the fuck out of Central Park and get somewhere warm that had hot food...and COFFEE.

And today I went trotting off like a nice little temp lady to my Population Council job and sent all those nice things off to Guatemala and Mexico and Bangladesh...and that office was colder than a witch's tit today, and the ladies room was friggin' freezing. Key West (only one of my favorite places in the whole sidereal universe) looks wonderful about now.

Tonight I had to take the subway home on account of being out of Metrocard (and wouldn't you think that the MTA would realize that there are those of us who are bus people and would dearly love to be able to buy a Metrocard above ground?). However, that was fine because just across the street on Lexington there is an AT&T store, and I had to stop there. I tried to charge my phone with the charger I keep downstairs last night and it wouldn't charge, so I tried with the upstairs charger, and it wouldn't charge. Evidently, I needed a new battery for the phone. I figure one charger not working may be the charger's fault, but two chargers not working has got to be the phone's fault. And I have two chargers because of the mitten theory. You know the mitten/glove theory. If you lose one mitten/glove, and you throw out the remaining one, the second it irretrievably disappears into the maw of the garbage truck, the other one turns up. This is what happened with my chargers...couldn't find one, bought another, a day later the original turned up. Anyway, turns out that my phone was so old (two years...oy, does technology ever not know from old) that they couldn't get a battery for it, so they gave me (GAVE me, like for free) a new phone. The voice mail seems to be screwed up somehow, but after trying to fix it for half an hour tonight (with customer service...hee, hee, hee...misnomer of the century) and it's STILL not working, I'll worry about it tomorrow.

Anyway, having achieved a new phone (I like my old one better, but I'll adjust), I found myself entering Grand Central to get the Metrocard and the shuttle at the door to that glorious food market. So I wandered through, wishing I could buy everything in sight (it looks rather like Dean & Deluca...everything all polished and not for the likes of us poor people). What I had planned to do was go to Gourmet Garage over by Christopher Street and get some shrimp for dinner, because they usually have great cheap shrimp. The shrimp at Grand Central were running in double digits, but as I was passing the last seafood stand on my way to the subway, I spotted a cooked lobster...FOR TEN DOLLLARS. For a 1-1/4 pound lobster. Well, hell - the best I can do at Gourmet Garage is 8.99 a pound for medium shrimp...so guess what I had for dinner? (Sidney Poitier, on toast...oh, no, that's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner).

And just as I had finished my lobster, two pals turned up, and I actually got to talk in my own house. Well, Joshua doesn't converse, he pontificates, and Caesar keeps yelling at me to change my name or, alternatively, to feed him...and if the two of them are together, they talk to each other at cross purposes...and the result is that I never seem to get to talk in my own house. I had a lovely time, thank you.

And so to bed. Oh, and that asterisk? Here:

*This is what Mercutio says when he's dying in Romeo and Juliet - Act One, Scene about three, I think, but don't quote me. Romeo is saying "Courage, man, the hurt cannot be much," and the above regarding wells and oceans is Mercutio's line before he dies. And if you didn't already know this, you should immediately quit reading crap and apply yourself to Shakespeare. Yes, I am a snob and snot about it. Live with it.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Got Elected Dogcatcher!

Son of a gun...something finally paid off. There I was, calming playing solitaire and considering dinner, when the phone rang and it was a nice lady from Grant Wilfley casting asking me to be in her nice movie on Thursday! So that's what I'm going to do.

Naturally, this is an outdoor scene, during which I will probably freeze my adorably rounded bottom off, but what the hell. Movie sets are equipped with lots and lots of food and coffee and places to get warm. I don't care...I'm finally in!

Yay me!

Love, Wendy

The Intelligence of the MTA

No, I don't mean the whole thing about raising fares and cutting service - that's A. not exactly news, and B. too many people are yowling about it already.

No, the intelligent move for which I think they deserve praise is the fact that they have taken down the sign on the bus stop pole at 7th Avenue and Christopher for the crosstown M8 (on which I practically live). This was the sign that told you roughly when to expect the bus. Well, nobody who takes that bus EVER expects it to be on time going west. Going east, if you catch it at the beginning of the run over on 10th and Washington, as I do, it's almost always perfectly on time. But going the other way (coming from Avenue D), it invariably runs into trouble of some sort. So the clever MTA, rather than attempt to do anything about the on time habits of the bus, has sensibly removed the sign. Now nobody knows when it's actually supposed to arrive, so no more complaints! I think that shows excellent business sense. Clearly this is how our large corporations have been being run for some time...they seem to solve a problem by not actually doing anything about it. They just change the rules.

I have been doing very little of any interest whatsoever except getting up WAY too early. But I did manage to get five days of work last week, just in time to feed somewhere around 15 people on Thanksgiving, so that's a definite plus. I must say that my working habits do give me a tour of New York...49th and Lexington on Monday, Javits Center on Tuesday, 57th and 10th on Wednesday, 130th and Convent on Thursday, and 48th and 2nd on Friday. (By the way, in case you're keeping track, this required me to arise at 4:30 am Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 5 am on Thursday, since I had to be in Harlem by 8, and a blissful 6 am on Friday. I slept all day Sunday for some reason. I wonder why.)

My new pictures have not done a DAMN thing for my ability to get background work, which is annoying. My friend Caesar came over on Saturday and continued his absolutely nutty campaign to get me to change my name. He keeps screaming at me about this, which makes no sense at all. I figure if Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe), Archibald Leach (Cary Grant) and Leonard Slye (Roy Rogers) were all hired for films under those names (which they were - the studio changed them later), that's not the problem. Besides which, it seems to me inherently unlikely that a casting director is going to pick my picture off the submissions, look at it, go, "Yeah, that's the right kind of face," and then decide, "No, I don't like her name." I mean, Meryl Streep's daughter is acting, and her name is Mamie Gummer. Now look, if Mamie Gummer can get cast...

I am now going to look at the magazine and catalogue that came in the mail today. I'm having a lot of fun with my free magazines. It seems that I live in a VERY high rent district (well, I know that - every time I walk past the real estate agent's place on Hudson, I look in the window and they're showing studio apartments for $3500 a month). So publishers send me all these magazines with names like Gotham (and today's offering, Bal Harbor, along with the CB2 catalogue) which consist of pages and pages of pictures of society types at various functions and pages and pages of ads for Omega watches, usually followed by about ten pages of fashion photography of $12,000 dresses and maybe a spread of Mr. and Mrs. Gotrock's place in Cancun...you know, their 12 bedroom getaway cottage with the two pools. I have a lot of fun reading these things. And they even have a practical side - when a casting call goes out for Upper East Side types, or upper class evening clothes, I know exactly what type of clothes they want - it's the stuff I can't afford to buy. However, I do now know what it's supposed to look like, at least, so when I do get some money to invest in a few pieces for this sort of thing, they'll be the right ones. (And it's not as much of a splurge as it sounds - first, because Loehman's has great evening clothes of the right type at low prices, and second, because if I get the thing and wear it in a film, it comes off my taxes as a union member as necessary wardrobe. God knows, it's not like my own personal life contains anything for which I'd need an evening gown.)

And of course, movies are unfortunately not costumed by people who inhabit Manhattan, as far as I can tell. The first thing they invariably say in the costume notes is "No black." Aside from the fact that I don't know anybody in this city who owns evening/cocktail clothes in any other color, have you ever tried to buy cocktail dresses, for instance, in anything but black? You can get red, but they usually don't want that, either - point being that it's BACKGROUND, just that. Black and red stand out too much. So you're faced with a very, very small collection of clothing. Unless you're young, of course, when you can wait until prom season and find all sorts of pretty pastel things. If you're me, usually the only thing lying around that's formal is beige and in the mother of the bride section.

Oh, well. Since I haven't currently got the cash to worry about this, I think I won't. Also, I think it would make a LOT more sense to wait until I actually get some damn work and then ask other people - networking is the only way to go.

I will now go and see what the beautiful people are doing.

Love, Wendy

Friday, November 7, 2008

Avoiding The Wet Spot

Gotcha! For all those of you were were longing for detailed salaciousness, sorry about that. Well, I don't deal in that sort of thing because, much as I love my loyal readers, it's none of your damn business, and anyway, I haven't got anything to report. And if I did, I would report it with three dots, otherwise known as an ellipsis, as they used to do in women's novels; i.e., "He took her in his strong arms and led her gently to the couch . . . " followed immediately by: "Chapter 12: Next Morning" (which, in novels of this ilk, invariably spoke of them both fully dressed at the breakfast table).

No, no, the damn cat threw up on my side of the bed, that's all. Growl. It's been a long day already.

I somehow completely forgot how quick it is to get to Harlem (probably because I had Monday's Bay Ridge excursion in my mind), so I ended up there at 7 am instead of 8 am. Or at any rate, getting off the A Train (which you may now start humming) at 7 am. As it turns out, 130th between St. Nicholas and Convent is ALL uphill from 125th Street...and it was a damp morning. I don't do damp mornings and climbing very well. And in this particular school (they have two branches - one on 130th and one on 122nd), there is no elevator. So AFTER you haul your tired panting ass uphill for five blocks, you still have to climb three flights of stairs, which I consider cruel and unusual punishment.

And I had a boss of a type that drives me nuts. She was one of those people who make a huge fuss of everything and yammer on incessantly about how busy they are and yet never actually get anything done because they're focused on being busy...if I'm making sense. And she also had to micromanage every single thing I was doing (which was a perfectly simple matter of stuffing some folders, for God's sake) - which of course made her even busier.

Luckily, they only hired me from 8 am to noon, and you better believe I wasn't going to hang out and offer them more time. So I took the bad taste of the lady out of my mouth by having some nice Popeye's spicy chicken (hate KFC, which is all doughy stuff and little chicken - LOVE Popeye's spicy) and one of their great biscuits and some coleslaw, and then indulged myself thoroughly by taking the bus all the way down 5th Avenue, which is a ride I adore. You can see all the fall foliage in Central Park (you've got to get out there, it's glorious) and all those great massive buildings. It was a lovely ride. (Lord & Taylor has started putting in its Christmas windows, God help me. I don't even have a headcount for Thanksgiving yet.)

Then I went over to Casting Networks and had them put my lovely new COLOR headshots on my site, and as soon as I can get somebody over here who can do it, I am actually going to put a picture of me up here. Are you thrilled to the very core of your collective being out there? I'm sure you'll be delighted to know that I'm going to spare you the tasteful nudes...no, no, no, I'm not THAT crazy. Should you ever feel the need to look at ladies in late middle age and beyond cavorting in the rude nude, I suggest France, where this is normal behavior at the beach. Personally, I find it unaesthetic (although I love skinny dipping - I merely prefer a decent cover of darkness).

And boy, did I make a mistake when I told my newest temp agency that I was an early riser and lived in Manhattan. What I meant was that they could call me at say, 7:30 am and I could get to a decent office job that started at 9:30 am pretty nearly on time. What THEY took this to mean is that every damn seminar that comes down the pike now seems to require my services. I have to be at 49th and Lex at 7 am on Monday and at the Javits Center (again) at 7 am on Tuesday. There are drawbacks to this. I don't mind getting up at 5 am, since I do it for Equity auditions (if you're not in line by 7 am at Equity, you tend not to get seen). And in summer, it's no sweat at all - I love very early summer mornings. But once we're back to plain old Eastern Standard time, the sun doesn't rise until 6:30 - by which time I'm almost at my destination - and it'll start to get damned cold out there. To add insult to injury, next week's jobs are from 7 am to 1 pm on Monday and 7 am to 11 am on Tuesday. At $12 an hour. You know, I don't actually think this is worth getting out of bed for. However, since no one has offered me any OTHER work that pays at all on those two days...oh, wait, there WAS a gentleman this morning as I was traipsing around Harlem who seemed quite the worse for wear (and looked to be in his 70s) who was making kissing noises at me, but somehow he didn't look as if he'd pay much. Particularly since he reeled into the side of a car and dozed off standing up just after making the kissing noises. I guess I'll have to stick with the damn seminars until my magic new photos start working for me and I get some background work.

I'm going to bed, mainly because I can't keep my eyes open any longer. Actually I was ready for bed around 6 pm, but that sort of thing only leads to waking up at 4:30 tomorrow morning, which is completely unnecessary.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Finally Catching My Breath

Woo-hoo. I haven't been bouncing around this much for years.

It all started last Thursday, when I had a deeply disgusting temp job. That would be the "meet and greet" at Nike. That wasn't a meet and greet - that was friggin' slave labor. Turns out that what we temps were doing was directing customers to actual sales people and cleaning up dressing rooms (because people are true slobs who leave unbought clothes lying in heaps on the floor) and straightening out the stock. During this day (which lasted for nine solid hours with an hour for lunch), you were not allowed to sit down or even so much as lean on anything - and there was no water to drink. And there were no breaks. This last, by the by, is a breach of Federal law, in case anyone cares (Nike evidently doesn't). And the water thing? Well, I sort of understand that you wouldn't be allowed to bring drinks on the floor with the merchandise, but in the break room, the sink didn't work, and the water cooler (there was no drinking fountain) had no cups. When I asked about cups, someone sitting there looked at me as if I was from outer space and said there might be some cups in the basement. As the employee breakroom was on the 4th floor, this seemed somewhat pointless. Yuck. Never again.

So after that, I hit my first transportation snag of the week. I decided to take the bus downtown to 9th Street and get the crosstown, because I was going to see a friend's band on Christopher Street, and the crosstown would drop me right in front of the door. Well, the bus I got was evidently ahead of schedule. It would get to a street light - EVERY street light - and stop, whether the light was red or green. When it took me 45 minutes to get from 57th to 23rd, I said the hell with this, I'll get a cab. None of which turned out to BE on 23rd Street. So I thought okay, I'll take the 23th Street crosstown and get a cab over on 23rd and 7th. Where there ALSO weren't any cabs. So finally, it took me two buses, a subway, and an hour and 20 minutes to get from 57th and Madison to Christopher and 7th. Ugh. And then I didn't care much for the band. Luckily, by the time I got there their set was almost over.

Friday night I had perfect transportation from 2nd and 47th and no trouble getting to the Halloween parade, but I only watched half of that because I had to take a leak...and you can't do that at the parade. If you lose your front row seat (yeah, you can get one - you just have to get there early), that's all she wrote. But it was fun. Having to leave early annoyed me, since I'd had nothing to drink since 4 that afternoon in preparation...ah, well.

Saturday I futzed around the house and then went over to the East Village to pick up the video of the show I did at Nuyorican Poets Cafe last year, which I still haven't seen because it doesn't want to play on my computer for some reason. I'll get that fixed.

Sunday, more transportation horrors...these were entirely my own fault, however. You see, I had planned to go out to dinner in the East Village on Saturday night, but by the time I got over there and picked up my video, it was 8 pm. I don't know about you, but I think there is something just a little strange and desperate looking about eating alone in a French restaurant at 8 pm on a Saturday night. Creepy-ish. So I said the hell with that and went home. This, of course, left me with an extra chunk of cash. (Any gentlemen out there reading this - this is female accounting. If you don't buy something, then the cash you didn't spend on it is extra cash - a little windfall. Don't ask.) So I decided to spend this on taking a taxi to the marathon/Welcome Back Kotter (they just got back from their honeymoon) party at Tiger Lily and The Boss' place.

Certain people - like me - should overcome their deep and abiding disinterest in the NYC Marathon and look at the route before they attempt to take taxis directly to it. The marathon runs under their front window. You can't get there from here on marathon day. In order to do so, you have to take your taxi to 142nd street and around the FDR Drive and to 2nd Avenue. Luckily I had all that money I didn't spend the day before, so by my reckoning, I came out even.

So the party was lovely (Tiger Lily makes terrific ham), and then I got invited to an after marathon dinner at Blue Smoke because the male half of ANOTHER damn newlywed pair of friends had just run the silly thing.

Monday was the day I had to go get my new pictures taken...in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Bay Ridge is quite a pleasant neighborhood, except for the fact that it is EXTREMELY far away and not at all the best place to have to get to when you are suffering from a monumental hangover. The pictures, oddly enough, turned out quite well, even if I had to change my usual makeup somewhat. I didn't use foundation - I used spackle. Worked fine. Oh, wait...and that was the night that I was trying to get some much-needed rest and Sarah bounced in and told me I had to get her up at 5 AM on Election Day so she could go home to Brooklyn, vote, and then come back into Manhattan to work. The result of this was that I got up at 5 AM to get HER up...she slept until 8. I didn't.

Tuesday...well, we ALL know about Tuesday. But I was still recovering from Sunday, so I had planned to go vote and then come home and take a nice nap until time to head over to my pal's place to watch the returns. However, as I was coming out of the polling place, my phone rang...and there was my friend John on the other end announcing that he was momentarily in NY and let's have a drink. Yes, well, so much for my nap and not starting to drink until much later.

Went to the election, cheered myself hoarse, came home, watched that fuckin' AMAZING acceptance speech, and crawled into bed. I actually got two hours sleep before my child came tripping in half-bagged and wanting a nice long chat before she left for the airport at 6:30 am.
As soon as she left, I turned over with a sigh of relief and conked out...until 7:41 AM, when my crazy temp lady called me and asked if I could go to a job in Harlem "RIGHT NOW!" The answer to that was, no fucking way. So yesterday, I finally slept, woke up, ate things, slept, woke up, ate other things, and slept some more.

Today, I went to the Population Council to send out their mail (Bamako, Mali had quite a lot of mail today), and then I got home and got blindsided by the crazy lady (never answer your phone without checking caller ID) and have to get up at 5 am tomorrow to get to Harlem by 8 am. I could do without this, as I had tomorrow all planned. Luckily, the job is only from 8 am to noon, so I can do my other stuff on the way home - this would be getting my new pictures up on Casting Networks so I can get some background work, for God's sake.

And now I'm going to bed. Which looks just lovely.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Not Tonight!

Damn...I was hoping to find nothing on earth to complain about on this glorious new dawn of America evening (dawn of evening? WTF? never mind, it's my euphoria), but unfortunately I opened an email from Greyhound touting their new cheap buses, and they were announcing their services on said buses - once of which, according to Greyhound, is "Video! Watch movies and the time fly by!" Yep, that time is shore gonna be done gone dere, ain't it?

Love, Wendy


I never, ever, ever thought this could happen - not that I thought our Obama could lose, you understand - but that I would hear a whole neighborhood CHEERING A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION! That was without a doubt the most amazing thing I've ever heard in my life. And his acceptance speech was wonderful.

It had special significance to me. The last time I stood in Chicago's Grant Park, I had a wet washcloth draped over my nose and mouth for the tear gas, you see - I'm a veteran of the 1968 convention riots, and my apartment was a first aid station. To me, Grant Park has since then been a battlefield - I think of it somewhat like Civil War buffs think of Gettysburg. It was my war.

So to see President Obama - oh, all right, President-Elect Obama, if you must be picky - make that acceptance speech on that ground somehow cleansed it for me. And also, remember, he's a South Side Chicago working guy - and I'm an old South Side Chicago (Hyde Park) working civil rights activist. He's one of MY kids. I foufght for his right to be President, by God.

I will blog nicely and amusingly for you tomorrow, my children - promise - but tonight I am just sitting in absolute awe and delight. For once, the good guys won.

And I am snottily proud of this achievement - of his achievement - because I began working for civil rights in the very late '50s. I was a member of CORE (Congress on Racial Equality) and SANE (For a Sane Nuclear Policy) when I was not quite 13 years old.

Hyde Park in Chicago is the neighborhood where the University of Chicago lives, and it's where I grew up. I was raised in the same house as my mother and her four sisters, and I went to the same grammar school (I don't recommend this - they were all VERY bright, and every time I screwed up I was confronted by a very huffy nun informing me that my mother and my aunts would NEVER have done anything that stupid - these were mostly nuns who had actually taught my mother and my aunts on account of nuns don't EVER die).

Hyde Park, however, has another distinction - it was just about the first completely integrated community in America. Well, a lot of Africans studied political science there, and went to the medical school there...and it just sort of happened that way. (This is the way it seemed to me growing up there from my perspective now - as a child, because integration was a normal state of things to me, I never paid any attention at all. For all I know, the integration was, in fact, planned - but it certainly never seemed that way - it was just a thing that - well, it just WAS.)

Now, I've always thought that a great deal of prejudice springs from the thought that 'These people aren't as good as we are." This was impossible in Hyde Park. I mean, when the couple in the married students' house over your back fence are a prince and princess of their own country, and they are, particularly in full tribal robes on their way to a University function, the most stunningly gorgeous pair you've ever seen in your life, and they are way richer than you are, and they're on their way home to rule a country as soon as they complete their doctorates in political science...um, prejudice kind of doesn't work. Drooling adulation and envy work just fine, however. I prayed for years that I'd wake up black one morning so that I too could be that gorgeous, brilliant and rich.

So as soon as I woke up to the way the rest of the nation treated black people, I thoroughly lost my temper about it and started working for civil rights. And in later years, I worked for gay rights (well, you know - drag queens are better looking than I am, too). Then I took a much closer look at war - and I started fighting against that particularly idiotic activity, too.

I mean, really - can you think of anything more stupidly wasteful than war? Ruins the countryside, ruins the buildings, knocks out (see World War I) damn near an entire generation of young men - what an absolutely brainless way to settle differences. I have always (I mean always since I started thinking about it of course - I don't think I was that into it at say, two years old) thought that if two heads of state decide to go to war, they should fight it out on their own. Wouldn't that be better? Pistols for two at dawn? With, naturally, the vice presidents as seconds. The people who fight the war the way war is fought now don't have any personal connection with their enemies. Let the ones who're angry at each other work off their animosities with each other without involving 19 year olds for God's sake.

Oh, well, I got lost in there somehow. But oh, my God, what a glorious night. What a goddamn fucking glorious night.

Now, my children, let's all get ourselves together and help our new President out. Do what he asked. Help us pull together as a nation and work out our problems. Because, as the man said:


Love, Wendy

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Day, Another Cold Beer

So I worked this morning, until 12:30 pm - that would be from 7:30 am. I don't mind these seminar things in the summer, but getting up at 5 am and leaving the house in darkness leaves a lot to be desired, particularly when it's cold and wet out. This one was about Dealing with Difficult People. I tuned out...if the difficult person is your superior, just say yes. If the difficult person is below you on the totem pole, just say do it and shut up. This doesn't need seven hours of explanation. (For those of you anal retentive types out there counting, I was able to leave before the seminar ended, okay? I know 7:30 to 12:30 doesn't add up to 7 hours. Now shut up and go alphabetize your spices.)

Meanwhile, I have been plunged into a positive whirlwind of activity. Tomorrow and Saturday, I will be doing a "meet and greet" at Niketown at 57th and Madison. This has something to do with the Marathon on Sunday, although God knows what. All I know is that I will be meeting and greeting from 10 am to 7 pm both of those days. No, I have no idea whatsoever of what this might involve at a sneaker store. "Hi. Greetings. Those are shoes. Buy some." Damned if I know.

Friday, of course, I'll be mailing off packages to the four corners of the earth over by the UN, as usual. I wish to hell that damn job was over - not that I don't enjoy it, in a way, because I do. Compared with meeting people in a shoe store (I still don't understand this) or signing them up for idiot seminars on things they should already know, it's absolutely stress-free. I mean, hell, once you remember how to spell Addis Ababa and Burkina Faso, you're good to go. But the problem is that it ties me up every Friday when I might get a full week's work, you see. Ah, well.

Then tomorrow night I will run (wrong choice of words here) from Niketown to Christopher Street to see my pal Margot in her new band, which should be interesting - the gig is at the Stonewall, into which I have never set foot. My first husband and I were at the original Stonewall on our honeymoon, the year before the riots. (Yes, well, it wasn't actually your best marriage.)

Friday night, of course, I will be holding up the sidewalk at the Halloween Parade. I was at the very first Halloween Parade when it started over here in the West Village as a walk for small children and their parents, and I've missed very few since. Sarah went to it from the first year she was alive, for heaven's sake. It's gotten totally out of hand, of course, but it's still fun. And this year Sarah is going to be in it as a refrigerator, and my pal Jiggers and his nutty marching band too (they're stalwarts of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade), so it should be fun.

Saturday night I'll be running (yeah, right) from Niketown to the East Village to drop in at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and pick up my long awaited video of the show I did there last year, just about this time.

And Sunday I am going to relax happily with Tiger Lily and the Boss for their marathon watching/welcome home from the honeymoon bash! So a busy weekend.

And on Monday I am taking the day off, no matter what my temp agencies think, and getting new pictures done - in color! Yahoo! My pal Tom, who is my go to guy for all things cinematic (in professional terms, that is) told me that I was quite probably right in thinking that the reason I was getting nowhere fast with getting background work is that my picture is in black and white. Yeah, it's petty as hell, but evidently casting people just toss b/w pix right out without even bothering to look at them. This is terribly difficult for any old time stage actress to understand, because we were all taught that color pictures were the absolute HEIGHT of vulgarity - suitable only for "those movie people." (You can actually check this out by looking at old photos of stage actors as opposed to movie actors - all the stage actors are in black and white.) Then, of course, we discovered what those "movie people" were making. Hoo, hah. Did we ever get the hell off of our high horses in one fast hurry. Anyway, my current headshot has me with a short auburn pixie cut, and my hair is now dark brown and well past my shoulders - so it's time anyway. I had the great good sense to schedule this shoot for 2 in the afternoon - after a solid three days of work and party followed by a day of party, I'm really, REALLY going to need those hours Monday morning to completely reorganize my face and change it from the grayish frayed puddle I confidently expect it to be to the bright shining visage that is its normal state. (Aw, shut up - a girl can dream, can't she?)

I picked up a copy of the new Food Network magazine today, because I am a food magazine freak. It's not bad, although nothing I'd usually spend money on - my stalwarts are Gourmet, Bon Appetit and Food and Wine - but there was something in there which, for me, absolutely underscored this country's peculiar relationship with food. Now, we've got obesity, yadda, yadda, yadda, eating disorders, yadda, yadda, yadda, organic food....well, you know. Nobody seems to know what the hell to eat or why or when. And here is the Food Network magazine, and they are doing a page on how macaroni and cheese is suddenly back (I hadn't actually been aware that it had gone anywhere much). Which is fine. But one of the things they touted as a wonderful idea was a place some damn where that sells - please, all of you with cholesterol problems, back quietly away from the blog because I don't want to be responsible - macaroni and cheese fritters.

Yes, that's right. They take a large spoonful of something that is made with salt, and full fat cheese, and quite probably evaporated milk, and pasta - AND THEN THEY COAT IT WITH BATTER AND DEEP FRY IT.

Now, let's be fair here. I am nobody to talk about my ascetic eating habits. I was absolutely thrilled to the very core of my being when I noticed that I can get a large container of duck fat at Citarella, because I want to make French fries with it. And anybody who serves me chopped chicken liver without schmaltz (chicken fat, all you gentiles out there) will get the back of my hand.

But I'm sorry. Even though I love fried food, that one is overkill. Rich, creamy mac and cheese, then batter, and then oil...I'm sorry. My teeth feel greasy just thinking about it, and I'm not even wearing them at the moment.

Oh, well, there are more important things to think about right now anyway. I am (of COURSE) going to a party on Tuesday night for the returns. I am so excited about the whole thing I can't see straight. You will find me at the polls the damn instant they open...hell, if I had the chutzpah, I'd fill in my parents' votes too, and they've been dead for years.

I'll tell you one thing I'm worried about, though. When Obama wins...I'm not even entertaining the idea that there might be an if here, even though I know good and damn well there's always an if (see Gore, Al)...I am worried about a backlash among the idiot population. Not here in my nice West Village, necessarily (but hell, if I can almost be mugged in my own front yard, who knows), but in the other boroughs. I do know that the NYPD is already planning a large police presence around and about. Let's just hope that cooler and more intelligent heads prevail.

Meanwhile, I'm gonna party my ass off for the next four days. WHEE!

Love, Wendy

Monday, October 27, 2008

Update On My Broken Lock

My cousin Joshua doesn't listen very well. After all that fuss about the stupid lock on Saturday night, and my insistence on its NOT being locked for safety reasons, he went right ahead and locked the broken lock last night after I went to bed.

Result? When I tried to go and get the papers this morning, I couldn't get OUT of the house.

Well, I made him get up and take the damn lock out of the door - and, just for funsies, he has now got it firmly fixed in his head that everything is MY fault - broken lock, being locked in the house, etc., etc., etc., including, I think, the intruder in the garden, about whom he doesn't seem to be in the least worried. After all, it was only me, not him out there with this guy. (I should mention that I'm a rather mild claustrophobe, but it gets unmild real fast when I realize I'm locked in a house out of which I cannot get, so you can imagine I was NOT in the best of moods at this point.) And who in the hell decides to lock a broken lock without testing that it can be opened, for God's sake?


Love, Wendy

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wedding Leftovers and A Couple of New Things

I forgot last time (because I was so busy reliving that raw bar, I think) to mention our quite bizarre train ride to Long Island.

Sarah's boyfriend Seth, my friend Caesar and I all took the train out to Port Jefferson. The first half of the trip was uneventful (except for Caesar, who is as urban a product as I am, doing a variation of are we there yet? which made me want to smack him one). However, after we changed trains at Huntington, things got extremely peculiar.

We got on the train and sat down, only to discover that we were about three rows back from one of the nelliest drag queens I have seen in years (the type has gone out of style). He was wearing a full length very fluffy fox fur coat, I may add. He had somehow hooked up with two young college students (I think they were 21, since going to a bar after they got off the train was mentioned, but they sure as hell couldn't have been any older) who were theatre majors, and the three had (in separate productions) all done The Rocky Horror Show. The children, naturally, had done Brad and Janet, and the drag queen had done Frank N. Furter.

Well, they were having a hell of a time. They ran through the score of the show - I actually thought for a minute that they were going to do the Time Warp in the aisle (in which I would definitely have joined - I love Rocky Horror).

So they were enjoying themselves thoroughly, and the drag queen was giving them little snippets of his act - he did a wonderful Joan Rivers routine - when all of a sudden a man who was sitting across the aisle from them broke into the conversation (which he'd been following with every evidence of enjoyment) to announce that they probably had heard of him - he was the guy who had his face bitten off by a Rottweiler. No, please don't ask me why he thought this would be a great intro to the other three. It was just wildly bizarre and came totally out of left field.

At this point the train was coming into Port Jefferson and we were all - kids, drag queen, the three of us and Rottweiler man - standing by the door to get off, while the Rottweiler gent entertained us with a description of his injuries and the operations it took to fix his face (I think he said that his lips were grafted from his kneecaps, but I was REALLY trying not to listen to this). By the way, the drag queen was getting increasingly huffy on account of the attention was off her...and we all got off the train and trooped off to our various destinations. I was actually kind of sorry the drag queen wasn't one of the wedding guests, but these things happen.

And last night, Sarah and Seth and I went to Spiegeltent to see Absinthe! It was wonderful. It was also extremely filthy in spots, and hysterically funny. The host and hostess were directly out of Cabaret - decadent Wiemar Republic stuff - and they did things with bananas I wouldn't even try to describe. Then there was the lady who did the little dance/strip with the enormous blown-up condom, ending up wearing a tasteful spangled G-string and burst condom bits...that's a little hard to explain, too, particularly how she got herself all the way inside it. And wonderful acrobats, including a ten year old who has to be seen to be believed (no cliches, here). The tickets were a wonderful present - a million thanks, Ross (and Gill)!

Then I got home and was trying to get the damn door unlocked, since Joshua insists on locking the middle lock, which means I have to futz with two keys instead of one, when I heard a rustling in the shrubbery. (Nobody has to bring us a shrubbery in my garden - we've got tons.) Well, there CERTAINLY should NOT have been any rustling out there (the wind had died down), so I redoubled my efforts with the door - and managed to break the middle lock and get inside, but not before I saw some guy in a grayish hoodie about four feet from me coming in my direction. IN MY DAMN FRONT YARD!

Obviously I got in, obviously I'm unhurt - and I'm damn glad that I broke the stupid middle lock because Caesar and Sarah and I have all told Joshua that it's dangerous, on our quiet and dark street (and don't forget the shrubbery) to have to stand there late at night and fumble with two different keys. NOW he understands. We hope.

The best part, however, was this morning. I went out to get the papers (tastefully attired in my usual Sunday morning get the papers outfit - fuzzy pink and white pajamas and a trenchcoat - elegance lives), and I ran into our horrible next door neighbors, the ones who hate us and once tried to buy Sarah's bedroom from me. In the interests of keeping people aware, I told them about last night, and they both looked at me, half-smiling, and told me that they had seen this guy in the garden about ten minutes before I came home.

I BEG YOUR GODDAM PARDON? You're telling me that you saw an intruder in our gated front garden and did abso-fucking-lutely NOTHING? You didn't call the cops, you didn't go out on your balcony and shout to get him out of there...and this after that meeting with the community affairs cop where you guys were so grown-up and adult and all saying we must all be very careful? You just sort of went, Oh, he's not trying to get into our house, let's go to bed now.

You can be completely sure that I promptly spread this story all over every other one of my neighbors I saw today. These people aren't liked to begin with - now they'll never, ever be flavor of the month.

Can you even imagine this kind of behavior?

Growl. I'm going to go eat dinner. I'm actually quite proud of myself today - I went to the grocery store with my pitiful little stack of money, and managed to get all kinds of food (enough to keep me all week if Joshua doesn't get into it) for exactly $19.57. Two big pork chops, enough chop meat to make three hefty hamburgers, a can of Progresso white clam sauce, which I love, a pack of hot dogs, and a decent amount of salad - and four cans of cat food, because I can't eat all of the above with any kind of satisfaction if I have to keep shoving eager paws off my plate. Obviously, by the way, these main dish sorts of things complement the staples I keep around the house anyway - I've got rice to go with pork chops and salad, and potatoes to go with a hamburger and salad, and pork and beans to go with hot dogs and even some frozen chicken to go with whatever's left over. So I'm set. Bored, but set.

Now, will somebody please ask me out to dinner? (I'm easy - Per Se will do nicely.)

Love, Wendy

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Wedding of the Century!

Well, yes, it's taken me some time to recover from the bash. Also, things I have learned today: It's useful to open the can of beer when you are planning to drink out of it. (Yeah, well, it's been a long, dull week.)

So last Saturday we got Saint Tiger Lily and the Boss married off. It was glorious! And the ropes they used to drag The Boss to the altar perfectly matched the bridesmaid's dresses...I love these little touches in a wedding, don't you?

No, really. What a gorgeous day. The weather was chilly, but beautiful...bright blue sky, white fleecy clouds, threat of snow...all right, it wasn't THAT chilly.

And the Tiger Lily was the absolute ultimate in gorgeous. Of course, if you start out seventeen feet tall with a stunning figure and miles of gorgeous wavy hair, you could probably wear an old trenchcoat to get married, but this dress was totally amazing. Heavily embroidered with a corset back and a fishtail train...just unbelievably beautiful. And The Boss was equally gorgeous...well, he's a handsome guy to begin with, and I am of the mind that men always look their best in black tie anyway. And their mothers were gorgeous, and their fathers were gorgeous, and the flower girls were adorable (too young to be gorgeous), and the bridesmaids were gorgeous...moss green satin, a color that looks absolutely wonderful on Sarah, who was...um, gorgeous. Do I seem, perhaps, to be overworking the word a bit? Well, it was gorgeous. So there.

They were married outdoors at an inn on the water on Long Island, with dancing boats on the water. Then we went to a wonderful huge steakhouse/golf club for the reception, which had something I suggest for every restaurant in the whole world, which was an outdoor fireplace. For us smokers, this was absolutely brilliant. Think of it! Rather than shivering by the dustbins (usually the smoker's unhappy lot), you strolled out to the chairs in front of the huge woodburning fireplace. I can't imagine how you'd do this in Manhattan, but it was wonderful and I think all restauranteurs should look into it right away. The only thing missing (about which several of us commented) was ingredients for making S'mores. Well, there was all that wedding cake. I still think a tasteful tray of graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows (with a nice ginger jar of sticks for the marshmallows) would have been a great idea.

And oh, my God, the food. A raw bar, which is only my favorite thing to eat in the whole sidereal universe...piles and piles and piles of raw clams and oysters and shrimp and lobster (the last two cooked, of course) and sushi (which I ignored because I don't care for sushi - raw fish I love with a passion, but I'm not much on rice). But who cared about sushi with all those clams and oysters and shrimp and lobster...not to mention the yummy trays of little hot goodies that kept coming by, particularly the foie gras thingy on the toast (I may perhaps have looked a little eager on that particular one, hanging on to the waitress' ankle as I was...).

Then we got to dinner, and the filet mignon...well, the whole thing was spectacular as hell.

And what great people! Just the most intelligent, amusing group you could find anywhere...including a lovely French-Canadian gent who turned out to be staying with my old boss from the UN! (Hey, get old enough, meet enough people, things connect up in the oddest ways.)

In case it hasn't become clear yet, I had the most wonderful time. I do have a minor quibble...I think Tiger Lily and The Boss have relatives who are much too tall. I was making my manners to the parents, of course, and everywhere I looked, I kept seeing a forest of waistlines...and, which was even more upsetting, none of them weighed more than 12 pounds apiece. You want to see a pair of knock your eye dead gorgeous women, the mothers of the bride and groom were something to look at - each of them eight feet tall and 106 pounds. Amazing.

And I even managed to please my child with my choice of clothing. I originally had three choices, one of which was a suit, which I sure as hell wasn't wearing for a Saturday wedding (oh, yeah, sorry - had to go to the office today). The other two were perfectly serviceable cocktail dresses, except both of them screamed, "Hi! I'm a dumpy middle aged woman who hasn't bought a cocktail dress in 20 years! Glad to meet you!" (Yes, I know I haven't, in fact, bought a cocktail dress in about 20 years, but it's not necessarily how I wish to be seen by perfect strangers. All these two dresses needed was a fox fur stole with the snout and feet dangling down.) So I finally had a brilliant thought and hauled out my black and white taffeta Audrey Hepburn dress and wore it with a red cardigan with jeweled buttons (thanks for the loan, Sarah!) and red flats - this last because I hate, hate, hate doing all the standing about chatting one does at weddings in heels, and that dress is really the wrong length to wear anything but flats (although given the attack of the 12 foot mothers, I really, really bemoaned the lack of heels for a minute there - then it occurred to me that I'd have to wear 14 inch heels to get anywhere near face to face with them and quit worrying about it - and had comfy feet all night).

So I looked lovely, even though I had another thought about an outfit, but I'm saving it for Sarah's next elegant occasion...it involves a microminiskirt with split crotch panties. And of course my Wonderbra. Naturally I'm saving this little number for my kid - I wouldn't EVER do a thing like that to the Tiger Lily! (Mainly because she'd never feed me again...and I couldn't live with that at all.)

I must say it did occur to me just then that it's really pretty silly to worry about what you're wearing to a wedding (unless it's yours). Obviously one doesn't turn up in jeans, but face it - people are looking at the bride, to begin with. And then, I have never in my life known a wedding that didn't come equipped with odd relatives wearing the gown that turned up in the mothballs in the attic or ancient ladies in orthopedic shoes. You're bound to look better than that no matter what the hell you put on. And if it's going to be a really dull wedding - you know, your fifteenth cousin marrying the guy who got such a good job at the gas station (reception at the Moose Lodge!) - well, what the hell. Go with the split crotch panties. You never wanted to see any of those relatives again anyway.

God bless the Tiger Lily and The Boss - they throw one HELL of a party!

Love, Wendy