Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I have actually started cleaning my bedroom. This, of course, is why I am sitting at the computer talking to all of my loyal takes me a LONG time to work up to actually cleaning something, and I find it absolutely necessary to take many, many beer and cigarette breaks before I actually finish the job.

But I have cleared off the balcony chair that was sitting in my room piled with various people's laundry and delivered said laundry to its rightful owners...Sarah, Joshua, me and the linen closet. I have made a stab at clearing up some of the books that have fallen to the floor during various periods of A. depressed boredom and B. insomnia (both of these conditions require large amounts of reading material). The ironing board is momentarily not open (largely because I needed to get to the bookshelf). And the balcony chair has been returned to the balcony where it belongs. And there is a load of laundry in the washer which I am about to pull out and put in the dryer.

Now, isn't all this enterprising of me? It began to occur to me (later by far than it would have occurred to anyone else, I'm sure) that maybe the reason I felt so laden down was because I kept waking up to the horrendous mess in my room (I believe this is covered in Psych 101 for 19 year old freshmen in college, but I'm a little slow). So, what the hell...I'll give it a try.

Meanwhile, my temp guy called today to ask if I wanted to take a test at a new law firm (I mean, new to me). On the list of things I want to do, that one comes right below trekking through the Amazon with nothing but a compass and a backpack (I feel nature has its place - preferably not near me - nature doesn't come equipped with taxis and all night delis, which are necessary to my wellbeing).

You have no idea of the horror of these tests. Yes, I can run a computer. Yes, I have taken a course in advanced word processing. But Chris sent me a list of what was on this test, and it included the following:

Rebuild a document. I have no idea what this means. None, nothing, nada. I assume they mean the formatting is taken out and you have to put it back together, but I've never even heard the term before.

Do a three column table with decimal spacing and paragraph Word. For those of you who do this sort of thing, my hat is off to you. I can run Excel very nicely, thank you. It has neat little buttons that say format cell and a three column table takes about 5 minutes. Doing it in Word is the most cumbersome damn thing you can imagine, and the decimals are a bitch and a half to sort out. And I haven't the remotest notion what a paragraph border even is, unless they mean me to go into borders and shading on the tool bar, which I presume they do. Well, why?

Then it gets really impossible. I won't even bore you with the rest of it, but I will tell you that me attempting to do this stuff would be a disaster of epic proportions. Trust me...I've done these tests. They are ghastly.

So I emailed Chris thanks, but no thanks. If I could do this kind of thing, I would be working in a word processing center making 30 bucks an hour, for God's sake, which is why I took the course to begin with. Aaargh.

I have so many's just that most of them don't involve computers. Why can't I get a job where I just sit and type all day? I like doing that. It's nice and mindless. I can easily sail through miles and miles of legal and/or financial jargon without missing a beat. It's just that when they want to fancy it up that it gets nasty.

Ah, well. Clothes into the dryer, clothes into the washer. I have actually been trying to do laundry for some time here, but I seem to be last in line...every time I try, somebody else is in there with their laundry. I'm deeply afraid that my tiny little washer is going to go on strike, and we can't have that. I mean, in the increasingly remote case that I might possibly get a job, clean underwear is pretty much a necessity, isn't it?

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Actual News!

Well, my, my, my.

So I got the role I auditioned for last Saturday...isn't that cool? I haven't done a damn thing since my last show closed Thanksgiving weekend. I'm playing two roles. I cannot figure out why in the name of God I ALWAYS seem to be playing two roles, and I prefer to think that they just can't get enough of my enormous, scintillating talent. Anyone else who has any other ideas on the subject can just shut up. (Oh, you know...ideas like, it's cheaper because they then only have to pay the Equity showcase stipend to one person instead of, no, it's my talent, of course.)

In fact, this one looks interesting - I'm playing a hash house waitress with a heart of gold AND an alcoholic foster mother who is ignoring the fact that her husband is trying to get it on with the foster children. These are both extremely playable. Of course, one never knows - I've been in some real ghastlies that looked extremely good at first. One never know, do one?

And then our friend Vicky called to ask me to do an art installation for her on Thursday night, wherein I'll sit in a waiting room for four hours. Yes, well - I can't quite get used to the new world of art. In (I think) Germany at the moment, there are six or seven people sitting around a museum for five days or something with lice in their hair. This was described by the participants (or one of them) as, "Well, we are living in the museum and the lice are living in our hair." Um, okay. I think I'll go to the Met and look at some nice Impressionists. This doesn't sound like art - this sounds like people in need of Rid and a cootie comb. And probably apartments.

Meanwhile no temp jobs. Sarah suggested that I call Liz the crazy temp lady, and I think I will...God knows there's not much money in it, but clearly not much is better than entirely none, right? And the jobs I get from Liz are a hell of a lot more fun than sitting in a damn law office all day. For Liz, I've worked the Big Apple Circus, stuffed gift bags at the Apollo Theatre, and invariably been given free can't beat that. And on most of her jobs, I can wear jeans. This is also cool. Although Liz, bless her, is certifiable...when I was working for her full time, I used to get these bizarre calls, like "Wendy! How tall are you? No, sorry, you can't be over five feet." Click. Or, "Listen, can you stand on Madison Avenue in a carrot suit for four days?" Like I said, it doesn't pay much, but it's certainly interesting.

So in an excess of boredom, I slept most of yesterday, with the result, of course, that when I went to bed last night I read my way through three books (I'm a freak speed reader) and finally fell asleep at 5:45 this morning in full daylight. This is not particularly useful.

And I've been reading CNN - due to the fact that my grandfather was a newspaper man, I think, I'm a total news freak. The latest thing to catch my eye (aside from that truly horrific story of the man who kept his daughter in the basement for 24 years and fathered seven children off her, while his wife seemingly knew nothing about it - what on earth did he tell her about why her daughter suddenly disappeared, I wonder?) is a story about yet another high school kid with plans for blowing up his school and everyone in it. The kid is quoted as saying, "I want to die and go to heaven and kill Jesus." For some reason, the authorities seem to think it might be a good idea to get the kid a psychological evaluation. You think, maybe? Gee. I wonder how long it took said authorities to figure this out.

I also wonder precisely what this kid was taught about the whole concept of heaven. I realize that I come at this with the dregs of my Catholic girlhood dragging behind me in tattered folds, but somehow I can't quite imagine how ANYONE could contemplate killing X number of people with the idea that he would then go to heaven. Unless, of course, the person is a fanatic suicide bomber. But they don't believe in Jesus. So you kind of have to assume that this kid has some sort of Christian background, and...well, you see my problem.

Of course, I don't understand any of what goes on in schools today anyway. I guess what I really don't understand is exactly how we became so horribly willing to settle everything on earth by killing somebody. In my day (could you get me my walker, please?), if you had a beef with somebody, you met up with him after school and fought him - you know, like punching him. And it's not like there weren't guns around - we had (well, no, not me) things like zip guns, and there were switchblades, but nothing like the wholesale slaughter we have now. And I assure you it wasn't that we didn't have drugs. I have a ghastly suspicion, and it seems to be being brought out in research recently, that all these damn drugs people seem to casually feed their kids these days are backfiring badly.

I just feel that present parents are a whole hell of a lot better than pills for a kid. I certainly believe that if you have a real problem, then see a doctor. But I would be damned wary if somebody started prescribing shit for my three year old - and you better believe they're doing it. And you know, if you feel that your lifestyle is such that both of you have to work 14 hours a day...why are you having children and handing them over to nannies? Why bother? If you never see your kids, what on earth are they there for? Kids need parents...not doctors or nannies.

Oh, well. Armageddon will arive whether we like it or not, so we might as well enjoy ourselves until it gets here. Now I have to figure out how to play drunk. What a great excuse for a beer.

Love, Wendy

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What I Forgot Before

I'm sure you'll be delighted to know that my cousin Joshua is a trained nutritionist. Let me rephrase that. He THINKS he's a trained nutritionist.

His latest two teachings on the subject, which I'm sure we should all take to heart and incorporate into our diet, are these.

Always take all the skin off your chicken, because "I don't eat animal fats." Refuse to have it explained to you that steak contains animal fats. Eat steak constantly, under the impression that it has no fat...presumably because it's not covered in chicken skin.

Refuse to drink non-diet Coke, because "I don't want the caffeine." Drink two cups of non-decaf coffee every morning and sometimes another couple in the afternoon. Also drink up all your cousin's diet Coke, without which she cannot face the morning.

A few of his other words to live by...don't buy the New York Times because it costs too much. Completely ignore the fact that your cousin is sitting at the kitchen table with the price of said paper in her hand for you when you go to the deli and buy the News and the Post. It's a matter of principle, after all.

Whenever you feel that you need to do laundry, go right ahead. When your clothes are ready for the dryer, take out whatever may be in the dryer at the time, failing to notice whether it's dry or not. Dump damp laundry on foot of cousin's bed to mildew away.

And, my favorite. Refuse to be convinced that there is a way to get out of the shower without leaning 180 pounds of weight onto the towel bar, and rip it out of the wall every time you shower. How klutzy does one have to be to be incapable of getting out of a damn shower unaided?

Love, Wendy


And that title was meant as an expletive. Honestly, felines are the most annoying (adorable) creatures in the world. There is absolutely nothing better than to settle in one's bed with a good book and a purring cat or, in this case three...until one of the cats (you know who you are, damn it, Blackfoot) decides that the best place to do the purring is directly on one's face. Or someone decides your face needs a very thorough washing (uh, huh, Tarbaby) - or someone decides to fart horrendously (well, Gypsy, I know you're old).

And when two black cats suddenly, after a good six months, suddenly decide that the food you're feeding them is not to their liking. I decided to try Blackfoot and Tarbaby on Alley Cat instead of Meow Mix because, to be blunt, Alley Cat is $2.69 a good sized bag and Meow Mix is $5.79 for the same size. And the bastards (well, they're both ex-boys - can't say bitches) have been eating it perfectly happily - up until this week. They have suddenly decided they aren't so thrilled with it. They make their displeasure known by driving me nuts by climbing on the kitchen table and diving at my food and in general acting like they haven't been fed in a year or two. Since they're still eating the Alley Cat, this is damn silly and I refuse to give in to it. Until, of course, I can afford to go back to Meow Mix because I figure three bucks every three weeks or so is a small price to pay for having my dinner in relative peace and quiet. (Gypsy eats Fancy Feast because, poor old girl, she only has one tooth left in her head and needs soft food - I wouldn't want you to think she was starving!)

And I've had a busy weekend, against all odds. Against all odds because my paycheck for the one day I worked week before last earned me a paycheck of ten bucks and change. This, of course, is because they took out the $118 for my insurance. You read that right...ten bucks. I ran immediately to Prada and bought my entire summer wardrobe...wouldn't you? This coming week, as I worked two whole days, I should get as much as maybe ninety bucks. I'm deeply excited. However, those rebate checks go out as of tomorrow, and according to an article I read, my Social Security number will make mine one of the first to go out. Let us pray...

Oh, about my weekend. I went to an audition on Saturday, at which they seemed to like me quite a bit, which means absolutely nothing...and I'm not at all sure I want to get involved with this thing anyway. It's a dues-paying company, to which I object. Do you know that there are theatre companies out there which charge you as much as a hundred a month to have the privilege of being cast in their shows? Somehow I think that as a dues-paying member of Actors Equity, this is wrong...but the audition clearly stated Equity and non-Equity, and my union affiliation is clearly stated on my resume...well, we shall see. I must say the notion of me as a hash-slinging broad who lives in a trailer park is slightly startling, but what the hell. Toss me the script, I'll play it. Admittedly, it's a bit of a departure from Shakespeare, but if you attempted to type cast me from the roles I've played, you would find yourself in a VERY weird space. Let's see...a Monty Python-esque lecturer, a deranged mother with three personalities, Gertrude in Hamlet, a madam running a massage parlor, Kate in Taming of the Shrew, a repressed lonely spinster, Mistress Ford in Merry Wives of Windsor, a prostitute who kills her johns...yeah. Oh, and 63 who looks 45 to 50 on stage. I'm just a teensy weensy bit hard to categorize. (Theatre whore will do nicely - got a part? I'll do it...)

Then today I went off more or less with my pal Tom Godfrey (another Richard III survivor), to see a show in which a third survivor was appearing (not to mention a couple of other friends of mine) over at Theatre for the New City. I say I more or less went with Tom because he somehow got confused and went to the wrong show (there are always two or three running at TNC). Anyway we caught up with each other and our friend Zen (a wonderful talented man) and had a lovely time.

Joshua is having fits (what else is new) because he tried to offload some of his old clothes onto Mel and she was not noticeably thrilled. Somehow it didn't occur to him that Mel is about my height (I guess she's around 5'4"), and what on earth he thought she was going to do with his stuff is completely beyond me, Joshua being six feet tall...I'm sure Mel will give me the whole story tomorrow.

I can't decide what to do about tomorrow yet - I mean where to set my mind. (There isn't any more room on the bedside table.) I'm trying to figure out whether to plan a lovely day in bed with several books and cats listening to the rain, or whether to set the alarm and get up and take a shower and get everything ready in case they call me for a job. I always think that if I have nice plans for being home, I'll get a call, and if I'm ready to go, I won't...but then again, the weather's going to be lousy, so of course I should logically get a call because nobody else wants to go out...but maybe if I...

Ah, the hell with it. Bed and book. I won't think about it today, I'll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.

Love, Scarlett O'Hara (otherwise known as Wendy)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What's On My Mind Tonight

Well, actually, very little is on my mind, but that's hardly earth-shaking news, now is it?

Why doesn't someone make a room spray that smells like onions frying in butter? Is there anything on earth that smells better? (I made a hamburger with lots of fried onions for dinner.) I keep seeing all these room sprays that smell like daffodils and clean linen and sunlight on your underwear and God knows what all - which they don't actually smell like, by the way - they smell like room spray. But think of the possibilities with a room spray that smelled like onions and butter! You could come racing in from work, spray the kitchen hastily, and then sit down at your leisure to have a drink and a cigarette and look at the mail, and when your family wanders in looking for dinner, you smile sweetly and tell them it's in the oven. I mean, are they actually going to check to see that the oven's on? Of course, you then have to get up in one fast hurry and actually cook dinner, but you've probably had a good twenty minutes to organize yourself there.

I see in News of the Weird that the guy who sold the guns to the Virginia Tech madman is now selling guns at cost to "prevent further tragedies." Eh? His notion, evidently, is that if everyone is armed, people will think twice about shooting each other. Has he never heard of wars? You know, where everybody has a gun and everybody shoots each other? Good God.

Meanwhile, I'm no longer speaking to my temp agency guy, with whom I was so in love a couple of days ago...this is because my week long job (and my sightings of Saint Tiger Lily!) ended after two days. If you are counting, this means one day of work last week and two days of work this week. While this has been a lovely opportunity to avail myself of the gorgeous weather and go trotting about here and there, I would much rather condense my trotting about into the weekend, and have some money to finance it. Growl.

Today's trotting took me to a place where I have to be very careful. I went to Broadway Panhandler, and if I'm not careful I wander around drooling and emitting little moans of desire at everything I see...this makes the employees nervous. I don't know why...I wouldn't be bothered by a slavering, moaning person pawing at my pots and pans and going, "Ooooh...mmmm....aaah...." all over the place. I'd just calmly and quietly follow her around the store with a handy butterfly net. But, oh my God...the knives! The cookware! The gadgets! The...the everything of it all! Slurp. Moan. Deep hot desire...

Speaking of deep hot desire, one of my cats just tongue kissed me right on the mouth (I kept it firmly closed, I may add). Now I know I've been rabbiting on about my lack of a sex life, but really...this is a perfect example of the old proverb or whatever it is - be careful what you ask for, you may get it. Now when I think, gee, I'd love somebody to kiss, I will make it EXTREMELY clear precisely what species I have in mind.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hey! I Got Work!

Well, my, my, my. I take back everything I said about my temp agency guy. I woke up Monday morning, was just about to go get the papers and moomph around the house attempting to get into the mood to clean something, when lo and behold, my cell phone rang - and there it was - a lovely job. A whole week and maybe more and at a better rate than the one I had. Of course, now that I think of it, I would never have gotten the job if I hadn't told the guy who to call - but still, who cares how I got it. I got it.

And I like the location - it's at 55th and Madison, and I can get a bus practically to the door. It has Syms around the corner, and a Pret A Manger, and Citicorp Center at 53rd and Lex which includes a nice big Barnes and Noble. And, unlike the other firm, it has lovely coffee on every floor and microwaves on every floor! The other place had coffee only every other floor, and no microwaves whatsoever (some damn fool of a partner had complained about the all-pervading smell of popcorn). And if I want to really drive myself crazy, all the stores on 57th Street are two blocks away, and I can go and dream in the windows of Chanel and Burberry.

Meanwhile, on the home front, the girls are finishing up their various home improvement jobs and preparing to move to Arizona. And you know those nice freshly painted kitchen cabinets? Well, Joshua found a spot on one of them and cleaned it so well he took the paint off. Don't ask. We are talking here about a man who once destroyed a light switch in the downstairs bathroom by driving it into the wall with his elbow. No, nobody can figure out how he managed to do this. Joshua can get himself into some extremely weird situations. For instance, every now and then I feed the dead cat in the downstairs bathroom, usually because when I come home from work I don't feel like climbing upstairs immediately, and if she's not fed right away, she shrieks unbearably when I'm trying to relax. So I feed her on a little glass plate downstairs. Well, Joshua complains about the fact that I tend to leave the plate there and he steps on it and breaks it (we have several of these little plates). Why he can't look where he's going is completely beyond me...not to mention the fact that I put the plate mostly under a little stand next to the sink. I don't even want to try and imagine the contortions that would be necessary for him to even get his foot under there, but he does it. But I guess a man who can take the paint off a cabinet cleaning it and drive a light switch into a wall trying to turn it off has powers we mere mortals don't understand.

I am sleepy...and I think I will go to bed.

Love, Wendy

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Update on Marienbad

Just checked good old IMDB. Last Year At Marienbad was 1961, not 1959. Doesn't make much difference - I was a pretty insufferable 16 year old, too.

Love, Wendy

Burbling With Delight

I have finally seen Ratatouille! (Hey, not only can I spell it, I make a damn fine one when the proper ingredients are in season - i.e., around August.)

You have to understand that I prefer not to go to movies alone, and that my taste in movies is peculiar. I am not in the least interested in the latest car chase epic, or the latest spy movie, or - God forbid - the latest romantic comedy. (They only make me deeply depressed. Well, you know - imagine going to a romantic comedy alone on Saturday night. This would depress a rhinoceros.) Every now and then I can drag Caesar off with me, and Sarah and I (of COURSE) see all Harry Potters (and I can't wait for the new Indiana Jones), but usually I just wait for things to turn up on cable, which really has a lot of advantages.

The advantages are:

1. Nobody cares if I wear my bathrobe.

2. I can have an ashtray right next to me at all times.

3. I can have a beer next to me at all times.

4. I don't have to pay some bizarre price for popcorn.

5. If it turns out I don't like the movie, I have my remote right there and I can turn it off and go read a book, without feeling that I've got to sit there or waste 11 dollars.

So, since I couldn't get anybody to go with me, I waited for Ratatouille. Oh, boy. Yes, I know I'm the last person in the world to see this, but if you love food and terrific animation, please rent it immediately. I am charmed right out of my socks - or would be were I wearing socks at the moment. It's a pure delight.

Oh, and other odd movies I adore? There's another animated movie that I actually went out and bought because I loved it so much, and it's called the Triplets of Belleville. Please go find this. It is extremely wonderful. It is the story of a young man who is a French bicycle racer - Tour de France stuff - who lives with his grandmother. He is kidnapped (as are many other bicycle racers) by an evil consortium of people who want to harness his bicycle racing skills to use as power for their cinema machine. And his poor elderly grandmother goes out to find him. The Triplets of Belleville are three extremely ancient ladies who sing in nightclubs whom the grandmother finds along the way and who become instrumental in saving the grandson. And the best part about it is that there is precisely one spoken word in the whole movie. It is very difficult to explain and just wonderful.

Recently I discovered that a movie from my youth was playing at the Film Forum and dragged Caesar and another friend off to see it - neither of them had. It's from 1959, I'm pretty sure, when we were all into French movies (and horrendously full of ourselves, we baby beatniks - certainly we wouldn't go see an American movie - feh), and it remains, on this second viewing some - oh, my God, I just subtracted. 49 years ago? Yes,'ll have to excuse me here while I go make a reservation for the Village Nursing Home.

Anyway, the movie is by Alain Resnais, and it's called Last Year At Marienbad, and it caused a HUGE furor when it came out because nobody could figure out what the hell it was about. As it appears on screen, there is a woman and a man and a strange sort of resort place. The man keeps insisting that he and the woman had an affair last year at Marienbad. She keeps insisting that she doesn't know him. She has a husband who keeps playing a game with matchsticks in the lounge of this place. There are other people about. Sometimes they gossip. It's in black and white with very hard edges. You don't know whether they had an affair, whether they may be having one now, whether the husband knows, whether anybody knows anything, and the camera keeps panning along these long echoing baroque hallways in this place and into the formal gardens, which are mostly empty of anything except statuary and grass and it opens with a voice repeating various sentences while panning through the empty baroque halls...well, as I said, my taste in movies is strange. I love this thing, and, unlike many things you loved when you were fourteen, by God, it holds up. It's just as fascinating and maddening as it was when I first saw it. (And if it occurs to you that I was a horrendously precocious fourteen year old, you would be absolutely right.) I recommend it. Rent it, if only to be maddened by it. You won't forget it.

And the last oddity on my list is a documentary, which is just the most delightful thing ever. I must tell you that I am a ballet freak, and took it for years, even though I am the most untalented dancer ever to attempt a pirouette. When I was doing musical comedy in summer stock, three hundred and seventeen years ago, I was what is called a singer who moves. In my case, that meant a singer who moves as fast as she damn well can to get out of the way of actual dancers and hides behind large pieces of scenery as much as possible. One choreographer informed me that my problem was I couldn't count to eight. Anyway, I still want to be a ballerina. I have reluctantly accepted the fact that this isn't going to happen - my turnout has turned off. But I still keep a pair of ballet, not toe shoes. Never was allowed to get that far. See no talent, above.

This all came about because my mother was a balletomane, and I can't remember a time when we didn't go to the ballet. (Insert a few bars from Chorus Line here...Everything Was Beautiful At The Ballet.) And the first ballet company I ever saw was the Ballet Russe de Monte the late 1940's.

And that's what the documentary was about. I said I was going to see it and Caesar said he'd come along. Well, I wasn't too sanguine about this, because Caesar is a pure opera guy, but I said, sure.

You want to see two people completely enchanted? It turns out that a large chunk of the original Ballet Russe company is still very much alive...and still working. In their 80's and 90's. They are running dance departments at various colleges. They are coaching. And they are a bunch of the most insanely funny and charming individualists you ever want to meet in your life. They tell these incredible stories about touring, and falling in love, and marrying each other and leaving each other and their whole lives. It's utter glory. A lovely Russian lady, still gorgeous at 88 or so, giggles like a girl describing her various love affairs...and as far as I could tell, about six marriages...with absolute glee. A Spanish gentleman tells the story of how his father hated, hated, hated the fact that he was a dancer...and after his father died, he unearthed some old photo albums, filled with pictures of his father, when HE was a dancer. Oh, just go get the damn film.

And I also have a mad thing about 50's movie musicals. No matter how I feel, just give me Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Bandwagon, Singin' in the Rain, or American in Paris, and I am the happiest of campers - until, of course, my horrible child walks in and tells to to quit singing along. Well, hell - they're my party, and I'll sing if I wanna.

Love, Wendy

Friday, April 18, 2008


Spring! Yay! Warm! Yay!

So off I went to lower Broadway to wander around (leaving it rather too late so that every single Japanese tourist was out - oh, well). But I had a lovely time. And I didn't even find a single piece of clothing that turned me on so much that I bewailed my state of poverty! This is a definite plus. Even Ann Taylor Loft was totally devoid of dresses that I consider wearable for me. You see, I think that the nicest thing about summer is that you throw on your underwear and a dress and walk out the door. If you have to then put on a cardigan because the dress is too bare, it sort of ruins the ease of the whole thing. (Yeah, yeah - I know. You need the damn sweater for the air conditioning.)

And of course I had to stop at Dean and DeLuca. How can you NOT stop at Dean and DeLuca? It was, as always, fascinating. I have a recurring dream in which I walk into the place early in the morning when they have just opened and the floor is still a little wet. I slip and fall, and the management (in order to avoid an expensive lawsuit) promptly offers me a $5,000 credit at the store. I buy a pound of steak, a dozen oysters, a pound of ham, and some cheese and realize I am now out of money.

This is fantasy land for foodies. $40 a pound ham. A 10 ounce can of foie gras for $75. $12 candy bars. Who on earth shops here? Obviously I know who shops here - the people who own those six bedroom lofts in Tribeca shop here, that's who. But oh, Lord - food never looked so good. Those glistening slabs of smoked salmon imported directly from Scotland, that fresh caviar, those breads...the fruit that looks as if every piece has been individually polished, even the tiny champagne grapes ($18 per pound). I always feel like Sarah Crewe in The Little Princess, cold and wet in an English winter, standing by the door of the bakery just to smell the aroma. Only in that scene, the nice motherly bakery owner gives her a hot bun. This never happens to me at Dean and DeLuca, damn it.

Proofreading here, I noticed that before I fixed it, I managed to spell Dean and DeLuca three different ways originally. That was interesting. Clearly I'm high on the $30 a pound veal chops.

And to think I almost had the place in the family. My sister-in-law was at one point more or less engaged to the guy who headed up Dean and DeLuca for some years. Unfortunately, she married someone else, for which I have mostly forgiven her - mainly because frankly, the guy was rather a whiny schlub and besides that, I like my brother-in-law very much. But when I think of the missed D&D Christmas gift baskets....sigh.

Love, Wendy

A Whole Bunch of Nothing

Nothing, nothing, nothing. My temp agency isn't getting me a job. This is going to make life fairly ugly a week from today, since I worked exactly one day this week. And somehow I don't think that the new guy assigned to me knows what the hell he's doing. I keep calling him to say I'm available, and he keeps asking me what I consider strange questions, such as, "Well, where have you worked? Who should I call?" Ah, isn't it the AGENCY'S job to find the work? Then I called and left him a message about my experience - which I also should not have had to do, since this is a large temp agency. All of this is on file, for God's sake. Why does he need to ask ME about it? I have a horrible suspicion that he doesn't know how to run a computer...yeeks. Just what I don't need.

Meanwhile I have been doing nothing of any interest whatsoever - unless you're deeply fascinated by the fact that I cleaned up the passive-aggressive garbage in the upstairs bathroom. This is passive-aggressive garbage because I feel that in a house which currently contains four adult human beings, some damn fool ought to be capable of noticing that the bathroom wastebasket is spilling over and DO something about it. This never happens. I am the only one in the house, evidently, to feel that when a wastebasket is spilling stuff all over the place, it should be emptied. Unfortunately what always happens is that I can't take it another single second and do it myself. (One of my extremely few housekeeping moments.)

And Mel and Rebecca painted all the kitchen cabinets! Wow! My kitchen is's so beautiful. I may even get in the mood to cook something, which I haven't done lately because I haven't felt like it.

So without a job, wouldn't you think that I'd be an eager little beaver and clean my room, and do all the ironing, and wash all those towels lying around in Sarah's room? Wrong. I am one of those people who has great difficulty getting anything done unless I have too much to do. What happens is I get in drifting know, I say, well, I've got all this time, and I've got this nice book I'm reading, and since I have nothing that needs to be done right this minute, I might as well curl up with this book...and we all know the end of that story. (It involves snoring.)

However, today, because it's abso-fuckin'-lutely gorgeous out, I am going to trot my aging body over to Soho - lower Broadway, to be specific - and window shop (well, it's not as if I could actually BUY anything), if for no other reason than that it's a great excuse to get out of the house and maybe that will give me enough energy to do something useful when I get home. And there's even something or other on TV tonight (I've forgotten what it is) that made me think, well, that will be fun to watch while I do the damn ironing.

Let's all cross our fingers that I will A. get a call from the damn agency, and B. at least have all my office clothes ironed and neatly hung up so I'll be ready to go when (that's when, damn it, not IF) they do call. If you build it, they will come, right? Riiiight.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Let's not relive yesterday, shall we? Oy.

First of all, just after I went out and spent a large chunk of that lovely tax refund, I was informed that my services were no longer needed at my current temp job - nothing to do with me, you understand - I was basically there because a whole lot of people were out on maternity leave, and now they're all coming back. And my agency didn't yet get me another job.

So I thought, well, I'll get some groceries. And went to the cash machine. Where I discovered that my ATM card was among the missing. Got home, called the last place I used it (Trader Joe's, on Saturday, I thought), and I hadn't left it there. Called Citibank to cancel. They reminded me that I used the card on Sunday at the deli. Not at the deli, either. So I ordered a new ATM card, and they told me it would be here in a week and I should go to a branch bank and get a temporary one.

Then Sarah came over to do her taxes, and I went to look for her tax papers, and found that someone had thrown them out. This would be Cousin Joshua, who throws stuff out without looking at it. He did it to me last year. Luckily, I had my instructions, and between me and Rebecca, we managed to come up with the forms...but at this point it transpired that Joshua had also somehow thrown out one of Sarah's W-2s. (Joshua's method of cleaning is to grab huge armloads of whatever is lying around and dump them, without ever looking at what he's doing. Then he tells you he never touched whatever it was he threw out.)

You have to understand that last night was the night I picked to start drinking non-alcoholic beer, because I have been going just a tad bit overboard with the real stuff. All I can think of is one of the guys in Airplane (I'm pretty sure it's Lloyd Bridges as the air captain they haul out of retirement to help get the plane on the ground) who says, at regular intervals, "Looks like I picked the wrong day to give up smoking." He continues this at intervals with "...give up drinking," and "...give up drugs." That's EXACTLY how I felt. However, by the time I decided the hell with it, I'm gonna get a real beer, the deli had closed, thereby neatly saving me from myself.

So today I trotted off to my local branch bank and got a temporary ATM card and called the agency to annoy them about finding me a job ("I'm terrific! Everybody loves me! I'll work nights! I'll take out the garbage! Need the dog walked?" - I'm shameless). Then, since I was in that direction, I checked out a few stores (the branch bank is at 16th and 5th, and there's Anthropologie and J. Crew and H&M and Old Navy and Payless and Laila Rowe...) and discovered that the only places I can afford (i.e. H&M and Old Navy) have clothes I can't wear. I don't care how casual offices have become - I cannot go traipsing around in a sundress with spaghetti straps or a deep halter neck. Aside from the fact that I'm 63 years old, for God's sake, the air conditioning would freeze me to death. I'm thinking of setting up picket lines for middle aged ladies around all dress designers' places. Our signs would say nothing but "SLEEVES, DAMN IT!!!!" in great big letters. Really. Unless you're Madonna, a middle aged armpit is not attractive (check out the city streets in summer - my point is illustrated perfectly).

And Sarah has (I just discovered via telephone) gathered all the stuff she needs for her taxes and is on her way. Why can't my child learn to do taxes?

I had great plans for tonight...of course, if the damn temp agency doesn't call, I'll have all kinds of time tomorrow to do whatever. Unfortunately, I don't WANT all kinds of time tomorrow, I want a goddamn job. Growl.

Love, Wendy

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Service With A Smile

I have been wondering recently why everyone I know seems to get bad service everywhere they go, and I think I've finally figured it out.

My friend Steve came over tonight and related a story about how awful the service was when he tried to get a new cell phone to replace his lost one. And cousin Joshua goes on at great length about how terrible the service is wherever he goes. And lots of other people I know do this too.

From their stories, I can absolutely see how this happens. All these people relate stories about screaming at the poor person who is trying to serve them, and stomping out, and threatening to call supervisors, and God knows what else.

HEY! Have you ever tried plain old courtesy? I very rarely get bad service from anyone, because I thank people to the point of idiocy, I smile, I acknowledge that they have a rough job. whatever it may be, and I politely wait my turn without rolling my eyes and ostentatiously sighing.

Years ago - just to illustrate my point - I was on my way to a party and I stopped to buy cigarettes. The man behind the counter looked very much like a toad, and grunted in annoyance when I walked in, since I was taking him away from the porn magazine he was happily reading. I said, "May I please have two packs of Marlboros?", and he grunted and got them for me. I paid him, and he grunted, and he gave me the change, and I smiled at him and said "Thank you", and just as I was leaving the store, he said (in a rather grumpy voice), "Nice perfume, lady."

See how easy it is? Please, thank you, may I. Smile. Where on earth did people get this notion that they are kings of the world and the little people must necessarily take their abuse? Just because someone is on one side of the counter and you're on the other doesn't mean that they're somehow subhuman and not as evolved as you are. For all you know, that guy/gal behind the counter may have taken this job to finance their advanced degree in physics.

I mean, really. I thank waiters when they bring my food, and smile at them. And get better service. I always say please to taxi drivers and call them sir, and they don't take me out of my way. Please, thank you, may I.

Trust me. It makes our increasingly awful world one HELL of a lot easier on everyone.

Love, Wendy

Good Morning!

Wow. This income tax refund stuff is terrific.

I absolutely went shopping yesterday. I damn near killed myself, but I got everything I needed...all of which is fairly boring stuff, unfortunately, but absolutely necessary. I started off at Kmart and bought a new wallet. because mine is in pieces, six pair of pantyhose, 10 pair of socks, six pair of underpants, and a nice new summer schmatta for warm day deli runs. I suppose I should explain that last one. First of all, for all you WASPS out there, schmatta is Yiddish for rag. Actually, you hear it fairly often in New York - "I love your dress!" "Oh, this old schmatta?" The word has basically joined the English language - in New York, anyway. And as to why I needed this thing (which is a blue sort of duster thingy that - I hope - doesn't scream "nightgown"), it's because when I get up on weekend mornings I don't necessarily feel like getting dressed immediately. I want to sit and read my papers and drink diet soda. However, in order to read the papers, one must get the papers. This is not a problem in cold weather because I just throw my coat on over my nice flannel nightgown (God, I'm a sexy beast), but since I sleep in old t-shirts in the summer, something else must be done. Ergo, one needs a reasonably polite schmatta. Although we do have one gent who lives around the corner and regularly comes into the deli for coffee in pajamas, bathrobe, and slippers. And I suspect that some of the gals turning up in t-shirts and pajama bottoms are, in fact, wearing their pajamas. I do love a nice family-type corner deli where you can do that.

Then from Kmart I went over to Filene's at Union Square (thanks for the tip, Sarah) and bought myself five whole bras! (Well, of course, whole bras. What the hell can you do with a half bra, except maybe lend it to a male friend who needs a lacy jockstrap for some reason.) I found this deeply exciting - even more so because the prices were great.

And then I finished up in a blaze of glory by hitting Trader Joe's and getting some neat things to eat, like their wonderful frozen crab cakes and some beef taquitos. I also bought some chicken breakfast sausage, because Sarah made these little taco cup things for my birthday and used their jalapeno chicken sausage, and it tasted wonderful. Unfortunately, chicken breakfast sausage is just vile. Luckily it was on sale for 2.99 so I can dump the rest of it without feeling madly guilty, and buy some decent pork sausage when I go over to do the actual mundane grocery shopping at Associated later. (Cat food, plain old ordinary sandwich bread, sliced ham, toilet paper - they have organic toilet paper at Trader Joe's. Organic toilet paper tends to be extremely crunchy. Crunchy is a quality I want in fried chicken - not in toilet paper.)

And I was supposed to go out tonight, but now it's been cancelled, which I think is wonderful because now I can take a nap, then go and grocery shop and go to bed early. I might even do some I stand this mad social whirl is beyond me.

Now I just have to figure out how to hide the new socks and underwear from Sarah. I suppose I could get really enterprising and go clean her room and find and wash all of the socks and underwear that I know perfectly well are scattered around in there, but that sounds like too much work...WAY too much work. Hey, it's Sunday.

Love, Wendy

Friday, April 11, 2008

Full of Food and Sleepy

I am amazed at myself. With all this nice tax refund in my pocket, I went to Barnes and Noble at lunch and spent nearly 50 dollars. I can't even remember the last time I spent nearly 50 dollars on anything but food. Admittedly, 25 of those dollars went to re-up my Barnes and Noble membership card, but hell, that comes under the head of necessity, right? Those discounts are amazing. I bought two very silly paperbacks and two magazines (Bon Appetit and Gourmet, of course).

So then I came home (after quite a decent day at work because I was at a desk with very busy phones, which kept me awake - I think that's the best I can hope for at this job) and then Caesar came over and we ended up at Frankie's - the Italian joint a couple of blocks away which is basically our local - and I ate some nice stuffed mushrooms and a lot of bread dipped in olive oil and herbs. I would have had an actual meal, but today's cubicle mate was a nice gent who likes to go out at 12:30, and when you're a temp, you suck the hind tit as far as lunch hours go, so I didn't get out until 1:30 - and since I wanted to go to B&N, I spent an hour doing that, and therefore ate at 2:30. This means that I don't actually get hungry again until about 3:30 the mushrooms and bread will keep me perfectly happy until tomorrow.

And there were many sightings of the umbrella when it's not raining today. It was misty and damp, but people, it was fog, not rain. I can't imagine why this irritates me so much, but it does. Let's see. No one anywhere around you has an umbrella up. There are no cars going by with their windshield wipers going. No one is in the least disturbed that the air is damp. WHY IS YOUR UMBRELLA UP?

Ah. I feel better now. Thank you so much for letting me vent.

Meanwhile, I am slightly drunk and very full of food and will now spend the rest of my cigarette and beer playing solitaire.

Oh, by the way. I went to the Food Network site today in between answering the phone, and their feature of the week was that ghastly Paula Deen. And by their titles, some of the recipes sounded interesting, and, being very naive, I thought the bitch might actually have learned how to cook. WRONG. Every single recipe - I mean, EVERY recipe - contained cream of mushroom soup. What on earth is with this woman? And for that matter, what on earth is with the Food Network that they even countenance having her there? Rachel Ray drives me nuts, because I deeply hate cute, but her recipes, divorced from her persona, are good and solid and use fresh ingredients and are workable and decent. But Paula Deen harks back to the dead days of the 1950's and can opener cuisine...and the recipes are just AWFUL.

Incidentally, should anyone ever want to read about the evolution of dining in America, three books come to mind immediately. Two of them are by a wonderful woman named Laura Shapiro, Perfection Salad and Something in the Oven. They are superb explorations of the subject. The third is by Jane and Michael Stern, called American Gourmet. It's a wonderful history of food in this country - with recipes. It's deeply terrific. Now go spend your income tax refund buying books.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Warm Day!

I see by a comment to last night's post that my child is making snotty comments about me. For her (and your) information, I got rid of those damn Star Trek novels a LONG time ago. Actually, I just saw a lone survivor (naturally I was looking for something else at the time), but it's not book shelf purge day yet. I actually do throw things out every now and then - it's just that books have a life of their own and breed when you're not looking.

Speaking of which, Joshua got afflicted with a bizarre case of double-speak tonight. (As opposed to his usual case of never shut up-speak.) We were admiring the fact that the kitchen looked so much more open. As I've mentioned, the kitchen is set four steps up from the living room, and it's got a sort of fence around the two open sides, which for all the years we've lived here has been covered in a black metal mesh sort of thing. The people we bought the place from had a small child, and this was for its protection, obviously. Well, the girls got rid of it (since one assumes that Sarah is too old to fall out of the kitchen and we haven't got any small children running around), and it really looks much more open now. It's still got the railing, but now it's got widely spaced bars, which look a lot better.

Anyway, Joshua mentioned this new openness, and almost in the same breath, announced that he was going to get two more book shelves...which he was putting right where the old mesh was. Anybody want to tell me how this is going to contribute to the open space effect? Anybody?

It was WARM out today! I got to wear my trenchcoat and an actual SKIRT! It's going to be in the 50's and raining again tomorrow, but at least I got a little taste of spring. Unfortunately, so did the tourists. Personally, if I had to lift my stomach up to find my waist pack, I'd seriously begin to consider dieting.

And I hate computers. This time the system I use to get my time in so I can get paid went haywire, and I damn near didn't get paid at all. Luckily, my nice temp agency sorted the mess out and made sure that my money will be in my account in the morning just like it's supposed to be, so I'm deeply thrilled. I'm also really deeply thrilled because my state tax refund finally arrived, and it turns out I was a hundred bucks off in MY FAVOR! Isn't that the coolest thing?

So this weekend, rain or no rain, I'm going to shop 'til I drop. I'm going to stock the freezer and buy pantyhose and pay a bill or two...and maybe even buy a couple of magazines. Wow! I'm RICH!

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Books Are Eating Me!

I have a lot of books. I have books the way some people in New York have cockroaches - it's not a collection, it's an infestation. And I think they're trying to get me.

I must say it's not a terribly sane collection anyway. I have books for every possible eventuality, by which I mean, I have at least (at the very least) two or three books for every mood. Therefore, it is entirely likely that you will find Wind in the Willows sitting happily next to Sexual Personae, or Agatha Christie cuddling up with Lawrence Durrell (wouldn't you just love to see that one in real life?), or Rudyard Kipling and M.F.K. Fisher having a nice chat. You never know what the hell you'll come across. (Just the other day I discovered that I had a copy of a book called "Dare To Repair" - this seems to be a women's manual on household repairs. What on earth was I thinking? I can't even clean the broiler with any amount of dexterity. No, of course I'm not getting rid of never know.)

I have a living room full of books. My bedroom is full of books to the extent that I'm beginning to worry...I have the ironing board in front of the ceiling high bookshelf in my room and if I iron too energetically, the books have been known to fall on my head. This is probably because I find something downstairs and start reading it and then bring it upstairs to continue reading it in bed, and then I stuff it in the bookshelf...and never take anything downstairs again. Oh, did I mention that I sleep in one-quarter of the bed because I have books in the other three-quarters of it? (And cats, of course.) (Have I mentioned that I really need a social life? I sound like a crazy cat/book lady.) And of course Sarah's room is full of books because like any normal parent, I feel that reading is the most important thing you can teach your child.

The main problem is that I can never find anything I want to read. No, no, I don't mean it that way - I mean that if I have a certain book in mind that I feel like reading at that exact moment, there is absolutely no way that I can find it in the literary chaos. The upside to this is that of course I find something else that I've been meaning to reread for a while and settle down with it, but I still keep looking for the thing I wanted originally...which leads to more books falling on my head. Wouldn't it be just too bizarre if my reading habits caused me to have some sort of brain injury that rendered me incapable of reading? There's a nice odd thought.

In other news, there isn't any. I did not win Mega Millions today. George Clooney did not suddenly decide to break up with his girlfriend and start asking me out, nor did Harrison Ford. Nor, and I'm getting annoyed about this, did my state income tax refund come.

Well, I need the income tax refund because there's this book I want to buy...

(One of the cats just threw up on that damn rug again. I wonder if there's a method for taking care of that in my Dare to Repair book - and if so, is it under C for Cats, V for Vomit, or K for Kill?)

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

T.S. Eliot Was Right

He said, "April is the cruelest month." All over the Village, our lovely flowering trees are in bloom - and I'm still wandering around in that damn down coat because it's 41 degrees when I leave the house in the morning and I freeze easily. I want my trenchcoat! I saw the first robin today - frozen solid, poor thing. When will it ever warm up, for God's sake? (And don't try and tell me that 55 degrees is warm. It's not. 65 to 70 degrees is warm - not 55.)

Nothing of any interest happened today at all. I am now un-hungover, thank God, although it doesn't make Miss Twitch and Twitter next to me at the office any easier to deal with. She was leaping all over the phones again today...and every time she gets one of mine she gives me a look. Well, as I remarked yesterday, I do like to give the lawyers the chance to answer their own damn phones...oh, well. It's not terribly high on my list of things to shoot myself about. The nice thing about temping is that nothing lasts forever. In the fullness of time she will be at another desk (she's sitting in for a very nice gal who's on vacation) or I will be, and this will all be but a memory - if I even bother to remember it, that is. Which is doubtful.

Oh, and Mel told me a wonderful story about Joshua. Seems he went to take a shower the other day and didn't fully shut the bathroom door. Well, one of the cats wandered into the bathroom, and he decided that the cat (whichever one it was) was going to shit in his shoe. So he tried to leap out of the bathtub to shoo the cat away and fell and bruised his elbow badly. But the best part is that when he came downstairs, he announced to the girls that this was all my fault because I don't have non-slip decals in my tub.

Well, this is pretty damn silly on lots of levels. First of all, if you don't want a cat sharing the bathroom, A. shut the damn door, or B. when it arrives, stick your head around the shower curtain and yell "scat" at it. Leaping around like a lunatic in a wet bathtub is a dopey response. Secondly, if you have been living in a place for more than three years, and showering with a sensible amount of frequency, then you certainly ought to know whether there are non-slip decals in the tub, and if you want them there, you are perfectly free to go get some. And thirdly, you could blame the whole thing on me if I had leaped into the bathroom suddenly and yelled "Booga, booga, booga" in your ear, but when I happened to be innocently sitting in an office altogether elsewhere, I hardly see that this little problem had anything at all to do with me.

Well, phooey. I'm going to finish my nightcap and go to bed. Perhaps something fascinating will happen tomorrow!

Love, Wendy

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dead Woman Walking

You see before you - or read before you, anyway - the wreck of what was once a woman.

I swear, it's the one drawback to getting old. I quite enjoy being my age (if for no other reason that it is now really easy to pull age rank on people and blather on about "When I was your age" - well, until they throw things at me, anyway) except for the party factor. I don't know what it is, but I just can't party the way I used to when I was 25. Wait. That's wrong. I CAN still party that way - it just takes a LOT longer to recover.

My child Sarah threw a terrific birthday party for me on Saturday night with a whole bunch of my favorite people and neat things to eat (made by Sarah - I have trained the Grasshopper well) for which I didn't have to do a damn thing except put on some makeup and look pretty and drink humongous amounts of beer until nearly 5 am - and it was GREAT. Hey, I even made it up that damn spiral staircase to my bed all alone. Admittedly, I sat down to take my clothes off and promptly passed out cold (still dressed), but hell, I didn't fall down the stairs, now did I? I call that a victory.

Of course we all crammed into the kitchen. Now I have a really, really large, high ceilinged living room - but somehow, the best part of any party goes on in the kitchen, and so it was on Saturday. Great conversations and great food - what more does one want in a party? It was terrific.

And then came Sunday. I woke up at about 8 to go to the bathroom (good morning, beer!) and decided that was the worst idea I ever had in my life (waking up, I mean - going to the bathroom was a truly EXCELLENT idea) and went back to sleep until around noon. Then I got up and went downstairs and had a bagel and started to read the Sunday papers until I discovered that I was dozing off with my head in the NYTimes Styles section. At which point I went back to bed until about 6 pm, and THEN got up, read the papers and ate something. At that, I did better than Sarah, whom I didn't lay eyes on all day - I know that Joshua brought her up some food the girls had made about 10:30 pm, but visible she was not.

And today I went to work, which was a terrible mistake - the curse of temping is that there's no such thing as sick days. Also I was sitting next to an extremely annoying woman. I've been sitting there for a few days, and she keeps getting more annoying. Today (what with still being hung over and all), I wanted to grab her by the neck and shake her. She leaps on phones like a hungry vulture on a nice dead body - meaning that the phones I'm supposed to be answering are jumped on - which sounds pretty idiotic until you remember that I don't actually HAVE anything to do but answer the damn phones and it breaks up the monotony a little. (I let it ring twice and then pick up...she won't let it get to the second ring, thereby annoying the lawyers who need the first ring to get their eyes off the computer, for God's sake.) Today she had to type about six or eight cover letters for bills, and the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that went on was truly alarming. Cover letters for bills are identical. You type one, save, and then keep copying it. Six or eight of them can be easily done in about 20 minutes. Well, with this gal, she had to call the help desk because there was something she couldn't figure out, then she had to ask me to type the labels for them...and she fed me the addresses for the labels one at a time about every twenty minutes, presumably under the impression that I needed LOTS of time for this activity. Presumably she felt this way because it took her a good four hours to do six or eight three line letters. Growl. I can't live with this sort of thing with a lingering hangover.

Then I got home and my life turned into some sort of bizarre slapstick comedy routine. I opened the front door and found that I couldn't get into my house because our tall wooden ladder was blocking my entry. Since I was extremely eager to get to a nice cold restorative beer, I failed to notice this soon enough, and sent said ladder crashing to the floor - luckily not toward me. Then Mel came and moved the ladder, and I attempted to get into the house only to get myself tangled up with a shopping cart that was in the same general vicinity. Then I tripped over something else...and all this to find that the girls were working on the kitchen floor and had my table dismantled again, meaning that I couldn't sit in the kitchen. GROWL!

You have to understand that I am like a spider, and my kitchen table is the center of my web. My house is on various levels, and the kitchen sits about four steps up from the living room, so that sitting at my seat, I can survey my domain, check out who's coming in the door, monitor everything, etc., etc., and so forth. It's MY SPOT. I get very twitchy with no kitchen table. However, Mel and Rebecca put it back together for me, bless them, and I was able to finish my evening in peace and quiet.

Oh, and the reason the ladder was blocking my entrance to begin with is that Joshua is hysterically paranoid, and thinks that the immediate world is attempting to gain entrance to our house to commit some sort of mayhem. They were using mineral spirits or some damn thing to get the leftover glue off the kitchen floor and had the front door open because of the fumes, so Joshua immediately became consumed with the notion that "THEY" might try and get in the house. Ergo, I was blockaded at my own front door. How friggin' silly can you get? If I were a bad guy, and I saw an open door that looked promising, I'd take a look inside, see three able bodied people working ten feet away, one of whom is a butch bull dyke and one of whom is a very well muscled six foot tall man, and go in the other direction. I mean, really. How damn silly can you get? Joshua's paranoia is also the reason that I can't get any light in the living room, because he insists that the curtains be closed at all times because people are looking in the window. People are indeed stopping in front of our little complex because it's gorgeous, but they're not staring in our window - if for no other reason that I have nice white sheer curtains that let light through but block any kind of view inside. But this doesn't satisfy Joshua who, if he had his way, would have iron gates on the windows. Sheesh.

I'm going to bed to continue my recovery. But it was a great party!

Love, Wendy

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I am completely fascinated with a bit of news I actually ran across yesterday on CNN.

"Pirates Seize French Cruise Ship"

Pirates? We still have PIRATES? How can we have pirates? In the first place, I thought Johnny Depp was somewhere else shooting a movie. How would you have piracy going on without him?

Secondly, I was completely unaware of any pirate ships still around - you know, with all those neat sails and a real crows-nest and lots and lots of rigging for poor downtrodden cabin boys to swarm up. All I ever see on the Hudson are garbage scows, water taxis, and those freakin' gi-normous cruise ships that look like they have more than enough room for, say, the entire population of Enid, Oklahoma. (Hmmm. Has anyone been to Enid, Oklahoma recently? Does it still HAVE a population? I mean, if I lived in Enid, Oklahoma, I'd think moving to a cruise ship was an extremely excellent idea.) (One of the nice things about currently having a fairly limited audience for these ramblings is that I can be just about positive that I'm not going to get nasty comments from Enid, Oklahoma telling me all about their vital cultural institutions. Even though I'm sure they have a very fine community theatre group.)

And what do you do with the ship after you've seized it? I mean, what do the pirates want the cruise ship for? Parts? There weren't even any passengers on it - you know, with all that jewelry to wear to dinner in first class. Maybe the pirates are really tired of beef jerky and hardtack biscuits and wanted the chef. That would make sense. If I was forced to eat beef jerky and hardtack biscuits at every meal, I'd certainly want a cruise ship chef. (It's becoming very clear that I have seen all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies and read Treasure Island as a child, isn't it? Hey, I know my pirates.)

And one more question comes to mind. How do you get on a cruise ship if you're a pirate? Everybody knows that when a pirate ship takes another ship, they climb up all those ratlines. Since all ships are computer powered these days - wirelessly, one would assume, on account of I can't quite see them being plugged into anything on the ocean except maybe electric eels (you may perhaps be getting an idea here of what happens when anybody tries to explain something technical to me, and you would be absolutely right) - there aren't any of those handy ropes hanging around for the pirates to climb.

Call me confused - but I'm still thrilled to know that when every New York street has turned into a blurred blend of bank, Starbucks, Gap, Old Navy, bank, Starbucks, Gap, Old Navy, Duane Reade, bank, Starbucks...well, hell, we've still got PIRATES! Cool.

Love, Wendy

Friday, April 4, 2008

Bed. Bed, Bed, Bed.

Well, so Caesar finally turned up to collect his damn credit card at nearly 11 last night, the result being that once again, Mother here did not get a decent night's sleep.

And I came home tonight to find the kitchen tiling being done by Mel augmented by a REALLY thorough kitchen cleaning being done by Rebecca, which I frankly think is neat. I can't think of a better way to say thank you for letting us stay with you than that - I mean, hell, I can always manage about money, but God knows I was never, EVER going to actually clean the coils in the back of the refrigerator like all the housekeeping books tell you to do. (Who in their right mind, in cold blood, actually moves a goddamn REFRIGERATOR?)

By the way, while sitting on the bus coming home tonight (no further word on Simone, et al, darn it), it occurred to me that someone might find my references to Mel as my friendly live-in lesbian offensive. The answer to that is that Mel is highly amused by it. Every time I hug her and say thanks for all her work around the house and tell her that everybody needs a live-in lesbian, she says, "Yo, Mommy! I'm a big butch bull dyke! I'm a MAN!" If the lady - sorry, gentleman - doesn't think it offensive, I don't think anyone else really has the right to. So anybody who was going to bitch may now calm the hell down.

Then my pal Jiggers came over, so I had to sit around and talk to him for a while. Anyway, I have finally escaped all this conversation and mad industry and am happily ensconced in front of the computer with my nightcap of beer feeling nice and sleepy.

I must say that all this rain is starting to irritate the hell out of me. Not to mention the fact that I think I'm beginning to mildew. And because I'm irritated, I spent most of today cataloging things that people were doing to irritate me. Like so:

When you leave your building on a rainy day, please check to see that it is in fact raining at that particular moment. I cannot begin to tell you absolutely ridiculous you look as you walk out putting your umbrella up, having entirely failed to notice that no one else has an umbrella up because it has STOPPED RAINING.

If you are going to have an intense three person conversation, having it directly in front of the revolving door to the building is not a good idea because I will hit you to get you out of my way.

If you are going to have any sort of conversation with someone else in the elevator, BOTH of you should get off the elevator at the same floor. Leaning on the door to continue talking as the elevator begins to make that truly annoying beeping sound is NOT okay. Furthermore, it causes other people in the elevator to arrive at their desks with cold pizza.

The person at the next desk who feels you are interested in her life story while you are merely trying to read the NYTimes should be shot.

People who walk down the street with their earphones in while texting away at the same time on their phones are highly amusing when they walk into lamp posts. They will get unamusing and really messy if they don't quit doing it while crossing 6th Avenue at lunch hour.

I have this fascinating notion about some sort of performance piece running around in my mind. I envision midtown at 5:30 pm - 44nd and 6th would do nicely - and there is a sniper somewhere in one of those buildings. He is taking out whole hordes of people. And those that remain are phoning and texting and listening to music and racing to get their trains and all they do is cast a very brief and annoyed glance at the fallen and step right over the bodies. In the back of the stage there is a large screen which carries what they are texting: I can't believe some damn fool just died on the street in front of me and I nearly tripped over him and simply ruined my new shoes and I'm never going to catch the 5:45 to Larchmont now and aren't people just so inconsiderate?

You think that's a joke? Don't be in midtown at rush hour.

So I will now finish my beer and take my book to bed. The cats (who are quite pissed off about all this work in the kitchen because A. that's where their food usually lives and B. no one will let them get their paws permanently stuck in the tile glue) have all been fed and watered, I have been fed and beered, and all's right with the world. And tomorrow is Saturday and somehow or another we're going to have a birthday party for me in the middle of a construction zone. Well, what the hell. At least the kitchen is clean!

Love, Wendy

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Caesar's Working Late

So I have nothing but time on my hands here to get thoroughly blitzed waiting for someone to bring me food, on account of tomorrow is payday and I have exactly enough in my pocket for the morning papers (there is no morning without the NYTimes crossword puzzle - in ink, I may add) and that damn doughnut. And Caesar is stuck on a job until around 10 pm.

But the ladies have finished the middle of my floor and I must admit it looks divine. Actually, now that it's partially done (and they haven't yet put glue on the bit in front of the icebox (I know, I know...refrigerator, but I'll never be able to say that) I could actually get something to eat - except that then I would have to stomp over the new floor to get to the microwave because the only thing there is to eat is some leftover lo mein, which isn't particularly nice cold. There aren't even things I could eat on crackers. Cousin Joshua is so hysterically into eating for his health that when he even buys things you could put on a cracker (I'll eat just about anything if you put it on a cracker - shades of my cocktail party youth), they're wrong, as far as I'm concerned. Who in their right mind buys sardines in WATER? Aside from the fact that good olive oil is extremely healthful, the whole notion is disgusting. Sardines belong in oil...oil, oil, oil. That would be OIL. I did have them once as a first course in some London restaurant, however, when they weren't in oil. They were fresh, they were just gutted, and they were grilled and served on hot buttered toast. Wow. Citarella occasionally has fresh sardines and I'm going to try this one day - it was so wonderful. Even if I do have to stick my fingers into the middle and haul out their messy little guts...which I will have to do in the powder room downstairs with the door shut, because me playing around with fresh sardines in the kitchen is going to get me an avalanche of cats who want to play too.

This powder room thing is why my own cousin called me extremely weird the other night. I had tried to sleep and discovered dat ole debbil insomnia creeping up, so I promptly went downstairs to eat some ice cream.

Now we all remember those three cats (two and a half cats when you adjust for the fact that Gypsy is sort of half dead in a very alive fashion). Well, all three of them are passionately fond of ice cream, and if one sits down at the kitchen table to eat ice cream it turns into a mad free-for-all, with me trying to get ice cream into my mouth without it getting yanked off the spoon. So now I go into the powder room with a book, a spoon, and the ice cream and sit on the toilet seat (lid down) with the door shut and eat my ice cream in peace and quiet (except for the frustrated yowls and scratchings on the door). Which is when I was surprised by Joshua as I was coming, ice cream and spoon in hand. Which is when he called me weird. Personally, I think it's extremely sensible of me. I find it really hard to eat when I have to beat off hordes of animals with one hand.

Speaking of Joshua, I am finding him way more annoying than usual in the last few days. He turned 60 last October 2, and I really wanted to do something for his birthday, but I didn't have a single cent - I believe I managed to eke out a card for him. He has evidently decided that I should be punished for this dereliction by his ignoring MY birthday - and, being Joshua, has carried it to quite insane extremes. I have literally not laid eyes on him since Sunday. Unfortunately, since LOTS of people celebrated my birthday on Monday and lots more are coming over on Saturday to celebrate it some more, I don't actually give a shit whether Joshua wants to mark the occasion or not - and it's really, REALLY nice not to have to listen to him for a few days. Presumably he will eventually emerge from the den, but I'm afraid this little fuss of his has backfired on him. Giggle, giggle, giggle.

I swear. Nobody should live without lesbians. The girls have gotten to a point where they could get to the icebox and microwave, and Mel's girlfriend Rebecca remembered that I hadn't eaten anything - and by God, she microwaved my lo mein for me and sent it up via Mel. I feel much better now.

I think that I'm going to drink some more beer and wander around the internet picking up weird bits of information...but probably just going to Youtube and looking at bits of the Muppet Show, which suits my mood precisely. Miss Piggy and Rudolph Nureyev doing Swine Lake should just be the thing.

And it'll shut me up! Won't that be nice?

Love, Wendy

An Early Evening Blog

Well, it would be my usual on my way to bed blog except that my friendly family lesbian is busy retiling my kitchen floor (in one of those nice speckly patterns that doesn't show ANYTHING and is madly easy to wipe off - we have had horrible wood veneer in there since we moved in and you couldn't get anything off it without major scrub brush action - when two of your cats major in creative vomiting, you don't need this) and therefore she and her lady are pinned into the kitchen waiting for the floor glue to get tacky so they can put the floor down. The result of this, of course, is that I cannot do what I always do when I get home from work which is to sit down at the kitchen table and drink beer and smoke cigarettes and check the mail. So I've got the beer and cigarettes up here in the bedroom and I already checked the mail, which consisted of a bank statement and two pleas to donate to causes I've never heard of (Have pity on this child who will never know the joy of designer clothing without your help! Take a moment of your valuable time to send a check to the Amateur Mime Society!)

However, Caesar is coming over to pick up his bank card which the idiot left at the restaurant on Monday night which I just picked up for him, so maybe he will take pity on me and take me out to dinner. Or at least order Chinese food.

And I've decided I'm never taking the subway again. Today I got on the downtown 7th Avenue bus at 42nd Street as usual, and there were two people of a New Jersey sort of persuasion sitting across from me. Just as the bus was pulling away from 42nd, the gal's phone rang, and we started off on a tale that lasted until she and the gent got off at 16th.

It seems that Simone was picking up Kristin and/or Janey from somewhere or another when all of a sudden Scott came out of nowhere and tried to grab either Kristin or Janey (this part wasn't entirely clear). And would you believe, Simone finally had the guts to punch him? Isn't that great? (The guy half of the pair was really delighted about this. He went on for about three blocks about being so proud of Simone for "finally having some guts".) Well, everybody thinks (both the people on the bus and, evidently, the people - of whom there seemed to be several - on the other end of the phone) that this will mean that Simone can finally get Scott put in jail now and stop screwing around with that order of protection, because, as the gentleman on the bus pointed out, this was clearly an attempted kidnapping. And Scott's already out on bail for that assault charge, and that's not gonna help him a lot (direct quote there).

I'm sure you'll glad to know that Simone, Kristin and Janey are all just fine (even though Scott hit Simone back when she hit him), and Scott seems to have gone to turn himself in, or at any rate my pals on the bus seem to feel that's what he's going to do (presumably otherwise his parole officer on the assault case will track him down anyway, so why not).

Oh, I tell you - I swear I was going to get off the bus and follow these two, because I needed so much more information here. I mean, clearly Simone is an ex-wife or girlfriend, and I presume that either Kristin or Janey is a child of this relationship, or maybe both of them are - but I really wanted to get some phone numbers and email addresses to find out the beginning and end of this story on account of coming in for the middle like that.

Now, isn't this better than that Spanish telenovela you were going to watch? And to think I would have missed the whole thing on the subway.

Oh, and by the by, before anybody leaps on me for making light of poor Simone's troubles, I am taking my cue directly from the two on the bus. They were clearly thrilled that the whole thing had come to a head so that Scott could get put away, and they made very sure that nobody had been in the least harmed by the whole episode, and were all in all quite pleased and smiling and clearly relieved. So I'm taking my cue from them. So don't do nasty comments on my unfeelingness. So there.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It's Only 9:15!

This is deeply exciting to me, since I haven't managed to crawl into bed before midnight since last Friday. Which was fine for Saturday and Sunday, but Monday, Tuesday and today were fairly ugly since I get up at 6. I kept dozing off after lunch...a fairly easy thing to do at my current office, since my entire function is to answer the telephone six or seven times a day and copy one or two pieces of paper every now and then. Clearly, staying fully awake is not a necessity here.

And today's desk had a bonus gift - somebody had left one of the gossip magazines at it - OK or In Touch or one of those with "Can Brittany Save Herself" in great big letters all over the cover. I absolutely adore these things and I'm WAY too embarrassed (and for that matter, too broke) to buy them. If I have money for a magazine I buy Gourmet or Bon Appetit or something of that nature. (Speaking of embarrassment, in her later years my mother fell madly in love with Tater Tots, but I always had to buy them for her. She ordered her groceries over the phone, you see, and felt idiotic saying Tater Tots. Evidently this sort of thing runs in families.)

And now I am going to take my nice murder mystery and curl up in my bed and read a few pages of same and conk out with enormous delight and get a decent night's sleep. You have no idea how much I'm looking forward to this.


Love, Wendy

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Too Much Fun

I am a dead person. I was supposed to be in bed by 9 pm. However, my pal Steve, one of the great cooks of all time, came over, and we got talking about mustard, garlic and rosemary on a leg of lamb, and what with one recipe and another, things got out of hand. (Oh, the lamb. One leg of lamb. Make sure that fell is off it, then make slits all over it and stick a slice of garlic and a couple of rosemary leaves in each slit. Then slather it with Dijon mustard and cook the sucker.)

But I truly must sleep, because last night the gang took me out to dinner for my birthday (from which, I may add, Tiger Lily and the Boss were conspicuously absent and owe me a meal when they get back from London - you guys listening?), and we had a lovely meal at Le Deux Gamins on 10th Street and then came back to the house and had birthday cake and ice cream...isn't that cool?

And I got a cookbook I'm been DYING for...Roast Chicken and Other Stories which I've been reading assiduously and I can't wait until payday so I can try some of this truly great, great stuff. It's all plain, ordinary recipes like sweetbreads and a marvelous recipe for crisp fried brains and a neat chocolate mousse recipe, and a vindication of what I do with a roasting chicken (Simon Hopkinson's recipe is slightly different, but not very) roast chicken goes like this:

Take a nice big roasting chicken - 6 pounds or so. Remove chicken guts and do whatever you do with them. (I know perfectly well that I'm supposed to save the livers in milk in the freezer to make chopped chicken livers when I gather enough of them, but I never do - if I want to make chopped chicken livers, I buy some chicken livers - I know, I, the great saver and conserver...yeah, well, who's perfect?) (oh, the milk? It removes any bitterness that might be in the livers.) ANYHOW. Then you take a cut up lemon, a whole bunch of cut in half garlic cloves (say, six or eight), and an entire bunch of parsley and shove all this up the chicken's ass. Then melt say, half a stick of butter and slosh some white wine into it (oh, don't ask me how much - quarter cup? half a cup? Well, shit - a slosh. Say quarter cup, if you're that into precise damn measurements.) Pour this over the chicken. Then throw the thing into your preheated 350 degree oven and cook until it's done. (About 15 minutes a pound or so.) Take it out, let it sit for fifteen minutes while whatever else you want with it gets finished up. Then carve it, spoon out the juices and pour them over the servings, and eat the shit out of it. There you are. One never fail recipe.

And about (since I mentioned it) precise measurements. If you want to bake a cake, cookies, make puff pastry and like that, you MUST measure precisely. Otherwise, you've just got to learn what you like to eat and what you want it to taste like. I undersalt everything, because I'm a mad salt freak, and if I put in what I think is the right amount of salt, lips get puckered all around the table. And I usually halve the amount of tarragon called for in a recipe, because even when I know it belongs there (i.e., a decent bearnaise sauce), I am unfond of tarragon (I hate, I don't like fennel for the same reason).

But to cook, you need to know your own taste. And if you have peculiar tastes (when I was a little girl, I used to make the best sandwich in the world...sardines and peach jam on buttered rye toast), remember that there are things you make for yourself alone, and learn to make food that pleases other people too.

However, there are pitfalls here. When I make a Boeuf Bourgignon, I slavishly follow Julia's recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, because it's simply superb. It is also one HELL of a lot of work. Brown the meat, brown braise the onions and mushrooms seperately...etc., etc. It's a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the winter (and your house smells DIVINE). But what happens is that people scarf it up and go, "Hey, great beef stew!" They have no idea that you just spent seven hours on the damn thing.

But there's another thing I make that I threw together once because the ingredients were in the house. Take a pan. Minor digression here. I learned to cook at the feet of my mother and grandmother, both unbelievable cooks. We had a wok in the 1950's on the South Side of Chicago, because my grandmother loved the Cantonese food at our one lonely Chinese restaurant (Jane's Cantonese) and wanted to learn how. So she went and asked for Chinese cooking lessons in their kitchens. Other families had meatloaf on Wednesdays...we had homemade sweet and sour pork. From our very own wok. In 1957.

Well. What I threw together was I took a pan, I slicked up the bottom with some olive oil, I threw in some chicken thighs (the BEST part of the chicken) and a bunch of little creamer potatoes cut in quarters and a whole head of garlic separated into cloves (don't bother to peel), then I tossed another slick of olive oil over the top and threw on some herbs de Provence and tossed the whole thing in a 350 oven for an hour. This entire operation took a fast fifteen minutes to put together. Sling together a salad with a nice mustardy vinaigrette, put a loaf of bread and some butter on the table, and voila!

And this fifteen minute wonder is the one where people say, "Oh, my God! You're such a gourmet cook!" Well, goddamn hours for the Boeuf Bourgignon and all I get is "Great beef stew!"

Oh, and Saturday night's gathering of the theatre clan got me an offer of a one woman show and a movie. And a pal of mine even bought all my drinks. I would call that a damned successful evening. (Yes, yes, of course I will yap further about the job offers when - and if - they come to fruition. One never knows in the acting business.)

Okay. One aging body on its way to bed. I cannot even begin to tell you how utterly peculiar it seems to be 63. Intellectually, I know perfectly damn well how old I am (and if I lose track I can always check my passport), but being a lady who grew up with "Never trust anybody over 30", I find it very difficult to get my mind around any of this aging shit...very weird.

Love, Wendy