Sunday, June 29, 2008

Catching Up - And Happy Pride Day!

I note from the last post but one that I had described my upcoming shopping trip. Well, mostly I got around to it.

I started out at H&M, and I looked at the blue and white dress that I had been drooling over - and it occurred to me that in fact, I HAD summer clothing. And because H&M has wildly weird sizing - in that sometimes a 6 is a perfect fit on me, and other times I have to go up to a 12 to make the damn thing button...and there was this monumentally long line for the dressing room - well, the hell with it.

So then I was going to go to the Payless on 14th Street, but I was walking down 5th Avenue, and that particular Payless is way closer to 6th Avenue, and it was hot, I figured what the hell and went into Filene's and DSW instead. And I actually found four really good bras, and an actual pair of really affordable ($29.99 on sale) black flats at DSW, so success!

And then a hop over to Barnes and Noble and a treat - Fathers and Sons by Alexander Waugh, after which I've been lusting, and it's just out in trade paperback. This is a must read. It's the story of the Waugh family (you know, like Evelyn Waugh as in Brideshead Revisited), and it's absolutely wonderful. Alexander Waugh doesn't spare any of his forebears, all of whom were at least somewhat eccentric and sometimes very eccentric. English eccentrics are usually more eccentric than anyone else can possibly manage (in re which, read Edith Sitwell's book, titled, oddly enough, English Eccentrics).

OK. We are now up to date. Saturday night I went uptown to go to a pal's birthday party and found that ALL of my particular ingroup from Richard III was there. I don't know why or how this happens, but somehow in every show you get a few people who are exactly on your wavelength, and these three guys (Tom, John and Larry) and I are. (Not to mention the fact that it's an extreme kick to bounce off with three men in tow and watch various sweet young things thirty years my junior go, "Wait. She's old! She's got THREE MEN with her! They're all STRAIGHT! How does she do it?" Hee, hee, hee, hee. Boy, that's fun.) Oh, and I actually wore a dress! I get so sick of jeans and a t-shirt all the time, and what the hell - I was in Midtown on Saturday night and it was a birthday party. So I got out this really great dress that I actually bought at H&M last year which is pure Audrey Hepburn - black and white checks, sleeveless, boat necked, tiny waisted with a small sash, and just below the knee - and wore it with my new ballet flats (well, I SAID Audrey Hepburn). The outfit actually needed a Vespa and William Holden, but you can't have everything. I FELT gorgeous, which is the main thing, right?

Yesterday was Gay Pride, my favorite day in the Village. I was supposed to go to my friend Steve's to watch the parade, but I was too hungover to move very far, and anyway it kept pouring and I find droopy wet feathers and moist sequins sort of depressing. (Not to mention that Steve is a real flamer, and what with that hangover and all, I just didn't think I could deal with the shrieks.) I did get out to see a bit of the parade and have a couple of therapeutic beers, however, at my local joint which is right where the parade ends - and a seven foot tall drag queen (well, you know, platforms with six inch heels will do that) insisted on having her picture taken with me. No, I don't know why either. But it was kind of fun, and her outfit was amazing...a sequinned, beaded teeny bikini and a marvelous feathered cape. I've always wanted to be able to dress like that - but at five foot three on a good day, all those feathers would be wearing me, and I'd look like a strange small bird...not to mention that the shoes would kill me in eight seconds flat. I've also always wanted to wear enormous hats, like the ones you see in the Ascot Gavotte from My Fair Lady...but, given my height, I look like a gnome under a very large mushroom. Sigh.

I am now off to the pharmacy, then to CVS for cigarettes, and then, I think, to PC Richards, which is having an awesome sale on microwaves. I think I mentioned that ours died last week, and I'm going nuts without it. Not that (with the exception of vegetables, which it does to perfection - 10 minutes for an artichoke! Asparagus that stays green that you can't overcook!) I ever cook, per se, in the microwave, but I tend not to be able to decide what's for dinner first thing in the morning in time to take something out to defrost. And reheating leftovers makes them go all wonky when you're used to doing it in the microwave and it's a nuisance. I don't want to stand around for ten minutes carefully stirring something so it doesn't scorch when I could have it in a minute or so. I'm the poster child for instant gratification.

And Sarah was right about the fireworks last night - they really made up for last year's piss poor effort!

Love, Wendy

Beer Birthday

No, no, not MY birthday - that's not until March 31 NEXT year. (Let's start planning now, friends and neighbors - I should have a stunning bash - done by other people).

No, this was my pal Margot's birthday, in a nice nominally Irish bar in midtown. I say nominally Irish because I know Irish bars. Irish bars (real ones) have Irish bartenders, Irish music on the jukebox, and, quite often, people step dancing and falling over a lot. Or just people falling over a lot. (Hey, some of those stools are pretty goddamn tall.) This bar had chicken fingers. Real Irish bars, if there's food at all, have corned beef on a steam table.

There aren't very many Blarney Stones left in Manhattan, but they were the absolutely best bars ever. They were invariably grubby (I never trust a clean bar - it might suddenly burst out in ferns and yuppies) and they were also the IRA underground. All the bartenders had lovely brogues, and a tendency to look over their shoulders. And they were cheap beyond belief. A small glass of beer cost fifty cents.

I once had a bartender friend who worked nights in Soho, and we lived in the same building. Every now and then he would ring my bell at 5 am and we'd have a beer or two and then take off for the Blarney Stone on Eighth Avenue and 14th Street. Well, you know...breakfast?

Well, once we had what I still think may be the shortest day on record. John and I wandered over to the Blarney Stone around 7 in the morning - oh, yeah, they opened that early - and VERY unfortunately, got into an Irish whiskey drinking contest with the bartender, newly arrived from the North of Ireland - via the Blarney Stone IRA underground. In case you should find yourself in this situation - trust me. You won't win the contest. My friend and I were back in our apartment building (yes, well, OK, in my bed, but useless) by 10:30 am.

I got sidetracked by the notion of Irish bars. I was actually trying to say that it was a lovely evening - Margot is a Richard III survivor (the worst production EVER) and my other three musketeers were there - John and Tom and Larry. John played Ratliffe, Tom was the Duke of Clarence, Larry was Buckingham, and I was Queen Elizabeth in this more than doubtful epic. But the four of us, being much of an age, bonded together - and to this day (about four years ago) we are the best of friends and go to each other's shows and hang out together in general. We think this is on the same premise that those who went through a war together do it - once you've been with someone in the trenches...

Oh. Something that came up tonight I must pass on. I have discovered that one of the funniest things I ever read in my life is on the Internet - and I can't imagine why I never looked it up before, because it would have to be. It's an account of a piano recital in Bangkok, and you just type in Bangkok Piano Concert and it will magically appear. Read it. It is now supposedly debunked and never happened, but it remains one of the funniest things EVER.

So read it.

It's 3:30 am and I should go to bed...I am due tomorrow at my pal Steve's place to watch the Pride parade - which, if one follows the weather forecast, is going to involve some very wet and bedraggled feathers and sequins. But I don't care - I love Pride Day!

Love, Wendy (spellcheck just told me that "internet" was wrong - when I hit it to find out what was wrong, spellcheck capitalized it. sheesh.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I woke up this morning under the impression that it was going to be a long, long day. The check hadn't cleared yesterday; ergo, I had no cigarettes (I don't mean a couple in the pack, I mean NO CIGARETTES, as in go through garbage for long butts), I had no diet soda for breakfast, and no money for the papers. And these are three of the four absolute necessities in my life (beer is more or less the fourth one, but I really can live without that - without diet Coke, no). And you have to understand that normally my bank clears things after 4 pm - so you can imagine what my day was going to be like - particularly with no beer to get me back to sleep so I could just doze until 4.

So I dragged myself to my computer, and what ho! ACTUAL MONEY IN THE BANK! Whoop, yahoo, and all like that!

I promptly went and got cigarettes, diet soda, and the papers...but unfortunately, being on this monetary high, I forgot to get anything to eat. The result was that I read my papers, drank my diet coke, smoked many, many cigarettes that I didn't have to ration to one an hour (which is what I've been doing in these lean times hereabouts). Then I went off to Christopher Street to buy more cigarettes and get a good sized chunk of money out of the bank and pick up a prescription for my inhaler and get something to eat. Unfortunately, I had left the eating part for too long.

The thing is that I verge on hypoglycemic, and have appetite problems anyway, and it was now like three hours after I had awoken, and I had eaten early the night before. So I made it to the cash, the prescription, the cigarettes, and Gourmet Garage - at which point I damn near passed out cold and instead of doing the other things that I had planned, grabbed a taxi home and ate (lovely baguette, expensive French butter, prosciutto, Camembert, and gorgeous fresh cherries). Then I felt MUCH better, but still didn't feel like going back out again.

I then spent the rest of the day reading on the porch until it got darkish and I came downstairs to eat my other Gourmet Garage purchase, which is one of my favorite things in the world - lovely sea scallops wrapped in bacon. And lots more cherries, for which I have a mad passion.

So I am now feeling perfectly fine except very, very full of food.

And tomorrow I am going to do the things which I didn't get to today, which are:

New black flats (Payless, here I come)
Barnes and Noble at Union Square...which is just a hop, skip and jump from...
H&M at 18th and 5th, which has this absolutely great blue and white striped summer dress for 35 bucks which I lust after
Maybe Filene's to see what bras are on sale
Definitely the Greenmarket because I'll be there anyway

After which I am going to get deeply mundane and change kitty littler and prevent Joshua from repairing the screen door in my room with duct tape, because I know perfectly well how to repair a screen door without it.

What is it with men and duct tape? I feel absolutely sure that if I were having a sudden baby without benefit of doctor/midwife/whatever, and the father of said upcoming baby was anywhere in the vicinity, he'd start looking around wildly for duct tape, under the impression that it would do SOMETHING. (That said, if you want to stop a major winter draft from the window onto your balcony, duct tape is absolutely the thing.)

I am now going to slip happily into the food coma from which I roused myself to give all of you people the glad tidings of my current state of reasonable solvency. (burp...burp...burp...)

Love, Wendy

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Things Have Gone TOO Far

Oh, really. I am getting horrendously tired of people attempting to make adults out of children.

I mean, when I was a little girl, age 12 was when you began leaving dolls behind. Age 13 was for your first heels (in my neighborhood anyway). If you were Catholic or Protestant, you got them for confirmation, and if you were Jewish you got them for going to someone's Bar Mitzvah. No, my children, there was, back then, no equivalent for girls. Nobody had ever heard of a Bat Mitzvah and wouldn't have believed it if they had. And, I may add, these "high heels" were something called Baby Louis heels, which were about an inch and a quarter high.

This somewhat mild rant is occasioned by the fact that in one of today's papers, I ran across a story about something new for girl babies. It seems that some enterprising fashion type has come up with - are you ready? - high heels for babies. And there is a picture of them. They are the same little Mary Jane type booties that many female type babies wear, except added to the heel is - well - a heel. According to the story, these heels are soft and not intended to be walked on (which makes sense, since the age group they're targeting doesn't actually walk yet), but, for God's sake!

What runs through my mind, if this trend persists, is that we are soon going to see a new form of the old Chinese practice of foot binding. Little girls will have their feet trained to look like Barbie doll feet, which cannot be made to wear flat shoes on account of they're permanently fixed in spike heel position.

Meanwhile, 10 year olds are being taken to Victoria's Secret for bras. And quite recently, one store (it might even have been Victoria's Secret) was forced to take thongs for the pre-school set off the shelves. What in the name of all that's holy is going on here? I am upset. What in the hell ever happened to bicycles and roller-skating and making doll clothes and the Easy Bake Oven and baking cookies on a rainy day and marbles and playing jacks and long Monopoly games and....why on earth are we trying to persuade these kids that it's more fun to be a grown-up? It's not, you know. I'd much rather have parties in the back yard where you dyed your milk blue with food coloring. And a birthday party where my grandmother listened to what I asked for and actually made me a pink birthday cake with white frosting, because all the other little girls in the neighborhood had white cakes with pink frosting and I wanted to be different.

You know, guys...childhood. Could we get back to giving kids some?

The ants seem to have disappeared, by the by. Joshua informs me that they were coming out of the dishwasher - evidently just another byproduct of our new neighbors behind us (renovations bring odd things out of the walls). I must say I prefer the ants to the horrendous plague of roaches that appeared when Lady Horrible and husband next door were renovating - I never saw a roach before that, and since the exterminators, have never seen one since. Unless you count our next door neighbors, of course.

I have done nothing of any importance all day, which suited me just fine...and lovely rain and thunderstorms tomorrow, so perhaps I will do something interesting. Or perhaps I shall sit on the porch and read books and watch storms. Happiness is knowing that you have no one to please but yourself.

Love, Wendy

Friday, June 20, 2008


How utterly, strangely, deeply weird.

I came downstairs this evening, having been sitting on the balcony, to find Joshua frantically mopping the kitchen floor, because "We have ants! Hundreds of them!" I pretty much ignored this because to Joshua, three flies is one of the plagues of Egypt and he announces that they're taking over the house.

So I'm sitting there eating (having ordered from only the best Chinese restaurant in the world, from which one's food arrives 15 minutes later so hot that you have to let finger food type things sit a minute or you get burned) and I look down at the floor - and by God, ANTS. Not, you understand, the thousands upon thousands of them that Joshua had led me to believe, but certainly several ants on my kitchen floor.

This is WEIRD. Not being prone to panic (they are very small ants), I looked around for the source, figuring that if they were coming from say, under the stove or something, then I'd scrub down the area and spray under there (or wherever) and thereby cut off their access. But I couldn't find anywhere they were coming from...they were just there, in the middle of the floor, scurrying about in an antish fashion. Naturally, I sprayed them dead, but where on earth were they coming from? I am deeply confused. Particularly since I have seen precisely two ants in all the years we've lived in this house.

Joshua, incidentally, hasn't got much of a clue about how bug sprays work. He sprayed the floor and then promptly mopped it. This doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Surely if you're trying to kill something, then you leave the killing stuff there, right? Logically, this would give the ants the idea that the floor was not a wholesome place to be.

And sorry, Tiger Lily - I didn't go to Harlem today - I took a mental health day instead. And as to where I was in Harlem, it was 122nd and Lenox, roughly.

Meanwhile, that lovely great big check I put in my account has decided it doesn't want to clear yet - I guess it'll come around on Monday - I hope. At least the original small burst of cash it generated let me go off today and eat steak tartare at Markt in Chelsea, buy some T-shirts at Old Navy (because certain people to whom I gave birth have a tendency to raid my dresser drawers, leaving me coming into full summer with precisely two T-shirts to my name), and have my nice Chinese dinner.

Also today I called SAG (the Screen Actors Guild) to start the machinations necessary to get my card back - everybody cross their fingers, because it seems that since I once was a member, I may be able to get away with paying less than their friggin' punitive initiation fee - which is almost $2400. One can only hope.

To bed, to bed - but I think I'd better wash first, since I seem to have salt and pepper shrimp under my fingernails.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I almost forgot. My pal Caesar (best friend and sparring partner) came over last night after a day of fishing and fetched me the spoils...great big bluefish fillets. Well, I have never in my life cooked a piece of bluefish - I tend toward nice thin little things that I can flour and saute and throw some brown butter and almonds on - lemon sole, flounder - stuff like that.

God bless Mark Bittman. Right there in his lovely yellow-jacketed monster cookbook was a recipe for broiled bluefish fillets with a lime and mustard coating. They turned out perfectly. Caesar fell all over himself with glee.

You know, this is absolute heresy, but I'm beginning to think that Mr. Bittman may be beginning to replace my beloved Mrs. Rombauer in my pantheon of cookbooks - LOOK OUT FOR THAT THUNDERBOLT! (Generations of my family are now gunning for me, pelting me with copies of the Joy of Cooking...)

Love, Wendy

Yes, Well - These Things Happen

So having paid my cable/internet bill with great relief, and being in proud possession of my computer once more, I happily sat down at it - only to discover that it wasn't there any more because they'd turned it off again. I promptly called Time/Warner, only to be told, "Oh, yes, we know you paid THAT bill - didn't you see the one two days later?" TWO DAYS LATER? They now have two day billing cycles?

Ah, well. So I was (as always) bemoaning my moneyless state when the mail arrived. And what to my wondering eyes should appear (no, no, not Santa Claus - I mean Saint Nick - not in June, one sincerely hopes, because I'd just have to get paranoid about Christmas shopping) but a nice form letter from my former office. This would be the law firm that I worked at for eight years and at which I had a 401K. I just left it the hell alone when I left the firm because I couldn't think of anything more useful to do with it and I have a mindset that says money invested should stay invested. And it was sitting there nicely chugging along at around 18,000 bucks.

But this form letter said that since I was past 59 1/2, I could get a loan from it. And I thought, well, now that's an idea. As it turned out, I couldn't get a loan from it because you can only do that if you are still with the firm that gave you the 401K, but I COULD change the 401K to an IRA (this is starting to sound like that song from Hair - "LBJ took the IRT"), so that's what I did. I then proceeded to grab a good chunk of it (no, not even half - just enough to get me sorted out with bills and one other thing that I'll get to in a minute). And I am now precariously solvent again! Isn't that exciting?

(Brief pause to run downstairs for beer...there are certain drawbacks to living to an actual house type house with upstairs and downstairs and all like that. But it's probably very good for my thighs.)

(I have returned - aren't you thrilled?)

However, of course, nothing ever works quite right for me. I went to the nice investment people on Monday in person to set this whole thing up, because when I talked to them, they said, "Oh, no problem. You just get online and...", at which point I cut the nice gentleman off and said, "Well, the problem is that unless I get some cash, there ISN'T any online." So off I went uptown to their office. I got it all done, then yesterday I called and discovered that the change from 401K to IRA (LBJ took the IRT down to 4th Street USA...sorry, it keeps going through my head) had taken place and my money was there and I could have a check overnighted which would arrive today. I fell all over myself thanking them and then spent a good ten minutes impressing them with the fact that they must fill in the line on the overnight letter form that said Signature Not Required because I would be out of the house all day and it could be put through the mail slot. I said this something like seventeen times.

Do I have to go any further with this? The punch line must be abundantly clear by now. I got home, there was no overnighted anything. And, which is even better, and JUST the way my life tends to run, Joshua had managed to lose the slip the UPS people stuck on the door. Luckily, I made him go through the garbage (possibly the ONLY thing that would have amused me at that moment), which is where it was, of course. There followed phone calls to UPS, with me becoming increasingly desperate...and finally it all ended more or less happily with me shlepping to Houston Street, picking up the damned check, getting it in the bank - and taking myself out to dinner. Which, fittingly enough, was fairly vile. Ah, well. Serves me right for being too tired (I couldn't pick the damn thing up until 8 pm and I've been up since 6 and I've been in Harlem all day) to actually think about anything except sitting in a restaurant with a glass of wine and food. I should have been focusing on a better restaurant. Don't ever eat steak poivre at a place which has chicken fingers as appetizers.

The reason I've been in Harlem all day (and will be tomorrow) is that my crazy temp lady elected to send me to a school called the Harlem Link Charter School to help out. I must say that while the company of small children bores me to extinction, this place impresses me. The kids are well-behaved, and the staff is wonderful with them. I could, however, do without the lunchroom job - checking the hungry little monsters in - because they tend to run right through you, and since the school only goes from kindergarten through third grade, you keep getting clocked in the knee caps. But I'm getting paid for it!

The other thing (as mentioned above) outside of the bills getting paid around here, is that I'm using some of my cash to get my damn SAG card back! And then, my darlings, the temp agencies will see me as little as possible because I will be out making $140 bucks a day on background work, thank God. Or, to put it another way, YAHOOOO!

More later - I haven't even mentioned my lovely evening with Tiger Lily and the Boss and my kid and Jill and my pal Caesar, sitting and eating wonderful cheese and bread and that watermelon salad and that divine potato salad and then sitting under umbrellas on the patio enjoying the thunderstorm...

I have to be in Harlem at 8 am tomorrow. Getting there is half the fun, they tell me. Humph. I doubt it.

Love, Wendy

Friday, June 6, 2008

Happy Friday To All

Although given my current state of unemployment, every day is Friday for me. Bleahhh. But I'm happy for all of you out there who have Fridays to Thank God for.

After I described those awful new pants I mentioned yesterday to my pal Caesar, who dropped by today, I remembered another ghastly that I see all the time. Now that the weather is nice and warm, and about to be hideously hot and humid, could someone please explain this to me? I see sweet young girls all over the place in lovely little flowered spaghetti-strapped floaty summer dresses, and they look just adorable, until your eye travels downward - and they are wearing either knee-high heavy engineer boots or - worse - Uggs. WHY? Why would anyone is their right mind, in a hot, humid NY summer, wants to wear anything but sandals? First of all, it looks sillier than hell - sort of deeply confused. It's as if they all got their top halves to recognize summer, but their bottom halves haven't got the picture yet.

Secondly, when they go out on dates or with their boyfriends or whatever, and they get home with the guys, what happens when you have been wearing heavy boots on bare feet all day long in the heat? I mean, do you REALLY want anybody else, particularly your significant other (as they say), in the room when you pull those babies off for the first time in hours? Yucky-poo.

Earlier tonight (watch those quick subject changes!) I was reading a cookbook that purports to have recipes from the 50's in it - not an actual cookbook from the 50's, but a book called something like "Mom's Favorite Recipes from the 50's" that Sarah gave me some time ago. The recipes are pretty true to the period. Kindly remember that this was the great can-opener era, and I ran across a recipe that I just loved - for its verisimilitude (as pertains to the 50's, I mean), I may add, not because I have any intention of ever making it as long as I live. It goes as follows:

1 pound ground beef
1 small package cream cheese
1 can mushroom soup (well, of course)
1 cup canned corn with pimentos (this, by the by, was called Fiesta Corn Niblets - I think you can still get it)
1 package refrigerated biscuits.

You mix everything together and top it with the biscuits and bake it.

The reason I mention it, however, is that it has the absolutely best title (for what it is) in the whole world: Home-Made Beef Pie. Yup. Home-Made Beef Pie. One can only assume that the home-made part means you actually opened those cans with your very own can-opener and put it in your very own dish in your very own oven, because I can't quite see anything home-made about it otherwise, can you?

I am now going to go to bed and read. My life is so thrilling I can't stand it.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This Is The Blog I Wasn't Going To Write Today

Well, I actually didn't feel like blogging - only then I did. Feel like it, I mean. This is perhaps because I made Joshua go and buy me a large can of beer, and I have to do something while I drink it. Somehow writing seems a great more more grown-up (yeah, than playing solitaire or watching the Muppets on Youtube. (There was a brief pause there while it occurred to me to actually go to Youtube to see if anyone was around with a camera while I was doing that nutty Pillsbury promotion, but evidently not. Oh, well.)

My political campaign seems to have dispensed with my services, as has everyone else. This is just as well, because when I got out there I discovered how much I really, REALLY hated accosting perfect strangers on the street. Not to mention that standing up for four hours at a stretch is not noticeably good for my feet, legs or back. Not to mention that the lower East Side, while a perfectly lovely place for cheap restaurants and interesting boutiques, also has quite a sprinkling of people you don't want near you - I'm thinking here of the drunk/stoned weird looking character who actually tried to grab my tit until I strategically went into McDonald's. Ugh. I think I'm basically way too polite to bother people when they're obviously doing something else. Oh, well. If I'm going to lose a job, I'd much rather it be one I hate.

So I spent my day doing nothing much of the paper, for one thing. I love, love, love the Thursday New York Times. It's got the Home Section, and the mid-week Styles section, and I think it's terrific. Of course, I'm very loyal to Wednesday's Food section, but Thursday doesn't make me feel guilty for not scouring all of New York for that brand-new kind of fish that can only be found in one tiny store somewhere...if they're not out of it, that is. And which costs $36 a pound.

Then, since I hope to God someone will call me for a job first thing in the morning, and since I know perfectly well that I'm damned if I'm going anywhere over the weekend - if you haven't been keeping track of the weather, we're going to have a massive heat wave with temperatures in the upper 90's, at which point I turn on the air conditioning and stay in - anyway (wherever I was in that sentence), I decided to walk over to the Meatmarket. No, I wasn't shopping at Jeffrey - aside from their prices, I don't think they have clothes above size 2 - I went to Chelsea Market.

I love Chelsea Market. There's that great store with all the imported Italian stuff, and the fish market, and that completely amazing vegetable place which, unbelievably (since Chelsea Market is only the yuppiest market on earth) has absolutely wonderful prices for absolutely wonderful produce. They had some gorgeous endive there today, and I truly wished I had money because I was thinking of my nice endive au gratin recipe...actually, it's even better if you do a regular endive gratin but wrap thin slices of ham around it first. A really nice light supper dish - a little salad, a little bread, some fruit...

And my favorite place...the Bowery Kitchen Supply company way in the back. (I think that's it's name.) This place is HUGE, and I can spend hours and hours in there, dreaming away about exactly what I'm going to buy as soon as I win the lottery. There are the great saute pans, which are non-non-stick (no, that's not a typo - I mean they're not non-stick). All my stuff is heavy, gorgeous Calphalon, but it is non-stick, which means that when I do a chicken saute and go to make the pan sauce, there's not enough fond to suit me, really. (FYI to non-cooks - the fond is the little scrubbly bits left at the bottom of the pan when you saute chicken, and when you add the broth and wine and shallots or scallions to make your sauce, you scrape them up with your wooden spoon and they enrich the sauce. Aren't you glad you know that now?) And OMG, the gadgets. You have no idea who many gadgets there are. Walls of them...aisles of them. And the baking equipment. God knows I'm no baker (ask Sarah about some of her lopsided birthday cakes, which were even worse when I tried to decorate them), but oh, the bundt pans, and the charlotte molds, and those French bread pans, and the...and the...

Please, someone - keep me OUT of that place. In its own way, it's as bad for me as the Strand Bookstore. I have for years fantasized about a 12 step group called Strand Anonymous, where whenever you feel like going to the Strand, you call your sponsor and he or she comes over and gets drunk with you. Which I assure you is a LOT cheaper than letting me loose in the Strand. Or, now that I think of it, any bookstore. There is a place in London under one of the bridges (Westminster Bridge, maybe - I usually find it by taking the Tube to Embankment and just walking along until I see it, which works fine on account of what's better than a nice walk along the Thames) - anyway it is rows and rows and rows and rows of books, and more specialized bookstalls around the bank of the river. One of the reasons I like going to London alone is that nobody yanks me away from there or Charing Cross Road with nonsense about eating, or sleeping, or meeting someone at the pub, or all that completely unnecessary nonsense. Actually, if one is going to have a favorite thing to do in London, second-hand book hunting is by far the cheapest one I can think of. One of my other cheap games in London is to get a sandwich at a Pret or somewhere and take it to the Embankment to just watch the passing parade on the river.

By the by, when I was out campaigning the other day (and beginning to ache all over toward the end of the day), I noticed something about NY as opposed to London. Has anyone who knows both London and New York ever noticed that London is built for people who walk and would occasionally like somewhere to A. sit down for a minute, and B. pee? You can't go anywhere in London without finding a convenient bench, either in a little vest pocket park or along the side of a building, and you can always find a nice clean bathroom (Trafalgar Square is particularly spotless, I've found). The excuse I've always heard in New York is the homeless, but London has just as many homeless, for heaven's sake - it just seems to be kinder to them, perhaps? And the other (rather more recent) story you get in New York is terrorists. Well, London has had terrorists a LOT longer than NY...and it still manages to let people sit down, for God's sake.

In re London terrorists, I saw the most amazing and reassuring thing the last time I was in London. I was on the South Bank at the Lord Mayor's Fair, which was quite good fun. I was sitting having a cigarette on one of those lovely benches, and I suddenly saw the police clearing an area, roping it off, and searching it. This was, mind you, in the middle of an enormous street fair. Evidently someone had reported a suspicious package. Well, the police did all this - clear area, rope off, search, pronounce the place clear, unrope - and the fair went on. This took a ripe old ten minutes. Same thing some years earlier - Sarah and I were in London at Covent Garden with a friend. Covent Garden evacuated, we went across the street for a drink, and just as we finished our drink - all clear.

Shall we contrast that with New York? One paper bag with somebody's leftover sandwich, and the whole area goes berserk, the trains don't run, and traffic is stopped for 87 miles in every direction...and the whole megillah takes a full day. Couldn't we please take lessons from our efficient cousins across the pond?

I'm sticking in an extra paragraph to illustrate yet another instance of awful SpellCheck. Up there somewhere I spelled interesting "intresting", and when I went to correct it, SpellCheck offered me "int resting" as a replacement. What on earth is "int resting"? Is an int some sort of animal/bird/fish/whatever I don't know about that periodically needs a rest? Honestly.

Love, Wendy (who has now finished her beer, thank you)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Working Again...Sort Of

So I got this email from The Actor's Fund Work Program, which, God bless it, finds jobs for actors who need the cash and people who want to transition out of acting. (That's how I found my straight temp agency.) (No, I don't want to transition out of acting, but some fools do.)

And this is why, children, you might have seen me on the corner of Essex and Delancey for four hours today singing the praises of a Democratic candidate for the State Senate. With my clipboard. And my campaign literature. Just me, generally being one of those totally annoying people who steps out in front of you when you're only trying to get to the damn subway, for God's sake. Sorry! But I need the cash, so there.

Two words, next - one of warning and one recommendation, all rolled up together. The warning is, never accept an invitation to a restaurant where a friend is a chef. The recommendation is, go to the restaurant immediately without stopping.

Sarah and I went to Dovetail (77th, just off Columbus) on Sunday night, and I have not been hungry again until today. It just kept coming, and coming, and coming...

Start with the amuse-bouche - vodka gelee with caviar and capers. Followed by the pork belly and the crab ravioli. Followed by the lamb meatloaf with red pepper sauce and ricotta. (Our friend invented it and wanted our opinion. Which was "Mmm. Mmmmm. Mmmmph. Mmmph. Slurp.") Followed by the Berkshire pork and the skate wing in panko crumbs. Followed by, God help us, the strawberry tamarind sorbet, the vanilla cheesecake, the banana bread pudding, and the strawberries with basil ice cream. Followed by the tiny little chocolate cupcakes. Followed by me and Sarah waddling out, proceeded by our stomachs by a good two feet. Then, of course, we met our pal and some of the other staff for beer - no, for God's sake don't ask me where I put the beer - I certainly don't know.

Also, imagine Sarah standing in front of the bar when we were having a cigarette before we went in and poking her stomach at me and saying, quite clearly - "Feel how hard it is, Mom!" Yeah, well...

And today, on the corner of Delancey and Essex, I saw the most hideously amazing new fashion - one can only hope it doesn't catch on, because it's the worst thing I ever saw in my life.

There was a young man coming out of the McDonald's there wearing what looked like those ghastly huge baggy pants with the underwear hanging out. Well, he was wearing them - up to a point. These baggy pants, however, stopped being baggy about mid-thigh, and became tight pants. The effect looked like nothing else than somebody wearing an extremely full diaper.

I can only assume that someone dreamed this up because people were losing their pants all over the place. Now, of course, they can only go so far. And naturally, the guy was clutching himself. Guys wearing these baggy pants are ALWAYS clutching themselves. I guess it's because there's so much fabric in the area, they need to constantly be reassured that they haven't lost their what-have-yous in there.

I am now going to eat a small something. Tra la la.

Love, Wendy