Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Day, Another Cold Beer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Wendy

Monday, October 27, 2008

Update On My Broken Lock

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

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

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


Love, Wendy

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wedding Leftovers and A Couple of New Things

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you even imagine this kind of behavior?

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

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

Love, Wendy

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Wedding of the Century!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Wendy

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Final Thought of the Evening (one hopes)

Damn. Now I can't get shrimp and wild rice out of my head. I think what I'd do would be to cook the wild rice, then add some sauteed chopped onions, some mushrooms ditto, add the cooked shrimp, then top it with almonds browned in butter (with the butter, naturally) and toss it in the oven for about ten minutes just to get everything hotted up together...and serve it with salad and good bread and butter.

Good. Now there's a casserole. Up yours, Mrs. Deen!

Love, Wendy

Slight Update

Well, after Joshua did in the salami and cheese platter, he managed to get into the ham I made him buy me to replace the salami and cheese platter. Then he finished off the bacon (that, of course, I had plans for - such as eating it).

From here on in, I am going to confine my food purchases to things that are A. covered in bread crumbs, or B. shellfish (neither one of which he will touch). Alternatively, I'm going to take another chunk of his money and buy myself a tiny refrigerator to keep in my bedroom...WITH A PADLOCK.

I strongly recommend the Trader Joe's flounder stuffed with crabmeat. Admittedly, I would quite probably eat a down comforter if it was stuffed with crabmeat, but this was really good.

By the way...a small but mildly interesting sidelight on Joshua's "allergies." He insists that he can't eat animal fat, right? He also insists he's not able to eat smoked food. Anybody want to explain to me how salami, bacon and ham are 1. not smoked, and 2. contain no animal fat? I'm merely asking...

Love, Wendy


I can't take it any more. I need help, badly.

Will someone please prevent me from ever reading another Paula Deen recipe ever again as long as I live? Surely there ought to be a 12-step program for this. There must be others who are doggedly running their eyes through her recipes in the (invariably vain) hope that something - anything - will explain this woman's reputation. Or is one forced to conclude that all the rest of America is utterly delighted to cook with cream of mushroom soup in 2008, for God's sake? I thought we got over that somewhere around 1963 or so. And she evidently serves this crud in a restaurant. IN THE SOUTH! What has happened to our grand old traditions?

This particular diatribe (I'm always happy to yell about Paula Deen, of course) is prompted by the fact that I was running my cursor through the Food Network site for no good reason. I found myself in the Casseroles section, and there it was...a casserole that announced itself as Shrimp and Wild Rice. Well, what could go wrong with that?

Yes, you got it in one. Paula Deen could go wrong with that. Paula Deen puts in - oh, gee, go on, guess. Yup. Cream of mushroom soup. Can you think of a reason -hell, ANY reason - why anyone would start out with shrimp and wild rice and throw mushroom soup on it? This really is vandalism. Admittedly, some truly terrible sins are committed in the name of casseroles. I'm thinking here of one I ran across by James Vilas, a food person whom I otherwise like very much, that involved pumpkin and eggplant - two words which should not be in the same room with one another, let alone the same casserole dish.

And I am only the most forgiving person in the world. Really. I even judge Rachel Ray's recipes on their own merits, which, I have to say, are many. There's absolutely nothing wrong with her cooking - it's her personality that's so bloody awful. Yum-o? EVOO? Yuck. But her recipes are quite sound - just don't EVER watch her live. (Cute animals, yes. "Cute" people - no. Wouldn't you just love to get Tony Bourdain and Rachel Ray on the same stage together? That would be an episode of Iron Chef that nobody would EVER forget.)

Well, now. Joshua has started receiving large chunks of money from the government. One check for 800 bucks or so, one for 700 or so, and one for $20,000 - give or take a few bucks. For my pains in keeping him under my roof for the last three years without any monetary help with the cable bill, the electric bill, the maintenance, etc., he proposes to give me $1500. I don't know about you guys, but this seems somewhat wrong to me. So I've been siphoning off a little money here and there, and am now the proud possessor of my good $100 inhaler, of which I was in desperate need, some nice pills (ditto), and I had a lovely dinner tonight - sauteed scallops and an avocado (thank you, Gourmet Garage!). It was wonderful. And if Joshua asks me what happened to the money, I'll tell him, of course. If I sound slightly bitchy here, God knows I'm allowed. Also I haven't yet recovered from his breathtaking remark of Friday, when he called me at the office to inform me that the cable and computer were down again. I told him that I really couldn't think about it because I was in such need of prescriptions - to which he replied that we should deal with first things first. Oddly enough, if Joshua feels that the cable hookup is more important than my health, I feel absolutely no compunction about lifting a little bit of cash. I actually (because me being me, of COURSE I felt guilty about this) sat down and worked out on paper what he owes me for three years of half the maintenance, half the cable/computer, and half the electricity...and it works out to $32,800. I think I deserve my inhaler and my scallops...and what the hell, that nice avocado, too. Hell, I should have bought myself some caviar while I was at it.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

While I'm Sitting Here

I might as well blog. Why not?

Carolyn's wonderful gift came on Monday! A lovely gift card AND a nice eco-friendly (also, this being Trader Joe's, luau-friendly) shopping bag, and a bag of dried cranberries, which I love.

So, since I knew Carolyn would want to know, I saved the receipt...and I'm sure you'd all like to know, too. So:

TJ's salami and cheese platter. This is the kind of thing I absolutely love and NEVER allow myself to buy...if I'm having a party, I feel guilty because I haven't cut up all the cheese and salami myself, and if I'm alone, it just feels like rank self-indulgence. But I had a present! So I bought it.

OLIVE OIL! I have been bereft for weeks.
And two bags of salad...see above.

A package of prosciutto...on which I can live forever (no, no, not this package, just prosciutto in general)

Some nice fresh garlic...surely this doesn't need an explanation.

BACON! Again, bereft for weeks. (And eggs and toast are very nice, but they need...something.)

TWO packages of my beloved TJ's crabcakes. Admittedly, the price has gone up...they used to be $2.99 and are now $3.29. However, ONE crabcake at almost any other place you can name is $5.99, and TJ's come two in a package.

A pack (just one piece) of flounder stuffed with crabmeat (do we begin to see a pattern here? I love fish, and it gets expensive...)

A wonderful loaf of sliced Tuscan bread - at exactly the same price I've been paying for horrible supermarket sandwich bread.


TJ's Everything bite size crackers, which are exactly like everything bagels in little cracker form and have now replaced Wheat Thins and Triscuits in my personal cracker pantheon

A tin of anchovies, because I love sliced egg and anchovy old New York thing which you used to be able to get at any deli and which nobody has heard of in years

Cheddar horseradish spread, which I like, just because I do.

So there. A shopping list for the snack deprived person.

I must add that the salami and cheese platter met a terrible collection of fates. First of all, Sarah (and Seth) have been cleaning her room because my wonderful mother-in-law Ben turned up last night (as I mentioned) en route from Geneva to Washington. So Monday night I thought Sarah certainly deserved a snack after her labors (Seth wasn't with her...I owe him dinner). And I hauled out the cheese and salami platter.

Then Ben arrived around 8:30 last night, and I hauled it out again for a little snack before we ordered tons of Chinese.


Can we all guess the end of this story? Of course we can. My cousin, the stomach that walks like a man, came up at 3 in the morning to cook dinner (he does this), and seeing Sarah and Seth chatting intimately on the couch (according to him) decided not to cook, but instead to see what he could find in the icebox. And now the whole thing is gone. The salami, the havarti...everything. And if I haven't made it clear...I WANTED THAT. When I mildly announced to him that he had eaten my lunch for the next two days, he had fits. So I made him buy me a half pound of extremely expensive Gourmet Garage ham. And an inhaler, although he doesn't know about that part yet. This is known as, up yours, pussycat. Nobody touches MY cheese and salami platter and gets away with it.

I am now going to go and eat some nice leftover Chinese food, of which there is LOTS. And I haven't even started on my crabcakes or salad or finished the horseradish cheddar or ANYTHING! I am truly blessed.

Love, Wendy

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sideways Cat

We are now (I know I haven't mentioned this before) a one cat family. Blackfoot got one of those sudden unexplainable cat diseases and went less than a week later (about a month and a half ago), and then last week Gypsy, my poor three hundred year old cat, finally succumbed, after what I think must have been 22 years. This is sort of sad, but I think she was awfully, awfully tired.

So now I am left with Tarbaby, who is somewhat confused by the sudden lack of cats and is therefore very needy. I wouldn't mind this, but Tarbaby's form of needy requires him to maniacally wash my face at every possible moment...and he's got the worst cat food breath in the world. Not to mention the fact that when he starts on his nightly face washing routine, he cannot be deflected. If I stick my face under the covers, he proceeds to lick my head. If I could only train him to be a snuggle cat and you know, curl up next to me and purr or something, like a normal cat, he could be as needy as he likes...but no, he's not happy unless he's lapping madly away at my face. Do you think that a cat's tongue is good for exfoliation purposes? If it is, I could at least feel I was doing something for my complexion. God knows there are enough beauty products that smell just dye springs immediately to mind here.

Tarbaby has another problem that is driving me completely up a wall, which is that for reasons best known to himself, he shits sideways. I cannot figure out why on earth he would do this, but he does. Instead of stepping into the middle of his nice clean cat box, with (now) tons of room in it, he balances on the edge and shits down the side of the box. Or else he gets into the box, but manages to turn himself around so that his ass is against the side of the box. You can just imagine what a true joy this little habit is at box cleaning time. Bleccch.

Oh, well, my poor lonely beast. I thought I might get him a kitten, but now that I think of it, he's not a very young cat himself (fifteen or so, I'm pretty sure), so I don't think this is the best idea.

Not to mention the fact that I'm quite sure Joshua would manage to step on a kitten. Joshua, you see, steps on everything. Sarah and Seth, God bless them, have been doing a spectacular job of cleaning Sarah's room (her grandmother is coming to stay overnight tomorrow en route from Geneva to Washington), and they have thrown out bags and bags and bags of stuff. So they brought all the garbage bags downstairs to be ready to go out tonight, i.e., garbage night, and Joshua was complaining that he was sure he was going to trip on the bags.

Right. 1. The kids left a nice clear path from the den to the kitchen and from the kitchen to the front door...plenty of room to move. 2. Joshua leaves the damn living room lights on all night - how on earth could anyone manage not to be able to see ten or twelve enormous black garbage bags? I don't think he's suddenly taken to wearing a black satin sleepmask or anything (or at least I sincerely hope not - he's weird enough now).

Just one of life's little mysteries, I guess - and the garbage has gone out anyway.

Love, Wendy

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Confusion Reigns

So I was reading a cookbook, and I was wandering around in the bread section thereof. You see, I have always intended to settle down and learn to break bread when I retire...although what with the current situation, both national and personal, by the time I get to retire, it'll be a miracle if I'm not too senile to recognize the stove, let alone bake bread.

At any rate, I was suddenly struck by an instruction that seems to be common to all bread recipes, wherein it says something like, "Bake until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped." I have been reading this for years now, but for some unknown reason I actually started to think about it tonight.

How in hell do you tap the bottom of a hot loaf of bread when it's in the oven, presumably resting on its bottom (I know I've never seen any recipe that tells you to bake it upside down), and in a bread pan? All of these recipes also tell you a couple of lines later to take the bread OUT OF THE PAN. So we know it's still IN the pan when you're supposed to start playing around with its bottom. It seems to me that what you are going to do is take a hot pan of bread out of the oven and tap the bottom of the pan to see if it sounds hollow. But this doesn't make sense either, since you are then going to be tapping the bottom of a pan which can't sound hollow on account of it isn't - there's a loaf of bread in it. And what am I tapping with? I'm not sticking my bare hand on a pan I just took out of a hot oven, for heaven's sake, and if I tap it with a pot holder, I'm going to get a sort of muffled noise, aren't I?

Maybe this is why people order takeout a lot.

Well, I just wanted to bring a little joy into your lives this evening - and I'll bet every single one of you who cooks is going to lie awake all night long worrying about the hollow sounding bread. I love having an effect on people.

Love, Wendy

Never Talk To Men

I don't know why on earth I ever try to talk to my cousin. I never under any circumstances get anywhere.

This morning he discovered that his television wouldn't work, so he immediately handed me his phone (mine still being dead on account of no money to pay bill) and wanted me to call the cable company to fix it. Well, okay, but first (being a woman and therefore sensible) I went upstairs to check on the computer. It seemed extremely unlikely to me that it was a cable problem, because the cable guy was here on Tuesday replacing worn out equipment for us (that's why you haven't seen me blogging - our equipment failed) and everything was working fine this morning when I got up.

Well, the upshot of all this was that Joshua still kept insisting that I call Time Warner to get them to fix his TV. You see, he is completely incapable of understanding that there is only one - ONE - cable system in here, and he cannot be convinced that if a TV is not working, it's the TV that's at fault, not the cable system, presuming that the computer and the other TVs are working. (Yeah, I know - three TVs seems like overkill but when Matthew and I did it originally, there was a perfectly good point. First of all, we could afford it - always a good place to start. Secondly, in terms of keeping peace in the household, a big TV down in the den for sports, family movie watching, guests and so forth made sense. Then we needed one in our bedroom because Matthew couldn't sleep without a TV on. And then it just seemed reasonable to put a small one in Sarah's room because quite frankly, a lot of the junk she watched made me gag - not to mention the fact that when she had friends over to watch whatever, the shrieking and giggling was enough to drive anybody mad. So yeah, a little TV overkill there.)

So now Joshua is down in the den using up all his phone minutes with Time Warner Cable keeping him on hold forever to tell him that the problem is his TV, not the cable. God knows I tried.

And I gave him his damn birthday dinner on Thursday, and if he whines all year again that it wasn't the caviar soaked bash he actually wanted, fuck him, if you'll pardon the expression. It was a nice, low key chicken and potatoes with garlic meal with some green beans. And lots of wine. Even, courtesy of Sarah, a nice festive bottle of Prosecco to start things off. So there. Happy goddamn birthday and please shut the hell up. (He actually wanted me to bake a ham, which I was perfectly okay with because I'm getting pretty sick of chicken even though you CAN do almost anything with it. However, he returned from Western Beef telling me that they didn't have any ham. Now this I cannot believe for one single second. I think the problem here is that Joshua is a man, and therefore won't ASK anybody anything. I know good and damn well that Western Beef has carried hams for all the thirty odd years I've been shopping there, and I know good and damn well that they haven't stopped carrying them because - according to Joshua - "Hispanics aren't big on ham." Please. I am quite sure that the store is more than aware that other people shop there as well, and I am also quite sure that if I go to Western Beef and don't see a ham, I will be able to ask someone where one is and buy same. Honestly.)

I worked yesterday at my ongoing (for another two weeks or so, anyway) Friday job mailing things to Burkina Faso and other remote points...ah, well, it fills in the day and gives me at least SOME money.

I'm now hoping that my pal Carolyn's Trader Joe's gift card arrives today so I can get over there and indulge myself...I still have visions of cheese running through my head (so much so that when I looked in the mirror this morning, my eyes had turned bleu) (sorry). Of course, Trader Joe's on Saturday will be a madhouse of epic proportions, but on the other hand, I hadn't planned to do anything else today anyway. And I've discovered that while the checkout lines LOOK unending, they actually move fairly quickly - and one can always bring a book.

Love, Wendy