Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas, We Have Liftoff!

The in-laws have arrived. The tree has been trimmed (and is gorgeous as usual, even with our madly eccentric collection of ornaments) and its traditional concomitant Chinese dinner eaten. The house is - well, reasonably clean. The bathrooms are spectacular. Even the cat appears (so far...let's all cross our fingers) to have managed to hit the litter box. The presents are wrapped.

Ah, if it were only that simple.

Tomorrow: Wake up at 5 am to make sure Sarah gets to work on time. Hit Christopher Street Citibank ATM to get money. Meet Sarah's boyfriend Seth in Chinatown at 9 am to get the lobsters and shrimp for Lobster Fest (not to mention red onions and tomatoes for Christmas breakfast and a vegetable of some damn variety for Christmas dinner). Try to remember to buy cocktail sauce. BUY MORE BUTTER, and some lemons.

Have Lobster Fest. Clean up at much as humanly possibly while dazed with melted butter, because a Christmas morning accompanied by a table full of dirty dishes and forlorn beer cans is NOT a happy Christmas morning.

Friday: Have Christmas breakfast...which Sarah, God bless her, is providing. Open presents. Actually, this ALWAYS comes before Christmas breakfast. I cannot ever, in all the years I have been a part of this family, remember a Christmas where Ben (my MIL) did not say, "Just ONE present each, then we'll have breakfast and after that, we'll open everything else." I cannot remember one SINGLE Christmas where anybody paid the slightest attention to this at all.

Then we will all troop down to the den and watch the two things that Sarah and I most love...the proper Grinch (i.e., animated, with Boris Karloff), and the proper Christmas Carol (with Alastair Sim).

After which, of course, I will cook roast beast and potatoes and that vegetable, whatever it may be, and we will have our flaming plum pudding with hard sauce.

And I will go to bed, secure in the knowledge that once again, I have pulled off Christmas.

The very merriest of Christmases, or whatever, to all of you!

Love, Wendy

Friday, December 18, 2009

STOP, Already.

There is a headline in the online CNN not News that says "Pot found on Lil Wayne's Bus". Or possibly Lil Kim's bus. Lil somebody's bus, at any rate.

Well, no shit.

People, could we get a reality check here? I don't smoke it any more because what's around these days is WAY too strong for me. I liked my nice Maui Wowie and Acapulco Gold, way back when, but what's going on now merely makes me pass out or throw up...and I consider that a waste of grass. A few years ago a friend cleaned out her cousin's apartment when he died, and way back in the freezer was a pound of old fashioned Gold. You better believe I partook of was beautiful shit.

OK. What I am saying is LEGALIZE. Jeez Louise, the cop arresting that poor shlump for his pathetic little joint is going to go home and fire up his pipe. I don't think I know anybody (except me, and if it's mild enough, even me) who won't do at least a toke. My own damn mother, for heaven's sake, did it in art school in the 1920's. And my grandfather, for God's sake, did grass and more hanging out with jazz bands earlier.

I'm not even going to discuss that pernicious Rockefeller Law nonsense, which has deprived a generation of kids of a life. Nor am I going to deal with the Reefer Madness idiocy, which says that one toke drags you down into lifelong drug addiction.

I'm only saying that unless you have other, truly major, problems, a toke is just a toke. (I watched Maltese Falcon the other night and didn't intend to stay up for the following Casablanca...but who can resist Casablanca?)

So there. And I haven't had a toke in ages, nor felt the need to, because my drug of choice is booze. But who am I to deny others their pleasures?


Love, Wendy

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Now Hear This

If you are within reach of today's New York Times (that would be today, Sunday, 12/13), please go to Page 47 and read the obituary of a gentleman named Giorgio Carbone, Prince Giorgio I of Seborga (no, nobody else has ever heard of it either, including me, and I'm good at this sort of thing), otherwise known as His Tremendousness. I am not making this up.

Seems Prince Giorgio lives in a bit of Italy near the Italian Riviera, and through a bit of highly doubtful historical research, discovered that his small patch of Italy was at some point a principality, which he promptly resurrected, managing to get himself elected as Prince. The article is absolutely hilarious, oddly enough for an American obituary...the English write wonderful obits all the time, but Americans are evidently too concerned with political correctness. This one, however, is the most fun I've had in years.

By the by, Prince Giorgio never married (he's quoted as saying there were too many women to choose from), so unless what seems to be the one square mile occupied by his more or less mythical principality holds another wonderful lunatic, he will remain its only Prince.

One sincerely hopes that His Tremendousness sounds better in Italian, because in English it sounds like either a professional wrestler or a rap star. Or a sumo wrestler, for that matter.

Ah, well. back to Christmas prep!

Love, Wendy

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lurching Into Action

I've actually made a list, although I have no intention of checking it twice, and I actually got some of the things on it done! I'm extremely pleased with myself.

I got groceries (yeah, well, after I finally got rid of the Thanksgiving leftovers, there was this yawning hole in the refrigerator - and in my stomach). I got presents for four of my nephews (admittedly this part is easy because they're all teenagers now, and iTunes cards work just fine).

Tomorrow I'm going to go off and buy my mother-in-law a goat. Well, I think a goat, because they're usually the cheapest, as I recall. I really can't afford to get her a water buffalo this year. For those of you who have come late to my ramblings, I do this every year for my MIL. There is a counter at ABC Carpet (did you know that if you make a typo and spell "carpet" "caarpet" it looks like you can speak Dutch?) and Home called Mission Statement, where you can donate various things to various causes in someone's name. Ben is at a stage in her life (this from her, by the by, not my condescending judgment!) where she neither needs nor wants more "things," so I do this every year. And I will also (because it's in the same vicinity) stop at Barnes and Noble for my nephew Alec (who wants a book on racecars). And also Ben's usual appointment calendars - one (Sierra Club, always) for desk and one Week At A Glance for purse. My husband always bought these for her and I continue the tradition.

And since I've talked Sarah into getting the girls' stuff and the wrapping stuff, that's almost it! I'm deeply thrilled. And now I can concentrate on the house.


Love, Wendy

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Completely Discombobulated

Well, so here I am, Christmasy to the max, all ready to dive into the holiday...when I get a phone call from The trustee... who informs me that because time is getting short (like, we're totally out of money here), he has decided that we're going to start showing the house as of a week from Monday.

Now let's see. I have to buy presents for one daughter, one mother-in-law, three sets of in-laws, 10 nieces and nephews, and a couple of friends. I also have to host the annual lobster party on Christmas Eve, and get our usual 10-12 foot fresh tree. I also have to provide Christmas breakfast for four or five people, and Christmas dinner for six. And I have to do this on a combination of unemployment and Social Security.

And this is the point at which my trustee decides we're going to begin showing the house...meaning that somewhere in there I have to paint two bathrooms and do a hands and knees cleaning and somehow conceal from prospective buyers that I have an incontinent cat, know that one woman show I'm doing after the first of the year? The director just called rehearsal on Tuesday.

Oh, and did I mention that no money seems to be forthcoming for the paint, spackle, masking tape required?

By the way, I've gotten an email from the one and only Joshua, instructing me to pick up his prescriptions from our local pharmacy and mail them.

I'm sure I can work this all out. Now, who knows a nice rest home for me to enter on January 1? Texas Beth, can I come and stay with you?

Love. Wendy

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bring It On!

Oh, wow, am I ever ready for Christmas. I have survived Thanksgiving (lovely, thank you...too many leftovers, but see below). And I am thoroughly ready for Christmas trees, and tinsel, and hot cider, and Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas, and the Grinch, and Alastair Sim in A Christmas Carol (1951 - the ONLY version), and wrapping paper and ribbons and mysterious packages, and, and, and...

Oh. In case anybody might possibly have missed it - I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

As my loyal readers know, I am always delighted to have Thanksgiving out of the way. And due to the fact that I may actually have enough money to handle Christmas (thank you, Wall Street 2!), I am thrilled beyond belief.

And today I was very good. I returned my library books, and I finally got into the icebox (yeah, yeah, I know, refrigerator...forget it, it's an icebox) and sorted out the leftovers because God bless the kids, they put everything away, sort of tin foil covered serving bowls don't quite do it for me. So I dived in armed with plastic bags and proper icebox containers and now it's all snack/dinner ready. Yay, me.

Interesting thing. I have noticed it, but it just got reinforced...everybody who came in for Thanksgiving commented on how different the house felt without Joshua. It was as if the air had changed, somehow. I feel it, certainly, but I hadn't realized what a complete miasma he engendered. The whole house seems lighter and more comfortable (not least because before the holiday I busted my ass and cleaned up the living room, which he had left a mess, and now it looks like a living room, and not an abandoned storage space). Anyway, it's wonderful - and would you believe that since I turn lights out when I leave the house, and don't leave a TV on all electricity bill was damn near a HUNDRED BUCKS cheaper this month?


Love, Wendy

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Doom Has Come Upon Me

Just call me the Lady of Shalott.

It turns out that NOBODY is free this year, and NOBODY has any money to spare. So while I have been happily coasting along for the last four Thanksgivings or so, knowing that enormous amounts of deliciousness were going to come floating through the door while I did nothing more taxing than roast the turkey (which a four year old can do, presuming he or she can A. lift the turkey, and B. is allowed to play near the oven) and peel some potatoes and cucumbers, this year I actually have to do the better part of the cooking.

So once again, Mother is thrown back on her own resources (still obsessing about those damn green beans) and getting up early tomorrow morning to set this whole thing in motion.

Luckily, I have Sarah's boyfriend Seth coming over early to sous chef for me, and even more luckily than that, at precisely the moment when I have to start madly chopping celery and onions for stuffing, Channel 13 has come to my aid by putting An American in Paris on. So I shall chop away while wrapping myself in Gershwin, Gene Kelly, and Leslie Caron. I feel this is an excellent idea, even if I get onion and celery scraps all over the den floor.

And I am exceedingly proud of myself because I now once again have a living room that looks like a living room, and not an abandoned storage facility. When Joshua left, he had used the living room for a staging area, so it was full of empty cardboard boxes and scraps of this and that and crud all over the floor...oh, well, it was awful looking. I worked my deeply adorable little tail off today, and it now looks neat and welcoming again...I even got down there with a scrub brush and removed all evidence of the cat's bowel-related senility. (No, you do NOT want to know.)

So now I have all the ingredients, a clean living room, and, since we eat late on Thanksgiving (like around 8 pm), a whole day to cook. It's going to be lovely. I'm going to be sound asleep on the couch by 9:30 pm.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Almost Thanksgiving

The shopping is done, the turkey is tucked neatly in its brine, the house is slowly getting to a point where it's okay, as opposed to dear God, and the holiday season is upon us.

As always, I'm not in any way shape or form ready for this. I'm obsessing about the amount of green beans again, even though this year I did my shopping in the company of my pal Shai the chef, who assured me I was buying the right amount of green beans. I do wish I could figure out why on earth I obsess on green beans. Have you ever met ANYONE who is deeply disappointed at a Thanksgiving meal because there (gasp) weren't enough green beans? Well, okay, maybe people who feel that Tofurkey is a great main course, but other than But just like last year, I'm deeply convinced that there will be a sudden run on the green beans and I won't have enough. (Even though in previous years I had leftover green beans enough for a small army of vegetarians.)

Meanwhile, in other news, I did a shoot for The Adjustment Bureau on Saturday which was a fairly typical one...stand around on street, sit around in holding, eat...good caterer and nice Chinese lunch...but we ran into overtime, which will help with Christmas. Oh, my God. Christmas. I'd better start making lists. Well, I did my list for Thanksgiving and bought everything on I'll obsess about Christmas for a while.

Phooey. It will turn out fine, it ALWAYS turns out fine, and everything will be wonderful. (Oh, Lord...I need new lights for the Christmas tree, I've got to email my sister-in-law and find out what her kids want, and my other sister-in law, and my OTHER sister-law, and make sure about the tree topper which I think is coming to bits and then I've got to....)

Maybe I should just get through Thanksgiving first.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Wendy

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Please Spell Check Your Spell Check

So I'm sitting here looking at the 1010 WINS news site, and I see that the spell check monster has struck again. That is the creepy horrible beast who has managed to convince millions of people that if Spell Check says it, it's got to be right. The result today was a headline saying: Man Arrested in Grizzly Double Murder.

Well, immediately I wondered why on earth he'd been arrested for murdering bears, even though I know perfectly well that unless you're a foaming at the mouth animal rights activist, the word "murder" is normally reserved for something done to human beings. But of course, it was only the Spell Check curse again - what was meant was "grisly."

I will say it once more, even though it will, I know to my sorrow, fall on deaf ears. DICTIONARIES. There are these handy books of words, all nicely alphabetized, people, and you should use them. There are even dictionaries online. "Grizzly" is a bear. "Grisly" is awful, horrible. As in, the ignorance of the English language in this country is GRISLY.

Love, Wendy

Friday, November 20, 2009

And As The Sun Rises Over The Javits Center...

It's finally over. The end of five days at the Javits Center...and I still can't get warm enough.

I started on Sunday (a mere four hours) training for my position, which was that of cashier/customer service person. This, by the way, didn't require any damn four hours of training, but what the hell, they were paying me. And it was deeply interesting, when I arrived, that there was a pigeon wandering around in there...yes, inside. Why not? (In fact, there are usually pigeons and, one day, a small brown wren, wandering around in there...I think they come through the loading dock.)

Monday we started the four days of appearing at 7 am and leaving at 5 or 5:30 pm. What I was doing was sitting at the registration desk for a computer expo called Interop. I worked a couple of days for it last year, but I was inside the exhibition hall, where there is something resembling heat. No such luck this year. I was wearing pants, socks, long underwear and sweaters every day, and I STILL had to put my coat over my shoulders when the sun went down. And by the way, when the sun comes UP, between about 8:30 and 9 am, it streams directly into your eyes and makes it impossible to see your computer screen. The result of this is a row of people who look like they have scoliosis AND are hunchbacked, as we desperately try new and interesting contortions to get the glare out of our eyes. What you do in this case is simply ask whoever is at your station who needs help to move a few inches to the right or left and block the sun so you can SEE to help him.

The job itself wasn't at all bad, and we had a nice group of people to work with, so that was fine. But my God, how I hate that place.

First of all, it's at the ass end of nowhere. You cannot get to 11th Avenue and 34th Street any way except the 34th Street crosstown bus, which, in common with most crosstown buses in our dear town, runs according to a schedule known only, I gather, to the gods of traffic. And yes, of course I could walk from 34th and 8th (which is where my uptown bus lets me off) but not in darkness. And after daylight savings time ends, if you have to be somewhere at 7 am, most of your travel time is in darkness.

And you have to pack as if you were going camping in a VERY distant location, because the Javits feels that since they have the only food in the neighborhood, they can charge whatever the hell they please for it. And do they ever...$2 for a banana. $6 for coffee and a donut. $3.76 for a 10 ounce bottle of water (yeah, the same water the deli charges $1.50 for). I tried looking at the vending machines because I had a Diet Coke jones...$3.50 for the (deli) $1.50 Diet Coke. Wouldn't you think they'd be able to supply the registration tables with little portable heaters with all that cash coming in?

Meanwhile, I'm dealing with computer freaks at my little customer service station. What interesting people. Did you know that they can't run computers? What you're supposed to do when you come into the expo is type your name into one of a couple of rows of laptops. This action will automatically print out your ID badge for the show. You have no idea how many deeply confused people came to me because they were completely incapable of performing this task. And almost every single one of these bemused gents (there don't seem to be a lot of female computer geeks, or at least not that I saw) had on his badge "IT Manager." So they can build computers, they can write code for computers, they can do all sorts of arcane things with computers...but they can't run computers. (Parenthetically...see the parentheses? is interesting to note that most commercial fisherman can't swim. They say that if you get swept off your boat into winter water during a squall, there's no sense in bothering with it because the cold will kill you very quickly anyway.)

And lunch hour is a bore because there's nowhere to go. I would take my little insulated lunch bag and sit down and eat and read the paper, after having bought a Diet Coke from the nice gyro wagon outside (if you don't bring your lunch that's the only way to get affordable food).

I discovered that people are really hogs for free stuff. I can't tell you how many of these guys would insist that they were entitled to a free pass (the expo cost $100 at its most basic - i.e., the exhibition floor - and went up from there through various seminars and stuff). My favorite guy kept insisting that he had a free pass because he had a letter saying that if he was among the first 25 people to complete a questionnaire, he won an expensive pass to the show. In fact, this was quite true, there was such a promotion, and we had a list of the people who had won it. He was not, however, among them. He could NOT be convinced of this, even after I explained it to him in great detail. Me: Yes, sir, I see this letter, but please note that the paragraph you are talking about says, "IF you are among the first 25 people." Since you didn't get a further confirmation that you were one of those people, you don't get a free pass. HIM: Yes, but it says right here, I get a free pass. Me: No, sir. Please look at the sentence. It clearly says IF. Him: Yes, but it says... And so on, and so on and so on. In the middle of this, a very agitated gentleman came racing up to Roderigo, who was sitting next to me, and started ranting madly away because he had been asked for his photo ID to get his pass for the show. He was quite hysterical about this, and told us we were all Chinese (repressive Chinese government, I presume he meant) and that we just hated Muslim Italians. Frankly, I don't know about you, but I've actually never thought much about Muslim Italians. I mean, you know, it's not something that really crosses my mind a lot...or ever. But he was convinced. We finally got him all calmed down and off with his pass, at which point my guy, Mr. Stubborn (who had watched this whole thing fascinatedly), turned back to me and said, without missing a beat: "It says right here..."

And one guy insisted that we had hidden bags. At most of these shows, along with your ID badge, you're given a bag (like those 99 cent reusable bags you can buy at the grocery store) with the expo's logo on it to lug around all the promotional stuff from the exhibitors (I have a very nice canvas messenger bag that I scored while doing another computer show a couple of years ago). However, there were none this year because of the recession, but this gent was convinced that we were hiding them from him.

And on and on it went. "The computer over there keeps asking for my password. What's my password?" (You don't need a the nice man by the computers told you, just type in your name and hit return.) "Why didn't I get a free pass? My coworker got a free pass." (Because your coworker had the sense to preregister three weeks ago, stupid.) "I just want to go see one person in there. I don't need a badge for that, do I?" (Yes. Fork over the cash.) Over and over and over.

My favorite was the number of people without photo IDs. I fail utterly to understand this. These are supposed to be business people, right? How on earth do they go to appointments? You can't get into an office building these days without a photo ID. And, since many of them were out of towners, how on earth did they get on an airplane? Did they walk from wherever they were? Greyhound bus? From Oklahoma? And I also liked one man who was fussing about meeting his colleagues, because he didn't know where in the Center they were. It evidently hadn't occurred to him to use his cell phone.

But it's finally over...unfortunately, I seem to have been very good at it and will probably get called to do the whole damn thing again next year. I have every intention of providing myself with more interesting lunches and better long underwear...fur-lined, if at all possible.

I took the day thoroughly off today...I got to sleep until 7 this morning, which was deeply lovely. Of course, Grant Wilfley called, and I get up at 4 am tomorrow to make a 6 am call (in Manhattan, just on West 25th, thank heavens) for The Adjustment Bureau, whatever it may be. Ah,'s all more money for Christmas. And Thanksgiving is this coming week! I'm not sure I'm ready, but then, it's going to arrive whether I am or not. To the stove! To the shopping list! On Dancer, on Dasher, on Comet...wait, wait. Not yet. Now I have to think Pilgrims...

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I am in Javits Center hell, and merely reminding you of this unpalatable fact. I get up at 4:30 in the morning to get there. I will be there through Thursday. I promise to come back alive and fill you in on the whole horrible experience...suffice it to say at the moment that the Javits Center entrance, where I am stuck for another LONG two days, has no heat. None. Not a scintilla thereof. Last night I froze a bottle of water to make sure that it would keep my little lunch bag all nice and cold until lunch (and also so I wouldn't be drinking lukewarm water all day). I took the bottle out of the freezer at 5:30 am. When I left the Javits Center at 5:00 PM (yes, that's PM...11 and 1/2 hours later), there was still ice in the bottle of water.

There will be much to report...

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Tuesday

Well, I made it through last week. I finished up my transcription job on Thursday, and wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to least I kept getting little things to do while sitting down...a distinct plus.

Then I trotted off to Brooklyn to eat Shai's wonderful food - which somehow involved me in eating pig's ears, something I assure you it would NEVER have occurred to me to do on my own. Actually, they're quite interesting - crisp and chewy simultaneously. I enjoyed them. And I was VERY happy with the venison sauce for the pasta and and the bread pudding for dessert.

Then I did absolutely nothing all weekend, and lots more nice nothing on, I take that back. I went out to the ATM on Monday to deposit my Ugly Betty check.

Today was registering people for a meeting (American Heart Association - doing this sort of thing always makes me feel guilty when I sneak out for a cigarette) at the Millennium Hotel over by the UN, which was another pleasant day...and we even got out early while being paid for the whole shift.

And now (so far, at any rate), I have absolutely nothing else to do until this coming Sunday, when I start six days at the dear old Javits Center. Ugh. This means I have to go out and buy an insulated lunch bag and lots of sandwichy type things, it being impossible to eat at the Javits...I mean, you CAN eat there, but you'd be an idiot. I believe I mentioned somewhere in these pages that they once wanted to charge me $2 for a banana. Yeah, riiiggghhht. So packing food for the day is a necessity, because the only other option is the hot dog wagon in front of the place and really, how many hot dogs can one eat?

And I finally took my beautiful new television (i.e., the one in the den that's been Joshua's pet all this time) out for a test drive. Wow. I haven't watched anything on it before for the eminently simple reason that there's been nothing on TV I wanted to watch, me not really being a television person. However, tonight they were showing the Zeffirelli Taming of the Shrew with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, which I just love...Zeffirelli made two Shakespeare films, Shrew and Romeo and Juliet, and they're both absolutely spectacular. The Romeo and Juliet actually had a (roughly) 17 year old Romeo (Leonard Whiting) and a 15 year old Juliet (Olivia Hussey), and it was glorious (done in the 60's, as I recall). But the Shrew is just enormous knockabout fun, so I sat happily in the den with my huge damn TV and sang along with Shakespeare. You can do this if, like me, you have actually played Kate in Shrew - boy, was THAT fun. I was way too old for it, but my baby faced looks helped, and besides, the whole point is that Kate's been hanging out a fair amount of time waiting to get married off. I had a 23 year old Petruchio who was 6'3", which made the fight scenes even funnier, given that I'm 5'3". Therefore, he could just pick me up with one hand and sling me around - I went heavily padded during rehearsal, I assure you!

My trustee has lost his tiny mind...he wants me to sell the house now. There are several things wrong with this. First is the fact that the rest of it needs cleaning. Second, the whole thing needs painting...including the floors in the living room and my room. And finally, he has completely neglected to remember that people aren't buying houses with the holidays coming up, and that I have 15 or 20 people coming for Thanksgiving, 15 or 20 people turning up on Christmas Eve, and my mother-in-law coming for Christmas...oh, yeah, and I open in a one-woman show after the 1st of the year for which I have to learn 17 pages of script. He also seems to think that working for a living shouldn't be my first priority right now. I don't think he understands how unemployment works, because of course I can't turn down jobs, and besides that, since I use my social security every month to pay bills, what does he expect me to live on if I'm not getting unemployment?

Oh, well - I'm sure I can clean, paint, and everything else while learning lines and working, right? Of COURSE I can.

Love, Superwoman (otherwise known as Wendy)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


How nice for me. I have achieved a dream I assure you I never had - that of running around New York and environs all day on public* transportation. I think today is going to be my new favorite nightmare.

My day started when I leaped joyfully out of bed...oh, okay, crawled resentfully out of 4:15 this morning to make it to the Wall Street 2 set in Williamsburg by 7 am. So. Dressed (in my summer damned clothes) and made up, I got a taxi to the West 4th Street station, where I hopped the F train. The F train took me to Delancey, where I changed to the J train. This dropped me right at holding on Marcy Avenue, and I must say that it's a quite lovely ride. The J goes over the Williamsburg Bridge, so this morning I saw the beginnings of sunrise there. Gorgeous.

I then endured the shoot, which was NOT in a nice heated subway car but right out on the cold, cold street. I was glad I was wearing a pale blue shirt, because it was an absolutely perfect match for my skin after a while. And then, weirdly, we got wrapped at 10:15 this morning! VERY of the other background people said it hadn't happened to him in 30 years of background work.

I decided to go over to my temp agency where I'm doing the transcriptions, because I was due in there tomorrow anyway, and this way I got a head start on the thing and I won't feel so pressured tomorrow. This involved taking the very convenient J train again, which goes directly to Broad Street - exactly where I needed to be. So I worked there until 3. Then it was off to the 2 line to Chambers Street, the 1 to Christopher Street, and the crosstown M8 bus...and home.

If you're counting, that's four separate subways, making (since I took one subway twice) five subway rides, one taxi and one bus. If I ever have to do a day like this again, I'm hiring a car and driver. I am exhausted. And I know it shouldn't count if I just transfer from one train to the next, but I feel like counting it. So there.

Tomorrow I am taking the bus into the temp agency like a civilized human being, by God. Lord, how I hate subways.

And it looks like I AM going out to dinner Friday night. Tiger Lily told me I am.

And now, it being 8 pm, and my day having started at 4 am, I am going to I can get up at 5 tomorrow and get an early start on that damn transcription, which has to be done by the end of tomorrow. And then, oh, joy...I get on Friday. Somebody damned well greet me at the door of that dinner party with a six pack of tall Budweisers.

Love, Wendy

*It is now Thursday, Re-reading this blog today made me realize that I had originally written "pubic" transportation. Oops.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Going Forward

You know, next time I decide to semi-retire, I am going to have to let the rest of the world in on the decision, because I seem to be busier than ever.

The cleaners did, in fact, arrive on Friday, four nice Haitian gentlemen, and I now have a blindingly clean kitchen and two blindingly clean bathrooms. Lovely...

Unfortunately, they left the front door open all day (because of cleaning product fumes, I presume), and the cat disappeared. I found this out when he didn't come bouncing down to breakfast on Saturday. I originally thought that the cat (who is, after all, almost 17) had simply crawled into the closet to die, and I spent a large part of Saturday hunting for him. But it swiftly became clear that there wasn't a cat anywhere in the house. So my next thought was that he had gotten out, and probably been run over by someone. I didn't think he'd been picked up by anyone, because here in the West Village, if anybody finds an animal, signs go up all over the place almost immediately. So I sort of commended Tarbaby's spirit to God, really.

Saturday night, Sarah and friends came over to get ready for the Halloween parade...IN MY BEAUTIFULLY CLEAN KITCHEN. With lots and lots and lots of fake blood. With which they had a wonderful time, God help me. Luckily I had decided not to go to the parade this year because it was pouring rain, and anyway I would have been way too late to get my chosen viewing spot. You really have to get there by 6 pm to get close enough to see everything - the parade starts at 7. This gave me plenty of time to reclean the entire kitchen and downstairs bathroom (growl, growl), but it was really satisfying to see that I could actually do it very quickly, because it was, after all, basically clean - just basically blood stained.

Sunday I went to a marathon party at Saint Tiger Lily and the Boss' place, still worried about the cat...I kept having a horrible feeling that I'd missed looking somewhere in the house and had a slowly decomposing cat in a closet...which would become increasingly (and very unpleasantly) evident.

Yesterday I went and sat around the office of one of my temp agencies doing a transcription job for them, which was fine, because they just hand me the stuff and leave me the hell alone to do it - my preferred method of doing anything.

And I got home - and guess who was sitting in the front yard, meowing for dinner? Dear little furball had simply decided to take the weekend off, evidently, and was quite annoyed at me for not being there immediately to let him in and feed him. You can always tell when cats are annoyed with you. What's really irritating is that the trip seems to have done him good - he seems to be in better health now than when he left, and he was doing fine then. And just to add insult to injury, he doesn't seem to have taken any pictures, so I'll never know where the hell he got to.

And we had the first read-through of my one-woman show, Tsunami, last night. Dear God. How in the hell I'm going to memorize all this is completely beyond me. 17 PAGES OF DIALOGUE. MY dialogue. We're going up after the holidays, obviously, and in town, thank God. Ted (the director) knows better than to try and drag me out to Brooklyn, particularly in the winter. And the director and the playwright are both convinced that I'm going to be spectacular in the role...

Speaking of Brooklyn, just before I left for the party on Sunday, I got a call to do Wall Street 2 tomorrow! I called in for my report do this the night before a shoot. The agency records an announcement telling you where and when to report to the set the next day. I was getting a little nervous about this thing, because on the original call, they told me I was a late summer. Well, the high is going to be 51 tomorrow, which didn't make the shoot sound at all appetizing. However, it turns out that I'm going to be a "Bronx blue collar subway commuter." Anybody got any clever ideas about what Bronx blue collar subway commuters wear in the summer? I sure as hell don't. I'm going to go for a low level data entry type person, wearing slacks and a blouse. Or maybe slacks and a t-shirt. And oy, the commute. They consider Williamsburg too close to Manhattan for a van, damn it, so I have to be on Marcy Avenue at a bar called Duff's at 7 am tomorrow. Even better, I have to take the F train from W. 4th to Delancy, then the J train to Marcy Avenue. Anybody who thinks I have ANY notion where I'm going can think again. And I can take the crosstown #8 bus to West 4th, but unfortunately it only runs every 45 minutes at that hour, which means a taxi to W. 4th. And, just to make it nicer, I purely hate that damn W. 4th Street station. Aaarrrgh.

Then Thursday I'll go back to my temp agency to finish up that transcription thing, and Friday I have a temp job at a job fair, which is at least on Times Square and thus easy to get to. Unfortunately it's another one of those awful things where you're not allowed to sit down all day. You know, I have what is evidently a weird idea that temp agencies should listen to what you're telling them. Three days before they called with this job, I had turned down another job at Niketown for Marathon Weekend, because I did it last year and it was terminally terrible. And I carefully explained to my nice temp lady WHY I turned the job down (vile working conditions and the fact that I am 64 years old, and standing up for 8 hours isn't the best idea in the world - last year my back ached for three days). Two days after that she called me with this Monster job, and neglected to inform me that it was another job where I'd have to stand all day. Oh, and I'd also turned down another day at the damn Intrepid for the same reason. So evidently the temp lady feels that it'll be fine if I just don't KNOW about the conditions when I accept the job. Something seems terribly wrong about this. And of course, I was already flirting with disaster by turning down the Intrepid and Niketown, because unemployment gets antsy when you turn down jobs. Ah, well. At least I finally went and bought some arch supports for my shoes, which should help with the back problems.

And this coming weekend? So far, a glorious amount of absolutely nothing. Lovely, lovely, nothing, unless I decide to go to Brooklyn for dinner on Friday, which is still up in the air in my mind (the dinner will go on's my participation I haven't quite decided on yet).

Eeek. It's twenty to ten and I have to be up at 4! Good night!

Love, Wendy

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A New Dawn (with apologies to George Lucas)

HE'S GONE! He's actually, completely, in Thailand. Or, you know, his plane went down somewhere and I didn't see it on the news. Whichever. The point is, my cousin is no longer in residence in my house!

Tra la, tra la, tra la...also hallelujah, also hosanna in the highest.

So on Monday I got up at a civilized hour to do Ugly Betty, and it was even in Manhattan, down in a bar on Park Place. A 9:00 am call translates to practically mid-afternoon, when you consider all the mornings I've hauled my elderly ass out of bed at 3:30 am to get to a 5:30 am location bus that some bright child decided should be waiting on 96th and Broadway. The shoot was terminally dull (as I keep telling you, movie making is NOT glamorous), but it was a nice 11 hours, which means a nice paycheck, and the scene was with Judith Light, who turns out to be a darling gal...she actually turned to the two of us background people who were closest to her at the bar, put out her hand and introduced herself. Now that's a sweet person.

Tuesday I woke up way too early (like 5 am), from anticipation, no doubt. But by God, the airport car arrived, Joshua got into it, and he rolled away. I then read the paper and had breakfast, watching the clock all the time because his flight was at 10:15, and I fully expected him to come down with some exotic disease in the airport and turn around and come back and have eighteen months of doctors' appointments. Face it - he was SUPPOSED to leave in January. In point of fact, he was supposed to leave eight weeks after he arrived, which was six years ago. After I judged I was out of danger, I had a short beer and took a restorative nap in my beautifully empty house.

Caesar came over and we ordered Thai food to celebrate, then Sarah came over to lend me 20 bucks. I had hoped that Joshua would leave me a nice farewell gift, but no, of course not - he had evidently changed all his money into bahts (which is what one spends in Thailand). This, even after I mentioned rather pointedly that my Social Security check hadn't come and I was down to about three bucks. Yes, well - just another excuse to celebrate his leaving, right?

Then I had a seminar job yesterday and today, which was as boring as usual...this one, however, had an extra added attraction in that the room I was sitting in had no heat whatsoever, which was NOT fun.

Just for fun, I was waiting for the crosstown bus at 2nd Avenue and 9th on my way home today, and in a building across the street, there is a window air conditioner with a large sign on it saying, "No dogs allowed." They must have some dogs in the East Village who are related to the cow who jumped over the moon, since said air conditioner is on the second floor.

And I am throwing things out! I have gotten rid of so much stuff from the kitchen alone...I cleaned the icebox, I cleaned the counters, I got rid of Joshua's toaster, and the fan he insisted on keeping in the powder room, and thousands of orphaned plastic lids, and all of his gluten free food (not to mention several things that were just sort of hanging around in the cupboard like way out of date baking soda and rice wine that had formed a vinegar know). I have cleaners coming in tomorrow to actually deep clean the kitchen, because it's inches thick in grease, due to Joshua's habit of frying everything. I have tried everything short of a flamethrower, and I can't get the stuff off. So tomorrow I'm getting up early to finish dragging everything out of the kitchen, and the team will turn up at 10:30 or so. Glory!

Then all I have to do is get the living room back to being a living room, get my room clean, get somebody to clean Sarah's room (Vicky by choice because now her stuff is all over it).

And I'm really, really furious with the World Series. I was so looking forward to seeing Glee last night in my very own den on my very own big screen hi-def TV (a hi-def TV sounds like a relative of Mos Def, doesn't it? Mos Def and his brother Hi). But the damn series preempted it! Growl. Nobody loves me.

But I don't have a live-in cousin any more! YAHOO!

Love, Wendy

Friday, October 23, 2009


For those of you unaware of British terminology, gobsmacked means absolutely thrown for a loop. Your gob is (in really vulgar slang) your mouth...and in England, really big jawbreakers (oh, come on - we all ate jawbreakers as kids) are known (again vulgarly) as gobstoppers, the etymology of which should be obvious. So gobsmacked means feeling as if you've been suddenly, out of nowhere, smacked in the mouth. Here endeth the first lesson.

Off I trotted to my horrible seminar job this morning in the dark at 6:10 am (please - bring on the end of daylight savings for those of us who far too often have to leave home at weird hours) and had a deeply frustrating and annoying day. 1. The instructions were unclear for how this thing was to be run. 2. The lady who was speaking was oddly uninvolved in the process...usually these people are all over you to tell you a lot more than everything. 3. There was no cell phone service where I was sitting.

Let me repeat that. I will repeat that while we are all remembering that I am a member of SAG who does background work, and that every single day I submit myself for at least 3 or 4 jobs. Are we all clear? THERE WAS NO FRIGGIN' CELL PHONE SIGNAL WHERE I WAS SITTING.

And, therefore, C&G Casting called me. Of course. Could anyone imagine anything else? Naturally. The upshot of this is that I've got Ugly Betty for Monday, but the downshot (is there such a word?) is that now I'm going to have to rejigger things all over the place. If you're all keeping track, Monday was the day that the cleaners were coming around noon, and my first rehearsal for Tsunami (my one woman show) was supposed to take place at 6:30 pm. Since I have no idea (and won't until after noon on Sunday) when I'm shooting...yes, well, you can imagine that a lot of rescheduling will have to take place here.

Meanwhile, to even talk to Deanna from C&G, I had to go down two floors in an elevator to get to a place where the goddamn cell phone worked. Is this any way to run a hotel, for God's sake? Sheesh.

Finally, this way too long day ended. Did I mention that at one point when I was running around trying to get a damn phone signal, the elevators quit working? Oh, yeah. The hotel guests seemed perfectly happy to stand around for however long it took, but then, they're not New Yorkers. I hiked up two LONG flights of stairs, leaving them behind, placidly mooing. Well, they were pretty much all cow-sized.

Finally, I got to the subway. That would be the #1 train - 50th to Christopher Street. I had to stand until 42nd, of course, but I got a seat at 42nd, settled into it, looked casually down the car, and...


I leaped out of my seat and ran down the car shrieking...not as easy as it sounds. The shrieking part is easy, but running on a moving subway is kind of iffy.

And I jumped all over people...the people being my cousin Cass (well, Cathy, but I wasn't too good with TH when little, so she's always been Cass or Cassie), her husband Charlie, their daughter (either Susie or Sandy, but I think Sandy - they have two daughters and, in my view, should have started their names with two different letters so I wouldn't get so confused all the damn time), Sandy's husband (or Susie's), David, their two children, and David's mother and father.

THEY LIVE IN CHICAGO. Yeah. My idiot family, who tend to be lackadaisical about family relations (me, too), had actually planned to tell me they were coming but they hadn't quite gotten around to it. This, I may add, is fairly typical. Usually they call out of the blue and announce, "We're here! We'll be over in an hour!" This doesn't bother me because my entire family housekeeps the way I do, and nobody gives a damn. Also, an hour usually means two hours, at the very least - I am the ONLY member of my family capable of being on time.

Turns out that David, who is a...oh, hell, a what...trombonist, right. (I had to run through some saxophones and French horns and oboes to get there...I knew it had a reed.) Anyway, he's playing at Juilliard tomorrow night. He and Sandy (or Susie) both teach music. Sorry...are highly degreed professors of music.

Well, I mean really. Wouldn't you be somewhat thrown to find a very large amount of your out of town family suddenly sitting in your SUBWAY CAR? When you didn't know they were anywhere near your town?

At any rate, I am delighted, because these are some of my absolutely most favorite family members ever.

But as bizarrities go (I think bizarrities is a perfectly good word, and I shall copyright it when I get a minute)'ve got to admit - one of the best.

I'm going to take several deep breaths and, I think, run to the deli for just a little tad more beer.

Maybe a LOT more beer.

Yours in complete disbelief...

Love, Wendy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It Never Rains But It Pours

I know, I know, I haven't been around. That's because my life has been dull enough for me living through it, let alone inflicting it on other people. See how I take care of you?

All of a sudden events are flying thick and fast...I think I like this, but it's getting a little crowded in my life.

First of all (and let us all keep our fingers VERY tightly crossed), Joshua actually has a plane reservation for this coming Tuesday! I know - I don't believe it either. He has managed to put the better part of his worldly goods in storage, too, and I'm beginning to remember than I do, in fact, have a living room, and not a cardboard box depot.

However (one must appease the various gods), I am not going to believe this departure until I see it. Considering that all this was supposed to take place last January, you can understand my very natural skepticism. Until I see Joshua and his suitcase actually getting into an airport car service and disappearing around the corner, I'm not going to celebrate. At that point, however, I think I'll go out and buy myself a lobster and a bottle of champagne.

(A brief aside for no good reason - I was reading a recipe this evening that went on about lobster and heavy cream and a truffle and then said, "One quarter cup butter or margarine." Who in the HELL mentions margarine in the same breath with lobster, truffles and heavy cream?)

Now on Monday, while Joshua is sure to be performing his celebrated horrendous nuisance act (remember, this is the guy who can't deal with packing can imagine what's going to happen when he suddenly realizes he's going halfway around the world), I have the professional cleaning crew coming in around noon. They are going to start by doing the bathroom and the powder room and, thank God, my awful kitchen. Six years of Joshua deep frying everything but the cat has left a layer of grease that I can't budge with anything, and God knows I've been trying.

And then at 6:30 pm (this from a phone call I got tonight), my playwright and director are coming over and we're going to start rehearsals for my one woman show.

Meanwhile I have to get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning and get my adorable little rear end to a midtown hotel by 6:30 am for another one of those ghastly seminar things. Yeah. Nine lousy hours at $12 an hour. By the time the taxes come out, it's barely worth getting out of bed for (which I know I say every time, but there you's true).

I must say Joshua is being very good to me. He has solved the problem of my perhaps vaguely missing him once he's gone (well, you know what they say about some people needing a visible irritant) by being at his MOST annoying recently. He decided that he needed copies of a large amount of very old (like 1987) publicity about a job he'd done, but naturally he couldn't figure out how to copy this stuff. Then he needed some photographs scanned, but he couldn't...yeah, you get the picture. He has been nagging me about this for ages, so I finally did that today. Yesterday, just for funsies, he was having more trouble doing something on the computer. Now I'm sitting in the kitchen with Sarah and Vicky and Shai, and we're laughing and scratching and drinking beer and hanging out...and Joshua tramps right on in there to tell me he needed my help with the computer. No excuse me, no sorry to interrupt you, no nothing. And he did it THREE TIMES!

Oh, and he told me that he's planning to come back to New York in about a year to do something or other, and he'll be staying with me for a month. I have no problem with his long as he gives me enough lead time to stay with that order of nuns while he's in town. And no, I'm not giving him my new address (when I get one).

Bring on Tuesday! I am now going to bed and am probably going to have serious nightmares about the number of almost fatal diseases Joshua can come down with between now and Tuesday.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Give Up

Well, I dodged the bullet this time. Cousin Joshua has been talking for the last couple of days about taking someone he knows to small claims court for the return of some books. Given the pace of any court proceeding in New York, this, of course, would end him up in my house for another two or three years waiting for the damn thing to come to trial. I about died when I heard this piece of nonsense. However, the problem has been settled, and tomorrow he's off to the storage place to arrange for the nine million boxes in my living room to be picked up...HALLELUJAH!

By the way, I discovered tonight that he really is completely insane. He had a lot of loose change, so he wanted to put it into those paper money wrappers (I keep them around because I have found that dumping my change in a jar gives me an extra forty bucks or so here and there). Turns out that he doesn't know how to do this. I discovered this when he held up a wrapper of nickels and asked, "Does this look like enough?" I maintain that any normal, sane, human being (as none of which he qualifies, of course) would know that if a coin wrapper says $2 in nickels on the outside of it, YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO COUNT THE DAMN NICKELS. How could you NOT be able to figure this out? The mind reels.

Tomorrow I go downtown for three or so hours to actually do some work in an office - one of my temp agencies has a transcription job that'll pay me $21 an hour, and I can do it at their offices, which means that I don't have to get dressed, thank heavens. I will, however, wear something other than my pajamas and bathrobe - but for the rest, it can be jeans and a sweater with no makeup and wet hair...and since it can be, I assure you it WILL be. Damned if I'm going to get all chic to sit around in a tiny room with a tape recorder. They'd damn well better have some usable equipment, however. The last time I did transcription, it was in a very high class type office in Rockefeller Center, but all they had for me to work with was a little tiny tape recorder - no headset, no foot pedal. If you have never done transcription work, let me tell you that this slows down the process to an incredible degree. You have to stop and start and backtrack and it's an unholy nuisance...whereas with a proper Dictaphone arrangement, you have your foot pedal and headset and your fingers never have to leave the keyboard. I assure this can save you a good two hours on a long transcription. However, given that they're paying me $21 an hour...maybe I'd better hope for truly lousy equipment.

To bed...with a hope for sweet dreams and a call from a casting agency while I'm transcribing!

Love, Wendy

Monday, October 12, 2009

Interesting Times

That is, incidentally, a very old Chinese curse - "May you live in interesting times."

Since we last talked (well, all right, I talked, all of you listened - and wonderful listeners you are, too), interesting things have happened.

One is that my pal Philippe has written a wonderful one woman play...which he has handed over to me for acting purposes. YAHOO! It's a terrific piece of work, and I get to have a complete nervous breakdown on stage, this being the reminiscences of a bipolar woman. I'm thrilled with it. Also, there's a director in place (our old pal Ted), and things are ready to move. Gee. Now all I have to do is memorize something like 27 pages of script, God help me. I think I'll start NOW.

Also, Philippe and our friend Tracy have written a movie script - romantic comedy variety - and he sent that along to me too, with a note reading, "See what you want to play." Now THERE are words to warm any actor's heart. I haven't read it yet, but I'm sure there will be a nice batty broad or wise woman of some variety or another for me. These guys know me well enough to know that I am hardly the type to forget how old I am and want to do the 20 something lead - besides which, ingenue roles are invariably dull. Even in my teens, I was doing character work - by choice.

Philippe also took me out to a lovely dinner a couple of days ago, which was a real treat...aside from the fact that we were on his dime (for which I actually put on clothing and makeup...attention must be paid), there's something about walking into a restaurant with a guy who's 6'4" and knock your eye dead gorgeous that pleases me somehow. No, no...he's more than 20 years my junior and we're very good friends. Why screw that up?

No movie work...I'm not flavor of the month, evidently. Just wait until I can get some new pictures up on that damn site.

And now my update on the news of the day. Story in today's paper about a kid who was suspended from school and is supposed to be sent to reform school (I didn't know we even HAD reform schools any more) for 45 days. He had just become a Boy Scout, and had taken an item from his brand new Boy Scout mess kit to school with him because he was so proud to be a Boy Scout. This is an interesting little thing that combines a fork, spoon and knife in a foldout configuration, and he wanted to use it to eat lunch. We had something like it in our Girl Scout mess kits, as I recall. Anyway, the school decided this was a weapon. THE KID IS SIX YEARS OLD. Good GOD. 45 days in reform school for a six year old proud of being a Cub Scout. Have we all gone mad?

Brief break there. I'm half watching the second Star Wars (there are only three of them, you know), and we just got to Billy Dee Williams and I had to stop and drool for a bit.

Lastly, an interesting NYTimes magazine yesterday, all about food. I had a thought while I was reading it. Certainly I'm all for fresh food and local food and all the rest of it. It is, after all, what I grew up on. But I'm wondering whether any comprehensive study has ever been done to see what, if any, changes have happened to the human body after at least two generations of chemical additives and junk food - other than obesity of course. Have humans adapted to these chemicals, and will they suffer withdrawal without them? Because of course the people who are moving into totally organic and local are the people who have always espoused fresh food, like me, and used anything else very sparingly, and therefore don't have the concentration of chemicals and addititives in their bodies that mushroom soup-McDonald's-White Castle-canned food fed generations do.

Just wondering...

Meanwhile, I think I'll look at my new stage script and see what I might like in my new movie. Interesting times, indeed! WHEE!

Love, Wendy

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Facebook Ham Saga

Oh, this is fun. There's a long discussion on Facebook, all about a lousy little ham.

Joshua's birthday ham turned out to be a total waste of time, because, he has informed me, he can no longer eat ham. Not to mention the fact that when I told him his birthday present was in the oven, he gallantly said something along the lines of, "Oh, but I wanted to use the oven." Later he informed me he could no longer eat ham because of the sodium...and happy birthday to you too. At least his somewhat risque birthday card amused him, and he's now out to dinner with a friend, so I won't have to put up with any whining.

However, I informed my child about the ham. This has caused a total eruption on Facebook, because my hams are legendary.

There is NEVER a party in this house without a ham. I make a glaze out of nothing more involved than good honey and Dijon mustard, and people dive in and don't come up for air until it's down to the bone...10 pound ham, 12 pound ham...I've gone up to 18 pound hams, and they're all gone before I turn around.

Well, so I said to Sarah, hey, come by after work tomorrow because I've got a ham. Sarah's roommate Michael leaped into the fray, salivating all over his keyboard (or phone, as the case may be). What with one thing and another, it's an absolutely delightfully nutty Facebook sequence...revolving around that poor benighted tiny little six pound ham (which looks terribly paltry to me, too - remember, I'm the lady who thinks nothing of cooking an 18 pound ham and a 16 pound poached salmon for a party). And it just drove me into throwing a party.

The thing is, I'm in the mood for a party because I'm bored, and if people are jonesing about ham, I figure they're in the mood for a party too. I'm sick and tired of looking at the unholy wreck Joshua's packing has made of my living room, and the unholy wreck his cooking has made of my kitchen, so I'm going to follow family tradition. And in my family, the tradition was: If the house is filthy, throw a party!

You see, it makes perfect sense (it helps if you come from a thoroughly twisted family like mine). It is invariably a LOT more fun to read a book, play Scrabble or gin rummy (at both of which my family excelled...we used the Oxford English Dictionary for Scrabble, which tended to make for long games because we're all fanatic dictionary readers and we got sidetracked a lot) than to scrub the toilet or do something about the crud on the stove. honestly don't want people seeing how you REALLY live, now do you? So, obviously, you give a party and FORCE yourself to clean up. Admittedly, you still end up with a filthy house, but you've had a lovely time.

A party. What a great idea. What the hell...if the kids are buying the ham, I might just squeeze out a few bucks for meatballs. They're a damn nuisance to make, but at one party, I made meatballs out of ten pounds of meat, and there was nothing left. These would be the famous sweet and sour meatballs...

Oh, shit. I think I just talked myself into this, God help me. I feel exactly like Bert Lahr in Wizard - "Somebody talk me outta this!"

Love, Wendy

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Triumphant Hunter Returns From The Hunt

Woo-hoo! I don't believe it. After all this time (well, OK, maybe three weeks), I have finally achieved what I wanted.

Today I went out on a last ditch hunt for the damn tops for my new suits and for a new raincoat. I decided to try Housing Works Thrift Shop right around the corner from me, since they were on the way to where I was going. And there it was, just sitting there on the rack waiting for me...a $300 Jones New York classic trench coat, mid-calf length, in a very dark navy with a zipout lining. IN SIZE PETITE 8! FOR $50!

Luckily the store is staffed by a lot of gay men, so they enjoyed the hell out of my little victory dance...I mean, I don't think I could have gotten away with that in Saks.

Flushed with success, I trotted off to Filene's Basement in Union Square - and promptly scored the shells I've been looking for all over town. One in pale blue (not a color that's in fashion this season, I've discovered, and is therefore im-fuckin'-possible to find), one lovely turtleneck shell in pale gray, and one scoop neck shell in sort of an eggplant color, because it'll work beautifully with my new gray pantsuit. I, of course, would wear black, red, or white with the gray pantsuit, but I've never been called for background work ever without their saying, "No black, red or white." This is because they stand out too much...but no one can complain about eggplant, can they?

I felt so great about the whole thing that I promptly bought a ham. Oh, gee...does that sound weird? Well, yes, it does. The point is that Joshua's birthday is tomorrow, and if you don't mark the occasion he whines unendurably (not a pretty sight in someone who hits 62 tomorrow, I assure you). Well, he's busy packing (or I am) to leave - so I'm damned if I'm going to get him one more thing to pack. Not to mention the fact that I have neither the money be frank...the inclination to buy him elaborate birthday presents. But he loves my justifiably famous honey-mustard ham. So happy damn birthday. (Anyway, I love ham too and the cook gets to eat some.)

Oh, I am so glad that I finally found that stuff! I hate to shop. I love to wander in and look at things, but if I want something and can't find it, like the raincoat and the tops for the suits, I get hideously tired and frustrated. My clothing needs are really quite basic (I mean for real life as opposed to background work), and I'm used to going into one of my two or three favorite stores (that would be Old Navy and H&M in general, and Burlington Coat Factory and Syms for suits and coats) and just finding the black skirt I need, buying it and leaving. I purely detest having to crawl through racks and piles of stuff trying to find that elusive something. Bleaaahhh. Oh, SYMS! Damn, I'm glad I mentioned that...they're the place to find a decent jewel tone cocktail dress (background work again), I'll bet. But NOT NOW. Right now I never want to see another store as long as I live.

Meanwhile, my stage audition people haven't called, Grant Wilfley hasn't called...nobody loves me. Waaaah.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Making A Mess

So I ordered some Chinese food to eat before Glee, and ate the hell out of it, and then decided to put the leftovers in the icebox. While doing so, I managed not to notice that the sweet and sour sauce for my pork was not quite covered tightly...yecch. All down the front of the sink, all over the floor, and have you any idea how terminally STICKY that sauce is? I even managed to get some of it in my hair, which I thought was a neat trick.

Other things. Pete Wells on The Standard in today's NYTimes - complaining because he didn't get any sugar for his espresso. Sugar? For his espresso? To me, this feels like someone complaining that they didn't get the whipped cream for their steak. ARE there people who put sugar in espresso? (No use asking me, since I drink all coffee absolutely black.)

Finally caught up with last week's Glee on good old Hulu. Boy, do I love this show...Fame without the silliness.

Also in today's NYTimes food section, what looks like a wonderful recipe for scallops with brown butter and capers...I'll eat ANYTHING with capers. (Only not espresso.)

Stayed in all day doing Joshua's packing - he insists that he can't deal with tape. Yeah, you heard that...he can't deal with tape. I have bowed to the inevitable, and am busy doing all his work for him. But then, I'm the one who wants him out of the damn house.

Meanwhile, Vicky and Sarah decided to dye their hair last night. Vicky merely did her roots so that she's platinum blonde all over now, but Sarah elected to dye a chunk of her hair in the back bright pink. I got the sink clean, but I simply couldn't face my (bright pink) bathtub. Tomorrow is soon enough - if Joshua wants to shower, he can jolly well get into the tub with the damn Ajax. Which is only poetic justice, since I invariably have to clean up after HIM when he dyes HIS hair. Sheesh. You know, I feel there's a reason that there's a waiting period with hair dye - it's so you can CLEAN UP THE DAMN SINK. And the shower curtain. And in Joshua's case, the wall. How he manages to smear dye on the wall is somewhat beyond me, but he manages.

The audition went well, I thought, although I haven't heard anything about it. At least they laughed in the right places, which is nice.

OK. Hour long hiatus there while I watched this week's Glee, which featured the one and only Kristin Chenoweth playing an aging drunk...God, I love her. I must say, this works out very well. Just when Rescue Me goes on hiatus for the winter, Glee comes on! This means I can watch television once a week year round. Yeah, well, I'm not much of a television person...old movies are about it. And Joshua, bless his ghastly little soul, has finally quit playing with me and announced he's leaving the monster HDTV in the den! YAY! He's been dithering back and forth with this for months now...he was going to sell it, then he was going to put it in storage, then he was going to give it to someone (like, not me). He has finally done the right thing, and as soon as he gets the hell out of here, we can have great Glee parties in the den. YAHOO!

Well, having had a nice blather about absolutely nothing (I'm the Seinfeld of blogs), I am going to finish my beer while playing solitaire and go to bed.

Love, Wendy

Monday, September 28, 2009

In Recovery

Well, my, my, my.

I ended up being 15 minutes late for the 6:30 am shoot on Thursday for The Other Guys (which annoys me because I'm ALWAYS early), but then it did get somewhat drunk at Sarah's farewell party (yeah, yeah, I know that was dumb with a shoot in the morning).

Luckily the shoot was in Chinatown, so I leaped out of bed and into my jeans in one smooth movement and grabbed a cab...after which I stood on my poor hungover feet for 12 hours while Will Farrell ran over a dummy on the street. This was not terribly interesting after the first 1700 times, but that's the movies for you!

But lo and behold, while we were all at lunch, some of the gang said they just been called by Grant Wilfley for a Law & Order, so I checked my phone...and there was indeed a call from GW, but for something called The Beaver for the very next day. Up I got at 3:30 am on Friday to catch a 5:30 am location van for White Plains, and spent a large chunk of the day being a cafeteria lady (standing at a counter full of canned sliced peaches, which looked increasingly less appetizing as the day wore on) in White Plains High School, in a lovely gray polo shirt and burgundy smock. Standing friggin' up AGAIN. This was directed by Jodie Foster, who, in case this interests you, is TINY. I think she's shorter than I am, and couldn't weigh more than about 97 pounds.

They wrapped us at about 3 in the afternoon, but then they brought the van around and dumped us at the Harrison, NY MetroNorth Station, which I assure you caused a LOT of snarling. Yes, of course we're getting reimbursed for it, but if you van us from NYC, then you can damn well van us BACK to NYC. We amused ourselves by inventing various scenarios by which we could make the transportation time run into Golden Time, but we're all nice little background people, so we didn't put any of the schemes into practice. Golden Time, by the way, is the Holy Grail for background people - it happens when a shoot goes over 16 hours. After that, you get a FULL DAY'S PAY for every hour or fraction thereof over 16. Several people got it for Boardwalk Empire - not me, damn it.

Anyway, I eventually got home and, after falling asleep at the kitchen table with my head on the New York Times, I went to bed at some absurdly early hour and slept until 11 am Sunday.

Today I went out and got madly frustrated looking for things I wanted to buy that didn't seem to exist. Could someone tell me exactly when all trench coats decided to be knee length or above? I mean, I was at Burlington Coat Factory, for God's sake, where I've always had terrific luck with any kind of coat...but nothing below the knee. If I wanted a jacket, I was fine, but no decent mid-calf length trench coats. Growl.

Ah, well. I've got two nice checks coming, plus the little scrap from the temp job, so what am I complaining about?

Now I'm going to bed because I have an actual theatre audition tomorrow - it sounds interesting. It's a radio play - three ghost stories linked together - and it's going to be podcast. Never let it be said that Mother doesn't keep up with new technology. Besides, it's with the Naked Angels company, and I've always wanted to do something with them because they're really good. Let us pray.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Gee, all of a sudden I'm running around like a mad thing - which is altogether fine, as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday I had a temp job...a dull office receptionist thing, but it made me a little money and they bought lunch and had a refrigerator full of free Diet Cokes (there were other things, of course, but we all know that my heart belongs to Diet Coke). Then just as I was almost home from that, Caesar called so I went and met him and had a couple of beers and some food.

Wednesday I went off to see Wicked again with my old pal Marty, and it's still terrific. I had intended to stay home and watch TV Wednesday night, but it suddenly occurred to me that it was the last night I had free to go and see The Cradle Will Rock, so I ended up going to the Wicked matinee and then coming back downtown, taking myself out to dinner, and seeing that - two shows in one day! I felt like a New York theatre tourist.

Parenthetically, I do wish people would thoroughly explain what's going to be on a plate in a restaurant. Foodwise, I am allergic to exactly one thing, which is evidently some sort of preservative that is only used in marzipan. I have absolutely no problem with this because I happen to HATE marzipan. The only reason I even know I have the damn allergy is that the two times in my life I've eaten it unawares (a sweet roll with it inside and a petit four which had a layer under the frosting), I have immediately come up in violent, large, madly itching hives all over my body. I mean, within three can actually see them form, which is interesting, in a disgusting sort of way.

So I don't usually annoy wait people about the food I order. However, the NoHo Star dealt me a cruel blow on Wednesday. I was interested in the Grilled Seafood Plate, which was a special, and I asked what was on it because I truly dislike calamari...even deep fried, it tastes like rubber bands to me, and when you get the little ones with all the teeny tentacles, I find it actively unattractive. The waiter told me the plate had clams and mussels and shrimp and scallops, which sounded terrific (well, it does, doesn't it?). Guess what was on it besides, when it arrived. Bleeccch. However, I managed to eat around the chewy squiggly little rings and leggy things, and the rest of it (which even included two lovely oysters on the half shell) was quite lovely.

Then I went to see The Cradle Will Rock. This show is a musical by Marc Blitzstein, who did the original American version of Threepenny Opera, the one everybody knows (well, you do if you like Weill and Brecht, which I do). He wrote The Cradle Will Rock for the WPA Federal Theatre Project during the Depression (no, no, the one in the 30's). It's a landmark of American theatre history because of what happened to it.

Blitzstein, John Houseman and Orson Welles got the thing up, with elaborate sets and costumes and a full orchestra...and it was prevented from opening by some trumped up excuse on the part of the government, who decided it was a Communist production.

Not daunted, the three rented a different and much larger theatre and got a piano, and Marc Blitzstein was going to just sit at the piano and do the whole thing by himself. Well, he started it...and the actress playing the first character chimed in with her part from the audience...and the entire rest of the cast (who had been told by Actors Equity that they could not perform it on stage) did the entire show from the house, singing back and forth to each other.

Isn't that just GREAT? That's one of my favorite theatre stories in the whole world.

The production last night was a staged reading, essentially the show with choreography, costumes and all, but with scripts in hand, which you didn't really notice after a bit. It was wonderful. It was just absolutely fantastic. The show tells the story of Larry Foreman, who is trying to unionize the steel mills of Steeltown, USA, against the will of Mr. Mister, the fat cat who owns them. I had to see it, because although I've always known about it, it's very rarely done these days...but boy, is it ever worth it. And tonight's the last night. If you're in New York and at a loose end, you might be able to get a seat for tonight...look up The Cradle Will Rock - 45 Bleecker Street. You should see it if you can.

And as an interesting little side note on the evening, the cast contained an old (I mean like 30 odd years back) drinking buddy of mine who seems to be following the family career...none other than Jason Robards III, who looks so exactly like his father that it was rather scary when he walked onstage. (Yes, I also knew his father, in a casual sort of neighborhood way.) He was very good, too, by God. And I stayed to say hello to him, and we had a nice chat.

And tonight I've off to dear old Croxley's to eat many chicken wings at my kid's farewell party from her office, at which she had her last day today. Naturally, now that there are no jobs out there for anybody, she picks NOW as the best time to decide that she's bored after 5 years. Ah, well...I understand the boredom...after 8 years at my last 9 to 5, I spent damn near all my days in a half doze from extreme boredom and leapt like a trout to the bait when they offered me a buyout to get out of Dodge.

But I can't stay out too long, because there's a location van in my morning plans! Yay! This time it's something called The Other Guys, and I have no idea where they're shooting - what else is new. I'll get my details when I call in later tonight. But maybe...just MAYBE...I might be in town, since I'm supposed to be a tourist. Let's all cross our fingers.

Love, Wendy

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stupidity - The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The gift, you see, that stupidity keeps on giving is food for the ever-hungry blogger.

Today's example was (as is often the case) in the Letters To The Editor section of the NY Post (which, by the way, had a wonderful picture caption yesterday -baby pandas nursing with the caption: Newborns Belly Up To The Bear!).

You may or may not know that our dear Mayor, Mr. Bloomberg, is now considering a plan to ban smoking OUTDOORS as well as indoors. As in no smoking in the parks or on the beaches. This is an idiotic idea, and for once I'm not speaking from the standpoint of a smoker. How on earth would you enforce this? Central Park alone has miles of heavy shrubbery and trees and whatnot to get lost in. I should think you'd have to station a cop about every ten feet - and we don't have that many cops. I don't think anybody's got that many cops. It's just a silly idea.

Well, this fetched the letter, which I quote, in part:

"I decided to eat my lunch outside on a beautiful, sunny workday last week, and I planned to enjoy it at one of the tables on the newly shut-down Broadway in Times Square.

Doesn't that sound nice? Unfortunately, it wasn't because of the smokers who ruined my 15 minutes of togetherness with nature."

This is deluded on more levels than I can really assimilate. Let's leave aside the notion that eating one's lunch in the middle of Times Square counts as enjoying a lovely day. Face it, there's no accounting for anyone who looks at some of the fashions for the fall can tell.

But she actually considered sitting in the middle of Times Square at lunch hour "togetherness with nature?" Has anyone ever found anything remotely resembling nature in Times Square? Maybe she was thinking about those pitiful plantings on the median strip there, or the dusty flowers in the truck bomb protection bunkers around the hotels? Maybe she has a home in an industrial waste dump, and this is as close to green as she gets?

And the smokers ruined it. Not the cars, buses and trucks spewing exhaust about five yards away from her. No, clearly that counts as part of nature (well, actually, if you live in New York it sort of does). Her little nature communication wasn't ruined by the fact that she chose to eat her lunch in one of the noisiest places on earth, or the fact that she chose to eat it surrounded by every single tourist in the whole sidereal universe. Or the underlying fact that if she works near enough to that plaza or whatever they call it, she had to have been able to see that people smoked there.

I think this lady has problems unconnected to people smoking cigarettes. I have a suspicion that she's one of those people who keep spraying disinfectant on their telephones at work and complaining about people's perfume.

By the way, about that plaza (for want of a better word, such as stupid piece of city planning), has anybody but me ever noticed a fairly major problem with it? Maybe it's because I'm a true blue New Yorker, and thus trained to see trouble before it gets to me, but that median strip separating the plaza from the traffic seems awfully flimsy to me. I'm around there reasonably often (it's right at 46th where the Equity office is), and I keep thinking that all it would take would be one good traffic accident to send a taxi or a van shooting right over that thing into the tourist seating. As we all know, I hate tourists, but even I don't want them to be smeared all over the sidewalk. I'm just wondering whether anybody ever thought of this...such as the nitwits who thought the whole thing was a good idea in the first place.

Just another fascinating day in New York, folks.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Loud Organ Music

Well. four hundred and eighty eight years after it landed on Broadway, I have finally seen Phantom of the Opera.

I enjoyed the HELL out of it. I have never in my life seen anything so absolutely ridiculously over the top in my life. I think Andrew Lloyd Weber and the rest of the crew involved must have all sat down and gotten drunk/stoned and went, "Well, okay, we've got the Phantom flying down over the audience in a golden thing that looks like a lion/eagle cross, and then just for the hell of it, let's throw a big old lightning bolt across the back of the know, just in case nobody noticed that he's supposed to be evil."

I mean, people, this is not a show...this is what your basic country fair would do for its Horror House if they had money. I have never laughed so hard (internally, because my escort just LOVES this show) in my life.

And for what it is (thrill the tourists! make millions of dollars!), it is superb. Technically, it is one of the best things I've ever seen in my life...the ride across the underground lake, the little ballet girls each dressed in a copy of the Degas ballerina statue, the Mask of the Red Death bit...theatrically, it really is stunning. And of course, the falling chandelier. But the problem for me is that because I am a theatre person, I found myself having half my mind distracted.

There is so DAMN much scenery and so DAMN many costumes. And that's all fine. But as a pro at this, I found my mind wandering to: Okay, now that's an onstage costume change. Velcro? Yeah, gotta be Velcro...put the dressing gown in the front, yank from the back. Okay, got that. Phantom hides under cloak at the end, leaves glowing Phantom mask. Gotcha; false back on chair, actor leaves chair, stagehand places mask. Gotcha.

And of course, it all takes place in an opera house, which is over the top to begin with. I recommend to all Terry Pratchett's book Maskerade (not a misspelling), which is a take-off on the Phantom and hilarious and which kept going through my mind all afternoon.

But there was something quite turned out that the show we saw was the 9000th performance. And Andrew Lloyd Weber and Hal Prince arrived on stage at the curtain call to mark this occasion (along with a large cake). That was pretty cool.

However, for the full horror of the Phantom, you must read the original book, which is called The Phantom of the Opera and is by Gaston Leroux, and is MUCH scarier than any stage production could ever be.

Then I had a drink with Marty and went off the the Corner Bistro, where a lot of men my own age fell madly in love with me. Not a bad day at all.

Love, Wendy

Monday, September 14, 2009

Getting Up To Date

But first, the capper to my yapping about lunatics/Obama's speech to the schoolchildren.

The day after the speech, the following turned up on the Letters to the Editor page in the NY Daily News...I quote, in part:

"...I and other Americans believed that the Socialist who was elected President should not speak to our children. I advised my children to get up and leave the classroom when this pathetic person began his lead-the-sheep-to-the-slaughter speech."

His WHAT speech? Good Lord. I've met these people here and there (usually only once because after that one time I make sure to avoid them if at all possible). They are the ones who say, "Yes, sirree, that's what I think and nobody's gonna change MY mind!" And they usually have pathetic little washed-out wives who pipe up with, "Oh, Bob's just so strong-minded! He NEVER changes his mind about anything!" For some reason, these women seem to be pleased about this. Yeeks.

So on Thursday I hopped the van out to Staten Island, taking an interesting route which dragged us out to Newark Airport, because the driver missed a turn or something, and spent a large amount of time in something called the Romance Bar and Lounge, which is billed as a catering facility. God save me from EVER eating anything from this joint. It was tastefully decorated with a lot of Formica-topped tables (and for some reason, a large statue of St. Joseph behind the bar...I think it was St. Joseph), each one of which had a menu under a see-through layer on top. Evidently this was a Hispanic neighborhood (from what I saw of the area and people, it was actually mostly Hispanic and black...but nice and neat, somehow, with little houses and carefully tended gardens), because the menu was in Spanish/English - I mean a dish would be listed in Spanish followed by Arroz con Pollo/Chicken with Rice.

Talk about trying to cover all bases. The menu had a long list of appetizers, primarily of the chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks variety, the salads, then main courses (chicken, meatloaf, steak). Following all of that, it had a list of Greek dishes. Following that, a list of Italian dishes. And following THAT, a long list of Mexican food. Personally, I have always steered clear of restaurants with that many things on their menus because I invariably feel (and have been proven correct) that A. if you're trying to do that much stuff, you're probably not doing any of it well, and B. since there isn't room in most restaurant kitchens to store all the ingredients for all that food, it's highly likely that it all comes frozen in plastic bags and is dumped into boiling water when you order it. Yes, yes, I know all about the new craze for sous vide food, but we're not talking about that here...these people are doing good old supermarket boil-in-bag veggies.

Anyway, we sat around from about 4 pm (after our nice tour of New Jersey and finally finding Staten Island) to around 6, when we had dinner (yes, an outside location caterer, thank God), after which we sat around some more, and we finally got over to the set about 11 at night. We got filmed listening to Susan Sarandon (who's adorable) telling us about the Hemlock Society, got a look at Al Pacino all made up as Jack Kevorkian, watched Barry Levinson direct Miss Sarandon, and got wrapped about 1 am and went home.

So I slept late Friday, and did nothing in particular, ditto Saturday, and on Sunday I got up early because there was supposed to be a flotilla of ships or boats coming up the Hudson in honor of its 400th anniversary, and I wanted to see the replica of Sir Francis Drake's Half Moon. Well, I sat out there for three hours and nothing appeared except a whole bunch of little cigarette boats (which were very noisy) and a few helicopters (also noisy). Also I watched a two-hour yoga class, which made me feel terribly guilty about the fact that my mat is currently rather dusty. However, the actual ships never turned up and I never learned why.

I went home and Vicky came home with Shai in tow and we all sat around on the porch getting blasted and ordered some food (and, by the way, they'd been on the High Line and had seen the damn Half Moon from there...growl).

The result of this debauchery was, of course, a roaring hangover today, which I had to take over to 19th Street for a SAG cold reading for an agent event, which was quite fun, actually. Of course, I have a problem with these things because I go to them, do my reading, am lavishly praised by the agent...and the phone never rings. If you think I'm that goddamn wonderful, why aren't you casting me, fool? Today the bit I read was a PSA (public service announcement), which I picked out of the pile because it suited the outfit I was of my new suits (a pants suit) which just screams, "Look! Look! I look JUST like a lawyer on Law & Order! CAST ME!"

Also I got a peculiar invitation from a guy I did a show with a while back to a party at Scores, which seems to have had a Western theme and was advertised as having "Sexy Cowgirls!" Why he thought this might be something I'd enjoy is completely beyond me. I can't imagine myself ever going to Scores for anything, much less to look at sexy cowgirls. One of life's little mysteries, I guess.

No calls for tomorrow from anybody, casting agencies or temp agencies, so I think I'll slop around and do nothing (gee, what a surprise). Wednesday I'm going to go see Phantom of the Opera, of all things, which I've never seen because I have a terrible prejudice against Andrew Lloyd Weber (except for Cats). But an old pal called with free tickets, so what the hell.

And so to bed...

Love, Wendy (with thanks to Samuel Pepys)