Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Our National Schizophrenia

I do wish people would decide what it is they want. I am basing this remark on the recent newspapers I've been reading - and it seems we are a nation of schizophrenics.

Item: The Daily News and the Post in the last couple of days. Pictures of poor old Jessica Simpson all over the place with stories about how much weight she's gained (which looks to be not much more than 10 pounds, given what cameras do - trust me on this one). Same papers, other days? Stories about the terrible rise of anorexia.

Items: Today's food section in the NYTimes. Front page of section - doom and gloom about high sodium content in our food and measures to solve the problem. Lower down on the page? A long article (more laudatory than otherwise) about the new Internet recipe sensation, which happens to be a roll of sausage with crumbled bacon on top wrapped in an interwoven mat of bacon. Um, can we say disconnect? (And an interesting steak recipe from Mark Bittman that seems as if it would taste almost medieval - I think I'll try it.)

But really, people - can't we make up our minds? Either we're against anorexia or we're not (and we certainly should be). So here we are saying that models should be tested for weight and eating disorders, and whatever happened to a nice healthy looking figure - and the minute a performer achieves that health, all the papers attack immediately on the subject of awful weight gains. Of course, one of the problems is that the camera adds weight. I'm sure you've all heard that one...the camera adds ten pounds. Hah. Make it twenty. The first time I ever saw myself on film I leaped up and ran to the ladies' room to get partially undressed to make sure the labels on my clothes still said Size 6, because I assure you what I was seeing on screen was size 16. It was AWFUL. Thank God for being a middle-aged character actress for whom this sort of thing doesn't matter. So remember that when you're saying, "My God, how much weight has she gained?", the poor performer has probably gotten all the way up to a size 4.

And who in their right mind puts an article about salt reduction on the same page as an article containing a recipe that calls for two pounds of thick cut bacon and a pound and a half of Italian sausage? By the way, it sounds wonderful...oh, Tiger Lily...maybe not. I wouldn't want Tiger Lily and The Boss to die of cholesterol poisoning before their first anniversary.

Actually, it looks easy enough for me to make - particularly because the bacon mat the sausage is wrapped in is made exactly the same way as the newspaper situpons we used to make in Girl Scout camp for rainy nights around the campfire.

Love, Wendy

Saturday, January 24, 2009

You May Congratulate Me

I HATE MACS. This goddamn thing just did it again. I was in the middle of my blog and it ate the whole damn thing. And what's REALLY infuriating is that about halfway through what I was writing, I hit SAVE, for God's sake! And now it's giving me autosave. GROWL.

I don't care. You may still congratulate me, because I have been so extremely virtuous that I have to sit down under the weight of my halo.

I went to the grocery store and bought enough food to last me about two weeks. Then I came home, sat around doing nothing much for a bit (I was waiting for the groceries to be delivered), and then I sprang into action and:

1. Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher.
2. Unpacked and put away the groceries.
3. Took my two pounds of hamburger and seasoned it and made it into nice patties for the freezer.
4. Took my pack of chicken thighs and made them into freezer packages (two thigh size).
5. Took the nice sirloin I found on sale and made three portions out of that and...freezer, right.

And then I was so excited about how good I was being that I changed the kitty litter.

So now I have tons of food, a cat who please God won't crap on the couch again, and several paragraphs of missing blog.

The only thing I have to do now is sit here in my slightly damp jeans (I spilled water on myself when I was scrubbing the litter box) and wait for the Sunday Times to be delivered to the deli...which of course is why I'm still wearing the damp jeans. Once I get the paper, I will tuck myself into my nice soft old jammies and my beautiful new Christmas bathrobe, pop open the first of my two Saturday night beers, and have a lovely time.

Unless, please God, the phone rings and some gorgeous man invites me out somewhere. At which point the hell with all that damn coziness.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Whole New World

I friggin' hate this computer. I had just gotten toward the end of a deeply felt and truly fascinating blog when this bloody awful iMac ate the whole damn thing. AAaRRRRggggHHHH!

So let's try again.

Wasn't our boy wonderful? No, no, fools...I don't mean that "boy" pejoratively. I mean it in the sense that he is, in fact, young enough to be my son. Admittedly, I would have been 16, but as we all know to our sorrow, children are being born to mothers younger than that every day.

What a speech. Nothing sugar coated, nothing but a prescription for hard work...and the wonderful feeling that he trusted us enough to get on with it and do him proud. Oh, yeah. And didn't Michelle look gorgeous?

Tomorrow I am off to Social Security to unconfuse them about my birthdate (birth certificate in hand). I see from today's mail that I will also have to unconfuse them about my name, since
they seem to have thrown my maiden name into my current name where it doesn't belong. God knows, I've had many names in my time, however. But for the purposes of Social Security, at the moment, I've only got one, which isn't the one under which I appear in their latest communique. By the way, it fascinates me, in a somewhat creepy sense, that when I spoke with Social Security on the phone and explained about the birthday transposition (they have me as March 13, and I'm March 31), the nice lady (a Ms. Miner) told me "Oh, yes, I see. Our office made that mistake in 1988." She then proceeded to tell me that I had to collect all my ID and go to the SS office and fill out a form to correct the mistake.

Um, excuse me? You have just told me that YOU made the mistake and that you see exactly where and when it was made, and I have to do all this to correct it? Sheesh.

Oh, well. It's a glorious day anyway.

Love, Wendy

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Archaeology Can Be Fun

I tell you, it's amazing the things you can find if you actually clean your closets. So far today I have unearthed a brown and white checked deerstalker hat (Sherlock Holmes style) originally belonging to Jeremy, a bag of anonymous clothes (going out, out, out), and wonder of wonders, the cardigan to a sweater set that Sarah gave me years ago that I thought I'd never see again. And I love that sweater set - it's black silk with beige edging and it came from Ann Taylor and it's elegant as hell.

And I'm about to be an officially retired person! As of the third Wednesday of February, I will be getting a check for $1229 a month for my Social Security, which I think is just peachy. Particularly when you consider that for a while, at least, I can collect my unemployment on top of that. Yahoo!

Meanwhile, I think that people who shorten things to get them into title lines on a computer screen should watch what they're doing. I went into my junk mail today to clean it out and found a message entitled "Got old unwanted Jew". Well, I guess Joshua qualifies (hell, he's over 60 now), but unfortunately it turned out to be a place that bought old bracelets and the like. You know, JEWelry. Damn.

And I do wish our wonderful President-Elect (less than four days away!) would stop with the Lincoln bits. Not that I don't think it's an admirable thing to shoot for - it's just that there were all kinds of Kennedy/Lincoln parallels drawn, and that makes me twitch. I'm already nervous about Obama's security because there are still rather large groups of people out there who are not in the least thrilled by his election. Maybe we could knock off the Lincoln references? Interestingly enough, nobody ever mentions JFK. Odd. Or maybe just careful. Sort of like not saying, "I don't need the umbrella, the weather man says it's not going to rain until late tonight."

Oh, I also found a bag of Christmas wrapping stuff on the closet shelf. I blow hot and cold on this subject. Some years I think I should save all the leftovers so I'll have a head start on next year, and some years I get sensible and know perfectly well I'll never A. remember I have them, or B. remember where I put them if I do remember I have them. And every year I say, damn it, next year I'm going to buy really fancy, elegant wrapping paper and real satin ribbons and make like a wrapping person at Bergdorf Goodman...but of course, I never have enough money after buying the actual presents, so I end up at Duane Reade buying crap like everybody else. And I used to be a whiz at wrapping presents, honest. Fancy bows and paper and little trimmings that hinted at the gift inside and all that professional stuff. Different color scheme every year...well, maybe in my (still hypothetical) new apartment.

I am planning to make a pilgrimage next week to The Container Store, because I am a container freak. It has always been a dream of mine to have everything neatly put in wonderful baskets and boxes and have drawer dividers and all that stuff. This occasionally happens. I actually bought a box for my jewelry (you know, all my old Jew) and I actually put my jewelry in it. And once a month or so I look in the box and think, "Gee, that pin would have looked really great on the blouse I wore two weeks ago." There are two reasons for this. One is that the jewelry box is on top of my dresser, above my eye level, and therefore I never think about it early in the morning (because except for my earrings and my rings, which never leave my body, almost the only time I wear jewelry is if I have a corporate job which requires decent clothing). The second reason is that I'm deeply lazy and tend to take off the pieces I wear most often (my nice pearls or my gold and pearl chain) and dump them on the bedside table. And of course, I wear them most often because they're right there on the bedside table where I can see them.

But I lust after containers. What I really love are beautiful wicker baskets, but I really can't go near those because of cats...cats LOVE wicker baskets. But I can go to The Container Store and plan my storage for my non-existent new apartment, for which I'm not looking because there's miles to go before this house ever gets on the market...and one of the things I will look for is a nice container for the leftover Christmas wrapping paper that I'm sure to save next year because of course by then I will be well organized for Christmas and able to afford the good stuff. Hey, did you see that pig flying overhead just then?

But I'll tell you, one thing that isn't pie in the sky is that the instant I get that Social Security check deposited in my account, Mother is off to buy herself a laptop, a mouse and a printer. I have had it with my big lump of a desktop. I have to buy it a new monitor, but that can be used, for heaven's sake. All I want it for is to have a computer of my own for the next few weeks and to be able to get all my files off my old computer and on my new one. And then, the bliss...I can get rid of that clunky damn desk that's taking up way too much space in my bedroom. Yay!

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Alive - Honest!

It's just that it's sometimes difficult to get on the computer - that's aside from the fact that I hate Macs anyway.

Of course, I have absolutely nothing to report other than the fact that closets have floors. You have no idea what bizarre things I seem to have been keeping in there. One thing - or several things, actually - that went was a collection of kung fu movies left by our friend Jeremy many years back. When I tell you that Jeremy is A. married, B. the father of two children, and C. living in Michigan...well, you too will begin to wonder why these things were still on the floor of my closet. (Unless, of course, you understand my housekeeping system, which tends very much to "If you can shut a door on it, it isn't there.")

Tonight's collection of things that went out included a whole lot of clothing, like a red suit I haven't worn in something like four years because it felt so out of date (but I might have needed it for something - God knows what) and some blouses which would have buttoned fine on somebody else without my impressive frontage...stuff like that. And some well-meaning, if bizarre, contributions from a friend of mine who is always bringing things to me. Some of them can be divine (there's a wonderful velvet skirt I just love), but some of them are just terrible (such as the three piece Indian outfit - East Indian, I mean).

And now I'm going to indulge myself by watching the beginning of American Idol. I never watch any of the rest of American Idol - once everybody gets all prettied up, it's no fun any more. I prefer to watch the original rounds, with all those self-deluded people, because I am deeply cruel and it's funny as hell. So sue me. They're the ones who insisted on trying to be on television, after all, so I figure that makes them fair game. If they were performing at, say, the local church, I'd be terribly sad and embarrassed for them, but not if they decide they should be on TV against all sanity.

Now I shall go to the ladies' room, play some more solitaire, and then trot upstairs for the giggle fest.

And one last word - a wonderful thing has happened in my house (no, Joshua's not gone yet). I thought our dryer had died altogether, but it turns out that it was just resting for some reason. So I'm going to have clean underwear tomorrow without having to go to the laundromat in 20 degree weather! Imagine my delight.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Oh, Please...

While continuing my search for a laptop (thanks to those who replied - I appreciate the feedback!), I ran across two stories that are just wonderful...and show that even in our grim economic days, people are still going delightfully insane.

One story was on CNN, and it featured Joe Francis (as in Girls Gone Wild) and Larry Flynt (as in Hustler Magazine) asking the government for a bailout for the porn industry. I just love this. Presumably, people are so broke that these guys feel that they're no longer going to spend money on lap dances, and therefore they should be compensated for their loss of business. I think this is terrific. Never let it be said that people won't push and shove their way into whatever trough of money seems to be available. I think we should all support these brave gents in keeping the world safe for all those odd and furtive looking men I see going in and out of what remains of the sex shops on Eighth Avenue...they're people too! (I guess...)

And over on 1010 Wins, my choice for local news, there is the heartwarming story of the bride and groom of some years ago who married, and then he donated a kidney to his new wife. Well, the bloom is off the rose here, evidently, since they are in the middle of a nasty divorce, and the husband has decided that he wants his kidney back. I'm serious. He wants his kidney back. This is really the basis for a wonderful one act play.

She: I'm keeping the Cuisinart; you never used it anyway. You never cooked!

He: OK, but I get all the unused cans of chili.

She: Fine, you're welcome to them. I'm keeping the Rolling Stones CD's, but you can have all the Voyager ones and all that lousy hip hop crap.

He: Hey, don't knock hip hop. Oh, and by the way, I'm taking my kidney back.

I can just see this. It'll be the farce of the century. (I must say, though, that on this guy's behalf, he says he'll settle for $1.5 million. Hell, so would I. I mean what on earth would he do with the damn kidney anyway? Saute it in white wine with mushrooms? Can you put them back once they're out?)

Just another lovely day in la-la land.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Whole New World...

Well, we are selling the house. Primarily because frankly, we really can't afford the thing any costs (between insurance, property taxes, maintenance, etc. , etc., etc.) about $90,000 a year to keep up - and we only paid $250,000 for it to begin with.

Now, before anyone leaps in here to piss and moan and commiserate...I AM THRILLED. Those of you who have been on my house know its size, its wonders, and all like that. But none of you have ever been in sole charge of the damn thing - and it's a monster to keep up. Which, of course, given my distaste for housekeeping, I don't do well to begin with. Unfortunately, being the nice girl that I am, I invariably feel terribly guilty about this...but equally unfortunately, being me, I usually go to bed with a book until the feeling passes. This isn't useful.

Also, the damn house collects things all on its own. Because it's so damn big (by NY standards), people feel free to leave things. Right now, for instance, I'm living with a pair of red boots (yoo hoo, Victoria), various bits of clothing (Shai, Seth - which of you belongs to the thermal shirt?), an old foldout couch (it was a gift, for some reason), more odd books than I care to count...the list goes on. Not to mention that because there is a LOT of storage space (admittedly, most of it taken up by Joshua), I am not terribly good about throwing stuff away since there always seems to be an extra corner to shove it in.

And oh, boy, is it shoved in. Bags of stuff, boxes of stuff, free floating stuff...stuff, stuff, stuff. Pace George Carlin. (You can probably find his Stuff routine on's wonderful.)

I cannot even begin to tell you how delighted I am about moving to a nice new one bedroom, all on one level, with nobody's stuff but mine (oddly enough, I DO throw out MY stuff...weed bookcases and all that).

Anyway, I'm excited...I think the only way to stay young is to completely reinvent yourself now and then.

And I got the Christmas tree unChristmassed, although not yet out of the house. Every year I ponder the fact that while people come from far and near to trim the tree, none of these people are anywhere about when it comes time to UNTRIM the thing. However, it is done, done, done. And I have thrown out all the old lights, which were beginning to become a fire hazard, and next year we'll have lovely, bright new lights.

Joshua is going to be an unholy nuisance about the moving, because he feels he has to have two months notice...however, my trustee says this isn't going to happen. I am bracing myself for a whole slew of passive aggressive numbers here. Really, he gets odder by the moment. One of the nicest things about living alone will be no longer having to listen to the varied and more than peculiar noises Joshua makes. I mean, if he's not sleeping (during which, by the by, he snores, talks, and yawns), he yawns and groans and squeaks and...

Sarah and I were in the kitchen one morning around Christmas when Joshua went into the bathroom (which is right off the kitchen) and performed his morning ablutions, and we got hysterical because of the odd sounds. We don't know what the HELL he does in there, but it takes forever and requires flushing the toilet about six times, humming, singing, talking to himself, swearing, and various groans and burps. And it takes 45 minutes. Now, I can get dressed from shower onwards for a white tie affair in 45 minutes, for God's sake. Presumably what he's doing is shaving, pissing, brushing his teeth and combing his hair. What on EARTH could take so long and require so much vocalization?

Ah, well. Not too much longer, thank God! And you better believe I'll throw a HELL of a housewarming.

Oh, and a question for all you lovely people out there. It strikes me that it's pretty silly to buy a new monitor for my old clunker of a computer when prices for laptops are going down so far. Any ideas on where I could get the best deal on a PC laptop? Yeah, I know I'm working on a Mac right now, but I don't like them...I'm a PC gal. I looked at craigslist, but the ones there seems to be just as expensive as new ones. Anybody got any ideas?

Love, Wendy

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Whole New Year To...

Welcome to 2009.  I think.  With the exception of the inauguration (can't wait!), it's way too early to tell.

We had a sort of a New Year's Eve party, on account of some of Sarah's pals didn't really want to go anywhere in particular...and then some of my pals turned up after midnight, and the party ended up lasting until the next day.  Without me.  I went to bed around 2:30 or so, because I'm a grownup intelligent human being...who was blitzed out of her skull.

I have absolutely nothing else to report because it's cold out and I have confined my interesting activities to lying around in bed alternately reading and dozing and every now and then venturing into the kitchen to eat something.  Every now and then I run into Joshua in the kitchen.  On New Year's Day, he was eating breakfast and "entertaining" me (for which read putting me to sleep) with conversation about how he was watching his cholesterol.  At the time, he was eating - I swear to God - four scrambled eggs and an ENTIRE PACKAGE of pork sausage.  Eight sausages and four scrambled eggs.  Have I missed some new breakthrough in cholesterol control?  Probably not - let us remember that this is a man who solemnly informed me that steak is fat-free. 

And while I'm on the subject - he really should be prevented from ever going near a kitchen.  Aside from the breakages, he has no clue whatsoever.  I made myself some French toast today (it was lovely, thank you) and he decided that he could probably make some for himself some time using his gluten-free bread.  He said, "Now you make some scrambled eggs, right, and I'd toast the bread first..."  Please God don't let him try this until he gets to Thailand, because I tend to be a little fragile early in the morning, and if I ever saw this going on, I'd have to go back to bed for a week.

Back to my lovely toasty electric-blanketed bed (I love you, Sarah, even if I don't get up again until spring).

Happy New Year and all...

Love, Wendy