Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Annoying Pajamas, Etc.

My pajamas are extremely annoying. I bought two sets of these at Conway a few years back on account of they were fleece, and I get very cold. Fleece pajamas looked like the nicest things ever. I didn't realize until I got them home and was WAY too lazy ( and, frankly, embarrassed...I mean, they cost like 6 bucks a pair or something) to take them back, that the damn things were hip-slung.

Now I understand that there are things which are built to sit on one's hips as opposed to one's actual waist, but I just don't think (I get REALLY cold at night) that pajamas should be among them. I want all the nice fleecy coverage I can get - if I were looking for something sexy to wear to bed (which I suppose pajamas that hang below one's navel are supposed to be), I wouldn't be looking for a pair of fleecy pajamas, would I? I would be looking for something with lace, and chiffon, and stuff...and (to be perfectly blunt), MUCH easier access than pajamas, for heaven's sake. Honestly. And of course whenever I want to shop for nice warm jammies, it turns out to be around Christmas, when A. they're much more expensive, and B. I have so much to buy for everyone else that there's really no money for jammies for Mom. (Note to all family reading this - about next year's Christmas present...)

I have had a birthday! Actually I do this every year, just about the same time. Isn't that amazing how that happens? Anyway, Sarah and the crew took me out for escargot and steak frite (well, there were other things on the menu, but that's what I had), and we all had a lovely time. And I even went out this afternoon and bought myself a whole new outfit for the occasion.

It was a lovely day today, so I decided to go off window shopping on lower Broadway, and while I was there, I thought...what the hell, it's my 64th birthday, and I deserve something pretty to wear out to dinner. ( I have now been 64 for 50 minutes...March 31, 1945 is where I started.) The genesis of this thought was my distinct feeling that if I showed up one more time ANYWHERE in my normal uniform of jeans, boots, turtleneck and scarf I would gag.

Well, it was a struggle. The first struggle (even though I was at H&M), was justifying spending money on myself. Then I thought, well, hell...there's some money in the bank and after all, it's MY damn birthday.

Struggle number two was to quit thinking like a New Yorker. I immediately gravitated to every single piece of black clothing in the store. Have you any idea how much black clothing I own?

Weirdly, without much thinking about it, I ended up looking quite like Michelle Obama. I bought a sleeveless royal blue sheath dress and an emerald green cardigan to go over it...and put on pearls and pumps...and, to be frank I looked WONDERFUL!

My, my, my...such an admission for a New Yorker...THERE ARE COLORS!

I've had a lovely birthday, thank you...hope all of yours are the same!

Love, Wendy

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Asparagus, And So Forth

Ahhhh. I am very full of food and about to doze off, but as it's only five to eight, I'm going to try to stay awake a bit longer...I don't feel like waking up at 5 am, thank you.

The food was a hamburger made from the remains of some Steak Tartare I made myself the other day, some nice garlic bread, and a half pound of asparagus (I bought a pound and ate the other half yesterday...happy Spring!).

I consider eating asparagus alone to be one of life's great pleasures, because everyone in my family seems to feel that it can't be eaten without Hollandaise sauce. Well, I think it's lovely that way, too, but as far as I'm concerned, for purest pleasure, make a large plate of it, squeeze some lemon over it, and then melt some butter. Then you may sit there in flawless contentment eating asparagus with your fingers and dipping it into melted butter as you go. And you don't have to wash any appliances - a definite plus. I would love to be able to say that I am the kind of person who can whip up beautiful Hollandaise with a whisk in a double boiler, but I'm not. So if I decide to make it, we get out the food processor (actually I prefer the blender but Joshua burnt a hole in it somehow and I haven't gotten around to getting a new one yet). (By the way, for reasons that escape me, I am able to make a textbook beurre blanc sauce in a plain old saucepan, not even a double boiler, with a whisk. No, I don't know either.)

I save coupons. I don't think it actually saves me a lot of money, but it gives me a nice little housewifely glow. And really, what could be wrong about getting a buck off that Windex you were going to buy anyway? Today I was sitting in the kitchen with my scissors doing the weekly coupon trawl through the Sunday papers, and I have decided that the insane busyness of Americans has simply got to stop. All my countrymen are rather obviously going to die of major heart attacks if they don't sit down and rest. I base this conclusion on two products I saw coupons for in the paper today. One of these actually looks like a terrific idea, but not for the reason it's made. It's frosting for cupcakes! Silly me, I sort of always thought that frosting was frosting, since I was completely unaware that you now evidently need separate sorts of frosting for cakes and cupcakes. This cupcake frosting comes in a spray can, so that you can make cupcakes and then just spray frosting on them! Isn't that convenient? I've thought for years that you ought to have something like this so that while those cupcakes bake, you can go out and save the environment or something and not waste time making frosting. Ah, I see by the picture that these squirty frosting cans also have what looks like three different decorating tips! Wow! What ever happened to sticking the cupcake head down into the frosting bowl and turning it around, which is how me and my mother and grandmother always did it? Of course the reason I secretly think this is a super idea is that every now and then I get a taste for something really depraved, like squirting the Reddi-Whip right into my mouth. You can imagine how neat it would be if I could squirt little decorative designs onto my tongue with cupcake frosting.

The other product has absolutely nothing to recommend it at all. Land O' Lakes has come out with a new product. As the ad says, "Try NEW Land O' Lakes butter in half sticks!" Um, why? The copy goes on, "Quick and Easy To Use. No cutting. No rewrapping." Has anyone ever had a problem with this? I know that it takes me something around two seconds to cut a stick of butter in half, open the half I'm using, and put the flap back over the unused butter and stick it back in the icebox. Why on EARTH would anyone feel the need for butter packaged in half sticks? And what are you supposed to do with that two seconds you just saved? Squirt your cupcakes, I guess.

More books went trotting out the door today...I think this is wonderful. Now, of course, Joshua has abdicated the chore of putting together boxes altogether, announcing that he can't deal with tape. This boy's lack of any useful skills whatsoever is breathtaking...the other night he informed me (as I was making myself a little chicken saute for dinner) that he didn't know you could cook chicken in a pan. I was starting to ask him what the hell he'd BEEN cooking chicken in (the toilet? his armpit?) when I realized he meant he'd never, evidently, heard of anyone cooking chicken in anything other than an oven. This is patently ridiculous, since I know good and damn well that his mother made a terrific sauteed chicken. (Well, she was, after all, my aunt, with all the family cooking genes intact.)

Oh, glory! There's thunder and lightning and heavy rain! Now is the time to curl up in bed with a book. Yay, thunderstorms!

Love, Wendy

Asparagus, And S

Friday, March 27, 2009

41 Boxes Redux

Yes, well, I should really know better than to think that anything Joshua arranged could go smoothly. We started out the day really cookin' with gas here. The man with the van arrived at 9 am, he and Joshua loaded the boxes, and off they went to the post office. I settled down with my papers and my breakfast, secure in the knowledge that I had a good hour before Joshua returned and started talking/making odd noises/banging things around, and so forth.

Then the phone calls from the post office started. The post office told him he was using the wrong boxes and they would all have to be repacked and relabeled. The customs forms (these boxes are going to Switzerland) were the wrong size and THEY all had to be redone (41 of them, remember?). There's no tape at the post office, you'll have to bring it, along with ten new sheets of labels. And of course - you have to come to the post office to help me.

Well, I have to admit that I didn't exactly hurry - and I was right, because just as I got to the front door (labels and tape in hand) to leave, I got another call saying that they were going to let him use the boxes the books were already in, he just had to write out all the new customs forms. So I got to the post office (cleverly) just in time to write out five customs labels, and then off I went.

Now I am absolutely sure that Joshua did not A. read the online instructions properly, B. back them up with a call to the post office, or C. go in person to the post office to double-check this whole operation - all of which I (or any other thinking adult) would have done.

But the boxes are finally really and truly gone, which is all I care about. And I spent the rest of yesterday going to the big Barnes and Noble by Union Square and having a nice lunch and coming home and taking a nice nap - all of which, I assure you, I richly deserved.

And today I took an actual day off (yesterday wasn't really one because of having to go to the post office, of course). I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, then I walked down Bleecker Street to 6th Avenue, wandering in and out of shops and looking at things, then I went over to the Payless at 6th and 18th and bought a new pair of sneakers, there being a large hole in my old ones (well, I paid something like $12 for them about 6 years ago, so they've earned their retirement). And I looked around in Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Filene's, and Old Navy...and altogether had a perfectly lovely time. I even, before I left the house, got around to dying my hair (in my usual inept fashion, but it got done), and I no longer look all faded out.

Aaah. The pleasure of doing nothing for anybody but oneself...can't beat it.

And I got a gorgeous birthday present from my pal Carolyn in Chicago! Two dozen of the most beautiful roses...they are just lovely. Now I wonder if my child has remembered that my birthday is this coming Tuesday (ahem, ahem)?

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

41 Boxes

Wait, wasn't there a song about that? No, that was bullets, wasn't it. Actually, maybe 41 bullets is what I need right now.

41 boxes of books. 397 books. Every single little booksie-poo given a nice plastic cover by me. Every single little boxie-poo packed by me. (I think I better stop the cutesy or I'm going to vomity-womity.) Every box then taped shut...by me. Every box provided with an address label and a return address label...typed, printed, and affixed by me. Joshua deigned to write out the larger part of the 41 customs declarations, thank God, but even there I had to get into the act because otherwise he would have decided to nap and I would have had to do more of the damn things. And at the end of this exercise, I made him stay right there in the living room and heft boxes around, because I had had a great deal more than enough by about 7:30 this evening. And I'm actually probably not supposed to lift 41 14-pound boxes at all.

Today went like this. Get up and get dressed, which is admittedly rare. Usually I truly deeply enjoy slopping around in a bathrobe while I read the papers and eat breakfast, but I had to go get a printer, so I figured I'd better dress before I left the bedroom. If I end up reading the papers and eating breakfast and then going upstairs, that bed and my half-read book (there's always at least one) starts to look really lovely.

So the papers, food, and off to P.C. Richards for a printer, with a stop at Trader Joe's because they're just about next door to each other. And I'd run out of snack food. (I got lovely cheese and salami and salmon pate and those incredible little Everything snack crackers...I am now happy.) (Oh, and a very large and expensive steak, which I felt I owed myself - anyway, I had some money left over from my two wonderful gift cards, so all my snacks cost me a ripe old 13 bucks.)

Home again with printer, which I made Joshua take upstairs. Then some lunch, then off again over to 6th Avenue to the Staples over there for the labels and some printer paper. (Meanwhile, every time I passed through the living room for any reason, I taped up a couple more boxes. That's me - always improving the shining hour.)

Then I set up the printer, ate dinner, and dived into the home stretch. And now, stacked by the door, there are 41 boxes waiting for the nice man with the van whom Joshua called today who will arrive at 9:30 or so in the morning and take that shit out of my living room.


Gee, that just leaves the REST of Joshua's books to deal with. I'm so thrilled I may vomit. But I think I'll go to sleep...just me and my deep feeling of accomplishment.

Oh, and note to my daughter...of course I quote Jabberwocky. I can quote quite a lot of Jabberwocky. I am not, however, as good as our dear departed pal Virginia, who could recite Jabberwocky in German, which I know she did for you once, but I think you might have been too young to remember. Pity...hearing Jabberwocky in German is an experience.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Movie Watching

I have finally made the big decision to actually watch the programs I see in my TV guide on Sundays. Usually what I do is carefully go through the guide and see what's on and say to myself, now remember to watch that. And then it seems like too much trouble or something, or somebody comes over, or I simply forget about it, and I never see anything. So now I'm insisting to myself that I watch what I plan to watch.

This has so far resulted in me watching a British adaption of the first two Terry Pratchett Discworld novels, the ones with Rincewind and Twoflower, which was pretty good, in spite of being four hours long. Seems it was shown on the BBC in installments...but it was fun and kept me nicely upstairs and away from book wrapping for the evening.

And tonight I finally sat down with Pan's Labyrinth. Wow, that's a strange damn movie. I enjoyed it, except for the tortures and the amputation - but on the other hand, those bits provided excellent places to go to the bathroom. But it was fascinating - and I liked the parallels between it and The Labyrinth, for which Sarah and I have great affection. Of course, I have great affection for anything featuring David Bowie at his most gorgeous and wearing very tight pants, probably including an ad for adult diapers (had he ever made one).

And tomorrow is another day. Off to get a printer in the morning,complete with scanner and copier functions - and then I can actually get a picture of myself on here, which to those of you who don't know me will probably be rather a letdown, but we must learn to live with disappointment.

The books are ready to go out! Oh, frabjous day. Gee, now all I have to do is type up the labels, tape up the boxes, and then start packing the OTHER two groups of books - Joshua's and the ones he's giving to a friend. (This afternoon, Joshua couldn't help me tape boxes because his feet hurt and he had to rest. I'm very upset by this...I would have given quite a lot to watch Joshua tape boxes with his feet. I'm assuming this was the problem, since I can't think of any OTHER reason why sore feet would prevent one using one's hands.)

I also have to buy printer ready labels and printer paper tomorrow, and I think I'll drop in at Trader Joe's for something interesting to eat, since it's just down the street from P.C. Richards, where the printer lives. I would send Joshua for the paper and the labels, but as he's completely unreliable in terms of bringing home what you asked him to get, I think this will only slow things down and end me up having to go out and do it anyway.

Let's see - finish packing Joshua's books and the other books, do up the labels for the outgoing boxes, finish taping the outgoing boxes...and do Joshua's taxes. Damn. I really WILL do anything to get him out of the house.

Love, Wendy

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Quick Remark

Casting my eye over the CNN online headlines, I came across the following:

"Recession causing people to give up horses."

I can't tell you how terrible this makes me feel. How can these poor, bereft people go on?

I have 40 dollars to get through until Wednesday for any little thing my heart desires...I better have some really small desires. Obviously, this is NOT a non sequitur.

Love, Wendy

Saturday, March 21, 2009



In the interests of getting Joshua the hell out of here, I gave in and said I would wrap and pack the stupid books he's just sold, for which, I may add, he's paying me.

Well, it now comes to pass that I am not only wrapping (plastic wrappers around the books to protect their dear little dust jackets) and packing the sold items, but I'm also doing it for Joshua's own books.

Given that he's paying me for this little job (involving some 300 books on top of the 397 of them that have been sold), I suppose that's all right, but it would have been nice to have had this mentioned at some point or another - BEFORE I heaved a sigh of relief at beginning to come to the end of the original 397 volumes. Growl.

I must say that while it's dull work, there is a sort of nice rhythm into which one can get while doing this sort of thing - I've noticed it on some temp jobs involving envelope stuffing. Your hands begin to move independently of the brain and you can just sail happily off into space. Of course, considering that I'm looking at a monstrous upheaval of the whole house a week from Monday for semi-renovation projects, my mind tends to jump frantically about from room to room thinking of everything I could be accomplishing ahead of the renovations if I WEREN'T SITTING THERE WRAPPING BOOKS. Once again - growl. (But then, unless I MAKE him move, he won't. So...)

Oh, and did I mention that the labels for the book boxes being sent to the client are ALSO my responsibility? Oh, all right - I'm buying a new printer on Wednesday so that's frankly the easiest part of the job. But when do I get time to do MY cleaning and organizing? And I'm going to have to be on hand for the renovation work, because otherwise Joshua will try to "help," which needs to be avoided at all costs. He has no conception of how to deal with people. He had some problem with his dentist (something about his insurance), and after he got off the phone, he was telling me that they were all incompetent. Well, frankly, if someone had been speaking to me the way he was speaking to whomever in that dentist's office, I wouldn't help him either. He kept calling them stupid, incapable of running an office, etc., etc., etc. This is NOT the way to get anything done.

He did manage to crack me up the other day. He came upstairs to tell me (in the voice of doom) that the cat had had an accident in the living room, and that the smell was horrible, it was terrible, it was awful... So I came downstairs to solve the problem for him. First of all, I had trouble finding what he was talking about. I have an extremely good sense of smell, and I couldn't smell a thing. I finally found it...a small spot of cat shit about the size of a silver dollar. While I was hunting around for this terrible transgression, Joshua emerged from the den with a bandanna tied over his mouth and nose like a bandit to inquire if I'd fixed the problem. I about died. I've never seen anything sillier in my life. So I took precisely one square of paper towel, scooped up the offender, and put it in the garbage. Now I ask you. How silly can you get?

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thank You, TCM!

Finally, somebody got it right. I have been screaming and yelling for quite some time about the fact that there used to be an actual schedule for movies. Admittedly, this was before cable, but it was still set in stone. For instance, you watched King Kong and Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young on Thanksgiving while you were cooking the meal. Wizard of Oz was always around Easter, and of course, Christmas movies were at Christmas. These days, you get The Santa Clause 3 in October, and Wizard of Oz, it seems, whenever nobody can think of anything else to put on, and so forth. I think this is annoying because it means you have nothing to look forward to. I mean, you used to wait all year to see the one showing of a movie on TV, and then it was a whole family evening with popcorn, which was great. This is why there are certain movies I have refused to own, because it seems to me like cheating, somehow, if you can watch them any time you like - you lose that whole sense of celebration. (I may have to break down and buy the Alastair Sim Christmas Carol - whose title is actually Scrooge - from 1951 because they haven't shown it in two years and it never seems to be Christmas to me without that and the Grinch.)

Anyway, in the last few years they have put The Quiet Man on at all kinds of strange times...August, May, October...but never at the right time, which is today. And TCM did it tonight and I've just finished watching it and I'm delighted.

There are certain movie scenes which are the absolute best of their kind. The swordfight in Princess Bride is my favorite swordfight ever, for instance - yes, it's inherently unlikely, but so are most swordfights, for heaven's sake. I know - I took stage fencing. The thing is sillier than hell, but just the best fun. And the best screen fistfight ever is the marathon fistfight in The Quiet Man. What a neat movie. I feel so Irish that I may turn vaguely green any old second...wait, maybe that was lunch.

I had a nice busy day today. I was out the door at 7:45 for an audition, at which I think I did pretty well, but who the hell knows what directors want. I even set my hair last night, which I think is not what I should be doing at all, because I don't seem to be able to make it come out right no matter what I do.

If you recall, the last time I set my hair I ended up with the pouf of all poufs. I figured this time, well, if it poufs, I can always do a French twist (which suited the character I was auditioning for anyway) because at least the pouf will give the top some height. Naturally, my hair refused to cooperate. Today it came out quite reasonably well, a nice soft pageboy, which is actually what I was after. However, I think I killed it. It just didn't look shiny, and it was slightly frizzy, so I sprayed it with some stuff Sarah left around which is supposed to tame the frizzies and add shine (I quote from the label). Well, it got shinier, but the stuff took all the curl out. I just can't win here. Next time I'll think I'll just leave it dirty (well, anybody knows that dirtier hair has all the natural oils in it and sits better). I couldn't do that because it was so dirty that it was trying to escape from my head and find the nearest shampoo bottle. Actually I think I used too much of that stuff, whatever it was. I'll have to experiment. And then my hair will fall out and I can just do wigs, which would be immensely easier...

And one of my temp agencies actually called me! I was quite shocked. Naturally, it's one of those damn seminars, but what the hell. It gets me out of the house and adds another day to my unemployment benefits, so why not.

And I did my taxes, which are costing me a bundle this year, damn it. I don't quite understand this, and I think I'll go over my figures again before I send them off...how could I owe nearly 1300 bucks in taxes when I worked so little? This makes no sense.

Tomorrow I shall wrap Joshua's stupid books in between curling up and reading all my nice library books, and I shall do laundry, and probably take a walk because it's going to be in the low 60's. Oh, I do love this semi-retirement stuff.

I just Spellchecked this (I have a tendency to type ahve instead of have), and I had typed "costinbg" instead of "costing" in that paragraph about my taxes. When I clicked on it to correct it, Spellcheck went flying off into the realms of fantasy and suggested I replace "costinbg" with "Steinbeck," "Gutenberg," or "guestbook." Does this make sense to ANYBODY? I mean, Gutenberg contains precisely one letter that is in what I typed. Admittedly there are some terminally vile typists in the world, but I don't think that it's possible to type "costinbg" when you mean "Gutenberg." Anyway, ". . .taxes, which are Gutenberg me a bundle. . ." Eh?

Love, Wendy

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Hate Everybody

Oy, what a day.

I had many, many things to do today - oddly enough, a lot of them actually got done, but I'm damned if I know how.

The first thing on my list was to get my computer hooked up to wireless. It seems that everybody else in the immediate universe can do this, but I, for various reasons, none of which I understand, cannot. The reason for hooking up the wireless is so that Joshua can use my computer in the kitchen. Now, I have no objection to this, because when my desktop heaved its last sigh, I certainly availed myself of HIS computer. It's only fair that he should use mine.

And so it began. First of all, I called Time Warner, from whence emanates my DSL/broadband/high speed...you know. Time Warner informed me (three people later, not to mention the attendant bits of voice mail hell and the music they play WAY too loud) that in order to have wireless, I had to go out and buy a hundred dollar router. I told them that I HAD a perfectly good router, but that it was an Apple router. TW then told me to call Apple, and they would set me up.

Onward to Apple. I was doing quite well at Apple (I was only on my second person and very little voicemail, and their music is very low), when I was informed that I couldn't actually do anything because I wasn't the owner of record for the router, and they needed a verbal OK on the telephone from the owner of record. Now of course what I should have done right here was to put down the phone, made obvious walking noises, and come back to the phone and dropping my voice three octaves (yeah, I can - I'm an actress, for heaven's sake) announced that I was Joshua Steele and my cousin could do whatever the hell she wanted with the computer/router, etc.

Unfortunately, I am only the most law-abiding human being in the world, so of course I hung up until Joshua got back from wherever he'd been and then I started all over again.

This time they never bothered to ask about verification at all. THIS time they told me that actually the Apple phone help had run out, and if I wanted help I (all right, Joshua) had to sign up for a three year contract for it or pay by the question. Yeah, well...

So then I started looking around my desk and suddenly my eye fell upon my Netgear router, which isn't plugged in because the only working computer has been the Apple, which of course is hooked up to the Apple router. Aha! I called Time Warner back and asked them how I hooked my PC up to the Netgear router, and after several go-rounds about how I had to plug this into that and that into this (but no actual hard information, such as WHICH this and that - you know, like the one on the left), I frankly sort of gave up. I didn't think I could stand one more second of having the damn cell phone stuck to my ear while I one-handedly fiddled with various wires and plugs and....I couldn't take another minute of it. So the hell with it. For the moment, I shall remain wireless, and when Joshua wants to use the computer he can damn well come up here and do it.

Meanwhile, my strategy is working, by God! Once I told Joshua that the gal from building management was coming tomorrow so she and I could decide what needed to be done, it evidently occurred to him that I actually meant it, and he has actually started packing! Naturally, he hasn't started packing all those 397 books - that job he has handed over to me.

Anyway, in the interstices of all those hours with various techies on the telephone, I managed to clean my bedroom and the upstairs bathroom, make a large pot of (and freeze portions of) very good spaghetti sauce, and portion out and freeze a big chunk of London Broil I bought the other day. Also yesterday I made a big pan of kielbasa and sauerkraut, which I happen to love. So I shall be nicely fed for the next week, at least.

The spaghetti sauce recipe, which is not by any means authentic, is just something to sling together and freeze in meal size portions...I can make full dress sauce, but if it's going to be just for me, I don't bother.

Take a large jar of cheap spaghetti sauce (supermarket brand). Put it in a pot and turn on the heat high...turn it down to simmer once it starts bubbling a bit. Now toss some olive oil in a frying pan and take the skin off three or four hot Italian sausages. Throw them in the pan and break them up with a wooden spoon into small bits as they brown. Once they're cooked (no trace of pink, please - they're PORK), scoop them out with a slotted spoon, throw them into the simmering sauce, and do the same thing with a pound or so of ground chuck. Once the chuck is in the pot, take a bunch of sliced mushrooms and saute them in the same pan you had the meat in. Then just throw the contents of the frying pan into the sauce, including any brown bits and whatever juices are still left. Now mince or press three or four cloves of garlic and toss them in, then sprinkle some thyme, oregano, and basil in there. Stir it all up and just let it simmer until you feel like eating.

As I said...not at all authentic, but it tastes good on a cold night. Don't forget the salad, Parmesan and garlic bread.

Joshua enlivened my evening, by the way, as I was finishing this meal, by starting to rant about how I was getting terrible advice and this was the wrong time to sell, and I was going to be destitute and on the street in five years, and I was selling Sarah's inheritance...and he was quite insistent that I should take over his "book business". This, I believe, was the point of the rant...anything to offload the damn books on me. Fat chance. Besides which, as I pointed out to him, I don't WANT to sell books. He got quite upset by this...by God, he'd made a plan and here was someone who wouldn't agree to it? He was quite snotty about the fact that I wasn't doing anything at the moment, and...

If you'll pardon the expression, who gives a fuck? But I do wish people wouldn't snarl at me while I'm eating.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tweet, Tweet

I got an email from an acquaintance of mine today who wants to add me to his Twitter list.

Well...huh? I mean, I do know what Twitter is, more or less. If I didn't, the recent Doonesbury cartoons featuring good old Roland Hedley the reporter would clue me in. But I'm still not at all sure how the thing works.

As far as I can tell, people who twitter simply type whatever goes on in their heads and then send the resulting verbal sludge out to all of their "friends." I don't, however, quite understand how you receive this, although I suspect it has to do with the features on my cell phone that I ignore (all I want my cell phone to do is be a phone...I can't even text more than one word).

The question, of course, is this: why do I want to know? The gentleman who wants to add me to his - does one call it a nest, perhaps? - is a perfectly nice guy with whom I did a show a few years back. We are not in regular contact unless one of us is appearing in something (all actors email everybody in their contact lists if they're doing a show - we need bottoms on those seats). We never get together for a drink, we don't email, and I see him maybe twice a year when we meet by accident on the street. Can anybody explain why on earth I would want to have a running commentary on his life? Hell, given my current sojourn in the doldrums, I don't even want a running commentary on MY life, although I should think that it would be an awfully good insomnia cure.

The other thing that I suspect about Twitter is that it will be exactly like some of the cell phone calls to which I (as a captive audience) was privy when riding a bus home from an office. "I'm passing 42nd Street, I'm on 38th now, I'll pick up the milk, I bought two pair of panty hose, did you remember my suppositories, don't forget dog food..." No.

I suppose what really bothers me most about the whole Twitter idea (and given the banality that I suspect will be the hallmark of most of these communiques), is this: how on earth do you have a life to Twitter about if you spend said life hunched over a keyboard talking about it? This particular idea seems worse to me than cell phones. Cell phones require some sort of response, even if it's just a voice mail answer - at least you hear a voice. But this Twitter thing bothers the hell out of me because I envision a city full of zombies, never seeing or speaking to one another, never seeing the sky or the leaves in spring or anything else - because they're busy Twittering away. And if you think I'm being unduly pessimistic, look up the statistics on people being injured by walking into lamp posts, buildings, and moving traffic while typing away madly on their Crackberries. Scary.

Other than that, the rousting out of Joshua is proceeding, naturally with me doing all the work. I have sent his damn book list off, and I am now covering 397 books with plastic and packing them...because of course, since there is actual work to be done, Joshua has come down with one of his periodic "outbreaks" - this is how he refers to them. Other people would simply say, "Oh, shit, I've got that damn rash again, I wonder what the hell I ate." Not Joshua. He comes upstairs in the morning, leans dramatically on the icebox, and in tones that would be just perfect for someone announcing the imminent arrival of the plague, says, "I'm having another outbreak." This sounds exactly as nonsensical as you think it does.

But Liz, the gal from the building management, is coming on Friday morning at 11 and Liz and I are going to go through the house to settle on what needs to be refurbished before the real estate person comes in to start selling the joint, so I'm happily running through decorating plans for the new place in my head. Admittedly I can't do much in that direction until I find one, but what the hell - it's something with which to amuse myself while I'm doggedly wrapping the goddamn books.

Oh, and getting the book list emailed to its possible buyer was also fraught. I didn't have my new baby in time to put the list on it, so I had to use Joshua's lousy Mac. Well, then the list had to be emailed to the client - but Joshua (you remember, he's the one who won't use an ATM because the Chechens want his bank account number) refused to give me the password.

First of all, how the bloody hell did he think I was going to use his email without the password? Secondly, what on earth did he think I was going to DO with it? And thirdly, why did it never occur to him that once he had put the password in for me (while, I may add, hunching protectively over the keyboard) so I could access the email, that I could then read every single one of his emails should I have chosen to do so? (I can't imagine WHY I would have chosen to do so, actually.)

Ah, well. At least, books are being packed and people are going to get things moving. Tra la!

Love, Wendy

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Random Thoughts and Questions

There are few things on earth as annoying as being on the verge of a good healthy sneeze and suddenly finding that you're not going to sneeze after all.

While I am basking in the delight of having a nice game of solitaire (Macs don't seem to have already loaded solitaire), I must say that this particular version is slightly intimidating. It keeps giving me little notices regarding the fact that so far I have only won 22% of the games I've played. I consider solitaire a handy thing to do if you're tired of surfing the net and have half a beer left to finish, and it's also very good for letting one's mind roam free (on account of solitaire itself is pretty mindless). Now I'm beginning to feel as if I were in some sort of competition, and that every lost game is some sort of failure on my part. This may be a flashback to my school years, where I endured quite a lot of people yammering away at me about "not working up to my potential." I thought this was pretty silly - I was working in theatre - what more did they want of me? Math? Science? Don't be ridiculous. (As it turned out, I happen to have ended up being extremely good at business math and the various bits of science involved in putting meals on the table and making sure my white wash doesn't come out any other color. I think that's quite enough.)

And the burning question of the day - well, for me, of a lot of days. What on earth becomes of the dogs? Let me explain.

As you know by now, I live in a very fashionable neighborhood. Well, there are evidently fashions in dogs as well as in shoes and sports cars and handbags. So one year every other dog on the street was an Akita, the next year we had Shar Peis, then there were Golden Retrievers, and right now it seems to be pugs and Puggles. And I want to know: What happens to the out of date dogs? It has been years since I've seen an Akita or a Shar Pei, for instance. (I don't count the various breeds of tiny yappy fluff balls because I don't consider them dogs...if you can put the thing in your pocket, it's a member of the rat family.)

Now I spend a lot of time wandering in and out of the Housing Works Thrift Shop, because a few years ago I scored a wonderful black and white tweed suit there for $8, and I keep hoping that lightning will strike twice. But they don't seem to have dogs. Is there some sort of pet store equivalent of Housing Works, do you think? Anybody knows that if something is out of date, you take it to the thrift store and get the tax write-off...and those pedigreed dogs are expensive, for heaven's sake. (Yes, I know about the ASPCA, but I don't think they end up there. You just don't get lots of pedigreed dogs at the pound.)

Or is there some Home for Out-Of-Date Dogs, somewhere in say, New Jersey? I specify New Jersey because it would seem to be an easy jaunt for New Yorkers who wanted to drop off a dog, and there's lots of nice green countryside out there (no, no, not in Newark) where you could have nice big dog runs and heated kennels for winter.

What happens to unfashionable dogs?

I worry about this...which is the clearest indication I've had yet that I should get off my adorable little bottom and get some sort of work/purpose in life. I mean, really...

Love, Wendy

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Computer - For Real!

May I introduce you? I'd like you to meet my brand new beautiful baby - my glorious Compaq laptop, now fixed for wireless, and with an adorable mouse! Let joy be unconfined! (You may skip the baby presents.)

I have been absolutely awful this week, but everything is going to get better next week. Unfortunately, I blew off both auditions I was going to attend - the first one because I absolutely couldn't get out of bed, and the second one because I couldn't get the damn monologue memorized in time...and probably couldn't have gotten out of bed anyway. I'm beginning to think I suffer from that SAD thing - Seasonal Affective Disorder, where the lack of light in winter makes one want to hibernate. That's why I know everything will be better next week - Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday. I know damn well I'm going to be much more alert and awake when I wake up to daylight at 6 am instead of having to wait for it to arrive. I may even throw caution to the winds and email all my various temp agencies to announce that I'm free, which is probably a good idea.

The problem seems to be that the less I do, the less I CAN do. I have no problem working a full nine to five day and then dashing off to the theatre to do a show at night. However, if I have nothing at all to do except get up and read the paper in my bathrobe, I have enormous difficulty ever getting OUT of the damn bathrobe for the rest of the day.

But soon it will be light again, and we'll have at least two and possibly three days of comparatively warm weather! Heaven! I shall take walks, having spent all my discretionary income on my computer and a couple of far less interesting things, such as my cell phone bill and my cable bill. And next week, a printer!

Meanwhile, it's one step forward, three steps back with ever getting Joshua out of my house. He was in the process of getting his teeth fixed which was going to take about three weeks, when, according to him, they decided (they being the disability people) that they had made a mistake in telling him it would be paid for. Now he says that it'll take them another month to recertify his entitlement to the dental work, and then another three weeks, and then...jeez. I've told him that the people coming in to fix up the house for sale will have to take down the door to the den, which gave him pause (he tried to talk me out of this by saying, "Well, you're losing an extra bedroom") - wait until he hears the noise attendant on them fixing the upstairs bathroom. I shall make absolutely sure that they not only make the most noise when he's trying to sleep, but that they find lovely things to do in there the minute he decides to take a shower. I may hate confrontation, but I'm really, REALLY good at sneaky and snotty. I'm also going to make him pack all of his stuff and put it in storage. I don't actually care, you see, if he's in the house or not - I'm just going to make it totally impossible for him to be here with any degree of comfort whatsoever. "Oh, no, Joshua, you can't sleep in the den because they're painting Sarah's room and all her stuff has to be put down there...I'm sure if you just shove aside some of these books you can curl up on the living room couch, even though I'm afraid that all the blankets are at the cleaners...and by the way, the gang's coming over tonight, but you can go to sleep any time you like...we'll just have our sing-a-long in the kitchen."

You know, this is beginning to sound like fun.

Love, Wendy

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Computer - Almost

Ahhh...the absolutely last blog on this damn Mac. Last night Sarah and I went over to Best Buy and bought Mom a beautiful Compaq PC and a lovely, gorgeous, adorable mouse, whose every little squeak I will thank God for as I gratefully ignore the damn touch pad on my new baby.

I must say that while Best Buy is unquestionably a lovely store with lots of lovely things in it (the base price on my new baby was only 399.99), the personnel is sightly lacking. We bought and paid for my computer and were told that BB would install the anti-virus and whatever else it needed, and we should come back to pick it up. This, the gentleman said, would take three hours. Having read the website (which said they closed at 7 pm on Sundays), I said, well, what time do you close, and was assured that they closed at 10 pm. So Sarah and I bounced off to the East Village to meet our friend Shai and his friend Sarah and ate about a ton of Japanese food at Angry Badger, secure in the knowledge that I could then go back to 23rd and 6th to get my computer. P.S., which I'm sure you saw coming a mile away, the store closed at 7 pm, not 10 pm, and was thoroughly locked up when I got back. Ah, well - at least I could go to Duane Reade and buy cigarettes and watch it snow as I trundled home in the taxi - even if I did lose my gloves.

Meanwhile, I was thrown into a complete tizzy on Friday by Bill the trustee calling me to tell me that he was about to call Joshua to insist that he was out of the house by the end of this week or Bill would have all his things thrown in the street. Well, this didn't seem like the best idea in the world to me. If you are living with someone who is 6 feet tall and weighs 180 pounds and has a tendency to shriek and throw things when he drops an ice cube (yeah, really) because he's not really tightly wrapped in the first place, you don't really want to upset him - particularly if you're 5'3" and little. And really, REALLY hate confrontation of any kind. Luckily I called my pal Caesar in a panic, and he told me that there are squatter's laws preventing this kind of thing, which I was able to tell Bill and stave him off.

However, this whole contretemps gave me a great idea. So I simply told Joshua that all the work to stage the house for sale was going to start a week from today, and that we both had to start packing things up, and that the door to his den was going to be demolished, and that there would be all kinds of noise and whatnot...and he can't stand noise and fuss (that he doesn't make himself, that is). This worked amazingly well. He's been galvanized into action, the books are being packed up, and he's suddenly showering me with all kinds of goodies...extra money, the cost of my take-out Indian meal tonight, and...yahoo...the big flat screen TV downstairs for my new apartment! Admittedly, I have to type his damn book list, but I'm just about finished with that, and if his client buys the books, he's promised me a couple of thousand bucks from the sale. This is not, definitely, a bad thing. And he's even going to go to Best Buy and pick up my computer tomorrow.

So things are looking very copacetic, and I can concentrate on my two auditions this week. I'm a little confused about what to wear for the dominatrix one, but I've just about settled on heels, a black miniskirt, a black turtleneck and sheer black stockings. That's the thing about auditions...you want to let them know you understand what the role is about, but on the other hand, you don't want to look clownish, which is always a possibility on a call like this. I'll probably go heavier on the makeup than I normally would, too - without getting carried away. You know, slightly more eyes and bright red lipstick. For the Friday call, when I'm doing Noel Coward, that's my good basic black dress, regular hose and heels, and a wonderful multicolored silk scarf/shawl thing I have. I was going to do pearls, but basic black and pearls is...well...basic. The scarf, on the other hand, is memorable. Memorable is good at auditions, as long as it's not "Jeez, remember that idiot broad in the leopard print dress with the red heels?" Not that kind of memorable. I will never forget seeing a woman at an audition for Doubt going in to read for one of the nuns in a ratty t-shirt, uncombed hair, and a pair of wrinkled pants with her thong hanging out. Yeeks.

I shall return on my NEW COMPUTER!

Love, Wendy