Friday, May 29, 2009

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Well, there really isn't anything happening today, but I decided to go out and wander around lower Broadway while staying very firmly out of Topshop. Some years back I went into the London Topshop with Sarah and lasted all of about three minutes, what with the crowds and that ghastly blaring music. I figured that A. the American version wouldn't be any better, and B. why would I be looking at clothing Kate Moss endorses? Not like I'd ever WEAR any of it.

So I went into my beloved H&M (where I found nothing useful), Uniqlo, and Old Navy. What I was looking for was something that I could throw over my yoga pants and t-shirt in the summer for trips to and from the yoga studio. My jeans fit too well to make leggings comfortable under them, and there are a lot of people lining up for the one john and two changing cubicles. And I went to Kmart yesterday and found cropped leggings on sale for 6 bucks apiece. That studio gets pretty hot when it's 55 degrees can only imagine what it's like in full summer. So now I have cropped leggings and two tank tops...not like I need to look spiffy while sweating.

Anyway, Old Navy had a lovely sale and I got a couple of t-shirt dresses, which are just perfect for the purpose.

The title of this blog refers to the fact that while I was in Uniqlo, my phone rang and it was dear sweet Grant Wilfley Casting! Off I go to Westbury, LI on Monday to hang out at a laundromat for a film called Morning Glory. I do wish they'd find some new film names. I was somewhat confused when I saw the casting notice for this, having been under the impression that Morning Glory was a 1933 Katherine Hepburn film...which it is. And the new film isn't a remake, evidently. However, I don't give a damn what it's about, because Harrison Ford is in it! I very much doubt I'll get a glimpse of him, because I can't see any plot point in any movie whatsoever that would put Harrison Ford in a laundromat, but I might get a look at Diane Keaton, which would also be terrific because I love her.

Of course I made a pilgrimage to Dean & DeLuca while I was wandering around on Broadway today. Pilgrimage is absolutely the right word here, because you can't actually DO anything about their can only kneel in adoration. Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies were $6.00 - each. Small ones. Tiny little two person size carrot cakes were $18.00. Filet mignon...$32 a pound. Amazing. Who on earth PAYS these prices? I suppose it must be the same people who do the weekly shopping for a family of six at Whole Foods. But oh, how I love looking at it...the little cipolline onions! Those great big red tomatoes (which must be handgrown one by one, given their price)! The half pound of imported butter for $9!

And I found something that strikes me as the most peculiar idea ever...truffled barbecue sauce. Truffled barbecue sauce? Something is VERY wrong about that. What would you put it on? And why? I can understand doing something like a chicken in half mourning, which is when you put big slices of fresh truffle under the chicken's skin and roast it...this would make sense on a spit if you have one of those lah-di-dah backyard setups. But you'd baste that with butter...or, for overkill, truffled butter. I would think that the general flavor and spicing of barbecue sauce (and this stuff is red, so one presumes that it's made like regular barbecue sauce) would cancel out any truffle flavor; I mean, unless you have fresh truffles, that flavor is pretty elusive anyway. I have a definite feeling that this product is for people who just want to tell all their guests that there are truffles in the barbecue sauce. (Now those, Tigerlily, are FOODIES.)

Oh, and I was right about things to do tomorrow...there are two nice street fairs in the neighborhood, one on Jane Street and one on Morton Street

I think I will go and take an aspirin (because my head aches...maybe I'm allergic to truffled barbecue sauce) and then lie down and read and/or nap for a while, since my pal from California won't even be off the plane until 8 pm and it's only 6.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why Can't Something Happen NOW?

I have got this madly social couple three weeks coming up, and I'm sitting here at almost 8 pm hoping it will soon be late enough to go to bed (without waking up ready to go at 4 am, that is).

Tomorrow a pal of mine whom I haven't seen for way too long will be in from California with his lady, and we're going to try to have a drink if they're not too plane-flighted-out.

There's something or other going on Saturday but I didn't write it down when I saw it, so it must be a street fair...I wouldn't have written that down if I knew I could get the info from tomorrow's paper. And there's yoga tomorrow, too, since I haven't managed to make it there all week, due to a combination of circumstances involving money (of course). Social Security didn't get my money in the bank until Wednesday, and unemployment didn't turn up until today, you see, and in order to get me to yoga, a certain combination of things is necessary. First (naturally), I need some money to pay for yoga..."give what you can" or not, I don't think 12 cents in change is quite the thing. Secondly, BOTH the inhalers ran out of gas. Since I have to climb up to the second floor just to get to the class, this makes the whole exercise pointless. Although I could manage to invent a whole new yoga asana...downward dog to dog flat on mat gasping for air.

On Tuesday I'm off to a networking occasion. Yes, I know the Revlon Run/Walk was a bust for networking, but this is actually CALLED a networking occasion. It comes via the Freelancers' Union, which I joined because I thought I could get cheap insurance through them. Turns out I can't, because to qualify, you have to work twenty hours a week, which I don't. Ah, well, at least I got the invite to this thing, which is billed as being for people in the arts - i.e., film makers, actors, writers, etc., etc., etc. What the hell, my ten bucks buys me a drink and admission, and I'll throw a whole bunch of my pretty new business cards in my purse. Why not. (I just wish the term "networking" didn't invariably remind me of macrame. I keep picturing a whole room full of people inextricably wound up in string.)

Then Saturday the 6th I'm going to a screening of a new film by a guy I did a student film for a couple of years back. His spruced up version of said film won all kinds of indie awards, and anyway, he's a sweet guy. Besides that, who knows what he's going to be doing next? And after all, he did love my performance...

From the screening, I'll run over to Crosby Place, because Housing Works is having a street fair, and they always have great stuff on sale. Yeah, yeah, I KNOW I don't need anything, but...

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get Sarah's room cleaned out for the cleaners/painters to come in, but I really need some help here, because with just me (a very weak little me, not really able to haul huge boxes around) it's a slow process. I've got a hunk of it done, but sheesh...everything but the furniture has to go in my room. Maybe I'll feel more energetic after yoga tomorrow. (Hmmm. Maybe not.)

Joshua is being more of a nuisance than usual, and showing no signs whatsoever of getting his rear out of my house. It's just one disease after another. And he keeps waging war against the fact that I smoke in my own house. His method of doing so is first of all, to heave deep tragic sighs all over the place (sometimes practically blowing the morning papers off the kitchen table) or stomping out of the house in high dudgeon. Or kicking things. Or ostentatiously taking his food down to the den to eat. I ignore him, but it's irritating as hell...and, by the by, has a tendency to make me smoke more than usual just to annoy him. Anyway, in case he hasn't noticed, it is still (at the moment, anyway) MY HOUSE, and there is an obvious solution to his problem with my smoking in it. Can we all say GET OUT?

I think I'll go to bed and read. One of the pluses in cleaning out all those books Joshua threw in Sarah's room is that I've come across things I haven't read in ages, which is always fun. I do wish there were some sort of wildly fascinating career for which you got all kinds of money and perks for lying around in bed all day reading...wouldn't that be lovely?

Love, Wendy

Sunday, May 24, 2009

One More Word About The Intrepid

There was one thing I forgot to mention last night about my day on shipboard. I saw people doing the creepiest thing I've ever seen in my life.

Right where I was herding tourists there was one of those helicopters like the ones you used to see on MASH all the time, with the spaces for the stretchers on either side. And parents were actually encouraging their kids to lie down on the stretcher places so they could take photographs. And telling them to smile and make funny faces.

I cannot tell you how weird this feels to me. The only possible reason I can think of for doing such a thing is to make an antiwar know, "Stop war! This could be your child!"...and this was very clearly not what these characters were doing. Surely they wouldn't have been laughing so much if it had been.

I also felt that it was in some way dishonorable. This was NOT a prop plane, from the look of it; I think it had actually seen service. I just felt that what these people were doing was disrespectful. That plane could have saved lives, or at least gotten soldiers to a place where the dying would be a little easier...and now it's a cute location for photographs.

What on earth is the matter with people these days?

Love, Wendy

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Terminal Exhaustion

There I was minding my own business, when suddenly the phone rang. At 6:30 this morning. And of course, it was the temp agency calling me in to the Intrepid.

Why me, God? It was another one of the jobs which I hate...I was not allowed to sit down, there were no breaks, and I got a half an hour for lunch...which had to be eaten at their food concession, because on a thing the size of the Intrepid, by the time you get off it to go anywhere else, your half an hour is gone. Lunch (a sandwich and a soda) cost me 9 bucks...WITH the employee discount. I hesitate to think what the poor tourists were paying. (If, by the way, you need to spend time at the Javits Center, the same rules apply - it's either pay their prices or go to the hot dog wagon in front. I once tried to buy a banana at the Javits and they wanted two dollars for it. FOR A BANANA.)

And I managed to lose my cellphone on the way there. This was because the agency was absolutely adamant that there were no lockers at the Intrepid and you couldn't carry any sort of fanny pack or anything, so anything you needed had to be in your pockets. (This was entirely incorrect.) Naturally, my cell phone fell out in the taxi on the way there. However, one of the other gals lent me her phone to call mine, and the dear nice taxi driver came by and gave me mine back. Thank God for the good people. I'm sending him a tip (for the phone rescue - naturally I tipped him originally) as soon as my social security comes in on Tuesday...I insisted on getting his address.

And naturally, the idiotic agency called while I was working. I can only assume that they know absolutely nothing about the conditions under which their employees work (see no lockers, above), because I was in the big hall with all the interactive exhibits (it's called something like the Exploratorium or some damn thing), and there's no way you can hear anyone talking on a cell phone. I called back (having snuck out and around corners to get to a relatively quiet space), only to discover that she only wanted to know how it was going...or something like that. Sheesh. I made it damned clear that I was NOT available tomorrow (because my legs have fallen off), but that I was on Monday. In a dire emergency. A REALLY dire emergency. Such as all their other employees have suddenly dropped dead and they've decided to pay me 30 bucks an hour. Make that 50. Hell, make it a hundred.

It wasn't quite as bad as the Niketown gig, since I didn't have to clean clothing off the floors of dressing rooms. And there were lots of things to look at which I was actually supposed to look at so I could explain them to the tourists. But oh, dear, God save me from tourists.

Aren't there rules of some sort for tourists? Surely I see them in the newspapers' travel sections and on the Web. Doesn't anyone follow them? Except me, of course? (Because I'm such a goddamn lady.) I will list what they should be.

1. If you are at an attraction and a staff member clearly lays out the rules for you, please do not automatically assume that those rules apply only to the OTHER people in line. (I'm sorry, only two people in the cockpit at a time. But they're brothers! Lady, I don't care. Have one less child next time.)

2. If there is going to be a fair amount of climbing in and out of things, pants are a perfectly lovely idea. Miniskirts are not. I have lots of my own underwear to look at when I get home, and do not need to be provided with WAY too much of a view of your own.

3. Lady, I TOLD you one turn per child...if your child has 86 grandparents who want to see a picture of him at the Intrepid, you can take ONE and get it copied. Now get the fuck out of the way before these eight thousand other people start screaming at me.

4. If you are enormously large, why do you feel the desperate need to share it all with us? Spandex is not for you. Particularly when not only am I being treated to every lump and ripple of your body, I can also see every single line of your orthopedic bra. Caftans are back. They're very flattering.

5. Sir! I TOLD you! One turn per child!

6. Who told you guys your 18 month old can play a video game? And why on earth would you want him to do so? Read aloud to him! Our gift shop has a nice children's history of the Intrepid, only 38.95.


Love, Wendy

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Snarly Times

Honestly, I don't know what's going on here.

These recent mornings I have had to wait around for a call from the temp agency about my so far non-existent job on the Intrepid (I'm a backup person, you recall). This means I can't get dressed or do anything until 10 am. I can't get dressed because that would be the day that they WOULD need me, and I'd have to get undressed and redressed. Luckily, I actually prefer to hang out in my bathrobe in the morning and read the papers and drink Diet Coke - and in case you're wondering, I don't have home delivery. I just throw my raincoat over my nightgown and run to the deli. Hey, the other morning I saw a guy there buying the papers and his coffee in not only his pajamas, but his bathrobe and slippers. At least I'm better than that.

Anyway, the reason I feel all snarly is that Wednesday morning the agency called around ten and said I was off the hook for the day, so I went to shower and get myself together for yoga at noon (another reason I hate being on call like this is that I prefer the 10 am class because it doesn't break up the day so much). I got showered and dressed and off to the bus stop...and things started going completely awry.

You have to understand that I like to get to yoga about ten or fifteen minutes early to sort myself out, take off my jeans, get my mat positioned, do some quiet type stuff. It takes just about 12 minutes for the bus to get from my house to 3rd Avenue, so the 11:32 bus is just perfect.

Only it wasn't yesterday. First we met up with a gentleman with a walker - and of course, this required opening the back door and letting down the platform and getting the platform back up and situating the gentleman. Well, okay. However, three blocks further on, there was a lady with a walker...

I knew the man was getting off before I was because I heard him say so. But I wasn't prepared for the lady getting off before me too. Not to mention that between the gentleman and the lady we encountered a garbage truck that was picking up, evidently, all the garbage from the last fifteen or so years from a building near the activity which required the bus to sit through FOUR green lights. By this time I'm getting completely furious, but on the other hand, I'm also feeling terribly guilty because, really, how can you be furious at poor people who have to use walkers?

As you can perhaps imagine, by the time I got to yoga I was about the least serene person you have ever met...which was not helped in the least by the fact that because I was one of the last few to arrive, the second floor room was full and we latecomers had to hike up to the third floor. This was fine for all the nice little girls from NYU, but left me starting class gasping for air. NOT one of my better yoga days. (The only bright spot in the day is that there was a gal in class who's WAY worse at yoga than I am. I know you're only supposed to be involved with your own practice, but really, I was grasping at anything to feel better and she was right in my line of vision.)

Then tonight I think my subconscious mind simply rebelled against all this eating at home I've been doing. I planned to make my usual fallback dinner of chicken with stuffing and a vegetable and managed to burn the bejesus out of the chicken. Actually, it's my own damn fault for reading while I cook something quick like that. It's not a problem when I'm roasting a chicken or making beef stew, but when I'm making something that has to be turned every seven or eight minutes and I think oh, I'll just read one more page and THEN I'll turn it... And I had forgotten to turn the burner down after I browned the damn chicken. Of course the house filled with smoke because the filter on my exhaust badly needs cleaning. So then I threw the by now WAY too crispy chicken out (black is not a good color for food unless it's truffles) and made a hamburger. And I managed to set it on fire.

Obviously, my brain is trying to tell me to go out for dinner - or at least order in. And when I have some money, I will.

I can't decide what to do tomorrow...whether to take my regular bus and take my chances, or take an earlier bus...well, I won't think about it today. I'll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day. (Cue GWTW theme song and...cut.)

Love, Wendy

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Glamor of Movies

I am so tired. Background work is such fun. Get to set. Sit around waiting for costume people. Get dressed (a bit of a struggle, in my case, of which more later). Get hair done. Get makeup done. Get on set. Watch a 32 second marriage ceremony for roughly 40 minutes. Go back to holding, find it's lunch hour, and get out of costume (or most of it - to keep it free of food stains, of course). Then sit for the rest of the day until you're told it's a wrap...three hours later. Glamorous, eh what? And this was another one of those damn films with no food! I had to get my own breakfast AND my own lunch, damn it.

When we left off last time, I had just been fitted for the awful dress I wore for this occasion...that was Thursday. So:

Friday I got up fully intending to go to yoga class, but discovered that it was awfully, awfully damp out...which means I don't breathe terribly well. I figure in another few yoga classes my breathing will be a lot better (yoga does this for you...honest), but it was NOT the best idea on Friday. So after reading the papers, I came upstairs to play with the computer for a while...and the phone rang - it was now about 10:35 in the morning. It was my temp agency, who wanted to know if I could race over to the Intrepid for orientation. As I told them, I could get there by 11:30. So I hung up and threw on my business casual outfit (well, I was already showered and all like that for the yoga class so all I had to do was swap leggings and the old t-shirt for slacks and a neat sweater and decent shoes). I did all this, raced downstairs, and was on the point of leaving for the Intrepid when the agency called again and said, oh, never mind, they think it will be disruptive if you come in late. Oh, says I, OK. Back upstairs, off with the business casual, on with the jeans. At this point, I just said the hell with it and went to the library which I had to do anyway because the books were due that day. While I was waiting for the bus to said library, the damn temp agency called again - to ask which days I was free for the Intrepid gig. I told them...for about the fourth time.

That was Friday. Saturday was the great street fair, the BBC (it's referred to as the BBC because it's on Bedford, Barrow and Commerce Streets) - or, to give it its proper name, Ye Olde Village Faire. This is the biggest street fair in the Village and actually starts the season. It's unlike the other street fairs because none of the sock/cheap sheets/Indian bedspread people are allowed into it, and almost all the stuff there is true artisanal work. And it has live music all day and into the night and people dance in the streets, and it's just wonderful. I got a bit plastered, but everyone always does at that just sit out at one of the tables and drink and see everyone you've ever known (really...two years ago a gal I knew for years and years turned up in her wheelchair, having lived in the Caribbean for many years...she wanted to come to the fair one more time and died the next day...true story). This year it was pals of mine and pals of Sarah's and other P.S. 41 parents and years worth of old drinking buddies...just a great day.

Sunday, I recovered...and the temp agency called again. A different person this time...this makes three separate people so far. They wanted to know if I was available today. I very patiently explained that no, I wasn't available today, would they PLEASE check their files because they should have my availability on a list SOME DAMN WHERE FOR GOD'S SAKE.

Up I got at 6 am today for an 11:00 call - very nice, that...quite often you're called for 6 am. Got up, showered, washed my hair and set it in the required tight set, sprayed it with setting lotion, sat down under my old fashioned hooded dryer (well, I got it for occasions like this) for an hour...and nothing happened. This was entirely weird. I mean, I felt the air from the thing, it was hot, as a dryer is supposed to be, but when I took the hood off, my hair was still wet. And when I put the hood on again in the hopes that it would do something...the damn thing died altogether and wouldn't work at all. I have no idea what that's all about...I'll have to play with it, I guess. Luckily, I'd planned to leave the curlers in until I got there anyway (God bless New York, where nobody turns a hair at the sight of an otherwise perfectly normal looking person with a head full of rollers and pin curls on the bus). And it mostly dried while I was en route.

Then I put on that damn costume. Now the costume, aside from its terminal ugliness, was fine. But the powers that be in the costume department had decided that I should have more underwear than I have worn in about a million years, and part of this underwear was an all-in-one. This garment comprises a bra and mid-thigh length panty girdle all in one piece. So I put on the support pantyhose, then I put on the all-in-one thing, then I put on the full slip, and then I put on the dress...that zipped up the back. At this point a horrible thought occurred to me. Can you see the problem here? How in the hell was I supposed to go to the john without completely undressing? Turns out that the all-in-one had a polite little slit in it for the purpose, but of course to make it work, I had to completely undress and redress...this time putting the pantyhose OVER the all-in-one. Sheesh.

Then on to Bobby the hair guy, who did me up in a lovely French twist, teased and sprayed to within an inch of its life, and what's-his-name the makeup guy did lovely things to my face, and all in all I looked quite nice...except, of course, for all that damn polyester.

So we wrapped, and I got on the bus to come home...and the phone rang. It was, of course, Joshua, with a request for me to get him cough drops and ginger ale because, and I quote, "I have that swine flu."

Actually, I'd sort of vaguely wondered when he'd hop on that bandwagon. "Hey, a new disease! Cool! I think I'll get it!" In fact, he has nothing of the kind...he has a sore throat. I know this for two reasons. Reason one is, where would he have gotten it? He hasn't been out of the house for a week - besides that, I collect all the neighborhood gossip at the deli, and nobody in the immediate neighborhood has it. Reason two is, he's eating like a pig and explaining movie plots to me. I'm sorry...I don't care what kind of flu you have, swine, pussycat, zebra or banana peel flu - you aren't eating huge meals and cheerfully telling people movie plots. You are lying in bed running 103 and wondering when you're going to die.

Oh, and I forgot to mention - while I was in holding doing nothing in particular - guess who called? The temp agency, wondering about my availability. I think when I get my unemployment this week, I'm going to go to Staples, buy a gross of memo pads and go and distribute them at their offices, because clearly these people have nothing to write on. Maybe I should get them some pens, too.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Oh, dear. And I thought my 1920's temperance lady outfit was bad. Wait until you get a load of this one.

I am a member of the family at a wedding in 1975 Soviet Russia. I am going to be wearing the most awful brown polyester dress you ever saw in your life...brown with little squiggles of other colors on it. They're dots, I guess, but each little (dime size) dot is made of concentric circles of beige and a kind of mustardy yellow and burgundy. Well, it's something like that, anyway - I was getting somewhat too overwhelmed with the ghastliness to want to look terribly closely. With this lovely creation, I'm wearing black lowish heeled shoes, the kind you always see on ladies whose ankles are bulging out above them...and, just as an extra added treat, support stockings. And they're getting me a panty girdle and a pointy bra. Which I will be wearing under the full slip that I'm ALSO wearing. They told me to set my hair very tightly and arrive at the set still in curlers and the hair and makeup people will take it from there. I GOTTA get a picture of this one. I just know it's going to be a high teased top with a French twist.

I must say, though, that as an actress, I love costumes, and the more period the better. I share with Laurence Olivier the notion that the clothes make the character. If I'm going to play a Shakespearean queen, then by God, I want every bit of brocade and jewelry and sweeping skirt you can give me. It's a trick, really...the right clothes make you walk differently and even think differently. I remember playing Anfisa, the elderly Russian maid in Chekhov's Three Sisters, and my whole performance came together once I got that early 19th century drag on - particularly the iconic Russian headscarf. Actually, women already know this - really, isn't there a HUGE difference between running out to get groceries in those jeans and the old sneakers and putting on high heels and an actual dress? Whole different attitude there.

I am so tired. I walked over to the costume fitting, because there wasn't any more sensible way of getting there from here. It was on Greenwich St. and Spring, and when I went to HopStop to look it up, I was told to take a bus from Greenwich and Houston...which was only three blocks from where I was going. That seemed silly. As it turned out, it was only a twenty minute walk. I got fitted, got a bus home, and had been sitting down for a ripe old fifteen minutes before Sarah texted me shrieking for 20 bucks she needed - "It's an emergency, Mom!" Naturally, she needed it on her lunch hour.

So up I got, groaning and foregoing the BLT I had been about to make myself, and trotted over to Union Square to meet her. Not such a bad thing, as it turned out...she talked me into going to Blimpie's for lunch (which I really couldn't afford, but couldn't resist - yeah, I know not being able to afford Blimpie sounds weird, but remember that these fittings earn me a quarter day's salary, 32 bucks and change, but count as a full day of work as far as unemployment is concerned - meaning I lose money on the deal - one day of unemployment being roughly 57 bucks). I can be seduced by a Blimpie Best any time. Should any of you be interested, I can ALSO be seduced (much more easily - should take about eight seconds flat) by fresh caviar. I just pass this on, in case anyone wanted to know. Anyone? Ah, well.

I'm sure you'll all be delighted to know that it turned out that Joshua's brain tumor hasn't returned. However, he now thinks he may have cerebral palsy. I can't wait for his next disease...the boy's a walking WebMD.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Oh, Honestly!

Well, I never did make yoga on Monday. So much for my plan of going three times this week. Yes, I know I could (having gone today) go tomorrow and Friday, but my body just looks at me when I suggest this to it with an expression that says, "Not in this life." I'll try for three times next week.

You know, I wish all these people messing about in my life would go the hell away. Monday night the gal from building management (a real sweetie) came over and we discussed the cleaning and refurbishment setup here. We decided that since we weren't having any luck (or I wasn't) in getting Joshua to get his junk the hell out of the house, we would start upstairs, because between the two of us, Sarah and I have essentially cleaned out a LOT of stuff.

Or at any rate, that's what I thought we decided (I mean, we talked about it for forty minutes - I was definitely clear on the concept). Then Bill the trustee called the next morning (i.e., yesterday) and insisted that no, we had to do the living room first, and therefore all of Joshua's stuff had to be out within the next two days. I carefully explained that Liz had been over and we had discussed...oh, you know.

Now there's absolutely no reason for doing the living room first. The whole house is being done anyway - what on earth is the difference where it starts? And, as I made clear to Bill (at the top of my lungs, by this point), NOBODY WILL GIVE ME A SCHEDULE.

Look, I used to work for a living. Things happen at this time, or that time. At noon, maybe, or Tuesday. "The cleaners are coming in" is NOT a schedule - it's a remark. I am one of those people who work best under a deadline. Tell me that a crew of cleaners will be coming on Wednesday, and by God, whatever needs to be done before that will be done and everything will be ready. But for God's sake, don't leave me hanging, because I will simply turn over and read a book until I actually know what's going on.

After this phone call with Bill (I still had some vague notion of going to a Tuesday yoga class until the phone rang), I said the hell with it and stomped upstairs to play with my computer and steam for a the middle of which Joshua phoned (yeah, from downstairs - cell phones make people very lazy) to ask me to make potatoes au gratin for dinner. Can it be made very clear that this was entirely the wrong moment to ask this question? Particularly he'd decided that his brain tumor was bothering him and was having a lovely day curled up in the den watching movies?

Oh, and I forgot to mention that just before Bill called, one of my temp agencies called to tell me that, sorry, they didn't need me on the job they'd just called me for...doing a tour guide bit on the Intrepid. Thanks so much. This agency has a tendency to do this to me...calling me, giving me a job and all the particulars of same, and calling back the next day to tell me, oh, no, it's been cancelled.

After that I said the hell with it and went out to look at a yarn store I'd read about (Lion Brand, 15th between 5th and 6th, should you care) (yes, I knit), and then - oh, why not - I went to Trader Joe's to pick up the ingredients for the damn potatoes.

Frankly, by the time I got back (the trip included ANOTHER damn phone call from Bill while I was on the bus, letting me know he's talked to Liz and what I'd said was right - well, I already KNEW that - still no schedule), I was dead. And Lion In Winter was on TV, so I got all the ironing done and two pairs of pants hemmed (you try being 5'3" in a 5'6" world), because that damn temp agency might call again and I'd need my business casual stuff. Now I was REALLY dead. I figured the hell with it - I'll make the damn potatoes tomorrow. I went downstairs to eat something, and don't you know that Joshua came prowling up to ask about the potatoes (it was now 9 at night) and when I told him they'd be coming up today, he said quite huffily, "Well, the pork will be bad by then." I should now like to hear a nice loud chorus of "Fuck you, buddy." Really - you destroy my living room with your junk, refuse to leave the house, etc., etc., ad infinitum - and now you're going to get huffy because after dealing with the mess YOU caused (by not leaving), YOU SERIOUSLY WANT ME TO COOK FOR YOU?

Today, however, has been much better. I got to yoga class, the weather is lovely, and now I'm going to go clear out Sarah's room. I'm so thrilled I may gag.

And tomorrow I'm going to the library! Wow, just endless fun around here.

Hey, wow! Sudden update! Just as I was doing some editing, the phone rang, and it was lovely Central Casting - costume fitting tomorrow and shooting Monday for something called Salt, in which I will be portraying a Russian lady at a wedding! YAY! Suddenly things look enormously better.

Love, Wendy

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Musing Mood

I've had a lovely Mother's Day, thank you...going out to dinner with a mad gang of friends (and yes, of course, my child) and having one of my favorite things to eat, which is shrimp in a basket - well, yes, I also love nice fresh caviar and filet mignon and Dover sole, but there's not a damn thing wrong with the aforementioned shrimp in a basket or pigs in a blanket. Wide ranging tastes, that's me. In fact, I'll eat damn near anything that'll hold still long enough, with a few exceptions (things in aspic, tripe, tuna noodle casserole - and marzipan, to which I am, bizarrely, allerhgic, which is fine because I hate has something to do with a preservative they put in it, I think) - and even then, due to early training in the years before everyone was encouraged to be a goddamn bore about eating (no, I can't eat...oh, just fill in the blanks here), if you cook dinner for me and put it down in front of me, I will eat it.

My mind has just traveled some 12 years back to London when Sarah (my wonderful offspring) was about 12. We were in London, and some friends invited us to spend an afternoon and evening with his parents.

Well, our pals Krisia and Angus took us out to the suburbs of London to a community called something or other on'll come to me. Walton on Thames? No. At any rate, it was, in fact, on the Thames and was more or less right across the Thames (at that point quite narrow) from Hampton Court, and we took the family rowboat out before dinner to go in the back door of Hampton Court. We saw the royal deer, and the kids (Krisia and Angus have a son Sarah's age or thereabouts) got under the locked gate (this was after hours) to the famous maze. You would not believe this whole place in April...coming from the train walking down little lanes arched all over with enormous lilac bushes...I decided then and there to retire to it. It was beyond belief gorgeous. Ah hah! Thames Ditton. I knew it would come to me. You take the Tube to the end of the line from Wimbledon and then go one stop on British Rail.

However, once we got out of the boat and got back to Angus' parents place and his father served dinner, things got problematic. What he had cooked (Angus' mother had gone out to the Women's Institute or something for the evening) was a fish casserole which was without a doubt the worst thing I've ever tasted in my life. I think it was one of the recipes left over from the post-WWII rationing era. It consisted of mackerel which was close to being over the hill in a cream sauce made, I believe, with condensed milk - or perhaps library paste. It was beyond belief awful. When Sarah was still living at home, every time thereafter that she complained about dinner, my invariable response was, "Shut up. It could be fish casserole."

I can't imagine how I got off on that subject. Ah, well. I feel that the whole point of a blog is to be able to meander.

Anyway, what I meant to get off on was something I've thought about for years, and it was brought back to my mind by this heinous idea of making the homeless pay rent in the shelters.

It should be stated here that I am by nature a Socialist, if I'm political at all. I don't believe that change happens in governments, or Senates, or Congresses...I believe it happens with people. You know, the ones who have to actually LIVE with the changes. And I quite firmly believe in "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." I have, in fact, a whole ideal of a Utopian Socialist society, on which I shall expound at a later date. (Those of you who are completely uninterested in this should look out. I'll try and signpost the blog so you can avoid it; far be it from me to attempt to engage you in this sort of thing when you are in fact waiting for me to be madly witty. You are waiting for me to be madly witty, aren't you? AREN'T you?)

What happened was that Seth (Sarah's boyfriend) and I got talking about the homeless thing, and I laid out the idea (I knew I'd get around to it) that I've had for years for solving at least some of the homeless problem...and now that I write it, I think I've mentioned it before. This is my thought about getting the unions to partner with the agencies that oversee the homeless population to teach people trades.

We've got a lot of abandoned city-owned buildings in the five boroughs, and a lot of people who need homes. Why not get the unions to teach the homeless to renovate those buildings, with the carrot on the end of the stick being A. a decent place to live, and B. a skill that is marketable? Surely this is a neat, simple, and elegant solution to any number of problems. Fewer families in shelters, fewer crumbling buildings, and, because it logically follows, revitalized neighborhoods. Although I hate the term revitalized...somehow it reminds me of very early 20th century newspaper ads. Drink Lydia Pinkney's Tonic! You will be revitalized!

Ah, well. Now that I've had my nice evening's blather, I shall go to bed, and think (in a slightly evil manner) of all those sweet young things in tomorrow's yoga class very politely edging their mats away from mine as the beer and fried shrimp sweat exudes from my body. I have a ghastly suspicion that a lot of these people eat tofu for fun. Good God.

Love, Wendy

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Spitting Mad!

I do not believe this. I was innocently reading the papers this morning, and there was a story that infuriated me so much that I may not recover all day.

New York is now charging rent to the homeless people occupying shelters.

Yes, you actually did just read that. The people who are living in shelters because they cannot afford to rent an apartment are being charged for the shelters. In one case, a young woman who has a 2 year old child is making $8.40 an hour (or $800 a month - so the paper says and I didn't bother to check their figures), and is being charged $336 a month - TO LIVE IN A HOMELESS SHELTER. Now this woman is paying close to $100 a week in child care services (so she CAN work and save enough money to get an apartment), and the 2 year old is still in diapers. Well, by my calculations (I did calculate this one), between the rent and the child care, that leaves her $164 a month to live on - before you figure in diapers and whatever else she might need. And there's no hope of her ever being able to save any money, of course.

THIS IS INSANE. As far as I can figure out, what the city is saying to these people is that they should stay in homeless shelters for the rest of their lives. Oh, and in another case, a woman who makes $1,099 a month and is supporting a 19 year old son (I'm going to charitably assume that he's disabled or something, though it's not stated) is being charged $1,031 a month for HER rent.

What is this saying? It is saying that even if you overcome whatever difficulties have put you in a homeless shelter, even if you're trying your damnedest to work and make a life for yourself and your children, if you have any, even if you conquer life in a shelter (yeah, you try and look neat and clean for work under those circumstances) - IT DOESN'T MATTER. You will never, never be allowed to get out.


On a lighter note - well, lighter for my readers anyway, I wasn't all that charmed - Joshua elected to talk about the book The Art of War this morning because evidently there was a documentary on it last night. Now, I've gotten fairly used to him waking up and insisting on describing the plots of various movies to me (why, I don't know - if they're movies I've seen, I know the plot, and if they're movies I haven't seen, then I didn't want to see them and I don't care what the plot is). But this morning he did 40 solid minutes, and got all the way through WWII, Viet Nam, and the Civil War, relating each of them to The Art of War.

My God. I never thought of this before, but it would solve a LOT of problems...why don't we send JOSHUA to Gitmo and he can TALK the prisoners into submission?

Love, Wendy (who is still steaming)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My, My, My

Well, thank you, Scarlett! (The lovely Miss Johansson - sorry, Mrs. Reynolds - gave me a shoutout on The Daily Beast). And hello there to all my new readers (whose blogs I'm getting to, slowly but surely)...I tell you, this celebrity recommendation stuff is great. Of course, I've only known the kid since she was nine or so...

I'm amazed. I went to yoga yesterday, and my body is barely shrieking at me at all, except for my shoulders and arms. Three hundred and seventy eight downward dogs will do that to you. On the other hand, if I keep it up, I may actually end up being able to go sleeveless this summer! Which means, of course, that I have to keep going to yoga. I knew there was a the downward dog (aw, come on - how could I resist that?).

I went to the grocery store today (in the incessant damn rain, natch, but the freezer was just about empty). Please tell me you're utterly fascinated with this news, and if you're not, toughies, because that's basically ALL I did today. Except for fielding calls from my trustee, foaming at the mouth and insisting I get Joshua out of the house "right away!"

I cannot imagine what on earth I'm supposed to do about it. I can hardly bodily throw out a 6 foot 200 pound man, and besides, that would leave the problem of his piles and piles of belongings. And then I'D have to pay to put all that junk in storage. I don't personally care if Joshua stays in the den while the renovations are going on, for heaven's sake - it's his damn belongings that are holding things up. I mean, I'd much rather be without him, but I can't see that much of a problem in his being there when people are painting and whatever else they're doing...such as mending the bit of the upstairs wall where my insane cat insists that the kitty litter box is. The cat uses the box for its intended purpose (except for the occasional miss, but after all, he's 17), but when it comes to scratching and covering up, he jumps out of the box and scratches at the wall. I can't figure this out and have no intention of spending any time trying to do is WAY too short for learning how to read a cat's mind.

Actually, what I've had on my mind most of the day is ways and means to kill the suits at a television station. I am absolutely horrified at the Sci Fi station. They are changing their name to...are you ready?...the SyFy station.

What on earth has possessed them? Sci Fi has been the accepted short form of Science Fiction for as long as I can remember, which is a good long way. The phrase states firmly what it is, can be read and understood by anyone who is interested, and just sits there perfectly innocently doing what it's supposed to do.

The obvious answer to this (as I know from some time spent in the advertising business) is that some up and coming Young Turk at the station decided that the name wasn't - oh, let's say - "punchy" enough. It looked "old." And since any form of spelling has long since gone out the window, why not replace SciFi with SyFy! After all, it looks a lot like the gibberish used in text messages and IMs and (I presume) Twitters. And everyone can remember it because it's the same pronunciation as Sci Fi! Wow! What a concept!

What a crock. Oh, my beloved English, what on earth are they doing to you? For God's sake, it took me years to recover from "Lite" salad dressing...which is nonsense, by the by, because the calorie saving isn't all that great and anyway it tastes lousy. Make a nice vinaigrette...takes about ten seconds. Not to mention "Nite." And all the rest of that idiocy.

And here is an example. In reading this over (yes, I proofread), I realized that there are those of you out there who may think that when I say "Young Turk" I'm intending a slur upon those of Turkish descent. I'm not. It's an old-fashioned phrase (which in fact came out of the Ottoman Empire) that means a type who wishes to shake up the establishment. You can look it up. The point being, of course, that because I read actual English with properly spelled words in it, I know this sort of thing. Nyaa, nyaa, nyaa. (It also turns up a lot in British books - I recommend a short course of Evelyn Waugh - of course, I recommend Evelyn Waugh on general principles anyway because he's howlingly hilarious.) And remember, my darlings...I have warned you all along that I am a perfectly ghastly intellectual snob.

I am going to go and sulk in a stuffed with my Louis Untermeyer British and American Poetry collection and my complete works of Shakespeare. If I don't feel better after that, I'll go to bed with two aspirin and my complete W.H. Auden. I suggest you all do the same.

SyFy. Honestly.

Love, Wendy

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lots of Good Stuff

Well, let's just take it from the top here...or, in fact, from the bottom of my last post where I was heading to bed before the Revlon Run/Walk.

As a networking opportunity, it was pretty much a washout, although I did meet a gal who'll be doing Boardwalk Empire with me. But a day in Central Park (actually a morning in Central Park) can't really be a bad thing, no matter how you look at it...and seeing those thousands of run/walkers was pretty inspiring. Not, you understand, that I have any intention of EVER joining them, but it was quite nice to see.

Funny/interesting - I took a short break before the bulk of the runners came through because I wanted to A. go to the porta-potty and B. have a cigarette...I mean, at an event raising money for a cancer cure, I could hardly have had a cigarette in plain view. That would be in REALLY bad taste. So I walked away from the course toward the potties, and sort of quietly attached myself to a group of the parks workers, who happened to be having cigarettes on their break from picking up garbage. They looked at me as I came up (probably prepared to answer questions about the location of the aforementioned potties), and when I explained what I was doing, they all nodded and one gentleman remarked, "Oh, yeah. Irony." Otherwise known as, never underestimate people who are picking up garbage.

This morning I trotted off to some Godforsaken area of, don't ask me where. I got off the subway in Dumbo, at the corner of Jay and York, and a nice man with a van picked me up. No, I was NOT hopping in a car with a stranger - this was the courtesy van from the producers because evidently there IS no other way to get to the warehouse where the costume fittings were being done. And I even had another "never underestimate" moment while I was shivering in the rain waiting for the van - a rather scruffy guy saw me standing there and asked whether I needed a Metrocard or any help. He said he had an unused Metrocard if I was out of money or something. This was, I may add, a totally industrial corner at 7 in the morning...I think he thought I was some poor gal who'd been to the Dumbo clubs and spent all her money. (So I DON'T look that good at 7 sue me.) I thought that was nice. And yes, people, he was serious...believe me, I'm old enough to know the difference. Besides, once I told him I was being picked up, he smiled and trotted away quite happily. So there, you with your cynical minds.

The costume turns out to be a walking suit - not wool, thank God, but a blouse and almost ankle length skirt and a jacket past my hips and a perfectly awful hat...and just for funsies, one of those truly horrific little fur pieces made out of the entire pelt, where the thing is fastened by closing the animal's mouth on its own tail and the poor little paws hang down. I look exactly like Miss Sarah Brown, the Salvation Army gal from Guys and Dolls.

And I tell you, this summer is shaping up to be one constant whirl of activity! This Saturday, I go to see my pal Tom in his show at Theatre Source, my friend John will be in from California for a week starting Memorial Day weekend, a family friend is premiering his short film on June 18th, and Sarah and I have a huge family party in Cornwall, Connecticut on July 25th. And then we're going off to France for Sarah's birthday at the beginning of August!

Even better than all this, Macy's has decided to do the fireworks for the 4th of July on this side of town, which they haven't done since 2000. This is absolutely the best. I distinctly remember the one in 2000...we got out that afternoon and a bunch of us had this huge picnic. It was great fun, and I have every intention of doing the same this year. Actually it'll be even better, because in 2000 we were still on those rotten old piers and now we have a beautiful park. Yay!

So things are definitely looking lovely all summer. Now if it would only stop friggin' raining...I'm beginning to mildew.

Love, Wendy

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cough, Cough, Cough

Oh, for God's sake. Could we all just get hold of ourselves here? It's FLU, people. Somebody gets it every year. In all the millions of people in the United States, precisely 140 have died from it. You wanna work out the percentage on that? People do die from the flu...usually the elderly, infants, and people whose immune systems are compromised in some way.

For the rest of us: STOP READING THE HEADLINES. Read the actual stories under the headlines and you will find, as I did, that just about every single one of those stories says the same's just the flu. You run a fever, you cough, sometimes your stomach gets involved, you get the chills, and in about a week it starts to go away and you're fine. And, as a little added attraction, you've probably lost two pounds because you haven't had an appetite.

My favorite is the fact that they're now trying to change the name from swine flu to something else, for fear people will stop eating pork (and, in the case of some of the members of the lunatic fringe, because it's a slander on pigs).


I've had a lovely day. My cousins Cathy and Charlie turned up from Chicago and DIDN'T move in with me! That was exciting. No, really, they were in town to go to the opera...the Ring Cycle, for God's sake. I consider this an odd reason to go anywhere...I would happily travel for miles in the opposite direction to avoid the Ring Cycle, but there's no accounting for taste. Anyway, we had a lovely walk around the Village while I showed them the scenes and told stories of my misspent youth (you know, last week), and then we went to the White Horse for lunch. While we were at lunch my phone rang, and lo and behold, it was Grant Wilfley Casting! So I now have two days work coming up for an HBO special called Boardwalk Empire about 1920's Atlantic City.

Naturally there are a couple of flaws about this. One is that I have to turn up to get the courtesy van to costume at 7:45 Monday morning in Brooklyn - that's for fittings. The second flaw is that what I'm being fitted for is wool - for a shoot that takes place on the Boardwalk - IN JUNE. I will also be wearing black tights. Ah, well - it's truly amazing what one can put up with when one is being paid for it. I'm pretty sure from the context that what I'm wearing will be a 1920's bathing costume...which involves several woolen layers. And a nice wool hat. I'm one of a group of about a stretch (said she, taking another swig of her beer).

And tomorrow I get up at 5 am to get to 97th and 5th by 8 am for the Revlon Run/Walk thing...boy, I better make some decent contacts there (volunteering for the Actors Fund is ALL about networking). Yes, yes, I know it's for the good of the cause, but I'm not sure about any good that can ever come out of my getting up at 5 am. Usually I just stand around and bite people at that hour. I can see it now...gasping runners come by the Actors Fund booth for water and I reach out and bite their fingers off. I don't think this counts as good PR. As least the email I received stated that there would be a "light breakfast" for the volunteers...that damn well better include some very heavy coffee. And maybe even a stray muffin...

And now I think I shall play solitaire for the duration of my beer and go to bed, so I can get up at 5 tomorrow all bright and shiny. Yeah...the only thing that would make me get up at 5 am all bright and shiny would be someone gilding me while I slept, a la Goldfinger. I think I'll settle for growling my way out of bed in my usual surly fashion.

Love, Wendy