Saturday, August 29, 2009

Spider Bites, Birthdays, and Weirdness

First of all, I ITCH. I am slightly allergic to spiders, and when one of my little house spiders bites me, the site swells up madly, and itches unbearably. And continues itching after the swelling goes down. So I'm sitting here clawing madly at my arm, this morning's recipient of a spider bite. Mosquito bites I scratch a couple of times and they go away, but a spider bite itches for at least two days and drives me nuts.

So tonight was Sarah's second birthday party...that's as opposed to the filet de perche dinner in France - and we had the best time. It was even a P.S. 41 and Greenwich House daycare reunion of sorts, given the number of the old gang who turned up. I am MORE than in favor of this keeping up with the gang stuff, on account of I have friends from fifty years ago and more, and count them as my best assets...face it, who is better equipped to deal with one's occasional self-dramatizations than people who've known you since you were 13 years old?

Toward the end of this delightful occasion, distinct weirdness occurred. We had been sitting in the garden of a perfectly lovely bar on Avenue C when it started to rain seriously (we had had some minor spits, which we ignored), so we went into the part of the garden which had a canopy. Since there were a LOT of us, we sort of took over the whole area...except for an elderly lady (I should say in her seventies or thereabouts) who sat right down with us with her beer and cigarettes.

I found myself sitting next to her at one point and thought, oh, well, here's a lonely person, and introduced myself and asked her name, which happened to be Mary. Hoo boy, should I ever have ignored her. Mary was only too happy to have someone to talk to, which she proceeded to do. I politely asked what she did (or, given her age) what she had done.

It turned out that Mary came from a long line of...well, not undertakers...but sort of midwives for the dead, in that she worked her way through college preparing bodies for burial and eventually worked for the morgue. She had a great deal to say on the subject. She actually had WAY too much to say on the subject. She then proceeded to tell me the history of the Jews. Which I thought was even odder, since she had informed me that she was not Jewish. (Oh, don't ask how we got there...I don't know either.)

I finally got away from Mary and the dead bodies and raced over to Sarah to tell her this which my child's reaction was a large goofy grin and the remark: "This is the best birthday EVER!"

I am now officially creeped out. But it was a terrific party. Except for strange elderly ladies with a thing for dead bodies.

Love, Wendy

Friday, August 28, 2009

Not Me, Lord

Accord to my junk mail today, "God has chose you!"

If God decides to choose me, for whatever purpose, I'm going to insist that He do it in proper English.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Slightly Drunk

Well, what an unexpectedly nice evening I've had.

I went to my block association's wine and cheese party, purely because it was free and promised nice food...which promise it abundantly made good on. Lovely cheese and stunning fruit and guacamole, and little crostini and lots of neat good things to eat. Other than that, rather dull...lots of nice men my own age, all of whom were gay. Sigh.

So I started off home, and decided that I actually needed a beer, and wandered into Frankie's...and had nice long lovely chats with various people...and just as I was on the point of leaving (i.e., having just one more before I left), Richard the bartender bought me back, meaning of course I had to have another beer...yes, well. Bar manners. Unless the buy back will actually cause you to pass out cold or vomit all over the beer nuts, you gotta buy one more after the buy back. Them's the rules.

And I am evidently the absolutely worst when it comes to celebrities...i.e., being thrilled about them, or paying a whole lot of attention to them, and like that there. I suppose it comes out of working with such huge stars in my apprenticeship years...I just got to see stars as human beings, and therefore am not starstruck. Face it, if you are confronted with Zero Mostel wearing not one stitch except his (commodious)'s kind of hard to see a lot of glamour in the whole thing.

I bring this up because on Sunday morning I trotted off to the deli to get the Sunday papers and a yogurt drink (I've become addicted to them), tastefully attired in not one single stitch except my usual two year old cheapo muumuu and a pair of KMart canvas shoes...and ran smack dab into all 98 feet of Hugh Jackman. With wife and daughter.

Well, I am here to tell you...that man is TALL. Also, he's fucking GORGEOUS. With a three day beard, a pair of baggy old cargo shorts, and a t-shirt. All 14 feet of him. And a grin that won't stop.

Oh, I was so good. I bought my papers and my (always necessary in the morning) diet Coke and my peach yogurt smoothie and my cat food...

And went home and thought...hey, cool, Hugh Jackman is shopping at our deli.

And then I sort of forgot about the whole thing.

You know, I don't think I'm cut out to be a star fucker.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Trying To Stay Awake

It is 9:20 and Rescue Me isn't on until 10, and my eyes are closing.

I had a temp job today, one of those register nitwits for the seminar numbers, and I had to be there at 7 am. I deeply resent this, because these things pay me $12 an hour, and I don't really want to get out of bed for $12 an hour. I mean, really - would you? Yeah, yeah, I know - it's $12 an hour that I wouldn't be making otherwise, but I still feel it's an imposition. I have NO objection to getting up at 3:30 am to make a 5:30 am location bus...but then I know that A. there will be a large breakfast waiting at the other end, and B. that I will come out of the deal with upwards of $200 in my pocket. Eight and a half hours of seminar crud, on the other hand, gets me a GROSS of $102 lousy bucks. Growl.

I made myself the nicest omelet last night! I am not much of an egg fancier...I love them deviled, and every now and then I get a yen for an old fashioned egg, bacon and toast breakfast, but in general, I don't do much else about them. But last night I was looking for the quickest thing I could cram into my face that happened to be lying around the house, so an omelet seemed the most logical...and damn, it turned out well. I was very pleased, and may continue to play around with omelets.

While eating my lovely creamy hammy cheesy omelet, I was (naturally) reading a cook book. This was one of my ancient (from the '60s) Gourmet cookbooks, and while I know I've gone into some of the insane things they suggest you might want to do with food before, I came across a whole new one last night (well, these tomes are like 600 pages - it's easy to miss things).

It was one of their madly complicated canape recipes, which involved eighty seven ingredients (a teaspoon of that, a quarter teaspoon of the other, etc.) and it started out by telling you to make toast and keep it hot. It then veered off into what you were supposed to put on this toast, and it actually gave the exact number of minutes you should cook these other bits...2 minutes here, 7 minutes there. This added up (well, I was curious) to about 25 minutes.

Here is the question. Why in the name of God are you supposed to make the toast FIRST? And where in the name of God are you supposed to keep the toast hot for 25 minutes? I don't know about you, but I've never seen a New York apartment kitchen with a warming oven. Do you keep the toast in a warm oven? After 25 minutes, wouldn't you have Melba toast? I should think it would be clear to the worst cook in the world that if a filling takes 25 minutes to make, and the toast takes 5 minutes, if that, the obvious thing to do would be to put the toast in to...well, you know...toast when you are doing the last 5 minute job of that filling (topping, I guess). Wouldn't any normal human being do that? Of course, this presupposes that those old Gourmet cookbooks are normal. After just running across a menu for an eight course dinner party, I really shouldn't put the words "normal" and "Gourmet" anywhere near each other.

I think I'll stick with the omelets.

Love, Wendy

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's Too Damn Hot

I just checked, which I've been doing obsessively in the last couple of days searching for SOME sign of upcoming relief from our current hell, and it is 90 degrees - but according to the THI thingie - IT FEELS LIKE 99 DEGREES.

This is unnecessary. God knows I haven't lived a blameless life, but must I be subjected to hell on earth? For the first time, I'm absolutely delighted that I didn't get any background work, because 15 minutes of tromping back and forth outdoors and you would have a fascinating addition to your movie in the form of me keeling over. Getting around the corner to the deli for the papers left me gasping for air today. has issued a severe thunderstorm watch...from their mouth to God's ears.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dripping with Sweat

Enough already. Yes, I know I got a little sick of the rain, but this is ridiculous. I walked around the corner to the deli, and the soles of my shoes melted. Admittedly I buy my summer shoes at KMart (canvas slip-ons with thin rubber soles - $3.99 a pair), but still, this is excessive.

I have done almost nothing since I got back. I went out last Saturday to see Peer Gynt in Central Park, which was quite good. No, no, not the Public Theatre - this was a Gorilla Rep production. This time it was because the sister-in-law of an old friend was in it, and while I probably wouldn't have hauled myself up to 85th and CPW for her, her brother-in-law John was in town from LA, and I wanted to see HIM. I unexpectedly saw my pal Larry, too, which was nice. These are pals from the awful Richard III.

I have decided, by the way, that anybody who does outdoor shows in the summer can do them without me from here on in. Gorilla Rep (I've seen two of their shows now, because friends have been in them) does site specific stuff, meaning that they set up in one general area and the actors and audience tromp around it. This requires sitting down and getting up and sitting down and getting up and wandering somewhere else WAY too many times, not to mention that there are generally no bathrooms anywhere within hailing distance. And you're often walking on unfamiliar terrain in the dark, not knowing if there's grass or a large rock ahead. There are very few things that I will announce I'm too old for, but I have decided that this is going to be one of them (along with short shorts worn with fishnets and stiletto heels). That said, I AM going to an outdoor show on the 30th, but it A. has seats, B. has bathrooms, and C. is in Washington Square. And it's at 2 pm, so I can see where I'm going.

Then Sunday I had my annual dinner with my girlfriends from Chicago, which I always enjoy.

And I actually got a job from a temp agency on Tuesday, which was nice because I seem to have gone back to "can't get arrested" status on background work. It was quite a pleasant day...worked with a very nice guy (he was doing interviews for kitchen and counter staff for a new fast food joint) who gave me two hours for lunch and let me go half an hour early - and paid for the full seven hour day. I consider this excellent. Of course, I was somewhat bitter...on my nice long lunch hour I deposited my check from the Law & Order I did, which was $231 and change, and I couldn't help thinking that for Tuesday I was making a GROSS of a magnificent $84. Yes, I know money's money, but still...

Phooey. This weather has sapped all my ambition. I have the air conditioning on and I'm going back to bed to read and nap. Grumble.

Love, W.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm Back!

And I want to leave again immediately.

Well, picture this. I hop the plane in Geneva for the short haul (an hour or so) to Paris (on my way home). In the Paris airport (Charles De Gaulle), I discover that directly opposite my gate for my NY flight, there is not only a smoking room, but a nice little stand right next to it where one can acquire a tall cold Heineken's. Can we say sophistication?

So I hop on my flight to Newark, which was uneventful...unlike an incident which bemused me on my flight Paris-Geneva on the way over. As we were descending to Geneva, a call went out on the loudspeaker for a doctor, and a gentleman seated a few rows ahead of me got up and bustled up front, where the problem seemed to be.

Well, frankly, if this gent had been bending over me when I was ill I would have commended my soul to God immediately. He was - literally - morbidly obese. I mean huge hanging swathes of flesh obese. I don't know about anyone else, but frankly, I would prefer to be seen by a doctor who looks as if he has some notion of how to take care of his OWN damn body before he starts playing around with MINE. (My own personal type doctor has a small spare tire, but I consider this normal after a certain age - I've got one myself, for heaven's sake, and I am in no possible way obese.) And no, I have no idea what the problem was, but there was an ambulance waiting when we got off the plane...but of course, given that people sue everybody these days for a wrong look, that may merely have been self-protection on the part of the airplane.

Oh, and I must add, as someone who never manages to sleep well (or, frankly, for more than an hour at a stretch) on an overnight flight, that I wanted to murder my outbound JFK-Paris seatmate. We got on the plane, she had the window and I had the aisle, with an empty seat between us. As we taxied down the runway, she put on her sleep mask, draped herself in her blanket, tucked the pillow next to the window, and proceeded to go to sleep - an activity which she continued straight through to Paris. No dinner, no breakfast, no nothing. She stayed solidly out like a light for the entire damn flight. All I could think of was When Harry Met Sally..."I'll have what she's having." Either the broad was afflicted with narcolepsy or she'd popped about eighteen Valiums before she got on the plane.

Meanwhile, back in Yvoire...ah, the pleasure of doing nothing. If you have gone to Sarah's blog and seen the pictures, you will see that Yvoire is, in fact, Neverland...or for those of us who are old enough to remember the musical, Brigadoon. If you haven't gone to Sarah's blog, just Google Yvoire. A tiny little paradise.

I thinnk my favorite is our house, however. The family has now had the house for just about exactly 60 years. and that's exactly what it looks like...a nice big family house (four bedrooms, two and a half baths)...and things that never, ever change. I always have my room (the back bedroom on the second floor)'s the one where when I wake up early I can, if I happen to be hungry, reach out and have a few grapes from the vine that hangs over one of my windows. (Or for that matter I can just go downstairs and rummage around in the icebox, but the grapes are more fun.) And I watch the village wake up...which consists of three people coming up the hill from the dock (there's a small summer community that moors their boats there and stays on them) to get their breakfast croissants, two trucks going through the village to deliver things, and...well, actually, that's it.

Then I go to the bathroom. This sounds like an unnecessarily intimate revelation, but you have to understand the plumbing at our house, which has its own little quirks (therefore making the act of getting up and going to the john an adventure). The upstairs bathroom (the third floor) is brand new (well, as we count time in Yvoire - seven or eight years, perhaps?), and is madly modern...sink, toilet, shower stall. However, this being our house, there are certain quirks. If you wish to shower upstairs, you have to turn on the water in the sink and remember that the shower faucet got installed backwards, so that hot and cold are reversed...i.e., the blue dot means hot and the red dot means cold. It is extremely important to remember this, because we have lots and lots of VERY hot water in Yvoire.

Now the second floor bathroom has a perfectly lovely big deep European tub, but I never shower in it, because before the upstairs one was installed, I had far too many episodes of either freezing or scalding, because the shower apparatus there is hand-held, and I have never in damn near thirty years ever been able to get it properly organized. And then of course there's the toilet in there, which has to be flushed with a bucket of water...this is handily kept next to the toilet and one refills it for the next person each time.

The half bathroom is a toilet under the front stairs up to the house, which in its time was a wonder, because our family installed the first flush toilet in the village. They had a party for it, in fact. This bathroom (well, all right - it's a toilet in a tiny room...that's all there is) tends to be filled with spiders, so you have to be alert when you're using it (who wants a spider bite on their ass?). But it's damned handy when you're on your way out, and it flushes all on its own...clearly a plus factor.

For the rest, the house is filled with family photos and books forever, and a great big kitchen where we normally eat, and old pots and pans, and wonderful food (well, it is in France)...and then there's the porch, where I spend a LARGE part of my time, reading, and dreaming and watching the lake and the boats and snacking...

And what did I do in Yvoire? I slept (blankets at night even in August...I love mountains...we see the Jura Mountains right across the lake), I ate, I read, I took the occasional excursion with the gang. Normally I stay on the porch or sound asleep, because the family excursions tend to be WAY too physical for me. "Let's go climb Mont Blanc!" is a rallying cry for the family. Luckily I have them trained NOT to expect me on any nonsensical expeditions like this.

We took our own personal chef with us this time, our pal Shai, and one of the most delightful things I've ever seen is Shai going through a French market going, "Oh, wow, oh, wow, oh, wow" about every six inches (we ate artichokes as big as our heads). And oh, God, he made us the most wonderful meals...

A most successful visit.

I just watched the season premiere of Mad Men, which I've never seen before. Frankly, I was not terribly impressed. I think, however, this is because I was working in advertising in the 60's, so it's hardly anything new to me. I was impressed, however, by one thing, which is that they cast women who reflect the 60's body. All of the gals in this show are properly upholstered for the period, wherein there were actually smart looking clothes in size 12, and I saw (because people seem to keep taking their clothes off) little rolls around the middle. I can't tell you how nice it was to see actual female forms, instead of stick figures.

Last night I went to see Peer Gynt in Central Park (no, not the Delacorte...this was Gorilla Rep, which plays on a goddamn rock in the midle of nowhere). It was an excellent production, but I have now loudly said to everyone that I no longer go to plays which require me to stomp about in the dark tripping over tufts of grass, and climbing huge hills to get to the production area. Which invariably has no bathroom of any variety. From here on in, I attend only productions with seats and bathrooms. However, I saw a couple of old pals and had a lovely time, once we got to the bar where I could, for God's sake, take a leak.

And tonight I had dinner with two old pals from Chicago who come in for the Gift Show at the Javits every year...Shelby and her lady Sharon. Sharon is actually a new addition...well, not new to Shelby, but her previous lady was a pal of mine (she died some years back), and I'm delighted that the two of them have such damn good fun together! Shel and I have been friends for upwards of forty years now, and it's always a huge happy pleasure to spend an evening with them.

And now, having celebrated my jet lag by never having had time to get rid of it (both the above occasions having been set up before I left for France), I am going to finish watching Rescue Me (and drooling over Denis Leary), and I'm going to sleep...and unless an agency calls (from my mouth to God's ears) with work, I think I'll just sleep away this ghastly weather. You can imagine how it feels to come back to this soup after a week sleeping under blankets...

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Leaving Tomorrow!

Now, the first thing I want you to do is leap on over to Sarah's most recent blog at (note to self: LEARN TO DO LINKS!) because she's put up three pictures of our little place in France...a skill which I meant to make her show me earlier today only I didn't. OK?

There. Isn't it gorgeous?

Long, hot day yesterday. We went a little over 11 hours, which is fine with me because it means that when I get back from France I will have a nicely sized check waiting for me. I will need this because even though I know perfectly well there's not anything I need to buy while I'm there (except for kicking in my share of the food and electricity and wine and like that there), I'll find something...I always do.

Why on earth can't people film things in some sort of logical relation to the actual weather? There I was in Bayonne, NJ all day yesterday - and we all know what yesterday was like, a hideous steam bath - wearing my nice heavy jean jacket and walking back and forth in direct sunlight. See my frequent comments on the glamour of movie/TV making. Yeah, right. Of course, you understand that the one time I did film a cold weather scene in actual cold weather I bitched and screamed about that, too (well, there was some justification on that one; it was the outdoor set in November with NO COFFEE) - there's no pleasing me. Oh, and I did actually change clothes three times. Jean jacket, pink T-shirt and jeans for walking up and down the street, pink T-shirt and blue shirt and jeans for walking through the bar, and khakis and a blue polo shirt for doing nothing after that since they didn't use me in the third bit. Ah, well - God bless SAG, which is going to pay me an extra 15.25 for more than one outfit. I love my union.

So - walk back and forth, walk through a bar, walk back and forth on the other side of the street, hang out in holding for the better part of the day. The usual, naturally, but this shoot had an extra added attraction.

We were quite a small group, about 22 of us, and therefore we did a lot more whole-group chatting than usual. The Boardwalk Empire shoots were all mob scenes (like over two hundred background people), so you tended to form a small group within the big group. But this gang was small and chatty.

It turns out that one of the guys had left his wife at home with her elderly, sick dog. The dog was 17 and not doing well, and he spent the better part of the day on his cell phone trying to get her to face the reality that it was time for the dog to be taken to the vet and put to sleep (to save it any suffering, of course), but she seemed to be resisting this idea. Naturally he told us what was going on (well, we could all hear the phone calls anyway), so we were commiserating and telling him about having to put down our own animals (which of course turned into a rousing discussion of assisted suicide/euthanasia for humans at one point). (Of which, by the way, I am in favor...don't you DARE try to keep a comatose me alive with feeding tubes and machines when I've basically already left the room.)

Well, toward the end of the day his phone rang again, and this time we all clearly heard his first words. Which, memorably, were: "$200 for an URN?"

Oh, dear. I'm afraid a few of us had to head out of the room at that point. I'm sorry - but after all the doom and gloom with the dog all day long, that just gave some of us the giggles. I don't know WHY it did (but then some people, of whom I am unfortunately one, just get to a point where they can't take it any more).

At any rate, this one is going down in history as the strangest remark I've ever heard in holding.

I have one chore left to do tomorrow, and then I shall pack (consulting my handy packing list as I go) and launch myself into the wonderful post-apocalyptic world of overseas airline travel - wearing my slip off shoes, carrying my toothpaste in a little plastic bag, and knowing that they will pull me out of line to wand me further because I look so completely inoffensive that the TSA people can never believe that I actually AM inoffensive. And then I shall hop on the plane and sit in my happy economy seat - or as we seasoned travelers like to refer to it - the Greyhound Bus of the skies.

I'll tell you ALL about the trip next week!

Love, Wendy

Monday, August 3, 2009

Finally One of the Gang

YAY! My dear agency called today and I finally got a Law & Order shoot. Looks like I CAN get arrested, after all. I was feeling terribly left out because every single person I know keeps getting on the various Law & Orders (I'm doing SVU), and I felt like the girl who didn't get asked to the prom. However, shooting tomorrow! Naturally, the location bus will be leaving at some Godforsaken hour, but what the hell.

God, they want a lot of damn luggage. It's a scene in a blue collar bar (in Bayonne, New Jersey - yet another stop on my ongoing tour of local beauty spots), and they want three damn outfits. Yeah, well - they'll get them, but I'll bet right this instant that they'll go for the first thing I put on, which will be an old t-shirt, jeans, sneakers (no, NOT running shoes - plain old once-white sneaks) and a jean jacket. Anybody want to lay odds? Hey, I know my blue collar bars. I spent many a happy hour in various Blarney Stones over the years, some of which I actually remember.

Meanwhile, I'm getting myself together for France. I had shopping plans for tomorrow, but they're at RiteAid, which stays open until 10 pm, and from what I hear, L&O doesn't shoot late. This is fine, because I have a senior citizen card at RiteAid which allows me 20% off anything on the first Tuesday of every month, and I'm sure as hell gonna use it tomorrow - suntan lotion, body wash, tooth know, the little bits and pieces. I'm not buying it over there because of the relation of the Euro to the dollar, and also because the prices in our town are jacked up for tourists anyway. Not to mention that I don't have a senior citizen discount card for France.

So I made my packing list (yeah, right - jeans, t-shirts, bathing suit, one dress for Sarah's birthday dinner, nightgown, bathrobe - Yvoire is NOT the fashion capital of the world), I printed out all 16 pages of my trip insurance thing, and tomorrow I'll print out my actual ticket. Wednesday I'm going to KMart for cat food (64 cents a can as opposed to 89 cents a can at the deli), and Thursday it's off to the pharmacy for my prescriptions and Barnes & Noble for plane flight reading because I have a discount card for them, too - I have learned over my many, many years of traveling that you can spend more damn money in the airport just getting to the damn plane than you do on vacation. However, I WILL hit the duty-free for cigarettes because I'm not nuts.

And yes, I am a heavily organized traveler. This is because I'm congenitally lazy and hate fuss. There is absolutely NOTHING more calculated to cause fuss than to try and do everything at top speed an hour before you leave for the airport. My husband used to drive me completely up a wall with this sort of thing. I would have everything all packed up, we would be out of the house and half way to getting a taxi, and he would suddenly decide he needed something he'd forgotten about and run back to the house to look for it - sometimes three or four times. Sometimes when our luggage was in the taxi. The result was that I was invariably a gibbering wreck before we even GOT to the airport - and he would then decide, as we were racing toward our gate, that it would be a fine moment to disappear into the bathroom for ten minutes. Of course, by the time we got on the plane, I would think of absolutely nothing but cornering the entire beer supply...

So not only do I make packing lists, but I also leave early. This year, because Sarah's leaving the day before me, there's only me to worry about, so I can happily leave early, early, early for the airport. My flight is at 9:30 pm, so I'll be out the door at 5 pm. Well, this really isn't too early.

1. I'm not taking an airport car. I'm going to Port Authority to catch the airport bus.
2. It's August - vacation time and crowded airport.
3. Security, God bless its idiotic little heart.
4. Duty-free, for the cigarettes.
5. Possibility of nice cold beer before take-off, just as a reward for navigating all of the above.

Anyway, I like airports.

Well, to bed. I just got my call time, which is a merciful 7:30 am at 14th and 7th Avenue...goody. That'll give me time to sort out my outfits.

Love, Wendy