Thursday, October 29, 2009

A New Dawn (with apologies to George Lucas)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Wendy

Friday, October 23, 2009


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe a LOT more beer.

Yours in complete disbelief...

Love, Wendy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It Never Rains But It Pours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Give Up

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

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

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

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

Love, Wendy

Monday, October 12, 2009

Interesting Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just wondering...

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

Love, Wendy

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Facebook Ham Saga

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Wendy

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Triumphant Hunter Returns From The Hunt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Wendy