Monday, November 30, 2009

Bring It On!

Oh, wow, am I ever ready for Christmas. I have survived Thanksgiving (lovely, thank you...too many leftovers, but see below). And I am thoroughly ready for Christmas trees, and tinsel, and hot cider, and Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas, and the Grinch, and Alastair Sim in A Christmas Carol (1951 - the ONLY version), and wrapping paper and ribbons and mysterious packages, and, and, and...

Oh. In case anybody might possibly have missed it - I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

As my loyal readers know, I am always delighted to have Thanksgiving out of the way. And due to the fact that I may actually have enough money to handle Christmas (thank you, Wall Street 2!), I am thrilled beyond belief.

And today I was very good. I returned my library books, and I finally got into the icebox (yeah, yeah, I know, refrigerator...forget it, it's an icebox) and sorted out the leftovers because God bless the kids, they put everything away, sort of tin foil covered serving bowls don't quite do it for me. So I dived in armed with plastic bags and proper icebox containers and now it's all snack/dinner ready. Yay, me.

Interesting thing. I have noticed it, but it just got reinforced...everybody who came in for Thanksgiving commented on how different the house felt without Joshua. It was as if the air had changed, somehow. I feel it, certainly, but I hadn't realized what a complete miasma he engendered. The whole house seems lighter and more comfortable (not least because before the holiday I busted my ass and cleaned up the living room, which he had left a mess, and now it looks like a living room, and not an abandoned storage space). Anyway, it's wonderful - and would you believe that since I turn lights out when I leave the house, and don't leave a TV on all electricity bill was damn near a HUNDRED BUCKS cheaper this month?


Love, Wendy

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Doom Has Come Upon Me

Just call me the Lady of Shalott.

It turns out that NOBODY is free this year, and NOBODY has any money to spare. So while I have been happily coasting along for the last four Thanksgivings or so, knowing that enormous amounts of deliciousness were going to come floating through the door while I did nothing more taxing than roast the turkey (which a four year old can do, presuming he or she can A. lift the turkey, and B. is allowed to play near the oven) and peel some potatoes and cucumbers, this year I actually have to do the better part of the cooking.

So once again, Mother is thrown back on her own resources (still obsessing about those damn green beans) and getting up early tomorrow morning to set this whole thing in motion.

Luckily, I have Sarah's boyfriend Seth coming over early to sous chef for me, and even more luckily than that, at precisely the moment when I have to start madly chopping celery and onions for stuffing, Channel 13 has come to my aid by putting An American in Paris on. So I shall chop away while wrapping myself in Gershwin, Gene Kelly, and Leslie Caron. I feel this is an excellent idea, even if I get onion and celery scraps all over the den floor.

And I am exceedingly proud of myself because I now once again have a living room that looks like a living room, and not an abandoned storage facility. When Joshua left, he had used the living room for a staging area, so it was full of empty cardboard boxes and scraps of this and that and crud all over the floor...oh, well, it was awful looking. I worked my deeply adorable little tail off today, and it now looks neat and welcoming again...I even got down there with a scrub brush and removed all evidence of the cat's bowel-related senility. (No, you do NOT want to know.)

So now I have all the ingredients, a clean living room, and, since we eat late on Thanksgiving (like around 8 pm), a whole day to cook. It's going to be lovely. I'm going to be sound asleep on the couch by 9:30 pm.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Almost Thanksgiving

The shopping is done, the turkey is tucked neatly in its brine, the house is slowly getting to a point where it's okay, as opposed to dear God, and the holiday season is upon us.

As always, I'm not in any way shape or form ready for this. I'm obsessing about the amount of green beans again, even though this year I did my shopping in the company of my pal Shai the chef, who assured me I was buying the right amount of green beans. I do wish I could figure out why on earth I obsess on green beans. Have you ever met ANYONE who is deeply disappointed at a Thanksgiving meal because there (gasp) weren't enough green beans? Well, okay, maybe people who feel that Tofurkey is a great main course, but other than But just like last year, I'm deeply convinced that there will be a sudden run on the green beans and I won't have enough. (Even though in previous years I had leftover green beans enough for a small army of vegetarians.)

Meanwhile, in other news, I did a shoot for The Adjustment Bureau on Saturday which was a fairly typical one...stand around on street, sit around in holding, eat...good caterer and nice Chinese lunch...but we ran into overtime, which will help with Christmas. Oh, my God. Christmas. I'd better start making lists. Well, I did my list for Thanksgiving and bought everything on I'll obsess about Christmas for a while.

Phooey. It will turn out fine, it ALWAYS turns out fine, and everything will be wonderful. (Oh, Lord...I need new lights for the Christmas tree, I've got to email my sister-in-law and find out what her kids want, and my other sister-in law, and my OTHER sister-law, and make sure about the tree topper which I think is coming to bits and then I've got to....)

Maybe I should just get through Thanksgiving first.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Wendy

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Please Spell Check Your Spell Check

So I'm sitting here looking at the 1010 WINS news site, and I see that the spell check monster has struck again. That is the creepy horrible beast who has managed to convince millions of people that if Spell Check says it, it's got to be right. The result today was a headline saying: Man Arrested in Grizzly Double Murder.

Well, immediately I wondered why on earth he'd been arrested for murdering bears, even though I know perfectly well that unless you're a foaming at the mouth animal rights activist, the word "murder" is normally reserved for something done to human beings. But of course, it was only the Spell Check curse again - what was meant was "grisly."

I will say it once more, even though it will, I know to my sorrow, fall on deaf ears. DICTIONARIES. There are these handy books of words, all nicely alphabetized, people, and you should use them. There are even dictionaries online. "Grizzly" is a bear. "Grisly" is awful, horrible. As in, the ignorance of the English language in this country is GRISLY.

Love, Wendy

Friday, November 20, 2009

And As The Sun Rises Over The Javits Center...

It's finally over. The end of five days at the Javits Center...and I still can't get warm enough.

I started on Sunday (a mere four hours) training for my position, which was that of cashier/customer service person. This, by the way, didn't require any damn four hours of training, but what the hell, they were paying me. And it was deeply interesting, when I arrived, that there was a pigeon wandering around in there...yes, inside. Why not? (In fact, there are usually pigeons and, one day, a small brown wren, wandering around in there...I think they come through the loading dock.)

Monday we started the four days of appearing at 7 am and leaving at 5 or 5:30 pm. What I was doing was sitting at the registration desk for a computer expo called Interop. I worked a couple of days for it last year, but I was inside the exhibition hall, where there is something resembling heat. No such luck this year. I was wearing pants, socks, long underwear and sweaters every day, and I STILL had to put my coat over my shoulders when the sun went down. And by the way, when the sun comes UP, between about 8:30 and 9 am, it streams directly into your eyes and makes it impossible to see your computer screen. The result of this is a row of people who look like they have scoliosis AND are hunchbacked, as we desperately try new and interesting contortions to get the glare out of our eyes. What you do in this case is simply ask whoever is at your station who needs help to move a few inches to the right or left and block the sun so you can SEE to help him.

The job itself wasn't at all bad, and we had a nice group of people to work with, so that was fine. But my God, how I hate that place.

First of all, it's at the ass end of nowhere. You cannot get to 11th Avenue and 34th Street any way except the 34th Street crosstown bus, which, in common with most crosstown buses in our dear town, runs according to a schedule known only, I gather, to the gods of traffic. And yes, of course I could walk from 34th and 8th (which is where my uptown bus lets me off) but not in darkness. And after daylight savings time ends, if you have to be somewhere at 7 am, most of your travel time is in darkness.

And you have to pack as if you were going camping in a VERY distant location, because the Javits feels that since they have the only food in the neighborhood, they can charge whatever the hell they please for it. And do they ever...$2 for a banana. $6 for coffee and a donut. $3.76 for a 10 ounce bottle of water (yeah, the same water the deli charges $1.50 for). I tried looking at the vending machines because I had a Diet Coke jones...$3.50 for the (deli) $1.50 Diet Coke. Wouldn't you think they'd be able to supply the registration tables with little portable heaters with all that cash coming in?

Meanwhile, I'm dealing with computer freaks at my little customer service station. What interesting people. Did you know that they can't run computers? What you're supposed to do when you come into the expo is type your name into one of a couple of rows of laptops. This action will automatically print out your ID badge for the show. You have no idea how many deeply confused people came to me because they were completely incapable of performing this task. And almost every single one of these bemused gents (there don't seem to be a lot of female computer geeks, or at least not that I saw) had on his badge "IT Manager." So they can build computers, they can write code for computers, they can do all sorts of arcane things with computers...but they can't run computers. (Parenthetically...see the parentheses? is interesting to note that most commercial fisherman can't swim. They say that if you get swept off your boat into winter water during a squall, there's no sense in bothering with it because the cold will kill you very quickly anyway.)

And lunch hour is a bore because there's nowhere to go. I would take my little insulated lunch bag and sit down and eat and read the paper, after having bought a Diet Coke from the nice gyro wagon outside (if you don't bring your lunch that's the only way to get affordable food).

I discovered that people are really hogs for free stuff. I can't tell you how many of these guys would insist that they were entitled to a free pass (the expo cost $100 at its most basic - i.e., the exhibition floor - and went up from there through various seminars and stuff). My favorite guy kept insisting that he had a free pass because he had a letter saying that if he was among the first 25 people to complete a questionnaire, he won an expensive pass to the show. In fact, this was quite true, there was such a promotion, and we had a list of the people who had won it. He was not, however, among them. He could NOT be convinced of this, even after I explained it to him in great detail. Me: Yes, sir, I see this letter, but please note that the paragraph you are talking about says, "IF you are among the first 25 people." Since you didn't get a further confirmation that you were one of those people, you don't get a free pass. HIM: Yes, but it says right here, I get a free pass. Me: No, sir. Please look at the sentence. It clearly says IF. Him: Yes, but it says... And so on, and so on and so on. In the middle of this, a very agitated gentleman came racing up to Roderigo, who was sitting next to me, and started ranting madly away because he had been asked for his photo ID to get his pass for the show. He was quite hysterical about this, and told us we were all Chinese (repressive Chinese government, I presume he meant) and that we just hated Muslim Italians. Frankly, I don't know about you, but I've actually never thought much about Muslim Italians. I mean, you know, it's not something that really crosses my mind a lot...or ever. But he was convinced. We finally got him all calmed down and off with his pass, at which point my guy, Mr. Stubborn (who had watched this whole thing fascinatedly), turned back to me and said, without missing a beat: "It says right here..."

And one guy insisted that we had hidden bags. At most of these shows, along with your ID badge, you're given a bag (like those 99 cent reusable bags you can buy at the grocery store) with the expo's logo on it to lug around all the promotional stuff from the exhibitors (I have a very nice canvas messenger bag that I scored while doing another computer show a couple of years ago). However, there were none this year because of the recession, but this gent was convinced that we were hiding them from him.

And on and on it went. "The computer over there keeps asking for my password. What's my password?" (You don't need a the nice man by the computers told you, just type in your name and hit return.) "Why didn't I get a free pass? My coworker got a free pass." (Because your coworker had the sense to preregister three weeks ago, stupid.) "I just want to go see one person in there. I don't need a badge for that, do I?" (Yes. Fork over the cash.) Over and over and over.

My favorite was the number of people without photo IDs. I fail utterly to understand this. These are supposed to be business people, right? How on earth do they go to appointments? You can't get into an office building these days without a photo ID. And, since many of them were out of towners, how on earth did they get on an airplane? Did they walk from wherever they were? Greyhound bus? From Oklahoma? And I also liked one man who was fussing about meeting his colleagues, because he didn't know where in the Center they were. It evidently hadn't occurred to him to use his cell phone.

But it's finally over...unfortunately, I seem to have been very good at it and will probably get called to do the whole damn thing again next year. I have every intention of providing myself with more interesting lunches and better long underwear...fur-lined, if at all possible.

I took the day thoroughly off today...I got to sleep until 7 this morning, which was deeply lovely. Of course, Grant Wilfley called, and I get up at 4 am tomorrow to make a 6 am call (in Manhattan, just on West 25th, thank heavens) for The Adjustment Bureau, whatever it may be. Ah,'s all more money for Christmas. And Thanksgiving is this coming week! I'm not sure I'm ready, but then, it's going to arrive whether I am or not. To the stove! To the shopping list! On Dancer, on Dasher, on Comet...wait, wait. Not yet. Now I have to think Pilgrims...

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I am in Javits Center hell, and merely reminding you of this unpalatable fact. I get up at 4:30 in the morning to get there. I will be there through Thursday. I promise to come back alive and fill you in on the whole horrible experience...suffice it to say at the moment that the Javits Center entrance, where I am stuck for another LONG two days, has no heat. None. Not a scintilla thereof. Last night I froze a bottle of water to make sure that it would keep my little lunch bag all nice and cold until lunch (and also so I wouldn't be drinking lukewarm water all day). I took the bottle out of the freezer at 5:30 am. When I left the Javits Center at 5:00 PM (yes, that's PM...11 and 1/2 hours later), there was still ice in the bottle of water.

There will be much to report...

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Tuesday

Well, I made it through last week. I finished up my transcription job on Thursday, and wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to least I kept getting little things to do while sitting down...a distinct plus.

Then I trotted off to Brooklyn to eat Shai's wonderful food - which somehow involved me in eating pig's ears, something I assure you it would NEVER have occurred to me to do on my own. Actually, they're quite interesting - crisp and chewy simultaneously. I enjoyed them. And I was VERY happy with the venison sauce for the pasta and and the bread pudding for dessert.

Then I did absolutely nothing all weekend, and lots more nice nothing on, I take that back. I went out to the ATM on Monday to deposit my Ugly Betty check.

Today was registering people for a meeting (American Heart Association - doing this sort of thing always makes me feel guilty when I sneak out for a cigarette) at the Millennium Hotel over by the UN, which was another pleasant day...and we even got out early while being paid for the whole shift.

And now (so far, at any rate), I have absolutely nothing else to do until this coming Sunday, when I start six days at the dear old Javits Center. Ugh. This means I have to go out and buy an insulated lunch bag and lots of sandwichy type things, it being impossible to eat at the Javits...I mean, you CAN eat there, but you'd be an idiot. I believe I mentioned somewhere in these pages that they once wanted to charge me $2 for a banana. Yeah, riiiggghhht. So packing food for the day is a necessity, because the only other option is the hot dog wagon in front of the place and really, how many hot dogs can one eat?

And I finally took my beautiful new television (i.e., the one in the den that's been Joshua's pet all this time) out for a test drive. Wow. I haven't watched anything on it before for the eminently simple reason that there's been nothing on TV I wanted to watch, me not really being a television person. However, tonight they were showing the Zeffirelli Taming of the Shrew with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, which I just love...Zeffirelli made two Shakespeare films, Shrew and Romeo and Juliet, and they're both absolutely spectacular. The Romeo and Juliet actually had a (roughly) 17 year old Romeo (Leonard Whiting) and a 15 year old Juliet (Olivia Hussey), and it was glorious (done in the 60's, as I recall). But the Shrew is just enormous knockabout fun, so I sat happily in the den with my huge damn TV and sang along with Shakespeare. You can do this if, like me, you have actually played Kate in Shrew - boy, was THAT fun. I was way too old for it, but my baby faced looks helped, and besides, the whole point is that Kate's been hanging out a fair amount of time waiting to get married off. I had a 23 year old Petruchio who was 6'3", which made the fight scenes even funnier, given that I'm 5'3". Therefore, he could just pick me up with one hand and sling me around - I went heavily padded during rehearsal, I assure you!

My trustee has lost his tiny mind...he wants me to sell the house now. There are several things wrong with this. First is the fact that the rest of it needs cleaning. Second, the whole thing needs painting...including the floors in the living room and my room. And finally, he has completely neglected to remember that people aren't buying houses with the holidays coming up, and that I have 15 or 20 people coming for Thanksgiving, 15 or 20 people turning up on Christmas Eve, and my mother-in-law coming for Christmas...oh, yeah, and I open in a one-woman show after the 1st of the year for which I have to learn 17 pages of script. He also seems to think that working for a living shouldn't be my first priority right now. I don't think he understands how unemployment works, because of course I can't turn down jobs, and besides that, since I use my social security every month to pay bills, what does he expect me to live on if I'm not getting unemployment?

Oh, well - I'm sure I can clean, paint, and everything else while learning lines and working, right? Of COURSE I can.

Love, Superwoman (otherwise known as Wendy)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


How nice for me. I have achieved a dream I assure you I never had - that of running around New York and environs all day on public* transportation. I think today is going to be my new favorite nightmare.

My day started when I leaped joyfully out of bed...oh, okay, crawled resentfully out of 4:15 this morning to make it to the Wall Street 2 set in Williamsburg by 7 am. So. Dressed (in my summer damned clothes) and made up, I got a taxi to the West 4th Street station, where I hopped the F train. The F train took me to Delancey, where I changed to the J train. This dropped me right at holding on Marcy Avenue, and I must say that it's a quite lovely ride. The J goes over the Williamsburg Bridge, so this morning I saw the beginnings of sunrise there. Gorgeous.

I then endured the shoot, which was NOT in a nice heated subway car but right out on the cold, cold street. I was glad I was wearing a pale blue shirt, because it was an absolutely perfect match for my skin after a while. And then, weirdly, we got wrapped at 10:15 this morning! VERY of the other background people said it hadn't happened to him in 30 years of background work.

I decided to go over to my temp agency where I'm doing the transcriptions, because I was due in there tomorrow anyway, and this way I got a head start on the thing and I won't feel so pressured tomorrow. This involved taking the very convenient J train again, which goes directly to Broad Street - exactly where I needed to be. So I worked there until 3. Then it was off to the 2 line to Chambers Street, the 1 to Christopher Street, and the crosstown M8 bus...and home.

If you're counting, that's four separate subways, making (since I took one subway twice) five subway rides, one taxi and one bus. If I ever have to do a day like this again, I'm hiring a car and driver. I am exhausted. And I know it shouldn't count if I just transfer from one train to the next, but I feel like counting it. So there.

Tomorrow I am taking the bus into the temp agency like a civilized human being, by God. Lord, how I hate subways.

And it looks like I AM going out to dinner Friday night. Tiger Lily told me I am.

And now, it being 8 pm, and my day having started at 4 am, I am going to I can get up at 5 tomorrow and get an early start on that damn transcription, which has to be done by the end of tomorrow. And then, oh, joy...I get on Friday. Somebody damned well greet me at the door of that dinner party with a six pack of tall Budweisers.

Love, Wendy

*It is now Thursday, Re-reading this blog today made me realize that I had originally written "pubic" transportation. Oops.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Going Forward

You know, next time I decide to semi-retire, I am going to have to let the rest of the world in on the decision, because I seem to be busier than ever.

The cleaners did, in fact, arrive on Friday, four nice Haitian gentlemen, and I now have a blindingly clean kitchen and two blindingly clean bathrooms. Lovely...

Unfortunately, they left the front door open all day (because of cleaning product fumes, I presume), and the cat disappeared. I found this out when he didn't come bouncing down to breakfast on Saturday. I originally thought that the cat (who is, after all, almost 17) had simply crawled into the closet to die, and I spent a large part of Saturday hunting for him. But it swiftly became clear that there wasn't a cat anywhere in the house. So my next thought was that he had gotten out, and probably been run over by someone. I didn't think he'd been picked up by anyone, because here in the West Village, if anybody finds an animal, signs go up all over the place almost immediately. So I sort of commended Tarbaby's spirit to God, really.

Saturday night, Sarah and friends came over to get ready for the Halloween parade...IN MY BEAUTIFULLY CLEAN KITCHEN. With lots and lots and lots of fake blood. With which they had a wonderful time, God help me. Luckily I had decided not to go to the parade this year because it was pouring rain, and anyway I would have been way too late to get my chosen viewing spot. You really have to get there by 6 pm to get close enough to see everything - the parade starts at 7. This gave me plenty of time to reclean the entire kitchen and downstairs bathroom (growl, growl), but it was really satisfying to see that I could actually do it very quickly, because it was, after all, basically clean - just basically blood stained.

Sunday I went to a marathon party at Saint Tiger Lily and the Boss' place, still worried about the cat...I kept having a horrible feeling that I'd missed looking somewhere in the house and had a slowly decomposing cat in a closet...which would become increasingly (and very unpleasantly) evident.

Yesterday I went and sat around the office of one of my temp agencies doing a transcription job for them, which was fine, because they just hand me the stuff and leave me the hell alone to do it - my preferred method of doing anything.

And I got home - and guess who was sitting in the front yard, meowing for dinner? Dear little furball had simply decided to take the weekend off, evidently, and was quite annoyed at me for not being there immediately to let him in and feed him. You can always tell when cats are annoyed with you. What's really irritating is that the trip seems to have done him good - he seems to be in better health now than when he left, and he was doing fine then. And just to add insult to injury, he doesn't seem to have taken any pictures, so I'll never know where the hell he got to.

And we had the first read-through of my one-woman show, Tsunami, last night. Dear God. How in the hell I'm going to memorize all this is completely beyond me. 17 PAGES OF DIALOGUE. MY dialogue. We're going up after the holidays, obviously, and in town, thank God. Ted (the director) knows better than to try and drag me out to Brooklyn, particularly in the winter. And the director and the playwright are both convinced that I'm going to be spectacular in the role...

Speaking of Brooklyn, just before I left for the party on Sunday, I got a call to do Wall Street 2 tomorrow! I called in for my report do this the night before a shoot. The agency records an announcement telling you where and when to report to the set the next day. I was getting a little nervous about this thing, because on the original call, they told me I was a late summer. Well, the high is going to be 51 tomorrow, which didn't make the shoot sound at all appetizing. However, it turns out that I'm going to be a "Bronx blue collar subway commuter." Anybody got any clever ideas about what Bronx blue collar subway commuters wear in the summer? I sure as hell don't. I'm going to go for a low level data entry type person, wearing slacks and a blouse. Or maybe slacks and a t-shirt. And oy, the commute. They consider Williamsburg too close to Manhattan for a van, damn it, so I have to be on Marcy Avenue at a bar called Duff's at 7 am tomorrow. Even better, I have to take the F train from W. 4th to Delancy, then the J train to Marcy Avenue. Anybody who thinks I have ANY notion where I'm going can think again. And I can take the crosstown #8 bus to West 4th, but unfortunately it only runs every 45 minutes at that hour, which means a taxi to W. 4th. And, just to make it nicer, I purely hate that damn W. 4th Street station. Aaarrrgh.

Then Thursday I'll go back to my temp agency to finish up that transcription thing, and Friday I have a temp job at a job fair, which is at least on Times Square and thus easy to get to. Unfortunately it's another one of those awful things where you're not allowed to sit down all day. You know, I have what is evidently a weird idea that temp agencies should listen to what you're telling them. Three days before they called with this job, I had turned down another job at Niketown for Marathon Weekend, because I did it last year and it was terminally terrible. And I carefully explained to my nice temp lady WHY I turned the job down (vile working conditions and the fact that I am 64 years old, and standing up for 8 hours isn't the best idea in the world - last year my back ached for three days). Two days after that she called me with this Monster job, and neglected to inform me that it was another job where I'd have to stand all day. Oh, and I'd also turned down another day at the damn Intrepid for the same reason. So evidently the temp lady feels that it'll be fine if I just don't KNOW about the conditions when I accept the job. Something seems terribly wrong about this. And of course, I was already flirting with disaster by turning down the Intrepid and Niketown, because unemployment gets antsy when you turn down jobs. Ah, well. At least I finally went and bought some arch supports for my shoes, which should help with the back problems.

And this coming weekend? So far, a glorious amount of absolutely nothing. Lovely, lovely, nothing, unless I decide to go to Brooklyn for dinner on Friday, which is still up in the air in my mind (the dinner will go on's my participation I haven't quite decided on yet).

Eeek. It's twenty to ten and I have to be up at 4! Good night!

Love, Wendy