Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Embarrassing Eating

I am going to HAVE to start having people over to dinner, because the way I'm feeding myself is just awful. No, no, I'm not living on buttered popcorn and fudge, or anything like that, but I'm using just about every convenience product in the whole sidereal universe, which I find embarrassing.

The problem is that I'm sitting in the direct middle of a nest of really good, well-prepared convenience food. I mean, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are right here. So tonight's meal was curried chicken with basmati rice and naan bread and chutney. Admittedly the boneless chicken thighs came out of my freezer and I cooked them all by myself, and the rice was in the cupboard...but the curry sauce was Trader Joe's and so was the naan bread (a minute and a half in the oven!) and so was the chutney. Not, you understand, that I actually make my own naan bread or chutney, but still, I certainly used to make my own damn curry sauce. And Trader Joe's also has these great shrimp shumai which heat up in the microwave in three minutes, and these wonderful scallops wrapped in bacon that you just throw in the oven for 20 minutes...and I am CERTAINLY capable of making my own scallops and bacon. I used to do it all the time. Yet another cook lost to the siren call of the package. Sad. That's why I have to invite people to dinner...I certainly wouldn't serve guests anything I took out of a package and heated up! (Mainly because I'm a showoff.)

So tomorrow is my birthday party. I'm planning to wear a wonderful black dress I have which involves a Wonderbra because it's VERY low cut. What the hell. If you can't have boobs on your birthday, then when CAN you have them?

Meanwhile, let's all cross our fingers. Sarah is moving on Friday, from one Brooklyn apartment to another, and she and her roommates have gathered a bunch of people and rented a U-Haul. If this truck doesn't make a detour to my house I am going to have fits, because I am missing an entire closet and shelving being filled with Sarah's stuff, of course. And I NEED that space. So I'm going to be sneaky as hell and beg her roommate Alison (one of the many friends of Sarah's who calls me Mama Booz) to get this done. Asking Sarah invariably makes her snarl at me, so I figure intimidating her friends will work better. Sarah hasn't been intimidated by me in YEARS. When do you quit being a goddess to your children, I wonder? Probably somewhere around puberty...that sounds about right.

Right now I'm debating whether to open up a card table. For some reason I have a terrible yen for a jigsaw puzzle (of which there are several in the house...traditional Christmas gifts), and unless I open the card table there's nowhere to put it. I think I will, because I have to do it at some point to get my taxes done. This is because the IRS no longer sends out forms to you, and while I've printed out my 1040A form, I am DAMNED if I'm going to print out all 200 pages of the stupid instructions. Since I can't seem to get my WiFi hooked up, this means I can't take the computer into the kitchen and use the table in there, and for general use, I keep it on a very small table where I can't work on the form and follow the instructions on the screen because there isn't enough room. My God, that was dull. Sorry.

Anyway, I shall report on my birthday Friday...presuming I bother to get out of bed.

Love, Wendy

Monday, March 28, 2011

Unfortunate Business Names

So I went out to see Sarah at her bar tonight, and on the way I saw a van labeled "Too Sharp Construction."

I don't know exactly what they intended this name to mean, but frankly, it's just wrong. I keep getting two mental images from it. The first one is that a bunch of guys come to my house to build something...bookshelves, say...and the next thing I hear is: "Oh, shit. There goes that nail gun into my leg again." "Damn, that saw's really sharp, and that was my last finger on that hand." "Damn, that hammer hurts." The second one is that they all turn up looking like the cast of Grease, and do nothing all day but comb their pompadours. Either way, it's not a terribly reassuring name. I'd be MUCH more inclined to trust "Carefully Performed Construction."

So I went out and got totally blitzed in Brooklyn on Saturday night. Sarah's friend Gio wanted me at his birthday party, and the birthday party started at Sarah's favorite bar, which is just great. It's in an old coffin factory, and they've named it Pine Box, which I think is brilliant. Face it, nice to know if you kill yourself drinking there, you can get boxed right on up...none of this undignified meat wagon stuff. It was a great night...there's a wonderful picture of me at the actual birthday party at Gio's place telling a story with a bunch of Brooklyn hipsters curled up around my feet. I look like I'm reading them Goodnight Moon.

Speaking of meat wagons, or at least meat, for reasons which I can't even begin to fathom, when I went over to see Sarah at the bar late this afternoon, the TV was playing a story about an 800 pound woman who was having one of those gastric band operations, which they showed (thank GOD I wasn't eating). While I turned my face away from the actual operation, I noticed (before the slicing began) that at least one of the doctors and two of the nurses assisting at this operation were pretty hefty themselves. How odd is that? I mean...

So I am now going to go into self-imposed seclusion (i.e., non-bar going) for two days. I will be 66 on Thursday and we are having the party at Sarah's bar. The next night is the bar's anniversary, which I must attend, and then Saturday is another birthday party in yet another bar for my pal Tracy, who's in from Rome for a couple of weeks. Oy.

And finally, I made something so good last night and so easy that I truly have to pass it along. I am a seasonal eater by nature, to a degree because it tastes better that way and also because it's cheaper. This means that at the moment I am gorging myself on asparagus. So the other day I went to Trader Joe's and picked up a twelve ounce pack of asparagus and one of their containers of chopped prosciutto, and last night I microwaved the asparagus (use the microwave for vegetables,'s BRILLIANT) and crisped up the prosciutto in some good olive oil. Then I poured that over the asparagus and added a squeeze of lemon. It was terrific.

And now I'm hungry and should eat dinner.

Love, Wendy

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Oops, I Did It Again

Really, I am getting way too far behind with posts here. The current problem is that I'm not doing anything whatsoever that would interest ANYBODY, most particularly me. There are all kinds of things in the pipeline...Boardwalk Empire, of course, but also my nice playwright Philippe wants to put on the one-woman show again, plus an earlier play of his that I did...although this time he wants me in a much better role than the two bit parts I played before. Oh, and I've got a reading of something coming up in a couple of weeks.

But of course, none of this is happening NOW. And Sarah's stuff is still in my second closet, and all those boxes are still on top of the second closet, and they're too heavy for me to get them down (books, mainly...I think). So I eat things and take naps and run up and down to smoke cigarettes. On which subject, Jane, you would be totally amazed...from being a nearly two pack a day smoker, I've gone to being a person who buys two to three packs A WEEK. The reason, of course, is that it's too damn complicated. When I could smoke in my own house, I was always smoking because I COULD. Half the time I'd forget I was smoking a cigarette and let it burn out in the ashtray. Now, smoking has to be planned, to an extent...I have to put on shoes, for one thing, and (since I don't care if it IS the first day of Spring, NYC hasn't noticed yet) get my coat, and get in the elevator. The result, particularly in bad weather, is that since I do have my electronic cigarette...I just don't bother. Naturally, they're now saying that those are terrible for people. I can't win.

Meanwhile, I am feeling quite frugal. I never care how much money I spend on food, because I have an extremely wonky appetite. This stems from a ghastly period of stress some years back which gave me a stress eating disorder during which I couldn't eat at all. I ended up at 94 pounds with a nice little case of malnutrition. I'm perfectly fine now, but I do tend to lose my appetite when I'm I make sure that if there's something I truly want to eat, it's around. This gets slightly expensive, but what the hell. I'm only feeding me, mostly, and I think my health and well-being are more than worth it. So I buy the damn filet mignon and the shrimp. (Tonight's dinner was tiny little new potatoes, fresh, pencil thin asparagus, and a little sirloin steak. It was lovely, thank you.)

However, the money spent on food makes me slightly nutty about spending too much money on some other kitchen essentials. I am the one you will find scouring the aisles at KMart looking for the best buy on 16 rolls of paper towels and things like that.

I mention this because when I was cooking dinner tonight, I looked at what I was using and had to laugh. When I put the asparagus in the microwave (and however you've been cooking asparagus, stop immediately and use the's the only way) I covered the dish with some plastic wrap that must be two years old. It's perfectly good Sarah Wrap, but they quit making this type of packaging because it doesn't quite work, even though it's a great idea. The box has a sort of plastic know, where the serrated edge usually is...which cuts the wrap perfectly. Unfortunately, in order to get the wrap out to where the cutter is, you have to take it out of the box and unroll it, and then put it back in the box to cut. This is a nuisance. But there's at least a foot or so left on the roll, and by God, I'm going to use it up. The same goes for a HUGE roll...or what used to be a huge roll...of the worst tin foil I've ever used in my life, because it's as thin as tissue paper. It's something my ex-roommate Vicky picked up. Thank God I'm almost at the end of that.

I shall leave you with this perfectly lovely line from today's New York Times Travel section. It's the beginning of a recommendation of what to do where, but I think I'll just give you the beginning, which is what amused me anyway.

"Looking to get away from the Everest base camp scrum?"

Well, of COURSE I am. Aren't we all, really?

Love, Wendy

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Back From The Slough Of Despond

Well, it's been a while. Sorry about that, but there's been a strain of flu going around which basically (thank God) missed me, but did sort of flick me in passing...the result of this was that I couldn't keep my eyes open for a solid week and had a ghastly hacking cough which produced nothing of any interest and went on and on and on. I am now feeling MUCH more human.

The other thing was that I just got really depressed about the state of this damn apartment and, because of falling asleep all the damn time, couldn't do a thing about it. However, as of this moment, there are books in the new bookcases (oh, all right, not all of them, but you gotta start somewhere), and the USA channel on TV has been handing me one of my favorite cures for depression, which is lots of Indiana Jones. It's very hard to be depressed when Indiana Jones AND his father (what an inspired pairing that is - Harrison Ford and Sean Connery) are searching for the Holy Grail. Also when Indy is racing along underground in a tram car escaping the Thuggee cult. That was last night and tonight...and the result is that I almost have an actual working living room (every now and then commercials are useful). So there.

Other than that, no further word from Boardwalk, but I wasn't expecting it because I got a look at the shooting schedule and it's all indoor small scenes at the moment...we should be going back to the crowd scenes in a week or so.

But I've decided to get some more money from my trustee because I really CANNOT live another moment without kittens. I have now been without any animals in the house for more than three months, and I think that's the longest I've ever gone in my life...and I hate it. You will understand the depth of my need for kittens when I tell you I'm looking forward to changing a litter box. I mean, face it...that's NEED.

And I have totally lost faith in anybody's ability to use the English language. I was reading the book review today and as always, I ran my eye over the page with the self-published books from XLibris, which I invariably do with a sense of wonder that the authors felt any of this was worth writing about to begin with...although authorial pride is certainly a prime mover, and now that you can do it with your very own desk top software, anybody can publish a book! They mostly shouldn't, but what the hell. They're having fun.

For instance, one of the potential best sellers on today's page was a tome entitled "Analytic Philosophy Adrift" by Elston Van Steenburgh. The blurb reads as follows:

"Elston Van Steenburgh believes that what analytic philosophy needs, both English and American, both ordinary language analysis and logical analysis, is a convincing proof that sense qualities are continuous and, derivatively, lack ontological status. 'Analytic Philosophy Adrift' further expounds this concept."

I don't know about you, but I'm going to order dozens of copies for Christmas presents.

However, what actually caught my eye was a book entitled "The Very Little Book of Children Sayings." No, that's not a typo. That's the title. And not only did no one catch the problem while printing the book, they repeated the title on top of the blurb, and it's evidently what's on the actual cover of the book, since there's a picture of same. That's THREE TIMES they perpetrated the damn error. The Very Little Book of Children Sayings. Good GOD.

There's also what looks like a fascinating book called Obamaism Is Socialism, which is fascinating because the author's picture is on the cover, and she looks exactly like an older version of Snooki from Jersey Shore. Although I seriously doubt that Snooki has any idea of what socialism is. For that matter, I'm not at all sure Snooki knows who Obama is.

And this smoking outdoors crud is getting old...particularly since at the moment it's pouring rain and they took down BOTH the handy bits of scaffolding, one on each side of my building. This means I have to stand out there with an umbrella. Growl.

Onward. I am listening to a great show on Channel 13 which involves 50s and 60s doo-wop and pop music, for which I harbor an unholy passion. Right now they're playing Sha Na Na Na...otherwise known as Get A Job. And some poor fools are listening to heavy metal.

Love, Wendy