Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Election

I have tried to stay away from this election, since I know where my vote is going, and I have no patience for most of the incessant ballyhoo and chatter.  However, as we get to the end of the whole thing, there is one thing that has started to bother me.

I certainly understand the fixation on the budget and on military spending.  The first frightens me, and I'm completely against the second, of course...once anti-war, always anti-war, as far as I'm concerned.  And the emphasis on jobs...well, of course.  There don't seem to be any.  (Of course, if we stopped outsourcing things, it might help.)

But I CANNOT understand this sudden seeming war on women.  We have children and the elderly starving to death and homeless in American cities.  We have crumbling buildings and indeed, whole neighborhoods.  We have ever-increasing crime.  Can someone please explain to me why none of these interesting little details seem to be being expressed by anyone?  All I seem to hear about is women.

If, as the Romney camp seems to feel, every single woman who becomes pregnant by any method whatsoever, including rape and incest, is forced to have that child, where are you going to put them?  And if you cut aid, how are these women going to raise these children?  How are they to be fed, or housed, or clothed, or educated?  What are these people thinking?  That the Lord will provide?  Somehow I don't think that calmly expecting manna from heaven to fall on the faces of the deserving is going to work.  And neither will the loaves and fishes...particularly not the fishes part, due to the ongoing pollution of our waters.  And will there be kind, caring, orphanges established, for when some of these increasingly desperate women simply give up?  Somehow I think not. 

I thought we had finished with this fight.  I thought cooler heads had prevailed.  I now think I must have been nuts to think it was so easy. 

What on EARTH have we poor women done to all these men that we are supposed to go back to being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen again?

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back From Chicago!

Well, that was a cold damn week.  I knew I was home, because when the weather actually got out of the low 50s I walked around like any other Chicagoan saying how lovely and warm it was.

We got there on Friday the 5th, with both of us dropping off because we hadn't had any sleep.  I meant to get a nap before we left, but I was trying to pack and clean up up bit for my pals Jiggers and Kathy to feed the beasts, so I never got around to it...we had a 6 A.M. flight, which meant a car at 3:30 A.M.  And Sarah had to work karaoke until 2:30 A.M.  I caught a short nap when we got to the hotel, but poor old Sarah just stayed up.  My pal Tommy took us out on Friday to a truly terrific show called A Class Act, which is about Ed Kleban, the lyricist for Chorus Line, and it was wonderful.  The show is excellently written, using exclusively his own songs, and the actors were great.

Then on Saturday, of course, was the big family party, which featured food (duh...my family doesn't go in for crackers and cheese...when they serve food, they serve FOOD).  I must say, that bridesmaid dress waasn't at all as bad in person (I mean in a photograph, obviously) as it was in memory.  I actually looked pretty good. Then Sarah and I went off to the Old Town Ale House where we ran into my old drinking buddy Bruce Elliott, who owns the place now, and we had a nice long natter about who's where and what are they up to.  This didn't take as long as one would think, for the eminently logical reason that these are people I've known for about 50 years, and therefore there's a fairly large attrition rate.  But a few are still with us.

Sunday Sarah took off on her own, having gone out with her cousins the night before and made all sorts of friends, and I went over to Cass and Charlie's for the afterparty from the anniversary party (of COURSE there was an afterparty...there were leftovers, weren't there?).  We had a great time laughing and scratching as usual.  The thing I like about my family and friends is that we tend to just pick up where we left off last time, which makes for much livelier conversation than everybody stating what they've been doing for the last six years or so.

Then Monday night was the memorial gathering for my friend Dolores, who died last year just before Christmas.  As promised, it was the most casual of gatherings, with more old friends and lots of conversation.  Poor old Sarah felt like she was in the world's liveliest nursing home, I'm afraid...since I started at Encore Theatre when I was 15, I tend to be the youngest person in the room.  This also holds true of the Ale House, since I was drinking there at 15 too.  This is not altogether a bad thing.  This was very much the usual Encore crew, with people singing snatches of song and occasionally tap dancing a little...Sarah kept wincing when peoples' knees went off like rifle fire.  Honestly, the young just don't understand.

Tuesday, God help us, we had lunch with Bill the trustee, who for reasons best known to himself, insisted on driving us all over hell and gone near Chinatown to show us all the new development over there.  I'm certaily glad there's new development (it was kind of blighted, after all), but I couldn't care less.  I never spent any time in Chinatown anyway (good Chinese lunch, however).   Tommy did much better by us on the way to the theatre on Friday, driving us through Near North and all those glorious houses.  Then I asked Bill to go by Buckingham Fountain so Sarah could see that great view of the city rising behind it, and he promptly took us BEHIND the fountain.  So what we saw was the fountain and the lake, which wasn't what I was after.  Sheesh.

That night our cousin Nick took us out for pizza (REAL pizza...take that, New York), and on Wednesday we finally got a small glimpse of what I had intended to see anyway...The Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry.

Wednesday night we went out to dinner at a lovely little French place on Wells Street, and Thursday my pal Carolyn took us to lunch (and God bless her, got us on the train to the plane) on our way to the airport.  (Thank you, darling!)

So I never got to do much of anything I had intended to do, but we had a great time anyway.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have a question.  WHY will people use unnecessary words?  There was an article in the food section in today's NYTimes about snails, which a nice lady seems to be raising.  However, in the course of this article, it refers to "cooking with snails."

I'm sorry, you don't cook WITH snails.  You just cook snails.  I can't see why I would want them in the kitchen in the sense of cooking WITH somebody.  They aren't good conversationalists (or talkers at all), and they are absolutely no help whatsoever...you can't ask them to get you something out of the icebox or mince an onion, which is what I think of in terms of cooking with someone.  If there are snails in my kitchen, I'm cooking them...not cooking WITH them, damn it.

Love, Wendy   

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Would you believe that I have just bought a guidebook to Chicago?  Yeah.  A GUIDEBOOK to CHICAGO.  Yes, that would be the place where I was born, and the place where I went from kindergarten through high school and some college, the place where I got married and divorced and had LOTS of way less formal relationships.  That Chicago.  And I bought a guidebook.

There are sensible reasons for this, actually, chief among them being that I haven't spent any more than about 20 minutes in Chicago since Sarah was about three years old...and since Sarah is now 28, you see the problem.  Oh, I've been in and out, but for stated reasons...a reunion, my aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary (and now I'm going to their daughter's 50th anniversary...my, how time flies when you're getting old).  Really, though, I haven't spent any extended time there in years.  The other reason is that the whole transportation system has changed (I can no longer grab the Illinois Central at Randolph Street and get off at 55th, on account of it's now something called Metra, whatever that may be, and I don't know whether it even still GOES to 55th Street).  And naturally, few of the restaurants I frequented are still around, and on top of all THAT, we're staying downtown on Monroe Street, and I'm a Near North and Hyde Park kid.

All of this makes me feel deeply disoriented, obviously.  I want to take Sarah to a lot of places in my history, and I'm not even sure I can find them...or that they still exist.  It's a distinctly weird feeling.

However, our Chicago social life is coming together nicely.  We arrive Friday morning (this coming Friday morning) and my pal Tommy (I wouldn't like to say he's an old friend, but he took me to my senior prom) is taking us to dinner and the theatre.  Then Cass and Charley's anniversary is Saturday.  Monday we're going to Indiana...yes, I know that sounds strange, but it's a bit of Indiana that's only half an hour away from the Loop (that's downtown Chicago).  An old Encore Theatre pal died just before Christmas last year, and this is the memorial.  Luckily, Encore people don't deal in solemn anything (as I told Sarah when she tried to balk at this occasion), and it's a great way to let her meet a lot of the people who shaped my life a million or so years ago.  Tuesday or Wednesday we're having lunch with Bill the trustee, God help us, and Thursday is an early lunch with my best pal Carolyn (hi, there!) before the plane home. 

In between all that, there's the Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry and going out to Hyde Park and finding interesting restaurants (another reason for that guidebook) and just general wandering around.  It should be a great trip.

But it still feels decidedly peculiar to buy a guidebook to Chicago.

Love, Wendy