Thursday, May 31, 2007


In park this morning, ask Serena if she knows of any cure for howling. She asks, Is it you, Dave, or Jenny who as the problem, ha ha. Jenny cavorts with Serena's Great Dane and a three-legged Standard Poodle. That one's a biter, says Serena, pointing at the poodle. Ask, Other dogs? No, Serena says, she bit the turkey sausage vendor at the farmer's market. She adds, Biting is much worse than howling. This is true and try to console self with fact while Jenny and I walk back to apartment building. Doorman, who evidentally has not heard or does not care about Jenny's howling, gives her a treat. Jenny wriggles around and receives another. Ask doorman if he's heard complaints about any howling dogs in the building. No, he says. Go upstairs feeling triumphant. Open door and Jenny runs into kitchen, trailing leash. Follow her, and too late, see that Dave has given her a treat too. Tell him what heard from doorman. He gets a funny look on face and points at kitchen table. There is a note. Pick it up. The (new) next door neighbor--his name is Steven--writes, Your dog howled twice yesterday and once the day before. I work at home and I'm afraid I'm going to have to complain to the management company if this keeps up. Do not care for his tone. Neither does Dave. We decide to ignore the note for now (howled twice? what does that even mean?) and to buckle down to find ourselves an apartment to buy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


While trying to gather thoughts before composing fund raising letter to Fashion Design alums, idly click on link that promises to tell one's Real Age. Feel irritated that have to answer so many questions, but am sure that results will render title of blog more accurate than it has been for the past year and a half, and may, indeed, need to change name of blog to 25-year-old secretary. When get to end of questionnaire, am told by computer that results will be sent to my email address. Ebb and flow of office carries me away to a meeting, back to finish my letter, out for an iced coffee, back to ask Oliver for third time today to Please call the mail room. During these other events, keep remembering that am soon to find out my real age, so when finally sit down to check email, for once am expecting only good news. I am 42. Am very, very angry, especially since lied a bit in answer to some of the questions. Call Contessa and complain to her. She says that she'll take the test and see what happens. Hear back 5 minutes later. She asks in worried tone, she doesn't look 48.5, does she? Assure her she does not. Am ashamed to admit to relief that she fared worse than I did.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Long Weekend

Over weekend completely forget about work and very quickly become person of leisure. Dave and Jenny always prepared to lounge and walk, and we do quite a bit of both. Do not feel like seeing anybody else, so don't. On Sunday night, Dave and I decide to take ourselves for a burger (each) and beers. When we are getting ready to go, Jenny sits by the door, evidently under the mistaken conclusion that she is to go to dinner with us. Face even more mournful than usual. Shut door, feeling like cold hearted murderer. When achieve elevator, hear howl from end of hall. Stranger is also waiting for elevator. In horror, hear self say, I wonder whose dog that is? I don't know, stranger says, but that dog howls all the time. (Memo: If true, something must be done before we are evicted. Howl not pleasant.) Get to bar of restaurant and sit on stools. It take some time--eye beer taps and lick lips--before bartender comes over to ask, Can I help you with something? Think this a very odd form of address in a bar. Wonder what might he think we'd want? Order 2 beers, 2 glasses of water and tell self that there is no need to get huffy--bartender is demonstrably off--is wearing odd combination of short gray shorts, sort of like flannel dress pants, but bottom only hits upper thigh, also wearing a rumpled dress shirt and long black dress socks, more or less like hose, which would go very high up leg if hadn't been pushed down to just above knee. Can't say that will immediately begin wearing similar outfits, but perhaps waiter is merely far, far ahead of the curve and next year I'll be wishing I thought up the outfit myself. Ask for menus. Bartender asks, You want to eat??? Can feel Dave seething beside me. Yes, he replies curtly. Want to try to lighten mood--mine and Dave's, and as the bartender meanders to where the menus are kept, say quietly, Why would we want to eat or drink in a restaurant, Mr. Longsocks. Dave brightens, carrying my joke a step further, whispering to me, Carry on, Pippi! Pippi's bar tending performance does not improve as the night goes on: water is never brought, our burgers though ordered medium rare are like old shoes, the bill he brings is wrong and it takes some time to convince Pippi that we did not have a bottle of Prosecco and a cheese plate. You didn't? he asks suspiciously. But we don't care, because poor Pippy has to work and we don't. Know that this is a cruel state of affairs, but am glad that am on the nonworking side for the evening. Truth of this becomes very evident when am in meeting this morning with Susan, Oliver, and the union representative. Meetings with union representatives are, naturally, confidential, but can write that in retrospect, Pippi's disinterest in work receives new understanding.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Oliver red faced when come in today. Susan, who sits at desk just across from Oliver is briskly typing. Say, Bon jour! (Have had best sleep in long time--only woke up once during night and downstairs neighbor who smokes at 6 a.m. every morning either didn't smoke, was out of town, or died--don't care which.) Oliver whispers, Can I talk to you?...In your office? Open door. Office smells strongly of urine. Find Bridget (Oliver's girlfriend's whippet) under desk, shivering, looking like coming down from speed. Oliver shuts the door behind himself as try to coax Bridget out. She snarls. Oliver says, I didn't know what else to do. Ask why he brought Bridget to work in the first place? His girlfriend made him. (Would very much like to meet this girlfriend who is able to make Oliver do exactly what she asks--must be very forceful personality.) Ask him if there was some trouble with Susan. Oliver takes a very long time to tell story, but the gist of it is that Susan was nipped (her skin wasn't broken), that she (Susan) kicked Bridget with her pointy shoe, and that she called Animal Control. This turn of events very different than fantasy of day in which breeze in and out of work by noon in honor of holiday weekend. Send Oliver and Bridget away--tell him that don't care where he goes, as long as away. Cindy Stevens has taken today off, so attempt to soothe Susan's feelings. Susan is not to be calmed. She has not only called Animal Control, she has called her Union Representative. After long and difficult conversation, finally convince her to go home too and for us to look at the Situation on tuesday with clearer heads. Susan replies that her head is perfectly clear, but that fine, she'll go home.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


When come into work today, hear voice full of shrill precision and deduce that Libby has come to visit. Feel strange mixture of terror and affection. Am surprised to see that Libby has grown tall, has dyed her hair black, and wears glasses. Ascertain that it is not Libby, but--we are introduced--Susan. Susan is Cindy Stevens's new executive assistant. (Executive assistant is her phrase.) Oliver appears, seeming stunned and slightly awed, and appears to have brought her a cup of water from the cooler to her. Would pay good money to know if he was ordered to bring water or if he took the task upon himself. Still thinking of Libby, Say, well, it looks like you'll whip us into shape. Yes, Susan replies. Notice for the first time that she is the sort of person who doesn't blink.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Long hiatus is to be blamed on death of Dave's grandmother, subsequent trip to Tennessee for funeral, followed by work trip to fund raising conference in Orlando (of which will not write). Dave sad about grandmother's death and his mother's behavior during the ordeal very draining--at one point at the end, Dave's mother was banned from the hospital--self, thankfully in New York during this and only present for funeral and for a few days after funeral during which found out that first installment of Dave's trust is now in his control. We are sitting next to pool at his grandmother's house and he tells me how much he now has. Immediately quit job, purchase around-the-world plane tickets and am busy checking on passports, visas, and making sure we have nicer luggage, when Dave puts his legs into the pool and says, Why don't we buy an apartment? See that he is right, and that this is the more responsible thing to do with the money. Privately keep open option of quitting job. (Very nearly exercise option in Orlando after promised coffee arrives at meeting late and is, when tasted, discovered to be both weak and hazelnut--this wretched experience merely tip of proverbial Iceberg.) When get back to New York, am very grateful, but again raise possibility of taking very very long trip. Dave says he's started to look at apartments. Ask him how long he thinks it will take for us to more into a new apartment and what kind of place we can have. Dave says that we can afford a one bedroom in Brooklyn and from what he's gathered he thinks it'll take about six months from start to finish. At this, become dejected (plane delayed from Orlando, was given Havarti cheese product and crackers as a snack on plane, and as finally settled self into back of taxi, feeling that NOW would get home very quickly, the taxi driver turned around to face me and asked, Do you know which direction Brooklyn is in) and ask, Why does everything take so long? Dave says, We can't do things all at once. See the wisdom in this statement, but tell him that am Tired of waiting for everything. Dave very kindly doesn't say that I am being dramatic and instead has the excellent idea to call the cable company to order ourselves HBO and Showtime. He hangs up phone with a pleased look on his face. How long until it works? I ask. Two minutes, he says.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Do not think it is appropriate to open small paper packet and sprinkle pepper over barbecued chicken salad--iceberg lettuce, chicken bits, barbecue sauce in a Styrofoam container--on train. Much less attempt to eat.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Luch at the Diner

Have lunch with the Contessa today at Joe Jr's diner. She says that she is woefully hungover and can't eat a thing, but then when waiter appears she recants and orders French Toast, side of bacon, cup of coffee and a grapefruit juice. Order usual cheeseburger deluxe and diet coke. The Contessa says she went out with her friend Betsey last night and woke up in bed--alone, Thank God, she says drowning French toast in syrup--but wearing all of her clothes and lights blazing throughout apartment. (Side note: she has decided to move into the Boss's old apartment and take it as part of her inheritance--settling the furniture, paintings--some apparently worth quite a bit--and silver on the Boss's brother and sister--apartment is already filthy and woefully underfurnished.) If that wasn't bad enough, the Contessa adds, she discovered in her purse a dirty dishrag she'd playfully snatched from the bartender she'd been flirting with. Said bartender tall, from Hawaii, and about eighteen years old--what could he have thought of me asks the Contessa? Don't answer that, she interjects, wagging a piece of bacon. Bite into last quarter of burger and hit Bone--noise very alarming. The Contessa asks, Did you Break a Tooth? Feel around in mouth and find all intact. Inwardly, am much more worried that have eaten bone of the spine and also nerve matter--brain takes brisk trip to Mad Cow Disease--from there, thoughts become more grim and turn to the plight of the bees and ends with picture of rapidly shrinking ice caps and certain violence and death. Shove rest of burger in mouth and order chocolate Milkshake. We move on to topic of the Vice-Boss. At end of conversation--which is long and covers usual themes of shoplifting (no new incidents, but we rehash the old) and her lies--the Contessa tells shocking story about baldfaced lie told by the Vice-Boss to the Dean--when caught out, the Vice-Boss merely laughed and changed topic to the Mideast. We shake our heads, agreeing to the Vice-Boss's general unfitness for human contact and then the Contessa says she doesn't know why we waste so much breath on such a creature. Don't know either. There is a brief pause before we reopen topic with gusto.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Have very involved dream last night in which am in succession: 1) baking a turkey 2) planting garden 2) Decide to Get Back Into Acting and Move to LA. Have conversation (in dream) with Dave in which tell him that After all, I was a child actor--doesn't he remember I played the young Judd Nelson in a TV show? Am excited to move to LA in dream and have feeling of fulfillment. Needless to say that feeling vanishes precipitously when wake up. Hardly know who Judd Nelson is and express wonderment to real Dave that sub-conscious provided name. Ask, Was Judd Nelson in Sixteen Candles (which have never seen)? Dave scoffs and says, No, the Breakfast Club and St. Elmo's Fire, which thrusts me back to frequent and trying moments in child and teenage hood when had to pretend that knew what everyone else was talking about. Drink coffee and glare at Dave. He apologizes and says, what else happened in your dream? Tell him that we moved to LA. He gets a funny look on his face.