Monday, May 31, 2010

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with John and his best friend Bill. Afterwards, I was left with cheeks that ached from laughing and with a certain sense of pride for having witnessed a male friendship that has spanned nearly forty years and managed to survive numerous wives and rehabs. I listened to stories that began with, "Did you and me get arrested together at that Clapton concert back in '75?". Seeing John with Bill was like seeing a completion. Like finally hearing a song in its entirety after having only heard snippets of the chorus. It was satisfying and lovely.

Me: "I like your car, Bill."
John: "Yeah dude, it's got that new-car- Banalg -smell."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

This little thing:

wasn't so crazy about Wellness. The boys liked it. I'm not admitting anything, but if I did sneak myself a tablespoon or two, who could really blame me, seeing as how I nearly had to take out a mortgage to buy a bag. Now I'm giving this:

And this:

A try.

Meanwhile, John and I are eating pb&j and Easy Mac.

Castor & Pollux
Natural Balance

Lady Slipper

Was out in the rain the other day, tromping through the woods, trying to convince Ernie to come inside and what did I spy? Why, it's a lady slipper. Just growing wild out there all by it's lonesome. Of course, I'm a moe and I wasn't even sure if it was a lady slipper so I had to text a picture to Lynn for confirmation. She's beautiful, my lady slipper. Yesterday I watched a deer nibble in her direction. Not sure if deer eat lady slippers. They sure as hell eat everything else. But they have really cool tails so I guess it all evens out.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

John has a rim-shot app on his iphone. For three days he's been telling me Shecky Green jokes and then hitting the "pa-dum-chink" button. Living with him is like always sleeping over at your best friend's house. Sometimes it's a non-stop funfest. Sometimes you just wish your mom would come pick you up already.

My first week back to work kicked my arse. Every day when I came home, I had to go straight to bed and nap. I feel like I brought a stick to a rock fight.

What I've read: The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti, Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen. What I'm reading: Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton.

We watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button this afternoon and I cried. Mostly because my skin will never be as translucent as Cate Blanchetts.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Peach Of A Story

For 77 Years, a Regular at Sardi’s
Published: May 24, 2010

Eating lunch at Sardi’s on Tuesday, William Herz did not have to order coffee. It was brought to him, right when he wanted it (in the middle of his meal, not after) by a waiter who served it in a white mug that no one else but Mr. Herz drinks from.

William Herz, 93, has been a regular at Sardi’s for 77 years.

Mr. Herz is the only patron of one of the best-known restaurants in the world who gets his own cup: He is 93 years old, and he prefers using a mug with an easy-to-hold handle. After lunch on Tuesday, the mug was washed and returned to its usual place, on the shelf of a cabinet in the coat room, because the management and staff at Sardi’s know Mr. Herz will be back.

He always comes back.

For about 77 of his 93 years, Mr. Herz has eaten at Sardi’s. The theater district restaurant opened at its current location, at 234 West 44th Street, in March 1927. Mr. Herz said he remembered first going there about six years later, in 1933, an out-of-town teenager in awe of Broadway.

When he was a drama student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, then called the Carnegie Institute of Technology, he went to Sardi’s. When he started working at the Mercury Theater with Orson Welles after graduating from college in 1937, he went to Sardi’s. When he performed on Mr. Welles’s panic-spreading radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” in 1938, he went to Sardi’s.

“I go to other restaurants, but I don’t feel at home at other restaurants,” said Mr. Herz, who turns 94 in August and typically eats at Sardi’s about twice a week. “It’s comfortable. I’ve had parties there. My mother and father’s 50th wedding anniversary was upstairs. My father’s 95th birthday party was upstairs. I’ve grown accustomed to its space.”

In a city that is forever changing, some people — stubbornly, blessedly — never do: they eat and drink at the same place at the same tables on the same days for a very long time, and to merely call them regulars seems an insult.

Mr. Herz used to go to opening-night Broadway shows with Sardi’s longtime hatcheck girl, Renee Carroll, and found his apartment on Central Park South in the 1950s after she told him that a unit was available in her building. He usually goes to lunch once a week with the waiter who served him on Tuesday, Jeremy Wagner, 35. They go to a diner on West 57th Street on Fridays, a routine they started about three years ago because Mr. Wagner’s shift changed and they never saw each other.

“Just like two friends,” Mr. Wagner said. “We just happen to be, you know, 60 years apart.”

Mr. Herz has been going to Sardi’s longer than any employee has been working there, and he is one of the few patrons old enough to remember Vincent Sardi Sr., the restaurant’s founder, who retired in 1947 and died in 1969 at age 83.

In recent years, he has had lunch at Sardi’s on Tuesdays, usually sitting at table No. 4, a corner table in the main dining room, the autographed caricatures of Antonio Banderas and Liza Minnelli above his head. On occasion, the restaurant has made the mistake of sitting another party at the table before Mr. Herz has arrived, an error that has been corrected when those at table No. 4 have been asked, ever so politely, to move to another table.

“He’s a treasure,” said Sean Sardi Ricketts, 37, a co-owner of the restaurant, the great-grandson of Vincent Sardi Sr. and the grandson of Vincent Sardi Jr., who took over the restaurant when his father retired and helped make it a Broadway institution. “He’s not even a customer on Tuesdays. He’s like part of the family.”

Sardi’s has long been at the center of Broadway life — the idea for the Tony Awards was born there over lunch, according to Vincent Sr.’s 1953 book — and Mr. Herz said it was only natural for it to become the center of his life as well. And there is another reason he has been returning to Sardi’s for roughly 77 years.

Shortly before a play he had produced closed after just a week at the Lyceum Theater in 1940, Mr. Herz was eating at Sardi’s when Vincent Sr. asked him to join him for dessert and coffee. “And he said to me, ‘I know your show is closing,’ ” Mr. Herz recalled. “He said, ‘I just want you to keep coming to Sardi’s, and don’t worry about the bill.’ So I burst into tears, and that’s why I’ve been a customer of Sardi’s for so long. I was touched and moved by it, and I thought it was damn nice of him.”

These days, Mr. Herz picks up his own bill.

Hundreds of theater, film and television personalities have had their caricatures up on the walls of Sardi’s, but Mr. Herz is not one of them. Like most New Yorkers who regularly dine in what is perhaps the restaurant capital of the world, he is not as famous as the place where he eats lunch. He was an extra, occasional actor, stage manager, casting director and producer on Broadway through the 1930s and 1940s, and then worked for years at a ticket agency next door, naturally, to Sardi’s.

He is an unpretentious sort who takes the bus to and from Sardi’s and who eats only half of his roasted chicken, because he likes to take the rest home to feed to his dog, Diego. As he sits with his friends at table No. 4, the tourists sitting nearby admiring the caricatures have no idea that the old, frail man in the corner could tell them a story or two about some of the stars on the walls. He does not boast about his career and the theatrical history he took part in — he is the last living cast member of Mr. Welles’s “War of the Worlds” adaptation — but, if asked, he will dish.

There was the time when Mr. Herz was serving in the military during World War II and helped organize a show in Miami for thousands of servicemen featuring Rita Hayworth. “She arrived at Servicemen’s Pier and took off her mink coat — it was a chilly night — and she had a gingham dress on,” he said. “I looked at her and I said: ‘You’re a pinup. Why are you in a gingham dress?’ A housewife would wear a gingham dress in the kitchen. I took her back to the Roney Plaza. She got into an evening gown. She didn’t speak to me the rest of the evening.”

Mr. Herz was born in Detroit in 1916. His father was a corset salesman. “That’s how he met my mother,” Mr. Herz said. “My mother was born in Cleveland, and he was in Cleveland selling corsets.” His voice has a deep, stage-worthy gravitas — the way Mr. Welles’s voice did — and though he walks slowly and uses a hearing aid in his right ear, his memory is as sharp as his wit.

Recently, Mr. Herz went to see the play “Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps” with friends. “At the intermission, I said, ‘Goodbye,’ ” Mr. Herz said. “I think that when you get to be a certain age, you don’t have the patience to sit through some of this stuff.”

Mr. Herz is known as something of a curmudgeon — “the king of kvetching,” a friend said of him recently — and one of his favorite subjects upon which to kvetch, it turns out, is the restaurant he has been coming to for nearly eight decades. He said Sardi’s served a crabmeat sandwich that he loved, and then it disappeared from the menu. And he wonders aloud about the attentiveness of some of the wait staff. “One of the hardest things in the world is to get a check at Sardi’s,” he said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Herz ordered a crabmeat sandwich (they brought it back). He was sitting not at his usual table but at the back of the restaurant, because he was eating with a group of friends, several members of a 105-year-old organization of writers, artists and performers that he once belonged to, the Dutch Treat Club.

Mr. Herz chatted with Sumner Jules Glimcher, 85, a documentary filmmaker and professor emeritus at New York University.

They talked about the war. Mr. Glimcher was shot in the Battle of the Bulge. “I fought the battle of Miami Beach,” Mr. Herz replied. They talked about the “War of the Worlds” broadcast. Mr. Glimcher said he was 14 when he heard it, and it scared him to bits. “I had done Orson’s part in the dress rehearsal,” Mr. Herz told him. “And after I did it, I thought to myself, ‘Nobody’s going to believe this in a million years.’ Boy, was I wrong.”

As people left and the lunch was ending, Mr. Wagner, the waiter, returned to the table. He was going on break. He shook the hand of Mr. Herz. At Sardi’s, goodbyes are unnecessary for Mr. Herz. “See you Friday,” Mr. Wagner told him.

Article Found HERE

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I sometimes while away hours on realty sites checking out houses and apartments all across the country. Mostly ones in Savannah. Today I've fixated on THIS little duplex. It's not something I typically crush on because there's no discernable yard and the bedrooms are tiny, and it's a freakin' duplex for crying out loud, but other than that I really like it. I like the open fire place. I like that it's one great big room. I like the patio and I'm already imagining how I'll enclose it and make it into a cat house for the boys and Aggie. How I'll have pots of herbs and plants for them to cavort around. Next week I'm sure I'll move on to something else. For now, I'm just liking it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Best Thing Ever

One of Mike and Judy's neighbors is this crotchety little old lady with a penchant for wine and insults. After years of doing favor after favor for her, she finally gifted them with... wait for it... two concrete ducks. Make that, two concrete ducks and a box full of concrete duck outfits. Raincoats and bunny ears and Santa Claus hats. It is truly and honestly my favorite thing. I love those effin' ducks.

Because I'm Just Feeling It

I'm stumbling down hill towards my return to work. Pretty sure I'm gonna end up having a cry-fest any old moment now because I'm also PMS-ing. Boo-honkin'-hoo. I miss my mama and I miss my sisters. Here are things I'm happy about:

1) My hair has finally grown shoulder-length. Thank. God.
2) It's five pm and the boys all came inside without much of a fight.
3) 80 degree days
4) Air conditioning
5) Series five of Miss Marple premieres this Sunday on PBS!!!...!
6) This gorgeous little chunka-girl:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My friend Lynn once asked me something to the effect of "what inspires you?". I think she thought I was rather banal when I answered, "Everyone". Eventually she got it. After we learned more about one another. After I said, "Tell me a story" for the thousandth time. Life is interpretation. I won't get the same message out of a situation as someone else. Someone else may not get any message at all. The point is. I try to get some message out of all of it. That's why everyone inspires me. I like to know where people come from, what they've been through and how their experiences have shaped them into who they are at the moment. It's fascinating shit to me. Witnessing the connectedness of the journey. How there are these running themes through everyone's life and, if they just sit back and acknowledge them, they'll realize that they are on exactly the right path. They are exactly where they are supposed to be. It's not spooky or freaky or coincidental. It is perfect. And it is liberating and euphoric.

Last night I finished reading my dear blog-friend Tonya Ruanto's book, "The Making of a God". If you want to know what I'm talking about, read her book. She gets it. I can not offer any higher praise than that. Simply because I offer the highest of praises. Well. Done.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

John's friend Dave lives in Tucson. He's always sending John gloriously lovely desert pictures. Something about them makes me a little bit sad and anxious. Like I've left something of great importance out there. Like I buried it beneath scrub brush and cacti.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I finished the Flat Stanley scrapbook this afternoon and mailed his troublesome ass back home. It was fun while it lasted, but really, I was so damn glad I had finally finished it that I was glad to see him go. I didn't even take any pictures of the final product. I just showed it to John and asked him to proofread my blurbs, you know, to make sure I didn't misspell or inadvertently write any swear words. Then we shoved it in an envelope and took him to the post office.

What I've read: Soulless by Gail Carriger, Island of Lost Girls by Jennifer McMahon and Murder in the North End by P.B. Ryan. Now I'm reading The Last Child by John Hart. Because this is my last full week out of work, I'm trying to cram as many books into it as I can. Also, we finally sat down and watched the first six episodes of Mad Men last night. It's pretty addictive. I went on the AMC site and Mad Men'ed myself.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

...because I don't think everyone truly appreciates how spectactular his feet really really are...

even if they are covered in pine sap.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Scenes From My Hood, Yo

The Pomfret School, up the road in Pomfret, CT. I have a bit of a fascination with boarding schools. Probably because I watched too many episodes of The Facts of Life and read too many of those Canby Hall books in my formative years. Pomfret School has turned out Kennedys, DuPonts, bulimics and coke addicts. It's an absolutely beautiful school in the most bucolic of settings. While I was taking these pictures there were kids sprinting across campus in their blazers and khakis. I felt like I'd walked into a postcard.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What I've done the past couple of days: Painted all of my nails milk of magnesia bottle blue. Read 'The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag' by Alan Bradley. Started reading 'Soulless' by Gail Carriger. Woke up with a knot the size of a human head in between my shoulder blades. Scored some muscle relaxers. Made more sweet tea. Had a lovely mother's day lunch with Judy and Mike and the gang. Kissed the baby a lot. Had the oil changed in my car. Saved $100 by having John replace the air filters in the Fit, rather than letting the Honda pirates do it. Started putting together the Flat Stanley scrapbook. Watched 'Will and Grace' bloopers on Youtube.

I can't stop looking at the cover of this book. Parasols and taffeta.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mama's Day

Wendy texted me this picture of Sage the other day. I was too scared to ask if that's magic marker on her face. Happy Mama's day to all you womens who scrub magic marker off of faces and extract green peas from nostrils and who allow their little girls to ride sow pigs while wearing nothing but their under drawers.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Like A Combination Of Fergie And Jesus

Oh, blog world, and all of my bloggy friends. This is my confession of the day:

Whenever the movie "Step Brothers" is on, John and I have to watch it. I mean, a couple of months ago I admitted to watching it and liking it. But now I'm admitting that we're partially obsessed. We've watched it like ten times. It's more than ridiculous.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I found this creepy old broad today during an outing with Stanley. She's eerie and gorgeous and quite vacant. That fence! That hitching post! That pointed roof thingy! That poison ivy I fell into trying to take these pictures!

She reminds me of a book I've read. Only I don't remember which book. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It took us most of the morning and early afternoon, but we finally took Flat Stanley for a ride. We took him to Essex, CT and showed him the Griswold Inn which is the oldest continually operating Inn in America. How old is it? 234 years old. That's how old. I think when I tell people that I live in Connecticut, the picture they form in their minds looks something like Essex. A sweet, old, frou-frou village with houses dating back to the 1600's.

I'm trying to talk John into doing some more traveling in the next few days. Before this happens I'm going to have to give myself an attitude adjustment, because I've been nothing but a complete bitch with a capital C.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'm sucking down a half gallon of sweet tea a week and reading books like Sarah Palin's about to swoop down on me with a match. This morning we put in the air conditioner and I finally cleaned the pine needles and cones out of my flower bed.

What I've read: The Dirty Duck by Martha Grimes, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace. How I went this far in life without knowing about Betsy and Tacy is a mystery. Next up is The Jerusalem Inn also by Martha Grimes.

We're taking Flat Stanley out tomorrow.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mae behind the monitor.
I finished The Night Watch by Sarah Waters. If anyone out there has read it and wants to discuss it, please let me know. I want a sequel. Or maybe a prequel. I've moved on to The Dirty Duck by Martha Grimes. I'm really gonna have to buckle down on the reading because the stack's getting larger and I'm not getting much of anywhere.

It's so absolutely gloriously lovely here today that of course my foot has been aching more than usual and I don't much feel up to mucking around in the dirt even though I would really love to do just that. My flowers are wild and untended. They grow despite my inattentiveness.

Last night John and I watched Peacock. What a disturbing and odd little movie. We liked it despite its plot holes.