Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Not Jimbob, but Jim and Bob

Jim hasn't changed one iota--not even a smidgen--since he was the teenaged boaster and braggart I knew as a girl.
He and Lou got to Romanelli's just as I did and we sat down to catch up.  Lou, by the way, is very nice.  A little country girl from Minnesota, she's small and thin with a warm manner and sweet smile.  We both endured Jim's non-stop yakking: "I play a lot of golf, I was on a golf tour, that's how good I am; my daughter's a multi-millionaire, she adopted a girl from a white trash family, but they have good genes*; other daughter was with Facebook for two years, she's married to a cervical specialist**; we've been to fifty countries, we go on a lot of cruises, we have two coming up soon..." and so on and on.
He also whipped out an android so he could show me the inside of his "villa" in Texas.  It's decorated in the boring kind of pseudo-southwestern that features too much oak and wrought iron, but I dutifully expressed admiration.  
My tooth was still sore, so I ordered very soft scrambled eggs.  We spent only an hour or so together (they had driven from Texas and were heading back), but before we parted, I handed Jim the fifteen or twenty letters he had written me in 1955 and '56.  He seemed a bit aggrieved I didn't want them, but I'm sure Lou will be interested.  I assured her we were never a couple; he and my twin were.  We hugged goodbye and drove off.  It was a pleasant enough interlude, but I barely know the twenty-year-old girl involved and I was anxious to resume my real life...
...Which I did when Bob came for his coaching session.  I think he's improving, but not by much, I'm afraid.  He's not a bad guy at all, though, and we actually had an interesting conversation about politics and the state of the world today.
Said goodbye to him and immediately drove over to pick up Aline. We went to SeaOaks for an enjoyable lunch and after, I took her to the clubhouse to view the hideous new furniture.  No surprise--she thought it was hideous.
She came home with me to see the latest video from the Far East, "Mr. K. at the shopping plaza," which she loved, of course.  We then sat for an hour and talked religion, politics, and opera--it's so enjoyable with someone who can actually discuss those subjects with neither provincialism nor dogmatism.
Took her home and settled in for the night.  Happily, the tooth--rather, the hole thereof--seems to be healing well and I'm no longer as conscious of it.  
*I can't figure that out, either.
** Have no idea what that is--gynecologist?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I shall now draw a shade over the unpleasant events of yesterday, except to say--
The damn tooth is out (reminds me of the bard: "out, damn tooth!"), after hours of travail.  Got to the dentist's office at the appointed time of 9:00 am, but to my surprise, the idea was not to pull it then, but to make a mold of my partial, send it to Waretown to have an artificial tooth put where the ailing one had been, then replace it immediately after the extraction.
I wasn't happy over that, but had no choice.  I had made a date to meet Jim and his wife for lunch, but called and we decided on breakfast at 8:00, an hour and a half from now.  Bob was due at 10:00 for a coaching session, but I called and we postponed it an hour.
I had been told I'd be called about 3:00 to come back in, but that didn't happen and it was 4:30.
Well, there's no point in going through the extraction.  It was no fun, but wasn't quite as bad as I had anticipated.  Doc immediately put the partial back in and it still feels strange, but not too bad.
Couldn't eat much, so made myself a can of revolting Campbell's tomato soup.
I laugh when I hear about people seriously checking "expiration" dates.  I know I bought this when Pat was alive and he's been gone five years.  Funny, after I ate it, I had this rash all over my body and an upset stomach, and I've been having hallucinations...ha!
Skipped the wine. took a Percocet (thanks, Jim), and slept like a babe.  I'm sure my recovery was hastened by a "visit" from The Little Japanese Sweetheart, Mr. K., which I enjoyed last evening.
So--ordeal over, I hope, and I'm off to meet my old pal, Jimmy Downes, whom I haven't seen for fifty-five years.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Prince Igor

After sleeping almost three hours longer than usual, then dallying over breakfast, I had to hop to it.  I was "assigned" to provide refreshments for Mary Ann's monthly Musical Arts.  Usually, when I do something like this, I pride my self on homemade everything, but yesterday, I just didn't have time.
Rushed to Acme and picked up two already-made hoagies, a mixed-fruit compote, and three slices of cheesecake--plain, cherry, and chocolate.  I just cut the hoagies into slices, added apple slices to the fruit, and divided the cake into smaller portions. Put together disposable plates and tableware I already had--not the horrible paper kind, but foam with pretty tulips on them and tableware that looks like silver.  Rushed to the clubhouse and set everything up.
Mary Ann had told me five were coming, but seven showed up and didn't think I'd have enough for all.  I did, but barely.
It was the first time I was in the newly-decorated clubhouse, which now boasts about the ugliest design treatment I've ever seen. Geometric pattern after geometric pattern in various shades of olive, mustard, and seasick blue, cover the big, hugely uncomfortable "easy" chairs and portions of the dreadful drapes on the windows.  Large, heavy, round tables are scattered here and there, all in a peculiar shade of what I suppose is some kind of oak. Or maple.  Or putty gone bad.  It's certainly something unknown to nature.  The whole thing reminds me of a stodgy gentleman's club, where the plutocrats puff on cigars and discuss how to screw the natives.  Anyway, it stinks.
BUT--Prince Igor, the opera, was spectacular.  What we saw was actually a 1969 movie, not a stage opera, full of hussars and khans and lots of men on horseback.  It was written by Alexander Borodin and first performed in 1890.  (You can recognize the music for "Stranger in Paradise," lifted for use in Kismet.)  It was so enjoyable I'll watch it again on YouTube.  What a treat and here's the link:
Home after 4:00 and got a call from Jimmy D., Betty's old boyfriend, with whom I've been in touch.  He and his wife are at the Residence Inn in Atlantic County, but only until tomorrow morning, then go back to California.  We made a date to meet at 1:00 for lunch today, but I'm beginning to wonder if that's a good idea, as I'm getting the damn tooth out at 9:00.  If need be, I'll call and cancel Jimmy.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Show Biz Weekend

After my usual period of frustration when confronted with something new, I finally got the phone working.  It seems you have to put in the date and time first before you get a dial tone.  This is wisdom people in a lesser stage of decrepitude than I are probably born knowing so, of course, it isn't mentioned anywhere in the directions (mumble, grumble, curse, curse, curse).
Got down to Ventnor at 1:00 for the Players & Playwrights meeting.  As I had requested so I could leave early, John put Sondra M.'s on first.  It was--as all her plays are--autobiographical with, I suspect, whole speeches lifted right from life. Sondra seems not to have a strong imagination and acts more as a stenographer than a playwright.  However, it was fairly absorbing (concerned her diagnoses with breast cancer) and, at least, had the virtue of being short.
I stayed for Ernie's play, which was okay, but only slightly reworked from his last version, which I had heard before.  Left after that and my pal, Grey, walked me out.  Stopped at Produce Junction to get a dozen roses for Aline, got home, had a bite  of dinner, then Mary Ann Van O. called to see if she could come over early, as she had a "second-looker" to see her house.  She did, I changed, we took off, and got to Surflight wa-a-a-y early.
Sat in rocking chairs on the porch and Aline came out to greet us. Gave her the roses and she was very appreciative.
We had great seats, as it turned out: third row in the middle. Of course, eternal malcontent Mary Ann complained when people sat in front of us, but I was in a great mood and shrugged it off.  Show finally started and it was pretty good, with a few snags.
The major one for me is the insipid story line, a complete fabrication of the actual history of the Von Trapp family.  Add to that the uninspired dialogue, the undistinguished libretto, the cutesy-poo portrayal of the kiddies, the cartoon-character Nazis, mix them up with superficial religiosity, and you have the totally predictable Sound of Music, beloved of cliche addicts everywhere.
But I had a great time.  For professionalism, it beat the S. of M. I saw six weeks ago in Margate all hollow.*  I greatly enjoyed the sets, the costumes, the props, and especially, seeing Neil G. (who played my nephew in Arsenic), George and Julie S. (with whom I appeared in Our Town) and, of course, my dear friend, Aline, who was a guest at a party--no lines, but she looked beautiful in a long, garnet-colored gown.
Of course, we greeted and congratulated the players after and stayed to chat for some time.  Desi, Jim and Mary, and Tonya and Bob were there, and so was Bob S., a great guy, with whom Aline and I had performed recently in Tony and the Heiress.  Finally left and, after we dropped Aline off, I didn't get home until 11:30. That's ELEVEN-THIRTY AT NIGHT, incredibly for me.  I had told Susan I wouldn't walk this morning and good thing, as I didn't get up until 8:04.
I had messages from my friend and from daughter, Ellen, but thought I'd return them today.  I didn't realize they'd be worried until friend called just now (8:45); she said she'd text Ellen to let her know I'm not lying in a pool of blood somewhere (she didn't say that, though).
Today, I have refreshments for Musical Arts (we're seeing--or maybe enduring, it remains to be seen--Prince Igor, a Russian opera. So all this adds up to a show biz weekend, which is fine by me.
* I have no idea where that expression came from and what it means and I'm too lazy to look it up.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Playlets and Produce

I've decided that for my next acting class, I'll have little playlets performed two-by-two by my students.  Selections will be random, of course.  I'll ask them to read, then I'll critique privately and have them do the same again in the next class, the idea being there should be some improvements.
I'll need five very short plays with two female characters.  I already wrote one and will revise slightly The Truth, The Embellished Truth, and Nothing Like the Truth, which I wrote several years ago. (It was performed by our Sunrise Bay drama club.)
I'm going to use the Mrs. Soames' role in Our Town, which I played myself, but I'll have to re-write Thornton Wilder a bit.* Must think about this.  I'll probably write the other two myself, as I want to have at least one other comedy; I have a few ideas floating in around my head.
Spent a fair amount of time cutting up lettuce for salad and preparing Swiss chard.  Fried up some bacon and cooked the chard in the grease--yummy good, if I say it myself.
I seem to be driving to Manahawkin every day lately, and did yesterday.  Took something back and not much else.
My friend came about 4:00 and hooked up my phone.  Can't use it yet--directions say eleven hours--but it's in, anyway.  Friend brought me my portion of farm goodies, including an enormous amount of different kinds of lettuce.  I'll give some away, as I can't possibly eat it all myself.  I was glad to get the tomatoes, string beans, squash, beets, and eggplant, though.
NOTE: Oh, great!  I just tried the new phone and get no dial tone. Now what?  I haven't programmed it yet, so maybe you have to do that before it's operational, but who knows?  I HATE ELECTRONICS!
* I was never a fan of Our Town--like Sound of Music, which I'm going to see tonight, I find it saccharine and insipid.  However, it's one of the  most famous--and revered, Zeus knows why--plays ever, so I guess it's a bit presumptuous of me to modify it, but I care not.    

Friday, October 17, 2014

Phone and the Show

Oh, me, oh, my, if it isn't one thing, it's another.  Now my landline phone has conked out.
Hmm...maybe a serial killer cut the wires, but I don't think so.  I think both handsets just ran out of battery juice, as they seem to do every few months. Besides, the set is eleven years old and when I remembered that, I rushed off to Radio Shack.  Didn't like their prices, so got a new phone (two handsets) at Wal-Mart for under fifty bucks. Asked if my friend will install it today when she brings my farm goods.
Back from Manahawkin, I pulled together my director notes for rehearsal tonight, with specifics for most of the players.  Also wrote a short playlet for my acting class.  I want to start my class actually acting next time; this month was just a warm-up, but hey, I'm not teaching English lit.  I'll write up four more plays, as different as possible, and have two students in each, then critique.
Gave Susan the ornamental pepper before our walk and she was very appreciative.  Called Naomi P. on the cell and after we talked for several minutes, I realized she was in Florida, not around the corner as I had thought.  She told me they've moved down there for good.  I found out her  nephew isn't the Paul C. Steelman Elva asked about, but we had a nice chat.  Will call and tell Elva when the other phone is operational.
Went to rehearsal with Frank.  I was thrilled to see Ron K. there; rushed over to him and cried, "I need another man!" He had been cast in another play, but luckily agreed to be Spike in mine (he was pleased to be told he'd be a lowlife hood).  That's the beauty of this kind of show: You can cast people in several roles and, as long as they can change voices a bit, get away with it.
Rehearsal went well, although we didn't have the players--George and Julie S., and Aline--who are in Sound of Music.  Luckily, that closes on Sunday.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Mish-Mash

Happy day, my precious printer is perky again!  My friend came after work and found that a wire was unplugged.  I don't think it was just that before, because I checked it, but I don't care, as long as it's fixed.
Friend told me she and her husband were motorcycling near Chatsworth when they came across a rattlesnake that had been hit by a car.  They thought it was dead, as the head was crushed, but as husband was lifting it with two sticks to put in a bag, it moved. However, he got it in without incident.  She showed me all this on a video in her phone.  They took it to the nature center, so the folks there can know where it was found.  I think they pinpoint locations of rattlesnakes and, I guess, try to move their nests away from inhabited areas--or something.
Called Adele to see if FELS had any objection to us having A. for E. at Shalom House next month, when the library is closed for Veterans Day.  No prob and Bobbi will ask to reserve it on Monday.  Called the only no-show (and only male registrant) and left a message. So far, he hasn't gotten back to me.
Saw Frank and he asked if I wanted to go with him to rehearsal tonight.  Yes, indeed.  Sent my cast a reminder.
Went to Shop-Rite late in the day under gloomy, then rainy skies. Can't resist SR's chicken thighs and could never understand the preference, it seems, for white meat.  I find the dark much more flavorful; wouldn't you know, it's also more caloric.
I was pleased to get a call from long-time friend, Elva B., and we had a good chat; she and I graduated from St. James Grammar School together eight-hundred years ago.  Elva asked if the Paul C. Steelman, an architect interested in buying Atlantic City real estate, might be the son of our co-graduate, Joan Fiore Steelman.  Looked it up and found out he isn't.
Got an e-mail from Joan M. H., thanking me for sending her pictures of her son and my grandson when they were babies; they're now both 32.  Joan's mother, Elaine, and I were close friends in Ewing during the young-married phase of my life and I've known Joan since she was little more than a baby herself.