Friday, October 31, 2014

Entry Two: My Day

Eleanor Roosevelt used to write a column for a women's magazine called "My Day."  As I remember, it was as dreary and dull as a trip to Disneyland--about on a par with my day on Thursday.
Well, I'm exaggerating.  True, I was stuck at home not only because I didn't have a car (see accompanying post), but because I thought I had to wait by the phone all day for that lying weasel, Pat, to call. However, I did get a fair amount of creative work done.  Revised slightly two of the short, two-female plays I'm going to have my acting class perform, and wrote another from scratch.  Now I have three original sketches and want to come up with two more.  I'm toying with the idea of modifying Aline's and my parts in Tony and the Heiress so there's another comic one. May go with rhyming couplets for the fifth, but must think of a theme.
After the latest run-around from Pat last night, Frank invited me in for a glass of wine, which I readily accepted.  I enjoyed chatting with him and Barbara and it lightened my spirits.
Unfortunately, they darkened again when I got home and saw an e-mail from Desi.  "As you probably know...," it started, and informed me that Ellen V. and Tonya N. were rehearsing on Sunday at the community center.
No, I didn't know; how the hell would I know if nobody had told me?  This outfit is about as well-organized as a gang of Kindergarten kids at the beach.  I immediately e-mailed my cast, asking them to come. Let's hope most can make it.

Entry One: Pat's Automotive

I'M STILL WITHOUT A CAR!
I wish I had never taken it to Pat's Automotive.  The saga went like this:  
  Monday: stopped at Pat's Automotive, described the problem (stalling at red lights), said I needed it on Tuesday, so he said to leave it on Wednesday.
  Wednesday, 10 am: Frank followed me over to leave the car and took me home.  Pat said he'd call me when it was finished.  At 5 pm, I called him and he gave me a song and dance about how tough it was.  Said he'd call me it by "lunchtime" on Thursday to get it.
  Thursday: "lunchtime" hadn't been specified, but I called him at 4:30.  Phone rang and rang, then there was a recording saying, "leave your access number."  Frank took me there and I saw my car was still on the lift.  Pat said he was just finishing up and I could come back at 7:00 and it would be done.  Frank took me to the bank so I could withdraw the three hundred dollars Pat said he would charge; he accepts only cash.
  Thursday: Frank took me back at 7:00 and car was still on the lift.  Pat said he had run into metal in the fuel pump (or oil pump, can't remember which); car was still on the lift.  Pat said he had just called me and left a message.  Now, for the first time--ominously--he mentioned the motor, which he never said a word about before.  Said he'd call me "by noon" on Friday.
When I got home, I checked the answering machine and there were no messages.
So here I am on Friday at 6:26 am, still without a car.  I think Pat is a liar and a cheat and what I'm afraid of is, that I'm going to go there again and he'll tell me it's actually the motor and will cost two thousand dollars.
                                                         xxxxx
NOTE:  Aline, who's in Westchester for the weekend, e-mailed me asking about the car and this is what I replied.  I'm putting it here simply because I use this blog as both a diary and a reminder of various.  Surprisingly often, I look up details about which I may be unclear and I sure as hell don't want to forget anything surrounding this sorry saga.  I'm not sure why it comes out oddly printed; that seems to happen whenever I copy an paste anything, but no matter, I guess.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Car and Terrorism

As agreed, Frank followed me to Pat's Automotive about ten and I left my poor baby Buick.
Actually, being forced to stay home, I got a lot done.  Cored, pared, and sliced the apples I had picked the other day--there seemed to be fourteen bushels, but I may be exaggerating--added sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice, and made some lovely applesauce. Took a bowl next door to Frank and Barb.  Washed, dried, and folded clothes; swept and mopped the kitchen floor; revised some of my acting class materials.
Got an e-mail from Mary H., asking if Aline and I would do a "Grove's Emulsified Nose Drops" commercial in the show and of course, we happily agreed.
When it got to be almost five and Pat hadn't called yet, I called him. His verdict was fuel pump dead and the damage about three hundred. Hey, if I can get away with that, I'm happy.  I was told he should have it finished today "before lunch."  Asked Barb-Next-Door to take me, as Frank will be out.  I'll need to stop at the bank first, as Pat accepts only cash.  I'm not sure why, but I suspect his purpose is to cheat Uncle Sam out of taxes.
WIDER:  I was charmed by this comment on Common Dreams.com:
Terrorism is an extraordinary business model. It is profitable like nothing else. Advertising is free, viral and compelling. Safety measures are gladly charged to the national credit card. Manufacturers gladly provide training and equipment to career-climbing personnel.
Concerns about encroachments on liberties are ridiculed thus keeping the markets wide open and societal cooperation high. It is also colorfully branded for easy recognition: "Al-Qaeda", "Saddam Hussein", "Iran". Would you like some ISIL today?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mini-Rehearsal and The Shadow Government

Happy day: George called!  (Geez, you'd think I had been waiting for a boyfriend.)  He acted as if naught was amiss (I can't help it, I tell you!) and said "sure, I'll be at your house tonight," as if I hadn't been frantically trying to get him for days.  But so what, he got back to me and all is forgiven.
Early in the day, I went to Wal-Mart for medication and a bunch of other stuff, including crackers.  Spread my lovely Brie on some and had that for lunch; yum, so good.
A few months ago, I had adapted Nigel Dennis' short story, The Pukey, into a play and I've decided to use it in my acting course.  I revised it a bit and printed it out.  Published 54 years ago, it's intrigued me for years.  I want my class to delve into it to discuss its symbolism and imagery.
Met Aline at the library when she got off 5:00 and we went to Mystic Casino for dinner.  Took her home after and treated her to the new videos of Mr. K., whom she calls "my baby."
The guys--Chuck, Ron, Bob, and the elusive George--came at 7:00 and we had a good session running through the script.  I kept them only a scant hour; we'll all meet on the fifth for a true rehearsal.
Just got an e-mail from Mary, asking if Aline and I will read an old-time commercial for Grove's Emulsified Nose Drops.  Sure, it'll be great fun.
Have to take my car to the shop this morning; Frank will follow and take me home.  I don't think I'm going to like the verdict.  
WIDER:  From Philip Giraldi, writing about Tom Engelhardt's new book, Shadow Government:
 Every American and many foreigners are now victims of an Orwellian universe of unending warfare coupled with constant surveillance and multifaceted manipulation that together make 1984 seem amateurish...Tom Engelhardt looks at every country where the US boot has trod and notes that without exception each is worse off now than before. Invasions, bombing, regime change, kidnappings, secret wars and assassinations do not make many friends, even when the news is being managed in such a way as to represent such actions as necessary for national or even global security. 
Read more at: 
http://www.unz.com/article/skewering-the-shadow-government/

Monday, October 27, 2014

Veggies and a Viewing

Betty is involved in the blood drive at Holy Trinity (formerly known as St. James and that's what it will always be to me) and had given me a flyer about it.  I went to St. Theresa's to ask if it could be displayed and left it.  Went to drive off and...
...uh-oh; my car stalled yet again.  I drove directly to Pat's Automotive and--to cut the "this can't be good" news short--he doesn't like the tapping in the engine and I'm going to take it in on Wednesday.
Spent several hours on veggies, to wit:  Sliced the lovely carrots, added apple wedges and cinnamon and put it all in the slow cooker. Peeled and cut up garlic and onions, added julienned sweet peppers, washed and deveined the Swiss chard, added that and stir-fried all together.  Made a salad with the beautiful, bright green lettuce (not iceberg, you can be sure about that), added tomatoes, feta, and hard-boiled egg slices.  Whew!  I still have beets and breaded eggplant, which I had prepared a few days ago; will be eating all this today and tomorrow.
I thought I had plenty of time to jump in the shower and dress for Spanky's viewing because Leslie had written it was at 1:00 and the service at 3:00.  At 12:30, I idly looked on the funeral parlour's site and found it was actually 11:00, then 1:00.  Changed in about ten minutes and rushed over to Maxwell's.
Sunrise Bay neighbors were there, although not as many as there were for people more active and who had lived there longer. Hugged Rosie, the new widow, chatted with a few people, but I felt oddly removed and, in fact, sad and lonely, but also irritated, for some reason.  Maybe that was prompted by the minister, no orator, who interspersed childish Bible verses with the old "he fought the good fight, but now he's lolling in Heaven" pap.  A few people got up to reminisce about Spanky, then attendees were supposed to file up and bid farewell to the corpse.  I skipped that, though, and left.
Saw Frank and Barbara and asked Frank if he'd follow me to Pat's Automotive on Wednesday and take me home.
As for The Shadow, I have a real dilemma.  George S. has a major part (in fact, two parts) in it, but was unable to come to rehearsals because he was in Sound of Music at Surflight.  Now that's over and I assume he's free.  I want him to rehearse just once before we all meet on the fifth, so I asked him, Aline, and Bob to come to my place tonight.
So far, I've sent George four e-mails, called him twice, called and e-mailed his wife, Julie, and have gotten no response whatever. Now I'm at a loss.  Does he want to be in the show or not?  Think I'll try one last time, then assume he's dropped the idea--which means I have to find another man at this late date, and that's not going to be easy.
Brightest spot of the day was a phone call with Ellen.  Now I'm chompin' at the bit to get out there and start my new life!

Lunch and Spanky Davis

Pleasant day.  Went to Italian Gourmet where I met Betty, Helen C., Donna and Kay, with whom I've interacted before.  Last two are in their eighties and harmless, I'm sure.
The lunch menu listed a "hangover burger," which I ordered along with my fav, a Blue Moon.  I hadn't read the whole description and was bemused when it was served topped with bacon and a fried egg.  Ate half, which wasn't bad, but doubt if I'd order it again; those three together seem like overkill and talk about your death by cholesterol...
I gave the ladies info on our Listen to This! show and also, two nice apples apiece, assuring them I had picked them with my own paws. They were properly appreciative and we parted.  Gave Betty the same and added half the Brie I had bought Saturday and two jackets I had--uh, outgrown.
Thought I'd drive up to Manahawkin after and search out Sleepy's to look at a mattress for the guest room.  Unfortunately, when I stopped for red lights, the car stalled and I just drove back home. Guess I'll have to bite the bullet and take it to Mastercraft.
I was sorry to get an e-mail from Leslie telling me Spanky Davis has died.  Viewing and service are today, to which I'll go.  Spanky was a well-known jazz trumpeter, who played behind Sinatra and other legends years ago.  But he developed diabetes, had to have a leg amputated, and got sicker and sicker in later years.  We had them over for dinner a few times and vice versa.  I know and like his wife, Rosemary, who had studied and sung opera as a young woman; I left a message offering condolences.
Congratulations to a certain dear girl and her great guy on their first "knowledge of each other" year together!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Van Tour to Mercer County

Dammit, I actually enjoyed the van tour, thanks to my sunny nature and positive, Pollyanna view of life.
Was grouchy about it at first, as I had to drive alone to Wells Mills Park* in Waretown, leaving at 6:45 AM.  However, the trip on the Parkway went smoothly--in fact, I was early, so the place was deserted.  But Uta,** driver, tour guide, and naturalist, got there shortly and we took off for points north.
Lakewood is almost an hour away from Waretown, and a fascinating place itself. It's the home of a large community of Hasidic Jews--black clothes, women wear long skirts and wigs, men flat Amish-looking hats, and so on. I've always been fascinated by their way of life and was intrigued to see (since it was Saturday), large numbers walking here and there, men essentially dressed alike and with wispy beards.  I was surprised that all the girls and women seemed to have long, luxurious, shiny hair, until I remembered they wear wigs.  A number of the men wore odd-looking, round fur(?) hats which resembled Russian winter headwear.  Uta told me they were from a breakaway sect, even stricter than the Hasidim.
As for the tour: Eleven old ladies got on at Lakewood, but I--and this makes me glad the faithless Mary Ann pulled out--got to sit shotgun the whole time.  For comfort, those park department vans are on a par with a bed of nails, not to mention being packed in like sardines, so sitting in the front was a great luxury.
We went first to Cherry Grove Farm in Princeton (another 45 minutes away) where they make cheese.  We pulled into the spacious grounds and saw the very cows from which they get the milk to make the cheese munching away in a field--so bucolic I could hardly stand it.  We went to the farm store and I bought a few ounces of brie, which incredibly, cost thirteen bucks.  I'll give some to Betty today.
Drove the eight or ten miles to Terhune Orchards, where we picked apples.  I was surprised to find I had picked seven and a half pounds, which set me back twelve-fifty, but I'll share those out, too.
Off to the next stop, the other part of Terhune Orchards, several miles away. They were having a festival, which included all kinds of pumpkins, squash, and apples, of course.  I perked up when I discovered they make wine and, in fact, had a wine tasting barn. Went in and I sampled five different wines at a dollar a pop--each, of course, more like a sip than a swallow.  They tasted wonderful and I bought a bottle of Chardonnay and one of Apple Wine for an outrageous total cost of $35.83.
That last prompted me to add up what I spent yesterday, including the fourteen bucks for the tour itself.  Good grief, it came to more than eighty smackers!
BUT!  I got an extra, unexpected bonus.  After we dropped the others off at Lakewood, Uta asked if I had ever been to Jake's Branch Park, another Ocean County parks system location.  I hadn't and she took me there.
We went into a large and attractive building, took the elevator to the top, and walked out into a breath-taking view of the surrounding pinelands.  It was so high, we could see miles away, even to the Lakehurst airport where the famous Hindenburg dirigible had burned in the thirties.  And all around was the deep green, towering forest, the pinelands, pride of our state.  It was stunning.
Got back to Wells Mills, then home after a lovely day.  The only dark cloud is the fact that my car now stalls whenever I stop, even for a red light.  Hope I can get it down to Italian Gourmet, as I'm to meet Betty and others there for lunch in a few hours.
* Allowing  me to embark here was a special accommodation, as there had been a screw-up by the parks system earlier.  This tour "officially" left from Lakewood.
** Uta's mother was Estonian and barely escaped the Russians during one of their takeovers about seventy years ago.  She got to Germany, met Uta's father, and Uta was born there.  They emigrated to the U.S. when she was an infant and settled in New York City before Uta made her way south in adulthood.  Another fascinating person, of which the world seems to abound.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Cancellation and Various

I was preparing and cooking the latest load of veggies when Mary Ann Van O., called about noon.  She had been enthusiastic about accompanying me to the van tour, but now she was "sick" with "a head infection."
I think she was lying in her teeth.  I had been with her all day Thursday* and she was perfectly well.  She didn't sound sick, act sick, or indicate she felt sick.  I think she just decided she didn't feel like going.  I've had some run-ins with her before and found her to lean toward "Mary Ann first, the rest of the world a distant second," so I'm just as glad she pulled out.  Her conversation is tiresome and her company tedious.  I've gone on a lot of van tours and I'll probably have met some of the people from other areas who will be there today.  I'd just as soon hang out with them, anyway.
Went to Manahawkin on errands, then to Acme.  Did a fair amount of work on the acting course and on The Shadow. Called a rehearsal at my house for Tuesday; I particularly want George and Aline there, as they had been in Sound of Music when we met before. Told Grey, Dayle, and Chuck, who come from a distance, they were welcome, but didn't have to come, but Chuck wrote back that he will, anyway.
Frank-Next-Door is unavailable, too, but will come for the full "program" on the fifth.  Speaking of Frank, that great guy e-mailed me to the effect that it was time to cover the AC.  He covers and uncovers mine every year; a wonderful neighbor.
Must make my lunch and otherwise get ready for the van tour.
* Note from my previous entry that I accommodated her last-minute change for lunch and opera after she called to request it Thursday morning.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Prince Igor and the Farm

Got up to find a message from Mary Ann, asking if I could come for lunch (and the Prince Igor opera) yesterday, instead of Friday, as originally planned.  Agreed, but said I had to leave by 2:45, in order to get up to my friend's, then go to the farm.
Mary Ann served lunch, then we saw the Prince on stage at the Met.  Seemed odd that it differed quite a bit from the film version. Presumably, the latter was jazzed up from the original for audience appeal. I should be embarrassed to say--but I'm not--I like the film one better.  Guess I've just been ruined by Hollywood.
Left at the appointed time, got to my friend's, and we drove up to the farm.  Got our goodies in the barn--carrots, bok choy, chard, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, turnips, peppers, and a few others.  It had rained off and on all day and we decided to eschew the muddy, muddy, horribly muddy fields and not pick.  Drove off and we were back at my friend's by a bit after 5:00.  We divided up the spoils and I took off.
Had the broccoli and eggplant for dinner, then wrote and sent off a few more e-mail messages to my cast for The Shadow.  Hope they can all come for full rehearsal on the fifth and just ours on Tuesday.
I got a darling Halloween card from the precious pumpkin in Tokyo and his parents.  So sweet, an original by Mommy, of course, and one of the cutest ever!