Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lunch And BAM

After a two-day hiatus, I walked with Susan--chilly, but not windy. Called for my mammogram prescription (the hip call it a "script," but damn, I've been given plenty of scripts and they're for getting you on stage, not medical nonsense) and picked it up in the afternoon.
A pleasanter pickup: Aline, at 1:00, and we went over to Fran Z.'s, who lives near her, so I could give her my five bucks for the flea market space.  She invited us in and the three of us chatted away. I like her a lot and suspect she'll be a new friend.
I had a coupon ($3 off for two lunches) for Longhorn, so suggested we go there.  Neither of us had been and it proved to be a good find.  Not too expensive, either.  We then went to BAM! ("Books A Million" and don't ask me what the exclamation point is for), and were there browsing for about two hours.
I confess I got antsy--I have a low tolerance for boredom--and I find Aline exceedingly slow in every way except mentally.  But she's a dear friend and boon companion, so I hid my impatience, as I always try to do with her.
By the time we left, it was after 4:00 and I had promised we'd go to the library when we got back to Little Egg.  We did after I picked up my Rx.  My friend, Pat, had recommended The Book Thief, and I put it on reserve.  Aline went on the computer, and we both browsed a bit.
Dropped her off about 6:00 after we made a date to go today (Wednesday) back to the Maritime Museum, as I want to buy Inferno At Sea from the co-author and owner of the museum.
Later: I looked on the site and found it isn't open today.  I'll call Aline and suggest we go instead to the Noyes Museum in Galloway, where she's never been.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Slow-Pokey And The God King

Somewhat of a slow-pokey day.  I'm not sure why, but I didn't feel tiptop--very vague; seemed to have sort of a mild tummy ache, combined with ennui, which overcomes me once in a while.  Lolled around a lot and again, had problems with the graphics on this machine.  However, I fixed them.
I did have two pleasant experiences.  For one, I perked up later in the day and sought out Kelly, the branch manager of Little Egg Library to tell her about the NJ Maritime Museum and she's interested in having the owner, Deb, give a presentation.  Another librarian, Arlene, with whom I chatted, said she thought Deb had won a lot of money in the lottery. Interesting.
The second: I called "Fran," about getting a space for a community-wide flea market on May 10, which is only five bucks. I found that she lives in Mystic Shores and knows Aline.  We had a nice chat and I'm looking forward to meeting her for real.
Judy K. called to say this month's Dine Around theme is the Titanic. She asked me to wear something in keeping and you know, I think I'll haul out my mourning costume, gussie it up a little, and go as one of the--well, survivor or not?  We'll see.  
Just saw new pics and video of my younger grandson, now seven months old. Such fun to see how he's learning and growing--and what a good-natured baby he is!  Love to (at least) be able to see him electronically.  Come to think of it, I haven't seen my other grandson and his gang for some time.  Happily, we'll be visiting them next month.
WIDER:  From Chris Floyd's "Empire Burlesque" at
http://www.chris-floyd.com/:
"Meanwhile, the beat goes on. On Monday, the Peace Prize Laureate launched his third drone strike in Yemen in as many days. (It is of course superfluous to point out that the United States is not at war with Yemen.) The latest strike followed one on Easter Sunday, when Barack Obama celebrated the Resurrection of his Lord and Saviour by killing 30 people in Yemen, by the usual courageous method of having an underling in a padded chair somewhere thousands of miles away courageously push a button while courageously viewing a video screen."
And from your humble correspondent, Mimi:
I know so many who worship at the shrine of Obama.  Nothing--nothing!--he could ever do will make them pull off the blinders.  He can kill around the globe, here, there, and everywhere, without needing stated evidence, indictments, trials, a chance for the targeted to defend themselves--without anything but his sole discretion, and he can never, ever be held to account. We'd better get used to it: He's the God King.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter

Hey, it was a nice Easter.  Arrived up north about 2:30 and my friend and I took a walk, then she, her guy, and Mimi drove the 45 minutes or so to Rancocas.
D. and B. L. have lived in their house for 45 years--since they were married--and it's one of those oddly chopped-up two stories that look something like a one story.  Lots of stuff here and there and a beautifully restored grand piano in the living room.  Attending, besides the host and hostess and the three of us, were their daughter, her husband (my son-in-law's son) and their two children, 11 and 9; also, their son and his lady friend, plus her twenty-year-old son.  Yes, a lot of guys.
It was quite a spread: a big ham and a turkey, roasted and sweet potatoes, white rolls and cornbread, beets, peas and carrots, and a multitude of sides.  I brought my crystal pickles, which always make a hit and yesterday was no exception.  The L.'s don't serve alcohol, but boy, do they serve dessert.  There was a peanut butter pie--not one of my favorites--a "blueberryish" concoction, which I tried, and it was peculiar--and two kinds of ice cream, along with chocolate and butterscotch syrup.
B. got a kick out of the walking, singing, lighting-up chicken I brought her and I was given two pots of narcissus (tiny daffodils)--one from my friend--and a container of mums.  We took a neat picture on the front porch of the whole group, then a gag one, with all of us with our backs turned.  Got home a bit after 9:00...
I was just interrupted by a delightful Google + call (Skype seemed to be in a mood) Singapore from Mike and the two precious little girls in Singapore.  Paula is travelling in Indonesia and Vickie, the nanny, has been called home to the Philippines due to a family emergency, so Mike has charge of them until tomorrow--gee, what a burden, I hope he can bear up.  He told 9-year-old Vivian to put Violet, 5, to bed and she did, like a good little substitute Mommy. So sweet and they're such beautiful, bright, and creative little girls.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Reviewer Training

Another busy, but very enjoyable day: Picked Aline up at 10:15--early--for the twelve noon reviewers' orientation, but we managed to be late, anyway.
I had gotten directions--no, "directions"--from both Google and Mapquest and they screwed me up royally.  There's no point in enumerating all the problems for me driving to a destination 62 miles away, but--well, we were late.
When we finally got there, it was good.  (I did, however, have to squelch a burning desire to kick whoever decided the day before a major holiday, with lots of traffic, was a good time to have people travel across state.  Okay, simmer down, Mimi.)  With a power point presentation and a printed packet (love alliteration!), we were introduced to play reviewing for the New Jersey Association of Community Theatres (NJACT).
The idea is to have two trained reviewers attend shows by amateur companies (Equity productions can not be reviewed) and, from the information submitted, the organization presents Perry Awards to the winners of each category.  These include not only acting, but direction, set design, choreography, costumes, and many others.   Should be fun, aside from getting to each venue, that is.
We were back in Little Egg by 4:30 and Aline suggested dinner at the Chinese restaurant near the lake--her treat.  I happily accepted and had pork with string beans, of which I took half home.
Didn't get in until almost 8:00, then had a Skype call from adorable K., the little jumping jack--so squirmy he's getting!--whose Daddy said had just been talking to his Aunt Ellen.  I called same and we had a good talk; she's looking forward to Spring Break, starting tomorrow.  I talked to her sister also, and will be with her today, so was contacted by all four of my faithful, ever devoted children.
Oh, wait, you say, that's only three?  But I'm sure the errant child will repent and get in touch for this major holiday, so I can say "Happy Easter" to his precious little girls.  Even though they're flying back from Japan to Singapore?  Well, sure.    

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Maritime Museum

I had asked Aline if she'd like to go to old Bordentown (Victorian houses, little shops, very historic) yesterday, but because it was cloudy and cold, I suggested we defer it and I looked for something else.  Put "New Jersey museums" in the search engine and I stumbled over the Maritime Museum on Long Beach Island.
Now, I'm no fan of maritime history, lover of the sea though I am, but I thought it was worth a look, so--after an expensive lunch at one of the fancy and cutthroat eateries on the island (hamburgers were fifteen bucks), we found the place across from the bay.
What a treasure!  It's incredible, starting with the fact that it's free of charge.  Without going into an enormous amount of detail, I can say it entails records--written, in photos, and via electronic, artifacts--of what seems to be practically every shipwreck off the New Jersey coast, as well as other Jersey shore-related events, up and down the whole coast.  There are vast stores of information on the Morro Castle fire, the Texas Tower disaster, and a trove of other Atlantic Ocean/New Jersey related topics. The artifacts on display just boggle the imagination. They include vintage photos, uniforms, newspaper articles, dishes and personal possessions from sunken ships, life savers and vests, DVDs and a multitude of other items. There's a whole section on deep sea diving, one devoted to Absecon Island and Atlantic City, another on WW II, and so on and on.  There's a lending library, Internet access, and "a complete set of USLSS annual reports from 1876 and 1915," whatever that is.  All this is arranged with great intelligence and imagination in what looks like a converted house, but is clearly pretty newly built.
When we walked in, we looked for a place to pay admission, but there isn't any--it's free.  There's also free single-serve coffee and incredibly, we were each given a number of DVDs gratis.  I received twelve, including "Shark Attack, 1916" and "the Lucy Evelyn."  This was after we met the owners--aside from three other visitors, the only people there--Deb Whitcraft,* a former Beach Haven mayor, and Jim Vogel, whom she introduced as her  husband. 
Without stretching this out too long (hey, that never bothered you before, Mimi), I can say we stayed until after 4:00, talking with Deb, who's been collecting for 42 years.  I'm going to ask Kelly, the Little Egg library manager, if she'd like to arrange for Deb to present there.  Will also do a piece for The Breeze, June issue.    
Everything in this remarkable place is arranged and presented with great intelligence and imagination--we loved it! We'll be back often, that's a cinch, and would highly recommend it to others.
Got a call from Betty and we had a nice chat.  Today, Aline and I are going up to Mercer Community College for orientation as NJPerry Award reviewers for the theatre company.  You can be sure I'm going to submit a requisition to LETCO for mileage; this one trip alone will total 130 miles and, of course, I'll be driving when we travel to shows.

* I was charmed to read on her card that Deb is also a "wedding officiant."  Presumably, she performs ceremonies on the beach, at sea, and--for all I know--as the ship goes down.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Roebling

The van tour yesterday was to Roebling, NJ, a fascinating place for a variety of reasons.  Our usual quartet went: Susan, Barb, Pat, and me, and I drove.  The van left from Tip Seaman Park, right here in Little Egg, which was unusual and much more convenient for us.
If I was the retrospective type--oh, that's right, I am!--I'd say Roebling illustrates the long, sad history of labor in this country.  It had been a thriving company town, thanks to John A. Roebling, who came here from Germany to establish his steel and wire mill in Trenton, then this hamlet (in 1904), which would carry on his name.
Thousands of workers, many from Hungary, the Czech Republic, and other eastern European countries, worked in the huge, twenty-acre facility.  In its heyday, the mill belched smoke, was exceedingly noisy, and naturally, dominated the town.
Roebling built brick homes for the workers: fairly modest, but decent, row houses for the laborers; larger, semi-detached homes for skilled tradesmen; and very large, quite impressive singles on the river for managers and department heads. I was fascinated to learn that, no matter the size, the homes contained only one bathroom.  And were the workers up in arms because of this?  Oh, no, they were thrilled by the fact that indoor bathrooms took the places of outhouses.
The museum--which had been the gatehouse when the mill was active--was modest, but interesting, and we had a competent docent, "Roy," as guide.  We learned that the mill was started in 1904, thrived for many years, had close ties with the nearby Trenton plant, and was sold by descendants in 1952.  Little by little, steel jobs went overseas--the reasons why are too long and involved to go into here, and the mill closed for good in 1974, putting an end to the dream of a decent living for those who relied on it.  Here's a good, succinct account of the town of Roebling:  
http://www.capitalcentury.com/1905.html
As for the trip itself, we endured the usual crammed-in-like-sardines van.  We had been scheduled to eat our lunches in the museum, but there was some mix up about that.  Therefore, we parked on the street next at the river.  It was exceedingly cold and windy, but I couldn't stand to stay in the van, so a few others and I went out to have lunch on the benches.  Brr--!
Got home an hour later than we were supposed to, but that was okay.  Went to the library after dinner and was pleased to have Aline come in.  We had a nice talk--she's been away for several days and I missed her--and made a date to go back up to Mercer County today, at my suggestion.  We'll tour Bordentown, also an historic place in this very historic state.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Accomplishments And Chickens

Wowee, I got a lot accomplished yesterday.  Went through the folders on my desk, weeded out paperwork, and re-organized.  Did the same with this year's receipts, assembling them into proper categories, and placing in large envelopes which I then put in the large rattan boxes in the study.  
Oh, that sounds simple and easy enough, a matter of mere minutes, right?  Ha!   It took me all morning and I still have plenty to do.  In between, I cut up several pounds of broccoli and put it to simmering in the slow cooker, along with canola oil, garlic, and seasonings.
I had a yen for chicken, so went to Acme, looking for leg quarters.  They had none, just breasts, so I drove up to Shop-Rite.  It was a madhouse, so crowded I could barely make it to the meat department, but I got the chicken, and escaped with my life.
That was the real chicken.  Stopped at K-Mart and bought--is my head on straight?--a fluffy pretend one that sings "Easter Parade," moves its head, and walks.  Rather than bring the lady who's having us for dinner on Sunday, mundane daffodils or tulips--she's pretty hefty and I wanted to spare her from having to plant them or feeling guilty if she didn't--I thought this would be fun. The kids will like it, too.  Hey, I like it.  
Put the chicken--not the fluffy one--in the oven to roast as soon as I got home, firmed up plans with Susan and Barbara for today's van tour, and called Linda K., at Rider, to ask about the info on life insurance I received in the mail.  I had forgotten, but she reminded me that, as a retiree, I'm insured for five thou.  I wrote my four children about it and now, I guess, will have to watch my back.