Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happily, I'm out of my slump. Left about 6:30 am to go to the mass for Pat yesterday and was pleased to have friends Mary and Connie come in. Also saw and accepted condolences from Pat B. and Teresa McG. Mary and I went to breakfast, then I stopped back at her house to continue our conversation. After lunch, I went over to Julie L.'s and she, Barb H., and Pat G., and I played Scrabble for a few hours.
Now, I'm not a Scrabble fan. Although I like crossword puzzles and some computer word games, I'm not crazy about playing any game with a group. Not sure why that is; maybe I'm not very competitive. This, however, was mildly fun, mostly because it was just a Scrabble game.
Refreshing. The four of us plan to meet twice a month, alternating houses.
Wider: I was honored to be asked to contribute to one of my favorite pro-peace and progressive blogs. Here's the link for anyone interested:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sandi and Franklin came over and we rehearsed again. Arranged to meet Mary H. for breakfast after the mass this morning at St. James. Other than that, nothing of note happened. Am feeling a little low, but assume that will pass.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dinner with the "Dine Around Crowd" at the Shark's Fin Inn in Forked River last night. It was a pleasant evening, but I'm annoyed with myself for over indulging. Earlier, I was just about to Skype the two in Tokyo when they Skyped me. Hmm...guess "Skype" has become a verb. Well, it is in my family. Talked to sister Betty and daughter Ellen.
I hope to get Pat's clothes donated to the thrift store this morning. For some reason, it seems urgent to me.
Tomorrow, Pat's old friend, Bob E., is having the 7:15 mass at St. James "said" for him (if you're Catholic, you know what that means, if not, doesn't matter) and I'm going to go. Think I'll call somebody down there to see if they want to meet for breakfast.
Wider: The NYTimes has been running a series on women in the military. Yesterday's chronicled the problems of those who have dependent children and are deployed overseas. It seems to me beyond belief that any mother, at any time, for any reason could decide to enlist. For that matter, same goes for any father--any person who swallows the propaganda of government, big business, and--all too often--religion that people should feel a stronger obligation to that unholy alliance than to their children. There were some good comments; here's my rather mild one:
"The ONLY reason for this push to have women fight alongside men in the armed forces is that the ruling class is running out of cannon fodder. They have to have more and more bodies to go to other countries and help in slaughtering other people's children--oops! I mean, "'fight for our freedom.'"
I was struck by another comment that included the horrified cry, "What have we become?"
What indeed? That we "honor" those who kill in our name is bad enough, but to encourage mothers to sacrifice their children's welfare in order to assist in that killing, should prompt that cry from every American.
What have we become?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lovely lunch with Donna yesterday. We went to Debra's Dream Cafe at the Tuckerton Emporium and I had the crab cake sandwich and a pot of tea. Town was jammed with people attending the Decoy Show, but we managed to avoid the traffic by going around it.
Donna then came back to the house and we sat on the porch and talked and talked and talked. Considering the prevalence of remoteness in my husband's family, I wonder if she was left on the doorstep. She's so open and warm and kind--what a neat person.
We talked a lot about Pat's and her mother's (Pat's sister) deaths and incidents surrounding their funerals. After she left, I drove to the cemetery--not sure why--and "visited" the family graves.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Finally got the car transfer accomplished. Met big J. and little J. at the DMV in Manahawkin and it was done by 4:00. The employees there were extraordinarily helpful and friendly--all of them! Geez, we didn't know how to act, it was so far from the usual.
We went to dinner to celebrate--I'm always glad to spend more time with them--and, virtuous me, I got a Caesar salad AND took about two-thirds of it home. It was early when we said goodbye, so I shopped a bit. Got Vivian a foam "haunted graveyard scene" she can assemble and Violet Halloween pajamas with "So Cute It's Scary" on them. However, I may take them back, as it later occurred to me they may be too warm for Singapore.
Looking forward to lunch with Pat's niece Donna today.
Wider: I continue to be amazed at the crap-smashing eloquence of some of our pacifist writers, most prominently Chris Floyd at his "Empire Burlesque" site. Here's just the tiniest teaser from his "Happy Junta Grounds: Militaristic Machavellis Maneuver For More War":
"These days, the always noxious air of the Beltway is astir with the machinations of the military junta that now dominates the gutted and looted ruins of the American republic. Two recent articles provide excellent guides to the brazen Pentagon squeeze play to ensure that the civilian government does not stray from the militarist agenda of more war, all the time, everywhere, always..."
That phrase, "the gutted and looted ruins of the American republic," strikes me as unutterably sad because so horribly true. Look what we've become! We routinely accept the idea of world domination requiring endless war, as advanced by the wacko leaders of the hired killers we call our armed forces. Not only is our financial structure looted, as Floyd notes, but our media, which might have once been at least occasionally inclined to investigate and report the truth, is now an arm of show biz. The country is "gutted," all right, and the populace walks around dazed, unable to understand how things went so wrong. They're the proles and, as good ol' George knew, only if they rise up is there any hope.
How likely is that? Read the book.
Later: Went to WW to find I've lost two pounds for a current weight of 138.2 and an overall loss of 61.4 pounds. I still want to lose at least another eight off to stay within my 125-130 desired range, but am pleased to be on my way.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Went to B.J.'s to stock up, and happened to see Stephen King's new book of short stories, Just Before Sunset--or is it Just After Sunset? I'm too lazy to go into the bedroom to see. Anyway, because I have a sneaking fondness for King (yes, yes, I know I should be reading The Rise And Fall of Western Civilization instead, but I don't wanna), I bought it. Spent a few hours reading it; it's fair, but not up to his best, I'm afraid.
Before dinner, I was at loose ends and feeling low. Started driving and got all the way to route 206--guess that's about 25 miles--before turning back. It's
Oh! I was just interrupted by a very welcome web cam call from Mike. Had a nice chat and saw adorable little girls. We discussed the possibility--maybe probability?--of meeting at Ellen's in California for Christmas. We'll see.
To resume: Got two invitations, the first from Pat's niece, Donna, inviting me to lunch tomorrow, the second from A., asking me for dinner on Sunday. Yay! Accepted both, but will still go to Weight Watchers tomorrow morning.
Wider: Mike mentioned how health care in Singapore has been so stringently tightened that now, tipping the parking valets at the hospital is mandatory. We in the U.S. would certainly not want to be subjected to such cruel treatment of the sick or those who visit them. Of course, in Singapore, all medical procedures are covered in full for all, even for poor people, undeserving though they may be, not having had the foresight to be either physically or financially fit. I understand the care is top notch, often a cut above what's available here--but to have to tip the valet--outrageous!
Wider still: There's a great--and chilling--piece on Robert McNamara and his legacy on today. A snippet:
"...we’ve lost one warmonger (McNamara), but there are plenty more. The U.S. is making exactly the same mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan as it did in Viet Nam. It’s almost a cookie cutter copy. We’re using all this high-tech junk – $200 million fighter planes, $2 billion bombers, etc. – to fight a primitive peasant army on their own ground. It’s exactly the same thing as Viet Nam. I don’t see any significant differences at all.
And just as Viet Nam was a major step closer to bankruptcy for the U.S. back then, what’s happening in Afghanistan and Iraq is the same – but on steroids, because the junk we’re using is much more expensive than it was back then."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm back in hiking mode! Drove almost two hours to Washington Crossing State Park (on the Jersey side) to meet up with fellow hikers and complete an invigorating seven-miler. Under leader Joe H., eight of us trekked next to the Delaware through Titusville, then went into the woods. I found it surprisingly strenuous--the pace was brisk--and so invigorating. It was hot and humid, not ideal for walking, but with blue skies and brilliant sunshine. We carried our lunches and midway, stopped at the Nature Center for a half hour to eat. We met at 10 am and finished at 2:00.
Impulsively decided to drive the ten miles or so to Lambertville to scout out the art gallery owned by my eighth-grade friend, Elva B. I found it, went in, and chatted with Elva for a time. She has wonderful paintings--all what I guess are characterized as "representative," meaning they actually look like what they depict. Wish I had the money to buy one.
Got home about 4:30 and jumped in the shower--boy, did it feel good to wash my hair especially. Dressed and grabbed a light dinner, then went to my acting class.
It's amazing how much so many of the fellow student thespians have improved. We performed our scenes and director Tara closely critiqued, giving all of us good, thoughtful information.
Didn't get home until almost 10:00, but naturally didn't skip my popcorn and wine. Slept like a babe.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Drove to Toms River to the county clerk's office and got the process going for a "surrogate form." I was taken aback to be told they keep our original will and will send me a certified copy instead, but had to surrender to sell the car to J.
Walked around TR for a bit after. It was a beautiful day and there was lots of activity going on--construction, teenagers from a nearby school walking around, office workers bustling from one building to another--and I enjoyed it. Someday, I keep telling myself, I'm going to make a special trip there just to sight see.
I had loaded up the car with Pat's clothes, some books, and a box of DVDs to drop off at the thrift store in Manahawkin. To my dismay, they've suspended donations because they have too much stock. Went to the one in Tuckerton and was told the same. Transferred them back to the guest room.
Sandi and Franklin came over at 2:00 and we rehearsed our scene a few times. I think Sandi has improved a lot. I'll take the wheelchair to acting class tonight.
This morning, if all goes well, I'll be back in the hiking mode. Will go 6-7 miles with the Outdoor Club along the canal in Titusville. It's been a long time since I was free to walk and I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Enjoyed lunch with Dottie K. at The Anchorage in Somers Point. I had a Cobb salad, half of which I took home and ate for dinner. After I dropped her off, I took a check for the balance of the funeral cost to George's and ran a few more errands. It was after 4:00 by the time I got home.
Earlier, the Comcast guy came to switch the phone. I was a tad annoyed that he didn't show up until almost 11:00 (and I wanted to leave by then) and since it took him a half hour, I just had time to pick up Dottie at noon. He also tracked mud into the study; I'll use a spot cleaner on that.
I was in bed when SIL Regina called at 9:15 to tell me her dissatisfaction with Visiting Physicians of South Jersey. I had highly recommended the outfit, so was somewhat embarrassed about it. I hope they become more responsive.
I hope to take Pat's clothes to the thrift store this morning, then drive to Toms River to get the car title problem cleared up.
Wider: The opening of Chris Floyd's "Bad Medicine: The Terror War's 'Public Option'" in his Empire Burlesque:
"As Barack Obama continues his noble struggle to reform the wreck of America's health care system by forcing millions of people to pay billions of dollars to the very insurance companies who wrecked America's health care system – continuing his winning policy of reforming the wreck of America's financial system by giving trillions of dollars to the scamsters who wrecked America's financial system -- his soldiers in the good and necessary war of good necessity in Afghanistan have been implementing their own reforms to health care practices in their "host" country."
He goes on to tell about the American army's demand that a Swedish hospital turn over any of the wounded the Americans think are "insurgents" so they can decide if they should be treated or not.
Ho-hum, so what else is new? When you adopt imperialistic ways, there are all kinds of results and ramifications, including denying medical care to other human beings.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Went to "Sunday At The Opera" yesterday, which is run by my friend, Mary Ann Van O. at our clubhouse. It was Verdi's Aida, with Placido Domingo. As with most operas I've seen, it included spectacular sets, wonderful costumes (overweight people could learn a lot by studying the styling tricks used to disguise excess poundage), and a sappy story line. I'm sure the singing was superb, too, but being a musical illiterate, that part went right over my head. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it a lot, as I have other operas. It's the pageantry, I guess.
Mary Ann's friend, Lynne, was there. She was widowed 18 months ago, so we have that in common (gulp!), but I've met her before and liked her even before I joined that club. She told me she'll be visiting her nephew today. He has severe diabetes, so I offered to give her Pat's diabetes stuff. She was delighted, came back to the house with me, and I gave her the stuff, including several vials of insulin. I have the idea it's illegal to give it away--God forbid the pharmaceutical companies are cut out of their blood money--so okay, officer, put on the cuffs. I did it and I'm glad.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Susan lent me "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and I watched about an hour of it. It may not be the worst movie ever made, but it comes close.
In a lazy--or defiant--mood (watching television in the daytime seems to me the very definition of either decadence or moronic zoombie-ism), I then put in "The Departed," which I had seen for the first time in the actual movies. It's full of murder, mayhem, and naughty words, but also of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Marc Wahlberg, three of my favorites, and boy, it's great! Watched the whole thing.
Other than that, nothing much going on.
I could not dig: I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?
--Rudyard Kipling
Yes, poetry. May all our politicians dread the reckoning.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yesterday turned out great. Finished thank-you noting (42 of them) and various other chores, then welcomed J. with little T. and his friend N. with her 2 1/2 year old, R. I'm "selling" (for a dollar) Pat's car to J. and had gotten the title out of the safe deposit box. I was assured I just had to sign it over, but when we got to Motor Vehicle in Manahawkin, I discovered it was in Pat's name only.
Darn! I know we had intended to have everything in both our names, but guess we just never got around to adding mine. Now I have to get a "surrogate form" by going all the way to Manahawkin, and presenting our original will, a copy of the death certificate, AND a blank check, because it costs $100 for a 2-page, plus $5 for each additional page. May the state of New Jersey sink into the Atlantic and take all its bureaucrats with it. turned out to be great fun because we all went to lunch at the Horizon diner--I love diners--and with the two little guys and J. in a good mood, and the fact that I like N. more and more--well, it was so good.
Not so good is my food diary, which this blog, once in the far past, was supposed to be about. I had a wrap--not so bad--but later was at loose ends, started chowing down on Ritz crackers and peanut butter, then went out after to Absecon for a hot fudge sundae.
Dum, de, dum dum. Well, I'll go to WW after our walk and let them assess the damage.
Later: The WW news is very bad. I'm up another two pounds for a current weight of 140.2. That's FIFTEEN pounds over my lowest of 125. Five plus plus eight...nine plus...okay, I'll stop. Must concentrate on the positive: I've still lost a lot of weight, but hey, I've got to get serious and regain my--no, not the weight, but my momentum. Back to the sensible regime, Mimi, and let's see you back to your best!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Did something yesterday I've never done before in my life: I went to the movies by myself. Drove over to Hamilton Mall to get more thank-you notes, and had lunch there. Stopped at the cemetery on the way back to ask why Pat's grave isn't marked temporarily. Caretaker Dominick said the funeral service is supposed to provide a marker, and will ask George. I knew Julia & Julie was showing at the Tilton, so impulsively decided to go. Loved it--Meryl is beyond wonderful--and was pleasantly aware that I can do this for any subsequent shows I want to see.
A. came to take me to dinner at 5:00, so it was a very pleasant day all around.
Wider: In the sterling Anti-War. Com, Tom Engelhardt asks "Is America Hooked On War?" His dismal answer seems to be "yes," as he presents a well-reasoned argument for the affirmative. The whole article should be read, but here's one of his observations:
"Because the United States does not look like a militarized country, it’s hard for Americans to grasp that Washington is a war capital, that the United States is a war state, that it garrisons much of the planet, and that the norm for us is to be at war somewhere at any moment."
Yep, it's just business as usual to bomb and plunder around the globe--the American way, after all.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Had acting class last night and my fellow students and I performed our assigned scenes for each other. My co-actor, Sandi, is away, so I had to do it with a stand-in. I play an irritable, bitchy old lady (hey, type-casting!) and it went well. I thought there were varying degrees of competence by the other students, some of whom have never acted anywhere before. Director Tara asked us to go deeper and to probe into the "beats"--meaning something recognizing hidden levels when they occur--of the script. She wants her students to grasp the underlying emotion behind the words of actions of the characters.
What an eye-opener! I thought I had the whole thing pretty tied up, but under Tara's tutelage, realized I hadn't delved into the underlying emotional content so much as skimmed the obvious surface. I find the class absorbing and am serious about getting as good as I can as an actor.
I took with me a neighbor of mine who had expressed great interest in the theatre company and asked me to take her to the class. Before we went, I had reservations about her participation, as she's so insecure and is somewhat of the loose cannon persuasion, but I took her. After the class, she still seemed to have no idea of what the whole thing was about. Maybe the title of "Acting Workshop" would give most people a clue, but it seems to have eluded her. Dollars to doughnuts, she won't continue--just as well, I guess.
Wider: William Pfaff, in a strong piece on Truthdig.Com, observes that all presidents need a war to call their own, Obama's being Afghanistan. Pfaff ends with this:
"I think the American government now has become institutionally a war government, which finds its purpose in waging war against small and troublesome countries and peoples, in the generalized pursuit of running the world for the world’s own good. In this effort, one war is pretty much like another, and every president, to be re-elected, needs one."
Boy, just what we need, "a war government." And that could be revised to to "a perpetual war government." Yipee.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Well, I mangled and mischaracterized the quote on my September 13 entry below. It's actually from the literary commentator, Samuel Johnson, recorded by Boswell in his famous bio of Johnson:
"I told him I had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where I had heard a woman preach. Johnson: 'Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.'"
Yesterday, I visited the cemetery to clarify the bill and also got the cards of three local "monument" (tombstone) makers. Visited two of them and, as I suspected, am looking at another cost of well over a thou. Thought it would be a melancholy business, but actually, found it fairly pleasant.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spent most of yesterday morning on the phone with Comcast, Allstate, and the other black-hearted pirates we allow to run our lives. It's pointless to go into detail, but the ordeal included missed connections, non-English speakers, and the usual reasons to just drop everything and move to Morocco.
All was forgotten, though, during a delightful lunch with Peg. We talked and talked and talked, then I followed her to her house. It's in a gated community, quite large, and has a lovely, flower-filled deck. There's an interesting layout, which includes the two bedrooms being in the front, so both master and guest are nicely private.
Stopped in Manahawkin after to get four big mums, cottage cheese, and more note cards. Today, I'm going to the cemetery; I need to straighten out some questions about the burial plot.
Wider: Jeff Huber, on Anti-War.Com, has a terrific piece called "Death By Bananastan," the last meaning, he says, "Pakistan and Afghanistan, our banana republic-style quagmire in Central Asia."
"It is just another example of how the Pentagon and its supporters (like Max Boot and the rest of the neocon punditry) are entrenching themselves as deeply into Bananastan as they are able while the country is distracted by the economy, health insurance reform, and the opening of the NFL’s regular season."
Wider On A Different Topic: A great letter on healthcare was featured in The Press of Atlantic City yesterday, by good friend and neighbor, Dennis R. Here's the link:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sandi showed up yesterday to rehearse, but Franklin didn't. There was some mix-up in communications, but no harm done, I guess. We'll met again on Wednesday, although Sandi will be away then. I promised neighbor Judy K. I'd pick her up, as she wants to join the acting class, too.
Got a troubling phone call from the daughter of my cousin, Bob F., from California. Karen had run her Dad's phone messages--there were 32 of them!--and wanted to be sure he had called me back. He had, and had extended his condolences, but I told her I was concerned at his evident confusion. Unfortunately, she told me, he seems to be slipping away. He's sleeping a lot and is eating too little.
Got a cheerier web call from Ellen, who got a new camera and sent me pics of her re-decorated house. Boy, it's great--looks brand new. I love the colors she picked for the walls, plus the new carpet. Can't wait to see it, which I hope will be before too long.
Meeting Peg for lunch at Hearthside today.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It was fun to see the show "Calendar Girls," last night, with senior citizen ladies hoofing away in and out of unison. The oldest, I understand, is 86. It kind of reminded me of what I read somewhere; can't remember the exact quote, but here's a paraphrase: "It was like seeing a pig ice-skating. The wonder wasn't that it was done well, but that it was done at all."
Saw a lot of people I hadn't since the funeral or before and felt ambiguous about the attention and expressions of condolence. In a way it made me feel warm and cared-about, but also somewhat isolated and "different." When I got home, I had a message from Barb D., inviting me to breakfast this morning. Of course, I accepted, but will be very, very careful about what I order. I'm expecting my acting class mates over at 2:00 and we'll start going over our scene from "Patio/Porch."
Wider: The show last night ended with the ensemble singing "Let There Be Peace On Earth." I wonder what, if anything, that actually means to those who sing it. Do they still consider themselves "patriotic?" Do they swell with pride at the sight of Old Glory whipping in the breeze? Do any of them think, say, of the recent NATO air strike in Afghanistan? Chris Floyd did yesterday in his blog "Empire Burlesque." He includes a cheery little quote from one of the villagers, a father, after he and his neighbors found it difficult to identify their incinerated loved ones: "I took some flesh home and called it my son."
Let there be carnage on earth.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Had a delightful dinner with Vivian last night--at Spiaggia e Luna in Barnegat. The name means "Beach Under The Moon," which strikes me as charming. I had fresh broiled lobster for the first time in years and it was great. Brought a bottle of pinot gregio, which we managed to polish off, and it was a wonderful evening.
Even better, I had a web cam call from the other Vivian. Adorable five-year-old thanked me for the elegant gift I recently sent her--a plastic cat that poops jelly beans--and I had a good time interacting with her and little Violet.
Earlier, I enjoyed phone visits with sister Betty, cousin Marifran, Ellen, and a few others. Wrote several more of the mountain of thank-you notes I intend to send and ran a few errands.
Tonight, I'm going with Susan and Walter to the clubhouse to see "Calendar Girls," a show with senior citizen dancers.
Later: Went back to Weight Watchers for the first time since August 15. Okay, here's the old "good news, bad news" thing: I'm up only .6 since then, almost a month ago--not too shabby, considering I've been eating without restraint. The bad news? I'm a full--gulp!--thirteen pounds heavier than I was at my lowest, which was 125. Yes, folks, I weigh 138 and oh, yes, folks, this has to be reversed and right away. Will continue to report honestly, even though it hurts.
I could excuse myself for blowing up like a balloon, considering recent events, but you know what? That wouldn't make the slightest difference to the hard science of too many calories equals too much weight, so I won't. To be continued...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Drove to Vineland--a fair distance, especially with my cockamamie directions from Google--to visit Pat's brother, Bill, in the hospital. He's in the cardiac unit; unfortunately, he's had a "bad heart" as it used to be scientifically called, for years. His wife, Regina, and daughter, Tish, were there and we had a pleasant time together. I brought some of the older pictures from the ones my children assembled to display at the funeral and Bill enjoyed them. Some were of a long-ago family picnic at Atsion Lake and we had fun trying to identify the babies who are now grandparents. My oldest was a year old then and of course, so many of those pictured have gone to that great perpetual picnic in the sky--or something.
I didn't get home until almost 6:00, but on the way, I reflected that it really didn't matter. There wasn't anyone waiting for me to make dinner or dispense medications.
Was awakened this morning by a terrific thunderstorm, with rain pelting the windows, and high winds. Hope it goes away by this evening, as I'm meeting friend Viv for dinner in Barnegat.
Wider: Here's a reassuring headline from Truthdig.Com:
"Insurance Stocks Rise After Obama Speech"
Well, thank heavens! I was afraid the poor healthcare insurance companies would be caught by the general mistrust--not to mention murderous rage--against them and would suffer losses. No such thing, though--whew!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Busy and enjoyable day yesterday. Went to Suzanne M.'s in Mt. Laurel to have lunch at her place with sister Betty and Helen C. Said goodbye to Betty, who's on her way back to California today. Got home after five and just had a cauliflower for dinner.*
Had my first acting class last night. Tara led the class of about twelve. Jane and I improvised a scene involving a valise and various objects, then we were assigned a "director" and did it over. We were also given short two-person scenes to rehearse and present next week. I play "Dot," an irritable old lady--hey, that's art imitating life--and Sandi, who lives nearby, plays my daughter. Considering the fact she's certainly less than 10 years younger than I am, it's a stretch, but okay.
Was asked to play Mz. Leeds, mother of the Jersey Devil, in the murder mystery show, and accepted with pleasure. Unfortunately, it looks as if the place we were going to have it wants to wait until April. Too bad, as it would be perfect right before Halloween.
Got a call from brother Larry inviting me to come to Florida for his and his huge family's annual Disney World trip. However, I may go to California, or possibly Singapore, so declined, but said I'd like to go after the first of the year.
Was frustrated when I got a "chat" message on Facebook from dear Delaware friend, Lynne C. because I don't know how to respond. Hope she'll fill me in and I hope we can meet for lunch soon, too.
* Well, Suzanne served a wonderful lunch of Salad Nicoise (that may not be the way to spell it; it's pronounced "Salad Knee-shwah"), using salmon instead of tuna, and I ate every scrap. Also had several glasses of white wine and dessert of angel food cake, berries, and whipped cream, so didn't want to add calories for dinner. Incidentally, I ate the entire whole head of steamed cauliflower--when I comes to veggies, I'm insatiable.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Weather continues dark and dreary. Went to B.J.'s and on a few more errands. Just read and poked around the rest of the day. Got a phone call from Dennis R. in the evening, asking if I needed or wanted anything. What wonderful friends and neighbors! In fact, I said I'd like to return Leslie's dish, which had contained a great bread pudding with brandy, and I went over after dinner. Enjoyed talking with them for 45 minutes or so. We think alike on the anti-war (pro peace) issue--one of the few--and deplored the fact the movement seems to have dropped dead, especially in our area.
Was pleased to be offered the role of Mz. Leeds in "Death at Old Barney, our murder mystery show on October 29. I accepted and must now start learning the lines.
Wider: Justin Raimondo, at Anti-War.Com, perfectly describes the craziness in which we now live:
"Google News has lately taken to labeling’s new articles, including this column, as "satire." To take one particularly unfortunate example, an article* by Fred Reed on the furor over the photo of Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard’s tragic death in Afghanistan was so classified on the Google search engine. This, I believe, is proof positive of what I call the Bizarro Effect, a direct result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. What happened was this: the sheer force of the explosion as those planes hit the World Trade Center and slammed into the Pentagon forced us into an alternate dimension where up is down, news is entertainment, and a rational critique of U.S. foreign policy is considered sheer amusement. Here in Bizarro World, everything is upended: not only our morals, but our grasp of reality, and, indeed, the concept of reality itself. "
And so on.
* I referred to this article in yesterday's entry.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Stayed over at A.'s Sunday night after a little gathering she had. Left early and got home about 11:00 am on Labor Day. It was overcast and I was content to just sit and read most of the day. Heard from brother Frank, sister Betty, and friends Marge and Peggy. Peg and I made a date for lunch on Monday.
Wider: In today's NYTimes, there's an article about the layoffs and belt-tightening now affecting schools:
That was the very subject of my conversation yesterday with daughter Ellen, a third-grade teacher in California. She and her colleagues have much larger classes this year than they had before and are doing without aides, as well as some in-class equipment. Guess we need the money we could have spent on education to slaughter people in other countries. Apply the billions for war to making children literate? Oh, hell no, what kind of un-American talk is that?
Wider Still: I had to add the following link, which MUST be read. Fred Reed is crude, brash, and often disagreeable--but here, he speaks the truth.

Monday, September 07, 2009

More about Pat's death, courtesy of my obsessive need to tell about it:
The rain had stopped by the time we got to the cemetery and it wasn't even terribly humid. The priest said the words and we added one of the few nontraditional activities I wanted: "Irish Dirt." George had gotten this at some kind of funeral directors' convention; it's a fairly large green container with authentic soil from Ireland, according to the info on the package. A. had put some in a round bowl and great-grandson J. held it as each person took a pinch and dropped it on the coffin along with a flower.
Wonderfully, as we glanced away from his grave, we saw a tiny frog perched on a nearby tombstone. An omen or some kind of mystical "sign"? Oh, no, I don't think so, but it was a pleasant reminder that the earth has riches and that my husband is now part of them.
Back at the house, we welcomed a big crowd; I'm so glad we had it here rather than at a restaurant. Everybody moved around, chatting and laughing with relief, and eating the good food provided by friends, as well as the Sacco subs we served, courtesy of Mike. It got warm and sunny and some sat on the front porch. People slowly trickled out after a few hours and only my children were left.
In a strange way, it was a good and satisying few days. So many attendees remarked on the simple beauty of the funeral, family and friends gathered to support me, and I believe Pat will be remembered for many years.
Daughter Ellen had to leave on Sunday, and after sons, DIL, and I took her to the airport, we went to Atlantic City. We (foolishly) gambled a bit, showed N. some of the sights, and ate in Margate. The next day, we met A., hiked at Batsto State Forest, then had lunch at a Mexican restaruant in Hammonton. The boys and N. left on Tuesday morning.
I've gone back to the cemetery three days since then, to get flowers to perserve and ribbons to save (but why? To what purpose?), then with sister Betty on the anniversary of her son's death.
There's more to record about all this, but I'll just do it as the spirit moves me. Overall, I still have such a feeling of unreality, as if the people around me suddenly started walking on the ceiling. I assume that will pass.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

My children are incredibly energetic and inventive. Under the direction of Mike, they spent hours transforming my sadly neglected flower beds all around the house into weedless, nicely trimmed, and newly-mulched perfection. After we rejected a number of restaurants for lunch after the funeral, we decided to have it at home and they bought disposable tableware, more food, and other necessities. We went to "The Rain Florist" and ordered a long spray from me for the back of the coffin, and individual baskets from the others.
Five friend/neighbor couples had descended on us on Tuesday with a array of casseroles, salads, rolls, cold cuts, sides, and desserts. We ate some and were able to freeze most of the rest to serve on Saturday.
An incredible number of cards and notes came in and are continuing with each mail; I cherish every one of them. Also, we received a number of beautiful flowers, plants, and gift baskets that still grace the house.
Appropriately, I guess, it poured rain on Saturday as we drove to Ventnor. I thought that would keep people away, but the church was packed. People from every phase of Pat's life were there--guys and gals from his first grade years, from his old Ventnor neighborhood, from high school and after, from Ewing where we lived 41 years, from our good group of newer friends. So many relatives came--not only my sister and brothers, but many of my nieces, nephews, and others. Pat's brother, Bill, is the only survivor of their family and at 84 and ailing, he was unable to be there, but his wife and all four of his children came. We had people from California, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Vermont, and North Caroline, not to mention, of course, Tokyo and Singapore.
The mass itself was lovely, celebrated by a friend of daughter A.'s and with the eulogy by my brother, Larry, who goes back almost to babyhood with Pat.
More later...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

For some reason, I have a need to record at least some of the events of the last two weeks:
At about 6:40 am on Saturday, August 22, I received a call from the nurse at Atlanticare Hospital to tell me I should come because Pat seemed "tired." I was already up and dressed, in preparation for my 7 am walk, and I immediately left for the hospital. I knew already he had died and when I walked into his room, the doctor and nurse were there, and confirmed it. I called my daughters in California--the older one visiting the younger. My cell phone doesn't call overseas, so I asked to use the regular phone and reversed the charges to call older son in Tokyo. Called the younger in Singapore, but the nanny said he and DIl were out for dinner. It seems mobile phones won't accept collect calls, so I had a dilemma. Finally, a lovely young nurse with the exquisite name of "Apple Solomon"--she's Filipino, so I don't know where that name came from--lent me her calling card. My final call was to George Wimberg, funeral director, fellow St. James graduate, and long-time friend. (I often say you can't die in Ventnor without George.)
SIL Mike and grandson, Joel, along with the two precious little boys, came down to be with me on Saturday. Older daughter got home the next day and we went to see George to pick out the coffin, settle particulars, and perform all the chores that seem so odd and, at the same time, so ordinary, necessary, and right.
Yes, yes, theoretically, our funeral customs are needless, bizarre, and ruinously expensive, but you know what? I didn't want him incinerated, sifted into an urn, then packed away like out-of-season clothes. I wanted an old-fashioned funeral and burial and a place where I can visit and plant flowers. I'm familiar with Laurel Memorial Cemetery where Pat's parents and sisters are buried, as well as my twin's family, and that's where I wanted him.
Our sons arrived from Asia and younger daughter from Ventura, and we picked out a plot in the relatively new "couples" section. That concept strikes me as droll and hysterically funny, but it pleases me to think he'll be there and so will I. There are gay couples (judging from the loving wording on the stone), as well as family groups, and it's a nice, tree-bordered spot, albeit a little too near a public road. In addition, there's often horrendous jet noise from NAFAC across the way, but then I guess the people buried there don't mind.
More later...

Friday, September 04, 2009

Just in case anybody thinks I've lost my sass, I'm citing this from the Tom Dispatch blog:
"It sounds like the plot for the latest summer horror movie. Imagine, for a moment, that George W. Bush had been allowed a third term as president, had run and had won or stolen it, and that we were all now living (and dying) through it... There’s Dubya now, still rewriting laws via signing statements. Still creating and destroying laws with executive orders. And still violating laws at his whim. Imagine Bush continuing his policy of extraordinary rendition, sending prisoners off to other countries with grim interrogation reputations to be held and tortured. I can even picture him formalizing his policy of preventive detention, sprucing it up with some 'due process' even as he permanently removes habeas corpus from our culture."
In this brilliant essay, "Bush's Third Term? You're Living It." the author, David Swanson, points to the horrific continuity in Obama's administration. The whole piece must be read at

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I plan to resume this blog in a few days or next week.