Saturday, February 28, 2009

Podiatrist came and gave me new instructions: I'm to soak Pat's feet in salted water, dry them with my hair, then wrap gauze around his infected toe. Okay, one of those directions is bogus.
Aside from that riveting news, all is bumping along normally ("the new normal," as we say in Wellspouse). It was a gorgeous, spring-like day, but I was in most of the time.
Called Jean C., the lady to whom I bring the library books, and made a date to stop in on Tuesday. Will get her some books first.
Enjoyed a web call from Mike and adorable Vivian. Incredibly, Violet is walking--at seven months! Mike holds on to her hands, but he doesn't just move her around--it's clear she's actually walking herself. Loved to see her laugh and coo--what a sweetie-pie.
Wider: The Press of Atlantic City reported on Obama's speech yesterday, and published a rundown on the proposed budget. Health and Human Services, for one, would receive 78.7 billion; Education 46.7, transportation 72.5. The largest piece was for Social Security: 695 billion. Next was the chunk for the Department of Death and Destruction: 533.7 billion. (Of course, politicians, being good little Orwellians, now call that department "Defense.")
What do you want to bet the pundits will sooner or later deplore SS spending as ruinously expensive and speeding the economy's rush to oblivion? And what will you bet the silence will be deafening about the "Defense" budget?
Yep, in Washington, there's a much bigger priority on slaughtering children than on supporting older people.
Later: Am back from Weight Watchers. Up .2, which translates into roughly 3 ounces, certainly inconsequential, but combined with the .8 rise last week, that means a current weight of 129. I'm still at a total loss of 70.6, but would definitely like to get back to 125. (Am I obsessive? Yes, but I have to be. Paraphrase: think of me as Scarlett when she clutched the carrots and vowed to heaven: "I'll never be tubby again!").

Friday, February 27, 2009

Same old, lame old, tame old stuff yesterday. Getting SO tired of winter, although it was fairly mild and sunny yesterday. Pat's been getting up earlier, around 10:30 lately. That means I'm not free to go out except before that or after about 2:00, and then I usually don't want to. Okay, I'll quit whining.
Nephew Steve J. e-mailed me an enthralling paper entitled "The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness," by the director of the "Research Laboratory of the Training School at Vineland, New Jersey, for Feeble-Minded Girls and Boys." I read some of it and printed it all out to peruse at my leisure. It's funny and sad, but also very interesting. I'm of the mind that heredity is too often overlooked or discounted by non-medical people, especially when it comes to intelligence and personal characteristics. After all, if height, color of hair, and so on, are generally accepted as genetic, why not one's ability to make friends? Or write legibly? Or mumble? Or tendency to aggression? Or whatever?
In fact, Steve and his friend in L.A. have written a horror film about the family; hope it gets picked up by a movie studio or T.V. producer.
Wider: An obvious--and ominous--truth by Justin Raimondo, at Anti-War.Com, in his "The Silence of the Liberals":
"Antiwar voters who cast their ballots for Obama have succeeded in rolling the stone all the way up a rather steep hill, only to see it fall down the other side – and we are right back where we started. The next hill is called Afghanistan, and beyond that is yet another: Pakistan."
And More: Ever hear of Diego Garcia? Neither had I until I read this:
http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5120
It's not a person, but an island--and just another comma in our great saga of imperialism.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Last session of our Monologue Workshop was last night. I know I did well in my presentation, as I was assured by the director and others. In fact, all five participants improved greatly. I'm looking forward to participating in the Tuckerton Seaport presentation in April--assuming, of course, that my life circumstances allow it. In my next life, I want to come back as an actress.
Frank Next Door stayed here with Pat and they watched a hockey game together. I wonder what it's like to be able to simply go somewhere without forethought and preparation.
In the morning, I dropped donations off at the thrift store and got a few things at B.J.'s.--Pat still asleep when I got home.
Wider: Chris Floyd, at "Empire Burlesque" comments in his usual intelligent style on what many hopefuls believe is Obama's promise to withdraw troops in Iraq--while leaving 50,000 there for various, trumped up reasons. In fact, Floyd believes he lies and points out that his expressed intention...
:...entrenches the United States more and more deeply in a "counter-insurgency" war on behalf of whichever clique or faction of sectarian parties in Iraq is the most effective in adhering to America's dominationist agenda in the region. It sends an apparently endless stream of American troops to die -- and, in even greater numbers, to kill -- in a criminal action that has helped bankrupt our own country while sending waves of violent instability and extremism around the world. It will further enfilth a cesspool of corruption and war profiteering that has already reached staggering, world-historical proportions."
But gee, Floyd is such a cynic! He should quit all the whining about political lies and treachery. We know the Dear Leader was the anti-war candidate; that's why so many voted for him. So he's gotta be the anti-war president, right? Stands to reason.
Now leave me alone and let me go back to sleep.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn..."
Those exquisite lines are from "Ode To A Nightingale," by John Keats. What poignancy is contained in the three words, "sick for home!" Aren't we all sometimes sick for home after we reach adulthood?
Okay, this is a little diversion. I love poetry, especially the three Williams: Shakespeare, Blake and Butler Yeats, plus, of course, Emily. I like Tennyson ("Nature red in tooth and claw") and Housman ("I cheer a dead man's sweetheart/Never ask me whose"), and lots of others. Strangely, Whitman usually leaves me cold, although I have a sneaking fondness for Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her hubby.
This was brought on by the facts that 1. I'm trying to find the origin of "Alone and afraid in a world I never made," a perfect, it seems to me, depiction of the present state of so many Americans; and 2. Nothing went on around here yesterday of the slightest interest to anyone.
Wider: Note this gem from Obama's speech last night:
"The eyes of all people in all nations are once again upon us — watching to see what we do with this moment, waiting for us to lead.”
Since when?! This is a perfect example of the incredible arrogance of our "leaders"--the certain, absolutely assured idea, rooted in sanctimonious concrete, that we were designated (by God, I assume) to lead the world. Therefore, whatever we do is for the world's own good, no matter if we murder their children, raze their cities, and make their lives hell.
Talk about exceptionalism--nobody can touch us in that arena.
Nothing much going on. Went out to do chores in the afternoon, stayed in rest of day. Continued to enjoy Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It's remarkable--and demoralizing--how our food has changed in my lifetime, thanks to Corporate America and its insatiable appitite for profits. Everybody can tell the difference between sweet, juicy, homegrown tomatoes and the hard red balls sold in the supermarket, but, as Kingsolving points out, this difference is evident in a lot of other vegetables, too. I think it's even relevant to desserts. I don't make cakes often, but when I do, they're from scratch; same with pies and various other desserts: apple crisp, rice and bread puddings, and so on. It's sad to realize that some children have never tasted "real veggies," homemade baked goods, or hamburgers that aren't flat, dry, "pre-formed" disks.
Wider: From today's NYTIMES, in an article about U.S. aid to Gaza. Here it's explained that the present administration, like the last, will funnel the dough through other than governmental organizations:
"The United States considers Hamas a terrorist organization, and the Bush administration refused to have any formal dealings with the group."
This must belong in the Beyond Belief Department. Doesn't our entire imperialist rationale rest on instilling democracy and free elections in other countries (whether they want it or not)? Wasn't Hamas democratically elected? Doesn't the sun come up in the...
Oh, quit being such a nit-picker, Mimi.

Monday, February 23, 2009

After our walk, I didn't venture out of the house all day. It was a grey day anyway (you could make a song out of that!) and I did the usual chores. After Pat was up, breakfasted, and dressed, I actually sat on the couch with a book--unusual for me during the day. I'm simutaneously reading John Adams, a bio of Gene Kelly, and the book Susan's daughter lent me, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. The last is similar to the Michael Pollan books I like so much and I'm enjoying it.
Chatted with sister Betty in the morning and "visited" daughter Ellen after dinner. Was pleased to see Tillie's feeding tube is out and she's back to her perky former self.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Managed to get to Manahawkin early and go to WW, pick up my prescription sunglasses, get groceries, and duplicate the pictures of Pat's family my SIL sent. Will send to all four children. Other than that, domestic chores were the order of the day.
I continue to hone my monologue for the Acting Workshop. Decided to emphasize the idea of poor "Maurya" going from rage against fate, to deep sorrow, to helpless resignation after losing six sons to the sea. Hope this is what Desi had in mind in his direction--he purposely wasn't too clear and wanted me to work it out on my own.
Wider: An essay worth reading by C.J. Maloney appears in Lew Rockwell.Com. It's called "Grasping At Flotsam" and starts with this gem:
"Despite never having been much for political participation of any sort, there I was this past presidential Election Day, accompanied by my wife, throwing my vote down a Third Party’s hopeless maw. In my mind, voting is to politics as pro-wrestling is to sports: an amusing farce, enlivened with empty boasts and the occasional skull-cracking chair."
Love that phrase about throwing your vote down the "hopeless maw" of a third party. It's just what I did, too, after the Biden selection. That was more than a clue, it meant the game was up and we could all just forget the anti-war dream. How "liberals" can continue to blindly believe in O. is beyond me.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Picked up Susan for our walk and she gave me a book on food her daughter, Julie, thought I might enjoy. How very nice of her--Julie is a self-employed caterer in Connecticut, although business, like so many in the lousy economy, is very slow. Will e-mail her my thanks.
Right after I got back, P. and N. cam-called, finally back at their place. I'm glad they'll have time to sleep and rest after their long journey.
The podiatrist, Dr. Z., came yesterday and did a nice job on Pat's feet. Seems a nice fellow and will visit again in two weeks.
Mike and his precious little girls cam-called in the evening and we had a nice chat and look-see. (Somehow, that semi-literate expression, "look-see," reminds me of a fast-talking guy in the forties.)
Wider: Read it and weep department; an article in the NYTimes this morning informs us:
"WASHINGTON — With two missile strikes over the past week, the Obama administration has expanded the covert war run by the Central Intelligence Agency inside Pakistan, attacking a militant network seeking to topple the Pakistani government....Members of Pakistani tribes offered funeral prayers on Feb. 15 for victims of an American missile attack in the North Waziristan region, near the Afghan border."
What, what!?! How can this be justified? Oh, I forgot: It doesn't have to be, because Americans do the work of God almighty, in fact, ARE gods themselves and we don't need the other one telling us to love our neighbors, suffer the little children, and all that old stuff.
Later: Went to WW. Am up eight tenths of a pound, but that's okay. I remain at 128, having lost an even 70 pounds altogether. Would still like to be back down to 125, but 3 over isn't bad.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Got back to "normal" ("the new normal," as we in Wellspouse say) yesterday. Did a lot of wash, re-made the guest room, and generally kept busy. Talked to sister Betty, Marge, A., and called SIL Regina to thank her for some great pictures she sent. These are of Pat's family, of which we have so few; they include pics of his mother as a young girl. It shows her with her brother, both of them wearing medallions to indicate they had won a dance contest. It isn't clear if Pat's father had been a later partner--that's what I was told, but the picture of him shows a young, attractive guy in a navy uniform--this was during the FIRST world war, kids. There are also two pictures of Pat's uncles, including Hugh, for whom he was named. What treasures! I'm going to enlarge and duplicate them and give them to each of our children.
It was nostalgia day all around: Nephew Wes put a wonderful home movie on YouTube. Much of it is of P.'s third birthday party and here are A. as a baby in the playpen, brother Larry and family, former neighbors and kids, Mom and Aunt Maggie--and Pat and me, so unbelievably young, thin, and careless of our good fortune in being alive. Here's the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMFvbzGIQTs
The mystery of time passing is one that's always haunted me. How could I be in my present state of decrepitude (actually, I may look like a 90-year-old, but I believe I'm in pretty good shape), yet also be that perky, laughing, happy young married with the two babies and the handsome, healthy husband?
Speaking of perky, I was amused by my figure in those far-off days. Not only did I have a 21-inch waist, but my pointy boobs were a sight to behold. As I remarked to Wes, they were bought, not homemade...
Wider: Here's the link to an enthralling "Frontline" show on health care in several countries. I was particularly interested in the piece on Japan's system. What a contrast to our craven approach!
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Late blogging today because I had to take P. and N. to the Philly airport this morning--sob! We left at 5:00 am and got there in plenty of time: about 6:29 for the 9:00 flight to Chicago. There were tears, of course, on my end--I wish so much they could come more often and stay longer--but I consider us lucky that they were here twice in six months.
We mostly stuck around home yesterday. I went to my acting class (actually, "Monologue Workshop") and was a little piqued at Desi's suggestions, but in thinking about it, decided he's right. Will incorporate his ideas into my presentation for next week, our last meeting.
Stopped at Santori's for produce on my way home, and at the Shop-Rite in Galloway, so am well stocked with veggie goodies. Decided to make Pat a hamburger and oven fries for dinner and bought the meat; will eat very light myself, as I overdid last night when I got home.
Have had only about four hours sleep, as I turned in late, was awakened when Pat came to bed, then got up at 4:15 No matter, I'll make it up later.
Wider: Here's an ominous message from Anti-War. Com:
"President Obama's air strikes on Pakistan show that the Bush administration's mistakes in the Middle East are far from being corrected – indeed, they are being pursued even more forcefully. Our perpetual "war on terrorism" continues and is about to go into overdrive…For the past eight years, America's reckless militarism has led only to disaster, and we're very much afraid that Iraq was only the beginning. Obama is sending more troops to Afghanistan, and the U.S. military is making almost daily forays into neighboring Pakistan – a policy that is sure to spread this rapidly escalating and futile war."
The writer goes on to mention that Pakistan is the only middle eastern nation that really has nuclear weapons. Oh, great, now we'll be sure to bomb them into hatred of the U.S., so we can set our children up for the horrors to come.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We got Pat to the dermatologist yesterday, but even with P. and N. helping, it was an ordeal. We were told--I knew this couldn't be otherwise--that the lesions on his ears would have to be excised either by the M.O.H.S. procedure, necessitating staying in the office for 4 to 8 hours, or by radiation and daily hospital visits for fifteen consecutive days. I don't see how Pat can possibly do either.
Besides that, what looks like a bubble or blister on his left ear is either because the earlier excision didn't completely take and it's growing again or there's a new squamous cell cancer there. Either way, we'd have to make at least one visit to a plastic surgeon, then another for the procedure, then follow-up--. I don't see how he can possibly do it.
Pat was so exhausted when we got home that he immediately fell asleep in his chair. I shed a few tears--what a bitch this is for him and for me. It was such a help to have P. and N. here, but they're leaving tomorrow. I know we can count on A. to do anything she can, but it still rests on Pat. Soon, I'm going to consult with my children about hospice care.
Wider: From a piece by Robert Anderson in "Lew Rockwell.Com":
"We are reminded of Ludwig von Mises’ observation that the history of government intervention is the repetitive saga of how governments step into a crisis that they have themselves created earlier by misguided policies. The unfortunate cycle of interventions always results in producing opposite or worse results from those the interventionists intended."
And yesterday, Obama announced the passage of the "stimulus" package. But read this from "The Daily Burkeman1" blog:
"It should be painfully obvious to all of us by now. No one in power has a clue of what is going on or what to do. Obama’s “stimulus” bill is seen by nearly every non government employed or DC dependent economist as a total disaster that will do more harm than good."
I'm afraid them's my sentiments exactly...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our guests went back up to the old homestead yesterday, so P. could show N. where he grew up. After, they went to Popcorn Park Zoo and saw all the rescued animals, which N. loves.
A. came after school (it was Presidents' Day, but they started late, so it was in session) and she and I went for a walk of about 3 miles. Very cold, but a good workout. When we got back, P. and N. were here. I had bought salmon and made a fresh loaf of banana bread. I served that, along with scrapple* and eggs for Pat. This was topped off with three-fourths of a cherry pie Susan brought over, so we had a nice, satisfying--if over-caloried--dinner.
We'll take Pat to the dermatologist this afternoon. Hope we can somehow get the new lesions treated without great difficulty, but I doubt very much if that's going to be possible.
*The Spellcheck doesn't recognize "scrapple!" It wants me to write "scruple"--ha! Must be all those effete snobs from the Bay area, not good 'ol Philly guys and gals.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Went to "Love Letters," the play by our Little Egg Theatre Company at the Community Center yesterday. It's simply a man and woman sitting at separate desks on-stage, reading letters to each other, exchanged over a 50+ year period. The man was played by our good friend and next-door neighbor, Frank D., and I went with Ray and Barb, next-door neighbors on the other side. Susan joined us there.
What fun to be away and enjoying myself without worrying about what's going on at home! P. and N. stayed with Pat, who was watching a hockey game anyway, and everything was fine.
P. made a delicious catfish "stew," with his usual various components. I don't know where he learned how to put ingredients together so well, but I had two bowls.
Web cammed with Ellen and we had a good chat. She talked to P. and N., also. Tillie is greatly improved, eating on her own, and should get her feeding tube out shortly.
P. and N. are going to the Popcorn Park Zoo today, then up to Ewing where we used to live. A. will come for dinner and Donna, Pat's niece, may, also; I'll call her.
So good to have my children here.
Wider: From William Astore's "American Foreign Legion":
"Now would be a good time for President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to begin to reclaim that military for its proper purpose: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Now would be a good time to ask exactly why, and for whom, our troops are currently fighting and dying in the urban jungles of Iraq and the hostile hills of Afghanistan."
But the whole thing should be read; here's the link:
http://tomdispatch.com/post/175034/william_astore_whose_military_is_it_anyway_

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We had "a fun day," as the kids used to say and the birthday party was so good. Nephew Stephen arrived first, about 2:00 and he, Pat, and I had a good chat. Just after, Susan brought over an "extra" Boston cream pie and Pat and Steve polished off a slice each along with a cup of tea.
Steve hadn't been here before and he liked the house. He and I walked to the clubhouse (one of the few sights to see in our little community) and had a good talk.
The rest of the gang came later, A. with her delicious scalloped potatoes, and Joel and Jen with precious little Tristan and friend Jason, whom we were happy to see. Joelly was at a birthday party, so didn't make ours--oh, the social life of a six-year-old.
We were sorry that Donna was unable to come. She had called earlier and, unfortunately, had a fever and sore throat. We may see her tomorrow, though.
The food was great, if I immodestly say it myself. I barbecued ribs in two crock pots and a vegetarian pasta dish in another. Also served the casserole I make often: eggplant, fresh tomatoes, and onions with Italian seasoning. The scalloped potatoes, a big salad, and banana bread completed the meal, along with, naturally, the mocha chocolate birthday cake I made. We all got a laugh out of the fact it was "misshapen" (I had been in tears over that when I took it out of the oven), but hey, everybody loved it as the weird configuration didn't affect the taste.
After dinner, Pat opened his presents. He got a lot of nice stuff, including a spiffy black lambs wool sweater from our darling daughter-in-law's parents and a wooden bird feeder from Jason. Mike called just to wish his Dad a good one. He called not on the web cam, but on the phone, as he and Paula had stayed overnight at a new hotel.
A fine day, with all the components of my favorite times: good food, a child or two to run around messing up the house (and Tristan's a pro!), and first, last, and foremost, of course, the company of those I love.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Life is wonderful and mysterious! Yesterday, we saw the video N. brought of the "Sports Day" at her elementary school 18 years ago. Here was tall, pretty, ten-year-old N., winning a race and laughing with her school mates. Later, we saw her feeding a mother bird from her balcony in Tokyo--then her sadness when it flew away with the babies.
Now, ten thousand miles and eighteen years away from that familiar neighborhood, N.'s husband and his parents are watching a child who never dreamed--as we never dreamed--of meeting an American teacher and becoming his wife.
I made a chocolate cake, but it came out horribly. Tastes good, but is both flat and misshapen. Pat, P., and N. assured me I could camouflage it with icing, but I think it's going to be horrible. Well, I'll try.
Got to Motor Vehicle in Northfield and P. passed the written test--after glancing at the book he had gotten only a few hours before. He got a learner's permit, but may not be here to take the road test.
After, we went to a pet store in Manahawkin, P. driving, then home where P. made a delicious meal--a kind of stew with mahi-mahi, tomatoes, other vegetables, and spices.
Got a web cam call from the Singapore side of the family and enjoyed seeing Vivian, Violet,and the rest of the crew. Vivian is getting a tad jealous of her little sister, but she'll get over it. She's used to her parents' undivided attention and can't understand the oohing and aahing over Violent.
Nice yesterday and I'm looking forward to the party today.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Back to normal hours, I guess, so I'm writing at 6:10 am. Enjoyed yesterday a lot, although when we went to Motor Vehicle, it was closed for Lincoln's birthday. Will go back today.
Pat's cousin, Joe, called from Jacksonville to wish him a happy. More cards came in
P. and N. will come with Susan and me for our mile and a half walk--a mere few steps for them, as they're experienced hikers.
Must get ready for the party tomorrow. Will pick up a few things at the store, make the cake, and decide if I want to use the disposable plates and utensils left over from our anniversary party.
So good to be with our older son and his sweet wife.
Wider: This, from Arthur Silber on his "Once Upon A Time" blog, seems to me to state the full magnitude of our decline:
"This amalgamation of major business interests with state power, this system of oligopoly and governance of, by and for the ruling class, has metastasized beyond imagining since the Progressive era. It has expanded in every direction and subsumed virtually every industry and business in America, large and small."
Yes. And we're screwed.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

We picked up P. and N. in Philly last night after their plane was delayed three hours in Chicago. Was able to get to my acting workshop and did my monologue pretty well. Director Desi asked me to perform it when the Little Egg Theatre Company presents a sea-themed show at the Tuckerton Seaport in April. I'm very flattered and agreed--assuming, of course, our circumstances allow it.
Didn't get back to our house until almost midnight; slept late. Was too busy to make an entry here until now, at 5 pm.
What a delight to have our oldest and his beautiful bride here! We went to the supermarket and P. cleaned up the computer in various ways. N. then presented me with a precious gift: A beautifully executed scrapbook with pictures of her as a baby, child, and teenager and finally, as a young married. It's exquisitely designed and decorated and something I'll cherish forever.
Lots of cards, packages, and phone calls coming in for Pat's birthday. It was actually yesterday (Feb. 11), but we'll celebrate on Saturday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

As ever, had a neat time at the Wellspouse meeting last night. Actually, it's a "meeting" only in the sense that a group of people meet together and have dinner; there's no real agenda.
The big news is that we'll be meeting in a different restaurant from here in--and that's fine with me, considering the food is lousy at the Empire diner.
As I'm the only person on the east coast who likes liver and onions, and I never cook it at home, I ordered that. I was asked how I wanted it cooked and I said "rare." What I got was a mess of over-cooked cardboard, of which I ate only a few mouthfuls--terrible! I brought it back to a waitress and said it was inedible and I didn't want to pay for it. Of course, she asked if I wanted another platter, but we were almost finished eating and I said I'd fill up on the salad bar instead. Later, they had the nerve to charge me $15 instead of $20, although the salad bar goes with the dinner!
Oh well, the hell with it. I only regret not enjoying some yummy liver.
Wider: I was stunned to read that the "economic stimulus plan," supposedly meant to create jobs and spur economic growth, includes $1 billion in funding for nuclear weapons! Is there no end to the duplicity of the scum of the earth, our elected leaders? This rancid pork, no doubt the repayment of favors (read "campaign funding") to the death-dealing manufacturers, is a perfect example of why I see no reason even to vote. All the pious propaganda about "your vote matters," "one vote can change the (insert one: 'town, state, country, world')," etc., is bullcrap of the purest ray serene. We have no chance to influence the outcome of this bill or any other action of government and we might as well give up trying.
Later: I'm happy to say I just got a message from Rev. Moore of the Coalition for Peace and Justice to the effect that the nuclear weapons funding was NOT included in the stimulus bill. I'm so glad.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More cleaning, followed by an eye doctor appointment late in the day. Pat's brother, Bill, called and the only two left of a family of nine chatted warmly together. Got the official word from my nephew, Steve's, wife that he's coming east for Pat's birthday party on Saturday. It then occurred to me to invite Pat's niece; I did and she accepted with pleasure. We're now up to 12 people for dinner--10 adults and two kiddies--but that's fine. I do think I should add to the menu, though, and will consider additions.
Going to the monthly Wellspouse dinner in Freehold tonight. That's always an enjoyable affair and I'm looking forward to it. Naturally, I have coverage for Pat--"a family member," as she wants to be called on this blog.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Continued being a virtuous little wifie by cleaning the Corian countertops in the kitchen, vacuuming here and there, and generally sprucing the place up. Took an hour to go to Acme on a glorious spring-like day. Talked to Ellen on the web cam. Was pleased to hear nephew Steve from Pasadena will come for Pat's birthday party (family only this time) on Saturday.
Wider: I think the evil twins, corporate America and government, have gotten together again to raise gas prices. Ours are up to $2.73 a gallon and wasn't it just a few weeks ago I paid $2.47? It was, I did, and that's 26 cents a gallon higher. Combined with the loss of jobs, soaring health care costs (if you're lucky enough to have health care), I don't know how working families can manage, not to mention older people who don't have the cushions some of us do. But, hey, Bush and Cheney and their mob are livin' high on the hog, so no worry... (And see yesterday's entry for Larry Summers' words about "entitlement" programs. The pompous jerk.)
Second rant about corporate America: I HATE COMCAST! I watch television for only about 45 minutes a day from 8 pm until I leave to read in bed. My husband, however, being home bound and unable to do much else, watches television much of the day. Very noticeably and unarguably, the volume has recently started going up by several decibels during commercials--which now, of course, sometimes total nine or ten per interval; I've actually counted that many. It is infuriating that, without viewer consent or control, the jerks have the right to turn up the sound. And I'm not talking subtlety here--the volume is ratcheted WAY up. We pay $107 a month to this lousy company to get cable and the Internet--we have Verizon for the phone--and how dare the arrogant bastards just arbitrarily decide to take over the volume on our television?
May they rot in their own electrons!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Good, productive day. I went through several of the kitchen cabinets and drawers, discarding stuff I no longer use and cleaning as I went. Did other domestic stuff. Found my potato masher and the small sharp knife I thought I had lost. Used both to pare, then mash potatoes the old-fashioned way for Pat.
Precious Vivian called and we had a great time. She showed me some school work, a stuffed animal and other toys, then insisted on getting into her bathing suit, cap, and goggles to "show Nana." She also demonstrated a Rubik cube, which she said was her brother's. "Your brother's?" I asked; to my knowledge, she only has a sister. Vivian then told me calmly that "Harry" is her " 'maginary brother." What a bright, beautiful, inventive little girl she is!
Also saw Paula (who just received a nice promotion at the design firm where she works), darling Violet, and Vicky, their former nanny, who has come back to be with them--happy day! (Long story, that, which I won't go into.)
Wider: Pat watched Pearl Harbor, which, if I'm not mistaken, was a candidate for several awards, the most notable being "Worse Movie Ever Made." For hammy, boring, over-the-top cliche-ridden crap, it can hardly be beat. Pat and I saw it years ago in the movie theatre (sigh--imagine being able to go to the movies with your husband) and believe me, it hasn't improved since. It should probably also have won in the "interminable" category--it seemed to go on all day. As I passed through the living room, I'd glance at it and, of course, I could hear it from all over the house.
It put me in mind of the era when the U.S. was at war with "the Japs." They were characterized as mean, slant-eyed little people, with their strange language, outlandish dress, and slavish devotion to the emperor. Of course, it's absolutely necessary for the populace to believe the "enemy" is sub-human, otherwise, they might rebel against murdering them. Now I have a lovely, talented, intelligent Japanese daughter-in-law and another whose mother was Japanese. In a few years, our current "enemy" (but who are they and why are they enemies?) will be rehabilitated and some other humans will be "the enemy."
I must keep referring to 1984, because Orwell was so eerily prescient. The "enemy" keeps changing and Oceania is at war with Eurasia--Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Left a carload at the thrift store in Manahawkin, then stopped at BJ's for a few things. Pat got up when I woke him at 11:30 and I was able to get him fed, dressed, and settled before I left for our lunch date.
We had a great time. Besides the birthday girl, Julie, and me, there was Iris, Mary, Mary Ann, and Mary Jo (yes, a preponderance of Marys). We ate at Deborah's Dream Cafe in the Tuckerton Emporium and oh, yum. I had a scrumptious crab cake sandwich and hot tea, but skipped dessert. Three of my companions regaled us with descriptions of their coming cruises and cross-country trips. They don't know how lucky they are...sigh.
Got home about 3:00 and did a wash, made a big salad and otherwise occupied myself.
Wider: In case anybody is still wondering how "neutral" the "news" is, take a look at this from "comcast.net." (I have to use the quote marks to emphasize the falsehood that Comcast has even a nodding acquaintance with "news," rather than propaganda.)
The story (as in fairy tale) with the headline "Obama Considering At Least 2 Iraq Withdrawal Plans" includes this gem:
"The fact that Obama did not immediately order his generals to begin withdrawing--as some might have expected, given his emphasis during the campaign on refocusing the U.S. military on Afghanistan--is evidence that he recognized even before assuming office the dangers of precipitous withdrawal."
What a crock! This is nothing but propaganda vomited out by the government, then swallowed and regurgitated by the journalistic whore who wrote it. That's a pretty disgusting image, but not nearly as disgusting as acting as apologist without even attempting to pretend otherwise for the lying warmongers who must have Comcast in their back pockets. There's no attribution here, such as "Biden said" or "according to sources," or even "it is believed." Instead, Obama is given a free pass to delay any withdrawal of the murderous gang in Iraq and people are led to believe the "danger" isn't just an opinion, but a solid fact.
But geez, this isn't even the most blatant example of the corruption of the "news." The only "news" I trust is on some the blogs I follow, and I don't automatically agree with everything or blindly assume their integrity, either.
But at least I know they're not whores.

Friday, February 06, 2009

What a feeling of accomplishment! I spent several hours clearing out the closet in the guest room and moving the children's toys to the other side. My whole back seat is loaded with things I'm going to take down to the thrift store and the trash container is half filled with the precious artifacts I couldn't part with for years. I still have plenty of stuff, but this has galvanized me and I want to continue my clean-out, throw-out rampage before I lose my momentum.
Got a lovely note from darling Vivian, along with passport pictures of her, baby sister, Mommy, and Dad. Mike included two calendars, one from Singapore Air and the other from the Mandarin Oriental--both are unique and beautiful.
Today, four friends and I are taking Julie L. to lunch for her birthday. It will be tricky getting Pat up at 11:00, then settling him in by 12:30, but he agreed I can go. I made Julie a card, and composed a verse, each line of which starts with the first letter of her name. I used to do this a lot and it's a fun challenge, as it must scan correctly, too. This turned out pretty good, starting with
J oin in the celebration
U nder these balloons,
L et's all sing the birthday song,
I t's a merry tune.
E verybody sing out now...
And so on, through her last name.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Low-key, but not a bad day yesterday. P. and N. called on the web cam, always an enjoyable event. P. said he'll "clean up" my computer when he's here in six more days--yay!--and I have a few other electronic chores for him.
A wondrous occurrence: I glanced out the dining room window at about five o'clock and there, eating the few grains of overflow from the bird feeder, was Bambi's mother. She raised her head and we stared at each other for several seconds, then she bounded away across the back yard. What a nice surprise! And this morning, Susan and I saw a number of deer tracks in the snow across several lawns. Nice.
The acting workshop last night was absorbing. Under our director's--well, direction, we enlarged on our presentations and added to them. I'll have to miss next week if I go with Alison to the airport, and am sorry about that.
Wider: This, from Stan Warford, at Anti-War.Com, is mind-boggling:
"The suicide rate for Iraq war veterans is twice the rate of nonveterans. At the time of this writing, more Iraq veterans have died by taking their own lives than have been killed in battle."
The full article, though is not about suicide, but about "The Christian And War" from a talk faculty member Warford (unfortunate name!) presented at Pepperdine University. In it, he argues that true Christians may not participate in, or support war.
Mr. Warford brings up a question I've been pondering for years: How can those who call themselves religious--maybe especially Christians, who say they follow Jesus--either accept or actively promote war? That includes, of course, Catholics and fundamentalists who are so vehement about abortion ("murdering innocents"), yet seem okay with slaughtering children in other countries. I've never been able to understand that.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

We got about three inches of snow--I think. Luckily, it didn't start until after our walk and I stayed snug in the house the rest of the day. Doesn't look as if it stuck to the sidewalk or street, but I'll have to check.
I made rice pudding, as Pat likes it so much. Never made it before, but got the recipe off a blog called "Joy the baker" and had all the ingredients. It takes a lot of stirring over heat, but turned out pretty good, although a lot firmer than what you buy. Think I'll look for another recipe that seems "looser." Pat liked it, though, so it was a success. While I was cooking and stirring, had a long talk with sister Betty. All seems well on the left coast.
Wider: Quoted by Norman Solomon in his "Why Are We Still At War" on Anti-War.Com:
"Early on, the writer Joan Didion saw the blotting of the horizon and said so: 'We had seen, most importantly, the insistent use of Sept. 11 to justify the reconception of America's correct role in the world as one of initiating and waging virtually perpetual war.'
"There, in one sentence, an essayist and novelist had captured the essence of a historical moment that vast numbers of journalists had refused to recognize – or, at least, had refused to publicly acknowledge. Didion put to shame the array of self-important and widely lauded journalists at the likes of the New York Times, the Washington Post, PBS, and National Public Radio."
Yes--yes! That covers it, that's it, and we ignore that simple truth at our peril. But of course, "our peril" is inconsequential as long as we can foist peril onto others, always and forever.
And the following is just too delicious not to quote, considering what you might call the secular worship of our dear leader . From the blog "The Last Ditch":
"Attaching oneself to the cause of some pol — who, let's face it, is just a character on TV for 99 percent of voters — is a species of what I like to call "statish thinking." Try using a similar kind of cognition when doing business at Friendly Sam's Pre-owned Auto Paradise. You'll wind up helping Friendly Sam — with $10,000 of your money straining his pocket — push your newly purchased junker off the lot." [Nicholas Strakon]
Can't help but chuckle at that one.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Was able to get to Home Depot for the furnace filters, then stopped at BJ's. Found frozen chicken strips that I'm hoping Pat will like. Somebody was offering samples and they tasted great--very tender and moist.
Ray came over about 12:30, after calling first. He stayed 45 minutes or so, chatting with Pat at the kitchen table. I'm sure he thought Pat was finishing lunch, but it was actually breakfast. He brought Pat a lottery ticket, good for five thou. Well, good if you win, that is, which he didn't. Pat enjoyed his visit. however. Ray is a neat guy.
I really dislike Comcast's latest e-mail "improvements." It takes more "clicks" to get to the inbox and it's much more laborious to delete messages, unless I'm missing something. Similarly to the much-publicized change to digital T.V., it's more complicated, it takes longer, and there seems to be no reason for the change except to benefit the corporation. (So what else is new?)
Wider: There's a very long article by Chalmers Johnson about the stupendous and crippling over-spending by the Department of "Defense" (read "War" or "Aggression") and how it got that way. It's mind-boggling and needs to be read:
http://www.tomdispatch.com/

Monday, February 02, 2009

Better yesterday, not because of any particular change in activities, but because it was so balmy out. Must have been in the high sixties, and sunny. The weather always affects my mood; I hate dark, overcast skies and love intense sun. Goes to show how primitive my persona actually is, I guess.
Got a call from Ray and Barb, who insisted on cutting us big hunks of sub, as we won't be at their Super Bowl party. Walked down there and became melancholy remembering what fun we used to have at their gatherings. Took two big slices only to hear from Pat, "I hate subs." How could I have forgotten? Made him soup and tuna sandwich for casual, Super Bowl dinner. Sat down with him to watch the game with meatless, non-Oriental kind of stir fry with "crumbles," asparagus, tomatoes, and mushrooms--very tasty. However, before the kickoff, got Ellen's weekly call, got back to her her on the web cam, and we had a good long talk.
Coming out of my slump.
Wider: The following, by David Cay Johnston, is quoted in "A Tiny Revolution." It's mind-boggling.
"From 1950 to 1970, for example, for every additional dollar earned by the bottom 90 percent, those in the top 0.01 percent earned an additional $162, according to the Times analysis. From 1990 to 2002, for every extra dollar earned by those in the bottom 90 percent, each taxpayer at the top brought in an extra $18,000."
I can barely understand that. Being a mathmatical illiterate, I'm trying to figure out if it means the ultra-rich are EIGHTEEN THOUSAND TIMES richer than the poor. If so, how is that possible? Incredible.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

High point of Saturday was Dennis calling to remind me to get a new filter for the furnace so he can install it. Otherwise, just nothing going on. Very bored. Anxious for spring.
Wider: "Truthdig" has a very provocative article by Robert Fisk called "When Did We Stop Caring About Civilian Deaths?" He writes:
"I wonder if we are “normalising” war. It’s not just that Israel has yet again got away with the killing of hundreds of children in Gaza...we seem to have lost the sense of immorality that should accompany conflict and violence. The BBC’s refusal to handle an advertisement for Palestinian aid was highly instructive. It was the BBC’s “impartiality” that might be called into question. In other words, the protection of an institution was more important than the lives of children. War was a spectator sport whose careful monitoring – rather like a football match, even though the Middle East is a bloody tragedy – assumed precedence over human suffering."
But see the whole article at http://www.truthdig.com/