Friday, April 30, 2010

Was pleased to receive web cam calls from both sons in the morning. Mike called from Sydney, where he's been for two weeks, and Patrick and Natsue from home in Tokyo.
Got my hair done by Billie in the morning. He did a credible job on the color--I expected that--and I like the way he styled it better than what my old hairdresser did. Told him I'd get a cut next time. After, I drove down the island to Barnegat Light to see the damage the fire did at Mary Ellen's, but I couldn't find the house. Stopped at B.J.'s on the way home to get avocados and pumpernickel. Had to go back to the V.'s to take their picture again, as the two first ones had Lois with her eyes closed. Then went to Marty's to pick out a picture relating to his daughter adopting a second Chinese child. This little girl is eight and there's a documentary about the adoption which will run on PBS in August. I have a short piece about that in June issue of The Breeze and will profile Marty and his wife in July.
Compiled a little photo album of some of my childhood haunts in preparation for our excursion today. I'm taking Frank and Barb D. to tour Ventnor, then will take them to lunch.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spent the morning interviewing Bill and Lois V. for The Breeze. I'm featuring them on what will be my monthly profile piece because they're incredibly enthusiastic and inventive travelers. They've been to five continents and between sixty and seventy countries--whew! Enjoyed talking to them and they seemed to enjoy it, too. Wrote a few other articles, too--short ones, but they'll make the paper interesting, I think.
Called brother Frank at the Cleveland Clinic; it'll be a week tomorrow since his heart valve surgery. He sounded good, but tired, and we chatted for just a few minutes.
Received from my sister-in-law, Regina, a picture of Pat and his two brothers, plus wives, taken, I'd say, about twenty years ago at a wedding. I called to thank her and we chatted for fifteen minutes or so. Although Regina's political and--okay, I guess you'd say "cultural"--beliefs are utterly different from mine, I like her. One of these days, I hope to go over and see her. I loved Pat's brother, Bill, and it's still hard to believe he's gone, too.
Getting my hair colored today, for the first time by Billie. He did our hair for "Steel Magnolias" and I like him. Hope my decision to switch will the right one.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Continuing getting-back-to-normal, I ran errands in the morning, went home for lunch, then to the cemetery to tidy up. Last time I was there, I noticed that the pansies in front of the headstone had been moved about three inches. Guess I should have found that eerie and run screaming away, but I'm not superstitious and I know the dead don't walk (it's the living you have to be afraid of). I surmised that the concrete base had been put in, so the grounds crew had to move the pansies. No big deal, but they were slightly off-kilter, so I went to Bob's and bought some low plants with white flowers to balance it out better. Also bought two azaleas, which I had been told are the only permanent plantings they allow. Older son, P., had left money for them in August, but much too much, so I'll reimburse him.
I had just walked in the door when I got a phone call from darling niece, Joan. We had a good long chat--so nice to hear from her--and I caught up on her and Jim's doings. She said she had talked to my brother, Frank, a few hours before and he's doing well; I'll call him today.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coming down from the Magnolias cloud, I puttered around. Went to the library early to dismantle--or deconstruct--the display window. Attended a meeting for our new newsletter, for which I'm on the editorial staff. Went to the supermarket. Took and placed a few phone calls. In late afternoon, sat down to read my book--another badly written, derivative, and predicable one-word-titled medical thriller by Robin Cook. Yet, I found the thing oddly gripping, as most of his are. Trash literature appeals to me at times, I guess.
Our Scrabble meeting was cancelled, as Barb and Ray left for England and envions last night--lucky them! They'll be gone for several weeks and I'll miss them.
Other than that, nuthin' but nuthin' going on.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Well, it's over. Yesterday's performance was probably the least put-together--don't know why, maybe we were over-confident or just tired. Some of us missed major lines and/or put them in the wrong places, and/or screwed up the blocking. At least I don't think the audience noticed, which is always the most important thing. Anyway, it was a bit anti-climactic, although still fun. My high school friends, Mary and Jane, came and so did neighbors and friends, Dennis and Leslie, and other people I know.
After, we stayed to help the crew strike the set. Incredibly, everything had to be dismantled and taken away, so the space was transformed back into how it was before the play. That included all the furniture, props, and so on, not to mention the entire large and sturdy stage. Showtime was 2:30, it ran about three hours, then we met and greeted, and it was only after that the set was struck. I helped as much as I could with carrying stuff and two others and I took the "decorations" off the Christmas tree, which I'll give back to Susan when I meet her for our walk in a few minutes.
We agreed that we'd repeat the cast party in a month, as what with the fire and other logistical problems, not all of us could be there. Mary Ellen had gotten a big cake with "Kill, Rhett, Kill!" (a line from the show) written on it and Tonya took that home to put in the freezer. We gave Tara her gift--a beautiful, handmade necklace--and Andrea (assistant director) and Tonya and Barbara (stage managers) cards of appreciation. Billy gave us all goodie bags of hair products--I'm thinking about switching to him for my hair--and Mary Ellen gave us all notes of appreciation.
It's over, and that's a letdown, but it was the experience of a lifetime.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Incredibly, we all agreed that last night's performance was even better than opening night's. It ran more smoothly and fewer lines were dropped. Only snafu was when Mary Ellen, as M'Lynn, missed her entrance in the middle of the first act by three or four minutes--a lifetime in this situation. It could have been a disaster, but Heather and Ellen, as Annelle and Ouiser, reacted like troupers: They improvised and ad libbed until Mary Ellen came on and we picked up the written play.
I really think the audience was even more appreciative and receptive than on Friday. They roared at a lot of the lines, many of them mine, as Clairee's role is wonderfully funny. The climactic "HIT THIS!" scene, in which I offer Ouiser as a punching bag, was especially effective. We got an ovation at the end--what a pleasure!
Afterward, we mingled with the crowd and experienced the same wonderful reaction as before. I was thrilled to see my darling niece, Joan, husband Jim, and other dear family members. They gave me a gorgeous bouquet of yellow roses and we happily took pictures and videos. I was proud to introduce them to other cast members, and I met their friends and relatives. More of my Sunrise Bay "family" were there and I accepted their congratulations with pleasure.
There was a somber note, though: As we were about to assemble for cast pictures, we were told that Mary Ellen's house in Barnegat Light had had a fire. She rushed home with visiting friends and, at this point, I have no idea of the extent of the fire or even if Mary Ellen is going to be able to go on for our final performance this afternoon. That put a damper on our cast party; it was fun, but not as much fun as it would have been, knowing our colleague and friend was visited with such trouble. I hope to find out more today.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The show was a smash hit! Had a few opening night jitters--we all did--but nothing I couldn't manage. It went very, very well, with just an occasional flub, but no dropped lines or memory losses that were evident to the audience and that's all that counts. I must remember to keep up my volume--that's always been a problem for me, as I don't have a "big" voice--but I improved after the first act.
My good friend, Mary Ellen, who plays M'Lynn, gave every cast member a beautiful bracelet she had made herself. They were unique, each inspired by the actor's part in the play. At one point, I say I'm wearing "beige lace to the knee" to Shelby's wedding, and she made mine with beige stones interspersed with pink ones. (Shelby says pink is her "signature color.") It's beautiful and I wore it throughout.
The audience, comprising a packed house, was wonderfully receptive and engaged. They laughed heartily in the right places and were quietly absorbed otherwise. After, we mingled with them outside and oh, what fabulous fun to hear their congratulations, to receive their hugs and kisses, to see their appreciation. Susan and Walter were there and so were Ray and Barbara, plus Lois, Val, Anita, their respective spouses, and many others from Sunrise Bay. Frank, who is front-end manager, gave me a beautiful bouquet of pink carnations and we all chattered and laughed and commented on the play.
The negatives? Well, the conditions under which we perform are dismal. The backstage area is oppressively tight, cluttered, and dirty; we can't go to the bathroom until intermission, more than an hour into the show; we have to mount and descend steps that are of different heights and depths to get on and off the set; and the place gets so hot, especially with the bright lights, that we sweat through our clothes.
It's heaven.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dress rehearsal last night, which was very well received by the audience of about a dozen. We still--or again--had problems with the scene in which Shelby reveals that her mother, M'Lynn, will give her a kidney. That's always a stinker, as there are a lot of lines that have little or no relationship to the cues. We covered pretty well, though, and the rest of the performance was good.
I haven't been taking my usual 7:00 am walk with Susan the last few days; I just think it's better for me to get plenty of sleep. Yesterday, I didn't wake up until 9:00, unprecedented for me. I keep meaning to try to take a nap during the day, but so far, haven't be able to. Maybe I can today.
In just hours, the dream comes true: acting in front of the paying customers. I feel relaxed, confident, happy, and prepared.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We had a kind of "pre-dress rehearsal" last night and incredibly, it went pretty well. We were there until 12:15, however, and I'm afraid the play is running longer than it's supposed to. I had assembled all my costumes and they look good. Billy did my hair--it has to change in each scene--as he's doing all the beauty salon "customers," and I think it looked a lot better than the way my regular hairdressor does it at eighty-five dollars a pop.
Of course, there were some snafus, what with missed lines and prop problems, but it went better than I had expected. Director Tara was satisfied. She gave me some notes about where to move about the stage; at one point, I sat in the dryer chair and "M'Lynn" needed to be there; I must remember to sit elsewhere at that point in the proceedings.
Earlier in the day, I recorded my cues-- and the cues only--in areas where I had problems remembering them, and that worked very well. I took the recorder (just a twenty dollar one from Wal-Mart) with me all day to listen to, and it helped so much. I think it's important to record the cues only, then to leave "blank" space to say my lines. When I put my own lines in, as I had done earlier, I believe it gave my brain permission to be lazy and just wait for them. Anyway, I'm gratified that I did pretty well in that regard last night.
Tonight, we do the actual dress rehearsal, for a number of other LETCO members and a few friends. I'm glad I slept until NINE O'CLOCK! Yes, that's 9:00 am, folks--there's no question I'm getting craven and decadent in my old age.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Three days left and I was pretty busy. Went first to the SOCH thrift store in Manahawkin and was able to pick up two jackets and a blouse for a total of $7.50. I'll have to decide which jacket to wear in which scene--one's dressier than the other. Went to the Tuckerton thrift shop and got three blouses and three pairs of "big" earrings for a few bucks. Along with what I have in my own wardrobe, that should do it.
Spent a lot of time recording some of the script and listened to it through the rest of the day. We couldn't get into the Community Center, as voting was held there yesterday, so we met at Barbara's for a "line through." Heather brought a twelve-pack of beer and all but Kathy indulged, which added a nice little buzz to the proceedings.
One of the new (to me) showbiz terms, a line through involves the actors just talking through the script, but they skip blocking or using props; in fact, I think the idea is not to add actual acting, either. At first, we just kind of mechanically recited, but after a while, we added expression--maybe that was the beer talking.
Everybody agreed it went well, although we all flubbed a bit. I was surprised and annoyed when I did--considering my concentration on my lines, I thought I'd be letter-perfect. There are certain areas that I tend to have problems with (I think that's true for all of us) and I'm going to study those hard.
Another late night--got home about 10:15--and this will continue for the duration, I know. I'll make it a point to take a nap today.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Four more days to showtime, counting today. On Sunday I was a bit perturbed when Tara announced that yesterday was an off day, but now I think it was a good thing. I was able to get some chores and errands done and move a step away from the all-consuming show--I feel refreshed.
Went to Manahawkin in the morning and bought a small flashlight for backstage, plus a recorder. I had heard somebody recommend this, as you can record yourself acting, then play it back--helps with memory and concentration. I should be embarrassed--but I'm not--that I gave it to Frank before I even opened it and asked him to put together. I'm just so inept with that kind of thing, I didn't even want to try. Stopped at two thrift shops to possibly pick up something more appropriate to wear than what I have, but both were closed--not sure why.
After lunch, I went to the cemetery to water and dead-head the pansies. Also stopped at Jay's grave and planted some of the small white plants I had gotten at Bob's. I hope they grow. Went to Macy's and Penney's and tried on sixteen thousand blouses, to try to get the right one for the opening scene, but no luck.
Frank gave me back the recorder, carefully instructing me on its use. Recorded some of my problem lines--the ones I have a tendency to forget--and listened back to them.
We can't get in the Community Center tonight, as voting is going on there today, so will just read lines at Barbara's. That means we have only one more rehearsal before dress rehearsal on Thursday--yoicks! It also means that, even counting dress rehearsal (and we're going to have a fair number of people there, mostly LETCO members), we will have staged the full run only four times.
Okay, we can do it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Five days to show time. Rehearsal was called for 7:00, but Ellen, Mary Ellen, and I decided to meet at 5:00 to go over lines. For various reasons, including a locked building, we didn't get in there until almost 7 anyway. Ran through the whole show and, un miraclu, it went pretty well. I forgot a lot of stuff and so did others, but at least we covered most blunders. It took forever, though, as the hairdresser, Billy, and his assistant, Somebody, did our "beginning of show" hair first. He put hot rollers in mine and teased and coaxed it into something approximating an eighties do; it looked great, but fell down in about an hour.
We didn't finish until after midnight and when I got home, I had two messages from Ellen. Sunday isn't Sunday when I don't talk to her, so I called her back and we had a good talk. Wish should could be here next weekend. Aagh! Next weekend! I can't believe it's coming up so soon--I'm not ready, I can't do it, I'll screw up, I, I, I,--
Nope; I'm confident it'll be fine.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Talk about crunch time--we're in it. "Cue to cue" was called for 11:00, but I arrived early to find Tara working with tech Sean to coordinate that. I found and had brought, some of my costume items--we have four changes--but will probably modify them. More of the cast gathered and we "read lines" until it was time to get on stage.
For the first time, we ran through the whole play and boy, was it a disaster. First act wasn't too bad, but the second, and especially, the final scene, was a shambles. We just constantly fumbled and forgot--all of us, not only yours truly who, remember, had just stepped into the part less than 48 hours before.
Tara had another commitment and Andrea, the assistant director, is in Florida, so Barbara and Tonya took over at the helm. Rick W., who had been a member of LETCO (I had acted with him in the dinner theatre show at the Surf City Hotel) and is a reporter for the Downbeach newspaper, came in to take pictures. He then discovered the camera batteries were dead--nothing like being prepared--and he'll come back today.
By the time we had completed the play, it was after 5:00 and boy, was I bushed--so was everybody else--but Ellen, Mary Ellen, and I decided to go out for dinner, then read lines. We went to my house after eating at Scojo's, and "read" until about 10:30. We had a glass of White Zin, talked for another half hour or more, then broke up and I tottered to bed.
Call today is to go in at 7:00, but the three of us decided to make it 5:00 to get a little more rehearsal in.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ellen came over for lunch at noon and we read lines after. Went through the whole play and boy, do I need to bone up; so does Ellen to an extent, but her part is much shorter than mine. Frank and Barbara came in to congratulate me while Ellen was here and I've gotten lots of e-mail and Facebook messages doing the same.
It was after 5:00 when Ellen left and I impulsively called Mary Ellen ("M'Lynn in "Magnolias") to see if she wanted to go to dinner. She was with two friends, said they were about to leave for dinner at Panini Bay, and invited me along. Even mindful of Betty's admonition, "Never turn down an invitation," I changed my clothes, slapped on some makeup, and sped out the door. Had a wonderful dinner--pricey, but delish--of tilefish and sides and even ordered a sinfully rich "opera cake" (don't ask) to top it off.
I had barely walked in the door a bit after 9:00 when my darling niece, Joan, called. We had a great chat and I was thrilled to hear she's coming down for the show!
What a day--and what a lot of catching up I have to do. Today, we have "cue to cue" at 11:00, to get the tech staff up to snuff, and I have to bring my wardrobe, too. Yoicks, what pressure, but what fun!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Holy smokes, good grief, and wow, wow, WOW! I found out last night that I'm stepping into the role of Clairee in Steel Magnolias! R.D., who had had the role since casting in January, simply wasn't up to it and director Tara made the change. I'm thrilled and excited, of course, but also scared to death. In exactly one week we go on, and I have yet to rehearse with the full cast, aside from last night when we did only parts of two scenes.
It was so great to finally be on the stage, although I have a lot to catch up on. Even more gratifying is the warmth and welcome my fellow cast members are extending--what a great group. Now I have to spend about every waking moment studying the part. To that end, my friend Ellen V., who plays Ouiser, is coming over for lunch and we'll read lines.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Drove over to Eurocolor at the new location in Northfield. My hairdresser, Eileen, wasn't there, but I dropped off a flyer for "Magnolias" for her. Stopped at the cemetery to dead-head the pansies and water them. Did the same at my nephew's grave. After, I went to the day-old bread outlet, which I've always wanted to do. They had lots of bread, but no pumpernickel, so I just bought a bag of pretzels. Went to Pathmark in the same area.
Got an e-mail from Dee G., inviting me down to Ventnor this weekend with some other women. Might go, or maybe not.
Late in the day, cooked up carrots, garlic, and herbs in the small crock pot, then sat down to read the current The New Yorker. Promptly fell asleep for an hour, then had a salad and veggies for dinner, a glass of wine, then bed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My three Scrabble partners came over as expected and we had an enjoyable day. As hostess, I provideed had chocolate "goldfish," two kinds of whole grain pretzels, strawberries, and grapes. We played three games, then I served Milano cookies and coffee. They left about 4:30 and I cleaned up, took a shower, then went to rehearsal... the wrong place. I had forgotten the crew had built the set at the Community Center over the weekend and I drove all the way to Barbara's. As soon as I spotted the house--no cars in the driveway--I knew my error. Chagrined, I sped back to the Community Center and was just a few minutes late.
The set is wonderful. You'd swear it was a real beauty salon that had been set up in a renovated carport, as the play specifies. Those behind the scenes LETCO members are just as important as the actors, that's a cinch. I was pleased to see that Desi S., the founder and first head of the acting company, was there. Ellen V. greeted me with a hug and kiss and so did he. Marge M. was also there for the first time--she's the wardrobe mistress--and I enjoyed seeing her, as well as all my pals in the cast.
It went okay, but boy, are they going to have to work hard now. Opening night is only nine days away and it's pretty ragged.
Talked to brother Frank, who's going to have a heart valve replacement next week. He's going to the Cleveland Clinic for it, and his two physician sons will be there. As my sister observed, "Boy, I'd hate to be the surgeon for that one."
Finally have a few days with nothing scheduled, and I want to do things I enjoy. Oops--come to think of it, when do I do anything else?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A mixed--but overall good--day when it came to activities. Spent some boring time cleaning in preparation for Scrabble here today, then hopped in the shower before attending a meeting for The Breeze newsletter. Several of us thought it bizarre--and cumbersome--to have residents other than staff members attend. There were four there and why they were there is hard to fathom; lots of talk, but not much got resolved.
At 4:30, I went next door to the D.'s and we drove to Point Pleasant Beach for the "Boss of the Sauce" event. It was held at a huge restaurant on the boardwalk and we met the R.'s there--they had been at a funeral upstate. Had to wait in a long line for about twenty minutes, but that was okay.
The place was jammed with people, and no wonder: It cost only $5.00 to get in and you could then sample pasta, sauce, desserts, and a few sides to your heart's content. In addition, they gave out FREE (free, free!) wine. I had red, white, and sparkling and you can be sure, accompanied it with plenty of food. Of course, everything was served in minuscule portions, but so what? You could have as much as you wanted and I did.
There were a few tables and benches on the porch overlooking the ocean, but I didn't sit down at all--just ambled around accepting the grub with appreciation.
Patrons got a ticket when they came in (although a computer was used) and the idea was to vote for their favorite restaurants. With all the crowds and what not, I couldn't remember which I thought was best--they were all good--so I just kind of arbitrarily picked one some woman had recommended.
Got home a bit after 8:00 after another "different" excursion that I greatly enjoyed. Life's a banquet and I want to indulge to the full.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The talk by Robert Meeropol was fascinating and the brunch was delicious. It was vegetarian and included a pate made with wild mushrooms, all kinds of interesting breads and pastries, a big bowl of cut-up fruit, and lots of other yummies, as well as good coffee and Chardonnay, of which I partook.
Meeropol and his daughter, an attorney, use these venues for fund-raising, and have done a lot of them. They don't give the impression that they're bored, superior, or practiced at glad-handing, but are warm, friendly people. He helped himself to brunch and chatted with attendees and she got me coffee. I didn't realize until they were introduced later who they were.
A music stand and chairs were set up in the dining room where, I assume, the usual furniture had been removed, and Meeropol spoke there. He covered a lot of the topics in his books, both of which I had read, and he was very engaging. He spent about half the time on his parents' story and the other half on his organization "The Rosenberg Fund For Children." He did not insist on his parents' innocence, but pointed out that the crime for which they were convicted was trumped-up and the punishment meted out--death--was inappropriately harsh. As I've mentioned before, it's generally accepted that his father did pr0vide the then-Soviet Union with "secrets," but they did not concern the atomic bomb. Also, this was during WW II, when the Soviet Union was a U.S. ally; Julius was passionate about the evil of the Nazi empire and wanted to help defeat them. As for Ethel, the consensus now seems to be that she was aware of her husband's actions, but had no part in them. If they had "cooperated" with the government, they would almost surely not have received the death sentence. All mixed up in this sad affair were the "red scare," anti-semitism (open and covert), and the heavily conservative mood of the time.
Meerpool's book, An Execution in the Family, was on sale for $10 and I bought one, adding $15 as a donation to the Fund. I had already read it--remarkably, our little library had a copy--but want to have it to go over again. The author signed it, added the date, and I chatted with him and his daughter for a few minutes.
Talk about a unique family. Imagine talking to a relative stranger and the subject turns to your parents' passings: "My father died of a heart attack, and my mother of cancer. Yours?" "They were executed on the same day by the United States government."
There's a conversation stopper for you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Got to B.J.'s in the morning to pick up staples (for me yesterday, that was popcorn, pumpernickel, and avocados). Scrubbed the worst of the kitchen floor and mopped the rest. Did a few more cleaning chores to prepare for hosting the Scrabble group on Tuesday.
Pared and cut up a heap of sweet potatoes, did the same with apples, spinkled on some cinnamon, and put all in the big crock pot to slowly stew. Inspired, I then revved up the small slow cooker; julienned sweet red peppers, sliced up mushrooms and onions, and added chives and dill. Left everything to simmer and went to the cemetery, then Bob's. Bought some gorgeous double begonias, alyssium, and something else I don't remember. When I got home, I had a message from friend Mary H., called back, and we had a nice chat.
My crock pot goodies were delectable and I contented myself with just them for dinner--yum!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Not a whole lot going on, and it rained. I finished An Execution In The Family about the Rosenberg family. I'm excited about the fact that I'm going to meet the author tomorrow.
A scary note: I always read in bed before I go to sleep, and am continuing Stephen King's The Dome. For some reason, I'm having a hard time finishing it; I keep turning to other books, reading them, then going back to his. Maybe because it's over a thousand pages? But I'm accustomed to long books--Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, was about as long and just read that. Anyhoo--the scary thing is, I can't remember what I read last night. It may come back to me when I pick it up again, though; hope so, as otherwise, I'm afraid I'm losing it.
Want to scrub the kitchen floor today and otherwise prepare for hosting our bimonthly Scrabble group on Tuesday.
WIDER: Chris Floyd, whom I frankly revere, writes in "Empire Burlesque" about the recent declaration from the White House that O. has the right to kill American citizens without indictment, trial, or proof of wrong-doing. Here he addresses those "liberals" and "progressives" who still wallow in the dear leader's divinity:
"Now, there can be no shuffling, no waffling on the matter. Obama has made it crystal clear for even the most avidly self-duping progressive: He will murder his fellow citizens without trial or evidence if he sees fit. The state can murder whom it pleases. This is the system we have. This is what you support when you support Barack Obama. You cannot escape this logic, this judgment. If you support Obama now, in this, then there is no crime he can commit that you will not support. And thus you become one of those people that we all used to puzzle over, the accomodationists to brutal tyranny: 'How did all those people go along with the Nazis? Why wasn't there more opposition to Stalin? How could they countenance all those obvious abominations? What kind of people were they?' Now you know. They were you. You are them."
Oh, yes, and I know so many of you.

Friday, April 09, 2010

I had a dream last night of my childhood home on Rosborough Avenue. This prompted me to drive down there for no particular reason. Annoyingly, the Dorset Avenue Bridge is still closed for repairs, which means you have to drive way out of your way to get on and off Absecon Island. However, it was another lovely day, so no matter. I just drove around; stopped at friend Mary H.'s, but she wasn't home, so I left a note. Parked at St. James and thought I'd stop in, but they were closed for Spring Break. Went across the street to Connie and Tom H.'s, but their tenant told me they were still in Florida. Okay, I was batting zero, so I drove back home, but somehow with a light heart.
I was stunned--and delighted--to find that Robert Meeropol's book, An Execution In The Family, was in my own little library, and I stopped to pick it up. It's absorbing and I'm looking forward to seeing him at the brunch in Ocean City. The idea that both your parents were put to death by your government when you were six years old is just mind-boggling.
Bob S. came about 3:30 to turn on the outside water and flush the sprinklers. He has to come back today to complete it.
Went to rehearsal. The particular scene they ran through hadn't been done before and it's very ragged. Guess it'll shape up. I took one of the big signs on Magnolias to put on my lawn. I don't think you're supposed to do this, but I'll leave it until some committee or other tells me it's not allowed.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Buzzed hither and yon on a busy, productive day. It was just like summer--sunny and up in the eighties, my favorite. Sweated out--literally--the three-mile walk at the clubhouse after our individual mile-and-a-half walk, then had breakfast. Typed out directions to the Community Center where "Magnolias" will be staged and attached it to the flyer. Drove to the Staples in Mays Landing to color-duplicate several of them, then to Eurocolor, my hairdresser, to distribute. When I got there, though, I was told they were moving to the new location (about 4 miles closer for me) on Tuesday, so I'll wait to drop them off.
Swung by Bob's and picked up the croaking frog I fell in love with on Tuesday. Idiot that I am, I put it on the front porch, where it will croak at people coming to the door. Stopped at the cemetery to dead-head the pansies on Pat's grave and cut a few wilting daffodils on Jay's. I've decided to dig up the daffs and plant a begonia or impatient in its place--something to last thorugh the summer.
After I got home, had some of the delectable lentil stew for lunch. Saw Barb D. and she reminded me of our sojourn to Point Pleasant Beach for the "Boss of the Sauce" contest on Monday. Stopped at Acme to pick up a few things, then dead-headed the pansies out front and hauled buckets of water to refresh the newly-planted forsythia out back. Bob S. turns on the outside water for me, charging half what Meticulous Lawn Service does, and I guess it's a little early. Found my air conditioner cover neatly folded on the porch and stopped over next door to thank Frank--he always does it. I was delighted to hear that the frog croaked at him.
After dinner--just a salad--I drove to the charming little library in Manahawkin. As I checked out (just got a DVD called "In Search of Shakespeare"), I saw an appeal for patrons to provide reminiscences of libraries they knew. I wrote about the Ventnor Library, right on the boardwalk. As a kid, I regarded it as a cathedral and I still do.
On Sunday, I'm going to attended a brunch in Ocean City for The Rosenberg Fund for Children, headed, intriguingly, by Michael Meerpool, the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed as Communist spies a half-century ago. More on this later.
Note: Took my blood pressure at Acme and was a bit alarmed to see it was 103/66, which I'm afraid is dangerously low. But I feel great and am still above ground, so maybe not. Will check it again.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Good, full day. Set up both crock pots with lentil stew in the big one, a pepper/onion/mushroom mix in the small before I picked up Susan at 10:30. We went to Bob's Garden Center in Egg Harbor and boy, did we have a ball. Bob's has acres of outdoor plants, all healthy and beautiful, as well as large room after room of gifts, garden supplies, artificial flowers and plants (seems odd, somehow), lawn furniture, and everything else even remotely connected to gardening. The place has so much we didn't even get to the greenhouses. Susan bought tall bamboo stakes for her gladioli, a cute little pink flamingo (I have one, too), a gardenia plant, and a few smaller items. I got two beautiful runculous (?--I don't know how to spell it and I bet Spellcheck doesn't, either) plus another, smaller border flower, and a gardenia of my own. Great place; I've loved it since we moved here, and now, so does Susan.
After, I suggested lunch and we went to Applebee's. Had shrimp, "island rice" and a cold Coors--yum! We then stopped at the cemetery and while we were there, Mary Ellen called to ask if I wanted to meet her at Calloway's for dinner and to read lines. Cognisant of my sister's advice never to turn down an invitation, I accepted with pleasure.
Got home about 3:00, returned some calls, rolled my biggest flower container to the porch, then jumped in the shower. Dressed and left about 4:30 to meet ME at 5:00.
Had a White Zin and Cobb salad, half of which I took home. After running through Act 1, Scene II twice, we went down the road to Barbara's for rehearsal. It's positive now that there won't be any added performance--sigh. I'm disappointed, but it can't be helped unless R.D. falls down a manhole pretty soon. (That expression--"falls down a manhole"--is so silly, but I've used it for years. Wonder if anybody falls down a manhole nowadays.)
Director Tara wasn't there, as she's in the throes of a divorce, and we discussed a gift for her; decided on a piece of jewelry made by ME's friend. The cast ran through the scene twice, then Andrea, the assistant director, asked if they'd do it again and, for the first time, I left before it was over. It was already after 9:00 and I had had a full day. Went home for my wine and popcorn, then slept soundly.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Had four small forsythia bushes newly planted in the back, along the woods. Hope they take. Other than that, not much going on, aside from the usual domestic chores. Received the play book of Blithe Spirit and am already going over the Madame Arcati lines, although it won't be staged until November. If nothing else, I'm going to be ready for auditions.
Attended the Sunrise Bay board meeting last night for the first time in more than a year. Info on the upcoming newsletter was announced and was, as expected, received with smoldering resentment by some and approval by most. The meeting wasn't as explosive as I thought it would be, but who knows what the future will bring?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Had a lovely Easter, first visiting at Care One, then with the family gang for afternoon and dinner. We hid Easter eggs for the boys to find, sat out in the yard, and had a delicious dinner of ham, two casseroles of macaroni and cheese--mild and spicy--and other goodies. The trifle I brought turned out very good and we all ate our fill. Ellen called and we had a short chat; she's off this week for Spring Break, so she'll call later in the week, too.
Got home about 7:30 and stayed up only until 9:00 or so. Nice holiday and now I'm ready to go back to the straight and narrow. I want to be in at least reasonable shape to attend the Longtimers Reception at Rider on May 5 when my old boss, Shirley Turner, will be one of those honored for her forty years there.
WIDER: Fred Reed has a hilarious--horribly hilarious--essay called "Halloween Comes To The Subway" on his blog where he discusses the inept "war on terror" efforts. Near the conclusion, he writes:
"If Washington really wanted to end terrorism, it would stop bombing Moslems, who would then get bored and stop bombing us. What a concept. You saw it here first. But there’s no money in it."
If this obscure ex-pat in Mexico can figure this out, why can't "the gummint," as he calls it? Ya got me.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Spent a lot of time cooking and assembling my contributions to Easter dinner today, first changing my bed and doing wash. I had bought about four pounds of beautiful white mushrooms the other day and decided to bring them. Got a good recipe and marinated them. Hard-boiled the eggs for devilling later, and prepared the ingredients for the trifle. Will finish assembling it this morning.
Susan came to the door with the pretty pink tulip plant--so nice and so spring-y. Was pleased to receive cam calls from P. and N., then from Mike and the precious little girls. Vivian talked about going into first grade (in the fall) and Violet looked adorable with her China doll haircut. Got a good long e-mail from Ellen, who's been getting her garden in shape during her week off. Will hear from her tonight, too.
Susan and I are skipping our walk today, in order to prepare. Must go--to assemble the trifle and finish up other chores. Happy Easter to all!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Imagine a day at the beach in Belmar with two little boys. It was brilliantly sunny, with the bluest of skies and the place was packed. Notice I didn't say it was warm, because it wasn't. There was a stiff wind coming off the ocean, but we didn't care. The kids loved playing in the sand and I loved watching and interacting with them. Stayed several hours, went to Dunkin' Donuts for lunch ((I had a tuna sandwich and coffee), then home after a thoroughly enjoyable outing.
Got back to Little Egg about 5:00 and did something I haven't done for months: I deliberately "broke my diet" at home, as opposed to indulging when I go out to eat. Went to Subway and got a chicken teriaki sandwich; when I got in, I scarfed it down with a cold Coors. Followed it with most of a container of Cool Whip, then slices of banana bread.
Boy, was that good and boy, does my stomach disagree.
WIDER: Another profound and absorbing essay-- by Chris Floyd at his "Empire Burlesque," which includes:
"Until Americans drop their addiction to war which is inextricably bound up with the widespread, bipartisan cult of exceptionalism -- there will be no stability, no security, no peace, no prosperity for ordinary people, neither at home or abroad."
But it's a crime to read just this. See it all at
The Silence of the Liberal Lambs: Outrage at Outliers, Hosannas for State Crime

Friday, April 02, 2010

A sun-filled, fun-filled, all around great day. Got the Steel Magnolias display up in the library. It looks okay, I guess, although I'm not entirely satisfied with it. The case itself is ugly, with a sickly yellow background and a lot of metal shelf brackets. I may go back and change it if I can think of a better way to do it.
Lots of phone calls back and forth about opinions surrounding the new community paper of which I'll be a part. The publisher of the current one put out an issue with a full page of letters of support, some containing personal attacks on the board. The upcoming board meeting on Monday should be v-e-r-r-y interesting--and heated, I'm sure. There's no doubt it will be heavily attended by factions on both sides of the topic.
I planted the pansies (a dozen) and violas (ten) around the tree in front and they look gorgeous. It was a glorious day, temp got up to at least 75 and don't I love it.
Just had time after my outdoor labors to jump in the shower, cook up a piece of tilapia for dinner, then dress for rehearsal. When I got there, I was chagrined when Mary Ellen told me she had called both land and cell phone several times to invite me to dinner with her and Ellen. Not sure how I missed her, but I did.
However, after rehearsal, eight of us went to Calloway's to celebrate Kathy's fortieth and we had a ball. Andrea brought cupcakes with candles and we all sang "Happy Birthday." I gave her the calla lily plant, which she liked a lot. Didn't get home until very late for me, and to bed at midnight, but so what? It was a neat day.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Again survived the three-mile walk, strenuous as it is. I always feel so triumphant after it's over. Mary S. came over to show me how to get into The Breeze so, as editors, we can modify submissions. It involves cut and paste; I later instructed fellow-staffer Julie L., in the method.
Did several loads of wash, then went to Manahawkin to pick up my med and other items. When I got home, I continued to fool around on the computer, trying to get the new game ("Flip Words") I bought from Big Fish to run. I can't, although I'm following instructions from them. So annoying.
Late in the day, I decided to run over to the cemetery. The grave looks good, the pansies having gotten a thorough drenching. I then drove to Bob's Garden Center, my new favorite place, and got a shipload (that's SHIP-load; I'm a sedate little lady) of pansies and violas (teeny little pansies) for around my tree out front. Also bought a gardenia plant with an actual gardenia on it and a wonderful fragrance.
We're going out for a drink after rehearsal tonight to celebrate Kathy's 40th birthday and I found a pretty rose-colored calla lily to give her. Forty--wow. What must it be like to be that old?