Monday, August 30, 2010

Won't post tomorrow, as I'll stay over up north. Spent the day at Betty's on Sunday and had a great time. Suzanne M. also stayed over and she invited Muckie and Alice E. for dinner; ordered from Gino's around the corner and it was great. After, we went out for ice cream. I slept, incredibly, until 8:30--Betty thought I was sick--then we went out for breakfast. We assisted Betty in various last-minute preparations, and went to Comcast, the post office and the library to print out her boarding pass. It was the thirty-sixth anniversary of Wes'es death, so we went to the cemetery. In a few days, it will be six years since Jay died. After some tears, we went to the Olive Garden, had lunch, then parted.
Won't be going to the airport until late, as there was a change in air times. Will wait to be called, drive to Philly, then stay over up north.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ran various errands during the day, then walked down to the H.'s and went with them to the "Food, Fun, And Friends" gathering. It was at Panini Bay and very nice. I had the salmon, as Pat H. said a friend had recommended it. Actually, it wasn't that great--tougher than it should have been--and pricey, but okay. I took a bottle of White Zin and drank most of it.
Got home and watched "The Making of Jaws" on T.V. Geesh, it's been a long time since it was made. Program was interesting, but mostly because the actors and Spielberg looked so much younger and/or are dead.
Leaving for Betty's shortly and will stay over.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Staffed the LETCO table at the Seaport last night. It was quite enjoyable, with a blue-grass band, a fair number of people, and a balmy night. Our table, though, could have been a lot more imaginative and we could have sold a lot more snacks and drinks. Franklin and Rose were the other two "selling" and, frankly, I'm not sure of the wisdom of having three people our age representing the theatre group. One or two, sure, but together, we totaled a lot of years and if we're trying to attract more young members, let's face it--. Well, I'll leave that thought incomplete.
We sold two tee-shirts and I bought both of them. I think we totaled $10 in sales of edibles, and exactly one person signed up for the e-mail newsletter. The lack of identification (several people thought we were with the Seaport), indifferent display of snacks, and absolutely no promotion meant a lackluster showing. It seemed pointless even to show up. According to Franklin, we were invited to sell things "every other week," but why bother?
Oh, well, it was fun, anyway. Saw Tara K., that dear girl, and met her MIL, who has a weekend place in Sunrise Bay. Tara took a picture of me (I was wearing my Ivana outfit) that she says she'll post on Facebook--aagh! She also offered me a beer, but I declined, assuming Franklin's disapproval. Now I'm annoyed with myself for that.

Friday, August 27, 2010

After watering the plants at the cemetery, I impulsively decided to go to the movies. The AC Press had run a review of The Last Exorcism yesterday and I checked listings to see it was appearing at the Towne theatre behind Boscov's. When I got to the box office, though, I saw it didn't open until tomorrow (which is now today because that was yesterday and...oh, never mind). Didn't see any others there in which I had the slightest interest, so drove down Tilton Road to the other theatre. Eat, Pray, Love was playing and I went to that. Found it okay, but uneven. The "travel" scenery was spectacular and made me want to drop everything and go, especially to India, where I've always had a hankering to visit. However, it seems to me Julia Roberts is getting a tad long in the tooth to be playing these "girl in search of herself" parts. Toward the end, there was a scene on the beach where she looked every year of her age, which is about 42, I think. Part of it was tedious and I was amused that I had to urge to switch channels at times, but it wasn't bad overall.
The damn commercials--I counted six of them--infuriated me. I PAID to get in, so where the hell do they get off subjecting me to that crap? Oh, I forgot: Commerce is king and we are its subjects; government places a distant second.
Went to the production meeting for Blithe Spirit with Frank last night. I agreed to work under Casey on publicity. We're all a little worried this project won't comes off, though. As Director Ellen V. announced, we're missing two of the three female leads, as both Lucille and Tara K. have withdrawn due to other commitments (read "family"). Also, I got an e-mail from Tara C., who directed Magnolias, to the effect that she's taken a job at one of the casinos and has to put the theatre company on hold. That means nobody now seems to be pursuing the dinner theatre shows, either. I hope this doesn't mean LETCO is coming to the end, but it feels like it, I'm afraid. We'll see. Tonight, I'll be at the LETCO booth at the Tuckerton Seaport Band Festival. Should be fun--and noisy.
WIDER: I'm continuing to read Andrew Bacevich's book Washington Rules, which explains step-by-step America's advance toward aggression and hubris. He points out that after WW II:
"A people who had long seen standing armies as a threat to liberty now came to believe that the preservation of liberty required them to lavish resources on the armed forces. During the Cold War, Americans worried ceaselessly about falling behind the Russians, even though the Pentagon consistently maintained a position of overall primacy. Once the Soviet threat disappeared, mere primacy no longer sufficed. With barely a whisper of national debate (emphasis added), unambiguous and perpetual global military supremacy emerged as an essential predicate to global leadership."
The phrase I put in bold seems to me highly significant. We rarely hear--and we've seldom heard, to my knowledge--a word of debate about the rightness or wrongness of this "global war on terror" and all its attendant evils. It seems a numb and listless populace either doesn't care, can't be pulled from its amusements, or believes our "leaders" must know what they're doing. So what's the result? Endless aggression and endless killing...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Catching up day. Ran various errands, replenished the larder, and went to the cemetery. Welcomed Frank-Next-Door and Barbara back; I'll go with Frank tonight to the production meeting for Blithe Spirit. Early on, after my walk, completed the three-mile at the clubhouse. As those who participate agree, the only good thing about the gruelling three-mile is that it makes the two-mile look easy.
WIDER: Jon V. sent me a remarkable essay, "Honk If You Love Cavier," by one of my favorites, Joe Bageant:
"You hear it all the time these days: The top one percent of Americans own more wealth than the bottom 45% of the rest of Americans combined.
I have seldom met an American who thought this is a good thing, and seldom met one who understood how the ruling class got so rich. Simply put, it was through constant cultivation of bigger and more labyrinthine government, creating legal and technical complexities to sluice money nationally and globally in their direction, and to cover their asses in the process. The results are such things as 3,000 page health care bills (defining which corporate elites get which parts of the cake), or the 2,000-page NAFTA and its 9,000 tariff product codes...."
But this is just a tiny snippet of the whole spell-binding piece. Read it all at Joe's site:
I remember a phrase somebody used when she contemplated her state of mind witnessing the horrors of the Bush administration. Now that we find ourselves, dazed and uncomprehending, in his next term, it seems to fit. "Helpless rage" is the phrase and clearly, Joe--and millions, if not billions, of his compatriots--is feeling the same.
Helpless rage. It's all we've got, folks, and it's not enough.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We scratched the idea of the riverboat cruise, as it was rainy and windy and it probably wouldn't have been that good. Betty had asked a friend to go by her house to see if the tenants had left. They had, so she packed up her things and we went down there early. She had called a handyman from Linwood. He came and looked at the washer (the tenants had said it had a bad odor). He thinks it's simply some kind of minor standing water thing and recommended she put some pine oil in. Betty and I didn't smell a thing except for a slightly dank odor, but it was very mild. "Bud" also fixed her front screen door that was actually coming off the hinges. He charged a fair amount, so I think he'll be good when she needs more repairs--and she will.
We then went to a few thrift stores and something called "The Sock Hop," where I bought a "chain" scarf and pretty bracelet. After that, it was off the the Shore Diner for lunch; soup and sandwich for me, with a 16-ounce Dutch beer--very tasty.
Before I dropped Betty off, we decided I'd stay over on Sunday. I have a "Food, Friends, and Fun" dinner on Saturday to attend, and will go with the H.'s, as Susan and Walter are still in Europe. I have to pick up another couple at the airport on Monday night, but that should work out fine. Betty leaves on Tuesday, it'll be nice to be with her on her penultimate day.
WIDER: From the blog "IZOD":
"Actually, it's fascinating how closely the expression of anti-Muslim sentiment tracks with anti-Catholic sentiments from earlier in American history. I mean, when Glenn Beck says that mysterious wealth is funding the lower Manhattan Islamic center and implies that associated clergy are servants of a competing religious legal regime, you could just substitute in a few mentions of the Papacy and you'd basically have James G. Blaine."
So true and there's a Catholic Church not far from the former WTC site (I refuse to parrot the political/medium/idiotic tag "Ground Zero"). Considering the Crusades and the Inquisition and a multitude of other atrocities carried out or sponsored by the official church, why no pickets there?
Oh, I forgot. The memory span of Americans runs exactly from T.V. program to next T.V. program.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Betty was back and forth with her tenants, who were complaining about all kinds of problems with the house. Finally, the husband said they'd leave; he later sent her an e-mail demanding that the rent for the entire week be returned. We're going down there this morning to check the house; then Betty's visit with me will be over. I've enjoyed having her here and traveling around with her and was so sorry when she told me she's leaving next week. Yesterday, we took several things to the post office, visited the SOCH thrift store, ate a veggie lunch at home, but then (foolishly) went to the Chinese Buffet for dinner.
What a spread! There seemed to be every variety of food known to man and I think I sampled most of it. Later, I worked on the damn proofreading of The Breeze; what a chore and where were all the contributors (and the typists at Senior Publishing) when teacher taught that punctuation goes inside quote marks? (As for the use of italics, everybody seemed to be out in the hall during that little lesson.)
We're taking a luncheon cruise on the Crystal Queen riverboat today. According to an article in The Press of Atlantic City, the excursion is on "calm, protected Absecon Bay and intercostal waterways." Should be fun and I hope it doesn't rain.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Betty and I went to the cemetery in appropriately gloomy weather. Took pictures at Pat's and Jay's graves. Went to Lowe's so Betty could order a new washer for her house and the tenants. To The Olive Garden for lunch and had their soup, salad, and breaksticks--yummy. Got calls from my children. Idled around at home. Greeted Frank-Next-Door as he and Barbara returned from vacation. Spent time going over the proofs for The Breeze, contributors to which are beginning to seem downright illiterate. Didn't have an actual dinner, as neither of us was hungry, but we went to The Pine Cone for ice cream. It rained a bit throughout the day, but this morning clear.
Woe is me, I'm gaining weight steadily. Must, must, must stop this crazy eating!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Drove down to pick Betty up, arriving about 10:00. We then went around the corner to Hannah G.'s (restaurant) to have breakfast with Carole W.C., visiting from Laguna Beach. Sat outside and it was fun. After, we were shown around Carole's first-floor apartment, actually the downstairs of the large house across the street from Betty's; brother George owns this.
Got home, had lunch, and I called Joel to see if they were going to the lake. They were, so Betty and I joined them about 4:00. Joel's friend, Nick, and his Dad's stepdaughter, Rachel, were both there, too. We had a good time with them and the little boys, then went farther north to pick peaches.
Stopped at McDonald's, of all bizarre places, for what might loosely be called dinner. I was astounded at the dryness, hardness, and flavorless double "hamburger" (the famous Big Mac), a thin disc of cardboard. Ditto the "French fries." Good grief, I'm afraid there's a whole generation--or a big portion of it--that thinks this is food. It's crap.
Got home to a message on the machine from a fellow member of The Breeze editorial staff. Her knickers were in a knot over what she dramatically called "a major error" in the proofs for the September issue. Considering it was a natural mistake and that it could be remedied--that's why we get proofs--her histrionics over it were pretty dumb.
That over, Betty and I sat up talking until after 10:00. Slept well.
NOTE: Today is the first anniversary of Pat's death.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yay! My precious little dryer is restored to health. Guy came from Anchor Appliances and replaced a something and a something else and it works fine. Cost $150, which really isn't bad, I guess.
Went to Bob's Garden Center and got new hens 'n' chickens, then to the cemetery and planted at both Pat's and Jay's. Spend considerable very hot and dusty time pulling weeds around Pat's; didn't need to at Jay's. They both look nice and, as tomorrow is the first anniversary of Pat's death, Betty and I will go. I want to take pictures for my children of their father's grave and hers of their brother's.
Was surprised and so touched to get a beautiful azaela "tree" from Mike in remembrance of his Dad. It has a very unusual twisted trunk and the blooms are a lovely deep rose. He thought I would be able to plant it at the grave, but according to the information on the card, it looks as if it's an indoor plant. I'll call or e-mail Calyx Flowers to ask about it.
Talked to friend Marge, who's having a lot of health "issues," as the stupid cliche goes. I'm afraid they're more health "problems," but at least we had a nice chat.
Picking up sister Betty today. She'll be staying here because she has her house rented for the coming week. Got a nice e-mail from Noelle, saying they'll go to the lake this weekend and inviting me to go. Maybe I will and bring Betty to introduce her to Noelle and her boys. We'll see.
WIDER: The NYTimes, ever the enthusiastic cheerleader for our country's murderous ways, has a video feature today on a ceremony for the "fallen" (geez, can't they ever say "killed" or "dead"?) from a small town. The rhetoric was predictably awful, long strings of the most hackneyed cliches and, at the same time. horrible beyond words. The "fallen" were remembered by their comrades. One talked of how his friend "valued life" (yeah? whose life?) and a Christian clergyman. This is someone who, presumably, has dedicated his life to the Prince of Peace, yet he larded his prayer with expressions such as "this noble generation of heroes...," thereby giving a nod of approval to all the hired killers we employ.
Insanity! These people are dead! That's dead! They're dead now, they'll be dead next year, they're dead for all time. And so are the slaughtered in the countries they invaded. What comes to mind is Shirley Jackson's classic story, "The Lottery." In it, residents of a small town express some uneasiness and regret about an unnamed event scheduled for the near future. At the same time they agree that tradition must be followed and the unpopular chore completed. Slips are drawn and a woman draws the one with the black mark on it. She is then stoned to death by the townspeople.
So sad, too bad, that these heroes are gone. See how their children cry and their parents grieve? Oh, but deny tradition and end the slaughter? No, no, we must be true to our heritage and continue to bring death and destruction to ourselves, to our comrades, and to our "enemies."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nice day. I substituted at the food pantry with good friend and neighbor, Leslie, and I called her to suggest we have lunch together first. She was agreeable and we went to Calloway's. Had a delightful lunch and good talkfest (where did that idiotic expression come from? I think from the semi-literate movie magazines I read in my youth) about all kinds of topics. We both had wraps with chicken salad and I had a light beer.
Served at the food pantry from 1:45 to 4:00 and plenty of customers came in, several with little children in tow. It's satisfying to help people this way, but so much more is needed. What if we diverted even a fraction of the money we spend in delivering death and destruction to other countries to feeding the hungry, healing the sick, educating the ignorant, rebuilding our crumbling cities and infrastructure? But that will never happen. Instead, tiny groups scurry around the looming dike and plug holes here and there with their ever-dwindling supply of resources, while the edifice is crumbling and a great wave of water is sliding over the top. We're going to be inundated by it and while we're gasping and struggling, we'll wonder, "How did this ever happen?"
Hey, that's just what citizens in all the other lost empires wondered as they succumbed to the flood.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Got up north about 4:30 and picked a basket of peaches. After, drove the mile or so to J. and N.'s and we hung out while the boys cleared out the van. I asked where they wanted to go for dinner and big J. chose Shogun Restaurant in Toms River--somewhat of a hike, but he knows the back ways and we didn't have to go on the Parkway. Ever the organizer, he called for reservations for seven at six.
It took about a half hour to get there and we took separate cars, N. and little J. driving with me, the others with Daddy. The fun started when the boys oohed and aahed over the koi pond outside--T. wanted to get in--and continued through dinner. Of course, the actual cooking of the meal right in front of us made a big hit--very theatrical, with much twirling of knives and great flaring up of fire. One of the stunts at this kind of Japanese restaurant (I can't imagine they do this in Kyoda) is for the cook to flick pieces of food into the customers' mouths. He started with me, but I didn't succeed in "catching" it and the little ones didn't want to try, but both J.s got several, to much clapping and cheering around the table.
The fire worried the three-year-olds a bit, but they were also fascinated. Little T. insisted on using chopsticks to eat, but in a very peculiar way--he'd never be invited back in Tokyo--managing to actually get a fair amount of rice, chicken, and tofu in his mouth. I had the pork loin and others shrimp and steak.
Anyway, it was great fun, although pretty pricey. Big J. tried to pay part, but I wouldn't let him; I had invited them out, we had a wonderful time, and just being with that gang is priceless to me. It was quick and easy to get back on the Parkway and I was home by full dark.
WIDER: Here's a neat little movie on empire--ours, that is:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm now sure the wet lawn problem was the running--for weeks, if not months--hose faucet outside. Boy, I'm worried about what my water bill is going to be.
Got several calls from sister Betty. They had a heavy thunderstorm in Ventnor and electricity was out. She called first to tell me our St. James classmate, Richard Robertson, died last week. He was my first "date." He took me to the movies when we were in second grade. As I recall, my mother insisted he take Betty, too; I think she covered the cost (at the Ventnor movie, fourteen cents).
Went to the cemetery to water. I'm pleased that the hens and chickens are doing well on both graves. Dennis came and now thinks the dryer problem is in the timer board. He suggested I get a repair person from Sears or Anchor Appliance. Stopped at the latter and somebody will come on Friday--sixty-five bucks just to have him walk in the door. If I get a new one there, they start at almost four hundred, but half of the sixty-five will be applied to purchase--big deal.
Went to Kohl's after dinner and got Susan and Walter a going-away gift. They leave for Europe tomorrow. On the way home, received a welcome phone call from brother Frank, reminding me about his son and family renting a house in Avalon in a few weeks. I'll join them and stay over at least one night, maybe two.
When I went out to get the paper just now, I realized that at long last, it's raining. The stuff is pretty light, but at least it's wet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Had a delightful lunch with Ellen V. at Applebee's. We talked about my trip to Palm Springs, as well as her own white-water rafting in Arizona, which she did for ten days in July. Now this is a woman several years older than I am, so woo-ee, good for her! Mary H. and her daughter were also there for lunch and they came over to chat with us. Mary got the role of Madame Arcati which I coveted, so I should have put poison in her iced tea, but the fact is, I like her a lot and (gulp!), she'll do a wonderful job in the part. Went to Wal-Mart after I left Ellen and picked up a prescription. I had stopped at the doctor's office earlier to straighten out my confused medication and think I now have it all straight.
Not so delightful was discovering the probable cause of the backyard water problem. The guy from Meticulous came and saw that the faucet in the back where the hose is connected was dripping. Aagh, I haven't used in for a month or more, so I'm cringing at the thought of my water bill.
Got home and waited for Dennis, who had said he'd be back to look at the dryer after 4:00. He didn't come, so either he forgot or--. Well, I guess he forgot.
Wider And An Explanation: The second and third comments below refer to something I wrote in reaction to the following article in AntiWar.Com:
I had first added this reaction to my post here, but then decided to remove it. I'm thinking about expanding it later for an entry on the "Dead Horse" blog.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Finally, at long last, got the Black-Eyed Susans in. I also pulled weeds--it's incredible how thickly they now cover the beds in the back--but only in the areas where I planted. I should go out there for an hour or so a day, but will I? Probably not, I'm afraid.
Have a Biography video of Shirley Temple from the library and watched it yesterday. Really, she was an adorable little girl, who unfortunately grew up to be practically a full-time Fascist.
Received a welcome e-mail from Ellen V. inviting me to lunch and we'll meet today at Applebee's. She's directing Blithe Spirit and I'm licking my wounds over that, but still want to keep active in the theatre group. Have volunteered to help out with the production, too. Speaking of Spirit, I met Sid S., a Sunrise Bay neighbor, in Acme's parking lot and we chatted for a bit. The more I see him, the more I like him--even though, judging by his articles in the rival paper here, he's right up there with Shirley Temple in the a Furious Fascist category.
Talked to sister Betty, who will be staying with me next week while her house is rented. Talked to darling daughter, Ellen, both on the phone and via web cam; was finally able to send the Palm Springs pics to her.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"It never rains, but it pours"--well that's an outdated adage if ever there was one--it never rains. More accurate: "Life is just one damn thing after another." The dryer STILL doesn't work! It heats when I first turn it on, then stops. It also seems not to be stopping after the prescribed time, which makes me think there's a timer problem. Will call Dennis yet again.
In addition, when I was in the backyard, I noticed that part of the lawn and flower beds are saturated with water. Called Bob S., who had started my sprinklers and he and Angela came over. He couldn't see what it is and I'll call the lawn service tomorrow. I suspect it's a sprinkler head that's buried.
Am still dazed over the $300 increase in my property taxes; they went up hugely last year, too. I'm afraid the Black-Eyed Susans have to be planted or they'll die--but the ground is so hard, I don't think I can do it. Nobody knows the trouble I've seen....
Oh, I guess it's not so bad, but I've been in somewhat of a low mood. A bright spot was a web cam call from P. last night. He showed me how to transfer the Palm Spring pictures. Also told me N.'s picture, a huge animal eye, eerie and mysterious, is hanging in the Ueno museum--very prestigious.
Went to the cemetery and watered, then stopped at Santori's and got a cart full of veggies. Had broccoli, cauliflower, blueberries, and cantaloupe for dinner.
When will it rain?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Finally got the front flower bed weeded. I had been waiting for rain, but since it NEVER rains, I gave that up. Dennis came again for the dryer; tells me it's now working. Haven't had enough to do a wash yet, but I put a towel in and it seems okay. Ran a multitude of errands and did lots of chores. At 4:00, I decided to go to the pool; did so to find it was locked. Dunno why, but I went in through the clubhouse and took a dip. Sat and read for an hour, then went home.
Was unpleasantly surprised to find in my tax bill an increase of $320. Damn, it went up steeply last year, also, and maybe years before that. I thought it was supposed to be "frozen" at the level of a year or so ago. I'll go to the tax office on Monday and I'm sure they'll have some glib way to show it's supposed to be that high. Talked to sister Betty, who said she pays a lot more than I do.
Was delighted to get an evening web cam call from precious little girls in Singapore. Little Violet is just remarkably fluent for just-turned-two. And Vivian, 6, is going to college! That's the United World College, where she'll start first grade in the fall. Had a nice chat with daughter-in-law Paula, too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Well, darn it all, the dryer still isn't working. Called Dennis and Bill again and they should be back today.
Yesterday was so filled with exciting and interesting activities, I can't even remember what they were. Oh, yeah, made a salad. Went to the cemetery to water. Picked cherry tomatoes off Frank and Barb's plants, which they invited me to do while they're in North Carolina for two weeks. Talked to Julie L. about the upcoming issue of The Breeze. Heard from Mary S. that my pictures of the O.'s didn't transfer properly, so will drop my chip off at her house during our walk. Had the salad for dinner. Ho hummy day, all right...
Late Breaking News: Today, my son, Mike, served as one of the torch bearers at the First Junior Olympic games in Singapore. (Pictures on Facebook, but I don't know how to transfer them here.) Go, Mike!
Wider: I just got Washington Rules: America's Path To Permanent War, by Andrew J. Bacevich and am about halfway through it. I feel dazed every time I read something like this. The conceit and self-aggrandizement that lead to decisions resulting in the slaughter of millions of people, the casual acceptance of the death and destruction of others in the pursuit of political gain, the knowing--that's just it, the knowing--that the "reasons" for military aggression are spurious, but doing it anyway--! It's horrifying and one of the most horrifying thing is that for years--centuries, even--the warmongers have had little difficulty in persuading huge numbers of citizens that their enemies are the Germans, the Japanese, the Communists, the "terrorists", rather than the ruling classes who profit from the wars. I was struck, in particular, by the language used to inflame so-easily-inflamed Americans against Communism. It's virtually identical to what's used now, of course. Naturally, then as now, the media picks up on it and the populace falls, hook, line, and sinker, into belief in the lies.
There's nothing so dangerous as respect for one's "leaders." It seems to me incredible that they're cheered and applauded as they spout their lies, and are treated with such deference, even reverence. They should be spat on in the streets, then run out of town on a rail, but where will that lead us? To more of the same in this benighted country, I'm afraid.
Anyway, it's an absorbing book.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

As promised, Dennis and Bill came about 8:30. They were here more than an hour and this time, think they've cleared out the lint enough; Dennis says it works fine.
Left for the dentist about 1:00. I was to have a partial in, but damn, it didn't fit. Dr. L. made a new mold and they'll have to call me when it's finished.
Stayed up north overnight, so we could get an early start for the airport. Dropped off the travellers about 7:30 and was home by a bit after 9:00. Went and got my prescription filled only to find out I already have a supply of that particular one. Oh, well. Think I'll take an afternoon nap.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good day. Got the tire patched and put back on after our walk. Dennis and Bill came to fix the dryer; they cleared out the lint inside and from the roof. Unfortunately, when I tried it, it still wouldn't dry. Called, left a message, and got one back saying they'll be back at 8:30 this morning for a second try.
Went across the street to take the O.'s picture, then wrote their profile. It came out pretty good, I think, although they aren't the most exciting couple in the world and it was hard to work an angle on them. (Geez, I sound like a reporter from the lost world of 1940. Next I'll be sticking my press card in my fedora.)
Called dear cousin, Marifran, who has kidney cancer. Luckily, it's stage one; she declined surgery and is treating it with diet and natural remedies. Hope that works; otherwise, she'll reconsider an operation.
The fun part of the day started when I traveled upstate in the early evening. We picked up three of the little boys (the other's with friends at Hershey Park) and drove to Belmar. Got there about 6:45 and spent an hour or so playing on the beach. What fun! Lots of people there and it was very festive. Got pretty wet keeping the little ones from doing more than wading in the wild surf--they kept dashing out--but I didn't care. Others got ice cream--I abstained, virtuous me--then we drove back. Was given four beautiful Black-Eyed Susans, which I hope will spread. Didn't get home until after 10:00 for the second night in a row, but didn't care about that, either.
Dentist today, then up north overnight.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First full day home started off okay: unpacked, tidied up, and went to B & B to stock up on veggies. Joan O. called to ask if I'd write a piece for her for The Breeze. Now, I'm not crazy about doing this for people--I'm no ghost writer--but in her case, I acquiesced. After meeting with her, I realized I didn't have a "Profile" piece done, so called Bob and Cookie O. (no relation) and interviewed them.
I'm often lonely around dinnertime and I go out. Decided to drive over to the cemetery, as I hadn't gone for several weeks. Did that (my pal, Ernie, was there "visiting" his wife) and watered both graves.
As I was leaving Jay's, I heard and felt an noise and bumping under the car. Pulled over near the entrance and got out to investigate. Agh! There was a thick wire sticking out of my left front tire! Tried to pull it out and couldn't. Called AAA and when they asked where I was, I realized I'd didn't know the actual address--wasn't even sure of the municipality; told them to look it up. They did and said help was on the way.
I had left home about 6:00 and by the time the guy got there, it was close to 9:00 and almost full dark. He put the temporary tire on and I drove home at 30 mph, furiously honked at all the way. Didn't get in until about 9:30 and to bed until almost 11:00. After our walk, will take tire to be patched or whatever the hell they do. Some welcome home.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Well, I'm back and it was a wonderful, glorious week--all too short, but terrific. Aside from U.S. Airways (everybody associated with that corporation from hell should rot in same), all went well.
The travel saga: I foolishly signed up for a 7:35 am departure (from Philly), so decided to leave my car in short-term, then have it picked up later in the day. Got there and parked with no problem, dragged my purse, carry-on, and large suitcase out and started back to the check-out counter--I thought.
Without detailing a novel-sized tale of woe, the fact is I didn't get there in time to catch the plane. Frantically scurried around the airport, pushing a two-ton carrier for AN HOUR, and at one point, was helpfully directed to the wrong check-in counter (international) by a U.S. Air employee. Finally made it to the right place only to be told I was too late to board. After wailing and gnashing my teeth, I waited and got the last available seat (it felt like I was on the Titanic) on the next plane. The final insult was that my luggage didn't get on with me and all I had was bathing suit stuff in the carry-on.
I was particular incensed by the bland indifference, even cold hostility, shown by the U.S. Air counter person at check-in. Not only did she very obviously not give a damn, she displayed downright sneering satisfaction at the distress of--let's face it-- an elderly woman traveling along.
That was almost forgotten, however, by the time I got to LAX. Ever-lovin' Ellen was there to get me and we immediately went to the Will Rogers House. I've been there before and always liked it. Had lunch at a Thai place, then zoomed down to Ellen's in Ventura.
Unfortunately, my luggage went off on a vacation of its own and didn't arrive until Monday afternoon, delaying our departure for Palm Springs. But it was worth the wait: Palm Springs is a gorgeous place! The Renaissance, where we stayed, was elegant, with "the largest swimming pool" in the city. It was round, very refreshing, but didn't look that big to me and we spent a lot of time in it. Went to the museum (modern, but nice), the Aerial Tramway (Ellen went, but me? Are you kidding? I went to the movies), and were charmed and refreshed by the "misters" outside restaurants and shops to keep people cool. We ate wonderful food--Thai, Chinese, and other--and I gained six pounds. Cruised around looking for Sinatra's house, went to a Native American-owned casino (lost); and just generally had a ball.
Was it hot? Oh, not really--heh, heh. Shortly after we got there, I saw in the Palm Springs paper the temperatures for the week: 82, 79, 81.... "Huh!" I thought smugly, "We have higher temps than those in Little Egg." Oh, but wait a minute--those were the LOWS! One day, we actually hit 111 and it was over 100 each day we were there. People always say you don't feel it when it's so dry, but believe me, you feel it. I love hot and humid, but even for me, it was a bit much.
Back to Ventura on Wednesday and we continued the fun: went to Ojai to walk "the shelf," a mile and a half trail spiraling up a mountain; swam in the heated pool at Ellen's and enjoyed the hot tub; took a boat ride around the harbor; did all the other things that seem so fascinating to the participants and maybe less than so to listeners, so I'll end here...
BUT! Not until I continue the saga of an airline gone horribly wrong. Was picked up by the shuttle (to the tune of $71) at 2:30 am and got to LAX about an hour and twenty later. Waited in a line until counters opened at 5:00, put my credit card in and was told there was no reservation for me. What?! Why, of course. After I missed my first flight, I was told, U.S. Air in its infinite wisdom cancelled my return flight! Will draw a curtain over my rending of clothes and tearing of hair to conclude that, thanks to a kindly security person ("Gwen") and a savvy trouble shooter (she called New York and got me on the plane), I made it.
Love Palm Springs, California, and my daughter NOT in that order. Hate U.S. Air and all its works.
P.S. I will never, never, NEVER fly U.S. Air again, unless or until I receive an apology in writing--and not a canned one, either. Oh, yes, I intend to write and tell them of my horrors in dealing with their airline. Keep tuned.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Palm Springs has become one of my new favorite places. Hot, hot, hot in more ways than one. My whole trip has been wonderful after the nadir of missing the plane. Will hold off describing it all until I get home--too hard to type on Ellen's laptop. Just one additional comment: See Inception. It's enthralling. (Damn italics key doesn't seem to work.)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Just back from Palm Springs. Fabulous, wonderful, terrific time with darling daughter Ellen, but no time now to tell about it. More later, if possible...