Friday, December 31, 2010

Mike and Paula's college friend, Sarah H., came over for the day and we all went to UCSB, their Alma mater; many changes. Lunched Mexican, then stopped in to Village Catering, owned by M. and P.'s former boss in the bakery at UCSB. Later, went in hot tub in garden with M. and Vivian. Nice, but very cool--in the thirties. Went to dinner at The Wine Cask with just M. and P. P. and I had blood orange Margaritas, then wine, plus yummy entrees.
Last day of 2010; time flies.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mike hanging over my shoulder as I write! ("I am not!")
Betty, Finn, and Claire here all day yesterday. Carolyn and Dana are moving to their new house today, so it was a help to have the rest if their household occupied. After an initial shy period, kids had a ball. Ellen came in the afternoon and we all did this 'n' that. Kids went in the hot tub in the garden, although it was extremely windy and cool. Nanny Vickie made a wonderful lunch--homemade pizza for the kids, salmon, rice, and veggies for us. She also made dinner of a Filipino dish--a kind of chicken stew--that was very tasty. Mike and Paula went out shopping, then to UCSB; great changes there. Later, Mike then drove us around to see Christmas lights, which, to be honest, couldn't hold a candle to ours in Little Egg.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Here in Santa Barbara at a palatial estate behind a high hedge. Can't see the house because of said hedge, and what's more, there's no number on it. Steange.
I could have stayed in the guest house (living room, kitchen, bed, and bath), but decided to use one of the--geez, I don't know how many bedrooms--at least five, with baths. Good fun with the beautiful granddaughters, son, DIL. Expecting Carolyn and family soon.
Just so much going on, I can't put it all down.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

This will be very short, as I find it terribly awkward to use Ellen's laptop, with which I'm unused. Early (6:55 am) flight was cancelled, but thanks to Ellen, we were able to get a later one and were shuttled to airport. After a fair amount of confusion and problems, we left and got to Phoenix, our original route, but it took what seemed to be two days because we sat there being de-iced for a long time. Small (ugh!) plane to Santa Barbara, our luggage arrived there fine, then 45-minute car trip home.
All this could have been absolute nightmare without my darling daughter, checking, calling, using computer and phone to get us back. I would have been at an absolute loss--yay for Ellen!
Now I want to see my boy and his girls and have a wonderful second Christmas.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ellen and I stranded at the Fairfield Inn in Philly. Flight cancelled. Must find another. AAGH!
Enjoyed a lovely Christmas Day, inaugurated by a Skype call from P. and A. P. described the funeral for N/'s uncle, which they had attended--very interesting in the way Buddhist rites both parallel and diverge from the ones with which I'm familiar. Heard and saw the the Singapore/Lake Tahoe contingent, too, always a pleasure. Got a Merry Christmas call from J. and N.; kids had already unwrapped presents and were noisily having a ball with them.
Ellen made me a terrific, calorie-laden (that's why it was terrific) breakfast of two fried eggs, toast, juice, and coffee--yum. After, while she washed, trimmed, and sliced zucchini and other ingredients for one casserole, then put together a corn pudding for the other, I finished wrapping, tidied up, and jumped in the shower, and dressed. Got to our destination up north about 3:00 to find the gang already there. Greatly enjoyed the exchange of presents and good talk, then sat down to a sumptuous dinner of ham and delicious sides.
The antibiotic I take warns that one could become violently ill from drinking alcohol, but I decided to take a chance, Indulged in the "chocowine," or whatever it was called--that N. had brought. It tasted something like chocolate milk gone odd, but wasn't bad and I was delighted that I didn't fall down in fits or something.
Watched again the charming video the kiddies made for me while they were decorating cookies and I was in the hospital: "Get Well, Mimi."
Left about 8:00 after planning to meet up today before our trip to Philly. We leave tomorrow for California.
WIDER: From "Fred On Everything":
"...The trappings of fascism spread. General David Petraeus, commander of the Eastern Front, poses with the President in the White House in combat fatigues. The country is now the Homeland, reminiscent of the Nazi Fatherland and the Soviet Motherland. We hear of American Exceptionalism, the ritual self-idolizaton beloved of pathological nationalism. Blood and Soil. The American Dream. Ubermenschen. All we need is a short Austrian."
But read the whole thing at

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Boy, we were busy all day. Dynamo Ellen set up my new scanner/printer/fax (I think it does the dishes, too) and it's working beautifully. I spent a lot of time wrapping gifts, both east and west coast contingents, and we completed other chores. We were delighted to see Mike and entourage on the web cam, the little girls as adorable as ever.
Later in the day, we drove to Kohl's and Bed, Bath 'N' Beyond and, after much debating and agonizing, picked up the final few presents. Got home well after 5:00 and we prepared an elegant Christmas Eve dinner: I had Chex cereal with milk and Ellen called out for pizza.
I was pleased to get an e-mail from old friend and neighbor, Stan F. He tells me that his wife, Doris, whom I remember so well, is now in a nursing home. He cared for her for seven years at home and finally, as it always does, the thief, Time, won out. Stan asked for my phone number, which I was glad to give him, and I hope he'll call.
It's Christmas in this weary old world and I have no deep, philosophical gems to pass on, except my favorite, which sedate Susan told me her mother had advised:
"Never buy cheap gin."

Friday, December 24, 2010

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Turned out to be a dazzlingly good day. Got up finally feeling tiptop and had an odd, but I think, good breakfast of half a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter, a banana, and a glass of grapefruit juice. Phone call from doctor's office asking if we could come at 2:00 instead of 4:30--yes! Ellen and I tidied up, then I jumped in the shower and carefully selected my outfit to--I hoped--optimize my appearance of good health. Dressed in deep purple with the terrific scarf Susan gave me, put on makeup, wore my new boots and hey--not half bad, if I say it myself.
Got to Northfield in plenty of time, saw the doc and he gave me a clean bill of health. Said no problem with flying and as I was walking out of his office, he made my daym saying, "I can't believe you're (age)." Well, hey, no need to get in the car after that because I was walking on air.
Ellen and I then went to various places for last-minute gifts, then drove up north for an impromptu dinner with that contingent, including big J. and all four boys, but not N., who was working. We drove to Manchester to a diner and all had what they wanted. J. and R. had waffles, J., Jr. simply ordered a piece of banana creme pie and adorable little T. saw a picture of a fruit salad on the menu and had that. He wasn't crazy about the grapefruit, insisting it was "too hot," which I'm sure meant "sour."
After, Ellen and I went back to the house and saw a sweet video of the boys, big J., and Mike making and decorating cookies. It was made on Saturday, the 18th, and was dedocated to Mimi--that's me--and her speedy recovery. Each of the darling kids wished me to get better--what a wonderful thing to have!
Good fun and we got home after 9:00. Went to bed soon after and slept soundly.
Am going to try walking this morning--I feel just about over the hump. Still have another gift or two to buy--well, I have plenty of time--and all of them to wrap, but I'll get it done with my wonderful daughter with me.
Later: I walked! Regular route--a mile and a half--at regular, very brisk pace and boy, was it good. To top it off, Susan presented me with a pair of what can only be described as wooly lower-leg warmers that look like something sheered off a sheep. She has white, she gave me black, and do we look silly in them, but so what, they're nice and warm and I'm sure we're now the envy of the neighborhood.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Busy day buzzing around, almost like old times PGB (pre-gall bladder) except I'm still lacking my full component of energy. However, I endured the teeth-cleaning okay and we then went to Mastories, in Bordentown, just an incredible restaurant. There's a very large variety of menu items, they're quite reasonable, and--this is the incedible part--it's good food! I had tilapia, fresh string beans with oil and garlic, preceded by Caesar salad, and succeeded by tapioca pudding, plus tea. It was truly delicious and so was Ellen's turkey sandwich. Still not having a ravenous appetite, I took half home and had it for dinner.
After that, we stopped at the Columbus Farmers' Market and got a few things from the Amish store. Got home about 3:30 and Ellen started her long quest to get music on the IPod Shuffle she gave me for my birthday. No luck, and the upshot after hours on the phone with tech support was that it couldn't be done because of some kind of block I have (mental block, no doubt). Anyway, resourceful Ellen thought of a different way and we'll execute it in California.
Went to bed about 9:30 and slept like a log until 6:00. I'm feeling very noticeably better today--good thing, as we have a lot to do: Still some presents to buy, and all the wrapping, plus a lot of other errands, and the doctor's appointment at 4:30--but hey, I'm close to my old self and that's so good.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Coming back, but not entirely smoothly. Had a nice, very quiet birthday with my girls. Lots of good wishes from others, too. Susan came over and brought me a beautiful scarf and a bottle of white Zin (ha! Can't have alcohol with the antibiotic, but I'll enjoy it later.) Ellen made delicious veggie soup and we just had that with ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner (I had only soup). I had told the girls not to get a cake as we had the wonderful homemade cookie tray from the D.'s and every piece was incredibly yummy. Talked and laughed after. I turned in about 8:30--it's hard to get used to being so wiped out with just normal activity--and slept until 5:00.
Feel fairly okay--about 80percent, I guess. Dentist today; hope I can make it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Back from hospital. Feel loucy, but it's my birthday. Ellen here, thank heavens. More later.
Later: I actually feel lousy, not loucy, but that too, I guess.
Later still: Coming back from Zombieland. Mike called on the web cam from Lake Tahoe and that was so good. While he was on, Frank from next door brought over a beautiful tray of cookies and cakes from him and Barbara--Happy birthday and get well."
Slept on the couch, but then Ellen made a delicious salad and I had that, later half a ham sandwich. These tasted so incredibly good, I guess because I had had no solid food for five days and only about a cup of revolting liquid stiff.
Dear cuz Marifran called, as did sister Betty, and Anne Mary came in. Latter brought me a pretty candle and a bouquet of pink carnations.
Decided to throw off my invalid role--it's getting old--took a shower and dressed in real people clothes. I'm determined to make it it to California on the 26th and what's more, to the dentist's in Bordentown tomorrow.
Got an incredible number of cards, phone calls, and good wishes. Barb H. and Susan visited me in the hospital and nephew Tim sent a lovely bouquet. Good thoughts and wishes coming from all around and they're healing me, I say.

Friday, December 17, 2010

So sick. It seems to be a gall bladder attack, which I haven't had for at least fifteen years, but I foolishly ate cashew nuts and peanuts on Wednesday. Went to the doctor; she concurs with my diagnoses. Passed a terrible night; took Percoset, which helps for only about two hours and you can't take it more often than four. Better than it was, but still bad. Hurts so much; going back to bed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It occurred to me that Christmas is coming right up and--I'm not ready! This happens every single year without exception, dang nab it. I have at least four more presents to buy, several albums to put together, and a whole lot else. I did galvanize myself enough to go to Manahawkin and pick up a few things, plus wrote out, addressed, and stamped almost all my Christmas cards. It's pretty nuts that the postage cost many times more than the cards, but that's modern life, I guess.
Called Dee and had a nice chat; she's spending the holiday with her daughter in Pennsy, so we'll get together in the new year. Marge called to say Fred had survived the operation--an eight hour one, which boggles the mind--but it will be a long recovery period. I called Leslie will pick her up today to go to Produce Junction and the cemetery.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Third post of day:
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Second post of day:
Just to illustrate what I'm up against in family matters, here are some missiles from my two younger children WHO KNOW I'M NOT AN ANIMAL LOVER:
Just an FYI that I have ordered a birthday gift for you that will arrive between December 17-22. It will likely come in 3 separate packages with at least one of them from Amazon. HOPEFULLY, it will all arrive by your birthday but the shipping confirmation was somewhat ambiguous. Anyway, please be on the lookout: Anything shipped to you from:
Crazy Bob's World of Pets and Animals
The Greater New Jersey SPCA Friends Regional Dogfood Cooperative
is for you, so open fast!
P.S. Make SURE there are holes poked into the boxes!
Love ya!
Mike out ...
Followed by Ellen's:
No fair, Mike!
I was going to get Mom five kittens for her birthday! Now I'll have to get her fish or turtles or something.
Back to Mike:
Well, as she is there all alone, you know how they say old people love dogs, so I got her a feisty little puppy named "Nipper!" It is a doberman / Shepard mix.
But DON'T Tell her!
See ya,
To all of which I haughtily responded:
(Uh-oh; now I think I should be afraid--very afraid...)
Good, although long, day. Sent a package off to P. and N., just a little pre-Christmas thing. Picked Marge up at 11:00 and drove to the hospital. Fred had been admitted early so he could be weaned off something or other--can't remember--and put on Heparin (?). He was in good form, talking and reminiscing, and when lunch came, ate every bit. Marge and I went downstairs for lunch and when we came up, Fred's surgeon had been in. Marge was very disappointed because she wanted to talk to him, bur for some reason, didn't want to page or call him. Eerily, Fred is on the same floor that Pat was when he died and may be in the same room. I didn't mention this to Marge or Fred.
I stayed until about 3:00--Marge's son-in-law was coming in from Ocean City to take her home--and I got home in time to do a few things, then dressed for the Wellspouse dinner.
Got to Vivian's work place at 5:30 and she drove to Manalapan, about an hour and a half through dense northern Jersey traffic. The dinner was great fun: I was greeted with hugs--this was the first time I had attended since Pat died--and had a wonderful time. The wine flowed freely and so did the talk. Had wonderful grilled swordfish and Myron, one of the regulars, although his wife died several years ago, served up wonderful chocolate pecan cookies. He makes dessert for each gathering--just likes to--all delicious and all from scratch.
We stayed for several hours, then said our goodbyes. Got back to Manahawkin to pick up my car well after 10:00, and home after 11:00. I had told Susan I probably wouldn't walk and I didn't; got up at 7:00, two hours later than usual, but feel good and full of beans.
NOW I gotta get serious about Christmas presents, cards, and so on!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just had a horrible experience: My computer went down! Long story I won't go into, but there was a connection prob, surely because I shoved the wastebasket under the desk and disconnection, etc., etc., etc. Tried and tried, gnashed my teeth, it wouldn't work, now it does and I don't know why, but no matter.
Ran a slew of errands yesterday, after cutting up cabbage and apples to go in one crock pot, and turnips and green peppers in the other. Both were yummy.
Was thrilled and delighted that P. got my reservations in the hotel near them--was worried it would be filled.
Am picking Marge up to take her to the hospital to see Fred, who's in for heart surgery.
Must go, need breakfast.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Had just started this entry, when I was interrupted by a Skype call from Mike. He was working on my reservations, called P. while we talked and check dates with him and--yay! My reservationss are confirmed! I leave in early February and come back near the end. So exciting and now I must start planning the packing, etc. Hmm...well, I will after I get back from California in January.
Enjoyed the Christmas show in Trenton Last night. All four of the boys, plus the other two grandchildren, plus various family members went. It was presented as a radio show and included lots of singing, various skits and jokes, and of course, Santa at the end. The older boys were attentive, the younger ones not so much, but all enjoyed it generarlly.
We drove after to view an spectacularly decorated house with thousands upon thousands of lights synchronized to go on and off to music that you could access with your car radio. Great show.
Decided not to stay over, although it was raining hard and dark, but made it home okay. Nothing scheudled for today, so I want to get some chores done around here, run errands, and generally stay on the straight and narrow after a week of lunches, shows, and other great stuff.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hey, the reading came out better than I had expected it would. There were roughly twenty people there. Sounds like a very small number, but the venue was so tiny, it filled up the place. The four actors read--I did okay, I think--then writer/director Karen led a discussion session. I was amazed to find we were walking out of there at 1:30--great!
Marilyn and I then went to the big Mastoris Diner at the intersection of Routes 206 and 130. I hadn't been there for years and greatly enjoyed it. We stayed for two hours, talking and laughing and once in a while, crying a bit. She's looking at her first Christmas and New Year in 27 years without Sam.
When we parted, I was delighted to realize I was only a quarter mile or so from Farnsworth Avenue, where my dentist office is. That meant I was able to go down 296 and get home in about an hour and a few.
After settling, I watched the first part of Doubt, which I had been anxious to see. In truth, I was a bit disappointed in it. I think Meryl Streep played her character as just too unrelievedly awful and the young nun was pretty enough to be a--well, movie star. I've known a lotta nuns in my time and, believe me, none (sorry!) look like that.
However, Philip Seymour Hoffman played a priest superbly. As a kid, I knew a lot of priests, too, and his portrayal was spot-on.
Got a cam call from adorable Violet and her Daddy and saw a bit of Vivian. Darling, precious kids--can't wait to see them.
Just now, got a call from P. and N. and had a good chat, ranging from Okinawa to the incredibly difficult Japanese language--or combination of languages, really.
Must go--time for our walk.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

No wonder I love this time of year: Yesterday, we--Barb H., her sister, Pat and the other Pat (H.), Susan and I--went on the Tuckerton Christmas tour. Of course, we lunched first at the Tuckerton Emporium. I had pistacio tuna salad and delishious cream of tomato with basil soup.
Tour was fun, as ever (this is about the fifth time we've gone). First the Seaport old house, then other private homes were on display and we went to all of them. Some were tastefully decorated, some laughingly over-the-top (invariably, the owner would equate apending thousands of dollars with exhibiting good taste), but all were interesting and fun to tour.
We were home by 3:00 and I zipped over to the library to get the CD of Doubt, which I've been dying to see and Outside Looking In, the new boook by "observer" (as he puts it) Garry Wills, which I had requested.
I had invited the D.'s to come over for coffee and dessert, partly to discuss my LETCO duties with Frank. Got slices of birthday cake out of the freezer, along with the cookies Susan had baked and given me after Thanksgiving, and served them. Frank and Barb came over about 7:00 and stayed for two hours. We had such an enjoyable time talking about the theatre company, our travels, and other topics.
Will go up to Trenton today for the reading.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Went to the LETCO meeting last night and found myself elected to the Board of Trustees! Ho, ho, that isn't as impressive as it sounds: So were six other members and we didn't exactly "run"--it was by acclimation.
No matter, I'm fine with it, especially as I'm not on the executive committee (pres., vp, treas., sec.). There does seem to be a new breath of life in the group. We now have a board member who has experience in grant writing, for instance and, as with anything else in this tired old world, money is essential for operations.
Earlier, I went to Produce Junction to get a Christmas wreath for the grave. It's fresh, of course--I don't do artificial--and is on a stand. I put it just behind the headstone and it looks good. Removed the dead stalks of the mums; they should revive next spring. Was charmed to find the top half of a broken ceramic blue jay which, cognizant of Pat's enjoyment of birds, I anchored in dirt next to the stone. (My friend, Mary Ann, would regard that as some kind of supernatural message, but I don't go that way.)
Christmas tour and yet another lunch today.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Neat day! Was picked up at 11:30 by Judy S. Also in the car were Susan, Mary Ann, and Julie G. The luncheon was at The Carriage House in Galloway and oh, what a terrific place. It's large, elegantly appointed, and was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Great lunch (chicken Marsala), we each got a Lenox dish, and it was great fun to be with friends and neighbors. I got lots of compliments on my hair and, believe it or not, my outfit. I wore black silky slacks, a black top with a scoop neck, a long white scarf, and silver jewelery--in other words, I was all black, white, and silver. If I say it myself, I looked sensational.
Got home about 4:00 and changed, then just puttered around until 6:30 until it was time to go next door tot Frank and Barbara's. We went to the library to see A Christmas Carol and, oh boy, was it good.
This was NOT the sloppy-sentimental, hoked-up movie or television version*; it was the actual, word-for-word story by Dickens, read by three actors. Yes, read--but also acted and they were superb. One was both narrator and Scrooge, another man the other male characters, and a woman both female humans and spirits. They were dressed in period costume and, of course, didn't just read--they acted.
We talked to them afterwards and found they're located in Jackson. They do two other shows besides "Carol": A Meeting Of The Macabre and "Mark Twain's Wonderful Words." Would love to see the others someday.
*This terrific experience supports my insistence that modified versions of original material is almost always wrong-headed and false. (This includes--in spades--fictionalized true events and "docudramas.") If a work of art is a fine one to begin with--and "Carol" certainly is--to tart it up with additional dialogue, scenes, or modified speech, is like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa. When it comes to written material, it's even worse because the aberration is often accepted as the real thing. How many people remember the real story of Frankenstein? I do, because I read what Mary Shelley actually wrote; she never heard of Boris Karloff. Seems to me that "improving" a work to make it fit into a movie or play format, or fictionalizing a true event to make it more entertaining, is almost never warranted. It doesn't improve: it dumbs down and phonies up.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Nothing going on yesterday except I got my hair cut and colored. Shopped for veggies. Baked sweet potatoes and ate two. Cut up green peppers and put them in the slow cooker with onions and garlic; will save for dinner tonight or whatever. Talked to Mary S. about various aspects of The Breeze.
Women's Club luncheon this afternoon. This evening, I'm going to an (adult) "A Christmas Carol" presentation at the library, to which the D.'s invited me. Sounds like fun. Talked to P. and N. about my February trip and got an e-mail from Mike, who's making the arrangements, thank heavens.
WIDER: In all the millions and billions and trillions of words written about the Wikileaks thing, not a single one has suggested the information is fabricated. Naturally, the big guns, loaded with dirty little innuendos, were wheeled in by big government (assisted by big media, of course) and aimed at Assange and his condom use. But, correct me if I'm wrong, I haven't seen a breath or a sigh or a gasp to the effect that what was released is bogus.
Just something to contemplate...
And a further thought: Seems to me having Assange surrender to authorities was a stroke of brilliance, especially as he's been denied bail. He's a hell of a lot safer incarcerated than at large, where an "accident" could take him out. This must have the U.S. and its allies tearing their hair. Hey, we'll take anything we can get to annoy and chip away at the empire and its minions.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Mary liked the cover and it will be used for The Breeze. Got my articles in, plus pictures, so for this month, it's put to bed (an old-fashioned phrase, but I'm nothing if not old-fashioned).
Just interrupted with a call from Patrick and Natsue. We discussed my trip there in February--can't wait!
Susan picked me up for the luncheon at SeaOaks. I was taken aback at the number of people there--all women and surely, at least a hundred of them. I was still a bit--well, not exactly annoyed, but let's say, "surprised with overtones" because the affair didn't benefit any charity. I thought it was pricey, too: thirty bucks, plus a ten dollar "gift," plus the cost of tickets for the tricky tray. Susan and I also bought a glass of wine for $5.50, plus tip. Everybody got a door prize and I picked a nicely wrapped cylinder I was sure was wine, but damn, it was a package of four apple candles I need like a hole in the head. Oh, well, it was fun; didn't get home until after 4:00 and immediately changed and went to the library.
Was disappointed to learn from friend Vivian that she was mistaken about the date of the Wellspouse dinner. It isn't today, it's next Tuesday. Had to change my dentist appointment for that day.
Got a call from friend Marge to tell me Fred's surgery date and ask if I can take her to the hospital on the 16th and possibly, the 14th, too. I'll be glad to, of course, I told her.
Getting my hair cut today.

Monday, December 06, 2010

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I'm doing the cover for January Breeze, so spent a lot of time assembling new year props and arranging them on a bench to photograph. I wasn't satisfied with the shiny banner ("Happy New Year1"), so drove to Staples in Manahawkin and had one made that reads: "The best if yet to come..." and it looks pretty good. Not sure how good my photo is though. I sent it off to Mary, our de facto editor, and await her response.
Amy Z. called to give me two corrections on the profile. It seems I accidentally wrote that she and Conrad are "ecumenical ministers," instead of "Eucharistic ministers," but actually the title is "Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion." Corrected, then sent it off, along with my other piece ("Piano Lessons").
Got a web cam call from sister Betty, and saw her little granddaughter, Scarlett, who's such a cutie. She's just a bit older than Violet--wish they could play together.
Talked to Ellen later. We decided I probably wouldn't stop at her place in California when I go to Asia in February. I hope this is what Mike and I decided, as we went back and forth on it.
Ocean Club luncheon at SeaOaks today.
LATER: Yoicks! It just occurred to me that, this week alone, I have three lunches and a dinner! Will be fun, know, the weight thing. Reminds me of that old Brit verse which, for some reason, I've always liked:
What care I how fat I be?
Twenty pounds will marry me,
If twenty shan't, forty shall--
I'm my mother's bouncing girl.
I love the bland complacence, the shrugging off of the "fat girl" complex, and most of all, I love the courage of the last two lines: They don't rhyme!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

What a neat day! However, the first part was...uh, strange. After getting slightly lost by following Google's cockamamie directions to Trenton, I made it to Classic Books only a few minutes late. Was surprised to hear we were going to rehearse the long version of Karen's play, not the short. However, no prob, we read twice. The other three actors are very nice. They're Yolanda, a radio announcer; Shaaron (yes, two "a"s), the only other one with acting experience; and John, a retired psychiatrist (I kid you not). I was taken aback to be told we were doing the long version--essentially just four l-o-o-n-g monologues--but we did it twice and I guess it's okay. Whether anybody will see it is questionable, I think, as there were no customers that I could see it the bookshop, but it'll be an experience.
On my way home, stopped up north and was delighted to be invited to a tree-lighting. Accepted with pleasure and, after helping bring over some snow gear to the boys, we met again at 6:00. It was bitterly cold, but we were all bundled up and the boys had their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who came along on a fire engine (seems to be a trend).
After, we all went back to the house to enjoy a delicious dinner which the lady of the house had pulled together at the last minute: chicken, pasta, string beans and asparagus, along with a yummy mix of shrimp, tomato, black olives, and capers. I relished all of it, then said goodbye, as it was already almost 8:00 and I had a long drive home.
Wonderful day, wonderful season, and there's more to come.
Just called son Mike on Skype to wish him happy birthday. Saw him and the adorable little girls. Discussed my upcoming trip to Asia, which he'll arrange for me. Can't wait!
WIDER: Other activities? Oh, I was pleased to write out a check for Wilileaks to help with the defense fund. Will mail it off tomorrow. I'm doing it by paper check instead of electronically because I want everybody who sees or handles it to know what side I'm on.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I've come to the conclusion the entire universe is conspiring to drive me crazy. First, U.S. Air: called to see if I can get frequent flier miles for past flights and yes, as long as they were within six months, and they were. No prob at all with the Florida trip in October, no prob with the one from LAX back to Philly, which leaves the one where I missed the flight and got on another. I won't go into any detail, but will just list two long phone calls and an e-mail because I didn't know the flight number of the plane I finally got on and neither do they! It's incredible to think they don't have a record somewhere--what if the FAA should come calling?--but that's what they tell me. Still isn't resolved.
Next ordeal was with the godforsaken state of New Jersey. After applying for a "homestead benefit" or some cockamamie thing (it freezes your taxes, but oh, not really), I got a letter saying they want this, that,and the other thing, because they have no record of me ever filing an N.J. income tax return. I called, talked to some moron, and, after a ten minute hold, he casually admitted, yes, they have them, lah-di-lah. Guess they just mislaid the last fifty years of so of my returns.
Staggered out to Rite-Aid to get some old pictures duplicated. Woman was "just learning" this machine a three-year-old could master and I was there for 35 minutes while she tried and tried, first cutting the heads off a group, then mangling otherwise. She was very apologetic and insisted on paying for the mayhem (80 cents), but it was another annoying happenstance.
Other than the above--easy sailing...
WIDER: From a review on of the new Garry Wills book Outside Looking In:
"Wills makes a chilling and telling observation about Michael Dukakis, whom he overheard on a plane while covering his presidential campaign. Dukakis and a friend were discussing death. 'You think of dying?' Dukakis asked. 'Of course,' the man replied. 'Don’t you?' 'No, never.' 'I was no longer surprised,' Wills concluded, 'to hear such an answer from Dukakis. He is the supreme government wonk. If there is no government program against dying, why bother to think about it?'”

Friday, December 03, 2010

Spent time tweaking the profile on the Z.'s and e-mailed it to them so they could check for errors. Did more on "Notes From A Vanished Past," this one on the piano lessons Betty and I took from Sister Felicita. Drove to Staples to duplicate some childhood pics for my brothers. If I had a scanner, I'd put them on here, but I don't
Left for the L.'s party at 3:00 (theirs always start at 4:00) and what a very good time I had. The group they invite every year is sadly depleted: Pat is gone, of course, and last night, Barbara and Frank J., stalwarts other years, were absent. Flo said Frank was having great difficulty walking--I'm not sure the cause. Kate S. and Danny came--I see them once every year--and she's painfully thin. She had broken both her hip and her knee about 18 months ago and isn't completely recovered. Ironically, she broke the hip when she fell going down the steps at home to visit Danny in the hospital. He has cancer--still being treated--but he's as full of fun, jokes, and laughs as ever. The other widows, Rita and Audrey (it always comes as a shock to realize I'm in that category) were there and we generally had a ball.
I had only two glasses of wine, because it's a fairly long drive home, and I ate a lot. Flo and Joe had again hired a guy to play his keyboard in the background, which they've done for the past two years. Only problem with that is, it's a little loud and it makes talking and hearing a bit of a strain, but it's enjoyable anyway.
After dinner, we exchanged the $5 gifts we're always told to bring. I got a snuggle-blanket or whatever the hell they're called, which I can't use. We're allowed to take something received by another person, so I exchanged it for a big red serving plate with Santa's belt on it. I need that like a hole in the head, but I'm nothing if not impractical, and it's really cute.
Good fun among good friends, almost all of whom are Holy Spirit grads from or around Pat's class. The L.'s have been hosting this gathering for ten years; Pat and I started being invited eight years ago and I haven't missed at all. It's so good to have close friends like this, in addition to those I see often.
Got home before 8:00 and, having enjoyed the L.'s party, understand that the holiday season is officially open.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Susan and I walked our full route in practically a monsoon of wind and rain. Had to change from the waist down and skin out when I got home. Virtuous me, I went to exercise--the three mile!--then finished the profile on the Z's. Cut up a red cabbage and four apples to make my delectable concoction in the crock pot--yummy!* Went to the library and was practically blown away; my umbrella turned inside out and I again had to change clothes.
However, it finally stopped and I drove to Shop-Rite to get my feta and a few other things. Was pleased to get several brochures on Tokyo from son P.; must get down to brass tacks in arranging my trip. Got an e-mail from Sue W., director of development at Holy Spirit and wrote back. I'm not sure if I'm going to endow another scholarship this year, considering the economy and all.
Joe and Flo League's is party this evening. I always think of this occasion as kicking off the Christmas season and am looking forward to it.
*Told sister Betty and friend Mary Ann about this delectable combo. They both tried it--and both hated it! Geesh, they have no taste...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Mary Ann picked me up at noon and we zipped over to Produce Junction. We both got brilliantly beautiful poinsettias, plus plenty of veggies. To Shore Diner for lunch, where we split liverwurst and onion and grilled chicken sandwiches. I ordered Sam Adams and was surprised to find it's a dark beer; was even more surprised to find I liked it.
After that, I took something back to Babies 'R' Us, then we spent an hour or so at Kohl's and that reminded me why I don't like to shop with anybody else--what a bore. Ran into Virginia H. and Lorraine G. from SB, then was pleased to see Mary H., h.s. friend, and we had a good chat.
Leaving, I saw at the door, Dee G., who owns our old home on Rosborough Avenue. Must get together with her soon.
Got home a bit before 5:00. Talked to sister Betty and later to daughter Ellen. Must get busy on the profile of the Z.'s for The Breeze.