Wednesday, March 31, 2010

As we seldom do, we cut our walk short yesterday. The rain came down in buckets and our umbrellas were turned inside out in the fierce wind. Got home drenched, even so.
Had called in the renewal on Monday, so went to Wal-Mart to pick up my medication. There I was told my insurance company wouldn't pay its portion until today! May all of them writhe in hell, especially the bastards who are going to profit in unimaginable amounts from the "health care" (care to forfeit your income for your health?) "reform" (the perps should be in reform school) bill.
Went to Scrabble at Pat's and only mildly enjoyed it. I'm always amazed at the hold television has over just ordinary conversation. The other day, on the Dead Horse blog, Rob Payne wrote about the sorry state of our "culture" (yes, those quote marks are intended, also). That came to mind yesterday as our "discussion" (those, too!) ranged from Tiger Woods to teenagers who commit suicide to The Great Race. This is what passes for serious conversation, it seems: utterly vapid and mindless chitchat.
Rehearsal last night. I'm still hanging in, but my doubt that a performance will be added grows with each passing day. Okay, I'm still learning and still like being with a group of women with a purpose.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Oh, the rain came down and the floods came up...." That's from an old children's bible song, and it fits yesterday's weather, my least-favorite (oh, wait, I said that about cloudy days, too). Susan and I sloughed through for our morning walk, then went to exercise, and were back at the clubhouse for a meeting about our new community newsletter.
In between, talked to sister Betty, then e-mailed pictures of the graves to her and to my children. I was glad it rained to water them, but hope they aren't drowned.
Rain or no, I had a wonderful time at dinner with Joel, Noelle, and the four boys. Joelly is getting so grown up and articulate and Tristan is an adorable two and a half year old. After eating his pizza, he spent most of the dinner dipping pita bread in my soup, then carefully spreading butter on a piece of Italian bread. After that, he ate off the butter--ugh!
I went up early and we ate early (at a restaurant near them called "LaCuchina"), as I was a tad nervous about driving home on Route 539 in the dark. There were two posted flooded areas, neither very deep, but still--.
Was home shortly after 7:00, having greatly enjoyed the evening. Looking forward to spending time with them for Easter, too.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happily, I got a web cam call from P. and N.; their computer had been lacking something and is now fixed. I thanked them (N., actually) for an utterly charming Easter card she had made--I love her things and save all of them, of course.
Surprised myself by taking a short nap after that, but woke up feeling refreshed. Was delighted to get a call from grandson Joel, just thanking me for stopping in to say hello to Noelle the other day. I asked to take the whole crew out for dinner and Joel said he's off today, so will drive up there. Later, I decided to put pansies on the grave, after all, and went to the cemetery. Stopped to get them at Bob's outside Mays Landing. They have a wonderful array and I chose a bright yellow and pretty blue. The ground was soft, so they were easy to plant. I was pleased to see a stone on the gravestone itself, evidence that the D.'s had been there. That's a nice custom, which I understand Jewish people originated, and I left one myself.
After, it occurred to me to get something for nephew Jay's grave, too, and I stopped at another place to get some nice daffodils. It was almost 6:00 when I got home, which was fine with me. I considered it a full and satisfying day, especially as it's now raining, so the flowers are being watered.
My weekly web cam call from Ellen topped off a good day.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's gotten very cold again, darn it, and poor Susan lamented that the dozens of pansies she just planted will die. Galvanized myself to clean the bathroom. Talked to sister Betty at length. Went to Shop-Rite, then to the cemetery, taking with me the shells and small piece of driftwood Mike had picked up on the Ventnor beach last month. Arranged them in front of the headstone, then went off to buy a plant to add. When I got to the flower place, though, it occurred to me that if Susan's pansies will probably die, it's probably too cold. I'll wait and get something later.
When I got home, stopped at the D.'s to return Barb's container. To my surprise, they told me they had been over at the cemetery. Must have been just after I was, as they mentioned the shells.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

After our walk and exercise, it was a fairly slow day. Went to Manahawkin and picked up Super Glue for the library display, then stopped at B & B for veggies. Made a delectable "stew" of sweet peppers and onions in the crock pot. Finished The Kite Runner and have started Think Twice, the book by the author we saw the other night. Two books of fiction in a row--wow, I'm getting decadent. Soon I'll be lolling in front of the t.v. all day, eating meatball subs.
WIDER: However, I also read an absorbing piece in Harper's Monthly (to which I just subscribed), on the three "suicides" at Gitmo. It was just a coincidence that the three, in separate, widely-spaced cells, all chose to kill themselves on the same night by the same method--stuffing rags down their own throats, then hanging themselves. After the "official" U.S. autopsies, the bodies were released to the families and it happened that the throat areas of all three were missing. Just mislaid, I guess, and that surely has nothing to do with concealing evidence. Think the mainstream media will pursue this with any vigor?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Nothing much going on yesterday except an eye doctor's appointment and rehearsal. Exam was routine, I'm glad to say, as blindness is one of the scariest things possible to me. I don't even need a new prescription. Barbara D. came over to bring me a portion of lentil stew she had just made. She puts a lot of vegetables in it. I had it for lunch, but to be honest, prefer my own.
Rehearsal was okay, but I'm now reconciled to the fact that I won't be in this play, as it goes on in less than a month. Heather, who plays Truvey, wasn't there, so I read the part--big whoops, as the kids used to say. Didn't get home until well after 10:00, so bedtime was almost midnight. Think I'll take a nap today.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Had a good time with the D.'s yesterday evening. We left for Cherry Hill at 4:15 and arrived a bit more than an hour later. I hadn't been up in that neck of the woods since daughter Ellen lived in Mount Laurel and boy--if it was a busy, heavily populated place then, it's even more so now.
First, we went to Barnes and Noble to buy the books to be signed by the author, Lisa Scottoline. She's a mystery writer from South Philly of all places; I bought Think Twice simply because the blurb said it featured twins. After you buy, they give you a wrist band with a number so, I suppose, the crowd doesn't mob the author.
Frank, Barb, and I then went to a restaurant called "Panini Something" (well, I can't remember the rest) which features, of course, bread. Had a good light dinner of vegetable soup and half a turkey sandwich, then we went back to B & N. It was early, but there were no seats left when we got there, so we stood the whole time.
Lisa--it's impossible to refer to her more formally--is a trim blonde who looks to be in her early fifties and is very funny. She delivered all kinds of amusing anecdotes about her mother ("Mother Mary") and her two ex-husbands ("Thing 1 and Thing 2"), as well as a number of seemingly intimate details about her life, e.g. a recent blind date. She actually came across much like a stand up comedian. She had brought along two of her five dogs (and she has two cats), which were ooh and aahed over by members of the audience, almost all women. After her gig, she signed books and gave out Tastykakes, which seem to be her trademark Schick.
The last time I had been at an author's lecture was about twenty years ago at a bookstore in Princeton. Don't remember the name of the author, but I was deep into vegetarianism at the time and I know that was his subject. Far from being funny, this one was very, very earnest, intent on promoting his topic and saving the planet from the meat-eaters.
Now, I understand from the D.'s that other author's signings they've attended--and they go to a lot of them--are also barrels of laughs. Maybe this is waxing too philosophical, but could the contrast reflect what seems to be the absolute determination of the public to be entertained with jokes and funny stories rather than think seriously about a topic?
Dunno and now it's time to meet Susan for our walk.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Had an early doctor's appointment just to check my blood pressure. Doc was pleased to see it's gone down, but said she'd like to see it 5 points lower still. Can't remember what it was--I think about 137/85.
Gave Susan the plant and she was very pleased. Also gave her a birthday card with a pug, her dream dog (ugh!) on it. I had picked it up in Lake Tahoe in December.
Drove to Joanne's Fabrics in Mays Landing and found shiny green fabric that I think is just right for a background for the library display case. Stopped on the way home at Santori's and stocked up on veggies, then went to the cemetery. I was surprised to see the headstone in place. It looks good and I went to the office to ask about plantings. The guy said only azaleas are allowed, but he told me I needed to wait awhile until the foundation has a chance to settle. Fine by me.
Went to rehearsal last night. It's now exactly one month before opening night and Tara still hasn't yet make up her mind if she's going to add a show, in which I would appear. I'm getting discouraged and am fighting against resentment. Everybody else in the cast has been rehearsing twice a week since January--if she does add a show, how could I ever catch up? Oh, well, I'll hang in. Can't do much else.
Tonight, am going to dinner and an author lecture in Mount Laurel with the D.'s. Should be a nice diversion.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Had a great time with Dee yesterday. I was a little late as I had forgotten the Dorset Avenue bridge is closed--again--for repairs and had to retrace my steps, in a manner of speaking to come by way of Atlantic City. Got there to find Dee is living in the downstairs apartment, a sensible arrangement as the full house is so big for one. She had the front room done over and it's now a cosy and attractive sitting room. When I lived there 85,000 years ago, it was a dank, cement-floored area, with uncovered brick walls and a drain in the middle--what an improvement. We went to the Shore Diner and I had delectable cheese ravioli with meatballs, taking a bit home. After a leisurely lunch, we stopped at Christine's bakery and Dee bought a zepolle--or was it something else?--a cream-filled pastry which we shared when we got back to her place.
Dee is a warm and outgoing person, full of good cheer and generosity of spirit. She's had some sorrowful times in her life, having lost her husband, son, and granddaughter, but she remains zestful and accepting of life. The fact that a person like her owns my childhood home on Rosborough Avenue is wonderful, as I feel I can "go home again" when the spirit moves me. For some reason, I get melancholy when I go back to Ewing, as I did on Friday, but lighthearted when I'm in Ventnor, even though my life there defined a time much earlier.
I didn't leave until after 4:00 and drove directly to Manahawkin to get a plant for Susan's birthday, which is today. Had a message from Barb D.; I'll join her and Frank tomorrow for dinner out and an author's lecture. I have a doctor's appointment this morning, and rehearsal tonight.

Monday, March 22, 2010

For the first time in months, I went to "Sunday At The Opera," run by my friend, Mary Ann Van O., at our clubhouse. We saw Der Rosenkavalier, by Strauss, which started at 1:00 and went on for more than three hours. It was very enjoyable, though, and I'm glad I went. I'm still amazed at myself for liking opera, but I do. This one--the title means "Rose of the Knight"--is a farce and involves illicit love (husband away, wife at play), a boorish nobleman, and mistaken identity. One of the main characters has a "breeches role," e.g. the role of a man sung by a woman. That was somewhat disconcerting: In the opening bedroom scene, it's hard to suspend disbelief and see the action as anything but a lesbian liaison. (I understand the breeches role is designated most often when the character is an adolescent or very young man--in this opera, the character is supposed to be 19.) I had never heard of this practice before--interesting.
WIDER: Earlier, I attended the peace vigil at the Unitarian Church in Galloway. About a hundred people were there, most, I surmised, congregants. Of course, the names, ages, branch, rank, and hometowns of the "fallen warriors" from Jersey were read, nine of them by me. The one that sticks in my mind is Harry R. Swain, IV, of Millville, 22 years old. I looked him up--there's a web site, created by his father--where all the old cliches abound. His official Marine picture shows a solemn teenager's face--I'm guessing he was told not to smile--and there are the usual inanities, without which his death could hardly be borne: "...died for his country...for freedom...to keep us safe...a hero...." There's a slideshow featuring Harry with his family, with classmates, with fellow soldiers in Iraqi. His father, we're told, had also been a Marine and his brother is one now. Guess it's a family tradition, as is the designation of Harry I, II, III, and IV. Well, they can put that practice to rest along with Harry IV, who's permanently at rest--there'll never be a Harry V.
Here's the site: http://harryswain4th.soldiertributes.com/

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Finally started some long overdue housework. Trimmed the huge spider plant in the dining room, vacuumed and spot-cleaned the carpet, dusted, and so on. Took the twelve dollar artificial magnolia (just one, large) bloom back to Michael's and bought three smaller ones for a buck each at the dollar store. I've finally decided on the "Magnolias" display for the library window: I have a wooden picket-fence type plant holder and I'm going to have three flowerpots of "dirt" (vermiculite) in it, with signs reading "Of Mothers And Daughters/Life, Love, Laughter, And Tears" and the name of the play.
Talked to Dee. I'll go down to Ventnor to meet her for lunch tomorrow. Today, I'm attending a peace rally at the Unitarian Church, then the monthly opera program put on by my friend, Mary Ann Van O.
WIDER: From a commenter named "Yours Truly" after an article in "Common Dreams" about Condaleeza Rice regretting our "mistakes" in Iraq, but then saying, "We finally got it right.":
"We finally got it right? Like they were sculpting in Iraq instead of committing mass murder and other crimes against humanity? If only that were so."
My sentiments exactly.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A full and fulfilling day. Left for Trenton early, as I had decided to stop in to see old colleagues at Rider before the rally. Got to Lawrenceville about 10:30, parked, and headed for Human Resources. What? The door was locked--oh, darn, it was the last day of Spring Break and nobody was on campus. Stopped over at Security, thinking my old pal, Chief Vickie Weaver, might be there, but she was off, too. Left her a note.
It's a good thing I gave myself plenty of time to get to the Statehouse, as the (about) 15-minute trip took me almost an hour. There's no sense in recording the details, but suffice it to say I kept going in the wrong direction and having to stop at various stores to correct. Got there before it started, though, so no problem.
I was able to park in a garage about a block away and, as it was a gloriously warm and sunny day, was glad to walk to the Statehouse. I had forgotten how pleasant Trenton is in this area. There are stately old row houses--judging by the architecture, built in the early 18th century--and interesting newer buildings in this, Jersey's capitol city. Seeing the traffic on the streets and the state workers strolling to lunch in shirt sleeves, I sensed a general air of purpose and prosperity--entirely bogus, I'm afraid, as Jersey is as broke as California.
The rally marking the seventh anniversary of our vicious aggression in Iraq, lasted an hour and included an impassioned talk by Rev. Moore, who heads up The Coalition For Peace Action. An Iraqi/U.S. citizen, an Iraq war vet, and a student from the Princeton Theological Seminary also spoke, and there was guitar and flute music and sing-alongs. Several other seminarians were there, holding a banner, and so was a delegation of elderly women from upstate. A man in an orange jumpsuit held a large sign deploring torture and two others had a flag with a peace sign in the stars field. However, I counted only 37 people there, a discouraging number considering how many would gather to view an Air Force flyby.
I was pleased to be hailed by an old acquaintance, Irene Goldman, whose husband had been state treasurer about 20 years ago. Irene's son and mine had been friends. We caught up with each other's lives after the rally, then left.
I drove back to Ewing and went to my old haunts, then to the cemetery where I ate the lunch I had brought. Felt a bit like a ghost who came back myself, as I didn't see anyone I know and the place is changed a lot.
Got home to find a welcome e-mail from Dee G., who owns the house in which I grew up, and a phone message from Marge. Got back to both.
After dinner, I took my War Made Easy DVD, a bag of whole grain pretzels, and a bottle of White Zin and went three doors down to the R.'s. We had a good, convivial visit as we viewed the movie, drank our wine, and discussed our mutual peace-promoting beliefs.
Home about 9:00.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Skipped our walk, as my mammogram appointment was at 7:15 am. Was outta there before 8:00, which is why I like the earliest time possible for almost anything. My hair appointment was at 10:30 and I could easily have gone home in between, but decided I'd hang out in that area instead. Splurged by eating breakfast out. Had scrambled eggs and home fries, but was a little disappointed because I didn't enjoy them as much as I thought I would. Wish I had ordered a poached egg instead.
Still had plenty of time to kill, so I drove down to my birthplace, Ventnor, and moseyed around here and there. Stopped into the library, then took a short walk on the boardwalk. It was a gorgeous day, with the sun sparkling on the waves and a "blameless sky" (I just came across that wonderful phrase--can't remember where).
Drove over to Eurocolor and Eileen did a nice job on my hair. When I got home, I did a little on the library display case project for "Magnolias." However, I'm not happy with it and want to rethink the whole thing.
Went to Scojo's for dinner with the D.'s, always a pleasure, then they went on the the author's lecture at Monmouth U., and I went to rehearsal.
It was pretty tedious, as the first hour was spent going over costumes. I was hoping Tara might make an announcement about adding a performance, but she didn't, so I just sat and watched, as usual. They went over the last scene, very emotional, and how I wished I could have been in it. Okay, I'll hang in and we'll see, but good grief, showtime is only a bit more than a month away--!
In the middle of rehearsal, I got a call from friend Karen C., who's at a conference in Asbury Park. I had hoped I could meet her over there for lunch, but she's leaving today. Will catch up with her in Lawrenceville.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A gorgeous, sun-filled day. Ran a few errands in Manahawkin and elsewhere and late in the day, drove to Bayville, of all places. Went on Route 9 instead of the Parkway, as I enjoy looking around and seeing what's up there.
Stopped next door at the D.'s. Will meet them for dinner at Scojo's tonight, then they'll go on to Monmouth U. and I'll go to rehearsal. Barb lent me two books: The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, by a native of Afghanistan, Khaled Hosseini. I started the first and it's utterly absorbing. I understand it was an international best seller, but since I read little fiction, I hardly noticed.
Made a date with Leslie and Dennis to go to their place tomorrow evening to show the DVD I just got, "War Made Easy." Told Les I'd bring over a bottle of White Zin, which I happen to have. At noon, I'll be going to the NJ Statehouse to attend a rally marking the seventh anniversary of the Iraqi War.
Seven years. I wonder how much blood has been spilled in Iraq in that time. Enough to fill a bathtub? Enough to fill a swimming pool? Enough to soak the American flag in red and obscure the good in our country?
Can we ever wash it clean?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wow, The Green Zone wasn't what I thought it would be, but it was absorbing. First met Mary and another long-time friend (and former h.s. classmate), Janie M., for lunch. I was late--unheard of for me--because I had been saying lines and absent-mindedly went to the wrong location. No harm done, though, and we had plenty of time before the movie. Had half of a big Greek salad and took the rest home for dinner.
I try never to read reviews of a movie before I see it, and I didn't know much about this one. Thought it had a kind of espionage plot, which I enjoy, and that theme is present, but only in a broad sense. It was set in Baghdad and there's a lot of gritty, so-realistic-it's-unsettling depictions of fighting. The major premise surrounds the lies and political machinations that got us to Iraq in the first place, but all from the viewpoint of those actually there. Matt Damon displayed his usual acting competence, but his presence to me was bit off-putting at first. He's so damn good-looking and articulate and I kept realizing he's a move star. After a bit, though, I got into it.
I didn't see The Hurt Locker, and it's probably unfair to judge, but from what I read (NOT in the lockstep major media, but in progressive blogs), it tells its story in the usual U.S. exceptionalist way. I understand its concentration is firmly on American problems and American angst, with Iraqis--whose country it is, folks--in minor, inconsequential roles. To its credit, that isn't true of Zone. Depictions of Iraqis establish them firmly as human beings and there's a scene in which an interpreter tells the American, "It is not you who will decide what happens here."
I wish it were so.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Attended the meeting for the new community publication. It's very preliminary now, but seems to be shaping up. Probably, the first issue won't go out until June, which seems fine, considering the amount of effort it'll take. The editorial board--five of us--will meet again on the 29th.
I did something unusual for me and rented a DVD. I found Precious almost unbearable to watch, it's so filled with pain. At the same time, it was enthralling. Wonderful acting, so real it hurts--literally--and perfectly authentic setting and script. It made me muse again on the fact I almost never see an African American person. Sometimes that makes me obscurely ashamed, but I'm not sure why. I have been in touch with my friend, Karen C., who is Black ("black?"), and hope to see her before too long.
Meeting Mary H. for lunch, then to see The Green Zone at an actual movie theatre. Have no idea what it's about, but what's not to like about Matt Damon?
Was relieved to hear from Ellen last night that the bees are gone, thanks to an exterminator she called in. Got an invitation from Frank and Barb D. to go to dinner and a lecture at Monmouth U. on Thursday evening. Begged off the lecture, as I have rehearsal, but accepted with pleasure to accompany them to Scojo's for dinner.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Awoke to thunder and lightning, but it ended before our walk and we actually had a bit of sunshine. Stopped at Tara's shop and had a good talk with her about my apprehension re my possible performance in "Magnolias," if a matinee is added. She reassured me I'd have plenty of time to rehearse--also shared some thoughts on cast members. I trust her judgement and feel much relieved. Of course, no decision has been made yet on whether she'll go with the addition, so the whole thing may be moot. I'll continue to memorize the part, which is a pretty substantial one. Have the first act and most of the rest down pretty well, but it is, of course, essential to rehearse with other cast members.
Went to Hamilton Mall and took back the scarf and blouse I bought the other day. Nothing wrong with either, I just changed my mind. Stopped at the cemetery, barely negotiating the roads (little more than paths), which are littered with tree limbs and other debris of nature. Continued on to Kohl's and picked up an attractive green top with scarf, plus a pretty necklace.
Daughter Ellen called to tell me her house is full of bees! About ten are in her kitchen, with a much larger group buzzing outside in her patio. She called two bee people and they both told her the inside varmints would die in an hour or so. She's having one come today--a bee person, not a bee--to find out where they're coming in; possibly, via a vent in the laundry room.
Today, at the request of our board of trustees, I'm meeting with a few other residents and Mary S., a trustee, to discuss getting up a new community newspaper. I was editor of an earlier one, but I don't want to work in that capacity again--too much of a hassle. Will to glad to contribute, though.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Heavy, heavy rain, incredibly powerful wind most of the day; we're practically in a monsoon. Here we are, hanging on to the rest of the northeast by the skin of our teeth, jutting out into the Atlantic and subject to all kinds of Nature's fury...
Maybe I'm being a little melodramatic. Okay, we're in the rainy season. Went to Shop-Rite and was practically blown across the parking lot. Made a nice pot of cabbage and apples in the big crock pot and another of turnips with spices in the small one. Yum. Received from P. and A. a wonderful DVD of their Tokyo bus tour, which included Tokyo Tower, a replica of the Eiffel. Enjoyed watching it. They also sent a charming little mobile with two shamrocks on it. What a delight!
Studied a lot of the "Magnolias" script. I went to Tara's store yesterday, but learned she won't be in until today, so I'll stop back.
Wider: Received one of those dreary "patriotic" e-mails, which exhorts recipients, in twenty turgid stanzas, to "honor" an old soldier, newly deceased. Here's an example of the third-grade level verse:
But we'll hear his tales no longer,/For ol' Bob has passed away,/ And the world's a little poorer/ For a Soldier died today.
And so on. Of course, the recipients are urged to "pass it on," presumably so the thought police wouldn't have reason to get suspicious.
I get mightily tired of receiving garbage like this. Not only is it nationalistic crap, but I love and revere good poetry and this kind of thing gives it a bad name. I replied with this:
I admire more the person
Who has a human heart,
And will not kill his fellow man,
And will not be a part
Of all the lies and raucous cries
From those who stand to gain
When citizens are conned into
Inflicting death and pain
On other human beings
They don't even know--
Praise and give him homage?
Oh no, oh no, oh no...
Sure, that's doggerel, too, but I wasn't going to spend all day on it. Now I'm waiting for the shocked and heavily disapproving reaction because I don't care to keep quiet about urging people to praise and admire hired killers.
Well, it was a rainy day...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thoroughly draggy day. After our usual walk--truncated, as Susan had up time at her real estate office--I went to the two-mile at the clubhouse and that was about the extent of my activity. Had a welcome phone call from sister Betty, but not much else went on, aside from a trip to Acme (wowee!). It drizzled all day, my least favorite weather, and I just hibernated.
I decided to hold off asking Tara about my possible appearance in "Magnolias." Will wait a little longer to see what happens. In the meantime, I'm memorizing the lines. That's not so hard; what worries me is picking up on the blocking and cues.
It's raining heavily and is very windy. Guess we'll walk anyway, but I think I'll cut it short.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Received a bombshell after rehearsal last night. Director Tara told me that she may add a Saturday matinee to "Magnolias" and, if so, ask me to step into the part of Clairee.
My first reaction was surprise and pleasure. However, we didn't discuss it much and now, in the light of day, I have a lot of unanswered questions--and considerable nervous apprehension.
The cast, including Rosalie, the original Clairee, has been rehearsing together twice a week since January. I've been at every rehearsal, but witnessing a play, no matter how often, has nothing to do with appearing in it. How in the world do I get enough rehearsal time to be able to get up on the stage? Will I alternate with Rosalie--she Tuesdays, I Thursdays--the rest of the time? That would be ideal, but I suspect that isn't what Tara has in mind. (After all, it doesn't matter that one person will be playing the role for the three scheduled performances, and the other will be in only one; the same amount of preparation is needed.) I've memorized the first act and am familiar with the second, but have barely looked at the third. Clairee's part is a big one--I think the second biggest. In truth, at this point, I'd rather do the Ouiser role, as it has only about half the lines as the Clairee one.
I'm worried about memorizing, but much more so, about the cues and blocking. How can I possibly learn everything in six weeks? The decision hasn't even be made yet and April 24 is coming up fast. When will Tara decide and where will we go from there?
Damn. Okay, I've resolved to go to Tara's "Soaps 'n' Totes" shop today and ask some of these questions.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The day started with the usual brisk mile-and-a-half with Susan, followed by the practically manic three-mile with Leslie Sansone (on CD, that is). A good workout, as ever.
Put butternut squash in the crock pot and steamed a lovely bunch of asparagus on the stove, then settled down to watch "War Made Easy," which I just received. What a stunning film; more about it below.
Mary S. called to find out when I can meet with others to discuss the new community newsletter we're planning. I already have some ideas on it and am looking forward to the meeting. She'll get back to me with a definite date.
Left for Ellen V.'s in Forked River about 1:00 and we had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. We first just chatted over coffee for an hour, then "heard" each other on the script. I've pretty much memorized the first act and Ellen is just about pat with it, too. It was good fun, although I'm reconciled to the fact that I almost surely won't be in the play. It was close to 6:00 by the time I got home, but it was still light out, which gave me a lift.
I had planned salmon for dinner, but skipped it and decided to have just the squash and asparagus--both scrumptious. I continue to eat mostly vegetarian and am convinced that meat--at least for me--is best as just an occasional addition to my meals.
WIDER: "War Made Easy," with Norman Solomon, is riveting in its meticulous, but easily followed, outline of how exactly the American people are conned into aggression against other countries. Solomon pays special attention to the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq, and emphasises the collusion of the media in promoting our death-dealing ways. It's unfortunate the film was made before Obama was elected because it allows devotees to cling to the illusion that he's somehow "different" from his scumbag predecessors. Oh, he wants to bring the troops home, but is under the sway of Emmanuelle, Biden, Clinton and all the rest. Well, yeah, he's the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, the most powerful person in the world, but they're leading him astray, poor lamb.... A complete crock, to be sure, but a gigantic bloc of dazed liberals has to believe it. (We went to the streets and wept for joy, for heaven's sakes, it's gotta be true!)
You'd dispute O's complicity? Here's just a snippet from "The Rogue Nation," by Philip Giraldi in Anti-War.Com:
"Far from eschewing war and killing, the number and intensity of drone attacks has increased under Obama, as has the number of civilian casualties, referred to by the splendid bloodless euphemism 'collateral damage.'"
Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

After breakfast, went to Manahawkin to pick up my medication and a few other things. Rest of day was ordinary--so ordinary I don't recollect it very well. (I must have done something the rest of the day, but what?)
Was another beautiful day and I hope it lasts. Rehearsal last night and it ran late--didn't get home until 10:30, so not to bed until an hour or so later. Was gratified to see an article in the NYTimes to the effect that women who drink (lightly) lose more weight than those who don't. It's nice to know the glass of red wine to which I look forward every evening is good for me.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Great day for no particular reason except glorious sunshine flooding the earth--that's reason enough for me to love it. Went to exercise (the two-mile walk) and used my new "belt stretch aid" or whatever it's called; it provides resistance and makes the session even more intense than usual. After, I spoke to Mary S., who' s on our community's board of trustees. She asked if I'd be willing to work on the new monthly newsletter being planned and I agreed. Not sure when that'll get off the ground, but soon, I hope. I've actually come up with some ideas for format and content.
Went to the cemetery, then to the mall. Tried on every item in every store, but came away with only two scarves. I'm generally five years behind when it comes to fashion, but I've noticed scarves are hot lately. Naturally, the really "in" ones aren't the same as those in the drawer full I already have, so you have to buy new ones, and I did.
Uh, oh--is this evidence of the basic persona I've been hiding all these years: superficial, inconsequential, light-weight, novelty-loving, and airheaded?
If the shoe fits...

Monday, March 08, 2010

Ho-hum, a nuthin' much day. Went to Kohl's to get socks (wowee!). As a rule, I'm about five years behind the times when it comes to fashion, but I've noticed lately that people are wearing a lot of scarves. Saw a gauzy one on sale (Vera Wang) and bought it. Will wear to rehearsal tomorrow night.
Speaking of which...I called Ellen V. and suggested we meet to read lines. I've been memorizing more and more, just in case, by some happenstance, I get into the play. I'm well aware it's a remote possibility, but hey, it won't kill me to learn the part anyway--it's good for the brain--and if something should happen, I need to be ready. I'll go to Ellen's and we'll rehearse on Wednesday.
Also had a nice chat with my Ellen on Skype. Not much new in that neck of the woods, but it's always a pleasure. We discussed teaching techniques, of which she already employs a number.
And so to bed...

Sunday, March 07, 2010

(Note: My regular, "diary" post is in a separate entry below.)
WIDER: Chris Floyd, in his "Empire Burlesque," writes very often on the horrors of our war-loving society, but this essay, "Unnatural Acts: Breaking The Fever Of Militarism," is so powerful, so passionate, so over-whelmingly true, it took my breath away. It must be read in its entirety at http://www.chris-floyd.com/, but here's a part:
"(After a time...), war is no longer seen as a vast, horrific failure of the human spirit, a scandalous betrayal of our common humanity, a sickening tragedy of irrevocable loss and inconsolable suffering – although this is its inescapable reality, even in a "good" war, for a "just" cause. (And of course no nation or faction has ever gone to war without declaring that its cause is just.) Instead of lamenting war, and girding for it, if at all, only in the most dire circumstances, with the most extreme reluctance, the infected society celebrates it at every turn. No national occasion – even a sporting event! – is complete without bristling displays of military firepower, and pious tributes to those wreaking violence around the world in blind obedience to their superiors.
Oddly enough, when a modern nation consciously adopts a 'warrior ethos', it casts aside -- openly, even gleefully -- whatever virtue that ethos has historically claimed for itself, such as courage in battle and honor toward adversaries. In its place come the adulation of overwhelming technological firepower and the rabid demonization of the enemy (or the perceived enemy, or even the 'suspected' enemy), who is stripped of all rights, all human dignity, and subject to "whatever it takes" to break him down or destroy him."
How fervently I wish this man had a larger forum for his work. Along with Arthur Silber ("Once Upon A Time"), he embodies the highest and finest thoughts and ideals I can imagine.
Went to the Ocean County Historical Society for a lecture on Amelia Earhart. It was fascinating and the lecturer, speaking extemporaneously, was very good. She's a New Jersey woman, identified in the brochure as an "Amelia Earhart historian" and is a prominent member of the Amelia Earhart Society. I had heard somewhere that she is one of only a handful of "certified" A.M. speakers. She had on display a number of artifacts and pictures, as she's a collector, too. I've renewed an interest lately in figures of the thirties and forties (just finished Kate Smith's biography and am now reading Gertrude Ederle's), so I enjoyed this immensely, being "in the zone," so to speak.
After, my companion and I joined a tour of the museum--a Victorian house furnished appropriately--then left and went for a cup of tea. Having heard about the Goodwill Thrift Shop in Bayville, we went there. It's a very large and well-run store--and both we bought several outfits. I got three pairs of slacks and a pot of artificial flowers--thought I may use it in the library display for "Magnolias"--for a total cost of $13.87!
Got home about 6:30, phoned sister Betty, then settled into my evening routine. A fine day, all in all.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Had a delightful lunch with old friend--uh, that's long-time friend--Mary H. We met at the Shore Diner, a favorite of both of ours. I had the green salad with chicken and virtuously ordered a balsamic vinaigrette, rather than my usual creamy and calorie-laden dressing. With a Coors Light, it made a delicious meal and I took half home for dinner.
Mary and I go a lo-o-o-ng way back, all the way to our freshman year at Holy Spirit. Much as I enjoy meeting new people, there's nothing like chatting with somebody who has the same frames of reference. We enjoyed a good talk--I was charmed to hear her granddaughter is named "Shelby" after the character in Steel Magnolias--and agreed we'd go to the movies together one of these days. Will also meet again for lunch when Mary's sister-in-law, yet another HSHS grad, Janie M., gets back from Florida and can join us.
After, I went to Boscov's and bought a vegetable knife I saw advertised. Tried on clothes and got a blouse/sweater combo and a somewhat weird pair of--well, you might call them gaucho pants. They were on sale and I thought they'd be good for exercising.
Speaking of which--my right arm at the shoulder is bothering me. I had to put down the weights during "Walking Away The Pounds" yesterday, it was so sore. I may have hurt it more than I thought when I fell on Monday. Will take something and hope it heals.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Spent a fair amount of time committing to memory the Clairee part of Act I, Scene I and have it down pat. When I walked into rehearsal, though, I found we were doing Act I, Scene II--that's Scene two, Mimi. Damn!
That meant I had to use the script--in additon, there are only about one fourth the number of lines for the part in scene two. I was chagrined--BUT...
I did a great job, I modestly declare. The other players praised me warmly and Andrea, the assistant director, said, "For the first time, this looks like an ensemble." And it did. The rapport and interaction with the whole cast was evident. We all seemed to click, to become the six close friends in a small southern town...
But that doesn't change the fact that I'm the understudy. The woman who has the role will surely go on next month, and I'll watch from the wings. But hey, at least I'm having a good time being so intimately involved in the production and what's more--yes, I'm saying it--I know I'm better in the part.
WIDER: This may be--finally and at long last--the opening wedge in a campaign to form a coalition of left and right that will work to end the horrors we've witnessed in the past years:
http://original.antiwar.com/henderson/2010/03/04/the-left-right-conference-on-war/
May its anti-empire goals come to pass.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Went to the three-mile walk exercise at the clubhouse and boy, was that a workout! It incorporated a number of new moves--double knee bends, twisting and turning, and upper body stuff--all at a very fast pace. It took about 45 minutes and when it was over, I was soaking wet. It was torture and it felt SO GOOD to be back in the vigorous exercise mode. Sent away for the authentic stretch belt from the Leslie Sansone site because the other, unanchored ones I have don't lend themselves to this. Was annoyed that the cost, with postage, came to thirty bucks. Highway robbery, says I, but it will add to the effectiveness of the workout.
Zipped up to Manahawkin in my least favorite kind of weather: the sky dark and foreboding, needle-like icy rain--I guess that's sleet--coming down, and cold wind blowing incessantly. It was great to roll into the garage and come home to a delicious aroma from the butternut squash and sweet potatoes I had stewing in my new small crock pot.
Have been practicing lines for Clairee and hope to be off-book for the most part tonight when I take my understudy part.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Full day. Finally assembled and taped in tens the hangers I had left over after buying all new "matching" ones. Took them to donate to the thrift store, then ran a few errands. Went to Scrabble at Julie's at 1:00 and had an enjoyable time.
Rehearsal ran long last night, so didn't get home until 10:30. After my unwinding ritual--popcorn and wine--didn't hit the sheets 'til late. Will still go to the exercise group at the clubhouse. This is three-mile walk day, and I'm looking forward to it. It's good to be back in the vigerous exercise routine.
The cast is supposed to be off-book (have memorized their lines) now, but they're still very ragged. I get a chance to play the "Clairee" part at tomorrow's rehearsal, as Rosalie, the regular, isn't able to make it.
Hey, just like those hopeful 20-year-olds on Broadway, maybe I'll have to step in on opening night and become a star! Isn't that how Mary Martin made it? I'm gonna knock their socks off!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Yesterday it occurred to me that there's no reason I can't resume the exercise group that meets at our clubhouse. It's at 9:00 am, three days a week, and we follow Leslie Sansone's tapes, "Walking Away The Pounds." These are strenuous sessions; participants walk rapidly in place and knee lifts, kicks, side steps and other motions are Incorporated, along with upper-body strength training with weights and bands. It's three days a week and you go two miles on Mondays and Fridays, and three on Wednesdays.
Well, I went and it was so good to be back. I had had to drop out when Pat got so sick, as I never knew when he'd wake up and I had to be here. I was greeted warmly by the others and felt invigorated after completing the two miles. Want to continue for the three days a week.
The only negative was the fact that I slipped and fell on a tiny patch of ice in the parking lot. Of course, I walked over--it's only a quarter of a mile--and just didn't notice the ice. Fell heavily on my right side and now have a big bruise there and it's pretty sore. However, after assessing the damage, I realized it wasn't serious and continued on to exercise.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Had a great time at our "Girls' Night Out." I made a big green salad--just the basics, with green leaf lettuce, plum tomatoes, mushrooms, red onion, and feta cheese. Added chicken and made two dressings from scratch: zesty Italian and ranch. It went over big and I had little salad to bring home, but what there is, I'll have for lunch today. The food was great and included another salad, veal parmasean, pasta dishes, macaroni and cheese, muffins, and lots of other things. The centerpiece was a fabulous armadillo cake our hostess, Tonya N., made to follow the story line. The cake plays a prominent part in the movie, though not in the play. She managed to make it look like an armadillo, with greyish icing, sliced almonds for fingernails and wonderful hind quarters. Yes, we all had a piece after it had been duly admired and it was pretty good. I brought a six-pack of Coors Light and there were plenty of all kinds of wine to share, too.
Tonya's is a lovely turn-of-the-twentieth-century house--not elegant, but very homey, like an old farmhouse, which I think it was. It has practically all the original parts. The windows have those tiny panes surrounding the larger part and the floors are wonderfully worn and polished by generations of feet. The stove in the kitchen is probably vintage about 1940--it's enamal, with heavy stainless steel fitings and a built-in griddle and stock pot. Tonya, a farm girl herself, keeps chickens in the backyard (this is in rural New Gretna) and showed us the multi-colored eggs they lay.
The food was great and while we ate, we watched the film version of the play, which I've seen several times. Then "Billy" and his two assitants came in, and did the hair and make-up in eighties style for several of the actors.
Got home about 9:15 (it had started at 4:00) to have my weekly chat with Ellen on the web cam, then did the same with P. and N.