Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finally out of my slump and had a good day yesterday. I had moodily contemplated skipping the three-mile exercise, but decided to go. I should always remember that with my persona, purposeful activity is essential to feeling good.
After breakfast, peeled, cut, and put in the large crock pot, red cabbage and apples. Did the same for sweet potatoes and, along with cinnamon and orange mango juice, put them in the small one. Phone-chatted with my friend, Marge, then took off for Atlantic County.
I confess I'm hopelessly decadent and here's the proof: I prefer arugula to all other greens. However, it's not easy to find in this--let's face it, semi-rural backwater at the edge of the Jersey pines. They do have it at M & M Produce in Egg Harbor, so went there and got two bags. Stopped at Shop-Rite and got four mums--so beautiful and full, two deep purple, two white with yellow centers. Put the latter on Pat's grave and came home with the other two. This galvanized me to pull weeds, which I did for what seemed like several hours (maybe 45 minutes), stopping long enough to chat with Leslie and Barbara D. I put the little scarecrow girl next to the front tree and added the mums to the flower bed. Trimmed some of the other stuff and discarded the dead container flowers. Place looks pretty nice, if I say it myself.
Had the cabbage and salad with tuna for dinner, then jumped in the shower. Good, satisfying day and I know it was because I refused to stay still.
This morning, P. and N. called about 5:45, just as I finished dressing, and we had a nice chat. Discussed my plans for the February Asia trip and so on. Met Susan, of course, for our walk at 7:00 and as we completed it. neighbor Anne Mary called us over. She gave us each a nice group of different types of tomatoes--brown, purple, and red. With the arugula, they'll make a sumptuous salad--hey, I'm on a roll!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rather than repeat the boring chronicle of my activities--I didn't do a whole hell of a lot yesterday--I'm going to devote this entry to some notable quotes. First, here's a snippet from Voters For Peace regarding the outrageous actions by the FBI in raiding the homes of peace activists:

"The escalation of wars abroad by the Obama administration is moving forward alongside an escalation against antiwar activists at home. The groups targeted in these raids, while Marxist in ideology, endorsed and supported the election of President Obama. Their Political Report noted 'Obama's election represents a rejection of the Bush administration policies and a desire amongst the people for a progressive agenda from the government.' Now we know that the Obama administration is moving forward with Bush-era policies that target anti-war political dissent at the same time that more Americans oppose Obama's wars."
(But who gives a rat's rear about the electorate?)

And here's a comment by Justin Raimondo re Bob Woodward's new book:
"...the President is portrayed as an empty shell, a political creature who cares not one whit about the moral and ideological aspects of the momentous decision he is about to make, but only about what kind of electoral advantage (or disadvantage) a given policy option promises. Here is a hollow man, without a moral or ideational core, an empty vessel waiting to be filled by others – who are more than ready to oblige."
(In other words, O. is just like any other politician who ever lived--but how we cling to our illusions.)

From Counterpunch, an article entitled "Why Doesn't The U.S. Talk to Iran?"
"The answer, in a nutshell, is that U.S. foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, is driven not so much by broad national interests as they are by narrow but powerful special interests—interests that seem to prefer war and militarism to peace and international understanding. These are the nefarious interests that are vested in military industries and related “security” businesses, notoriously known as the military-industrial complex. These beneficiaries of war dividends would not be able to justify their lion’s share of our tax dollars without 'external enemies' or 'threats to our national interests.'"
(And, of course, dutiful citizens swallow the lies, digest, then vomit them out.)

Finally, a few words from The Reclusive Leftist:
"Why do we still go through this pretense of voting? We should just hold auditions. The government is the same; the foreign policy is the same. The military-industrial complex trundles along as ever, forging the path of Empire. The only difference is who’s on TV."
(This gal sees the presidency as theatre--what a novel idea. And so true.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On a dark and dreary day, drove over to Bob's Garden Center and got Hollytone to perk up the azaleas on Pat's grave. Applied it, then went to M & M for veggies. (That's in Northfield and is not to be confused with B &B in Little Egg.) It occurred to me that I rarely go to nearby Acme now. Buy fresh at produce places and at Shop-Rite for other things.
Continuing on my sad decline--just kidding, folks!--I went to the video store and picked up It's Complicated. Loved it. It's funny, plus it's set in Santa Barbara where my twin and niece live, plus it stars Meryl Streep and what's not to like about her? Watched it in the late afternoon when I should have been pulling weeds or something.
Received a call from the dentist's office to the effect that the lab promised my bridge will be in on the morning of October sixth. Made an appointment--I fervently hope, the last--for that afternoon.
Other than that, not much going on.
WIDER: Am continuing to read What Orwell Didn't Know, a collection of essays on the horrific surrender of mass media to corporate interests via corrupt politicians (oops, sorry, that's a redundancy).

Monday, September 27, 2010

After much fun on Friday and Saturday, yesterday was a dud. Did a wash, went to the cemetery, talked to sister Betty, ran a few errands, and that was about it for most of the day. Otherwise, read, did the crossword puzzle in The Press, and played "Word Slinger"--big whoops, as the kiddies used to say. High point was my weekly web cam call from daughter Ellen; we had a nice chat.
Other than that--Nada.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

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Terrific day. Arrived up north abut 9:30 and, after getting the two little ones, L. and L., to gather their belongings (they had stayed over), we left for the new trail nearby. This is in Monmouth County and had been a railroad track. Great idea--which has been done several times--of converting what's already there to a walking trail.
Actually, it's also for bicycles, horses, and leashed dogs, of which there were a few. It was very enjoyable. Coffee, bagels, grapes, and doughnuts were served and after a few boring politicians spoke, we walked about a half-mile down. Would have gone further, but the kids weren't anxious to continue.
After, we picked up Joelly and went to the Westampton (no "h") Day fair. Children bounced in the bouncy-ball thing, climbed the wall thing, and had ice cream. We went over the the National Weather Station across the street, and took the last tour of the day--very interesting, too.
Took L. and L. home, then stayed for dinner out on the deck--salmon, and luscious pasta with fresh veggies; left for home about 7:00. It was great to be there together on a hot and sunny day; much cooler this morning.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Well, I almost, but not quite, got the picture-on-blog thing out of my system. Actually, the only reason I blogged them is that I wnnted to put them on Facebook, but couldn't see how to do that directly.
Dentist visit was short and, I was assured, should be the penultimate one. Next time, will get the bridges, or whatever they're called, and that'll be it, I fervently hope.
Again stopped at the Columbus Farmers Market and picked up a cantalopue and Brussels sprouts. Got home about 4:00 in plenty of time to shower, dress, and go across the street to Susan's. Julie and little Sophia were there and also, Susan's son, Jeff, and his wife, Kim, whom I hadn't met before, along with their cute/ugly little pug, Muffin. Anne Mary came in later.
The dinner was delicious: pork tenderloin on the grill and root vegetables in the oven, and plenty of booze. I first had white wine, then actaully tried a martini. I liked it--hey, Mikey!--probably because it was made with superior Bombay Shapphire gin. Simutaneously, I drank chardonney, followed that with white zin, topped it off with Irish cream. Zowie, by the time I went home, I was pretty well--um, ready for bed, let's say, but I feel fine this morning.
Going up north today to hike the new trail in Cream Ridge.

Friday, September 24, 2010

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Ran lots of errands, then spent hours on Picasa, my new favorite toy. I'm glad I was able to get the pictures on here, but I'm afraid to delete the superfluous one of Pat and me, which is too big and fuzzy. When I press "delete," it seems to indicate that not only will it be deleted on the blog, but will go off Picasa, too. Probably not so, but I don't want to chance it.
Love the mosaics I was able to make of the children, grandchildren, and others. Picasa will just bring up "faces" and there are thousands of them on my computer. Then you can group them, plus it identifies the same people and suggests you add them.
Fascinating--and just a tad scary, too. Kinda reminds me of my uneasiness when I give my name over the phone and the person on the other end instantly mentions my phone number. Presumably, my address (and, for all I know, my preference in ice cream) is also in the bulging data banks.
Susan I will walk at 6:45 today, as her daughter and granddaughter are visiting. I'll then go to exercise, then to the dentist at two, then dinner at the G.'s at 5:30--busy day.
Note: This is so damn annoying: The print here has reverted to "small" without my consent or instruction--hope I can enlarge it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

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After the gruelling three-mile walk at the clubhouse, received a message from the dentist that I could come in at 3:00. Damn, I'm getting sick of this 110 mile round trip all the time, but I went. I have yet another appointment tomorrow, then one for next week--will this ever end?
I shouldn't whine and complain so much, though, as it turned out to be enjoyable in a low key kind of way. The "base" or "foundation" seems to be okay and--I hope before I hit my ninetieth birthday--I'll have the bridges. Had an interesting talk with Dr. L. about her daughter's struggle to find a job. She graduated from Boston U. with an English major--a drug on the market, as I well know, being a fellow sufferer--and now is discouraged because she was offered a sales job. This was from an outfit that places students for study abroad. Dr. L. and her daughter seem to believe that, because said daughter studied overseas, she should be a shoo-in for some kind of interesting and highly-paid director level job--or something. Geez, my kid studied abroad, too, and so did a gazillion other college kids. Anyway, I put on my Career Placement hat and gave the doc some ideas. She was very impressed and said she'd pass them on to the daughter who is now contemplating a graduate degree because "she loves Shakespeare," Dr. L. earnestly assures me. Oh, preserve us from these pampered offspring of professionals who never had to work for anything in their lives....
For the first time, I came home the same way I go, so I could stop at the produce place on Route 206. Got some beautiful peaches, spaghetti squash, peppers, cauliflower, and grapes. Shared the latter with the G.'s and the D.'s, as I had to buy a whole basket and oh, they're wonderfully sweet and delicious. (Yes, I was prompted by "...but they were so sweet and delicious...." William Carlos Williams is not one of my favorite poets, but I love his graceful little apology for eating the plums.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Talked to, and saw, Mike after P. on the web cam. M. and entourage are leaving today for a three-week vacation in Hawaii. (When I said, "But you just got back from Bali," Mike said, "That was three weeks ago!"
Greatly enjoy Picasa, which P. put me on to, and spent a lot of time exploring it. Just talked to him again this morning before our walk.
Lunch on Rosborough Avenue with Dee yesterday. She has indeed taken the house off the market; is now living in the upstairs with her grandson and has the downstairs apartment rented. She insisted on making lunch instead of going out--I'm beginning to think she's a recluse--and served up a BLT, which I haven't had in years. It tasted surprisingly good, especially with the cold Sam Adams.
Chatted for a bit and left. Stopped at Connie H.'s, then at St. James. Connie and her grandson were hauling bricks from the house next to hers, which she and Tom own (long story I won't go into). Went to the cemetery on the way home, then got A Serious Man by the Coen brothers and, incredibly for me, watched it in the late afternoon while the sun was still shining. (As I've said before, next I'll be lolling around in my bathrobe all day.) Anyway, you have to be--well, ethnically adventurous, you might say, to like it but I am and I did. I'm interested in Jewish culture and that's what this black comedy entails.
Was pleased to get a dinner invitation from Susan for Friday. Her son, Jeff, and daughter, Julie, are coming, Jeff with wife and Julie, with four-year-old Sophia. Should be fun.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I did all kinds of important things yesterday--so important I can't remember what they were. I did get some weeds pulled; hope to get rid of the ugly bush in front soon.
Just got Skype calls from both P. and Mike. P. introduced me to Picasa which, remarkably, will not only display your pictures, but you can name people and it will identify! Yoicks, that's fascinating and just a tad scary, too. Wasn't able to get to Mike and he left a message they had to go out. (Where, since it's about 8 pm for them? Are they going to take those little girls out in the dead of night? Maybe I'd better call Child Services.)
Looking forward to lunch with Dee today. I want to find out if she took the house on Rosborough Avenue off the market--I suspect she did.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Enjoyed La Traviata at "Sunday At The Opera," run by my friend, Mary Ann V. It was the 1976 version, the lead sung by Beverly Sills. She played a whor--, prost--, call gir--, uh, lady of the night named Violetta, who dies in the end. Gawd, she was corseted to within an inch of her life and her lover, played by Henry Price looked to be about twenty years younger, but she pulled it off. Wonderful sets, sumptuous costumes, and great singing, I guess, although I'm afraid that stuff is lost on this musical illiterate.
After, went directly to the cemetery and watered the plants. Stopped at Shop-Rite in Galloway to see if they had the fifteen-calorie puffy things I like. They didn't and instead of driving directly home, I went to the other Shop-Rite in Manahawkin and got them.
Talked to Ellen on the web cam. She showed me the birthday card precious 6-year-old Vivian sent her--so darling, she drew a picture of Ellen and herself, along with birthday sentiments starting "Drae (that proves she did it herself!) Aunt Ellen..." How I'd love to see her and her little sister in December, but it looks as if it's not doable, I'm afraid.
Susan called to say she won't walk this morning, as she has a cold. Slept until 7:00 this morning--I'm getting downright decadent.
WIDER: See CommonDreams.Org for a truly unbelievable event in Pennsylvania:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Essentially, spent the day on errands, washing clothes, and so on. Called Dee at 15 South; she was astounded to hear from me, simply because,, she said, she had just been thinking about me. (These supernatural/ESP/angels in my armpits types can get tiresome.) I had thought the house had been sold, but apparently not. Didn't ask her, but will get the lowdown when we meet for lunch on Tuesday.
Was chagrined to hear from Mike that they're not going to Australia for Christmas after all, but will go to San Francisco with a side trip to Lake Tahoe. Don't think I'll be able to join them on the day itself, but am musing about the possibility of seeing them there before or after. Considering I hope to go to Asia in February, I'm not so sure it would make sense just for a short time. We'll see.
WIDER: I found a remarkable and invaluable site which carries free documentaries:
I'm now watching And Orwell Rolls In His Grave, about the complete and absolute surrender of mass media to corporate America. It's enthralling, depressing, and enough to make you give up. But I'm not giving up; I'm looking forward to seeing others on this site, too.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Had a fabulous time in Avalon. I won't go day-by-day writing about it; suffice it to say (these old saws keep popping into my head!) that it included walking on the mile-long boardwalk, going down the beach, enjoying the children (ages almost two and almost one), eating breakfast and lunch out (we met nephew Tim on Tuesday and ate Mexican), talking and laughing a lot, and having great fun. The huge, beautiful house is right on the beach and has seven bedrooms, each with its own bath (the civilized way to live, it seems to me--every bedroom should have its own bath), and the accommodations were similar to a luxury hotel. Big, big kitchen with a large, two-level island, granite counter tops, two sinks, a hidden refrig (the outside looks like cabinets), plus a "cold locker," a large, deep drawer in the island which was also a refrigerator, a wine cellar, a six-burner stove, and a light system that covered the hanging lights, high tops, and others.
They weren't needed during the day because it was wonderfully sunny most of the time and, as all the houses in Avalon seem to, it had big, big windows facing the ocean. There was also an up-to-day electronic system, so intricate only Susan could figure it out. It governed the three gigantic T.V.'s and one cunning small one (about 4 by 6 inches) that sat on the counter. That one--fascinating!--displayed up-to-the-minute temperatures and could be programmed to carry news, live cams, movies and, for all I know, anything you could get on television.
Anyway, great time. Loved being with brother Frank, his Marybeth, Susan's parents, Charlie and Lee, his sister, Diana, her sister, Oony, and the two adorable babies. Nephew Patrick, the host, didn't arrive back from Morocco until Thursday night; Susan had preceded him on Wednesday morning. Oh, didn't I mention they were in Morocco? More on that incredible story tomorrow. For now, I want to settle back into my usual routine after a wonderful, mini-vacation.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Didn't leave the house yesterday except for our walk and to get gas. Packed--everything but the kitchen sink--and finished up The Breeze articles. Mary and Don S. came over to show me how to send pictures--so simple and I think I've finally got it. The woman who had borrowed the transport chair brought it back and other than that, I just packed for Avalon.
In the evening, got a nice web call from P. and N. They had sent me pictures of a day trip they took--very nice, especially of Rolly--but the video didn't seem to come through. Ellen then called and we had a great time chatting. She said she was startled on Friday during assembly when the principal had the whole school sing her "Happy Birthday"! From family members, she got flowers, a gift certificate from Amazon, and a "carrying crate on wheels" from yours truly. However, she may already have one and said she'd just as soon use the cost for something else, which is fine by me.
It actually rained--drizzled, anyway--a lot of the day. That's become unusual.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Got stuff assembled and some packed for Avalon. Went to the cemetery to water the plants. I'm a little worried about one of the azaleas, as it looks sickly. Think I'll go to Bob's Garden Center to pick up something for it. From there, went to Babies 'R' Us and got three little gifts: an adorable newborn outfit for the H.'s new granddaughter, Annalise (love the name), and two little things for my nephews tots, whom I'll see tomorrow in Avalon.
Speaking of--brother Frank called last night to say Patrick and Susan won't be there tomorrow. They're on their way to Morocco, incredibly enough. Patrick was called by the factotum of some middle eastern potentate for consultation on a facial problem. Potentate has them and a makeup artist flying over first class to the tune of $12,000 each--I kid you now--and they may not be back until Thursday. Now there's a world we almost never glimpse: that of somebody who can spend $36,000 on airfare. I'm sure Patrick, Susan, and the makeup artist (who, incidentally, did the makeup for Forrest Gump--imagine so intimately smoothing product on the likes of Tom Hanks!) will be treated to incredible luxury while they're there--can't wait to hear all about it.
Spent a lot of time with The Breeze stuff and sent the H.'s the profile. Finished up the other two pieces, also, and they're pretty good. Now I have to try to get the pictures to Senior Publishing. Mary and Don S. are coming over at 4:00 to straighten out whatever the problem's been going on with that and Don will show me a better method to send.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lent out the transport chair in the morning and interviewed the H.'s for The Breeze in the afternoon. I spent much of the rest of the day writing up the piece, as I find it much, much easier to compose "Profiles"as soon as possible after I talk to the subjects.* Organized the "Classified" column and added a little article called "Family Traditions." Thought it would be a cute idea to describe some of our customs and ask other residents to contribute theirs.
Got a call from sister Betty, who told me brother Frank had had an episode of rapid heart beat and was also told he has COPD. Can't figure that one out and neither can Frank, whom I called. He seems recovered though, and he and Marybeth were to leave for Baltimore shortly after we talked. I'll see them in Avalon on Monday.
* I understand it was said of Shakespeare "He never blotted a line," meaning that what he wrote came out pristine and he had no need to change or revise. (Ben Jonson took exception to this adoring remark, saying "Would he had blotted a thousand."). Far from following in his footsteps, I invariably find anything I write stronger and better when I write, put aside, read over, revise, tighten, clarify--and continue this process several times over until I have to relinquish the piece. I wish some of our designated "writers" (yes, I MEAN those exasperated quote marks!) for The Breeze would do the same.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sam's funeral was sad, of course, but rituals are interesting to me and, in a subdued way, I enjoyed it. Viewing was at the funeral home in Lawrenceville, then there was a high mass at a church in the heart of visibly crumbling Trenton.
This parish is a meld of two former ones, the newest trend in the Catholic church, as it wrestles with its current woes. It's a big church and I'm sure would have been filled at every service fifty or so years ago. Now, it's surrounded by rundown row houses, some boarded up and abandoned, and a non-white population.
The priest was non-white, too; I think Indian, which seems to be another trend in this era of dwindling belief. Better off white boys seem no more attracted to the priesthood than the military, so we recruit the dark, the poor, and the unconnected. We already know the horrors inflicted on the world by a standing army, but whether, overall, religion does more good than harm is the unanswered question of the ages, I suppose.
After the mass, the cortege drove to St. Mary's Cemetery in Hamilton Township for the burial, and finally, about 40 mourners had lunch at a place in Ewing. I sat with a nice group of people who are season ticket holders for the Trenton Thunder, as Marilyn and Sam are/were. By the time I got to the dentist's, it was about 3:00; luckily, there was nobody else there and I was taken right away.
Stopped at J.'s on the way home just for a few minutes. Saw the two younger boys and chatted with N. Home about 5:00 and was pleased to get a call from the daughter of a neighbor, asking to borrow the transport chair. They'll stop here this morning. Changed, had a bite, then went with Frank to the production meeting.
Will interview the H.'s today for the November issue of The Breeze.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Putzed around* early on, then went to hairdresser's for a color and cut. Looks pretty good, although I'm always horrified by the cost.
I was delighted to get a call from Pat H. to the effect that she and her husband agree to be interviewed for my "profile" article in The Breeze. I'm really under the gun to write and submit it as the deadline is the fifteenth and I'll be in Avalon part of next week. Made a date to see them tomorrow.
Will soon dress to go to Sam's funeral, viewing in Lawrenceville, mass in Trenton, and burial in Chambersberg. Will then go to the dentist in Bordentown. Have a production meeting tonight for Blithe Spirit.
* A phrase Pat used to playfully use. Never heard it employed by anybody else. In context, it's pretty clear he meant "did a variety of inconsequential activities."

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Uncommonly slow week, including yesterday. Went to the cemetery, then to Santori's, then to to library, then to the hairdresser to make an appointment for today. Other than that, generally hung out and did household chores.
I'm listening to Roots: The Saga of an American Family in the car and find it absolutely absorbing. It's been 34 years since it was written--hard to believe--and I guess has become the definitive history of slavery in the United States. I'm not sure how healthy that is. I tend to distrust fictionalized accounts of actual events or phenomena, especially "historic novels"--a contradiction in terms, it seems to me. I know it's a snob's attitude, but I'm afraid I turn somewhat haughty at what I regard as--I love the word--"truthiness" in books.
Nevertheless, I'm greatly enjoying Roots.
WIDER: What I'm not enjoying is the infinite capacity of the American public to be snookered by the not-so-dynamic military/media duo. In Common, Tom Engelhardt asks "Will Our Generals Ever Shut Up?" He lists a a number of the think tank denizens, military advisers, and prominently, "journalists,"all enthusiastically pro-empire and notes:
"These figures and numerous others like them, are repeatedly invited to U.S. war zones by the military, flattered, toured, given face time with commanders, sometimes hired by them, and sometimes even given the sense that they are the ones planning our wars. They then return to Washington to offer sophisticated, 'objective' versions of the military line."
It's a good--if depressing--article which points up the almost overwhelming odds against the voices of reason that urge an end to aggression and striving for peace. Reminds me of that great scene in The Shining: While driving to The Overlook, Jack Nicholson hears his little boy respond to a question about where he got a piece of information he just repeated with great conviction. With a sly grin, Jack says, "It must be true; he saw it on the television," drawing out the last phrase in his unique Nicholsonian way.
Well, we're constantly fed militaristic crap from these generals and their minions and their cohorts and their fellow criminals about how we must continue the slaughter for all kinds of right and good and necessary reasons.
It must be true; we saw it on the television.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Got terrible news yesterday. My longtime friend, Marilyn M., had contacted me a few weeks ago and suggested we meet for lunch tomorrow. Marilyn had been with her boyfriend, Sam (Santos) D. for--I think--more than twenty-five years. Why they never married, I don't know, but they were happy together. They came to Pat's and my anniversary party two years ago.
Of course, I agreed enthusiastically about lunch and Marilyn asked me to pick a place near me (she lives in Trenton). I was about to e-mail her back with my choice when I saw another message from her. Opening it, I was stunned to read that she had come home from work on Friday and found Sam dead.
What a sad event and how it points up the precariousness of life. I just read his obituary in The Times of Trenton and saw that Sam was sixty-two, several years older than Marilyn. I was glad to see she was mentioned as his "beloved companion." Sam was a warm, outgoing person who made my friend happy for many years.
So sorry, Sam and so very sorry, Marilyn.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Had a delightful day. Met the gang at the lake; in addition to the lead couple, plus J. and N. and the four boyos, R. and L. and their two little ones came. There was a brisk and cool breeze, so we adults kind of stood around in the water while the kiddies splashed in. Stayed until 5:00, then we all went to the northern headquarters for a cookout on the deck. N. and I took five of the six kids--each with a cloth bag over his shoulder (T. looked like an adorable little sharecropper)-- to get corn at the produce stand on the corner. This was shucked by the same kids and it was delicious. Later, when daughter Ellen called, she was asked if California corn was as good as Jersey's. (She said yes, but that Pacific air must be getting to her brain, as she's surely mistaken--ha!)
Anyhoo, it was such fun. I'm sorry to say goodbye to summer, but will look forward to further gatherings and celebrations in the fall. Got home after 8:00. Sister Betty called and we talked for a bit. I poured my wine, ate my popcorn and went happily to bed.
Okay, throw the net over and drag me away. I must be hallucinatory because I thought I saw a web site devoted to shaping little children into democrats. Or maybe the books they tout are for adults, now that Americans are infantisized enough to believe in the Change Fairy.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Did a multitude of chores and errands yesterday. Went to Manahawkin for a tiny Phillips screwdriver for the coin counter Betty gave me. However, it would have been more than six dollars and I know the counter cost considerably less, so I'll try something else. Later, drove to Santori's for veggies and went to points south places.
I've developed a bracelet fetish or something. Stopped at the Manahawkin Flea Market and got three "intertwined" bracelets--beaded, for only three bucks each. Later, went to that sock place again and bought a spectacular bracelet--a cuff type in silver with a mother-of-pearl turtle on it.
P. and N. called and we discussed my trip to Asia. He suggested that February or March would be a better time, as he'll be working very long hours in October. That's probably better, as October is next month and I'll have more time to plan and get ready if we defer it. Wrote to Mike to tell him.
Was pleased to get a call from brother Frank. We'll be meeting in Avalon the week after next, as Frank's son, Patrick, has rented a large, beachfront house there. He and his family--Susan and two babies--plus Frank and Marybeth and nephew Tim from Vermont will be there at the same time--should be fun.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Good, active day. I started out for the cemetery, as it's the anniversary of my nephew's death. However, it began to rain and blow hard, a warning from hurricane Earl, and I turned back. Drove up north instead to retrieve my cell phone. Went with the little boys and another to get school items and greatly enjoyed it. Started for home about 5:00 and, as the weather had calmed down, visited the cemetery after all. Watered the plants and sprinkled some of the leftover "Irish sod" on both graves. This was a somewhat hokey addition to Pat's funeral, which I had forgotten a few weeks ago on his anniversary. Called sister Betty to tell her.
Didn't get home until about 7:00 and had the second half of delectable stir-fry I had made the other night. Mike then called and I got a chance to see the adorable little girls in Singapore. We discussed the possibility of my going there and to Tokyo in October. We'll see.
Wonder of wonders, I got a three-page letter from U.S. Air saying they would refund the $23 I paid for the luggage that didn't get to me in California until the day after AND giving me a $50 credit for a future flight. Of course, it was enlarded with all kinds of oily assurances that their employees "are trained to be sensitive and attentive to the needs and concerns of our customers" and that they "work hard" to make sure those saintly people are "courteous, friendly, and helpful at all times." (Yeah? Couldn't prove it by me.)
Okay, I guess I'm placated.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Had a terrific time at the convocation and, especially, the reception after. Good ol' Rider U. seems to be thriving, although endowments and so on are rather alarmingly down. I think this is true of most private universities. The convocation, as these things usually are, was partly mildly interesting, but mostly boring; bearably so, however.
The reception was held in the backyard of the president's residence and was superb. It actually had a theme: "eat local" and "sustainability" (well, I guess that's two themes) and the food was great. It included steamed clams, corn relish, crab cakes, fruit with balsamic vinegar, and a multitude of other goodies, so different from the horrible crackers and cheese cubes you get at most of these affairs. Servers with crisp, black and white uniforms moved around offering things and there was wine, beer, soda, and watermelon juice--yum!
I didn't go into HR this time, but saw a lot of old colleagues and had a good time talking to them. Stayed until about 4:00 and counted what I ate as dinner, so I think I did fairly okay overall in the calorie department.
Ellen V. called me last night and we talked over Blithe Spirit. She has cast the "Ruth" part which had be vacated by Lucille B. and is in contact with a possible "Elvira," which Tara K. had to decline.
Still don't have my cell phone, as I missed the cutoff to Rt. 539 yesterday and went home via 206 instead. May drive up there today to get it.
WIDER: "The More Things Change..." department:
"It is now stated on all sides that the casualties in the most recent raids, e.g. at Ramsgate, have been officially minimised, which greatly incenses the locals, who do not like to read about “negligible damage” when 100 people have been killed, etc., etc. Shall be interested to see the figures for casualties for this month, i.e. August. I should say that up to about 2000 a month they would tell the truth, but would cover it up for figures over that."
That's from Orwell's diary entry of September 3, 1940. Sound like a familiar ploy of the war machine/mass media complex? Maybe this will, too:
"This is the sort of thing that does not get into the papers...."--or, seventy years later, on television or on mainstream Internet "news."

Thursday, September 02, 2010

P. and N. were on the web cam when Susan knocked on the door, back from Europe. We walked, I completed the gruelling three-miler at the clubhouse, talked to sister Betty, and went to the cemetery. Stocked up on veggies and did a wash. Back in my routine, I found it a mundane, but curiously satisfying day. High point was finding my cell phone. It was in somebody's car and I'll pick it up today on my way back from the Rider Convocation.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

As it turned out, the arriving party did get in at the original time. Picked them up, we drove back, and I stayed over up north. Enjoyed drinking my coffee and reading The Times Of Trenton on the back deck in the warm--very warm--sunshine. Later, I left them to work on the gardens and went to the Hamilton Marketplace; picked up a little sponge-holder for the kitchen, then stopped in on N. and the four boys.
Went to Staples, hung out a bit more, then said goodbye. I've been away from home for three days, and it's been great fun, but I was sleeping late and eating whatever and now I want to get back in my healthful routine.
Only down part of yesterday was that I lost my cell phone. Was talking to N. on it at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, but can't remember what happened since. Called it several times, but no answer. Darn.
Stayed up to see Wo Ai Ni, Mommy (I Love You, Mommy), the award-winning film about a Jewish family from Long Island that adopted two Chinese girls. My neighbors, Marty and Norma H., are the grandparents of the little girls, and I featured them in my "Blowin' In The Wind" article in The Breeze for June. Very absorbing, interesting program.
WIDER: You could have knocked me over with a Howitzer (look it up) when I read a particular piece today on the Comcast home page. It's a critique of Obama's speech last night (which I wouldn't have dreamed of watching) and is entitled "Fact Check: Is Iraq Combat Really Over For U.S?" Many of his statements are refuted (refutiated? Ha!) and the article includes:
"OBAMA: 'Within Afghanistan, I have ordered the deployment of additional troops who — under the command of Gen. David Petraeus — are fighting to break the Taliban's momentum. As with the surge in Iraq, these forces will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the Afghans to build their capacity and secure their own future.'
THE FACTS: Obama is reciting almost the exact language of the Bush administration's rationale for the Iraq surge (emphasis added): to buy time and space for the Iraqis to reach political accommodations and to strengthen their own security forces. That's quite a change from Obama's stand as a presidential candidate, when he criticized it...."
And that isn't from one of the progressive blogs I read; it's in the mainstream media. Uh-oh, I can almost hear the horror from certain quarters lamenting that anyone dare attack the emperor, especially using his own words. In truth, though, the article is very mild--to a fault, in fact--certainly compared to the manner in which my fellow blogging dissenters, firebrands all, state their beliefs. But here's the link to the article:
Of course, the real reporters and essayist tell it in much more emphatic, even inflammatory, language, as is proper, considering the topic is mass murder. Chris Floyd, about as impassioned as writers can get, has a very hard-hitting piece referring to O.'s speech. His should be read in its entirety--it's breath-taking in its righteous wrath:
Norman Solomon writes more sedately on "Common Dreams":
"...for good measure, Obama added that 'now, under the command of General Petraeus, we have the troops who are there in a position to start taking the fight to the terrorists.'" If, nine years after 9/11, we are supposed to believe that U.S. forces can now 'start' taking the fight to 'the terrorists,' this is truly war without end. And that's the idea."
Over and out.