Friday, December 30, 2011

Having a fine time, despite the fact we all have heavy colds. (If we just ignore them, eventually they'll go away.) More rides==or attractions--in the Magic Kingdom, then we ate at a good restaurant in Disney Marketplace, miles away by bus. Came home in late afternoon to swim in the heated pool, which was lovely.
Today, our last here, we'll go to Epcot, then eat at a Moroccan Restaurant. No time for more and I find it so awkward to type on Mike's laptop. Probably won't post again until we get on on January 2.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Long trip, with a 50=mile traffic jam, lesser ones, and a driving rainstorm through South Carolina, but we made it okay.
We arrived at the "Reunion" complex in or outside Orlando last night. The house is huge: 15 foot ceilings and a living room/atrium that soars thirty. All the amenities for the six of us. Weather cooler than I wish, but okay We'll be here three days.
More later, if possible.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I continue to improve--good thing, as we're leaving for our road trip to Florida in two hours.
Had a lovely Christmas. Mike, Paula, Vivian, Violet, Vicky, and I got up early and opened presents, the little ones oohing and aahing over everything. We then had a big breakfast of pancakes, bacon, juice, and--something I haven't had in years, but like a lot--bagels, cream, and lox. Played a lot with the girls, of course.
Paula spent a lot of time in the kitchen preparing the bird and cooking up other things. She made Japanese fried rice for lunch, and that was delish.
Ellen came in the early afternoon, bringing the scalloped potatoes she had made up north, and we soon decided to go for a walk. Vivian and Violet wanted to join us, and did, and as we were about to leave, the northern couple drove up. They brought mashed sweet potatoes and other additions to the feast. The female part of the couple joined us and we had a nice walk. Said female, an occupational therapist, taught her older niece a number of sign language gestures along the way. Vivian later remembered many of them and used them in lieu of the spoken word.
We had dinner early, about 5:00 and it was so good. Besides the aforementioned components, Paula had cooked Brussels Sprouts, one of my favorites, and asparagus, and had an excellent gravy. This year, alas, we had neither banana bread nor pies, which have traditionally been my responsibilities; I was just too sick to make them. But no matter: Mike made very good chocolate chip cookies and also passed around a box of candy he had received as a gift.
My daughter-in-law, son, and Nanny Vicky did ALL the preparation, then my daughters pitched in for the clean-up. I didn't pick up a dish, and boy, much as I would have helped if I had been needed, it was a great luxury to simply enjoy everything without having to do any of the work. Come to think of it, I guess I earned my dues in earlier years.
After dinner, we spent several hours talking and laughing and what a wonderful feeling it was to have--almost--my whole family around me. Of course, P. and N. weren't there, and one member will never be with us again, but it was so good to have the rest.
The others left about 8:00 and the rest of us ran around packing. Yoicks, I hope Mike is able to jam everything into the van. We'll be travelling for four days--two there, two back--and I hope can survive the trip, especially with a seven- and three-year-old. But, hey: We're goin' and we're gonna have a happy time...
(From one of my favorite songs, "One Towela Goose.")

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I feel a lot better, although still not up to par. Ellen was so good--I couldn't eat, but she gave me anything I needed otherwise. She also made the stuffing for the 20 or so pound turkey M. and P. bought. Naturally, it's not from a box, in fact, she didn't even use the cubed bread you can buy. She bought a big loaf of white bread and tore it, just a my mother used to do.
The others didn't get get until late in the day. They made dinner, but I stayed in bed. Didn't eat anything all day except three crackers and tea. I don't even feel hungry now, but will try to eat later.
P. called about 8:30, not realizing I was sick, but I was glad he did. He said Natsue was at her parents giving Rollie, the lab, a shampoo. They're going to a concert today.
It's Christmas and I'm glad to have my family around me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Got up sick. Have been sleeping most of the day. Ellen here taking care of me; others went to mall. Ugh.

Friday, December 23, 2011

As noted, we did NYC yesterday. Am the only one up at 5:44, unusual for this early-rising crowd. Unfortunately, Vicky caught Violet's cold and others may be down with it, too. We're due to take the girls over to play with Jenna today and before that, I want to run a few errands. Hope Ellen will come down today, too.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just too much going on to go into detail, so here's a synopsis:
Yesterday's birthday party was wonderful. All my children hosted and all were there except P. and N. and they called on Skype from Tokyo. Had all the grandchildren and great-grands, and lots of good friends.
Family gave me a new computer, which is wonderful. Has a big screen--well, I guess it's a monitor--high def and so bright and easy to see. The Skype picture is great--like a good t.v.
Today: We just got home from Manhattan; we had left the house at 7:30 am. We went to the American Girl store where Vivian got a doll she named Kate and Violet got boy and girl twins she named--get this: Zara and Zack. After they bought the extremely high-priced dresses and p.j.'s, we ate in the cafe. Food was actually very good. They served a platter of appetizers first of carrots, tiny chicken cups, grapes, "pretzel bread," and other stuff. Paula and I got a salad that contained chicken, greens, dried cranberries and grapes, dressed with a good oil and vinegar. I actually had a beer--Brooklyn Beer, as I like local beers--and they had wine on the menu, too.
After, we walked to Rockefeller Center and saw the ice skaters, then to Central Park, quite a hike. We took a horse and carriage ride--so silly and touristy, but so much fun--then went to the Plaza Hotel, just to see it. Used the facilities, then Paula got a call from American Girl to the effect Mike had been given a wrong package! He got on the phone and insisted they meet us at the parking garage--far away. We took a cab back, they met us with abject apologies, and gave V. and V. gifts to compensate for the inconvenience.
Got a call from Ellen, who had taken a train into Manhattan to meet her cousin, Joan R. They were at St. Patrick's Cathedral and on their way to MOMA. Wish we could have met them, but it was already 3:30 and we wanted to get home.
Stopped at Acme for flounder, which Mike is now cooking. Got phone calls from several people with birthday wishes. Talked to Betty, who's having a fabulous time in Palm Springs with her family.
Whew! More happening tomorrow and it isn't even Christmas yet!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A quick rundown of a fun day: Took the little girls to look for an indoor play place, as it was rainy and overcast. Didn't find one, but came back to welcome Aunty Ellen, who blew in about 12:00. Mike got pizza for lunch, Ellen went to a hairdresser appointment with my girl, Leanne, which I had made for her; came back and the northern dweller came in after school. Soon, so did J., N., and the four boys. After an initial somewhat shy period,they had a good time playing. (It occurred to us later that the gang was composed of kids of 3, 4, 5, 7. 8, and 9--we were missing only a six-year-old.)
Mike made cookie dough and the kids all helped cut out Christmas shapes. They were baked--the cookies, not the kids--then they all enjoyed decorating them with different colored icing which Mike had made, gel, sprinkles and M & Ms in green and red, and so on,
The Middlebury mob didn't stay for dinner, as they had a commitment up north; Paula made fajitas (first time I ever had them) with beef, sauce, lettuce tomato, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream fixings--they were so good!
Brother Larry called to wish me a happy birthday just before dinner and I talked to his Helen, too. Marilyn sent a gift certificate for Barnes & Noble, and I got lots of other birthday greetings.
I was astounded, thrilled, and so grateful when my children called me into the dining room to present me with my Christmas presents--a new computer, the monitor of which is luxuriously large. This is from all of them and spouses Love it and Mike will hook it up later.
The Tokyo Twosome called this morning to wish me the same. Would be nice if they could be here, too, but Skype is the next best thing.
SEVENTY-FIVE! All in all, it doesn't have much to recommend it except being alive and well and surrounded by loving family--all right, I guess it has a lot to recommend it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mike and Paula went shopping while Vicky and I took the kiddies to the library. We we looked at books, did jigsaw puzzles, and played on the computer. V. One took out four books on my card. Then went to the Seaport; girls had a good time dressing up as pirates, and other stuff. (Boy, it's pretty bad when I have to resort to "other stuff.") We went next door to ScoJoe's for lunch--was good.
Got home about 2:30 and M. and P. weren't home yet, so we walked to the clubhouse. Showed the girls the pretty decorations and the exercise room, where both walked on the treadmill, V. Two with help.
Got in, hung out, the others came back, went out to see Christmas lights, had dinner, and another full day came to a close. Before that, though, Ellen called--yippee!--on their way back from the airport. She'll be down today and asked me to make a hairdresser's appointment for today or tomorrow. Was told the boys might come down, too.
One more day before I mark three quarters of a century. Am I okay with that? Hell, no.
WIDER: A very, very provocative essay:
This clarified a lot for me. The first few lines are especially apropos.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Good fun yesterday. Early on, we got a web cam call from P. and N. and all chatted with them. After breakfast, went to the cemetery, then to tour Lucy The Elephant in Margate, then to take a quick look at my childhood home(s) in Ventnor. Lunched on luscious subs at Sacco's in same, then walked two blocks over to buy candy at Jageisky's, which makes the best candy in the universe. On the way home, we stopped in New Gretna where, after much discussion, we chose a big and remarkably beautiful tree which now graces my living room.
When we got in about 2:00, the northern couple were waiting. We all trimmed the tree and had a good time doing it, especially the two little ones. Couple left to meet up with their gang for dinner, and I made ours of "slymphie stew" (pasta, hamburger, sauce; green salad; crystal pickles; crusty bread.) Got a call just before from Ellen, who Skyped us later and we were all glad to hear she's feeling better. We then we hung out until bedtime, which came early for all of us, as we had had such a full day.
Paula made breakfast, we all ate, then I called my theatre company friend, Lucille, and we made a date to bring our two girls over on Friday. Mike and Paula just went out to Michael's in Manahawkin; Vickie and I will take Vivian and Violet to the library and the Seaport, then out to lunch.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

They're here! Blew in after 11:00, as there was some mix up with the bags. We all settled in for the night after. Little girls are adorable. So good to see them, Mike, Paula, and Vicky. P. and N. skyped and we saw them for a time.
Too much went on yesterday to go into,so will skip until later.
Today, we go get a Christmas tree!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Briefly, I alternated among wrapping gifts--all of them--making four batches of "Nana Mix," rushing out to the store for what I forgot, and rearranging things to optimize my guests' stay. Annoyingly, I had to interrupt everything to spend two hours at the hairdresser's, an ordeal for me, as I hate, hate, hate the whole process. However, my hair has never looked better and I gave Leann a card with a generous tip, along with thanks for the good cut and color.
Got home to realize I was missing a gift for someone--rather, a group of someones. Looked on line and decided on a gift card to a restaurant near where they live.
Received several more huge boxes from Amazon, which I agreed not to examine and I didn't. Just stowed them in the only available space: behind the love seat that separates living from dining room. Put all the wrapped presents there, too.
Got a call from the control freak of the century in London to ascertain that I have plenty of lights and balls for the tree and to ask that I have various J & J products on hand. Talked to adorable Vivian, who was awarded the class bear, "Sam," and will bring him to the states, then write about it. Cute idea.
Called Ellen and was thrilled and overjoyed to hear she feels well. I'm glad she isn't pushing herself too hard to do things, although she has to pack. Her darling cousin, Betty's girl, Carolyn G., took her home from the hospital; I called her to thank her and she told me she knew Ellen would do the same for her. Of course, she would and I don't often enough realize how terrific this family is. I'm much relieved at Ellen doing so well, but won't rest until she's here on Monday.
Must spend the day cleaning, cooking, and doing last-minute chores; still have to pick up a few things at the Acme. They--the London contingent--will be here late, about 9:30, but they'll be here--yay!
It occurred to me that if I kept up my current level of activity, I'd be skinny as a rail by 2012. Dead from overwork, too, of course, but you gotta take the bad with the good.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Continuing my frantic pace, I went to Acme at 7:30 right after our walk. Got some supplies for my company, although I still have plenty more. Rushed home and made two batches of Nana Mix--with cashews, as directed. Saw Dennis and Bill cleaning Susan's gutters (sounds vaguely provocative, doesn't it?) and went over to ask if I had signed up for their service, which also includes clearing the dryer vent, cleaning filters, and so on. I hadn't, but remedied that with a check and they did the same at my house. Dennis was kind enough to also hang my big wreath outside the front windows.
I had asked Dennis if he used a glass cutter; he does and the guy is just across from Acme--I didn't have to go all the way over to Twin Glass, after all. The glass toppers for the three tables in my bedroom were done and I went over to get them.
Spent the rest of the morning cleaning, although I'll leave some for last-minute-tomorrow.
Got an e-mail from Desi to the cast, saying we'd resume rehearsals in January. Fine by me, and I'm sure, by everybody else.
After lunch, went to Target, where I picked up most of the rest of the presents. Stopped at K-Mart, too. By the time I got home, it was almost 6:00 and I stir-fried a quick chicken/onion/pepper/garlic meal. Very good, if I say it myself.
Called Ellen to find her being driven home from the hospital by her cousin, Carolyn. She called me back later from home and we had a good talk. She said Carolyn had stayed about an hour to get her settled in. Ellen is taking antibiotics and has a prescription for pain, but said she doesn't have any. The difference between invasive and microscopic (well, I guess it's still invasive) is extreme, I think. I had my appendix out when I was 19 and was in the hospital for at least four days, then recuperated at home for quite a while, too. Much better in this day and age, but it's still no cakewalk. Can't wait until Ellen gets here, so I can see she's safe and sound.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another pretty full day. Skipped exercise and went to Atlantic County early. I go so often, it's seems like a hop, skip, and a jump away, but in fact, is about a 80-mile round trip.
Produce Junction has wonderful poinsettia plants--a steal--and I bought two more to add to the seven I already have. Couldn't resist a mum plant with additions to look like Santa. Silly, because I don't really have anyplace to put it. Got some veggies while I was there.
Next, I went to Fabulous jewelry nearby and got a number of Christmas presents. I was looking at some scarfs when I realized a woman was standing behind me. I glanced up and thought she looked a lot like my twin sister, Betty.
Well, it was Betty! She was on her way to her friend's house in Haddonfield, stopped at Produce Junction, saw me there, and followed me. I had never noticed her. The weird thing is, that, for several seconds, I actually didn't recognize her. I suppose it was a combination of "knowing" she couldn't be there and the fact that, as a joke, she didn't indicate she knew me. I've been mulling over the strangeness of this ever since.
Anyway, she was on her way to California after running a few errands, and we hugged and said goodbye. I continued shopping--got a lot of presents there--then drove to Canal's to get a supply of wine. I had forgotten I had already stocked up before my company of Saturday, so now I have enough for a wild party--not that I'm having one, unfortunately.
Stopped at Twin Glass to try to get glass toppers for the three tables in my bedroom, but it would take a few days, so the heck with that.
Next stop was Boscov's, where I got a few more presents; treated myself to a cup a soup and slice of quiche for lunch first.
Was glad to get a call from Ellen while I was at the mall. Her friend brought her charger, so she was able to call on her cell (she can't make long distance calls from her hospital room). She's doing all right and thought she's be released today. Betty's daughter, Carolyn, will take her home.
Got home and continued rearranging furniture and so on, in preparation for my company. Called Ellen and we had a nice chat. Called Dennis and got the name of a glass cutter; called him and he'll have them for me this morning.
Still have a few presents to buy and must wrap all of them, of course, as well as clean the house, buy groceries, cook, and get my hair done.
Yoicks, I have plenty left to do!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh boy, what a day. Came back from running errands in Manahawkin to get a phone message from Ellen telling me she was in a hospital emergency room. She's been having stomach pains, went to the doctor, and was told to go there, as doc thought she had appendicitis. I immediately called her cell when I got home, but didn't get her. Went on-line and determined Community Memorial was the place, called there, and yes, she was there. When she got back to me, she was in a bed and they were waiting for results. After a delay and other calls, it was confirmed that the problem was her appendix.
Just talked to her: Appendix was removed laproscopically. She sounds groggy and says it's sore, but I think okay. I'm glad it's over and I'm sure she is, too.
Earlier, I had gotten an e-mail, then a phone call from Mike, telling me that Vivian's holiday recital would be on the school's web site at 1:30 my time. He sent me the link and I tried, but couldn't get it.
Got two huge boxes and a small one from Amazon for Mike. Made something and packed and sent it to P. and N.
Also earlier, I borrowed a wheelchair from our clubhouse for me to use in the play and it's now in my trunk.
Went to rehearsal last night, although I was so worried about Ellen. It was at the old municipal building on Giffordtown Road, only about a mile from me. No heat, so we kept our coats on, but rehearsal went okay. Just got an e-mail from Director Desi to the effect that we'll probably skip more December rehearsals and resume in January. I'd really rather continue on, but have commitments on my birthday and when we go to Florida right after Christmas anyway, so that's okay.
Today I must concentrate on buying Christmas presents!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Spend hours going through the photos in the wicker chest and separated out some for the visitor from the north. She came about 3:30, bringing a luscious corn chowder, which we shared for dinner,along with a salad I had made and pumpernickel. She ran, we ate, she selected some photos, then went on her way.
Had our first read-through at 7:00 at Desi's. It went pretty well, although some of the actors need to use more emphasis, I think. Keven, I'm happy to say, is able to be int he play and makes a properly scary villain.
We're going to be rehearsing Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, quite a gruelling schedule, considering Christmas--and my company--are nigh. However, we'll do it, I'm sure.
I'd better get serious about buying Christmas presents and I have a lot to do besides that.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Was glad to get a Skype call from London. Saw the two little angels opening their presents from their Santa Monica grandfather--cute little outfits. Mike told me to prepare for large packages arriving and to put them somewhere.
Lazed around most of the day. At one point, decided to drive into Manahawkin to pick up a few items for presents. Did so, finally came to my senses when I actually got there--it was jammed--and turned right around and drove back.
Now I'm panic-stricken: I have almost no presents bought and still have to buy, address and send cards, prepare the house for my company, decide what to have in for food, prepare it--the list is endless and I'M NOT READY!
Hmm...just realized this happens every year and has as long as I can remember. Hey, no prob, I'll get it done.
Enjoyed my usual Sunday night call from Ellen, who still has a splint on her finger. She'll be here next week--yay!We meet tonight for our first reading of Night Must Fall. Looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

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Turned out to be a lovely little dinner party. I had good friends and neighbors, Leslie and Dennis R.and new friends, Rosemary and Spanky D.
Having neglected to do anything until the day of, I hustled to clean the house, buy the food and wine, set the table, cook, and so on. Spanky is an amputee and uses a wheelchair, so I rearranged the furniture slightly to accommodate.
Got a delicious roast pork--uncooked, but in a kind of vacuum container. I picked one with Italian seasoning, in honor of the heritage of three of my four guests. I've had these for company before, and everybody seems to like them a lot. Added baked potatoes, banana bread, and sides of cranberry apple relish and crystal pickles. Leslie brought a good broccoli/corn/something else casserole and Rosemary brought a chocolate tofu pie, plus a nice bottle of wine.
When my company arrived at 5:00 (I like to have nibbles and drinks for about an hour, then dinner at 6:00.) Had just almonds (regular and spiced), pretzels, and grapes for appetizers, along with wine (Spanky had a beer). I prefer to keep the appetizers ordinary and not too filling, as I think people sometimes eat too much of them to fully enjoy dinner.
Everybody seem to like the meal, but it occurred to me I should have added a vegetable, maybe glazed carrots or something. Will next time I have a dinner party.
We stayed at the table for some time, talking politics and the downward spiral of the country. All of us deplored the extreme nationalism (read "worship of the military") that carries a whiff of Nazi Germany and seems to be growing all the time. Frankly, none of us are very optimistic about where we're headed.
They stayed until almost 9:00--in these parts, practically the middle of the night--then said goodnight. I can't stand to go to bed without cleaning up, so did that and it was past my usual when I turned in.
Lovely day and now I need to turn my attention to my house guests from London, here soon--yippee!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saga of "The Christmas Tour That Wasn't":
Walked down to Barb's at 11:30 and she, her sister, Pat, Lois V., and I headed out to our annual Christmas House Tour in Tuckerton. Had a delightful lunch (quiche, Caesar salad, and a pot o' tea for me) at The Laughing Gull in the Emporium. Went next door to the Tuckerton Seaport to buy our tickets for the tour.
Only there wasn't any. This had been in the paper, for cryin' out loud, but somehow it was a mistake, as they weren't having it this year. No explanation and the volunteer at the Seaport said "a lot of people were disappointed." It's hard to believe the paper would just print something from last year, but that seems to be the story.
We were disappointed, but oh, well. Looked at the wares in the Seaport and went back to the Emporium to do the same. Home and was finally able to clear the dining room table--good thing, as I'm having the R.s and the D.'s over for dinner tonight. Haven't done anything to prepare for that yet, so must get to the supermarket, clean the house, and cook today.
No prob.
WIDER: I've "subscribed" to The Casey Report (via e-mail) for a few months; can't remember how I came upon it. I think the slant is Libertarian, which is not my political persuasion, but is a lot closer than the dem and repub ideals. Today, the book They Thought They Were Free is quoted at length and, hoo boy, does it ring a bell. If not an exact parallel--the rise of Fascism in Germany and the present road to perdition on which the U.S. is set--it sure comes close. (I had gotten this book from the library a year ago and was pleased to see it quoted today.)

Friday, December 09, 2011

Happy day, my icy box is working! Guy came about 4:00, replaced the relay to the compressor, and charged $180 with tax. I would have paid the scoundrels at Sears $269, so I'm glad they didn't come after all.
Before that, met my twin for lunch at Italian Cuisine on Jimmy Leeds Road. Had a great time with Betty, who leaves on Tuesday for Christmas with her family. I gave her the project I mentioned here--in scrapbook form, an account, with picture, of her ancestry. She gave me a gift certificate to my fav store, Fabulous Jewelry--in the amount of our birthday--wow! I'll miss her at my party, but am glad she'll be with her gang in Palm Springs.
After the guy left and the frig was humming along happily (and, you can be sure, so was I), I went over to Susan's to get my stuff out of her freezer. Oh, they were just having a glass of Chardonnay and nibbles, will you join us?
Does a bear--uh, live in the woods? Damn straight I would and we had a nice neighborly visit. Collected my Lean Cuisine meals, thanked them sincerely, and went on my way.
Must get my other freezer stuff from down the street and give the cooler back to Bessie and Bob. Will attend the annual Christmas house tour in Tuckerton today.
WIDER: Here's another Arthur Silber hits out of the park:

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Boy oh boy, what a day! Susan and I walked in the pouring rain; I had to change from the waist down and skin out when I got home even though I had a raincoat and umbrella. Did so, then reached in the freezer for a loaf of pumpernickel--oh, no! It was soft and everything was thawed. Refrig side the same, of course.
It's a Kenmore and I called Sears for repair. Was told they charge $75 to walk in the door, plus whatever else has to be done. Fell for a $269 "deal" that would cover up to $500 in parts, or toward a new refrig if it was unrepairable. I had the Women's Club luncheon at 1:00 and was picking up Bessie F., but was told the guy would make mine the last appointment of the day and come about 4:00. Alternately, he could come today between 8 and 12, but I opted for the first.
The lunch was great fun--good food and table prizes--but I rushed home to get there by 4:00. Waited and waited and about 6:00 got a recorded call to the effect my appointment had been rescheduled; it included a number to call back. I did, hopping mad, and said I wanted him to come today. Oh, no, nothing doing, he couldn't come until Friday.
What is maybe even worse than the cynical disregard every Sears rep (oh, I know they work for some kind of outsource operation, but still...) had for my convenience is their casual indifference to my distress. I guess they're trained that way, but I wold have expected some kind of apology or condolences at least, but no. Of course, there was no explanation either, for why the commitment wasn't kept or for the falsehood that the repair person could come today. They listened to me rant and rave while the food I had in the freezer slowly thawed and never even responded. I don't know if they were in India or Indiana or Upper Japip, but they might as well have been automatons for all the reaction they showed.
Oh, just to cut this short: Put some of the frozen--or formerly frozen--stuff in neighbors' freezers, borrowed a large cooler and put more in there with ice I bought. By the time I was finished transferring everything, it was almost 8:00. I sat down with my glass of wine and popcorn and determined I'd call Anchor Appliance repair when they open at 8:00 today. Meeting Betty for our birthday lunch, so I hope they can work around that.
Whew, what a life.
(I'm a little late with this--it's 6:28--for a pleasant reason: got a Skype call from P. and N., always welcome. He was making a curry stew and she was working on a DVD index.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Yippee--I finished the Betty project! Worked most of the day on it and had to ask Susan to help me put the (mechanical) part together, but we did it.
Went over the Night script several times, just getting the various nuances of my character. Oh, I hope, hope, hope, we still have a Dan.
Called Mary Ann Van O. to see if we could ride together to the Women's Club party today. However, she isn't going--she runs the Ocean Club luncheon which Susan and I attended last year. I won't again, however, although Mary Ann invited me. It costs thirty bucks, plus you're supposed to bring a ten-dollar exchange gift and if you get a glass of wine, you're looking at fifty. Much as I like SeaOaks, it's not worth that much. Also, I had thought it benefitted a charity, but it doesn't. I don't know this for sure, but have a sneaking suspicioun somebody is actually profiting from the luncheon.
Later, Bessie F. called. After having talked to Mary Ann, she learned I was looking for a ride and so was she. That works out fine; I'll drive and we'll enjoy the day.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Desi suggested we switch Night Must Fall scripts, as I had the old (original) version and we'll be performing from the new. Great idea and he stopped over to make the exchange. Boy oh boy, it seems to me this puts Mrs. Bramson, which I play, in an entirely different light. She's not nearly as bitchy, even seems a somewhat sympathetic character. I'm not sure I really like this as well as the old, but guess I'll get into it. We're meeting on Sunday afternoon for a first reading, about which I'm excited. Unfortunately, after the high of hearing Kevin B. will play Danny, Desi told me there may be a problem because he's in Actors' Equity and they may not let him appear. Darn, but the question isn't settled yet; hope he can do it.
Spent most of the day working on the Betty project. Called her and we set up a lunch/birthday celebration for Thursday, so I MUST get the damn thing finished today, as I have the Women's Club luncheon tomorrow.
Was pleased to get a call from Ellen, from the jury room in Ventura, and we had a nice chat. Later, she e-mailed me that her finger is broken (she hit it on a chair while vigorously dancing to her new XBox) and has a splint on it. Hope it heals fast.
Went to the Homeowners' Association last night with Ray and Barb H. It was well attended and as usual, included rants from various disgruntled people for various nebulous reasons. It had the virtue of being short, as least, and we were home by 8:15.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Great news--just got an e-mail from Desi announcing that somebody named Kevin Berdini will play Danny in Night Must Fall. This guy actually has stage experience--toured in Cats and other productions--and is surely older and more adept than our little college kid. Looking forward to being on stage with him.
Busy most of the day because I suddenly decided on a project for my twin, Betty. She doesn't read my blog, but just on the bare possibility it might get back to her, I won't mention it yet. Worked on it most of yesterday, as she and I will meet for lunch before she leaves for the left coast on the 13th. Must call her.
Enjoyed my regular Sunday Skype call from Ellen. She showed me her new XBox, with which she dances and goes rafting. Looks like great fun.
Was bursting with pride to get the news that my darling granddaughter, Vivian, who's 7, just won a bronze medal in her very first gymnastics competition. This was in the U.K. where they live, of course.
And that's a nice segue into the international news that her father, my darling boy Mike, is celebrating his birthday today. I remember very well his birth at St. Francis Hospital in Trenton, as it was my easiest. Ever since, he's been a constant source of love and pride, as all my children are. Happy birthday, Mike. I love you.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Hoo boy, things are moving right along! The northern couple got here about 10:30 and proceeded to accomplish all the saved-up chores and moving I can't do myself. Separately or in tandem, they
--replaced the bulb in the garage, too high for me to reach
--installed the new light fixture in the foyer, too high for me to reach
--moved the high-chest bureau out of the closet and into the garage (I'll store things in it)
--moved the other high-chest bureau from the bedroom to the closet
--took the t.v. out of the armoire in the living room and replaced it with the one in the guest room.
Now, that last maneuver was problematic. The l.r. set had been blinking to black often and we all thought was on its way out (it's roughly 15 years old). The one in the guest room had been working but, lately, hadn't. It's too long and involved to go into the reasons, but after the couple had carried the l.r. set to the curb, it was decided the problem was the cable or something and it was brought back in. However, then some black areas showed it was about to give up the ghost anyway, so was carried back out and the guest room one put back in.
Anyhoo--. They did a yeoman's job, refused lunch, and left after several hours of hard labor.
Later, I went to Shop-Rite, which was jammed as usual, and B & B for veggies. Read over Night a bit. I have to be careful not to commit to memory my version when we're doing another and I'd have to "unlearn" the first.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Am I nuts? (Don't answer that.) I was at Walgreen's to pick up my not-so-secret vice, extra-dark pretzels, and saw an animated Santa Claus that moves and plays Christmas carols and is dressed in a precious little carpenter's apron with darling miniature tools in his pockets and is holding a string of Christmas bulbs that LIGHT UP and I couldn't help myself, I had to have him or I'd die!!
Yes, after my sorry experience in getting rid of my tons of Christmas decorations (not!),I bought the Santa for twenty bucks. Well, Vivian and Violet will love it.
Other than that, I hung the fresh pine wreath (hmm...guess that's another new Christmas item) on the front door and the artificial one inside in the foyer. Looks good.
Barb H. had asked me at exercise if I want to go to the Christmas House Tour in Tuckeron next Friday and yes, indeed I do. We do this every year and every year, Barb reminds me. Will ask Susan; Lois V. and two other will go, too.
Went to B.J.'s and picked up two loaves of my favorite pumpernickel. Other than that, did this and that household chores.
Called Marge D., who is having health difficulties, as she has been for a year or so. She said she was in the hospital last week. Her ominous symptom, which she's exhibited before, was that she suddenly was unable to talk. Doesn't sound good and I assume it has something to do with a mini-stroke. She has also been having a problem getting a BP down, although she's very thin, painfully so, in fact. I was a bit alarmed when we compared notes and found she and I are taking the same dosage of some BP medication. Not sure why she wouldn't be prescribed more.
The northern couple are coming today to move some furniture for me.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Desi and the college kid (Tony) got here at 10:30 and we read for about 45 minutes. We are, of course, going to be performing the version Desi has, which is considerably modified from the original script. I have the other one and know most of it, but I can adapt.
Will Tony be able to adequately fill the pivotal role of Danny, the diabolical killer and sociopath? I have serious doubts. He didn't show the slightest--not even a hint--of any acting ability, theatre understanding, or sense of what Danny--or the play--is all about. He simply read--in a monotone--each time.
We did two scenes, the first when Danny and Mrs. Bramson (my role) originally meet, the second, the highly charged and emotional vignette near the end. We went over it a number of times, with Desi trying to get Tony to show some kind of emotion. Doesn't seem likely this can be achieved, but Desi is going to work with him.
Puttered around doing wash and stuff until it was time to leave for the party. Stopped first at the Mays Landing Shop-Rite to get a live wreath for the door. Did so, and put it in the trunk.
Arrived at the L.'s by 4:00, which is when they always start, to be greeted by Flo and a sadly diminished Joe. For the past few years, he has had some "heart issues," as the stupid euphemism goes, and wears a pacemaker. He was decked out in his usual jaunty Christmas outfit: plaid pants, surely from the seventies (he's remains as slim and trim as he was then), a shirt and sweater, and Christmas socks, all in red and green. In other years, he had been the jovial, expansive host, taking drink orders and joking with his guests. Last night he lapsed into silence often and got the wine requests mixed up.
Others have health problems, too. Frank J. had had to skip last year's party for cancer treatments; he came last night, but has lost an alarming amount of weight. Don McG., with whom I spoke a lot, has arthritis in his feet and other ailments. Even more ominous, Kate and Danny S. were not able to come at all--first time they've missed. Kate is very ill and Danny is recovering--I hope, has recovered--from cancer himself. These people, whom I see once a year, are five to eight years older than I am, as they had been Pat's friends.
But they're not that much older and at my back I always hear/Time's winged chariot hurrying near...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

When I was walking back from exercise, I saw Desi on the tennis court (he plays with some guys here) and he told me he had found a possible candidate to be Dan in Night Must Fall. Said he wanted the kid (college aged) to read opposite me, so we decided they would come to my place this morning to do that. We're going to be doing the revised and updated version and I'll be interested in seeing the differences from the original (1935), which I have.
Thinking Larry and Helen might be staying over, I cleaned the master--heh, hen, "mistress"--bedroom and bath. Talked to Helen and, as it turns out, they're staying at a hotel closer to the airport and cemetery. That's fine by me and now I have a nice clean house.
Had a Shop-Rite coupon and thought I'd get a live wreath for the front door. However, when I got there, I found I had lost it. Asked Frank for his paper and will go tomorrow or sometime to get one.
Mike C. stopped to have me sign a new contract for the solar panels. He thinks mine should be installed in a few weeks.
Party this evening at Flo and Joe L.'s--oops, we're supposed to bring a five dollar exchange gift and I don't have one. Well, will go to the shopping center later.
Just got a picture from DIL Paula of adorable Violet with the pumpkin pie Mommy baked for her nursery school, where the kiddies learned about Thanksgiving. I'll try to include it on this post, but may not know how.
Darn: Blogger said the image was corrupted or is an unrecognized format. Will try though Picasa.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I confess: I violated my own rule. Went to Shop-Rite for a few items and, as soon as I walked in, saw the beautiful poinsettias. I love the bright red ones and every Christmas, decorate with them. (The pinks and whites seem anemic and half-hearted to me. As for artificial--ugh! And as for the glitter fad--double ugh! Those who perpetrate such a crime against Nature should be dipped in the stuff themselves.) Well, these were so beautiful, I bought three large plants and four smaller ones. Put some in the foyer and some on the coffee table and they look lovely.
Naturally, once I did that, I had to remove the fall decorations and put up some Christmassy ones from the stash I have with which I could open a shop. It looks so nice in an understated way. Now, if I can just restrain myself by adding a lot more stuff, it'll be fine. I put up artificial wreaths, but intend to buy a fresh one today for the front door.
Invited the D.'s and the R.'s for dinner next week. Spanky K. is on dialysis three days a week (he's diabetic and just lost a leg to the disease) and weekends are best for them, so I suggested next Saturday or Sunday.
Had a nice sisterly chat with Betty, who's still in Chicago with son Wes and his family. Katie had to go to L.A. on business and she's helping with the two little girls.
Brother Larry and SIL Helen may be staying over for two days, as her sister's funeral is Friday in Pennsy. Not sure if they will, but I prepared for them and will enjoy having them again.
Sent my darling kiddies e-mail addresses for those to invite to my birthday party. Right now, it shapes up to quite a few, but it is four days before Christmas, so many probably won't be able to come.
WIDER: Stumbled over the picture below and it puts me in mind of something contemporary. Can't quite call up what, though...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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Another busy day. Was pleased to see Leslie at exercise--we walked home together--as she hasn't attended lately. After breakfast, went back to Atlantic County. Bought the two bedroom end tables I had seen at the Christmas Tree Shop. Got a card for little Robert, who will be five tomorrow and a small gift and card for somebody else whose birthday is nearing.
That sounds like a little, but what with one thing and another, I didn't get home until after 3:00 and still had to wrap and send the gift for the person not named. Got to the P.O. before they closed and did so.
Other than that, I managed to frustrate myself by trying to compile as a group the invitees for the birthday party. I think I got them into a group, but can't seem to access now. Will have to try another way.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Back in the groove, I walked with Susan, catching up with her midway. Had been delayed by a cam call from the Tokyo Twosome, always a welcome event. After breakfast and going over the mail, I headed to Atlantic County. Went to Produce Junction, the 69-cent store, and the Christmas Tree Shop, then stopped at the cemetery. Cut down the mums at Pat's grave, but the ones at Jay's still look good, so I left them. I'm determined not to decorate for Christmas--either at Laurel Memorial or home--at least until December, so will put something there later.
Got home about 3:00 to find a message from Leslie, asking if I still wanted to go to Dine Around last night...Yoicks, Dine Around! I had completely forgotten about it, although it's on my calendar. Called back to say I did want to go. Phone rang again and it was brother Larry to say Helen's sister had died. Too bad, as we were just at her brother-in-law's funeral last month. They'll arrive on Thursday. I have the L.'s annual Christmas dinner party that day, but of course told him they're welcome to stay here. Just had time to jump in the shower and dressed, and walked the three doors to the R.'s at 4:30.
It was at Calloway's and great fun. Had stuffed founder--fair--and enjoyed the two buck beer, served until 6:00. There were about 25 people there, all very congenial. Susan and Walter didn't go; according to Susan, they don't like Calloway's.
Home by a bit after 7:00. Enjoyed my weekly Skype call from Ellen,whom I'm so anxious to see in a few weeks, and that was the day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back from the frozen north (actually, it was pretty mild) after a wonderful Thanksgiving. Got up to the near north (as opposed to upstate Pennsylvania) about 11:00 to take doggie to the kennel. The couple arrived later and we left at 2:15 for the long trek north. Arrived by 7:00, left our gear at the Canyon Motel where we had booked a suite with a pull-out for me in the living room. We then left for a joint birthday party at the house in Middlebury Center.
I had baked a chocolate cake with mocha icing and put two candles--"8" and }0"--on it, signifying the total ages of the celebrants. The older one loved her "memory book," the project on which I had been working for so long, and the younger got lots of nice presents, too.
Got back to the motel about 10:00 and collapsed into bed. The next morning, we took a brisk walk of about two miles, greatly enjoying the hilly, wooded area and interesting, well-kept old homes in Wellsboro.
Then it was back out to the country for the Thanksgiving gathering. N. had an incredible array of appetizers--sausage pinwheels, seafood dip in a pumpernickel "bowl," sliced apples with caramel, and cheese, pepperoni and crackers, all of which were enthusiastically enjoyed by the five adults and four children, J. had bought a huge electric turkey fryer and we stood in awe as the twenty-pound bird was lowered into the sixty-dollars worth of oil. It took only 75 minutes to cook and incredibly, we agreed it was the best, most tender and moist turkey we ever had. Of course, there were all the usual sides: stuffing, smashed 'taters*, gravy, sweet potatoes, string bean casserole, three kinds of cranberry relish (I had brought apple/c.berry from berries I picked myself on that van tour we took a few months ago), and two kinds of cranberry bread (a small loaf from Susan and one N. made). After, we had our choice (or one of each, why not?) of the pies I made: apple and pumpkin. I was pleased the whipped cream for the latter had held up during the long drive; it was conveyed in a foam container along with the cranberry/apple relish. We stayed long enough to help clean up, then it was back to the motel, 10 miles away.
On Friday, we went back out, of course, and had a neat time helping to put up the Christmas tree. Yes, very early, and I was amazed to see trees up even before Thanksgiving. I refuse to put up Christmas decorations before December and, of course, will wait until the London contingent gets here before I even think about a tree--ours will be live, I'm sure.
Anyway, it was great fun. Had turkey leftovers for lunch--you have to, it's required--then took the kiddies to Wal-Mart to get new sneaks, boots, and other winter wear. Had a bite for dinner, then we all went back to the Canyon Motel to go in the pool. The kids had a ball, but I sat on the sidelines, as I had forgotten to bring my suit. Just as well,since it seemed too cool for my taste, but I enjoyed watching them horse around and show off their swimming--or, in the case of the two little ones, "swimming"--skills.
They all came back to our suite to change, then we reluctantly said goodbye. We stepped out to get a bottle of Cabernet S-something (oh, I don't know how to spell it and I bet SpellCheck doesn't either) and happily indulged with pretzels.
Left on Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast at the Wellsboro Diner. Back to the North Jersey homestead without incident after the five-hour drive, then I drove the hour down to my place. Went out to get lettuce, tomatoes and mushrooms--I hadn't had anything green all weekend--and made a big salad for dinner. Frank Next-Door had collected my papers and mail and dropped them off. Called sister Betty, in Chicago for the holiday, unpacked, and started settling back into my everyday life.
Slept like a log and now I have to turn my attention to Christmas and my birthday party--hey, that's no chore!
WIDER: From Glenn Greenwald about the most recent child-murders:
"Every time that happens, this just becomes more normalized, less worthy of notice. It’s just like background noise: two families of children wiped out by an American missile (yawn: at least we don’t target them on purpose like those evil Terrorists: we just keep killing them year after year after year without meaning to). It’s acceptable to make arguments that American wars should end because they’re costing too much money or American lives or otherwise harming American strategic interests, but piles of corpses of innocent children are something only the shrill, shallow and unSerious — pacifists! — point to as though they have any meaning in terms of what should be done."
But the whole article must be read with close and sorrowful attention:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oh, joy! Just opened an e-mail from Desi, artistic director of the theatre company, and I got the part of Mrs. Bramson in Night Must Fall! It's a psychological thriller, English, but (thank heavens), Desi will set it in the U.S., so I won't need to develop an English accent. I'll play Mrs. Bramson, a mean old lady (well, yeah, type-casting), one of the three major parts.
I can hardly believe it--but YAY!
As for yesterday, boy, was I busy. Started with making the crust for the apple pie; while that was in the refrig, cut up the apples and mixed with sugar and spices. Popped it in the oven, then ditto for the pumpkin. Had lunch, then made the birthday cake; while it was baking, made the apple cranberry sauce.
My northern darling then called to see if I could go up to her place early today, because they discovered the kennel closes at noon and she asked me to get Lu there, as she and hubby won't be out of work until the afternoon. (Yes, Sister Theogene, I know that's a run-on sentence, I just don't care.) Sure I will, no prob.
Still must ice the cake, whip the cream, and pack everything up. But no matter, I'll get it done.
This is aforesaid darling's birthday; she was born on Thanksgiving and I've been thankful for her and her sister and brothers ever since.
And, oh, happy day, I get to be Mrs. Bramson! Talk about being thankful--!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Project finally finished! Boy, it took me an age, but is done. Does it look all right? Well, it's not as streamlined as I envisioned it, but is okay. I think she'll like it. Of course, now that is totally finished and wrapped, I'm thinking I should have added this and changed that.
Ran out to Manahawkin for related errands. After our walk, I'll go to Acme to get ingredients for the things I'm making and baking for Thanksgiving. I've found that the best, least crowded time to go is when I intend to, about 7:30 am. Then I'll get started in the kitchen.
Watched another two episodes (on the computer) of Modern Family last night. The show is just hysterically funny. Now, Susan has an unfortunate tendency to tell me the entire plot of movies and t.v. shows--damn, it's almost as boring as people recounting their dreams!--and I'm not going to do that here--BUT can't resist the following:
Divorced mother of housewife and gay son blows into town unexpectedly and gay son goes to his remarried father's home to tell him. Here's the exchange:
Son: "Mom's here."
Father (taken aback): "Your mother?"
Son (mildly sarcastic): "No, yours; she's back from the grave."
Father: "Mine would be less scary."
Well, you had to see it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I thought I'd be spending the day on my secret project (which can't be revealed until next week), but no: I got a call about 1:00 from Susan, asking if I'd like to take a break. And do what? Come over for a martini or wine.
I knew she and Walter were having an early Thanksgiving, as her daughter, Julie, is a caterer and wouldn't be available on Thursday. Also knew she was having several other people, but that her sister and niece couldn't come, thanks to a stomach flu.
So naturally, being so busy, I declined with thanks--.
Yeah, sure. I dropped what I'm working on, which is spread out all over the dining room and kitchen, and hustled across the street.
I not only had a delectable martini and appetizers, but I was persuaded--didn't take much--to stay for dinner and had a ball. I talked a lot with Joanne M., Susan's first husband's, Chuck's, second wife, who was married to Chuck twice as long as Susan was. (Chuck died six or seven years ago.) Joanne lives in the little town of Marmora and works for her local Catholic church. The priest there is Indian and has established a home for teenagers in India, in which Joanne is involved. She's been there and, as I've always wanted to go to India, we because instant friends.
Anyway, it was a nice late afternoon dinner. I left about 4:00, decided to leave my project--which is consuming all my time, attention, and practically my life--and finish today. I'd better, as I have to buy the ingredients for, then make, two pies, a birthday cake, and apple-cranberry relish from scratch.
Oh, hell, plenty of time; we're not leaving until day after tomorrow.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The "Thespians" session in Ventnor yesterday turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. I had been to only one other meeting and didn't think I would continue. The leader, Jerry, was a bombastic type who offered only perfunctory guidance and the gathering seemed close to dull and pointless. I probably would not have gone except for the fact that (Betty's major and my minor) friend, Muckie, asked to meet me there.
Well, Jerry has left and a man with the glorious name of Ed Shakespeare conducted the session. Boy, what a contrast! He gave a short, but very to-the-point talk and distributed printed information on how plays should be formatted. I had known there's a certain setup that should be used (character names in the middle, stage directions separate, and so on), but hadn't paid much attention and didn't use the formula. There are reasons for it, though, which Ed pointed out, and I'm going to follow it henceforth.
Ed then handed out Oreo cookies to the group (about thirty people). This was to illustrate his recommendation for our critiques. He asked us to imagine the cookie parts as favorable comments on aspects of a play and the white part as negative ones. The audience/jury should try to praise first and last, with any critical comments sandwiched in the middle.
Five plays were presented, mine the third. I had brought The Return of Tootie! with some misgivings, thinking the little skit might be too silly for the crowd. Boy, was I mistaken.
Two of the other four were lo-o-o-g, deadly serious, and--hey, I'm sorry, but I speak the truth--boring ones. The first had the former queen of Hawaii ponderously discussing annexation with her cabinet members, which seemed to go on for days (oh, don't even ask). The other portrayed a man and woman who meet in a bar and ultimately hook up after engaging in what was met to be catchy repartee, but fell flat as a flatfoot's feet.
I read another, a clearly symbolic portrayal of a man and woman who chat while punching and stabbing each other. That, at least, had the virtue of being short. Other play was set in an assisted living facility and seemed to be a risque (for this crowd) one that featured extramarital sex among the doddering residents. I found it hard to follow the dialogue, plus it was pages two long.
As for my "Tootie" skit: As is evident in these entries, I am the soul of modesty, so I'll just say it was greeted with roars of laughter, hearty praise and congratulations, and was the hit of the day. Really. It's a silly, very slight thing that has bag-lady-turned-lottery-winner Tootie in the market for a house and her exchanges with a real estate broker. I asked Ed to play the broker and a woman named Linda be Tootie and they did a credible job. I also had Dayle (pronounced "Dale), one of the few good actors in the group (Ed is another) play the small part of receptionist, which she did very well. Anyway, it was a hit.
Meeting lasted until 4:00 and I dropped in on Betty after just for a few minutes because I wanted to get home before dark, which I did.
Really good, satisfying day. I had been much more interested in acting in, rather than writing plays, but this experience has revised my attitude and revived my enjoyment in writing. I'm sorry I won't be able to go to the December gathering, but it's on the day Mike and the rest of the London contingent come in. Will work on something for January.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Low-key day. Dropped a copy of our up-coming van tours to Susan; she's already signed up for them. Got a message from Leslie asking if I was available to take her to Manahawkin. Stopped down there and found she had gotten Rosemary D. to take her; we had a nice conversation.
Went to B.J.'s and on various other errands in Manahawkin. Otherwise, did mostly housework and puttering around.
I had been introduced to Modern Family on a free T.V. site the other day. Since one t.v. is on the blink and the other's not too great, I watched an episode on the computer. The show is hysterically funny--the best kind of satire. It rings so true in the main, you can't help but relate, yet has perfect comedic twists on the ordinary situations. Characters include the father, his much younger Columbian wife (a breath-takingly beautiful young woman), his son and daughter from his first marriage, and their families, including teen and pre-teen children.
Seems one of the few television shows designed for adults.
WIDER: There's an interesting piece on exceptionism by Charles Blow in today's NYTimes; worth reading and here's a relevant comment:
"Many of our towns bear names given by their German founders, and many of us are their descendants. Yet almost no American will acknowledge that we are fully capable of being led down the same moral path as our German cousins in the 1930's and 1940's."
Here's the link to the editorial:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Because I was out late last night, I had told Susan I'd "sleep in," as the saying goes. I haven't missed getting up at 5:15 in the last several years, but it just happened that the phone woke me at 6:06. It was Mike and I was glad to hear from him. After some problems getting set up on Skype, we had a good conversation. He said he and his sibs wanted to have a birthday party for me on my actual birthday of December 21. They couldn't figure out how to make it a surprise--and I don't blame them--so asked me to provide names and e-mail addresses of those I wanted to invite. Sounds good to me!
In the afternoon, the northern visitor came to pick something up, then ran several miles and ate and showered here, as she had to go back to school for parent conferences. I left for next door at 5:15 and Frank drove Rose and me to the reception and play at Ocean College in Toms River.
What a terrific evening! Lots of people there, including five or six others from LETCO. There was a reception first with drinks and appetizers--good ones, too, from chicken satay to stuffed mushrooms to tiny crab cakes. I had two Margaritas and plenty to eat, as I hadn't had dinner. There were presentations of grants to various organizations of the arts (the affair was sponsored by Ocean First, my new bank); we got two thou. We then saw Lend Me A Tenor, a very funny show and very well done by the OC students.
Didn't get home last night until almost 11:00 and to bed about midnight, but that's okay; I had a fine day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It started raining steadily right before 10:00, but the three of us decided to go on the hike anyway. We did, with umbrellas, getting thoroughly soaked on the way. However, it was a beginners' hike, only three miles, and wasn't cold, so not bad. There were three other people, plus Kathy, the leader and park employee. A woman named Dot mentioned she had met me on a previous hike and remembered me in Steel Magnolias.
Got home by 11:30 and changed from the skin out. Weather affects my mood and when it's dark and gloomy that's how I feel, too. I had brought a sandwich for the hike, but I ate it at home,along withe a glass of beer. Then I was annoyed with myself for that; I rarely drink beer at home and it made me feel draggy. Lay down on the couch and feel asleep for an hour or so.
Got a call from Comcast--not from my pal, Mark Casem, but from somebody named Roger or something. He said he'd lop off the added fifteen bucks a month increase I had complained about in an earlier post. Okay, fine, but it makes me uneasy that a big corporation like Comcast can--or will--do this. What about the people, mostly older, maybe, or less assertive, who don't realize you can petition to get a lower rate?
Speaking of rates, a rep from the solar panel company came to say there had been an estimating mistake and they had to put sixteen panels up, instead of fourteen. That will raise the leasing bill from thirty-five to thirty-nine something a month. He wanted me to sign a new contract. Hell no, I said, you eat the increase and refused to sign. He left, but I guess I'll sign it anyway. Just annoyed me.
Going to Lend Me A Tenor at Ocean County College tonight, with Frank and Rose F. Others from LETCO will be there, too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My faithful visitor from up north came about 3:00 and unpacked her SUV, which was loaded with more of my Christmas stuff from the ill-fated flea market weekend. We then went to my new bank and I added her to my authorized people for the safety deposit box. This took a surprising length of time, but is now done.
Went to auditions. I don't like the way Desi does readings, he just assigns people to different parts, whether they want to play them or not. Mrs. Bramson is such a meaty role--and you get to be murdered--that there was competition: Ellen V., Jeanne S., and Lily M. were all vying for it, too, as well as a newcomer named Liz. I'd settle for the role of Mrs. Terence, the housekeeper, but am not confident I'll get in the play at all.
I was taken aback to see the script was changed considerably. In truth, I don't think the version Desi gave us is as good as the original, which I have.
Oh, well, I always tell myself if I don't get in a particular play, it frees me up to travel. Also, I'll try again; we'll scheduled to do The Patrick Pearse Hotel in the spring.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Went to exercise and Betty was still here when I got back. We had breakfast, then she left for work in Galloway. Changed the sheets in the guest room and washed other stuff. Went to B.J.'s and B & B.'s. Frank stopped over and said we wouldn't go to the food pantry after all, as Judy had ascertained we could keep the packaged cookies and chips for the next production.
Barb H. called to ask if I was going to La Traviata at Surflight on Saturday. I hadn't known about it and would have liked to go, but am going to the Thespians meeting in Ventnor at 1:00 pm. Called Muckie and invited her to come with me Saturday. Said she would and we'll meet there. Guess I could go to the opera, too, but don't think I will. Der Meistersinger is at the clubhouse on Sunday and I guess I'll go to that.
Spent a lot of time going over Night Must Fall script; auditions tonight.
Not much else going ton

Monday, November 14, 2011

Betty got here about noon and we had a leisurely time before the 2:30 show. Arrived at Frog Pond School in plenty of time. Greeted some of my Little Egg Theatre Company colleagues Sunrise Bay neighbors and settled into our front-row seats. Sat next to Barb D., my next-door neighbor and Frank's wife.
What a fabulous show! It was so, so funny, and every one of the actors were spot-on with delivery, comings and goings, and the intricate moves--including a sword fight--of which there were many. Standing ovation after, in which we enthusiastically joined.
The cast, as it always does, came out to mingle and chat after, and I had a wonderful time with my colleagues. Of course, I wanted to be in the show, but I'll try for the next one, Night Must Fall, to be staged in February.
Frank D., who was the producer (and general factotum) caught me ahead of time and asked if I'd meet him and Judy K., who ran concessions, at the food pantry today at 5:15. We're going to donate the rest of our packaged refreshments to them and he asked me to take a picture and write something up. Will do.
Decided to make dinner instead of eating out, which was fine with Betty. I had made a salad and sliced up onions, peppers, and mushrooms before she got here. Whipped them out, added garlic, and stir-fried that with chicken. Along with the salad and a basket of pumpernickel, it made a tasty meal for the two of us.
Daughter Ellen called on Skype, so we both had the chance to see and talk to her--can't wait to see her at Christmas. Betty and I then talked an talked; went to bed a bit after 9:00 and I, for one, slept like a log. Betty had to work today, so we'll be saying goodbye after a good, sisterly visit.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Disaster! Fiasco! Also, uh,...not one of my better ideas.
The flea market thing, that is. I won't go into the dearth of customers, the smashing of one of my Christmas plates, the cold, the cold, and the cold--. Will just mention the wind:
It was fierce. It kept blowing stuff off the table (had the plate on a plate holder and that's how it smashed)*, whipping the tablecloths I brought, and knocking over all the merchandise I had so tastefully arranged.
We packed up and left at about 11:00 (I was SURE it was close to 6:00), having made a grand total of sixteen dollars and since the fee for the table cost twenty--well, I was an English major, but even I can see...
There were some good things about the day. First and foremost, I got to spend a portion of it with that visitor from the north, always a treat. Also, I now at least know what all Christmas things I have (for openers, too much) and a bonus: The heater in my car wasn't working and my companion ascertained it was the lack of coolant. We had lunch at her house, then she found some and put it in my car. Toasty warm now! Her husband suggested I use Craig's List to sell the stuff, but the thought of that is daunting to me. Well, I'll mull it over.
Got home about 1:00 and unpacked. Geesh, I put everything back where it had been! Actually took a nap on the couch, then just lazed around the rest of the day.
I'm now determined to find an in-door flea market. I know my beautiful Christmas things will bring big bucks if I hit the right people.
Sister Betty is coming up this afternoon and we'll attend the matinee (and last performance) of Moon Over Buffalo.
* I had had eight settings, complete with dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, and cup and saucer. I now have only seven of the dinner plates.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spent most of yesterday getting ready for the big sale that's going to make me rich, rich, rich beyond my wildest dreams! Or maybe not.
Packed up the rest of the items I'm selling--the car is loaded--went to the bank for change (BOA was closed, Ocean First, my new best friend open), stopped at the library, got gas, and so on.
Found that my darling sister-in-law is in the hospital with a fluttering heartbeat. When I was at her place in Florida year before last, she was in to have a pace maker installed and has had some problems since. Called brother Larry, but got no answer, so called their daughter, Jeanne, in Jacksonville for the lowdown. She gave me the number at the hospital and I spoke to Helen herself. She sounded like her usual cheery self, and I was heartened, but she's still in the ICU. Helen and four of her daughters, plus her granddaughter, are all R.N.'s (son Larry's an LPN) and her son-in-law is a physician, so she's pretty well covered there.
Got a call from niece Joan and another from sister Betty in between packing up the car and stuff. It's now 4:51 am and I'll be leaving shortly for the Columbus Farmers' Market and Flea Market to secure my fabulous wealth by selling Christmas items. It will take me about an hour and my faithful visitor from up north will meet me there to help handle the hordes of customers.
Hope I at least make enough to cover gas...
WIDER: In case you thought there was some hope for this benighted country, think again. What's being sold here is a commemorative "justice coin" celebrating the assassination of Bin Laden. How sick, sick, sick are we going to get? Oh, we may not have reached bottom yet; I'll bet there's more to come. How about taking up a collection for Jerry Sandusky? After all, the poor guy lost his job, didn't he? Now get your coin:
And then there's this:
It's a game, you understand. A game.
And for the last nail in civilization's coffin:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Well, mysterious Mark Casem is at it again (see entry and comment on yesterday's blog). Geez, Comcast is so touchy about criticism, I'm getting the idea I hurt their feelings. After all, the Supreme Court, in its infinite wisdom, has decreed that corporations are people, haven't they? Well, maybe good ol' Mark will lower my rate; will write or call him today.
Was pleased to get an e-mail from friend, Jeanne P., another friend from "up north."
Spent the entire morning first at Bank of America to close out my safety deposit box, then at Ocean First to get one there and open another account. Next week, I'll complete transferring my vast store of cast to OF, a community bank.
Naomi arrived for lunch at 1:00 and we had an pleasant afternoon. N. is vegan, so I made a big salad with just the basics--lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms--in it, then put out bowls of feta and sliced egg, which I added to my own. She had only salad with oil and vinegar, which seemed a pretty slim meal, but she insisted she was satisfied.
After, we sat and talked for several hours. Naomi's had an interesting and not entirely placid past, but now she and Wayne seem to be doing fine. They bought a place in Naples, Florida and will spend winters there. (I always had a hankering to do that myself.) She left about 4:00, I cleaned up, and then jumped in the car and drove to Shop-Rite. I just had a hankerin' as we pineys say, and got myself a rotisserie chicken and some fat-free milk. Had it for dinner, putting the milk on shredded wheat, one of the few cereals that isn't loaded with sugar.
Today, I must complete preparations for selling at Columbus. Hey, maybe I'll make enough to buy that winter place down south!
WIDER: This is from, in an essay called "What It Really Means To Support The Troops," by Joel Poindexter:
Many suggest they are not supporting the wars, only the troops. This is patently wrong. Anyone who glorifies "their sacrifice," necessarily supports the wars these soldiers are fighting in. Likewise, to espouse the false claim that these men and women are "defending freedom" is to endorse current U.S. foreign policy, including the wars.
NOTE: I am not a Libertarian. However, when it comes to pacifism, members of that persuasion continue to be some of the few Americans who have the moral fortitude to stand up against imperialism, in particular when it comes to aggression. I admire them mightily for that.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The black-hearted scoundrels at Comcast have again gotten out their long knives. They've raised the monthly fee for providing crapola over the air waves (are the still air waves?) by fifteen dollars. Called and got the usual run-around.
Otherwise, a pretty good day. Completed the three-mile exercise--very satisfying when it's over--and got some stuff done around the house.
The visitor from up north came about 3:30 and got the wicker table I want to sell on Saturday into her SUV, as well as a lot of other Christmas items. I went through the rest of it and put some in my car.
Talked to Naomi P. and will have her over for lunch today. She's on a strict Vegan diet, mostly organic, but said she can eat other stuff, so I'll make a salad.
I e-mailed the rest of the editorial staff to say I'm relinquishing the Classified column for The Breeze. I've done it for the year and a half since we started and somebody else can take over now.
Stopped at rehearsal last night to pick up my ticket for Lend Me A Tenor, to which Frank and I are going next Thursday. Desi gave it to me and I was able to gracefully tell him I'm not willing to go on as publicity chair after this one.
With those two duties passed on, I feel much relieved.
NOTE: So proud of my nephew, Tim; he's the random creepy guy in the November 9 picture:
Funny, funny site!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Enjoyable day--and a wonderfully warm and sunny one, too. Called Betty early to tell her Walt F., an old St. Jamesian, had died. She was working, but suggested we meet for lunch. Hey, yeah, let's. Before I left, I finally sent off the D.'s profile for Rosie to check for errors.
Met Betty at TGI Friday's next to Boscov's and we had a ball, as ever. After, we went into Boscov's and looked at a few things, but didn't buy. She had paperwork to do at home, so we parted. I went across Tilton Road to the 69-cent store and got a few things. Stopped at the cemetery on the way home to water. The Mexican heather is starting to go to seed--think I'll pull it next time I'm there--but the mums are holding up pretty well.
Got home and realized it was election day. I'm resolved never to vote again for the criminals and mass murderers who run for national office, but this is local. Went to the clubhouse (it was dinnertime and only those working the polls were there), signed in, and--was challenged! The woman at the desk thought my signature--which is, I freely admit, unreadable--suspicious and asked for identification. I had to go out to the car to get my license. Annoying, but actually pretty funny. Geez, did she think I was a spy or something? Oh, wait, I forgot, "spy" is old-hat, so let me re-cast that: Did she think I was a terrorist out to falsify my eligibility and promote my chosen candidate for local dog catcher? No matter; it was an amusing incident.
Got home to find a phone message from Rosie to tell me she and Spanky loved the article. I called her back and we had a nice chat. Later, Pat L. called and we did the same.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I've heard that writers a heckuva more accomplished than I am, have trouble letting their works go. I can relate; I finished the D.'s profile, but keep going back to tweak it here and there. I must send it to them to check for errors, then submit it, for heaven's sake. I have to let it go.
Got a call from Rachel K., who's the secretary--or something--for Thespians in Ventnor. It was rather peculiar: She told me the "leader," Jerry H., had resigned, then went into a long story about changing the group's status to profit-making. What earthly good that would do is beyond me and, frankly, I'm not sure why she called--we talked for more than an hour and she seemed never to get to a point. Odd.
Was delighted to hear back from Desi that Night Must Fall will be "Americanized," so no British accents. Yay!
Went to the office of the park service to pick up brochures and info on the hike next Wednesday. Had a nice chat with Cynthia, the ranger covering, and found she's from Hamilton, near Trenton where we lived for so long. Dropped some material off to Lena, who will accompany me on the hike.
Went to Manahawkin to run a few errors.* Other than that, nothing much going on. I think I'll switch the guest room t.v. in the living room and get rid of the other. Mike had written me he'd help if I'd wait to get a new one. If I do, I've decided to get rid of the armoire and get a bigger screen and something to put it on.
*Oh, this is priceless! "Run a few errors"? It's so good I'm going to let it stand.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Spent most of yesterday writing up the profile on the D.'s. It's shaping up pretty well, but I have plenty more to do on it. A big problem is the emphasis I'm putting on Spanky; don't have much about Rosemary. Well, I'll work it out. The picture I took of them came out very nicely.
Put down my pen--keyboard--in the afternoon to go to B.J.'s and B & B Produce for veggies. Pared and cut up butternut squash, onions, peppers, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and garlic, tossed them in olive oil, then roasted them for an hour in a to oven. Had just a big bowl of that for dinner--what a feast.
Enjoyed Ellen's usual Sunday night Skype call, although something's wrong with the sound again, so we had to use the phone simultaneously.
The living room t.v screen is again blacking out. Guess I'll have to spring for a new one, after all.
Desi sent an e-mail announcing auditions next week for Night Must Fall, which is scheduled for February. Yes, indeed, I'll be there.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

It was a fine hike, my first of the season. Mary picked me up at quarter to ten and we drove the few miles to Bass River Park. This was, believe it or not, a "dog" hike. Five other women brought their doggies--from a large and scary Doberman to a teeny little terrier--but they were, of course, on leashes and well-behaved. The group laughed when I repeated my mantra "A good dog is a stuffed dog."
The weather was perfect for a hike through the woods: cold enough to wear winter coats, but not freezing, with clear skies and brilliant sun. According to the leader, who's with the Ocean County Park Service, we went 5.5 miles. We walked at a brisk pace and stopped for lunch at the pavilion next to the lake. I had made chicken salad the day before and put that between two slices of pumpernickel--tasted great. Got home a little after 1:00, just in time to catch my breath before heading over to Rosemary and Spanky D.'s to interview them.
What an interesting couple they are. He was a well-known jazz trumpeter and played with a lot of big bands, including some for which Sinatra sang. Rosemary had been a music teacher and they met at a jazz club. Spanky (nobody ever calls him his birth name of "Ronald") has gone through a lot of health problems. He had a leg amputated a few months ago (diabetes) and is very frail. He has to have dialysis several times a week, as well as other therapies, but hey, those aren't the important things about Spanky, this is:

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Well, it's trials and triumphs all the way with me. I found that the T.V. in the guest room--which I was going to donate, anyway--doesn't work with a box. Somewhere in these pages--or whatever they are--are accounts of my running battle with Comcast, but I don't feel like recapping. Enough to say I was told I already had the "boxes" I need for the two sets and yesterday I was told I only had one. Trekked down to Manahawkin to get another and was told there I already had two (and they charge for the third). I insisted I didn't and after a long and pointless exchange, I took the box home.
Now these things are simple to put on as long as you have a degree in electrical engineering and an understanding of the universe close to that of Steven Hawking. Therefore, I called my favorite person from North Jersey, the one who just ran the marathon in D.C. She came and hooked it up and did me the favor of a few other chores. She also called Comcast and got them to tell me I wouldn't owe for this box.
Okay, I told myself, if the living room set goes black, I have a fall-back. Well, guess what? It stayed on fine, so there was no problem. Now, though, I have a dilemma: Shall I get another t.v. for the living room and donate the one in the guest room? Keep both? Get rid of both? Just quit watching t.v.? Dunno.
On my way to Comcast, I stopped at Habitat to look at their T.V.'s. Saw two that looked pretty good--and they all work--for twenty bucks each, so I could just get one of those. However, now I don't have to, I guess--or not yet.
Got a call from Mary S., asking if I want to go on a hike today. Said yes, although I'm interviewing the D.'s at 2:00. Called Rosemary D. to explain and say I'll probably be on time, but may not. No prob on her end.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Now it's my television that's gone kaplooey. I settled down with my wine and popcorn for my daily 45 minutes of mindless crap and after 15, the screen went black. This T.V. is about 15 years old, as close as I can figure, so I guess it doesn't owe me anything. However, I should probably have t.v. for when my guests come for Christmas. I'm pretty much okay without it myself. It's my little honey, the computer, I've come to "need." Last night, after the t.v. went, I watched a few parts of Night Must Fall (1942) on YouTube.
Earlier, I accomplished something I've been thinking about doing for--oh, about the eight years since we moved here: I cleaned out the laundry room. It was surprisingly easy and took me only about three hours. I put two bambooy-type shelving things (yes, that's the official name) at the curb and was pleased to see that the small bookcase I didn't know what to do with, fits nicely next to the washer. Thoroughly vacuumed and mopped the floor, too, and organized the cleaning products, light bulbs, and other stuff I'll probably never use.
I had told Frank I'd drop off gratis tickets for Moon at Sid S.'s house and at the Great Bay EMS headquarters, to which we're donating some of the proceeds from the show. Did so and also put up flyers at the post office and library. Drove up to the Stafford branch late in the day to do the same and see if they'd hand out the "postcards" Frank made up.
Wrote up The Breeze ad about the Christmas village collection and scanned the picture. Sent them to the A.'s for approval. (Geez, you'd think I'd get paid for this stuff.)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Went over to the A.'s on Windstar at 11:00 to see their Christmas villages collection. Good grief, they have $10,000 worth of the stuff. They said it's in three different "issues": "Dickens Village," "North Pole," and "Christmas in the City." I'll put their offerings in Classified in The Breeze, but it seems to me the chances of getting buyers here are slim. After all, as the A.'s did, many, if not most of the residents here, down-sized and, as I am, want to get rid of Christmas decorations, not buy them.
After, ran errands in Manahawkin. Home for lunch and household chores, then I drove to the cemetery and Produce Junction. Called Betty, who said she was free, so I went down there to visit a bit. Got home about 6:00 and was in for the night.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A-h-h...(long sigh of relief). Computer is fixed after Don was here for two hours. I guess the basic problem is that the thing is old and decrepit and I have "too much running." Don did leave me instructions on running a "clean up" weekly and "discmatch" or "Disc Max" or something every two months.
Ran over to Radio Shack and got a new mouse for thirty bucks, so with Don's fee, the whole ordeal cost me seventy. Oh, well, it had to be done.
What's ironic is that I sat down last night for my daily 45 minutes of television and the screen went black after about a half hour--another piece of electronic crap that's getting old, I guess. Maybe I shouldn't donate the t.v. in the guest room after all.
Got a call from Bea A., who wants me to come over and look at her Christmas village or whatever and put it in Classified in The Breeze. I'll do that today, but get seriously annoyed at people who expect ME to do all the work.
Called the D.'s, with an eye to doing a profile on them for the December issue. Other than that, the day was mostly taken up with the the mundane.
WIDER: My cyberfriend, Jim Wetzel, has an absorbing--and hair-raising--essay on the domestic drones recently acquired by a police department in Texas:
The last paragraph is especially noteworthy; here's some of it:
"Folks, you wanted a military empire, and you got one, and now you're its subjects....Snarling kickers of swarthy butts overseas, and respectful public servants in a constitutionally-limited republic at home? You might want that arrangement, but it can't be had...."
Yes, Jim, we reap what we sow.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Oh, horror of horrors, what a black day! My computer stopped yesterday--wouldn't work at all. Long story short: I had Don S. over and he cleaned it or or something--was here for two hours--and said my (wireless) mouse was bad. I'll go get another shortly. I'm lost, lost, lost without the computer; was reduced to watching television for more than two hours.
Anyway, it's fixed, but he lent me a wired mouse, must go out and get a new one, but I'm getting the wireless, of which he doesn't approve. Don't care.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What a great day! I was able to track my dear runner from the beginning of the marathon; even saw the start, live on web cam, via the web site. Early on, I was pleased to get same from Tokyo, and Patrick guided me into fixing my sound. Betty called to ask again how to track the runner(s)--nephew Jeremy, too--and I was able to put her on it. I put running updates for both on Facebook, not realizing that Noelle was, too, as well as Joan and Jim R., Jer's parents.
In between times, I wrote out postcards for a certain young man in Norfolk and assembled my costume for the Halloween Dine Around Dinner.
Was pleased again to get a Skype call from the London contingent, during which my favorite runner called. We were both so thrilled and excited--she had trained for months, run the race, done it well, and what a glorious day! I can't remembered how I celebrated my fiftieth birthday, but it sure as hell wasn't running a marathon.
Walter and Susan, freshly back from Canada, picked me up a bit after five, then we got Mary Ann and repaired to the party. Everybody got a kick out of the fact that, while Judy (and Roman, the hosts) had instructed everybody to wear all black, I pretended I misunderstood and wore all white. Mary Ann wore a spectacular witch hat and everybody else was in black except me. (What is it that makes me want to go against the "rules" or instructions or the norm?)
Anyway, Judy outdid herself this time with the over-the-top prizes, giveaways, and do-dads, which included a light-up, rubbery, sort of phosphorus bracelet that kept blinking on and off for all the women. The blinking light bothered me so much I put mine under a napkin, then in my purse, which was white, of course.
Anyway, the food was good (salmon for me) and so was the company. Got home about 8:30 and on the computer for my nice weekly visit with Ellen. It's a good day when I get to see and talk to all my children and cheer the beloved daughter on at a triumph.
I don't remember this often enough: Lucky me.
NOTE: Here are more great puns from my Cincinnati Cuz, Marifran:
6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: "You stay here; I'll go on a head."
And my favorite of this batch:
13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
I'm late with this as I just had a nice conversation and look-see with P. and N. P. walked me through fixing my Skype sound which, for some reason known only to the computer gods, had disallowed him to hear me.
Yesterday was very enjoyable. Mary Ann picked me up at 7:15 and we drove up to Westminster in Princeton for the opera lecture. This one was on Siefried, the third of Wagner's four-part trilogy (oh, I know a trilogy is three, but there are four--can't remember the explanation). This is an five and a half hour opera--good grief--but the lecture, with excerpts and a 38-page written guide. (Geesh, I can't imagine how Wagner had time for all those extra-marital affairs in which he indulged.) Anyway, it was absorbing for this newly-converted opera fan.
It was also absorbing--in an entirely different way--to look out the window and see the heavy snow that followed the rain we drove through to get there. By the time the session was over, it was pretty slushy and I was hoping we wouldn't have it at home.
We didn't; the farther south we drove, the lighter the snow and by the time we reached Cream Ridge, it was all rain. Stopped for a late lunch at La Cuchina--I had yummy angel hair with olive oil and garlic--and got home about 4:30. I invited Mary Ann in for coffee and she stayed about a half hour. I was glad after that to change into casual clothes and sit and relax for the rest of the day.
During the lecture, I got a call back from that visitor up north, on her way to run in the Washington, D.C. marathon. I'll be able to track her progress on-line and will get into the site as soon as I finish here.
I'm bursting with pride in this runner!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Starting with exercise at the clubhouse, I was pretty much on the go all day. Came home to breakfast, some computer work (or rather, "work"--I don't do no stinkin' work) and vacuuming. Sliced Kirby cucumbers and onions and made a nice batch of crystal pickles; I like to have them ready in the freezer for company. Stripped my bed, washed the sheets, and tidied up. Went to Acme for supplies, then B &B for sweet peppers. Made a big salad for lunch and cut up peppers and onions for dinner.
Got an e-mail from Desi inviting me (along with a lot of other people) to see Lend Me A Tenor at Ocean Community College on November 17. I asked Frank if he and Barbara wanted to go, as I don't want to drive an unfamiliar route at night. He's going, Barb isn't, and he invited me to accompany him, possibly with Desi, and I will.
Donated some things at the SOCH thrift store and saw some "bumper" panels, so bought them. Not sure if I'll use them, as they're for a crib, not a youth bed, but I may be able to if I double them up.
Went to Creative Touch at 2:00 for cut and color. As usual, Leanne did a superb job--I'm convinced she's the only hairdresser on the face of the earth who knows how to cut my hair. The cost is horrendous--with a generous tip for her and more for the girl who washes, close to a C-note, but hey, what price should I put on feeling like a million bucks, at least until I wash my head?
Called the northern dweller while I was being made beauti--okay, passable--and learned she did want the table I replaced in the living room. She came and got it, and said she'd call today. She runs on Sunday and am I bursting with pride? Oh, yes.
Dennis had promised to pick up the youth bed for me and I walked the three doors down to his house. Went with him and we got the bed without incident, which fits fine in the guest room.
Made my current favorite, stir-fired peppers, onions, garlic, and shrimp, for dinner, and slept like a log.
Mary Ann and I are going up to Westminster again today for a lecture on an opera. Can't remember which one, but I know I'll enjoy it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Contining my clear out, clean up rampage, I did the guest bath medicine cabinet--a piece of cake compared to the linen closet. It rained all day, but later on, I drove to the cemetery. Later still, tooled up to Manahawkin to pick up a few things.
NOTE: Here are some puns my Cincinnati Cuz, Marifran K., sent me:
1. The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
I love puns! Funnily (heh, heh), of these I like number three best. There are more, but I'll save them for later.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy day, one of the big jobs is done. I spent several hours on the linen closet, which is s large one in the master bath. Emptied, sorted, threw away, donated, and then put everything back. It boggles the mind to contemplate what all I had in there--AND I had gone through it about six months after Pat died, though not in depth. Just as an indication of the magnitude of the task, I discovered five bottles of rubbing alcohol. Can't remember using the stuff for either Pat or me. Anyway, it was quite an accomplishment. I was so proud of myself, I actually sent two pictures to Betty when I had most of the stuff spread out in the kitchen.
Ran a lot of errands: dropped things off the the SOCH thrift store in Manahawkin, and went to B.J.'s, Staples, and Shop-Rite.
Came home to enjoy a call--this time by phone, not Skype--from Mike, who wants me to be on the lookout for something coming in the mail I must send him. Chatted with Leslie, who was pushing her grandson, Nicholas, down the street in his stroller.
Around 5:00, I drove to the cemetery, as I often do at that time. Was pleased to see the mums on Pat's grave look beautiful; they've opened up and are the big ones. Watered, then went to Jay's, where the mums look okay, but are not as spectacular, I guess because they're mostly in shade.
Made an appointment to get my hair done tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lots accomplished. In the morning, I cleared out the stand-alone bookcase (as opposed to the wall shelves)in the study. I came across books I hadn't even read yet, as well as others I don't even want to read. These include seven very heavy, large, and expensive ones given to Pat over the years, which concern aircraft carriers, WW II, and makes of cars. Think I'll try selling them, but I'm not sure how.
Called the Columbus Farmers' Market where I intend to sell a lot of Christmas stuff and was told you don't pay ahead; tables are on a first-come, first-served basis. That's okay and I'm going--assisted by my visitor from the north--on November 12.
Said visitor arrived about 12:30 yesterday and we had lunch together, then started on the list of items I had written up. We--mostly she--moved the bench and wicker plant holders to the curb, the porch furniture to the garage, various and sundry tables from one area to another, and completed similar fairly simple, but difficult for me to accomplish by myself, chores. We saw and chatted with several good neighbors under the warm and beautiful sun and for the millionth time, it occurred to me how lucky I am to live here. My visitor then went for a four-mile run, took a shower, and left to go back to school for conferences with parents.
Galvanized, I eyed the "sick table" next to what had been Pat's chair in the living room. This is one of these adjustable-for-height tables you see in hospitals (but this is lighter and more attractive) and was useful when Pat needed a large surface for various items. However, he's been gone for more than two years now and I wanted to replace it. What to do? Thought I'd check at the Living Word thrift store and found a somewhat rustic table that blends in pretty well with my mission-style furniture. Bought it for eight bucks, then found a youth bed I picked up for twenty. Only problem was I can't get the latter in my car. The people there even unscrewed the top from the bottom, but no luck. Called Dennis and he said he'd get it in his van, but couldn't then, as it was full. The store doesn't open again until Friday, so he'll get it then.
I had filled the two crock pots with my red cabbage, apple, and orange juice treat (which NOBODY in the universe likes except me) and had that along with raisin brand cereal (oh, don't even ask) for dinner. Chatted with Betty, sipped my wine later, and slept soundly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

As it turned out, Susan isn't back yet, after all, so I walked alone. (Hey, wouldn't that make a great song? Let's see: "I'll Walk Alone...") Went to exercise, too.
Later, drove to Santori's and got cabbage, lettuce, feta; then to Shop-Rite for other stuff. Went to the cemetery and was pleased to see the mums and Mexican heather at Pat's grave are blooming nicely.
Home for lunch, then stopped into Frank and Barbara's next door to welcome them back from their long trip. Visited for twenty minutes or so and told Frank about my progess on publicity for Moon. Called the person from up north and she'll be here today to help me with a few chores.
Because I get a little down--well, lonely--late in the date, I drove to Target in Manahawkin about 5:30 and picked up paper towels and a few other things.
Hmm...I was actually pretty busy yesterday, but reading this over, it doesn't seem so.