Monday, January 31, 2011

Enjoyed my (half) day with the little boys up north. Arrived about noon and an hour later, we had a big "brunch" (served in the middle of the day, but with traditional food) of scrambled eggs, bacon, swirl bread, orange juice, and coffee. I had brought salad and had ate it when I got there, but I indulged in a strip of bacon. Also brought with me the wonderful homemade cookies Barb D. had made and brought over right before Christmas. There was plenty left to freeze and I contributed them to the meal. Talk about unhealthy! And calories! But the important nourishment was being together.
The boys--so bright and imaginative--drew pictures, cut them out, and chattered away, as usual. Rest of the crowd discussed the move to upstate Pennsylvania. I was shown pictures of the house they rented; it's in a rural area, with broad fields and big mountains all around. I told them I'd drive up (five hours!) and visit when I got back from Asia and they were enthusiastic about that.
Stayed until a bit after 4:00 after telling Noelle I was available to help out today. At her request, I'll go up to try to keep the little ones occupied while she continues to pack.
Ellen called on the web cam and tried to reassure me about the weather. Oh, I hope she's right to be optimistic; I'm worrying my head off.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Had a wonderful time with Marilyn. We met, as we had before, at SeaOaks, and discovered they had added to their lunch menu. We mulled over choices, finally deciding on beef stew, of all things. This came in a little ramekin with a side of garlic bread. Presentation was very attractive (yes, that means something to me) and the stew itself was okay.
Of course, our conversation was more than okay. We just talked and laughed and reminisced for two hours. Marilyn comes Canton, an hour away from where J., N., and the boys will be moving and we talked about that area of the country.
After we said goodbye, I drove to Wal-Mart to get my medication and pick up a few other things.
P. and N. called on the web cam in the morning (their evening), then Mike, Paula, and the girls at night (their morning). We talked over my Asian trip and what fun! The things I'm worried about,though, is the talk of a major storm coming in--on Wednesday,the day before I leave. Oh, pul-lease don't let that happen!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It was good to walk yesterday and I went to exercise, too. Got home, had breakfast, then left early to run errands before I met Betty for lunch. Got to the candy place and got a box for the Kato's, a smaller one for the brother, and some chocolate lollipops for the little niece; I'm making up a little Valentine bag for her.
Betty and I just walked around the corner to Gino's for lunch--not one of my favorite places, but the others nearby were closed for the season. I had a turkey and cole slaw sandwich, which was mediocre, but we had a good time talking and laughing. There just isn't anybody else in the world who shares as much with me--memories, that is--as my twin.
It starting snowing a bit, so I left after we ate. Stopped at Boscov's and bought two "wraps with sleeves," intending to give one to Betty. Now I realize I probably won't see her until I get back, but I guess it'll still be cold. Also stopped at Produce Junction and got arugula and tomatoes. They had beautiful pots of daffodils that just whisper, "spring," so I got one to give to Susan.
Lunch at SeaOaks with Marilyn today.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A fair amount of snow fell. Not sure how much, but maybe six inches. The trees were all etched out in snow, all along the branches and twigs, and it covered the ground like a beautiful, pure white blanket, so lovely, so serene, so...
I HATE IT! Wasn't able to walk for the second day in a row, but today should be okay. The service got the sidewalk and my driveway cleared by ten or so yesterday and I went to the produce store. Other than that, was stuck to the computer a lot of the day. Got the LETCO roster finished and sent it out. Started a new "Notes From A Vanished World" piece, and so on.
Talked to brother Jim in Virginia on the phone. He said they got nine inches.
Spent wasted time on the phone with Atlanticare, who said I owe them $100. After the usual frustrating phone calls, I found that yes, indeed, there's a fifty dollar A DAY surcharge when you're in the hospital. I sent them a check--not paying them on line, the blood suckers, let them wait--but also put a call into Mona M., benefits manager at Rider, to express my fury at this highway robbery.
Had the lentil soup/stew for lunch--'twas good--and had salmon for dinner, also good.
Going down to Ventnor today to buy gift candy, then to lunch with sister Betty. Lots of other errands to run, too, before my trip.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Obviously, I was finally able to transfer Preshy's picture; got it on Facebook, too. Hope I can remember how to do it the next time.
Completed more stuff for The Breeze to submit for the March issue before I leave. Called Nancy S., who will help me with publicity for Our Town and we had a nice chat. In between, used the big crock pot to cook up a batch of lentil soup/stew (I like it thick, so it's kind of a cross between the two). Already had all the ingredients--lentils, celery, onions, and carrots. Added a number of spices pretty much at random: oregano, cilantro, bay leaves, and a few others. Let it simmer away for several hours, tasted, and boy, it's good. Froze some and will have some for lunch or dinner.
Well, the weather: I was afraid to walk at 7:00 yesterday because a mix of snow and sleet fell and I knew the ground would be slippery. Susan came to the door, but I had to decline. To make up for it, I drove (I usually walk) to the clubhouse for the three-mile exercise. It's gruelling, but as ever, I was glad I had done it.
Hairdresser called to say Leann couldn't get in, as she lives in Toms River and they had four inches already. Rescheduled for Tuesday.
Was nervous about going across the street to the dinner party, but managed okay. Aside from me, Susan and Walter had only Ray and Barb H. and Anne Mary--unusual for them to have such a small group. During appetizers, though, the other invited couple called to say they had forgotten about it. Why not come now? Oh, they were exhausted; they had gone to her cousin's funeral up north that morning. If I had been the hostess, I would have been furious, but Susan accepted the excuse without rancor. (Aargh! How do these ancient phrases insinuate themselves into my writing? I'm a sucker for them!) Anyway, I didn't miss those two, whom I've mentioned before.
Susan had tied a balloon with "We'll Miss You" onto my chair and gave me a card and a puzzle book as a going-away present. Besides cheeses and hummus and stuff beforehand, she served ham, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and baked apples; pie and brownies for dessert. Naturally, they had plenty of wine, beer, and after-dinner drinks, too.
Stayed until after 9:00 and made my way across the street on slick ground, as sleet and icy rain--well, I guess that is sleet--had fallen. It was scary, but I got home okay.
Got up to find everything's snow-covered. Will be very cautious about whether to walk today or not. Later: Well, I didn't walk and neither did Susan. Snow blocking way to street, for one thing and snow on sidewalks for another.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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I got the part! Just received word this morning via e-mail that I got the part of Mrs. Soames, town gossip and busy body, in Our Town. I'm thrilled!
That wonderful news helps me forget yesterday, which was so frustrating. Tried for hours to transfer Vivian's scanned picture to this blog (for some reason, you can't do it directly from Picasa), then to Facebook, but couldn't do it. The on-line instructions are so confusing I can't understand them, but I'm going to try again today. Maybe I should have saved to "My Copmputer" instead of where it went by itself, "My Documents," but what possible difference could that make?
Other than that, went to Manahawkin to pick up some small gifts for the little girls I'll see in Tokyo and Singapore. Cut up several pounds of sweet potatoes and added orange mango juice and cinnamon, then cooked for several hours in the big crock pot. Had some for dinner and boy, was that good.
Just had a welcome interruption on the web cam from P. and N. P. told me how to transfer the picture to FB. Hope I can do it. Will start over and re-scan first.
Getting my hair done today, then attending a dinner party at Susan's and Walter's.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Still working on The Breeze and LETCO, I was at the computer a lot of the day. The exterminator, Brett, came in the afternoon and mouse-proofed the place, I hope and trust (he guarantees it). I have had no evidence of mice this winter, even when I was away after Christmas, but I want to be sure they won't move in when I'm gone.
Packed up some summer clothes to send to Singapore, but when I took the "one price postage" box to the P.O., I found it doesn't apply to international and it would cost $44.00! Hell, no--they probably aren't even worth that much. Will go to Staples and try to find something lighter.
Got to exercise in the morning and it felt good. Was amused when somebody mentioned it had been "too cold to walk" earlier--ha! It would never occur to Susan and me it was "too cold"; we bundle up and go, as we have all winter.
Talked to sister Betty and we made a date to lunch on Friday. Getting my hair done tomorrow, then going to Susan's dinner party. Lunch with Marilyn on Saturday and I hope to see the gang up north on Sunday.
Made a delectable red potato/onion/garlic combo in the crock pot and with a salad, had some for lunch. For dinner, I just made a kind of omelet: cut up tomatoes and mushrooms with one complete egg and the rest egg whites.
Happy day: Vanguard and BOA have finally come through and the dough is in my checking account!
WIDER: This, from one of the most powerful posts I've ever read of Chris Floyd's--and that's saying a lot:
"...There seems to be a widespread, deeply held supposition that politicians – politicians! -- will save us, if we can only put the right ones in charge of the power structure. And behind this supposition there is an unspoken -- and, in many cases, unconscious -- belief in the inherent goodness of this power structure itself. To be sure, it is a goodness that most progressives believe has been lost or diminished, or perhaps not yet realized. But there seem to be few doubts in the ultimate moral efficacy of this power structure, however lost or latent it might be at any given time. It just needs to be guided properly."
But "Goon Struck: The Mysterious Mind of Modern Progressives" cries out to be "read entire":
To call politicians "goons"--outrageous! And so true!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spent a fair amount of time on the computer for The Breeze and LETCO. (I'm beginning to think they're my jobs, but hey, where are the paychecks?) Other than that, didn't do a whole hell of a lot. Took a drive to Manahawkin, then to Acme. I'm determined to get to exercise today, at long last. Skipped most of last week because of my dealings with Vanguard and BOA.
Had a big salad and a head of cauliflower for lunch. After, while listening to the Platters, Frankie, and others of that ilk on my new IPod, cut up tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Added garlic and spices, set everything to simmer for a few hours in the crock pot, then had that over pasta for dinner. Delish!
High point of day was the Sunday web cam call from Ellen. Enjoyed talking over a range of subjects, plus seeing her and Tillie.
Other than that, not a whole bunch went on.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Spent a whole bunch of time assembling a roster of the Little Egg Theatre Company's board of trustees. Had to ferret out people's e-mail and phone numbers from four sheets of paper and other places--what a chore--then add their titles within LETCO, and so on. Sent it out and will await corrections, changes, etc.
Went to the Food, Friends, and Fun dinner last night with Walter and Susan and, hey, I had a great time. There were about fifteen of us, all very congenial, and I even buried the hatchet with J. Calloway's is not my favorite restaurant--when I've been there before, it's been uncomfortably noisy and the food is just so-so--but it was quieter last night. I had broiled flounder which was okay, but the wine and Sam Adams Lager were yummy.
On the way there, I persuaded Walter and Susan to try for the non-speaking roles of townspeople in Our Town. However, when I e-mailed the director to ask how they go about it, she said they were at "critical mass" with townspeople--in other words, they didn't need anyone else. Now this is annoying, as the call for more is still posted on the web site--damn! I'll have to tell the G.'s to skip it and after I talked them into it, that's a little embarrassing.
I came across a web site for the Boca Raton Club, which figures prominently in my life with Pat. Sent it to our children, with elaboration.
Party girl though I am, I'm actually looking forward to a nothing-scheduled day today to complete more preparations for my trip.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Well, all is well with Vanguard and BOA after a web cam call from son Mike helped straighten everything out. The transferred funds should be in my account on Tuesday.
Met sister Betty and high school friends, Mary H. and Janie M., for lunch at Shore Diner; we then repaired to the movie theatre to see The Fighter. I'm not a fan of boxing pictures--or boxing anything--but I liked this one a lot. It was "based on a true story"--I'm not sure how tightly or loosely--about a big, tough, argumentative Irish family in Lowell, Mass, and features their two boxer sons. My companions enjoyed it, too, notwithstanding that it's enlarged with the F-word and variations thereof.
It was a nice way to spend a bitterly cold, very windy day. Stopped at Produce Junction for lettuce, tomatoes, and cauliflower, and didn't get home until 5:00. Was pleased to get web cam call from both sons soon after I got in, and chatted with adorable little Violet, too.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Got a bunch of errands run before my lunch with Ellen V. Stopped at the mayor's office to show article, got money at the bank, dropped donations (clothes, books, dishes) off at the Soch thrift Store, and left Fred's prescription at Wal-Mart. Enjoyed a long and leisurely lunch with Ellen, talking over Theatre Company matters, as well as personal stuff. Picked up Fred's completed prescription and dropped it off at the D.'s, then went home to relax--NOT!
I was amazed to get an e-mail from Vanguard "confirming" my transaction of 1/19/11. What transaction? Looked on the web site and saw that the $3500 I had had--I thought--transferred to my BOA account was back in my Vanguard account. Called, and after another 45 minutes, was told BOA had rejected the transfer because my account number there had been provided in error. NO, it was later confirmed, it was correct--now, why did BOA reject it? There was some question about the routing number, too.
The upshot of this continuing nightmare is that I have to contact BOA--I'm going to go there in person as soon as they open--and straighten the mess out. In the meantime, I have bills that remain unpaid--what a friggin' hassle and may all these financial jackals burn in hell--uh, except for one in the tropics....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Somewhat of a hassle in the morning, as I was on the phone for almost two hours with Vanguard and Bank of America, asking where a transfer effected on January 13 is. Never appeared in my BOA account and I was told over and over by all of them that it takes "two business days" to post. NOW, after all that hassles, a certain employee of Credit Suisse informs me it could take up to five days. Missed the three-mile exercise because it took so long on the phone, darn it.
After lunch, picked up Marge and Fred for Fred's cardiologist appointment in Galloway. No problem with that, and I stopped in for a cup of tea and a pleasant chat with Marge after.
Went to the library after dinner and picked up yet another book. I'm now working on three, two by Christopher Hitchens and one a bio of Rita Hayworth. The new one is called Utopia and is a non-fiction about a small town in Texas.
Lunch with Ellen V. today.
WIDER: This makes so much sense it will never get noticed in this non-thinker nation:
(From CommonDreams.Org.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Attended the "Meet The Mayor" program yesterday in order to write a piece about it for The Breeze. I volunteered to do this, although I had originally had no intention of going. Saw three other people on the editorial board there--now why couldn't one of them have covered it? Had words with J. to that effect.
Went to Radio Shack and the young woman there spent a lot of time checking the IPod. The upshot seems to be that my computer is too old and weak to charge it. As son P. had advised, I need some kind of USB that makes it more powerful, but RS didn't have any. Was going to buy a charger, but it costs thirty bucks, which would bring cost of the IPod up to more than eighty! Am trying something else.
Went to auditions in the evening and re-read for part. I think I did better than before, but there's a lot of competition for it.
A pretty down day, all in all, allieviated only by a message from Susan when I got home, inviting me to dinner when her daughter and gdaughter are here on Friday. Yes, will attend, athough I'm meeting Betty and friends for lunch. Think I'll skip the movie after.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Went to exercise for the first time since the gall bladder thing. It felt good and I want to resume the three-day-a-week regime.
Miserable day weather-wise. It instantly brought to mind the phrase "leaden sky"--dark gray and threatening.
Ran a few errands in Manahawkin, assembled some things for my trip, and otherwise occupied myself. Dear friend Marge called to ask if I could take her and Fred to his doctor's appointment tomorrow. Fred had major heart surgery on December 15 and is picked up by a van for rehab, but they don't have anybody to take them to appointments. I had had a lunch date with Ellen V., but I knew be glad to postpone under these circumstances, and she was. We switched to Thursday.
Sister Betty called. She and I and three other high school friends will meet for lunch and movie on Friday.
Talked to Mary S., that terrific person and trustee, and we vented to each other about two women listed as members of The Breeze "editorial staff," who really aren't pulling their weights. Mary, Susan, one or two others, and I contribute almost all the material to the paper. One of these woman has decided she just can't write anything every month and will make it every other. The other writes in the stream of consciousness garbage on the most vapid and trite subjects, plus what's supposed to be a little column on of news on residents. This has deteriorated into sophomoric meanderings about the snow and so on. Boy, that makes me mad.
Anyway, Mary sent out an e-mail asking if somebody would cover the major's visit to the community today and, sucker me, I volunteered. Virginia H. will take his picture so I won't have to worry about that, and I'll just write up a quick paragraph on what went on. Aside from that, I told Mary I'd send one or two "Letter From The Orient" when I'm in Asia.
Went to the library and ran in to Lucille B. and her constant companion, three-year-old Jenna. (Lucille played one of my daughters in Riders To The Sea last year.) I was sorry to hear she's getting divorced, but I know she'll get through it and come out the other side.
Auditions again tonight--hope I do better this time.
Wider: Martin Luther King's address on peace. Just substitute "Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and so on, for "Vietnam" and...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Putzed around on the computer, then zipped up to Shop-Rite in the morning. Put a tomato/pepper/onion/garlic concoction in the small crock pot, then dressed for "Sunday Musical Arts" to see the 2010 staging of South Pacific at Lincoln Center.
Oh, mama, was it terrific! Of course, I saw the treacly film version (with Mitzi Gaynor) years ago, but if I ever thought original stage productions and movies had any closer relationship than ships passing in the night (just love mixed metaphors), I was disabused of that notion (love those old-fashioned phrases, too) yesterday afternoon. This was just elegant. Alan Alda--is he terrific or what?--introduced and interviewed some Lincoln Center officials--then let us alone to enjoy a superb afternoon.
I had never heard of the leads, although looking them up later, I found they had been in all kinds of musicals, had won tons of awards, and, presumably, everybody else in the known universe was familiar with all of them. Anyway, it was wonderful to see and hear.
I did have a puzzled reaction to casting two clearly part African-American children as--well, the two children. They were supposed to be half Caucasian--no problem there--and half Tonkinese--that's Asian. To my knowledge, virtually all Asians have straight black hair and these kids had curly hair; couldn't understand that.* Howsomever, it's hardly one of the sacred mysteries of life, so I'll drop it.
Wore my woolly "chaps," along with low boots and everybody exclaimed over them. I told them I had "left mah horse at the hitchin' post outside."
Got home to have the crock pot mix nicely done and served it to myself as sauce over pasta. Yum, it was good--imagine, I made my own pasta sauce just like the Italians!
NOTE: I came across an enthralling web site. It may seem morbid--and even morose (there's a difference in those words)--but I find it fascinating.
Just read an article on the practice of embalming and how it caught on in America. Blame Abraham Lincoln for one--.
* Son P. called this morning and challenged me on the hair thing, saying, "Don't tell the Samoans." Also maintained that some Japanese have naturally curly hair. Will investigate when I'm there.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pretty good, productive day. (I consider a day productive when I make a list--or lists--and get most of the items accomplished.) Went to the SOCH Thrift Store and got myself an attractive two-piece top for three dollars, then to Shop-Rite and got everything I needed.
Home, I started again chipping away at the ice in the driveway. Neighbor Bob saw me, came over with his shovel and insisted on clearing the whole driveway --! It was so nice of him, although not strictly necessary, but I'm pleased to have a unequivocally pristine place where I can both drive and walk.
Otherwise, spent a lot of time on various computer chores. Started making lists concerning my trip. In my new role as publicity chair of the theatre company, I e-mailed Desi to get some info on the Directors' Workshop he'll conduct next month. In the meantime, cut up a cantaloupe and added blueberries (fresh, which I bought at Produce Junction the other day) and made a luscious fruit salad.
In the evening, Walter G. across the street called to say he had gotten the Skype web cam--it came with his computer--and asking me to call him. I did, we saw each other, and he was very pleased.
"Musical Arts" today at the clubhouse--it's an operatic version of South Pacific--should be enjoyable.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Good grief, it's eighteen degrees out! That brings to mind one of Pat's favorite sayings: "It's colder than a well-digger's ass in the Klondike."
It was frigid during our walk and what's more, although the roads are perfectly clear and we walk in the street, just getting the few feet to them is a hazard. The end of my driveway is a three-inch mound of ice, so I have to maneuver over the (snow-heaped) grass just to start.
Decided to do something about it and went over to Shop-Rite in Mays Landing to get "Melt Ice" or whatever it's called. Stopped first at Produce Junction and got yummy arugula, tomatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli (I'm delighted that the 'net info was dead wrong--I'm fine with my favorites, c. and b.)
Got home and spread the melt stuff, then chipped away at the ice with a snow shovel; at least cleared a narrow path that will get me to the street, I hope.
Managed to scan and send a picture, but only after about ten hour of trying. Wrote back and forth to Mike about finances and my trip.
Got a call from sister Betty inviting met to a movie and lunch next week with HSHS friends Mary H., Janie M.., and Moukie D. We'll go either Thursday or Friday.
Frank came over with a bag of garbage---ha, we always allow each other to use the other's trash cans when we go away, and also gave me a bag of veggies--wouldn't you know including a lot of tomatoes, which I just bought. However, I like them a lot and they won't go to waste.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Spent the first part of the day finishing up Breeze stuff. Still unable to send scanned pictures and we have a noon deadline, so I'm going to ask Mary to do it. Got two web cam call from Mike, firming up my plans for Asia and clarifying financial business.
Susan invited me to a dinner party on the 26th, so that should be fun.
Heard from Marilyn and we're going to meet for lunch down here at SeaOaks on the twenty-ninth.
Went to my first LETCO Board meeting at 6:00 and found myself appointed Publicity Chair. I've already got a lot going on, and hope I can handle this okay. After the meeting, auditions were held. I tried out for the Mrs. Soames role and--dunno why, but I'm afraid I really screwed up. They asked me to read the church scene, which isn't as meaty as others, and I was pretty bad. Asked if I could re-audition on Tuesday, and director Tonya said, "Okay, but you don't have to." Not sure if that means they want me for the part or it wouldn't do any good, but I'm not too optimistic. I don't know who else auditioned.
Well, the good part is, Ellen V. and I made a date for lunch next week. Earlier, Susan had invited me to a dinner party on the 26th, and I also heard from Marilyn. She and I will meet for lunch down here at SeaOaks on the twenty-ninth. Will attend the "Food, Friends, And Fun" dinner next Saturday, too. At least, my social calendar is filling up.
For the first time in months, I had trouble sleeping last night. Woke at 2:30 and didn't get back for an hour or more.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A somewhat frustrating day. I was unable to send a scanned picture to The Breeze; not sure why, but Frank came over and did it for me. Good, as far as it goes, but that means I still don't know how to do it myself and I have another to go. Too long and involved to explain why--the short version is I'm just an electronic ignoramus.
Did this and that, then drove to Manahawkin to pick up a few items at Shop-Rite. That wasn't strictly necessary, I just wanted to get out.
Attended a kind of property tax seminar last night. We citizens of Sunrise Bay are banding together and hiring an attorney to represent us and try to get assessments east. I can never understand why Jersey has the highest property tax in the country. Yes, it's my home place, yes, I like it here, yes, I lead a pleasant life, but hey--is it better in any measurable way than, for instance, Colorado, Connecticut, or California, just to cover the C's? Not so's you'd notice, which leads me to the conclusion we've just enjoyed more corrupt politicians earlier and longer than other states--in that arena, we're second to no one.
Just talked to Mike on the web cam and am in close touch with P. Both my boys are arranging my upcoming Asia trip so smoothly and willingly, as if it's simple and no trouble at all. How did I get so lucky in my children?
WIDER THAN EVER: Here is a Zen parable that is absolutely sublime:
A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled; the tiger ran after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge.
The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.
Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other.
How sweet it tasted!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Made a lovely big pot of vegetable soup. Cut up fresh onions, carrots, potatoes, and celery, added canned broth and kidney beans, then frozen spinach and spices. It was delish, if I say it myself, and I have plenty for today and to tuck in the freezer.
Walter G. came over at 3:00 and we had a long interview session. I elicited his reminiscences of growing up in New Brunswick, Canada and got, I hope, some interesting stuff. I wanted this to be a short, focused piece, but boy, it's going to be hard to manage that. I have the feeling, too, that when I send it to him to check for errors, he's going to want to editorialize. That irritates me: I'm not some kind of hired hack--I'm a hack, sure, but not a hired one--and I don't want to be "corrected" about anything but factual stuff.
So speaks the puffed-up, self-aggrandizing writer in me! What I put down is sacred, just like Shakespeare's, and it's a absolute sacrilege to touch a word--. (Geez, these hacks are all alike.)
Note: We have yet another winter wonderland out there. Not sure how much fell overnight, but several inches, I'm sure. Well, it's okay, I'll stay in and finish Walter's story.
WIDER: By a commentor on "Common Dreams":
We have returned to the era when only the rich can afford to educate their children--at least without embroiling them in debt peonage. Of course, how much education to you need to stock shelves at Wal-Mart or join the Army and kill people abroad?
Once California had one of the best and most affordable higher education systems in the world. In the late 60s, early 70s you could attend Cal or a sister campus for a few hundred a semester; a state college was under a $100 a semester -- and a community college essentially free...Since so much of the American economy is now built on ingenious bubbles, scams, Ponzi schemes, and outright rip-offs -- it is grimly fascinating to see how much longer this can continue...When an economy mimics a cancer -- absorbing muscle, and then vital organs for the sake of the cancer's growth -- the long term prognosis is not rosy.
That last sentence in particular, is a jaw-dropper--what a perfect analogy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cold still nagging, but I'm trying to ignore it. Finally, at long last, drove to the cemetery--I haven't been there for more than a month--and was pleased to see the wreath I have at Pat's grave was intact and on the stand. Decided to leave it, as it's not particularly Chritmasy, being just fir with a few pine cones (real, of course, I don't do artificial). Cleared some snow off the front. Went to Jay's and cleaned up a bit there, too. However, there'll be no need to water for some time once the snow melts, so not much to do to maintain.
I then zipped down to Boscov's and got myself a big soup pot, on sale for an incredible price. I want to make soup the old fashioned way--vegetable, probably--on the stove, not the crock pot.
Made myself tilipia and broccoli for dinner and was pleased to find I had no gastrointestinal problem with either. Made a date with Walter G. to come over today so I can interview him about his Canadian boyhood. I';; call it "Growing Up G----."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Had a good day yesterday, but am now struck down with a cold. Did a lot of household chores, then drove to Shop-Rite in Manahawkin. It was bitterly cold and windy, but roads were fine, almost completely cleared. Shop-Rite was an absolute madhouse--jammed with frantic shoppers, afraid they'd starve in a snowdrift, I guess, without their high fructose snacks. (A big storm is supposed to come tomorrow (Tuesday.)
Of course, here I am, snidely commenting on frantic shoppers and what was I doing? Stocking up on staples so I won't starve in a snowdrift.
Got a call from brother Larry and had a nice chat, then from cousin John and ditto. Enjoyed the web cam call from d.d. Ellen; otherwise, just did a few more chores and hung out.
I had every intention of walking this morning AND resuming exercise, but with this lousy cold, am laying low. Susan stopped for me during a morning Skype call from P. and N., but I had to beg off. I want to coddle this cold to get rid of it.
Hope the storm is a dud, as my first meeting as a member of the theatre group board is tomorrow evening.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Hooray--back in the land of the living! I'm almost completely back to my old self, appetite included, which may not be a good thing. I met Susan for our regular walk at 7 am, had breakfast, then changed my bed, vacuumed, tidied up, and even took down some of the Christmas decorations. Made myself a big salad and had that and half an acorn squash for lunch; got various other chores done. Called my Cincinnati Sis, Marifran K. and we had a good, long chat. I didn't go out, though, as snow fell all day and we got about--well, between four inches and two feet. (Ha! Have no idea, but it looked like a lot.)
Nevertheless, after dinner, I showered, dressed and trekked down nervously to the H.'s, two doors away. The R.'s and D.'s came in and what a wonderful evening we had! Dominos was great fun and we played, laughed, and nibbled on snacks. I had a very small amount of red wine, then switched to ice water, as I haven't had any alcohol since I got back from California and wanted to be sure it wouldn't bother me.
WIDER: We stayed until almost 11:00 and after the game, started talking about the present state of the country. Now, this group is mixed. It consists of progressive liberal pacifists (the R.'s and me), the R.s committed Mennonites, I "fallen away," as the saying used to go; the H.'s, irreligious, though strongly conservative; and the D.'s, more conservative than not, old-fashioned Catholics. It was amazing, though, how closely our viewpoints about the present state of affairs converged. We agreed, pretty much, that our elected "representatives," of whatever political stripe, are the scum of the earth, that we are owned by the corporations that run the country and, indeed, the world, that the media are whores, education has turned itself into a sick joke, and the middle class has been struck down and trampled. We truly believe the empire is collapsing, as all empires do; Frank a bit more optimistic, saying he thought, rather then a major collapse, that what was coming was the relegation of the U.S. to a "second rate" country "like the U.K." I was glad when Dennis mentioned the hugely obscene amounts we spend in order to kill people--"what, more than the rest of the world combined?" I asked rhetorically--and, although the H.'s and D.'s are strongly supportive of the military, they didn't dispute the illogic--in fact, the immorality--of this.
It was a wonderful evening among wonderful friends, and good, serious talk. I'm lucky to live here.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Feeling considerably better, I'm happy to say. I talked to the surgeon yesterday; he asked me some questions ("Are you eating?" "Yes." "Are you vomiting?" "No.") and others just too delicate to repeat here. The verdict was that I should wait and see if my condition improves.
Well, it has. I did take a nap yesterday--which I regard as the next thing to lolling around in my bathrobe all day--and was awakened by a web cam call from P. and N. Also got same later from Mike, plus phone calls from both daughters. It's nice to know they're concerned, but I don't want them to worry, so will e-mail them of my improvement.
Still not eating a lot, but had pickled beets and three shrimp, along with a bowl of cereal. Went to the store to get grapefruit juice and will add that today. May also revert to cottage cheese on pumpernickel for breakfast--we'll see.
Going to the H's for dominos tonight, along with the D.'s and the R.'s, my favorite neighbors, which I always regard as "the inner circle." I have other friends here, but those are the core group with whom I'm most comfortable, so I'm looking forward.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Still not feeling up to par. Just had some routine blood work done, but think I'll see if I can get an appointment with the doctor today. Was glad to hear from my children. Watched the two little ones yesterday while N. got little J. out of the hospital. They're such sweet kids, but it was tiring. Stopped at Acme on the way home for a few things. Had half of a bagel up north, then three shrimp and about half a bowl of corn chex with skim milk. That was the total of what I ate yesterday. Today, I hope to get back to my heavily veggie regime, but wouldn't you know, I'm not supposed to eat broccoli or cauliflower, my two favorites.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Not feeling terrific. Stomach sore and I'm very tired. Lost my cell phone, I think on the plane. Hope to recover soon.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

We went to Ojai yesterday on a brilliantly clear, but cool, day. Found a lovely little restaurant a bit farther out than we had gone before and had lunch. My Cobb salad was as good or better than what I've had at SeaOaks, and so was the Corona with lime. After, we walked the shops, got a yogurt cone, and explored here and there. Got home about 3:00 and printed out my boarding passes, pre-paid my luggage, did wash, read, puttered around, then watched The King of Comedy which we had rented the other day. It's about 35 years old and I had seen parts of it before; always thought it was better than it got credit for and still do.r
I leave in a few hours for home with, as usual, mixed emotions. Looking forward to some things in Little Egg and especially, to seeing little J., but so sorry to leave Ellen.

Monday, January 03, 2011

It rained all day, incredibly for southern California, but El and I had a cozy time together. Went to the supermarket, then the video store and got a truly remarkable documentary called Prodigal Sons, which Ellen had seen before. It involves transgenderism, Orson Welles, and Montana. Absolutely absorbing.
Later, El made a delicious lentil soup and served it up with hot dogs and white wine--just yummy. Talked to little J., who is doing much better, thank heavens.
El has Breakfast At Tiffany's and she put that on, but I couldn't stay up long enough to watch it all. Went to bed and slept well.
This morning, got a welcome invitation from the H.'s to play dominos on the eighth and accepted with pleasure.
This is my last full day here. It's always a wrench to leave my darling children and grandchildren, but I hope I can be back, maybe in the summer.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

We all packed up and left the big house in Santa Barbara by 10 am. Ellen and I took the leftover food, as Mike and entourage will be staying in a hotel in San Francisco until they leave for Singapore. El made pizza, salad, and greens for dinner--very good.
We really just vegged out for the day. Watched a British move, An Education, which was so-so. Feeling a bit more chipper today.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Had a full, fun, last day of 2010. Ellen came early, we all took kids to park, then did some shopping in town. After, Mike, Ellen, children, and I went to niece Carolyn's new house, and what a terrific it one it is. Besides a great layout, it has a wonderful backyard. After visiting there awhile (and eating several tiny, but good tangerines right off their tree), we invited them all to celebrate the New Year (east coast time), then went back, stopping to get shrimp and so on for dinner. El and I went to get ingredients for Margaritas. The G.'s got here about 6:00 and we all had great cheeses and salsa for appetizers--along with Ellen's Margarita's for those of us who indulge--followed by a delicious shrimp and pasta dinner, courtesy of Vickie and Paula, topped off with Ellen's brownies--yum!
At 9:00 here, midnight in NYC, we toasted 2011, Betty and the G's left, and we fell into bed (I did, anyway). Ellen is staying in the guest house and is still asleep. Soon, we'll all pack up and I'll go back to her place, the others to San Francisco, then back to Singapore.
What a terrific vacation!