Friday, April 29, 2011

Much fun yesterday. I walked down to the clubhouse about 9:30 and the other eleven models (good lord, the fashion industry is going down the tubes!) and I separated into three cars and drove to Medford. It's about an hour away and our destination was Coldwater Creek, a high-end clothing store. The idea was for each of us to pick out two outfits to model.
It took us hours, and I thought I'd never be able to get two good ensembles, but finally did and it was great fun. Boy, do those outfits make me look good. Both include pants, although I wanted to model at least one skirt, but the ones they showed included a lot of material and made me look dumpy. What terrific outfits--the phrase "casual elegance" comes to mind. If I buy something, I could get a discount, but at those prices (a simple shell I selected, the kind I buy at Kohl's for ten bucks, was $49.95), I left them on the racks. Anyway, it was a lot of fun with all of us rushing back and forth, with the assistance of the sales people.
Finally all with two outfits, we went across the way to P.F. Chang's for lunch. I couldn't resist the duck, which was suburb, and had some good Sapphoro (Japanese) beer with it.
Met a new resident of Sunrise Bay, Naomi P. who, we discovered, was born and brought in Ventnor, also. She's the sister-in-law of Joan F., my classmate through St. James. She's a terrific person--was a singer who actually sang in clubs, a newly-wed (third marriage), and in interested in the theatre group. We had a great time together.
For some reason, I no sooner got home then I rushed out to Target and bought some clothes for the weekend with Mary Ellen. I think I'll take some back, as I don't really need them, but guess I was bedazzled by Coldwater Creek fashions. Heard from Mary Ellen, who said she has to be in Barneget for a closing, and back down on Sunday, so she'll drive me to her place in Philly--yay!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Got the A.C. in the car fixed in the morning, I'm happy to say. It wasn't as expensive as I'd thought it would be. Cut back the two growing-wild Montauk daisies in the front, which I should have done in the fall. I'm going to have to do some serious cleaning up out there before too long; every spring, it seems to suddenly become overgrown and weed-ridden.
Was glad to get a web cam call from P. and N., who are doing okay. Got one yesterday from Mike and the little girls; my Easter gifts finally came, three days late.
Started a new article for The Breeze on my postcard collection and I hope to interest others in writing about(or having me write about)their collection.
Got a call from Desi, asking if I had heard anything about Sid S., who's been seriously ill lately. Sid appeared in Blithe Spirit most recently and before that, in Deathtrap; he lives in Sunrise Bay and I like him and his wife so much. I called Jim N., as I know he's a friend of Sid's, and found he's been hospitalized for internal bleeding, a recurring problem, I'm afraid. Called Desi back and also, Frank next door, as he had told Desi. Whenever this kind of thing happens--often--I realize it's natural in an over-55 community. Kind of depressing, but at the same time, it brings home to me how closely-knit and concerned my neighbors are here.
Along the same lines: After I came in from the store, I got a call from friend, Marge. She had fallen and hurt her coccyx--that is, her tailbone. She asked if I still had Pat's transport chair, as she had a doctor's appointment in a few hours and could hardly walk. I don't, as I lent to Libby's husband, so I called around. Found nobody home, but was reminded the clubhouse has some to lend. Drove over, picked up a reasonably light one, and got it to Marge, who was so grateful. Offered to go with her to the doctor, but her son-in-law (who just lost his high-paying job) was coming.
Going to the pricey Coldwater Creek store with the other models to pick out clothes we'll be wearing at the Women's Club luncheon next month.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

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Nice afternoon. It was farther than I had realized to Buena where sister-in-law Regina lives--fifty miles--but I got there with no problem on a bright and warm, perfectly lovely day.*
How good to see Regina again. Last time was at Bill's funeral more than a year ago, although we've talked on the phone a few times. After I got there, we chatted for a half hour or so, then left for Buena Tavern just a short distance away. Uh-oh: closed on Tuesday. Regina then directed me all the way to Vineland, where we had lunch at a small restaurant. We talked all over the map, of course, both about the brothers, our husbands, and newer stuff. Regina will be 85 on her next birthday, but certainly shows no signs of age when it comes to faculties and alertness. She drives only locally, but she drives, and visits her children often.
Back at the house, we visited a bit more. Regina showed me a book written by a professor in Spain, which was dedicated to Bill. He had been an exchange student and lived with them for a semester--what a nice thing to do. Said goodbye after a pleasant day.
WIDER: My sister-in-law proudly told me that she'll soon attend her granddaughter's graduation from Boston U. Said young woman has been or will be commissioned into the navy by her father, a retired commander. She aspires to then attend flight school so she can assist in hurling death and destruction at people around the world. Well, what the hell do you say about that to a doting grandmother? That you wonder how an attractive young person could entertain such a horror? That she's buying into the old lie? That she'll participate in state-supported atrocity? I just sighed and muttered that it was exciting news.
*Maybe a tad too lovely: The A.C. in my car isn't working and boy, was I sweating by the time I got home. Made an appointment for 10 today to get it looked at.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On a gloriously warm and sunny day, Susan and I walked with light jackets, then I went to exercise at the clubhouse. Changed my bed and did some other wash. Talked to sister-in-law Regina and we made a date for lunch today. Got an e-mail from Mary Ellen M.; I'll be spending the weekend with her in her Philadelphia townhouse; not sure exactly what time I'll go up on Friday, as she has a closing some time early in the day. Son P. sent me a link to a musical version of Our Town, of all things. It stars, incredibly, Frank Sinatra, complete with his Hoboken, New Joisey accent, as the stage manager, and he sings some of it. Watched some and can't wait to witness the rest. This was a T.V. production and P. mentioned he didn't think it was re-run. No surprise there, I guess.
Called Betty and suggested I bring my lunch and we'd eat on her porch. Stopped at the supermarket to pick up a sandwich, bought a six-pack of Bud, and zipped down there. Greatly enjoyed our little get-together, as I always do. On the way home, I stopped at Produce Junction and bought some pretty pink tulips, then went to the cemetery and tidied up a bit. An ordinary day, but a good one.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What a great weekend! Got up north about 10:30 and we left a half hour later. Long, long trip--five hours--but we had no problems. Arrived in time for a lovely dinner of manicotti (I can't spell it and neither, apparently, can SpellCheck), made from scratch by N., a wonderful cook. I was driven to the Penn Wells Hotel (more about that later) where I had reserved a room.
On Saturday, I was picked up by grandson J. and we all had a great breakfast. We then decided to go to the Corning glass works, only about a half hour away in New York. N., who had a bad cold, opted out, but the rest of us, four adults and four little boys went. It was great fun and well worth the trip.
Got back by dinnertime to find a sumptuous meal all ready from the crock pot. It included chicken, steak, asparagus, tomatoes, and zucchini, all simmered together for hours and was it yummy. That was really our Easter dinner. J. took me back to the Penn Wells and I ventured out only to pick up a few things at the CVS nearby.
I was called for on Sunday and we brought back bagels and juice for breakfast. N. was still sick, but the boys were in fine fettle. They had had an Easter egg hunt and, of course, had been left baskets by the bunny. What fun to be with them! We had to say goodbye by noon, though, and took the long trip back. Made it fine and when we got back, I enjoyed a nice dinner of navy bean soup and a big salad. Said my goodbyes and arrived back home by 7:30.
The hotel: The Penn Wells, in the heart of Wellsboro, sure isn't the Singapore Fairmont or even the Koyodo Business Hotel. It was built in 1831, and a few years later, the top (fourth) floor burned. It was rebuilt and seemingly, hasn't changed since. Actually, it has, of course. In 1931, it was renovated and remains--I think--more or less in that state.
It's FAB-U-LOUS! It's all dark woodwork and brass fittings that are clearly of the period and not repros. The sink and bathtub have separate hot and cold water faucets and rubber stoppers on chains (I grew up with those, at least during my early years). The room is adequate--bed and desk in hideous 1950's-style blond wood, and vinyl (or some other mysterious substance) "easy" chair. There's no coffee in the room, but is in the lobby, and that was pretty good.
The hotel is certainly populated by ghosts: squeaks, groans, and rhyrmic knocks abound, and the walls are so thin, you can hear practically every other guest. Most of the lobby is lovely. It has a real fireplace, not fueled by gas and not equipped with DuraFlame for a tame, prissy little glowing matchstick; it was ablaze with real wood logs that emitted a wonderful roaring fire and beautiful woodsy smell.
The lobby is bisected by the front door (very high, with old, dark, dull wood and brass hand plates, well burnished by years of being pushed). The right wall is occupied by a gigantic American flag made out of Christmas balls from the Corning Glass Factory. Oh, it's just too long and involved to explain why--suffice to say, it's one of the most bizarre displays I've ever seen.)
The Penn Wells also boasts a terrific guy as desk clerk. His name is David (late forties, I guess) and he quickly began calling me by my first name. He wore an Easter tie covered with religious phrases.
There's an elevator but I was a bit nervous about being in it by myself, so took to walking up the three flights of stairs instead. I did this a number of times and it's better for me, anyway.
Anyway, it's a terrific place--the hotel and the area--and we had a wonderful weekend.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Met Betty for lunch at Italian Cuisine on Jimmie Leeds Road and had a lovely time. We always have lots to talk about and it's always fun to be with my twin.
After lunch, drove up to Manahawkin to run a few errands. Packed for the trip to way-up-there Pennsylvania and will leave this morning. I had foolishly bought arugula and a lot of tomatoes and sweet peppers on Wednesday, so will take them with me, rather than let them spoil.
Went over the proofs for The Breeze and corrected a few things. I contributed only one article this month--unusual for me--but will try to get more industrious next time. Called Mary Ellen M. and we firmed up plans for my visit with her in Philly next weekend. Should be great fun.
Stopped at the library after dinner. Last day of the book sale and I came away with a whole bag full ($1.00)*. Ran into Lucille B. and little Jenna there and had a nice chat.
Just looked at my calendar for April and saw that I had some kind of lunch, dinner, show, hike, or other meeting with friends or family every single day for the entire month except one. Geez, that must have been a boring twenty-four hours.
* Books are starting to pile up again, some on tables and floors. Wish I had donated more back to the library before the sale, but hope to do that soon for the next one. Some I'll keep to re-read, others not.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Great hiking day. Mary S. picked me up at 9:30 and we drove the few miles to Bass River Park. From there, went to Harrisville, a long-ago village and factory in the pine barrens, deserted for more than a hundred years. The remnants of the paper factory are still there, high walls of brick, partly covered with vines and moldering away in the woods.
We went a bit more than five miles at a good, brisk pace, pausing now and then to let the slower ones catch up. Stopped for lunch (I brought salad) at a lovely spot with a pond. It was great to get back to hiking. I've hiked at Harrisville before with the Outdoor Club, but we went on some different trails yesterday. There are some beautiful vistas, including ponds, streams, and lakes back there, all surrounded by towering trees. The weather was my very favorite--brilliantly sunny and warm. I was glad I left my coat in Mary's car; thought I might be cool with just a light top, but I was actually hot in a short time. It was a brisk walk and very invigorating. There were about twenty people there, a nice crowd, and I was amazed and thrilled when a couple, then two women who didn't know each other came up to me to compliment me on my role in Our Town. Two jokingly asked for my autograph and another wanted to know what I'd be in next. Boy, I was ecstatic.
Got home about 1:30 and hoo boy, did that shower feel good. Had a bite, then drove over to Produce Junction for veggies. Coming off the Parkway ramp, I bumped the fender of an SUV in front of me. The driver, a very nice women who gave me her card, is community liaison for Compassionate Care Hospice. She'll get the fender appraised, then let me know and if there was damage, I may decide to simply pay it rather than have my insurance go up.
Thought I'd go to the movies after, but the Tilton Theater was closed for no reason I could see. No sign on the door or anything, it was just locked. Okay, so what. I stopped at the cemetery on the way home and pulled a few weeds. It looks very nice with the combination of daffodils and shells.
Was happy to hear we'll be travelling to upstate Pennsy for Easter with the little boys. Made reservations at the Penns Wells Hotel, a lovely historic one in town. The others will bunk at J. and N.'s house.
Heavens--nothing scheduled for today, practically for the first time all month! Think I'll call Betty to see if she wants to meet for lunch.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yipee! I made my reservations for the ship. Found I'm paying a senior citizen rate or something, so it was less than half what I thought it would be. I'm pretty excited about it.
Saw in the paper that the Irish American Club in Absecon was having a free presentation last night on John MacCormack, the great Irish tenor. Called Mary Ann to see if she wanted to go, but she wasn't home and I left a message. Didn't hear back from her by the afternoon (she called later to say she had to go to choir practice), so asked Frank and Barbara D. next door if they wanted to go. They did, and they suggested we go to ScoJo's for dinner first.
Hey, don't have to ask me twice. We left at 5:00 and I had--for the first time in years--liver with onions. Now, I realize I'm the only one on the Eastern seaboard who likes liver, which may be why it doesn't show up on menus that often. Even when it does, I rarely order it because often, I'm served with something like old shoe leather, thin, dry,and flavorless. This was excellent and I ate every scrap.
Got to Absecon in plenty of time and the show was superb. This guy, Tim Liam Smith, had been an actor and opera singer, but now owns some business or other in central Jersey. He was dressed in costume and knows everything there is to know about John MacCormack, who was a great favorite of my father-in-law. Smith no only talked about MacCormack in a very amusing, but sensitive way, but sang a number of his songs in a lovely tenor. It was superb and Frank and Barbara loved it, too. I'm thinking about seeing if Desi might want to bring Tim in for a presentation of our own--paid, of course.
WIDER: From John Feffer at Common Dreams:
"Washington is a slaughterhouse these days, as politicians from across the political spectrum take their knives to...dozens of social programs that provide food for low-income women and children, energy assistance to folks who can't pay their heating bills, and health care provided through community centers. In its luxury pen, meanwhile, the sacred pig grows fatter and fatter...the sacred pig is well-marbled with fat. It is content and happy, and when it outgrows its enclosure, the government simply builds it a newer, grander, and ever bigger facility. But as soon as someone, anyone, approaches the pen with a sharp implement, sirens go off and the assailant is apprehended. The Pentagon pig is off-limits. We've designed an entire religion around its untouchability...."
But what is the response of our revered leaders to comments like this? In solidarity with the pig, they cry: OINK!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

After running a few errands, I drove up to Keyport, NJ, after lunch. I was a little nervous, as I always am when I venture into unknown territory (good grief, you'd think I was trekking to Antarctica!), but it wasn't bad at all. Drove about an hour north on the parkway, then ten minutes more to the funeral home.
I went there for a melancholy reason: a viewing for the sister of my older son's friend. I hadn't seen Jim Z. for at least twenty years, but when I walked in, he knew me right away. It was good to see him and to meet his family--wife and two teenaged sons--but oh, how hard it was for him and his parents. They both look very old, small, thin, and white-haired, and they were, of course, devastated. Their daughter was only 51 and this was an unexpected death.
I stayed for about an hour, chatting with Jim and others, then left. I was so glad I went. If anybody ever wonders if they should go to a viewing or funeral--go. As I well know, it means so much after such a loss to have people come and pay their respects. If it seems too far away or the weather's bad or these things make you queasy or you don't feel completely up to par--go anyway. I know from experience how much it means to the survivors.
Was glad to get a Skype call from P. and N. in the evening. Earthquakes still going on, but the shortages seem to be over and the trains are running. P. assures me the radiation thing is okay; anyway, that's what the Japanese keep being assured. Hope it's true.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Attended "Sunday Afternoon At The Opera" and enjoyed it pretty much. It was by Vincenzo Bellini and, curiously, the setting was in Cromwell's England. Called I Puritani, it included the usual stock characters, nutty plot, and sumptuous costumes. The music? Great, I guess, judging from the applause and shouts of "Bravo!" from the Met audience, but as usual, it went right over my head.
I was glad "Afternoon" was scheduled for that time because it got me out of something else. At our last Breeze meeting, the rest of the editorial staff decided to decorate the gazebo at the clubhouse with bunting and so on for a Memorial Day cover for the paper. I said nothing, but couldn't in good conscience (a phrase from my Catholic girlhood) participate, so I e-mailed trustee Mary to the effect I was committed to the opera.
I know it would shock and anger my neighbors to be told I disapprove of commemorating those who died in battle, and I don't have the guts to be more open about this. However, it supports the ghastly militaristic fervor of this country and I won't be a part of it. Wilfred Owen wrote in DULCE ET DECORUM EST. Note his last lines:
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
The title means "It is sweet and right to die for your country," which is, of course, the old lie. But if it wasn't constantly promoted, as in "Memorial Day" activities, who would ever swallow it? The whole poem can--and should--be read at

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lousy weather, but fun afternoon. It rained in sheets most of the day, but I got to Vincentown with no prob. Met Marilyn--always a pleasure--and we had lunch at the diner.
The Vincentown Diner is similar to Mastoris' Diner in Bordentown in that the food is unusually good for what seems at first glance to be a modest establishment. The clue is to note if the place is crowded and, boy, was it. However, it's very large--has even expanded since the days we used to stop there on our way to Ventnor. Lots of patrons on a rainy Saturday, but we were seated quickly.
Marilyn felt like brunch so got scrambled eggs and bacon and I don't consider that any kind of a test. If a restaurant doesn't do that well, you might as well scratch it off your list for good. However, I got a chicken pot pie, which I haven't had for years, and it was absolutely delish: lots of chicken in a creamy gravy, bright veggies, and a lovely puff pastry crust. This came with salad--I had Caesar and appreciated that I didn't have to suffer with iceberg lettuce--and nicely done string beans--frozen, sure, but bright green and not overdone--as well as mashed potatoes. A nice surprise was the fact that they carry several brands of locally-made beer. I had Cricket Beer, brewed right in Fairfield, N.J., and it was excellent.
After, we went to the big Columbus Farmers' Market and got a few things at the Amish section, then said goodbye. I'm pleased that Marilyn will meet me at the Rider Longtimers' gathering on May 4, and look forward to that.
Home about 4:00, still in driving rain, and stayed in the rest of the day.
Opera at the clubhouse today.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

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Got the little daffodils ("narcissus") planted at the cemetery and they look very pretty. Stopped at Shop-Rite on the way home for thisa and thata.
YOICKS! Made up my mind to accept brother Larry's invitation for that cruise in June. Made my airline reservations, called him and he was very pleased. He said about twenty members of his family are going. That will be great fun. Now must make the reservation for the boat--or ship. I've never been on a cruise before and everybody assures me I'll have a fine time. I'm sure I will, as I love new places and experiences.
Went to dinner with Mary Ann Van O. at ScoJoe's at the Tuckerton Seaport. She brought a bottle of Cabernet Savignon and we managed to polish off the whole thing. We enjoyed dinner: flounder for her and chopped sirloin for me--not the best choice in the world, but I don't eat any kind of flesh at home, so order out with abandon.
After, we attended the poetry reading at the pretend fisherman's shack next door. I was glad it was only mildly boring--these things are usually excruitiating--and at least was over in an hour and a half. Besides the three poets, a person from the Seaport, and us, there were two other people there, and one was poet Jeanne's daughter. Okay, no prob, it was a different evening and I was home by 9:00.
Lunch with Marilyn M. today.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Went to the cemetery for the first time in several weeks. Cleaned up a bit at Pat's grave--lots of dead leaves in the azaleas--and rearranged the shells and things. I was pleased to see the hens 'n' chickens are growing well. At Jay's grave, the daffodils I planted last year are blooming beautifully. Went to Produce Junction after and got turnips, spaghetti squash, and two little daffodil plants, which I'll plant at Pat's today.
Welcomed Frank and Barbara D. home. They had been gone for three weeks at a wedding in Texas and so on. Asked Frank to be in my one-act, If Guys Were Gals. At the LETCO board meeting last night, I asked George (who played the milkman, Howie, in Our Town) to be the other character. I think he and Frank both agreed, although they haven't seen the play (really just a skit) yet. We're doing a "directors' workshop" on June 25 and July 9, which will be a group of one-act plays. To my knowledge, only Casey and I have submitted, and plan to direct, original plays.
Mary Ann Van O. called to ask if I'd sit in for Leslie at Scrabble today, but I declined with thanks. I want to get the daffodils in at Laurel Memorial and also get a little something for the children for Easter. Asked Mary Ann accompany me to the poetry reading at the Seaport tonight and she accepted. Will pick her up for the 7:00 gathering.
"The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much."
--Marlow, in Conrad's, Heart of Darkness
WIDER STILL: Oh, Fred Reed is priceless! Here's his "How Not To Win Wars":

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I now consider myself a candidate for SAINTHOOD. Fighting down the inner voice that told me to skip exercise, I completed the three-mile once again yesterday. I'm so virtuous I can hardly stand myself.
Mary Ann Van O. picked up Susan, Barb H., and me at noon and we had lunch at Dynasty. Very tasty Caesar salad. We then went to the library where Lois V. joined us. Enjoyed an actress from Mass., who impersonated Zelda Fitzgerald and very nicely, too. Talked to her after and told her about LETCO. Very enjoyable afternoon.
Decided at the last minute to attend the director workshop last night. Did so, and brought a short play, If Guys Were Gals I wrote some time ago. I had intended to give it to Marge D. for our Sunrise Bay Players, but decided I could stage it for our one-act play program in the summer. We read the others--only Casey B. and I submitted original pieces--and I guess I'll participate. Have just about decided to go with brother Larry and family on the cruise to Mexico in June, but I'll have time to direct and rehearse before and after.
WIDER: Thanks to my friend, Pat R., for putting me on to the blog, "Buckeye Surgeon":
Here's a sample to illustrate why I've added him to my "Favorites" list:
" we are sitting on the greatest military arsenal the world has ever seen. American military spending in 2010 was over $650 billion. That's 7 times more than the second highest national military budget (China). All this ordnance and material that, which each passing year, becomes more and more obsolete, necessitating even more spending in the future---might as well use it whenever a vaguely justifiable reason develops somewhere in the world, right?"
I'll be checking in with him everyday.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Still winding down. Tried to argue myself into skipping the morning walk (Susan was having a medical procedure), but didn't allow such slacking off, so went. Spent most of the rest of the day writing a piece for The Breeze about my mother's early life. It's mediocre, I'm afraid--the article, that is, not my mother's early life.
Found the entire script for Night Must Fall, which we're doing in September, on-line and spoke Mrs. Bramson's part. Decided to audition also for the housekeeper's part. I also bought the script (three bucks) via eBay. Went to the library and did some wash. Aside from that, nuttin' much.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm continuing to enjoy a pleasant interlude (in what? winter? my life? the history of the world?), now in a lower key after the excitement of the weekend. Talked to sister Betty early and told her I'd pack up the leftovers from dinner and bring down to her place to share. Did so and we had a nice sisterly visit. Ate the cold cuts, salad, and crocked potatoes, then bundled up--it was sunny, but cool--and walked the boards for a half mile or so. I had intended to stop at the cemetery on the way home, but it was past 5:30 already, so skipped that.
Had barely walked in the door when Mary Ann Van O. called and we had a nice chat. She had been sitting behind my family on Saturday and Joan had offered her the cushion Jim didn't want. She gratefully accepted and emphasized how nice J. was--agreed.
Had just a bite for dinner, looked up Night Must Fall on YouTube and watched the first portion of the movie version (c. 1940). We're doing it in September and, yes, you can be damn sure I'm going to audition. Found the script on eBay for $3.00 and sent for it. Characters include a mean, dictatorial, crotchety old lady--for me, type-casting again!

Monday, April 11, 2011

What a weekend! Although I hadn't gotten to bed until midnight, got up at 6:30 and almost immediately starting scrubbing red potatoes and slicing onions. With garlic, Italian seasoning, and a little oil, put them in the crock pot, then assembled and cut up goodies for a big green salad. Got the rest of dinner arranged on plates, wrapped, and refrigerated. I had invited Ellen V. a fellow LETCO member who had a small part in Town, to join us for dinner, so laid out place settings for five.
Joan and Jim got up and happily, they treated me to breakfast out. We went to Sco-Jo's, where I should have ordered oatmal--. Did I? Ha! Scarfed down a big plate of scrambled eggs, sausage, toast, and fruit, along with good coffee and good conversation with J. and J. They drove me to the school to retrieve my car and back home, the two packed up and left after a delightful visit, which I enjoyed immensely.
Got dressed for the performance and arrived for that a bit before 1:00. Set up my changing station backstage, chatted with co-actors, and we went on.
Betty, Helen, and Suzanne had gone to Dynasty Diner for lunch and I had talked to them in the parking lot. They had to wait until 1:30 when the audience was admitted.
The show went very well, although I think the Saturday night show was the best. As we always do, we mingled with the audience after, meeting and greeting all. Had a cast picture on stage after, then gathered up my stuff for the last time, and led Betty and entourage home. Ellen V. came soon after and we had a bit of wine beforehand, then ate a leisurely, talk-and-laughter-filled dinner.
Betty, Helen, and Suzanne left about 7:00, but Ellen stayed for another hour and a half. MY Ellen called and I was able to introduce her to the other Ellen before she left. While I was enjoying the Skype call, the phone rang and it was Mary Ellen M. (I know a lot of Ellens!), from whom I was delighted to hear. Got her number and called her back after my conversation with darling daughter. We talked for almost and hour, deciding to meet at the end of the month, probably in Philly where she now lives. By that time, it was almost 10:00 and all the disarray from dinner was still there. I can't stand to go to bed and leave stuff out, so spent the next 45 minutes or so putting food away, loading the dishwasher, and washing pots.
Finally, finished, went to bed about 11:00. Was tempted to sleep late, but I'm determined to get back on the straight and narrow, so got up at 6:00. Will meet Susan for our walk at 7:00 and go to exercise at 9:00. I've been concentrating on the play and neglecting my usual routine, and now I must shape up.
But it was a terrific several days!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Last night's performance was, incredibly, even better than Friday's. To begin with, the horrid rain had stopped and it was a beautiful, sunshiny day throughout. The players--at least, it seemed this was to me--were at the top of their games. Also, the audience was wonderfully receptive and appreciative, maybe more so than the earlier one. They were rapt by the beauty of the play in the right places and laughed in appropriate others. After, I was greeted with congratulations by friends Barb and Ray H., Pat and Ray H., Lois and Bill V., and Mary Ann Van O., as well as others I didn't even know. I was gratified when George S., who plays the milkman, Howie, told me a number of people asked where "Mrs. Soames" (that's me, folks) was. Most important of the attendees was Dearheart Senior and husband from up north and niece, Joan, and her Jim.
J. and J. had arrived at my house about 1:00 and, of course, we had a great time catching up with each other's doings. They brought me two bottles of wine, a red and a white, nice additions to my cellar--er, the ten-bottle wine holders I have in the dining room. I knew they wanted only a light lunch, as they were meeting co-theatre-goers for an early dinner, so I served them two varieties of sushi along with a few sides. They left a bit after 4:00 to meet aforementioned couple from up north, as well as sister Betty. Betty will attend today with two friends.
The cousin couples came with me after the show to the cast part at co-director Barbara H.'s house in Eagleswood and we all had a fine time. What fun to mix and mingle with the nice people with whom I shared the stage a few hours before! We brought our own drinks--J. and J. took along two bottles of wine and I two cans of beer--and shared the pasta, salad, rolls, and so on catered by the parents of one of the kids in the show.
We had left my car at the school and I must get it early, as it has my costumes and my pocketbook in it. Luckily, we were allowed to leave some stuff overnight, so I have the bulk of it already there.
Invited Betty and the two friends she's bringing to today's matinee performance over for a light supper after the show.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Rehearsal Thursday night seemed to limp along and there was a lot of confusion about blocking (moving around the stage). Got home about 10:00 and to bed about 11:30. Woke yesterday--opening day--to a dreary, overcast sky and what was worse, it began to rain about noon. It rained, rained some more, then continued to rain. Went to Manahawkin in the rain, finished a few chores in the rain, and dressed for the play in the rain. As we all dragged our mountains of costumes, props, and other stuff into the school, it continued to rain and rain hard. "Okay," I thought, "Nobody's going to show up for this thing, so just relax and accept that."
Hey, but...the room pretty much filled up, the play started, and it was a smash hit! It went off with almost no snags (there are always a few little exceptions) and everybody loved it! After curtain calls, we went out into the audience as we always do, and mingled. Susan and Walter were there and praised the show mightily. I was so pleased to see Mary Ellen M., with whom I had performed in Steel Magnolias. She and I had lost touch with each other, but reconnected last night and I couldn't be happier about that. What a wonderful evening and tonight should be as good or better.
Expecting Joan and Jim about noon; it will be great to see them and I'm so grateful they come to the plays from so far away--Suffern, New York. Joan has expressed an interest in the theatre and I hope she follows through.
Because there's nothing in the world so exciting and there's nothing else I'd rather do.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Wish we had another week to rehearse, but tonight's the night--opening night, that is. I feel prepared when it comes to my lines, but the blocking seems to constantly being changed, which makes me nervous. Instead of coming in from stage right for the wedding scene, all the "guests" are to come in from stage left, for instance.
In the afternoon, I attended a rather tedious Breeze meeting at the clubhouse. I don't have a thing for the May issue, but will try working on a piece on my mother, since Mother's Day is coming up.
Just hung up from a very welcome Skype call from P. and N. I was alarmed at the fact that an earthquake yesterday resulted in the death of two people. However, they didn't die from a building falling on them, but from pre-existing ailments. P. explained a bit about the radiation thing, too. Guess I'm a little relieved at that, but I'm still uneasily aware that the crises isn't over.
Must wash and press some of my on-stage clothes and check to see that all is in readiness. Looking forward to Joan and Jim's visit tomorrow and will apend part of the day preparing their bedroom and bath.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Realized I forgot a lid cover the other day, so went back to Bed, Bath 'n' Beyond to get one. Went to Shop-Rite for arugula, tomatoes, and a few other things. On the way home, I dropped a small folding table off at the school. I had heard we wouldn't have even the upside-down tables in the so-called "dressing room" anymore but, as it turned out, they were still there, along with two big pieces of scenery, so it was even more crowded. I don't have too much of a problem, but others do. Well, we just have to do the best we can.
Rehearsal was called for 6:00--it was both a regular and technical one--and I got there early. Somebody had ordered pizza, so I had a slice. That was dinner. We then more or less sat around waiting for the light and sound person to do her thing. We didn't even start until 7:20, so it was pretty long. It went smoothly, though, as far as I could tell. We finished late and I didn't get home until 10:30.
Invited Flo and Joe L. to come to the show. Didn't really expect them to, and they're unable, but I got a nice note back asking me to join Flo and friends for lunch and a movie next week. Flo, Rita, and Barbara have a standing date to do this every Tuesday. I know R. and B. from the L.'s Christmas party, and like them, so was pleased to accept.
Damn, I have a Breeze meeting today at 1:30. Wish I could skip it, but I guess I'll go. Deadline for submission for the next issue is a week from today and I don't have anything prepared, but I'll try to come up with something minor.
I need to get the house reasonably neat and clean for my company, who will stay over on Saturday. Also gotta re-sew the flowers on my hat for the wedding scene and do a multitude of other small chores.
Rehearsal's at 6:00--our last--and yoicks, tomorrow we open!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Good grief, I slept until 7:00! That's because I didn't get home from rehearsal until almost 11:00. I then had to unwind with my daily 45 minutes of television and my popcorn and wine. Am debating whether to go to exercise at 9:00. I know I should, but geez, it's the three mile--.
When we walked into the auditorium last night, we saw why rehearsal had to be called for 8:00; there was a science fair going on and lots of people milling around. By the time they left, it was probably 8:20 or so. We're rehearsing in costume from now on and hey boy, is changing going to be a problem. I wore my act one outfit there, and I don't go on again in a different one until near the end of act two, so I have plenty of time to change, but others don't. The backstage changing area is just miniscule. It's roughly the size of my bathroom and seems to be the electrical room. We had to throw dresses, skirts, hats, accesories, and everything else on the folding tables that I guess are stored there. There are no mirrors, you can't go from one side of the stage to the other backstage and the bathroom is not accessible. These are big problems for all of us. I understand they'll remove the tables, so there will be nowhere at all to put anything except the floor. Tara wears a wedding dress in the second and third acts, so how in the world this is going to work, I don't know. Think I'll bring a folding table to at least have something to put my things on and see if they'll let me keep it there for the duration.
Got calls from sister Betty and niece Joan. They'll meet Betty and the other couple for dinner before the play on Saturday, then Betty will go home and see the play with two friends on Sunday. The four couples will also go with me to the cast party after the Saturday performance.
Early part of the day was miserably cold, windy, and rainy, so I went out only to get something at the bank. It cleared up later and is nicely sunny today.
WIDER: From CommonDreams.Org:
This tax season, if you can stand it, Rethink Afghanistan will tell you how much of the $2 billion a month cost of the Afghanistan War you are footing - and they will send an IOU for that amount to Congress. More on the true cost of these pointless, misguided, unaffordable-on-too-many-levels wars here:

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Went on my walk before 7:00, and to exercise, too. I was pleased to have Beverly B. tell me how much she liked my articles in The Breeze. Saw Judy K. at the clubhouse and decided to sign up to attend the Potluck Dinner on the twenty-eighth.
Went over to Marge's after lunch and we had a good talk. Fred is still recovering from his heart surgery, but looks pretty good. Marge herself seems very frail. I drove the car over and after, went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Got new bathroom rugs for the master bath. I've had the old ones--black--for years. The large one in front of the double sinks finally gave up the ghost and so did a smaller one. I decided on purple--there's a lot of white in the room--and I think they'll look terrific. Found towels on clearance that are white with purple trim and got those, too. Well, as long as I'm spending--got a bath mat, also in purple, that is billed as the greatest thing since sliced baloney.
Mary Ann Van O. called and will come with Susan, Barb, Lois, and me to see Zelda on the thirteenth, and to lunch first.
Dress rehearsal tonight. We'll meet for the first time at Frog Pond School; it'll be good to finally rehearse where the play will actually be performed.
WIDER: I'm getting less and less complacent about the news from Japan. Here's what Harvey Wasserman has to say:

Monday, April 04, 2011

Left at 7 am and arrived up north about 8:00. Had a delightful time with the four boys--so good to see them again. We had breakfast, then took Lu for a walk, each boy holding her leash for an allotted time. After, sat out in the sun and N. told us about they wedding they'd attended while J. attended to his motorcycle.
I left about 1:00, had a big salad for lunch, then took a nap on the couch. Not sure when I actually lay down, but I slept until 5:00.
Have a number of errands to run, then will visit Marge after lunch today.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Said goodbye to Susan after our walk, as she and Walter will be in Florida for a week. With some difficulty, I added the picture of the library display window on this blog and now it's gone. The hell with it; it was problematic in the first place and I'm not going to spend time trying to get it back.
Got both crock pots a-simmerin' in the morning: carrots with chives in one, Brussels sprouts with capers and seasonings in the other. Ate some of both later and they were yummy.
Got a call from niece Joan. She and Jim will be down for the play and to stay over on Saturday. I invited them for lunch, too
Attended the arts and music festival at the Seaport in the afternoon and enjoyed it. Listened to an artist interpret the works of area painters, then to poetry readings. Jeanne S., who's in Our Town, is a member of the poetry group and read some of her poems. Not bad, especially the one about a drinker. I assume he's her ex-husband. Desi and the H.'s, also in the play, were there. Ray and Barb H. happened to have stopped in to buy tickets for the show, which I was glad to see. Chatted with them for a bit. Nice day.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Got a call from librarian Ellen that the display window was cleared. Took my Our Town info there before lunch and dressed the window. Tara K., who plays Emily, happened to be there with her four-year-old and she helped me move a glass panel. The display looks pretty good, I think; see picture above. Registered four friends and me for the Zelda presentation on April 13. Naturally, we'll do lunch first.
Took Susan and Walter to Outback for dinner. Good thing I made reservations, as the place was packed. S. and W. have had me over so many times, and I haven't reciprocated, so I was glad to treat. Because I don't eat animal flesh at home, the "signature steak" I ordered tasted sublime, although I took most of it home. Had a good Merlot and a cold beer, too.
Got home a little after 8:00 to get a Skype call from son Mike, who had beauteous little Violet on his lap. Vivian was at a sleepover at a friend's house.
WIDER: Well, the peace laureate, not satisfied with the extent of his war activities elsewhere, has asssured us of more death and destruction in Libya. Just a tidbit of his amusing speech on the subject:
"I firmly believe that when innocent people are being brutalized; when someone like Gadhafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region, and when the international community is prepared to come together to save many thousands of lives — then it's in our national interest to act."
I think his speechwriters should get a raise! It's priceless to hear that we're concerned with saving "many thousands of lives," so we're going to--what? Send members of the Peace Corps over? Sit down and negotiate with Libyan leaders? Try in any other peaceful way to end the violence and lend a helping hand to the people?
Nah-h! We'll bomb the hell out of them!
Problem solved.

Friday, April 01, 2011

When I got home from our walk, I laughed to hear a phone message from Betty. She assumed we wouldn't go because of the rain. I called back to say we had umbrellas and completed our usual mile and a half.
Susan mentioned that Walter was happy with Dr. DeMarco in Tuckerton as a dentist, so I went to his office, introduced myself, and picked up paperwork to fill out. His place has the virtue of being only a hop, skip, and a jump from home, as opposed to a three-hour round trip to Dr. Lyons'. Got up to Bordentown in a steady rain for my last visit. When I told her and the staff I had decided to make the switch, they were very understanding. After chatty Meg (the woman never stops talking) cleaned my teeth I got my x-rays and left.
Stopped on the way home at the Columbus Farmers' Market for broccoli, asparagus, and a few other goodies.
Rehearsal last night went well, I thought. Jeanne S., who plays Mrs. Gibbs, looked great in her costume--very authentic. This is our last rehearsal at the community center, thank heavens. It beats cold, moldy "Gifford" (the former municipal building), but it isn't the venue in which we'll perform, and we're all anxious to rehearse there.
Yoicks--we open a week from today! As with any performances, I'm looking forward to it with equal measures of happy anticipation and frozen dread.
Dinner at Outback with Susan and Walter tonight.