Sunday, July 31, 2011

Got a welcome Skype call from the Tokyo Twosome. Hot there and electricity is rationed.
Sister Betty called and invited me down to sit on her porch. Had no other plans, so accepted. Made a big salad and a chicken sandwich, put them and a few beers* in the cooler and zipped on down.
Well, no, hardly "zipped." Traffic on the Parkway just past Jimmie Leeds Road had slowed to a crawl, as the saying goes. Took me twenty minutes to go a mile, so got off at Absecon and made my way down via Route 9. That's what happens in the summer on the way to a resort. I realized later that the food and wine festival was going on that weekend, too.
Spent the afternoon chatting on Betty's porch. Mookie came over and last, so did Betty's obnoxious neighbor. Karen, who's about 40, is involved--or whatever it is--with Bob, who's at least in his late sixties--and is the type who never shuts up. I left soon after she came, but had a pleasant--if slow--afternoon.
Stopped at Shop-Rite, the cemetery, and Santori's on the way home. As soon as I got in, I jumped in the shower; it felt so good after sweltering on the porch. I'm not adverse to doing that once in a while, but being so idle every day--or even every week--would drive me batty.
* Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy. (Benjamin Franklin)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Walked with Susan, but then forgot about exercise at the clubhouse. I had every intention of going, but just--forgot! Gosh, I must be losing it.
Galvanized myself to clean the far side of the kitchen. Took everything off the baker's rack in one corner and the triangular shelf-thing (that's what it's called, "the shelf thing") in the other, and washed or dusted the items. Re potted two of the plants I keep there. Put everything back and it looks good.
Just lazed around most of the rest of the day, until the high point: a Skype call from Mike and family in London. The big seven-year-old, who's more beautiful than ever, showed me her Rapunzel doll--long blonde hair that grows--and little sister her baby doll with pink dress. Said hello to Paula, then Mike showed me around the house with the web cam. Geez, it's big--seven bedrooms, seven baths, a three car garage, and all kinds of other amenities on several floors. Reminds me of my childhood home on Rosborough Avenue in Ventnor, but larger. It's right across the street from a park for which Prince Phillip is responsible, or is the patron, or something. Anyway, it was wonderful to see the ones in GB.
Incredibly hot and humid yesterday, but of course, the AC prevented me from even noticing until I actually went out. Did so about 4:00. Put some peat moss in a bucket and drove over to the cemetery. Was delighted to see the Mexican heather now looks perky. Watered thoroughly, then put the peat moss around. Looks good.
Home, I had a message from Frank, who's producer (read: does everything) for Moon Over Buffalo. Called him back and will meet with him tomorrow to go over publicity and so on.

Friday, July 29, 2011

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Spent the morning in Manahawkin running errands and the afternoon at Pat L.'s interviewing her. We had an enjoyable visit. Pat is a retired R.N.--was in pediatrics at Robert Wood Johnson in East Brunswick for years. She now suffers from some kind of degenerative problem that affects her spine; uses a cane and it's often painful, but she doesn't complain. Got home after 3:00 and, as I usually do (and should always do), I wrote up some of the article while it was fresh in my mind.
Talked to sister Betty later. Other than that and household chores, not much going on.
Susan's back, so we'll walk today.
NOTE: Today is my darling grandaughter's seventh birthday. I'll call her on Skype later--hope the London location is set up. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, VIVIAN!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

With Susan away, I went for my walk with the boys--Frank, Johnny, the Platters--on the IPod. Showered, then headed over to Buena to pick Regina up. We went to a nearby restaurant--she insisted on picking up the tab this time--then I went back to her place and we had dessert of half a peach with raspberry sauce.
Regina and I are poles apart politically, religiously, and, I guess, in other ways, but we like each other and enjoyed the day. I stayed until about 3:30, then called Betty to see if she could meet. There was no answer and I didn't get a message back, so I impulsively decided to drive down to Ventnor. I did and found Betty home; her cell isn't functioning properly. We sat on her porch and talked, and I left about 4:30.
Stopped at the cemetery after--it's not exactly on the way, but close--and watered the Mexican heather. Unfortunately, all three plants looks a bit wilted; hope that's just that they needed water.
Am interviewing Pat L. today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Spent most of the day doing chores and running errands. Sliced up onions and sweet peppers, added garlic and oil, and cooked the concoction up in the small crock pot. Boy, is that good.
Called Marge, then stopped over for a chat. Brought her the slice of chocolate/orange/Kalila cake Susan had given me. She had baked it to take to her daughter's in Connecticut (will be gone until Friday). I appreciate her thoughtfulness, but dare not start on the sugar thing. Marge is very thin and can use the calories.
Went to Shop-Rite for blueberries and was incensed to see they wanted $3.99 a pint! Left them on the shelf and got them from B & B for $1.88.
Late in the day, drove over to Smithville and bought a rotisserie chicken. Had some for dinner and will eat off it (horrid expression) for a few more days.
Called sister Betty and we had a good talk. She's working today on Jimmie Leeds Road; I'd like to meet her there, but am taking sister-in-law Regina out for lunch, so will be in Buena. Will skip the three-mile exercise yet again--soon I'll be lolling around in my bathrobe all day...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Caught up with Susan for our regular walk--she thought I'd be home a day later--then went to exercise. After breakfast, I completed my favorite puzzle, the cryptogram in the AC Press, then did some proofing for The Breeze. My piece, "Pets Of The Past, Part II," the only one I contributed for August, looks okay. Started thinking about the Dionne Quintuplet article I'm planning, but decided I'll save it for the September issue, as I'm doing a profile on Pat L. for August.
Washed clothes, tidied up a bit, then drove over to Produce Junction to replenish my veggie supply. Got lettuce, mushrooms, butternut squash, and peppers. I noticed some attractive, rather large, and very inexpensive "Mexican Heather" (dunno why their country of origin would be mentioned) plants while I was there.
Drove to the cemetery, about six miles away, watered and pulled a few weeds, all the while thinking of the Mexican heather plants. Yes! I drove all the way back to Produce Junction, bought three, then went back to the cemetery. I had intended to simply place them in their pots, but--. Dug the holes, added water and Miracle-Gro (I keep gardening stuff in my trunk), and planted two at Pat's grave and one larger one at Jay's. By the time I was finished, I was dripping and muddy, but they look great.
Home about 2:00, I made a big salad and covered it with a damp paper towel to have for dinner, For late lunch, I had broccoli and butternut squash, and plenty of it. Jumped in the shower--did that feel good!--and dressed. By that time, it was about 4:30 and I drove to Manahawkin for feta cheese and a few other things. It was after 6:00 by the time I ate. Added the feta and two hard-boiled eggs to my big salad, and enjoyed every bite.
Got a very welcome phone call from Desi. No, I didn't get the part in Moon Over Buffalo, but neither did Ellen V. Desi explained that he had cast a newcomer, a young woman who's very much overweight (he emphasized that) because he has a certain concept of the nutty grandmother and she fit his idea. I understood that, and also understood that his call was an oblique apology after his annoying behavior at the audition. Okay, I'm over my anger (and, let it be said, hurt) at what I saw as his cavalier attitude. I agreed to continue as publicity chair and we had a cordial exchange.
All in all, a good, active, enjoyable day.

Monday, July 25, 2011

We actually got back from Wellsboro yesterday, not today. Had a good time, with lots of heat, food, and little boys. The kids played in the small pool in the backyard while adults moved from yard to porch to cool inside. A Spiderman cake was candled, "Happy Birthday" sung, and presents distributed. Fun day.
Renting a house, rather than going to a motel, was a great idea. The place--not fancy, but perfectly fine--was spotless and included all kinds of amenities, as well as very comfortable beds, and remarkably, an incredible array of food. It was stocked with canned goods, frozen food, juice, crackers, coffee, among lots of other edibles, as well as three small bottles of wine and "emergency" shampoo and other toiletries. Had a big sun porch and deck on the back and was set in what must be an acre of ground, with trees, bushes, and other foliage here and there. Best of all, there were two gliders--one of the front porch and one on the sun porch. We enjoyed that a lot during the time we weren't with the kiddies.
Long trip (five hours, plus another hours back to my house), but the SUV is comfortable and my puzzle books made it go quickly.
'Twas a nice interlude and now I'm back to everyday life. Looking forward to a repeat trip when we go up in August.
Skyped Ellen and had a nice talk and look-see. She's painting her downstairs bathroom and showed me the new rugs she bought--very attractive in sea foam green.
NOTE: The following is from John Caruso's political blog, which I read regularly. I was puzzled when I saw that this entry is off-topic, but when I read it, wanted to pass it on. It's interesting--and could be important--regarding what helped at least one person (John's father) with with Alzheimer's disease.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Planning to take some up north, I made a big salad in the morning; had some for lunch. Was so pleased with my purchases of two pairs of capris the other day, I went back to Manahawkin and bought two more. I now have them in black, white, grey, and a flower pattern of--well, black, white, and grey.
Spent time on the computer and recited lines from Night Must Fall, which we're doing in February. Yes, as soon as the production schedule (oh, that sounds so theatrical!) is announced, I try to get the script if there's a part appropriate for me. Of course, I'm much rather be in Moon, but fat chance, so I'll try for the Mrs. Bramson part in Night. It's a psychological thriller that may or may not go over with our audiences. Mrs. B. is a mean, cranky, self-centered old lady--type-casting again!
Talked to Lee S. and Virginia H., fellow members of The Breeze editorial staff. There's a tiresome feud going on, involving another member, who has put the "tiresome" in the feud and generally manages to throw her weight around (and it's a lotta weight) to get her way. I sent an e-mail commenting to the group; we'll see what happens.
I've decided to write something on the Dionne Quintuplets for the next issue, so hauled my memorabilia about them out of the garage. Good grief, I didn't even realize how much I have--three large boxes and one smaller one, which contain books, postcards, newsletter, banners, pictures, and myriad other things. Must whittle it all down to do a reasonably contained article. It occurred to me that I might eventually approach the library to see if I can do a presentation there. I did it several years ago for our women's club and it was well-received. Article first, then we'll see.
Ran the dishwasher, finished packing, and soon will be off to Wellsboro! (Probably no entries until I get back on Monday.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'd been a little low the last few days--I want to say "in a slough of despond," but it wasn't that bad--but yesterday, I bounced back. After my usual walk with Susan, I skipped the three-mile exercise and called sister Betty, to see if she could meet for lunch. She was at Shop-Rite in Mays Landing, so we decided on good ol' Shore Diner. Met at noon and I had a good Greek salad; ate half and boxed the other, and a Blue Moon. We had a nice chat and after we parted, I zipped up to Bob's and bought two ornamental peppers, one purple and one yellow and red. An indulgence, yes, but they were very inexpensive and they're so attractive. I then stopped at Canal's for a few bottles of cheap wine* and at S & M (I kid you not) for broccoli and cauliflower. Cemetery was on the way home, so I gave the azaleas--which seem to be doing well; they must like the heat--several jugs of water each. I noticed potted flowers on two nearby graves, so watered them, too.
Back at home, I planted my pepper plants, then jumped in the shower. Played a few rounds of "Word Slinger," and decided to go to the library to pick up another CD (I listen to Books On Tape in the car). By this time, it was a bit after 6:00 and I noticed chairs set up in the upper part. Asked what was going on, was told the Angeltones were singing and I decided to stay.
What a terrific show! The Angeltones quartet consists of four women, I'd say in their thirties, who sing "Doo Wop." They sang all the old standards from the sixties: "Stop! In The Name Of Love," "Destination Nowhere," "My Boyfriend," and lots of others. They were so-o-o good and it was such an unexpected treat--the best kind, I'd say. I had sat down early in the front, so it wasn't until I got up that I noticed that several friends were there. They all enjoyed it immensely and we were told the Angeltones will appear at the Seaport on Friday. If I wasn't going up to Wellsboro, I'd definitely go. Will tell Susan about them and see if we might possibly book them for a show at the Clubhouse.
Anyway, I had a great day. Am now looking forward to going up north--way up--tomorrow, to Wellsboro and Middlibury Center.
*On the cruise boat, I noticed a fifteen dollar decanting fee. Good grief, I don't even spend fifteen dollars on the wine!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Finally galvanized myself to pull weeds. Did the front flower bed and administered poison to the stuff growing in the driveway and sidewalk cracks. Hot? Oh, yeah.
Went to Shop-Rite and got a rotisserie chicken. Stopped at the library. I'm now working on three books: Final Jeopardy (about "Watson," the machine that bested the top players), I Is For Innocent (I seldom read fiction, but this isn't bad), and a bio--mediocre--of Hedy Lamarr.
Called sister-in-law Regina and we made a date for lunch for next Wednesday. Got a call from Ken G., of the Northfield theatre company--I think it's called "In House Players"--and, it seems, there may be some interest in the murder mystery at the Seaport, after all. Gave him Brooke's number and he can take it from there.
Received Allstate's new homeowners policy, which includes a annual hike of $122,22. I called, of course, to complain and got a bland explanation with all kinds of crap that comes down to: "We wanted to increase our profits, so suck it up, jerk." Will raise my deductible to $1000 and at least only pay $63 more.
Other than that minor stuff, still slow around here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pretty slow all day. Instead of calling her, I stopped at the Seaport to tell Brooke (development director) that our theatre company wasn't going to take on the murder mystery thing. Had to tell her the Northfield group won't, either.
Went to the cemetery late in the day and watered the azaleas again. They look pretty good; must like heat. Still haven't used the weed and grass killer on the sidewalk gaps. It's so hot even I didn't want to go out much, except to our walk, exercise, and in the car.
Got a call from the person Dodie had mentioned, her producer, Ken G., but he called on the cell and I missed it. I called him back at the same number immediately and there was no answer; don't know why. Guess we'll get to each other today.
WIDER: Oh, here's something interesting. In case anyone is wondering about--say, academic integrity or if there's any hope for merit to rise above political ideology, or what institutions will be corrupted next, take a look at this:
I worked at Rider University for 27 years, and retired as manager of employment. I also got my bachelor's degree there. Guess I should be shocked and horrified at this revelation from Florida State, but somehow, I'm not. Just numb, I guess.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Got home from up north about 10:30 and had my usual breakfast. Drove to Manahawkin and tried on a lot of clothes, but settled for just two capris (or pedal pushers or whatever they're called nowadays), one black and one white. Got a frame and mat from Michael's for the original sketch I bought in Atlantic Highlands.
Decided at the last minute to attend the ice cream social at the clubhouse and walked down about 7:00. Sat with Susan, Walter, and Mary Ann, plus two women I hadn't met before, Marla and Gwen. They live together on Nautic and I have the idea they're ex-nuns, although I may be mistaken.
The Social was fun. Had two bowls of ice cream, along with a glass of Chardonnay that Walter had brought. Talked to a lot of people I hadn't seen in a while and enjoyed the evening. I didn't buy my ticket ahead, so hadn't paid my seven bucks; must remember to give Susan it when I meet her for our walk.
Enjoyed our Sunday night Skype call with Ellen--P. and N. had called earlier, happy over Japan's soccer win over the U.S.
Got an e-mail from Desi announcing the cast of Moon. The part for which I auditioned, Ethel, he wrote, 'depends on schedules," whatever the hell that means. Oh, don't tell me, let me guess: It means he'll cast Ellen V. in the part as soon as she returns from her trip.
Desi also wrote that nobody has come forward to head up the murder mystery thing. I also heard from Dodie to the effect that her Northfield group doesn't want to take it on, either. Well, it's not my problem; I'll call Brooke today to tell her.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The FilmFest thing last night turned out to be a lot of fun. The northern couple and I left from their place about 5:30 and got there in about--I'm guessing--an hour. Immediately found Betty and niece and husband, Joan and Jim; not difficult, as the street fair wasn't very heavily attended, I'm afraid. We walked a bit, talked some, ate lightly, and I found an irresistible original sketch of a blonde playing an accordion while tap-dancing. The sentiment on it is: "The desire to perform isn't necessarily a sign of talent." HAD to buy--twenty bucks--especially as the artist's name is David Byrne (my maiden name)--must have been meant to be (heh).
The one-minute films didn't start until 9:00 and lasted until 10:30, but it seemed a shorter time, as the large majority were very entertaining. There were some dogs, of course, but overall, it was a good show. Stayed over up north, but drove home early.
That's the thing about a one-minute movie: If one is boring or pointless, you know you don't have to endure it for long.* (That's unlike Larry Crowne, a ninety-minute exercise in tedium, sez this Hanks fan.)
*I'm convinced of the truth of Neil Postman's belief that television, in particular, and the other speed-up entities of modern life, have led to the general inability to concentrate as long or as intensely as our antecedents did. Postman taught at NYU, wrote several books, including Amusing Ourselves To Death," in which he elaborated on the idea above. (I met him at Rider when he spoke there about fifteen years ago. He died in 2003.) Here's what he said in a speech in a 1990 speech in Germany:
"Information is now a commodity that can be bought and sold, or used as a form of entertainment, or worn like a garment to enhance one's status. It comes indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular, disconnected from usefulness; we are glutted with information, drowning in information, have no control over it, don't know what to do with it." He added, "...what started out as a liberating stream has turned into a deluge of chaos."
And this was twenty-one years ago, before the surge of computers and smart phones!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Called Mary Ann Van O. to invite her for dinner, but she had a prior. Jack B. stopped in; haven't seen him in an age and we had a nice chat. Puttered around some--I should have been pulling weeds--then went to the cemetery after lunch.
It's been months since I've been there and I should feel ashamed for neglecting Pat's grave, but I don't--well, not a lot. I pulled the weeds that had grown up, gave the azaleas three jugs of water each, and generally tidied up. The hens 'n' chickens are dwindling, I'm afraid, but a few parts were still there. Must try to figure out what, if anything, to plant that's really hardy. Will not resort to artificial. Checked Jay's grave, but his seems okay; heart stones still there.
The guy from the Northfield theatre company was supposed to call me last night, but didn't. Will call Dodie again today.
Other than that, nothing going on. Leaving for the FilmFest in Atlantic Highlands late today.
WIDER: From Common Dreams.Org, this story:
Former CIA legal head, John Rizzo is being charged with murder for signing off on drone attacks in Pakistan. Here's a bit from the story:
"The warrant will be sought on the basis of two test cases. The first centres on an incident on 7 September 2009 when a drone strike hit a compound during Ramadan, brought by a man named Sadaullah who lost both his legs and three relatives in the attack. The second complaint was brought by Kareem Khan over a strike on 31 December 2009 in the village of Machi Khel in North Waziristan which killed his son and brother."
This is important, but don't hold your breath until Rizzo is found guilty, complicit, or anything but pure as the driven snow. That would suggest there's something wrong with sending deadly weapons to another country to kill and, remember, without the slightest chance of self-defense for those being killed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My little dinner party was a great success. The K.'s came first, bearing a nice bottle of wine and a beautiful orchid plant. (Hope I can keep it alive for at least a few weeks.) Susan and Walter followed and I introduced them all to vodka and bitter lemon--they loved it! For appetizers, I served cut-up carrot and celery sticks, along with old fashioned onion dip, plus salty veggie sticks. We sat and talked for almost an hour, then had dinner.
Hey, it was darn good if I say it myself and everybody had seconds, even slender Susan. She had wine, Roman, Walter and I Blue Moon beer with an orange slice in it, and Judy stuck with the vodka and bitter lemon. They raved about the meal and the blueberry buckle made a big hit. We then sat and talked and talked until after 9:00when they finally left. Nice, nice evening.
During our dinner, Mike called from the airport, on his way back to London. I always miss him so much, but at least he's marginally closer than he was--England, as opposed to Singapore, although that's no hop, skip, and jump away, either.
Earlier, I spoke to Dodie, the woman who has the Northfield group that puts on murder mysteries. She's very much interested in the Seaport thing and, since Barbara H. declined to head it up, would like to be told more. She said her "producer" (!) would call me today.
Got a response to my e-mail to Dave S., asking if he's the son of Maureen Walsh, HSHS '53, which Mookie had wondered, and he is, indeed. Small world.
Think I'll invite Mary Ann Van O. over for dinner tonight, as I have yummy leftovers.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Spent virtually the whole day preparing for my guests; am having the G.s and the K.s for dinner tonight. I'm going with the same menu I had for Betty, Helen, and Mookie on Saturday: sweet and sour meatballs, macaroni salad, green salad, crusty bread, assorted sides, and blueberry buckle with fresh whipped cream. I want to introduce them to vodka and bitter lemon, a great summer drink. Zipped down to Shop-Rite to pick up ingredients; will make most of dinner today.
Barbara H. called me about the murder mystery thing. I e-mailed her the information about it and she's considering it. Think I'll tell her I'll help. Might as well, especially because I'm convinced I don't have a prayer of getting the part in Moon.
Talked to Betty. Will go with the north Jerseyan to the one-minute film thing in Atlantic Highlands on Saturday, for which she supplied some of the films. We'll both stay over at the n.J.'s, then Betty will go back for some kind of party or other. Heard from her that Dave S., who was in my "If Guys Were Gals" one-acter on Saturday, may be the son of a '53 HSHS grad named Maureen Walsh. Will ask him.
WIDER: Department of Beyond Belief:
If anybody dares to ever again tell me the American military is "fighting for our freedoms" or "defending our liberty" or whatever else bullshit they're happy to sling, I'll just refer them here. Involuntarily having "biometrics" recorded before someone's been accused of anything, let alone found guilty--hey, get used to it. It's coming to your neighborhood, too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Not much went on yesterday, so thought I'd add something about my New York adventure: I got to talking with the cabby who took me to the Trump Plaza and discovered he's an English lit student from Bangledesh. All across town, we had a lively discussion about Shakesspeare, Christopher Marlowe, Hemingway, and others. In fact, he drove right past my destination while expounding on Walt Whitman, one of his favorites. Took him ten minutes to circle around again, but I didn't mind. I was so charmed by his "passionite intensity" (Yeats, whom he didn't mention), I would have stayed in his cab for the afternoon.
Went to auditions last night. Was glad to see Jeff and Ron, two key players in Our Town there. Read for the part of the nutty grandmother, but got the strong impression it has already been cast. Desi said not, but I know my friend, Ellen V., played it before and he alluded to that. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

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Arrived in NYC by bus about 1:30 and was immediately scammed at Port Authority. A youngish man came up to me as I was about to go out the door and asked if I wanted a cab. "Yes," I said, and he took my suitcase to wheel it out. I thought he had quite a lot of initiative to get to people before they hit the street. I did think it a little odd that he said, "It's seven dollars; have it out." but figured there must be a set fee on Sundays. Followed him to a cab at the curb, into which he put my suitcase and was just handing him the $7 when the real cab driver spoke up: "No, you give the money to me." Other guy then grabbed my dough and left hurriedly. Ouch! Guess I was had.
Hotel--Hampton Inn--just around the corner from the Empire State Building, which I walked around to see after I was settled. Son Mike, in from London, called and I went over to the Trump Plaza to meet him about 3:00. His suite was so-o-o luxurious (sitting room, bedroom with floor to ceiling windows, bathroom I'd like to live in, and powder room). Of course, all other possible amenities were provided and what's more, you can buy the suite if you're so inclined and have several million to spare.
We walked the city, stopping in a number of stores for overpriced sunglasses for Mike, had a slice of pizza for lunch, and later, Mike treated me to a Delicious dinner of dressed "trenette." It's linguine--I asked--so why they don't call it that is beyond me. Had to say goodbye soon after, as Mike had a lot of meetings scheduled for the next day. Went back to the hotel, then explored a bit in the surrounding area.
Niece Joan came about 10:00 on Monday and we had a ball exploring the city. She was a great guide and among many other places, took me to Herald's Square, Battery Park, the waterfront, and on the train to Brooklyn, so I could see all the summer activity on the river. We went to the financial district for lunch (P.J. Clarke's) and I had my favorite summer meal: a rare hamburger and a Blue Moon beer. It was so festive with the crowds, both tourists and workers. We saw the site of the WTC and the building going on there.
We topped off the day with wine and wings at the Marriott, then Joan took me right to my bus at Port Authority--hers was just a few sections away. It wasn't crowded at all and I even had two seats to myself. Parkway on the way home clear, too. Got in and jumped immediately in the shower. Talked to Ellen on Skype, then fell into bed. What a great weekend!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The day turned out pretty good. Got to the Seaport, as planned, at 1:30 to find Betty, Mookie, and Helen already there, along with my fellow show people. When we went downstairs and outside to the stage, we were concerned at the heat--also at the lack of visitors to the Seaport. Oh, well, the show must you know what.
The stage is roofed and was in the shade, but the audience section faced the full sun. Luckily, our guys are resourceful: Jim and Frank moved some picnic tables with umbrellas over and a number of people sat there.
By the time we started--a little late--we had about forty people there, not too bad considering the sparsity of visitors to the Seaport. The first sketch was very funny and went over beautifully. I'm afraid it was all downhill from there. Several poems were read, followed by a long, tedious act from a Spanish play called "One Sunny Morning." I was taken aback by the fact that both actors in it were unsure of their lines and read quite a bit of them. I thought the selection of this particular play was a mistake.
My skit went over well, although I wish Frank and Dave had slowed down their delivery a bit, as I kept telling them in rehearsal. Laughs came in the right places and everybody seemed to like it. The last was "The Further Adventures of Wasp Woman," which featured Mary H. in a wasp costume and her real-life husband, Jim, as her agent. It got some laughs but, as with so-so-so many others, was too long.
After, Betty, Helen, Mookie, and I went back to my house. Sat and talked for an hour or so, then had an early dinner at five. I told them they were guinea pigs when it came to the meal: If they liked it, I'd serve the same to the G.'s and the K.'s, whom I want to have over for dinner this week. It was thumbs up from all of them for the sweet 'n' sour meatballs, macaroni salad, green salad, crusty bread, and sides, so I'll probably have that again. We had a ball talking and laughing over this and that after the blueberry buckle, ranging over superstition, religion, people we knew, and old times. They left about 7:00, I cleaned up, and packed a bit. Good Day altogether.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Busy yesterday. Went to Acme and got the fresh parts for my little supper* party and set up various bowls and dishes so I can assemble and cook everything easily. That's really about all I did yesterday, aside from driving up to Manahawkin to buy some tall glasses. Got four attractive ones at "my favorite store"--the SOCH Thrift Store, for a dollar each. (Why anyone would pay full price for items like that is beyond me.) Will start making the green salad before our walk.
Got an e-mail from Naomi P., saying she may be able to get to the show, so invited her for dinner, too.
*Somehow, using the word "supper," rather than "dinner" makes me feel smooth and sophisticated. I think of "supper club," a mysterious entity to me. Well, I'm such a kid, I'm easily influenced...

Friday, July 08, 2011

Spent most of the day in preparation. Betty, Helen, and Mookie are definitely coming, and Alice E. might. Another high school friend, Mary H., and Kay Somebody also might, so I could have from four to seven for dinner. No prob: I'm planning to serve sweet and sour meatballs in the slow cooker, homemade macaroni salad, a green salad, my own crystal pickles, and crusty bread. Bought the non-fresh ingredients and will get the rest today. We'll certainly get here early, as the show starts at 2:00 and last only about an hour and a half at most. Well, I'll play it by ear, probably invite them to sit on the porch with vodka and bitter lemon. Also have iced tea, soda, and beer.
In the late afternoon, I actually sat down watched a video. It was an American Masters bio of Earnest Hemingway, obviously made ten or more years ago. I was interested because I had recently been in "Papa's" home in Key West. To my annoyance, it didn't even mention his sojourn there! I didn't think it was very well done otherwise, either.
Called Marge, and was glad to hear she seems to be improving slowly. Consulted Betty about a strange, kind of charlie horse pain I woke up with yesterday morning. It was in my left thigh, though, and I don't think you get that kind of pain there. My high school friend, Jeanne P., just wrote me that she has deep vein thrombosis and I was sure it was that. However, I had no other of the symptoms I looked up, so I'm hoping not. It went away when I got up and walked to the bathroom and there's been no recurrence since.
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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Went to exercise--the three mile!--hung in and was glad when it was over. Finally got a few chores done around the house, including wash and vacuuming. Frank and Dave came at 3:30 for a final rehearsal of "If Guys Were Gals," which is coming right up on Saturday. Hope the one-act play thing is a success--and I fervently hope it doesn't rain. The production is at the Tuckerton Seaport on the stage outside; if it rains--aagh!
Ran up to Shop-Rite after for some stuff. Indulged myself with a rotisserie chicken, something I rarely buy because I like it so much I over-indulge. Did so.
After dinner, went to the library and when I came home, Susan was just walking past my house. We chatted and I invited her to sit on the porch for a bit. Did, then Walter came along and I asked them in for a glass of wine. They didn't leave until after 9:00, so I didn't get to bed at my usual time.
Lots of errands today and I must get ready for my company. I figure on five over for an early supper after the show on Saturday. Must prepare for my trip to Manhattan on Sunday, too.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Another fine day with the two darling boys. The four of us went to the "Please Touch Museum" in Philly and what a fun day! It wasn't so jammed as to be uncomfortable, just enough to be festive, and we all had a great time. It isn't really a museum, though, it's more like a play and do thing. It features an immense array of things, in dozens of categories (space, shopping, repairing cars, Alice in Wonderland, water play, a park, and so on and on). Both boys loved it, although it's really geared toward the younger end. What turned me off, though, was the commercialization of so many areas: The miniature supermarket was Shop-Rite, the restaurant McDonald's, the auto repair shop Toyota, (with Hess gas). This prevailed throughout: Wherever little children could be reminded that we owe our souls to corporate America, it was done--sigh.
I was thrilled to realize that the building, Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park, was erected for the 1876 Centennial celebration, the only one remaining. My grandmother, Sophia Bub, appeared there at 17. She was hired to impersonate a Turkish maiden, and I have a picture of her with the merchant, Abdel Katy Abdid. There's an exhibit about the Centennial at the museum and I got the card of the curator of collections. I'll contact her and see if she wants a copy of the picture of my grandmother.
After, we went to a huge fountain in center city, at J.'s suggestion. The boys took off their shoes and socks and waded in it, along with a few other kids. It was over ninety degrees in late afternoon, so this felt so good.
Got back after 5:00 and home after 6:00. This may be the last time I see the boys for a while, darn it, so I cherished the day. Hope we can arrange something before they leave again for the north.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

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Holy smokes, I thought after I got home from Florida, I'd have a lull, but I'm happy to say it didn't happen. Yesterday, after I virtuously attended exercise at the clubhouse, I got a welcome call from Mike, now in London at last. He and family are in an apartment--"a veritable hovel," according to Citibank's new director of Global Something Or Other, for a week or two before they move into their 7-bedroom house in Surrey. We made arrangements for me to meet him in Manhattan on Sunday--he was so generous as to spring for a room for me, although not at the pricey Trump where he's staying. After we talked, I immediately called darling niece Joan and was pleased she'll meet me on Monday for sight-seeing and lunch.
With that arranged, I pulled weeds in the broiling heat (thought I was back in Miami) while being almost bitten to death by mosquitoes. Had a light lunch (cauliflower and blueberries, NOT mixed),then changed into bathing suit and took off for the lake in Whiting.
Met the adorable little boys and the northern dwellers. They were involved in the "cache" thing--too long and involved to explain--but, unfortunately, didn't find it or them after diligent searching in the woods.
The lake was great and it was so very much fun to splash in it with the precious boyos. We left about 5:30 and had a delectable dinner on the deck: hamburgers, a ragout of mixed veggies, the best corn on the cob I ever tasted, and homemade pickles* and double blueberry tartlets.
Left about 7:00--the others were going to the fireworks at Fort Dix--got home by 8:00and after a deliciously refreshing shower, had my good ol' wine and popcorn.
Today: the "Please Touch Museum" for children in Philadelphia with the northern couple and the little guys.
*When I get a minute, I want to make these. It seems easy and they were wonderfully crisp and flavorful--not at all like the ones you buy in a jar. A great side dish for summer.

Monday, July 04, 2011

My first full day at home was--well, full, always an enjoyable circumstance for me. At Betty;s invitation, met her her and her son, Wes, and his family (wife, Katie, and two little girls, Miranda and Scarlett) at a breakfast at St. James at 10:00. Food was mediocre--cold scrambled eggs and so on--but we had a great time together. Saw Alice E. and her sisters, who were visiting from California and Michigan. I hadn't seen them for well over a half-century, so we reminisced like crazy and that was great fun.
After, we went back to Betty's and sat on the porch for a time. It had been raining, but stopped and Wes and family went to the beach. Mookie came over and so did the northern visitor; latter and Betty walked down to meet others, but they were on their way home anyway.
We all sat on the porch eating leftover subs and talking and laughing. The northern visitor and I walked on the boardwalk, then all but she left for Betty's niece-by-marriage, Dorothy, who had invited us all over for a cookout. We all went to Galloway and had a ball; there was only one other guest besides Dorothy and her family: her stepmother, Mary Ann, who I didn't see eat, but did notice drank about a gallon of vodka and mixer. Hey, whatever serves...
Drove home in a thunderstorm. Today, will meet the one up north with the darling little boys at the lake, then have a cookout at her house. They'll go to the fireworks at Fort Dix, which I'll skip. For one thing, I don't want to drive in the dark and for another...guess.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
And what an ordeal at the airport. It took roughly twenty minutes to get through "security," the U.S. version of "terrify the citizen until he begs to be violated." The usual invasions of privacy ensued: the dumping of everything in the bin, the removal of shoes, the entrance through the mysterious machine (how do I know I'm not being silently bombarded with death rays?), but the folks in Fort Lauderdale have added some refinements. Besides the above, travellers were forced to go through their luggage and remove everything containing any amount of liquid. I keep in my overnight case tiny sample bottles of shampoo, shower gel (I assume that qualifies), and so on. Had to open my carry-on suitcase, find the case, unzip, root through, pick them out, and add them to the plastic bin. Were travellers then allowed to walk through the metal bower? Oh, no: We first had to empty our pockets, even of paper, to show the guards. I removed the Ativan I had wrapped in a piece of paper in one pocket, but forgot I had put my checked luggage receipt in the other. When I went through, it caused not a ripple, so what does that tell you?
Ordeal over yet? Nope: I was then forced to stand on a metal platform facing some kind of screen, with my feet apart and my hands over my head until, I guess, I was zapped with more death rays (or something). Finally finished, I gathered up my things and limped in my stocking feet to a non-too-convenient chair to put my shoes back. (I wear comfortable walking shoes--read "sneakers"--to travel, and I'll be damned, as some have advised me, to wear slip-ons just to accommodate the wardens.)
What struck me hard yesterday was the lack of protest among the people who, presumably, had paid a pretty penny for their airfare--stowaways don't go through "security." They moved like sheep through the line that suggested so strongly those in a prison (thanks to my friend, Jim W., for this analogy). Everyone demonstrated docility and faces remained blank (don't let the screws know what you're thinking) Many of the perps (guilty until proven innocent, of course) smiled and thanked their tormentors. Well, there was at least one exception: yep, I was pretty vocal about the outrages so many so easily accept. I made a number of rather loud remarks--some with vulgarities--which were ignored by the stone-faced examiners, who have surely been trained not to react. What's truly scary is that, aside from a startled glance or two, my fellow passagers reacted the same way.
The propensity of just about everybody, no matter what side of the political swamp is being defended, to point with alarm at situations like this and invoke Orwell, is such a bore. I suspect some of them have never even read 1984 and/or that they believe that's all he ever wrote. With that ponderous aside, though, I'm going to do it: check out good ol' Eric Blair and his harrowingly prescient prose, especially in the scene where Winston first lands in the Ministry holding cell. Should make your blood run cold.
And here, from Jim W.'s blog, "The Chestnut Tree" (that a title tie-in!), are some related thoughts:
"...Anthony Gregory gives a succinct summary of the New Paradigm:
We are not really surrendering our gels, forgoing our bottled water, or taking off our shoes for our own good. That’s all a ruse. The TSA is an agency whose function, if not intended purpose, is to condition obedience and subservience into the population. It is an arm of the federal police state and cannot be reformed into anything else. It must be abolished totally and nothing short of that will bring liberty back to air travel."
Gregory goes on: "Even more fundamentally, the media and talking heads — certainly the conservative opponents of TSA — forget why we have a terrorist threat, such as it is, in the first place: Because the U.S. government is waging imperial wars abroad, slaughtering children, propping up corrupt regimes, overthrowing governments, playing geopolitical favorites, cutting people off of international trade, and generally behaving as the biggest bully in the world. The blowback terrorism that results can never be stamped out so long as the wars continue...."
Oh, yes, and when will they ever end? When our aggression does, I guess, and that bodes ill for anything but more--and worse--of the same.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Usually blog in the morning, but won't have time tomorrow. Went with Larry to the gym and did the treadmill. It felt great to be back in the swing of exercise and I love the "Life Fitness" machine. It displays time, distance, calories burned, and heart rate, and allows you to adjust for speed and incline. I went three miles in an hour, at a speed of 3.3 and incline of 6.5. Burned 400 and some calories and elevated heart rate from 120 to 137.
Before we left, I said a heartfelt goodbye and fervent thanks to my dear sister-in-law. She was off with daughter Elaine and her family to Jacksonville to celebrate several birthdays at daughter Jeanne's. What a gem she is.
Showered, packed as much a I could, then Larry treated me to the new movie, Larry Crowne. I'm crazy about Tom Hanks, who starred, wrote, directed, and probably supplied the coffee and doughnuts, but it wasn't great. I find Julia Roberts tedious--seems to me she plays only Julie Roberts--but the supporting actors were great.
After, we had dinner at Sweet Tomatoes, one of those buffet restaurants. I thought it was better than most.
Okay, I'm signing off and going to bed; have to be up at 5:00. Goodbye, Miami, and your luscious heat--love ya, but I need to get back to my Jersey self.
Larry and I went to the Sawtooth Mall, or Sawmills Center, or whatever it is, while Helen attended to errands. This is a huge discount shopping area; lots of stores and people around. Larry bought a new watch and we inspected televisions and other electronics. Had lunch at the food court--sushi for me--and ambled about. On the way home, we went through a ferocious thunderstorm, while I called both darling daughters to catch up on what's going on with them.
Helen made another yummy dinner--this time, rosemary chicken (heh, heh), Brussels sprouts, and baked potatoes, followed by vanilla ice cream. We then spent a quiet, companionable evening. I went to bed early, and got up at 6:00. I've been following such a decadent lifestyle (and don't I love it!), staying up late and sleeping in--once to 8:00 am!!--but my plane leaves at 7:50 tomorrow and I have to get up about 5:00. Poor Larry does, too, to get me to the airport.
I have to say goodbye to Helen today. She's going up to Jacksonville for a birthday party for two of her great-grands. I'll be sorry about that, but know her family is her life, and she's the heart of it. This is the last full day of my two weeks in Florida and what a great time I've had. Lucky me; like Helen, I have an immediate family par excellence, but my birth family is the greatest, too.