Friday, September 30, 2011

Naomi e-mailed me early, asking if we could have lunch at her house instead of out. I called her and she explained that she was on a vegan diet and wasn't sure she could order anything at Shore Diner. I said I'd be glad to share her food and went over.
She made soup--pea, but with cashews, mushrooms, and lots of other things not usually in pea soup. It was thick and very good. The salad was ordinary, but with a very tasty dressing that included chick peas and so on. A lot of the food has to be organic and there are some unusual dishes, but she and her husband like the regime.
I then took her to Produce Junction. I got peppers, butternut and spaghetti squash, arugula, tomatoes, gigantic mushrooms, and broccoli. Naomi bought a papaya and a mango and we both bought beautiful yellow mums.
Went to Fabulous Jewelery, but it was closed for Rosh Hoshanna. Just as well, as Naomi makes her own. Driving around, she told me something of her life, which has been difficult at times. I asked if she was okay with stopping at the cemetery on the way home and she was fine with that--said she goes with Wayne to his late wife's grave. Also stopped at the library, so I could show her N.'s creations, which she greatly admired.
Naomi herself has an artistic bent. She does graphic design and writes poetry. Also makes jewelery and lately, has been designing with flashing--yes, the shiny stuff used on house construction. She also has psychic powers and is very much into the mystic. Knowing I write, she asked me to critique some of her short verse--she calls them "postcards" and lent me a book of them.
Interesting day.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Went to Kohl's, but couldn't find the walking shoes (read "sneaks") I wanted. Tried to order on the phone, but the rep and I couldn't come to a conclusion about which pair I wanted.
Tackled the pull-out shelves in the kitchen and got lots of donations stuff there. Incredibly, I had four large plastic beverage containers--what? Not sure if I ever used them, as I prefer glass, so I designated three for the thrift store. Neatened up the basket and refrigerator containers and so on.
Galvanized, I turned my attention to my recipes. I get a lot from magazines and newspaper, and the Internet--one thing it's good for--and weeded them out. Assembled the ones I wanted. Went to the library and did a few other chores. I want to continue my efforts in the kitchen today.
Called a guy to come over for an estimate to re-grout the bathrooms. He did, and the cost would be $650--aagh! I could probably get him to $500, but even that is a lotta dough.
Marge called and we had a nice chat. She invited me over to pick up the cost for the ticket to the Surflight Theatre she and Fred are treating me to (I mean "to which she and Fred are treating me"--good grief, I'm compulsive!).
Desi called, asking if I have any clippings from past LETCO productions. I do and will call lhim when I dig them out.
Lunch and Atlantic County excursions with Naomi today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mary S. picked me up about 11:00 to take my picture in front of the library display window. It looks good and will appear in the November issue, along with a paragraph I'll write with her byline.
In going though magazines, I cam across a Vanity Fair with Lady Gaga on the cover. I knew Betty's grandson, Finn, was crazy about her, so I put it in a big envelope and sent it to him. Driving home, I had a "gulp" moment: There were some pretty provocative pictures Lady G. and was it appropriate for a ten-year-old? Called his mother, Carolyn, and described it in cause she wanted to intercept it and scan it first. She said she thought it was probably okay, but would consider it.
Still having a back seat full, I was happy to see the Tuckerton thrift store finally open. Dropped the stuff off there, then proceeded to Manahawkin and Shop-Rite.
Did wash, cleaned a bit and did other mundane chores most of the rest of the day.
Susan will be back late tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Busy day. After my walk, exercise session, and breakfast, I waited for the men from Habitat, who came about 11:00 and took the chair. In the meantime, I called the guy from the solar panel outfit and left a message. I'm almost surely getting them; eight of my fourteen neighbors have already contracted for them and it looks like a no-brainer. Was told to call the electric company to get my "consumption record" (how many kilowatts I use) and I did. They'll send.
I had difficulty sending a message to LETCO members and Frank came over to help. He also brought me discs with pictures from rehearsals, participants in costume. I'll take that to the newspapers.
After lunch, I drove over to Hamilton to look at the bedside tables again. Still not sure if I'll get them. Got shades for the lamps in my bedroom. Stopped at the cemetery on the way back.
Betty called after dinner to tell me her comings and goings in California. She'll be back a week from today. I told her I had found an old Vanity Fair with Lady Gaga on the cover, an article and pics inside. Sent it to her grandson, Finn, but later thought I should have checked with his mother, Carolyn, first, as there are some pretty racy pictures. Plus, I didn't read the article. Will call this morning.
I had gotten an e-mail with a racist (and ridiculous) diatribe called "Open Letter From An American Airlines Pilot" and replied to refute it. Naomi had e-mailed me to say "Bravo." Also said she'd like to go to lunch and we will on Thursday.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I was able to move the small antique "lady desk" from the guest room to the hall, then to my room, maybe temporarily. I'll decide where it will go after my Christmas company leaves. Also moved the (small) green bookcase to the hall to clear the way for the men from Habitat to move out the recliner. Can't decide whether to give that up, too, or not. Changed my bed, did wash, and cooked butternut squash in the crock pot; had it for lunch and it was good.
Showered and dress for the "Dine Around" and went down the street to the R.'s. About thirty of us met at The Grapevine on Route 9. I've been there several times over the years and the experiences have been uneven. They catered our fiftieth anniversary party and did it beautifully, but I've had lunches and dinners that I weren't up to par.
Last night, though, the food was excellent. I had scallops, which I haven't for y ears, and they were very good. Along with the entrees they served, family style, not one but two bowls of pasta (with vodka sauce and a broccoli one with garlic), salad, and vegetables. The last were uninspired, being a "summer mix" or whatever they call it--I always think they throw in together all the left overs from the day before; in this case, more broccoli, string beans, carrots, and sweet peppers. I don't even like the combination. The dessert, cheesecake, was delicious and the coffee good. No fewer than four people had birthdays that month and Judy K., ever the party person, sent around birthday cards she individually designed and made, along with birthday tiaras for the women and a crown for the man. They were presented with cupcakes with candles and we all sang "Happy Birthday." There was a drawing for little gifts--I got a glittery hanging decoration--and each woman got a fresh long-stemmed red rose. These occasions aren't usually so elaborate, but certainly will be next month, as Judy and Roman have the October Dine Around.
Enjoyed my usual Skype call from Ellen and we had a good chat.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Almost out of veggies, I drove to Santori's early on. Stopped at the cemetery. Home,I cut up cabbage and added quartered oranges to the crock pot. I ate it later, but it wasn't one of my better efforts.
Spent almost all the rest of the daylight hours writing and editing a variety of material. Took everything out of the three large containers filled with Dionne Quintuplet items and consolidated them into two containers. The books--of which I have roughly thirty--I put on the bottom shelves of the bookcase I moved into the study closet. I'm not crazy about doing that, but maybe I'll move them later.
About noon, I was thrilled to get a Skype call from London. Talked at length to Mike and Paula and the precious little girls. Paula has started driving, although it's hard on the "wrong" side of the road. (If we weren't meant to drive on the right, why was it called that?)
Niece Joan W. called to tell me she and Jim had seen Limitless. She had other movies to recommend, including V For Vendetta, of which I think I've vaguely heard. It concerns a future Fascist government in the U.S.--hey, isn't that just a contemporary piece?
"Dine-Around" dinner tonight.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It rained and I walked my walk under an umbrella. Completed the one-act play I'll bring to the next Thespians meeting: "I Have Something To Tell You." It's a tragedy, not a comedy; guess I'll bring the funny "The Return Of Tootie," too. This is a funny one, the sequel to my first "Tootie" piece I did for the Sunrise Bay Players. Wish I could find the first one, but it's not on this computer.
Got a little more clearing out finished, plus other stuff too boring to mention. My visitor from up north came about 3:30 and we got the bookcase moved into the study closet and the table in the hall into my room. I want to rearrange other stuff, too.
Watched the rest of the video son P. sent from his an N.'s excursion to Fukushima. Beautiful area and interesting, but I wasn't crazy about the fact a typhoon was coming while they were there.
At loose ends late in the day, I took a drive here and there. I have to keep remembering it costs money to do that, but I need to get out of the house when--well, when I need to get out of the house.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I don't want to continue a step-by-step chronology of my clean-up efforts. (Geez, if it bores me, what does it do to other people?) Therefore, I'll just say I finished the study closet--easy--and a few other areas. Loaded up the car with cast-offs, intending to drop them off at the Tuckerton thrift store, but it was still closed, although the sign says only "closed Tuesday and Wednesday.")
Stopped at Habitat For Humanity and was pleased to hear they'll come and get the chair I want to get rid of. I'm thinking of jettisoning a few tables, too.
Drove to Hamilton Mall and looked at end tables at a few stores. Found some possibles, but I'm not decided. Stopped at the cemetery on the way home.
Earlier, I was Skyped by P. and N., whom I had e-mailed to the effect I couldn't run the disc they sent. P. suggested I tried while he was "on." Did so and thought to ask if the shiny side should face up. shouldn't--so the problem was I had the thing upside down.
Settled down to watch their adventures in Fukushima and greatly enjoyed seeing the area, surrounded by huge mountains and beautiful forests. He mentioned the great size of the dragon flies and showed a number of serene ponds. Saw a tea house and various artifacts, as well as lovely views of the city below.
I wasn't nuts about the fact that this is where the nuclear reactors are, plus the typhoon that was threatening the area, plus the bears in the woods, which seemed pretty well deserted by people--and so on.
Will watch the rest tonight and then e-mail P. with questions.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Whew! I cleared out the guest room closet, then rearranged it. I consolidated the toys into one small plastic three-drawer unit, and put in the now-empty small chest for the girls' clothes. What I decided makes more sense, I switched the wrapping paper, etc. stuff to the other side. THEN I cleared out one side of the study closet, which contained three bulky items: a long, flat plastic container containing past theatre group items--scripts, flyers, programs, plus some props--and an identical one with memorabilia from Pat's death--letters, notes, and so on. I put these in the freed-up space in the closet guest room and they fit perfectly. In addition to those mentioned, there was a large container of son Mike memorabilia. I put that in the garage with the other three kids' containers. I'm planning to put the low bookcase in the open space (omigawd!) and use that for the things I'll need when I sleep in the study over Christmas.
Before I started all that, I put up lots of onions and peppers, added the usual garlic and oil and set them to simmering in the crock pot. I hadn't realized how much I was making, so when they were finished, I took a bowl down the street to Judy and Roman, who were very appreciative. Also, trimmed the Brussels sprouts I had bought at Produce Junction and put them in the smaller crock pot.
Packed up the car--second full-car load--and took the stuff to the Manahawkin thrift store which, luckily, are now accepting clothes. Dropped them and about 30 books off, plus other stuff. Couldn't resist going in; bought some videos for the kids coming for Christmas. Stopped at Shop-Rite, too.
I was glad to get a CD from P. and N. about their trip to Fukushima Prefecture, along with a uniquely designed souvenir bookmark. However, when I put the CD in, what came up on the screen was "This disc cannot be played. Please check the disc." Darn! I'll have to ask somebody what the problem could be. The person from up north is coming to help me move the bookcase so I'll ask if her husband can figure it out.
Dropped a long dress off to Ellen V. at rehearsal last night to see if it can be used for Moon Over Buffalo.
UPDATE: The Tokyo Twosome just Skyped me and asked me to run the CD again. Did and it didn't work. I asked if the shiny side went up--no and that wss the problem. Put it white side up and it works--problem solved!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I am on a roll! Completed the clear-out of the big closet and can hardly believe how much space I actually have. Started on the closet in the guest room--lots of donation stuff there--and am musing over whether to put the small chest or a low bookcase in there for my guests. Incredibly, both are empty (for the first time in 8 years).
Took the packed car to the SOCH thrift store in Manahawkin, where I found they're not accepting clothing at this time. Just as well, as it was raining, so I dropped off the other stuff. Thought I'd take the rest to the Tuckerton location, but they're closed until tomorrow--must be taking inventory or something.
Earlier, I had pared and chunked the yams--five pounds--which filled both crock pots. Just added a sprinkle of cinnamon and while I was in Manahawkin, bought two oranges to put in. However, by the time I got home, they were finished, so now I have surplus oranges. Well, I'll figure out some way to use them.
As ever, I enjoyed seeing the Tokyo twosome on Skype. They were planning to attend an "eel expo"; can't even imagine what that might entail.
Betty called and we had a nice chat. Ditto with Mary Ann Van O., with whom I'm going to an opera lecture at Westminster in a few weeks. We made a date to attend a CD of the actual opera--Anna Bolena, presumably, the Italian spelling of "Anne Boleyn"--in October, too, in a theatre in Egg Harbor. Called Pat L. to accept her invitation to go to the Chowder Fest on Long Beach Island on October 2. Got the proofs for the October Breeze and proof-read.
WIDER: I think it's best to be skeptical when you see something that goes against what seems to be reasonable. Just found this site and believe me, I added it to my favorites lickety-split:
Are you suprised? You shouldn't be. ALWAYS question, NEVER assume...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Had a delightful day with Leslie. First, I took the car to exercise (I usually walk), then drove to Blockbuster to return the movies I "bought"--read "rented." Saw the manager and he was nice enough to skip the fee when I explained I thought they were purchased.
Just had time to jump in the shower, dress, and pick Les up at 12:30. We went first to Shore Diner for lunch, where we stayed for more than an hour, talking and talking in our usual way. Zipped down Tilton Road to Produce Junction and boy, between the two of us, we filled the back seat with goodies. I got arugula, yams, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, butternut squash, beets, and couldn't resist two pretty African violet plants--in honor of my precious granddaughter? I then took Les to the 69-cent store and we found a few things.
Next stop was the cemetery, where we reminisced about Pat. I told Les I wished she had known him when he was really well. I was happy to see the mums looked pretty good, if not exactly thriving. Went then to Jay's, where I reminded Les that she had given me the shell on his grave, from her backyard "Anthony's Garden," which commenmorates her son who died eight years ago at thirty-one.
Home after a full day, we said goodbye. After unpacking the car, I immediately pared the beets--about three pounds of them--cut them in chunks, sprinkled them with oil, and put them in a hot oven for an hour. Also cut up and microwaved one of the two heads of cauliflower, after adding Mrs. Dash and Parmesan cheese. Had that for dinner, along with salad I had made earlier.
Today, I'll get a lot of the rest of the veggies prepared, eat some, and put others in the fridge and freezer.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Well, yesterday was an up and down one, some good, some not so. I was delighted with myself after I cleared out most of my closet. This is a walk-in and I'm afraid I tend to stick everything in there I don't know what else to do with. I weeded out a lot of clothes to take to the thrift store--mostly size 8s (sob!)--and moved things around otherwise. I'm on a roll and will tackle other areas shortly. This is in preparation for my house guests coming in December--yay!
Because I had yet another 99-cent coupon from Blockbuster, I decided to pick up a movie for the little girls when they're here. Got Tourist for myself,too. When I went up to the checkout, I was stunned to hear I owed them money. For what? Why, for Rear Window and To Catch A Thief, which I had rented on the fifteenth. Rented?! I thought I had bought them for 99cents! But no, it was to rent them. Good grief, it's a good thing I went to get another movie--I wouldn't have gone back indefinitely. The woman there advised me to bring them back today, when the manager's there. I think she implied he'd give me a break; hope he does, but if not, I'll just have to chalk it up to experience.
Got home to find a message from Mary Ann Van O. Was I going to opera? Good grief, I had forgotten all about it. I quickly changed, jumped in the car, and got there at 1:25, just before La Traviata started. Hadn't had lunch, so I had some grapes and a banana while there. Enjoyed the opera, but I want to go back to clearing out before I lose my momentum.
Had a good talk with Ellen last night; her hair looks terrific. I told her I thought I was losing it, what with no finding my car the other day and the Blockbuster thing. She assured me I'm no nuttier than ever. Can't wait to see her in person in December.
Forgot to mention in yesterday's post that Jerry, the leader (of sorts) of the Thespians group, gets a stipend. Fer cryin' out loud, why in hell should he get a stipend? Also, some talk was bandied about regarding money. I asked what it was used for, as there's no scenery and I assume actors provide their own props. I didn't get a definite answer, but learned about the stipend. Also, I understood from Rachel, that they charge to get into their "shows." if they ever do any. Nothing about dues was mentioned, though, and I don't think there are any. I ain't coughing up any dough, I'll say that right now. Another thing: Jerry does not critique the "acting"--read "reading style"--at all, and there were several people at the meeting who said they don't write. Therefore, what's in it for them? Think I'll call Rachel and ask.
Picking Leslie up at 12:30 for lunch and excursions.
Went to the "Thespians" gathering at the Ventnor Library and was surprised that all parking spaces were taken. Parked all the way over across Atlantic Avenue in the St. James lot. I walked in the front door to see a line of people that, as I fought my way through them, I realized stretched all the way through the lobby, up the stairs, and across the upper floor. These were people who suffered some kind of "hardship"--lost wages, need to pay for lodging, or whatever--from the mandatory evacuation before the storm-that-wasn't, hurricane Irene. As a good progressive, I guess I should approve this action, but I'm not sure I do. I certainly favor using tax money to benefit people, rather than more military action, but--. Must think about this.
Anyway, I attended the meeting and found it a mixed bag. The "leader," Jerry, seems a tiresome windbag, self-important and dictatorial. He favored us with a list of the ten things a play must have: "number two, conflict," "number six, "believable dialog," "nine, favor action over talk," and blah, blah, blah. (If people who write plays don't know these points and plenty more, why in the hell are they writing plays?)
Anyway, there were about twenty-five people there, and Jerry decided on whose plays should be read and who should read them. It's evident that he and Rachel K., who's in a leadership position--I think secretary--are very much at odds. She indicated this when I talked to her on the phone and they had several little skirmishes throughout the day.
I had brought several short plays--skits, really--and submitted "The Truth, The Embellished Truth, And Nothing Like The Truth" to be read. I had wanted to do the Shelby Nameless character myself, but Jerry overruled me and gave it to a woman named Naomi, who actually did a pretty credible job. I did suggest Rachel for the alter ego, and Jerry allowed that. The skit, with lots of gags, got a gratifying number of laughs, starting with the title.
I read a short part in another play, a pointless, completely boring thing about three college students, sitting and talking... And that's the problem with most of these things: You've got two, sometimes three, people sitting and talking, invariably on great and ponderous topics and/or their tortured love lives. Couldn't be more boring and I was amazed the participants didn't seem to take the admonitions about "conflict" and "action" to heart.
Nevertheless, it was generally enjoyable and I met new people, which I always like to do, including Marlene, who lives in Mays Landing, and sings; John, who's in Student Affairs at Stockton and also teaches (I'm sure adjunct) there, and Linda, who doesn't seem crazy about Jerry, either. They meet only once a month and I think I'll go back.
Got home about 4:30 in driving rain and was glad to stay in the rest of the day.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pretty slow. I was amazed that the temperature has dropped so far so fast; I understand it was 41 yesterday. Went to exercise, then washed sheets and re-made the guest room beds. I really want new bedside tables in my room, so I went to Pier One Imports and other stores looking. Didn't find much.
Called Betty to tell her about my day with Jeanne. Got a call from Pat L. and we had a long chat. She invited me to go to Long Beach Island on October 1 for the annual Clam Chowder contest. Said I'd call her back on it, but I think I'll go.
Spent the rest of the day in various, low-key pursuits, reading and duplicating some of my skits and plays to take to the "Thespians" meeting in Ventnor today.
Got an e-mail from Leslie R., reminding that we're going to lunch and the produce market--either Santori's or Produce Junction--on Monday. I'm looking forward to catching up on things with Les.
WIDER: From an article in CommonDreams.Org by Phyllis Benning about all the wars the U.S. got itself in volved in after 9/11:
•Official (though undeclared) wars in and against Afghanistan and Iraq
•Official (but not really a war "because U.S. troops aren’t the ones at risk") war in Libya
•Unofficial (though sort of acknowledged) war in Pakistan
•Unacknowledged (because murder-by-drone doesn’t count as war) war in Yemen and Somalia
•Indirect and diplomatic war (through $30 billion military aid enabling Israel’s occupation and by promising another UN veto) against Palestine
•Unacknowledged and denied (through still-stealth drone campaigns) war in uncertain venues mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East
•Untitled (though still accurately described as the Global War on Terror) war in the whole world
•Then there’s the not-exactly-military war, like the war against the poor in the United States because of the hundreds of billions, now trillions, of tax dollars wasted on all those other wars.
Worth reading and here's the link:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Got to Harrah's a bit before 1:00 and met up with high school classmate, Jeanne P. We went to a bar/restaurant in the casino and I was introduced to John B., her--well, her boyfriend. He's a nice guy--good-looking,too--and he sat with us for a few minutes, then went off to break the bank.
Jeanne introduced me to a mojito made with vodka instead of rum, which I liked a lot. We had sandwiches and I a Blue Moon, while we talked and talked and talked.
Jeanne has four daughters and several granddaughters, born within just a few years, and has been divorced for some time. She was a real beauty in earlier days, a Miss Atlantic City contestant, and pursued by all the boys. She retains an attractive, if more mature look and a warm, vivacious nature. After a hiatus of more than a half century, we met up again on Facebook and keep in occasional touch.
We talked more in their room. I was surprised at the small size and uninspired decor, but I think it was "comp" room. (I should quit comparing every hotel with the Fairmont Singapore, I guess.)
More talk and lots of laughs, then Jeanne accompanied me to the parking garage. That's where the fun ended, as I could not find my car. I was sure it was on the second level and purple--they use colors for identification, but not very effectively--and I wandered around looking for a good twenty minutes. Finally asked a person I saw coming out of an employee door and she went back with me to search. No luck, she called Security and after a long wait, they came, and told me the purple level is actually on floor one. He took me in his jeep, we drove around and found it, and I got home with no more problem.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Said goodbye to Susan, got a lot of odds and ends taken care of, took Limitless back to Blockbuster in Manahawkin. There, I saw The Adjustment Bureau, which I wanted to see when it was in theatres around here. Since nowadays (uh, oh, now I sound like an old lady), movies are only in theatres for 45 minutes, I didn't get a chance. Rented it, watched it, and now my strange desire to sit in front of a flickering screen is ebbing; took Bureau back and didn't rent another. However, both days I was given coupons for a free 99-cent movie and I chose two Alfred Hitchcock's: Rear Window and To Catch A Thief.
At the meeting the other night, I mentioned that I had bought the Moon script. (I always try to do that so I can prepare ahead for auditions; fat lot of good it did me this time.) Desi asked if he could borrow it and came over and got it.
My high school friend, Jeanne P., e-mailed me to say she'll be in Atlantic City with her boyfriend for a few days, and could I go to lunch? Hey, do I ever turn down an invitation for lunch? Hell, no, so I'll meet her--or them--at Harrah's at 1:00 today.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On California daughter, Ellen's, recommendation, I rented Limitless yesterday. Wow, what a terrific movie! This is not suitable--at all--for children, but is so absorbing for adults, I think it's one of the best I've ever seen. I never even heard of the star, Bradley Cooper and don't know any of the other actors except for Robert DeNiro. As ever, he does a superb job, so do all the others. They hit exactly the right notes and are a pleasure to watch. I may be a pushover because I almost never watch movies on T.V.--don't watch T.V. much at all--and it was a novelty for me. Still, I don't think that was it; it's just a terrific movie.
Went to the production meeting for Moon Over Buffalo with Frank and Franklin last night. Happily, Frank moved it right along and we were outta there in an hour. For the third time, dates changed, but is supposed to be firm: November 11, 12, and 13.
Susan and Walter, along with Ray and Barb, leave for Europe today, but Susan and I will still walk.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Called Betty at 6:15 am to say goodbye just before she left for California. Spent time assembling some of my plays to take on Saturday to that "Thespians" meeting. Decided to include the murder mystery show, which is a work in progress; it's not bad. Am also taking the recent If Guys Were Gals and The Truth, The Embellished Truth, And Nothing Like The Truth, which I wrote years ago for the Drama Club. It's really not bad, I think
Went to Produce Junction, then the cemetery. Stopped on the way home at Santori's because that's the only place I know around here where I can get fresh feta cheese. They cut it off a big block and include the liquid. It's so much better than the stuff you get in the supermarket, all homogenized and packaged in plastic. However, after I went out of my way by roughly eight miles, they didn't have any.
Production meeting tonight; I'll go with Frank and we'll pick up Franklin.

Monday, September 12, 2011

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I got wonderful news via a Skype call from Mike: They're coming for Christmas and will stay here! Although there are five of them, it'll be doable: I'll put the married couple in my room, Vickie, the nanny and the two girls in the guest room, and I'll sleep on the pull-out in the study. They'll arrive on December 17 and will drive down to Disneyland on the 26th. What's more, Ellen is coming, too, on the nineteenth; she'll stay at Alison's. I wish P. and N. could be here, too, but I'm afraid they can't--Ellen already asked them. My birthday, of course, is on December 21.
Just called sister Betty, who's being picked up shortly by her niece and driven to the airport in Philly on her way to California. Had a nice chat and said goodbye. Nothing planned for today, which is okay with me. I want to start tackling my closet, which is woefully jammed, in preparation for my company in December.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I spent part of the day writing up the interview with the G.'s--glad that's almost done. Called the "Plays and Playwrights" outfit and spoke at length with a woman named Rachel K. Geez,this group ("The Thespians," not exactly an inspired choice) sounds even more unorganized and faction-ridden than ours. Rachel indicated that the head of it is a temperamental, domineering type who arbitrarily selects those who get to do the material. (Somehow, that's sounds familiar.) This is readers' theatre, in that they don't memorize. Anyway, Rachel was very excited about the fact that I've written some things; asked me to bring copies to the Thespians meeting next Saturday, which I decided to attend. It's in the afternoon at the Ventnor Library, so I thought I'd check it out.
Picked up printer ink at Staples in Manahawkin and did a coupla other mundane chores. Stopped at the SOCH thrift shop and found an attractive green blouse I bought for a buck fifty. Threw it in the wash and wore that to dinner with the G.'s and the K.'s.
Judy K. had told me that Michael's, in Barnegat, was having a buffet--not my favorite type of meal, but I try never to turn down an invitation--that was a mere $19.99, including tip. When we got there, however, we found it was actually $32.50. It was listed with the lower price in the local papers, but "Michael," a real sleaze-bag in my estimation, insisted it was an error and the paper's fault. If he had any kind of service-sense or even good business-sense, he would have at least compromised, but no, we had to pay the full price.* I was pissed, but paid it, of course; if I had been by myself or with like-minded others, I would have walked out the door. The buffet--mediocre by any standards--was served on the breezy back porch over the water, and was accompanied by the cheapest and filmiest of foam plates and white plastic utensils.
Now, one thing that labels any repast as chintzy beyond redemption is being forced to eat with forks that bend and plates that can blow away. The tables had plastic "baskets" on them with paper-enclosed sugar, salt, and pepper. The buffet itself was reasonably adequate, with sausage, pasta, and a variety of the cheaper kind of seafood; about the best were the stuffed crabs, but unfortunately, they ran out long before we had had as many as we wanted. Of course, we brought our own bottles--usually, I prefer that--and instead of wine, I brought beer. Had to ask for a "glass," which, naturally, turned out to be plastic. For that matter, so were the wine "glasses."
Michael himself, who purportedly had been a backup singer for Elvis Presley, grabbed the microphone and sang several numbers, including "My Way," which nobody but Frankie should attempt. Michael is one of those tiresome blowhards with which the fringes of show biz seem to abound. He bragged that he intends to expand, heat the place, and open in the winter (it's seasonal now). Oh, yes, he's got big plans and I predict the place will fold within a year or two.
There was a singer/keyboard player who was okay, although too loud, but annoyingly, halfway through the evening, he insisted we all stand and sing "The Stars-Spangled Banner"--the sacred anniversary, doncha know. With poor grace, I stood with the others, but didn't sing.
Fireworks when it got dark, but this had nothing to do with Michael or Michael's--the town sponsored them. Presumably, this was another tribute to The Day Which Will Live In Infamy--oh, wait, I forgot,that's December 7, isn't it?
For all its drawbacks and annoyances, I actually enjoyed the evening for the most part. However, I will never set foot in the place again, after the crappy behavior of the proprietor, and the less-than-mediocre presentation of the so-so dinner.
NOTE: September 11--yay! It's a day of happy celebration for me, because it's the birthday of my darling daughter, Ellen!
* I'm wondering if the publicized price was actully an error of the paper's or if Michael set it up to lure customers. It would be more believable if it had been listed as $22.50 or $12.50 or some variation of $32.50. To turn that into $19.99--not so easy to do.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Interviewed Jo and Lou G. for a profile piece in the October Breeze. They're both native New Yorkers and have been married sixty years. Hard to believe that Jo is close to 80 and Lou is past that by two years.
Went to Staples after, then got Bon Voyage cards for the G.'s and the H.'s, who are going on a European cruise in a few days. just kind of hung out the rest of the day.
Going out for dinner with the G.'s and the K.'s tonight.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Drove to Somers Point in drizzling rain, but was glad to meet Betty at the Anchorage. I just duplicated the meal I had with Tim and Tori the other day: rare burger and Blue Moon. After lots of talk and laughs, I went down to Betty's and sat on her porch for a time. We said goodbye with hugs and "love yous"--she's leaving for California on Monday and will be gone for a month.
I had been told of an players/playwrights gathering scheduled in September at the Ventnor Library, but I had lost the information about it. On impulse, decided to stop there to ask about it. Did so, and may attend.
The same building houses the Ventnor Historical Society and I saw that it was open. I've been there several times and hadn't intended to go in, but I was in no hurry, so stopped in.
Now some background: Five or six years ago, I had been at St. James, my grammar school Alma mater, and noticed a box with old pictures just carelessly thrown in. I volunteered to act as amateur archivist and went back several times to examine, categorize, and file a wide range of historic pictures. I bought a file box and dividers for some of the pictures, framed others (including the 1938 graduation picture of both my sister, Gene, and Pat's brother), devised a borrowing sheet, and generally got it all in order. The principal, Sister Joan, and the secretary, Anne C., seemed appreciative and I was hoping they might hang some of the framed items in the halls for present students to see.
That never happened and what's worse, every time I stopped in--several times over the years--to ask about the pictures, I was told they had been misplaced. There was a lot of turmoil at the time, as the school was in his final days, and employees were harried; Sister Joan died and St. James is now closed for good. I finally gave up trying to rescue the pictures, resigned to the idea that all my effort was in vain and those priceless, irreplaceable items were lost to the world.
Now here I was in the Ventnor Society, facing one of the volunteers, Ruth Somebody (Norwegian name). I'm not sure what made me do it, but I asked Ruth, if the Society had any memorabilia from St. James School. "We sure do," answered Ruth, and went in the back room to bring out the very file box I had bought and set up so long ago!
What a thrill! I was so pleased they were safe and in order, just as I had left them, and what's more, the framed items were also there. I guess I stayed an hour, examining again the wonderful pictures and talking with Ruth about our mutual background and acquaintances. We have many, as she was born and brought up in Ventnor, also attended St. James (a few years after I did), and still lives in Ventnor.
When I finally left, I was so excited I drove back to Betty's to tell her the good news. What a terrific day!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Four of us had been planning to go to the library to see a program (impersonation) on Alice Roosevelt Longsworth today, then have lunch, but it came to naught.* I went to the Little Egg branch and they didn't have it scheduled. Found out it was in Stafford; went there to find it was filled. Dang.
Discovered the leeks I had bought the other day still in the crisper so, still on my crock pot kick, I cut them up, teamed them with broccoli, and added garlic. Put them in the refrig and will cook today. I actually had to go on-line to find out how to prepare them, as it's been years since I've had leeks.
Betty called and we'll get together today, after she drops her time sheets off at her (hospice) office.
* Speaking of "naught," my father may have been the last one in the world to use the word "ought" to mean "zero." Guess it was common in his heyday.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

We walked with umbrellas in the drizzly rain. Got some odds and ends chores done. Dropped the LETCO phone off to Lucille and went to the P.O. There, I ran into Lisa from Dr. Keiner's office. She asked if I'd visit Dr. K. in Galloway and I agreed. Got a call from her office later and will call back today.
Realized I had several pounds of yams, so pared and chunked them, added some quartered oranges and put them in the big crock pot. As long as I was in the mode--or mood--I did the same to the two turnips I had, but instead of oranges, paired (get it--"paired"?) them with onions and peppers.
Sat and read most of the day. I'm into The Panic Virus and also, Garrison Keillor's Pilgrims.
High point of the day was a Skype call in the evening from P. and N. They're back from hiking in northern Japan, where they just weathered (I can't seem to help myself!) a typhoon.
LATER: Forgot to add this from yesterday, too:
1. At the post office, I picked up a SELECTIVE SERVICE brochure. Call me oblivious and I shouldn't admit this, but I had no idea men still had to register for the draft, in case our bloodthirsty leaders decide they don't have enough cannon fodder. Can't fathom why I didn't know this all along.
2. With Comcast, I have a love/hate relationship, minus the love. They sent me a letter to the effect that I had to have some box or other. I had no idea whether it was the same as the one I had put in a year or so ago, or not. Called them and, after a long conversation, it was determined that I already have it. Asked if I was going to be forgiven some of my bill because my service (for phone, t.v., and Internet) was out sporadically last week. They sent to billing and they agreed to cut ten bucks off the bill--big deal, but better than nothing, I guess. Because I was annoyed, the person on the other end also said she was giving me, free of charge, three months of HBO. Didn't mean much to me, because I don't watch a lot, but I turned it on last night. Actually sat and watched an ANIMATED movie called Mastermind. I suppose because I'm not accustomed to that type of entertainment, it was a revelation, especially the inventiveness, even beauty, of the graphics. The story line was stupid, but the expressions on the faces, the movement of the bodies, the scope of the cityscape (scope of the cityscape, that's a good one) was enthralling. I don't want to get addicted to T.V., but I will, indeed, check out what else is on HBO, since it's free.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Incredibly, I just got up at 6:21--practically the middle of the afternoon for me. Yesterday, Tim and Tori slept late, too, arising after 9:00. They took showers, then we chatted a bit and took pictures before they left. They were planning to meet Betty for breakfast, friends in Cape May for lunch, then hit Duck, N.C. by early evening. I invited them to stop here overnight on the way back and they might do that.
After they left, I went to Manahawkin for groceries and just did household chores and stuff. Called Ellen on Skype and we had a nice visit. Got a call from Lucille (former B., now P., as she was recently divorced) and I'll drop off the theatre company phone to her today, so she can change the message to the new show dates.

Monday, September 05, 2011

When I looked at my e-mail yesterday morning, I found a message from nephew Tim, the Vermonter. He wrote that he and his sweetie, Tori, were coming through and wondered if they could see me. Well, of course, I replied, and why don't you stay here overnight?
They accepted, got here about 5:00 and insisted in taking me out for dinner. Tim wanted to walk on the Ocean City boardwalk, so we ate at the Anchorage in Somers Point. That whole area was jumpin'--in fact, T. had intended to take up to a small restaurant he remembered fondly from his days in the area (he grew up in Smithville and Ocean City), but when we got there, we were told we'd have a two-hour wait. I suggested the Anchorage instead, where we waited about a half-hour. It was worth it, though, as we were seated on the porch--much quieter--and there was a nice breeze.
Had my fave rare hamburger and beer (Blue Moon) and we had a ball. Talked and talked as I got to know Tori. After, we drove to O.C.--took us twenty minutes to find a parking spot--and joined the huge throngs on the boardwalk. Tim treated us to a frozen custard and we walked a few blocks. then went back to the car. Very crowded, very festive and fun.
Ellen had left a message on the phone (she calls me on Skype every Sunday evening), although it was almost 11:00 here (8:00 in Ventura). Said she'd get to me today on Skype.
Tim and Tori raise chickens at their Brattleboro home--Tori built the coop herself-- and they brought me a full dozen of freshly-laid eggs. Can't wait to have one. T. and T. will leave this morning and have breakfast with Betty in Ventnor, then go on down to my nephew, Dave's, place in Duck, N.C.
I love these impromptu visits from relatives and friends, and if they're on on short notice, so what? The guest room is still there and everything else can be improvised.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

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"O sacrament of summer days..." I always loved that line from Emily Dickinson and it fit yesterday perfectly.
Actually, I guess, summer is waning, but we had lovely sunshine and warmth yesterday at the lake. I arrived about 2:30 to find everybody there: the six kiddies, the couple from up north, their daughter-in-law, and the Wellsboro crew, here for the long weekend.
We swam, talked and laughed, nibbled pretzels and grapes, and had a wonderful, relaxed afternoon. Packed up about 5:00 and went back to the house for a cookout. The intention was to eat on the deck, as usual, but the mosquitoes were active, so we did so in the big dining area, which accommodates eight easily, and ten or more in a pinch. I said goodbye about 7:30, as it was already getting dark. The Wellsboro sextet will stay over up north.
Earlier, I impulsively went over to the cemetery. Anticipating Labor Day traffic on the Parkway, I hadn't thought I would, but did. Was going to call Betty on my way, but forgot my phone; called later and found she had been there earlier.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Just lazed around after I got home yesterday. Was informed by the library that the book I requested, The Panic Virus, was in, so I went over to get it. Started it and found it intriguing. It concerns the propensity of the public to BELIEVE--with a capital "B"--even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the belief is untrue. A thread running through is the belief--unshakable for some--that immunization vaccines causes autism.
This false idea originated with a British physician named Andrew Wakefield, and I actually have a pen and ink portrait of him. Why? I came across it four or five years ago, either here or in the U.K., in a newspaper supplement. I cut it out because I believe Wakefield bears a remarkable likeness to my father. Must dig it out and see.
Got a welcome invitation to meet at the lake. The upstate Pennsy contingent has come south and we'll meet there, swim a bit, then have dinner on the deck up north. Sister Betty was also invited, but declined as she doesn't feel very festive today. This is the seventh anniversary of the death of her son, Jay.

Friday, September 02, 2011

My old Kentuck-- uh, New Jersey home far aw-a-a-y... We lived here for 41 years and raised our children here. Raised the roof, too, and enclosed the porch. It was just re-sided; looks good, I think. The trees seem to have doubled in size since we left it 8 years ago.

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Here I am, once again posting in the middle of the day. Got home an hour or so from Trenton and my friend, Marilyn M. We went to a Trenton Thunder (baseball) game last night after she treated me to my favorite summer meal, a rare, rare, hamburger and an ice-cold beer. The stadium is right next to the river and was pretty well filled. Great fun with the various goings on, although the Thunder didn't make much noise: They lost two to nothing and barely got on base.
Marilyn, that dear girl and good friend, also treated me to breakfast before she had to go to work. I had oatmeal, grapefruit juice, and some superb coffee. After we parted, I drove back to the old Ewing neighborhood and took some pictures of the house we lived in for 41 years. It's been re-sided and, I think, looks good. Stopped at the cemetery and drove around Rider, then left the area. Went to the Columbus Farmers' Market, which is on the way home on Route 206, and picked up yams and leeks.
Just got a call from up north inviting me to the lake and dinner. The others from way up north will be there, and I accepted with pleasure. Sister Betty is also invited, and will probably go, then stay over at my house.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Got an early morning call from P. and N. They're planning a hike in northern Japan, just about where the earthquake and tsunami hit--I'm not crazy about that idea at all.
Did the three-mile and felt good for it. Zipped down to Santori's and got lots of veggies, ditto at Shop-Rite. Assembled a roasted vegetable mix, this time adding turnips and squash. Yummy. Went to the library and chatted with a few people on the phone. Other than that, nothing going on.
I'm going to spend the night with Marilyn after we attend a Trenton Thunder (minor league) game. Should be fun.
MEMORABLE QUOTES DEPT.: Here's one that opens John O'Hara's Appointment in Samarra:
There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the market-place and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.