Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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

Monday, November 28, 2011

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

Sunday, November 27, 2011

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

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

Monday, November 21, 2011

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

Sunday, November 20, 2011

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

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

Thursday, November 17, 2011

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

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

Sunday, November 13, 2011

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

Saturday, November 12, 2011

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

Friday, November 11, 2011

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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

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

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

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

Monday, November 07, 2011

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

Sunday, November 06, 2011

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

Saturday, November 05, 2011

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

Friday, November 04, 2011

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

Thursday, November 03, 2011

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

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

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

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

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