Friday, December 30, 2011

Having a fine time, despite the fact we all have heavy colds. (If we just ignore them, eventually they'll go away.) More rides==or attractions--in the Magic Kingdom, then we ate at a good restaurant in Disney Marketplace, miles away by bus. Came home in late afternoon to swim in the heated pool, which was lovely.
Today, our last here, we'll go to Epcot, then eat at a Moroccan Restaurant. No time for more and I find it so awkward to type on Mike's laptop. Probably won't post again until we get on on January 2.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Long trip, with a 50=mile traffic jam, lesser ones, and a driving rainstorm through South Carolina, but we made it okay.
We arrived at the "Reunion" complex in or outside Orlando last night. The house is huge: 15 foot ceilings and a living room/atrium that soars thirty. All the amenities for the six of us. Weather cooler than I wish, but okay We'll be here three days.
More later, if possible.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I continue to improve--good thing, as we're leaving for our road trip to Florida in two hours.
Had a lovely Christmas. Mike, Paula, Vivian, Violet, Vicky, and I got up early and opened presents, the little ones oohing and aahing over everything. We then had a big breakfast of pancakes, bacon, juice, and--something I haven't had in years, but like a lot--bagels, cream, and lox. Played a lot with the girls, of course.
Paula spent a lot of time in the kitchen preparing the bird and cooking up other things. She made Japanese fried rice for lunch, and that was delish.
Ellen came in the early afternoon, bringing the scalloped potatoes she had made up north, and we soon decided to go for a walk. Vivian and Violet wanted to join us, and did, and as we were about to leave, the northern couple drove up. They brought mashed sweet potatoes and other additions to the feast. The female part of the couple joined us and we had a nice walk. Said female, an occupational therapist, taught her older niece a number of sign language gestures along the way. Vivian later remembered many of them and used them in lieu of the spoken word.
We had dinner early, about 5:00 and it was so good. Besides the aforementioned components, Paula had cooked Brussels Sprouts, one of my favorites, and asparagus, and had an excellent gravy. This year, alas, we had neither banana bread nor pies, which have traditionally been my responsibilities; I was just too sick to make them. But no matter: Mike made very good chocolate chip cookies and also passed around a box of candy he had received as a gift.
My daughter-in-law, son, and Nanny Vicky did ALL the preparation, then my daughters pitched in for the clean-up. I didn't pick up a dish, and boy, much as I would have helped if I had been needed, it was a great luxury to simply enjoy everything without having to do any of the work. Come to think of it, I guess I earned my dues in earlier years.
After dinner, we spent several hours talking and laughing and what a wonderful feeling it was to have--almost--my whole family around me. Of course, P. and N. weren't there, and one member will never be with us again, but it was so good to have the rest.
The others left about 8:00 and the rest of us ran around packing. Yoicks, I hope Mike is able to jam everything into the van. We'll be travelling for four days--two there, two back--and I hope can survive the trip, especially with a seven- and three-year-old. But, hey: We're goin' and we're gonna have a happy time...
(From one of my favorite songs, "One Towela Goose.")

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I feel a lot better, although still not up to par. Ellen was so good--I couldn't eat, but she gave me anything I needed otherwise. She also made the stuffing for the 20 or so pound turkey M. and P. bought. Naturally, it's not from a box, in fact, she didn't even use the cubed bread you can buy. She bought a big loaf of white bread and tore it, just a my mother used to do.
The others didn't get get until late in the day. They made dinner, but I stayed in bed. Didn't eat anything all day except three crackers and tea. I don't even feel hungry now, but will try to eat later.
P. called about 8:30, not realizing I was sick, but I was glad he did. He said Natsue was at her parents giving Rollie, the lab, a shampoo. They're going to a concert today.
It's Christmas and I'm glad to have my family around me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Got up sick. Have been sleeping most of the day. Ellen here taking care of me; others went to mall. Ugh.

Friday, December 23, 2011

As noted, we did NYC yesterday. Am the only one up at 5:44, unusual for this early-rising crowd. Unfortunately, Vicky caught Violet's cold and others may be down with it, too. We're due to take the girls over to play with Jenna today and before that, I want to run a few errands. Hope Ellen will come down today, too.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just too much going on to go into detail, so here's a synopsis:
Yesterday's birthday party was wonderful. All my children hosted and all were there except P. and N. and they called on Skype from Tokyo. Had all the grandchildren and great-grands, and lots of good friends.
Family gave me a new computer, which is wonderful. Has a big screen--well, I guess it's a monitor--high def and so bright and easy to see. The Skype picture is great--like a good t.v.
Today: We just got home from Manhattan; we had left the house at 7:30 am. We went to the American Girl store where Vivian got a doll she named Kate and Violet got boy and girl twins she named--get this: Zara and Zack. After they bought the extremely high-priced dresses and p.j.'s, we ate in the cafe. Food was actually very good. They served a platter of appetizers first of carrots, tiny chicken cups, grapes, "pretzel bread," and other stuff. Paula and I got a salad that contained chicken, greens, dried cranberries and grapes, dressed with a good oil and vinegar. I actually had a beer--Brooklyn Beer, as I like local beers--and they had wine on the menu, too.
After, we walked to Rockefeller Center and saw the ice skaters, then to Central Park, quite a hike. We took a horse and carriage ride--so silly and touristy, but so much fun--then went to the Plaza Hotel, just to see it. Used the facilities, then Paula got a call from American Girl to the effect Mike had been given a wrong package! He got on the phone and insisted they meet us at the parking garage--far away. We took a cab back, they met us with abject apologies, and gave V. and V. gifts to compensate for the inconvenience.
Got a call from Ellen, who had taken a train into Manhattan to meet her cousin, Joan R. They were at St. Patrick's Cathedral and on their way to MOMA. Wish we could have met them, but it was already 3:30 and we wanted to get home.
Stopped at Acme for flounder, which Mike is now cooking. Got phone calls from several people with birthday wishes. Talked to Betty, who's having a fabulous time in Palm Springs with her family.
Whew! More happening tomorrow and it isn't even Christmas yet!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A quick rundown of a fun day: Took the little girls to look for an indoor play place, as it was rainy and overcast. Didn't find one, but came back to welcome Aunty Ellen, who blew in about 12:00. Mike got pizza for lunch, Ellen went to a hairdresser appointment with my girl, Leanne, which I had made for her; came back and the northern dweller came in after school. Soon, so did J., N., and the four boys. After an initial somewhat shy period,they had a good time playing. (It occurred to us later that the gang was composed of kids of 3, 4, 5, 7. 8, and 9--we were missing only a six-year-old.)
Mike made cookie dough and the kids all helped cut out Christmas shapes. They were baked--the cookies, not the kids--then they all enjoyed decorating them with different colored icing which Mike had made, gel, sprinkles and M & Ms in green and red, and so on,
The Middlebury mob didn't stay for dinner, as they had a commitment up north; Paula made fajitas (first time I ever had them) with beef, sauce, lettuce tomato, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream fixings--they were so good!
Brother Larry called to wish me a happy birthday just before dinner and I talked to his Helen, too. Marilyn sent a gift certificate for Barnes & Noble, and I got lots of other birthday greetings.
I was astounded, thrilled, and so grateful when my children called me into the dining room to present me with my Christmas presents--a new computer, the monitor of which is luxuriously large. This is from all of them and spouses Love it and Mike will hook it up later.
The Tokyo Twosome called this morning to wish me the same. Would be nice if they could be here, too, but Skype is the next best thing.
SEVENTY-FIVE! All in all, it doesn't have much to recommend it except being alive and well and surrounded by loving family--all right, I guess it has a lot to recommend it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mike and Paula went shopping while Vicky and I took the kiddies to the library. We we looked at books, did jigsaw puzzles, and played on the computer. V. One took out four books on my card. Then went to the Seaport; girls had a good time dressing up as pirates, and other stuff. (Boy, it's pretty bad when I have to resort to "other stuff.") We went next door to ScoJoe's for lunch--was good.
Got home about 2:30 and M. and P. weren't home yet, so we walked to the clubhouse. Showed the girls the pretty decorations and the exercise room, where both walked on the treadmill, V. Two with help.
Got in, hung out, the others came back, went out to see Christmas lights, had dinner, and another full day came to a close. Before that, though, Ellen called--yippee!--on their way back from the airport. She'll be down today and asked me to make a hairdresser's appointment for today or tomorrow. Was told the boys might come down, too.
One more day before I mark three quarters of a century. Am I okay with that? Hell, no.
WIDER: A very, very provocative essay:
This clarified a lot for me. The first few lines are especially apropos.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Good fun yesterday. Early on, we got a web cam call from P. and N. and all chatted with them. After breakfast, went to the cemetery, then to tour Lucy The Elephant in Margate, then to take a quick look at my childhood home(s) in Ventnor. Lunched on luscious subs at Sacco's in same, then walked two blocks over to buy candy at Jageisky's, which makes the best candy in the universe. On the way home, we stopped in New Gretna where, after much discussion, we chose a big and remarkably beautiful tree which now graces my living room.
When we got in about 2:00, the northern couple were waiting. We all trimmed the tree and had a good time doing it, especially the two little ones. Couple left to meet up with their gang for dinner, and I made ours of "slymphie stew" (pasta, hamburger, sauce; green salad; crystal pickles; crusty bread.) Got a call just before from Ellen, who Skyped us later and we were all glad to hear she's feeling better. We then we hung out until bedtime, which came early for all of us, as we had had such a full day.
Paula made breakfast, we all ate, then I called my theatre company friend, Lucille, and we made a date to bring our two girls over on Friday. Mike and Paula just went out to Michael's in Manahawkin; Vickie and I will take Vivian and Violet to the library and the Seaport, then out to lunch.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

They're here! Blew in after 11:00, as there was some mix up with the bags. We all settled in for the night after. Little girls are adorable. So good to see them, Mike, Paula, and Vicky. P. and N. skyped and we saw them for a time.
Too much went on yesterday to go into,so will skip until later.
Today, we go get a Christmas tree!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Briefly, I alternated among wrapping gifts--all of them--making four batches of "Nana Mix," rushing out to the store for what I forgot, and rearranging things to optimize my guests' stay. Annoyingly, I had to interrupt everything to spend two hours at the hairdresser's, an ordeal for me, as I hate, hate, hate the whole process. However, my hair has never looked better and I gave Leann a card with a generous tip, along with thanks for the good cut and color.
Got home to realize I was missing a gift for someone--rather, a group of someones. Looked on line and decided on a gift card to a restaurant near where they live.
Received several more huge boxes from Amazon, which I agreed not to examine and I didn't. Just stowed them in the only available space: behind the love seat that separates living from dining room. Put all the wrapped presents there, too.
Got a call from the control freak of the century in London to ascertain that I have plenty of lights and balls for the tree and to ask that I have various J & J products on hand. Talked to adorable Vivian, who was awarded the class bear, "Sam," and will bring him to the states, then write about it. Cute idea.
Called Ellen and was thrilled and overjoyed to hear she feels well. I'm glad she isn't pushing herself too hard to do things, although she has to pack. Her darling cousin, Betty's girl, Carolyn G., took her home from the hospital; I called her to thank her and she told me she knew Ellen would do the same for her. Of course, she would and I don't often enough realize how terrific this family is. I'm much relieved at Ellen doing so well, but won't rest until she's here on Monday.
Must spend the day cleaning, cooking, and doing last-minute chores; still have to pick up a few things at the Acme. They--the London contingent--will be here late, about 9:30, but they'll be here--yay!
It occurred to me that if I kept up my current level of activity, I'd be skinny as a rail by 2012. Dead from overwork, too, of course, but you gotta take the bad with the good.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Continuing my frantic pace, I went to Acme at 7:30 right after our walk. Got some supplies for my company, although I still have plenty more. Rushed home and made two batches of Nana Mix--with cashews, as directed. Saw Dennis and Bill cleaning Susan's gutters (sounds vaguely provocative, doesn't it?) and went over to ask if I had signed up for their service, which also includes clearing the dryer vent, cleaning filters, and so on. I hadn't, but remedied that with a check and they did the same at my house. Dennis was kind enough to also hang my big wreath outside the front windows.
I had asked Dennis if he used a glass cutter; he does and the guy is just across from Acme--I didn't have to go all the way over to Twin Glass, after all. The glass toppers for the three tables in my bedroom were done and I went over to get them.
Spent the rest of the morning cleaning, although I'll leave some for last-minute-tomorrow.
Got an e-mail from Desi to the cast, saying we'd resume rehearsals in January. Fine by me, and I'm sure, by everybody else.
After lunch, went to Target, where I picked up most of the rest of the presents. Stopped at K-Mart, too. By the time I got home, it was almost 6:00 and I stir-fried a quick chicken/onion/pepper/garlic meal. Very good, if I say it myself.
Called Ellen to find her being driven home from the hospital by her cousin, Carolyn. She called me back later from home and we had a good talk. She said Carolyn had stayed about an hour to get her settled in. Ellen is taking antibiotics and has a prescription for pain, but said she doesn't have any. The difference between invasive and microscopic (well, I guess it's still invasive) is extreme, I think. I had my appendix out when I was 19 and was in the hospital for at least four days, then recuperated at home for quite a while, too. Much better in this day and age, but it's still no cakewalk. Can't wait until Ellen gets here, so I can see she's safe and sound.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another pretty full day. Skipped exercise and went to Atlantic County early. I go so often, it's seems like a hop, skip, and a jump away, but in fact, is about a 80-mile round trip.
Produce Junction has wonderful poinsettia plants--a steal--and I bought two more to add to the seven I already have. Couldn't resist a mum plant with additions to look like Santa. Silly, because I don't really have anyplace to put it. Got some veggies while I was there.
Next, I went to Fabulous jewelry nearby and got a number of Christmas presents. I was looking at some scarfs when I realized a woman was standing behind me. I glanced up and thought she looked a lot like my twin sister, Betty.
Well, it was Betty! She was on her way to her friend's house in Haddonfield, stopped at Produce Junction, saw me there, and followed me. I had never noticed her. The weird thing is, that, for several seconds, I actually didn't recognize her. I suppose it was a combination of "knowing" she couldn't be there and the fact that, as a joke, she didn't indicate she knew me. I've been mulling over the strangeness of this ever since.
Anyway, she was on her way to California after running a few errands, and we hugged and said goodbye. I continued shopping--got a lot of presents there--then drove to Canal's to get a supply of wine. I had forgotten I had already stocked up before my company of Saturday, so now I have enough for a wild party--not that I'm having one, unfortunately.
Stopped at Twin Glass to try to get glass toppers for the three tables in my bedroom, but it would take a few days, so the heck with that.
Next stop was Boscov's, where I got a few more presents; treated myself to a cup a soup and slice of quiche for lunch first.
Was glad to get a call from Ellen while I was at the mall. Her friend brought her charger, so she was able to call on her cell (she can't make long distance calls from her hospital room). She's doing all right and thought she's be released today. Betty's daughter, Carolyn, will take her home.
Got home and continued rearranging furniture and so on, in preparation for my company. Called Ellen and we had a nice chat. Called Dennis and got the name of a glass cutter; called him and he'll have them for me this morning.
Still have a few presents to buy and must wrap all of them, of course, as well as clean the house, buy groceries, cook, and get my hair done.
Yoicks, I have plenty left to do!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh boy, what a day. Came back from running errands in Manahawkin to get a phone message from Ellen telling me she was in a hospital emergency room. She's been having stomach pains, went to the doctor, and was told to go there, as doc thought she had appendicitis. I immediately called her cell when I got home, but didn't get her. Went on-line and determined Community Memorial was the place, called there, and yes, she was there. When she got back to me, she was in a bed and they were waiting for results. After a delay and other calls, it was confirmed that the problem was her appendix.
Just talked to her: Appendix was removed laproscopically. She sounds groggy and says it's sore, but I think okay. I'm glad it's over and I'm sure she is, too.
Earlier, I had gotten an e-mail, then a phone call from Mike, telling me that Vivian's holiday recital would be on the school's web site at 1:30 my time. He sent me the link and I tried, but couldn't get it.
Got two huge boxes and a small one from Amazon for Mike. Made something and packed and sent it to P. and N.
Also earlier, I borrowed a wheelchair from our clubhouse for me to use in the play and it's now in my trunk.
Went to rehearsal last night, although I was so worried about Ellen. It was at the old municipal building on Giffordtown Road, only about a mile from me. No heat, so we kept our coats on, but rehearsal went okay. Just got an e-mail from Director Desi to the effect that we'll probably skip more December rehearsals and resume in January. I'd really rather continue on, but have commitments on my birthday and when we go to Florida right after Christmas anyway, so that's okay.
Today I must concentrate on buying Christmas presents!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Spend hours going through the photos in the wicker chest and separated out some for the visitor from the north. She came about 3:30, bringing a luscious corn chowder, which we shared for dinner,along with a salad I had made and pumpernickel. She ran, we ate, she selected some photos, then went on her way.
Had our first read-through at 7:00 at Desi's. It went pretty well, although some of the actors need to use more emphasis, I think. Keven, I'm happy to say, is able to be int he play and makes a properly scary villain.
We're going to be rehearsing Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, quite a gruelling schedule, considering Christmas--and my company--are nigh. However, we'll do it, I'm sure.
I'd better get serious about buying Christmas presents and I have a lot to do besides that.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Was glad to get a Skype call from London. Saw the two little angels opening their presents from their Santa Monica grandfather--cute little outfits. Mike told me to prepare for large packages arriving and to put them somewhere.
Lazed around most of the day. At one point, decided to drive into Manahawkin to pick up a few items for presents. Did so, finally came to my senses when I actually got there--it was jammed--and turned right around and drove back.
Now I'm panic-stricken: I have almost no presents bought and still have to buy, address and send cards, prepare the house for my company, decide what to have in for food, prepare it--the list is endless and I'M NOT READY!
Hmm...just realized this happens every year and has as long as I can remember. Hey, no prob, I'll get it done.
Enjoyed my usual Sunday night call from Ellen, who still has a splint on her finger. She'll be here next week--yay!We meet tonight for our first reading of Night Must Fall. Looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

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Turned out to be a lovely little dinner party. I had good friends and neighbors, Leslie and Dennis R.and new friends, Rosemary and Spanky D.
Having neglected to do anything until the day of, I hustled to clean the house, buy the food and wine, set the table, cook, and so on. Spanky is an amputee and uses a wheelchair, so I rearranged the furniture slightly to accommodate.
Got a delicious roast pork--uncooked, but in a kind of vacuum container. I picked one with Italian seasoning, in honor of the heritage of three of my four guests. I've had these for company before, and everybody seems to like them a lot. Added baked potatoes, banana bread, and sides of cranberry apple relish and crystal pickles. Leslie brought a good broccoli/corn/something else casserole and Rosemary brought a chocolate tofu pie, plus a nice bottle of wine.
When my company arrived at 5:00 (I like to have nibbles and drinks for about an hour, then dinner at 6:00.) Had just almonds (regular and spiced), pretzels, and grapes for appetizers, along with wine (Spanky had a beer). I prefer to keep the appetizers ordinary and not too filling, as I think people sometimes eat too much of them to fully enjoy dinner.
Everybody seem to like the meal, but it occurred to me I should have added a vegetable, maybe glazed carrots or something. Will next time I have a dinner party.
We stayed at the table for some time, talking politics and the downward spiral of the country. All of us deplored the extreme nationalism (read "worship of the military") that carries a whiff of Nazi Germany and seems to be growing all the time. Frankly, none of us are very optimistic about where we're headed.
They stayed until almost 9:00--in these parts, practically the middle of the night--then said goodnight. I can't stand to go to bed without cleaning up, so did that and it was past my usual when I turned in.
Lovely day and now I need to turn my attention to my house guests from London, here soon--yippee!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saga of "The Christmas Tour That Wasn't":
Walked down to Barb's at 11:30 and she, her sister, Pat, Lois V., and I headed out to our annual Christmas House Tour in Tuckerton. Had a delightful lunch (quiche, Caesar salad, and a pot o' tea for me) at The Laughing Gull in the Emporium. Went next door to the Tuckerton Seaport to buy our tickets for the tour.
Only there wasn't any. This had been in the paper, for cryin' out loud, but somehow it was a mistake, as they weren't having it this year. No explanation and the volunteer at the Seaport said "a lot of people were disappointed." It's hard to believe the paper would just print something from last year, but that seems to be the story.
We were disappointed, but oh, well. Looked at the wares in the Seaport and went back to the Emporium to do the same. Home and was finally able to clear the dining room table--good thing, as I'm having the R.s and the D.'s over for dinner tonight. Haven't done anything to prepare for that yet, so must get to the supermarket, clean the house, and cook today.
No prob.
WIDER: I've "subscribed" to The Casey Report (via e-mail) for a few months; can't remember how I came upon it. I think the slant is Libertarian, which is not my political persuasion, but is a lot closer than the dem and repub ideals. Today, the book They Thought They Were Free is quoted at length and, hoo boy, does it ring a bell. If not an exact parallel--the rise of Fascism in Germany and the present road to perdition on which the U.S. is set--it sure comes close. (I had gotten this book from the library a year ago and was pleased to see it quoted today.)

Friday, December 09, 2011

Happy day, my icy box is working! Guy came about 4:00, replaced the relay to the compressor, and charged $180 with tax. I would have paid the scoundrels at Sears $269, so I'm glad they didn't come after all.
Before that, met my twin for lunch at Italian Cuisine on Jimmy Leeds Road. Had a great time with Betty, who leaves on Tuesday for Christmas with her family. I gave her the project I mentioned here--in scrapbook form, an account, with picture, of her ancestry. She gave me a gift certificate to my fav store, Fabulous Jewelry--in the amount of our birthday--wow! I'll miss her at my party, but am glad she'll be with her gang in Palm Springs.
After the guy left and the frig was humming along happily (and, you can be sure, so was I), I went over to Susan's to get my stuff out of her freezer. Oh, they were just having a glass of Chardonnay and nibbles, will you join us?
Does a bear--uh, live in the woods? Damn straight I would and we had a nice neighborly visit. Collected my Lean Cuisine meals, thanked them sincerely, and went on my way.
Must get my other freezer stuff from down the street and give the cooler back to Bessie and Bob. Will attend the annual Christmas house tour in Tuckerton today.
WIDER: Here's another Arthur Silber hits out of the park:

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Boy oh boy, what a day! Susan and I walked in the pouring rain; I had to change from the waist down and skin out when I got home even though I had a raincoat and umbrella. Did so, then reached in the freezer for a loaf of pumpernickel--oh, no! It was soft and everything was thawed. Refrig side the same, of course.
It's a Kenmore and I called Sears for repair. Was told they charge $75 to walk in the door, plus whatever else has to be done. Fell for a $269 "deal" that would cover up to $500 in parts, or toward a new refrig if it was unrepairable. I had the Women's Club luncheon at 1:00 and was picking up Bessie F., but was told the guy would make mine the last appointment of the day and come about 4:00. Alternately, he could come today between 8 and 12, but I opted for the first.
The lunch was great fun--good food and table prizes--but I rushed home to get there by 4:00. Waited and waited and about 6:00 got a recorded call to the effect my appointment had been rescheduled; it included a number to call back. I did, hopping mad, and said I wanted him to come today. Oh, no, nothing doing, he couldn't come until Friday.
What is maybe even worse than the cynical disregard every Sears rep (oh, I know they work for some kind of outsource operation, but still...) had for my convenience is their casual indifference to my distress. I guess they're trained that way, but I wold have expected some kind of apology or condolences at least, but no. Of course, there was no explanation either, for why the commitment wasn't kept or for the falsehood that the repair person could come today. They listened to me rant and rave while the food I had in the freezer slowly thawed and never even responded. I don't know if they were in India or Indiana or Upper Japip, but they might as well have been automatons for all the reaction they showed.
Oh, just to cut this short: Put some of the frozen--or formerly frozen--stuff in neighbors' freezers, borrowed a large cooler and put more in there with ice I bought. By the time I was finished transferring everything, it was almost 8:00. I sat down with my glass of wine and popcorn and determined I'd call Anchor Appliance repair when they open at 8:00 today. Meeting Betty for our birthday lunch, so I hope they can work around that.
Whew, what a life.
(I'm a little late with this--it's 6:28--for a pleasant reason: got a Skype call from P. and N., always welcome. He was making a curry stew and she was working on a DVD index.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Yippee--I finished the Betty project! Worked most of the day on it and had to ask Susan to help me put the (mechanical) part together, but we did it.
Went over the Night script several times, just getting the various nuances of my character. Oh, I hope, hope, hope, we still have a Dan.
Called Mary Ann Van O. to see if we could ride together to the Women's Club party today. However, she isn't going--she runs the Ocean Club luncheon which Susan and I attended last year. I won't again, however, although Mary Ann invited me. It costs thirty bucks, plus you're supposed to bring a ten-dollar exchange gift and if you get a glass of wine, you're looking at fifty. Much as I like SeaOaks, it's not worth that much. Also, I had thought it benefitted a charity, but it doesn't. I don't know this for sure, but have a sneaking suspicioun somebody is actually profiting from the luncheon.
Later, Bessie F. called. After having talked to Mary Ann, she learned I was looking for a ride and so was she. That works out fine; I'll drive and we'll enjoy the day.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Desi suggested we switch Night Must Fall scripts, as I had the old (original) version and we'll be performing from the new. Great idea and he stopped over to make the exchange. Boy oh boy, it seems to me this puts Mrs. Bramson, which I play, in an entirely different light. She's not nearly as bitchy, even seems a somewhat sympathetic character. I'm not sure I really like this as well as the old, but guess I'll get into it. We're meeting on Sunday afternoon for a first reading, about which I'm excited. Unfortunately, after the high of hearing Kevin B. will play Danny, Desi told me there may be a problem because he's in Actors' Equity and they may not let him appear. Darn, but the question isn't settled yet; hope he can do it.
Spent most of the day working on the Betty project. Called her and we set up a lunch/birthday celebration for Thursday, so I MUST get the damn thing finished today, as I have the Women's Club luncheon tomorrow.
Was pleased to get a call from Ellen, from the jury room in Ventura, and we had a nice chat. Later, she e-mailed me that her finger is broken (she hit it on a chair while vigorously dancing to her new XBox) and has a splint on it. Hope it heals fast.
Went to the Homeowners' Association last night with Ray and Barb H. It was well attended and as usual, included rants from various disgruntled people for various nebulous reasons. It had the virtue of being short, as least, and we were home by 8:15.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Great news--just got an e-mail from Desi announcing that somebody named Kevin Berdini will play Danny in Night Must Fall. This guy actually has stage experience--toured in Cats and other productions--and is surely older and more adept than our little college kid. Looking forward to being on stage with him.
Busy most of the day because I suddenly decided on a project for my twin, Betty. She doesn't read my blog, but just on the bare possibility it might get back to her, I won't mention it yet. Worked on it most of yesterday, as she and I will meet for lunch before she leaves for the left coast on the 13th. Must call her.
Enjoyed my regular Sunday Skype call from Ellen. She showed me her new XBox, with which she dances and goes rafting. Looks like great fun.
Was bursting with pride to get the news that my darling granddaughter, Vivian, who's 7, just won a bronze medal in her very first gymnastics competition. This was in the U.K. where they live, of course.
And that's a nice segue into the international news that her father, my darling boy Mike, is celebrating his birthday today. I remember very well his birth at St. Francis Hospital in Trenton, as it was my easiest. Ever since, he's been a constant source of love and pride, as all my children are. Happy birthday, Mike. I love you.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Hoo boy, things are moving right along! The northern couple got here about 10:30 and proceeded to accomplish all the saved-up chores and moving I can't do myself. Separately or in tandem, they
--replaced the bulb in the garage, too high for me to reach
--installed the new light fixture in the foyer, too high for me to reach
--moved the high-chest bureau out of the closet and into the garage (I'll store things in it)
--moved the other high-chest bureau from the bedroom to the closet
--took the t.v. out of the armoire in the living room and replaced it with the one in the guest room.
Now, that last maneuver was problematic. The l.r. set had been blinking to black often and we all thought was on its way out (it's roughly 15 years old). The one in the guest room had been working but, lately, hadn't. It's too long and involved to go into the reasons, but after the couple had carried the l.r. set to the curb, it was decided the problem was the cable or something and it was brought back in. However, then some black areas showed it was about to give up the ghost anyway, so was carried back out and the guest room one put back in.
Anyhoo--. They did a yeoman's job, refused lunch, and left after several hours of hard labor.
Later, I went to Shop-Rite, which was jammed as usual, and B & B for veggies. Read over Night a bit. I have to be careful not to commit to memory my version when we're doing another and I'd have to "unlearn" the first.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Am I nuts? (Don't answer that.) I was at Walgreen's to pick up my not-so-secret vice, extra-dark pretzels, and saw an animated Santa Claus that moves and plays Christmas carols and is dressed in a precious little carpenter's apron with darling miniature tools in his pockets and is holding a string of Christmas bulbs that LIGHT UP and I couldn't help myself, I had to have him or I'd die!!
Yes, after my sorry experience in getting rid of my tons of Christmas decorations (not!),I bought the Santa for twenty bucks. Well, Vivian and Violet will love it.
Other than that, I hung the fresh pine wreath (hmm...guess that's another new Christmas item) on the front door and the artificial one inside in the foyer. Looks good.
Barb H. had asked me at exercise if I want to go to the Christmas House Tour in Tuckeron next Friday and yes, indeed I do. We do this every year and every year, Barb reminds me. Will ask Susan; Lois V. and two other will go, too.
Went to B.J.'s and picked up two loaves of my favorite pumpernickel. Other than that, did this and that household chores.
Called Marge D., who is having health difficulties, as she has been for a year or so. She said she was in the hospital last week. Her ominous symptom, which she's exhibited before, was that she suddenly was unable to talk. Doesn't sound good and I assume it has something to do with a mini-stroke. She has also been having a problem getting a BP down, although she's very thin, painfully so, in fact. I was a bit alarmed when we compared notes and found she and I are taking the same dosage of some BP medication. Not sure why she wouldn't be prescribed more.
The northern couple are coming today to move some furniture for me.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Desi and the college kid (Tony) got here at 10:30 and we read for about 45 minutes. We are, of course, going to be performing the version Desi has, which is considerably modified from the original script. I have the other one and know most of it, but I can adapt.
Will Tony be able to adequately fill the pivotal role of Danny, the diabolical killer and sociopath? I have serious doubts. He didn't show the slightest--not even a hint--of any acting ability, theatre understanding, or sense of what Danny--or the play--is all about. He simply read--in a monotone--each time.
We did two scenes, the first when Danny and Mrs. Bramson (my role) originally meet, the second, the highly charged and emotional vignette near the end. We went over it a number of times, with Desi trying to get Tony to show some kind of emotion. Doesn't seem likely this can be achieved, but Desi is going to work with him.
Puttered around doing wash and stuff until it was time to leave for the party. Stopped first at the Mays Landing Shop-Rite to get a live wreath for the door. Did so, and put it in the trunk.
Arrived at the L.'s by 4:00, which is when they always start, to be greeted by Flo and a sadly diminished Joe. For the past few years, he has had some "heart issues," as the stupid euphemism goes, and wears a pacemaker. He was decked out in his usual jaunty Christmas outfit: plaid pants, surely from the seventies (he's remains as slim and trim as he was then), a shirt and sweater, and Christmas socks, all in red and green. In other years, he had been the jovial, expansive host, taking drink orders and joking with his guests. Last night he lapsed into silence often and got the wine requests mixed up.
Others have health problems, too. Frank J. had had to skip last year's party for cancer treatments; he came last night, but has lost an alarming amount of weight. Don McG., with whom I spoke a lot, has arthritis in his feet and other ailments. Even more ominous, Kate and Danny S. were not able to come at all--first time they've missed. Kate is very ill and Danny is recovering--I hope, has recovered--from cancer himself. These people, whom I see once a year, are five to eight years older than I am, as they had been Pat's friends.
But they're not that much older and at my back I always hear/Time's winged chariot hurrying near...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

When I was walking back from exercise, I saw Desi on the tennis court (he plays with some guys here) and he told me he had found a possible candidate to be Dan in Night Must Fall. Said he wanted the kid (college aged) to read opposite me, so we decided they would come to my place this morning to do that. We're going to be doing the revised and updated version and I'll be interested in seeing the differences from the original (1935), which I have.
Thinking Larry and Helen might be staying over, I cleaned the master--heh, hen, "mistress"--bedroom and bath. Talked to Helen and, as it turns out, they're staying at a hotel closer to the airport and cemetery. That's fine by me and now I have a nice clean house.
Had a Shop-Rite coupon and thought I'd get a live wreath for the front door. However, when I got there, I found I had lost it. Asked Frank for his paper and will go tomorrow or sometime to get one.
Mike C. stopped to have me sign a new contract for the solar panels. He thinks mine should be installed in a few weeks.
Party this evening at Flo and Joe L.'s--oops, we're supposed to bring a five dollar exchange gift and I don't have one. Well, will go to the shopping center later.
Just got a picture from DIL Paula of adorable Violet with the pumpkin pie Mommy baked for her nursery school, where the kiddies learned about Thanksgiving. I'll try to include it on this post, but may not know how.
Darn: Blogger said the image was corrupted or is an unrecognized format. Will try though Picasa.