Thursday, March 31, 2011

Every Wednesday, I try to think up a reason why I don't have to go to the three-mile exercise. Luckily, I'm not usually persuasive to myself and refuse to listen. Glad I went yesterday, partly because it makes the two-mile on Monday and Friday seem so easy.
I think I need more protein, so I bought a dozen eggs, hard-boiled some, and added one to my salad. I often add tuna, but I'm getting tired of that. Also pared, cut up, and cooked the parsnips I bought the other day. That, a trip to Shop-Rite, and a few household chores took up most of the day.
We did a full run last night. Rick from The Sandpiper was there and will feature the show in the next issue. However, he was unable to get a photographer, so Tonya took pictures. Rehearsal went well and I think the thing is finally shaping up.
Dentist's for cleaning today. I want this to be my last visit there and will start looking for another near here. I like Dr. Lyons and her staff, but a three-hour round trip is tedious, plus I think she charges a lot. Will have to look it up, but the figure of $149 is floating around in my head.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

There follows the sorry saga of the end of my friendship with B.J.'s. I had let my membership lapse, believing it wasn't worth $48 a year, and was going to ask Susan to pick me up some things next time she was there. Yesterday, I was touched to receive an individual, personal note from Mr. B.J.--well, maybe it was a printed offer that fifty thousand others got--inviting me back free for a 60-day period. You had to "activate" it at the desk, I did, and found it now costs FIFTY dollars a year to join. Said I'd think about it. Decided to stock up on the things I always got at B.J.'s that I like to get in bulk, or can't get elsewhere: a certain brand and type (15 cal. a cup) of popcorn, a large loaf of pumpernickel, a three-pound tub of cottage cheese, Harvestland frozen chicken strips, and a large container of Mrs. Dash. Was horrified to discover the only thing they had was the Mrs. Dash. I checked at the desk and was told the other items were discontinued. Hey, they made my decision for me. Conceivably, I'll go back within the two-month free period, but after that? So long, B.J.'s!
Rehearsal last night went well. We did a full run, although with gaps because Julie and a few others weren't there. Her college-aged daughter was, though, and I was so pleased when she introduced herself after and complimented me on my performance, saying, "You own that part," and so on. So great to hear that. The directing style of Barbara and Tonya is more in the realm of "if you do it right, little reaction, if wrong, we'll let you know." I respond better to Tara C.'s (Steel Magnolias) method of honest criticism, which includes not only correction, but praise. Last night, Tara K., as Emily in the cemetery scene when she says goodbye to the world, was so good we all cheered, but that was initiated by Jim, not the directors.
Anyway, it gave me a lift to hear that somebody liked my performance.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Susan called about 5:30 (am) to say she had an upset stomach and was unable to walk, so I went with the boys (Nat King Cole, The Platters, etc.). So appreciative of that IPod Shuffle Ellen gave me. Walter called later to tell me Susan was still not well. We postponed our dinner date, which had been last night; tentatively, we'll go on Friday.
Went to exercise, did some wash, and so on. Continued to work on the Our Town setup for the library display window. Went to Staples to have two paper "banners" made, saying "Our Town-The people and places our hearts remember..." and the other listing the dates of the show. I have a 20" by 30" storyboard, on which I've glued duplicates of old pictures, most of my or Pat's ancestors, and will put the banners top and bottom. I'll add one of our flyers in a frame, which contains the rest of the pertinent information. I have black, white, and green material from other displays and will drape the background with one of them.
Was invited to go up north on Saturday to see the kiddies; grownups are going to a wedding. Accepted with pleasure.
Talked to sister Betty and friend Mary Ann Van O. Susan called again yesterday to say she couldn't walk today, either, as she has to get blood tests. As I do, she always goes as early as possible because you can't have coffee (or anything else) beforehand. Therefore, dang it, I lazed in bed this morning and STILL haven't walked. Okay, I'm giving myself the day off unless I galvanize myself later.
Rehearsal tonight, to which I'm looking forward.

Monday, March 28, 2011

If I ever needed more proof of the arrogance of corporate America, I got it yesterday. Stopped into K-Mart to pick up two items. Got out my debit card to pay and was confronted with a multiple-question on the swipe device on whether I would or would not recommend K-Mart to friends.
HOW DARE THEY? What in the HELL gives them the right to demand I do this? They pay big bucks to some fancy marketing firm in Manhattan (or Upper Japip, for all I know) to do their marketing for them, but I don't get any. When I protested to the kid at the cash register, he was bewildered--why would anybody have a problem with paying homage to the company? He helpfully noted that the company jerks no longer make you put in your zip code--I protested that, too, and always used "55555"--as if some benevolence were at play here. I paid with cash, instead. But oh well, I know sooner or later I'll acquiesce. And I know it's maybe no big deal and it takes only a few seconds, and what harm does it do, and so on and on. It just bugs me, that's all. and it bugs me worse that I'm the only one who seems to notice. People just take for granted they have to do what's directed by their corporate masters. Sigh...
Other than that, a nice, quiet, interim day, aside from spending an hour or two sending out info on Our Town to various news outlets. Had nothing scheduled and got some household chores done. Also, many thanks and much appreciation to son Mike, my computer seems to be finally fixed. It had been fearfully slow, mouse action was erratic, and it sometimes wouldn't even go where I wanted. Now, long distance from Singapore, he has fixed it, via "TeamViewer," in which he actually was able to "take over" my computer and do all kinds of mysterious things to remedy the situation. Happy day! Now it's a pleasure to caress the keys.
Enjoyed a telephone visit with darling daughter, Ellen, while Mike was disciplining my computer. She was about to finish up report cards, which are now done on the computer, too. Boy, what did we do without them? You don't miss what you never had, but now--I'm rejoicing in my little honey's new life.
WIDER: Very much to the point of my rant against K-Mart is this from Chris Hedges in
WIDER STILL: Sad news: Joe Bageant has died. He was one of the good guys. He cut through the crap with essays like the one that at the link that follows, his last, to my knowledge. Big loss for our side.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Zipped down to Santori's for veggies and salad fixings. Made a big, green salad for what I'll call the "pre-production costume/cast party." If I say it myself, the salad was damn good: Green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, orange sweet peppers, feta cheese, and chicken. I put several dressings in a basket and brought them along. Along with the pizza, fried chicken wings (I never liked them), shrimp, and a variety of other goodies--not to mention the wine and beer, which flowed freely--it was a delicious spread.
We had all brought our costumes and tried them on. Luckily, Julie's house, where we had the party, is very large (out in the country in New Gretna) with a lot of bedrooms, so we had space. Everybody liked my choir scene outfit, but wardrobe mistress, Ellen V., turned thumbs down for the dress to wear to the wedding. I got it at the SOCH thrift store for four bucks, but even at the time, didn't think it was right for the era (1900's). She found me an appropriate skirt and we'll hunt for a top to go with it.
After, we sat in the large living room, many on the floor, and "read lines," (actually recited from memory); did the third act first, then the first.
The gathering started at 4:00, and we broke up about 8:00, a nice, early end to the evening.
Susan asked if I could walk at 6:45, instead of 7:00, as she wants to go to 7:30 mass, fine by me. After that, I actually have nothing scheduled, unusual for me lately. Think I'll get a few things done around here, then maybe go to the cemetery.
WIDER: For Obama fans, an incredibly hard-hitting piece by Linh Dihn, that includes:
"Again, American borders are porous by design, just as other countries’ borders are routinely violated by the U.S.A. There is a huge difference, however: when Americans enter another country illegally, it’s never to empty foreigners’ bedpans or to wash their dishes, but usually to kill them."
And this:
"The President of the United States is also a spokesman for murderers and crooks. He doesn’t rule, but obeys. His main job is to deceive the masses as he serves his enablers. He can say anything at any time, and means none of it. The President of the United States is the world’s most visible actor, in short."
But so much more, especially concerning the slaughter parties in which we so lightly engage.
Those who dare can read it all at "State Of The Union" here:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wow, was it cold during our morning walk. Went to exercise, then to the bank for some financial business. Didn't sit down to breakfast until 10:30, and started doing the daily cryptogram after. Glanced up to see it was 11:30 and I was due at Mary Ann's in ten minutes.
Yoicks! I rushed into the bedroom, changed in record time, slapped some makeup on, and grabbed my Scrabble game (it's the anniversary edition) and rushed down the street. Mary Ann and I then walked to Rosemary D.'s for the game.
Rosemary and her husband live in the largest Sunrise Bay model and it has the additions of a sun room and screened-in porch on the back. It's decorated so-o-o beautifully; in a kind of English manor house (or something) style and it instantly became my favorite.
Rosemary's husband, "Spanky" (real name, Ron, and it's a long story) is very seriously ill with diabetes and was at dialysis while we were there. He has to have a leg amputated soon, I gather because of wounds not healing. He was a jazz trumpeter--actually earned a living at it--and we were thrilled to see an original painting by Tony Bennett with a note and signature by the artist. Rosemary herself majored in voice (opera) in college and is a gracious hostess.
Mary S. soon joined us and we played two games; I came in last at both. I'm not sure why, but although I love words and enjoy crossword puzzles, word jumbles, and cryptograms, I'm a poor Scrabble player. Well, I'll leave that to the shrinks to decide.
Rosemary served a luscious lunch of a kind of delicate homemade pizza--but with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella instead of oily sauce--and two salads, one of mixed fruit, the other vegetable. It was great. We probably spent more time talking and laughing than playing, and didn't leave until after 4:00.
Changed back to casual clothes and drove to Manahawkin to pick up pretzels (my downfall) and a few other items. Called Ellen V. when I got back and we talked for--get this--one hour and twenty minutes. She has a very small role in Our Town, and is also wardrobe mistress and stage manager (the real one, not the character in the play). When we finally hung up--we're going to see each other today--I had dinner. Ate a lot of the veggies I had cooked up yesterday for dinner, went to bed at 9:00, and as ever, slept well.
WIDER: Adam Garfinkle in The American Interest, starts his essay with:
"To all appearances, U.S. foreign policy in the Obama Administration has now definitively gone down the rabbit hole. It is intoxicated with an advanced form of Wilsonian madness, one shorn of all sensitivity to the consequences of the U.S. government’s behavior. Like Alice with her pills, some things are getting or will soon get bigger—risks, mission definition and casualty figures on the ground in Libya—while others are getting smaller—our reservoir of good options, our stock of common sense and our peace of mind...."
Yep, that about sums up the new little misadventure in Libya. But the rest of the piece needs to be read:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nothing much going on. Picked up a few things at Acme and did some chores. Talked to Betty and others. Continued to assemble the library display for Our Town.
High point of day was rehearsal last night. We finally completed a full run and I had some lines added. Didn't get home until 9:30, but got up at my usual at 5:15. Scrabble today with Mary S., Mary Ann V., and Rosemary D.
WIDER: An apt remark from Winston Churchill, quoted by Pat Buchanan in
"'In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.'”
Buchanan adds, "And Obama is a quick study."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Went out in a cold, drizzly rain and put five of the lawn signs for Our Town in various places around--well, our town. Will get more tonight at rehearsal. Made a kind of lentil stew in the big crockpot and froze two containers of it; will eat the rest today. Also cooked up fingerling potatoes, chopped onions, and garlic in the small crockpot. Had some with arugula salad for lunch and will finish it today.
Spent some time copying and arranging on a board old family pictures. I'm going to use them for the library display window advertising, which I've reserved for April. It will concern the play, of course, and after, I'll change it to advertise LETCO.
I actually took a short nap--it was that kind of day. Awoke to get ready for rehearsal. We had to meet at the old municipal building--no heat,so we kept our coats on--and did Act III. It went pretty well and broke up early. Got a call from brother Jim, thanking me for sending him a copy of his eighth grade graduation program.
As for directing for LETCO: It turns out the question is moot. The dates are June 25 and July 9 and I've decided to take brother Larry's invitation and go on the cruise, so I won't be here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why can't other medical organizations be like Atlantic Imaging? My mammogram appointment was at 8:00 and I was finished and in my car at 8:17. Very efficient. I was so early for my 9:00 breakfast with Betty, in fact, that I had time to stop at Produce Junction. Got lettuce, tomatoes, butternut squash, rutabagas, and mushrooms. Impulsively bought a lily plant for Betty, too.
Back up the road at Shore Diner, we both had oatmeal and a pleasant, sisterly visit. Stopped at the cemetery on the way home.
Was able to get a session at the hairdressers at 1:00 and,as ever, Leann did a nice job on color and cut.
Had rehearsal last night. We were to do a full run, but got so bogged down on Act One, only completed two of three. Will meet again tonight to go over last act. Desi S., our artistic director, asked me again if I'd direct a one act play for upcoming productions. Can't decide if I really want to get into that, but said I'd let him know at the end of the month.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Susan and I walked with umbrellas in a driving rain. At 9:00, virtuous me went to exercise, and I was glad I did. Later drove to Manahawkin to enlarge and duplicate pages from the Our Town script, which are hard to read in the versions I have. Otherwise, just did various chores. It cleared up nicely later in the day, I was happy to see. Hate rain and cold and love hot and humid.
Met Vivian for dinner at Calloway's at the unheard-of hour of 5:00 pm. I dislike eating that early, but want to accommodate her whenever possible. She works and also has an almost completely paralyzed husband (MS). I had met her at Wellspouse when I was a member caring for my own husband.
We had a mediocre meal and a good chat. Was home by 6:30. Mammogram at 8:00 am today, then will meet Betty for breakfast.
WIDER: Here's a stunning essay by Tom Engelhardt that outlines the nature of our current ways of war, then clarifies. I had never understood this before.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Woo-ee! I'd call it a busy day, even for me. Started off with Susan's and my usual walk, then dressed for the commemoration of the eighth anniversary of our sorry national experience in Iraq. I had written "Peace Vigil, 11:30-noon" on my calendar, but that seemed too short a time, so I drove over to the Unitarian church in Pomona at 10:00.
Found I was right the first time, so very early, but that was okay. I had been curious about this group that bills itself as a religion, but seems to so loosely organized. I slipped into the the Unitarian Church, where the event is held and witnessed about three quarters of the service.
I continue to be bemused by Unitarianism. The general "tone" is modelled, it seems, after a number of other religions--I think Christianity, in particular. It includes, though, nods to Judaism and Buddhism, as well as deists, pagan, and other non-God-centered beliefs. Lots of music; hymns, actually, but they were called "songs" and a surprising number of rituals I remember from Catholicism. Anyhoo, I stayed for the whole thing and found it interesting.
After, outside in the glorious sunshine, the congregation and newcomers--there were about fifty people there, I guess--took daffodils from those carrying them. As somebody read the names of those New Jersey military persons who had been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the daffodils were slipped into vases set up on a draped table. A nice tradition, to be sure, but disturbing to me for two reasons. The first was the complete and utter absence of any mention of the people we went over there to slaughter. Now, I know we don't know their names and never will, but at the very least, their demise and the destruction of their country could have been lamented. The other problem for me was when one of the organizers identified two people there who had an offspring "serving their country" in the military. "Serving their country?" That cliched rhetoric, which every American should vow never to repeat (if not on moral, at least on aesthetic grounds) supports the idea that there's something benign and "patriotic" about enlisting. Dispiriting to hear it.
Just had time to drive home and indulge in my cabbage and carrots when I went to the clubhouse in time for "Sunday at the Opera." This was Tannhauser, and boy, it was--well, long. Actually pretty interesting sung in German, but boy, was Wagner a moralistic preachy type--although I understand he indulged in plenty of extra-marital activity in his heyday. It was over until after 5:00, but worth seeing, I thought.
I was about to make dinner when Mary Ann Van O. called to say she had just cooked up a pot of pasta and why didn't I come over and share it? Well, sure, my mantra is "never turn down an invitation," so I high-tailed it around the corner and enjoyed Zita, a salad, and a coupla glasses of Merlot for good measure.
Fine day was topped off by daughter Ellen on the web cam, as ever, one of my favorite parts of Sundays.
And the beat goes on: Dinner tonight with Vivian.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lots going on still. Bought a pair of "ballerinas" (black flats) which I used to wear when I was fourteen or so in 1902. Got home to finally galvanize myself and get some chores finished. Set a-simmering two veggie treats in the crock pots: cabbage and apples in one and carrots/onions/garlic in the other. Finally, at long last, activated my new TracPhone (why anybody would buy any other kind is beyond me). Then the phone rang and I heard a voice say, "You don't know who this is."
I didn't. Unbelievably, it was an old friend from Ewing. Mickey E.--real name, Michael Ann--and I had met as neighbors roughly 43 years ago, when we lived in the apartment on Concord Avenue and she right behind us. After a time, she and Art, and Pat and I bought homes near each other. She had three boys, was divorced, then moved to Arizona 16 years ago. We exchanged letters for a time, and Christmas cards, but she never had a computer and as these things happen, our contact dwindled over the years. She mentioned that the last time she heard from me, I had just returned from London; that was five years ago. She didn't even know Pat had died.
Of course, we exchanged information about our families. Two of her boys, the oldest now fifty had married and the younger is divorced. No grandchildren. The other son, the middle one, presumably still lives in Ewing, but she hasn't been in contact with him since she moved. Sad story, that. Mickey and I talked for more than an hour and vowed to stay in touch. It's got to be via old-fashioned means--snail mail and phone--but it will do me good to discipline myself to that.
After we hung up, I had some of the yummy veggies, then hopped into the shower and dressed for the St. Pat's Day Party. I had bought a six-pack of Heineken and borrowed Dennis' insulated carrier for the affair. Drove to Mary Ann's, then we went to the party. It was fun and good to be out and about. Got home after 9:00, skipped my popcorn and wine, and went right to bed.
Today is another busy one. I'm going to a peace vigil at 10:00, then Mary Ann's "Sunday At The Opera" at 1:30 to see Wagner's Tannenhausen which I understand is four and a half hours long! I may be the only one who stays for the whole thing, but hey, Mary Ann's a friend of mine and I'm a bitter ender.
WIDER: From John Caruso's "The Distant Ocean" blog:
"For those keeping score, the U.S. is currently waging war at varying levels in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. Which might seem discouraging, but on the other hand, just imagine how many countries we'd be bombing right now if we didn't have an anti-war Democrat in the White House...."
Yep, we're lucky the Peace Laureate is restraining himself.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

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Susan and I walked at 6:30, as she was going up to Monmouth County for a dentist appointment. Got a web cam call from P. and N., went to exercise, tidied up, and got a few things at the store. Called sister Betty to see if she could meet for dinner and she accepted. Walked the three doors down to Leslie's at quarter of two and we went to the food pantry. I sub for regulars there when needed and actually enjoy it. Les and I were joined by another woman, Jackie S., who has MS, which manifests itself with a severe limp. Considering what it can do, she's lucky, I guess. We worked until 4, then I drove to the Shore Diner and met Betty at 5:00. We both had a vegetarian dinner--she, steamed veggies, I, veggies over rice--and good talk, of course. Was home by a bit after 7:00 and shortly after, got a web call from Mike, Vivian, and Violet, and of course, greatly enjoyed it.
Party at the clubhouse with Mary Ann Van O. this evening.
WIDER: This is the eighth anniversary of the war on Iraq. Here's a relevant post from Anti-War.Com:

Friday, March 18, 2011

A good, busy day (busy days are usually always good for me). Got the Horizon BC/BS (yes, "B.S." is thoroughly descriptive) straightened out, I think, then drove to Manahawkin. Picked up what I needed at Shop-Rite and a few other places.
Came home and finally cleaned up my closet a little. I had left a number of suitcases in there and was in danger of tripping over them when I go in for clothes. Straightened up the bedroom, too. Did some wash. Got in touch with the woman who writes "Everyone Has A Story" for the A.C. Press to ask if she'd do one on Desi and she will--great.
Showered and dressed for Susan's dinner party and went over there about 5:30. Had a great time, as usual. Judy and Roman K. were the only other guests and we had some good conversation. Forgot to mention yesterday that Mary Ann Van O. and I had gone to Joe Canal's Liquors during our excursion on Wednesday, where we both bought a few bottles of cheap wine. I was thinking of one as a hostess gift, but instead gave Susan three of the Ukrainian Easter eggs I've had for years. She was delighted.
Must go; Susan's going up to Monmouth to her dentist and we're walking at 6:30 instead of 7:00. Working at Food Pantry with Leslie today.
WIDER: Another strong post from Chris Floyd. This is reference to the recent murders in Pakistan by CIA agent Raymond Davis:
" soon as Davis was safely out of the country, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate unleashed one of the most violent drone barrages against Pakistan in many months. The Peacely one sent his courageous unmanned robot missiles -- fired by courageous warriors sitting in padded seats thousands of miles away -- to attack ... what else? ... a peace conference in northwest Pakistan.
Local tribal elders were meeting to settle a dispute over a mine in the area. The meeting was attended by members of the local Pakistani Taliban -- a group now at peace with the Pakistani government. Pakistan's military chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, issued what the NY Times called "an unusual and unusually strong condemnation" of the slaughter...The meeting...held in an open marketplace...killed 26 people. More than half of them were elders or tribesmen who had no connection to the local Taliban."
But for the whole sorry story, see the full entry here:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Topsy-turvey day--some good, some not. Talked to Betty early; she said she was taking Mookie out for her birthday and I suggested they meet Mary Ann and me at Ventura's (the former Rugby Inn) and she thought that was a good idea. I told her we'd be there about 1:00.
Had highly annoying interchanges with some doctor's office--or rather, his billing rep--and Horizon Blue Crap and Blue Sheesh. Doc says I owe $135 for his services at gall bladder time,which B.C. and B.S. should have paid; latter says no, or something. Have to call them back.
Mary Ann picked me up at noon and we went to Sammy's Sock Outlet on Tilton Road, to which I've introduced a number of friends. She bought twelve scarfs as table prizes for the Women's Club Luncheon, to be held in May, We took a lot longer than I thought and it was already 1:30 by the time we left. Now came the frustrating part, due to a series of happenings which involve not having my cell phone, not having Betty's number, misdirection to the restaurant, followed by more misdirection, and so on and on. The upshot was we were--I think--about an hour late meeting Betty and Mookie. Betty was not angry, but was worried--I would have been, too--since she kept trying my cell and was told it wasn't in operation or whatever.
Anyway, we had a great time at a leisurely lunch. Mary Ann and B. and M. got along nicely and we all enjoyed our food and talk.
After, Mary Ann and I went to The Christmas Shop in Mays Landing and she got twelve gift bags for the scarfs, along with ribbon and so on. Didn't get home until after 6:00 to find a welcome phone message from Susan inviting me to dinner today for St. Patrick's Day. I went over to accept with pleasure, then quickly changed for rehearsal and went there. Was glad when Director Tonya said we wouldn't have rehearsal tonight, so I can relax at Susan's.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Went to Manahawkin and got some things duplicated at Staples, then to Wal-Mart for a few items. Spent a fair amount of time on The Breeze stuff; deadline was yesterday, but we have time for corrections.
Went to rehearsal. We did Acts I and III. I went okay, but III was a disaster, so far. As for me, I'm off book on I and II, but had to partly read off the script for III. No matter; I'll have it down pat tonight. I'm sure all will shape up by show time. We'll rehearse again tonight.
Other than that, I just spent downtime worrying about P. and N. in Tokyo. Expressed this to them and was reassured to an extent. I'm going to try to Skype them now.
Lunch with Mary Ann Van O. today.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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Went to exercise and got the income tax done; am getting $1300 back. Other than that, I mostly just spent time on The Breeze stuff. A fellow member of the editorial staff, Julie L., objects to one of the pictures I included with my article on Vietnam. Think I'll add it here (see previous) and poll my vast numbers of readers--all one or two of you--to see what they think. BTW, I describe the Saigon market, so it's relevant. E-mailed Mary S. to the effect that I had failed to receive the memo appointing Julie photo editor.
Got a web cam call from P. and N. Things are still uneasy there--power outages and scarce food and other items--but the nuclear reactors are the true worries. Saw some pictures
Other than that and the IRS tribute meeting, nothing much went on except household chores and a few phone calls. Several friends, brother Larry, and sister-in-law Regina, had called over the weekend expressing concern about P. and N., and I called all back. Also spoke to sister Betty.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Update: P. just called on the web cam. He and N. are doing all right, but there are scarce items and the supermarket near them is open only two hours a day. P.'s office was a mess, and they have some inconveniences, such as limited electricity, but nothing too major. The trains are still not running fully and he said Kyodo station, near where he lives and I stayed, is the last. Sixty or so others are not yet in service, so Kyodo Station is very crowded.
Had a wonderful weekend. We left on Saturday about 7:15 and got up to Middlebury Center close to 2 pm. It was so good to see J., N., and the four little boys. Was shown around the good-sized house and admired to scenery outside--farmland with a background of tree-covered hills; the two of us stayed in Wellsboro, about ten miles away. Played Uno Spin with J., J., and J. and greatly enjoyed it. We were then treated to a tour of significant places in Wellsboro, including the kids' school. It's a lovely little town, reminiscent of so many others in both N.J. and PA and, for all I know, Iowa and Nebraska.
We went to Pizza Hut for dinner. Had incredibly greasy, high-calorie cheese and pepperoni pizza, plus a Bud. Of course, a television had to be on the wall and little T. kept pointing to scenes of the earthquake and tsunami and drawing my attention to it.
After dinner, we all went back to our motel and went in the pool. It was in-doors and heated, of course, and the kids (and adults) loved it. We swam, splashed around, and sat for a time in the hot tub. It was great. Went back to our rooms, I said goodbye to the gang, and took a hot shower, fell into bed and slept great.
Yesterday, the two of us had oatmeal for breakfast at the Wellsboro Diner (an actual reconverted dining car, opened in 1939), then all eight of us reassembled at their place. We all went back into town and took a walking tour. Examined the statues in the park (Civil War and local dignitaries), meandered down Main Street, and looked in various stores. Stepped into the terrific Penn Wells hotel, built in 1969. We then stopped at the supermarket--presumably, the only one for miles around--and N. got cold cuts and so on. Went back to their house and had a good lunch. We said goodbye about 3:30 and started the long ride home. Ellen called when we were back in Jersey and it was good to talk to her. Got back a bit after 9:00 and I decided not to stay over, so drove home. I did sleep until 7:00 and didn't walk, but will go to exercise in a half hour.
What a great weekend. Just wish they lived closer.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

No time for much. Leaving in ten minutes to go way up to northern Pennsylvania to J. and N.'s. Can't wait to see the little boys.
Japanese earthquake more terrible even than thought. Son P. went to his office and found everything thrown on the floor, and things damaged. At least, though, they can be remedied. The people in the north have devastation all around.
Went down to Betty's yesterday. Saw old classmate (St. James AND Holy Spirit), Pat K. and her son-in-law, who are giving Betty estimates for her kitchen and bath renovation. Enjoyed that, then Betty and I went to a salad place in Margate for lunch, then to the Ventnor Historical Society to search for those long-ago pictures I organized for St. James. Tom H., volunteer, there and we had a nice time talking to him but no luck with pics. Stopped at St. James on the way home, but still they don't know where they are. Anne, in office, said if found, they'd be given to the St. James History area--or something. You mean, there is one? I never heard that before.
Lots of my relatives, neighbors, and friends called or e-mailed, concerned about the earthquake and P. and N. Others keep up with P.'s entries on Facebook. So good of them and I'm so glad I can report they're all right. Tried to Skype P. just now, but he wasn't there--and, I think, not on-line.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Terrible news from Tokyo. I was awakened at 4:45 with a web cam call from son, P. Told me there was a major earthquake--8.9--about 80 miles away. Trains not running,his gas service off. They felt some of it and things fell off shelves, but they're okay. Fires starting and great damage elsewhere. Will look on T.V. Thank heavens it wasn't closer to them, so he and N. are safe. N's parents, who live near them, are okay and so is her brother, although he's stuck at work, a distance from where he lives. Hey, it's just as well this didn't happen last month when I was there. Would have scared me to death.
Yesterday, after a leisurely breakfast, Betty and I went up to Manahawkin to the SOCH thrift shop. I was looking for a clip-on tie and thin belt for my Our Town role, Betty just looking. I didn't find anything, but she bought a beautiful long sweater and a tablecloth. We then stopped at the Tuckerton store--didn't see anything there--and went next door to good old Dynasty Diner for lunch. I had a big, fat, greasy, 10,000 calorie hamburger and a beer, my favorite hot weather meal--. Oh, the weather's not hot? My mistake, heh, heh. Betty left after, but I'm going down to her place today--girls just want to have fun!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What fun having Betty here! She came a bit before 10 after her doctor's appointment, which she said went well. While we talked in the kitchen, I made a big salad and put new potatoes, onions, and garlic in the crock pot. We met Ellen V. for lunch at Applebee's and had a great time talking and talking and talking, of course. I don't eat meat or fowl at home (I see no particular reason to do that), so I ordered a shrimp and chicken combo; ate very scrap. We stopped after at Shop-Rite, where I introduced Betty to those puffy things that are only 15 calories each. Of course, you have to eat about of them to feel you've eaten anything.
Served a vegetarian dinner of the salad and potatoes, plus half each of an acorn squash.
Went to rehearsal. Betty was going to go, but she was tired, so decided not to. Just as well, since the Community Center was cold as a tomb, as usual, and it probably would have been very tedious to witness the session. We did Act II, which includes the wedding scene. I'm almost off book, but not quite--better get crackin'.
When I got in about 9;15, I poured myself a glass of wine and Betty a soda and we sat up talking and laughing for more than an hour--late for me, but worth it.
Before my trip, I had bought a "snuggle" for myself, and picked up one for Betty. She loves it and it trailed after her most of the day. So funny.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Well, this is cute. I wrote a fair-sized post just now, pressed "publish" and got an error message: "tag is broken." Looked at help pages, but haven't been able to remedy it. Huh--I'll see if this will post.
It did, but when I tried to cut and paste the other, the same message came up.
Oh, the hell with it. I'm just going to record things very sketchily, as I use this as a journal for myself:
1. Got a good report on blood work, etc. from the doctor. She said my cholesterol, esp. the "good" kind is "beautiful."
2. E-mail, then phone call from Karen C. She was interviewed on Rider's radio. Made a date to meet for lunch next Friday.
3. Went to rehearsal last night. Went well and picked up new costume.
4. Betty will be here this morning and will stay overnight. We'll meet my friend, Ellen V., at Applebee's for lunch.
5. I seem to be spending a lot of time--too much--on this computer, but am not getting any more savvy.
6. I hope this posts!
Forgot to mention I went to the cemetery for the first time in--well, I guess since December. Pat's grave looks good, the shells and pinecones showing up well. I was delighted to see that at Jay's grave, the daffodils I planted last year are coming up.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Eye appointment went well: Doc said cataracts and whatever they are in the back of my eye are stable. Can get new glasses if I want, but probably isn't necessary.
Aside from that, a slow day. I actually sat and read in the late afternoon, then napped for an hour or so on the couch.
Talked to Connie and Tom H. about the St. James archival material (photos) I assembled so lovingly a few years ago, that now seem to be lost. He volunteers at the Ventnor Historical Society and I'm going to go down there on Friday to see if any are there. I'm very much afraid they've been thrown out, as I keep getting the run-around when I try to trace them.
Was happy to get a web cam call from P. and N. He guided me on how to find pictures of my trip on Picasa and I'll post one--or some--here.
Regular doc appointment this morning.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Miserably dreary day: rainy, windy, and dark, my least favorite. However, there were a few bright spots, notably a call from sister Betty. I should have spent the day doing useful things, but I didn't. Went to Acme and stocked up on veggies; later, put new potatoes, onions, garlic, and spices in the small crock pot and let them become yummy. Washed, trimmed, and cooked cauliflower, asparagus, and broccoli; ate some and will have the rest tomorrow. Made vegetable broth to use in soup with the trimmings; froze that.
Aside from that minor stuff, just spent time fooling around on the computer. High point of day was the web cam call from Ellen--we had a nice chat--interrupted by one from Mike, which I had to defer. Did get a chance to see sweet Violet on Daddy's lap. Another high point was a call from brother Larry from Miami, inviting me to go on a cruise to Mexico in June. Lots of members of his humongous family are going and I'm seriously considering it--think I probably will.
Eye doctor appointment this morning, to which I'm not looking forward. My biggest fear in life is blindness and was told a few years ago I have some kind of holes or dots in the back of my eyes. Can't remember if that's a sign of macular (SpellCheck can't spell it, either) degeneration or not, but it scares me a lot. Last time I went, last year, the doctor said it was "stable," which is good news. Hope it stays that way.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Went to The Wizard of Oz at Pinelands Regional last night and boy, was it FABULOUS. It followed the Judy Garlard movie very closely, even to the extent that "Dorothy" sounded like her in both song and dialogue. Special effects were spectacular and the performances were downright professional. Funny thing: A important segment was included that had "the jitterbugs"--a troop of at least twenty-five--dancing in tap and free form (or whatever the non-tap type of dance is called) in a rousing number. I'm very familiar with the movie version of The Wizard; can recite whole pieces of dialogue and know virtually all the songs and I'm sure there were no "jitterbugs" in it. Wonder if it was originally in, then left on the cutting room floor (a phrase from bygone days).
As for the original Wizard--the book--I may be the only one on the eastern seaboard who has actually read it. It's very different from the movie, has added characters, for one thing and there's even a different "feel" to it, it seem to me. What's more, I've been to L. Frank Baum's grave. He's buried under a big mausoleum in Forest Lawn Park in California.
Went to the show with Susan and Walter and, after, accepted their invitation to come in for a glass of wine. Didn't get home until almost 11:00; when I did, had a message about our trip to upstate Pennsy to see the kids next weekend. Can't wait.
Earlier in the day, Brett finally got here about the front door. He fixed it, which is fine, but I've lost interest anyway. While he was here, Libby B. called to say she didn't want to be interviewed for this month, after all. Okay by me, I have plenty on my plate as it is, and I'll call her in April.
It's Sunday and I'm so hoping my darling daughter will call me on the web cam this evening between 6 and 8 my time. Haven't seen her for the longest and I miss her! Of course, I'd love to hear from my other kiddies, too.
NOTE: I'm happy to report that my insomnia is gone. Slept like a log the last few days; son Mike was right, I guess, that it was jet lag. (Oh, he's always right about everything--NOT!)

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Very enjoyable day. Barb, Pat, and I went to the Sugar Mapling van tour in the N.J. Forest Research Center in Jackson. Very informative, especially considering this: Who would believe you could get maple syrup from trees in Jersey? The Park Rangers also elaborated on bee-keeping and Shiitake mushroom growing--very interesting. Only drawback was, we were OUTSIDE most of the time. Good grief, it was cold! Most of the time, we were standing on frozen ground while the lectures were given at various stations where the actual activities went on. When we heard we would next go to the sugar shack, we were thrilled, thinking it was inside and warm.
It wasn't. It was outside and cold. I thought my toes would be frost-bitten and cursed myself for not having the foresight to put on two pairs of socks. Nevertheless, it was a very enjoyable day. At about 11:00 (it had started two hours earlier), we went in the toasty warm Visitor's Center, then ate lunch in the van, which the driver heated up. Really a fun day. Barb, Pat, and I have gone on a number of Ocean County van tours and are planning to go on one to "Bartram's Gardens" in Philly and "the Swedish Colony" up north.
Firmed up lunch for Betty and me on Wednesday, with Ellen V. at our usual place, Applebee's in Manahawkin.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Sad story of my kitchen floor: When we moved here eight years ago, we spent an extra TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS upgrading that floor from pokey, everyday vinyl tile to a rustic, cool-looking (figuratively, not literally) Italian stone. It reminds one--I fondly hope--of Tuscany or something. It's beige overall, but variegated in tone and is purposefully pitted, the way the floor in a villa overlooking the Amalfi coast would be...
It's the bane of my life! Although it doesn't "show the dirt," as my mother's genteel expression used to be, it's impossible to thoroughly clean it unless you get down on your hands and knees with a scrubbing brush. Which is exactly what I spent HOURS doing yesterday. What a job. But it does look nice.
Earlier, I went to exercise--the three-mile, yet--and, although I walked plenty during my trip, I really felt it in my upper thighs. Good, I'm back in the game.
E-mailed back and forth to friend, Ellen V., and tentatively set up a date for lunch on Wednesday. Betty will be here and I'd like to introduce them.
Spent time writing up some of my Vietnam experiences for The Breeze. Must get busy on the other articles, including one on Our Town for the April issue, too.
Called that devil's spawn, Comcast, to say I can't possibly install that godforsaken "digital device" they foisted on my and made an appointment to have them come do it. Will cost fifteen bucks, but that's okay.
Barb H., her sister, Pat, and I are going "maple sugaring" today, as part of another Ocean County van tour. It's includes three miles of walking, about which I'm pleased. Must pack a lunch. Tomorrow, the G.'s and I will attend The Wizard of Oz at Pinelands Regional High. That should be fun, too.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Went to Manahawkin to the SOCH thrift shop, but found nothing suitable for the play. Made an appointment to get the income tax done. Stopped at Shop-Rite and otherwise putzed around.
I let my subscription to Vanity Fair lapse--I just don't have enough time to read magazines--but for some reason, they keep sending it--okay by me. Loved this month's issue--"Hollywood!" Stories on Lauren Bacall at 86, and Eva Marie, about the same age, Mel Gibson, and others. Seems to me, for all its outrageously snobbish appeal, it has some of the best writing around. There was a piece on Ireland's economic downfall that was just enthralling. Scary, too.
I'm expecting my erstwhile (oh, I just like to use that word) handyman, Brett, to come at 10 to repair the door insulation he put in before my trip.
Have had insomnia ever since I got back. Fall asleep easily, but wake between 2 and 3 am and can't get back. Darn, I hope this doesn't continue.
WIDER: From the incomparable Chris Hedges:
We are wasting $700 million a day to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while our teachers, firefighters and police lose their jobs, while we slash basic assistance programs for the poor, children and the elderly, while we turn our backs on the some 3 million people being pushed from their homes by foreclosures and bank repossessions and while we do nothing to help the one in six American workers who cannot find work. These wars have taken hundreds of thousands of lives. They have pushed millions into refugee or displacement camps. They have left young men and women severely crippled and maimed. They have turned our nation into an isolated pariah, fueling the very terrorism we seek to defeat. And they cannot be won. The sooner we leave Iraq and Afghanistan the sooner we will save others and finally save ourselves.
But the full essay needs to be read, especially our casual murder of children:

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Happily, I'm the recipient of a beautiful, hand-knit wool scarf and two pair of knitted booties. They're from my new friend, Libby B.; her husband has some kind of partial paralysis in his legs and I lent him Pat's transport chair. He can keep it as long as he needs it, which I'm afraid, will be for life. She was so grateful she gave me the terrific handmade gifts.
Went to rehearsal last night, although my part wasn't covered. Just wanted to get into it. Director Tonya had costumes there and I selected a skirt, blouse, and hat, more or less in 1906 style. Found the skirt is much too big, so will return it and try for another. Maybe I'll go to the thrift store and see if I can find anything appropriate.
Talked to Betty, who's coming to stay over on Tuesday. We'll go to lunch, too. Going with Barb H. and her sister, Pat G., on a van tour on Friday.
WIDER: Fred Reed, cynical and profane, is one of my heroes. His work shines with so much truth, it hurts. Hurts bad. This is just a portion of a recent essay:
America is the world’s greatest debtor nation, China the greatest creditor. We cannot possibly repay what we owe, so we must either default or inflate. If another choice exists, I am unaware of it. And yet the government spends, spends, spends, and borrows, borrows, borrows. No one is in charge. No one cares. All line their own pockets. Wait.
Rationally, this would seem a good time to let go of unaffordable luxuries. But no. The US continues to buy things it can’t pay for, to play roles it can no longer maintain, because it pains the national vanity no longer to be the biggest kid on the block. The monkey can’t let go.
The millstone around the American neck is the Pentagon. The direct cost alone of feeding the military contractors is almost mortal to a sinking economy: $720 billion this year, plus another $120 billion requested...
The rest is here:

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Still settling in. Unpacked, did mountains of wash, and drove to Santori's for a supply of veggies. Made a big salad and had it for lunch. Made up the miso soup N. had given me and had that for dinner--very good.
Talked to friend Marge and sister Betty. Latter will come up on Thursday and stay over. Expounding on my experience in the air, here's how it went:
First flight took seven and a half hours from Singapore to Tokyo, then had a layover (can't remember how long), then flight to Newark Airport took fourteen hours. Since I left Singapore at 8 am and arrived in Newark at 4;20 pm on the same day, I find it impossible to figure out the time and hours, etc.--well, it was about a day's worth of travel.
P. and N. just called on the web cam (5:45 am), then I called Mike. V. and V. had just gotten out of the tub and I saw them briefly. I again thanked my sons for their hospitality--they're so good.
I'm going to attend rehearsal tonight, although my part isn't "on" until next Tuesday. Want to get back in the swing of things and also start the publicity stuff.