Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crock Pot And The Truth

During our morning walk, Susan and I saw Libby B. outside.  I called over, "how you doing?" before I reallied she had lost a lot of weight--and some hair.  We stopped to talk and she cheerfully told us she was starting on a new round of chemo soon. 
Ouch.  I hadn't seen her for some time and had no idea she had cancer.  We chatted for a few minutes, wished her luck, and went on our way.  Made a note to call her in a week or so to see if I can help. 
Later, put on my housewife hat and did some cooking.  Put chicken legs in the crock pot, along with cut-up carrots, Brussels sprouts, and celery; forgot to add onions.  Had it for dinner and it was yummy.
Went back to SOCH thrift in Manahawkin, as I'm having second thoughts about wearing a bed jacket when I come down from upstairs as Gay Wellington.  Maybe it should be a bathrobe or maybe I shouldn't change at all.  Will consult Tonya.  Actually took a nap on the couch after lunch.  That happens seldom and when it does, I sometimes wake up feeling groggy, but yesterday, I seemed to have needed it and was refreshed.
Got a day-ahead Skype call from Ellen, who's involved in a hard-fought run for the assembly.  No, she's not running; she's volunteering for a candidate and has spent a lot of time and effort in getting Julia Brownlee elected.  She'll join others in the audience at a debate with her and her republican opponent, which will, she said, be on C-Span.  Hope I can get to see it.  While I was "on" with Ellen, her sister called.  Called her back and we had a good talk.
WIDER:  "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free":

Saturday, September 29, 2012


A lull of a day.  Aline called early and caught me up on the rest of Thursday's rehearsal.  She's spending the weekend in Manhattan, so I won't see her until Monday's rehearsal.
Naomi called to discuss a silly letter in The Communicator (the privately-owned community paper).  It reached all kinds of sinister conclusions by comparing the birthrates of Muslim (high) and Americans (low), presumably the only humans who count.  The woman deplored abortion as the killing of innocents, but of course, didn't mention the slaughter of children in the middle east.  (The convictions of most pro-lifers I know stop at the mouth of the cervix.)  I couldn't figure out if she was recommending abortion  for Muslims or what.  Stupid.
Finally coordinated with Flo and got my jeans hemmed.  Went to B & B for a produce run; got Brussels sprouts, broccoli, yams, tomatoes, and peaches.  Drove later to the Manahawkin Shop-Rite for a slew of other things, including a big bag of fresh/frozen jumbo shrimp (raw), some of which I had for dinner.  Also revived the frozen corn on the cob I had stripped,  cleaned, and frozen last week.   
Aside from that, nothing much went on and I don't anticipate much today.   That's okay once in a while, but I wouldn't want it to happen too often.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thrft And Rehearsal

Enjoyable and active days (in my book, that's redundant) continue.  I picked up Aline at noon, first stopping at Flo's, who lives nearby, to have her hem the jeans I just bought.  Found out later we got our signals crossed, as she wasn't home, but will get it done today.
We stopped first at the thrift shop in Tuckerton.  Were not able to find anything, but I left off a flyer for the play.  I suggested Serpico's in Barnegat for lunch and Aline was agreeable.  (Aline is always agreeable and is always up for anything; she's a wonderful companion.)  The restaurant is half a pizza joint and half a more formal setting where I've arranged for Dine-Around in Sunday.
While there, I gave the manager a typed sheet with particulars for the affair.  (As a rule, I don't believe in leaving things to chance and I have 21 people coming.)  I was sorry to have gotten a call from Rae S. to the effect that Sid is back in the hospital, so they had to withdraw. Betty W. asked to add a friend of hers and I agreed.
We had a great lunch, then went to the consignment shop not far away.  I found an almost neon scarf that will go great with my stage outfit and bought it for 3 bucks.  We then went to the Manahawkin thrift shop and Aline got a skirt and I a lacy bed jacket.  (I'm supposed to come downstairs "wrapped in Penny's negligee," but this will serve.)
Dropped A. off and was home by 4:30.  Showered, dressed, and picked her back up for rehearsal at 7:00. 
I was taken aback at the number of absent players, including those in some key roles.  When this happens, Tonya, Barbara, or the script girl, Laura, will read the lines while we play to an empty chair, say, but it's oh-so-disconcerting.  Incredibly, the Rick who plays Ed still read from his script; when in the world will he ever buckle down and get off book?
I left before the third act, but promised to stay for the whole play on Monday and thereafter. 
It's shaping up, I guess, but still needs a WHOLE lot of work.  (At this stage, every play feels this way.  Now that I'm pretty much a veteran, I'm confident it'll come out okay.) 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Surflight And Fred

Yesterday?  Neat and complete. 
As soon as the car wash opened, I took my li'l darlin' over and got her a bath.  (I do this at least once every three years--don't want to bring down the tone of the neighborhood.)  Home, I breakfasted, then dressed for our excursion.  Picked up Aline and Susan, then Jeanne, and we were off to the Surflight theatre on LBI.
Had lunch at Buckalew's, sat and talked in the car for a time, then strolled the short distance to Surflight.  For a Wednesday afternoon and without buses, it wasn't a bad audience; place was about two-thirds full, I'd say.
Steel Magnolias was great.  Members of the cast--six women--are all equity and they were good.  I was especially impressed by the one who played Ouser ("Wee-zer"), who showed what a great part like that can be in the hands of a professional.  It was odd, but wonderfully enjoyable, to hear and see my old part of Clariee performed by someone else.  Although I was aware of Shelby's fate, I still cried during act three, of course.  I thought our Kathy D. actually did a better job of the role than the actress I saw yesterday. 
After, Jeanne and I chatted with some of the staff.  She knows them, as she has appeared with Our Gang Players at that theatre.  We then saw the actors who played Clariee and Ouser and extended our appreciation of their performances. 
Dropped the three off after making a date with Aline to visit thrift shops today to pick up additions to our play outfits.  Of course, we'll lunch along the way, too.
Stopped at Acme and picked up a tray of sushi for dinner.  I was surprised to see that some were labelled "raw" and some "cooked."  I don't think they use cooked fish in the dish in Japan; will have to ask P.  I guess they have to cater to leery American tastes here.  I chose the raw and it was good.
Got home and found three messages:  Lillian M. called to say the Red Hats group would attend our show on Friday night, instead of Sunday because our Women's Club is having an exercise person talk that day.  Damn!   This could cut down on attendance for some others, too.  Well, can't be help.
Flo C., the seamstress, called back and we decided she'd hem my jeans before I pick up Aline.  Naomi P. called about the fact that my walking partner and neighbor, Susan, who's a realtor, took some potential buyers through.  I called her back and we had a long talk.
SEMI-WIDER:  This isn't anti-military, but old Fred is at the top of his form in this "you don't need all that crap" rant:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


To Manahawkin to pick up a few items, then various and sundry chores of no interest at all.
Went to rehearsal, which is coming along, but still far from being ready for opening night.  My small part went well and the others weren't bad.  It's somewhat of a drag being only in the second act, but there are compensations.  For one, I have so few lines I was able to commit them to memory almost immediately.  Also, I open the second act and close it, too.  In the interval, I'm asleep on stage, which is kinda fun.  (Of course, I have to fake it now, as we don't yet have furniture on which for me to stretch out.)  Finally, I get to really ham it up by singing loudly and drunkenly several times. 
We did all three acts, which meant that after taking Aline home, I didn't get in until after ten.  Had told Susan I probably wouldn't walk, and I didn't.  Had my usual t.v., popcorn, and wine before I turned in, and slept until 7:15.  Slug-abed!
Today, I'm picking up Aline, her sister, and Jeanne S. and we'll lunch, then attend Steel Magnolias at Surflight Theatre.  It'll be fun to see it, especially for me; I had a major part in it for LETCO in 2010.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dine Around And Gitmo

Preparing for Sunday's Dine Around, I called the few members who hadn't yet responded.  We now have 22 people going, a good group.  Drove up to the restaurant--Serpico's, formerly Spiaggia e Luna--to tell them and check the place out.
I'm glad I did, because I discovered there's a parking lot leading to the back entrance, which is really the main one.  This is much more convenient than the municipal parking down the street, especially for the two  attendees in wheel chairs.  Called or e-mailed the group to let them know this.
Stopped at the SOCH thrift store and found a top to match my stage outfit of flowing "lounging pajamas," or whatever they used to be called.  The one that came with it is a bit snug.
Spent some time on the little word puzzles I'm going to have guests do at Dine Around.  Judy usually brings a Kindergarten-level quiz ("name two states that start with 'N'") and thought I'd vary the formula.  Can't remember what these are called, but here's an example:
     Turkeys + flowing water + ?
Answer: Toms River.  (All of the puzzles concern places or people the attendees know.)
I knew Susan's husband, Walter, was going to the Barnes & Noble in Brick, so asked him to pick up for me a copy of Sum: Forty Tales of the Afterlives.  I had gotten this from the library and found it so imaginative and absorbing, I waned to own it.  Told Judi G. I'll lend it to her when I did and will give to Neil to bring home to her tonight.
Packed the car with the concessions stuff and transferred it to Fred's car when we arrived at rehearsal.  His wife, Cynthia, is taking over, thank heavens; I'm glad to finally get it out of the guest room.   Aline is in Manhattan for the opening of the Met, so I went alone.  It went pretty well, although both Ricks--one plays Ed, the other Mr. Kolenkov--were out.  I'm having serious concerns about the former, who seems to have been absent more often than present. We did only acts one and two, but it ran much too long.  Will run over the whole play tonight.
WIDER:  Want to get really sick? See the following.  Be sure to note the penultimate sentence in the explanatory narrative at the beginning.

Monday, September 24, 2012


A kind of mixed, but not bad day.  I was just about to get in the shower when a friend of mine called.  She was very upset--I won't go into why--and I went over to her house to try to help.  I listened for a solid hour as she told me the problems she's facing.  I didn't ask many questions (she was telling me a bit more than I wanted to know) and certainly didn't offer any advice, but I think it helped her to have me lend a sympathetic ear (sometimes, these hoary cliches are useful).  When I thought it was safe to leave, I had just time to grab a bite for lunch, dress, and get to the opera at the clubhouse by 1:30.
It was LaTraviata, which I've seen before and like a lot. Not many people there, but it was enjoyable.  Got home after 4:00, then I went for a drive and just putzed around after until time for dinner.  Called Betty, who has to work today, then is leaving for Chicago tomorrow.  After that, she takes off directly to California--lucky her!  Ellen Skyped me, always highlight of the week, and we had a good talk.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Friends, Family, And Theatre

Picked up Aline at 10:00 and off we went on a perfectly gorgeous sunny day.  Took the mile stretch to reach Ventnor Heights and I pointed out that about ninety percent of the buildings we saw weren't there when I was a kid.  Soared over Dorset Avenue Bridge into Ventnor proper where Aline was ecstatic to be able to see the ocean beyond the boardwalk. Took Atlantic Avenue to reach our first stop, City Hall. 
I've always loved that building, erected in 1929, and wanted Aline to love it, too.  She did.  I showed her the inscribed plaques ("our boys"; the "hero" crap wasn't invented yet) on the WW I flag stand outside, then the beautiful tile inset depicting Ventnor on the center hall floor.
Went past St. James--I'll be damned (ha!) if I'll call it Holy Trinity--church and school, then down to Rosborough Avenue to show her my old homestead. 
Drove back to Newport Avenue via Ventnor Avenue to have brunch about 11:00 at Isabella's.  Many, many centuries and eons and eternities ago, it was "Sam's" and our local hangout after school, St. James being right down the street.
(Just in case son Mike reads this, I want to annoy him by recording that I had oatmeal and orange juice and Aline scrambled eggs and toast.  Oh, almost forgot: Mine was served with brown sugar and Aline's with jelly.  And we both had coffee.)
Moved on to the the library where the Players & Playwrights meeting are held and parked there.  We had plenty of time, so I took Aline up on the boardwalk.  The beach and ocean were at the top of their form under beautifully blue and sunny skies.  I pointed out various places of interest, then we sat on a bench and talked.
About a quarter of one, we went upstairs to the meeting to find a number of people already there.  John P., our leader, and others had come in by 1:00 and we dived into the order of the day.  Discussed our spring production, which we're just starting to look at, then our regular session started.  A number of plays  were read and critiqued, including my little sketch in rhyming couplets, Hell On Wheels, which was well received..
It was a good and lively session, with about forty people attending.  We broke up about 4:15, then I took Aline down to the Longport breakwater.  It was very windy and the huge waves crashing on the rocks made for a spectacular scene.  Aline loved it and so, as ever, did I.
Got to Betty's and we sat on the porch for a half hour or so, then went in for dinner.   (No, I'm not going to describe it except to say it featured chicken, which was delicious.)  We were happy to have Carole, who's staying across the street, join us.
Years ago, Carole had searched out and actually met with, the "Peace Pilgrim," Mildred Norman Ryder (see my blog entry of September 16).  That seems to me almost akin to hobnobbing with Gandhi, which is just an additional reason to love Carole.
Betty presented me with the gift of a ten-CD set of operas.  I'm delighted with this, as I like to listen to classical music when I cut up veggies for salad and so on.  After a convivial dinner, good talk, and many thanks, Aline and I left while it was still light.  Dropped my good pal off and got home just as the darkest dark descended.
What a terrific day!  It incorporated three of my favorite things: friends,  family,  and theatre--what could be better?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Play And A Movie

Aside from an Acme excursion (big whoops, as the kids used to say), I spent practically the whole day completing and re-typing my play for the Playwrights & Players meeting. 
Called Aline to suggest we make a day of it today and she enthusiastically agreed. I'll pick her up at 10:00 and we'll drive down to Ventnor for brunch (where? Dunno.), then I'll show her around my old haunts.  She loves the ocean, so I'll take her to the boardwalk, too. After that, we'll go to the meeting, then dinner at Betty's.
After I finished the play and copied it (love my printer), I searched out and found on YouTube, Truly, Madly, Deeply, a wonderful British film made in 1991.  Always loved it and I was able to watch the whole thing.  It's a five-hanky movie, no question, and you can be sure I had my box of tissues on hand.  The plot: Boyfriend comes back from the dead, girl's ecstatic, but after a time, realizes, and so does he, that a liaison between living and dead can't be on this earth.  Sound like Ghost?  It does, but only in regard to the major theme of loved one back from the dead.  Aside from that, it's immeasurably wiser, more intelligent, and more poignant.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lunch And Rehearsal

Betty and Carole arrived at noon and Susan shortly thereafter.  Carole loved my pictures, particularly the large ones of old Atlantic City over the couch.  We talked and talked, then sat down for lunch close to 1:00. 
I served what is pretty much my standard for guest luncheons: a green salad, chicken salad, deli ham and American cheese, various breads, and crystal pickles.  B. and C. had iced tea, Susan wine, and I a Blue Moon Susan had thoughtfully brought over.  Carole brought a wonderful apple cake, which I served along with the cut-up fruit I had made.  Susan also brought me a bottle of white wine called "Sweet Bitch," a source of great merriment for all of us.
After lunch, we all sat on the porch and continued our talk, which ranged from what our families are doing, to Carole's colorful teaching career in Japan, China, and South America, to the afterlife, if any.
Susan left about 4:00 and I took Betty and Carole over to see the clubhouse, after which we said goodbye.
Just had time to clean up and put in wash before I changed to pick up Aline for rehearsal, which was held at Barbara Hobe's.  (The school had a PTA meeting in the auditorium.  I can't imagine why these things can't be known ahead of time, but they always seem to just come up.) 
We first went over only the second half of act two, so my part was minuscule, but integral to the play.  Tonya directed us to go over it several times, as timing and blocking are crucial to this part and all characters--fifteen of them--are on the stage at once.  It was a bit cramped at Barb's, but it went pretty well.  Act one was scheduled for after that, so I made sure somebody would take Aline home, and left. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stafford Library

Invited Susan to join us for lunch today, and she accepted with pleasure.  Tidied up a bit, and got a call from Carole, asking for directions to my place.  Had the rest of my Caesar salad for lunch, then drove to the Stafford library branch in Manahawkin.  I wanted to get another CD for listening in the car and Aline said she'd be volunteering there, so thought I'd say hello.  I found her and she said she was just finishing up, so I asked if she wanted to go to Shop-Rite with me.  She did, but wanted to be back at 3:00, as she goes to an exercise class then.  No prob.
We went to Shop-Rite, where I got four bright and beautiful mums, one of my favorite flowers, then went back to the library.  I decided to participate in the class, although I was sure it would be too tame for me, considering I'm most familiar with Leslie Sansone workouts. 
Actually, it turned out to be pretty good.  It isn't nearly as intensive a routine as what I follow at the clubhouse,  but concentrates on exercises for balance, which I need.  Decided to continue with it.  I have another reason, too: These women probably frequent the Stafford branch and I want to alert them to my Dionne Quintuplet program, coming up in November.
Aline wanted to stay in Manahawkin and it's no problem for her to take the bus home, so we said goodbye.  I'll pick her up tonight for rehearsal.  Must decide what to have for lunch, then buy it and prepare it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lunch, Dinner, And The Pinelands

Picked Aline up at noon and we went to the Tuckerton Seaport to drop off the tickets Tonya had asked me to deliver.  We then went next door to ScoJo's for lunch.  Aline confided in me that her nephew, whom I had met the other day, probably has Asberger's Syndrome.  We talked very seriously about that and I told her about my own nephew, who was afflicted with the same problem.  Aline asked me to come in and talk to Susan, who is, of course, worried at her son's condition.  We decided jointly not to mention my nephew, whose Asberger's led to such tragedy.
Susan was very attentive as we talked.  I told her of others in my extended family (two cousins) who seemed to exhibit the same tendencies. As we were talked, her son called, which heartened her and Aline.
Got home and sat reading until the northern dweller came and we went off to Dynasty for dinner.  Took separate cars, as we were going to the Barnegat branch of the library for a Pinelands Photography Group program. 
The program was delightful.  Not only did it include framed photos by members, but there were two slide shows, one by a woman who lives in Warren Grove who took some wonderful pictures of the woods and lakes, the other by a photographer/artist who illustrated the use of photos in her art.  I loved some of her paintings, in particular one with a black background that included several frogs in various stages of growth.
Drove home through a heavy downpour; the touted tornadoes never showed--around here, anyway.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I needed to replenish my supply of veggies, so ran over to Santori's after breakfast.  On the way, it occurred to me that Betty might be working on Jimmie Leeds Road, so I called her and left a message.  Even drove into the parking lots of the two nursing homes she visits and Italian Gourmet, but didn't see her car.  Went to the cemetery and watered.  Betty called back and said, no, she wasn't working.  Talked to her later, too.  Showered and dressed after dinner, then picked up Aline for rehearsal.
Boy, does this show need work.  Mary and Jim were out, their daughter having been married on Saturday; guess they were exhausted.  In addition, Fred is on vacation, so those parts (and M.'s and J.'s are major roles), had to be read by Tonya, Barbara, and Laura, the script girl.  Latter can barely read, it seems, and of course, does so in a complete monotone.  In addition, "Ed" (Rick in real life), who has a semi-major part as Essie's (Lucille) husband, is still reading word-by-word off the script, often losing his place anyway. Worse, he also reads in a complete monotone--and he's in the show, for Pete's sake!
We did the first two acts and I'm only in the second, so I got a chance to see the beginning from an audience seat.  Seemed a little draggy to me, but I'm sure it'll pick up.
Tonya asked me to drop off tickets to the Seaport and Aline offered to go with me.  As long as she is, I suggested lunch and she agreed with pleasure.  We'll go to ScoJo's, which is right next to the Seaport; I haven't been there for an age.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Good Weekend And Taylor Morris

A good weekend, as I heard from all four of my favorite people in the world.  Mike called on Skype and I got to see and talk to my adorable granddaughters, Violet wearing a silver mask (don't ask).  Ellen had called on Saturday and the other two middle-aged kiddies contacted me electronically, so it was good.
Betty called and we made a tentative date for her and Carole W.C. to come for lunch on Thursday.  Went out for supplies to Shop-Rite and Buy-Rite (wine), fooled around on the 'puter, and got a coupla few other things done.  Continued my reading, which includes March To Folly: Troy to Vietnam, Drift, and Sum, the last a wonderfully imaginative account of life after death, plus the weekend NYTimes, practically a library in itself.  Of course, I read the Press of Atlantic City everyday, but the Times may be a teensy bit superior.  (All right, a lot superior; the Press is a rag, but it's my rag.)  
It was a pretty slow day, all right, but I was content to gear down for a bit and didn't mind.
Rehearsal tonight, for which I'll pick up Aline and to which, as always, I'm looking forward.
WIDER:  War inflicts such unimaginiable horrors, it may be as well we're mostly ignorant of them.  Here's a horror in spades:
Of course, there's an ocean--or a cesspool--full of sentiments going down, such as "how noble and brave," "inspirational," and, most odious, "thank you for your sacrifice" (as if the guy purposely ripped off his limbs to make the world a better place).  Nobody except those commenting on "Common Dreams" seem to go beyond the simple-minded jingoism to ask why, what for, was it worth it, and why should it continue.  Nah, not important, let's just take an admiring glance at the new member of an exclusive club (he makes only the fifth current combatant who has lost all four limbs), then forget about it. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Peace Pilgrim

I was pleased that Leslie decided to accompany me to Peace Pilgrim Park in Egg Harbor City and we left a bit after 8:00 am.  (It's amazing to me that a municipality would agree to name a park for a pacifist, let alone allow the statue, herb garden, and tiles that honor her there.)
The "Peace Pilgrim" was a woman from Egg Harbor City named Mildred Norman Ryder, who "walked for peace" over her 73-year life span, more than 25,000 miles.  Tragically, she was killed at the age of 73 in 1981 as a result of a car accident in Knox, Indiana. 
I've participated in Peace Pilgrim events in several other years and have her biography.  Here is more information about her and her ideals:
It was a two-mile walk and I'd say about two hundred people attended.  We were glad to see the young people there, including a soccer team from Cedar Creek High School.  We stopped twice, once to witness the installation of a post with some of the Peace Pilgrim's sayings on it and once at her childhood home.  The weather couldn't have been better: sunny and warm, but not hot with a cool breeze.
After, we gathered at the park where tables and chairs had been set up.  I received my peace tee-shirt, which I'm wearing now, and we got to know other attendees before lunch.  It was pot-luck, but I completely forgot to bring something; however, there were plenty of good dishes, as well as hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill.
We chatted with the Peace Pilgrim's sister, Helene, a lovely lady,  remarkably spry and well-spoken.  Incredibly, she graduated from high school in 1932, so is in her early nineties. For many years, she told us,she picked up her sister's mail at the Cologne, NJ post office while Mildred was walking for peace.
We got home about two and said goodbye.  I then surprised myself by napping for two hours or so.  Got up refreshed and drove up to B.J.'s for various supplies.
After dinner, Ellen called on Skype, deviating from her regular Sunday call, but that was fine, as I'm always glad to hear from her.  We talked until almost ten, but no prob, as I had had that nap.  Went to bed and slept well.
I was happy to get an e-mail from the northern dweller asking if I'd like to go to dinner with her on Tuesday, then to Barnegat Library where her hubby is one of the photographers featured in a Pinelands photo program; he'll be there to answer questions, too.  I accepted immediately, although that means I'll have to miss rehearsal.  Hope Tonya doesn't mind.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hair And So On

Aline called early to tell me how rehearsal for the first act went on Thursday night (I'm only in act two).  Pretty well, she said, but the piles of books and boxes are still there.  I checked the calendar on-line and saw that I go in on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Good--the more rehearsing the better, is my attitude.
Drove to the community center where we used to have our shows and got the coffee urn Frank had told me was "in the trunk."  Luckily, a nice young township worker was there, went upstairs with me, and carried it down.  It occurred to me that the trunk--big and old-fashioned with brass fittings--would fit in perfectly as part of the decor for You Can't.  I e-mailed Jeanne S. (our props person) and Tonya and the latter told me it was a great idea, so I guess we'll use it.
Piled all the concessions stuff that's been in my guest room since Funny Money on the bed and will transfer to Fred at rehearsal on Monday.
Got my hair cut, colored and styled at 1:00.  I told Shirley I wanted it darker and she accommodated.  Looks good, which it had better, as it cost me about equal to our mortgage on our first home in Ewing.
Stopped at the library after, as Aline had told me she's be volunteering there the last day of the book sale.  However, I was told she had cancelled.  Hoping she didn't have a problem of some kind, I stopped at her house.  No, no prob, her nephew was visiting from Brooklyn and she wanted to see him.  I stayed for ten minutes or so, then left.
After, I dropped in on Leslie to see how little Amelia was doing after her heart operation. Happily, she was released from the hospital a few hours before.  Invited Les to come with me to the Peace Pilgrim Walk in Egg Harbor City today.  She said she's been having trouble with her back, but will if it's not hurting.       

Friday, September 14, 2012


In the morning, I cut up carrots, put them in the small slow cooker with o.j. and cinnamon, then made myself a salad to have ready for lunch.  Thought I'd pick up a few items in Manahawkin, but on the way impulsively decided to continue on to Long Beach Island. 
Why?  Because Aline, Susan, and I are going to Steel Magnolias at Surflight Theater on LBI next Wednesday and lunching first.  I wanted to make a dry run  and check out some restaurants.  I'm glad I did; although I've been there several times, I had forgotten Surflight was so far down on the island.  I found it with no trouble, though, and stopped at three likely restaurants to be sure they'd be open (this is a resort area).  Got their take-out menus.
Now I never cared much for LBI.  It's a barrier island, only eighteen miles long, and very narrow.  At some places, you can view the ocean, then turn your head and see the bay.  Having been born and brought up in Ventnor on Absecon Island, a substantial year-round community, LBI seems somewhat--well, trivial, inconsequential, lightweight, or something.  It's filled with houses, most of them built in the last fifty years or so, plus the ubiquitous stores and eating places that spring up at all resorts, I suppose. The causeway bridge is the only way to get off if you don't have a boat and that makes me nervous as hell.  In the warmer months, the place is so jammed with vacationers and summer people it's annoyingly hard to get around.  Yesterday, there were still a fair number of people there--Autumn is usually a glorious time of year at the shore--but it wasn't so crowded as to be uncomfortable.    
I've been at the northern end of the island many times--it includes Barnegat Lighthouse, some beaches and docks, and too many commercial establishments.  It certainly isn't very impressive compared to Longport. 
I was never interested enough in the place to see the southern end, but having no pressing plans yesterday, decided to drive there and get a glimpse. 
I couldn't see much after I parked, as there are high dunes you have to walk over.  Luckily, stairs are provided.  Not expecting much, I parked and walked up and over to view the beach and ocean scene.    
Good grief, it's beautiful!  Yesterday was brilliantly sunny and the water rolled gently in under an almost cloudless sky.  The area includes a kind of overlook, as well as a broad expanse of sand curving down from it.  It looked a bit hazardous to cross, but many had and you could see them set up on the beach.  I stayed for just a few minutes, but will certainly come back again.  Lovely, lovely, lovely, and soothing to the soul.  I'll certainly return to LBI, which I now consider a gem of an island.
On the way home, stopped at The Pretzel Factory to get information on prices and so on.  Got a brochure for Cynthia, who will handle concessions for You Can't.         

Thursday, September 13, 2012


My third in a row lunch-out day.  Met Betty just at noon at a very busy Smithville Inn.  I guess busloads of "seniors"--agh, I hate that term!--are disgorged daily at the "village."  It's really just a collection of seemingly rustic, cutesy-poo, over-priced little shops--or "shoppes"--which preciously border a man-made lake and hasn't seen a "villager" in its entire existence.
All right already, I'll stop with the quote marks.
Tim and Tori came in, having driven from Cape May where they're vacationing.  I was again struck by Tim's resemblance to my father, his grandfather.  Aside from the nose--strictly German from his paternal side--his Irish quarter seems apparent to me, if not to anyone else.
I was so glad to see Tori again.  She and Tim have been together for five years now and that's such a good thing.  Tori, another of the interesting people with which our family abounds--raises chickens, having built their coop herself.  To that, she's added raising talipia, of all things.  She's experimenting with a self-sustaining system by planting certain foliage in the tanks which the fish eat, then nourish the plants in turn.
We had a good, leisurely, convivial lunch, after which Tim and Tori presented us with bottles of authentic maple syrup, harvested by a neighbor of theirs.  After, we strolled around the "village" (sorry), had somebody take a picture, then parted.
Such a nice day in a series of nice days.    

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jumping And THE DAY

Thought things would quiet down, but they're still jumping, just the way I like them.  Betty called early and asked if I could meet her at Italian Gourmet for lunch.  Absolutely, positootly!  Said I'd bring Aline, called her, and she was in. 
Went first to the library for their book sale--for once, I wanted to get in on the first day--and bought a bag full.  Saw Jo G. there and gave her and another woman flyers for You Can't.
Picked up Aline and we met up with Betty.  Had a good lunch and even better talk, especially after Carole Wimberg C. showed up.  We talked about my having Betty and Carole over next week and I'll arrange that soon. 
With Aline in tow, stopped at the book sale again on the way home.  Yoicks, I bought another bag of books!  For heaven's sakes, I have a stack of formerly-bought and not yet read ones in the bedroom, plus I'm deep into two others from the library.  Dunno when I'll ever get to them.
Dropped Aline off, and walked in my door to hear a message from nephew Tim W., asking if we could meet for lunch today.  He lives in Vermont, but is vacationing in Cape May.  Naturally, I called him back and said yes, then called Betty, and we decided to meet at the Smithville Inn at noon.
Grabbed a bite, then picked up Aline and went to rehearsal.  We again concentrated on act two, the only one I'm in.
It went a bit better than before, but was still nowhere as smooth as it has to be in (gasp!) four weeks, when we open.  Hardly anybody is off book and there are lots of problems with blocking.  We actually did it twice, so after dropping off Aline, I didn't get home until almost ten.
No prob, as I had told Susan I wouldn't walk so I could be early to get my (routine) blood test.  I'm glad I went because I met an interesting woman named Nancy Speck, who knows a new resident of Sunrise Bay.  Nancy gave me her name and I'll call her to do a profile for the November issue.
WIDER:  The usual orgy of "remembrance" of 9/11 went on yesterday, of course.  It was replete with the "never forget" mantra, which always seems to me a sinister admonition, cloaked as it is in nationalistic piety.  It vaguely suggests, I think, that anything we do in retaliation, any horrors we inflict on people in other countries, any cruelties we can devise, are justified, even if those people we continue to kill and maim had nothing to do with The Day.
I celebrate 9/11 because my darling daughter, Ellen, was born on that day.  Aside from that, my recommendation to others is: Forget.   
WIDER STILL:  This says it so much better:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Good And Full

A good, full day.  Aline called early and I asked if she'd come over so we could have a picture taken together for inclusion in The Breeze with my article on You Can't Take It With You.  She immediately agreed and--a girl after my own heart--suggested we go out for lunch. 
We went to Dockside, where I was taken aback by the decor.  I had noticed during other visits that Dockside was decorated pretty heavily in red, white, and blue, with flags here and there, stars and banners, and light catchers in the windows with various armed forces legends. 
Yesterday, though, they had added a number of large and truly ugly cloth hangings depicting militaristic themes, including a menacing looking group of soldiers advancing in full battle gear.  Even if I wasn't in the mind set of pacifism, I would have found it oppressive.
Left there and came back to my place, where I changed into my play outfit while Aline used my computer.  I had asked Frank D. to come over to take our picture and he took several, with and without wine bottles. 
Changed back and we went to the library so I could hang some flyers.  I must get the non-profit number, though, as they have a new policy for the bulletin board.  Dropped Aline off and went home to finish up some writing chores, then sent them off.  A few hours later, I picked my sidekick up again and we went to rehearsal.
It was a shambles.  As we often do, we had to work around an absentee--in this case, Julie S., who teaches middle school and had another commitment--and the blocking was particularly irksome.  However, my minuscule part went well and I was glad to be there.  We rehearse again tonight.
Took Aline home and settled in to watch the mindless Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with my w. and p.  What I like about "Triple D," as the host calls it, is that each and every "spontaneous" visit to restaurants across the country is exactly the same.  Guy Fieri(?) describes the place and interviews its patrons, all of whom attest that the food is sublime.  He then goes to the kitchen to "help" the cook combine ingredients so fresh you want to slap their faces.  Guy samples same and raves over the taste, the texture, the this, the that.  (I can see the writers tearing their hair over how to make another of Guy's enthusiastic comments seem--well, fresh.)  Guy then rolls off in his red convertible to get to the next place.
The show never varies, being absolutely formulaic, and the exact opposite of creative or thought-provoking, which should never, ever be allowed on television.  I can get those in books, and sometimes even in conversation.  I don't want to come across anything on the boob tube I'm supposed to take seriously; that's just a corruption of T.V.'s purpose.  Every D., D., and D. show immediately slides out of the viewer's head when it's over, so it isn't all cluttered up with anything thoughtful and you're ready for the next show.    
Boy, I love it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Literary Busyness

Finally galvanized myself and got a fair amount done.  First things first, though: I yielded to my stomach priorities when I saw poultry on sale at Shop Rite.  Got a large cut-up chicken and a package of drumsticks.  Put former in slow cooker with onions and  what I call "veggie juice."  I freeze the water in which I cook vegetables for just such use.  Why?  Because I understand a lot of the vitamins and minerals leach out into the water.
Sat down and wrote articles about our upcoming play for The Breeze and the Cranberry Creek papers, as well as the "Neighborly News" for this issue.  Wrote all that up, which took most of the day.
E-mailed Tonya and she asked to use my pieces, as--bad news--Tara B. won't be doing publicity after all.  Spent some time transferring the program picture and will add info to post around town.
Told Jeanne S., who's doing props, that we could again use my father's ancient typewriter he used in college (c. 1920), plus I'll show her the kitten I picked up in California.  She wrote me back and asked if I'd like to see Steel Magnolias, which Surflight is doing (equity) this month.  Think I'll accept and maybe ask Aline. 
Now I just have to get Aline's and my picture taken in costume for the Breeze article and write up something on my November 1 reprise on the Dionne Quintuplets.
Enjoyed my weekly Skype call from daughter Ellen, whose birthday is tomorrow.  September eleventh was and remains a red-letter day for me!

Sunday, September 09, 2012


Slow day.  Got in touch with Jo B. and she agreed to paint the October cover.  She stopped in and I showed her my rough sketch.  She stayed for a bit and I got to know her better.  A few years back, Jo, who has been divorced since she was in her twenties, caused a lot of talk by taking up with Frank L., a landscaper who used to do a lot of work around here.  He's a really nice guy and everybody likes him.  Wonder of wonders, before long he and his German shepherd moved in with Jo and her mother.  (Were it me, I may have welcomed Frank, but not the G.s.).  A few years later, Mum and mutt both died.  Jo and Frank are still "together," but he spends a lot of time at his other home up north.  Has a mentally challenged brother and a farm up there.
Aside from that mildly interesting encounter and a mundane supermarket trip, I didn't do a lot except computer stuff.  Wish I could say I had worked on my various writing projects, but I didn't.  Mostly read what other people had written and played hidden object games.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

High Flying Vivian

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Rehearsal And HST

Got back to Home Depot to exchange bulbs and Northern Dweller came later to install them.  Went to The Breeze meeting at 10:00 to discuss  upcoming projects and covers.  I suggested for October a big jack-o-lantern holding a beer stein with "Hello, Autumn!" underneath.  Others liked it and I said I'd contact Jo B., who paints, to see if she'd do it.  Called her and left a message.
Got an e-mail from Leslie.  Her granddaughter, tiny Amelia Antonia R. (long Italian moniker), five months old, will undergo surgery on Monday to repair a heart problem.  I sent her back a message.  I know everybody's pulling for the tiny baby with the big name.
Niece Joan R. called and we had a nice chat.  I had sent her a book on our shared paternal ancestry, as it was a duplicate.  Thanked her for posting pictures of her mother's and my sister's wedding day from 1947.
Picked up Aline for rehearsal.  It went well, I think, although we're really just starting and boy, we don't have a lot of time.  I have to render some drunken singing three times.  Substituted funny, mildly risque tunes for the original dated in-jokes, and they were met with howls of laughter.  (Geez, improving on Kauffman and Hart!  I should be strung up.)  It's a great relief to finally be back on the stage on which we'll perform, although it was piled with books and boxes last night rather than a set.
WIDER:  “The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage and whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office and sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.”
Oh, Hunter S. Thompson!  Where are you now that we need you?


Friday, September 07, 2012


Picked up my refills of medication at Wal-Mart, then bought two florescent bulbs for the kitchen ceiling light.  Got a coupla other chores done, and tidied the house a bit.  As promised, the northern dweller came about 3:00 to replace said bulbs in said fixture.  (It's nice to have nine-foot ceilings, but not so nice when you can't get up there to replace bulbs.)  Unfortunately, I had underestimated the length needed and was two inches short (story of my life).  Will return, get new, and she'll come back today.
The n.d. said her next stop was the organic farm co-op to which she and her husband belong.  I remarked that I'd like to accompany her some day and she asked if I wanted to follow her there.  Sure!
The co-op is in two locations outside Chesterfield, N.J., about forty miles from my place, but only ten or so from hers.  Took both cars and parked at an inn, then I got in hers and we drove the rest of the way together. 
We turned into a narrow, rutted dirt road leading to a large old barn.  My companion signed in, then checked a board for kinds and amounts of produce for members.  She picked up arugula, green-leaf lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and Swiss chard (never had it in my life, but I'm game to try).  We then drove the two or three miles to the you-pick segment. 
Now, this is  no immaculately-groomed, perfectly manicured, machine-planted and picked farm.  You get down and dirty picking, especially as it had rained so heavily lately and the walking space between rows was more mud than not. 
I was given a pair of scissors and a basket and asked to start gathering  flowers.  (It's lovely to realize food from the soul is offered along with that for the body.)  I was instructed that fifty stalks were the limit and did my best to meet that.  Was also told to avoid the snap dragons, as they don't last, so I mostly cut stalks of lovely celosi(?), in deep purple, lavender, red, and yellow.
Finished them and was asked to assist in string beans.  Did so and found this was considerably more strenuous, the beans being mostly on the ground.  We also got "dragon tongue beans," of which neither of us had ever heard.  They're pale yellow with purple streaks and sound exotic, but we rubbed off the dirt off one and shared it, appreciating the fact we weren't ingesting pesticides with it.  Tasted just like a regular string bean.  More beans: soy this time that I was surprised to see come in small and fuzzy soft pods.  Must be  difficult to get them out.
Okra was the next order of the day.  This grows on high bushes and has to be cut off.  We had only one pair of scissors, so I stayed behind while my companion filled her quart container.  Last stop was for sunflowers, one of my favorites.  These were not the usual, though, they were "red"; actually, a deep maroon and very beautiful.
I was glad I had been told to change to old sneakers, as we collected plenty of mud while picking.  Got back to the n.d.'s house, where she gave me some of the day's harvest (I'll look up on the Internet what in the world you're supposed to do with chard) and we said goodbye.
Living in a scarcely decade-old community amid pinelands at the Jersey shore, I sometimes forget how appealing the interior can be.  We drove through little towns like Chesterfield, Jacobstown, Arneyville, and New Egypt, some established when King George I was still on his throne.  These settlements are filled with lovely old homes, stately trees, and pretty gardens planted long ago.  It seems to me--hopeless romantic that I am--they also harbor the ghost of the sturdy farmers and townspeople who went before us.  I had almost forgotten, too, that largess from the land has to be planted and watered and fed and tended before it can nurture us. 
And as I was reminded yesterday, it's no easy job to harvest it. 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Lunch And Pool

Talked to Betty early.  She was working on Jimmie Leeds Road and asked if I could meet for lunch.  Sure thing.  We went to Italian Cuisine, one of both of our favorites. This restaurant has good $6.99 lunch specials, which include salad, entree, and "fountain drink," as they put it.  I guess that's just to rid you of the notion you can get a beer included in the price.  I, however, had  a decadent pepper, onion, and sausage sandwich, along with a Yuingling (I'm too lazy to look up the spelling!) 
We had a good talk then parted, me to go to Santori's for tomatoes, feta, Brussels sprouts, and other stuff.  Got home and recorded my dialogue--rather, the cues that lead up to mine--as we're supposed to be off book now. 
Decided to top off the day at the pool. There were only four other people there--the lifeguards leave after Labor Day--but the water was heavenly.  I just stayed in for a half hour or so, then left as storm clouds gathered.  By the time I got out of the shower, it was pouring.
Aline called to say rehearsal for us was postponed from last night.  The  school would let us in only until 8:00 and director Tonya want to concentrate on Erin and Neil's parts.  I assume she wants to get the blocking over with.  Rehearsal for us is on for tonight and Friday evening, too.  
WIDER:  Here's a remarkable happening.  Oh, no, not our assassin-in-chief refusing a straight answer--that's as common as killing civilians--I mean the rare instance of a reporter actually trying to report:

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Cape May

We walked with umbrellas yesterday and even cut it short, as Susan was afraid of the lightning.  Although double-bagged, my newspaper was completely soaked, so I drove to Wawa to get another.
As I heard the rain come down, "Ain't no way in the world," I thought sourly, "that the group outing to Cape May is going to happen."  I went on: "In fact, even if it does, who would wanna go?  I'll just forfeit my ten bucks and stay home moping."
To cover my bets, though, I showered, changed, and went to the clubhouse.  There was some talk about scuttling the trip, but the majority decided it was a go, and we went.
Boy, am I glad!  We had a terrific day of lunch--had my fav, a hamburger and a Blue Moon--then the "trolley tour" around town, with a knowledgeable guide to point out interesting sites. The weather had cleared and most of the day, we enjoyed blue skies and sunshine, unlike a lot of the east coast.
This summer, I had been in the outskirts of Cape May twice--when we took the boys to the zoo and on the ferry--but it's been years since I've been in the town proper.  What a lovely place!  I want to go again one of these days--maybe I'll take Aline--and further enjoy the famous Victorian houses, wide beach, and shops and restaurants.
After the trolley ride, we were free to wonder the shopping area, which is closed off to traffic and contains all kinds of little shops.  Yes, they're the usual touristy, outrageously high-priced "art" objects and newly-made junk, but it's still fun to browse.  Mary and I split off for a time, indulged in some  Kohr's soft ice cream, and enjoyed some good talk.     
We left about 4:00, Mary Ann Van O. driving, and were surprised to drive through some heavy rain as we got closer to home.  I think it rained all day here, so we were lucky to have missed it during our excursion.
Shortly after, I enjoyed a call from niece, Joan R., mostly about what I call Those Who Went Before--antecedents, that is.  She has a strong interest in genealogy, as I do.  Of course, lots of people express an interest; they want to hear what's been discovered.  The difference is that Joan's willing to do the work involved to find information.
Anyhoo--I had been somewhat down in the dumps and now, thanks to Cape May and, I guess, my natural buoyancy, I'm back up.
Rehearsal tonight, for which I'll pick up Aline.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Ellen and me in San Diego

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Things kind of blah.  After our walk, breakfast with a friend, and a trip to  Wal-Mart to pick up medication, The Home Depot, and a few other stops, I spent most of the day inside. 
Talked to several friends and relatives on the phone.  Surprised myself by scrambling eggs for lunch, as I almost invariably have salad.  Added turkey hot dog "coins."  It was really good.
Other than that, nuthin'  Our group, the scarlet chapeau one, is supposed to go to Cape May today to ride the tour "trolley."  But I was awakened by a huge clap of thunder and The Press tells me we're supposed to have heavy thunderstorms all day.  Hope it's postponed.  

Monday, September 03, 2012

Spontaneous Day

I thought I'd be spending a quiet day, but about 9:00, the phone rang.  My darling niece, Joan, was calling to say she and Jim were on their way to Atlantic City (down from Suffen, NY) to see her cousin on her Dad's side perform with his group.  Would I like to meet them there?  Sure thing!  His gig was from 1 to 3 and I said I'd drive down sometime within that time frame.  Joan said they were meeting Betty for brunch.  Started down about 1:00 and was almost to Albany Avenue when Betty called to ask if I'd pick her up.  I did, then drove to "The Beach Bar" in A.C.
It was fun to see (and hear--was it loud!)--the band, which played mostly Beatles songs, but especially to be with Joan and Jim.
We met the cousin, Brian Conover, during the break.  Very nice guy, who teaches music and theatre arts in the Galloway Middle School.  They resumed and we watched and listened until their part ended.
I wasn't anxious to stay on the island long, so drove Betty home and left.
Got home to find a message from Susan asking if I'd like to go to dinner with them.  Why yes, sure, naturally, as long as we got separate checks.  Walked across the street at 6:00 and we drove the short way to  Mystic Island Casino (no casino, just a restaurant).  We all ordered hamburgers with bourbon sauce and "frizzled onions," a delicious specialty of the house.  I had a Blue Moon and Susan and Walter had Merlot.
When our far-ranging conversation veered toward the political, we wisely, I think, sent it elsewhere.  I don't think it's putting too strong a point on it to say we're diametrically opposed, but we can still coexist.
Anyhoo--got home for yet another enjoyable interlude, my weekly Skype call from Ellen.  Had an enjoyable time seeing her, then turned in after a nice spontaneous day, one of my favorite kinds.  
Just got a call from P. and N., in Tokyo, always a pleasure.  This time, we chatted about lots of topics, including the lunar cycle and Your Hit Parade from the fifties.  I'm always amazed at the range of P.'s knowledge.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Bathing Suit And So On

After struggling with the back clasp of my bathing suit since I bought it, I decided to go to Kohl's for a new one or two.  Of course, I found they no longer have any--story of my life.  Same with the terrific little hand-held, battery-operated fan with a water container attached that my nephew, Wes, said he had gotten at K-Mart.  No, the summer merchandise is all gone, presumably to make way for the back-to-school/fall and winter crap, although, of course, it's ninety degrees in the shade.  (You can come out now, children; rants over.) 
Ran into Tara K. and we chatted.  Hope she's able to get back to the theatre group before too long.
Picked up some groceries at Acme and took my BP.  I was alarmed to see it was 154/86 before shopping.  After, though, it was 131/88, which I guess is better. 
Made a salad, cut up some veggies, then puttered around at home.  Betty called to tell me her neighbors, who had bought our Mom's home next door to her, were having a house sale and did I want to come down for it?  Said no on two grounds: 1.  I'm not driving toward A.C on Labor Day weekend and 2. I don't want any more stuff as I have plenty of my own of which I'd like to get rid.  We had a good talk, though.
Spent a fair amount of the rest of the day day reading and playing two new "hidden object" games. This is my new craze--I'm sure it'll pass--and I enjoy them immensely as long as they're not too complicated.  I'm always amazed at the quality of the graphics and the sophistication of the various avenues to solving the "mysteries."  I have two Agatha Christie games, one generic mystery, and one in which the pictures are cartoon-like.  In that one, rather than solving a murder, the player decorates the main hall of a mansion. I like it because the two animated characters--Austin, the butler and a little doggy--move, talk, and interact in a sense with the player.  When it comes to fruition, there's a big party with fireworks (inside!), banners, and a number of "guests."
No, it doesn't take much to activate my kiddie side. 

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Productive Day

A good, productive (for a change) day.  After walking and breakfast,  I finished folding and sealing the flyers for Dine-Around, and drove around to deliver them.  When I gave Leslie hers, she invited me in and we had a good heart-to-heart talk.  After that, stopped at the doctor's office to straighten out a thirty dollar charge I had gotten from Atlanticare.  Went to Bank of America for a minor transaction, then to Acme and got a nice piece of salmon.
In betweentimes, I cleared up some paperwork, did some things on the computer, and put in a few loads of wash.  Late in the day, aware of the incredible heat outside, I jumped up, tore off my clothes, put on my suit, and went to the pool.
I jumped in--no, that's not quite accurate, so let me start over:  I lowered myself slowly in, and stayed there for about a half hour.  It was heavenly.
Home, I showered, then cut up peppers and onions, and fried them with the salmon.  Yummy, yum, yum. 
Called Marge D. and left a message just saying hello.  Got a e-mail back this morning saying she and Fred had been at the supermarket, but she'd call me today.
I was charmed to see that my niece, Joan R., had put on Facebook pictures her mother, my older sister, had left her.  They included Betty and me, one shot with our friend from across the street (can't remember her name), dressed in the capes and hats our Aunt Maggie had made us.  I still have my doll, Linda, for which Aunt Maggie had made identical outfits, and took pictures of her wearing the cape and hat.  Such sweet memories.