Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quick Note After Storm

In answer to Jim's comment on "Halloween Party," and other inquiries:  I just got back from a refuge north, where my twin sister, Betty, and I have stayed since Monday.  Lost power on Monday and cell phones were working only erratically, if at all, during the three days.  We got along okay, but I'm home now, and it's so good to be back to normal (with electricity, that is!).  Luckily, my house suffered no damage at all.  My sister lives in Ventnor, next to Atlantic City on Absecon Island and is worried about the devastation there.  I understand, though, that the damage is not as bad as feared downbeach.  Lots of calls from others, too, of course.
Oddly, when we were in northern Jersey, my son, Mike, called several times to give us updates on the storm in Jersey. 
He lives in London.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Party

Drove to Manahawkin to get face paint; wouldn't dream of approaching Shop-Rite or any other store that sells food.  Everywhere was mobbed, of course, the fear factor having been thoroughly assimilated by the populace without a fight or even a thought.
My preparation for this year's storm of the century--as opposed to last year's--were to get two bottles of Chardonnay, $150 in cash, and a full tank of gas.  Also removed the pumpkins, black cat and spider, and other outdoor ornaments from the yard and put them in the garage.  Now I feel I'm ready for whatever Nature throws me.
For the Halloween party, I had borrowed a witch hat from Susan--very cute, with a little spider dangling from a kind of spiral on the top--but discovered it was so small it wouldn't fit on my head.  Must be made for a child, so I returned it.  Instead, I put on a long white wig and painted my face white with zombie-black eyes.  I added my new "skull scarf" to all-black clothes, and that was it.
Got to the party at 6:00 and sat with Mary and Don S., and six other congenial couples and singles.  It was fun, but strands of the damn wig kept clinging to my face.  I'd say about fifty people attended; I was surprised there weren't more.  In the old days, there'd be about twice that.  It started at six and I was home before 9:00/
I polled my neighbors, both on the street and at the party, and found that not a single one was leaving because of the storm.  I don't want to, either, so we'll see.  
Dine-Around dinner tonight for which organizer Judy wants all the women to dress as witches.  I'm not doing that again, so my total costume is going to consist of all-black clothes and a witch hat I'll borrow from Barbara H.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Great Show

Incredibly, considering what seemed its formlessness and lack of preparation, the murder mystery turned out to be terrific.  The place was packed and those attending were a convivial group, ready to interact with "the wedding party" and--ahem--the parents of the cheesy newly-weds.
That last is a complete fabrication; in life, "Tonya" (Sarah) and "Vinnie" (Peter) are two beautiful young people.  I noticed them smooching (a term from about 1940) while we waited outside to be "announced" by the MC/wedding singer.  A little startled that they'd carry getting into character that far, I asked.  Found out they actually are married.  She's from Oregon, he's from Sea Isle Heights, and the twain met and married as the result of appearing in a production.  Sarah was so funny with her bogus southern accent; she sounded as if she was born in the depths of the Panhandle.  Peter, my adored "son," was properly boorish, with his "des" and "dos" and ogling of other women.    
I liked them both so much and, for that matter, the rest of the young actors on the program.  "Nina" and "Rocco" (don't know their real names) especially impressed me.  She was pregnant by the wedding singer and wore a very realistic "baby bump."  He was somewhat of a upper Jersey meathead, a buddy of "the groom's."  They improvised with great skill and were consistently funny.  There were also two mature men with us "Father Prego" and "Detective Purloin," both employed in some capacity--for real--by Surflight.
There were just a few negatives: The major one was that the place was very noisy--poor acoustics, I guess--and it was hard to be heard and to hear.  Keeping in character while being served five courses was difficult, and we were seated in booths along the wall.  I had to keep jumping up to mingle and rail against the mother of the bride. It may have been better to be seated with a party of paying guests--not sure.
In any event, the show turned out to be well beyond what I expected.  This is my third murder mystery show.  The others were thoroughly scripted except during the meal, but--maybe with somewhat more structure--I prefer this.
The big news--I was stunned to hear it--is that we're getting paid!  We'll each get $100, the very first time I've been paid for a performance.  What a thrill and it's really not the money; it's the principle of the thing.
Aline was seated in a booth behind ours with the director, Kirsten and two other Surflight employees. She had called the manager (or owner--not sure) to ask if she could come and just have dessert for a $25 donation and he agreed.
The perennial chauffeur, I picked up Aline and Jeanne, and conveyed them home after, so didn't get to bed until midnight.  Slept until 7:00 and will try to take a nap today.  I'm attending the Halloween party tonight and Dine-Around Dinner tomorrow...
If, that is, Sandy doesn't blow those plans away.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Got to Stafford Library a bit after 9:00 to see the set-up for my Dionne Quint program.  Noreen T., president of Friends of the Library, was there and the tech person, Courtney, set it up.  I ran through it for Noreen and my talk came back to me pretty well,  I still want to assemble my pictures (that correspond to the zip drive ones) and refresh my memory with some items.
Rest of the day was quiet. I put my beautiful new lamp in the foyer.  It casts such colorful light on the wall--I love it!
Got a call from Betty and we had a chat.  She mentioned a storm which seems to be brewing in the Atlantic.  Must call her back and invite her here if it hits Absecon Island.  Made a stir-fry over rice for dinner and it was yummy. 
Tonight's the murder mystery show.  Am I ready?  Ready as I'll ever be, I guess.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Second And Last Rehearsal

Went to exercise at Stafford Library at 3:00.  Aline there, too, of course, and I handed out to other participants info on the Dionne Five.  After, A. and I had a nice soup and salad early dinner at Olive Garden, always a good place to eat.
I dropped my companion off at the bus stop and, having more time than I needed, went to Kohl's, just kind of hanging out. 
Got to rehearsal early, of course, and had to wait in the car for the rest of the cast to arrive.  I had borrowed an empty Canadian Club bottle from Susan, filled it with iced tea, and had the director going for a bit when I took a strong swig and told her I "had to get in character." 
Everybody's developing his or her roles and I think it'll be pretty funny.  I still wish we could have had more than two rehearsals, though.
Home a bit after 8.  Aline called to tell me she had gotten the bus and we talked for a bit. 
I'll be right back in Manahawkin today to "rehearse" again--this time for the Dionne Quint program.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Peddler's Village And Drones

We left on schedule for Lakewood at 7, Susan driving.  Arrived to join a full busload and it took more than two hours to get to Lahaska, Pa.  We went first to Rice's, a huge outdoor flea market, held only on Tuesdays in the fall and winter.  The goods are almost all new, though, and what terrific bargains there are.  I bought three cashmere scarfs ($5 each) and two tee shirts.  Susan, Barb, and Leslie bought stuff, too. 
After about two hours there, we re-boarded the bus for the short drive to Peddler's Village.  I hadn't been there for about ten years, but it looks about the same.  High end shops--"shoppes"--and lots of walking.
We ate in a small restaurant; food was good, but was served on foam and plastic, not my idea of a proper meal.  After, we toured the stores and bought a few items.  I bought a beautiful mosaic lamp I want to put in the hallway.
Back on the bus at five, we didn't arrive in Lakewood until after 7:00, then had the hour or more drive home after that, so it was a full day.
I have a lot going on today, too: Want to retype my part in the murder mystery, have exercise at Stafford Library at 3:00, dinner with Aline after, then rehearsal on LBI.
WIDER:  So what else is new?  Oh, just continued slaughter:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mystery Show Rehearsal

Got a multitude of chores and errands done.  Won't go into detail, but they involved two disputed bills (I won both rounds), the supermarket, and my Gigaware mouse.
Picked Jeanne up at 6:30 and drove to Long Beach Island.  It's practically deserted in the off-season and the traffic lights are set to blinking yellow.  Most of the rest of the murder mystery cast was there when we arrived--two mature men and a gaggle of young hopefuls.  J. and I were amazed to be told that eighty people had paid the steep price fixe to attend.  That many will about fill the rather small restaurant. 
We were given scripts--or maybe "scripts," because they're minimal.  I play the mother of the groom, who's convinced her precious Vinnie is being railroaded to the altar by his intended, Tonya.  The wedding singer gets electrocuted by his own microphone--in the middle of a song, too!--and bedlam ensues.
It's been several years since I did a murder mystery show and this looks like fun.  It'll be somewhat strenuous, though.  The "script" gives me only about fifteen lines, all in a block and the show lasts roughly three hours, through appetizers, entree, and dessert.  Actors have to stay in character throughout, so you're improvising most of the time, including interactions with the other actors.  Keeps you on your toes.
Susan, Barbara, Leslie, and I are off to Lakewood in less than an hour (7:00 am), where we'll board a bus for Peddler's Village.  Should be another fun day and I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dry Run

Took a dry run to LBI and found Carmen's, where the murder mystery show will take place.  I'm picking Jeanne S. up at 6:30 tonight for rehearsal (at least there is one) and (sob!) it'll be dark by then.  Hate to see the days shorten.  After, I drove down to Holgate at the end of the island.
What a beautiful place!  I was sorry Aline wasn't able to join me.  She would have loved the waves smashing against the bulkhead.  I stayed, just watching, for about an hour before I reluctantly drove home.
Stopped at Leslie's and we had a nice chat.  She said she wants to rejoin the Women's Club, and it'll be fun to go to luncheons and so on with her. 
Rest of the day was mundane aside from my Skype call from Ellen.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

P & P

Picked Aline up at quarter of twelve and zoomed down to Ventnor on a close-to-perfect sunny day.  We had time to go on the boardwalk for a bit, then went to the Players & Playwrights By The Jersey Shore (the full name, which nobody ever uses) gathering.
As usual, it was a somewhat mixed, but generally good session : two short and funny plays, one absorbing longer part of one (our leader, John's), one interesting short one, and a turgid and talky miss (as in "hit and miss").  I was asked to read for one, but had only a line.
After, Aline and I took Louise S. to a restaurant at Little Rock Avenue--casual, but nice--and we had a good dinner and long talk.  Over L.'s protest, we treated her (wanted to show our appreciation for her coming to YCTIWY), and had a wonderful time. 
Aline and Louise were both born and brought up in Brooklyn and I was interested to hear the contrast in their speech patterns.  When my dear friend, Aline, opens her mouth, you hear the classic--sometimes delightful, occasionally annoying-- Brooklyn accent ("motha," "theata," and so on).  No so with Louise and I asked why not.  She said she had effectively rid herself of the accent--just worked at it.  I hope Aline wasn't offended or hurt, but let's face it: Accents tend to stereotype people for good or ill and also sometimes get in the way of effective communication.  I've been told I have a Jersey accent, but think it's slight and I try to watch my pronunciation and avoid saying, for instance, "sarhw," for "saw."
After dropping A. off--I was dismayed to see it was almost dark at 6:30--I called Jeanne S. to try to get some answers on the mysterious murder mystery show next Friday.  I agreed to be in it, my character being a "cougar" (older woman on the prowl for younger men).  I hate that expression, as I do all cliches that denigrate people, but will go along. 
Jeanne will portray a "bossy Catholic mother of the bride" and I found out it's at a restaurant called Carmen's on Long Beach Island, where we'll rehearse tomorrow.  Web site included a flyer with the information that "Who Killed The Wedding Singer"* is a fundraiser for Surflight Theatre and costs $65 PLUS tax and tip.  Pretty steep for what seems a mediocre menu and thrown-together show, sez me. But who knows: It could be a lot of fun and I'm game.  
* It drives me bananas when I see a question like this unadorned by a question mark.  Punctuation exists for a reason, children: It makes what we write clearer, so IT'S IMPORTANT!  (Exclamation points also exist for a...oh, never mind.)

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Overall, it was a good day.  Started off so-so when I couldn't get Aline's photo to print well--came out all fuzzy and off-color (sounds like me sometimes--heh, heh).  Went to the P.O. to send off a few little Halloween thingies for V. and V. and was amazed to see a number of K-9 police cars outside.  A cop (I assume it was a cop) was "handling" a menacing dog right at the entrance, so before I got near, I yelled for him to move back and please stay there until I came out.  He did.
I was pleased to get a call from Eric Somebody, who did a piece with picture in The Sandpaper on my Dionne Quint program in June and wants to run another.  We had a nice talk and he said he was going to try to get to my program on November 1.
Stopped at Lucille's to drop off a check for Tonya's gift, then at the bank to pick up my "proof of payment" for the water company.  On my way to Margate for the FELS thing, picked up my napkins and Aline's tablecloth, props we had forgotten.  Aline asked me to keep the cloth.
Arrived at the gathering and was pleased to see Louise, Sondra, Bernice, and Denise, all of whom I know from Players & Playwrights At The Jersey Shore.  Ditto for Rachel K., the ostensible facilitator.  Aside from them and me, there were five others there, all women.
This is billed as a kind of readers theatre/acting lessons, but I'm wondering if I should demand my $65 back.  The facilitator, Rachel K., whom I also know from P & P, held forth with a rambling, pointless monologue for an hour and forty-five minutes--yes, I was facing the clock and timed it--about nothing at all.  She meandered on from the meaning of British terms ("public school--private school!") to various detective shows on T.V., to praise for Mitt Romney's diction.  Clearly, she had little idea of what she was going to say before she opened her mouth, although she consulted her "cheat sheet," as she archly called it, frequently.  She said we were supposed to buy a book--Favorite One-Act Plays--but only five people had and I don't see anything about such a purchase on the--also rambling and anything but to the point--letter she had sent earlier. 
Finally, after I pointedly asked if we were actually going to do readings, she assigned parts to the people who had bought books and we read a short play.  She lent Louise her book, but that meant the rest of us just sat and listened.  She also seemed not to know how long the session was to last, asking us during a pause if we wanted to stay.  What a waste of time.  Today, at the P & P meeting, I'm going to ask how she communicated to the group that they were to buy the book.
On the way home, I happened to see Dayle, another P & P member whom I especially like, walking down Ventnor Avenue.  I picked her up and took her home and we had a nice chat on the way.
Stopped at the best dollar store in the world in Ventnor Heights and got a few Halloween items for the little boys.
Having had a yen for Italian lately, made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner
and it was delish.

Friday, October 19, 2012

After "You Can't Take It With You"

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Trader Joe's

On impulse, I drove up to Trader Joe's in Princeton, a round trip of about eighty miles.  Got two cartons of their wonderful soups--butternut squash and tomato with roasted peppers--plus frozen swordfish and chicken sausage, and a few other things.  Also stocked up on cheap white wine, notably Charles Schwab ("Two-Buck Chuck" on the left coast) and Santa Barbara, just because my niece lives there. 
Drove over to Ewing after and saw the home of my early and middle adulthood for forty-one years.  It's been re-sided in beige--maybe it's called "putty"--with black shutters and looks good. 
Swung by the cemetery, where my friend, Elaine, is buried, her 14-year-old grandson's grave just behind.  Both are decorated with fall and Halloween items.  Not sure who does that, now; maybe her son who still lives in the house on Lower Ferry.
Didn't get home until after 3:00 and just putzed around after that.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Exercise And Lizzie Borden

Found Jeanne's belt while in the guest room, called to tell her I had, and packed and sent it off to her.  Got an e-mail from Kristin N., confirming that I was cast for the dinner murder mystery show on October 26.  We're rehearsing Sunday.
With great difficulty, got my father's typewriter out of the trunk and onto a box in the garage.  That sucker must weigh fifty pounds.  Transferred the Dionne Quint stuff into the guest room; must turn my attention to that soon.
Speaking of: Got to Stafford Library for 3:00 exercise and was delighted to see a good-sized (maybe 11 x 17) poster on the bulletin board about my  program.  Wonder of wonders, it actually spelled my name correctly.
Exercise was good, as ever, then I hung around while Aline went on the computer.  She went on Facebook to see that the cast of YCTIWY are invited to dinner at Calloway's and to kick in ten bucks for a gift for Tonya.  Sounds good.
Had dinner at Dynasty, early bird special, so it was mediocre, but not too bad.  I had spaghetti and meatballs.  We were early for the Lizzie Borden thing at the Little Egg Library and A. asked if we could stop at Wal-green's, as she had pics of the cast of the show being made.  Did so, and I had a copy made, also, although I might very well have been able to print in myself.
The program was similar to dinner: mediocre.  A cast of six took multiple roles--a legitimate dramatic device--but not very well.  A very heavy woman with an obvious wig opened by introducing herself as "Detective McQuade."  She was dressed in--well, was it a stab at period costume or did she wander away from a brothel?--a long skirt, boots, and a blouse with a kind of bed jacket or negligee over it.  Weird.  Even weirder, she read every word from a script she held in her hand.  Weirder yet, she interrupted herself after the action had been going on for ten minutes to say her cell phone had vibrated and she had to go out to take a call.
Now, if someone had been hit by a truck or suffered a heart attack, you could understand it, but in that case, you'd think she'd rush out to the hospital and the program would end. She didn't, though, but came back and picked up as before.  While everything was suspended, one of the actors passed around homemade cookies.  (They were shaped like axes, a nice touch, I thought.)
The actors were uneven, some okay, some limp and several uncertain of their lines.  Considering that they were billed as having presented the program previously at three other library branches, this seemed evidence of careless preparation. 
More careless and harder to excuse were the lapses of common oversight.  Although all were dressed in period, at least two of the characters wore modern wrist watches and one of the men wore a bracelet.   Mrs. Borden sported bright red nail polish; I doubt if even prostitutes wore nail polish in 1892.  A man who played both Mr. Borden and the judge at Lizzie's trial had black-rimmed glasses over his regular, rimless ones.  Why, I don't know, as the top ones were certainly not in style during that time.  They suggested the 1950's (think of Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy) much more strongly than the period being portrayed.
For that matter, the "script" was spotty--very uneven and it relied too much on expositions from the narrator, rather than dramatization.  Somehow, it turned one of the most interesting crimes in--well the annals of crime--into a mundane occurrence with little interest for the audience.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Did my duty and took my walk, although my iPod Shuffle needed to be charged.  Met Maureen K. on the way for a chat.
Rest of the day was all domestic.  Did white, light, and dark washes, got containers of Dionne Quint stuff out the garage and into the guest room--I must start turning my attention to my November 1 program soon--transferred the typewriter from my trunk to a resting place in the garage, and generally cleaned up.  Went to B.J.'s for various.
While getting the mail, ran into Ray and Barb H. with their adorable little granddaughter, Annalise, and we talked for a while.
Made myself a yummy pepper/onion/tomato/chicken stir-fry.  
Got a call from Aline.  Will be picking her up today for exercise, then dinner, then the Lizzie Borden program.  Should be fun.
So-o-o, slow day, but okay.
WIDER:  I'm always bemused--and amused--at those who subject themselves to watching the presidential "debates," let alone take them seriously.  An excellent essay by one of my heroes, Glen Greenwald, includes this insight:
"...within this one process of structuring the presidential debates, we have every active ingredient that typically defines, and degrades, US democracy. The two parties collude in secret. The have the same interests and goals. Everything is done to ensure that the political process is completely scripted and devoid of any spontaneity or reality."
The whole of it should be read and here's the link:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Busy And The Body Political

Busy, busy day.  Drove over to Smithville in the morning to look for some of the candy Mike and Paula need.  They had no licorice whips, so the very nice clerk recommended "pinwheel" licorice, which you can just unroll and cut to length.  Then stopped at the Shop-Rite on Jimmie Leeds Road for a large bag of Hershey's mix, Halloween-colored M & Ms, and something else I can't remember.  Went to CVS, too, in search of individually wrapped candy corn, but they had only the loose variety.  Stopped at Santori's for feta, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
Had lunch, then busied myself with wrapping as well as I could the large and ungainly candy shipment.  Took it to the P.O., where I was helped off the floor after my collapse at hearing the amount of postage required.
Home again, I was delighted to find a message from Jeanne S., telling me that Kristan N., assistant director for the murder mystery show at Surflight, wanted to hear from me about possibly being a "cougar" in their show on October 26.  Sent her a picture of me from YCTIWY and a quick rundown on my stage experience.
Heard from Marilyn M., who goes up to northern Pennsy to visit her mother every weekend.  Asked if I could accompany her the first weekend in November and she said yes.  Wrote to J. and N. to see if that's convenient for them.  Sent John D., Jeanne P.'s brother, some tips and pointers on breaking into acting.  Will also ask John P., our leader at Players & Playwrights, if he knows of little theatre groups in Atlantic County.
Went to the school to see if I could find my "pigeon clock" and/or Jeanne P.'s belt, but no luck with either.  Niece Joan called at 5:00 and we had a nice chat.  Called Betty to tell her I'd be thinking of her when she has her colonscopy tomorrow.  She'll have it in the hospital in California, as she has a syndrome that causes heavy bleeding periodically.  Called Rachel K. to ask about the FELS meeting for which I signed up.  That's on Friday at the Margate Library and I'll be going downbeach on Saturday, too, for Players & Playwrights.  E-mailed Louise S. to the effect that Aline and I would like to take her to dinner after.
Went back to the school, as I knew my heartier (ha, ha, I meant "hardier," of course, but think I'll let it stand) LETCO colleagues would be striking the set.  It turned out Tonya had taken the clock home and I got it from her.
Today, I'm resolved to take my usual walk, notwithstanding the fact that Susan's in Canada.  Also want to do a lot of wash and tidy up around the place.
WIDER:   This makes for a long entry, but the following is important.  Here's an excerpt:
America is not fascist…yet, but as both a structural and a social process the trend line seems to me clear. Fascism does not require the concentration camp, persecution, torture–although their threat and potential remain present always, ready to be invoked and remaining discretely under the surface. Rather, fascism can be apprehended through a number of indices: e.g., extreme wealth concentration; the partnership of business and government, itself to promote monopoly capital, prevent union organization and labor militancy, and create a strong State predicated on military power and trade supremacy; and a compliant (and complacent) populace which is deferential to power and wealth, tied in ideological knots through false consciousness, and intellectually broken down through media, propaganda, and signals from above.
The entire essay, by Norman Pollack, is here:

Monday, October 15, 2012


Well, it's over.  After months and months of rehearsal, costume-searching, props contribution, and other preparation, the fourth and last performance was yesterday.
The matinee went well, although the audience was somewhat sparse.  There were many fewer than at other performances and it happened I didn't know a single person there.  No matter, 13 of my friends attended on Thursday, at least 12 on Friday, and 9, including family, on Saturday.  That totals 33, which is, I'll bet, more than any other actor drew. 
Earlier, Jeanne treated me to a late breakfast at Dockside.  Had a cheese omelet, a good choice, as I don't eat before a show, and it lasted me until 8:00 pm, when I had my second "meal" of the remainder of the quiche.
After, I showed J. the clubhouse, then we went home for me to shower and her to pack.  She left about 12:30 after a very pleasant and enjoyable visit.  I was especially glad to meet her brother, John, and will get in touch with him shortly with suggestions for breaking into acting.
The show over, the cast said goodbye.  This is always a wrench, as you get to become a kind of short-term family while you're all engaged in such and absorbing project.  It helps, though, to remember that future productions are coming up and you may well be reunited. 
I packed up the many props I had contributed (forgot my pigeon clock and a towel; will pick up later), and took Aline home.  We made dates for Wednesday (exercise at 3:00, dinner out, and a library Lizzie Borden program at 6:30) and Saturday (Players & Playwrights, then dinner with Louise).  Got a call from Betty and a Skype from Ellen, which, combined with the Skype from both my sons, made all of them checking in.  Made a salad, but saved for today, ate the rest of the quiche, had my p. and w., and slept like a log.
Small World Note:  I was chatting with our assistant stage manager for YCTIWY, Laura, a student at Stockton, and she mentioned that her last name is DeBlois.  That's a coincidence, I commented, the obstetrician who delivered three of my four children had the same name.  Laura gasped, looked at me, and said, "That was my grandfather." 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Roller Coaster And Foreign Policy

Got a lovely early Skype call from London and talked to all four of the M. family.  While we were so engaged, got a (phone) call from brother Larry, inviting me down to Florida in December.
Welcomed niece and nephew, Joan and Jim R., about 3:30.  It's always such a pleasure to see them.  I think they've come to all my performances (from Suffern, NY!) and I'm so grateful.  They brought a bottle of red wine, made where their daughter-in-law works (she's a vintner) and when Jeanne arrived a half hour or so later, we tested it.  Good!
I excused myself to shower and dress after J. and J. went off to meet the northern dweller and her husband for dinner at Panini Bay.  Jeanne and I then picked up Aline and went to the school.
Here, we got a shocking announcement: Director Tonya assembled everyone in the music room to tell us that Rick, who plays Ed Carmichael, was not going to be there.  It seems his dog was hit by a car and was in surgery.
Mind you, Rick wasn't performing the surgery and he has a wife, who could and probably was, with the dog.  The role of Ed, although not what you'd call a major one in this heavily charactered play, is an important supporting role and the actor is on stage in all three acts.  Incredibly, Jeff G., who has a minor part as an IRS agent, agreed to take over the part.  I was told he did a good job of it, too; was able to remember some of the dialogue and for the rest, was aided by strategically placed open scripts.  He even put on a southern accent--I'm not clear on whose decision that was, or even why, in particular, it was added, but it seems to have gone over big.  (Rick barely remembered the words, let alone did any real acting).
We got through it, though, and even got a respectable number of laughs from the audience, which filled about three quarters of the seats.  Still, it was ragged in parts.
After, I was presented with a beautiful bouquet by my d.d. and congratulated by all, including a few friends, although most had come to the other performances.  I was delighted to be greeted by Kevin B., who smothered me in Night Must Fall (ah, those were the days).  Desi, our founder and artistic director, was also there, leaning on a cane after knee surgery which, unfortunately, he said hadn't gone well.
Jeanne had invited her brother, John, and I was pleased to have him come with us back to the house.  What a neat guy he is and we had a good time over wine and nibbles.  He expressed an interest in being involved in a theatre company and we discussed it a bit.  I'll send him some ideas and suggestions for breaking in, and will ask John P. for same.
The Tokyo Two just skyped and we had a good chat.  Think I'll take Jeanne out for breakfast once she wakes up, although I'm not at all hungry. 
One more performance--matinee this afternoon--then it's all over.  Boy, this one been a roller coaster ride, all right.
WIDER:  This guy tells it like it is:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Show Two

Good grief, it's after eight am and I just got up!  No question I'm on the road to ruin...
Yesterday:  Went to Acme for pickled pigs feet, but the butcher said they hadn't carried them for years.  Tried good old Shop-Rite and why, yes, sure, they not only had p.p.p., they had two brands. 
Now who in the world eats pickled pigs feet?  I never even heard of anybody doing so.  Is it an ethnic thing, or what?  And if so, what nationality, group, or coven ever thought of eating them?  Must ask my trusty Internet.
After a smash opening, the show last night wasn't quite up to par.  My part went well (and elicited a lot of laughs--maybe because I had packed the audience with friends), but I understand there were "gaps" in the first act.  That means the deadly silence that results when somebody forgets his or her lines or cue.  Not a good thing and maybe we got complacent after the excellent Thursday night show.  In addition, we had subs for the two roles Jeff G. plays, always disconcerting.  Jeff had to go to a family wedding, so assistant director Barbara's boyfriend (the "boy" is in his middle fifties, I'd say), Mark, stepped in as an IRS agent.  He's a big, good-looking guy, but as for his acting--I think Johnny Depp can rest easy.
The other agent role was taken over by Julie S., who ordinarily plays Mrs. Kirby.  This was a real stretch.  To my knowledge, there were no female agents in the thirties.  Then, since Julie couldn't be both, director Tonya was Mrs. Kirby for the night.  Both performed adequately, but Kauffman and Hart are probably spinning in their...
We had an even larger audience than we did on Thursday; Tonya said about 75 paying customers, and at least 15 of them were friends of mine, so that was gratifying.  I was so pleased to see Louise F, who's in my Players & Playwrights group and lives in Ventnor.  She came all the way up here to Night Must Fall, too.  Think I'll suggest she go to dinner with Aline and me after the meeting next Saturday.
Okay, moving right along: after, we all went to Jim and Mary H.'s for the cast party.  Aline, Jeanne S., and l rode with Ellen V. because they live out in the woods and we didn't think we'd be able to find it. 
That was a mistake on several counts.  Ellen has a year-old, but horribly designed two-door car.  Maybe small animals and children under five can ride comfortably in the back seat, but anybody else can resign themselves to being trapped in a vinyl capsule unable to move arms or legs.  It's a little like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, but not as comfortable. 
I remembered the cast party last year when I was in the back and said I was riding in the front, so Jeanne and Aline climbed in.
Poor Aline!  When we got there, she simply could not get out of the back seat.  I held the seat belt back and various party attendees tried to help, but Aline would get one leg out, cry out, fall back, and have to start over.  Jim, our host, who is a physician, came to help, as did various others.  Finally, after a good fifteen minutes, she got out.  Whew!
The party at the H.'s big and beautiful house--with the grounds, it's really an estate--was great, but I was tired and Ellen likes to stay up  late and sleep til ten.  The upshot was, I asked Neil and Judi if I could go back to the school to get my car with them, and Aline and Jeanne came along.  Got home about one, didn't bother with my popcorn and wine, and slept until now.
Geez, if I kept up this pace, I'd be skinny as a rail (but laid out for viewing, I'm afraid).

Friday, October 12, 2012

Great Show

Spent most of the day preparing for the opening.  Picked up Aline at 5:30 and got to the school early.  Everybody else assembled and we who didn't have major, on-stage-most-of-the-time parts repaired to the music room which, luckily, can be reached from the left wings. 
Well, what can I say about opening night?  Just this: It was a smash hit!  Tonya spoke to us ahead with a pep talk and remarked that she thought about ten or fifteen people would attend.  What?!  My friends alone numbered thirteen.  And it turned out that we had just about a full house, always so gratifying when you're in a show.
If I say it myself (yeah, I keep doing that), my performance went over big.  Lots of laughs at my drunken actress antics and a big hand when I came out during bows.  After, as we always do, we mixed and mingled and oh, what fun, how gratifying, what an exciting experience, to hear the praise and assurances that I was good!  A wonderful evening and we get to do it again tonight!
Got up to walk with Susan, but won't tomorrow, as we have our cast party after the show.  Why we can't have it at a more civilized time--either after matinee on Sunday or next week sometime--is beyond me.  It will be at the Henry's and they live way back off  Nugentown Road; hard to find and hard to get to.  However, Ellen V. said Aline, Jeanne, and I can ride with her; I'll leave my car at the school and come back for it.
In the show, certain food is mentioned, including pickled pigs feet, Campbell soup, blintzes, canned salmon, and frankfurters (the ditsy Mrs. Sycamore's idea of a fancy meal).  As a gag, some of us are going to bring the stuff to the party and I volunteered to get the pickled pigs feet.  Hope I can find them at the store!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Opening Night Tonight

Again skipped our walk, as I had been up so late at rehearsal; however, I'm up in time to walk today.  Got to Mastecraft at 8:00 and had the tire replaced. 
Walked across to Susan's at noon and had an enjoyable lunch with her, her daughter, Julie, and her granddaughter, Sophia.  I brought the blueberry pie I had gotten at the culinary school and we had a nice meal.
Rest of the day I mostly tidied up and gathered what I wanted take to dress rehearsal.  Ironed the napkins our props mistress, Jeanne S. asked for, and packed everything in the car.
Rehearsal last night wasn't as good as the night, I'm afraid.  There was a substitute--Mark, co-director Barbara's boyfriend--for Jeff who plays an IRS agent and boy, does he need time to get into the role.  Problem is, we have no more time: Tonight is opening night!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lunch And Rehearsal

Got to the clubhouse to meet my R.H. colleagues at 10:30, then piled with others into Jo G.'s car and we drove to Atlantic Community College through a steady rain.  Lunch at the culinary arts restaurant was great fun and the food was terrific.  There were all kinds of wonderful appetizers, plus fish, chicken, and beef entrees, a choice of beverages, and several desserts.  Yummy, yum, yum, plus they have a bakery, where I bought a quiche, a blueberry pie, and two "foccia" (I can't spell it and neither can barely literate SpellCheck) bread rounds.  Total cost for those items:  $10 and lunch was all-inclusive for $20.  Had a terrific time, especially after hearing so many of the women tell me they were looking forward to the show and which nights they were going.
We got back to Little Egg by 2:00 and I drove straight to Mastercraft to have them look at my low tire.  Oh, yes, sure, wouldn't you know, it can't be plugged and I'll have to get a new one to the tune of $124.  Damn and double damn.
Did this and that until it was time to pick up Aline at 5:45 for  rehearsal at 6:00.  I wore my lounging pajamas costume and, if I say it myself, looked good, especially after I resurrected a big pair of (prescription) sunglasses from years ago.  Rehearsal went okay, although parts of it dragged a bit.     
Lunch at Susan's today and I may--or may not--go to exercise at Stafford Library after.    

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Domestic And Rehearsal

Didn't set foot outside the house except for a money run to the bank.  Pared and cut several pounds of yams and set them to simmering in the crock pot with o.j. and cinnamon.  Made a big salad for lunch.  Vacuumed, washed whites, cleaned up the kitchen, and performed similar chores.
Got a stunningly beautiful picture of Mike and and his gorgeous family  done by the same photographer they had used in Singapore.  Wow, it's lovely; hope I can print it out.
Jo G. called to remind me about our excursion to the culinary school today.  She said to wear my red hat; I said I didn't have one; she said to borrow one from Susan; indicated I might, but Romney will pose for porn before that happens.
Picked up Aline and we went to Dynasty for dinner.  I had Hungarian goulash--it was probably more south Jersey than middle European,but it was tasty and I took some home.
We went to the Seaport at 6:30 just as it started to rain, so walked from the parking lot to the lighthouse with my big umbrella to join colleagues on the porch.  Following along with what seems to be the natural progression with this play, we were locked out.  Guy finally came over and let us in and we set up chairs in a circle and just read lines.  That doesn't mean we literally read them, of course--at this point, it had better not--but spoke them without action.
We were all happy to see Dave F. back, although ominously, he still has no diagnoses for his stomach pain and other symptoms.  He didn't look too chipper and we're still a bit worried about his role--more, though, about his own self.
Home about 9:30, not too bad, to have a message from the northern dweller, inviting me to meet her, hubby, and J. and J. for dinner before the show on Saturday.  Said yes, but had second thoughts this morning and e-mailed her that I'd pass.  I don't like to eat much ahead, plus would be in costume and cast call is for 6:00.  Better just see them after.

Monday, October 08, 2012


During our morning walk, Susan asked how rehearsals were going and I said fine, but we had to meet in the hunting shanty at the Tuckerton Seaport.  (Because of Columbus Day, we can't get in the school.)
What? said she; but this the second Monday of the month and the Seaport Stitchers, of which she's a member, meets there on that day.
Long story short: I stopped at the Seaport on my way to Manahawkin, talked to several seemingly confused people and was finally told we had the shanty tonight and they'd put the S.S. elsewhere.  Called Susan from the parking lot, she said she'd called her prez, and I thought that was that until I saw on Facebook from Tonya that we'd be meeting at the lighthouse (same campus).  All that confusion seems typical of human endeavors, but hey, it isn't as if Honey Boo Boo was coming to town.
Was pleased to get Skype calls from Mike and the precious little girls, as well as one of my little girls, Ellen.  Latter is still embroiled as a volunteer in an intense political race--hope it turns out for her side.
Aline called early and I suggested we eat at Dynasty before I pick her up for rehearsal tonight.  She agreed, natch, and that'll be nice.
Tomorrow, I'm going with the group that dare not speak, etc., to the Culinary Institute at Atlantic Community College for lunch, so that'll be fun.
And speaking of culinary, I got an invite from Susan for lunch on Wednesday, with her caterer daughter, Julie, and granddaughter, Sophia, who will be in from from Connecticut. I agreed enthusiastically--another natch. 
The next day, Thursday?  OPENING NIGHT!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Fair

Yesterday at the fair went well.  Vendors (or displayers, or whatever I'd be considered) could park fairly close to their spaces, so it wasn't too onerous getting my stuff out.  However, we then had to move our cars to the fire station lot, which is a fair distance away.
I put the length of green material down first, with the big "name banner" flat on that.  Added the foam-backed "posters"--they're not exactly posters, but I'm not sure what to call them--on ready-made "easels" on either end.  One featured a display of programs of past productions (I had used that at the library) and the other was a duplicate of my little flyers for You Can't Take It With You.  I had had it made up at Staples at my own expense, although knowing it would be useful for less than a week.  Will now put it in my front window until showtime.  I added a clipboard with sign-up sheets and a basket with the mini-flyers and was in business.
The "golf umbrella" I brought proved to be the one indispensable item, as it was hot, hot, HOT.  It also got windy, windy, WINDIER and the damn foam posters kept blowing off the table, as the "easels" were pretty flimsy.  A nice young woman face-painting at the next table came over and anchored them better with heavy-duty tape.  That helped a lot, but the bigger gusts were still problematic.
When you participate in this kind of event, it seems to me pointless to go to all that trouble, then just sit there.  I engaged as many people as possible and bantered with most.  When they showed interest, I acquainted them first with our coming production, then with the organization itself.  I gave out all the leaflets and two people signed up to get our e-mail (what e-mail?), plus one who identified himself as "a soloist."  This was an older gentleman whose dress trousers and neatly tucked-in shirt seemed rather formal amid the cut-offs and tee shirts.  However, he gave me his card identifying himself as a clergyman, so that explains it, I guess.      
In a few hours, I had given out all my leaflets and was sweltering, so I packed up and left.  It took five trips back and forth lugging my stuff to the car.  It seemed a mile away, but was probably only a few hundred yards.
Home, I finished the rest of my sandwich, talked to Betty on the phone (still in Chicago, but leaving this morning for California), then took a nap of an hour or so.
Got a call from Lillian M., reminding me that our group is going for lunch to the Culinary Institute of Atlantic Community College on Tuesday.  That'll be fun and I'm looking forward to it.
Rehearsal at the hunting shanty tomorrow, but today is a free one. 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Whatta Day

Boyohboy, what a day.  Realized early on that I had almost nothing prepared for the Eagleswood County Fair today at which I'll staff a theatre company table.  Got out the big Little Egg Theatre Company sign and attached it to foam backing.  I'll also use the "past productions" poster I had made up last year for the library display window. 
Decided the most important thing was to publicize our up-coming play (in less than a week--yoicks!), so I went to Staples and had a 14" x 29" banner made up, which just copies the flyers I had done.  It came out pretty nicely, but of course, will be obsolete in less than a week, too.  I also have some flyer hand-outs for prospective attendees to take. 
While waiting for the banner, I picked up a few things at Shop-Rite, including three loaves of different kinds of bread (well, I don't know why),  then went back to Staples.  By the time I was able to get the banner and go home, it was after 2:00 and I was starved.  Made myself a chicken sandwich on multi-grain and drove over to Aline's, as their community is having a three-day yard sale.  Sat outside with her and Susan for an hour while I ate my lunch/dinner, then left.
Hoping to find an easel to borrow, I stopped at the clubhouse.  Carol didn't think we had any, but Norma H. happened to be there and showed me a cut-down box that can be used for one.  Hot dog!  I took it and it will serve.
Home about 5:00, I got a few more pieces assembled for the fair, then realized I needed--desperately need, had to have--a kind of putty which you can use to stick things to other things, but can be removed without damage to either.  Drove all the way back to Manahawkin to A.C. Moore and got it.  Finally completed my preparations and packed up some of it.  Called my Susan (my walking partner, as opposed to Aline's Susan) to ask if she has a clipboard.  She'll look.
Found a message from Tara C.  I had asked about about Dave F. her boyfriend, who's in our play.  Unfortunately, Dave is now in the hospital with an obstruction for which they're doing tests.  Tara said I could call him and I did last night.  Had a nice chat, but was so sorry he's still in a lot of pain.  He fervently hopes to be out in time to appear in the show and so do I, of course. 
It was after 7:00 before I got everything ready for today.  Put the stuff in the laundry room so I can load the car this morning and finally settled down with my w. and p.  Whew!

Friday, October 05, 2012


Did a lot of wash yesterday, and went to Acme, in addition to other exciting stuff along the same lines.   
Got a card for Dave F. and dropped it off at the hospital in Manahawkin.  He's in You Can't, but was admitted because he has "an obstruction."  We learned this from girlfriend, Tara C., who directed me in Steel Magnolias almost three years ago.  Boy, I hope he's okay, mainly because he's a nice guy and partly because we open in less than a week.
Talked to sister Betty, who will be in Chicago a few more days. 
Rehearsal last night went well, with a few glitches.  We ran through the whole thing in good time and happily, the set is almost finished, too.  Makes a big differences when you're not having to pretend objects are there.  Got home about 9:30 and to bed another hour later, so not too bad.
Must prepare for our booth at the Eagleswood Country Fair, which is going on tomorrow.  Also, I told Susan and Aline I'd stop in some time this weekend on their community-wide yard sale.
Weather continues hot and humid.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Exercise And Dinner Out

I hadn't opened the packet I received from the exercise people at Stafford Library, and discovered it included a CYA* sheet that had to be signed by my doctor.  No prob, I thought, and just dropped it off Tuesday afternoon.  Office staff said they'd call when it was signed, but never did.  I went back twice, but doc was in Egg Harbor and had it with him, and so on. 
All that annoyed the hell out of me, and I left to meet Aline at Stafford Library in a grouchy mood.  Turned out I handed them the other papers (you'd think I was about to run the Boston Marathon) and they never even asked for the doctor's one.  Aline said she had never handed one in, either. 
Anyway, it was a good session, with about twenty people--all women--participating.  I'm pleased that it there seems to be a concentration on balance, something I need. 
On the drive home, Aline asked if I'd like to join her and a group from Mystic Shores for dinner at Mystic Casino (despite the name, not a gambling den for spirits, just a restaurant).  "Sure," said I, natch, and twenty minutes after I had dropped her off, met up with the group.
It's funny how similar different (over 55) communities are, and how they differ.  This group seemed older and not quite as "with it" as those in our community; of course, Mystic Shores was built about twenty years before Sunrise Bay.  There were about eighteen women and two men, which I  guess reflects the--let's face it, death patterns overall.  I had met some of them before and was welcomed by them.
After we sat down, Bessie and Bob F. from my community came in, then about six other couples I know.  They were just having an informal dinner and I chatted with them for a bit.
The company was fun, but the food and service mediocre.  I had ordered chopped sirloin, rare, and instead got something called "steak pizzala," an overcooked slab of beef with cheese, onions, and peppers on it.  Was  dumbfounded that Aline was charged an extra dollar because she had a baked potato instead of mashed or fried (never heard of that one before).  However, I had a good time.
Aline's sister, Susan, was there, but oddly, sat in a booth with her son and a friend whom Aline dislikes instead of at the table where everyone else was.  She was supposed to take Aline to rehearsal (only for act three, so I didn't have to go), but swept out, seemingly in a huff.  Not sure what's going on there, but I took Aline to the school.
Pretty nice evening, although (or maybe because of) it was somewhat  different.  Rehearsal tonight, always a pleasure for me.
*Cover your ass.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Doctor And Other

Incredibly, I slept until 7:30 yesterday, then rose to keep my doctor's appointment an hour later.  I got an wonderful report on my labs: good stuff  well into the excellent range, less-than-good way down.  I'm not quite sure why this is, as I haven't changed my life style lately (do I ever?), but Dr. W. seemed to credit it to good genes and exercise.  He said that at my stage of life (barely functioning--ha!), it's all about bones and arteries.  Of course, my weight is up by fifty pounds from my low of a few years ago, but that doesn't seem to have affected my health. 
The only bad news was that Dr. W. is leaving at the end of the year.  He explained that he wants to spend more time with his family, also to be able to exercise more and take care of his own health, which he doesn't have time to do now.  Also, he lives in Haddonfield, which is a distance away and it's a long commute.
Hmm...I wonder if that's the whole story.  He said he's going to be working at an urgent care facility closer to his home.  Regardless, I liked him a lot and am sorry he's leaving.
Went to B.J.'s for cottage cheese and romaine and impulsively picked up a rotisserie chicken.  Made a big salad and had that and good-and-greasy chicken legs for lunch.  Cut in half the large Brussels sprouts I had bought the other day and put them in the crock pot with onions, garlic, various seasonings, and a splash of red wine.  Haven't eaten any yet, but it smelled delish.
Picked up Aline for rehearsal.  I was glad to see the wicker couch on which I pass out and sleep for most of the second act, was in place and looks okay.  We did the whole play with just a few pauses for correction and it went well.  Tonight is for act three only, so I have the evening off.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Various Activities

Zipped over to Atlantic County yesterday for stops at Canal's, Produce Junction, and the cemetery.  That made me miss my twinnie, so I called her when I got home.  All seems well in Chicago and she'll leave for Santa Barbara in a few days.
At Produce Junction, you get ten big green peppers for two bucks, and I really can't use that many.  Called Leslie, then stopped in and she was happy to receive them.  We chatted for a bit after, always a pleasure.
I bestirred myself to get out Halloween decorations, although it still feels like deep summer.  Had bought two big live (well, now that they're off the vine, maybe they're dead) pumpkins and have them out front with my little autumn girl, and a black cat and spider.  Looks cute.
Picked up Aline at 6:30, as we had an early call and were asked to bring costumes for Ellen V. to check over.  She was bringing some that she and Tonya had borrowed from Surflight and there was a lot of trying on, taking off, discussion, and speculation about who should wear what for a play that takes place two weeks before I was born.  I was happy to have Ellen and Tonya approve the idea that I just remain in my original costume.  The script calls for Gay (yours truly) to come down the stairs late in the second act being carried and wrapped in one of Penny's (the mother) negligees.  Well,  we modified the "carried" part, natch, and the audience wouldn't get the idea of her putting on Penny's nightclothes, we thought.
I had gotten the idea--once in a while, a good one hits--to take pictures of the various props and set dressing items I thought we might be able to use. 
Printed them out, added descriptions, and gave to Tonya.  She wants the balalaika, a small vanity chair, and something else I can't recall.
Must run, as I have a doctor's (routine) appointment in a half hour.

Monday, October 01, 2012

A Bear And Dine-Around

Nothing of great note went on during most of the day, aside from one I wish hadn't:  My niece by marriage, Polly W., put her brother's obit on Facebook.   Joe had been horribly mauled by a bear in Montana when he was just out of college.  He was interviewed on a radio station a few years ago and for those who want to hear the harrowing story, here's the link:
I called Polly (in N.C.) to offer my condolences and we had a nice talk.  She invited me to Italy after she and Dave get to their assignment (he just joined the foreign service) in May.  Said it was a mere few hours from London and boy, the idea of a European excursion next year is growing hair and teeth in my mnd, you can be sure.
When I was about to leave for Dine-Around, Mike called on Skype, but I had time and was glad to hear from him.  Got to the restaurant in Barnegat just at 5:00 to find Charlie C. already there, although the invite called for an arrival time of 5:30.  (Many in my age bracket tend to run early for things and I'm no exception.)
Our group had an L-shaped table set away from other diners, which suited us fine.  I had prepared little flyers for each place touting our up-coming play and also mentioned it when I welcomed everyone.  (Nothing like a captive audience to get out the word.)
All nineteen arrived and we had a good evening. I was so pleased to see Spanky and Rosie D. come in, as his health is precarious (regular dialysis and an amputated leg), as well as Ed W., who doesn't walk, and Doris H., trailing her oxygen tank.
The food was good and the service friendly and efficient.  After, I gave out the word puzzles I had devised, about half of which were got through--with hints.  Everybody seemed to enjoy it, but tt was taking a bit long, so I told the guests to take them home.  Judy K. gave out her usual dollar store "prizes," and took pictures of the four September birthday people and we all had a great time.
Rehearsal tonight, to which we're to bring our costumes and props and meet early, I'm happy to say.  I'll probably hear from Aline this morning and will arrange to pick her up about 6:30.