Friday, November 30, 2012

Lunch And That Stupid Cliff

Woke up at 3 am with a lousy stomach ache.  It's easing up a bit, but I can still feel it--pretty uncomfortable.
Had a nice day yesterday, though.  After the horror of the lottery thing, I went to the library and Acme and otherwise did this and that (what? Don't remember).
Got to Pat L.'s at 1:00 for a lovely and leisurely lunch.  She served butternut squash soup, Caesar salad, pasta and shrimp dressed with oil and garlic, and cranberry apple pie--all homemade and delicious.  Pat's a dedicated talker-- I'm no slouch in that department, either--so we gabbed until almost 4:00.  She had submitted a little piece about her granddaughter being named "Athlete of the Week" at Warren Hills High School and I expanded it a bit.  Also asked for a picture of the girl and we'll run both in the January issue of The Breeze.
Speaking of which, the December issue came out yesterday, unusually early.  Considering that the storm had wiped out a lot of Senior Publishing's operations, it's remarkable they got it out at all. 
Continuing to speak (write) of which, today at two I'm interviewing Regina and Mike B. for the next "Blowing In The Wind" profile.  Hope my stomach continues to improve.  
WIDER:  When the revolution comes, the slogan-makers should be the first to be sent to--well, with our luck, some kind of gorgeous tropical island to wallow in luxury.  "Fiscal cliff"--AAGH!
http://stopmebeforeivoteagain.org/2012/11/happy-hour-at-the-cliff-bar/

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Busy Day With Bone Scan

(See the entry below for my additional dreadful experience yesterday.)
Annoyed with myself for forgetting I wasn't to take calcium for 24 hours before my bone scan, I went to Atlantic Medical Imaging anyway.  Explained and apologized, and they were very understanding; made another appointment for 3:30 that day.  I was given papers to fill out and took them with me.
Got to Northfield Diner early, of course, and filled out the papers while I waited for Betty and Mary H.  The sun was shining too strongly at the booth where I had been seated, so we switched to another.  Had a good breakfast (oatmeal for me) and good talk, then because I had to come back later in the day, we all went in Betty's car to her place, where we admired her new closet setup.  After, we stopped at Mary's, then Betty and I sent to Shore Diner for lunch.  She dropped me back at my car, we said goodbye, and I went to Produce Junction.
I had intended to get wreaths for Pat's and Jay's graves, but realized I didn't have the wreath holder with me.  Decided there was plenty of time to "do" the cemetery, so just got a Christmas cactus plant for Pat L. (having lunch at her house today) and some veggies.
Back at the imaging place, I was chagrined to realize I had left my papers, --including the prescription--at the Northfield Diner, after switching booths.  Damn.  Was told I also needed a "tracking number," required by the Horizon Medicare Blue, the black-hearted bastards.  However, I was given a number to call, got the number, and my doctor's office faxed the RX in, I had the test, and no prob after that.
EXCEPT--see below. 
 

Lottery

To the authorities: If I'm ever found dead on the floor, just apprehend my younger son, who will surely be the death of me!  Here's why:
I was out all day (see below) and didn't get home until about 5:00.  Did this and that before checking my e-mail.  When I did, I saw a message from Mike, who lives in the U.K., asking me to buy him twenty dollars worth of lottery tickets and he'd reimburse me.  He didn't include any numbers, so I wrote back saying I'd just do it randomly, and went over and bought them at Acme.  
Got up this morning to see Mike had e-mailed me a specific set of numbers, adding the personal reasons why: 5-Violet's age next birthday, 23-day I got my drivers' license, 22-Paula's birthday, and so on.  I idly went into the Powerball site and saw---YES, THE NUMBERS HE PICKED, EVERY SINGLE ONE!
My screams of horror could probably be heard in the U.K. Shaking like a leaf, I called him at home, talked to Paula and got his mobile number, called that and babbling like a fool, tried to tell him my horrendous mistake.  His reaction to hearing he missed winning 440 million dollars: What, did you take that seriously?  England's time is five hours ahead of EST, and he had seen the numbers before he sent me the last e-mail.  Yes, a setup.
Oh-h-h.  I can't even convey the relief I felt after hearing that--not to mention the undying fury to have gone through that ordeal.  Why, the fiend, the ungrateful wretch, the poorest excuse for a loving son on the planet, the...
Actually, it was pretty funny.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Viv And Bone Scan

Susan and I walked with raincoats and umbrellas, but I was still soaked when I got home.  Spent the rest of the daylight hours on chores, talking on the phone, and playing hidden object games. 
It was still raining when night was beginning to lower* (I can't help it, I was an English major), and I considered calling Viv to postpost our dinner date.  Glad I didn't, though, and we met at Applebee's, I fearfully early, she on time at six.
We had a fine time chatting and catching up.  I met Viv, who lives in Barnegat, when I joined Wellspouse, an organization for caregivers.  Viv's husband was diagnosed with MS thirty years ago and is now at a point where he can move only one arm and that with difficulty.  She has cared for him since, while raising three children, working a full-time job, and attending college.  Now a grandmother of two, she's on the cusp of getting her masters degree.  I hope it lands her something better than her current support job at Ocean Community College.
Got up today all prepared to keep my 8:00 am appointment for a routine bone density test, then meet Betty for breakfast.  But darn!  I forgot I wasn't supposed to take calcium for 24 hours and had my second yesterday about  one o'clock.  Tried to call just now, but they're not open yet and you can't leave a message.  I'll just have to go in, apologize, and see if I can do the paperwork and come back later in the day. 
* Always liked that word, which is from Longfellow's The Children's Hour:
Between the dark and the daylight/When the night is beginning to lower/Comes a pause in the day's occupation/Which is known as the children's hour....  Yes, it rhymes with "hour."         

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rehearsal And Politicians

I appealed to Dennis R. regarding my non-working outside electrical outlets and that sweet guy stopped in early to reset them.  Then I was able to fulfil my idiotic and practically uncontrollable desire--no, need!-- to illuminate the woods in back with a floodlight.  I can't decide if it looks pretty and romantic, as I intended, or like something out of a horror movie, but I'll light it when I have company.
Aline got here just at 6:00 and John arrived shortly thereafter.  I was pleased when J. agreed to play Tom Tricky in my play, actually just a little sketch.  A. is the secretary and I'm reprising my role as Tootie Van Loonie, the bag lady who wins the lottery.  I wrote the thing years ago and it was staged by the  Sunrise Bay Drama Club, now defunct, I'm afraid.  As Tootie mentions several locales, I changed Toms River and Manahawkin to Margate and Somers Point and so on.  We went over it several times and A. and J. got right into the swing of it.  Silly as it is, I think the audience will enjoy it.
Dayle F. came later, and I watched as the three rehearsed another play.  It's not bad, although as many of this genre do, it rests somewhat uneasily on one slight turn.  Seems a tad overwritten and the ending is abrupt, but it has the virtue of being short and should be enjoyable.
In between rehearsing, we shared some of our experiences in acting, play-writing, and the theatre in general.  What fun and how lucky I am to be part of it!  I came to this interest late and it's so pleasurable to know I've made myself part of it.  When I mentioned my first "real" role as the grieving mother in Riders To The Sea, I was charmed to learn that John is actually familiar with J. M. Synge.  Hey, you don't find that in the general population or among many (read "any") of my other friends.
Meeting Viv L. for dinner tonight.
WIDER:  Here's Glenn Greenwald's take on the branding of politicians:
"...unhealthy and dangerous trust in one's own leader - beyond just the normal human desire to follow - is the by-product of over-identifying with the brand-marketed personality of politicians. Many East and West Coast progressives (which is overwhelmingly what Democratic Party opinion leaders are) have been trained to see themselves and the personality traits to which they aspire in Obama (the urbane, sophisticated, erudite Harvard-educated lawyer and devoted father and husband), just as religious conservatives and other types of Republicans were trained to see Bush in that way (the devout evangelical Christian, the brush-clearing, patriotic swaggering cowboy, and devoted father and husband).
Politicians are thus perceived like contestants in a reality TV show...but the difference is that these images are bolstered with hundreds of millions of dollars of relentless, sophisticated, highly manipulative propaganda campaigns...."
So damn true, it hurts. His essay includes much, much more, and the thing entire should be read:
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/11/27-2
         

Monday, November 26, 2012

Goodbyes

Betty stayed over, then left early, but not before we made a breakfast date for Wednesday after I get my dex scan (or whatever it is--routine bone density test).
Went north to say goodbye to the Pennsy gang, arriving about noon.  N.'s parents were there, as they had had J. and R. overnight; we had a nice visit.  Left about 3:00 as the six sweeties were still preparing to go.
Had a message from Pat L., who asked if she could submit something for The Breeze--sure, but it'll have to hold until the January issue, as December's deadline is long past.  I offered to pick it up, which I did and she asked me to lunch on Thursday.  I accepted with pleasure, of course, holding to my iron rule:  Never turn down an invitation.
Ellen Skyped and, as we do virtually every Sunday, I'm happy to say, we had a nice chat.  Can't wait to see her next month.
Three of my fellow thespians in Players & Playwrights  are coming to my place this evening to rehearse my play, Tootie Looks At Real Estate, plus another that Aline is in.  Still don't know who will play Tom Tricky in mine; hope director John will do it.
WIDER:  The mind reels:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/world/white-house-presses-for-drone-rule-book.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1
What if we read a piece on "Organized Crime Head And Advisers Codify Murder Procedure."  Would we be shocked?  Not anymore, I guess.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Great Day

What a fabulous day!  Betty arrived about 1:30 bearing Sacco subs and nephew Dave got in a  half hour or so later.  We talked for a bit, then repaired to the kitchen to dig in.  Oh, yummy, yum, yum, with a glass of cold beer--which Dave and I had--you can't beat a sub for sustenance.
We were delighted when Dave told us that his sis, Joan, and her Jim, were coming down, too, which they did after we had finished lunch.  The six of us sat in the living room for several hours, talking, reminiscing, catching up on family news, and generally having a ball.  We're all thrilled at the fact that Dave and Polly will be leaving for Rome in May, his first assignment for his new employer, the U.S. Foreign Service.*
Left for Oyster Creek Inn about 6:00, Betty riding with Dave, me with J. and J.  I had never been there before, but what a neat place!  Way, way at the end of a dark road, it's on water--I guess the bay--and is nothing if not casual.  It goes the whole genre way: a rustic porch around it, plank floor, checkered table cloths, and a bar made from an old boat.  However, the food is superb; going along with that, prices are high, but darling Dave insisted on treating, and we had a great dinner.
I had tuna tartar, which isn't even on the menu at most of the mundane restaurants I frequent.  It was rubbed with sesame seeds and seared outside, but virtually raw within.  I had it for the first time in Hawaii years ago and love it.
We had a fine, convivial dinner, then Darling Dave left for D.C. (I hadn't realized he moved from North Carolina, so this was only about a three-hour drive.)  Poor Dave had forgotten the extra sub he had in my refrig, so bestowed it on Joan and Jim, who stopped back at the house to get it.
Betty and I sat up for an hour or so chatting, then retired.  Great day, great family--lucky us.
* As I write, Polly is winging her way back from New Zealand, where she had spent a week with their veterinarian daughter, Alice. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cleaning Up For Company

Verbal battle re exercise at the clubhouse between Naughty Rosemary and Virtuous Mimi: "Oh, you can skip it today," "Don't you dare, regardless of weight and diet, you need to move," "Move, shmove, one miss won't hurt," "One?  Before Monday, you hadn't gone for weeks...."
And so on.  Well, I went and was glad I did. That was one of the few productive things I did yesterday.  Went back and forth to Ace Hardware, as I conceived the notion that it would be nice to illuminate the woods in the back.  However, after shelling out twenty bucks and change, the damn light/extension doesn't work.  Will ask Walter for his advice.
Otherwise, just cleaned up a bit in preparation for my nephew, David W.'s visit today.  Betty will come, too, and bring subs, to which Dave will treat us.  He wants to go to Oyster Creek Inn in Galloway for dinner, then drive right back to North Carolina.  His wife, Polly, is in New Zealand visiting their daughter, who's a veterinarian there.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving

What a wonderful Thanksgiving!  It turned out the upstate Pennsy guys were able to come down after all.  T. still has a cough and R., in particular, was draggy, but they aren't deathly ill, so we were all glad they came.  When I walked in about 3:00, the six were posed on and around the couch, the four boys in Santa hats, having Christmas pictures taken by the resident photographer.  I was asked to get in one and happily posed with them.
Brent, brother of the man in the house, soon arrived and we had veggie with dip appetizers while the turkey was being patted down.  J. had brought his turkey fryer and, soon, the bird was lowered into sixteen (?) gallons of vegetable oil. While it cooked, the adults talked around the table in the kitchen.  After a time, I joined the boys in another room and played Sorry with T. and R., while simultaneously operating the spinner and calling out the results for J.and J.'s Twister game. What fun it was to be with children again!  The boys are so friendly and pleasant and they get along very well. 
Big J. and N. look great; after quitting smoking (hurray!), both had gained weight, but recently, took much of it off.  J., who often tries new configurations of facial hair, now has a kind of squared-off beard that we all agreed make him look like a young rabbi. 
We were pleased to get a phone call from Ellen, which morphed into a two-screen Skype call with her in California and Mike and the two little girls in London.  The connection was problematic, though, and after exchanging Thanksgiving greetings, I asked them to call back on the weekend.
The turkey cooked in about 45 minutes, then was rested for 20 or so, after which we sat down about 5:00.  Dinner was just superb.  Seems to me that birds cooked in fryers are more flavorful and moist than the oven roasted ones and this was no exception.  Sides included luscious mashed potatoes, glorious gravy, two kinds of stuffing, string bean casserole, corn pudding, homemade cranberry sauce, and banana bread, all homemade. What a feast!
After a leisurely meal and good talk, coffee was served along with my apple and pumpkin pies, which everyone enjoyed.  (When J. asked little R. if he wanted "Cool Whip" on his pie, I yelled from the kitchen in mock horror that it was real whipped cream, for heaven's sake.)  N. had brought a peach pie and brownies, so they were sampled, too. 
When dessert was almost finished, I brought out the little square of chocolate cake I had gotten from Acme and to which I had added two candles.  We sang "Happy Birthday" to the celebrants (today is their joint birthday, 20 years apart).  They liked their (modest) presents--both  bracelets--we had coffee and then I kissed everyone goodbye after a great Thanksgiving.
Oh, yes, yes, I have every reason to be thankful, first and foremost for the family I'm lucky enough to have. 
               

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pies And Wind

As soon as I got back from our walk, I high-tailed it over to the Shop-Rite in Galloway.  It was jammed, of course, even at eight am, but I was able to get my pie ingredients and a few other items.  Met Betty for breakfast at the Dunkin' Donuts nearby and was pleased to see they have oatmeal on the menu.  Along with hazelnut coffee, my fave, it was pretty good.  We had a good talk, wished each other Happy Thanksgiving, then I went home to start the pies. 
Crust has always been the bugaboo of pie-makers, and I'm no exception.  I used to have a problem with mine holding together when I rolled it out and I had to piece it often.  Yesterday, though, I realized what was going on: At my mother's knee, I had learned that if you use too much water (ice water, of course), your crust will be tough.  Fearful of this pastry no-no, I think I wasn't adding enough water.  That didn't dawn on me until after the top crust on the apple had to be pieced.  For the (single) pumpkin crust, I put in several more spoonfuls of water than usual and it rolled out like a dream.  It remains to be seen, though, if it developed the dreaded toughness.  I'll whip the cream (wouldn't dream of using the canned stuff) today.  It'll keep long enough when it's cold and I'll put the bowl in a foam container with artificial ice.
In between the pies, I went back to Lowe's to return a floodlight bulb I had bought.  I was annoyed one the new one doesn't work, either, but it may be the holder connection.  Have had it for ten years, so I guess I should spring for another. 
Sat down for my usual forty-five minutes of T.V. viewing and was delighted to come across Gone With The Wind.  Watched until Scarlett scandalized Atlanta by dancing with Rhett, then had to go to bed, but what a terrific movie it is--and almost as old as I am. 
I still think Vivian Leigh's performance was less than it should have been (although she looked exactly right) and Leslie Howard was wrong, all wrong for the role of Ashley.  For openers, it's hard to believe a  sensuous and passionate girl like Scarlett would be attracted to--well, frankly, a kind of girly man. Besides that, he didn't bother to change his British accent, let alone add a tinge of southern speech.  However, Clark Gable and Olivia DeHavilland were perfect and so were the supporting players.
At this point, we're not sure where we'll be for Thanksgiving dinner.  Some of the gang from up north are sick, poor little guys, so it's possible they won't be able to come.  We're just waiting to see, but I know I'll be with at least some of those who mean the most to me, so I don't care where it is.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Not Much

Exchanged the little flashlights at B.J.'s and went to Lowe's for a replacement bulb for the outside flood light.  When I got home, I was annoyed to see it's cracked, so I have to take it back.
Put the flashlights together after spending about two hours (well,fifteen minutes) trying to unpackage the damn things.  However, I put the batteries in, tried them all, and they're fine.
Betty called and we made a date to meet for breakfast this morning on Jimmie Leeds Road.  I'll leave right after our walk, so I can stop at Shop-Rite there first and pick up the ingredients for my pies. 
Not a lot else went on aside from the usual domestic chores and time with hidden object games.  Hmm, that last is beginning to concern me.  I could spend hours playing and when it comes to anything worthwhile--forget productive--playing computer games is far down on the list.   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Exercise And So On

Finally went back to exercise at the clubhouse.  Of course, I've been walking the mile and a half with Susan every morning, but slacked off in recent months with Leslie Sansone's two-mile.  It's so hard to keep motivated unless it's simply a habit you hardly notice, like brushing your teeth or something.  Anyway, I'm glad I went and will continue on Mondays and Fridays.
Ran scads of errands in Manahawkin, shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Wal-Mart, and B.J.'s.  I was happy to find, at long last, the package of five little LED flashlights at the latter.  Two of mine don't work and I want another five.
Stopped at the library and got a scandal sheet type bio of Frank Sinatra.  It emphasizes his...uh, physical attributes throughout and is anything but scholarly.  It's a bore and I'll take it back hardly glanced over.
Home, I caught up with Lois V., who just got back from Florida; Pat L., who usually attends opera, but wasn't there on Sunday, and Regina B., to ask to interview her and her husband for The Breeze.  They agreed and we'll set a time for next week.
Went to Acme for various, then went again to the library to request The Patriarch, a new bio of Joe Kennedy.  According to the NYTimes book review, it's top-notch, even on a par with Robert Caro's LBJ books.  I'm twentieth on the reserve list, but that's okay.
In addition, I talked to Betty, and did several loads of wash, so it was a good active day. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Refrig And Opera

Put on my Suzy Homemaker apron and cleaned the refrig.  I turn things over often, so didn't have any throwaways, but it was hard to get the shelves and drawers put in the right levels.  I do appreciate the fact that he appliance is rather shallow, so things don't get lost in the back and grow penicillin (ugh!).
Went to the clubhouse for opera after lunch.  It was Falstaff and so enjoyable.  I haven't seen many comedic operas and this funny--ribald, too.  It was a Covent Garden (London) production and the sets--minimalist and modern--and costumes--exaggerated and full of brilliant color--just blew me away.  Music was good, too.
Talked to Ellen, always a high point of Sunday.  Other than the above, I indulged in my new craze of hidden object games.  I just finished "The Palm of Zoraster" and am trying out others.  You can play Big Fish games free for an hour before you have to order and and pay for them.  I have about ten now and am trying others out.  Love the graphics and the story lines, all of which are mysteries, aside from a cartoony one I got early on.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Van Tour and Gaza

Set off for Wells Mills Park in Waretown with Susan and Barb H. in tow.  I had packed a lunch, but then found that this van excursion was scheduled for only 9 to 1.  No matter, I ate my sandwich when we got back.
We drove to West Creek--ironically, it's only ten miles or so from home but more like twenty from the park--to a private cranberry bog owned by John and Erin Headley.  This is way, way, out in the woods and the Headleys are young, energetic farmers with three beautiful little boys, 9, 7, and 22 months, who were there also.
We were fascinated--and slightly alarmed--by the fact that the little one just roamed free.  Most of the time, he was in the company, we hoped, of his older brothers, but this is a big property with water hazards.  A ditch surrounds the bog and a creek flows next to it and it was a little scary to see the toddler running around, jumping over the ditch, throwing stones in the creek, and acting like a much older child.  At the same time, it seemed wonderful that on this bright, clean, autumn day, the baby was receiving from his parents a priceless gift: self-reliance.
Considering that John has a full-time job, it's mind-boggling to realize the amount of time and effort he puts into growing cranberries (or anything else, I guess).  He told us that he had bought the bog when he was 16 and has been working it ever since.  I knew cranberries were both dry-harvested and wet-harvested, but didn't realize the same bog could be worked either way. Anyway, it was a fascinating trip.  They had a little stand set up and I bought cranberries--natch--and butternut and spaghetti squash.
Made a new friend, too.  Pat P. teaches anatomy and phisiology at Middlesex County College and we hit it off well.  Exchanged e-mail addresses and will get in touch with each other.  Home before 2:00 and spent a quiet rest-of-the-day.
WIDER:  From Chris Floyd:
Hell is coming. Hell is near. Thousands upon thousands of troops are massing for the ground invasion of a small patch of land crammed full with human beings trapped without any defense against the steel that will destroy them. Several children have already died in the preliminaries. Many, many more will die when the real feast of death begins.
http://www.chris-floyd.com/

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Errands

Got a bunch of errands run in Manahawkin, not quite all on my list, but close.  Picked up stuff at Target, Wal-Mart, and Acme, including three birthday presents and cards.  I assume we'll take lunch for our van tour today, so bought turkey breast and grapes for a sandwich.  Made a big salad for lunch, as well as other veggies.  Cut up turnips and stewed them in the crock pot along with fresh tomatoes.   
I'm driving today--to Wells Mills Park, where we meet to get the van--so I got the car washed.  Stopped at Mastercraft after, although I could see they were jammed, as they had been the other day.  Cars that were damaged by the storm took up all the parking spaces and I had to park out back.  However, they replaced my directional light in a few minutes and didn't charge me, either.
My nephew, Dave W., from North Carolina, is coming on Saturday and will stay either with Betty or me.  The three of us will then have dinner at Oyster Creek Inn or get subs.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Home

I was pleased to find at my door yesterday a tee shirt with information from a girl's school in India.  Where'd it come from?  From Susan, my walking partner's ex-husband's second wife, Joanne.  (Love those awkward sentences!)  Joanne works at a Catholic Church in Marmora and volunteers at the school; she's on her way there right now.  I've met Joanne and I'm very much interested in the school.
After unpacking and getting squared away with home-again, I finally, at long last, got the Montauk (?) daises dug up and cleared out the front.  I put the ten beautiful mums out and the place looks so nice.  Strenuous, but certainly worth it.
I had gotten a big bag of mushrooms at Produce Junction and stir-fried them up with onions, put some on what was left of my linguine with shrimp and broccoli and enjoyed it for dinner.
Lots of errands to run in Manahawkin today, plus wash to do.  I like to be busy, so I'm looking forward to all that.  Tomorrow I go, with Susan and Barb, on the van tour to "Workers In The Pines." 
    

Thursday, November 15, 2012

At Betty's

Just got home from Betty's, where I spent the night.  I had a rehearsal in Margate for one of the plays we're doing on December 15th, and I didn't want to drive home in the dark.
I left my place about 2:00 yesterday, as I wanted to stop at Boscov's because they were having a shoe sale.  It was mobbed, but I bought a pair of Keds and a birthday present for someone.  Next stop was Canal's where I stocked up on wine, then Produce Junction for Brussels sprouts, turnips, and mushrooms.
Went over the Longport bridge to Absecon Island, then took a dry run to find the house on Clermont Avenue where we were meeting.  Got to Betty's close to 4:00.  Workmen were just taking off the door to her laundry room from the kitchen, then renovating it to provide a nice big closet and more room in the kitchen.
We ate at "Uncle Gino's" across the street, then I drove to rehearsal.  It went well--it's readers' theatre, after all--and I got back to Betty's about 8:15.  Had several glasses of the wine I bought at Canal's with popcorn and pretzels thoughtfully provided by Betty.  We enjoyed a nice sisterly talkfest and didn't turn in until after 11:00.
This morning, we met several friends of Betty's for their "Thursday Breakfast Club."  I had met them all before, and have known Helen C. and Betty M. for years.  Betty treated me to breakfast and I had a lovely time.  One of the women mentioned that the garden center across the street had mums, 10 for ten dollars and as soon as I left, I went over there and bought ten.  Stopped at Boscos's again and got yet another pair of sneakers and some earrings.  Geez, I had so much in the car--flowers in pots, sneakers, birthday present, suitcase, two other carryalls, wine, and veggies, plus the usual stuff I carry "in case I need it" --I could hardly fit in myself. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Red Hats And Vietnam

In spotty rain and gloom, my least favorite weather, got to the clubhouse at 11:00 and met up with the other six RHers.  Had a short "business meeting" (really just planning coming excursions), then went to the Dubliner on Jimmie Leeds Road.  Had what was billed as an "Irish Dip"--sliced beef on a roll with au jus.  I guess you could call it "Italian Dip" or "Norwegian Dip" or, for that matter, "Vietnamese Dip" depending on the venue.  It was mediocre, but the Blue Moon was its usual full-bodied, yummy self.
After, we walked across the strip mall to the ceramic place.  We picked out what we were going to paint--I got a small cup with eyes (don't ask) which, after I painted it, set me back twenty-one bucks and change.
Actually, it was fun.  That's not to say I produced a work of art: I am the world's worst when it comes to things like that and I doubt if five-year-old Tristan would have wanted to claim it, but so what?  I'll use it on my desk for pencils.
While the others were studiously finishing their works--I was a bit amused at how seriously they were taking it--I went across the way to Santori's for grapefruit and broccoli.  Once back we paid up and found we had to come back on Sunday to pick up the items, as they wouldn't be fired until then.
Got home about 3:00 and was excited to find on my porch my cousin's book, which I had ordered from Amazon.  Breaking Through Concrete/The Gift of Having Mentally Ill Parents is her account growing up with my uncle (depressive and possibly alcoholic) and his wife (schizophrenic and manic depressive).  I had had some idea of her life and the story is harrowing.  She has risen above it, though, and is a joyful person.
WIDER:  I thought the duplicity of the Pentagon had already overflowed its stinking bounds until I became aware that the American War* against Vietnam is being reshaped or rehabilitated or something to make it a noble enterprise that we won.  Damn!  Take a look at this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMuc3RU0pEk&feature=youtu.be:
*I was in Vietnam last year and "the American War" is what they call it.  I visited a war crimes museum and lemme tellya: It's a whole other story when you're on the opposite side of a conflict. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Volunteering

Went over to Pat M.'s and took her picture again.  This time, I was sure not to delete it from my camera before I actually sent it to The Breeze and checked that it got there.  Wrote up a piece on our Players & Playwrights By The Jersey Shore presentation on December 15 and sent that off, too.
Went over to the distribution center to volunteer.  Again spent what seemed to be hours sorting and folding clothes, then trying to get them to the correct spot on the tables.  The three large rooms are so filled it's getting to be a chore just to find an open spot to unpack them, let alone fold.  There's no flat surface to put them on, which means that, very inefficiently, you have to take one item out of a box or bag, check the size and so on, then take it over to the right table.  At this point, no more clothing is being accepted and no wonder.  I think what they have now could give every man, women, and child in Jersey new wardrobes for the next year.
Went up to Staples after and got a desk calendar.  I was annoyed that the large ones cost only $5, but the smaller ones that fit on my desk are twice that much.  I know they were less last year--what is happening to prices?
Leslie called to say she and Dennis had worked at the center yesterday, too, but they were at the non-food store.  She said there were also mountains of items there, including what seemed to be thousands of containers of toothpaste. 
The big news is that the family, under Mike's guidance, has received its Christmas exchange assignments.  I have them, Mike and Paula, for whom I will pick out an exquisite gift they'll never forget.  Limit is $20.   
Have a RH gathering today; first lunch at the Irish Pub, then pottery making.  Aside from the pottery making, it should be fun. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Skyped

Got an early Skype call from P. and N. and we had a discussion about a "preparedness box" (or in their case, bag).  Theirs contains a radio and a reflective, heat-retaining blanket and they keep it by the front door in case the next earthquake is severe.  I'll put lights, water, batteries, and a mechanical can opener in mine.
Later in the day, I was pleased to get Skyped by Mike and the two adorable little girls in London and, at the same time, see my adorable little girl in California.  We had a lively three-way conversation which included hearing four-year-old Violet count to--whatever, she can go way up. 
While we were chatting, Susan called to ask if I'd like to share leftovers with them for dinner.  But of course, and I went over about 5:30 and had a nice turkey dinner.
E-mailed the "Blowin'..." profile to Pat M. and she wrote back that she liked it and there were no factual errors.  I then spent an infuriating amount of time trying to find her picture on either Kodak or Picasa.  No luck--it just isn't there, so I'm going to stop over this morning there and take another this morning.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Players & Playwrights

Picked up Aline and went to the Players & Playwrights meeting.  Because the Ventnor and Margate libraries were unavailable--not sure if the reason was hurricane damage or not--we met at Stockton State.  The campus is so big we got lost trying to find the right building, but made it a few minutes late.
I was pleased to learn that one of the plays I submitted--Tootie Looks At Real Estate--has been selected to be presented at our December 15 show.  That will be in Atlantic City at Dante Hall, which used to be owned by St. Michael's Church and is now in possession of the college.
With leader John's help, we cast our plays.  I'm going to be Tootie myself and I picked Aline to be the secretary and Ed Shakespeare for Tom Tricky, the real estate agent.  We'll meet at my house on November 25 and Dayle and John will come, too. 
There was only one play--or one act of Linda's longer play--to be read and after that, we broke up a bit early.  Went to Gourmet Italian on Jimmie Leeds Road for dunch or linner--not sure what to call it, as it was a bit before 4:00 when we ate.
After dropping Aline off, I just vegged out until time for wine, popcorn, and beddy-bye.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Various And Petraeus

Stopped at the little auto supply place on Route 9 for a new headlight.  Discovered I needed only a turn signal light and suddenly realized they come in twos and I had one in the glove compartment.  Now I have to get Mastercraft to put it in.
Was gratified to receive another "head light" (a literal one, a band  you put around your head for when the power goes out) along with the book, The Liberal Defence for Murder, by Richard Seymour.  I had ordered them from Amazon just two days ago--talk about fast service. 
Yesterday, my dear cousin--my "Cincinnati Sis"--announced the publication of her own book, Breaking Through Concrete and I ordered it immediately.  It's an account of being raised by parents with mental disorders.  Her father, my uncle, seems to have been afflicted with depression, although I doubt if he was ever formally diagnosed.  Her mother, whom I knew well--or as well as I wanted to--was manic-depressive and schizophrenic, a nightmare combination for the three children.
Spent a lot of the day writing up the profile of Pat M.  It's okay, I guess, but not one of my better efforts.  Seems to have come out somewhat flat.  Well, I'll send it to her to check for errors and maybe tweak it a bit after that.
John P. suggested I send him my Hell On Wheels sketch for possible inclusion in our Players & Playwrghts' December 15 readers' theatre production.  Did so and am looking forward to our meeting today at Stockton.
WIDER:  How the media lapdogs are yapping at the general's extramarital affair:
http://news.antiwar.com/2012/11/09/cia-chief-petraeus-resigns-leaked-classified-info-to-girlfriend/
The fact that he had a definitive hand in the slaughter of yay-many thousands of people seems to have given nobody pause, but slip into bed with his biographer?  What a juicy scandal!  There's some reason to believe he shared something other than--uh, bodily fluids with her, too, namely classified information.  Guess he'll be in a cell near Bradley Manning any day now.  Sur-r-re he will.  

Friday, November 09, 2012

Here And There

Went into Manahawkin for a few errands, including trying to get a new headlight for the car.  No luck at B.J.'s or Wal-Mart, so I think I'll have to get it at the (probably outrageous expensive) little automotive store here.  Then I'll have to get somebody else to install it.
Stopped at the library, then at Habitat to see how they're fixed for furniture.  All seems the same, so maybe people flooded out of their homes are going elsewhere.  More likely, they just haven't be able to re-furnish yet.  Two decorative dolls caught my eye and, of course, I had to have them, not sure why.
Stopped at the distribution center on the way home.  It was good to see that the relief group has taken over a second good-sized vacant store, where they're storing and giving out food and other non-clothing.  Talked to Leslie and we'll both go over to help on Monday.
I was notified that the FELS Readers' Theatre group, which usually meets at the Margate Library, has been cancelled for November.  Players and Playwrights, this Saturday, will meet at Stockton State College, where our leader, John, teaches, instead of the Ventnor Library.  I assume both changes are because of the storm.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Distribution Center

Snow!  After the hurricane scarcely a week ago, I was dismayed to feel the cold, then see the feathery white things coming down. Not sure how much--maybe two inches, but it's definitely "laying" and pretty or not, I don't like it.
After lunch I went over the distribution place at the Mathistown shopping center and helped fold and sort children's clothes for a few hours.  Three very large rooms are filled with clothing from newborn size to adult extra-extra-large.  The middle school where donated items had been received and held initially, has to be prepared for opening on Monday, so these things had to be transported elsewhere.  What a job it was and is. It occurred to me, too, that this store holds clothing only.  Where is, and where will, the thousands of household items--bleach, cleaners, buckets, containers. mops, and brooms--be stored?  And what about the personal care stuff, which I saw in abundance when I dropped my things off: razors, shaving cream, face soap, deodorant, brushes, toothpaste, and so on and on?  Can't imagine how they'll be stored.
I spoke to some of the people coming in for clothing and was dismayed to hear of their losses.  I had begun to realize the damage when I saw the mountains of ruined possessions outside homes in various areas, but the extent of it continues to shock me. Hope to get back to help again today.
I was thrilled and delighted to see that Julia Brownley won the senate seat in Ventura County, Ca.  My daughter, Ellen, had worked for months to get her elected, making phone calls, canvassing, and otherwise throwing herself into the campaign.  What satisfaction she must feel!
  

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Intervew

Went over to interview Pat M. at 10:00.  She is a cheery, energetic woman who moved to Sunrise Bay only in June, but was born in Tuckerton and is a livelong resident there and in Little Egg Harbor.  She and her late husband were high school sweethearts and I was amused to hear her refer to him as an "over the dammer."  It seems that those who lived in Little Egg were called that because Tuckerton Lake, which has a modest dam, was the dividing line between the two municipalities.
After, I took the containers and buckets I was donating over to the middle school.  There were lots of people there receiving and sorting what seemed a vast amount of old and new donations for those who had lost homes and possessions.  I want to volunteer to help there sometime next week.
Other than the above, not a lot of any import went on, either here or in the country, I guess. 

   

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Argo

Went early to Acme and picked up some bleach to donate to the clean-up effort.  Got a half-pound of chicken breast to make a sandwich to take to the movie.  I was surprised and dismayed to see the prices of both.  Did things suddenly get much more expensive or have I been living in a dream world?
Picked up Aline at 12:30 and suffered two more sticker price jolts when we got to the theatre.  Tickets cost EIGHT DOLLARS, this on a Monday afternoon with maybe twenty other people spread out over the six or so movies they were showing.  I bought a small--that's small, not medium, large, or gigantic--iced tea and it cost $4.75.  Gawd!
Argo was surprisingly good.  I enjoyed it, but was dismayed at what seemed a subtle demonizing of Iranians in general.  It included, however, mention of the horrors inflicted under the Shah and the role the U.S. played in placing him in power. 
Stopped after at Lowe's, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot trying to find "head lights" in case we lose power again.  All sold out, wouldn't you know, but I got three each of buckets and plastic containers I'll bring to Pinelands High today.  I happened to mention to a clerk that I'm donating them and was pleased when she took five percent off the order.  I'll remember that about Home Depot.
Went to dinner at Sweetwater Casino, hoping they had extended their Oktoberfest menu, but they hadn't.  We got excellent hamburgers, though, and a Blue Moon for me.
Finally getting back into The Breeze mode, I'm interviewing a resident on Sunrise Bay Boulevard this morning.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Busy Still

Busy as a busy little bee, I washed the guest room linens and my own in order to remake the beds.  Before 7 am, I made a big salad for later, cut up broccoli crowns, and did the same to garlic, peppers, and onions for a dinner stir-fry.  Why so energetic so early?  Because I forgot to turn the clocks back and had an extra hour to kill before I picked up Susan for our walk.
Got a call from Aline and we made a date to go to the movies to see Argo tomorrow.  Don't know anything about it, but I'm game.  We'll then have dinner out, which I never refuse.  Damn straight I like to get around.
Met Betty for lunch at Italian Gourmet, but first stopped at Shop-Rite and Santori's for supplies.  We had a nice, sisterly meeting and parted about 2:00--the new two, which will seem like phony two for a few days.
Before going home, I toured the Mystic Island section of Little Egg.  This consists mainly of nice-sized homes, all with docks on the lagoons in the area.  Boy-oh-boy, every single one had a mountain of ruined possessions outside; some had siding torn off or docks destroyed.  I took a few pictures, but not many because I began to feel ashamed.  People of all ages were doggedly hauling their lost things out and here I was, sight-seeing at their misery. 
Tomorrow, I'll go to the high school and see what supplies they need most, then will buy and drop them off before I pick Aline up.  Maybe that will ease my conscience.
Got a call from Jack B., who lives in Manahawkin, just to see if I'm okay.  Had a nice chat.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Water

Followed Dennis and Leslie to a house on Colonial Drive a short distance away.  It's a good quarter mile from the creek that overflowed, but incredibly, a foot of water had entered the house. 
We were all stunned at the destruction water can do: Every room had to be emptied of everything in it, including pictures on the walls.  The only exceptions were the upper reaches of the closets and a few items in the bathroom.
What a job, but how well Dennis directed the "crew," which consisted of them, Bob and Bessie F., five others from Tuckerton Presbyterian, and me.  Dennis told us the living room was "the staging area," and that we were to put all wooden furniture there.  The dining room table somehow escaped serious damage and we put small items from tables and other flat surfaces on it.  Stuffed furniture and cloth items that couldn't be washed were taken directly to the curb.
We worked for several hours, the men hauling the big stuff, the women smaller.  The guys had to saw the legs off a sofa to get it though the door.  After most of the furniture was out, they ripped up the carpet, which was in most of the house, and what a sloppy, soggy mess that was.  Once it was gone, some of the extent of the damage was evident: The floor was covered with muddy water and it was even somewhat slippery to walk on.  Dennis said the bottom four feet of the sheet rock would have to be removed and replaced in order to prevent mold.
At the same time we were working, so were others.  Mathis Construction came to cut up the felled trees and feed them into the chipper.  At least three big cedars in the backyard and two in the front were down, so it took them a long time.  Of course, trees were down all over this neighborhood and every house I saw had huge piles of ruined furniture and personal possessions outside it.
While I was there, the homeowner, Judy, came back, hoping to help, I guess.  She was very appreciative, but simply overwhelmed and seemed dazed.  She was staying with a church member, but her daughter is coming to be with her today.
I had four large plastic containers in the garage that were empty, so asked if they would be useful.  Was told yes and went home to get them.  We used them for pictures we had to take off the walls.
We put linens and other cloth items in plastic bags and took them away to wash and dry.  I took three bed pillows and a king-sized puffy bedspread; couldn't salvage the pillows, but washed and dried the spread at the Laundromat. 
Almost as disturbing as the destruction that could be seen was the odor that filled the house and clung to almost everything in it.  I suppose the water, on its way to the area, picked up decaying vegetation, trash, and other unpleasant things.  It was dark and musty, with some indefinable foul scent added.  It smelled like death to me.  We threw open windows and the F.'s went home to get box fans to try to drive the stink away.  We were all glad it was  sunny and briskly cool.
It was an eventful day, but good to be engaged in something that has a definite "payoff"--assisting a fellow human.  Can't get more satisfying than that.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Aftermath And Trumped Up War

Betty took me to breakfast at Dockside, which is on the canal.  We saw two boats almost submerged at the little marina there. 
Catching up, I did a lot of wash, put stuff away, and generally got back to normal.  Put Brussels sprouts, onions, and seasonings in the crock pot and along with chicken sausages, salad, and baked potato, we had that for dinner.
Went to Acme--big whoops, as the kids used to say--then took a drive to Osborne Island (not really an island, but a stretch of sand) nearby.  I was shocked to see the things--sofas, chairs, and all other manner of furniture--ruined by the water and stacked up for removal outside homes.  Of course, I had known of it, but seeing is actually knowing.
 Betty finally received notice that she can return to Ventnor today and she will shortly.  Leslie e-mailed, asking for volunteers to help people with clean-up and I told her to count me in.  She called last night, saying she and Dennis, plus Bessie and Bob F., whom I know and like, would help empty the flooded house of an older women's today.  Would I join them?  Of course, and we'll meet at 9:45 today.
WIDER:  I was particularly interested in the "War On Terror" part of Glenn Greenwald's piece:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/02/obama-civil-liberties-history

Friday, November 02, 2012

Full Day

Zowee, what an action-packed day!  Still unable to reach Doreen to find out if my Dionne program was on and the library open, I decided to just drive up there.  Grabbed my zip drive and a random box of quint stuff and put them in the car.  Aline called as I was about to leave to say her plans for a trip to Manhattan and Philly had fallen through.  She asked if she could come with me and sure thing, said I.  To my relief, when we got to Manahawkin, a sign on the door said, "Closed Until Further Notice," so that was that.
Stopped at B.J.'s for various supplies, then to Stafford Diner for breakfast--Aline's first, but my second, so I just had a bowl of oatmeal.  Went to Wal-Mart to see if I could find the "headlights" we had seen, but they didn't have any.  Place was jammed and shelves empty in spots.  I couldn't resist a lovely jar candle with pretend holly in it that I need like a hole in the head, but had to have.
Back in Little Egg, we drove down Green Street, but it was cordoned off.  I understand seven waterfront homes were destroyed there.  Went back a mile or so north and was able to take Dock Street to get to the bay.  All is serene now, aside from the fact that the beach is now covered with water and the whole side of a small building there was torn off.
Impulsively decided to go to Hamilton Mall and Aline was happy to come. 
We looked in a few stores, then had lunch at the food court.  By this time, it was pretty late and I was hungry.  Aline just had a kind of smoothie, but I had half a sandwich, salad, and soup. 
We stopped on the way home at the cemetery and I was happy to see mums blooming on Pat's grave. I planted them some time ago and they seemed not to take for a time. Rearranged the stone heart on Jay's headstone, noted the trees down--not large ones, though, and not many--then drove back.
Dropped my agreeable companion off and didn't get home until after 6:00.  I wasn't hungry after my late lunch, but made Betty stir-fry with chicken and a salad.  She still isn't able to get back in her house because of a water/sewage problem.
Called Ellen V., who lives in Forked River, right on the canal.  She went to her daughter's in Pine Beach for the duration, but neighbors said the water had risen right over her bulkhead and almost up to her back door.  Luckily, it stopped and she had no damage.
Betty and I looked at some hurricane pics on the computer, and I ended my agreeably busy day with the usual.  

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Home And The Patriot Act

Homesweethome.  We got here about 11:00 and settled into my much-appreciated home base and sister Betty with me.  Spent some time unpacking and checking the house for any problems.  There were absolutely none inside or out.  Caught up with Susan, Bob O. across the street and the D.'s next door.  Latter had taken in my paper (only Tuesday's was delivered) and mail.  We both made a lot of calls and sent e-mails keeping relatives and friends apprised of our whereabouts.
Betty and I sat and watched on my computer lots of videos and pictures of the storm's aftermath.  Long Beach Island is just devastated--hard to believe I did the murder mystery there only three days before the storm hit.  We were pleased to become aware that Ventnor, where Betty lives, seems to have escaped the worst of it.  Power still out, though.
Tried via phone and e-mail to get in touch with Doreen T. president of the Friends of the Stafford Library, but with no luck.  My Dionne Quintuplet program is scheduled for this morning at 10:30 and at this point, I have no idea if it's on or not.  Libraries were closed yesterday, so at this point, I'll just have to call at 9:00 and find out.
Talked several times to Aline and asked if she'd like to go with us to Mystic Casino (just a restaurant) for dinner.  A girl after my own heart, she immediately answered, "Sure!" and we picked her up at 5:30.  Turned out the place wasn't serving food, only booze--and boy, there were plenty of people happy with that.  I suggested Doyle's Pour House instead, we went there and had wonderful hamburgers--I think they're the best in town.  Because it's styled after an Irish pub, I had a Harp (beer) to go with it--delish.
Aline came in after and the three of us talked a bit.  She's hoping to get up to Manhattan today (by bus) to visit her sister-in-law and little niece.
Nice day and I'm so glad to be home.
WIDER:  Boo! Does the following scare you?  It should.
http://theoceancountylibrary.org/USPatriotAct.htm