Monday, December 31, 2012

Catching Up

A catching up day, during which I mostly--well, caught up.  Did three loads of wash, put fresh sheets in the guest room, cleaned up otherwise, went to Shop-Rite, made myself a big salad, talked to Betty, and pretty much occupied myself with chores until my Sunday Skype call from Ellen.
Can't decide whether to go to Tonya's party or not.  I like the idea and hate to turn down an invitation, but not sure if I can stay up until after midnight and there's no sense in going otherwise.  Will talk to Aline and see if she wants to go.
2013 coming right up...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

There And Back

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig, after yet another active, fun day.  Got up north about 10 and we left an hour or so later after the boys got there.  As ever, it took five hours to get to the far north, but as ever, it was worth it by far.
The higher up we went, the more snow we saw and by the time we got to J. an N.'s, there was--were?--fourteen inches on the ground.  Very picturesque, but hardly what we wanted to see.
The boys ran in and were happy to be reunited with their other two "brothers," there with the grandparents, Joe and Sue.  All together, we had a wonderful second Christmas.  Kids, gifts, and wrappings filled the living room, along with happy chatter and laughs.  The two matched pairs--J. and J. and R. and T. were so glad to see each other and Caesar, the big fat hen, was sacrificed for dinner.  Our hostess thought he was tough, so put some pizzas in the oven, too, but the guest enjoyed the chicken.  (It's my theory that homegrown fowl probably are a bit denser--"tougher"--than store bought because the commercial variety is full of chemicals and stuff to make them unnaturally tender.)
After a riotous time out in the country, we drove into town for the night to the motel we've used before.  Slept well, got up and dressed, intending to go back up to more fun with the boys, when we opened the door to--aagh!
More snow, about another four inches already and it kept coming down.
Called to tell them we'd better get on our way and left after breakfast at the Wellsboro Diner. 
It was pretty hairy getting home, but my son-in-law is an excellent driver, and we made it, although it took about an hour longer than usual.  As we drove south, the snow got lighter and lighter and finally turned to rain once we hit Jersey.  I drove home from their place and arrived to find that even the rain had stopped.
What a wonderful birthday/Christmas season I had, one of my best yet.  Love being with family, especially the children, and even more especially, my darling daughters.  Hope there'll be many more such times to come and I'm confident there will be.

Friday, December 28, 2012

More Comings And Goings

Arrived up north at 10:00.  Hung out with my two darling daughters, had a bite, met the guest from New England, and chatted until time to take El to the airport.  We got there without incident, E. driving, and I resolved, as I assured her, not to cry.
Almost, but not quite made it (got a little choked up), and we said goodbye.  It's probably good that it's no longer customary to park and go in with the passenger.  In my case, the fact that I had to follow my Google directions out of the airport helped get my mind off the parting. So did the fact that we discussed and tentatively decided that I'll go out and visit her when she's on Spring Break at Easter time.  I was glad it didn't snow or rain on the way home--cloudy, but clear, which is better then s. or r. 
Spent the rest of the day in various pursuits.  Packed most of my stuff for the long trip today to the far north.  Called Betty, who will be getting home from Chicago today.  Received an invitation to a New Year's Eve party from Tonya, of LETCO, and am considering it.
Was sent an e-mail about the article and picture on the FELS readers' theatre group that appeared in The Press of Atlantic City today.  Put it on Facebook.
Soon, will be off to upstate Pennsy, for a continuation of what has been end-of-the-year wonderful fun.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Monmouth Museum

Ellen and I met the boys and their Gran at 11:00 at the Monmouth Museum, part of Brookdale Community College.  It's a modest one, mostly for children, but we all enjoyed it.  They have a craft room and J. made a sword and wall hanging, T. an undetermined "thing" with gold lame and cotton balls.
We had brought lunch--good thing, as there's no cafeteria--and ate in the SUV.  By this time, a cold, sleety rain was coming down--nasty.  Went back to the museum after for a bit more exploring.
Left about 3:00 under skies so dark and rain so intense, you'd think it was nighttime.  I then promptly turned the wrong way onto a main road.  (We had turned left onto the campus, but were going out a different way, which I didn't realize.)  I drove more than a mile, practically into the woods before I could turn around; did so at the entrance to a farm and another car followed me.  It was my daughters and the boys, concerned when they saw me turn right instead of left.  I told them I realized my error and we parted. 
Got home safely, although it took more than an hour and a half.  It was pretty hairy, what with the low visibility and the jammed Parkway, but I made it.  Called E. to let her know I arrived in one piece, and was in for the night.
Terrific rainstorm and wind was continuing by the time I went to bed, but it seems calmer this morning.  Hope so, as I'm driving Ellen to the airport today--sob!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chirstmas Day

'Twas Christmas day/Christmas day/Christmas day/In the morning.... And a terrific, albeit unconventional one (maybe terrific because it was unconventional) it was. 
Early on, I was thrilled and overjoyed to get the news that grandson Joel and his Noelle are engaged!  Couldn't be happier about that, and I talked on the phone with both. 
We learned that J.'s two boys would be staying over at their grandma's last night and that posed a dilemma for Christmas dinner at my place.  How could the invited couple get down here, then back up in time to receive them?  No prob, I immediately decided, we'll just pack everything up and take it there--and we did.  I first peeled and cored the dozen apples I had bought the other day, added sugar, cinnamon, and butter, and made applesauce.  
Dinner, if I modestly say it myself, was yummy, yum, yum.  I had chosen as a main dish, uncooked, vacuum-packed Italian pork formed into a roll and with a kind of crust of  Italian seasoning.  I've served this before for company and it's wonderfully tender and good.  Added baked potatoes, gravy (bought, I'm afraid, not homemade), mixed broccoli and carrots, the applesauce, along with the rest of my birthday cake, and all agreed it was scrumptious.  The hostess did most of the little preparation required, which was okay by me and by her, too. 
Our very sunny moods may have been the result of the Margaritas we all had before dinner, the ingredients for which I had bought before Ellen arrived.  She's essentially a non-imbiber, and that's her drink of choice.
Sat and talked after dinner until the boys arrived with their Mom.  It was so good to see those sweet kids, as ever, and Ellen and I stayed a bit longer.  Got home at an ungodly hour--it must have been after 10:00--had my usual, then bed to sleep like a log as I virtually always do.
Today:  the Monmouth Museum with the boys--yay!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve

Got up late today--7:30-- and as soon as I sat down at the computer, got a Skype call from the Tokyo Twosome, then another from the London contingent.  My 8-year-old granddaughter got an IPad Touch, for Pete's sake, and the 4-year-old got guitar and a plastic dog that poops. 
As for yesterday, it was another fun-filled one. Ellen and I picked up Aline at 8:00 and we had a great breakfast at Dockside Cafe.  Enjoyed much convivial talk until we had to drop A. off and get home to prepare for our trip north.
Left at 10:00 and arrived at 11:00.  We piled into the SUV and drove to Rob and Lisa's for a late lunch.  Terrific food: turkey, stuffing, corn pudding, yams and pecans, cookies, several pies, and all kinds of other goodies.  Fourteen people broke bread together, including Lisa's parents, Dale and Betz; her brother and nephew; my son-in-law's ex-wife and her husband; and a few others.
After, we went to the Moravian Church in Riverside and witnessed a lovely service, which included lots of carol singing--Rob and Lisa's two children sang a solo together--in a beautiful old (140 years) church in Riverside.
It was snowing picturesquely when we left the church, but I was glad it slackened off soon and was only raining at my house.  Ellen drove and we got home by 9:00.
Merry, Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Good and Better

It just keeps getting better with Ellen here.  We met Louise, my pal from Players & Playwrights, at 1:00 at Italian Gourmet in Galloway.  Had a terrific time over a two-hour lunch, the girls (they'll always be girls to me) discussing ruefully some of their misadventures with guys, interspersed with lots of laughs.
After saying goodbye to L., we drove down to Long Beach Island to view the destruction.  Damage seemed mild after we went over the bridge, but then we headed to the southern end.  I specifically wanted to see Holgate, a pretty upscale town, but badly hit by the hurricane. 
It was a shock.  Even this long after, there are houses tilted sideways here and there, windows covered with plywood, and piles of debris on the sides.  But the really startling sight was the sand.
Sand still covers about half of the streets, and great mounds of it are still in so many front yards.  There had surely been grass in front of many houses, but now you can see nothing but sand.  We were warned not to continue if we weren't residents, but--daring law-breakers that we are--we went on.  I was hoping to show Ellen the end of the island with its breath-taking views of waves crashing on the breakwater, but there was a barricade and we couldn't get through.
Drove to the other end, parked, and walked up to "Old Barney," the Barnegat lighthouse--Ellen's idea, with me protesting about the cold all the way.  Stopped at Acme on the way home and picked up ingredients for our Christmas dinner.  I want to have a pork roast and got veggies and baking potatoes (yes, yes, I know they're veggies, but I consider them in as entirely  different category).  Got MacIntoshes and will make applesauce, then we'll have the rest of my birthday cake for dessert. Have plenty of wine, both white and red, plus appetizers of grapes and mixed nuts.
Picking up Aline for breakfast in about ten minutes, then it's up north and Christmas Eve, Moravian style.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Delightful

Another delightful day.  When I went out to get the paper, I found a big box from C. & C., the florist Mike uses and Ellen and I opened it.  We found a spray of beautiful star lilies and put them in a vase immediately.  So pretty in the foyer.
Got a return e-mail from Louise and she'll me us for lunch in Galloway today at 1:00.
We arrived up north about noon and the gang of six from the far north came in a half hour or so later.  We had a wonderful time talking and admiring the prowess of little T., who's only 5 and in kindergarten, but was able to write various addition problems on the blackboard--and solve them correctly.
N.'s parents blew in with Dunkin' Donuts coffee and--well, doughnuts.  With the addition of bagels and cream cheese, we all had  lunch. After more visiting and talk, N.'s parents, Joe and Sue, left, taking J. and R. with them for Christmas.  An hour or so later, J. and T.'s Mom arrived to do the same with her boys.
Later still, we said goodbye to J. and N., who left for the long trip back north.  The four of us then went to a nearby restaurant, where we had Italian-- and very good Italian--for dinner.
We took the gorgeous chocolate cake Ellen had made from scratch and had it for dessert--scrumptious!  I was then given some terrific present, including a pretty Christmas bracelet, a lovely soft cardigan, and a wrap in soft shades of grey (hmm...now why does that phrase ring a bell?).  Along with the slippers from Betty, magazine subscription from P. an N., and hiking stick from Mike, I made out like a bandit!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fun Day

Lotsa fun day.  Enjoyed birthday phone calls from other D.D., twin sis, two brothers, and several friends, plus was Skyped by both sons and families.  While Mike and his girls were on, I opened his gift: a nifty walking staff for hiking--I'll put it to good use.
Received snail mail cards, e-cards, and Facebook greetings from lots of relatives and friends.  Ellen made me a scrumptious birthday breakfast of scrambled eggs and sides and, of course, we continued to talk and talk. 
Susan and I didn't walk, as there was a ferocious wind and rain, plus she had an early eye doctor's appointment.  However, she had left me a present besides the pony tail plant:  a sturdy pair of gardening gloves (I had admired hers in the summer).
Went the the FELS Readers' Theatre group at 1:00 and we did a reading of The Browning Version, by Terence Ratigan.  It's a somewhat gloomy play involving an English "public" (private) schoolmaster, marital infidelity, dashed hopes, and uprooted lives--oh, just the usual.  I was assigned the role of Frank, the lover--our ten-member class is all female, so we take all roles.
A reporter and photog from The Press of Atlantic City came and took notes and pics; not sure when it will be in, maybe today. The rest sang "Happy Birthday" to me, which was nice of them.
Drove directly home to find my birthday cake cooling and it's very nice, indeed.  She proposed that we go out to dinner--yessireebob, fine by me--and we went to ScoJoe's.  Had yummy liver, she salmon.  Back home, Ellen made and iced the cake, which looks wonderful; we'll take it up north for a birthday celebration today.
Opened the front door just now to rescue the cloth Santas I had lolling on the porch (they keep getting blown onto the lawn) and found a big box from C. and C., the outfit Mike always using to send flowers.  Will open it when Ellen gets up.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ellen Here

Happy day, Ellen's here!  Went and got her at 10; she looks wonderful and it was SO good to see her.  We swung over to The Pretzel Factory in Manahwkin and I picked up the pretzel tray.  Dropped it off a the post office for employees who have been so nice to me and they were very appreciative.
We got my darling daughter settled in, then drove to Atlantic City to finally, at long last, get my reading glasses.  Stopped for lunch at Smthville Inn, to which I was treated again.  Terrific lunch, then we shopped the stores a bit. 
Home, we chatted, laughed, and had a great mother/daughter time.  Got a call from my dear cousin, Marifran, my "Cincinnati Sis" and had a wonderful time catching up.
I made stir-fry for dinner--E. adding her stir-fry technique--and a salad and we had a good meal.  E. is going to make my birthday cake while I'm at my acting class in Margate today IF I go.  It's raining hard and very windy, so maybe I should stay put. 
Got birthday messages from both my precious boys, as well as an exquisite homemade card by N.  P. and N. also sent me a subscription to The Nation, for which I'm very appreciative and there are two big packages from Mike I may not open until tomorrow.  M. asked about Skyping, but it's up in the air for now, as they're going ice-skating and I may be gone most of the day.
Got mailed cards from a number of friends and e-cards from others.  I'm not thrilled to be the age I am--yes, children, I'd rather be younger--but all things considered, I'm lucky to be hale and healthy and have the wonderful family I have.
Now on to Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Good Day

Yesterday was a good, full day and I got a lot accomplished.  Decided to put Ellen in my room so she'll have her own bathroom and spent a lot of the day cleaning, getting the walk-in closet spruced up, changing the sheets, and so on.  Wrapped a few Christmas presents and generally tidied up.
In the afternoon, I went to Manahawkin.  The people at the post office have been so good to me--and I'm there a lot--so I thought I'd give them something for Christmas.  Stopped at the Edible Arrangements place for a fruit bouquet, but they didn't look all that good and considering it would be more than thirty bucks for twelve pieces, I decided against. 
Went to Shop-Rite to stock up on veggies and fruit; didn't like their fruit baskets either, as they consisted of only apples, pears, and oranges and were expensive to boot. 
It occurred to me to stop at the Pretzel Factory and I get them a tray of pretzel "rivets" (short rods) instead.  They come with two dips--I chose Cheddar cheese and spicy mustard and are freshly baked.  I'll have to pick them up after I get Ellen, then will drop them right at the post office.
Finally, at long last, I heard from the Dante Hall manager and will meet her this afternoon and pick up my glasses.  Ellen will come with me and we'll look around the area, then lunch there.
Can't wait to see my girl!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Breakfast And Dinner

Picked Leslie up at 8:30 and we went to good ol' Dynasty Diner.  (I had planned to go to Dockside, but remembered it's closed on Tuesdays.)  We both had omelets and good talk, too.
Asked Les if she wanted to go with me to Pet Smart.  Susan had told me what a hit the "catnip" papers had made with her kitties, so I got some for cats of my acquaintance and also, something for Lulu, my granddog.
Did this and that at home after, but it sure wasn't very memorable 'cause I can't remember what it was. 
Showered, dressed, and left for the Democratic Club dinner at 4:30.  This was at Octopus Garden, up the road about six miles on Route 9, a place I had never been.  Aline and Susan were already there, seated at a round table with another woman.  It wasn't a large room and I was pleased we weren't at the two long tables, which made it a bit crowded. 
The restaurant is a find, I think--nicely appointed, friendly and efficient staff, and good food.  I had tuna tartar, seared on the outside and essentially raw inside.  I guess that would seem gross to some people, but I love it. The place doesn't serve booze by the glass, but does by the small bottle and I bought one of Chardonnay. Overpriced, but good.
Luckily, there were no speeches, political or otherwise, and I enjoyed the meal and the company.  Especially enjoyed the fact that it was over by 7:45 and I was home at eight.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Smithville

When I went across to Susan's for our walk, she presented me with a gigantic pony tail plant for my birthday.  Looks great at my dining room window--hope I can keep it alive.
In return, I gave her gifts for her kitties, "catnip papers" and a crinkly worm (don't even ask) for which they and she were very appreciative.
Finally and at long last, got my Christmas cards finished.  Spent the morning writing them out, took them to the P.O., then swung around to the library and bank.  (I like to give each of the two trash collectors a card and cash.  I think they deserve it more than a lot of others.)
Picked up Aline at 2:00 and drove to Smithville in a dark and gloomy mist.  I don't, as a rule, like being out on such a day, but we had made the date and I kept it.
Glad I did, as it turned out to be a delightful sojourn.  We ate at the Smithville Inn, where Aline insisting on treating me for my birthday.  I had a "veggie melt" and a Blue Moon, A. a turkey platter.  Very tasty and she said we must have dessert for my birthday, so we shared an incredibly delicious chocolate cake/pie type thing.  After coffee, we strolled around and went in a variety of little shops--uh, "shoppes"--then enjoyed a light and sound show on the lake.
Home by 6:00 (it felt like 9:00), I dropped A. off, then responded to Betty's phone message and we had a good chat.  Got an unexpected Skype call from Ellen, always a pleasure.  She's going to stay over up north two nights, as she'll accompany her hostess to an event.  Just as well, as it will give me another day to prepare for her visit, so that will work out fine.
Picking up Leslie for breakfast today and later will attend a dinner sponsored by the--agh! Democratic Club--with Aline and Susan.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Movie And Dinner

To the big city (Manahawkin) in the morning to pick up printer ink at Staple's, something else at somewhere else, and some toys for Susan's kitties at Pet Smart.  At the last, I was treated incredibly rudely by the cashier.  Will not patronize that place again.
Called Joan B., of the Barnegat "Silver Liners" (you can be pretty sure that's not a club for teens) and we discussed my Dionne Quintuplet presentation.  I'll meet with her on January 9 and we set a date for the deed on the 30th.;  I have the Stafford Library scheuduled for February 7.
Got a few minor things done after, then ambled across the stree to Susan's and Walter's.  Latter drove and we went to see The Life of Pi.  I had thought it was about a Chinese boy in the eighth century.  Was just off a bit: It was about a present-day Indian boy.  Anyway, it was enthralling and the effects were wonderful beyond description.
After, in a steady rain, we had dinner at the Mystic Island Casino.  Sounds so exotic, but is just a neighborhood bar and restaurant.  Had a bourban hamburger and, following Walter's lead, a Molson Ice.  Incidentally, I'm comfortble going out with S. and W. because I insist on paying my own way.  I don't want to be somebody who is always treated. 
Skyped with Ellen when I got home.  Can't wait to see her on Wednesday!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Readings

Picked up Aline at quarter of twelve, which meant we arrived fearfully early for the one o'clock call in Atlantic City.  Our leader, John P., was already there, though, and others came soon after.  We were all pleased when we saw the venue for the show.
Dante Hall was built by St. Michael's Church, but was bought by Stockton State, and it's a beauty of a theatre.  Clearly, the new owners renovated and did it very well.  They added stained glass windows depicting various aspects of theatre, statues of what seems to be the goddess of same, and similar touches.  There are carpeting and padded chairs, a good-sized lobby, and well-appointed rest rooms.  All in all, it's a terrific place for our group.
An Afternoon of Original Play Readings went off without a hitch and we had a good audience--I find it difficult to judge, but I guess there were over a hundred in attendence.  I was pleased that Florence L., Rita D., and her cousin came and chatted with them for a time.  During intermission, bottles of water and pretzels (my suggestion) were served and they went over big. The show moved along very well, including my "Tootie Looks At Real Estate"; I also acted in "A Genie's Fate," and "The Game Show."  After, Aline, Betty, and I went to Johnny's in Margate for dinner.  B. and I exchanged birthday gifts, as she'll be in Chicago on The Day.  Got home a bit after 8:00.
Only negative of the day was the fact that I left my reading/computer glasses at the hall.  Send John an e-mail asking how I can retrieve them.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Continuing Whirl

Spent the morning making up two batches of "Nana Mix" (Chex with a kick), then took myself to Mays Landing, hitting B.J.'s, a dollar store, The Christmas Tree Shop, Wal-Green's, and Canal's.  I hadn't intended to send cards this year, but found some beauties at B.J.s, so got them.  It's anybody's guess when I'll have time to write them out.
Since I was in the neighborhood (Atlantic County)--well, about twenty miles away--I continued down to Absecon Island.  Stopped at Betty's in Ventnor, but she wasn't home, then took a dry run to Atlantic City.  Easily found the place we'll be going today, then drove home.
Changed and went to Sid S.'s viewing.  It was jammed, mostly with Sunrise Bay people--he was very well liked, and with good reason.  After paying my respects, I chatted with Leslie--we made a tentative date for breakfast on Tuesday--and Susan and Walter, who invited me to The Life of Pi and dinner tomorrow.  Of course, I accepted, but when, oh when, will I be able to fit in cleaning the house for my most-welcome guest, Ellen, and the myriad other chores I need to do?  Well, I'll worry about that later.
The singing club presentation was last night.  Walter is in it, so I went with Susan.  She's on the refreshments committee, and her co-chair, Bessie F., went home from the show sick, so I helped put out the coffee and cookies, serve, and clean up.  Didn't get home until well after 9:00, but that was okay.
An Afternoon of Original Play Readings with Players & Playwrights today!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Lots Of Stuff

Back to Target yet again to return an item and purchase others.  Ran a few more errands in Manahawkin. Aline called to ask if she could accompany me to Arsenic And Old Lace "auditions" (why quote marks?  Read on).  She was going to see Life of Pi in Manahawkin in the afternoon and invited me to go, but I just had too much to do.  We arranged that I'd pick her up at 6:00 on Route 9.
As long as I was in the general area, decided I'd better check out the location for the Arsenic tryouts in daylight, as I'm not all that familiar with Barnegat.  Drove to Donahue School where they were scheduled to be held.
Geesh, what a trek!  It's way, way out to the end of the road, which actually ends with a barrier across.  Good thing I took a dry run, as I'd never be able to find it in the dark. 
Home, I wrapped my purchases in Christmas paper, then brown, and mailed all at my trusty post office.  Finished up my "theatre experience" resume and had a bite to eat, then took off to pick up Aline.
We arrived at the school amid hordes of children dressed in pajamas.  They were having some kind of holiday gathering--very cute for the kiddies, but we thought it an odd, out-of-the-way place to audition.  We were directed to the faculty room and went in to see two women and a man, who immediately asked us to wait outside.
Now the information on Facebook said auditions were from 6 to 7:30 and this was about 6:20.  However, I, the soul of patient agreeableness, said nothing and we just waited outside. 
One of the women left and we were called in.  We met Lou M, the director and Sherry Something, who seems to be the contact person, and the four of us chatted pleasantly.  I gave Lou my resume and we were asked to jot down info on a sign-up sheet, along with our preference for roles.  Did so, and we were then told auditions would be held shortly in the same place, about which we would be notified.
What the hey?  The FB page lists auditions as being held on Thursday, the thirteenth and I was given the same information on the phone.  However, we naturally said nothing but thanks, and left for the long, dark ride home.
Something tells me Our Gang is even more sloppily run than LETCO.  Oh, well, that's show biz, I guess.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Luncheon

During our walk, Susan asked if I wanted to ride with her and Bessie to the women's club Christmas luncheon, so I did.  It was at The Carriage House in Galloway, a beautiful big white building and a wonderful place for gatherings.  Food was good, service excellent, and I had a terrific time.  Sat with Mary, Lee, Anita, Alice, and Judy, women with whom I'm friendly, but not intimate. 
As favors, everyone got a gift card for ten bucks to either Acme or Shop-Rite.  Don't know who thought of it, but it's a terrific idea, much better than the candles and others of that ilk that of which everyone already has a slew.  (Sorry, Sister Gabriel, that was an awkward sentence.)
Home about 4:00, I got a call from Sherry, of Our Gang Players, in answer to my question about where auditions for Arsenic And Old Lace would be held tonight.  It's at a school in Barnegat from 6 to 7:30 and I'm pretty sure I'll try out.  Got a call from Aline, who said she isn't auditioning for a speaking part, but wants to go anyway, in case there's a "face in the crowd" possibility for her. 
I had run into Aline's sister, Susan, at the post office earlier and she asked if I wanted to go to the Democratic Club's dinner tomorrow night.  Told her I was an independent, but would consider it and decided I'll go.  Told Aline I will and will give her the twenty bucks tonight.  Spent the balance of the day researching some Arsenic quotes and working up a "theatre resume" to give the director.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Birthday Lunch And Torture

Early on, I called Mary S. to see how she was getting to the Women's Club Luncheon today.  Found that Lee S. was driving, but already had five in her car.  Will call her, but maybe will drive by myself, then make some stops in Atlantic County.
I was so sorry to hear that a neighbor and friend, Sid S., has died.  Sid was in the theatre company for a time and was a wonderfully warm, decent man.  He had been ill before, but had pulled through; guess he just couldn't this time.  Funeral is on Friday--sigh.
Aline, back from the city (in these parts, that's NYC), called, and we chatted, then made a date for dinner on Monday at ScoJo's.  She had taken her nine-year-niece to see The Nutcracker, and had a wonderful time.
Changed and left for the Betty birthday lunch.  Stopped at Santori's for feta beforehand, then met Betty and six friends at Italian Gourmet on Jimmie Leeds Road.  It was low-key, but pleasant, and we had a good time.  Parted after and I drove directly to Manahawkin where I again exchanged, had remedied, and bought anew.  Looked for a coat at Kohl's and found many I liked and some that fit, but wasn't able to put the two together.  Did buy two shells (not the kind on the beach).
Didn't get home until after 5:00, called Betty to hash over the day, then just hung out and puttered. 
WIDER:   Here's info on a movie that illustrates why I have no expectation at all this country will ever become more than a wasteland inhabited by savages:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/10/zero-dark-thirty-torture-awards
But audiences will apply critical thinking to this tripe, won't they?  They'll research the subject and find that it rests on a diabolical lie.  They'll boycott the thing and let others know the efficiency of torture has no basis in fact.
Yeah, sure. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bean Stew And Busy

Hoo boy, busy day.  Got to the post office when it opened at 8:30 and sent off the big package.  Had breakfast, then got a slew of domestic chores done, such as paying bills on-line, washing clothes, straightening up the guest room, and so on. 
I've been wanting to make a "rosemary mushroom bean stew," the recipe for for which fellow Breeze contributor Lee S. had submitted to the paper.  Gathered all the ingredients only to find I didn't have enough mushrooms, so I put that on my pretty substantial list of errands. 
I'll just draw a curtain over the middle of the day except to note that I visited Wal-Mart, B.J.'s, Target, and one or two other stores to pick up medication, exchange, return, and buy new during a driving rain, and I didn't get home for lunch until three o'clock.
Found something else I wanted to send to the U.K., dug out a box for it, packed and wrapped it and went again to the P.O.  Was taking a breather on the computer when the doorbell rang; it was the mailman bringing a large box which I had been expecting.  I had been asked to open, remove price tags from the number of darling little-girl clothes inside, then re-pack and re-send.  I did, and made it to the P.O. just before the 4:30 close.
Finally got around to the bean stew after that.  Recipe called for a half cup of red wine, but I accidentally added a full cup (heh, heh).  Also added more beans, as it seemed a bit thin. It includes fresh rosemary and a bay leaf, too.
Well, yummy, yum, yum!  Had it for dinner and it's delicious.  It makes a fair amount and even though I gave myself a generous first portion, I have three bowls in the refrig for three more meals.
But wait: Today, I'm meeting Betty and friends at Italian Gourmet for a birthday lunch and tomorrow is the Women's Club luncheon.  Okay, then I'll have the bean stew for dinner.      

Monday, December 10, 2012

Concert

As I do every single year, it seems, I had second thoughts about a number of Christmas gifts I'd bought, and returned them.  Selected others for the London contingent, got them home, and spent an hour or so wrapping and tagging.  Was able to fit them all in a large box, wrapped that in brown paper, addressed, and will take to the p.o. this morning.  Had a quick bite for lunch, dressed, and got out the door by two.
I had been invited to a Christmas concert up north and was happy to attend.  What an incredible experience!  This was no Rudolph and "Silent Night"  with sleigh bells, but was composed of two Trenton choral groups  singing serious classical music, such as the Kyrie, Gloria, and Agnus Dei of the midnight mass for Christmas; a selection from Messiah, and Amid The Cold of Winter.  Several were in Latin, of course, a familiar language from my R.C. youth, and all were beautifully arranged and presented.  What's more, there were real live instrumentalists on violin, flute, cello, and clarinet, and their renditions were exquisite.
The concert was entitled Winter Songs VI and was held in St. David the King catholic church in Princeton Junction.  It's a new, incredibly large, and very ornate venue, which soars practically up to the heavens and is decorated with a decidedly Asiatic tone.  That seems appropriate to me, as the red and gold, of which there was plenty, reflects, I assume, the eastern territory where Jesus is said to have lived.
Anyway, it was a lovely evening.  I declined an offer to stay for dinner and drove home in the dark, rainy night, glad to arrive safely.  Enjoyed my usual Sunday call from Ellen, who will be here next week--yay!

     

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Twenty-Four Hour Theatre

Hastily put in my car my "costume" for the twenty-four hour theatre and left for Stockton State about 8:15.  When I arrived, I was delighted to find Louise and Dayle from my Players & Playwrights group, as well as Dave S., from Little Egg Theatre Company.  Dave was directing, the rest of us acting.
We all got our scripts, then dispersed to various rehearsal places on campus.  I found I was to be "Carol," a kind of kooky earth mother to three undergraduates.  Don't think it didn't cross my mind that I'm old enough to be, not just their mother, but their grandmother.
Howsomever...we were directed by Tyler, who is the art gallery director at the college, a very nice, congenial guy and unobtrusive director.  Rehearsed the short (of hardly ten-minute duration, I think) play most of the day, but also had time to chat and explore the campus a bit.  I didn't know where Dayle and Louise were rehearsing (they were in different plays), but was pleased to meet up with the former at what seemed to be the only venue for lunch, a pizza joint, and we ate together.
More rehearsal later, then we gathered at the theatre for one on stage.  The place is a dream, compared to anywhere else I've perfomed.  It boosts a large backstage area and a "green room" where performers wait before going on.  This is furnished with comfortable chairs, several tables, and wonder of wonders, two adjoining areas with a make-up rooms, restrooms, and even showers, for heaven's sake.  What luxury!
Anyway, we went on as the fourth of five short plays.  The idea was that the playwrights would be given only twenty-four hours to write a play, and each had to contain a reference to a particular entity.  Last night, the phrase "snooze button" had to be included and was worked into each--cute idea and lots of fun.
We had a fairly good audience--the large theatre certainly wasn't filled, but there were enough people to laugh and applaud so you could hear them.  Our little play, o my darlings, was written by John P. (he often uses the affectation of lower case titles; silly, if you ask me), who teaches at Stockton and is also our leader in P & P.  We all agreed it went very well.
It was a fun day, to say the least, and one more interesting aspect of the art of theatre of which I love being part.   

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Christmas Dilemma

Here and there at Manahawkin stores, I got a few more Christmas gifts, some of which I already know I want to return.  Darn, it's crept up on me as it does every year, and I'm getting frantic, especially as I have to worry about weight and sending early enough.
Talked to Betty and did a few preparations for the "Play In A Day" twenty-four hour theatre at Stockton State in which I'm participating today.  I'm not quite sure why I said I'd do this, but guess I'm game.
Made a nice shrimp/garlic/onion/mushroom stir-fry for dinner and assembled the ingredients for the bean stew I'm anxious to try.  It's called "Rosemary Mushroom Bean Stew," which drew my attention.
Was pleased to receive class photos for both Violet and Vivian; hope they'll print out all right.
Aside from the annual Christmas dilemma and the rest of the above, not much went on aside from the norm. 

Friday, December 07, 2012

Christmas Party

Went to Manahawkin early and finally got some Christmas presents bought.  Finished most of my sparse decorating; have wreaths at the big window and the door, will soon get the flickering candles in the windows an set up Santa in the hall.  I'm annoyed that he doesn't work (is supposed to move, light up, and emit music).  Not sure if it's really broken or I put the batteries in wrong.  Maybe I'll appeal to a neighbor to check.  Went to the L.'s annual Christmas party in Egg Harbor Township at 4:00.
Attendance is sadly depleted at that annual event:  Pat has been gone more than three years, Audrey T. was too ill to be there, and Kate S. has Alzheimer's, I was so sorry to be told.  Her husband, Danny, is just recovering--I hope--was a bout of cancer himself and he must care for Kate, who can do almost nothing for herself.
Besides the hosts, Joe and Flo, that left only Barbara and Frank J., Noreen and Don M., Rita F., and me.  I had a nice enough time, but Joe, who had always been so jovial and warm, seemed unnaturally quiet and removed.
Of course, it wasn't easy to talk over Don, an obnoxious blowhard, a racist, and a reactionary bore who makes Rush Limbaugh look like Lenin.  After dinner, the exchange of useless five dollar gifts, and listening to Don hold forth on why Atlantic City no longer has a hockey team (it's all the fault of the Jews and "the colored," we learned), I was able to say goodbye.  Had a good excuse because I live quite a distance away and in fact, took a wrong turn and got slightly lost.  Corrected soon, though, and made it home by 9:00 or so.
     

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A Lull Of A Day

A lull of a day.  Had only two happenings of import.  Yes, yes, this is very important: got my hair colored, trimmed, and styled, and it looks good.  Cost me a fortune, of course, but say la vee (I know that's not how to spell it; not quite sure what it means, either--maybe "that's life"?).
Anyway, the other thing was that it was the birthday of my dear boy, Mike, practically a holy day (heh, heh).  I Skyped him after e-mailing to find when he'd be home, and I was able to see him and the two sweetie-pies. 
Other than that, ho-hum.  

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Filled

Lots going on.  After I had sent the article and picture about his self-made books to Mike B., he asked if he could come over to substitute one and would I re-do them?  I agreed, he came, I revised and sent them off.
I was delighted to get a call from Creative Touch to the effect that I could come for color today if I was willing to be fit in between Shirley's appointments.  Yes, I was and am, and will be there at 10:00. 
Showered and dressed, and drove to Venenzio's in Smithville for the R.H. Christmas luncheon.  This was one to which the husbands were invited and those who had 'em brought 'em.  I had forgotten to bring wine, but red was shared and I only two small glasses.
Just as well, because when the party broke up about 3:30, I drove to the cemetery as I had intended.  I had thought the wreath bows I put on Pat's and Jay's graves looked tacky (the cheap red "velvet" variety), but when I got there, I thought they were okay, so just added a gold bow.
Drove down to Produce Junction for an amaryllis to bring as a five dollar gift to the L.'s Christmas party last year.  I was sure they'd be all old out (bought myself one the last time I was there), but they had plenty.
Home after 5:00 and being full up from veal over linguine at lunch, skipped dinner and just played a bit of a hidden object game, my current passion.  I had registered at the library to attend the American Girl Christmas ornament session, so went there at 6:00. 
The idea was to make tree ornaments with an American Girl theme.  Because V. and V. have S.G. dolls, I thought it would be fun to make some for them.  Lots of foam Christmas shapes were provided, along with pictures of "historic" little girls to cut out, scissors, glue, tiny puff balls, glitter, and so on.  Under the guidance of the librarian, Leslie, and along with five little girls ranging in age from about five to ten, I laboriously made four ornaments, getting stuck up with glue and glitter in the process, but it was fun.  
A good day, filled as it was with a variety of activities.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Insurance And Drones

Busy and productive day.  The insurance broker, Tom M., came over about noon.  Very nice guy, very informative, and I switched from Horizon Something-or-other to Horizon Something-else-or other.  Difference in cost?  Close to fifteen hundred a year for the former and exactly zero for the latter. There are some negatives, such as having to be "in network" and higher co-pays, but they don't outweigh the advantages--essentially, same coverage and overall, much less cost.  Also, as Tom pointed out, if I have that two hundred plus a month diverted into a savings account, I can draw on that to pay any higher amounts.  Yes, indeedy, Tom, and I visited good old Ocean First shortly after he left and arranged to do exactly that.   
Spent most of the rest of the day tweaking the two Breeze articles and sending them, plus the three pictures, to Mike and Regina to check.  Annoyingly, I first sent to someone with the same e-mail address, but I had neglected to add the numbers after the name.  Heard back from the person, apologized, and re-sent.
Red Hats luncheon today.  
WIDER:  Here's an interesting little tidbit:
"Apple Inc., which has received over $9 million in Pentagon contracts in recent years, has rejected from its App Store, and therefore from all iPhones...Drones+, an application that shows no depictions of the carnage of war...(but) simply adds a location to a map every time a drone strike is reported in the media and added to a database maintained by the U.K.’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism."
It seems wrong and unfair to mention "Pentagon contracts," cuz that suggests there's some kind of collusion between the corporation and the war machine.  Didn't the saintly Steve Jobs (rest in peace) found the company?  So it wouldn't do anything so immoral as supporting overseas slaughter, now, would it?  Here's the link:
http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6750

Monday, December 03, 2012

Ladies Who Lunch

Betty and I could be known as "ladies who lunch."  She called early to say I had left my cell phone at her place--it must have fallen out of my pocket--and we agreed to meet at Italian Cuisine.  Did so at 1:30 and we had another nice one.
Before and after and into the evening, I worked on the profile of Mike and Regina B., which came out pretty good.  Started a short separate piece on Mike's book-making (not that kind, though) hobby and took a picture of those he had lent me.  Also scanned the wedding picture they gave me; with the contemporary one I took, that makes three.  Hope the January Breeze has room for all.
Lillian M. called with a reminder that Red Hat Sparklers will meet for lunch (yes, another!) tomorrow at a restaurant in Smithville.  That will work out fine for me, as after, I can continue on to the cemetery and change the bows on the wreaths.
Always-welcome Skype calls from the Tokyo Twosome and darling daughter, Ellen, bracketed the day.  However, I still haven't been able to connect with the guy who I hope will find me less expensive insurance; will call him again.
 Luckily, I have today free, so will tweak the articles, send to the subjects and, I hope, have time to remove the Thanksgiving/autumn decorations and put up some Christmas ones.   

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Excursions In Atlantic County

Very enjoyable day.  After doing three loads of wash--that wasn't the enjoyable part--I left for Atlantic County about 10.  Went first to Produce Junction, where I picked up three fresh Fraser pine wreaths, one for my front door, the others with stands for Pat's and Jay's graves.  All day the car was filled with a wonderful forest scent. 
Stopped next at Canal's to replenish my wine cellar (read "modest rack in the dining room"), then drove to Ventura's in Northfield to meet Betty and Carole W.  Lunch was tasty (for me, chicken salad served in an edible cantaloupe "bowl"), but the service was slow.  I was due for a 1:00 rehearsal at Jim L.'s, just down Shore Road and got there late, as I had some difficulty finding his street.  I made it, though, and Jim, Director John, and I went through A Genie's Fate twice.  John indicated that I had done well with the rather slight, but funny role.  As for Jim--hmm...
Years ago, I read a pan of some actor or other--I think Tippi Hendren in The Birds--in which the reviewer said the performance could have been presented to a couple for their wooden wedding anniversary.  That came to mind yesterday.  Our Players & Playwrights group consists of both, of course, and Jim is one of the latter.  You'd think he'd pick up on the idea that performing in plays involves acting, but it seems to have escaped him.  Good thing we're charging only five bucks to get in.
We finished up much earlier than I thought we would and I impulsively drove down to Betty's.  Visited for a bit, then I left at three thirty or so.
Stopped at the cemetery on the way home, put up the wreaths, and took pictures to send my children and Betty. 
Home before five--good thing, as it was already dark--to find a phone message from Tom L., an insurance guy.  I want to ask him to search out a less expensive supplemental.  Mine will go up by forty-two and change a month, more than five hundred a year, and I hope I can duck the blow. Called him back, but he wasn't available and I'll call again. 
Nothing scheduled for today and I must turn my attention to writing the profile on the Barry's.  Will do that right after breakfast and my weekly treats, the cryptoquip and the crossword puzzle.    

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Books

Aside from my interview with the B.'s, a whole lotta nothin' went on yesterday.  Stomach's fine now, I'm happy to say. 
Talked to Betty and we made a date to meet for an early lunch in Northfield today before my rehearsal at Jim's house in nearby Linwood.
Got to the B.'s at 2:00.  Regina and Mike are a fairly typical Sunrise Bay couple with a few interesting deviations.  Although she's from north Jersey-- Lakewood by way of Elizabeth--he's from Boston and you realize that the minute he opens his mouth.  Also, Mike makes books by printing what he can find off the Internet, adding pictures from the same source, and having them bound at Staples.  Mind you, he doesn't write them; he spends hours researching, then prints out pertinent information. 
He let me borrow some and hey, these are interesting.  They include The Big Band Era, The 1938 Boston Red Sox All-Stars, and the historic football game between Boston College and Holy Cross of November 28, 1942. 
Now, why would that particular game on that particular day be singled out?  Because the hugely-favored BC team had been invited to celebrate at a swank nightclub after what practically everyone assumed would be an easy win.  Inexplicably, Boston lost 55-12, and the gathering was cancelled.  Too bad, right?  Wrong.  The venue was the famous Coconut Grove and 492 people died in a fire there that night.
Yoicks.  God, fate, the luck of the draw, or just a coincidental juxtaposition of events?  Who can say, but it makes for a fascinating "book." Think I'll ask Virginia if I can do an additional piece on Mike's hobby of making books.