Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Day

Spent the day unpacking, catching up, and settling in.  Got up so late, I skipped breakfast; instead, went to Acme for cottage cheese, chicken, veggies, oranges, and salad items.  Home, I immediately fired up the oven, oiled and seasoned the chicken, and stuck it in.  While it cooked, I made a big salad, boiled eggs, and cut up cauliflower.  Had the chicken and veg for late, late lunch--or "linner," since it was about 4:00.  Tasted good.
Did a lot of stuff on the computer and washed clothes.  Talked to Aline and we made a date for lunch today, the last day...
...the last day of 2013!  How could that possibly be?  Nothing floors me in life so much as the mystery of time passing.  Well, I'm not going to get all moony and philosophical about it.  I'll only say this: For all kinds of reasons--prominently precious little K. in Japan and Ellen's new happiness--it's been a wonderful year. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Back

Back again and I wish I had had more time in my second favorite state.  I feel I know and "understand" (in a deep and impossible-to-explain way) California, as I do Jersey.  Will I ever be able to say that about New Mexico?
Because I'm so nervous and frantic about flying (and, which seems a paradox, afraid I'll be late), Ellen got me to the airport with more than three hours to spare. No matter, I read my tablet, got a sandwich, and enjoyed watching the other travelers.
Plane ride was no more horrendous than most, although there was a lot of turbulence.  I was again assigned a window seat, but luckily, there was nobody in the middle, so that was okay.  I even raised the shade once or twice and looked out while we were aloft--a daring a radical thing for me to do.
My friend picked me up close to eleven and drove me home.  I was a bit wound up still, so actually had my wine and popcorn, and didn't get to bed until after 1:00.
Was awoken at 8:00 by a call from Aline--she was so apologetic, but it was okay; I asked her to give me an hour.  When she called back I got up, but we'll talk more at length when she gets off work today.
I still have this lousy, hacking cough that's been hanging on since Florida.  Intend to take it very easy today--although I do have to get supplies, as there's almost nothing in the house--then get back to regular life tomorrow.
It was a wonderful trip and I'm so looking forward to June.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Last

This is my last day here (sob!) for this trip.  How I hate to leave Ellen, but for now, it has to be.
Yesterday, she, Greg, and I went to Barnes & Noble.  E. and I had a late breakfast there, then the three of us browsed happily among the books.
After, we drove to the middle of town, which was hustling and bustling with throngs of people on a brilliantly sunny, comfortably warm Saturday.  We had intended to go to a small museum, but it was closed.  Went to a larger one, but balked at the fifteen dollar admission charge--we've all been there before--and just examined the items in its gift shop. 
We strolled down the main street, stepping into the terrific stores, including The Olive Place.  Notwithstanding its unimaginative name, it was my favorite, and we sampled all manner of tapas, oil, and cheese.
Stopped at a natural foods restaurant for lunch, then spent a pleasant hour at a used book store.  I came across a very long bio of Ibsen; didn't buy it, but will request it from the library, as it includes a good discussion of his writing of Hedda.  I'll read it over, then share with my fellow cast members. 
Home, I called Betty to catch up on her doings, then sat for a time and continued to enjoy The Good Nurse while E. and G. rested up. E. and I then sat down to one of our now-traditional (established last week) gin rummy games, while Gregg went to Peet's for coffee. 
Linda came back and we dealt her in.  Gregg opted out this time, but acted as Ellen's advisor.  Had a riotous time--no question Linda's a kindred spirit--not even stopping long enough to eat.  We just had our left-over salads from lunch while we played, then a bit of wine.
Got up at 6:00 today and have been assembling what I need to pack.  We must take off for LAX at eight. 
I'm so very, very sorry to leave.  This has been my very best visits to California, not in small part, of course, because I see how happy my daughter is with her love.  I hate to be parted from her--and him, of whom I've gotten so fond--but I'm hoping we'll all be able to go to New Mexico in June and am looking forward to that.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nail, Movie, and Indian Food

My beautiful daughter and I became even more beautiful and elegant yesterday once we got manicures at Pro-Nails.  Linda, Ellen's renter, had given each of us gift certificates for pedicures, but because our last ones were relatively new, we traded them in for manicures.  Lovely, indeed.
Had Bistro M.D. for lunch, then Gregg came over and we went to The Collection, a huge--and maybe quintessentially Californian--area, all shiny and new, containing almost every imaginable variety of shops and stores, theatres and outdoor attractions, and the largest supermarket I've ever seen, Whole Foods.
Of course, Whole Foods offers all kinds of treasures, such as juice made of any vegetables and fruits you choose, ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat food, wildly colorful produce, and all the other items usually found in supermarkets, but sanctified organic and at twice the price. 
We had coffee, then E. and I went to Saving Mr. Banks.  G. opted out and was content to linger at Starbucks with a book.  We both loved the movie and alternately laughed and cried on cue.  Mind you, I thought the editing was sloppy in parts and have issues with the creeping Disneyism which has been corrupting the culture for years; nevertheless, it was so absorbing and great fun.
We then drove to The Curry Leaf in Camarillo, an Indian restaurant Gregg knows well.  The owner greeted him, then Ellen and me, with big hugs and wet smackers on the cheek, which tickled both of us.  I asked Gregg to order for me, stipulating only that his choices be mild.  After serious consultation with Ellen, he did so, and we were served a variety of interesting food, along with a complimentary appetizer.  I can't remember the names of all, but they included Dal, spiced chicken, creamed spinach, and a tofu-like cheese in sauce.
Back at Ellen's, we sharpened our wits with a cutthroat game of gin rummy.  I won handily and just as I was putting down my last cards, P. and N. Skyped from Tokyo.  We had a fine time talking to them--although K. was sleeping and we weren't able to see him--and they virtually met Gregg.
It was another full, good day, as they all have been here.  Not sure what we're doing today, but whatever it is, I know I'll enjoy it.          

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Huntington

Yesterday, Ellen and I went to "The Huntington" library, art collection, and botanical gardens in Pasadena.  What a gorgeous place! 
It was very crowded, of course, but a beautiful warm and sunny day, and the gardens, in particular, were lovely. Also enjoyed the historic and literary artifacts--many particular to California--and the eighteenth century portraits.  Had lunch at the Chinese tea garden and admired to Oriental out-buildings and foliage.  Great place, and we'll go again.
We were home by 6:00 and were joined by Linda for Bistro M.D. dinners, then had an absorbing talk that ranged from business to theatrics to who or what constitutes the deity. 
Before bed, we watched another portion of the I Love Lucy Christmas Special--mildly enjoyable, but I was more interested in the colorization of the earlier episodes than the show itself. It was disconcerting to realize that all the principals have been dead these many years, but hey, that's show biz.
Just opened my e-mail and was thrilled to find a message from Desi with our rehearsal schedule for Hedda attached.  Yes, we're going to do it and I'm part of it and I couldn't be happier.  We meet for first rehearsal on January 13th and I've said it before and will say it again:  There's no place on earth I'm rather be.    

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Day

A fine Christmas day.  Early on, Ellen and I visited with my Jersey daughter on Skype and opened our gifts from her.  We each got lovely glass rings from the Corning Glass factory.  Ellen's renter, Linda, gave each of us a gift certificate for a pedicure--what fun!
After dressing in our Christmas finery (in my case, my new over-sweater from Catherine's), then drove to Carolyn's to drop off Robyn's coat, which I had accidentally picked up with mine after the birthday party.
Met Greg, Rory, and Paul at a French restaurant for lunch, then went back to their place, where we opened gifts (I got a gift certificate from Amazon from Greg).  Ellen, Greg, and I took a nice walk uphill in Santa Barbara, admiring the varied (and expensive) architecture and landscaping.  Then, while chef Greg prepared dinner, Ellen, Rory, and I played gin rummy, Rory winning almost every hand--what fun! 
Dinner for we four (Paul went to his mother's), was salmon with blueberry sauce (an unusual, but excellent combination),  subtly seasoned chicken, and sliced zucchini.  None of the flavors were overwhelming, but all went together beautifully.  Accompanied by Cabernet Sauvignon and followed by a good port, it was a superb meal.   
I was tired after a full day, and begged off staying longer, so we were home by 9:30 or so.  Saw the rest of Auntie Mame (well, Ellen did; I fell asleep) after a lovely time on Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Harbor

Great Christmas Eve day with just Ellen and me.  We went to the Ventura Harbor, strolled around, looked in several shops, then had lunch at a French restaurant.  Very tasty.  We had considered a harbor tour by boat, which we've done before, but instead walked across the way to the beach.
What a beautiful place.  I've photographed waves crashing on the shore in Longport and Long Beach Island and a few other places, but this was as spectacular and there were channel islands and mountains in the backgrounds, to boot.
Home, we puttered here and there, then had a light dinner, then watched Auntie Mame (1958, the year I was married) until beddy-bye.
Just now, Christmas morning, the renter, Linda, came down and gave Ellen and me gift certificates for pedicures.  Such a nice person and so good of her.
                                                     MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ojai

Ellen, Greg, and I went to Ojai on a lovely sunny day and we ate outdoors at a nice little Italian restaurant where E. and I have been before.  The wait staff consists of real Italians who speak broken English.  Had an unusual salad with beets and a puffy cheese, along with Moretti, an Italian beer.
After, we enjoyed browsing at Bart's Books, which mustn't be missed while in Ojai.  It's a vast space filled with book cases, which are filled with used books and only partially roofed.  All three of us are hopelessly addicted to reading and we separated into various areas to sit and delve into them.  I dipped into a bio of Martha Gelhorn, one of Hemingway's wives, then into a harrowing account of The Good Nurse, about a man who's possibly the champion serial killer of all time.  The murders happened in Jersey hospitals, so I felt an immediacy; think I'll request the book from the library.
As Gregg was paying for his two cookbooks, I noticed old magazines in a water-stained box nearby and picked up a 1940 LIFE mag for a buck.  It's in poor condition, but still was great fun to look over later.  I'll add it to my collection of 1930 and '40 mags.
After driving home, E. and I took naps, and Gregg left to run some errands.  He called later and we met him for dinner at a Thai restaurant they frequent.  I was full from lunch and just had a delicious, very delicate shrimp won ton soup. 
Back at E.'s, we sat down to what's rapidly becoming a ritual: a game of gin rummy.  By the time we reached 500 (E., the winner, that is), it was after midnight, a shocking hour for this early-to-bedder to still be awake.
Slept like a log, though--incredibly, until 9:00 am--and feel tip-top. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Skimmer

Another skimmer:
We went to Katherine's where I bought a sweater, then to Nordstrom's for a jacket.  After lunch, I took a nap--my cold is worse than ever and includes a racking cough and all the other fun things--while E. took care of household stuff.
Gregg came about 6:00 and the three of us went to the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura to see Little Miss Scrooge.  It was very funny, not a kid's show, but a musical comedy, a parody of A Christmas Carol that incorporated a lot of other Dickens references and situations. Equity, of course, and according to the program, the goal is to open on Broadway next season.  Considering that's the aim of all those involved with every other show, lotsa luck with that.
When we got home, the three of us played gin rummy again.  Unlike the other night at Gregg's when I won almost every hand and the game, I fell into the hole almost immediately and barely got out.  No matter, it was a lot of fun.
I took Nyquil last night and slept better than I had before, but the cold is really a drag.  I just have to treat the symptoms, then ignore it.
Got new pics of adorable baby boy, K., and enjoyed them so much.  I still haven't gotten together with my other children on Skype and hope we can at least do that on Christmas.
Today, we might go to the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens or somewhere else.  I don't care where, as long as I'm with my girl and her guy.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Joint Birthday Party

Again, I'm just going to skim over yesterday's events; there was just too much to record with any details.  Went out to breakfast with Ellen, then--what?  Just don't recall the early middle of the day, but we picked up Gregg about 2:00 and went to niece Carolyn's for the joint birthday party for my twin and me.
Had a ball.  Lots of people there, including my brother Frank and his Marybeth, down from Alameda, his two daughters and their families, ditto, plus friends of various segments.  Wonderful food, good chats and laughs.  Son Patrick had gotten in touch earlier and had set up a joint Skype/Google call with him, my other two children, and Ellen and me.  Unfortunately, with all the noise, confusion, time differences, and other complications, it didn't happen.  I did get a phone call from other daughter during the party, wishing me a happy birthday, and I so appreciate the effort.
The incredible present from my four darling children: a Tablet! I love it already and Ellen is downloading all kinds of things, such as my e-mail, FB, and this blog.
We were able to get to Mike on the phone when we got home and talked briefly to him and his little girls.  Tried to Skype P., but he was off line.  I hope we can catch up with each other soon; would especially love to virtually visit with them on my new Tablet.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Birthday Today

Just too darn busy to write much.  Yesterday was great; it included a shopping trip to Macy's, other stores, and all kinds of stuff.  Went to Greg's for dinner and we finally met.  He is just one terrific guy and I'm thrilled and overjoyed he and Ellen found each other.  He made a superb salad with a wonderful dressing, and as an entrée, cod and Jerusalem artichokes.  So good and such subtle flavorings. After, he, El, and I had such fun playing gin rummy.
His mother, Rory (Rosalind) is so nice, too.  We had a good chat and, I think, both are fully in favor of this beautiful romance.
Home very late and got a Skype call from P. in Tokyo.  We'll be going to niece, Carolyn's, for our joint birthday, and he, A., and M., will "patch" in for a virtual visit.
Must go; more tomorrow, if possible.

Friday, December 20, 2013

California

Happy day; here I am in Californy-i-a, at my darling daughter's.  It was a pretty grueling trip: Susan and Walter picked me up at noon and took me to the NJ Transit station in Absecon.  They waited with me until the train came about 1:00 and I rode to the end of the line, 30th Street Station in Philly, to catch the Septa train to the airport.  Finally arrived at about 3:00, two hours early.
It was somewhat of a drag because I had to--well, drag, my huge, heavy suitcase, and was also carrying a big canvas bag of Christmas presents and my large "traveling purse," which weighs a ton by itself.  However, the fare for both trains totaled only $5.45; now that I'm in my dotage (Septa is only a buck for seniors).
I was pleasantly surprised to be one of those granted "expedited check-in" (or something), meaning I was waved to a special portal next to the usual mobbed and dreary one.  It was very quick and easy and didn't even include the horrid hands-over-head violation of privacy.  When I asked why I was granted this privilege (as were a few others), I was told "your airline arranged it."  What a contrast to the Ft. Lauderdale nightmare (see earlier post.  Thanks, Virgin America, I'll fly you again!
My darling Ellen was there at LAX to pick me up and we stopped at a Jack-In-The-Box for a quick sandwich and soda.  I'd never been in one before and thought it was pretty good.
Ellen set off with a kind of clothesline a private area in the living room for my sleeping quarters.  The blow-up bed, owned by Ellen's renter, Linda, was comfortable, but unfortunately, I had a difficult time getting up and on my feet.  Will ask if I can simply sleep on the couch.
Gregg invited us over for dinner tonight and we want to go first to Macy's to look for something to wear.  
It's far from warm here, and I'm glad I brought my heavy winter jacket.  Glad I brought myself, too, so I can spend my birthday and Christmas with my dearest younger daughter.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Interim Day

Talk about your interim period of time, yesterday was it.  Unpacked and washed everything I had taken to Florida, replenished this and that, and repacked.  Went to the post office to pick up the mail, which I had asked to be held, but was told to check my mailbox, as the delivery person "may have gotten confused."  He had, and I had a lot, mostly Christmas cards, which I send only to the children.
Spent a fair amount of time on the computer.  (Larry has two, a p.c. and a Mac, but they're both so slow I found them difficult to use.)  Got my e-mail caught up, and occupied myself with various other.
Was happy to see Ellen on Skype and just can't wait to see her in person.  She said Gregg had invited us to dinner tomorrow, but has a cold (so does she and so do I), so may feel he shouldn't cook.  No prob, we'll just eat out or something.
My friend stopped in to get her Christmas presents and we had a nice chat.  It will be the first in a long time we won't be celebrating the holiday together, but she has enjoyable plans, too.  We talked about our visit to New Mexico in June; I'm looking forward to it, as it may be my new home (gulp!)
I was so busy all day that I had only a cup of coffee when I got up, then nothing all day until I made a stir-fry dinner at 5:30.  That's how to lose weight, all right--be so occupied you don't have time to think about meals.
I've decided to take the train from Absecon to Thirtieth Station in Philly, then another (Septa) directly to the airport.  The big problem was finding somebody to take me to Absecon.  It's only about twenty minutes away, but the D.'s are still away, the H.'s have another commitment, and I didn't hear back from Susan and Walter...
...until this morning.  Happy day, they'll be glad to take me, so that's a big load off my mind.    

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Florida

I'm back--and what a great trip!  I'm not going to record the hour-by-hour or even day-by-day doings, as there was simply too much going on all the time.  I'll just mention these Florida highlights:
After a day at Larry's and Helen's in Miami, we took off for Kissimme.  Had great digs, with a huge middle area for living, dining, and sitting room, and identical wings on either side.  Each contained a master suite (jacuzzi, etc.) and a room with two full beds, plus baths.  The sofa was "pull-out," too, so the place could sleep eight.
I didn't go to any park--I've been to Disney World three times and, though I'd rather go again than hang by my thumbs for three days...ugh!.  We spent time at the pool and, most enjoyably, hanging out with sibs, nieces, nephews, and great and great-great ones.
On Saturday, her children arranged a big surprise party for Helen's eightieth birthday.  It looked to be at least fifty people there and all but a handful were her direct descendants; lots of kids and lots of presents, food, and fun.  Helen's great-niece, Becky, danced in the Irish manner and a big group of us did a "flash mob" routine directed toward Helen, to a song I don't recall, but it was surely complimentary.  In addition, there was a cookie contest, which this family holds every year.  I entered with my "chocolate delights"; they didn't win, but surprisingly, got a fair number of votes.
On Sunday, Larry and Helen's son-in-law, Vic, who's a doctor and also very religious, arranged for a French priest friend of his to say mass right in our apartment.  Father Joseph was born in Paris, is black and is a highly accomplished musician (plays five instruments), as well as an excellent linguist (speaks three languages fluently).
He said mass, which almost all those there attended, including me.  I was surprised later when Larry remarked he thought I'd just leave.  But of course not; infidel that I am, I found it quite interesting and it sure beat anything on television.
Father Joseph was selling books, which Doctor Vic underwrote at eighteen bucks a pop and I acquired one, thinking it was his autobiography, in which I'd be very interested.  Alas, it's a collection of inspirational essays, about the bottom on my list of wanna reads.
The good padre was also selling huge and heavy, framed pictures in a kind of worked metal, which depict Pope Paul, Jesus, and Michael the Archangel.  They were three hundred dollars each and Vic bought the Pope one for Helen as a birthday gift.  
I met Helen's niece, Cary B., who lives in Manhattan and used to be Martha Stewart's producer.  She now does a lot of other artsy stuff, including a new book blog and review, which I want to look into when I have a chance.
Went in the pool--a fun one with a big pirate ship into which the kiddies could climb, then slide into the pool.  However, it was cool throughout our stay; I dipped into the pool just once, then enjoyed he hot tub.
We packed up and left Kissimmee on Monday, after a great time and bringing lots of leftovers.  Betty left early yesterday morning and I spent the rest of the day taking a walk through the park with Larry, chatting with him and Helen, and packing up my usual more-than-enough stuff.
Got to Ft. Lauderdale in plenty of time, but it took an age before being released to get on the plane.  After enduring the outrages to which free American citizens are now subjected--being pushed and shoved and manhandled and treated like serial killers--I finally escaped, waited around, then off we went.
Marla and Gwen picked me up and got me home.  It was almost midnight, but I still had my popcorn and wine, then fell into my own bed.  I was awakened by a phone call, but it was after 11, so that was all right.
Now here I am, and I'll be taking off for a trip to which I'm looking forward even more than the last.
Here we are at Helen's surprise party.  Helen and Larry are in the middle and I'm seated second to right with niece Jeanne.  We had a ball!

 Rosemary Molloy's photo.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Luncheon And The Marine Corps

Picked up Leslie for the Women's Club Holiday Luncheon and we repaired to SeaOaks.  As we got out of the car, Leslie expressed surprise at the toy I had brought.  Why? I wondered and she said "because it's for the U.S. Marine's annual 'Toys for Tots' drive."  What?  I had no idea; I thought the toys were for some church or charity.  I promptly decided not to donate the toy and left it in the car--does that seem heartless?
I don't think so.  I've realized since its inception that "The Marine Corps' Toys for Tots" is nothing but an effort to portray it as a  benign entity, something like the Peace Corps, but with uniforms.  And, of course, it works for the brain dead, who just kind of overlook the actual purpose of this arm of the military, and all the others, for that matter.  I'm happy to donate to a charity for children via a church, synagogue, or a similar group, but I'll be damned if I'll even tacitly support the notion that a killing machine can somehow transform itself into mainly caring for the kiddies.
There were, of course, a large pile of donated toys in the upstairs room where the event was held.  The club president got on the microphone and "proudly" introduced a young woman "who has three children herself" and was--the heart swells with awe--both a marine veteran and a present member of the National Guard.  The woman, dressed sloppily in jeans and a pilly sweater, got on the mike and treated us to a talk on how wonderful it was that needy local children will get these gifts  That elicited applause and oddly, nobody asked, "Do you think the children in Iraq and Afghanistan are needy?"  (No, because they're dead.)
Other than that, it was somewhat boring, but okay.  Bessie insisted on buying me a glass of wine to thank me for helping her with the article.  Les and I sat with some women we knew, some not, and they were all cordial, of course.
But I've attended too many women's luncheons and chatted about nothing in the least bit significant too many times with too many women about whom I'm only faintly interested.  I'm ready to move on, sure enough.
Happily, Desi called in the evening to say he had met with Grey and it seems to be coming together.  He does want Grey to meet the rest of the cast and asked people to get together for a reading on Saturday, the 21st.  I won't be here, but that's okay; I already know Grey and I'm sure he'll be good.  

Yet Another

Yet another grueling day.  I made a last(?) batch of Nana Mix and packed it up to send to nephew, Dave, in Rome.  Since he had named it, I thought that was appropriate.  A slew of communications had come in for Mike, so I put all in a big envelope; then I addressed and stamped the seven cards for the seven little guys, plus four more for their dads and mums.
It snowed, starting right after we got home from our walk,  I hate to mention that, because considering the usual hype, you'd think we were in the Antarctic.  As somebody remarked on Facebook, "the prediction was three to five inches, not feet," so what was the fuss about?  All I know is, I drove to Kohl's to get three final gifts and the roads and sidewalks were clear.
Took the stuff to the P.O. and stopped into the nail place to make an appointment for a pedicure for this morning; I'll be in Florida, after all, and will be hanging at the pool.
Sliced and diced garlic, onions, and my last tomato, stirred-fried them and put it over angel hair pasta; very tasty.  Leslie called and we chatted a bit.  I'll be picking her up today for the Women's Club luncheon at SeaOaks.
Did wash, packed more, made yet more lists, and did a bunch of other mundane stuff, and that was my day.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Busy

Busy all day.  Spent most of it baking chocolate delight bars and on another batch of Nana Mix.  The latter is the Chex cereal snack, but with a kick: My mother thought their version was bland, so added chili powder; she was too cheap to put in mixed nuts, so substituted peanuts (being a spendthrift, I use cashews).  Incidentally, when she first started making it, there were no microwaves; you had to do it in the regular oven.
I used to make the cookies years ago and was pleased to have found the recipe on line.  It's labor-intensive--I should have remembered that--as you have to prepare it in three stages.  It's also hard to cut when it's finished.  However, the cookies are delicious and I'll take a tin of them to Florida.
I packed up the Nana Mix and went to the post office to send off to Wellsboro.
Also put in my little gift for the boys: a subscription to Highlights magazine.
Bessie F. called to say she couldn't open the article I tweaked for her, so I had to copy, then put it in the body of an e-mail.  I found out later how to remedy this. Bessie then called again to tell me how much she liked the revision I did; just jazzed it up a little.
My friend stopped late in the day to pick something up and I gave her my three poinsettias, too.  Then, hearing we're supposed to have snow today, I drove to Wal-Mart to pick up my medication.    
By the time I got home, it was after 5:00 and, boy, was I tired.  However, I wasn't too tired to greatly enjoy a Skype call from precious little K. in Tokyo.  What a darling baby--and so active and alert!

Monday, December 09, 2013

White Christmas

White Christmas was a joyous treat, but what came after really wasn't. (I was apprehended by her cousin/Who happened to be the police chief there/I was tried, convicted, and got the chair.)*
Backing up:  When Susan and I walked, it was cold and the skies were cloudy, just a normal December morning.  Showered and changed and set off for Surflight about noon.  Got there in 40 minutes or so, just as the LETCO trinity, Desi, Jim, and Mary, plus Kevin, were arriving; Ellen and Tonya came soon after.  We were about in the middle of the theatre, but there are no bad seats at Surflight, so we could see fine.  
The show was so good and so full of wonderful singing, dancing, and acting--most of the players are equity, except for Rick M., who's in our group--that I enjoyed it immensely.  However, it's been years since I've seen the movie version--it always bored me--and I had forgotten the military angle.  The sketchy "plot," involves a crusty old former general who really has a heart of gold and his men just worship him and will follow him to hell and back and if it means offing a few foreign devils, well the world's better off without them, anyway.
But okay, I just mentally noted--for the millionth time--how deeply we're indoctrinated with the ideas like this and was able to enjoy the show.
BUT:  At intermission, we looked out the lobby windows to see SNOW blanketing all surfaces and it was still coming down!  I was slightly uneasy during the second half, wondering about driving home, but enjoyed it anyway.  It ended with a big, schmaltzy finale--everybody loves those and I'm no exception--with fake snow floating down onto the audience.  It was terrific.
What came after: I was dismayed to see a sign on the door cautioning Surflight attendees that the steps and sidewalks were slippery and my heart sank.  I had parked across and 'way down from the theatre and was seriously worried about getting there.  As I was pondering the situation, a very nice young man who had cleared the sidewalk, asked if he could escort me to my car.
I accepted with grateful thanks and took "Eric's" arm to make it easily to the car. I asked if he was a performer himself (he's very handsome) and he said no, but his husband was the music director.  It was so nice of him to take me to the car and I was able to clear it off without too much trouble.
It took me about twice as long to get home as usual.  Not only was the snow a hazard, but my windshield keeps fogging up so I can't see to drive.  However, I finally made it, noting as I do so many times, how much I appreciate my garage, and got into the house.
Had my weekly Skype call from Ellen (with Gregg preparing the meal, as usual, behind her in the kitchen) and we had a good chat.  Can't wait to see her and to meet him in person.
Today, it's going to be all making and baking.
* Lines from my playlet Hell On Wheels which we performed in the show last week; couldn't resist.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Mundane And Mike's Muchkins

Finished up a lot of the activities surrounding Christmas/trips/general items.  In Manahawkin early to visit various stores and pick up various items.  Completed tweaking the Thanksgiving piece for Bessie F. and sent that off.  Talked to brother Larry to firm up arrival and departure times.
I know I did all kinds of other stuff, but they were so mundane there's no point in mentioning them here...
...aside from the best part: a Skype call from Mike and the darling little girls. Vivian is getting so big and grown up and Violet is just a darling.  Wish I could see them and their little cousin, K.  At least, his Daddy posted some new pictures of him on Google +, which I can enjoy often.
Looking forward to White Christmas at Surflight today.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Amazon And Lunch

On a dark and dreary day, I picked up my argument with Amazon and Amazon Japan, but finally, after several hours, talking to five different people, changing my password several times, I gave up.
Made up two batches of "Nana Mix," packed and wrapped one and, along with two other Christmas gifts for the kiddies, sent it off.  I hate to record what the postage was for all three, so won't.
Went from the P.O. to the bus stop to pick up Aline about 2:00.  She had insisted on taking me to lunch for my birthday (looming, but not yet here) and I had chosen Cuisine On The Green, the restaurant under new management at Atlantis golf course.  I was surprised to see perogies on the menu and that's what I ordered. Very tasty and we had a fine time.  Didn't get back home until 4:30 and found an e-mail from Bessie F., asking if I'd "tweak" an article she wrote for The Breeze.  
I get similar requests fairly often and I don't mind, especially if the piece is already on a document or reasonably presented otherwise.  This was and was well done otherwise; I simply enlivened it a bit.
It was raining at 7:00 and I considered skipping the holiday sing-along, but went down to the clubhouse after all.  It was pleasant and I had a glass of (spiked) eggnog, but the program was a bit longer than usual and I stayed only a short time after.
Now some of the pressure to get Christmas presents sent off is over and I want to turn my attention to my travelling plans.  

Friday, December 06, 2013

Busy

Yet another busy day, pre-Christmas day.  Sent off the horrendously expensive Hawaiian shirt to son, Mike--maybe he was indulging himself for his birthday--and paid extra to have it tracked.  (Well, he paid extra, that is, having generously put $500 in my BOA account for postage through the year.)
Tried to track down my cousin by marriage, Joe D., from whom I haven't heard for several years.  Went into White Pages and other sites, but his old address and phone number are still listed.  Called and the phone is disconnected.  Called my sister-in-law, Regina, to tell her and we chatted.  I have another angle to try, but then I give up.
Met Betty for lunch at the Tilton Inn, a somewhat mediocre bar/restaurant near Boscov's.  Had my frequent choice, a hamburger and Yingling (SpellCheck doesn't know, either),  then stopped at Canal's for wine, the 69 cent store for napkins (why pay more?), Bam!, and The Christmas Tree Shop, where I got presents for the girls and little K.  I still have an enormous amount to do before I go to Florida, then California.
Didn't get home until dark, but it was a full, satisfying day.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Amazon And Other Stuff

I spent HOURS yesterday trying to negotiate Amazon Japan to no avail.  I already have a regular Amazon account, wasn't sure if I could use the same password, kept getting blocked, and so on.  Anybody who has tried to deal with the mysterious minions of the Internet knows it takes a big chunk of time and frustration.  I finally called, but had difficulty understanding the person on the other end, and didn't really get anywhere.  I just want to avoid paying postage, if possible, but may just give up.  To add insult to injury (yep, I'm back in cliche mode) I was electronically informed that items would not arrive in time for Christmas.  Must think of something else.
Aline called to ask if we could celebrate my birthday with lunch on Friday instead of yesterday, as there was "a crises" in the library and she was asked to work longer.  Yeah, sure, no prob.
Otherwise, I readdressed and sent off a large package to Singapore (postage came to seventy-nine dollars and change), received a shirt sent from Honolulu (purchased, according to the invoice, for twice the previously stated amount) and re-wrapped it; will sent today.  Otherwise, went to Shop-Rite and a few other places, talked to Betty, started listing stuff to take to Florida, and occupied myself variously.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Show

For Better or Worse was a smash hit!  We had sixty-two people there and the room was jammed.  With a few slight errors and dropped lines (but since the audience didn't notice, they didn't matte), it went over very big.  Of course, we're talking almost exclusively about people over 65, plus it was free, plus it was a balmy day, plus and so on--.
Nevertheless, it went over beautifully, there were no major problems, the crowd loved it, and I'm thrilled and overjoyed, especially because IT'S OVER!
And what a day: After our walk, I hard-boiled eggs and put them together with romaine, tomatoes, feta, dried cranberries and raisins, and croutons for a big salad.  Showered, dressed, and went to the post office, then had a manicure at the new place nearby.  Mysteriously, the workers were all Vietnamese, same as in California.  I'm pondering why that should be, but dunno.  I brought my new blouse and selected polish to match.  Oooo, my digits are darling!
At noon, I arrived at Dolores P.'s, where the Sunrise Sparklers were having lunch, and contributed my huge salad. The rest was totally mediocre.  It included that invention of the taste devil, "wraps," and a few other such bland, cardboardy, store-bought stuff.  I think my salad was the only thing not adulterated, packaged, and foisted off as food by the giant conglomerates who are rapidly poisoning us.
In truth, I don't have a lot in common with this group, the members of which spent time yesterday assuring each other of the validity of a kind of vapid spiritualism--candle blew out by itself three times, which is proof that ghosts walk, and so on.
Got home just as sister Betty arrived and we had time to chat before I changed for the show.  I left her the rest of the salad and rotisserie chicken I had bought Monday, and took off.  My friend came after and they went together to the library.
And the show--oh, so good.  After, I gathered up my stuff, collected Aline and Betty, too the former home, and enjoyed visiting with Sissy before falling happily into bed.
Now I can turn my attention to Florida, California, and Christmas.        

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Shopping And So On


After a slow start, I got a lot accomplished.  Started the Sunday crossword puzzle after breakfast and was then overcome by a strong urge to sleep. Lay down on the couch, put the quilt over me, and slept until I was awakened by a call from Betty.  I must have been out for about, incredibly, three hours, but when I got up, I was refreshed and raring to go.
I had several items on my "get" list, including a top to wear to the show tonight.  After trying on innumerable ones, I finally got a draped sleeveless one, over which I'll wear something.  
After Kohl's, Staples, and Shop-Rite, I didn't get home until almost 5:00.  Had part of a rotisserie chicken for dinner and will leave the rest for Betty and my friend, both of whom will be here for the show.
I was delighted to get Skyped by the beautiful baby boy and we cyber-visited for some time.  He's so precious and very animated and interested in what he sees.
Double delight: After that, I was "visited" by Ellen and we talked about her Thanksgiving and mine, among other topics.  I'll see her in real life, soon, I'm happy to say.
Got a nice call from Muckie, expressing her regret that she can't get to the show tonight.  I was sorry, too, as she had planned to come.   We had a good talk, though. 
I wish, wish, wish, I didn't have that damn luncheon today, but I got salad ingredients and, as promised, will pull together one before I go.   

   

Monday, December 02, 2013

First Reading: Hedda

Did I write I was ready to collapse when I got home yesterday?  No, that came later.
Very unusual (unusually?) for me, I didn't check my e-mail until about 5:30 yesterday, although I had been home since a bit after 3:00. What's more, I hadn't looked at it while I was away, either.  I opened it and was horrified to see there was a Hedda Gabler first reading at the H.'s at 5:00!
Desi had told me at dress rehearsal on Tuesday that Hedda had been scratched, as we hadn't been able to get an appropriate man for the major part of Hedda's husband.  I hadn't checked my mail to see the message Mary H. sent that we were meeting, plus Ellen V. pointed out later that Desi had misspelled my e-mail address, so I didn't get his message, either.
Well, I called the H.'s, Jim answered and said they were underway (everybody thought I was still out of town), so I rushed over.
My part opens the play, then I appear again at the beginning of the last act.  After the other actors had gone through the whole play, we read the first act, with just "Hedda" (Brittany H.), "Berta (Ellen), Desi reading for "George," the part we still have to fill, and me. It went well and we then sat and chatted with wine and nibbles.
It was all very enjoyable, but hey, it's a long, long, arduous way from first reading to opening night and is always fraught.  Still, I loved being part of it, as I always do.  Got home about 9:30, tried to Skype Ellen, but couldn't (heard from her this morning) and this time, really did collapse into bed.
Now to pull together all the details surrounding For Better Or Worse, which goes on--yoicks!--tomorrow evening at 7:00.  

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Thanksgiving and After

I'm ba-a-a-ck!  Had great fun on the Thanksgiving holiday and after.  Arrived up north about 3:00, other company came later and we had as sumptuous feast, of course, and I slept over.
Left early the next day for the real north, upstate Pennsy.  Several inches of snow on the ground but luckily, none on sidewalks or streets.  Checked into the motel and went to see the boys, who have yet another dog, this one a little black, curly one.  Mom stayed home while Dad and the rest of us went to "the Grand Canyon of the east," a stunningly beautiful area high up in the mountains.  Wonderful views and vantage points.  I had never been there before and gasped at the splendor of it.
That evening, we celebrated R.'s seventh birthday with presents and cake.  The other guests were friends of the host and hostess with their five children; yes, there were nine kids and three dogs rampaging--apt word--through the house.  They played Twister and generally turned the place upside down, but it was a lot of fun.
The next day, we gathered at the pool and had a lot of fun.  It was too cold for me, but I went in the hot tub happily.  We then lunched at a local place with peculiar pudding (inside joke).  Later, Dad was called back in to work and Mom was already at her job, so we cooked up a chicken dinner, had a nice meal, and after, play Uno Spin with the boys.  They were finally--finally!--told to quiet down and settle down and went in their rooms to watch T.V.  We stayed until Mom came home a bit after ten, then went back to the motel to fall (in my case, anyway) gratefully into bed.
Said goodbye this morning, left about 9:30, got home in good time, I packed up my things, said goodbye again and got in at 3:00.  What a great holiday and now I'm ready to collapse.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pies And Flowers

After being relieved and happy that, thanks to older son, my little 'puter is purring away again, I turned my attention to the two pies I promised to bring for Turkey Day.  Finished them up by 4:00 and...
Now that trips right off the tongue--fingers--doesn't it?  In truth, it took almost the entire day to make them, starting, of course, with measuring out, combining, refrigerating, rolling, and fitting to the pan the double-crust apple.  Then there was paring and slicing up, mixing spices, adding this and that, timing the baking, and so on.  I always do the apple first, as that takes a lot more work; the pumpkin seems easy.
Anyhoo, they're both resting on the kitchen table and I'll pack them up shortly.  I found time in between to call Marla H., who lives over on Nautic, as Susan had told me she takes people to airports (for a fee, of course).  I called her, she agreed to take me to A.C. Airport for my Florida trip and, happy day, to pick me up at 11:00 pm.
Looked into flights to CA, consulted the two who would take and pick up, and they're okay with the times. Because leaving is so early, I planned to take my own car and,  possibly, stay over at a nearby hotel. However, I just found an afternoon flight and booked that instead.
Did a bit on the computer, and that was it.  Today, I'll pare, boil, and mash the taters, pack, and zip on up north.  It will be a good Thanksgiving, I'm sure.
Added Note:  Just got beautiful fall flowers from Mike!  He's all the way in Perth, but still took the time to order flowers to be sent for Thanksgiving.  I'm so lucky to have such wonderful sons (and daughters)!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

E-Mail Problems

Oh, damn, damn, double DAMN!  There's something wrong with my e-mail: It won't send and when I try, it greys out the whole bar.  Nor will it save to draft or do other things.  I think it receives, but am not sure.  I don't know what to do.  This is the worse possible time for this to happen when I want to send an e-mail about the show next week to friends and neighbors, plus get my airline tickets, plus a million other things that have to be done on e-mail.  Grrrrrrrrrr!
Aside from that: Went to Acme at 8 am to get the things I need for the pies and so on.  It was somewhat crowded even then, I guess because of Thanksgiving combined with the storm that's supposed to be coming (but it was just lightly raining when we walked this morning.) 
Got my hair colored and was horrified to be billed sixty bucks.  This is just for color and blow out, no cut or anything else.  I'm going to think twice about going there.  I'm spending a lot of money, no question about that.  I've had to charge most things to the BOA credit card and I'll probably have to tap into Vanguard to pay the bill.
Stopped at the library and found we couldn't get in at 6:45 after all, so I had to send out a correction to my first message and tell the cast to come at 7:15.  Picked up Aline and we went there.  Kathy had called to say she'd be late and Louise e-mailed that she didn't want to drive from her home in Egg Harbor. That was okay; Kathy got there in time to play her guitar selection and I filled in for Louise.
More bad news: I was told last night that Hedda has been cancelled.  Desi can't find the right male lead and, even though it wasn't scheduled until April, he decided to drop it.  We have Surflight Theatre for then, so I hope we'll try another play.
I must try to get help to get this computer working--damn!
UPDATE:  All is saved!  All is well!  My darling older boy, Big K.'s Dad, skyped me and guided me through remedying my e-mail.  I can send!  I can attach!  I can turn cartwheels!  (Well, I'd like to turn cartwheels, I'm so pleased.)  What a gem of a guy is my Kyoto King!  (Couldn't think of an appropriate match for "Tokyo.")

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lunch And Etcetera

Went over to Aline's and before we left for lunch, she played for me two of the selections she'd do in the show (one with Tonya singing, one solo).  They're both  beautiful and will definitely be in.  She also played Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, a song I greatly dislike.  (I don't know why. Guess for the same reason I dislike okra and kiwi fruit: I just do.)  I asked her to hold it in abeyance, in case we need it. 
Went to The Olive Garden for lunch and both had the soup and salad--in fact, I had two bowls--very tasty.  At A.'s request, we then went across the way to Target, after which I dropped her off at work.
Intended to go to Shop-Rite after, but the parking lot was almost filled.  Why so crowded on a Monday, I wondered, then realized not only was it a few days before Thanksgiving, but people were stocking up in anticipation of the storm expected.  Didn't even stop the car and decided I'll go to Acme right after our walk.
I stopped at the library, which was a good thing.  I had e-mailed the cast to gather for dress rehearsal tonight at 6:45, but when I spoke to Maggie, one of the librarians, I was reminded we couldn't get in until 7:15, as another group had reserved it until then.  Sent out a correction.
Spent the rest of the day in honing the program for the upcoming show and in various domestic doings.   

Monday, November 25, 2013

Various and Enjoyable

Cold, cold, COLD yesterday, and windy, too.  I don't know how people in the northern states stand it.  Susan and I actually cut our walk slightly short, it was so blustery.
After, I greatly enjoyed new videos of the precious baby boy in Tokyo and know I'll watch them over and over.  Put together a salad with the lettuce from my friend, hard-boiled a half-dozen eggs and put it all in the frig for later.
Met Christine R. at SeaOaks at 1:00 and we had a nice, convivial lunch, reminiscing about our Arsenic days--seems like years ago, but was only last February--and filling each other in on current activities. 
In her case, that doesn't include any stage appearances.  She works full-time as a legal secretary all the way up in Neptune and has a somewhat problematic family (from what she told me), so has her hands full anyway.  I told her about doing Hedda in April at Surflight and she was excited for me.  Gave her information on For Better or Worse and was delighted when she said she'd go and bring a friend.
Stopped at Acme after to get provisions and ingredients for the two pies and mashed potatoes I'd said I'll bring for Thanksgiving.  Must think about packing, too, because we'll be going up north the day after. 
Wrote up a tentative program for the show, but must add some things.  I'm not sure if we should provide programs for the audience or just the cast so we know (at least to some extent!) what we're doing.  I think the latter.
Got sausage out of the freezer, cooked that, added cut-up garlic and onions, boiled a pound of macaroni, and put it all together with a jar of spaghetti sauce.  Had a bowlful for dinner and I must say, it was tasty.  I have enough for the next few meals, too, so I won't have to concern my self with dinner for awhile.
Skyped darling daughter in California and had a nice virtual visit with her.  Again, Greg, her gentleman friend, was chopping away in the kitchen making dinner.  Boy, is he a keeper: good-looking, intelligent, pleasant and friendly, and a good cook besides!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Trees and Target

Got up north by 2:00 and helped my friend and her husband load up a flat-bed trailer with tree limbs, stumps, and sticks they had lopped off early.  Good grief, I think the pile reached up higher than my house.  Husband tied it down and we set off to the place such things can be dumped.
This was pretty interesting.  It's next to, or part of, a hugely excavated area in the woods and there were lots of people there on similar errands.  Some had tree debris, some leaves that filled the backs of their pickup trucks, and all busily threw or swept the stuff into big piles next to a kind of Quonset hut.  I assume the wood will be chipped and the leaves turned into mulch.  As the younger, more energetic folks worked, I just stayed out of the way and enjoyed watching.
Back at their house, friend and I worked on Thanksgiving things.  She had a tray of roasted yams and I split and scooped out the meat while she made gravy, planning to freeze all until Thursday.  She cleaned out the refrig and I helped by discarding out-of-date items (still perfectly good, of course, but we must pay obeisance to the food moguls, who have dictated throwing out and buying more.  As for me, I pay no attention to expiration dates.)
All three of us then took off for Target in Hightstown.  I had given my friend a gift card from there and she bought a few items.  We then stopped a nearby golf course to try the new restaurant there; not great but pretty good.  Last stop was back to their house for the cake I had brought (not homemade, I'm afraid) and we each had a slice after singing "Happy Birthday."  Then I left for home after a pleasant day spent with the people I like most to spend a day with--on the east coast, anyway.
    

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rehearsal and Kennedy

I'm beginning to wish I could write , "Ho-hum, dull day," but that won't happen anytime soon. 
After our walk, I grabbed the shears and cut back the Japanese maple.  It had been encroaching on the front walk and I've been thinking of doing it for some time. 
Prepared lunch of turkey breast, rye bread, salad, coleslaw and iced tea in time for Ellen V.'s arrival at noon. 
We had a good conversation that ranged over LETCO, costume mishaps, and the unending tribulations of parenting.  (The last on her end, not mine.  I'm continually amazed by my good luck in how my children turned out.)
As promised, Dave got here about 1:30.  I gave him a cup of coffee and we sat at the kitchen table to go over the skit.  They're both troupers and it went well; Dave is  hysterically funny as a distraught Santa, at times using a huge red bandanna as a handkerchief and loudly blowing his nose into it.
We rehearsed the skit several times--it's very short--then chatted about show-bizzy topics.  Ellen and Dave are considerably more experienced than I am, but at this point, I have some background, too, and we shared topics of our theatre history, something I always enjoy.
They left about 3:30 and I immediately drove to Staples to get ink for the printer, then stopped at B.J.'s for other stuff. 
WIDER IN A WAY:  Settling down at 8:00 with my popcorn and wine, I came upon one of those bug-eyed Kennedy assassination programs on what bills itself as the History (should be "History") channel.  With the usual cheap-thrill theatrics, its main theme was the percentage of Americans who don't believe the official story.  Every few minutes, in between old films (Zapruder's and others) and interviews with those purporting to be in the know, a "statistic" would flash on the screen.  On a black background, large white numbers would start out low, then dramatically increase, showing the percentage of people (in this particular survey) who--oh, ugh,  gasp!--don't think Oswald acted alone and/or the CIA ordered the killing and/or Alaska doesn't really ice over--or something.  For sheer idiocy and waste of time and talent (talent? what talent?), this piece of crap took the cake.  All one needs to remember is that there's a fairly large segment of the population who believe vampires live.  That doesn't mean the official assassination story is or isn't true, only that simply because somebody--or several somebodies or twenty million somebodies--believe or don't believe, has no bearing on its truth or falsity.  I turned the silly thing off after an interminable fifteen minutes.
WIDER IN A MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT WAY:  Happy birthday to my darling older daughter!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Speedy Pace

Things continue at a speedy pace.  More computer work in the morning, notably finding, revising, and adding to my F.O.C.U.S. course on employment for seniors, then finally sending to Anita B., the coordinator.  Glad to get that off my mind.
E-mailed Rick M., who writes for The Sandpaper, to see if we can get an article in there, and maybe a picture.  It may be a little late for that, though.
Drove to Manahawkin: Staples for duplicating flyers, Target for Thanksgiving cards.  Beforehand, I took my detached tooth to Little Egg Dental and got an appointment for 2:30.  Addressed and stamped cards to the kiddies in Asia, and took to P.O.
I'll throw a veil over the dentist visit, except to say it wasn't too terribly painful, but no picnic, either.  What hurt worse was the $189 charge, but the wayward tooth seems  firmly in place now.
Cleaned up various odds and ends, then jumped in the shower and dressed.  I didn't eat dinner--worried I'd jar loose my tooth--and left to pick up Aline about 6:30.  Gave her some leaflets to hand out and one to her neighbor.
The meeting at the H.'s was fun and--I guess--fairly productive.  Tonya brought the apron for me to give Ellen when she's here today to rehearse the Santa skit with Dave.  Last night's was a board meeting, not a Hedda one (that's on December 1), and we broke up about twenty of nine.  Of course, I didn't get home until after the hour, as I had to drop Aline off.
I was pleased to get an e-mail confirming our reservations at the Canyon Motel in Wellsboro, but saddened after Joe's call (see earlier entry).  Haven't walked the last two days; skipped the second day Larry was here and Susan had to have an early medical procedure, but will today.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Joe's Phone Call

I guess as you get older, you understand better and better that old "time is fleeting" line.  I got a call from Joe L. this morning. 
Joe and his wife, Flo (really!) throw a Christmas party early every December.  I always think of it as the event that kicks off the season.  They've been doing this for maybe 50 years, but my husband and I just started going about a decade ago, when we moved back to south Jersey.  I've never missed one since.
The L's have interesting backgrounds: Joe is one of thirteen children and spent years in the seminary.  Flo's parents never married, as she doesn't mind telling people.  They invite the same couples--six of them--and singles--now three of us--to the party every year.  They serve drinks and appetizers, then a nice dinner in their beautiful home, after which we exchange five dollar gifts amid great hilarity.  Joe always wears the same vintage (circa 1960) outfit: red and green plaid pants, a white shirt, and a red sweater.  They fit; he hasn't gained an ounce since he was a boy.  
Over the years, the group has dwindled.  My husband died, and so did Rita's.  Kathleen has Alzheimer's now and her husband, Danny, was recently diagnosed with cancer.  Barbara and Frank J. have heart disease and diabetes (I can never remember who has what).  Jim suffers from a variety of ailments; his wife is much younger, so doesn't, but she and I are about the only ones still healthy, I guess. 
I don't have a lot in common with this group; they are the age or older, than my husband would have been, seven years older than me.  Plus, they tend toward political conservatism--but once a year, we get along fine.
Joe is in his middle eighties, has had heart disease for some time, and now must get a knee replacement. Flo's a bit younger, but not by much.  She was at therapy as we spoke to try to improve her chronic osteoporosis.  The reason for Joe's call was, of course, to tell me that this year, they aren't up to having the party.  
I said, "Oh, don't be silly, Joe.  Just get up off your sick bed, tell Flo the same, and let's party the night away."  I told him it was wrong and unfair to disappoint their friends, some of whom they went to grammar school with, and who would usher in the Christmas season if they didn't?  And what about the gift exchange, Joe?  What am I going to do without another Santa Claus dish or rainbow scarf?  And who's going to serve me the fancy wines you always have, pomegranate and licorice and all kinds of other revolting stuff?  Darn it all.
Here's another oldie:  "Say it ain't so, Joe."


Paperwork

It was wonderful having Larry here, but there was a downside:  I neglected everything else.  Had to spend yesterday catching up and didn't walk out the door most of the day. 
I spent most of the time at the computer doing things involved in the show, dress rehearsal (in six days!), and other "paper" work.  Was glad to hear from Dave that he can be here tomorrow with Ellen to rehearse the Mr. and Mrs. Claus skit.  Related to that, I asked Frank if he had a thin saw to enlarge the slit in the wooden box I'm using for the couple's correspondence.  He does and took the box to do it himself. 
Went to the post office, too, but aside from those short excursions, it was all nose-to-the-grindstone for Mimi.  I still have plenty to do and we have a meeting tonight; I think--I'm not even sure--it's a board meeting, but it could be about Hedda.  Guess I'll find out soon.
I was treated to a delightful diversion and that was little K. and his Daddy on Skype.  Now two and a half months old, the baby is just adorable and we had such an enjoyable virtual visit.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Larry, Betty, And Rehearsal

Still enjoying having brother Larry here, but he's preparing to leave now.  Yesterday, he came with Susan and me on our walk, and also chatted with Frank-Next-Door.  We went to breakfast at John & Sonia's and, as I knew he would, he enjoyed the little luncheonette.  He wanted scrapple and glory be, they had it.  With eggs, toast, and great coffee, we had a yummy, albeit calorie-laden, breakfast.
Drove down to Betty's after and we sat and talked, then went to the breakwater at Longport.  There had been piled concrete and so on along the water, now replaced with more formal stone pilings.  Ocean was fairly calm, but beautiful as ever. 
Back at Betty's, we had good sandwiches (I had brought turkey breast and some coleslaw and grapes) for lunch.  When we stopped at the corner store, Larry insisted on buying us all subs, which we saved for dinner.
After lunch, we drove to Ocean City over the soaring, two-and-a-half mile bridge.  Just looked around at various and drove back, dropped Betty off, and went home.
It was after 5:00 and I jumped in the shower, then hastily prepared for rehearsal.  That  went well, although there are still some snafus that have to be worked out.  Ellen had called to say she was unable to be there, but I hope we can get together with Dave on Friday.  Dave didn't show up, but I got an e-mail from him this morning saying he had forgotten.  That wasn't too much of a problem, as he more or less reads in his Santa skit with Ellen and his part in Hell On Wheels is just a few lines.
I'm sure the show will come together--it had better, as we have only dress rehearsal next Tuesday, then the show the following week.
Took Aline home, then arrived back here about 9:30, for me practically the middle of the night.  Sat with Larry and watched Little People, Big World, while eating my sub and drinking my wine.  Didn't get to bed until after 11:00, but that was okay, as I had told Susan I wanted to sleep late and wouldn't walk.
I was interrupted just now by Larry saying goodbye.  He likes to get an early start and will probably get to Jacksonville tonight and stay over at daughter Jeannie's.  Had a wonderful time with him, and will see him and a lot of his gang when we all get together next month in Kissimmee.
As I'm well aware, I am so very lucky to have no only such a wonderful immediate family, but a terrific extended one, also.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Poppin

Now things are really poppin!.  Larry blew in about 1:00; Betty had come over earlier and we had a fine sibling time talking.  We then drove over to Capenelli's (or something) Garden Café and Larry treated us to dunch (or linner), a combined meal between two. 
We parted from Betty after much good food and more good talk, and Larry and I went down to the bay to see a lovely sunset.  Home, we--well, what else, talked and talked until time for me to go to a Hedda Gabler preliminary meeting at the H.'s
Jim and Mary were there, of course, and I was thrilled to find that Kevin B. (who murdered me in Night Must Fall a few years ago) has been cast.  So has Ellen V. (as my housekeeper, which she was in Night, too), Neil G. and Kathy D.  We had a great time, especially after hearing this news: We have Surflight Theatre in April AND November!  I don't know how we pulled it off, but it's thrilling.  We'll do Hedda in April, and November will be announced.  We set up times to meet, discuss the characters, and start readings--happy day!
Got home close to ten and Larry and I sat up pretty late gabbing.  I'll walk today, but don't know if Susan will. 
I have a slew of e-mail I haven't read, except for a very welcome one inviting me to go to upstate Pennsy the day after Thanksgiving. 
Lots of other stuff going on, but I want to close this and get ready for our walk.  Rehearsal tonight for For Better or Worse.

Monday, November 18, 2013

P & P And The Damn Tooth

Picked up Aline (hmm...I wonder how many of my entries start with "picked up Aline"--lots, I'm sure) at 12:15 and we traveled to Margate in fairly dense fog.
Players & Playwrights meeting was at Grey's, a large (six bedrooms) relatively new and clearly worth big bucks, home a literal stone's throw from the ocean. 
Grey is a big, good-looking gay guy, often irreverent and always amusing.  Lives with his mother.
It was a good meeting.  Four plays were read and discussed, including the only one I'd like to see staged, a funny one by Sondra M.  I didn't think she had it in her.
We broke up at 4:00 and Aline and I went to Dynasty for dinner.  Had an open-faced Reuben--mediocre.
Home, I got a message that Betty had called and she called back just as I walked in the door.  Will let her know when Larry comes in.
"Visited" with Ellen and Gregg--he was busily making dinner--and, as usual, had a delightful time.  She mentioned that maybe she and Gregg could meet the rest of us in New Mexico in June.  That would be wonderful.
Only "down" thing to record:  The damn tooth I had had re-anchored last month came out again last night.  Now I have to decide whether to go all the way back to Dr. Lyons or to Little Egg Dental.  And I have Larry coming today, plus rehearsal tomorrow--double damn!   

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ups And Downs And Dominoes

Talk about your up-and-down (or in this case, up, down, down and up) day. 
Up:  Got a call from brother Larry to say he's in Washington and will stay over at my place Monday evening on his way home.  Spent some time tidying up the guest room, no prob and I'm looking forward to his visit.
Down:  Jeanne S. called to say she has been diagnosed with cellulitis (a systemic infection of the skin) and a few other things and can't be in For Better or Worse.  Oh, damn, now what?  Although the person has only a few lines, I have to find a mature woman who's willing to do it in only a bit more than two weeks.  Otherwise, I'm probably it and I really don't want to perform as well as direct.  I offered to pick up Jeanne's medication at Rite-Aid, did so, and chatted with her for a bit in her crowded, but interestingly decorated, tiny apartment.
Down:  Took a big comforter to the Tuckerton Laundromat and put it in a machine that took some of my coins and wouldn't return them when it didn't start.  Tried another machine and it did the same.  Nobody there to help and the place was filthy.  Tried to call the "help" number and no answer.  Gathered up my quilt and went to the other Laundromat. 
Up:  Went to Barb and Ray H.'s for dominoes.  Had a good, convivial time with them and other great neighbors, Dennis and Leslie R., and Frank and Barbara D.  These are the people--we all live on the same side of the street--I always think of as "the inner circle."  We live in a row on the same side of the street and I like and trust them the most of all my neighbors in the community.
Down:  Didn't get home until almost 11:00, so haven't gotten much sleep.
Well, I want to end on an "up" note: 
Up:  Got up in time to walk and now, at 6:30, am glad I did.
Players & Playwrights meeting today. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Ugly Duckling

Well, the play turned out well-done and well-received.  The preliminaries and aftermath happenings, though, were exhausting.
I assembled the multitude of articles I was taking, including, script, loose-leaf book that included the layout for the "stage" (really just the upper part of the room), and last minute admonitions to the cast; plus water, extra scarfs, tissues, camera, my mustache and large hat, a dozen pink roses, and lots of other stuff.  I then took everything out of the trunk and loaded in--very laboriously because it's so awkward and heavy--my late husband's walker for Mary-Jo. Picked Aline up at 11:45, then drove to Ventnor to get Mary-Jo.
Geesh, this poor soul.  She slowly and cautiously came out of the house and down the five or so steps--my heart was in my mouth during this maneuver--and was already distraught because, she said, she had put $600 in a paper bag and her cleaning lady had accidentally thrown it out. 
WH-A-T?!  Leaving aside the question of why you'd put $600 in a paper bag, I think I'd examine the cleaning lady very closely about that.  After commiserating with Mary Jo--and suggesting she call public works as soon as possible--I finally got her in the car and we set off for Shalom House.
Luckily, I was able to stop and unload both women fairly close to the back door.  Again laboriously, I got the walker out of the truck and helped Mary-Jo out and up the walk.  Bobbi, who lives there, was supposed to be at the door to let us in, but wasn't and I had to tap on the pane.  Finally, we were admitted and I got Mary-Jo and Aline situated.  Ran back to the car to move it and then was able to turn my attention to the reason we were all there.
Got everybody together, gave them last minute instructions, checked costumes and props, had the chairs moved slightly, and did the myriad other things attendant on a performance. 
More woes from Mary Jo: She forgot her script, so didn't know when to come in.  I hastily crossed out some of the things I was having her say and gave her the copy I had typed out for myself.  Luckily, she didn't have many lines; mostly just introduced the play and we improvised for the rest.  Oh, and she also suddenly set up a cry that she had lost the pin that matched her earrings--aagh! 
Moving right along: The audience filed in--about fifty of them, which filled the room--and we dove in.  With a few snafus--and if the audience isn't aware of them (they weren't), they don't matter--it went pretty well.  Applause and congratulations at the end and all went well.  Betty, Muckie, and Kay were there and I chatted with them for a few, then we all packed up and shipped out.
I presented each member of the cast, plus Aline and Rachel K., who attended, with a rose, for which they were surprisingly pleased.  We talked for a time, then packed up.  It took me an age to get everything back in the car, including, of course, Mary-Jo and Aline, but I finally did, once more lugging the walker around and hoisting it into the trunk. 
We met the others at Ventura's off-shore and just ordered appetizers--but they were plentiful and yummy, actually more satisfying than a whole dinner, it seems to me. We paid with our half of the proceeds from the play (we changed $2) and greatly enjoyed the meal.  I added a Samuel Adams Seasonal--richly deserved, sez I--for which I paid myself, of course.  Had a good, convivial time and, happily, had asked Bobbi to take Mary-Jo home, so we said our goodbyes and left about 5:00.
It was already dark and annoyingly, I missed the entrance to the Parkway (I usually get it at Galloway--it's a longer merge) and blundered into Port Republic.  I got back from there all right, but had to take the Smithville entrance and that's always nerve-racking.
However, got back okay, dropped Aline off, and finally reached home safe and sound.  Boy, speaking of "sound," did I sleep soundly last night.  A good, satisfying day overall, but exhausting and I'm glad it's over.  Now, I must turn my attention to For Better or Worse, a much more challenging project, and coming right up.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Senator's Response To My Protest of Drones (And See My Comment Below)

 
Dear Ms. Molloy:
 
Thank you for contacting me to express your thoughts regarding military drone strikes.  Your opinion is very important to me, and I acknowledge your concerns about this critical issue.
 
As you may know, it is the Administration's view that U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted by means of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or military drones, complies with all applicable laws, including the laws of war.
 
The United States is in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, as well as the Taliban and associated forces.  As a result, it is acceptable under international law to use force, including targeted drone strikes, against targets operating within these groups. 
 
The process of determining appropriate and legal targets includes a review by top National Security officials within the administration in collaboration with the Administration's legal counsel.  If, after legal review, there is a determination that the individual or group in question is not a lawful target, the operation does not proceed.  Furthermore, individuals or groups are only targeted if they are determined to pose a significant threat to the country's national security, such as those who are operational leaders of al-Qaeda or one of its associated forces.
 
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of further assistance.  I invite you to visit my website (http://menendez.senate.gov) to learn more about how I am standing up for New Jersey families in the United States Senate.
 


 



 
 
 For sheer, cold-blooded rhetoric designed by advertising hacks and political "advisors" to justify murder,  it seems to me this takes the cake.  I think my decision never again to vote in a national election is sound.



Activity

Got back to Comcast and after all kinds of drama, just too long and bo-o-ring to even outline, I got my monthly bill back down, this time to $117, quite an improvement.  I do think Comcast was put on this earth by the gods of disarray in order to drive me stark, raving....
Went over to Bam! (which stands for "Books A Million," the stupidest name imaginable, rivaled only by the "'R' Us" chains) to find I have nine bucks left on a gift card.  Must get over there when I have more time.
Met Betty at Red Lobster at 1:00 and we had a nice lunch.  We both ordered shrimp and I a Sam Adams seasonal.  I was very tasty, but after a few gulps, I noticed there was a piece of paper floating in it.  Management, properly contrite, gave me another and didn't charge.
Went to Boscov's after, to try to get shoes.  It was a madhouse---big sale on shoes--and very hot in there; didn't find any.  I ran into Dayle, from Players & Playwrights; will see her Sunday at the meeting.
Went to Canal's for wine, then to Produce Junction and got twelve beautiful, long-stemmed pink roses.  Stopped at the cemetery on the way home and put a rose on Pat's and Jay's graves.  Will give one each to my cast after the play today.
I didn't get home until almost 5:00.  Talked to Bobbi, who agreed to take Mary Jo home after we go to Ventura's (off shore) following the show.  Now I must pull together all the myriad items I have to bring.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Comings and Goings, Comcast, and Isolationists

Susan had an early doctor's appointment and didn't walk, so following my natural bent--utter shiftlessness--I slept until almost 7:00.  Worked up a flyer for our show on December 3, along with others to hand out at the Players & Playwrights meeting on Sunday.  Called Mary-Jo, about whom I'm a bit worried, to remind her I'd pick her up tomorrow.  Think I'll bring my husband's walker, which I still have; it might be easier for her to get into Shalom House that way.
Put the flyer about the LETCO shoe up on the library bulletin board and on the one at the post office.  Went to Shop-Rite and got a few things, made an appointment to get my oil changed tomorrow, and did additional odds and ends for both shows.  Most important: There's a new nail salon in the Center Street strip mall.  I stopped in and found it's only twelve bucks for a manicure.  What a find and I'm determined to start getting my nails done on a regular basis.
As I was pulling into the garage, Frank D. came over to tell me he had found horns for the show (he's the devil).  He doesn't have enough hair to attach them to, so will put them on a baseball cap and wear that--funny!  Dennis and Bill came over to chat outside, too.  It's going to be so hard to leave them when the time comes. (I don't mean when I die, I mean when I move west.)
Well, Comcast has vindicated itself at long last.  I had them relegated to lowest of the low and today, thought they deserved it when I opened my bill and found it was $24.80 higher than last month.  Called, of course, and raised hell--but was reasonably calm and polite--and was told the "courtesy discount" had run out after 12 months.  After some back and forth too boring to record. the lovely young woman on the other end--Ashley--asked some questions ("I watch only channels 55 and 37, as a rule," I told her), she actually got me a monthly charge for thirty dollars less!  Hey, not too shabby and Comcast sweetie, all is forgiven.
Wait a minute, hold the phone: After my conversation with Ashley, I got an e-mail from Comcast, saying my fee has gone up, not down.  Now what?  Will have to call again today.
Later note:  Called Comcast again and if all kinds of run-around, succeeded in having the bill lowered to considerably less, plus tax.  But is it worth the time, effort, and aggravation for a device I watch only forty-five minutes a day?  Maybe not.
WIDER:   In today's Counterpunch, Bill Kauffman observes, “An isolationist is simply one who wishes the U.S. government to refrain from military involvement abroad. I never could figure out why this is an epithet.  Why are isolationists, who oppose killing foreigners, considered xenophobes, while those who favor killing foreigners are humanitarians?  Most Americans are instinctively isolationist.  They don’t want their kids and their taxes sent overseas to bomb or bribe people they’ll never meet.”  (Kauffman is correct about the instinct, but patriotic Americans—especially white southerners—override this instinct in response to elite-managed flag-waving.)  This excellent article "Hillary Clinton's Burden" can be read here: http://www.counterpunch.org/

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Holgate, Long Beach Island

 
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"Sparklers" Dinner

Decided to try to sell my dolls (but not Linda, never Linda) on Craigslist and, to that end, went to the site.  It's true, as Ellen said, that it's easy to use, but I tried to reset my password, and for some reason, haven't been able to do it.  I'll try again today. 
Had a surprisingly (see yesterday's entry) nice time at the Sunrise Sparklers' (truly idiotic name, but it is what it is) Culinary Arts dinner last night.  However, I came very close to disaster, to wit:
I hate to drive at night but, at the same time, don't like to drive with a lot of co-members of the group because I know they can't see well at night, either.  Therefore, I craftily conceived the notion that I'd tell our leader, Josephine, I had to be in Atlantic County earlier in the day, and I'd meet them there.  True, I'd have to drive at night, but at least I wouldn't have anybody with me. Went to Stockton State's site and was annoyed that I couldn't find any location for its restaurant.  I toyed with the idea of just going there, assuming they'd have signs, but finally phoned the college catering service to ask where it was and she said they had no catering service.  What?  But I was there last spring, I know I was.  Nope, she said, you must be thinking of Atlantic Community College.  Oh, no, of course not, I know it was Stockton...
It wasn't.  Oh, it's a damn good thing I called or I would have been twenty-five miles away waiting for the rest of the group.  Anyhoo, long story short, etc., we gathered at the clubhouse, Lee S. and I went with Pat and Dolores P. in their new car, and I had a very nice time.  Selected "crispy pork shank," which was excellent and I even had some to take home. 
This is the one time a year spouses are invited to come and it was fun with the guys, all very congenial.  It was a long, long evening--for me, anyway--as it started with fancy appetizers and progressed through soup, salad, entrée, and dessert at a rather slow pace.
But I'm always impatient to get there, do that, then get away, and recognizing that unfortunate trait in myself, I made myself okay with it.  Talked and laughed and enjoyed myself.
Got home after 9:30, partly thanks to our driver following the GPS advice which took us roughly twenty miles out of our way.  Lee and I both knew he was going in the wrong direction, and tried to tell him, but to no avail.  No point in being annoyed, though, as we got back fine after a pleasant evening. 
  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lunch And Other Stuff

I was early picking up Aline, so stopped in to chat her sister, Susan.  She was in her favored lying-on-the-couch-watching-television mode, but cordial as always.
I suggested Aline we lunch at The Olive Garden, as I had a coupon for $3 off for two, and she enthusiastically agreed.  We both had OG's delectable soup, salad, and breadsticks, plus plenty of good talk.  When I presented the coupon, though, the waitress told me it was for Red Lobster.  However, the manager okayed me getting it off anyway, as the restaurants are owned by the same company.  News to me.
Dropped Aline off at 2:00 (she was scheduled to work) and went to the thrift store, looking for a man's shirt and vest for the play.  Didn't found anything and figured the hell with it, I'll wear what I have.
Home, I called brother Larry to tell him I'll go to the Byrne reunion next month after all.  Went into Expedia and got my tickets.  Told sister Betty.  Only problem is, I get back at 11:08 pm and had to find somebody to pick me up.  Called Roman K., and he agreed, but I saw him later and told him I'd try to get somebody else.  Hope I can.
Was very pleasantly surprised to be Skyped by Ellen and we had a good talk.  She has a pass-through opposite her computer and I could see her gentleman friend (well, "boyfriend" sounds silly), Gregg, busily making dinner.  Her renter, Linda, came in, and I said hello to her, too.  Ellen said she and Gregg have invited that Linda and her other Linda friend, for Thanksgiving.  Nice.  She also invited me to go out there for Christmas, and I agreed.
Today: dinner at Culinary Arts with the former Red Hats, now Sunrise Sparklers (aagh!).  Why I ever joined this silly group, I don't know.  With a few exceptions, I have little in common with them and at least two, I actively dislike.  However, it's only once a month, I do like to eat out, and I don't want to antagonize my neighbors, so I'll suffer through it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Leaves and Veggies

Got to my friend's at noon and helped raking leaves--of which they surely have more  than the rest of the folks on the eastern seaboard combined.  (That's the trouble with trees: Every fall, they insist on dropping leaves.)
My main purpose for the trip was to see the couples' new kitchen counter tops.  Boy, are they terrific.  Granite, beige background with "threads" of ecru or something and subtle strands of related colors.  They also have a new back splash of similar colors, but in sort of checkerboard pattern.  Looks great!
I was served lunch and we had a nice chat, then the master got back under the sink--to continue installing fixtures, that is, and the mistress and I spent more time raking and mulching.
I said goodbye and was on the road before I remembered I had been promised veggies from the organic farm.  Went back and got fresh spinach, bok choy,* arugula, red leaf lettuce, and carrots.  What a bonanza!
Home, I barely had my coat off when I starting in to washing, chopping, and otherwise preparing.  Stir-fried the bok choy* and spinach separately in oil with garlic, tore the lettuce into two large bowls, cut up the carrots (I'll put them in the slow cooker later), and was finally finished about 5:00. 
Added hard-boiled egg and feta to one of the salad bowls and, along with the bok choy,* had that for dinner.  Excellent, if I say it myself.
* This is weird.  The little elves at Spellcheck don't recognize "bok choy."  Are they Eurocentric or what?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"Collections"

Walked with Susan, had breakfast, then loaded up the car with selected items for the "collections" display, and got to the clubhouse by 10:30. 
It took me a good 45 minutes to set everything else.  I brought, of course, only a minuscule amount of the hundreds of Dionne Quintuplet memorabilia I have--I didn't have access to a Mack truck--along with a good-sized container, two baskets, and carryalls for my doll collection.
In truth, the latter isn't very impression.  I just decided to bring the dolls because I wanted to see what was in the container, which hadn't been opened since we moved here more than ten years ago.  There happened to be some nice "ethnic" type dolls and some repros of baby dolls, but compared to others I've seen, the group is pretty mundane.  The exception was my own doll, "Linda," which I proudly displayed along with a picture of Aunt Maggie and a note that she made the clothes Linda is wearing, and had made matching ones for me.
There were some nice displays of a variety of "collections," including several of paintings, and one each of photographs, needlepoint, plus a big dollhouse handmade by one of my neighbors.  Susan showed her quilts and wall hangings, and Gary L. his trains and boats, but the truly spectacular area was Betty McG.'s needlework. 
Betty had on display a beautiful Christmas tree skirt, very large and intricately laid out in a kind of petal arrangement.  The top included appliqués taken from Betty's wedding dress and, get this, the lining was heavy, cream-colored satin from her mother's wedding dress, worn in 1940!  Betty brought other wall hangings and table runners, also; each one was absolutely exquisite.  I'm not a big fan of what used to be called "the womanly arts."   Knitting, needlepoint, and so on always seemed about as creative as following a cake recipe, but Betty's work is in a whole other league.  I've never seen anything like them.
We broke up at 3:00 and I packed up, laboriously carrying all my stuff to the car (I repeat myself here: "Why aren't I skinny as a rail?"), helped by those nice guys, Jay P. and Marty H.
Unpacked and put away, then jumped in the car and drove to Manahawkin.  Those stuffed shells Susan had given me were calling my name and I bought sausage to go with them.  Stopped at the Stafford Library to see if Aline was available for dinner, but she declined, saying she'd call me later.  She did and asked about Tuesday, but I have the "Sunrise Sparklers" (why did I ever join?) dinner and we made a date for tomorrow for early lunch, as she has to work at 2:00.
Got a surprise Skype call from the little girls and their Dad in Singapore and enjoyed it so much.  V. and V. get prettier every time I see them.
All in all, an interesting day doing something different, on which I'm generally always keen.
   

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Rhearsal and Dinner

Aagh!  Forgot to set the alarm and over slept!  Susan will be over in about fifteen minutes, so must rush.
I gathered all my notes, costumes, and other stuff and got to Shalom House just on time, at 1:00.  The others were already there, or almost, and we got down to business.  Rehearsal went pretty well.  Only snags were (are) that Sondra brought an entirely inappropriate outfit--very pretty, but not at all suggestive of a princess in medieval times.  She insisted she has nothing else.  I pointed out the incongruity of it, but hell, the world's going to go on turning no matter what she wears, and I'm not going to waste any more time arguing with her.
The big problem is Mary-Jo.  She's our narrator, has just a few lines, but can't seem to remember when to come in with them.  It's very, very difficult for her to walk--I kept worrying she'd fall over, even with a cane--and she has a number of other ailments, one of which, I think, is a vision problem.  The worst part:  She kept falling asleep.  I realize it's boring to sit and listen to a play (and a pretty inane one, if you ask me, I don't know what Milne was thinking back in 1941) over and over, when you don't have an active part in it for long stretches. 
Mary-Jo expressed concern about parting at Shalom House--it's very limited--and I said I'd pick her up next week for the actual performance.  After rehearsal, Bobbi showed us the closer parking lot out the back, which I guess is an improvement.  I gave Bobbi the program I had made up and she'll duplicate it. 
Frankly, this whole damn this is a bore; can't wait until it's over so I can concentrate on For Better or Worse.
We broke up about 3:30 and I stopped in or Betty's on the way home for just a few minutes.  She showed me her upstairs, which looks terrific, the guy still there working.  Very nice.   
Changed and went over to Susan's at 6:00.  I met the only other guest, her friend, Pat, who's visiting her from California.  She and I had a good talk and all in all, it was a very pleasant evening, with plenty of wine and a nice meal.
Must pull together my Dionne Quintuplet stuff for the "collections" event today.