Friday, May 31, 2013

Patterned Brick in Salem County

Strolled the three doors down to Barb's and with her sister, Pat G., we started off for Wells Mills Park.  We were pleased to see our old friend, German (pronounced "Grr--man"--it's Bulgarian) as our driver, along with a woman guide we've had before.  Two people didn't show up for the 14-person van, which means Susan could have come after all, but it was too late then.
The tour was of the "patterned" brick houses of Salem County and--with reservations--we enjoyed it immensely.  We stopped first at a Friends' Meeting House in Woodstown, a lovely village, to see the year it was built spelled out in glazed bricks high up near the eaves.  Went to seven or eight others, some public buildings, others private homes.  They were all built in the 18th century and many included the initials of the builder/owner and his wife.  We saw three with spectacular zig-zag or diamond designs in addition to dates and initials.
We stopped to eat the lunches we had brought at the Hancock House in the faraway town of Lower--or Upper or something--Alloway, which has such a brick-patterned design.  It's a museum, but unfortunately, was closed until the middle of June.  Here, according to a commemorative stone, a contingent of revolutionaries were surprised by Redcoats and most bayoneted to death, including Hancock.
Anyway, it was an interesting tour, enhanced by the fact that, as almost always happens, we met and engaged with compatible fellow history enthusiasts.  Topped off with a stop for ice cream, then at a farmers' market, it was a fine day
The drawback?  We were driving for much too long a time.  Salem County is way up there to begin with, and neither German nor the woman guide seemed to have prepared a route.  Between the two of them, you'd think they'd have mapped out the way, but G. kept driving down country roads, turning around, switching back, re-tracing the trail, and so on, and the woman wasn't much help.  Driving home, Barb, Pat, and I agreed that sitting so long was tiring and wished we could have gone through a museum or gotten out more often.  All-in-all, though, we enjoyed the day.
Still trying to bring together my casts for rehearsals.  Talked to Aline last night and we're looking forward to Sunday, when she, Louise, and I will see The Boyfriend at Surflight.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Very busy and productive day.  Early on, I cut up onions, mushrooms, and garlic, added a bit of oil and seasonings and put the concoction in the slow cooker.  I was bound and determined to do something about the scraggly flower bed out front, so after our walk, breakfast, and the mushroom thing, got to work pulling weeds.  It was an ideal time to do it, as we had had a soaking rain on Tuesday. 
Boy, what a job.  But I got it done and what's more, trimmed--laboriously, slim branch by skinny twig--the Japanese maple, which had been encroaching on the front walk, and the "rollup" or " rollmop" or whatever they are, bushes that were hiding the irises in the back.  I want to take still more off, but will do that on Friday.
I then drove  north to The Home Depot and got tomato cages for the hydrangeas.  I was sorely tempted to buy a beautiful star lily plant--which I might yet--but am not sure where it will fit. We'll see.  I wanted a clematis to put in the corner, but didn't see any.
Had a quick lunch at home, then went south to Produce Junction.  I was disappointed with the selection there, but bought two nice coleus hanging plants.  Stopped at Canal's for wine, then headed to Bob's, my favorite plant place.  Picked up white bopeca and blue salvia there. 
By the time I got home, it was after 4:00, but I was determined to get the damn things in the ground and I did.  Also arranged the hydrangeas inside the support cages and watered, trimmed a bit more, then quit for the day.
Nothing ever feels so good as a shower after such a warm, active, and let's face it, sweaty day, and boy, did it.  Had a bite for dinner, then headed out to the library for their semi-annual book sale.
I bought two big bags of books--eight of them, all but one non-fiction.  Good grief, I already have a huge pile in my bedroom of books I haven't yet had time to read, and I have two on reserve at the library. Presently, I'm reading memoirs of both Jackie and Ted Kennedy.  Well, I can't help it, that's my addiction.
In between all this, I went back and forth on e-mail about the situation surrounding our Players & Playwrights show on June 15.  Two of mine were selected to be in it and I'm trying to work out a rehearsal schedule among nine busy people.  At the same time, I got word that one of my key actors has pulled out, in a snit because his plays weren't selected.  Geez, you'd think this was Broadway.  Anyway, I was able to call another member of our group and he agreed to take the part.
Will leave in a half hour for a van tour with Barb H.     

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lunch With Aline

Enjoyed an early Skype--soon to be Google call, we hope--from the Tokyo Twosome, then walked in the rain with Susan.  Got a call from my buddy, Aline, and we planned our day, to wit: picked her up at noon and we had lunch at Shore Diner. Both had liverwurst and onion on rye--incredibly delicious, but so rich we both took half home.  Went after to Produce Junction, where I hoped to find tomato frames to put around the new hydrangeas, which are drooping with the weight of the blooms.  They didn't have any, but I bought Romaine, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
We stopped at the cemetery, but didn't get out of the car.  I was pleased to see the Gerber daisies are still on Jay's grave.  So much for not letting people put anything but azaleas on.
It was still rainy off and on by the time we got home and A. and I sat in the car talking for a good half hour.  We then parted and went our separate ways (it's impossible--impossible, I tell you!--to fight off these clichés that keep insinuating themselves into one's prose) after a pleasant day.
I have a list of  chores and errands I'm determined to accomplish today, including pulling weeds after the long, soaking rain yesterday.  Hope it holds off today.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.  Had a terrifically fun long weekend that, in a nutshell, went like this:
Friday: Left up north for Wellsboro about 6 pm.  Lots of traffic, dark, and rain.  Got there after 11:00 and checked into the PennWells Hotel,  Radiator for heat, which clanked and banged all night. 
Saturday: While the three real workers were--well, working--replacing the garage doors, painting the foundation, and various and sundry, I took the two little ones to the park with a scooter.  Lots of fun.  Big boys joined us later, and persuaded me to go to "Pop Culture," a kind a toy story nearby.  Did, let them each spend two dollars, and we went home together.  Nice dinner, then "T" and one of the workers walked me back to the hotel early.  They wanted to see my room and T was very impressed.  He told his brothers about it, referring to "Mimi's apartment." 
Sunday: While the others continued the work at the house,* I took the 5- and 6-year old back to the park.  Called their mum to see if I could take them to lunch; told yes.  Two older boys, 10 and 9, with friend, Thomas, biked up, so I took them, too, to the Wellsboro Diner.  Lots of fun, actually.  Later, I took the two younger, with bikes, back again to ride in park.  Little T. can ride so well without training wells.  Their Dad came to pick them up and we had a great dinner of baked chicken, string beans, "fried" (in oven) potatoes, watermelon, and grapes.  Thomas stayed, too, of course, and we had a ball.  Had to say goodbye, though, after an incredible amount of work done. 
Monday: Left early and were at up north home by 1:15; me home less than an hour after that.  Went to Susan's to pick up my mail and papers, unpacked, watered the outside plants, and here I am after great fun with the darling little boys--and the darling big boy, their Dad.
Saw Ellen on Skype last night and had a nice chat.  She has only three more weeks of school--whee!
*Besides installing the garage doors, they patched concrete on the front porch, installed new steps leading out of the sliding glass door, repaired a lawnmower and motorcycle, and, for all I know, did several other things besides.  Whew!

Friday, May 24, 2013


Nothing much happened yesterday.  Went to Staples for ink and finally ordered new glasses.  Got dark frames this time; hope I don't regret it.  They won't be in for more than a week, as my prescription is pretty intense. 
Annoyed because Allstate raised my premium, I called.  Woman told me if I'm hurt in a car accident, bills go to them, not me.  Is that new?  No, but medical costs have gone up.  Of course, she talked as if this added charge carried some added benefit for me--it doesn't.  She also tried to give the impression it was inevitable, like sunrise, sunup, ordained by God, something from which benevolent Allstate would love to protect me, but is simply unable, and blah, blah, blah.  I swear I'd rather hear a company rep tell me the outfit just wants to suck as much money as it can out of its customers and I can take it or leave it.  I'd find that refreshing.
Called AARP to see if theirs would be cheaper and after an interminable amount of talk, the bottom line is that if I switched there, I'd save roughly $50 a year or four bucks and change a month.  I decided it just isn't worth the hassle. 
Not sure why, but I woke up today at 4:45.  That's annoying because I usually don't get up for another half hour. Didn't want to go back to sleep, so I'm up.  Maybe I'll try for a nap today.
Must pack for Wellsboro and leave for up north by 3 pm.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lunch And A Shooting

Aline and I left town at 11:30.  Our first stop was the Tuckerton thrift store, where I left off the children's things I was donating.  Then, at A.'s request, we spent time at Wal-Mart.  I picked up a few items and after that, we did our thing--lunch--at Olive Garden.  We both had spaghetti and meat sauce, plus the fabulous salad.
A. wasn't due at work at the library until 5:00, but I was expecting a visitor at home about 3:00, so dropped A. off at the park.  She planned to read her book by the lake, then go across the street to her job.  We wished each other a nice weekend--I'm going to Wellsboro and she to Manhattan--and parted.
My visitor came, planted the two hydrangeas, and put the table I'm giving the kids in her SUV.  Not sure if it's going to fit in on this trip, what with the luggage and all, but we'll see.
In the evening, I noticed that daughter, Ellen, was on-line.  Skyped her and we had a nice chat.
WIDER:  Am I getting paranoid?  It seems there is more and more police action that results in the death of a suspect or even, as the cliché goes, a "person of interest."  Now somebody--not a suspect--being questioned about the Boston bombing has been shot and killed.  This was inside an FBI facility?  Was the person armed when he "attacked" the agent?  What were the circumstances of the attack?  Why did it require killing the man, rather than incapacitating him?  The account of the killing raises more questions than it answers.  It almost makes you think there's something that's being deliberately  covered up by the powers that be.  But oh, no, that's just paranoia...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Full Day and Fort Meade

I'm late with this, as I just got back from LabCorps for (routine) blood work. 
Spent most of yesterday in Atlantic County.  Met Betty for lunch, exchanged the bathing suit I had bought at Bosco's and tried on others; visited the cemetery; drove to Absecon and bought my tickets for the train to Philadelphia on June 1.  There, I'll get on a bus going to Fort Meade, Maryland, and join the crowd--I hope it's the biggest crowd the world has ever seen--in support of Bradley Manning.
Haven't yet planted my hydrangeas, but have a helper coming today after 3:00.  Think I'll clear out the chest of drawers I'll be giving to her to take up to Wellsboro, too. 
Just talked to Aline.  She and I will lunch today at Olive Garden and I'll drop off donations to the SOCH thrift store in Tuckerton. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jonathan Versen

I got very bad news yesterday.  It occurred to me that I hadn't heard from my cyber-pal, Jonathan Versen, lately and I went into his Facebook page.  The first thing I saw was the picture of an eye with a tear in it.  I knew what that meant and reading comments, I learned he had died on May 3.  A "guestbook" from a funeral home in San Antonio was linked and a number of people had written their condolences. I tried to bring up his obituary, but was unable.  I called the funeral home and was told there was no obituary. I asked the woman who answered if she could put me in touch with someone in Jon's family and gave her my number.  Five minutes later, a women named "Nebila" called.  This is Jon's aunt, with whom he lived.  We talked for some time and she told me Jon had driven to the parking lot of the college from which he had graduated and taken his own life by gun. She also told me he had no siblings, but many friends and many books. 
Jon had a political/current events blog called "Dead Horse," although he hadn't written in it for almost a year.  I contributed an essay or two at his invitation.  So did others, including another kindred spirit named Rob Payne. He also maintained for a time a blog called "Hugo Zoom," in which he wrote about movies, music, and so on.
On Facebook, I wrote Jon a private message a few months ago and he responded that he was at loose ends and unhappy at losing his job--I think he had been in computers--and felt useless.  His aunt told me he was being treated for depression, an old, sad story for suicides, I'm afraid.
I never saw Jon or actually spoke to him, but we were friends.  He was a pacifist and wrote so well and clearly on topics in which I am interested.  He was of Arabic descent--Syrian, maybe--and once he wrote a piece about his late mother and posted a picture of her.  She was quite beautiful and she had a beautiful son who didn't deserve to die in a parking lot with blood on the window.  Jon was 49.  What a loss and what a shame.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Music Program

Susan and I walked with umbrellas, although we escaped the cold, drizzly rain that started later.  Picked up Aline at 1:00 and drove to Buckalew's on LBI.  We both had chili and salad (and I a Blue Moon*)--very tasty.
The music program wasn't until 4:00, so we had plenty of time after lunch for a drive to the southern end of the island.  There's still a lot of work to be done in removing sand and repairing homes.  Went to the church a bit early and sat down.  The singers were rehearsing at the altar and when they finished, Brent (my son-in-law's brother), a member of The Capital Singers, saw us and came down to give me a hug.
The program was magnificent!  It included mostly religious, but some secular selections, sung by The Capital Singers and The Trenton Singers combined.  Aline was pleased to see listed a selection in Hebrew by Leonard Bernstein.  I noticed a frumpy and dumpy middle-aged woman in the group and thought little of it--until she stepped forward to sing Amazing Grace solo.  It was so beautiful I cried.
Aline, who is a music lover and knows a lot about it, enjoyed it immensely, and so did I.  After, we drove down to the northern end of the island, just to see the ocean. Miserable as the weather was, though, the water was calm.
When we got back, A. stopped in and I gave her a script for Telephone.  I had cast her in the psychiatrist role and we read a bit of it.  Took her home, talked to Ellen on Skype, and that was my day.  
* Usually, I don't bother to check the bill when I go out to eat; just look at the total to calculate the tip.  I did yesterday, though, and was shocked to see the charge for the beer: $6.50!  Good grief, that's almost the price of a six-pack and you could get a whole lunch for that amount!  Think I'll go for iced tea from now on.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Players & Playwrights

Got to P. & P. under lowering skies, and they lowered all day.  Leader John was recuperating from Lasik surgery, so the meeting was run by Denise.  We discussed who would take over when J. leaves in July for Arizona State, but at this point, there are no takers.  Ed S. e-mailed that he wouldn't be able to participate on June 15--darn--and was withdrawing his play--double darn.  I had cast him as the devil in my Hell On Wheels--triple darn.  However, John called Denise during the meeting and through her, I asked him to take over the role; he accepted.
We then read through the plays we'll do at Dante Hall.  I was cast as Laura in Grey's play, which is partially done in rhyme.  I have a strong suspicion that he got the idea after hearing my Hell, wholly in rhyming couplets.  Annoying, but there's nothing I can do about it.
After the meeting, Louise and I went with Bobbi to see Shalom House, where she lives.  She offered to have us rehearse in the meeting room there and I'm taking her up on it.  It's pretty nice and the meeting room is adequate.  Now I have to figure out how to schedule two rehearsals at times when everybody can come.
Louise and I then went to Italian Gourmet for dinner.  We both had salmon, which was okay, but I didn't think it was up to their usual standards.  Maybe that's because I often cook it at home and always buy fresh; I think this had been frozen.  We had a nice talk, though, and it was a pleasant evening. 
I had sent granddaughter-in-law Noelle a picture of a wicker table I thought they could use and she wants it, so will bring it up over Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hydrangeas And Other

I wanted to look for a jacket at Boscov's, so made a lunch date to meet Betty there.  Started out several hours early to stop at Produce Junction first.
Boy, it was mobbed!  I wasn't surprised, as they have a huge array of plants and flowers and their prices are simply rock bottom.  I was blown away by their huge, wonderfully showy hydrangeas and bought two of them, as well as some pretty New Guinea inpatients.  Think I'll go back today--I have Players & Playwrights in Ventnor at 1:00--as there are plenty more I'll like to get.
Not, however, including the azaleas I wanted to put on Pat's grave.  I stopped at the cemetery office and was told I couldn't, as I already have an azalea on either side and, it seems, two is the limit.  I'm debating whether to appeal to the board of trustees or owners, or whomever, or just skip it.  I was pleased to see the Gerber daisies I had put on Jay's grave were still there; watered them and went on my way.
At Boscov's, I was pleased to see they had a large selection of jackets, and I bought one.  I also bought two bathing suits--didn't try them on, but was assured they were returnable, if tags and guards are not removed. 
Waited for Betty at Boscov's entrance, where chairs are thoughtfully provided, and and who should walk in but Connie H.  She sat down and we chatted--lucky them, she and Tom are going to France thanks to a house exchange situation.  Betty came in fifteen minutes or so, and we went to TGIFriday's for lunch.
We had a leisurely one with sisterly conversation, then parted.  I stopped at Marge's to return her charge card and receipt, as I had exchanged some items at Kohl's for her.
Went to the Laundromat to wash, then dry my king-sized spread, which  I always remove from my bed when spring comes.
Revised and printed out the two plays of mine selected for our June 15 show, then had leftover salad with chicken for dinner. 
A good, active, productive day.   

Friday, May 17, 2013

Breakfast And The Military

Anne Mary took Susan and me to breakfast at Dockside yesterday, as a thank-you for helping her after she broke her hip.  She's doing well; uses a cane, but is pretty good on her feet.  I had scrambled eggs and scrapple, Susan bacon and eggs, and A.M. one egg and one-half piece of toast.  She's emaciated, as she has been for seven or eight years because she rarely eats.
We were there for an hour and a half and I endured an excruciatingly boring conversation that centered around dogs--they're both animal lovers--with some cat and bird mixed in.  They also vied with each other as to whose kitchen is cleanest, a contest I didn't enter.  I guess Susan won, calling hers "sterile."  That kind of thing always makes me want to say I eat baked beans after they drop on the floor.  I refrained, however, stoic that I am.  When I ordered my eggs soft--I usually tell them "slimy, you might say"--they both looked at me as if I had expressed a yen for fried baby.
Oh, I'm in a mood, I guess.  It was so refreshing to be with grownups yesterday--Aline and Louise--who can use a few choice curse words instead of silly euphemisms.
Drove to Kohl's to return Marge's items and have her card credited.  I had intended to look for a spring jacket, but just didn't feel like it.  After I got home, I talked to Betty, then actually bestirred myself to pull weeds out front and tidy up a little.  Looks better.
Called and had a long, good talk with my dear "Cincinnati Sis," my cousin, Marifran K.  She has some medical stuff coming up and I hope it goes well.
Made plans to go up to Wellsboro over the Memorial Day weekend.  Looking forward to seeing my sweet boys again. 
WIDER:   "By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries."
That's from this truly horrific article that should raise a loud alarm in everyone's minds, but surely won't penetrate the marble skulls of most Murky-kins:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lunch, Louise, And LBI

It turned out to be a delightful day, although it didn't go exactly as planned.  I picked Aline up at 10:30 and we chatted at my place while waiting for Louise S.  Louise's doctor's appointment lasted longer than she thought it would, so she wasn't able to get here until after 12:00.  We left for Manahawkin almost immediately, but Aline had to be at work at 1:15 and by the time we got there--.
Aline suggested we go on to Long Beach Island for lunch and just drop her off to pick up a yogurt, then she'd walk the half-block to the library.  We did, but not before--happily--Louise accepted our invitation to accompany us to see The Boyfriend at Surflight on June 2.  L. and I went to Buckalew's and had a satisfying lunch, along with an even more satisfying "getting to know you" conversation.
It's such fun to exchange experiences with Louise.  She's a bright, articulate person who, as virtually all of us do, has had variations of light and shade in her life.  After a leisurely lunch, we drove down the island to Holgate, noting the mounds and mountains of sand still covering so much of the place.
Home, Louise came in for an hour or so and we continued talking--naturally, what else?  I showed her around the house, then we said goodbye.  I'm looking forward to seeing her again at Players & Playwrights on Saturday.
Earlier, I talked to dear friend, Marge D., to tell her I had been going over the old scripts from the drama club and had found the original of Tootie!  I was so excited, as it isn't on this machine and I remembered how hysterically funny it is.  I thought it had been lost forever.
After I said goodbye to Louise, I sat down to read it and realized it was a great undiscovered masterpiece that not only will wow 'em at P & P, but should probably be staged at Surflight at the very least and I wouldn't be surprised if it's Broadway bound with just a little light--.
NOT!  Boy, it really stinks, which goes to show--well, something in the wishful thinking category, I guess.  Possibly, the premise could be reworked and expanded, but it sure isn't the laugh riot I thought it was.  No matter, now I know, and I'll just put it in the "dead, but not mourned" file.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


It was deemed too chilly to go to Wheaton Village yesterday, so we in The Red Hat Sparklers (ugh!) just lunched at ScoJoe's.  I had a fried oyster sandwich sans the sandwich, which was pretty good.
Got a l-o-o-n-n-g and strange phone call from strange Rachel about the Ad Hoc Players and I'm still not sure what she was talking about.  I'm beginning to think I should jettison this group as not worth the aggravation. 
Cleaned a bit because I'm expecting Aline and Louise today.  I wish A. hadn't accepted extra hours at the library, as she starts at 1:30 and that won't give us time to do anything except have lunch.  Think I'll suggest we go to the Chinese place near there.  L. won't be able to get here until "11-ish," as she said, so it will be much earlier than I prefer to eat, but it can't be helped.
Finally got the antique prints for my nephews packaged and sent, and the takeout menus to the woman in Michigan.  Talked to Betty, pulled a few weeds, and that was it.   

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


A quiet day.  Went to Staples to see if the CD I have of some old pictures could be duplicated there.  They can, but to the tune of $16 each, which is pretty steep, if you ask me.  I'll think about it. 
Called brother Frank to get my nephews' addresses, so I can send the prints I got in Princeton.  I was alarmed to learn my sister-in-law, Marybeth, had fallen a few weeks ago in their garden, hit her head, and Frank found her unconscious.  She was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where she stayed for four days.  Wow, what a scary experience.
I fell myself yesterday morning, but luckily, suffered no harm.  I had met a neighbor, Georgette S., taking a huge bag of baked goods back into Acme. When I asked about that, she told me she was the volunteer director of the Tuckerton Ministerial Food Bank, but had so much in her car, they wouldn't fit.  She was going have to drive to the bank to see if she could get somebody to come back and get the bag, so I volunteered to do it. 
The bag was so huge and weighed so much, both of us together couldn't get it into my backseat.  Georgette finally asked a male school bus driver for help, and he got it in.  I drove to the food bank and a younger person extracted it.
This is a temporary location; the Food Bank is having a permanent shelter built behind the Methodist church, and I asked to look inside.  It's pretty rough, and the entrance is covered with outdoor carpeting.  I didn't realize the ground was uneven underneath and fell onto my knees.  I was helped up quickly and got only a slightly bruised right knee, but I must be more careful in the future.
Going to Wheaton Village with R.H. today.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

Oh, what a wonderful Mother's Day!  For reasons I'm not sure I can yet divulge, it was about the best ever--considering the good news.
Even aside from that, it was fun.  We all went to see a certain lady and brought brunch to the nursing home.  Living in her own golden time, when she was a young wife and mother, she talked and talked.  Some of her talk was actually very interesting to me, especially about the small town in the mid-West where she lived.
After, we prepared for the dinner party of ten adults and two children, including Betty and friends, Muckie and Helen C.  We had a fine time, first out on the deck in the glorious sunshine, then around the big dining room table. 
And what a spread!  After the appetizer of veggies with good ol' onion dip, there were wonderful whole made salads--black bean, chicken, and my green--and cheese, ham, and turkey cold cuts, plus great breads of various kinds and desserts of cheesecake and cut-up fruit with various sweet sauces.
We had earlier agreed to skip the presents and just enjoy the "presence" of each other, but a certain someone violated the treaty and present me with a book, signed by the local author, which I was happy to get.  Also, the two B. children and their mother had made wonderful little outdoor candle holders, made out of tin cans, and gave them to the hostess, Betty, and me--what a nice surprise.
Dinner was served early, so we had plenty of time to talk and laugh, and then were able to get home in daylight.  When I did, I enjoyed a Skype call from Ellen, and heard that son, Mike, had called and left a Mother's Day greeting, too.  With the beautiful flowers I had received from both, the dinner party, plus the happy news from elsewhere, I had a fabulous day.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Not Much

Not much going on yesterday.  It rained with lightning and thunder now and then, but in between, I went to Shop-Rite for salad fixings.  Should have known it would be jammed the day before Mother's Day, but I got out alive.
Received beautiful flowers from Ellen (roses) and Mike (a roselea plant), both pretty in pink.  Late in the day, pulled a few weeds from around the tree out front, changed my bed, played my newest hidden object game, and otherwise occupied myself. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

All Day Out

I was out all day.  Left early for Ventnor, so I could stop and say hello to Betty.  Did so and we had a nice visit.  Our director from Hell, Rachel K., called before I left to ask if I would edit an intro* she wrote for Trifles, one of the plays she assigned which we might do in September--or whatever.  I agreed, but she didn't give it to me, which is fine by me.  She also asked me to do publicity for the event, if there will be one.  This I refused--too much trouble.  Rachel is so utterly disorganized and vague, it's hard to know if this "production" will even see the light of day.
All this was for the newly-formed Ad Hoc Players; we met in Ventnor for the first time yesterday.  I was assigned two male roles, the sheriff in Trifles and the prince in The Ugly Duckling.  I dislike both of them, especially the former and I think the plays themselves are poor choices, but the hell with it, I'll go along.
As usual, Rachel talked and talked and meandered on, and sent out all kinds of mixed signals.  She was totally unclear about how much stage direction she wanted Mary Jo to read, so was constantly interrupting and interjecting and slowing down the pace, which was pretty slow to begin with.
However, we got over it.  I left a few minutes early and went directly to my 4:30 Breeze meeting at the clubhouse.  This was productive--we discussed and decided on the next three or four covers--but I didn't get home until almost 6:00.  I hadn't eaten since breakfast, so heated up some chicken legs and thighs I had cooked a few days ago and frozen, and had that.
Drove to Staples in the evening and got mailing tubes for the prints.  Must ask brother Frank for my nephews' addresses.
* In the first few pages, a character reveals finding the body of a man in a remote cabin in Nebraska and it's quickly made clear by indirection that he was done in by his abused wife.  Incredibly, Rachel included in the intro that "there was a dead body and it looks like murder," an absolutely outrageous way to spoil a tightly-written play.  Luckily, we voted and chose the other play to present--if we ever do.

Friday, May 10, 2013


I again had some difficulty in finding the photo place in Princeton, but finally made it.  The prints turned out beautifully--I think they're better than the originals--albeit the price was steep ($133 and change).  Now I have to find mailing tubes, plus get the addresses of my nephews.
Stopped and shopped at Stop 'N' Shop on the way home.  Got lots of shrimp and meat.  I'm continuing the low carb diet I started last week.  Have lost only a pound, but will persevere for at least a few more weeks.
First "Ad Hoc Players" gathering today in Margate, and right after, a Breeze editorial staff meeting back here. 

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Luncheon and Ohio State

It was raining in buckets and bags when we walked at 7:00 and Susan and I were soaked from about the waist down by the time we got home.  Happily, it cleared--rain all day had been predicted--by the time I picked up Leslie for the Women's Club luncheon at Renault Winery.
The affair was very nice, although not particularly noteworthy.  L. and I sat with Joanna from our street, Jo B., and four other women I knew only slightly.  Had salmon and skipped the roll, potato, and dessert.
Home about 3:00, I was inspired by the sunshine to put in the sixteen plants I had originally bought for the cemetery.  The portulaca and celosi (?) joined the yellow pansies in the small plot by the porch; hope they'll get enough sun.
Aline left a message saying she was asked to start work next Wednesday at 1:30, instead of 5:00, plus I got an e-mail from Louise to the effect she has a doctor's appointment at 10:00.  That means we'll have to change our plans for our day together, so I suggested we just have early lunch, drop A. off, then L. and I will continue on to LBI.  I'll see L. at the first meeting of  "The Ad Hoc Players" tomorrow, anyway. 
Heard from Marilyn that she isn't able to meet for lunch today, as she's working through and leaving early.  That's okay, we'll do it another time and I'll just go up to Princeton and get the prints.
WIDER:  I just read the commencement address Obama delivered at Ohio State last week.  He has a  whole stable of speechwriters, of course, all of them adept at using words--never actions--to placate and reassure and keep the peasants dazed and happy. 
Whoever worked up this one didn't leave any slogan behind or any cliché unvoiced.  We have the  wry little jokes, the cute and folksy references to home and family, the soulful nod to "service" in the form of ROTC, and--rather blatantly, it seems to me--the warning to quell any suggestion of effective dissent:
"’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner.  You should reject these voices...."
So what does one do instead?  Vote, of course, and all your troubles will float away:
"...democracy does not function without your active participation.  At a bare minimum, that means voting, eagerly and often.  It means knowing who’s been elected to make decisions on your behalf, what they believe in, and whether or not they deliver.  If they don’t represent you the way you want, or conduct themselves the way you expect – if they put special interests above your own – you’ve got to let them know that’s not okay.  And if they let you down, there’s a built-in day in November where you can really let them know that’s not okay."
Oh, it's easy!  So Washington is full of fat, self-satisfied, liars and whores, who put citizens' concerns and needs at the very rock bottom of their priorities?  Just vote them out of office.  Of course,  another fat, self-satisfied criminal will be elected, but no prob--you voted, didn't you? 
What a speech.  A little gem, actually, of misdirection, the promotion of delusion, subtle and not-so-subtle war-mongering, and the usual sanctimonious speechifying.
And I'll bet my prize dahlias the majority of the audience came away with the belief that our country is just, the future is rosy, this guy is the next thing to the deity himself, and where's that sign-up sheet, I'm enlisting today! 
Education--it's a wonderful thing.      

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Lunch, a Scarf, and a Non-Discussion

Betty called early to ask if I was available for lunch, so Aline and I met her at Italian Gourmet and we had a pleasant one.  After, we all went to Shop-Rite to pick up a few items.  A. and I parted from Betty and we made a stop at the cemetery; I was glad to see the pretty Gerber daisies are still on Jay's grave and that the azaleas on Pat's are blooming nicely.
Got an e-mail from dear friend, Marge, who's suffering with very bad allergies, as well as sore knees, and to top it off, a bladder infection.  I was glad to hear from her and will write back.  Hope to get over there to visit sometime.
Received a darling Mother's Day card and bug-repellent scarf from that sweet girl (and guy) in Tokyo. The scarf is labeled as actually able to protect from insects.  I'm intrigued and can't wait to try it out.  (There are plenty of bugs in southern Jersey, that's a cinch.)
Took a drive late in the day, as I often do.  Went up Route 539, then down Route 9 to Barnegat and, on the way, stopped at various eateries to pick up takeout menus, which I'll send to Michigan.  Send to--?
Okay, here's the explanation: In Reminisce magazine, I saw a letter from a woman in Michigan who collects takeout menus and asked readers to send them.  Decided to do so and have been collecting with that in mind.
Women's Club luncheon today, for which I'll pick Leslie up.
WIDER:  I fell into a casual conversation with a clerk and another patron at the library yesterday, to wit: militarism.  Automatically, the other two mouthed the slogans which are almost as horrifying for their banality as they are for their brutal tone: "If we don't stop them, we'll all be wearing burkas," and "we have to make sure our enemies don't win...I was a marine...I'm patriotic...we need to defend our country..." and so on and on.  In other words, there was no discussion, no back-and-forth of ideas and beliefs, no coherent and principled point of view.  I heard only the mindless and mechanical expression of cliches dreamed up by a legion of cynical advertising hacks in the employ of those human horrors, politicians.
Depressingly, this seems a virtually universal circumstance in "discussions" of this kind: the adopting of words empty of meaning, designed to limit conversation and thought, not expand them.  Oh, yes, Orwell knew.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Mortgage and Dinner

Spent a large part of the day on paperwork for the new mortgage interest rate with the Skyped help of son Mike in London.  Got it faxed off and, I hope, that will be that.
I then tackled the horrendous PTR-1, which purports to be a boon to New Jersey seniors (has something to do with a property tax freeze), but is actually a scheme to drive them crazy.  You have to provide documentation for your tax bills and proof that you paid them for both 2011 and 2012.  I was able to easily find it for last year, but can't seem to put my hands on the previous.  Alternatively, they provide a form to take to your friendly neighborhood tax collector, and maybe that would be an easier way to go.
Leaving all that behind, I got to Olive Garden early (so what else is new?) for dinner, but Viv came shortly thereafter and we finally got together after the snafu last week.  Had a good, convivial time, as we always do.  I caught up on her life, which hasn't changed much--and won't, as long as her husband is alive.  He is very badly disabled with MS--can move only one arm--and she continues to work in a dead end support position at Ocean Community College, where she's been for years.  While being employed full-time, she earned her bachelor's, then her master's degrees. (I can relate to that, although I didn't finish the master's route.)  She's now working three evenings a week to fulfill requirements for certification in alcohol and drug abuse counseling.  All this, while she deals with a devastatingly disabled spouse, a big house, two grandchildren, and a responsible job for which she's anything but adequately compensated.
It's too bad she's in a field in which, when it comes to the higher prestige, better paid jobs, youth is not only prized, but almost invariably chosen over maturity.  College kids, it seems, don't "relate" to those in their late fifties, which is why you rarely find any in the starting ranks of student personnel.
Aline is off today and we have a tentative lunch date--always a pleasure.  

Monday, May 06, 2013

"The 39 Steps"

Strolled down to the R.'s about quarter of two and Barbara D. joined us shortly.  Her Frank  had been called in late in the day--a week before opening night--to work the lights.
When we arrived at Frog Pond School, I was greeted with hugs by Rose F. selling tickets and Ellen V. on refreshments.  Ditto with Director Desi, plus Tonya, Bob, and Emma N.  We settled in as part of the all-two-sparse audience (no more than 40 people, I'm afraid) and the show began. 
What a hysterical play!  There were only four characters, including Tara C. and Jim H., whom I've known for years; Tara directed me in my first "real" play, Steel Magnolias and I performed with Jim in Our Town and You Can't Take It With You.  The other two were Mike B. who teaches at Frog Pond, plus Tony B., a newcomer to the group, I thought, but according to the program, he appeared with them in 2007.  Tony is devastatingly handsome--tall, well-built, with dark, wavy hair, and a pencil-thin mustache.  He's also a terrific actor; on-stage virtually every minute, he carried off his role with great dispatch and a rollicking sense of enjoyment.
The other three did a great job, too, and they played a number of roles each.  Tara, for instance, was a mysterious German woman who is murdered, a prim train passenger, and a farmer's amorous wife.  Jim and Mike handled their multiple roles--spies, detectives, train conductors, a Scottish landlord, and so on and on--beautifully, changing hats, coats, props, and accents without a slip.
Anyway, it was great fun and we enjoyed it immensely.
Susan left a message to the effect that she wouldn't walk, as she's getting a mammogram at 7:00.  Had my usual virtual visit with Ellen on Skype and we chatted on a variety of topics.  Mike is to call me on Skype to help me with applying at Chase for the new mortgage rate.       
Dinner with Vivian L. tonight.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Not Much

Nothing much went on yesterday.  Spent most of the day dealing with what used to be called "paperwork," now "cyberwork," I guess.  Got chicken legs, sausage, and pork roast at Acme, as I've embarked on the low carb diet.  Years ago, I lost forty pounds on it and Betty has lost about twenty now.  We'll see.
Appealed to son Mike, in London, to help with my lower mortgage interest paperwork--this really does include paperwork--and he'll Skype me today or tomorrow.   Late in the day, drove to Kohl's looking for a spring jacket and found nothing I'd wear in daylight.  Bought a nightie, instead.
The 39 Steps with Dennis and Leslie today.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Computer Well Again!

Oh, happy, happy day!  Finally, at long last, my little darlin' is all better.  Thanks to fabulous Tokyo son, P., who spent several days on it, the virus which with it was laid low and lots of other symptoms, have been cured.  Now I vow never, never to just, willy-nilly click here and there, but check first for the evil-doers who want to harm my computer.
Okay, yesterday:  Got to Taylor Photo in Princeton after trying to follow Google directions, which had me turn left, here, bear right there, then back, up, down, and sideways until I was thoroughly lost.  Had to stop three times for further directions, but finally got there and left off the old pictures.  I'll pick the prints up next Thursday. 
Met Marilyn for lunch at noon and, as ever, it was wonderful to be with her.  What a lovely, warm-hearted friend she is, and we had such a good talk.  Will meet her again when I'm in the area to pick up the prints.
After that, drove down to Lambertville and stopped in on Elva at her art gallery.  Enjoyed chatting with her and I fell in love with two wonderful paintings: one a rooster, one a chicken with spread wings.  They were $600 each, but Elva said she'd give them to me for $450, so I bought both.
NOT!  I just don't have that kind of money, but wish I did.
After, I went to Ewing Cemetery and viewed the graves of my old friend, Elaine, her grandson, and others.  Drove past our home of 41 years, feeling like a ghost and not even my own ghost, but somebody else's. 
Having enough of nostalgia, I drove home; stopped on the way to pick up the bowls I had left before our Wellsboro trip.
Still thrilled and overjoyed that my computer is well again!

Friday, May 03, 2013

No More

Was on the phone for about an hour with mortgage company, Chase, who will give me a lower interest rate.  That was the good part of the day.
Aline and I went first to Produce Junction, where I picked up eight  portulaca and six pretty yellow "broom" flowers to add the the daisies I had planted on the graves on Wednesday.  We then met Betty and Muckie for lunch at Shore Diner and had a convivial meal and chat.  We parted, and A. and I went off to the cemetery.
Approached Pat's grave and was horrified to see the daisies ripped up--all flowers gone and the greens limp.  I thought a careless lawn mower must be responsible.  Went to the office and was told a "board member" had been at the site and complained about so many "flower beds."  Therefore, the flowers on the graves (except for azaleas which, for some reason, are allowed) had all been removed.  After a heated exchange, I left.  Jay's daisy was still there, but will probably be pulled up tomorrow.
Computer slow and keeps sending me weird messages.  Contacted P. and he's helping.  Must Skype him now.
Meeting Marilyn for lunch in Trenton today.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Planting Flowers

Instead of turning my attention to the flower beds, I went to the cemetery to see what was needed there; a fair amount of work, as it turned out.  Something--maybe the Mexican heather I planted last year--had run wild and spread all around Pat's grave.  Looked like weeds, so I treated it that way.  Pulled it all up, along with stray other stuff and prepared the soil for flowers after the long winter.
Drove to Produce Junction, which was jammed with people snatching up the gorgeous (and incredibly cheap, my kind of store) flowers and plants, as well as veggies.  Got a bag of oranges and three big, beautiful Gerber daisies.  Back at the cemetery, I put in two yellow on Pat's grave and a deep pink one at Jay's.  I want to go back today to fill in with some lower-lying plants. 
I did get a lot of errands done beforehand: The township had set up its paper-shredding truck at St. Teresa's and I brought some stuff there, then stopped at the library and picked up a recorded book to listen to in the car.  Brought my change container (I empty my loose change into it every day) and was gratified to see it totalled more than $68, even after I removed about ten dollars in quarters for tolls.  Put it in the savings account.
After, I stopped at Shop-Rite, then at Kohl's to try on bathing suits, one more hideous and horrible than the other--didn't buy.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


A good, full day.  Called old friend, Marilyn, to find she was up in Canton (PA), her hometown, visiting her mother.  This is only a half-hour or so from Wellsboro and she asked if I'd like to ride up with her for Mother's Day.  I probably won't, but hope to another time.  We made a date for lunch in Trenton on Friday; I'll be in the area for an errand, anyway.
Picked up Aline at our usual 12:30 and we went back to El Rancho.  Betty joined us and we had a good, convivial time.  A. and I then went on to Manahawkin, where I tried on bathing suits at Kohl's--agh!  First of all, they were all hideous and second, they made me look like a pregnant whale.  I had left my other one at the motel in Wellsboro, no tragedy, as I hated it anyway.
Howsomever--Aline tried on shoes and when I saw a pair she had chosen, I tried them on and found they seem to be comfortable on my callus-plagued left foot, so wanted to buy the same.  However, they had no more in my size (9), so I called on the "on-line phone" at the office.  I was gratified to realize the shoes were originally $59.95, but reduced to $33.95, and I had a store credit for $10, plus a 30 percent discount.  Final cost: $16.79--whee!  Plus, they'll be mailed to my home for no charge. 
Went to B.J.'s, where I picked up some items, and it was after 5:00 when I dropped A. off.  Stopped at Rite-Aid and Acme after, then rolled home. 
Good grief, it's May already!  Must think about getting the flower beds in shape.