Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Day

Finished up last minute chores and errands by 3:00 and left for up north.  Had a lovely Easter dinner and visit with various.  Now I'm up and ready to go.  Next stop: Ventura!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dinner

Counting any day I don't eat out a loss, I accepted Betty's invitation to meet  at Italian Gourmet.  Just to vary the formula, we made it early dinner instead of lunch.  Very enjoyable, as ever.
Aside from that, I spent most the rest of the day washing, packing, and otherwise preparing for my trip.  I have a hair appointment at 11:00 today and after that, will be off to northern climes.  From there, on Easter day, it's California or bust!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Income Tax And Murder

Gnash, gnash, gnash...!  (much gnashing of teeth).  I could spend the whole page detailing my income tax woes of yesterday, but why bother?  In a nutshell: Thought I could do my own via Turbo Tax, which is, indeed, very user friendly, but when I finally finished, was due back only $517, as opposed to $1400 last year, and just found it too harrowing to try to fix whatever the problem was, so called H & R Block, got an appointment for a few hours later, took in all the crap, and got it done, incurring the charge I wanted to avoid of $243--a dollar more than last year!
However, I was charmed by the guy who did it, an elderly (but surely ten or more years younger than I am), white-haired gentleman born in Belfast, who left there because of the troubles, and led an interesting, foot-loose life in his youth.  Lived in Italy and France, and picked grapes in Germany, has been in the states since 1983, and lived in Margate at one time, parking cars illegally for a casino when he first came over.   
I was charmed, all right, but what really charmed me was the fact that I'm getting $1200 back. 
WIDER:  Here's news that simply boggles the mind:
http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lunch Again

Good grief, this is getting to be my mantra:  "It's a wasted day if I don't go out for lunch." 
Started the Turbo Tax in the morning, got to a certain point and decided to continue today, then...
I wanted to go back to Produce Junction to get another stephanosis (?) plant for Susan for Easter.  Then Betty called and before I could ask if she wanted to meet for lunch, said she and Helen C. were meeting for same at 2:00 at Olive Garden and would I like to join them?
Well, natch, and I did.  Went to P.J. first and decided against the plant--the one I bought on Tuesday is beautiful, but the rest were kind of "picked over" (my mother's expression).  It occurred to me, too, that Susan was having eleven people over for dinner on Easter and I'm sure several will give her plants, of which she has a lot already.  She and Walter have an orange with breakfast every morning, and instead, I bought six big, beautiful navel oranges.  Home, I put them in a pretty basket, tied on a lavender bow and will give her that.  A stroke of genius, methinks.
Enjoyed lunch--I had the soup and salad thing--then we parted.  I stopped at Babies 'R' Us after to get the H.'s new little grandson a cute outfit, then at Acme for cottage cheese.  Didn't get home until after 5:00.
Today, I'll dive back into Turbo Tax, which I hope to finish it in a few hours. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Enjoyable Day

I picked Aline up at 12:30 and we arrived at Italian Gourmet a half-hour later.  Betty and Mary were already there.
Had a very enjoyable lunch and good talk before we parted almost two hours later.  Aline and I then went to the cemetery--I was pleased to see the pretty Narcissus (baby daffodils) I planted at Pat's grave were blooming very--well, prettily.  Went to Jay's grave, too of course, and talked about him.
Then it was off to Produce Junction where I bought four yellow pansies to atone for my transgression* and a beautiful white stephonosis (?) for an Easter gift.
Wound up at the library, where Aline went on the computer and I requested a new book: Paul Anka's My Way about Sinatra and the Rat Pack in Vegas.  I like these scandalous memoirs, so shoot me.
Dropped Aline off and by that time it was after 5:00.  She had given me some matzo, which I ate with a salad for "dinner"--I had had a delectable rare hamburger for lunch, so didn't need much.
*Susan had bought pansies a week or so ago and had given me four.  I meant to plant them, but put the on the baker's rack in the kitchen and forgot about them.  They died, so I bought new and hope Susan will be none the wiser.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Snain

Susan and I walked with umbrellas while being pushed around by the ferocious wind--was soaked by the time I got home.  Aline called to discuss our weekends and we had a nice chat.
Although the rain turned to snow (later to "snain," I guess it could be called, a wintry mix), I went to the post office and mailed off the Easter gifts to the boys.  Thought I'd send some of Mike's books, too, and went back several times.  Finally decided to send the heavy one and take the others.
I had errands to run in Manahawkin, so called Aline back and offered to take her to the library where she works.  Picked her up after lunch and dropped her off at 2:00, then went to Target.  Got a few things and was at the check out when I looked up and saw a friend of mine.  We had coffee and a nice visit.
Talked to Betty when I got home.  She and Mary H. will meet Aline and me for lunch today at Italian Gourmet.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sad News And Dine Around

Oh, boy, I'm reeling from a blow received late yesterday.  John P., our invaluable leader at Players & Playwrights, sent members an e-mail outlining plans for our June show, but including what he called "bittersweet" news:  He's been accepted into the MFA program at Arizona State and will be leaving us in July.
John teaches theatre arts at Stockton State as adjunct faculty, but his full-time job is as assistant director of Residence Life.  His goal is to teach play-writing (and be a successful playwright himself) and for that, his masters degree is not going to cut it.  His is in "Educational Theatre"--geez, what persuasive department chair ever twisted what arms to add that to the curriculum?  Anyway, he wants to be a full-time professor and it ain't gonna happen without an MFA.  (I'm surprised it could happen without a doctorate, and maybe he intends to go on with that.)
He applied to, and has been accepted by, Arizona State, where he'll study for his MFA and also teach.  It's a wonderful opportunity for him, but boy, am I going to miss him.  I came to the theatre when I was past seventy and John's one of the many reasons I find it so fulfilling.
Went with Judy and Roman to Dine Around last night.  It was at The Grapevine, which isn't my favorite restaurant, but dinner (scallops) was actually very good.  I sat with Barbara and Joe F., an interesting couple--she speaks Portuguese and he's an amateur astronomer.  Will call them for an interview for The Breeze when I get back from California.
Had my Sunday Ellen-Fix on Skype.  Will see her in six days--yay!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Full Day

Left for A.C. at 9:00 to give myself time to go to James' Salt Water Taffy on the boardwalk.   I was worried about 1.) being able to find New York Avenue and 2.) a parking space.  However, I worried for naught: found both the street, the store, and a parking space with no problem.  I got a small box of chocolate-covered taffy for the kiddies I'll see in California and a larger one for Susan, who asked to me to get one while I was there.  I was surprised to see James' has merged with Fralinger's--they had been the numbers one and two salt water taffy giants when I was a kid.
Got down to the Players & Playwrights meeting with a few minutes to spare. My telephone play was done first and went over very well, surely because of the surprise ending.  We did a few other plays--I was picked to read for two of them--and gave in our submissions for the June show.  I decided to submit the telephone one besides Hell On Wheels.
We broke up at 2:00 and Rachel asked if I'd like to join her for lunch.  All righty, I said; she also invited Jim L.'s wife, Judy, whom I've met before.  Rachel was kind enough to go first to Jagisky's (?) Candy so I could pick up a little something for a certain someone I'll see in California.  We then went to Downbeach Deli. 
It was a nice enough experience.  I was tentatively glad to get to know Rachel better.  I think her insecurity leads her to say things she regrets later; she seems to resent John, for instance, and often alludes negatively to him --not sure why.  Judy seems to have some turbulent relationships, too.  However, it was generally an enjoyable lunch.
We went back and sat in on Linda's play,  Raising Mr. Freye. The actors were in costume and make-up, which we ordinarily don't use in this group.  The play was just a short segment of one of the acts in the interminable Mary-Baker-Eddy-and-Mark-Twain-in-Limbo (don't ask) play, on which Linda seems to have been working for years.  Actually, it was pretty good, thanks especially to my pal, Dayle, who played Ms. Eddy very well.
After, I went down to Betty's.  Waited until she got back from church and just stayed to chat for a bit.  We had eaten so late, I didn't want to stay for dinner, so after making a date to meet her and Mary H. at Italian Gourmet on Tuesday (I'll bring Aline), said goodbye.
Stopped at the Ventnor dollar store on the way home and got ten more solar lights for outside.
Dine Around tonight.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Brunch And Cast Party

Picked Aline up and 10:00 and we went to Dockside for a Swiss cheese omelet brunch.  I asked if she wanted to come when I took a dry run to Manahawkin to scout out where the cast party was to be.  She did and I found it with no difficulty.
Dropped her off a few hours later and spent time honing my Telephone #3 play, which I'll bring to Players & Playwright today, and looking over Hell On Wheels, which I'll submit for the show we're doing in June.
I was just interrupted for a welcome reason: a Skype call from Mike.  Saw Violet and Vivian, too, and said my goodbyes (good grief!) to Taro, who's going to the great scratching post in the sky, I'm afraid.  He was a very pretty cat, half Persian or something, and is 17, but now has kidney disease and must die.  Vivian, so creative, made a "memorial wall" for him, having each member of the family write about Taro.
The cast party last night was somewhat of a dud.  I got there at 7:00, at the same time Joey and his Dad did.  I was disappointed at the small number of attendees. Only about eight showed up, and that didn't include those I particularly wanted to see: Neil and Judi, Rick, and Chris, the other auntie.   There was food enough for at least fifty and the booze would have filled an Atlantic City bar. 
Eric came, though, and it was nice to chat with him.  Good thing I told him Aline and I were planning to go to Freehold in April to see him in Laughter on the Thirty-Fifth Floor.  He told me he had withdrawn from the show because it was running for fifteen days and other three weekends and he just wasn't able to commit to that.  He's a funeral director and, I guess, has a lot of business on weekends.  
Stacey presented each of us with an Arsenic And Old Lace tee shirt.  It has an house and several of the characters pictured on the front and the cast list on the back.  I was thrilled with it and will take to California.
I left at 9:00 and actually could have walked this morning, but gave myself a pass, lazy lady that I am.  I want to leave for Absecon Island early--P & P starts at 11:00 this time, as Linda's play will be put on at 3:00--to get the salt water taffy I promised I would for Mike and for Susan.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Slow Day

Wrapped and addressed the Easter presents for the boys.  Put my new solar "spotlight in a stone" out and I just looked to see if it's working.  It is, even though it didn't get the required eight hours of sunlight yesterday.  Good.  I bought one for Susan, too, as it's her birthday tomorrow.
Put lentils in the crock pot along with tomato juice, onions, celery and spices.  Wasn't sure if it would turn out to be soup or stew.  It got pretty thick, so I deem it stew.  Also put Brussels sprouts in smaller slow cooker and added some Parmesan cheese.  Yum.
Talked to Betty and did stuff on the computer.  Went to Manahawkin for a few items.  Aside from that, not much.
Picking Aline up for brunch at 10:00.  Cast party for Arsenic is tonight.  Hope I can remember where and how to get there.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lunch and Fallujah

Called Aline to see if she was available for lunch, but she was going in early to the library.  We made a date for brunch tomorrow.  Called Leslie to ask the same and yes, she was.  Picked her up at noon and went to SeaOaks, where we had a leisurely meal (split pea soup and turkey sandwich) and good talk.  Les is one of the few people with whom I can talk intelligently about pacifism.  Hers stems from her religion (Mennonite), mine simply from reason and compassion, I guess.
WIDER:  It's amazing how people look at me as if I have two heads when I suggest that maybe we shouldn't be so worshipful of the military and give such blind allegiance to the political whores and media hacks who have helped bring such misery to so many.
Oh, speaking of two heads, I saw pictures of deformed Iraqi babies yesterday and understand that some have indeed, been born with two heads.  There are also much higher rates of still births there, as well as cancer and other illnesses, more than would have occurred without the war.  These are the results of the depleted uranium we've dumped on Fallujah, in particular.  At the museum in Vietnam, I saw similar pictures of deformed children, now adults if they lived that long.  For them, it was the Agent Orange thing.  And so we stride through the world on our god-given mission, bringing democracy to all, even if they're backward enough not to appreciate it.  But hey, the horror is worth it, isn't it, for such a glorious cause?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pleasant

It turned out to be a very pleasant day.  I started Turbo Tax and I guess will be able to do it, although I had to call Vanguard to find out if "dividends" mean interest I earned, and some other terms foreign to me.
My friend, Tonya N., put on Facebook that husband Bob was flying into Atlantic City Airport and would anybody be able to pick him up at 5:15?  She had a meeting and daughter Emma had a softball game (high school).  Figuring I was meeting Betty for lunch on Jimmie Leeds Road, I said I'd be glad to get Bob.
Met Betty at noon and we had a nice, leisurely lunch.  Went from there to Bed, Bath & Beyond to get a birthday present for Susan and a garlic press for myself.  Got her a solar "spotlight" set in a pretend stone--looks intriguing and I got one for me.
Went from there to the dollar store in the Target shopping center, then to Produce Junction.  While I was driving there, Tonya called to say her meeting was cancelled, so she could pick Bob up herself. No prob--I went on to the P.J. and got tomatoes, lettuce, and mushrooms, then to the sixty-nine cent store for napkins.
Stopped at the cemetery and cleared off some leaves from the grave.  Fell into conversation with a man doing the same on his wife's grave.  Lo and behold, he was from Chelsea Heights, went to Star, and to Holy Spirit, graduating in 1958.  His name is Gerald Michael and I enjoyed talking to him.
Went full-circle by driving back to Jimmie Leeds Road for feta and Brussels sprouts at Santori's, then finally ended my excursions and got home about 5:00.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Catching Up

Catching up day.  I was glad to get some down time and didn't even go out except for a short run to Acme and the library. 
The major project was my play, Telephone #3, which I finished, barring a bit of tweaking.  I submitted number one at Players & Playwrights a few months ago, and it was read, but I wasn't entirely happy about it.  I decided to jettison number two.  The ending is just too predictable; may work on it later and re-shape. 
Anyway, I'm pretty happy with the result of number three.  Our leader in P & P, John, is calling for submissions for our June show, so I think I'll submit that.
Also did some domestic chores AND--lest anyone thinks I've turned into a nose-to-the-grindstone-type--played a few hours of my newest hidden object game.  Now I have to re-tackle the income tax, which I hope to do myself this year with Turbo Tax.
Meeting Betty for lunch at Italian Gourmet.       

Monday, March 18, 2013

Good One

Another good one.  Went across to Susan's at 10:00 and we met her ex-husband's second wife, Joanne M., at Smithville Inn for brunch.  What an incredible buffet they present--every possible breakfast and lunch food, as well as an attractive venue with views.  Joanne absolutely insisted on grabbing the check, so I'm not sure how much it is.
Joanne is an interesting person to know and she and Susan have been friends since Joanne married Chuck.  (He died several years ago.)  She works at a Catholic church in Marmora and has an intense interest in "Happy Home," an orphanage for girls in India.  It seems the priest in her parish had founded it.  Joanne has been there and brought pictures.  I was enthralled by both, as India is a place I've always wanted to go. 
Susan gave us each a "Dammit Doll," goofy stuffed figures with a verse saying you're supposed to "slam it" and say "dammit!" when you get mad.  Very funny and we both enjoyed it.  Joanne gave Susan and me beautiful orchids.  I was slightly--but only slightly--embarrassed that I didn't give them anything.  However, we decided we'll make this a regular thing and in a month or two, I'll host the two of them at the Tuckahoe Inn.
Didn't get home until after 1:00 and just puttered around until I left at 4:30 to meet Larry and Betty for dinner at Red Lobster.  I was still pretty stuffed from brunch, but managed to put away salmon and string beans.
I presented Larry with an HSHS 1950 yearbook, the year he graduated, which he had never had.  It had been Pat's, but he didn't graduate until the next year, and I have his, so I saw no reason not to give it to Larry.  He was very appreciative and we had a great time talking and laughing.
I hate to drive at night--I think every mature person does--but made it home with no problem and had my weekly Skype call from Ellen.  I'll see her in two weeks--yay!   

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Funtastic

A funtastic day.  Betty called about 7:30 to tell me Larry had landed and would I like to meet the two of them and Muckie for brunch at the Northfield Diner?
Sure thing.  We had a good breakfast--I actually ordered scrapple* with my scrambled eggs--and a good visit.  We then went to Betty's, enjoyed more talk for a few hours.  The walkers, Larry and I, decided to take a turn on the boardwalk, which we did on a blustery day.  We just went the few blocks to Rosborough* Avenue, then Larry suggested we go back on the street from there.  When we got to fifteen south, our old homestead, I mentioned that I knew Dee, the present owner, and would Larry like to see if she's home and if we could step in?  Yes, she was, and we did.
As it turned out, Dee had a houseful of relatives who were having lunch, but she was absolutely delighted to see us and to meet Larry.  We didn't stay long and went upstairs for just a few minutes, chatted with Dee (who, true to form, kept urging us to stay and have a bite) and her daughter, then said goodbye.
Muckie had left when we got back to Betty's, Larry called Jack B., and I invited the three of them to dinner.   Stopped at Acme and got a vacuum-packed fresh pork loin, broccoli,  baking potatoes, and cake for dessert.  I had to hustle to clean up the place a bit, prepare the food, set the table, and so on, but I finished just as Jack rang the doorbell at 5:30.  Betty and Larry came in a few minutes after.
What a great time we had!  The dinner was delish, if I say it myself, and of course, the talk was even better.  Larry and Jack have been friends since babyhood, which means that Betty and I go back a stretch with him, too.  We had a ball and they stayed until after 9:00.
I can never go to bed without cleaning up after company, and I did that.  Filled the dishwasher and washed a number of things by hand.  Had my popcorn and wine and went happily to bed.
Before Betty and Larry left, we made a date to go to dinner at Red Lobster tonight.  I'm also going to brunch today at Smithville Inn with Susan and her ex-husband's second wife.   Should be another enjoyable day.
*Heh, heh.  Spellcheck doesn't recognize either "scrapple" OR "Rosborough."  Illiterate teckies.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Full Day

     A good, full day.  Left for points south at 11:00 so I could stop at Canal's and replenish the wine cellar (rack).  Found some good, inexpensive Chardonnays.  Got to the Margate Library before the 1:00 start time for the FELS meeting to find only three other class members there, along with leader Rachel K.
     I had read over the two plays I thought we were doing--A Happy Journey, by Thornton Wilder and Here We Are, by Dorothy Parker, but found I was mistaken about Parker's--we were actually doing The Dream Maker, by Somebody or Other.
     I find listening to others read plays pretty boring unless the readers are very good actors and these aren't.  However,  I got a major part in the second play, so it wasn't bad.  Rachel was her usual inane, exasperating self, but also oddly appealing in a masochistic sort of way.  She's so awful you can't help feeling sorry for her.
     I asked her to read the script Golden Age, that my niece-in-law, Robyn, and sent me, and left it with her.  This was written by a friend of hers and whether it's performance worthy is anybody's guess.  It's 92 pages long and I found it hard to get through.  Got an e-mail from Rachel this morning saying it didn't speak to her or something.  I'll talk to John P., our leader in Players & Playwrights to see if he might be able to suggest something.      
     We ended about 3:15 and I zipped up to Betty's.  We chatted a bit, then took off for Applebee's in Somers Point where we met Muckie for dinner.  Enjoyed both of them and the lemon Parmesan chicken I had.
     Back in God's country (Ocean County), I went directly to the clubhouse for the Sunrise Bay Singers' St. Patrick's Day program.  Very enjoyable and fun to be among friends.  I was surprised and gratified that several people I barely know came up and said how much they liked my performance in Arsenic.  Thanking them, I came across as modest, I hope, but in fact, I eat that stuff up.  Any performer who says he or she doesn't, is lying in their greasepaint.
     Home a bit after 8:00 and watched another segment of The English Patient, about which I had been enthralled.  That's ebbing, though, and I'll watch the rest tonight, then return it to the library.
     Brother Larry is due to blow in from Florida today.  He'll stay at Betty's this time and they'll call me when he gets there.      

Friday, March 15, 2013

This And That

Just various this and that.  Talked to Betty.  I'll attend the FELS (readers' theatre) group in Margate this afternoon, then stop at her place, as brother Larry from Florida is coming north.  Neither of us could remember if he'd be in today or tomorrow.
Barb H. asked if I wanted to go on a van tour on May 30 and I signed up for it.  She asked Susan, too.  These trips are fun--this one is on "The Patterned Brick Buildings of Salem County."  It seems that in the late 17th and early 18th century, brick was used to numerals, initials, and more intricate patterns on houses.  Should be interesting and I can't even remember ever being up in Salem County. The van holds only 14 people and the annoying thing is, you have to sign up so far ahead of time, otherwise, you'll be out of luck.
My niece-in-law, Robyn, sent me the play by her friend, Tom, which she had mentioned some time ago.  It's 94 pages long and I haven't had a chance to read it yet.  Printed it out and will take with me to the FELS group today.  I'll see if it can get a reading either there or at Players And Playwrights.  Read the first few pages and it looks pretty funny.
High point of the day was meeting a certain someone for late lunch/early dinner (3:15) at good ol' Dynasty Diner.  Along with pea soup, we had a good time together.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lull

A lull of a day.  Susan was going on a hike, so didn't walk in the morning and neither did I.  I had intended to go with her on this one, but decided against it, as my foot is again a little sore. Darn, maybe the callus has grown back. 
Finished and dropped off at the subject's house a "Blowin' in the Wind" piece for the April Breeze.  This one, unlike so many of my other, could stand to be padded a bit--it's very short. 
Went to Shop-Rite and a few other places in Manahawkin for groceries and stuff.  Made a date to go to early dinner today.  Did a few household chores, but essentially, it was a nothin' day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lunch

Attended the R.H. meeting, then drove to Italian Gourmet through a heavy rain.  There were eight of us and it was a nice, convivial lunch.  We happened to have the same waiter, "Dan," Betty and I did when we were there on Saturday--nice kid.
I had intended to stay in Atlantic County and go the Canal's and Produce Junction, or even drive down to Betty's in Ventnor.  However, the rain was so intense and the wind so strong, I decided to can it and go home.  Had to stop first at the post office and even going from the parking lot inside got me drenched.
Spent much of the rest of the day writing up the Eunice B. profile, which isn't going to be much.  She was so reticent it was hard to get anything of great interest out of her.  Oh, well, these are puff pieces anyway.
  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

This And That

Picked up Aline for the 1:00 Bay-Atlantic Symphony lecture at the library.  I had mentioned it to Susan during our walk, thinking she might enjoy it and she did, indeed, show up.  This session was on music inspired by "epics, sagas, fairy tales, legends, and folk heroes" and was totally absorbing.  A. and I had to leave early, though, as she had to be at work at 3:00 and wanted to get on the computer beforehand.  Dropped her off in Manahawkin,  then just had time to get to my interview for The Breeze with Eunice B.
Eunice is a mild, soft-spoken elderly lady whose daughter, Diane, lives with her temporarily, as her house in Ventnor was damaged by the hurricane.  However, Eunice said Diane "doesn't want publicity."  I'm not sure if that means they don't want me to mention her at all, or what.  Well, I always give profiles to their subjects to check for errors before I submit, so I'll mention Diane and they can strike it if they want to.
Got home just in time for a welcome call from my dear friend, Marge D.  Her sinus problem has improved slightly, I was glad to hear, and we had a good long chat.  Shortly after we hung up, she called back to ask if I wanted a pile of old scripts from the now-defunct Sunrise Bay Drama Club, which she had founded.  I was an enthusiastic member of the group for several years and yes, I'd love to have the scripts.  Went over to pick them up and will go through them to see if I can possibly use anything--or just for reasons of nostalgia.
Lunch with the R.H.'ers today.    

Monday, March 11, 2013

Show And Takeout

The first day of DST, I managed to pick up Susan for our walk at 7 (really 6, I kept thinking).  Stopped for Aline at 11:30 and we drove to LBI for lunch at Buckalew's (Caesar salad for both of us and a Blue Moon for me), then went to Surflight.  Got good fifth row center seats and settled down to see  The First Five Years.
It proved to be a short, one-act, two-character play, with no spoken dialogue, all sung.  The young man and woman were superb and it was great fun to see and hear.  I saw and chatted with Bruce S. and Sherry S., formerly husband and wife, now friends.  Sherry founded Our Gang Players thirty-six years ago and Bruce played Rev. Harper and Mr. Gibbs--badly--in Arsenic and Old Lace. 
We enjoyed the show a lot--it lasted only an hour and a half--then strolled down to view the ocean.  Also drove down to the southern end of the island, where there's still a lot of debris and sand.  It's going to be a long time before the place recovers completely, if it ever does.
A. got a call on our way home from her sister, Susan, asking if we wanted to come to their next-door neighbor's for Chinese takeout.  I was invited and was happy to accept.  I know Diane, the neighbor, and have met the other woman who was there, Ann.
They're nice enough people, all from Brooklyn, I guess, and they welcomed me.  We talked about various inconsequential things, then Diane took orders, called for the food, and collected our six bucks each.  It was pretty good--nobody in China would recognize it, of course--and it was a pleasant enough evening.
But I always feel like a alien among the earthlings in situations like that.  We seemed to have no possible way to actually communicate with each other in anything but the code of strangers.  Television, bad knees, and talk of the past dominated the conversation and it was inexpressibly boring.  I probably bored the hell out of them, too.  Aline and I have a strong intellectual rapport, but there's no way in the world I could ever bond with the others except in the most superficial way. 
Not their fault and not mine.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lunch and Health Care

Met Betty for lunch at Italian Gourmet in Galloway.  Stopped before at Santori's for veggies and after at Shop-Rite for other stuff.  Really didn't do much else productive except gather some things to leave out for "Big Sister's."  I had been called more than a week ago and had almost forgotten about it.  Didn't really think the stuff would be picked up, but I left it on the curb and it was.
Today should be livelier: Aline and I are going to Surflight to see The Last Five Years.
Wider:  Frank D. forwarded this horror story about medical costs in the U.S., something everybody should read, it seems to me.  It's an eye-opener--and not in a good way.
   http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Dominoes

Continued--to an extent--my clean-up, clear-out campaign.  Finally pulled together the papers from my paid gig for Surflight in October and sent them off with an explanatory letter.  Went to B & B for oranges, lettuce, and peppers and stir-fired the last in olive oil with onions and garlic; had that for dinner.
Strolled next door for dominoes at 7:00.  The M.'s didn't come, but the H.'s and R.'s were there, along with Frank and Barbara, and the seven of us had a fine, convivial time.  Incredibly, I didn't walk back in my door until 12:05--dirty stay-out!  We laughed, talked, and played--I actually won a round, proving wonders will never cease in Little Egg Harbor.  We discussed hurricane Sandy, the effects of which will be felt around here for years to come, as well as health care and family matters. 
How good it always is to be with such friends, now of fairly long standing--ten years in September.  I again realized that our move to Sunrise Bay was one of the best of Pat's and my lives.  If I ever forget that, or fail to fully appreciate it, somebody should kick me in the nether regions.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Fabulous

The show last night was fabulous.  It's hard to believe this Les Miserables was a high school production--it sure wasn't like any Holy Spirit play in which I appeared.  The singers--and it's an operetta, so there's no spoken dialogue--must have all been classically trained, especially the young man who had the lead.  He was very heavy, certainly a hundred pounds overweight, but his voice was incredible.  Aside from the musical part, the set was wonderful: minimalist, but strongly evocative of the theme and the era.  There was a huge cast--schools, of course, have a lot of fodder to call on--all of whom were appropriately costumed and all of whom actually acted their parts properly.  Aline had seen it on stage before and had seen the (augmented) movie with Hugh Jackman, so she was familiar with all the songs.  She thought it was  beautifully staged and that the student voices were wonderful.
Saw Julie S. and Tonya there and after, we were greeted with a hug by the latter's darling laughter, Emma, a senior there and a favorite of mine.  Chatted with her for a bit, congratulated the performers, and left happy.  Before we parted, A. and I made a date to go to the Sunday matinee of the musical, The Last Five Years, at Surflight, with lunch beforehand, of course.
Earlier, I finally accomplished a lot of the chores I had left hanging for days, if not weeks: changed the linens in the guest room, did lots of wash, hung up my Arsenic costumes (we're waiting for a call to tell us when we can get into the costume place to take them back), went through a bunch of papers and threw some out, assembled income tax stuff, and otherwise got at least a few things ship-shape--or maybe you'd call it, "rowboat-ready."
Dominoes at the D.'s tonight.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Running Around And Rain

Lots of errand running yesterday, which included getting a BP med refill, taking back a purchase, buying butter spray, bread, and shrimp, picking up a requested book at the library, and mailing off a missile at the P.O.  Most of this was in Manahawkin, some in Little Egg, and all took place during a ferocious wind and driving rain.
Made it, though, and got home to put together a big salad for lunch.  Also enjoyed some of the ratatouille (my version) I made the other day.  Placed and received calls from Aline, Betty, Frank Next-Door (as opposed to brother Frank), Julie S., and Jeanne S.  Jeanne and I made a date to attend auditions at Surflight on Saturday.  It's an all-day thing, and now I'm wondering whether it even makes sense for me.  I want to try out for Our Town, which is a Surflight production (but not until September) and I'm not sure, but I think this is an Our Gang Players affair.  Well, I told Jeanne I'd pick her up, as she just had a hip replaced, but it may be a wasted day.  It's from 10 am to 6 pm and after, we decided we'd attend The Last Five Years (OGP), which starts at 7:00.
 Electricity went out about 2:30, very annoying, but I have plenty of battery-operated lanterns and flashlights, plus that "headlight" I bought during the last big storm.
Attending Les Mis with Aline at Pinelands Regional tonight. I wonder if I'm the only one on the planet who has actually read the book...

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Flower Show

The flower show was great fun.  Strolled the thirty feet or so down to Barb H.'s at 7:15 to find Leslie already there--well, she lives closer, right next door.  We picked up Pat G., Barb's sister, and got to Bob's Garden Center in time to have coffee and Danish and look around the store.  I picked up two little items for V. and V. from the vast display of Easter gifts.  The two buses left promptly at 8:00.  It was cold, but brilliantly sunlit and I had fine time talking with Les. 
We pulled in less than an hour later, along with what seemed the rest of the  population of the eastern seaboard, female, long-in-the-tooth variety.  Went across to Reading Terminal and had huge breakfasts of egg, sausage, and cheese on a roll, along with coffee.
Spent the rest of the day seeing as much as possible at the flower show.  (The theme--English gardens--struck a chord with me for some reason.)  Like a jerk, I hadn't brought my camera, assuming some of the others would take pictures with their phones (mine doesn't).  However, none of them knew how.  I want to write up a little piece for The Breeze, so I'll take a pic later and work in in somehow.
Anyway, Barb and Pat and Les and I paired up and agreed to meet back at the entrances, which we did, five hours later.  We were all still filled from the enormous breakfast, but went across to the terminal for smoothies, which just hit the spot.
Got back to Bob's about 5:30 and home a half hour after that.  Lovely day and lovely excursion and now the storm that had threatened snow is delivering high winds and rain--hey, that's a better outcome in my book.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Interesting Day

An interesting day, if bitter sweet.  I called the hospital (Southern Ocean Community Hospital or "SOCH") about 7:30 when I got home from our walk.  Found that Libby is indeed under hospice care as a patient there.  Decided I'd go see her in the afternoon. Sent Pat L., a close friend of hers, an e-mail telling her that and asking if she'd like to come along.
Went to exercise at 9:00 and Barb H. asked me the latest on Libby (a report that she died on Friday had circulated).  I told her she was still kicking and did Barb want to come with me to see her?  She did. Home, I got a call from Pat L., thanking me for asking her, but she had some errands to run and would go see Libby later.
Continuing my current mania (how long will it last?  Nobody knows.) for stewing vegetables, I cut up mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions, added olive oil, tomato juice, and seasonings, and left all to simmer in the crock pots.
Picked Barb up at 12:30 and off we went to SOCH.  We were both unsure on what we'd find.  I guess we thought poor Libby would be dozing, perhaps under heavy mediation, and more or less incommunicado.
We walked into the room--just an ordinary hospital room, as they don't have a hospice ward, but private.  There we saw Libby sitting up in bed, talking and laughing with four of her relatives and eating a bowl of Jello. 
Mind you, she's fearfully altered.  Her hair is completely gone (she had a scarf on her head) and she's so thin it seemed almost possible to see right through her.  However, she was in rare form and was obviously delighted to see us.
In another ten minutes or so, Carl and Maureen K. came in, so now there were eight people crowded into the room.  Maureen herself was recently diagnosed with colon cancer and will start chemo tomorrow.  It occurred to me that Libby would probably prefer to be in Maureen's situation and Maureen in ours.  (In the land of the blind...and so on.)
We stayed only another ten minutes--we didn't want Libby to die of exhaustion, either--and said goodbye.  Stopped at B.J.'s and Barb and I got a few items, then home.
I was pleased that my crock pot concoction--a ratatouille, I guess you'd call it--turned out to be delicious.  Had a bowlful for dinner.
Went to LETCO last night with Frank.  It looks like a funny show--very impressionistic and with intricate entrances and exits, as well as prop and costume changes.  Not sure yet what I'll be working on.
In another hour and a half, we leave for the Philadelphia Flower show.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Slow Day

During our walk, Susan and I met up with Carl K., who also walks every morning.  He told us that Libby B. had died.  I knew she had stage 4 cancer, but as ever, I hate to get such news...
...However: this morning, I got an e-mail from another neighbor saying Libby was in hospice care at SOCH and would enjoy visitors.  I hope so much that's true.  I'll call the hospital and if so, will visit her today. 
Libby's husband had had some mysterious condition that paralyzed his legs and I lent them Pat's walker.  Libby, a champion knitter, made me a wonderful long white scarf, which I wear everyday during our walk. The husband died a year or so after Pat did. 
Got a call from brother Larry (Florida) and we had a long, long conversation.  He's coming north in a few weeks and I'll be glad to see him.
Did a lot of slicing, dicing and chopping, making Brussels sprouts in the crock pot, sweet potatoes in the oven, broccoli in the microwave and a big salad just in a bowl.  Now I have a goodly amount of veggies to eat for the next few days. 
Finally pulled together info on my Dionne Quintuplet program and sent to the HOA director in Barnegat. We'll see if she wants to have me do it--and pay me, to boot.
Took a drive late in the day just to get out of the house, but didn't go far.  I have a busy week coming up, so these slow days are okay occasionally, I guess, but I wouldn't want to make a habit of them.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Sauce

Sorry to say, Susan's ex-husband's second wife has the flu, so we postponed our lunch date to the seventeenth.  Skyped Mike and chatted with him and my two adorable granddaughters.  Talked to Betty early and tidied up a few things, then, having found the receipt for the two books I wanted to take back, went to Bam! and returned them.  Stopped at a produce place on the Black Horse Pike nearby and got two pounds of tomatoes, broccoli, and butternut squash.  When I was almost home, I decided to make batch of tomato sauce and, as my recipe calls for four pounds, stopped at Acme to get another two pounds.
Home, I cut up the tomatoes, onions, garlic, put them together with olive oil and spices, and simmered for two hours.  Had the result over pasta for dinner and if I say it myself--oh, yeah!  It made quite a bit and I froze the rest.
Other than that, not much happening in this neck of the woods.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Neat Day

Turned out to be a neat day.  During our walk, Susan invited me to go with her to the Smithville Inn for lunch on Sunday, where we'll meet her ex-husband's second wife, with whom she's very friendly.  (Well, why not?  The guy died several years ago and whatever problems they had are, presumably, forgotten.  She has Walter now, anyway.)  I've met Joanne and like her, so of course, I accepted.
Aline and I had decided we'd go out for breakfast, rather than lunch and I picked her up at 9:00. We zipped over to BAM!, the bookstore, where I had planned to return two books I had gotten for my granddaughters.  Had taken them to the post office before wrapping and discovered the postage would be more than twice their cost.  Damn, I didn't have the receipt and they wouldn't refund.  Oh, well, I thought.
We went to Shore Diner for breakfast and had scrambled eggs, toast, and excellent coffee.  From there, we stopped at Produce Junction--oh, I was sorely tempted by the beautiful mums, orchids, and other flowers, but I had bought new before my company came the other day, and refrained from more.
We planned to stop at the Little Egg Library next and when we did, discovered the movie Perils of a Wallflower was showing at noon, free of charge, of course.  We decided to go and did.  Movie was fair and a nice enough way to spend a gloomy Friday, but certainly not terrific. 
After, I left Aline there while I went to the cleaners to pick up the "mourning dress" I had wore in Arsenic.  Cost me $12.50 and I hope Our Gang appreciates it.  By the time I got back for Aline, she was finished her computer work and I took her home.  She's going back to Manhattan for the weekend and I'm going to Smithville on Sunday, but we made a date to see Les Miserables at Pinelands Regional on Thursday.  Very nice day.
And to top it off, I found my receipt for the books.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Close To Home

Stayed pretty close to home and got a few hanging chores done.  I actually cleared out the top drawer of my desk, discarding about a ton of paper and putting checkbooks, receipts, stamps and other mailing items in order.  That took all morning and part of the afternoon.
Called Marge to learn her sinusitis is worse than ever; she was on her way to the doctor's soon after we spoke.  Talked to Frank-Next-Door and we'll go together to the LETCO production meeting on Monday.  Betty called and I called Aline to see if she wanted to go with me to Bam! to return something.  She did and we decided I'd pick her up a 9:00 today and we'd go for brunch first.
Late in the day, I did run over to K-Mart for shoe laces.  Finally found forty-inch ones, but they're not as nice as the 45-inch I have in already--oh, it's tough to have so many serious problems in life!
Stir-fried the onions, peppers, mushroom, and garlic I had cut up earlier.  Added chicken to one batch, "hamburger" (Morningstar Farms, so it's vegetarian) to the other, and divided them up into four portions.  Had one for dinner and it was yummy.