Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Home Again

Back from Wellsboro after Friday to Monday helping out and boy, this wasn't any vacation.  We cleared out and cleaned out the "old" house ten miles out in the country, and helped do same to the new, in town.
It's small, but has real potential and is in a great location.  High up on a hill, it commands a view of the town below--beautiful especially at night--and has a big, fenced-in backyard and huge garage.  It's just two doors away from little J.'s school; next year, the other J. will go there, too.  As for the two little ones, their school is only about a half mile away,  as opposed to twelve or so when they lived in Middlebury Center.  The house does need work and it's small, with only one bathroom.  But it has a basement (cellar), attic (low until the middle), very large garage, and nice wrap-around porch on the side and back.
Anyway, we packed furniture, tools, and other necessities into a large open trailer, attached it to the van, and got there after the five-hour trip without incident about 8 pm. It was lovely to see the boys--such neat kids--and we collectively got a lot done at both houses over the several days we were there. 
When we arrived, we found a young woman from Nebraska visiting, while the carpet layer put in the carpet, the dogs ran in and out, and all kinds of activity went on.  We out-of-towners stayed at our usual Canyon Motel, although we didn't spend much time there.  We spent most of Saturday at the old house and were thrilled when little Tristan came out of the chicken coop with a huge egg for us.  In fact, there were dozens of eggs in the refrigerator and I intended to take some home.  I'm so darn mad that I just forgot to get them; I was going to give some to Betty, Susan, and Aline, whom I'm meeting for lunch today.  As for the chickens, they were given away, some to the landlord farmer and some animal shelter.
Got home about 4:30 yesterday and picked up my mail and papers at Susan's.  She was making a new dish--vegetarian Mexican--and invited me to dinner.  Oh, yeah, sure thing, and I went home just long enough to shower and change, then hopped over there and we had a nice meal and chat.
Now I'm back and catching up on mail, e- and snail, and newspapers.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Law, Wellsboro, And Due Process

Good grief, I'm a felon! 
Or something.  I got a "Notice of Enforcement Action" from the law demanding $51.50 for--they allege--going through the E-Z Pass lane on the parkway without paying the $1.50 due.  (I don't even have E-Z Pass.)  How could I have done this?  Yes, I was in the area--it was the day after I got back from California and I was in Toms River to the Pinelands affair at which my son-in-law spoke.  Just don't remember any such violation and I sure as heck didn't do it on purpose.
Moving right along: Zipped over to Produce Junction and got veggies, as well as a pretty hydrangea plant for the kids in Wellsboro; will add a card and some dough, of course.  Stopped at Bam!, wanting to get the book I'm Five for precious little Violet, who will be just that in July, but they didn't have it.  Must look at Amazon.
Home, I chopped a lot to make stir-fry for my dinner guest.  She came and we had a nice visit. I'm leaving for up north at noon, then we go to the real north in upstate Pennsy.  Can't wait to see the kids, the newly bought house, and even the two newly acquired doggies.
WIDER:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/officials-boston-suspect-had-no-firearm-when-barrage-of-bullets-hit-hiding-place/2013/04/24/376fc8a0-ad18-11e2-a8b9-2a63d75b5459_story.html
The new "law enforcement" mantra: If a suspect is a suspect, he's guilty as charged.  That silly, old-fashioned idea of "poo drocess"--or whatever--can be ignored.  Don't bother to try to capture, just shoot to kill as they did that former cop in California, not to mention bin Laden and the American cleric--oh, and his teenaged son, too, who must be guilty of something--he's a family member, isn't he?  As for racking up a big score offing those kids overseas, hey, they'd grow up to be terrorists, so might as well get 'em while they're young.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The End of the Affair

I think the love affair between Mastercraft Auto and me is over.  Took my car in because the brake light showed red and had it fixed to the tune of $560.  After paying the bill, I stopped at Parkertown Auto and after examining the breakdown of charges, the guy there told me I paid about $190 more than I had to.  So long, Mastercraft.  I patronized you because you had designer coffee in the waiting room, but you did me wrong, and we've come to the end.
Called my friend, Elva B., who she owns an art gallery in Lambertville; asked if she could advise me about getting the two large antique photos copied.  She suggested calling art galleries to see who they used for making prints of paintings.  Good idea and I drove over to LBI to see if I could find a gallery open.  However, they're still in the winter mindset there and the whole island was practically deserted, so no luck.
Made a big stir-fry for dinner and will do the same tonight, as I'm having company for an early dinner.  Must pack for going to Wellsboro tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lunch And Television

I was unable to open the pdf document with The Breeze proofs from editor Virginia, so had to go over to Susan's and look at them on her computer.  Also, my unread e-mail had formerly appeared in bold and now all my mail does.  There are a few other minor quirks still present, too.  Not sure if they're worth trying to fix or not.
Picked Aline up at our usual 12:30 and we went to the new El Rancho Mexican restaurant.  I had questadillas (can't spell it and Spellcheck is stumped, too) and cheesy broccoli soup, she an assortment of tacos with refried beans and other sides.  They were both very good and I appreciated the fact mine wasn't spicy.  Warning, rant ahead:
We walked in to the blare of a television set.  Why--WHY??--are people  subjected to this everywhere they go?  You go out to eat and can't hear your companion talk over the noise.  You stop in on a friend and have to compete with it.  You go to the doctor and get even sicker.  It's hard to find anybody actually watching the damn thing when you're out in public and I can't imagine anybody in a restaurant closely following a simple-minded program or the latest "news" (read "entertainment"), such as the Boston horror, such fun for those indulging their sick voyeurism.  One of the many reasons I like Italian Gourmet is that, at least in the  main dining room, they don't have television sets.  I asked the nice young woman waitress at El Rancho if the thing could be turned down and she, sweet thing, asked if I'd like it turned off.  Yes!  And she obliged and it died and we had a lovely meal and good talk.
Aline mentioned she'd like to get to Wal-Mart, so we drove up to Manahawkin.  She was delighted she was able to pick up a number of needed items and I got make-up and a few other things.
Home about 4:00 after a very pleasant day.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lunch and No Dinner

With the help of neighbor, son, and daughter, my computer graphics are almost back to normal, but not quite.  For instance, new e-mails used to show up in bolder type than those read, and now they don't.  Oh, well, guess I can live with it.
Got to the FELS (Friends of Encore Learning at Stockton) a few minutes early.  Never thought to ask if others in my FELS group would be there, but was pleased to see Louise, Bernice, Lynne, and Mary Jo, as well as Rachel.  Gave the appropriate program person my proposal (I love alliteration!) and had a nice lunch.  I noticed a white-haired little old lady in a 1970s pants suit at a nearby table and assumed she was somebody's mother from the sticks.  Turned out she's the chief executive officer, External Affairs and Institutional Research and was the guest speaker. 
Stopped in to say hello to Betty, then went on home.  Tidied myself up and got to the Olive Garden a bit early for Vivian's and my 6:30 date.  Waited for her...and waited...and waited....  After calling her and leaving a  message, I finally left.  When I got home, I called again.  Discovered she didn't think I had accepted her invitation for dinner because although I thought I had e-mailed her back confirming, she never got it.  I checked and it wasn't in my "sent" folder, so clearly I never sent it.  Dang!  Well, I e-mailed her with an apology, and I hope we can try again.
Lunch with Aline today.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Computer Disaster

Oh, woe is me!  I somehow screwed up my graphics while loading a hidden object game and it isn't quite back to normal yet.  Pictures and text suddenly became so huge that a corner of them filled the screen.  Because it's hard to explain clearly exactly the problem, I asked Walter to come over and he was able to modify it a bit so I could at least see it.  However, he has a MAC and seemed unsure about the P.C.  Later got help from darling daughter, Ellen, so it's now readable, but there's no question it isn't as it was.  I know, I know that you can change text size and so on, but I'm convinced that's not the problem--that it's a basic, fundamental change needing some other adjustment.  P. and N. called on Skype before the catastrophe and I sent him an e-mail after asking for a team viewer consult, but I can live with the change for now.
Aside from all that, I spent most of the day in.  Modified my proposed FELS course to a new one to be called "Acting For Everyone," into which I'd incorporate both readings and critiques for those with no experience.  Sent it with my theatre resume to the the president of FELS and will take to the luncheon today.
Late in the day, drove to B.J.'s where I returned the bathing suit I bought last week.  Wanted a larger size, but they didn't have one.  Stopped at Bed, Bath 'N' Beyond and got the scarf hanger I had lusted after a few weeks ago. Need it like a hole in the head, but maybe it will provide the incentive to clean out my closet.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

P & P and Fiesta

E-mailed the person handling it to ask if I could attend the luncheon at the Crab Trap tomorrow, even though I was way late in responding.  She called  and said I could.  I intend to bring my theatrical resume and see if I could possibly take over the readers' group that Rachel now runs.  I'm also meeting Vivian for dinner tomorrow--prefer not to have two meals out in a day, but made an exception.
Our Players & Playwrights group met in the small library room, as librarians were having a session in the larger one.  Very close and hot, what with twenty people in a windowless space not much larger than my walk-in closet, but we managed.
John announced the selection committee's decisions about the plays accepted for our June show.  Two will be fully staged (that is, memorized and with props), the other five our usual "read" versions.  I was surprised and gratified to hear that two of mine made the latter cut: Hell On Wheels and Telephone.  Both are short, about ten minutes long, the first comedic and in rhymed couplets.  I definitely want to direct and now comes the hard part: choosing the actors. Three of the attendees immediately solicited me to pick them for a role--it's going to be tough.
I got to read a minor role yesterday; I was Dorothy, an African-American attorney on an airplane with a redneck pilot.  Sound pretty silly?  It was.  However, we had a good session.  John invited Dayle, Louise, and me to go to dinner, but I had the fiesta at 6:00 and D. and L. had commitments, so we made a date for after our May meeting.
Drove home, changed into the "lounging pajamas" I had worn in You Can't Take It With You and got to the clubhouse a bit after six.  Sat with Jack and Kathy D., Alice and Bill Somebody, and Phyllis T., Robert O., and Beverly D., all of whom are casual acquaintances and likable. 
The food, catered from the Mexican restaurant nearby, was delicious, games were fun, and all in all, I had a good time.  I did leave about 8:30-- dancing had started and that makes me feel melancholy.  What's funny about my reaction is that Pat never liked to dance anyway; I could drag him onto the floor when we were younger, but not after about fifty.  Even so, to see couples in warm embrace bothers me to an extent.  Besides, I had had a full day and was ready to go.
Nothing scheduled for today, which is fine by me. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

FELS Session

Left early for the FELS meeting, so I could stop at Produce Junction first.  The place was jammed, as I thought it would be, with people buying the beautiful and inexpensive flowers and plants they stocked.  I got only broccoli and mushrooms, as I'm planning to go again today.
This was the last meeting of the six or so sessions for FELS and it was kind of a "mixed" one.  Nine of the ten members attended and we first read  The Ugly Duckling, by A.A. Milne.  This is a cute little piece involving royalty, switched identity, and the obligatory happy ending.  Most of the players (I wasn't in this one) did a credible job and Bobbi has improved a lot.  Doris, however, is hopeless.  She reads--and it hasn't changed since day one--in a complete monotone, with no expression or emotion.
We were then inflicted with a long and tedious talk session led by Rachel, the facilitator, in her usual boring, long-winded, utterly nonsensical fashion.  This had to do with whether or not we would put on an actual readers' theatre for a paying--or not--audience.  I was there, I listened, but I'm not at all clear on the upshot. 
Finally, we got to Sorry, Wrong Number, a favorite of mine.  I played Mrs. Stevenson and did it with zest.  After all, I have experience--I was murdered twice before in a murder mystery and Night Must Fall.  Old (she's 88 and has a hip problem) Mary Jo played the operator and very well, too. 
I walked out with Louise, who is furious with Rachel, and no wonder, as  Rachel is constantly sniping at her: Yesterday, she kept telling Louise to raise her volume, although L. spoke with perfect clarity, as she always does.
Louise asked if Aline and I could get together with her on May fifteenth, just for fun.  Looks good to me and I'll mention it to Aline.
Talked to another member, Sondra, after that and found she's just as annoyed with Rachel as everybody else.  Sondra is also upset that she never seems to be picked for reading at Players & Playwrights; says she's dropping out of the group.
Got to Betty's a bit after 4:00 and she, Mary H., and I walked around the corner to Gino's for an early dinner.  I had a mediocre hamburger, but it was okay.  Left soon after and was home before 7:00.
Players & Playwrights By the Jersey Shore today.  I don't have a play to submit this time, but hope to be able to read for one.  Tonight is the Fiesta party at the clubhouse, so I'll go to that after I get back from Ventnor.    

Friday, April 19, 2013

Housework and Murder

Had my mammo appointment at at 7:00 and was home by quarter of eight.    I strongly recommend Atlantic Medical Imaging, not only because they get you in and out fast, but because I've always found the staff courteous and knowledgable..
Called Island Arts about the two vintage photos I want duplicated and was disappointed that they don't seem to be there anymore.  I was told the phone was not in service; guess I'll have to search out someplace in a big city.
Spent most of the day, incredibly, on housework.  Scrubbed the kitchen floor with the aid of the Floormaster, which I haven't used for years; just didn't feel like getting down on my hands and knees.  It did an okay job, I guess, but doesn't really get in the grooves.  One more time, I cursed the day we paid thousands extra to get a stone floor--it's so hard to clean.
Did a number of other household chores, but didn't break a sweat.  Read aloud and acted out all the characters in Sorry, Wrong Number, which we're doing today at our last FELS meeting. Boy, it's a terrific play and I'm going to beg, beg, beg Rachel to let me be Mrs. Stevenson. After all, I'm experienced--have been a murder victim three times before.
So-o-o, aside from piddling stuff, nothing interesting going on.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lunch And Exercise

Another goodie.  Thought I'd just be fiddling around, but Aline called early and, apologising profusely, said she had forgotten to tell me that exercise at Stafford Library had resumed.  She was working from 5:00 to 9:00, but  was going in for volunteer work early and would go to lunch at a Chinese restaurant nearby at 1:00.  Why didn't I join her?  Yes, why not?  And I did. 
First, I strolled three doors down to Leslie's to pick up my ticket for the Women's Club luncheon.  She invited me in and we had a nice chat. 
Met Aline at the restaurant for a tasty and inexpensive lunch, then stopped at B.J.'s for a few items.  I walked by a "slims you" (yeah, sure) bathing suit and bought it after ascertaining I could return it if it doesn't fit.  We then went to the "First Feet" exercise or whatever it's called, and enjoyed it, although the leader seems to rush it a bit.
Said goodbye to Aline, then stopped at Staples and found they can't copy the two old pictures I want done.  Went to A.C. Moore and the woman there said she was unable to, also.  However, she was very nice, very knowledgeable. and very helpful in directing me to Island Arts in Ship Bottom on LBI.
The two photos are formal ones of my father at college--Villanova--posing with his mates on the wrestling squad and the debating team.  My mother gave me these years ago and I have them in appropriate frames n the living room.  I conceived the idea of sending copies to my nephew, Patrick, as a thank-you for the wonderful time I had in Baltimore.
These are not, however, ordinary pictures.  They are vintage photographs, mounted by the studio on heavy, cardboard-like paper.  The pictures themselves are 10" by 13 1/2," but the boards they're on are several inches larger.  They may have been done by tintype, I was told, and It's beginning to dawn on me their duplication could cost big bucks. 
Must leave in a half hour for my mammogram appointment.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Full Day

Made an appointment for a 7 am mammogram tomorrow, then stopped at the Atlanticare office for the prescription.  I was told they had finally gotten a doctor again: William Berlin, M.D. will start in mid-June.  Looked him up and the only one with that name I could find is from New Mexico.  Okay, I have nothing against New Mexicans--or Mexicans, either. 
Picked Aline up at 12:30 and we went off to meet Betty for lunch at the Red Lobster in Mays Landing.  Had a tasty one--a "Bar Harbour salad" for me, plus a Samuel Adams--and good talk and laughs.  After, A. and I went to Bam! (that exclamation point annoys me as much as the "'R'" in "Toys 'R' Us"), where I got the $25 gift certificate for Anne Mary.  We then happily browsed the books.
Our next stop was Target.  I picked up some items for myself and with the help of a clerk, finally got Anne Mary's requested yogurt-covered blueberries.  Inexplicably, they're not in the dried fruit or snacks section, but at the end of the baking aisle.
From there we went to the cemetery, always a melancholy, but oddly agreeable activity.  I like to be with Aline or Leslie, in particular, because I consider both of them my soul mates in some fundamental way.  Must get out there to weed and plant before long. 
Next, we  stopped at the library for Aline to use the computer and I to pick up a book I had read about, The World Before Yesterday.  It was listed as "in," but couldn't be found--stolen?--so I had to request it.
By the time I dropped A. off, it was 5:30.  Walked down to Anne Mary's to give her the berries and gift card, which she promptly put in a note and gave to me.  I had suspected this was her intention and thanked her profusely.
Had the rest of my Bar Harbour salad for dinner.  Got a call from brother Jim, asking if my daughter had been running in Boston.  No, I'm glad to say, and how nice of him to call.
Another call was a surprise and very welcome.  It was from my St. James classmate of 60-some years ago, Elva B.  She said her sister, who lives in Northfield, had clipped and sent her my letter from last week to The Press of Atlantic City.  In it, I deplored the virtually universal tendency in the mass media to lament the loss of American lives in our wars, but to pay no attention to the death and destruction we bring to people in other countries.  Somewhat to my surprise, she strongly agreed.  We had a nice chat and I told her that one of these days, I'd drive up to her art gallery in Lambertville to see her.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Whatta Day

What a friggin' day.  I had no sooner entered my door after our walk (7:35 am) than Anne Mary called to ask if I had any time open in the morning.  I had only an eye doctor appointment scheduled and that was at 2:45, so agreed to take her to physical therapy.
What an ordeal.  It isn't far away, maybe three miles, but the time and effort involved in dealing with A.M. is prodigious.  Takes her an age to do anything and go anywhere and her incessant talking and bizarre ideas are wearying.  She was "signed off" (her words) by the surgeon to start driving on Sunday, but didn't, and now expressed the opinion the therapist has to "sign off" on the go-ahead, too.
She had said her appointment was at 11:00 because "you have to be there early to fill out papers" and that's when we arrived. The "papers" would have taken ten minutes to complete by a normal person, but it was probably 25 for her.  She questioned most of them, such as the scale from 1 to 10 if  you have pain--geez, you either have pain (she doesn't) or don't have pain.  And, of course, she demands a copy of every piece of paper that goes through her hands.  She also keeps books wherein she writes a synopsis of every doctor's, financial, and for all I know, trips to the bathroom to which she goes.
Anyway, what with her chatting up the long-suffering receptionist, then the obligatory stop at Wawa, I didn't get home until after 1:00.  Oh, and Anne Mary discovered I was going to Bam! bookstore and asked me to get her a gift certificate.  Okay, I will, but that's going to be the last for a while of my neighborly support. Nutty neighbor also asked if I'd be "near a Target," so I could pick up for her vanilla yogurt-covered blueberries (she's always very specific with no deviations  allowed).  Stopped there to get them before my doctor appointment, but couldn't find them.  Will try today.
Went to the eye doctor and was relieved to hear there's not much change, but was again, of course, urged to get cataracts removed.  I'm just so nervous about this, I want to postpone as long as possible.
Joe F. called in the evening with several changes he wants to the profile--a little annoying, considering all, but I'll do them and the hell with it.
Talked to Leslie and Betty.  Boston Marathon bombing is a horror, of course, but I can't help thinking of the bombings we inflict on others every single day.  Guess that put me in a gloomy mood, but I'm confident it will lift before long.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Profile and Pat R.

FINALLY got the profile on the F.'s done and it's not too shabby, if I say it myself.  Sent it off to Joe and Barbara, asking if they'd check for errors, as I always do.  I'm careful not to word my request anything like "see if this is all right," or "do you want to any changes in this?" because I'm not looking for literary criticism.  Getting little pieces like this right is hard work and for what I get paid--yeah, zilch--I'm not going to be a ghost writer.  For this genre, I honestly think my stuff isn't half bad, or so people tell me.  Also, judging by the next-to-illiterate submissions we get for The Breeze from others (I do most of the English usage editing), I doubt if we have any Maxwell Perkins* types around here.
That done and sent off, I went late in the afternoon to Shop-Rite and replenished my store of goodies, including lettuce, tomatoes, and cottage cheese.  By the time I left, it was quarter to five and I realized Aline would be getting off work at the library shortly.  Surprised her by picking her up to take home.  It's always a pleasure to see her and we made a lunch date for tomorrow. 
Have an eye doctor appointment this afternoon.  I always dread these because I fear vision problems more than anything else.
Good, as ever, seeing and talking to Ellen last night.  It was also good to read my friend, Pat R.'s, blog and find she's settling in well to her new independent living home in south Jersey.  After she lost her husband, Pat had the awesome courage to sell her long-time Virginia Beach home and go back to her roots.  If my circumstances were similar--if I had the money, to be crass about it--I would definitely consider a similar move. 
Anyway, it's a pleasure to read her blog.  That's partly because it tells the story of a life different from mine (but in the basics, not so different) and partly because she writes so well. 
*Look it up.         

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Anne Mary

Picked up Susan for our usual walk and she asked me if I would take our neighbor, Anne Mary, to the bank, the p.o., and Wawa.  "Sure," said I, ever the cockeyed optimist.  Anne Mary had broken her hip on Good Friday, but luckily, was progressing well--had graduated from a walker to a cane, in fact, so had no obvious problems below the neck. 
Her mouth is the problem.  She never shuts up.  When I stopped in to tell her I could take her on her errands, she invited me to sit down for a bit.  First mistake: I did.  I was treated to a 30 minute monologue about getting her stitches out at her doctor's in Kenilworth, with a move-by-move account of how she guided the friend who ferried her up north to bypass the worst of parkway traffic, how they stopped for a bite after, how thrilled the doctor was at her progress, and so on and on and on...
That was just the preliminary.  I loaded her into the car and suffered through a lo-o-n-n-g, slow stop at the bank, where she repeated--but at least in truncated form--her saga of the stitches and stops up north to the teller, while a long line formed behind her.  Oblivious, she then asked for a mini-statement to be printed out and went through her checkbook with the long-suffering teller.  Finally finished, I asked how often she went to the bank and was incredulous to be told it was everyday.
The post office was more of the same.  She bought 27 dollars worth of stamps (60 of them), engaging the clerk in conversation while holding up everybody else behind her.  Then it was Wawa for her special treat, coffee--she insisted on treating me to one, also--and, finally home.  The three stops are within maybe a tenth of a mile of each other and would take an ordinary person about a half-hour total.  I didn't get Anne Mary home until noon and I had picked her up at ten.
After all that, not much went on except unpacking, washing, and generally getting back to normal after Baltimore. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Baltimore

Well, what a terrific mini-vacation!  Here's just a quick synopsis:
Wednesday: Got to A.C. in complete darkness and had an infuriating time trying to find the right place to park in the underground garage, but after that, it was great.  Betty and I entrained and took the pleasant trip to Baltimore.  We were met by a comfortable SUV, driven by nephew Jim along with his parents, my brother, Frank, and his Marybeth.  We hadn't known Jim was in town, so it was a great surprise.  An even better one was the fact that we had no sooner driven up to the Ritz Carlton entrance than brother Jim, driven by his SIL, Paul, blew in.
Wednesday: Settled in to a terrific apartment on the river in the marvelous Ritz (nephew Patrick owes one, where Frank and Marybeth stayed, and rented for us the other). Betty and I had our own suites, plus a full kitchen, dining room, sitting room, large living room, and patio.  Jim, a high-risk obstetrician, took orders and went out to pick up lunch.  (I said he had mised his calling; should have been a personal assisant.)  Of course, we all talked and talked, either in our apartment or theirs.  Later, we went by water taxi to the Marriott across the way and Betty and I treated F. and M. to dinner.
Thursday: Frank and I walked about three miles along the broad brick walk along the harbor at my usual time of 7.  Stopped to pick up bagels and went back to our respective apartments.  Had lunch at theirs, then nephew Jim, Betty, and I went by water taxi to Fort McHenry and explored.   Had time when we got back to shower and changed, then drove to Patrick and Susan's large and beautiful home in the suburbs.  Had a fun and noisy cookout with them, her parents, and their three lively children, aged 4, 3, and almost 2.  Back at the harbor and joined by Patrick, we stayed up talking for hours after.
Friday:  Frank and I walked again and stopped at Panero's for coffee and bagels, which we ate in.  We were caught in a terrific thunderstorm while a mile or more from the Ritz and got in soaked to the skin, but laughing.  Went back to our own places for hot showers and dry clothes; I had to put everything I had on in the dryer, starting with my heavy winter coat.  I still had my soaking wet socks on when Betty asked me to guide her to Frank's apartment, so she could get eggs.  I did so, and going back, slipped and fell on the travertine hallway floor.  Luckily, I wasn't hurt, and was helped up by a doctor and a nurse: Jim and Betty.  We gathered again at the others' next-door apartment.  Susan joined us and much talking and laughing ensued.  We had lunch, said very fond goodbyes, then Susan drove us to the station.
Got back to A.C. about 5:30, as the train was delayed by a half hour wait at the bridge while a ship went down the Delaware.  After another horror--well, annoyance--at the underground garage (exits were blocked for some reason) arrived home safely about 7:00.
What a fabulous trip and wonderful accommodations!  Lucky me to have such a birth family, along with my biological one!  

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Enjoyable

Turned out an enjoyable day.  The lovely sunshine still prevailed and Susan and I walked with just light jackets.  After breakfast, jumped in the shower, then met my fellow Red Hats (I still hate that stupid name and even more, the whole concept, but I like the people in it and I sure like lunch) at the clubhouse.  After a short meeting, we took off for Smithville, Jo G. driving the car I was in, Lillian M., the other. 
Fred and Ethel's is actually a pretty nice place.  I had a good Caesar salad with chicken and an excellent wheat beer from Belgium.  After, we stopped in the Irish shop and I got Patrick and Susan bone china mugs with Gaelic sayings on them.  Good--I'll return the three books I bought for the children; kids have plenty of everything and I regretted the cost (forty-two dollars).
Had time to go to the viewing for Libby and walked in with Susan and Walter.  A number of neighbors were there, as is always the case.  Talked to Libby's daughter and sisters (she was one of twelve children), as well as her last care giver.  I almost, but not quite, made the faux pas of remarking on how nice her hair looked.  Oops, she had lost all her hair, and I remember that just in time.  Well, it was a nice wig.
Went from there directly to Barbara and Joe F.'s, whom I interviewed for The Breeze.  What a neat couple and it was great fun to hear their interesting background.  I won't go into any detail except to say that she speaks Portuguese and he's an amateur astronomer.
Home, I typed up my notes--it's going to be hard to decide what to leave out, there's so much material--and had some leftover stir-fry.  Betty called and we decided we'd both leave tomorrow from A. C. after all.
Now to finish packing and do a few other last minute chores, then relax for the night.  Will set the alarm for 4:30, I guess, as I want to leave by five or a bit after.
(Wrote this late yesterday; leaving now for Baltimore.)

Activities

I did my duty and, as promised, went after our walk to Wawa and got Anne Mary a coffee, 3/4 decaf, 1/4 caramel.  When I brought it to her, she asked if I'd stop at Target and get paper towels and yogurt blueberries.  I said I would and I did.
Took a dry run over to the Absecon train station, which is a lot more convenient for me than A.C.  Later, I talked to Betty and she'll probably get on there, too.  Continued on to the Target in Mays Landing, got the stuff for A.M., then went to Bam! where I picked up books for the three children in Baltimore.
Dropped off A.M.'s goods, then chatted outside with several neighbors on a glorious sunny day.  With Bob O.'s help, I even got the porch furniture out.  Guess it's spring--so nice.
Talked to Aline, who had gone directly from Manhattan to work yesterday.  We'll catch up with each other when I get back on Friday.  Made myself a delicious stir-fry for dinner, adding shrimp to onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms.
Today will be busy: a Red Hats meeting a 11:30, then lunch at Fred And Ethel's in Smithville, a "Profiles" interview with the F.'s at 3:00, and the viewing for Libby either in the afternoon or evening.  Have a few more things to pack, too.   

Monday, April 08, 2013

Nothing

Unpacked and did some wash, but aside from that, pretty much nothing going on.  Walked with Susan, talked to Betty, and was Skyped by Ellen,  but mostly just lazed around and played hidden object games.  Today should be at lease somewhat livlier, I hope.  

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Home Again

Said a teary--but at least not sobby--goodbye to darling daughter and trudged into LAX.  Got checked in and so on with no problem and had time to get a bagel and coffee at Starbucks, while I read the NYTimes about poor Roger Egert.
The plane--as they kept announcing and I wished they'd shut up--was filled to capacity.  This always makes me imagine it will drop with all that weight--but my Ativan then kicked in and I was sanguine.
Got to Philly and picked up with no prob and was driven to daughter's, fed a nice pasta dish and a glass of wine (or was it beer?  or maybe iced tea?  The Ativan can cause lingering amnesia), then turned in about 9:00.  I was amazed that I had to be awakened at 9:30 until I was reminded it would be 6:30 California time.
Had breakfast, then we took my car to follow my son-in-law to the Toms River Library, where the pineland photographers group to which he belongs was having a "Pinelands Day."  There were lectures and videos, and lovely framed pictures by members--several by my SIL--and he presented a workshop on what to take when you go in the woods to photograph.
Very interesting and fun.  I stayed until his part was over, then went home with no problem.  Stopped at Acme for cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes, and other goodies.  Unpacked for the most part.  Called Anne Mary to see how she was after breaking her hip last week.  Hip is doing well, but not nearly as well as her mouth, which operates 24/7, seemingly under no mental control, and drives me crazy.  I told her I'd get her a coffee (3/4 decaf, 1/4 caramel) at Wawa on Monday and I will, but you can be damn sure I'll be in a hurry otherwise.  Also promised to go to Target to get her yogurt-covered raisins. 
Talked to Leslie and Joan C., who has broken her knee; promised if she needed me, that I'd drive her wherever.
Now, after a wonderful, but whirlwind, mini-vacation, I'm going to designate today one of rest and will just laze around--unless something interesting comes up.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Carolyn's And Dance Class

Such a terrific day yet again!  We got to niece/cousin Carolyn's in Santa Barbara a bit after 11:00 and she showed us around her beautiful home.  It's set high up, with a sweeping view of valley and mountains from a lovely backyard and garden.  Wisteria hangs from an over-arching trellis, and fruit trees--lemon and apricot--flourish, as well as lush flowers.  There's a pretty side yard, too, inhabited by their white rabbit, no doubt resting up from Easter duties.  The inside is wonderful: spacious and attractively furnished, with a terrific family room off the kitchen.
After the grand tour, Carolyn drove us down to The Beach House, which immediately became one of my favorite restaurants.  It's right on--yes, the beach and on this brilliantly sunny day, was a great place for lunch.  I got shrimp creviche, which I had never had before--never heard of, in fact--and it was delicious.  Even more delicious was our sharing of ideas and beliefs, often lively topics of discussion when family members get together.
When we got back to Carolyn's, we walked the short distance to Finn's and Claire's school.  Picked up Claire, who looked adorable dressed in an "old-fashioned farm girl" outfit for a school project.  Finn stayed behind to meet up with friends, and came in later. We spent another hour or two talking and laughing, and admiring the children's--and their mother's--art work, then said reluctant goodbyes.  Got back to Ellen's in time to shower and change for dance class--oh, yes, dance class--then had one of her yummy stir-fry dinners, which I enjoyed with a Blue Moon.   Got to the class at 7:30. 
It's held in a fencing studio, oddly enough, and the wife of the owner was one of the five students who attended last night.  The instructor, Valarie, teaches dance in elementary schools as part of the P.E.curriculum, a very sensible idea, it seems to me.  We did various steps of various folk dances and it was a lot of fun, but I seriously doubt if Hollywood will woo me.  I seem to have not two, but three left feet.  It was a lot of fun, though, and I hope to go again the next time I'm here.
Home, we had a snack and a chat, then I finished packing the big suitcase--why did I take so much?--and fell into bed.
Will be leaving for the airport in about an hour and as ever, feel so bereft.  I always have a wonderful time with my dear younger daughter, and it's hard to go.  I plan to come back for a longer stay in the summer, though, and will look forward to that.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Fun And More Fun

A fun--and activity filled--past two days.  We arrived in Carlsbad (a three-hour trip, a mere nothing by California standards) about 1:00 to see the precious little girls and their parents.  They had rented a good-sized townhouse with spectacular views of the ocean and, of course, lots of palm trees and exotic foliage.  We all went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch, then to the beach. It was too cool to actually go in the water, but V. and V. waded, then Vivian was allowed to change into a bathing suit and go a little farther out.  Rest of us sat on the sand (me in a chair Mike had brought) and chatted.  We met up with a family from Moorestown, NJ and enjoyed talking to them.
E. and I then checked into our motel and freshened up before going back to have dinner with the gang.  Mike went out and got ribs, fried chicken, and various sides, along with a bottle of Chardonnay, which Paula and I enjoyed.  We didn't eat until after 7:00 and by the time E. and I got back to the motel, it was past 9:00.  Fell into bed an slept like a log.
Yesterday was Queen Mary and Griffith Observatory day.  Mike and family visited with Paula's father, who's not entirely well, in Escondido (?) while E. and I took two separate tours of the Queen Mary in Long Beach.  I've done this before and never fail to love it.  There was a lot of walking up and down long flights of stairs, however--we were told twelve for each tour and even for me, it was pretty strenuous.  We had a delightful lunch at one of the restaurants on board, then took off for L.A.
We arrived in Griffith Park to see an electronic sign advising visitors that the parking lot was filled, so we parked way, way down a sloping street.  It must have been close to mile and we had to walk up it.  Strenuous, and I had to stop twice, but good exercise.
After some searching, we found the others, and had a good time exploring the observatory and museum. Stayed several hours, then Mike drove us back to E.'s car and we said a sad and reluctant goodbye.  Drove back to Ventura at rush hour, seemingly along with every other car on the western seaboard--I never saw such traffic.   Stopped at Jack In The Box for hamburgers and fries, which we ate watching Jon Stewart.  A fun day--they all are when I'm with my darling daughter--and boy, I didn't have any problem sleeping last night.  

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Terrific

What a terrific day we had!  Picked up Ellen's friend, Linda C., at 11:00 and went to the Mission San Buenventura, the last parish founded personally  by Padre Junipero Serra.  The church, started in 1795 and completed in 1809 is still in use and is a beautiful structure, as are the grounds.
After, we repaired to a Mexican restaurant for lunch of tosados, preceded for each of us with a yummy Margarita.  We hit a few shops--I couldn't resist buying a funny card--then dropped Linda off after inviting her back to go in the hot tub.  El and I changed into bathing suits and when Linda arrived, went to soak.  It felt wonderful, as the air was none too warm--I think about 60 or so.
We stayed more than an hour--had the pool area to ourselves--and had a great time talking and, in my case, getting to know Linda.  She had been a psychiatric case manager (must have been a demanding job), single, and is a native Californian, as well as a nice person to know.  
Shriveled up like prunes, we went back to El's and said goodbye to Linda.  By that time, it was 7:00 and I changed into my p.j.s and robe.  Ellen made us another great dinner--salad and salmon--then  we watched Limitless from (on?) Netflix.  I had seen this before at El's a few years ago and I find it a terrifically engrossing movie.  Went to bed and slept like a log.
Was pleased to get a Facebook message this morning from Christine R., my opposite number in Arsenic, and hope to meet up with her one of these days.
This morning, we leave for points south--Carlsbad?--to meet up with Mike and family--yay!  We'll stay over, then go with them to L.A.

Monday, April 01, 2013

At Ellen's

Here I am, safe and sound at Ellen's in Ventura, after an uneventful plane ride.  Had a wrap and a beer on the plane, then Ellen drove me home.  She made delicious stuffed (with ground turkey, rice, and spices) peppers for dinner and later, I had a glass of Chardonnay with snacks.
I was very ready for bed after that, so turned in; guess it was early by California standards, but three hours late on my internal clock.
It's not extremely warm, but is pleasantly mild.  El had planned something for the day and whatever it is--barring a ride in a hot-air balloon--I'm game.